🌨️ Today's weather: Partly cloudy, potential storms later. High: 87° Low: 64°
Good morning, Madison!
Last week we were all on flower watch. This week, we’re on baby watch.
Henry Vilas Zoo announced Chelsea, a critically endangered 31-year-old Bornean orangutan, is pregnant.
According to the zoo, “Orangutan pregnancies are slightly shorter than human ones. Chelsea is receiving weekly ultrasounds and the Zoo’s animal care team is tracking her weight to help measure the size of the fetus, which is currently about the size of a papaya.”
Officially her baby watch begins May 22 and there will be a several-week window when she is expected to give birth, but that didn’t stop the folks at the zoo from celebrating. Chelsea had a full-on baby shower over the weekend. But don’t worry, you can still get her a gift if you missed the party.
⚖️ A Dane County judge sentenced Kenyairra Gadson to 13 years in prison
- Some context: In 2018, Kenyairra Gadson, a queer Black woman, was confronted in a downtown parking ramp by Donivan Lemons, who she said had been threatening and stalking her. During the confrontation, Gadson fired a shot — which she claims was self-defense — that ended up fatally hitting Steven Villegas, who was with Lemons at the time. In January she was convicted of first-degree reckless homicide with use of a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by an adjudicated delinquent.
- Dane County Circuit Judge Chris Taylor Friday sentenced Gadson to 13 years in prison with 11 years of extended supervision.
- As Tone Madison reports, for months, local non-profit Freedom Inc. has led the charge to free Gadson, claiming she was convicted because she is a visibly queer, masculine-presenting Black woman.
- Following the sentencing decision, Jessica Williams, a victim’s advocate and organizer in the #ShowKenyairraLove campaign was arrested outside the courtroom. According to the Cap Times, "Williams had shouted threats at [Dane County District Attorney Ismael] Ozanne following Gadson’s conviction in January" and was asked not to attend the sentencing.
💸 The county finance committee nixed plans for a one-time $1,000 payment for employees.
- The Dane County finance committee unanimously voted to reject a plan that would have given county employees a one-time $1,000 “inflation offset” payment using federal Covid stimulus funds.
- Channel 3000 reports the County Board's newly-elected board chair Patrick Miles said the proposal wasn't prepared properly and "that he didn’t think [County Executive Joe] Parisi had done his due diligence in creating the plan."
- The recommendation for denial will now head to the County Board.
😻 Happy Take Me Home Tuesday! Meet Atlas.
- From Dane County Humane Society: "Atlas is a 5-year-old cat who was transferred to us from an overcrowded shelter in Dodgeville. Atlas is very friendly and loves getting pets. He also enjoys sitting on your lap for more pets, and purrs with happiness. Atlas was diagnosed with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), but cats with FIV can live normal lives. It certainly hasn't slowed down Atlas from running circles around your feet asking for snuggles!" To learn more about Atlas, click here.
🚧 The word of the day is development.
- To say there is a lot of construction happening around Madison is an understatement. Here's a quick look at where some of the city's larger development plans currently stand.
- 131 West Wilson: Neighbors got a first look at the proposed plans for a new mixed-use development proposed to take the troubled building at 131 West Wilson Street, which is currently home to Paisan's restaurant and several business offices. The building's owners want to tear down the current structure and build a 14-story building with housing, retail, and parking. WKOW reports the building's owner plans to apply for a demolition permit by May 16 so the city's Plan Commission can consider it at its June 27 meeting.
- Moxy Hotel: Officials ceremoniously broke ground Monday on the Moxy Hotel in the 800 block of East Washington Avenue. The 151-room hotel was originally supposed to open in 2021 but is now slated for completion in mid- to late-fall 2023.
- Wonder Bar: The city's Plan Commission is scheduled to review updated plans for the site of the old Wonder Bar and Coliseum Bar at 222-232 E. Olin Ave. at its June 13 meeting. Currently, as the Cap Times reports, developers plan to demolish the Coliseum Bar and build a 12-story, 192-unit apartment building. Wonder Bar, the source of much of the project's controversy, would remain on the site.
- OLIV: The demolition of the buildings at the corner of the 300 block of State Street — Room of One's Own, Community Pharmacy, Casa De Lara, etc. — has been completed. Soon, the 10-story 386-unit student housing building OLIV will take its place. Cap Times reports it's expected to open by fall 2024.
- MATC downtown: This is a new proposal. The Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corp. is proposing a $67.8 million, 12-story “workforce housing” project on the vacant site of Madison College's former downtown campus. The project would bring 200 apartments, commercial space, and underground parking one block away from the Capitol Square at 200 Wisconsin Ave., the State Journal reports.
🌹 Now open: Red Square Flowers.
- The upscale downtown flower shop recently moved into a larger storefront across the street from its old State Street location. The new storefront at 127 State St. held its grand opening yesterday. The new space offers plant lovers a much larger space to shop for houseplants, planters, pottery, potting soil, and more.
🐦 Your lunchtime read: Grid is good.
- From Isthmus: "The Bird Collision Corps consists of volunteers like Kate and Fred who canvas the ground near buildings for dead or wounded birds, collect them, and log their photographs and locations. The upshot: Bird-friendly glass is helping stop collisions."
🦆 Just for fun: A rare Mandarin duck was spotted on the Yahara River.
- Because I know there are more than a few of you who read this email and also love birds, check out this rare sight captured by a Reddit user in Stoughton.
Tuesday, May 10
- Ukrainian Refugee Fundraiser with Alaskan Brewing at Bierock. 2-9 p.m.
- Webinar: Native Bees of Wisconsin. 6:30 p.m. Free.
- "Birding is for Everyone" Presentation at Pinney Branch library. 7 p.m. Free.
- Strand Of Oaks, Pat Finnerty at High Noon Saloon. Music at 8 p.m. $19.50 advance, $22 doors. 🟠
Wondering what that 🟠 means? That symbol next to an event listing means the Tone Madison team recommends checking it out.
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