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Drive-thru absentee voting available in Eau ClaireSubmitted: 07/29/2020
Drive-thru absentee voting available in Eau Claire
Story By Associated Press

EAU CLAIRE - Voters don't have to leave their vehicles to vote in the primary election in Eau Claire.

City officials have set up drive-thru service for absentee voters in the parking lot behind City Hall in order to reduce contact during the coronavirus pandemic.

Voting started Tuesday and will run weekdays through Aug. 7. Wisconsin's partisan primary is Aug. 11.

City officials say people do not need to arrive in a vehicle to vote in the parking lot, they can also walk up and cast their ballot, the Leader-Telegram reported.

In western Wisconsin, incumbent U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is facing fellow Democrat Mark Neumann in the primary race to represent the state's 3rd Congressional District. Two Republicans, Derrick Van Orden and Jessi Ebben, are also on the ballot for that race.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin man has pleaded guilty to vandalizing a synagogue last year as part of a neo-Nazi plot, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Yousef Barasneh, 22, of Oak Creek, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal civil rights charge, U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin said.

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KENOSHA - A Kenosha police officer wounded in a shootout last week while investigating a vehicle break-in has been released from a hospital, Wisconsin Department of Justice officials said Friday.

A release by the department's Division of Criminal Investigation identified the officer as Justin Pruett, who has been with the Kenosha police force for two years. He suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen, the Kenosha News reported.

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NATH hosts e-cycling fundraiserSubmitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - Traffic slowed to a stand-still on Highway 8 West out of Rhinelander but not because of any accident or construction.

NATH and The Good News Project partnered for the third year in a row to host an e-cycling fundraiser.

"There's still a huge line of cars waiting to drop off their things and that's been going on since before we opened at 8. It's been a very busy and very successful fundraiser," say Rick Covin, Board Member for the Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing.

NATH operates Frederick's Place in Rhinelander. This is their third year partnering with The Good News Project out of Wausau to host the electronics recycling event.

"We're having anyone from the area able to bring their electronics, even vacuum cleaners, stereo systems, computers, TVs, monitors, and for a small fee which is much less than you would have to pay at the dump," says Covin.

A portion of the proceeds will go toward helping fund the shelter's operation. COVID and other complications forced NATH to cancel many of their successful fundraising events, like the Harvest Hoedown normally scheduled for October.

"While our expenses have not gone down, even gone up some, our income, which is fundraising grants, and gifts, has gone down," says Covin.

If you didn't make it Friday, don't worry! You can stop by from 9 to noon Saturady.

"We'll all be here ready to take their recyclables and all that stuff that's been gathering dust in their basement, closet, and garage, gather that up, those old electronics you have to pay through the nose to get rid of at the dump, bring 'em here, and we'll give rid of em for a small fee and it'll go to a good cause," says Covin.

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Hodag Lanes Closing Submitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.

"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.

And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.

"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.

A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.

"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."

For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.

"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."

But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.

"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline. 

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CRANDON - A plant that scientists believed had disappeared from Wisconsin has been spotted in the Northwoods.

"That's the scientific name, Calypso bulbosa," said Kevin Doyle, Botanist for Bureau of National Heritage Conservation. "The common name is calypso orchid."

The plant is small. Itsleaves are about the size of a thumbnail and the whole plant is only three to eight inches tall in its full bloom.

A volunteer found it in the white cedar swamps near Crandon. Now Doyle and others hope to preserve it.

"We're hoping to collect seeds from the population," said Doyle. "Hopefully collect some capsules and at that point we can kind of preserve some options."

And its all thanks to one volunteer.

"It's a great example of how we can collaborate with people who are already going out on their own time botanising and finding cool things," said Doyle. "And we need more people to get involved."

If you are interested check out their website: 

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MINNEAPOLIS - President Donald Trump's campaign on Friday announced details of his visits on Monday to Minnesota and Wisconsin, two Midwestern states that he's counting on winning.

The campaign says Trump will highlight "Joe Biden's failures on jobs and the economy" during his two airport events.

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MILWAUKEE -  Milwaukee's former police chief, who was demoted to captain in part for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd's death, has chosen to retire instead of staying with the department. 

The city's Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.

 Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. 

Speaking Wednesday on WTMJ-AM, Morales said he's retiring because if he returned as a captain it would be at a reduced salary and would negatively impact his pension payments. 

Morales also defended his record as chief. 

His attorney says he and Morales are exploring a range of legal action, including filing a claim for damages.

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