Newscast – October 1st, 2020

(Beaver Dam) Citing safety concerns, elected officials in Beaver Dam are discussing a plan to relocate the Department of Public Works at a cost of between $10-million-and-$13-million dollars. Mayor Becky Glewen told us on WBEV’s Community Comment that when she heard the cost, she was shocked and upset, hoping it would come in closer to $8-million dollars. She says the higher-end option looks more professional, allows for future growth and will hold up better over the years than the lower cost options, which only have enough room for current needs. The proposed site is located away from residential properties in a business park off Industrial Drive, behind Conagra Foods. City officials will be discussing the DPW relocation on Monday as they begin making amendments to the city’s 2021 borrowing plan.

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board approved making a few modifications to the county’s COVID-19 emergency declaration. In March, the County Board adopted the resolution that – among other things – gives the board chairman the ability to make pandemic-related purchases without board or committee approval.  This week, the county board adopted the amended resolution that says purchasing and meeting requirements will revert back to pre-pandemic standards. The reason for the change was that several supervisors wished to clarify the chair’s emergency power, noting that state statutes allow local governments to call emergency meetings to discuss purchases.

(Milwaukee) Teachers unions are urging the state Department of Health Services to order virtual instruction in all Wisconsin schools. Milwaukee Teachers Education Association President Amy Mizialko (MIZ-ee-al-co) notes it’s been two weeks since the death of Heidi Husli (hughs-lee), a teacher at Bay Port High School in Brown County. The 47-year-old was diagnosed, hospitalized and dead within nine days from COVID-19. When she was hospitalized, she was making arrangements to teach her students via ZOOM class from her hospital bed. Mizialko invoked Husli’s death as teachers unions called for an end to in-person classes until community spread of the coronavirus is contained. – WRN

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials are reporting 2,319 positive coronavirus cases in Wednesday’s daily update. There are 21,004 active cases in the state, an increase of 752 from Tuesday. State health officials recorded 27 deaths, for a total of 1,327. Dodge County has 17 deaths on record and 1,959 cases, an increase of 28 from Tuesday. County health officials are actively monitoring 445 people.

(Washington DC) U-S Senator Tammy Baldwin wants to promote a bill that would exclude 17 weeks of COVID unemployment payments from federal income taxes.  The Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits Tax Relief Act would exclude the first ten-thousand-200 dollars of unemployment compensation from taxes this year.  Those 600-dollar payments expired in August.  Baldwin said “I’m working with my colleagues to provide tax relief to Wisconsin workers and families that will help them get through these tough times.”  Unemployment compensation is subject to income tax at the federal level and in many states including Wisconsin. – WRN

(Madison) Nearly half of Wisconsin hotels are at risk of closing.  A recent internal survey by the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association shows a staggering 47-percent of Wisconsin hotels and motels could be forced to close in the next year without government loans or grants. More than half of hotel staff in Wisconsin are furloughed or laid off in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some hotels are adjusting by promoting private workspaces available to rent — as an alternative to working from home. – WRN

(Madison) The Wisconsin Elections Commission is continuing to deal with a deluge of campaign mailers that seem to be giving inaccurate information to Wisconsin voters. Spokesman Reid Magney says the most common issue they are seeing is random messages to people saying they are not registered to vote. Magney says a lot of campaigns and organizations seem to be working off poor or outdated information. The best source for that information is either My Vote dot W I dot Gov or your local clerk’s office. – WRN