Gov. Tony Evers' pictured while giving an update to reporters.
Gov. Tony Evers' pictured while giving an update to reporters.

Wisconsin headlines: Foxconn appeals tax credit denial

For the second time this week, more than 5,000 Wisconsinites tested positive for the coronavirus in a single day.

Specifically, there were 5,096 new cases, with 24 more people dying from the coronavirus Friday, according to the state Department of Health Services. Since March, 1,972 people have lost their lives in the state to the virus. 

The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin is now more than 4,000. This is a 500% increase from two months ago, said Andrea Palm, secretary-designee with DHS. In another sign of how quickly the coronavirus is spreading through the state, Palm said 44% of the cases have occurred in the past month. 

“Absent mitigation, the strategies we know work—socially distancing, mask wearing, good hand hygiene—this virus does its thing and it does it very well,” Palm told reporters Friday. “It is very infectious.”

She said as the state continues to see case escalation, the virus is “taxing the healthcare system.” There are now seven patients at the field hospital in West Allis. The 530-bed hospital was built in April, designed to be our “ultimate insurance policy.”

“This is not where we want to be,” Palm said.

Of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ recent comments that “obviously, what we’re doing now as a state isn’t working,” and his suggestion that the state increase testing, Gov. Tony Evers said the state has always received high scores in its testing capacity. Through an ongoing  partnership with the Wisconsin National Guard, the state is expanding its free testing sites from three to 74, now through Dec. 10. 

The Legislature has not met since mid-April to pass any legislation pertaining to the pandemic. Evers said minus that action, the least lawmakers could do is send out a cohesive message on wearing masks. 

He questioned how the people of Wisconsin could believe mask-wearing is important when the president continues coming to the state and in the crowds “no more than a handful of people will be wearing masks.”

“If we want to do this right and stop it in its tracks, people have to wear a freakin’ mask,” Evers said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Wausau Might Pass A Mask Mandate — Wausau city leaders may enact a mask requirement in the city, the Wausau Pilot and Review reports.

Mayor Katie Rosenberg is having the city attorney present a draft ordinance on Monday to the Wausau Public Health and Safety Committee.

If the mandate would pass the Common Council, Wausau would join a growing group of cities with mask requirements throughout the state including Milwaukee, Madison, Racine and Green Bay.

Kenosha Shooter Loses Fight Against Extradition to Wisconsin – Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teen who on Aug. 25 shot and killed two people and wounded another in Kenosha during protests against the police shooting of Jacob Blake, will be extradited to Kenosha, a judge ruled Friday afternoon, according to multiple news outlets.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys unsuccessfully argued to keep Rittenhouse in Illinois. He has been charged with two murders and an attempted murder in Kenosha County for the shootings, which his legal team claims were done in self-defense. His lawyers claimed Rittenhouse, 17, would be “turned over to the mob” if he were extradited to Wisconsin, according to WISN

John Pierce, one of the attorneys, tweeted the legal team will appeal the extradition.

According to Kenosha News reporter Deneen Smith, Rittenhouse’s attorneys initially planned to make some sort of constitutional argument and to call witnesses for the extradition hearing. However, Smith reported, neither of those things happened and the teen’s attorneys retreated to an argument that a technicality on the criminal complaint should prevent the extradition.

Rittenhouse traveled across state lines to act as a vigilante militia member during riots after the Blake shooting. He killed 36-year-old Kenosha resident Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber of Silver Lake, and shot 26-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz of West Allis. 

All three of the shootings were filmed by eyewitnesses. Rosenbaum was shot after he threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse, and Huber and Grosskreutz were shot when they tried to disarm Rittenhouse after the Rosenbaum shooting. 

Right-wing extremists from Fox News hosts like Jeanine Pirro to President Donald Trump have praised Rittenhouse as a hero. A crowdfunding campaign set up through a Christian website had raised $500,000 for Rittenhouse’s defense by the end of September.

Cold Case Arrest Made Over 30 Years Later — A Racine man was charged Thursday in a 1986 Green Bay murder, the Green Bay Press Gazette reports.

The murder of 22-year-old Lisa Holstead is Green Bay’s oldest cold case. Two different lead investigators spent decades trying to solve the murder, and both have since retired.

Sixty-five-year-old Lou A. Griffin, the alleged killer, was arrested early Wednesday at his home in Racine and transported to Brown County, where he was booked into jail.

Foxconn Appeals WEDC’s Tax Credit Denial — Foxconn Technology Group plans to challenge the state’s determination that the company is ineligible for tax credits for its Racine County project.

The Taiwanese tech giant notified the state of its objections in a letter sent Friday, the Associated Press reports.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. earlier this month told Foxconn it will not get any tax credits until it signs a new contract with the state because it has failed to live up to its promise of a massive LCD factory that would create 13,000 jobs. While the company claims it had hired over 550 workers by the end of 2019, the state found just 281 of those would have allowed Foxconn to receive a slice of its $3 billion in state tax credits. It needed to employ a bare minimum of 520 qualifying employees to receive tax credits; the goal set in the contract was to have 2,080 workers by now.

A bombshell investigation this month discovered hundreds of Foxconn’s employees were hired to sit around and do nothing while the company’s various subsidiaries remained in gridlock and without a plan of what they were actually doing in Wisconsin. 

It was also revealed a consultant to the state Department of Administration analyzed the buildings Foxconn has constructed, such as a facility called the “fab” that is one-twentieth the size of the factory Foxconn is contractually obligated to build, and a vague “multi-purpose building.” The fab, where Foxconn says manufacturing will take place, does not appear to be “designed or equipped” for manufacturing, and is instead most likely “a showcase,” the report found.

Foxconn attorney Robert Berry said in Friday’s letter that the state’s decision not to award the tax credits “not only deviates from that understanding, but also deviates from contractual timelines.” Berry said he hoped to resolve the dispute within 30 days.