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The Island Queen ferry of Madeline Island passes by a black bear walking on the Lake Superior Ice. Photo from Sam Cook Outdoors blog.

WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Ice build-up on Lake Superior worst since '78

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

SUPERIOR - Experts with the National Weather Service and the U.S. Coast Guard says ice buildup on Lake Superior is the worst seen in several decades.

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Meteorologist at the weather center have been tracking freeze-ups since 1978, and say it’s the second-fastest ever recorded. The ice jams are causing problems with ships on Lake Superior. A U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson says a trip from Minnesota to Indiana is taking six to seven days down, as opposed to the normal three. The Coast Guard reports the thick ice became a problem around Christmas Eve.

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Dangerous rain turned into ice on Friday night is to blame for several crashes in southeastern Wisconsin. Milwaukee County authorities report 18 crashes, while Dane County reported over a dozen crashes and disabled vehicles. Some communities reported only responding to injury accidents because of the sheer number of crashes reported. Meteoroligists at the National Weather Service say the combination of above-freezing air and the cold ground caused the hazardous road conditions.

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Investigators say five explosive devices on a time fuse caused a Wausau home explosion that killed a man on Thursday. The Marathon County Sheriff’s office says the devices were discovered around the property of 43-year-old Jesse Jehn, believed to be the body discovered in the nearly-leveled house. An identification on remains found have not been identified, but investigators believe it to be Jehn. The explosion is still under investigation, but authorities believe the devices were deliberate.

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Authorities say a Marshfield man allegedly broke his dog’s neck and sent a photo of the body to a relative. Court records show 27-year-old Michael Loftus told investigators that he killed the dog during while walking it on November 27 and left it in the woods. No motive was listed in the complaint. Loftus was charged on Friday with mistreating an animal and causing its death. If convicted, he faces a maximum one-and-a-half years in prison.

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