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Friday, November 19, 2021
Long Lake, Washburn County •  Reader photo by Joe Hoy
 
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Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty of All Charges

  • Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two unarmed protesters in Kenosha last summer and wounded a third who was armed, was found not guilty on all counts on Friday.
     
  • “This is a very racist city,” said Justin Blake—uncle of Jacob Blake, whose shooting by Kenosha police led to the protests—in a press conference after the verdict was read.
     
  • “Despite Kyle Rittenhouse’s conscious decision to take the lives of two people protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake by police, he was not held responsible for his actions, something that is not surprising,” wrote Shaadie Ali, interim executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, in a press release. He added, “But Kyle Rittenhouse isn’t the only one responsible for the deaths that night," referring to local law enforcement who encouraged and thanked armed militia, including Rittenhouse, while doing little to crack down on their presence.
     
  • Wisconsin Republicans, including US Sen. Ron Johnson, gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch, and Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers), applauded the verdict. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is the Democratic frontrunner for Johnson’s seat, said he and many others were not surprised by the verdict. 
     
  • “It is a sad testament to the idea of justice how not a single person on my timeline is surprised,” Barnes tweeted. “Everyone’s reaction was already written. People spent the entire week mentally preparing.”

Opinion: Healthcare Workers Are 'Running on Empty' Almost Two Years Into COVID-19

  • Healthcare workers have borne the brunt of much of the COVID-19 pandemic, sacrificing their time, well-being, and mental health as the virus has ebbed and flowed. 
     
  • Although the pandemic significantly receded in the spring and early summer, it has come back with a vengeance as many people refuse to get vaccinated and take precautions against the virus' highly contagious Delta variant. Health workers are exhausted after witnessing untold levels of suffering and death for almost two years.
     
  • An estimated 115,000 health workers have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic's onset, according to the World Health Organization. Dr. Jeff Huebner, medical director for population health at UW Health, raises the alarm in an op-ed on our website.
     
  • "Throughout the COVID crisis, it has been healthcare professionals who risked their lives to save the lives of others, worked to the point of exhaustion, and worried about bringing the virus home to our families, but now, too, many of us need help ourselves," Huebner writes.

Read Dr. Huebner's full op-ed on our website.

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It's Shaping Up to Be a Fine Start to Gun Deer Season

  • Hunters should face favorable conditions as they take to Wisconsin’s woods and fields Saturday morning, the opening of this year’s nine-day gun deer hunting season.
     
  • Higher deer numbers in much of the state, fewer cornfields for deer to hide in because of an earlier crop harvest, and relatively warm weather all should help lead to a successful start to this year’s hunt, state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials say. For more information about this year’s gun deer hunt, visit https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/deer.
     
  • Many of the state’s estimated 500,000 hunters this gun deer season will seek their deer on private property, while others hunt on the state’s 7 million acres of public hunting land. While the annual hunt is about getting a deer, it is also about appreciating the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.
     
  • “Hunting is part of the cultural fabric of Wisconsin, and we look forward to another memorable gun deer season that also provides an economic boost to many parts of the state,” said Eric Lobner, DNR wildlife management bureau director.
—Reported by Julian Emerson

Before Gun Deer Hunt, Chronic Wasting Disease Gets Renewed Attention

  • As chronic wasting disease (CWD) continues to spread across Wisconsin before the start of the state’s gun deer hunting season, hunter Pete Theisen worries about the illness continuing to decimate the deer herd, possibly imperiling future hunts.
     
  • "You can have a sickly looking deer test positive, or you can have the healthiest-looking deer in the world test positive for CWD,” Theisen, chair of the Portage County Deer Advisory Council, said in a news release announcing a bills package by two Democratic state lawmakers to address the issue. CWD is contagious and causes brain degeneration in infected animals. According to the state Department of Natural Resources, CWD has been detected in 35 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.
     
  • Sen. Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) and Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) on Wednesday introduced bills intended to reduce CWD spread. The bills would fund CWD research and management, additional CWD testing kiosks, and carcass disposal sites and dumpsters. Similar measures have been introduced in past legislative sessions, but Republicans in the majority have taken little to no action on CWD.
     
  • “The white-tailed deer herd has always been an integral part of Wisconsin’s great hunting heritage, contributing to our local economies and tourism industry,” Smith said. “That’s why it’s critical we stay on top of the spread of CWD in Wisconsin.”
—Reported by Julian Emerson

Small Business Startups Are Driving Wisconsin's Job Growth as Unemployment Continues to Drop

  • Wisconsin's recent job growth came primarily from small businesses whose futures were made more secure thanks to pandemic relief, experts and data suggest.
     
  • The state Department of Workforce Development said Thursday that Wisconsin's unemployment rate fell to 3.2% in October, the lowest since the pandemic struck, and a 0.2% drop from the month before. Unemployment during the pandemic peaked in April 2020 at 14.8%.
     
  • A report from the University of Wisconsin System's Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship analyzing the state's economic recovery during the first half of 2021 found that most of the hiring growth can be attributed to small business startups. Almost 8,000 more jobs were added than lost in the Badger State over the second quarter of the year due to new small businesses getting off the ground.
     
  • Shawn Phetteplace, the state manager for the Wisconsin Main Street Alliance, a progressive small-business advocacy organization, attributed the growth to government support. "There's a lot of ... entrepreneurs that because of the child tax credit, and because of other supports that we've provided during the pandemic, have been in a better financial position to start their own job, to start their own business," he said. "That's a good thing."
Have you started a business in the past year? Our economy reporter, JT Cestkowski, wants to hear your story. Email him at jt@couriernewsroom.com.
Folks at the Conservative Political Action Conference probably don’t think this is satire…

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