Morning Update: Thursday, Jan. 20
Good morning, Madison!
Anyone else feel like they blinked and now suddenly it's Thursday? Welcome to Thursday, friends.
If you've ever taken a tour of the State Capitol Building (highly recommend if not), you might recall a badger statue displayed outside the governor's office. Made from melted-down cannons seized from Cuba during the Spanish-American War, the statue has come to be a popular tourist attraction and good luck charm for those who rub its little nose. While of course the Badger is emblematic of many things Wisconsin, the statue doesn't actually belong to the state.
The badger was lent to us by the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in 1988 but in 2020, the academy called to say they wanted it back.
The statue was set to be displayed at the nonprofit Nauticus Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, where the second USS Wisconsin is exhibited. Despite departing for a good cause, historians rallied to keep the statue in the Badger State. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, a former Marine, joined the cause and last February the Navy agreed to extend the loan for two more years.
Now in a win for badger lovers everywhere, earlier this week Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro sent a letter to Gov. Tony Evers saying the Navy would gladly extend the loan for the next 50 years.
😷 COVID-19 testing at Alliant Energy Center will soon run 7 days a week.
- Currently, the testing site is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. But starting Jan. 24, the location will be open every day for testing.
- While it's not the same drive-thru testing that many of us grew accustomed to in 2020, the appointment-based system is easy to navigate and with the addition of weekend availability, finding a time that works with your schedule should only get easier. The testing system is quite streamlined and — depending on the time — moves very quickly, (trust me, I was just there Tuesday).
- Related: DHS: Inflated COVID-19 numbers are over, but they’re still at record highs (NBC 15)
🏥 The National Guard is gearing up to care for Wisconsin's COVID-19 patients.
- Members of Wisconsin's National Guard are getting a crash course in nursing at Madison College to become certified nursing assistants before heading into the field to help the state's strained hospital system.
- The Evers Administration announced the initiative last week and the first wave of Wisconsin National Guard members in the program will be ready for deployment by the end of this week. To complete the program, soldiers have to complete a 75-hour training curriculum.
“The pace is a little bit more intense but we’re all ready to take that on and push through it. Honestly I couldn’t have asked for a better learning environment really and like a better staff to help teach us.” — Sgt. Andrew Hemadian, program participant
👮 Where does Madison stand on police body cameras?
- Some context: The city has been toying with the idea of implementing a pilot program for police body-worn cameras for a long, long time. A pilot program proposed last December would use $83,000 from the city's capital budget to fund the purchase of 48 cameras and related equipment to launch the pilot.
- The core debate: There are many arguments both for and against the use of body cameras. Supporters argue body cameras can be a tool to hold both police and civilians accountable while those opposed see the cameras as a costly addition to bloated police budget and have the potential to be used against marginalized groups.
- City Council was scheduled to make a decision on whether or not to proceed with the pilot during their meeting Tuesday but after hearing debate on the matter, the council unanimously decided to postpone any decision making until April 19 so the city and Madison Police Department conduct more public engagement on the matter.
- Currently, Madison’s SWAT team is the only group to have used body cameras.
☕ Make someone's day and pay it forward at Johnson Public House.
- Sometimes we all need a little pick me up and Johnson Public House's coupon bulletin board is a great place to start if you're in a giving (or receiving) mood.
🥡 The owners of Harvey House are planning new restaurant on Regent Street.
- While it doesn't have a name yet, the State Journal reports the new spot will be "a family-oriented, fast-casual restaurant with an outdoor patio” at 1124 Regent St., which is currently home to one of the four Budget Bicycle Centers on the street.
- The city's Plan Commission greenlit the project Monday. Demolition and construction are expected to begin this spring and the restaurant will open in August.
⚖️ Meet Dane County's first Black female judge.
- Nia Trammell made history when she was appointed Dane County's first Black female judge in August 2020. Trammell was born in Adazi, a small village in southern Nigeria and moved to Madison at the age of four. She graduated from West High School and went on to study at UW-Madison, where she also got her law degree. Learn more about Trammell and her glass ceiling smashing and first year on the bench in this informative Q&A from the Wisconsin State Journal.
🧱 Just for fun: Madison, but make it Legos.
- Long-time landscape architect Aaron Williams has spent his pandemic at-home time building some of his favorite Madison institutions out of Legos. The results are pretty stunning. You can check out his Instagram for more.
🏠 Your lunchtime read: Delays in Dane County’s emergency rental assistance program leave some residents in need.
- From the Cap Times: "The Cap Times spoke to five county residents who experienced long delays while waiting for emergency rental assistance through the county’s Dane Core 2.0 program. ... But even after a lengthy and complex application process that requires specific documents and navigating eligibility thresholds, it can still take months for that emergency funding to appear."
- Related: Worried about being evicted in Dane County? Start here. (We wrote this one!)
- Get involved: 5 ways to help renters facing eviction in Dane County (Another Madison Minutes original)
🦠 Covid-19 Resources
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 58.9%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 76.7%
Links you can use
- 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)
📅 Events: Thursday, Jan. 20
- Storytime with Monona Public Library. Ideal for ages 2-5. 9:30 a.m. Virtual. Free.
- Brewers Series: An Evening of Small Batch Beers and Music at Karben4. Taste new, small batch draft beers and offer feedback. Doors and beers at 3 p.m. Music starts around 5 p.m.
- Conversations with Guanyu Xu and Paul Baker Prindle, hosted by MMoCA. Virtual. 6 p.m. Free.
- Cooking with the Cap Times: Chef Sean Pharr of Mint Mark. 6 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- “Not Homeless Enough” Screening and community conversation with Madison Public Library. 6 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Virtual Presentation: "History and Community Influence of WI Dairy Technology." 6 p.m. Free.
- Steve-O at the Overture Center. 7 p.m. Tickets start at $39.50.
(Header image via PBS Wisconsin)