Morning Update: Thursday, Feb. 24

Good morning, Madison!

Have y'all seen the piano on Lake Monona? To be honest, I don't know the full story behind it. Who put it there? Why? How...?

The piano has reportedly been removed from the lake so we may never get all the answers. But sometimes, it's best not to ask questions and just enjoy the music.

— Hayley

😷 MMSD says don't take those masks off just yet.

  • The Madison Metropolitan School District announced Wednesday that its mask mandate will remain in place through at least spring break.
  • Additionally, starting March 1, masks will not be required when outdoors and student athletes will be allowed to unmask inside when actively participating in events, though coaches and spectators will have to keep their masks on.
  • Phase two of the district's mask plan, which will provide updated guidance on masking post-spring break, will come no later than April 15, Cap Times reports.
  • The bigger picture: Stoughton, Waunakee, Middleton-Cross Plains, Belleville, Oregon, Verona, and Mount Horeb school districts have all announced mask-optional policies starting March 1.

🚰 Despite widespread support, the Natural Resource Board weakened drinking water standards for the state.

  • The state's Natural Resource Board (NRB) voted 6-1 Wednesday to impose limits for "forever chemicals" in groundwater. But the 70 parts per trillion (ppt) limit is far from the 20ppt initially recommended by the Department of Health Services.
    • Some context: "Forever chemicals" refer to PFAS, PFOA, and PFOS, which can be found in a variety of products from firefighting foam to non-stick cookware. The chemicals don't break down naturally and are known to cause cancer, liver disease, and other health problems.
  • Members of the board rejected the proposed 20ppt limit because of the high costs associated with replacing and treating wells that don't meet the standard.
  • Environmental advocates have slammed the decision, noting that one in four Wisconsinites rely on groundwater for drinking.
“It’s like a ticking time bomb. You know it’s in your body and you can’t get it out. You seek a safe alternative drinking water source, and you pray for enforceable water standards.” — Lee Donahue, a supervisor in the La Crosse County town of Campbell

🧊 Beware of the ice on the lakes.


  • Who? Live Undiscovered Music, or LÜM, launched as a music streaming and social media platform 2018 with a dozen co-founders all students or recent graduates of UW-Madison. They were a bright star of Madison's startup community, raising some serious cash at local pitch competitions. In 2019 they scored a major partnership with local promoter Frank Productions and in 2020 Ne-Yo became an ambassador.
  • The company recently announced a pivot away from social media to blockchain but just weeks after that announcement, LÜM took to LinkedIn to announce its official shutdown.

✊ The state of unions in Wisconsin.

🌱 Start a native garden for cheap.

  • The county is now accepting plant orders for its 18th annual Plant Dane Native Plant Program. The program provides native plants to local groups, municipalities, and county residents at highly discounted prices. All orders must be placed by March 22.
  • Why native plants? According to the county, native plants provide a host of environmental benefits. From providing food and shelter for local wildlife to developing roots that protect our water systems, native plants really do it all.

🥘 Your lunchtime read: Confessions of a hot dish fanatic.

  • From Joy Sauce: "I spend a not insignificant amount of free time reading blogs and cookbooks cover to cover, watching cooking videos, and conducting impromptu in-depth interviews with every Midwesterner I come across in the wild, leaving them confused by my genuine enthusiasm for 7-up Jell-O salad and deeply worried about the condition of my mental health, but too polite in their Midwestern-ness to do anything except smile nervously and wonder if they’re being cased by some sort of Midwesterner-specific serial killer."

🦠 Covid-19 Update

Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 60.3%

Dane County Vaccination Rate: 78%


📅 Events: Thursday, Feb. 24


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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