News – March 19, 2020

(Columbia County) Two people have tested positive for Coronavirus in Columbia County as the statewide total has exceeded 100 people infected. That is according to a press release issued Wednesday evening from the Columbia County Health Department. The agency says the two individuals have been under quarantine and their department is investigating their close contacts. County Health Officer Susan Lorenz says (quote) “with two confirmed case in our county we continue to urge county residents to take precautions to avoid illness,” She says it’s important for people to monitor the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for the latest information on COVID-19. On Tuesday, Governor [Tony] Evers announced that there is evidence of community spread in Dane, Milwaukee and Kenosha counties. Lorenz says the individuals who tested positive are cooperating with home isolation.

(Madison) The governor and legislative leaders had a COVID-19 conference call on Wednesday. Relations between Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Republicans, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, have not always been great. Now, as they grapple with the fallout of this global pandemic, both sides released statements characterizing their talk as productive. Fitzgerald’s office said they agreed to start daily conversations. The Juneau Republican says the meeting “was a productive discussion” and says it is “clear we all want to do what’s best for our citizens and businesses during these unprecedented and demanding times.”

(Madison) Governor Evers has directed DHS Secretary Andrea Palm to restrict the size of all childcare settings, to no more than 10 staff and 50 children present at a time. The closure will remain in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Providers are being asked to prioritize families of healthcare and essential service providers. Those who can keep their children at home are being asked to do so. The restrictions go into effect at 8am this morning (Thursday).

(Beaver Dam) The city of Beaver Dam has cancelled all non-essential municipal meetings. Their next regularly scheduled meeting is set for April 6 and officials are encouraging the public to consider foregoing in-person attendance in favor of reviewing recorded meetings. Beaver Dam City Hall is closed, except for absentee voting and registration for the April 7 election. However, officials are urging voters to avoid appearing in person by using mailing ballots. City staff will be answering the phone during regular business hours. Most other city buildings are closed indefinitely including the Watermark and the library. The Public Works, Water Utility and Wastewater Utility are closed to the public and available by appointment only. The due date for utility payments has been moved from tomorrow (Friday) to next Friday (March 27). Customers are asked to use the payment drop boxes outside city hall but are also encouraged to consider using their online option through Xpress Bill Pay. Several other communities have closed their city hall, except for early voting, including Horicon, Columbus and Waupun. Mayville City Hall is open but the public is encouraged to take care of most matters online or by phone. Juneau City Hall will be open for in person absentee voting and voter registration for the next two Saturday’s between 9am and 1pm.

(Beaver Dam) State Representative Mark Born announced yesterday (Wednesday) that he is canceling his remaining district office hours. The decision comes after Governor Tony Evers mandated all gatherings be limited to less than ten people. The Beaver Dam Republican says he strongly encourages constituents to reach out directly to his office via phone or e-mail with any questions or concerns. Born’s office at the Capital will also be closed to visitors until further notice. He adds that the office will be available to assist constituents with whatever issues they might have via phone or email. Born was scheduled to be in Beaver Dan, Juneau and Horicon tomorrow (Friday, March 20th). On April 3rd he was set to visit Hartford, Ashippun and Iron Ridge. Contact information is available at

(Beaver Dam) Marshfield Medical Center-Beaver Dam will now screen all patients, visitors and staff to ensure that are not exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus. The measure is in effort to “flatten the curve” and reduce the possibility of transmitting COVID-19. The screening includes answering a few, brief questions and having your temperature taken. Hospital officials say the process should be completed quickly but it is possible a short wait may occur. They encourage patients and visitors to arrive a few minutes early to allow for the screening to be completed. The screens will be done each day.

(Beaver Dam) Alliant Energy is temporarily suspending disconnections for all customers in Wisconsin during the coronavirus public health emergency. The company also plans to collaborate with state partners and organizations with the goal of waiving late fees to help those suffering financial hardships. Alliant Energy says the “temporary suspension will alleviate customer concerns about continued access to their utility service” and “allows them to concentrate on the health of their families and businesses during this unprecedented and rapidly changing situation.” Also, the Alliant Energy Foundation announced yesterday (Wednesday) that they are donating $100,000 to the coronavirus relief efforts in Wisconsin and Iowa. The foundation says the immediate support will benefit non-profit organizations and directly assist community needs in response to the crises. President of Alliant Energy in Wisconsin David de Leon says they are committed to the health and safety of their customers and the communities they live in. $70,000 will be shared between six food banks in both Wisconsin and Iowa, $10,000 will go to the American Red Cross in each state and an additional $10,000 will support organizations providing food and other critical services in specific communities.

(Madison) The COVID-19 crisis comes at a critical time for the state’s already stressed farmers. State Representative Travis Tranel is a full time farmer and serves on the Assembly Agriculture Committee. He’s seeking to reassure his fellow farmers, saying that farmers, and the public, need to know they understand the extent of the crisis that agriculture and related businesses are facing.  Tranel says in the past several days we’ve all realized the critical importance of our nation’s food supply.

(Milwaukee) Miller Park employees missing paychecks due to the coronavirus outbreak are getting some help. The Brewers are pledged one-million dollars to help employees who won’t be working because of the coronavirus. All 30 Major League teams are making the same million-dollar promise. Baseball season was supposed to start next week. Baseball now says the season now might not start until May.

(Waupun) A state appeals court has upheld the conviction of a former police officer found guilty in a large scale burglary spree. Former Waupun police officer Bradley Young was sentenced in 2015 to 15 years in prison for burglaries in seven counties. Young had tried to argue that because the judge in his case once represented one of his victims as an attorney, the judge was biased against him and the sentence should be thrown out. The appeals court noted that the judge in the case didn’t even recognize the victim was a former client until it was brought up at appeal.