Saturday, July 20th

State

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Downtown Madison is blanketed by thick plumes of black smoke this morning from fires at two Madison Gas and Electric properties. WKOW, WKOW

MADISON - Black smoke filled the sky over Madison's isthmus and knocked out power across downtown after an explosion and fires broke out at two Madison Gas and Electric power stations Friday morning. 

By the afternoon, Gov. Tony Evers had declared a state of emergency both in Madison and Dane County and authorized the National Guard to assist as needed. 

As of about 5:20 p.m., MG&E said all but 34 customers had power restored, down from about 12,000 earlier in the day, on what was likely to be the hottest day of the year. 

MG&E president and CEO Jeff Keebler said a mechanical issue likely caused the first and larger fire in a substation across the street from a generating plant just off East Washington Avenue — a main thoroughfare on Madison's isthmus.

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Downtown Madison is blanketed by thick plumes of black smoke this morning from fires at two Madison Gas and Electric properties. WKOW, WKOW

MADISON - More than 10,000 people in Madison are without power in the middle of a heatwave after an explosion and fires broke out at two Madison Gas and Electric power stations Friday.  

Gov. Tony Evers declared a state of emergency in Madison and Dane County.

“With the power outages and the extreme heat, I have directed all state agencies to provide assistance and authorized Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, to activate the National Guard to assist local authorities if needed. Keeping folks safe remains our top priority as we continue to manage and respond to this situation.”

Black smoke filled the sky over Madison's isthmus and knocked out power across downtown, closing streets and snarling traffic. 

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway warned downtown Madison residents mid-day power might not be restored by nightfall.

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Downtown Madison is blanketed by thick plumes of black smoke this morning from fires at two Madison Gas and Electric properties. WKOW, WKOW

MADISON - More than 10,000 people in Madison are without power in the middle of a heat wave after an explosion and fires broke out at two Madison Gas and Electric power stations Friday.  

Black smoke filled the sky over Madison's isthmus and knocked out power across downtown, closing streets and snarling traffic. 

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway warned downtown Madison residents mid-day power might not be restored by nightfall.

MG&E president and CEO Jeff Keebler said a mechanical issue likely caused the first and larger fire in a substation across the street from a generating plant just off East Washington Avenue — a main thoroughfare on Madison's isthmus.

“We don’t know whether the fire caused the explosion or the explosion caused the fire," Keebler said at a news conference.

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The Carpenter family of Redrock View Farms poses for a picture. Like a vast majority of Wisconsin dairy farms, Redrock is family-owned, and everyone is pitching in to keep their cattle comfortable during this week's intense heat.(Photo: Redrock View Farms)

As the sun rises over Redrock View Farms, third-generation dairy farmer Cody Carpenter knows that today's going to be a hot one — not just for him, but for his 600 cattle, too. The Darlington native and his family have been working all week to mitigate the effects of this week's heat wave on their herd. 

"With farming, we are at the mercy of the weather. We have learned to take what hurdles Mother Nature gives us and make the best of it," Carpenter said. "Most of what we've been doing — and will continue to do this week — is make sure the cows are as cool and as comfortable as possible."

According to Jessica Cederquist, the administrator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison's dairy herd, dairy farmers plan well in advance for extreme weather conditions.

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Rep. Mike Gallagher speaks during a President Donald J. Trump's Make America Great Again Rally on Saturday, April 27, 2019, at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis.(Photo: Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.)

MADISON - Wisconsin Republicans have tried their best to steer clear of the aftermath of President Donald Trump's use of a racist trope that led thousands of his supporters at a rally Wednesday night to chant "send her back" about a black Muslim congresswoman.

One exception is U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, who represents — of all places — the heart of Trump country. 

"This is not a good look for the United States of America," Gallagher, of Green Bay, said in a video posted on his official Twitter account after characterizing as "abhorrent" the chant calling for the deportation of Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. 

"We don't want to spend the next year engaging in this endless tribal warfare and Twitter nonsense because we're not going to get anything done, the problems are just going to continue to get worse and politics are going to become an exercise in the absolute absurd," he said.