Associated Press

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Wisconsin health officials urged people Thursday to spend the Fourth of July weekend at home as coronavirus infections surge in the state.

The virus has spiked in Southern and Western states in recent weeks, but also parts of the Midwest. Wisconsin has had a nearly 20% rise in the past two weeks in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started, the state Department of Health Services said.

Teran Powell

The Wisconsin Supreme Court won't hear oral arguments in a lawsuit seeking to purge thousands of voters from the rolls until at least September, raising questions about whether the justices will rule before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Andy Manis / Getty Images

Federal prosecutors on Friday charged a Black man whose arrest triggered a violent protest in Wisconsin's capital city with extorting local businesses.

The photos of Black people who were killed by law enforcement or private citizens that were found hanging by nooses in a Milwaukee park were put there by a Black man trying to teach his son a history lesson and invoke a community conversation, the Milwaukee County sheriff's department said Friday.

The department decided against recommending charges, saying in a statement that it was “a misguided attempt to shed light on a subject difficult to grasp in this country.”

Susan Bence

Gov. Tony Evers called on the Wisconsin Legislature to pass a package of criminal justice reforms as the state celebrated Juneteenth on Friday.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Updated at 12:46 p.m. CT

The University of Wisconsin System regents' leader has picked Republican darling Tommy Thompson as the system's interim president, delivering another twist in what has become a messy search to replace outgoing President Ray Cross during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropped from 13.6% in April to 12% in May, a “nice surprise” that reflects just the very beginning of the state's reopening after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the governor's stay-at-home order.

Maayan Silver / WUWM

The Wisconsin Elections Commission gave final approval to a mailing that will put absentee ballot application forms in the hands of 2.7 million registered voters ahead of the November presidential election.

The commission, split evenly among Republicans and Democrats, previously voted unanimously in favor of sending the mailing to about 80% of registered voters. But it didn't give final approval to the letter that will accompany it until Wednesday. The mailing is in anticipation of a surge of absentee voting in the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Al Bello / Getty Images

Two population health studies in Wisconsin are being launched to better understand where COVID-19 is in the state, identify communities at risk for a future outbreak and help prevent the spread of the virus, the state Department of Health Services announced Wednesday.

Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office

An attorney who spat on a high school student during an anti-racism rally and march in a Milwaukee suburb has been charged with a hate crime.

Lawyer Stephanie Rapkin, who is white, showed up at the protest last Saturday in Shorewood and parked her car in the street, blocking the march.

When protesters approached her to urge her to move her car, video shows Rapkin spitting on a black teen, Eric Lucas, a junior at Shorewood High School. The 17-year-old helped organize and lead the march.

'It's Broken': Fears Grow About Patchwork US Election System

Jun 12, 2020
Chuck Quirmbach

The chaos that plagued Georgia’s primary this week is raising concerns about a potential broader failure of the nation’s patchwork election system that could undermine the November presidential contest, political leaders and elections experts say.

With less than five months to go, fears are mounting that several battleground states are not prepared to administer problem-free elections during the pandemic.

STEFFAVILLE / Wikimedia Commons

All prisoners and staff in Wisconsin's 36 adult prisons will be tested for COVID-19 under the state Department of Corrections' plan to resume more normal operations.

Emily Files / WUWM

University of Wisconsin President Ray Cross asked Gov. Tony Evers and legislative leaders Wednesday to call a special session of the Legislature to allow for UW to borrow money through a line of credit and possibly start classes earlier to help deal with “unprecedented financial and planning challenges” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

>>UWM Grapples With 'Catastrophic' Financial Hit As Leaders Plan For Fall

Courtesy of Samer Ghani

Protests are happening around the country following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. Here you'll find updates on protests happening in the Milwaukee area.

Check out all of WUWM's protest coverage here:

Michelle Maternowski

Updated at 12:48 p.m. CT

There will be no cream puffs, concerts, 4-H exhibits, rides on the midway or foods on a stick in Wisconsin this year.

Maayan Silver

Wisconsin courts can resume in-person hearings and jury trials if they can come up with plans to protect participants and observers from the coronavirus, under an order from a divided state Supreme Court.

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated at 4:40 p.m. CT

Business owners, candidates for office, a pastor and one of the organizers of last month's “reopen Wisconsin” protest at the Wisconsin Capitol have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that local stay-at-home orders are unconstitutional.

HENRYK SADURA / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Updated at 2:55 p.m. CT

Wisconsin residents who lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic can get help paying their rent, and farmers will be eligible for direct cash payments, under new programs Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday.

The $50 million aid to farmers program, $25 million rental assistance program and another $15 million for food banks and those fighting hunger is all paid for under the federal coronavirus relief bill.

DHSWI / Screenshot / YouTube

Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday unveiled his plan for spending $1 billion in federal funds to combat COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

The money will be used to fund ongoing virus testing efforts, conduct contact tracing, purchase supplies, provide resources and prepare for a surge. The spending plan comes a day after Evers dropped plans to work with the state Legislature to pass a new statewide rule to slow the spread of the virus.

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated at 5:11 p.m. CT

Some local health officials in Wisconsin rescinded their stay-at-home orders Friday after attorneys warned they could be vulnerable to legal challenges after the state Supreme Court wiped out Gov. Tony Evers' statewide order.

>>Latest WUWM & NPR Coronavirus Coverage

Wisconsin Governor Warns Of 'Massive Confusion' After Ruling

May 14, 2020
Olivia Richardson / WUWM

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers warned Thursday of “massive confusion” after the the state Supreme Court tossed out the Democrat's stay-at-home order and Republicans said they may leave it up to local governments to enact their own unique rules for combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated at 9:18 p.m. CT

The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers' coronavirus safer-at-home order Wednesday, ruling that his administration overstepped its authority when it extended it for another month without consulting legislators.

Trump-Backed Tom Tiffany Wins Wisconsin Congressional Race

May 12, 2020
Courtesy of Tom Tiffany

Updated Wednesday at 8:13 a.m.:

Tom Tiffany, a state senator endorsed by President Donald Trump, easily won a special congressional election Tuesday in a heavily conservative, rural Wisconsin district, cheering Republicans even as Democrats argued the victory revealed vulnerabilities for the president among his base.

Democrats Set To Take Next Steps Toward Virtual Convention

May 11, 2020
Michelle Maternowski / WUWM

Democrats are making new moves toward a virtual presidential nominating convention this August, with party officials preparing to grant convention organizers in Milwaukee the authority to design an event that won’t require delegates to attend in person amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A top party official discussed the plans ahead of Tuesday’s virtual meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss moves that still require approval by the committee and the DNC’s 447 members.

Evers Allows Nearly All Wisconsin Retail Stores To Open With Limits

May 11, 2020
Ann-Elise Henzl

Updated at 2:44 p.m. CT

Gov. Tony Evers on Monday allowed nearly all nonessential retail stores to reopen as long as they serve no more than five customers at a time, partially lifting the restriction that has kept them closed for weeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Emily Files

University of Wisconsin System leaders are working on safety protocols that could enable students to return to campus if the coronavirus pandemic stretches into fall, system President Ray Cross told regents Thursday.

Cross told the regents during a teleconference that system leaders want to be able to test all faculty, staff and students — a task he called “monumental.” They also want to be able to trace student contacts, create a way to isolate and quarantine the sick as well as infected people who aren't showing symptoms.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated at 2:50 p.m. CT

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross directed campuses Thursday to prepare to cut academic programs and brace for layoffs as the coronavirus pandemic deepens the system's financial losses.

Cross said he wants campuses to evaluate their programs by January with an eye toward cost, whether they are duplicated at another campus, and student demand. System officials will decide which courses to eliminate subject to regents' approval, Cross told reporters during a video conference Wednesday afternoon.

Teran Powell

Updated at 3:33 p.m. CT

Wisconsin’s presidential primary election held last month in the face of the coronavirus pandemic drew concern from doctors, voters, poll workers and politicians who warned that having thousands of people leave their homes to cast ballots would further spread the highly contagious virus.

Now well beyond the 14-day incubation period for COVID-19, and with a Tuesday special congressional election in northern Wisconsin looming, it remains largely unknown just how many people contracted the virus at the polls on April 7.

Chuck Quirmbach

Every resident and worker in all 373 Wisconsin nursing homes will receive a free coronavirus test as part of a plan to expand testing to everyone who needs one, Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday.

SCREENSHOT / FINCANTIERI MARINETTE MARINE VIDEO

A Wisconsin shipbuilder won a contract for up to 10 frigates on Tuesday, beating out three other shipbuilders, as the Navy seeks to build smaller, lethal warships during a time of growing threats.

The $795 million contract calls for Fincantieri Marinette Marine to move forward with design and construction of the lead ship, with options for up to nine more frigates, the Navy announced Thursday. The contract carries a value of $5.6 billion if all 10 ships are built, the Navy said.

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