Happy Monday, Madison!
Need help planning your week? We've rounded up dozens of local happenings in our weekly events post. Don't miss out, check out the full week's lineup here.
Notably, the Dane County Famers' Market will make its triumphant return to the Capitol Square this weekend. That means vendors, food carts, and samples galore.
So now the only question is, who's coming with me to get some spicy cheese bread and flowers?
💉 PHMDC is scaling back their Covid-19 updates.
- Public Health Madison & Dane County announced they're changing the way they'll share Covid-19 updates. Rather than provide weekly data "snapshots," the health agency will provide updates twice a month. The decision comes as Covid-19 case numbers are creeping back up in Dane County, but hospitalization rates have remained stable.
- The next update will be released April 21.
- Related: What more at-home COVID-19 tests mean for Wisconsin's pandemic surveillance (PBS Wisconsin)
☀️ Dane County will soon be home to the state's largest renewable energy plant.
- State regulators have approved construction of the 465-megawatt Koshkonong Solar Energy Center, to be built on 4,600 acres of land in Dane County. Once the project is completed, it will be sold to a "consortium of utilities," including Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, and Madison Gas and Electric Company, the Wisconsin Examiner reports.
- Construction is set to begin later this year and is expected to be completed in December 2024. The project will create enough energy to power 60,000 homes.
- Of course, however, not everyone is on board with the construction. Neighbors in the Town of Christiana and the Village of Cambridge have vocally opposed the project, expressing concerns over "aesthetics, property values, loss of prime farmland, safety concerns with battery storage, and its proximity to homes and Cambridge Elementary School," WPR reports.
⚽ Forward Madison's home opener.
- Everyone's favorite flamingos hit the field over the weekend to take on defending champion Owls of Union Omaha in their home League One opener.
- Despite falling behind twice, Forward Madison FC managed to end the match with a 2-2 draw.
- The team sported special Ukrainian Relief Kits during the game, which are currently on sale for $90. The proceeds will be donated to UNICEF’s Ukrainian relief effort.
🏗️ The saga of 131 W. Wilson St. might be nearing a close.
- If you'll recall: The office building and home to Paisan’s restaurant at 131 W. Wilson St. was forced to shut down last September due to "structural concerns." Temporary supports were later installed in the parking garage, allowing the building to re-open in October, only for it to close again in December after the building's owner failed to keep up with the required inspections. It was declared safe and re-opened (again) in January.
- Now, the building's owner has submitted an application to tear down the 12-story building, much to the chagrin of Paisan’s ownership.
- At a Bassett Neighborhood meeting tonight, architect Kirk Keller is set to introduce a development proposal for the site — a 14-story building with commercial and residential space.
- As the State Journal notes, public notice is the first step in getting city approval for the demolition. If all goes according to plan, the building's owner hopes to file documents in time for the city’s Plan Commission to make a decision on the demolition and development this summer.
📲 Little free solar-powered phone charger.
- A group of UW-Madison students has outfitted the Little Free Library at Lisa Link Peace Park on State Street with a solar-powered battery to charge small electronics.
- As the State Journal reports, the project "is part of an effort to improve energy resilience and bring clean energy to underserved communities, especially those experiencing homelessness."
“Socioeconomic status and housing instability should not be barriers to electricity access, but unfortunately they are. The push for renewable technology should include all of society.” — William Keenan, La Follette School of Public Affairs graduate students
🏈 Former Wisconsin football assistant coach Gary Brown has died.
- Brown served as the Badgers' running backs coach last season after years of coaching in the NFL.
- The seasoned coach had reportedly been diagnosed with cancer twice, most recently in 2019. He was noted for being open with his health struggles and, according to WKOW, told reporters last spring, "Every day is a gift. I have to give it my best every day because none of this is promised, nothing is guaranteed. Just got to go out and take the blessings that you have and make the most of them."
- From Madison365: "Jordan earned a degree in art from UW-Whitewater in 1988 with the intent to design album covers. In recent years, he’s been featured in a number of gallery shows all over the country and has taken on some major commissions, including a mural depicting the history of Black Madison at the Madison College Goodman South Campus and an upcoming mural at American Family Insurance’s Spark Building on East Washington Avenue. He also works full time as a recruiter and student adviser in the UW-Madison School of Education."