Beaches, bars, and ballots

Morning Update: Friday, July 8

In this newsletter

Beaches, bars, and ballots

Happy Friday, Madison!

We've made it through another week and that, to me, is a huge accomplishment.

Let's get right to the good stuff this morning.

— Hayley

P.S. Here's your reminder not to go to the Capitol Square for the farmers' market tomorrow.

Photo via Flickr user Peter Burka

🚫 Don't plan on any Lake Monona beach days quite yet.

  • Public Health Madison & Dane County took to social media Thursday to announce the closure of all Lake Monona beaches due to an increased level of E. coli in the water.
  • The health authority said elevated levels of E. coli can occur following heavy rain and heat, like we've seen this week.
  • PHMDC monitors water quality at beaches from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You can always check on the status of individual beaches here.

🗳️ Take a look at a sample primary ballot.

  • Sample ballots are now available for the upcoming partisan primary. Check them out here.
  • Quick facts: Partisan primaries narrow down candidates for the November election. In the primary, you can vote for candidates in one political party of your choosing. Your voter registration is not associated with a political party and your ballot is secret.
  • The primary is Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Photo via Google Maps

🤝 The Harmony Bar is getting new owners.

  • Isthmus reports long-time regulars and neighbors Pam and Mike Barrett will take over the east side establishment from Brennan Nardi who has owned the place since 2013.
  • The couple has long been active in the community, Mike co-founded the Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara Neighborhood Association and Pam is a musician who's no stranger to the Harmony’s stage. The two plan on making some changes at the bar, like instituting greener practices and some menu changes. But the two don't plan on making any major overhauls of the establishment.

👮 Law enforcement will host a Gift Cards for Guns buyback event.

  • In an effort to reduce gun violence in the area, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and Madison Police Department are partnering to host a gun buyback event next month.
  • Channel 3000 reports the event will take place at the Alliant Energy Center on August 13. People will be able to turn in unwanted guns in exchange for gas and grocery gift cards.

🎭 Goodbye, PlayTime Productions.

  • The all-children theatre company is closing after 43 years in operation, the State Journal reports.
  • Twice a year, PlayTime hosted 16 shows in public spaces around the Dane County area. But the pandemic reportedly "wreaked havoc" on the organization’s structure leading to the closure.
  • “I’m so grateful to have had a 23-year career working with children and families in the arts,” Managing Director Reyane Leach told the news outlet. “I just adored working with children and giving them a worthwhile activity that we could share with other families and children in the audience.”
Photo via Flickr user Adam Fagen
  • The state Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a ruling overturning 40 years of precedent allowing records requesters to get their attorneys’ fees covered if they successfully sue for the release of records.
  • The case facts: A group of taxpayers in Waukesha filed an open records request with the city seeking information on the city’s plans to bring an amateur baseball team to town. The city fulfilled the records request but withheld a proposed draft contract between Waukesha and Big Top Baseball because of ongoing negotiations. Ultimately, the contract was released after the group filed a lawsuit in Waukesha County Circuit Court.
  • The decision: The state Supreme Court in its decision revered the ruling of an appeals court, saying the group of taxpayers was not entitled to attorney’s fees, sparking concerns from open government advocates.

💔 Your lunchtime read: How Wisconsin’s ‘honor’ system for removing guns from domestic abusers failed Jesi Ewers.

  • From Wisconsin Watch: "The attack came without warning and, as far as Jessica 'Jesi' Ewers could tell, without provocation. [...]

    Dane County Sheriff’s deputies took [her boyfriend, James 'J.T.' Budworth] into custody, and when he was released four days later, there were conditions to his bail — he wasn’t supposed to have any contact with Ewers, use drugs or alcohol, or possess 'any type of dangerous weapon.' This last point was especially important, because Ewers had told authorities that Budworth kept many guns at the residence they shared.

    The conditions of his bail should have kept James Budworth from using those guns. They didn’t."

🦠 Covid-19 update

😽 Friday Floof

Happy Friday! Our little floof this week is Nickel from Sun Prairie. His Human Olivia says his favorite activities include car rides, Starbucks pup cups, and eating house plants. We love a well-rounded boy. We love Nickel.

Do you have a floof you want to see in the newsletter? Send your best pictures and a bit about your fuzzy (or not-so-fuzzy, we don't discriminate) friends to