Weekend Roundup: For The First Time, Group Of Wisconsin Inmates Graduate With Bachelor’s Degrees

For the first time in Wisconsin, a group of inmates graduated with bachelor’s degrees Tuesday. 

The group includes 20 men from Waupun Correctional Institution. They received degrees in biblical studies from Trinity International University, as well as minors in psychology, the Wisconsin State Journal reports

“All of our choices have led to this point, this day, this moment where we stand before you, no better than any man, but better men,” said graduate August White, 34, during the graduation ceremony held at the facility’s visitor’s center. “Let us … be a signal that those considered some of the worst of society can transform into some of the better of society.”

Wisconsin DHS: COVID-19 Weekly Recap

Cases of COVID-19 are surging in the U.S. as the delta variant becomes stronger. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance recommending mask wearing indoors for all people, even those who are vaccinated.

“We’re on path for a fourth surge here with this variant, and we all need to do our part,” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk during a briefing Wednesday.

From July 25-29, there were 3,945 new cases of COVID-19 reported by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 612,506. Wisconsin has lost 7,439 total lives to the disease. 

Forty-nine percent of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated — 81.8 percent of people age 65 and older and 28.7 percent of children age 12-15.

State Technical College Announce Student Debt Aid

Milwaukee Area Technical College and Madison College announced this week they will use millions of dollars in federal stimulus money to aid student debt that’s resulted from the coronavirus pandemic. 

“To eliminate student debt is a lifesaver because it allows us to focus more on our studies instead of being stressed about money,” Kaitlyn Arlette Montoya-Gonzalez told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She’s a second-year student at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Wisconsin State Fair Adjusts To Delta Variant Concerns

The Wisconsin State Fair will take place Aug. 5-15 at the State Fair Park in West Allis. Wisconsinites are thrilled after missing out on the event last year due to the pandemic. 

But as a result of growing concerns around the COVID-19 delta variant, masks are required indoors at the fair this year. Fair executives will continue to adjust guidelines as information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Andrew Hitt Resigns As Chair Of Republican Party Of Wisconsin

Sign up for daily news!

Stay informed with WPR’s email newsletter.

On Wednesday, Andrew Hitt announced he will be stepping down as chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. He’s served as the chair for just over two years.

A vote for the next chair is expected to take place at the group’s upcoming executive meeting Sept. 11.  

Family Handyman Magazine Staff Builds Northwoods Cabin

The editorial team of Family Handyman, a magazine based in Eagan, Minnesota, has spent the summer in a Northwoods cabin — one they built with the help of local contractors, reports the Journal Sentinel. 

“What we thought about was, if Family Handyman is going to present a getaway cabin, what is the thing that everyone wants?” said Nick Grzechowiak, the magazine’s chief content officer. “To me, it was this idea of an outdoor-indoor space that joined into one. The idea of going into the woods but also wanting to be comfortable.”

Weather Service Confirms At Least 5 Tornadoes In Wisconsin

The National Weather Service has confirmed at least five tornadoes caused widespread damage in Wisconsin and contributed to at least one death.

The Wisconsin State Patrol says 29-year-old Quinn Boehning was killed after crashing into a fallen tree and power line near the town of Ripon about 6 a.m. Thursday.

The severe weather began Wednesday evening in northwestern Wisconsin and pushed south and east with the last tornado warning expiring around 2:15 a.m. Thursday.

The weather service says at least four tornadoes touched down in Jefferson and Waukesha counties early Thursday.

“You hear stories about hearing a freight train — it was loud, it was scary, and I don’t know how else to describe it other than it was a little terrifying,” Town of Concord resident Brian Neumann told WPR.

Why, And How To, Opt Out Of The Child Tax Credit

NPR’s labor and workplace correspondent Andrea Hsu explains how to opt out of child tax credit payments that were passed by Congress this spring. It is possible to instead receive the credit when filing taxes in 2022.

Editor’s note: The Associated Press contributed to this report.