💖 Happy Valentines Day, Madison!
It's Monday, but we don't have to talk about that.
Did you catch the Big Game yesterday? The Los Angeles Rams bested the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 56. If you were just in it for the commercials, I respect that.
Personally, I spent the evening double-featuring the My Bloody Valentine films with friends and a plethora of snacks. (Hot tip: the 2009 version is streaming on HBO Max complete in its made-for-3D glory. You're welcome.)
Consider this newsletter our Valentine's Day gift to you. We love you and hope you have a beautiful day.
Now let's get to the news.
⚖️ It's decided: Ballot drop boxes will not be allowed in April's election.
- In a 4-3 decision, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday absentee ballot drop boxes cannot be used for spring elections April 5.
- Drop boxes will still be allowed in the state for this week's primary elections (there aren't any primaries in Madison, though).
- Some context: The court's ruling is a blow for voting rights advocates in the state and is the result of a larger push from Republicans to fully ban the use of ballot drop boxes in elections. Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Elections Commission, and Madison's mayor have all opposed the recent ruling.
"It is deeply disappointing that the majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided to institute two sets of rules for the same election cycle, sowing confusion by allowing secure ballot drop boxes for the primary and locking them shut for the general election. Worse, the court has not heard the facts of the case yet and gives absolutely no justification for this ruling." — Satya Rhodes-Conway, Madison mayor
🗳️ State Rep. Timothy Ramthun has announced a bid for governor.
- Who is he? Timothy Ramthun is a Republican State Assembly member representing Campbellsport. He's made headlines recently for being an outspoken critic of the 2020 election and has persistently sought to overturn President Joe Biden's victory in Wisconsin — a move that resulted in the removal of his only staff member by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.
- Who else is running? Ramthun is pretty late to joining the gubernatorial field and WPR reports it's still unclear how his candidacy will affect the primary. Other Republican candidates for governor include former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, former U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson, and Franklin businessman Jonathan Wichmann.
- Further reading: Ramthun is featured in this Rolling Stone feature story Wisconsin Is Ground Zero for the MAGA Effort to Steal the Next Election.
🐺 In a win for wildlife advocates, the gray wolf's federal protections have been restored.
- Last week a federal judge in California struck down a Trump administration decision to take the gray wolf off the Endangered Species Act list, which led to a controversial wolf hunting season in Wisconsin.
- The bigger picture: Wolf hunting has long been a hot topic for debate in the state. After wolves were delisted in Nov. 2020 the state held a three-day hunting season in Feb. 2021, which resulted in the harvesting of more than double the amount of wolves allotted to non-Native American hunters, Wisconsin Examiner reports.
- This new ruling means Wisconsin is no longer authorized to host a wolf harvest season.
📚 Need help with your taxes? Or an extra set of eyes on that cover letter? Head to the library.
- The Madison Public Library offers tax assistance for individuals with disabilities, seniors, non-English speakers, and individuals who qualify for homestead credit or earned income credit, WKOW reports. Booking for a limited number of appointments will be available at Central, Lakeview, and Sequoya Libraries starting this week.
- The library has also brought back the Madison Writing Assistance program, in which "friendly and experienced instructors" will provide feedback on writing projects from resumes and cover letters to memoirs and novels.
🚨 An update on the police shooting of Quadren Wilson.
- Some context: Wilson was shot five times in the back on Feb. 3 in Madison by law enforcement pursuing his arrest. The 38-year-old Black man survived the shooting and was immediately booked into the Dane County Jail on an unspecified probation violation following surgery.
- At a press conference Friday, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office provided some new information on the incident:
- Twenty-one law enforcement agents from five federal, state, and local agencies were involved in the Feb. 3 arrest.
- Two agents from the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation fired their weapons during the arrest.
- None of the officers involved were wearing body cameras.
- The Dane County sheriff’s department is leading the investigation. They have yet to release the names of the officers involved or why Wilson was arrested.
- Dig deeper: Silence speaks volumes in the Quadren Wilson case (Tone Madison)
🏀 The biggest comeback in Big Ten history.
- The Wisconsin women's basketball team made history Sunday when they made the biggest comeback in Big Ten history to defeat Purdue at the Kohl Center. The Badgers managed to overcome a 22-point deficit and beat the Boilermakers 54-52.
😷 Your lunchtime read: What's keeping Madison COVID expert Malia Jones up at night.
- From the Cap Times: "Today, we don’t know what the next variant could bring, Jones said, explaining that as long as we’re still “trying to ride these very unpredictable, huge surges of cases,” COVID is “clearly” not endemic yet. In this interview, edited for length and clarity, she shared the fear that’s keeping her up at night, why she thinks it's still too soon to take off our masks and why she wants everyone to be much more concerned about kids."
🦠 Covid-19 Update
Source: Public Health Madison & Dane County
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 59.7%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 77.5%
Here's where to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.
- Need a COVID-19 test? PHMDC has you covered.
- Do you still need your flu shot? Start here.
- Request an at-home testing kit from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
- NEW: Where to pick up free masks from the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program
- Where to Buy N95s, KN95s, and Surgical-Style Masks in 2022 (Wirecutter)
- What to Do if You are Sick or Possibly Exposed (PHMDC)
📅 Events: Monday, Feb. 14
- Embodied Carbon Emissions in Construction Materials: the Last Mile to Decarbonization. Dr. Bu Wang discusses strategies to mitigate carbon emissions from construction materials. 3 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Margaritas & Cupcakes at Come Back In Bar and Restaurant. $3 Cupcakes, $2 margaritas, and $1 tacos. 5-9 p.m.
- Miz Cracker at the Majestic. “In her brand new show, She’s a Woman, drag queen and comedienne Miz Cracker presents a full hour of standup and music, discussing everything from dating and dieting to Covid and global calamity.” Show at 8 p.m. $31.50.