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Morning update: Friday, Dec. 16

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Happy Friday, y'all!

Good news: You can now order four free Covid-19 test kits from the federal government.

The Biden administration’s move to make more free tests available underscores the importance of self testing when it comes to fighting the virus.

Wisconsin households can also order a free package of Covid-19 tests from the state every month.

— Hayley


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Photo via City of Madison

⛄️ There's a snow emergency in place.

🥡 Bad news for EatStreet.

  • The Madison-based food delivery company EatStreet says it can't pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit brought on by drivers and is headed for insolvency and foreclosure, according to Cap Times.
  • The lawsuit: EatStreet drivers filed a class-action lawsuit in 2020, alleging the company violated its payment obligations by using tips to offset the required minimum wage and failing to pay for workers’ vehicle and mileage expenses. In December 2021, EatStreet agreed to settle the case for $1.24 million.
  • Payments: The company now says that it has lost a major source of funding and can't fulfill the terms of the settlement. But workers are questioning that claim.
  • Related: Ghost kitchen, grocery concepts under EatStreet ghosted employees, abruptly closing shop (Wisconsin State Journal)
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway pictured alongside Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson. Photo via Mayor of Madison

🚌 A big day for BRT.

  • City and state leaders broke ground Thursday on Madison’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) line.
  • The first line will connect the east and west sides. Construction will formally begin in 2023 and the project has a targeted start date of fall 2024.  
What is bud rapid transit?

The new transit system has been years in the making. Compared to Madison's current transportation system, BRT will travel more consolidated routes with fewer stops but more frequent service. BRT buses will also have their own dedicated lanes.

Learn more about BRT from the city here.

Photo by Hayley Sperling

🍺 City Bar is facing nearly 100 charges related to underage drinking.

  • If you'll recall: In September, Madison Police raided City Bar and found that of the 143 people asked to prove their age, only six were actually 21 years old. Cops issued 137 underage drinking and fake ID citations.
  • Now, the Madison City Attorney's office has filed 93 counts in municipal court against the State Street bar. According to the complaint, all of the people named in the counts were between 18-20 years old when the incident happened.

♻️ Madison's mayor is leading an ambitious climate solutions group.

  • Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway was named the new chair of a coalition of nearly 500 U.S. mayors working to address climate change at the local level.
  • Rhodes-Conway has a history of climate solutions work. She was previously co-chair of the Climate Mayors group and serves on the Environmental Protection Agency’s local government advisory committee.
  • "Climate is the defining issue of our time, and this is a critical time for climate action in cities," Rhodes-Conway said.


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Photo by Nguyễn Hiệp / Unsplash

💉 The Red Cross strike has been called off.

  • Some context: Employees of the American Red Cross’s Wisconsin facilities voted last week to strike during the region’s largest blood drive Dec. 23 if the union and management couldn't come to a contract agreement.
  • The union ratified new contracts Tuesday, averting a strike in the process.
  • According to the union, the new three-year contracts include retroactive bonus payments for 2021, retroactive wage increases of 6% for 2022, and 3% for 2023. The contracts also include access to insurance benefits and increases to the progressive wage schedule. According to the union, the Red Cross consistently rejected those proposals until minutes before the vote.

⚖️ Your lunchtime read: Madison restorative justice programs connect victims and offenders through empathy.

  • Via Cap Times: "Ramiah Whiteside stood tall as a proud mentor of currently and formerly incarcerated people.  Whiteside, who volunteered in the restorative justice program run out of First Congregational Church of Christ in Madison, spent 25 years incarcerated in prison before getting out and paying forward the wisdom and tools he developed while inside.

    Whiteside knew what his presence meant to several of the current inmates who attend restorative justice groups and other related seminars. He was a beacon of hope for them because he embodied what they could become."
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📅 Events: The weekend




Check out even more events on our community calendar.

🐶 Friday Floof

We've made it through another week, here's your reward. Meet Arlo! According to his human Sabrina, this sweetie loves camping, spending time with his family (especially his grandparents), and being a handsome boy (as pictured).

😸 Do you have a floof to share with the Madison Minutes community? Fill out this form for the opportunity to be featured.

📝 Miss a Minute? Check out yesterday's newsletter.

Let’s pretend it’s spring
Morning update: Thursday, Dec. 15