News – December 17, 2020

(Wisconsin) The first coronavirus vaccines have been administered to front line health care workers in Wisconsin. State Department of Health Services Secretary designee Andrea Palm says they have 192 vaccines in arms that have been reported into the Wisconsin immunization registry. The state will have about 49,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, although Palm said DHS had yet to be notified how many more doses the state will receive from the federal government next week.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials reported 2,402 positive cases and 74 deaths on Wednesday, bringing that total to 4,196. There were five deaths reported in Dodge County for a total of 95 with 9,784 cases, a one-day increase of 60. Washington County has seen 89 deaths, two more than Tuesday. The state says an additional death was recorded in Jefferson County which has 48 total. Columbia County has experienced 23 deaths, an increase of three from Tuesday. Green Lake County had one death reported yesterday for a total of 10.

(Juneau) The percentage of weekly positive COVID-19 tests dipped throughout the region last week but still remains at a concerning level for health officials. That is according to the latest update from the Dodge County Health Department which says from December 7th through the 13th, 657 people out of the 1,853 tested were confirmed to have the coronavirus; a rate of 35-percent. The previous week the number was 45-percent. Health officials say the goal is a percentage lower than five with a downward trajectory of a cases.

(Cambria) The Columbia County Health Department is partnering with the Wisconsin National Guard to provide several free community COVID-19 testing events. Drive-through nasal swab testing will be held at the Cambria Fire Department on Elizabeth Street tomorrow (December 18th) and continuing every other Friday, except New Year’s Day, through February 26 from noon to 6pm.

(Wisconsin) A Columbia County judge ruled a Wisconsin man charged in a terrorist plot should be extradited to Michigan. Brian Higgins of Wisconsin Dells is accused of being part of a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The 52-year-old will be allowed to appeal the decision. His lawyer says the extradition order should not be granted because Whitmer has a conflict of interest based on her status as the allegedly intended victim.

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board this week approved selling $9-million-dollars in bonds to fund road repairs next year. Last month, the county board voted to borrow the money as part of the 2021 budget. The plan is to use that money to upgrade nearly 32 miles of roadway next year, with the goal of borrowing the same amount for 2022. The $9-million dollars will be paid back over a ten year period utilizing tax levy dollars. The interest rate will not be known until bids for the borrowing come in but the figure is expected to be around one-percent. The county board will award sale of the bond at their January meeting.

(Wisconsin) A new state action plan recommends preventing pollution from “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, and finding ways to reduce their use. The Evers’ administration released the plan Wednesday after a yearlong study involving nearly 20 state agencies and the University of Wisconsin. PFAS chemicals have been linked to cancer, liver disease and reproductive health disorders. The report includes 25 action points centered on environmental justice and health equity, as well as pollution prevention. Many of those would need support from state legislators.

(Wisconsin) Golden Guernsey Dairy must pay at least 1-point-1 million dollars in wages and benefits to former employees at their Waukesha facility. State Attorney General Josh Kaul says this is due to the company shutting down operations there in 2013 without providing the required notice under Wisconsin’s business closure law.

(Wisconsin) Wisconsin’s largest dairy organization is joining with a group of conservationists and environmentalists to look at clean water. The Wisconsin Dairy Business Association is signing-on to an agreement with Clean Wisconsin, The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association. The D-B-A says farmers want to find a way to project clean water in the state and work toward a solution. Most of the focus will be on well water in rural parts of Wisconsin and paying for well improvements.