News – February 19, 2021

(Wisconsin) Wisconsin Department of Health’s Julie Willems Van Dijk says the state is on a roll in vaccinating people against COVID-19. She says over 40-percent of Wisconsinites age 65 or older have received their first dose, and Wisconsin is among the top states in administering the vaccine. -WRN

(Wisconsin) As the debate continues over the vaccination of prisoners in Wisconsin, one expert says that it’s imperative to put inmates higher on the list for their shots. John Patrick Gross with the UW-Madison Public Defender Project says that if a prison becomes a hotspot, that’s dangerous to everyone. Gross says that the dueling legislation that would either put prisoners at the end of the list for their shots or just treat them like other Wisconsin residents is short-sighted at best and punitive at worst. -WRN

(Fond du Lac) The Fond du Lac County Jail has its first known spread of the COVID-19 virus since the pandemic began. Testing revealed eight of 15 inmates in a dorm were asymptomatic but tested positive for the coronavirus. Then another inmate in an adjacent dorm got sick Monday and although all 14 inmates in that dorm were asymptomatic, 11 of them tested positive. Waldschmidt says their correctional staff has done an incredible job under difficult circumstances.

(Milwaukee) The new strain of the coronavirus has arrived in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management says there is one confirmed case, but public health managers expect more. The new strain is not more deadly or serious than the novel coronavirus, but it is more contagious. Milwaukee’s health commissioner says people need to keep six feet apart, and to wear masks to avoid catching the new strain.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials reported 733 positive coronavirus cases in Thursday’s daily update. State health officials recorded 18 deaths bringing that total to 6,232. Dodge County has experienced 154 deaths and 11,340 cases, a one-day increase of four positive tests. County health officials are actively monitoring 123 people.

(Wisconsin) Wisconsin’s coronavirus recovery rate is currently at 97-percent, but the survivability rate is even higher. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says only one-percent of people who have ever tested positive have died from or with the virus. Nearly 80-percent of the people who have died with the virus are 70 years old or older, and many of them had underlying health conditions. Since last March, state health officials say more than 556-thousand people in Wisconsin have tested positive for the virus. Just over 62-hundred of them died. -WRN

(Madison) Governor Tony Evers is taking on laws that were passed in the GOP’s lame duck session ahead of his term in office. In his proposed two-year budget, Governor Evers says he wants to undo a swath of those changes that stripped power from the Governor’s office and the Attorney General, just before he took office in 2019. That includes a provision that requires settlement funding be put into the general fund, direct legislative oversight over those settlements, as well as rules that allow Republicans to hire their own counsel to defend laws that are facing constitutional challenges. It’s unlikely that Evers’ budget will be accepted by the Legislature. -WRN

(Randolph) A Randolph man was charged with issuing multiple forged checks. Zachary Haffele allegedly stole a checkbook and an additional 20-to-25 checks and passed them at several area businesses. The total amount issued was $3,080. If convicted, the 34-year-old faces 60 years in prison. An initial appearance is scheduled for March 22nd.

(Beaver Dam) On Monday, SSM Health is opening its new 40,000-square-foot physician office in Beaver Dam, which will house 30 primary and specialty care providers, a prescription center, laboratory and medical imaging services. A virtual tour will be on social media starting Sunday and the Chamber will have a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday.

(Portage) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says work will begin in mid-march on a reconstruction project of Highway 51 between East Pleasant Street and Ontario Street in Portage. Work is slated to be completed by November. More information is available at