Don't worry about these coyotes

Morning Update: Wednesday, June 15

In this newsletter

Don't worry about these coyotes

Good Wednesday, Madison,

If you happen to find yourself walking, driving, or biking past Brittingham Park on Lake Monona and spot a coyote, don't freak out.

You're not hallucinating, but they're not real either.

The city's Parks Division placed fake coyotes along the waterfronts at Vilas, Wingra, Brittingham, and Esther Beach parks in an effort to ward off Canada Geese, and more importantly, their poop. To keep the geese from wising up to their tricks, division employees move the mostly plastic-but-partially-fake-fur-clad canids a few feet every so often.

This isn't the only tactic the city uses to keep geese from swarming its parks. As the State Journal writes, other efforts also include the use of strobe lights and "hazing," which is when park staff "attempt to scare away the geese by making noise and running at them."

So if you happen to stumble upon a strange-looking goose dance party or plastic coyotes in a park, just know everything is completely and totally fine.

— Hayley

🍃 Cleaning up after the storm.

🗳️ The county wants you to decide how to proceed with the jail-consolidation project.

  • In an incredibly rare move, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Sheriff Kalvin Barrett have called for a public referendum to determine the fate of the Dane County Jail consolidation project.
  • The two officials say an additional $10 million is needed for the project and the Dane County Board of Supervisors is unlikely to approve any additional spending on the already $176 million project. Three-quarters of the 37-member board would have to approve the funding. “If the board doesn’t have the votes to keep this moving, that’s understandable," Parisi said at a press conference. "But then it’s time to put this decadeslong debate to rest and put it to the voters.”
  • The option for a referendum would need a simple majority approval from the board to appear on the August ballot.
  • A public referendum, however, isn't the first choice for all county officials. County supervisors are still exploring options to secure the additional funds.

🏈 Status report from Camp Randall.

  • In case you were unaware, the university has been working on major renovations to the south end zone of Camp Randall Stadium. The construction will bring new "premium seating and hospitality clubs" to the stadium.
  • The project was first announced in October 2019 and has a targeted completion date of August 2022. The State Journal rounded up the latest images from the construction. Check out the progress here.

🤝 MMSD is building a "village."

  • The district plans to add 55 new staff positions across 22 schools this fall to support students and families through "Project Village Builder,” Cap Times reports.
  • The project still needs approval from the school board but if successful, the support will go mostly to district elementary schools. For a full breakdown of staffing distribution, check out the Cap Times story.
  • The responsibilities of the positions will vary and, if approved, would each have funding for two years. The new staff would be funded by federal Covid-19 relief funds and "non-recurring district expenditures."

🎒 A look at the unprecedented turnover at the Lussier Community Education Center.

  • A recent investigation from Madison365 shows five of six managers of the local education center "resigned in the period of about a month" over a botched search for an executive director and repeated racial microaggressions from the center's board members.
  • Some context: The news outlet reports that after former longtime executive director Paul Terranova resigned, a search committee was assembled and narrowed the field down to two candidates. But the search was put on pause after one of the candidates withdrew from consideration.
  • After the search was put on hold, Lussier's board president Lorri Wendorf-Corrigan sent an email to staff naming longtime nonprofit executive Diana Shinall as interim director. This sparked major tensions among the staff who brought up issues with Shinall's management style and ultimately led to the resignations.

🧠 Expanding access to mental health services for Madison's Latinx community.

  • The need for mental health services has always been high but the pandemic has continued to exacerbate those needs. For many communities, the key issue at play when it comes to getting help is access.
  • In a recent interview with WPR's Central Time, Nancy Gomez, a psychotherapist for Anesis Therapy in Madison, discussed how she and her organization is working to destigmatize mental health issues within Madison's Latinx community and increase access. "Any chance we get, we sit down in schools, talking from elementary school all the way to parents about mental health," she said.
  • Gomez is also the director for Salud Mental, a program that provides culturally relevant training and bilingual clinicians to the Latinx community

🍾 Your lunchtime read: 9 takeaways from T-Pain’s Wiscansin Fest in Milwaukee with Lil Jon, Juvenile, Hannibal Buress and more.

  • Via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "'This is (expletive) huge for me,' a stunned T-Pain said before about 4,000 people at the Rave's Eagles Ballroom Saturday — and fans watching a livestream on the LiveOne app and the singer and rapper's Twitch page.

    Just three years ago, T-Pain reached a low point in his career, he said Saturday, when he had to scrap a planned tour due to poor ticket sales. [...] 'There's nothing else that can describe what I'm feeling in my heart right now other than pure, unmitigated gratitude,' T-Pain said from the stage Saturday.

    As flabbergasted as T-Pain seemed, the fact that this new milestone was centered around Wisconsin is even more unreal."