Power outages, tree damages, oh my

Morning Update: Tuesday, June 14

In this newsletter

Power outages, tree damages, oh my

Happy Tuesday, Madison!

All across the state, it is going to be hot and humid today. Not just a little hot but everything-is-sticky-and-I-might-cry hot.

The forecast today calls for temperatures in the 90s and a heat index up to 105 degrees. The National Weather Service issued a Heat Advisory that starts at 11 a.m. today and runs through Wednesday night.

In response, the county has opened two cooling centers for residents who need to escape the heat, one hosted by Madison College at 1701 Wright Street and the other at the Dane County Coliseum. Metro Transit will provide free rides to and from both cooling centers.

Stay hydrated, friends.

— Hayley

⛈️ Some storm, huh?

  • In case you somehow missed it, a massive storm swept through much of Madison Monday, leaving a trail of trees and destruction in its path.
  • As of this morning, thousands of MGE customers are still without power and the utility isn't able to estimate when that might change — some reports suggest power might not be back until later tonight. At its peak, more than 20,000 residents were without power, Channel 3000 reports.
  • The city's Urban Forestry and Streets Division are working on cleaning up the debris. If you need to report a damaged tree on your property (or spot one on the street) check out the city's resources here.
  • The storm blew the roof off of an east side apartment complex, displacing dozens of residents. The city and Red Cross have a temporary shelter at 1701 Wright Street for those affected. The shelter will also be open to those in need of refuge from today's heat.

🎒Madison School Board members seemingly want to increase teacher pay.

  • Some context: The Madison School Board is set to vote on the district's preliminary budget at the end of the month. Currently, the proposed budget gives teachers a 2% cost-of-living raise. Madison Teachers Inc. (the union that represents MMSD teachers) is pushing for a 4.7% raise — the maximum they are allowed to negotiate for — and a $5 salary increase for hourly staffers.
  • At their meeting Monday, board members expressed their support for pay increases but in more general rather than specific terms.
  • The hangup surrounding pay increases centers around the fact that the district has much more money than it's used to because of federal Covid-19 relief funding, Cap Times reports. MMSD chief financial officer Ross MacPherson cautioned that using those funds for salary increases is dangerous because there is no guarantee of that funding in the future.
  • Other major school districts in the state, however, have already approved a 4.7% cost-of-living pay increase.

🌭 A new development proposal near Oscar Mayer.

  • A California developer has proposed a $150 million, 550-unit, low-cost housing project near the former Oscar Mayer plant on the city's North Side.
  • The State Journal reports the proposal includes two six-story buildings — one with 250 apartments for seniors and the other with 300 units for families. The City Council is scheduled to discuss the proposal at its June 21 meeting.
  • The bigger picture: In 2020 the city adopted the Oscar Mayer Special Area Plan to help guide development of the area surrounding the shuttered plant. The plan envisions preserving wetland areas while creating housing, commercial, and industrial spaces.

🚴 Ride for equity and community at  Worthington Park.

  • Darbo Council and BikEquity, a non-profit organization that provides resources, mentorship, and education on cycling and fitness will host a community bike ride and repair event at Worthington Park Wednesday (from 5-7 p.m.).
  • "A lot of people don’t even realize they can get to work quicker on the bike path than driving in this city. So we got to make it accessible for everyone,” Mentoring Positives founder and longtime Darbo-Worthington resident Will Green told Madison365. “Especially for neighborhoods like Darbo because sometimes we don’t even have sidewalks. We don’t have the access to the street for people to ride a bike safely in the neighborhood.”

🏊🏿 ICYMI: Goodman Pool is officially open for the season.

  • The pool is open daily, weather permitting, at 325 W. Olin Ave. Click here for the full list of hours and prices.
  • New this year: All swimmers 12 and under who want to use the diving board or swim in the deep end must pass a swim test.

🎓 For the first time, women will hold the top two leadership positions on the Board of Regents.

  • The University of Wisconsin System's Board of Regents elected Karen Walsh and Amy Blumenfeld Bogost as its president and vice president, respectively.
  • WPR reports Walsh is only the third woman to lead the board since it was established more than 50 years ago. Walsh succeeds Edmund Manydeeds in the role, the board's first Native American president.
  • Both Walsh and Bogost were appointed to the board by Gov Tony Evers.

🍂 Your lunchtime read: Damage to a mound disturbs UW-Madison’s Indigenous community.

  • From Tone Madison: "In July 2021, a UW-Madison soil science student accidentally damaged one of the mounds on campus—one of the ancient earthwork monuments Indigenous peoples created in the area between about 1,300 and 900 years ago. UW administrators have still not announced the incident to the public nearly a year later, but have signed an agreement with the Wisconsin Historical Society that outlines a plan to improve protection of a group of mounds on Observatory Hill, both through physical changes and staff training centered on awareness of the mounds."