Saturday, December 11, 2021

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COVID-19 in Wisconsin: Cases back up, deaths down

 The state reported 46 more deaths, including 21 in the past 30 days

The more contagious strain of the virus could soon be the dominant variant in Wisconsin.(WMTV)

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Coronavirus cases in Wisconsin edged back up Friday as the Department of Health Services issued its third and final COVID-19 report for the week. The DHS reported Thursday it was working through a backlog of records and didn’t release reports Monday or Tuesday after a database upgrade and maintenance to the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System last weekend.


Friday’s report shows 5,664 new COVID-19 virus cases diagnosed in the latest test results. The 7-day average is up to 3,183 cases per day, up from 3,024 yesterday. Dodge County topped 17,000 cases. Menominee County passed 1,000 cases.

The positivity rate is back over 11%, after dropping below that mark yesterday for the first time in a week. The DHS calculates 11.6% of all tests in the last 7 days was positive for COVID-19.


Nine counties in WBAY’s viewing area had almost one-third of the COVID-19 deaths reported to the state Friday: Brown (1), Calumet (2), Door (1), Fond du Lac (3), Forest (1), Marinette (1), Oconto (1), Outagamie (1), Sheboygan (1) and Winnebago (3). County case and death totals are updated later in this article.

The statewide death toll is up 46 from a day ago, but the DHS says fewer than half of those were in the past 30 days. The 21 recent deaths helped nudged the 7-day average down from 23 to 21 per day. A total 9,344 people have died during the pandemic, which is more than 1 out of 100 cases (1.03%).


Another 212 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in the past 24-hour period. A total 48,033 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment since the pandemic began, or 1 in 20 cases.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) releases daily numbers taking discharges and deaths into account. Friday showed a net increase of 27 patients in hospitals, up to 1,634, the most COVID-19 patients at one time in over a year, since December 4, 2020. There are 436 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, an increase of 8, the most since November 25, 2020.

The Northeast health care region hospitals have 158 of the patients, up 4 from Thursday, with 33 in ICU, down 2. Combined, the 10 hospitals reported 2 ICU beds immediately available out of 207, no intermediate care beds, and 30 of 462 medical surgical beds.

Fox Valley hospitals have 141 patients, the same as yesterday, with 21 in ICU, which is two more than yesterday. The 13 hospitals report no ICU or intermediate care beds available and 2 of 450 medical surgical beds among them.


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) says COVID-19 numbers declined in more counties this week but the spread of the virus remains “very high” in most of the state.

The weekly update from the DHS says virus activity is still “critically high” in 19 counties, “very high” in 52, and “high” in 1 county. There are no counties where the spread is moderate or low. A week ago, it was critically high in 26 counties and very high in the remaining 46. Menominee is the one county that saw improvement to have “high” spread of the disease instead of very high. The counties we’re tracking in WBAY’s viewing area:

  • Critically High: Brown, Forest, Kewaunee, Outagamie, Winnebago
  • Very High: Calumet, Dodge, Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Oconto, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara
  • High: Menominee

The state says virus activity increased in almost 20 counties over the past two weeks. The rest saw no significant change. No counties saw virus activity shrink over the last two weeks.


Monday marks one year since the first vaccinations in Wisconsin. The state is nearing a total 8 million doses (7,958,447) of COVID-19 vaccines administered. This includes more than 1.25 million booster shots (1,250,722). Thursday, 16- and 17-year-olds became eligible for boosters.

The Department of Health Services says 59.3% of the state’s population received at least one dose of vaccine, including 56.3% of the population that completed their vaccinations.

The DHS website still doesn’t report vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds, who became eligible for kid-sized doses of Pfizer vaccine more than 4 weeks ago. With three weeks between shots, some have already completed their vaccination series.

FRIDAY’S VACCINATIONS BY AGE GROUP (and change since last report)

  • 12 to 15: 50.4% received vaccine (+0.0)/47.1% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 16 and 17: 54.4% received vaccine (+0.0)/51.2% completed vaccinations (+0.0)
  • 18 to 24: 55.3% received vaccine (+0.1)/50.6% completed vaccinations (+0.0)
  • 25 to 34: 60.1% received vaccine (+0.1)/55.9% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 35 to 44: 67.0% received vaccine (+0.0)/63.5% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 45 to 54: 67.6% received vaccine (+0.1)/64.7% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 55 to 64: 75.9% received vaccine (+0.1)/73.2% completed vaccinations (+0.0)
  • 65 and up: 87.7% received vaccine (+0.1)/84.5% completed vaccinations (+0.1)

To find free COVID-19 vaccination sites near you, text your ZIP Code to 438829.


County (Population)
(Health region)
% of population
with at least 1 dose
% of population
completed series
Brown (264,542) (NE)60.3%57.8%
Calumet (50,089) (FV)53.1%51.1%
Dodge (87,839)48.8% (+0.1)46.6% (+0.1)
Door (27,668) (NE)75.1% (+0.1)71.1% (+0.1)
Fond du Lac (103,403) (SE)51.9% (+0.1)49.6% (+0.1)
Forest (9,004)49.6% (+0.1)47.0% (+0.1)
Florence (4,295) (NE)48.9% (+0.2)46.9% (+0.2)
Green Lake (18,913) (FV)53.9%51.4%
Kewaunee (20,434) (NE)49.4%47.9%
Langlade (19,189)51.5% (+0.1)49.0% (+0.1)
Manitowoc (78,981) (NE)56.6%54.3% (+0.1)
Marinette (40,350) (NE)50.1%47.6% (-0.1)
Menominee (4,556) (FV)71.6% (-0.1)69.2% (-0.1)
Oconto (37,930) (NE)50.4% (+0.3)48.5% (+0.3)
Outagamie (187,885) (FV)59.4% (-0.1)57.0% (-0.1)
Shawano (40,899) (FV)45.0%43.1% (+0.1)
Sheboygan (115,340) (SE)58.1% (+0.1)55.6% (+0.1)
Waupaca (50,990) (FV)52.2% (+0.1)49.9%
Waushara (24,443) (FV)43.3%41.4%
Winnebago (171,907) (FV)57.5%54.9%
NORTHEAST REGION (474,200) (NE)276,539 (58.3%)264,798 (55.8%)
FOX VALLEY REGION (549,682) (FV)306,304 (55.7%)293,185 (53.3%, -0.1)
WISCONSIN (5,822,434)3,454,773 (59.3%)3,283,011 (56.4%, +0.1)

FRIDAY’S COUNTY CASE AND DEATH TOTALS (boldface indicates change in cases or deaths since the last report) **

  • Brown – 46,615 cases (+363) (286 deaths) (+1)
  • Calumet – 8,279 cases (+57) (67 deaths) (+2)
  • Dickinson (Mich.)* - 3,522 cases (+26) (72 deaths) (+1)
  • Dodge – 17,071 cases (+157) (213 deaths)
  • Door – 4,080 cases (+21) (36 deaths) (+1)
  • Florence - 601 cases (cases revised -1 by state) (14 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 19,302 cases (+155) (166 deaths) (+3)
  • Forest - 1,675 cases (+13) (31 deaths) (+1)
  • Gogebic (Mich.)* - 1,788 cases (+20) (29 deaths) (+1)
  • Green Lake - 2,863 cases (+22) (35 deaths)
  • Iron (Mich.)* – 1,604 cases (+12) (57 deaths)
  • Kewaunee – 3,406 cases (+13) (35 deaths)
  • Langlade - 3,420 cases (+9) (45 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 11,757 cases (+75) (102 deaths)
  • Marinette - 7,020 6,989 cases (+31) (76 deaths) (+1)
  • Menominee (Mich.)* - 2,959 cases (+23) (50 deaths)
  • Menominee – 1,002 cases (+5) (11 deaths)
  • Oconto – 6,767 cases (+29) (67 deaths) (+1)
  • Outagamie – 29,464 cases (+200) (266 deaths) (+1)
  • Shawano – 6,920 cases (+45) (84 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 19,828 cases (+136) (179 deaths) (+1)
  • Waupaca – 7,985 cases (+43) (156 deaths)
  • Waushara – 3,435 cases (+12) (54 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 27,471 cases (+113) (263 deaths) (+3)

* You can find cases and deaths for all 72 Wisconsin counties on the DHS County Data website. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Wisconsin Hospital Association publishes updates Mondays through Fridays. Michigan Department of Health updates information on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

** Cases and deaths are from state COVID-19 reports, which may differ from local health department numbers. The Wisconsin DHS reports cases from all health departments within a county’s boundaries, including tribal, municipal and county health departments; county websites may not. Also, public health departments update their data at various times, whereas the DHS freezes the numbers it receives by the same time every day to compile the afternoon report.


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Racine dedicates historical markers for abolitionist history

From TMJ4:

Photo by: City of Racine

Posted at 8:11 AM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 10:24 AM, Dec 10, 2021

RACINE, Wis. — A dedication ceremony was held in Racine on Thursday for the installation of 9 historical abolitionist markers, which are spread throughout the downtown area. The markers are placed at sites that were involved in the Underground Railroad.

Racine Mayor Cory Mason said that “Racine has rich abolitionist history and I grateful for the work we have all done to commemorate the places and people that helped bring slaves to freedom. It is important that future generations know the role our City played in freeing slaves and these historical markers a great reminder of our legacy.”

Other speakers at the dedication ceremony included GeorgAnn Stinson, president of Professional Women's Network for Service, and Pauline G. Mitchell, the Underground Railroad Project Director. Some of the markers were placed at the Racine Heritage Museum, Monument Square, 826 State Street, and First Presbyterian Church.

Chris Paulson, executive director of the Racine Heritage Museum, said, "We are thrilled to see this project underway. These permanent markers, together, comprise a remarkable educational resource for the community, and a lasting reminder of Racine County’s unique role in a very critical time in our nation’s history.


Police: 15-year-old arrested for stealing car with 2 toddlers inside in Racine

From TMJ4:

Photo by: EW Scripps

Posted at 3:11 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 5:17 PM, Dec 10, 2021

RACINE, Wis. — A 15-year-old boy was arrested for stealing a vehicle with a two children inside the car and fleeing from police on Friday, police say.

According to the Racine Police Department, the vehicle was stolen around 4:30 p.m. Thursday near 16th and Taylor. Police say the vehicle was stolen while a three-year-old and one-year-old were inside the car.

Police were able to quickly locate the stolen vehicle. The vehicle then fled in a reckless manner at a high rate of speed, police say. Due to the danger of the children and public, officers stopped directly pursuing the vehicle.

Police say the children were located in the 2900 block of Washington Ave. uninjured. The children were evaluated and returned to family.

On Friday around 9 a.m., police found the stolen vehicle on the south side of Racine. When police attempted to stop the vehicle again, the car once again sped away.

Police say the driver, a 15-year-old Racine boy, was arrested near 21st and Ohio. He was arrested for the following:

  • Reckless endangering safety (2 counts)
  • Fleeing and eluding (2 counts)
  • Operating a vehicle without owner's consent (2 counts)

Racine Police investigators are interested in any additional information that anyone may have about this incident. Any witnesses, or citizens with information, are urged to call the Racine Police Department Investigations Unit at (262) 635-7756.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers by phone at (262) 636-9330, or through the Crime Stoppers app by using the p3 app.


Open Blog - Weekend

 And ends in two days.

Friday, December 10, 2021

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Racine woman charged in Somers stabbing in fight involving group of women

 An alleged fight between a group of women in a parking lot in Petrifying Springs Park, near the University of Wisconsin-Parkside campus, Tuesday ended with one person stabbed and an 18-year-old Racine woman facing two felony charges.

Makyla D. Murphy, of the 900 block of 11th Street, is charged with felony counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and substantial battery, along with a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, all with the use of a dangerous weapon.

The recklessly endangering safety charge carries a possible maximum prison term of 7.5 years, while the battery charge carries a possible prison term of 18 months.

Murphy, who posted a $500 cash bond, has a preliminary hearing set for Dec. 28 before Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Larry Keating.

According to the criminal complaint, a deputy with the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department responded to Froedtert Kenosha Hospital to meet with a female who had been stabbed. The victim had been driven there by friends after an apparent fight.

Read more:

Vos says Biden president, won't disavow conspiracy theories

From TMJ4:

Photo by: Scott Bauer/AP
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, file photo, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos speaks during a news conference, in Madison, Wis. Assembly Republicans were set to hand Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul another defeat Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, scheduling a vote on a bill creating sexual assault evidence kit testing protocols after tacking on divisive provisions critics say are designed to ensure it never becomes law. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer, File)
Posted at 9:03 PM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 9:04 PM, Dec 09, 2021

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly's top Republican is refusing to say claims that Joe Biden stole the 2020 presidential election are conspiracy theories.

Speaker Robin Vos told WDJT-TV in an interview aired Thursday that many people legitimately believe Biden stole the election from Republican Donald Trump.

Asked if he thought the election was stolen, Vos said only that Biden is the president.

Vos hired former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman earlier this year to investigate the election in Wisconsin.

He defended Gableman's decision to hire partisan investigators, saying he wants people who will ask questions working on the probe.

Vos said Democrats are trying to smear Gableman but he doesn't worry about how the public views Gableman or his assistants.


Band teacher in Racine Co. charged with sexually assaulting children

From TMJ4:

Photo by: Kenosha County Sheriff's Office
Zachary P. Wendt
Posted at 11:54 AM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 9:37 PM, Dec 09, 2021

RACINE COUNTY — A band teacher in Racine County was charged with sexually assaulting children and possessing child pornography.

Zachary P. Wendt is facing a number of charges including sexual assault of a child by a person who works or volunteers with children, and sexual intercourse with a child 16 years or older.

The Wheatland School District told parents Wednesday night that the allegations occurred off district property and did not include students.

While we typically do not use mug shots in our news coverage, we are making an exception in this case given the potential of more victims.

Zachary P. Wendt
Zachary P. Wendt

Court records show Wendt was charged with:

  • Sexual Intercourse with Child 16 or Older, Actor 19 or Older Misd. A
  • Sexual Assault of Child by Person Who Works or Volunteers with Children Felony H
  • Sexual Intercourse with Child 16 or Older, Actor 19 or Older Misd. A
  • Sexual Assault of Child by Person Who Works or Volunteers with Children Felony H
  • Possession of Child Pornography Felony D
  • Possession of Child Pornography Felony D
  • Possession of Child Pornography Felony D
  • Exposing Genitals/Pubic Area/Intimate Parts to a Child

Burlington Police said an online tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sparked the investigation into 38-year-old Wendt.

According to the criminal complaint, a 16-year-old girl, identified only by her initials, told police that she and Wendt worked together at the Musicology store. He also gives private music lessons at the Musicology Store in Burlington, according to the store's website.


The 16-year-old girl said in February of this year they began "sexting."

The teen told investigators said she and Wendt drank together and had sex at his Burlington home on two occasions.

The girl said Wendt told her not to tell anyone, because he would lose his children and that he would send some of his students to her for lessons.

The teen told police Wendt is also a band teacher at Wheatland.

Zachary P. Wendt
Zachary P. Wendt

His bond was set at $500,000 during his initial appearance in Racine County Court Thursday afternoon. He kept his head down for most of the brief appearance. He has a preliminary hearing on Thursday, Dec. 16.

District officials say Wendt has been suspended without pay.

In a letter to parents, the Wheatland School District did not name Wendt, but said an employee was arrested and suspended without pay pending an investigation.

The district administrator went on to say that the accusations did not involve district students. Due to the situation, the middle school band concert was postponed.

Read the school district’s letter below:

"Dear Parents and Guardians:

I am writing with some very troubling news. Late last evening, I was informed by the Burlington Police Department that a Wheatland J1 School District employee was arrested. He has been suspended without pay effective immediately, pending an investigation.

We have been informed that the arrest was made in relation to an alleged situation that occurred off district property and did not include any Wheatland J1 School District students. Due to the circumstances surrounding this investigation, the middle school 5-8 band concert scheduled for tomorrow, December 9, 2021 will be postponed.

Please know that there is no additional information we can share at this time as this is an active investigation. As a school district, our first and most important responsibility is to ensure the safety of our students. We will continue to do everything we can to make that happen. School officials and district counselors will be available to answer questions students may have during the next several days.

Martin McGinley

District Administrator"

Neighbors we talked to said they were surprised at the accusations.

Burlington police are asking potential victims related to this case to contact them.


Open Blog - Friday

Yes sir.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

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Racine police: Suspect wanted, considered armed and dangerous

From Fox6Now:

Jalon Malone (Courtesy: RPD)

The Racine Police Department is searching for 24-year-old Jalon Malone. There are active warrants for his arrest, police said, and he should be considered armed and dangerous.

On Oct. 15, police were called to a home near 10th and College for a domestic incident. There, officers found cocaine, marijuana, guns, cash and other evidence – identifying Malone as a suspect.

Malone has not been found. He is wanted for possession with intent to deliver cocaine and THC, possession of a firearm by a felon, child neglect, disorderly conduct, felony probation hold and other charges, according to police.

Anyone with information on Malone’s whereabouts is asked to call police at 262-635-7774 or Crime Stoppers at 262-636-9330.


Open Blog - Thursday

Happy happy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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K9 Riggs and Deputy Tifft honored for hard work, courage

From TMJ4:

Photo by: Facebook/Kenosha County Government
K9 Riggs survived a gunshot wound to the head on Oct. 21.
Posted at 8:35 PM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 8:35 PM, Dec 07, 2021

KENOSHA, Wis. — K9 Riggs and Kenosha County Sheriff Department Deputy Terry Tifft were presented with a Certificate of Recognition during Tuesday's County Board meeting.

The certificate was in honor of the pair's hard work and courage in the line of duty.

K9 Riggs returned to duty with his handler, Deputy Tifft, on Nov. 29, after previously being shot in the head in the line of duty. Officials said he returned after emergency surgery and a "miraculous" recovery.

"Kenosha County salutes their service, along with that of all law enforcement officers who face the potential for harm in the line of duty every day," Kensoha County Government posted on Facebook Tuesday night.

Riggs saved the lives of several deputies, says Tifft when officers had responded to a gas station in Bristol, just west of Kenosha, in October.

According to the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department, deputies were there to look for a stolen car and its driver, a man suspected of murder in Chicago that same day.

Deputies found him, and the man attempted to flee, according to the sheriff's department.

But Riggs chased him down and tackled him.

The suspect shot Riggs in the head. And deputies responded by shooting the suspect, who according to police is in stable condition at a hospital.

Tifft previously told TMJ4 that the rest was a blur.

"I don't remember. I just flew to the vet," he said.

Riggs is a lucky dog. The bullet entered the top of his head and exited out the back, bruising the skull but not fracturing it or hitting any vital parts.

"It is a miracle, it's a great miracle," said Tifft.