Morning Update: Thursday, Feb. 17
Goooood morning, Madison.
Welcome to Thursday.
Wanna hear a piece of juicy gossip? Love him or hate him, Aaron Rodgers is — allegedly — single again. Gasp!
The Green Bay quarterback has reportedly split up with his now-former fiance and Big Little Lies actress Shailene Woodley. The two started dating in 2020 following Rodgers’ split with racing star Danica Patrick. They announced their engagement in Feb. 2021.
If anyone else feels out of the loop, I thought he was still dating Olivia Munn. Whoops.
Time to increase the distance setting on your dating apps, besties!
😷 The UW System has announced plans to end its mask mandate.
- Officials from the University of Wisconsin System said they plan to drop their campus mask mandate by spring break. Vaccines and testing will still be available on UW System campuses, WPR reports.
- This news comes as vaccination rates in the state continue to climb and Covid-19 case numbers wane. Dane County announced it would let its mask mandate expire March 1.
- UW-Madison announced it will lift its mask mandate when spring break starts March 12.
- Not all are happy about the change though. The State Journal reports the four student representatives serving on a COVID-19 advisory board to administrators voted this week to keep the mandate in place through the end of the spring semester.
- The graduate student union went further, calling the move "reckless."
📦 Amazon is one step closer to a new facility in Cottage Grove.
- The Village of Cottage Grove's plan commission unanimously approved a development plan to build a 3.4 million square-foot Amazon warehouse and distribution facility.
- The plan, dubbed “Project Silver Eagle,” spans nearly 150 acres, NBC 15 reports, and could bring about 1,500 jobs with it. Some residents have voiced concerns over the potential traffic and environmental impact of the development may bring.
- With approval from the plan commission, the proposal now heads to the full village board.
🏥 SSM Health opened the doors to its new south side clinic.
- The health care provider cut the ribbon on a new 180,000-square-foot facility Wednesday. Located on South Fish Hatchery Road, construction on the $75 million project began in July 2020.
- The clinic will open for patient care Monday and will be home to more than 100 providers plus primary and specialty care services, Channel 3000 reports.
🗳️ "You can pry these drop boxes out of my cold dead hands."
- That's what Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in response to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to ban the use of absentee ballot drop boxes for the state's upcoming April 5 election.
- Earlier this week, Rhodes-Conway spoke out against the court's decision along with Voces de la Frontera's Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Rev. Marcus Allen, and executive director of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired Denise Jess. The city has 14 ballot drop boxes.
- According to the Cap Times, the group contends that the court's ruling is an attack on voting rights and part of "a racist strategy to make voting harder for the elderly, sick, disabled and, in particular, African American and Latino voters."
🏡 The last Afghan refugees have left Fort McCoy for resettlement.
- Some context: The first Afghans arrived at Fort McCoy in late August after the Taliban seized control and sent waves of chaos and uncertainty throughout the country. At its peak, the base hosted more than 12,600 people.
- Throughout their time at the base, Afghan evacuees faced a series of problems — long lines for meager meals, measles outbreaks, and lack of clothing to name a few. The State Journal has reported extensively on the subject.
- Of the eight U.S. military bases hosting evacuees, Fort McCoy was the seventh to finish the resettlement process. Roughly 1,200 Afghan evacuees remain at a military base in New Jersey.
🎒 The 2022 Madison school board candidates.
- The Madison School Board election is right around the corner (April 5). There are four candidates vying for seats in three races.
- Newcomers Laura Simkin and Shepherd Janeway (who will appear on the ballot as Shepherd Joyner) will face off to replace outgoing member Cris Carusi. Meanwhile, former district administrator Nichelle Nichols is running for a seat unopposed and so is incumbent school board president Ali Muldrow.
- Isthmus has a great Q&A with the candidates to get their takes on everything from staffing shortages to racial disparity gaps in the Madison school system.
- Related: The Cap Times is hosting a school board candidate forum March 15. Get the information and register here.
💡 Your lunchtime read: How one person keeps the lights on and the switch to LED at the state Capitol.
- From WORT: "A few weeks back, a post popped up on Reddit, claiming that a single person was in charge of changing every lightbulb in the state capitol building. Intrigued by the rumor, I began to ask around to find out more. It turns out, it’s true. There is one person within the capitol whose job it is to change all of the lightbulbs throughout the building. But over the last three years, the landscape of the job has drastically changed."
🦠 Covid-19 Update
Source: Public Health Madison & Dane County
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 60%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 78%
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 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: Thursday, Feb. 17
- COVID-19: Next steps to normalcy. Organized by the UW Morgridge Institute. 4:30 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Our Kind of Happy Hour: Judy Frater with the Chazen. 5:30 p.m.
- Cooking with the Cap Times: Chef Lorraine Chiapim. 6 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- A Conversation with Chelsea Manning at Wisconsin Union Theater. 7 p.m. Free. 🟠
- Mountain Patrol: Kekexili (2004) screening at MMoCA. From IMDb: “A moving true story about volunteers protecting antelope against poachers in the severe mountains of Tibet.” 7 p.m. $7. 🟠
- Hippo Campus at the Sylvee. Show at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $27.50.
- Randall King with Jon Stork at High Noon Saloon. 8 p.m. $16 advance, $19 at door.
Wondering what that 🟠 means?
That symbol next to an event listing means that Tone Madison’s team of writers and editors recommends checking it out. Tone knows Madison’s arts and music landscape better than anybody else.
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