News – May 22, 2020

(Wisconsin) The unemployment rate in Wisconsin has reached a level not seen since the Great Depression. The state’s jobless rate plunged, from just over three percent in March, to just over 14 percent in April. The Department of Workforce Development said preliminary estimates show that a loss of 385,900 private-sector jobs from March to April, and a total loss of 439,400 total non-farm jobs. April was the first full month of the Safer at Home order imposed by Governor Tony Evers due to the coronavirus pandemic. That forced most nonessential businesses to close and led to crippling unemployment. The state’s unemployment rate is just below national average of 14-point-7 percent.

(Wisconsin) The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development reports 140 thousand applications for unemployment benefits are on hold right now. The state agency says it has just opened a new call center to speed up the investigation of those claims. Secretary Caleb Frostman blames the situation on an unprecedented number of claims and staff levels which were inadequate to handle the volume of cases. Frostman says about 125 adjudicators are dealing with the situation now, 100 are about to be brought onboard, and an external vendor will add 200 more to help deal with the backlog.

(Madison) A report says that Governor Tony Evers, Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, the City of Milwaukee Commissioner of Health, nine other health commissioners and others face a lawsuit filed over recently-overturned Safer-at-Home orders. WTMJ is reporting that 17 individuals, ranging from business owners to a pastor and three political candidates, filed the suit saying that those government leaders and others “promulgated and enforced unlawful local COVID-19 lockdown orders.” They claim that health orders such as Safer-at-Home which were overturned earlier this month, forced them to act “under threat of imprisonment” and “forego their rights to free speech and religious exercise.” Numerous local municipalities put their own safer-at-home orders into place to last beyond the state’s after the Supreme Court overturned it.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials are reporting 472 more cases of COVID-19 in yesterday’s (Thursday’s) updatewhich is five-percent of dailytests. There is a total of 13,885 people now having tested positive. State public health officials reported six deaths bringing the total to 487. A fourth person has died from coronavirus in Fond du Lac County where 148 people have tested positive. Dodge County has nine new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 121 with one death on record. 

(Wisconsin) Wisconsin voters will get an absentee ballot application in the mail this fall. But who will get one remains to be seen. Members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission can’t agree on whether to send an application to every voter in the state, or only voters in communities that are not planning mass absentee-voting mailings of their own. The Commission will try to agree when it meets again next week.

(Beaver Dam) Officials in Beaver Dam area exploring the possibility of mailing absentee ballot applications to city residences. Alderwoman Jaci Shelton asked for the item to be added to the Administrative Committee agenda after being contacted by a city taxpayer who had heard about other communities doing the same thing. Shelton emphasized that the mailing would be for applications for absentee ballots and not the ballots themselves. The committee agreed by consensus to have officials explore the costs of sending the applications to either every registered voter or every household in the city. The matter is expected to be on the agenda for consideration in mid-June.

(Horicon) A construction worker was killed yesterday (Thursday) while working on the Horicon Junior Senior High School. Horicon Police Lieutenant Amy Yahnke (yon-key) says the male, who was in his 30s, was struck in the head and face by falling debris. Officers arriving on scene at 841 Gray Street found the victim with injuries and emergency responders transferred him to paramedic care. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance, where he died of his injuries. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of family. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating. The cause of death is pending though foul play is not suspected. 

(Beaver Dam) A Beaver Dam man accused of hitting a squad car while attempting to run from police is heading to trial after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing. Tamarie Jeffries allegedly struck a Beaver Dam cop car with a vehicle as he fled from a domestic dispute on Wayland Street Saturday on May 9th. According to the criminal complaint, Jeffries speed down North Spring Street at speeds ranging from 45-to-55-miles-per-hour. Jeffries eventually returned to the same address and was subdued by an electronic control device. If convicted, the 28-year-old faces over five-and-a-half-years in prison. An arraignment hearing is scheduled next month.

(Wisconsin) Congressman Glenn Grothman would like to see more research done on the link between Vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19. Research studies by Northwestern University and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland assert vitamin D deficiency may play a role in increasing the severity of symptoms and overall mortality rate in COVID-19 patients. Grothman says good old exposure to the sun or even pill forms of vitamin D could probably help lessen the severity of the disease if you get it.

(Fond du Lac) As people get together for Memorial Day weekend gatherings Fond du Lac County Public Health Officer Kim Mueller urges residents to keep safety recommendations for the COVID-19 pandemic in mind to prevent its spread. She says many of them people know by heart now; practice social distancing of 6 feet or more away from others, wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, if you’re sick stay at home except to get medical care, wear a cloth face covering, avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth when out in public, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. The state’s Department of Health also recommends staying a home as much as possible and avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.

(Dodge County) If the current pandemic has not affected Memorial Day weekend travel plans, state officials are asking those hitting the roadways to drive safely. Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson says safety is their top priority this weekend. He says the state patrol and other police agencies will be enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists who need help. There are several significant road construction projects that may impact Memorial Day weekend travel in Milwaukee, Dane and Jefferson Counties. A full list of the construction projects will be available with this news story at DailyDodge.com.

(Beaver Dam) For the second year in a row, WBEV was named the Station of the Year by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. Your Hometown Station AM1430 took home multiple first place awards among small market radio stations in the state. We took home the top trophy for Digital Operation of the Year and DailyDodge.com was named Best Website. Other first place categories include Best Sportscast, Best Continuing Coverage, Best on Scene Reporting and Best Web Story. Raising over $2-million-dollars for the Children’s Radiothon was awarded Significant Community Impact. And finally, Dr. Jay and Dr. Tom – the Singing Eye Doctors of Vita Park Eye Associates – took home the gold in the category of Best Commercial beating out radio professionals from around the state. The awards were announced over Facebook Live Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.