News – July 11, 2020

(Madison) A new pre-registration system for people getting COVID-19 tests is being tried out, at the community testing site in Madison. Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Paul Knapp says the Wisconsin Connect system is working well there, where wait times had been stretching up to three hours earlier this week. The Wisconsin Connect system allows people to fill out all of the pre-screening information that they would before have been asked by a National Guard member. The program will be implemented at community testing sites across the state as based on the volume of tests being requested. – WRN

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials are reporting a record increase of 845 cases of COVID-19 in yesterday’s (Friday’s) daily update. Six-point-seven percent (6.7%) of the nearly 12,000 tests administered came back positive Friday, compared to 5.7-percent Thursday. There are 6,605 active cases in the state, up over 300 cases from yesterday. Active cases make up roughly 19-percent of the 34,753 people who have tested positive to date. So far, there have been 27,329 recoveries. State health officials reported five more deaths bringing that number to 814. Deaths accounted for 2.3-percent of all cases in Wisconsin while 10.8-percent of those known to have contracted the virus needed to be hospitalized. Dodge County has five deaths on record and 501 cases, an increase of nine from Thursday. The county had 177 negative tests returned for a running total of 11,658. Local public health officials are actively monitoring 28 people. Washington County has 17 deaths on record along with 466 positive cases. Fond du Lac County has six deaths and 364 positive tests, up ten from Thursday. Jefferson County has four deaths and 338 cases, 23 more than Thursday. There has been one death in Columbia County where there have been 113 positive cases. Green Lake County has 41 cases.

(Ashland) At least 13 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a hockey tournament and skills clinic held in Ashland late last month. Cases include both kids and adults in a tri-state area, according to a news release from county and tribal public health agencies and Memorial Medical Center of Ashland. Those cases are expected to increase as test results are confirmed. The Superior Telegram reports ripple effects from the outbreak include temporary closure of multiple businesses, suspended operations at others, a high volume of test requests at local medical providers and an enormous amount of time spent by public health departments to contact trace the outbreak.– WRN

(Madison) Add a substitute teacher shortage to the list of possible problems caused by the coronavirus. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction says the virus may scare away subs this fall. Many districts in Wisconsin have had trouble finding enough qualified substitutes for years. D-P-I says fear of catching or spreading the virus will likely only make that worse.– WRN

(Madison) Interim UW System President Tommy Thompson wants more money for coronavirus precautions. Thompson is asking Governor Evers for 110-million dollars for the next school year. That’s to buy face masks and coronavirus tests for students this fall. The request is on top of the 100-million that the system already got in coronavirus stimulus money. Wisconsin college and university students will be required to wear masks this fall.– WRN

(Madison) UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank reacts to this week’s “guidance” from the Trump administration, which will not allow international students to stay in the U-S if they are taking classes online only. Blanks there are many reasons for foreign students to be in Madison. Blank tells PBS that the UW oppose the new rule from ICE, and is working to change it.– WRN

(Madison) The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled yesterday/Friday that three of Governor Tony Evers’ partial vetoes to the state budget were unconstitutional. However, the conservative majority could not agree on a rationale for why the three partial vetoes violated the Wisconsin Constitution. The court also upheld one of Evers’ partial vetoes. Five justices concluded Evers vetoes to the school bus modernization fund unconstitutional, with the same five also finding the same on his vetoes to the local roads improvement fund. Four justices concluded vetoes to the vapor products tax were unconstitutional, and five ruled vetoes to the vehicle registration fees WERE constitutional.  In a separate case, the court declined to overturn partial vetoes that Governor Scott Walker issued in the 2017-19 budget, ruling the challenge was filed too late.– WRN

(Madison) Governor Tony Evers is starting the process to re-draw the state’s political map. Evers is taking applications for his People’s Map Commission. Legislative and congressional district boundaries largely control who gets elected. Evers says the map should be drawn by voters. But Republicans, who control the legislature, say the state’s constitution is clear, and lawmakers have the power to draw the maps.

(Madison) It’s been two years since part of downtown Sun Prairie exploded, and the city is still feeling the effects. Mayor Paul Esser says plans to redevelop the several empty lots have stalled due to the pandemic, but they’re still working on it.

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The city yesterday (Friday) unveiled a statue to honor Fire Captain Cory Barr who died in the explosion.

(Milwaukee) Harley-Davidson is eliminating 700 jobs as part of a rebuild called “The Rewire.” The motorcycle-maker says 200 of the 700 positions are already vacant.  The rest of the employees should be laid off by the end of the year.  Harley-Davidson is making “significant changes,” including the departure of Chief Financial Officer John Olin.  Harley has six thousand employees worldwide.  About one thousand workers are at its Menomonee Falls plant.

(Juneau) The 2020 Dodge County Plat Book is now available for purchase. County Clerk Karen Gibson says the books were officially released July 1st at a cost of $30. She says they can be purchased at her office located on the first floor of the administration building located on 127 East Oak Street in Juneau. Visitors to the building are asked to use the Miller Street entrance. The plat book can also be bought through the mail for an additional $3.50 postage and handling fee. Gibson says all transactions must be completed by cash or check and all payments need to be received before books are mailed out. Plat books come out every few years, are roughly 80 pages long and show all property ownership and public hunting lands in Dodge County’s various townships.

(Watertown) A registered nurse at Watertown Regional Medical Center (WRMC) was recently recognized for her efforts both at work and in the community. Julie Gentz was a recipient of the 2020 Mercy Award, which highlights one employee from each LifePoint hospital who profoundly touches the lives of others. As a registered nurse in surgery, Gentz is often the last staff member patients communicate with before a surgery. Hospital officials say she understands their needs and is always ready to lend an open ear and provide answers. Gentz is an active member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Juneau and is involved in the parish’s nursing program. The group provides monthly blood pressure monitoring and a ‘Soup for Souls’ program that offers food for the sick and home bound. At work, Gentz helps educate fellow nurses on how to keep patients safe and comfortable and helps future nurses at Moraine Park Technical College. Hospital CEO Richard Keddington says they are extremely proud to recognize Gentz for her willingness to serve their patients and citizens of the surrounding communities. He says she goes above and beyond each and every day to ensure every person she encounters receives the highest level of care and compassion.