Morning Update: Wednesday, Jan. 19
Happy Wednesday, Madison!
Get ready to bundle up because it's going to be cold today and — so sorry to be the bearer of bad news — even colder in the coming days.
Now that the bad news is out of the way, let's dig into the rest of the day's stories.
P.S. I know some of you caught the My Chemical Romance reference in Tuesday's email. Did we predict the emo revival that would come with yesterday's news cycle? Probably not but a fun coincidence nonetheless!
⚖️ Wisconsin's Assembly Majority Leader will not seek re-election.
- Jim Steineke has served in the state legislature since 2011 and has held a leadership role since 2013. The Kaukauna Republican announced Tuesday he would return to the private sector after this term.
- The bigger picture: Steineke's departure from the legislature is just one of the recent legislative shake-ups in the state. Several legislators have already announced their intentions not to seek further terms and, notably, Oshkosh Democrat Rep. Gordon Hintz stepped down as Assembly minority leader and has not said whether he will seek reelection.
"I firmly believe the time has come to pass the torch and allow for others in our community to step forward and serve their neighbors." — Rep. Jim Steineke
💉 Researchers at UW are working on a universal coronavirus vaccine.
- A what?! COVID-19 belongs to a larger family of coronaviruses, which can make humans and animals sick. Viruses like MERS and SARS, which have also caused epidemics, are part of the larger coronavirus family. The vaccine the University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are developing would train a person's immune system to respond and fight a broader array of the virus.
- The research is funded with $7 million from the federal government. The team is led by virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka, who is renowned for his research on influenza and ebola.
- Related: New Wisconsin COVID-19 cases drop by 20,000 as backlog clears (NBC 15)
- Have you ordered your free COVID-19 tests yet? Click here to order 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests for free from the government.
💔 Community members are mourning the loss of a 14-year-old La Follette High student.
- Jeremiah Broomfield died over the weekend as a result of a car crash on the city's Southwest Side. Police have reportedly arrested the driver who caused the crash but no charges have been filed yet.
- Friends described Jeremiah as the type of person who could light up a room. Interim La Follette Principal Mathew Thompson wrote an email to parents Monday evening saying “Jeremiah had an incredible presence, he was connected to many of our students. The loss of a student, peer and friend is jarring and shocking.”
🎮 Microsoft purchased this Middleton-based video game company for a whopping $68.7 billion.
- Middleton's Raven Software creates video games for parent company Activision Blizzard, including the massively profitable Candy Crush and Call of Duty franchise. California-based Activision Blizzard bought Raven Software in 1997 for $12 million. Microsoft announced its acquisition of Activision Tuesday.
- Once the deal closes in 2023, it will turn Microsoft — who makes Xbox — into one of the world’s largest video game companies. If the purchase survives scrutiny from government regulators, AP reports it could be one of the largest tech acquisitions in history.
- If you'll recall: In December, hundreds of Raven Software employees staged online walkouts in protest of previous Activision’s layoffs. The coalition of Activision workers fighting for contract negotiations Tweeted the Microsoft acquisition was a "surprise" but their goals of culture change remain the same.
🏀 The Badger men's basketball team managed their seventh straight win last night.
- The No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers took down the Northwestern Wildcats 82-76 on the road.
🚄 Two trains that would have been part of Wisconsin's (non-existent) high-speed rail system will now be used in Nigeria.
- The trains are set to become part of West Africa's first operational metro system, WPR reports.
- The sale of two trains originally intended for a high-speed rail line to connect Madison and Milwaukee is the latest turn in the decade-long saga of high-speed rail in Wisconsin. The story of high-speed rail in the state is one way too long for just a bullet point in a newsletter but if you want more train content (and who doesn't?!) I highly recommend checking out WPR's 2019 investigative podcast "Derailed."
😺 The Betty White Challenge has raised more than $20,000 for the Dane County Humane Society.
- The national social media challenge encourages folks to follow in animal-lover Betty White's footsteps and support local shelters. DCHS has reportedly received nearly 700 donations since White's death totaling more than $21,000.
📰 Your lunchtime read: Misframing decisions about the County jail does the public a disservice.
- From Tone Madison: "We can't keep caging people at absurd rates with absurd racial biases. Making mistakes? It happens. But to keep making the same mistake, by thinking our jails are "treating" people or making us safer, is more than misguided. It is deranged. We must try different paths. We have to get everyone excited to spend money on actual care and treatment, and push our leaders to continue to rethink our punishment bureaucracy and actual public safety instead of just mixing more cement to hide our issues behind."
🦠 Covid-19 Resources
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 58.8%
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: Wednesday, Jan. 19
- Social Media For All: Why Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Matter with Social Media Breakfast Madison. 8 a.m. Virtual. Free.
- Madison Downtowners happy hour at Madison's. 5-7 p.m.
- Harry Potter Trivia at Paul's Pel'meni. 6 p.m.
- "Dinosaurs and the Art of Reconstructing Sauropod Skeletons" presentation. Part of Wednesday Nite at The Lab series. 7 p.m. Virtual option. Free.