Good morning, Madison.
When we first introduced ourselves to you, we promised you three things. The first being "we will always tell the truth. We will tell you the facts, in context, as best we can. If we make a mistake, we will promptly correct it."
Yesterday I made a mistake. Not a very big or important one, but a mistake nonetheless. And since I am a very anxious person, I have of course been stewing over it since I caught the error mere moments after hitting the send button (sigh).
Yesterday's newsletter headline was incorrect. It was written as "Morning Update: Monday, Jan. 24 copy" and of course yesterday was not in fact a copy of Monday. It was Tuesday. Now it's Wednesday. Let's get to the news.
📚 UW's spring semester kicked off Tuesday and not all are happy about the return to in-person instruction.
- On Monday, multiple student-led organizations including Associated Students of Madison (ASM), the Teaching Assistants Association (TAA), and the BIPOC Coalition of UW-Madison gathered outside of Chancellor Rebecca Blank's office to demand a switch to remote learning as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread around the city, state, and beyond.
- On Tuesday, ASM, which is the official student governance body on campus, released a statement calling for stronger Covid-19 precautions on campus, including adoption of hybrid learning options until the pandemic is over.
- ASM is also calling for the university to publish the number of students and employees with boosters, take a "stronger role in promoting booster shots," and increase Covid-19 testing capacity, especially on the west side of campus.
- The university offered a mild and vague response thanking ASM for their "partnership and consistent advocacy for proven public health strategies."
🧪 The Center for COVID Control is keeping its doors shut for now.
- If you'll recall: The Illinois-based Center for COVID Control temporarily halted operations nationwide last week after multiple complaints called their testing practices into question. The center runs six sites in Dane County and 27 across Wisconsin.
- Initially, the center was set to re-open its doors this week but as the Cap Times reports, will remain closed until further notice following an FBI raid of its headquarters Saturday.
- The Better Business Bureau of Chicago and of Wisconsin launched an investigation into the private company earlier this month. The BBBs of Minnesota and North Dakota have since joined the investigation.
☑️ The library is extending its voting information sessions.
- Need to register to vote? Update your address? Or just have general questions on the voting process in Madison? A City of Madison Election Official will be available to answer all of these questions and more at the Madison Public Library's voting information sessions through March 15.
- The sessions will take place at these six participating locations: Hawthorne, Lakeview, Goodman South Madison, Meadowridge, Central, and Pinney Libraries.
⚖️ Highlights from the Wisconsin statehouse:
- The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau told lawmakers the state's two-year budget is expected to end with a balance of more than $3.8 billion — nearly $2.9 billion more than the office estimated last year. Republican lawmakers say they'd like the money to go to tax cuts, while Democrats are arguing for immediate spending to provide relief for struggling families and businesses.
- A bill that would prohibit Wisconsin public schools from teaching about concepts such as systemic racism and implicit bias has cleared the senate and is headed to Gov. Tony Evers' desk, where it will almost certainly be vetoed.
- Lawmakers approved two bills that would bring tougher penalties for protesters who participate in riots and deface government statues. The first bill would make attending a riot or blocking a street a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months in jail. It's been passed in the assembly and senate, and now heads to Gov. Evers' desk. The assembly must still vote on the second bill, which would make it a felony to damage government property of historical significance. Evers' stance on the bills is unknown.
- Republicans still don't want legal weed. The senate took up a bill Tuesday that would increase penalties for a person who uses a butane torch to extract resin from a cannabis plant. Democratic Madison Sen. Melissa Agard introduced an amendment to the bill that, according to the Wisconsin Examiner, "instead of making penalties harsher, would have completely legalized all uses of cannabis." Republicans killed Agard's amendment and passed the initial bill on a 20-12 party line vote.
🛑 The city really needs more crossing guards.
- The City of Madison Traffic Engineering Division is looking to hire multiple part-time school crossing guards. The job posting notes the time commitment as 10-15 hours a week and the hourly rate is listed as $18.09.
"We are in urgent need of some heroes. The time commitment is small, but the positive impact is immense.” — Alex Stewart, Crossing Guard Supervisor
🥡 Your lunchtime read: How to eat at a restaurant.
- From Tone Madison: "The word "guest" implies some level of social responsibility for you, too. I'm not saying they always apply 100% of the time, but they do annoy most servers, and instead of telling you how much more difficult you're making our jobs, we just lie to you. I'm done lying. I'm telling you the truth because I truly believe you want to be a good person, citizen, restaurant guest. You want to be kind, but you don't know better. Now you'll know."
🦠 Covid-19 Update
Source: Public Health Madison & Dane County
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 59.1%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 76.9%
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. 26
- The Brook & The Bluff w/ Izzy Heltai at High Noon Saloon. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $15 advance, $18 at door.
- Presentation: “Electric Vehicles & The Road Ahead” with solar energy advocate Bruce Johnson. Part of the Wednesday Nite @ The Lab series. 7 p.m. Virtual option. Free.
- Patty Griffin with special guest Parker Millsap at the Barrymore. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $27.
- Winter Restaurant Week through Friday.