Hit hard before the pandemic, Wisconsin dairy towns take stock of future — 6/10/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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Today we highlight a story by Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In a dispatch from Clark County town of Loyal, he examines how Wisconsin’s dairyland communities — already ailing due to the depressed farm economy — are responding to extra challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Loyal didn’t have a single documented case of COVID-19 during the safer-at-home stretch, according to city officials. Yet the town’s economy — the taverns, the hair salons, the bakery and other shops on Main Street — took a major hit practically overnight. The schools, the American Legion hall, the churches, shut down as well,” Barrett reports. “Hundreds of towns across the state are in a similar predicament.” 

Top Stories

Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Carol Hubing gives longtime customer Franz Grossenbacher a haircut at her salon in Loyal on May 15. Grossenbacher was one of her first customers since the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled business restrictions put into place by Gov. Tony Evers.

‘A slow healing process’: Slammed by the dairy crisis, shuttered by the coronavirus, small towns forge aheadMilwaukee Journal Sentinel

Madison mayor, City Council ask Dane County Sheriff to have inmates with COVID-19 get ‘proper treatment’Wisconsin State Journal 

La Crosse area YMCA temporarily closing all school-age care sites due to COVID-19 case involving staffLa Crosse Tribune 

Person who attended Black Lives Matter protest in Stevens Point tests positive for COVID-19Stevens Point Journal 

Pomp and strange circumstance: MMSD Class of 2020 laments lost traditions, looks ahead amid COVID-19The Cap Times 

UW studying ‘COVID toes,’ skin condition apparently linked to COVID-19Wisconsin State Journal 

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Government updates

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Gov. Tony Evers’ office

U.S. Centers and Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization 


“I don’t let negativity settle in my head and shake me. I have dreams and goals, and I will achieve them.”

Sharifah “Bibi” Nur Muhamad, a Rohingya refugee who was looking forward to speaking as a valedictorian at Bradley Tech High School in Milwaukee before the pandemic struck, as quoted by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.

Data to note

In a national survey on workplace retaliation during the pandemic, black workers were about twice as likely as white workers to report that they or a colleague may have been punished or fired for raising concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. 

The National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit that supports protections for low-wage workers and the unemployed, found that 19% of black workers, 14% of Hispanic or Latino workers and 9% of white workers answered “yes” or “maybe” to the question: “Have you or has anyone at your company been punished or fired for raising concerns about the risk of coronavirus spreading at the workplace?”

“Unfortunately, workplace retaliation during the pandemic is not as uncommon as you might think,” Irene Tung, senior researcher and policy analyst with NELP and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “Our survey shows two parallel dynamics are at play: vocal workers are being punished, and other workers are staying quiet to avoid job repercussions.” 

See the full survey results here.

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatchmediapartners.wpcomstaging.com.

Local female veteran, single mom bounces back after losing job and getting COVID-19WTMJ-TV 

Columbus schools and Lamers Bus Lines put in extra effort to feed area childrenColumbus Journal 

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