Morning Update: Thursday, Sept. 9
The taco saga deepens...
Good morning, Madison!
Remember when we said maybe don't go to next week's Taco Fest at Breese Stevens Field? After catching wind of the questionable and nefarious practices that have occurred at other festivals put on by the same events company across the country, Breese is investigating.
“Over the last week, concerns about this promoter’s past events have been brought to us,” said Big Top COO Conor Coloia, who helps book many of the events at the venue. “Since then, we’ve been kind of investigating, doing our due diligence and making sure we avoid this at Breese Stevens Field.”
While the future of the festival is still uncertain, there's no question you can find plenty of spots with delicious tacos in the meantime.
😷 With 45 confirmed cases and 106 in quarantine, MMSD is looking to outside sources to get ahead on COVID-19 testing.
- According to the Cap Times, since the district began tracking COVID cases on Aug. 18, they've had 50 positives and 124 quarantines. For context, the district has more than 26,000 students and 3,000 staff members. Of those on staff, less than 100 are nurses or nurse assistants.
- Now, with its staff already stretched thin and nurses feeling overwhelmed, the district planning to hand off testing duties to COVID Clinic, which is "a nationwide company based outside Wisconsin that will provide additional nursing staff to support the initiative," the State Journal reports.
- Related: Exhausted, heartbroken and angry: St. Mary’s Hospital staff confronts another COVID-19 surge (via Wisconsin State Journal)
🧵 These Madison women are donating fabric for Afghan refugees to sew own clothes.
- Connie McElrone and Cynthia Hirsch have raised more than $8,000 and collected a “mountain” of fabric to donate to Afghan refugees staying at Fort McCoy in western Wisconsin, the State Journal reports.
- The pair said they want to help refugees with the culture shock of coming to America. By donating fabric, they hope to give Afghan women to power to sew their own clothes rather than be forced into western fashions.
📍 Dane County is looking for public input on its redistricting map.
- Some context: Redistricting is the process in which counties are mapped for future elections. It happens every 10 years after a new census is released.
- This year, the county is accepting submissions from the public. The Cap Times reports 20 drafts have been submitted so far. The county redistricting commission will accept maps from the public through Sept. 19.
🏗️ Make way for Madison Yards.
- Developers broke ground on the project that will bring hundreds of new apartments and retail space to the city’s near west side, by Hilldale.
- The first phase of the project includes a Whole Foods, 273 luxury apartments, 142,000 square feet of office space, 11,000 square feet of retail space, and a central green area. Future phases of the development will bring more housing, an upscale hotel, more office space and a medical office, Channel 3000 reports.
🌊 After years of record highs, Lake Superior is back to normal levels.
- This is the first time in seven years that the lake's water levels are on par with its long-term average. The decline "has been driven by abnormally dry to extreme drought conditions across the Lake Superior basin," WPR reports.
✏️ The African American Business Survey is taking a look at racial disparities in Dane County's workforce.
- Local nonprofit the African American/Jewish Friendship Group, Inc. is sending surveys to Madison and Dane County companies asking for data on the number of Black people in their workforce. Along with the survey, the group included six articles about racism in Madison and Wisconsin, to provide "context to businesses about life for African Americans in the city," Madison365 reports.
- Results from the survey are expected to be published in October.
🗳️ A bipartisan group is calling BS on Wisconsin's election investigations.
- Republican politicians and advocacy groups alike have expressed major concerns over Wisconsin's 2020 election probe — an effort spearheaded by Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Voss.
- "It’s clear that these are bad faith efforts, not fact-finding missions, but rather political stunts to keep the lies about the 2020 election alive," former Republican New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman said on a call with reporters.
🖼️ Your lunchtime read: Portrait of a neighborhood.
- Residents of one of Madison's most diverse communities, Bayview Townhouses, are sharing their stories in a book. Isthmus has the scoop.
🦠 COVID-19 Resources
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 52%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 69.7%
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.