Happy Monday, Madison!
I'm apparently in my Garfield Era because I am feeling particularly "meh" about this day of the week. The one thing getting me through this morning, however, is Willam Defoe's embarrassing attempt to "speak Wisconsin" on the latest "Saturday Night Live."
I'll let you watch the clip yourself and make your own assessments of the actor's Midwestern credentials but personally, I got some big "Fargo" vibes. The Appleton-native does get some points for dropping the "B word" (bubbler).
P.S. Is "Fargo" just the "Twin Peaks" of the Midwest? Has anyone written about this before or am I actually onto something here?
💸 What would you do with $150?
- Some context: Remember last week when the state announced a massive $3.8 billion budget surplus? Well, Gov. Tony Evers said Thursday he wants to spend $1.7 billion of the surplus on sending every Wisconsin resident a $150 tax rebate.
- GOP leaders in the state government wasted no time responding to Evers' proposal, rejecting it mere hours after the governor unveiled the plan.
- Evers' office says the rebate itself would cost $816 million. The remaining money would be used to provide a $611 million boost to public education.
- Related: If spent locally, $150 surplus checks could help small Dane County businesses (NBC 15)
🏀 Keeping up with Chryst and other Wisconsin sports news.
- Late last week the UW Athletic Board approved contract extensions three of the school's most prominent coaches.
- Head football coach Paul Chryst’s five-year contract was extended through Jan. 31 of 2027.
- Volleyball head coach Kelly Sheffield received another five-year agreement through Jan. 31, 2027.
- Women's soccer coach, and winningest coach in UW program history, Paula Wilkins, had her five-year agreement extended through Jan. 31, 2027.
- The Badger men's basketball team won a border battle against Minnesota Sunday. Johnny Davis had 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, keeping fans on their toes into the final minutes of the game. The Badgers bested the Gophers 66-60.
- The Badgers football team has a new offensive coordinator. Bobby Engram was most recently the tight end coach for the Baltimore Ravens. Engram has experience working with head coach Paul Chryst at the University of Pittsburgh and Engram's son Dean is a cornerback for the Badgers.
📚 Browsing is back at Room of One's Own.
- If you'll recall...Local bookseller Room of One's Own closed its doors to public browsing earlier this month amid skyrocketing Covid-19 case numbers. The shop announced it would open its doors back up for public browsing over the weekend.
- Unfortunately the shop will be closed on Mondays in February (this might change in March), but will otherwise be open 12-6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Masks are required.
🎭 Headed to the Overture Center? You better be boosted.
- Starting March 1, the Overture Center will require all attendees to show proof of their vaccination status, including a booster shot if eligible. Guests may also show proof of a negative PCR test from within 72 hours before entry, as well.
- According to a post on their Facebook Page, the Overture's policy will be re-evaluated in mid-March, and patrons will be informed of any changes at that time.
"Our goal is to keep our patrons, artists, employees and volunteers as safe as possible while in our building, and we hope the booster requirement instills even more confidence in Overture as a place to gather with family and friends for live performances and in-person events." — Overture's announcement of their new vaccine policy
🏗️ Developers are building out their plans to buy a long-held family farm on the East Side.
- The Wisconsin State Journal reports Stone House Development and Threshold Development Group have an accepted offer on a 60-acre property along Milwaukee Street, east of Starkweather Creek.
- The land has reportedly been held by the Voit family for some 165 years. Stone House has a large portfolio of high rises around town — Arden, Lyric, and the Madison Mark, to name a few — but the developers aren't fully certain of what the future holds for the massive property. About half of the farm not considered developable since it's mostly wetlands and floodplains.
🌲 Welcome to the Labyrinth.
- Hundreds of Madisonians turned out to the opening of “How Lovely Are Thy Branches,” a labyrinth built from donated evergreen branches at Olbrich Park.
- The labyrinth is a public art installation will that remain in the park through February. Artist Lillian Sizemore and a crew of volunteers have spent weeks prepping hundreds of donated Christmas trees to make the spectacle.
🦡 Your lunchtime read: A search for the Badger state-of-mind.
- How much do real badgers live up to their name in the "Badger State?” That's the question at hand in this entertaining Madison Commons investigation. Bonus: Lots of cute animal pictures in here.
🦠 Covid-19 Update
Source: Public Health Madison & Dane County
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 59.2%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 77.1%
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.
- Where to Buy N95s, KN95s, and Surgical-Style Masks in 2022 (Wirecutter)
- What to Do if You are Sick or Possibly Exposed (PHMDC)