News – May 15, 2020

(Wisconsin) The state Supreme Court’s ruling ending Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order is leading to a patchwork of local decisions. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Associated Press that lawmakers will consider new rules to allowing bars and restaurants to open, but it may be left up to local governments to decide. Evers said that will be confusing, but that Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald “apparently think that different rules are okay.” Counties and municipalities are putting local versions of Evers’ Safer at Home order in place including Madison and Milwaukee. Evers’ chief legal counsel Ryan Nilsestuen said that is allowed. Vos told the AP that if there’s no agreement between Evers and Republicans, there may not be any statewide rule.

(Juneau) The Dodge County Public Health Officer says there will be no issuing of local orders following the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down Safer at Home. Abby Sauer says instead of local orders, the community is being asked to voluntarily take measures to prevent, suppress and control the spread of COVID-19. Businesses and residents are also urged to respond appropriately and responsibly with the lifting of Stay at Home restrictions. Dodge County Public Health will continue to monitor the public health, provide resources to the community and businesses and will take steps, as appropriate, should conditions worsen.

(Wisconsin) Governor Evers went off-topic during Thursday’s briefing on the state’s coronavirus response, to call out state Senator Tom Tiffany. The Republican is the latest to demand the resignation of Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm. Tiffany, the winner in Tuesday’s special election in northern Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, charged Palm with mishandling the state’s pandemic response. He also called her “Evers’ hired gun,” and warned that “she will leave with Wisconsin’s corpse if she continues.”

(Wisconsin) The state Supreme Court’s ruling striking down Safer at Home apparently does not impact the ban on evictions. A spokesperson with state Consumer Protection said the ruling does not impact Governor Tony Evers’ moratorium on evictions, which prohibits them unless there’s an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person. If the moratorium is not extended when it expires on May 26, some people may still be protected through the federal CARES Act which protects people in public housing or with federally-backed mortgages.

(Wisconsin) Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald does not want to talk about bars and restaurants reopening. The Juneau Republican says the focus of his discussions with Governor Tony Evers will be on the big-picture questions about reopening Wisconsin. Fitzgerald said that he expects people to follow social distancing rules as the state reopens, but he expects the state to reopen over the next few days.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin saw an increase of 373 cases in yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) daily update with a total of 11,275 people now having tested positive. State public health officials say there were 13 more deaths reported bringing the statewide total to 434. Hospitalization is down to 17-percent. Dodge County had four new coronavirus case announced, bringing the total to 84 with one death on record.

(Hustisford) A Watertown man was arrested for sixth offense Operating While Intoxicated early Wednesday morning after eyewitnesses found him passed out behind the wheel while stopped at an intersection in the village of Hustisford. Jordan Niemuth wound up leaving the scene on West Griffith and Hustisford streets before deputies arrived but he was arrested a short distance away. In addition to the felony OWI, the 26-year-old was also taken into custody on misdemeanor Resisting Arrest charge and taken to the Dodge County Jail. Cash bond was set at $20-thousand dollars yesterday.

(Watertown) A plea and sentencing hearing was scheduled yesterday (Thursday) for a Watertown teen accused of having inappropriate contact with a minor. Brandon Peters allegedly assaulted the 13-year-old victim roughly ten times between July and October last year. The 17-year-old at first denied the accusations but later reportedly admitted to his actions. If convicted, Peters could face no more than 40 years in prison. Peters is due back in court on June 30th.

(Wisconsin) Senator Tammy Baldwin wants to let people on food stamps use their benefits for delivery or take-out. Wisconsin’s junior senator is signing-on to a letter to the U-S Department of Agriculture that asks to let people in the SNAP program use their benefits for food delivery or curb-side pick-up. The letter says people should not be disadvantaged simply because they rely on government benefits.

(Racine) Gummy Bears will be coming off the production line at a new manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie. The factory is coming to the Prairie Highlands Corporate Park Candy-maker HARIBO has been conditionally approved to build its first U-S plant next September. The company anticipates hiring up to 385 full-time employees, with production going on 24 hours-a-day, Monday-through-Friday.

(Wisconsin) This past April was another record setting month for Lake Michigan’s high water level.  The U-S Army Corps of Engineers says it surpassed the record set back in the mid-80s thanks to seasonal rise.  Water levels will continue to rise through summer, which will keep them at or above record levels.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin gets grade of “F” for social distancing, according to the website Unacast-dot-com. The results released Wednesday show this state has actually gotten worse since the governor’s Safer at Home order went into effect.  Wisconsin got a “D” for average mobility and visits and a “C” for encounter distance – basically, avoiding large gatherings. Dodge County received a “D-“ while Fond du Lac and Jefferson County got an “F.” Only five of the state’s 72 counties got a “B-” rating or higher – Price, Forest, Langlade, Vilas and Green Lake. The U-S as a whole was graded at “D-minus.”

(Waupun) Waupun Emergency Management Director B.J. DeMaa says some businesses closed or limited to certain services because of the global health crisis are using it as an opportunity to make improvements. He notes some businesses have found a way to repurpose their products for use during the COVID-19 outbreak. Others have been able to offer take out or delivery services. He says a few are making improvements and preparing for their eventual reopening. DeMaa says it will be quite a balancing act moving forward.