Good morning, Madison!

We've made it to Wednesday, congratulations to us.

Sam and I always looking for ways to keep up with our community and engage in new conversations. If you like doing the same, connect with us on LinkedIn. (To be completely honest, Sam is much more active than I am since I prefer to lurk in the depths of Twitter, but I digress.)

Do you have thoughts or ideas for the newsletter? Have a cool article to share? Or maybe just want to say hi? We'd love to meet you!

Connect with Sam here, and connect with me here.

Now let's get to the news.

— Hayley


☎️ Don't get scammed.

  • Madison Gas and Electric is warning customers about a recent phone scam in which callers claiming to work for MGE ask customers to pay with a debit card or wire transfer for supposed past-due bills.
  • Scammers reportedly threaten immediate disconnection if MGE customers do not send payment.
  • If you get a call and aren't sure if it's legit or not, MGE says to contact them directly at (608)252-7222 before taking any further action.
Image via UW-Madison

Reimagining Library Mall.

  • Library Mall hasn't had a facelift since it was built in 1955. Now, the University of Wisconsin is proposing a $6 million renovation project to dramatically transform the space.
  • According to the State Journal, the new concept would bring more open space, greenery, accessibility, water features, seating options, and an acknowledgment of the site’s history honoring the Ho-Chunk.
  • Once the plan is approved and funding secured, the design and construction process will take roughly 24 months to complete.

🗳️ Disabled voters in Wisconsin have a federal lawsuit over voting and absentee ballots.

  • A group of four people with disabilities in Wisconsin have filed a lawsuit in federal court asking a judge to ensure that their absentee ballots may be returned to election clerks by caretakers in upcoming elections.
  • Some context: The lawsuit comes after the Wisconsin Supreme Court effectively banned the use of ballot drop boxes and ruled no one other than the voter themself can return absentee ballots in person. The court's ruling did not determine whether a voter can have someone else place their absentee ballot in the mail.
  • Wispolitics reports the plaintiffs argue that not allowing disabled voters to have someone turn in their ballot for them violates the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1982, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
🗳️
What’s on the Aug. 9 ballot?

In the Aug. 9 primary election, voters will cast ballots for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, state legislature, state treasurer, secretary of state, and other local and judicial races. The primary election will determine which candidates for each party will advance to the general election Nov. 8.

Looking for more information? The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin has you covered. Head to VOTE411 to see what’s on your ballot and check out your personalized voter guide.

🐣 Happy Take Me Home Tuesday, the Wednesday edition!

  • We've got an extra dose of cuteness from the Dane County Humane Society this week. Meet Supreme Leader, an adult rooster.
  • Supreme Leader is ready to rule over your kingdom! His new residence should be spacious with land to roam and bountiful feasts of bugs, grasses, and corn. He is a kind leader willing to faithfully serve any hens in his kingdom.
  • Of note: Supreme Leader's new kingdom must be outside of Madison, as roosters are not allowed within the city. Learn more about him here.

🛍️ Guns for giftcards.

  • The Dane County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a gun buyback program and officially set the date for the event on Saturday, Aug. 13.
  • The program will be run by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the Madison Police Department. Folks can drop off their unwanted firearms — no questions asked — in return for gas and grocery gift cards.
  • Get the full details on the event from the sheriff's office here.

🎸 Your lunchtime read: For over 50 years, Catfish Stephenson has stirred up Madison.

  • Via Cap Times: "'Every hobby has to pay for itself,' Catfish Stephenson said, showing off a beautiful leather briefcase he made himself. The silver buckles on the case match the silver jewelry around his neck, also handmade.

    At 72, his main gig as a street musician may not have paid for itself, at least not in the traditional ways. But it’s given him a full life and a lot of good stories. Sitting outside Madison Sourdough, Stephenson said he had to sell his family house up near Lake Delton recently, but the sale didn’t make him enough to buy a new place.

    So he bought himself a nice truck, which he’s planning to drive soon to visit his son in Albuquerque, a couple of ex-wives in Santa Fe and 'four gals in Colorado.'"
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