What you need to know: Friday

What you need to know: Friday
The Platteville Millennium Cinema was one of a few in the state to show "The Interview" on Christmas day.

It’s Friday, Dec. 26 and here is your day ahead:

In local news…

WEATHER: Today will be mostly cloudy and mild with a little drizzle possible late in the day; high temperatures will reach the lower 40s. Full forecast 


Unexpected crowd: Moviegoers lined up Christmas day at 300 cinemas across the country for the controversial comedy “The Interview” about a plot to kill the leader of North Korea. Sony originally scrapped the release after hackings and threats from the country. Platteville and New London were the only two theaters in Wisconsin to air “The Interview.” The owner of the Millennium Cinema in Platteville says everything was smooth sailing, but the crowd the movie attracted was a little unexpected. Many of the moviegoers who may not have originally watched the film say they decided to because of the political controversy. More on this story


Reopening: A Portage Dairy Factory is expected to reopen today exactly two weeks after a fire shut down operations. The fire at American Milk Producer’s Incorporated damaged most of the building and likely caused millions of dollars in damage. A week ago, we checked in on how the clean up process was going. The plant manager brought two-thirds of his 350 employees back early to help cleanup. Fire investigators still don’t know what caused the fire. More on this story


More than just pen pals: When Deborah Tobin was diagnosed with breast cancer in June, the road ahead was filled with unknowns. When the nursing staff at UW offered her a chance to be a part of the Patient Survivor Advocate Program, Tobin knew it was something that would help her through treatment. The program matches up people recently diagnosed with survivors who have gone through a similar cancer and treatment track. Deborah was matched with Lynn Malayter. She survived breast cancer and soon after joined the program. Their first conversation lasted for hours. The friendship went from calls and texts to encouraging e-mails to finally meeting face-to-face for the first time this holiday season. More on this story


Secret santas: Milwaukee police officers are trading in their belts and guns for presents and Santa hats. Officers from District 5 delivered gifts and meals to nine local families on Christmas Eve. It’s five-year tradition for the officers, who adopt a family they’ve come across in the community. Milwaukee resident Jennifer Williams and her eight grandchildren were one of those families. She had told her family there wouldn’t be many presents this Christmas until police told her they’d come bearing gifts on Christmas Eve. More on this story


40 years, 1 tree: Neil Olson put up a Christmas tree in 1974 when two of his boys went off to war, vowing not to take it down until all six children came home for Christmas. The same tree is still standing in his living room, needles intact. Olson, 89, calls his 40-year-old tree “supernatural.” The Marshfield News-Herald reports Olson’s oldest son was injured in the Vietnam War. His disability has stopped him from returning to Wausau for Christmas. Five of his other children live nearby in Wausau. Olson says he still hopes his oldest son will make it home for Christmas one year. When that happens, he says he thinks all the needles will fall off. More on this story

In national news…


Bah, humbug: Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming networks were a mess on Christmas Day and beyond as a hacker group claimed responsibility for what it said was an attack. Lizard Squad says you can blame them for the outages and a couple of other attacks earlier in December that caused fits for each network. In addition, the problem might have been made worse by all those video gamers who received new systems for Christmas and wanted to try them out. More on this story


Have you seen it?: There are no box office numbers or sale figures just yet, but Seth Rogen’s controversial film “The Interview” is now available online and in independent theaters. Rogen showed up at a midnight screening in Los Angeles to celebrate the movie’s unlikely release. Sony Pictures pulled back on widespread distribution after its computer systems were hacked and the hackers warned Americans to stay away from theaters showing it. The comedy is about an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. It’s widely believed that the cyberattack was partly related to North Korea’s fury over the movie, which the country has called an “act of war” by the U.S. More on this story


Prayer for peace: Pope Francis wants to bring hope to Christians and other ethnic and religious groups suffering “brutal persecution” in Iraq and Syria. The Pope used his Christmas Day blessing to draw attention to the Syrian civil war and increased instability in Iraq with the rise of ISIS. Yesterday’s blessing also included hope for peaceful resolutions of other conflicts around the world. He prayed for reconciliation in Ukraine and for peace in Nigeria, where Islamic militants are killing and kidnapping people in the northern part of the African country. More on this story


Targeted: The latest ISIS-appointed governor of Mosul was killed in coalition airstrikes yesterday, according to Iraqi police. Hassan Hassan Saeed Al-Jabouri, also known as Abu Taluut, was killed 18 miles south of Mosul in the village of Qayyara. Jabouri is the second ISIS-appointed governor of Mosul killed by airstrikes and had been in office for less than 25 days. Mosul is a key stronghold for ISIS fighters and was taken from Iraqi forces earlier this year. The Pentagon said that it has a strategy to retake the city beginning in January. More on this story


Putin vacations on hold: Vladimir Putin delivered a lump of coal in the Kremlin’s stocking this year when he announced that he has canceled holiday vacations for members of the government. “The Government … cannot afford such extensive holidays, at least not this year,” Putin told government ministers in a speech broadcast on state television yesterday. “You know what I am talking about.” And if you don’t, he was talking about Russia’s battered economy, which has taken a huge hit under Western sanctions and plummeting oil prices. More on this story