It's Thursday, July 17  and here is your day ahead:

In local news...

WEATHER: Mostly sunny skies this morning will give way to a few more clouds this afternoon. Highs will climb to the upper 70s, but humidity levels will remain low. Full forecast 

1. VERONA ROAD PROJECT

Traffic crews spent the night preparing Verona Road for the next phase of construction. As of this morning, all traffic between the Beltline and Raymond Road should be shifted into the new northbound lanes. The new southbound lanes should be completed before this winter. A more detailed map of the project can be found here.

2. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS DRILL

An emergency preparedness drill is taking place at Camp Randall today. A fake bomb will go off at 7 a.m. today. 20 area emergency agencies are taking part. Neighbors can expect to see emergency vehicles responding with lights and sirens, smoke and even actors dress as injured victims. The drill is also closing the 1400 block of Monroe Street, from Randall to Regent streets - from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Full story

3. MISSING MEN

Madison:

Steven Nelsen The search is still on this morning for an elderly man, last seen on the near west side of Madison. Steve Nielsen walked away from his Nakoma Road home yesterday afternoon. Police using a K-9 unit tracked him to the Monroe and Regent streets area. Anyone with information is asked to contact Madison police. Full story


Fitchburg:

Guillermo B. DeVenecia Fitchburg police are also looking for a missing man this morning. Guillermo DeVenecia is 82 years old and was last seen yesterday afternoon. He goes by the name Gill and is believed to have wandered away from his Heywood Circle home. If you see him, call Fitchburg police. Full story


4. MAZOMAINE HOMICIDE

The man accused of killing a Mazomanie woman is expected to enter a plea in court today. Phillip Byrd is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the February death of his former girlfriend, Cheryl Gilberg, 43. Prosecutors believe Byrd shot Gilberg during a struggle at her home. Byrd says the two argued and they wrestled with a gun she was holding when it went off. Full story

5. STOLEN GRAVE MARKERS

For the third time in the past week, It appears grave markers have been stolen from a cemetery in Dodge County. The manager at St. Michael's cemetery in Beaver Dam believes bronze flag holders were taken. Last week, two other cemeteries had as many as 80 holders stolen. The markers honor veterans for their service. Families of those veterans want them back. Full story

In national news...

1. MIDEAST

4 killed on Gaza beach A timeout: Israel and Hamas agreed to a U.N request for a temporary cease-fire that runs today from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. ET. At least three mortars were fired from Gaza into southern Israel about two hours after the pause in hostilities, the Israeli military said. More than 220 people have been killed since tensions flared last week, including four boys who died yesterday when a shell from an Israeli gunship exploded near them on a beach near Gaza City. Rockets from Hamas have killed one Israeli. Full story

2. RUSSIA SANCTIONS

Upping the ante: The United States is rolling out new sanctions against Russia for failing to take steps to end the Ukraine conflict, President Obama said yesterday. These are additional pocketbook measures, targeting Russian banks, energy and defense companies. "We have to see concrete actions, and not just words," the President said. The Pentagon says Russia has increased troops at Ukraine's border. Full story

3. TECH CASES

Yahoo lawsuit:

A Yahoo executive is countersuing a former employee who accused her of sexual harassment. Yahoo senior director of engineering Maria Zhang called the charges "outrageously false" in a defamation lawsuit filed yesterday against former software engineer Nan Shi. Shi is also suing Yahoo and Zhang for emotional distress and wrongful termination. Full story

Google exec death:

Alix Catherine Tichelman Alix Catherine Tichelman pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, prostitution and other charges in the death of Forrest Timothy Hayes, a 51-year-old married father of five who was found dead in November on his 50-foot yacht. Authorities say Tichelman gave the Google executive an injection of heroin and then, as he began to die, she sipped her wine, gathered her belongings and walked away. Full story

4. CALIFORNIA DEATH PENALTY

Delayed justice: A federal judge has ruled California's death penalty unconstitutional, calling its administration "dysfunctional." In making his ruling, Judge Cormac J. Carney said the delays in implementing an execution are so lengthy they constitute "cruel and unusual punishment." Of the more than 700 inmates on death row in California, about 40 percent have been there longer than 19 years. Full story

5. MANDELA'S FINAL MONTHS

OTD July 18 - Nelson Mandela The final days: Nelson Mandela's daughter tells CNN that his final months were excruciating to watch, but his final breaths were peaceful. For a year before his death, Maki Mandela says her father was on dialysis for kidney failure and a ventilator to help him breathe. He was fed intravenously through tubes into his stomach, and his arms and hands grew swollen due to the medications he was receiving. The Nobel Peace prize winner died in December at age 95. Full story