Good morning, Madison.

Typing weather updates has been feeling pretty repetitive recently. Spoiler alert, folks: it's cold outside.

Are you new here? We saw a big bump in newsletter signups recently. My co-founder Hayley gave our new friends a warm welcome yesterday, but I wanted to add one more thing...

Don't reply to this email! If you directly reply to our email newsletter, your response will go to a deep, dark hole in the internet and we will never see it. This is not ideal, of course, and the technical team that manages our newsletter software promises that they're working to fix this. For now, if you'd like to say hello, start a new email and send it to contact@madisonminutes.com.

— Sam


🦠 Here’s what’s going on with Covid-19 locally, according to the latest PHMDC data note.

  • Overall, cases are trending down. Cases were down somewhat during the 14 day period spanning January 10-23. That's a good thing, but cases, hospitalizations, and percent positivity "are all still very elevated.”
  • We’re getting boosted! 66.3% of fully vaccinated people ages 12+ and 85.4% of fully vaccinated people ages 65+ have received a booster.
  • Different age groups are experiencing different trends. In recent weeks, cases increased among kids under 12. Meanwhile, cases decreased among ages 18-39. The differences are significant. Kids aged 8-11 had the highest case rate among all age groups over the past two weeks at 420.4 cases per 100,000 per day. Compare that to the 80+ age range, which had the lowest rate at 78.9 cases per 100,000 per day.

💩 Our wastewater holds crucial clues to understanding local virus levels.

  • This is the first time our state has tracked a virus in this way. And, as one state epidemiologist put it, wastewater surveillance has been a "surprising success” that has given health officials "another dimension" to understand how Covid-19 is spreading in communities.
  • Nearly 60% of state residents live in places that participate in the state’s wastewater monitoring network, PBS Wisconsin reports.

📸: The Edgewater

🔑 Madison Hotels up to 40% off

  • Need a staycation? Take a Madison Minication and get away in your own city.
  • Fifteen Madison-area hotels are offering discounts up to 40% when you book now and stay between Feb. 11 – 22.
  • Book now

🏠 An affordable housing nonprofit has shared plans for a major development on East Wash.

The site of the development.

Proposed development

🗳️ Republican Kevin Nicholson is running for governor.

  • Nicholson, an influential businessman who lives in Delafield, is seen as serious primary competition for former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. The winner of the Republican primary will face current Governor Tony Evers in the general election.
  • The Cap Times reports that Nicholson has clashed with other prominent Republicans in the state.  Here's what Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said earlier month: "I think if he runs, it hurts our chances to defeat Gov. Evers. But I can’t control that. If he runs, he runs."

🐮 Three cows fell out of a trailer earlier this week, causing a bit of a situation on U.S. Highway 151 in Sun Prairie.

🖼️ A Garver Feed Mill throwback courtesy of Old Sugar Distillery

  • From Instagram: "Ever wondered why this somewhat haunting picture is hanging prominently in our tasting room? Well it’s where we got our name. The building in back is the @garverfeedmill, which was initially a sugar beet processing facility. Our name is an homage to Madison’s rich history of beet sugar production as beet sugar is the base of many of our spirits."

📚 Your lunchtime read: Here’s why Republicans are trying to ban absentee ballot drop boxes (State Journal)

  • Most of us heard nothing about absentee ballot boxes for most of our lives. But since the 2020 election, Republicans have been on a quest to forbid election officials from letting people use them.

🦠 Covid-19 Update

Source: Public Health Madison & Dane County

Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 59.1%

Dane County Vaccination Rate: 77%

Resources

Here's where to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.


📅 The weekend

Friday, Jan. 28

Saturday, Jan. 29

Sunday, Jan. 30

  • Coloring & Cocktails with local artist Angela Johnson at Leopold's Books Bar Caffè. “Join local artist Angela Johnson to purchase (and color!) Zinn Preserve Coloring Book.” 1-4 p.m.
  • Nature Hike at the Arboretum. Learn about the land; plants, animals, and fungi; phenology; and ecological practices and concepts. Free, no registration required. 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Week 2 of the Winter Festival of Poetry. 8-week series features six poets each week, reading for roughly 10-12 minutes each. 2 p.m. Free.
  • Fortress (1992) screening at The Chazen. From IMDb: “In a future, private underground prison/Fortress, the inmates are computer controlled with CCTV, dream readers and devices that can cause pain or death.” 2 p.m. Free. 🟠