Why hundreds of students walked out of East High
Good morning, Madison!
Sources tell me that, believe it or not, today is Thursday. This means that tomorrow is the big day — Culver's CurderBurger day.
A quick heads up, the first two stories in today's newsletter deal with matters of sexual assault. With that said, let's dive into the day's news.
📣 Hundreds of East High students staged a walkout yesterday over the school's handling of an alleged sexual assault.
- The alleged incident occurred at a private residence following the school's homecoming last weekend.
- Feliz Castaneda, who is a close friend of the survivor and who hosted the party where the rape allegedly happened, helped organize the walkout. She expressed her disappointment with school administrators, saying they've shown a lack of support for the survivor while the accused student is still free to "walk through the hallway with his head held high.”
- The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Madison police are investigating the incident.
⚖️ The Vilas Zoo director accused of sexual assault struck a deal in court.
- Some context: Ronda Schwetz was named director of Dane County's Vilas Zoo in 2012. In 2018, Schwetz allegedly assaulted a colleague while on a work trip in Seattle. She is accused of drunkenly groping and making sexual advances toward a former UW-Madison assistant professor and animal researcher who was sharing a hotel room with her on the trip.
- A Seattle municipal court ruled Wednesday that her criminal charges can be dismissed in two years if she completes alcohol treatment, has no contact with the survivor, and follows other rules, the State Journal reports.
- The survivor told the State Journal he thought the deal was "utterly thoughtless."
“Everything I have suffered is for nothing because the city of Seattle believes that the defendant is the victim,” the man told the Seattle Municipal Court.
- Schwetz, who has been on leave following the allegations, plans to return to work Monday.
🚨 Madison's new emergency mental health response team is off to a steady start.
- Some context: The Community Alternative Response for Emergency Services (CARES) program provides an alternative response to non-violent mental health and substance abuse emergency calls. The CARES teams consist of a paramedic and a Journey Mental Health crisis worker. Their goals are to de-escalate situations without the use of force or police presence. The program, which is still in its pilot phase, launched Sept. 1 with a $600,000 budget.
- Since its launch, the CARES team has responded to 37 calls, an average of three calls a day. While it's too soon to draw any final conclusions on the program's efficacy, officials say these early results are promising.
🍕 Paisan’s is gearing up to reopen after the city closed its building citing "structural concerns."
- Some context: On Sept. 10, the city forced the evacuation of 131 West Wilson St., which is home to several business offices and Paisan's restaurant. Engineers said the building, which was constructed in 1971, had severe structural concerns, though the city has emphasized that it is not in any imminent danger of collapse.
- The restaurant recently took to Facebook to announce its plans to re-open "sometime late next week."
🎒 Goodbye humanities, hello Irving and Dorothy Levy Hall.
- UW-Madison announced a $20 million donation Wednesday that will help clear the way to demolish the labyrinth that is the Humanities Building and make way for a new home for the College of Letters and Science.
- Brothers and alumni Jeff and Marv Levy gave the multimillion-dollar gift to honor their late parents, whose names will be on the building.
- The university already secured $60 million in taxpayer-supported borrowing in the state and is looking to raise an additional $15 million to cover the $95 million price tag. If all goes according to plan, construction will begin in 2023 and the building will open to students in 2026.
📚 The Lussier Community Education Center has a new interim director.
- Diana Shinall will step in as the interim executive director as the organization searches for a permanent replacement for Paul Terranova, who served as executive director of LCEC for 21 years and left at the end of September, Madison 365 reports.
🏡 A Madison developer is proposing an upscale five-story housing project near Hilldale.
- Flad Development wants to demolish office buildings at 216 and 222 N. Midvale Blvd. for the redevelopment, called “The Manchester.” The State Journal reports that the new property would provide 72 apartments and an underground and partial first-floor parking garage with spaces for 70 vehicles and 72 bicycles.
- The proposal is still in its early stages but if Flad secures the permits needed, construction will begin in spring 2022.
🚓 Your lunchtime read: Wisconsin imprisons 1 in 36 Black adults. No state has a higher rate.
- From Wisconsin Watch: "A new Sentencing Project report confirms the state’s deep racial disparities in incarceration, which one advocate calls ‘a slap in the face.’"
🦠 Covid-19 Resources
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 54.5%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 71.5%
Here's where to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.
Need a COVID-19 test? PHMDC has you covered.
Are you eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna? Find out here.
📅 Events: Thursday, Oct. 14
- Virtual class about Bluebirds. Organized by UW Arboretum. “Learn about the fascinating life of bluebirds, bluebird behavior, the reasons for bluebird decline, and restoration efforts.” 9 a.m. $20.
- “Mapped Out” listening event with Wisconsin Public Radio. Journalists discuss redistricting and the podcast they made about the process in the state. 12 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Cheese Camp, “a one-night-only summer adventure celebrating Wisconsin’s best cheeses.” Organized by Madison Eats Food Tours and Camp Trippalindee. 5 p.m. $90.
- Webinar: Learn about BRT Westside East-West Line Route & Stations with Metro Transit. 6 p.m. Free.
- Gary Gulman comedy show at the Majestic. 7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show. $25. All ages.
- Virtual Lecture: Shipwrecks of Wisconsin. Discussing some of Wisconsin’s 750 Great Lakes shipwrecks. 7 p.m. Free.
- Update on the Stop the F-35 in Wisconsin Campaign with Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin and Peace Action Wisconsin. 7 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Friends! The Musical Parody at the Barrymore Theater. Musical “lovingly lampoons TV’s Friends.” 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $33.
(Header image via Bohao Zhao, Wikimedia Commons)