(Wisconsin) Governor Tony Evers is directing 200 million dollars of federal CARES Act money to Wisconsin’s local and tribal governments. Evers announced the “Routes to Recovery” effort on Wednesday. The money is to be used for unexpected expenses associated with the pandemic that haven’t already been covered through other state virus response efforts. How much a local government gets will be based on its population. The Wisconsin Department of Administration is administering the grant program. There’s a guaranteed minimum $5,000 allocation.
(Waupun) The Wisconsin National Guard has collected roughly 1,300 specimens combined at two local prisons during their ongoing operation to test for coronavirus. A press release issued yesterday (Wednesday) says two teams collected 350 specimens at Dodge Correctional in Waupun while another two teams collected nearly 1,000 specimens at Waupun Correctional. No state prison has had more inmates test positive for COVID-19 than Waupun Correctional with 32 positive tests, according to the Department of Corrections. Dodge Correctional has had zero positive tests.
(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials are reporting 22 more deaths in yesterday’s daily update, bringing the statewide total to 539. Over 16-thousand people have contracted coronavirus to date, with an increase of 599 cases reported on Wednesday, or 5.8-percent of the roughly 9700 tests administered. Dodge County reported four new cases, for a total of 166, with one death on record. Active investigations continue at two Dodge County nursing homes: Bedrock HCS in Beaver Dam and the Waupun Christian Home in Waupun.
(Wisconsin) Three meat packing plant employees in north central Wisconsin have tested positive for coronavirus. The Marathon and Clark County Health Departments are working together to trace and contain the virus after employees at Abbyland Foods tested positive this week. Abbyland’s Safety Director Todd Jelinski said in a statement they had already implemented CDC recommended prevention guidelines including masks, reconfigured workspaces, social distancing, and increased sanitation in high traffic areas. He made no indication of any plant slowdowns or closures in the statement. Abbyland Foods employs nearly one-thousand people in both counties near Abbotsford.
(Wisconsin) The Wisconsin Elections Commission on Wednesday unanimously agreed to send roughly 2.7 million voters an absentee ballot application. WisPolitics reports that commission staff anticipate just 10 percent of recipients will respond to the mailing, which will cost around $2.3 million, but that the anticipated response rate was a “crude estimate” based on experience with past mailings. The final mailing is set to go to all registered voters in the state — except those who have already requested an absentee ballot and those who may have moved and have not confirmed their address. The commission also approved a grant program that would send each municipality $200 plus $1.10 for each registered voter to cover upcoming costs.
(Wisconsin) 200-thousand people in Wisconsin were able to vote in April without showing a photo I-D. The Wisconsin Elections Commission says those voters declared themselves “indefinitely confined” because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Elections Commission says about 70-thousand confined voters cast ballots in a typical year. Local officials in Milwaukee and Madison encouraged people to declare themselves confined because of the coronavirus, but were later told to stop by the State Supreme Court.
(Wisconsin) A decision on whether or not to cancel the 2020 Wisconsin State Fair due to the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult one. That from Governor Evers, who says he’s attended for the past 51 years. The State Fair Board of Directors voted Tuesday to give board Chairman John Yingling authority to cancel, after the Minnesota State Fair cancelled last week.
(Beaver Dam) There could soon be three retail stores coming to Beaver Dam. Marshalls, Ross Dress For Less and Five Below are in talks with representatives with the Heritage Village Mall. City officials are working on an $800-thousand dollar incentives package that would complement a $4-million dollar investment in the space formerly occupied by the Boston Store, that would be leased to the retailers. The Beaver Dam Community Development Committee yesterday (Wed) unanimously advanced the incentive packages on to the full common council for consideration. The funding for the incentives would come from TIF #8, which was established two years ago to prevent the onset of blight, repair roads and parking lots and encourage private development through incentives. The stores have indicated that they would like to be open by this winter or early spring of next year.
(Dodge County) The jobless rate in Dodge County spiked to 12-percent in April as the economic realities of the pandemic began to take hold, an increase of nearly nine-percent from March. The state Department of Workforce Development released figures yesterday indicating what was expected, the unemployment rate increased in every Wisconsin county over the two-month period, ranging from 9.9-percent in Lafayette County to 26.2-percent in Menominee County. Green Lake County was the highest in our area, reporting a 20.5-percent rate last month, up around 16-percent.
(Wisconsin) The state’s unemployment program has been struggling to handle all the claims that have been made since the start of the pandemic, and there’s a good reason, according to DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman. He laid out just how hard the unemployment system was hit at the start of the pandemic. He says that the current restrictions that are in place are ones that are created by either state and federal statutes, or a lack of funding for improvements to the system over the past decade.
(Wisconsin) Federal unemployment enhancement is costing nearly double what the state of Wisconsin is paying-out in jobless claims. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says it’s paid-out nearly 482-million dollars in unemployment benefits since the coronavirus started shutting down the economy. The agency also says it’s paid-out almost 870-million in federal enhancements over the same period. The enhancement adds an extra 600 dollars a week for the unemployed. Some business owners complain that extra money is making it tough for them to get employees to come back to work.
(Pardeeville) Two people from Pardeeville have been arrested on various drug related charges. On Monday, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on South Main Street in Pardeeville and located large amounts of controlled substances, firearms and cash. 32-year-old Tiffany Matthew was taken into custody at the time of the warrant while 32-year-old Joshua Luckey was arrested yesterday (Wednesday). Both are facing a variety of charges including Maintaining a Drug Trafficking Place, Neglecting a Child and over a half-dozen drug possession charges.