Morning Update: Tuesday, Feb. 15
Happy Tuesday, Madison!
Today isn't any ordinary Tuesday. Today is the birthday of Madison's favorite son, Chris Farley.
For those who don't know, Farley was an American actor and comedian born in Madison and made famous on Saturday Night Live in the 1990s. (He studied theatre and communications at Marquette University.) He later went on to star in films, playing the titular role in Tommy Boy, Beverly Hills Ninja, and Wayne's World, among other 1990s bangers.
Sadly, in 1997 Farley died at 33. And though his time was short, his local impact was lasting, the comedian is buried at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery on Madison's West Side.
😷 Dane County's mask mandate will end March 1.
- Public Health Madison & Dane County announced Monday that effective at 12:00 a.m. March 1, masks will no longer be required in public indoor spaces.
- The move comes as Covid-19 case numbers have steadily declined after seeing an incredible surge in January, mostly thanks to the Omicron variant of the virus.
- According to PHMDC, the seven-day average of cases peaked Jan. 12 with 1,491 recorded Covid-19 cases. These days, the numbers have fallen to a seven-day average of 340 cases.
- The end of the county order doesn't impact the federal mandate for masks on public transport such as city buses, Ubers and, Lyfts. Additionally, private businesses may still decide to require masks for all customers.
- Officials at PHMDC stress that just because the mask mandate is ending, doesn't mean the pandemic is over.
- Related: MMSD to consult with medical advisers as PHMDC mask mandate expires (Cap Times)
🏨 A developer wants to turn Rubin's Furniture into an extended-stay hotel.
- Developer North Central Group sent a letter of intent to the city detailing plans to convert the 317 East Wilson Street furniture store into a new 45-room extended-stay hotel, Channel 3000 reports. They hope to begin construction in Q3 of this year though these plans are still in very early stages when it comes to city approvals.
🎶 Speaking of retail shakeups, Sugar Shack Records will close in April.
- The Atwood Avenue shop is being forced out of its current home following the landlord's sale of the building. Tone Madison reports the building's owner accepted an offer and told Sugar Shack to pack up and move out by April 30.
- This news comes on the heels of the announcement that longtime downtown record shop B-Side might also be forced from its current location on State Street.
💸 The county is getting $3.2 million in state funding to upgrade the Alliant Energy Center.
- The funds are courtesy of the State of Wisconsin’s Tourism Capital Grant Program and will be used to "restore economic activity that was negatively impacted by the pandemic," NBC 15 reports.
- A large piece of the upgrade will be centered around updating the center's heating, cooling, and electrical infrastructure.
🗳️ Conservative blogger David Blaska has entered the race for Madison School Board.
- Blaska is joining the race as a write-in candidate and will take on incumbent candidate Ali Muldrow — whom he lost to in 2019 — for seat 4.
- As the Cap Times reports, Blaska is a former Dane County Supervisor and longtime critic of the Madison School Board.
🏘️ Your lunchtime read: Tiny homes, big dreams: How some activists are reimagining shelter for the homeless.
- From NPR: "Tucked inside a residential neighborhood in Madison, Wis., and surrounded by a wooden fence and greenery, are nine little houses. With multicolored siding and roofs, they look like people-sized birdhouses. And they fit right in. So does Gene Cox, 48. He hasn't been homeless in more than seven years. That's the point of this little development."
📻 WSUM 91.7 cofounder Dave Black has died.
- The station announced Monday the beloved co-founder and longtime general manager has died at 66. Black retired in September 2021 after 26 years leading the radio station. Read more about his legacy in this Cap Times piece.
🦠 Covid-19 Update
Source: Public Health Madison & Dane County
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 63.6%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 87.1%
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: Tuesday, Feb. 15
- Author Talk: William Greer. 12:30 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Virtual Dinosaur Hunt with DreamBank. 4 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Inflation, the Federal Reserve’s Dilemma, and the Stock Market. Organized by UW Alumni association. 7 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Indigenous Storytelling Series: Leon C. Valliere "Ozaawaagosh" with the Wisconsin Historical Society. 7 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Live scene reading and chat with Amy Quan Barry at Central Library. 7 p.m. Free.
- “Dirty”-themed trivia at the Rigby. 7-9 p.m. Free.
- Singer Reginald Mobley and organist Greg Zelek at the Overture Center. 7:30 p.m. $20.
- Robert Finley with Weisshund at High Noon Saloon. Show at 8 p.m. $20 advance, $25 at door.