Happy Tuesday, Madison!
Today is the winter solstice, AKA the shortest day of the year. Not sure how we've gotten this far into 2021 already (never mind that 2022 is right around the corner....) yet here we are.
While you might only get to catch a sliver of daylight today, from now on, the days will only get longer and, hopefully, brighter.
p.s. Have you figured out what's different in the newsletter? It's the dividers! Sam thought the blue better suited the winter season and I have to agree.
😷 Dane County, say hello to Face Covering Emergency Order #6.
- Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) issued their sixth mask mandate Monday. It's the same as the fifth one, but extends the expiration date of the mandate to Feb. 1, 2022. TL;DR: Masks must be worn by all people ages two and up when in most enclosed spaces open to the public.
- The Delta variant is ravaging the state (ahem, see the chart in the COVID-19 Resources section below) and Omicron has already made its way to Dane County. It's not just the county that's urging folks to take precautions, the Wisconsin Department of Health is all but begging people to be careful. The state DHS issued a public health advisory Monday asking Wisconsinites to take COVID-19 seriously and help slow the spread of the virus.
- Dig deeper: The year is ending as it started — at near-peak pandemic levels (PBS Wisconsin)
- Further reading: After outreach, 91% of local Latinos 12 and up have at least one COVID shot (Cap Times)
- Related: ‘There’s no more staff’: Wisconsin hospitals in crisis mode as pandemic fatigue drives staff away (Channel 3000)
- What you can do: Wear your mask. Get vaccinated. Get boosted.
"As the state warns us of an Omicron surge that will overwhelm an already strained healthcare system, we must continue to equip ourselves in every way possible to slow the spread.” — Janel Heinrich, Director of PHMDC
🚫 Speaking of mask mandates, Wisconsin's Supreme Court will take up a lawsuit challenging Dane County’s mask mandate.
- The court announced Monday it will hear arguments as to whether PHMDC has the authority to issue directives like mask mandates.
- The lawsuit comes from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), who filed the suit on behalf of two Dane County residents against PHMDC director Janel Heinrich and the county. A date for arguments has yet to be set.
- Some context: WILL has been trying to get this case heard for months. In the meantime, the county has continued to extend its mask mandates. A Dane County Circuit Court previously upheld the validity of Public Health’s order in May.
⚖️ Greta Neubauer is the Assembly's new minority leader.
- Who is she? Neubauer is a lawmaker from Racine. Assembly Democrats unanimously selected her for the position Monday. Rep. Kalan Haywood, D-Milwaukee, will serve as assistant minority leader.
- Democrats are will face an uphill battle in Wisconsin in 2022. Republicans are all but guaranteed control of the state's Legislature for the next decade. As minority leader, Neubauer will have the power to "appoint people to certain influential boards" and be tasked with "committee assignments for her colleagues," the Cap Times writes.
🚣♀️ Two-time Olympian and former UW-Madison crew athlete Carrie Graves has died.
- Who was she? Graves, according to Madison Magazine, "was the star of the first national championship won by a UW varsity women’s team." She appeared in two Olympic Games, where she won a bronze (1976) and gold (1984) medal. She was 68.
💸 The UW System Board of Regents approved a plan to give UW executives a pay raise.
- The increases are meant to give more negotiating power as the searches for the next University of Wisconsin System president and UW-Madison chancellor progress.
- As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, the regent unanimously approved a plan to boost salary ranges by "6.8% for the System president, 21.7% for the UW-Madison chancellor, 32% for the UW-Milwaukee chancellor, 7.1% for other chancellors, 5.5% for System vice presidents and senior vice presidents, 5% for the UW-Madison provost and 9.6% for the UW-Milwaukee provost."
- The final numbers: The increase would set the pay rate for UW-Madison's next leader at a minimum of $600,126 and a maximum of $900,190.
🐶 Happy Take Me Home Tuesday! Meet Buster (and his ears!!!).
- This one-year-old is a friendly and playful boy looking for an active family to take him on adventures. Buster knows a few tricks, like sit, shake and lay down. He also does some fun tricks with his ears – sometimes they’re perked up and other times, he crosses them over each other like a human crosses their arms over their chest. He’s such a fun and silly boy. Think Buster would make a great addition to your home? Click here to learn more about him.
💰 Your lunchtime read: Q&A: Fern Orie helps Native communities grow financially.
- From the Cap Times: "Fern Orie, 51, wears many hats. She has, at times, been a staff of one as she helps Native communities grow financially. Orie is the founding CEO of the Wisconsin Native Loan Fund (WINLF), which makes loans to tribal members across the state and helps people buy homes, vehicles, fund small businesses, home improvement and consolidate debt. [...] This month, Orie was awarded the 2021 Nan Cheney March for Justice award by Forward Community Investments."
🦠 Covid-19 Resources
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 57.8%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 75.7%
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.
📅 Events: Tuesday, Dec. 21
- Butter-making demonstration at Madison Children’s Museum. “Visit the Log Cabin and whip up a batch of homemade butter.” Free with admission. 2-3 p.m.
- Dog Nail Trim Clinic with Bad Dog Frida at the Barrymore, benefiting Lola's Lucky Day Rescue. $10 per dog. Must reserve a time slot online. 4:30 - 7 p.m.
- Kids in the Kitchen: Incredible Edible Gifts workshop. 5 p.m. Virtual. $10 for Owners; $20 for non-owners.
- Board Games & Beer: Happy Holidays Editions at Garver Feed Mill. Open to anyone and family friendly. Featured Game Designer this month is Reiner Knizia and Game of the Month is Carcassonne. 5:30-9 p.m.
- Book Release Party: “Madison Chefs” by Lindsay Christians at Leopold's Books Bar Caffè. 7 p.m. 🟠
- Isolation: DJ Ellafine via Twitch, 10 p.m. Free, donations requested. 🟠
Check out more events happening this week here.
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.