Good morning, Madison!
I'm officially coming to you live from our brand new website. This is a day we've been working toward for a long time and Sam and I are incredibly excited for this new chapter of Madison Minutes.
If you've been a reader for a while (thank you!), you'll know this isn't the first time we've switched things up. This email might look a little different but don't worry, your morning update isn't going anywhere.
With that said, if something doesn't look right or you just have a question, please don't hesitate to reach out. This is a work in progress and we know it's going to take some time to get it all right.
Now let's get into the news.
🚗 Flex lanes on the Beltline will open this week.
- What's a flex lane? Flex lanes are a means of speeding up commute times and (hopefully) decreasing traffic. When they're open, it means drivers may use the left-hand shoulder lane.
- The long-awaited flex lanes on the Beltline are set to open this Wednesday.
- The lane will be open during rush hour — typically from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Signals on the highway will tell drivers whether the lane is open for use or not.
💝 Mango Man needs your help.
- Thony "The Mango Man" Clarke was recently involved in a serious car accident while getting ready for Fête de Marquette, leaving his truck and personal items destroyed and himself injured.
- You might know Clarke as the face behind the Cafe Costa Rica food cart and his line of Mango Man Sauces.
- Now, members of the community are rallying together in support to raise funds for the beloved local chef. You can check out his official GoFundMe page here.
⚖️ A look at three state Supreme Court rulings.
- Absentee ballot drop boxes: In a 4-3 ruling, the state's highest court ruled that unmanned drop boxes are illegal and absentee ballots must be returned by mail or in-person to clerks. The decision is a win for Republicans who have opposed the use of drop boxes, using them to promote unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
- Madison schools' pronoun policy: The court ruled that a group of anonymous parents suing the school district over a 2018 gender identity guidance document must reveal their identities to the district’s attorneys. The decision is in response to a February 2020 lawsuit brought by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on behalf of a group of anonymous plaintiffs who claim the school's policy of allowing children to use different names or pronouns at school without being outed to their parents violates the constitutional rights of parents to raise their children how they want. The decision makes no judgment on the constitutionality of the MMSD policy itself.
- Dane County Covid-19 restrictions: The court ruled local health officials have the authority to issue public health orders and issue fines to enforce them without permission from local elected officials. In a 4-3 vote, the court affirmed Public Health Madison & Dane County’s authority to issue restrictions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and County Executive Joe Parisi called the decision a win for public health.
😋 La Taguara is opening a second location.
- The Venezuelan eatery took to Instagram to announce the coming of its second location in a former Uno Pizzeria & Grill on the far east side.
- The new spot will be located at 3010 Crossroads Drive and offer a full bar, outdoor patio, and much more space for seating and parking. What's not changing, however, is the menu. So don't worry about your arepas.
- The new location is expected to open Aug. 1, Cap Times reports.
🛣️ The Dane County Highway Department is under investigation.
- The department is facing scrutiny over an internship program that's meant to train people of color for jobs with the highway department. The State Journal reports the county is conducting an investigation into claims that the internship program has been mismanaged and discriminates against Black people.
- The issue: Some workers claim millions of dollars have been spent recruiting and hiring workers for the internship program who are "unprepared for the rigors of highway labor" and that Black interns are failing to complete the program more than their Latino counterparts. The department's management, however, has disputed these claims.
- The evidence: The State Journal collected documents and interviews with nine current and former highway employees that show a workplace riddled with "gossip, low morale, racial tensions," and animosity toward the internship program's longtime instructor Louis Rodriguez.
- The findings: The county's investigation into the department concluded in late June. A final summary of its findings is set to come out in the coming weeks.
🍕 Say hello to North Shore Pizza.
- After 19 years in business, Rossi’s Pizza & Vintage Arcade in Monona has closed. In its place will soon be North Shore Pizza and Subs.
- Rossi's owner Ross Parisi recently sold the place to a couple from Boston who plan to serve their own East Coast-style pizza. Don't worry about those vintage arcade games, though. The State Journal reports the new owners plan on keeping them around.
- North Shore Pizza and Subs should open later this month or early next month.
🐣 Your lunchtime read: A longtime vendor reflects on four decades at the Dane County Farmers’ Market.
- Via Isthmus: "For 40 years, my husband, Matt, and I had a prime spot at the Dane County Farmers’ Market. We peddled poultry and asparagus and watched the downtown and its people grow and change.
If you’ve shopped the market, you’d probably recognize him, now an old hippie with a thinning white ponytail. The Willy Street Co-op newsletter once described him as 'the iconic farmers’ market farmer.' (Him: What does that mean? Me: You’re old.)"
🏋The Fittest on Earth are returning to Madison.
- The NOBULL CrossFit Games will be back in Madison at the Alliant Energy Center Aug. 3-7.
- Some history: The CrossFit Games is like the Super Bowl for CrossFit athletes and Madison has been the proud home since 2017. The Games will be in Madison this year and next. Haven’t been? This is your year to make it happen!
- Learn about all things CrossFit Games.
- Grab your tickets to see the world’s most elite athletes while they’re still in Madison.
📅 Events: Monday, July 11
The Moth Madison Storyslam: Nature
Show at 7:30 p.m. | High Noon Saloon | $15Short stories about life on earth.
Lakeside Cinema: Sharknado (2013)
Monday | 9 p.m. | Memorial Union | Free
- Presentation: "Cats, Dogs and Cows, Oh My! Climate change and the impacts on pets and livestock.”
- Lunch Time Live: Venus In Furs
- Up, Up and Away virtual family science show
- Jane: An Abortion Service (2013) screening
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