In Brief: Keeping Kids Fed, Wisconsin Cranks Out the TP



By Pat Kreitlow

March 19, 2020

Coronavirus has Kohl’s closing. New website lets you know where help is needed.

The following is a digest of coronavirus-related news from Wisconsin media outlets and The Associated Press.

You Can Help – With so many people staying indoors including many older Americans who volunteer during their retirement, organizations and special efforts are in need of new volunteers. A website outlining many of those volunteer needs has been set up through United Way of Wisconsin.

Business News – Kohl’s is closing stores nationwide starting at 7:00 p.m. Thursday. The company says it will pay its employees for the next two weeks, and customers can continue to shop through their website

Harley-Davidson announced late Wednesday night that it is suspending most U.S. production through at least March 29 after an employee at the company’s Menomonee Falls location tested positive for COVID-19, WKOW reports

A toilet paper thief struck at a Waukesha Walmart, WDJT reports. The thief took toilet paper rolls right out of a customer’s cart as she walked through the parking lot, according to police.

The few Wisconsin paper mills left operating are busier than ever cranking out toilet paper and other household staples. The Wisconsin Public Radio report also says food manufacturers continue to stay busy as people stock up on their canned goods.

While canned goods are in demand, produce is scarce. One Milwaukee area produce supplier told WTMJ his daily orders have plummeted from about 210 to just 62 on Tuesday.

Keeping Kids Fed – The Janesville School District, in line with others around the state, began offering grab-and-go meals at eight different schools on Thursday, the Janesville Gazette reports. The district will also offer delivery starting Monday.

Across seven locations, the Dane County YMCA is offering up to two meals per day for children and one for adults, Channel 3000 reports.

City by City – The Milwaukee metropolitan area currently appears to have virtually no chance of having enough hospital beds to adequately handle the coronavirus pandemic, according to analysis by ProPublica. Even in ProPublica’s “moderate” scenario in which 40 percent of area adults contract the virus over the next year, hospitals would need to more than double their current bed capacity.

Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza declared a state of emergency in the city, the Stevens Point City Times reports, following suit with other municipal and county executives around the state.

The City of Burlington declared a state of emergency and closed most of its municipal buildings to the public on Thursday, the Racine Journal Times reports.

Two cases were confirmed in the City of Racine on Thursday, likely due to community spread, the Racine Journal Times reports.

Confirmed cases in La Crosse County jumped to three from just one earlier in the day, WKBT-TV reported Wednesday night.

Eau Claire County had its first confirmed case Thursday, per WQOW. Walworth County health officials also confirmed their county’s first case Wednesday, according to WITI-TV.

Eau Claire got its first drive-thru coronavirus testing site Wednesday when Mayo Clinic opened one up, according to the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. Marshfield Clinic Health System has at least three more drive-thru testing sites in the works for Eau Claire, Rice Lake, and Ladysmith.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 50 people had been tested at Kenosha County’s drive-thru testing site at Froedtert’s clinic in the Village of Pleasant Prairie, the Kenosha News reports.

Green Bay launched in-person absentee voting for the April 7 election on Thursday at the Metro transit center. First-time voters can also register there. Gov. Tony Evers said he has no intentions of rescheduling the election, despite some officials requesting he do so.

A Brookfield bar owner has been busted for staying open after the state closed taverns and ended in-person dining in restaurants. 

And there is optimism – Some hotel developers are pressing onward with construction projects, banking on a return to normalcy sooner rather than later, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports.


Sad Milestone – The death toll in Italy from the coronavirus overtook China’s on Thursday. Italy, with a population of 60 million, recorded at least 3,405 deaths, or roughly 150 more than in China — a country with a population over 20 times larger.

Stimulus Draft – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing direct payments of $1,200 per person and $2,400 for couples amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by The Associated Press. The $1 trillion measure to shore up for industry and households includes minimum payments of $600 for those at the high end of an income threshold ($100,000 per person, $200,000 per family) and higher payments for lower incomes. Additionally, there would be $500 payments for each child if this version of the bill were to pass.

Wall Street – Markets were fairly flat on Thursday, likely a welcome break from the volatility of the past eight trading days where markets soared or sank between 5 and 12 percent.


Toilet Paper Exchange – It’s like the lyrics from the 1974 Don Covay song, “Better to have and don’t need, than need and don’t have.” A man in Encinitas, California, bothered by the empty stores shelves and just knowing there was imbalance in the toilet paper universe, stood on a street corner and held up a homemade cardboard sign with a simple request: “Share your toilet paper.”

Jonny Blue told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the response to his impromptu toilet paper exchange in Encinitas was immediate and positive. Drivers honked horns in support and stopped to drop off rolls of toilet paper. Just as quickly, Blue would hand rolls to those in need.


  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.



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