To infinity and beyond

To infinity and beyond
Image via NASA

Good Wednesday, Friends.

I know we're a "local" newsletter but we absolutely need to talk about some recent intergalactic news. Have you all taken a minute to look at the new James Webb Space Telescope images?

The images are truly jaw dropping. I spent much of Tuesday playing around with this tool that compares the newly released images to those captured by its acclaimed predecessor the Hubble Telescope.

There is a bit of a local angle here, Dr. Ken Sembach, the Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, got his Ph.D. from UW-Madison in 1992. He's part of the team that launched the telescope into the depths of space on Christmas Day 2021.

" There will be a period of astronomy before this telescope started producing data and a period after," Sembach told NBC15. "Our view of the universe going forward will never be the same.”

— Hayley

Clarification: Yesterday's newsletter mischaracterized the definition of "medium Covid-19 community level." Public Health Madison and Dane County follows the CDC's definitions of community spread and determines community level by three factors: New Covid-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days.

🎶 A new stage is coming to the east side.

  • The owners of The Bur Oak announced plans to open a new independent music and arts venue in 2023.
  • Dubbed Atwood Music Hall, the 350-person venue will sit at 1925 Winnebago St. The space was formerly occupied by Operation Fresh Start, which moved in 2019.
  • In addition to music, Atwood Music Hall plans to expand on the Bur Oak’s partnership with chef Jamie Hoang and will serve food and Boba tea. The venue also has plans for a partnership with the Goodman Community Center on a program called Students Of Live that aims to teach local teens “the ins and outs of the live music industry,” Tone Madison reports.
  • The owners will host a public open-house Saturday, August 13 at 10 a.m. at the space.

🧠 Madison is in peak physical shape, but what about mentally?

  • The city was recently ranked as one of the nation's physically fittest. But when it comes to mental health, Madison sits near the bottom of the list.
  • According to the annual American Fitness Index, 46.7% of Madison residents rated their mental health as "not good" in the last 30 days.
  • The pandemic is partially to blame, with USA Today reporting that among adults who never previously had a mental health struggle, 58% perceived that the pandemic damaged emotional or mental health.
Image via

🗳️ The city wants to impose stricter penalties for people who threaten election officials.

🚫 Fitchburg Starbucks workers overwhelmingly say 'no' to unionizing.

Image via Google Maps

🏨 The Plaza Hotel's new owners have plans for affordable housing.

  • The east side hotel was sold to developers who have said they plan to fully renovate and repurpose the property into affordable housing. The apartments will be a mix of studio and one-bedroom units for people who make between 60-120% of the area's median income.
  • The bigger picture: Since March 2020, through partnerships with the city and county, the Plaza Hotel has been used as a shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Despite the hotel's closure at the end of June, the county's hotel shelter program runs through September and guests in the county’s program have been offered placement in another area hotel. The city's shelter program is not pursuing different hotel rooms but is reportedly still providing services for about 30 people.

🔥 Madison will help build a tool to alert people to dangerous heat waves.

  • The city is part of a new pilot program that will help create a tool to help categorize heat waves based on their danger to human health.
  • As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, when put into practice, this tool could "interpret excessive heat similarly to the categories that predict the strength of a hurricane — helping them make decisions about whether to hit a pool for the day or stay inside and check on elderly neighbors, for example."

♀️ Your lunchtime read: Who is the topless woman at the Wisconsin state Capitol?

  • Via Isthmus: "Whether on Reddit, Facebook, or eavesdropping around downtown, Lili Luxe is creating a buzz by just sitting quietly on the steps of the Wisconsin state Capitol — sans shirt.

    'I had a meltdown the Monday after [Roe v. Wade] was overturned. Everyone was just going to work like no one cares. It was just all too normal,” Luxe tells Isthmus. “So I decided to do this.'"
  • Further reading: Madison’s unequal displays of public nudity (Tone Madison)
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📅 Events: Wednesday, July 13

Concerts on the Square: Reflections on Liberty
7 p.m. | King Street corner of the Capitol Square
Catch the first-ever performance of Testimony of Tone, Tune and Time from William Banfield, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's composer-in-residence.

Presentation: “Diseased, Decayed, Defective, and Dangerous: When Good Trees Go Bad”
7 p.m. | Virtual option available | Free
Learn how qualified arborists assess tree risk by estimating the likelihood of tree failure and consequences to property and people.

Show at 8:30 p.m. | The Sylvee | $29.50+
Spoon returned to a more rock-forward sound f0r their latest album, Lucifer on the Sofa.

Show at 7 p.m. | The Bur Oak | $20


View more events

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