Wisconsin Weekly: ‘Last summer on Earth?’ A senior citizen, confined in assisted living, moves out

Isolation prompts move; stay-at-home arrests hit Black people harder; foreign students may be forced to flee; GOP wants jobless relief; WI prison employees must mask up

Of note: This week we highlight our latest installment in Outbreak Wisconsin, a series of audio diaries in collaboration with WPR featuring residents coping with the lingering coronavirus pandemic. When we first met Beverly Blietz, she was living in an assisted living facility where she was largely confined to her small apartment. Citing growing despair over her isolation, Blietz moved in with her daughter. The move resurrected a recurring dream from her flying days: “Throttle forward, the surge of power, accelerating … breaking the bonds of earth, and free again.”

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Courtesy of Beverly Bleitz

85-year-old Beverly Blietz found herself involuntarily locked down in her senior living facility when the pandemic hit. She is seen here in 2016 posing with a friend’s plane that was similar to one she owned..

‘What if this is to be my last summer on Earth?’ Confined by lockdown, Beverly Blietz decides to move out.

Wisconsin Watch — July 7, 2020

Confined to her apartment since mid-March, senior living facility resident Beverly Blietz grew increasingly depressed. A former recreational pilot, Uber driver, art gallery docent and community volunteer, 85-year-old Blietz loved to drive around Door County visiting with friends and family, but found herself involuntarily locked down when the pandemic hit. Her 680-square-foot apartment, instead of offering independent living, began to feel more like a cage.

Edgar Mendez / Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

A police cruiser drives in the Amani neighborhood on Milwaukee’s North Side in this 2018 photo.

Milwaukee Police stay-at-home arrests reveal deep racial disparities

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service/Wisconsin Watch — July 2, 2020

African Americans make up the majority of residents arrested on charges of violating Milwaukee’s stay-at-home order, according to data obtained from the Milwaukee Police Department through a public records request.

Jeff Miller / UW-Madison

A collection of international flags at a UW-Madison event.

UW-Madison’s foreign students must transfer or leave U.S. if fall classes move online

Wisconsin State Journal — July 8, 2020

Thousands of international students pursuing degrees at UW-Madison may be forced to leave the country, risk deportation or transfer to another institution if the university moves all of its classes online this fall in the interest of public health. It is part of a national crisis in higher education after the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the new guidance for student visa holders.

Wisconsin Republicans push for unemployment loan program

The Cap Times — July 8, 2020

Wisconsin Republicans are calling on Gov. Tony Evers to use federal dollars to fund a bridge loan program for those awaiting unemployment benefit payments in Wisconsin.

Molly Beck / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gov. Tony Evers wears a face mask during a Tuesday briefing with reporters on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Masks now required for Wisconsin prison staff and all state workers as Capitol stays closed to the public

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — July 8, 2020

All state employees, including staff at state-run correctional facilities, will be required to wear masks at all times inside state buildings starting Monday, Wisconsin officials announced. The announcement came just days after Journal Sentinel reporter Rory Linnane, a former Wisconsin Watch intern, reported that families were “terrified” for their loved ones confined with correctional officers and fellow inmates who decline to wear masks.

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