News – April 22, 2020

(Madison) Governor Tony Evers says the Republican effort to block his extended “Safer at Home” order through the Wisconsin Supreme Court sends a clear message. The Supreme Court, which has a 5 to 4 conservative majority, gave the state Department of Health Services until next Tuesday to respond to the lawsuit, and Republicans until two days after that to respond to DHS. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement that the “public outcry over the Safer at Home order continues to increase as positive COVID cases decrease or remain flat.” The Juneau Republican says “there’s immense frustration regarding the extension, as it goes beyond the executive branch’s statutory powers.” Four days after the extension, Evers came out with the “Badger Bounce Back” plan to give guidelines as to when many businesses would re-open. Evers says that his plan mirrors the president’s plan which he called “rational” and said if the state Republicans don’t think Donald Trump’s plan is appropriate, they can deal with Donald Trump.”

(Washington County) Saying Governor Evers’ plan to reopen the state amid the coronavirus pandemic is too vague, Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann has unveiled one for his county. Washington Ozaukee health officer Kirsten Johnson drafted the plan based on recommendations by the conservative American Enterprise Institute. The plan shares most of the same benchmarks as Evers’ plan, while allowing some businesses to at least partially open, if they enforce social distancing and other recommendations.

(Madison) A state tourism leader wants Governor Evers to redo his plan to reopen the state’s economy. A community leader in the Dells is calling on Governor Evers to lay out a better plan to reopen Wisconsin. Tom Diehl operates Tommy Bartlett’s in the Dells, and says that businesses will be able to figure out how to keep their customers safe. Diehl would like to see a blue ribbon panel formed that includes business leaders in formulating a new plan to reopen the state’s economy.

(Dodge County) The Wisconsin Department of Health is reporting that the state has experienced 12 more deaths from Monday to Tuesday, bringing the total to 242. There was an increase of 121 positive cases with 4620 now confirmed. Of those cases, 1252 people required hospitalization, which is 27-percent. Dodge County has 19 positive cases after reporting its first death last week.

(Beaver Dam) Marshfield Medical Center-Beaver Dam is now offering the public an opportunity to discuss their health concerns over the phone. The hospital has announced that it is now providing telehealth and phone care options to its patients. The current COVID-19 crisis has limited the number and types of non-urgent appointments. Hospital officials say with telehealth, they have an “opportunity to care for patients who otherwise may not have been seen until the crisis is over, as well as those who may find it difficult or inconvenient to travel for an in-person appointment.” Patients who call for appointments will be offered an option if their condition can be treated via telehealth and if the patient’s home technology meets telehealth requirements.

(Madison) A 19-billion-dollar federal relief program could offer some help for Wisconsin dairy farmers. Three billion dollars will go to help the fresh produce, dairy and meat industries.  Dairy farmers have been forced to dump their milk for the last two weeks.  The coronavirus pandemic created a major shift in demand almost overnight. The U-S Department of Agriculture says it will spend 100 million dollars-a-month on buying dairy products for food banks nationwide.

(Beaver Dam) Beaver Dam Mayor Becky Glewen has appointed one of her more outspoken critics to the city’s Administrative Committee, a major committee tasked with – among other things – the city budget. During last year’s reorganizational meeting, Alderman Ken Anderson was vocal in criticizing the mayor’s committee assignments on the council floor. Anderson replaces Alderwoman Kara Nelson. Alderman Dave Hanson was tabbed to chair Operations, replacing Therese Henriksen. There are two new additions on the council: Mike Wissell, who replaces Mary Morgan, and Heidi Freeby, who replaces Jane Loizo. Chris Olson was re-elected council president on an 11-to-three vote, in spite of a challenge by Anderson.

(Juneau) Members of the Dodge County Board were sworn-in during their meeting yesterday (Tuesday). The board also voted to Russel Kottke as the county board chairman. Supervisors Jeff Schmitt and Donna Maly were also nominated for the position. Also returning as first vice chair is Dave Frohling while Joseph Marsik retained his second vice chair seat. Joining Kottke, Frohling and Marsik on the executive committee are Jeff Schmitt, Thomas Schaefer, Dan Hilbert and Kira Sheahan-Malloy.

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board commended the county clerk, municipal clerks and poll workers during their meeting yesterday (Tuesday). The resolution states that the board extends their heartiest thanks, heartfelt gratitude and highest regard for Dodge County Clerk Karen Gibson and her staff, municipal clerks and poll workers for their performance throughout the spring election. The resolution was adopted through rising vote of acceptance, meaning each board member in attendance rose to their feet to applaud.

(Madison) State Senator Jennifer Shilling has decided to step down as the minority leader in the Senate. The Democratic lawmaker from La Crosse represents the 32nd State Senate District and will not be seeking reelection in the fall. She says she believes new leadership in the Democratic caucus will help to provide the best representation for their constituents and put Democrats in the best position to be successful in the months and years to come. She will step down as State Senate Minority Leader effective this Friday.

(Madison) If you’re out of a job, but your business does not cover unemployment benefits, the state is ready to help you out. People who do not usually qualify for unemployment insurance but who are out of work because of the pandemic now have a chance to apply for unemployment. Emily Sevard with the Department of Workforce Development says this funding acts like the state’s usual unemployment program. The funding is for up to 39 weeks of unemployment. Find out more online at D W D dot Wisconsin dot Gov.