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This school year, many districts decided to utilize virtual education in an effort to protect staff and students from the coronavirus. Milwaukee Public Schools is one of them.

As part of a series about how teachers are adapting to this new education format, WUWM’s Emily Files visited an MPS virtual classroom.

Becca Schimmel

The presidential recount in Wisconsin's Milwaukee County came in slightly under budget, at nearly $1.7 million, according to data released Wednesday.

George Christensen, the clerk of the state's largest county, released numbers that show it spent $1.69 million on its recount, with nearly a third of that — $550,450 — going to rent space for the effort.

Christensen said the county expected the recount would cost a little more than $2 million.

Susan Bence

For months, public health officials have been repeating coronavirus messaging: wear masks, social distance and get tested for possible exposure when possible. With Christmas and New Year's just days away, officials are more concerned than ever.

On Tuesday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and city health department officials held a news conference in the Miller Park parking lot. It's one of the places where COVID-19 testing is being offered. They hoped the visual reinforcement would drive their message home.

Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Milwaukee County on Tuesday. Distribution among county behavioral health department personnel has begun.

That’s according to County Executive David Crowley. "We’ll be among some of the first to access this vaccine, and though we know that this batch won't provide enough for all eligible (behavioral health) department employees, we do expect to receive more shipments of the vaccine in the coming months until all staff who at least want to be vaccinated are able to," he said.

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Updated Dec. 23 10:05 a.m. CST

Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday that his administration has partnered with a medical testing company to provide at-home COVID-19 tests for free if a requestor lacks health insurance coverage as the state set a new record high in deaths tied to the disease.

Chuck Quirmbach

State health officials said that as of midday Monday, more than 10,000 health care workers in Wisconsin had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Department of Health Services (DHS) expects that number to quickly rise. But vaccine supply questions are hampering estimates on when most U.S. residents will be immunized.  

Meanwhile, a state site in West Allis is about to start giving out a drug to treat some people with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.   

Andrey Popov / stock.adobe.com

Many people are eager for their chance to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but there are those who don’t share that feeling — especially in communities of color.

Mike Hutchinson said he will be getting the vaccine when it’s widely available. He's already had COVID-19 and wants to prevent it from coming back.

"I definitely plan to get it if becomes readily available for me because I have two daughters and just because of the close contact I am with people," he said. 

NUCCIO DINUZZO / GETTY IMAGES

Talks to determine the future of Milwaukee's former police chief after a judge ruled he was improperly demoted ended Monday without a resolution.

Former Chief Alfonso Morales' attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, told The Associated Press that “we were not close to any reasonable settlement terms,” but he said the nature of any settlement, including whether the goal is to have Morales return to work, hasn't been determined yet.

Lauren Sigfusson

Updated 3:42 p.m. CST

A top official said Monday that University of Wisconsin System students will be allowed to return to campus for the spring semester and take more in-person courses, hoping that more robust COVID-19 testing will help stave off the types of outbreaks that forced the system to turn to online-only instruction a few weeks into the fall semester.

Susan Bence

For months we’ve been hearing bleak stories of businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. But one exception is a unique café in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood.

Tricklebee Café's mission is not about profit, but to create community. Customers pay what they can for made-from-scratch meals.

PROMESAARTSTUDIO / FOTOLIA

Newly elected Republican state Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu says he wants to pass a bill early next year that would allow clerks to begin counting absentee ballots before Election Day.

LeMahieu tried to get a bill to this effect passed earlier this year.  It had bipartisan support but failed because some Republican lawmakers opposed it. 

In this week’s Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson asks JR Ross of wispolitics.com, if he thinks such a bill would pass this time.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Add Wisconsin to the list of states told by the federal government that it will be receiving less COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech than initially expected.

UW Health

This week, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine made its way to Wisconsin. The nearly 50,000 vaccines are being delivered to eight hubs across the state. Department of Health Service’s Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm said Thursday that the logistics, distribution and transportation have been smooth. And that health care workers are already being vaccinated.

She said there are stories of health care providers who’ve been overcome with emotion as they’ve received the vaccine. Palm said she didn’t think about how much relief “we’d all feel” as a vaccine began rolling out.

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For months, the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has been criticized for its backlog of unpaid unemployment claims. Currently, it's at more than 35,000. That's a reduction from nearly 400,000 last summer. The backlog led to the resignation of the department's secretary, Caleb Frostman, in September.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

More health care workers are starting to receive the first COVID-19 vaccine. That includes at the Milwaukee VA hospital, which has about 4,000 employees. The immunization of staff may shed some light on how things will eventually go for veterans who use the Zablocki Medical Center and other VA sites.

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Updated 1:56 p.m. CST

Wisconsin Supreme Court justices on Thursday questioned the legality of an order issued by the state's top health official limiting how many people can gather in bars and restaurants given the court's decision earlier this year that a similar order needed legislative approval.

Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images

Wisconsin Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson claims that a large portion of Americans no longer trust the election system. On Wednesday, he held a hearing on what he called irregularities in the 2020 presidential election.

It was his final meeting as chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Johnson opened the hearing saying many citizens have a number of reasons to question the election results. He said they include the Democratic investigation into Russian involvement in the election four years ago.

Susan Bence

Wisconsin must prevent pollution from forever chemicals known as PFAS while developing ways to reduce the chemicals' use, according to a 25-point action plan released Wednesday by Gov. Tony Evers' administration after a year of study.

UW Health

Nearly 200 health care workers in Wisconsin had received the COVID-19 vaccination as of Wednesday, a number that was expected to grow rapidly in the coming days as the state receives more shipments of the vaccine seen as critical to helping turn the tide of the pandemic.

Three Wisconsin sports teams and Microsoft are pledging to invest in startup companies owned by Black and Latino people across the state and nation.

The Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks and Green Bay Packers are calling their joint effort the Equity League. Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said the inflection point was in August, when Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey severely wounded a Black man, Jacob Blake, while trying to take Blake into custody.

Chuck Quirmbach

Relatives and supporters of a woman wounded during a police shooting in Wauwatosa the night of Dec. 10 are raising more concerns about the city's police force. 

Wauwatosa police say they responded to a report of a woman being attacked by another woman with a stick.

The 23-year-old female officer who went to the scene says the attacker had a wooden post and began hitting her squad car. Police say the officer was “forced to shoot the subject” when she advanced on the officer.

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It’s been just more than nine months since the city of Milwaukee’s first coronavirus case was announced. Tuesday afternoon city and county officials reported a staggering total of 77,988 cases with 787 deaths.

MILWAUKEE POLICE / RIEMANN

The Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday rejected the federal COPS grant that would have provided the city with 30 additional police officers. 

The vote was 9-6 to pass up the $10 million grant.

Groups, such as the Party for Socialism and Liberation – Milwaukee, North Side Rising and others, protested the funding before the vote, calling it “a step back from the steady movements to defund the police ... and a slap in the face to a community that has decided we do not need more officers.”

Emily Files / WUWM

Many schools in Milwaukee have spent the entire first half of the school year online, as a precaution against the coronavirus. WUWM has been visiting virtual classrooms to see how teachers are adapting.

McKenzie King, a chemistry teacher at Carmen Southeast High School in Milwaukee, says some learning experiences are impossible to recreate virtually. Right now, she’s teaching her students about chemical compounds. It’s usually one of her favorite units.

Chuck Quirmbach

A Wisconsin man accused of helping a plot this year to kidnap several Michigan officials, including the governor, remains in Wisconsin, despite having lost one attempt to block extradition to Michigan.

Wisconsin Dells resident Brian Higgins is accused of providing material support to a terrorist act. If found guilty, he could go to jail for 20 years.

Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Updated 1:30 p.m. CST

Giannis Antetokounmpo says he’s staying with the Milwaukee Bucks for at least five more seasons.

“I’m blessed to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 5 years,” the two-time reigning MVP posted Wednesday on his social media platforms.

The 26-year-old Antetokounmpo had until Monday to sign the Bucks’ supermax extension offer. If he turned it down, Antetokounmpo could have become a free agent after the upcoming season.

Screenshot / Wiseye.org

Wisconsin along with each other state took a giant step in the presidential election process Monday. The state’s electors were among those nationwide casting ballots for President-Elect Joe Biden.

Wisconsin’s ten electors — one for each of the eight House seats and two U.S. Senate districts — convened or rather scattered throughout Gov. Tony Evers’ office, distanced and masked.

Lauren Sigfusson

Freezing tuition at the University of Wisconsin without adding more state funding to offset the loss has contributed to the system falling behind its peers and hurting its competitiveness, according to a report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum released Tuesday.

UW Health

Health officials say about 10,000 doses of the first federally-approved, COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Wisconsin. That's about one-fifth of the doses expected in the state by later this week. Health care workers are supposed to be the first to get the vaccine, but most won't be vaccinated until later this month.

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court said Monday that it is up to each individual voter to determine for themselves whether they are “indefinitely confined” and therefore able to request and submit an absentee ballot without showing photo identification.

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