Goooood morning, Madison.
It’s Thursday and we’ve welcomed a decent amount of new subscribers this week so I figured now is probably a good time for some (re)introductions.
If you’ve been a subscriber for a while or know us personally (hi, mom!) feel free to jump right into the news, I promise there won’t be any hurt feelings.
Otherwise, my name is Hayley Sperling and along with Sam Hoisington we make up the entire Madison Minutes team. Since there are only two of us running the show on a daily basis, we share a lot of major responsibilities but for the most part, I manage the editorial side of operations and Sam runs the business side of things. (Side note: If you’d like to advertise with us, let’s chat.)
We both have professional and educational backgrounds in journalism. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism and Sam is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University where he also studied journalism.
We launched Madison Minutes in April 2021 with no expectations, no funding (other than Sam’s personal 401k), and no idea what the future would look like. Now, less than a year into this adventure, there are literally thousands of people who read Madison Minutes every day and I am never not in complete awe of the community we’ve built here. With that said, thank you all for being a part of this journey.
I’ve said it before but whether you’ve been with us since day one or are getting your first newsletter today, we are forever grateful for your support. Without the feedback, questions, and suggestions you send us, the newsletter wouldn’t be what it is today. If you ever want to get in touch, our inbox is always open and you can feel free to find us on social media. Sam prefers LinkedIn while I dwell in the warmth of the garbage fire that is Twitter (but you can also find his Twitter here and my LinkedIn here).
Ok, let’s get into the news.
😷 Welcome to mask mandate #7.
- Public Health Madison & Dane County has extended its indoor mask mandate to March 1.
- The new mandate mirrors its predecessors, requiring face masks in most indoor spaces for those ages 2 and older.
"[W]e must continue to collectively take as many steps as possible to reduce risk of transmission, including masking.” — Janel Heinrich, director of PHMDC
🦠 Covid-19 cases at Madison schools are finally letting up.
- The number of new Covid-19 cases among Madison Metropolitan School District staff and students dropped nearly 50% after reaching record highs this month.
- From Jan. 17-23, the district reported 431 new positive Covid-19 cases, this is down from 817 the week before. For context, there are more than 25,000 students and 4,000 staff members who make up MMSD.
- Related: Wisconsin COVID-19 activity drops significantly, but it’s still 4x critical levels (NBC 15)
🌿 Republicans are pushing to legalize medical marijuana.
- GOP lawmakers Sen. Mary Felzkowski and Rep. Patrick Snyder introduced a bill Wednesday that would create a state commission to regulate medical marijuana.
- Both Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers have voiced support of legalizing medical marijuana. Evers included legalizing recreational and medical marijuana in his 2021-23 budget proposal, but Republicans later removed the item.
- The move is an interesting one, considering Republicans have spent recent months pushing for bills that would increase penalties for possession of marijuana. Though this isn't the first time Republicans have introduced medical marijuana legislation. Democrats argue this latest piece of legislation doesn't go far enough when it comes to legalization.
📚 Free kids books, courtesy of Dolly Parton.
- The Madison Reading Project and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are teaming up to deliver thousands of books to all children in Dane County up to age five, regardless of family income.
- More than 4,500 kids have already enrolled in the program and organizers hope to eventually reach 30,000 children. Click here for more information and to register your child for the program.
🚰 Protect your pipes this winter.
- ICYMI it's been incredibly cold these past few days (weeks?) and the city wants to remind you that pipes will burst but there are many ways you can help prevent that.
- Here are a few tips the city recommends: Make sure your basement is properly insulated; Insulate pipes in unheated areas like crawl spaces, unheated garages, and attics; Leave some heat on in unused areas of your home; If you're out of town, keep your thermostat on at least 55 degrees and open any cabinets where sink plumbing is against an outside wall.
⚽ Forward Madison is going international.
- The team announced this week they'll play host to Germany's SC Paderborn 07 this summer. The match will be June 15 at Breese Stevens Field.
🍼 Your lunchtime read: The parent trap: Making child care cheaper could help fix labor woes.
- From the Cap Times: "In Wisconsin, the average cost of infant care is 18.5% of median family income — more than average rent or in-state university tuition. In Dane County, the cost averages $16,000 a year. Some parents run the numbers and decide working just isn’t worth it. Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s longstanding labor shortages are only getting worse, as the pandemic puts new strain on a state where the birth rate and net migration have been declining for decades."
🦠 Covid-19 Update
Source: Public Health Madison & Dane County
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 59.1%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 77%
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. 27
- 2 Things From 3 Distilleries: A Whiskey Tasting at The Malt House. "Join us in a whiskey sampling featuring tasty goods from our friends at Dancing Goat, J Henry, and Buffalo Trace." 5:30-8 p.m. $24.
- Matthew Logan Vasquez at High Noon Saloon. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $20.
- Third Coast Percussion with Movement Art Is at Hamel Music Center. Music at 7:30 p.m. $27-$45. 🟠
- Insidious: Revelations at Crucible Madison. "A night of hard dance, dark psy, goth, and industrial music while you engulf yourself into the darkness!" 9 p.m. $5.