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Here's the latest

UPDATE July 8, 9:30 a.m.

Mask debate extends to school athletics

What was listed as an update on buildings and grounds in the Shawano School District on Monday turned into a heated discussion on whether high school athletes can be required to wear masks in a world where coronavirus is still considered a threat.

Shawano Community High School spring sports teams were allowed to return to practices this week after their seasons were cancelled due to schools, parks and most other facilities being shut down by Gov. Tony Evers through measures like the Safer at Home order. However, new rules have been put in place, according to athletic director Joel Wondra, including one that would have athletes wearing masks during practice except for when aerobic activity is taking place, due to Shawano County presently being designated as moderate risk by the state.

The new policy would also have athletes wear masks at school for a minimum of 14 days after attending a mass crowd activity or visiting a hotspot where coronavirus cases have had a sharp uptick.

Read the full story at

UPDATE July 8, 9:30 a.m.

Packers to play before significantly smaller Lambeau crowds

The Green Bay Packers will play before significantly fewer fans at Lambeau Field this year, if they play in front of any at all.

The Packers told season ticket holders Friday to prepare for a football season unlike any the NFL has experienced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The team is preparing to have fans in attendance with new policies and safety measures to allow for appropriate social distancing, which will require the stadium’s seating capacity to be significantly reduced,” Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy wrote to season ticket holders. “Face coverings also will be required, and other necessary precautions will be in place. As a result, the special experience to which fans are accustomed at Lambeau Field will look and feel very different.”

The letter made it clear that games could even be played with no fans, but in any case there would be “significantly fewer.”

Packers fans, who had a June 1 deadline to renew their season tickets, can opt out of this season’s games without losing control of their seats for next season. Season ticket holders can request a refund or ask that their payment be carried over to next season.

UPDATE July 8, 9:30 a.m.

Bucks close practice facility following COVID-19 testing

The Milwaukee Bucks have closed their practice facility following the team’s latest round of testing for the coronavirus.

Bucks officials confirmed Sunday that they had closed the facility and that they aren’t planning to reopen it before leaving for Florida on Thursday to prepare for the NBA’s resumption of the season at Walt Disney World.

The news of the closing was first reported by ESPN, which said the Bucks closed the facility after receiving results from Friday’s testing.

The Bucks owned an NBA-leading 53-12 record when play was suspended in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Their magic number for clinching the Eastern Conference’s top seed in the playoffs is two as they chase their first NBA title since 1971.

Milwaukee is scheduled to resume play July 31 against the Boston Celtics, its first of eight games to close the regular season.

UPDATE July 1, 10:15 a.m.

Speedway among gatherings tribe warns to avoid

Public health officials continue to warn against large gatherings in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin has taken that guidance a step further with a plea for the public to avoid specific activities and events.

Dr. Amy Slagle, the tribe’s COVID-19 incident commander, issued a statement Saturday imploring the public to “stay out of restaurants, bars, flea markets, races, parties and gatherings.”

The Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department issued guidance in May recommending against large gatherings in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.

The department reiterated that guidance in a press release Tuesday but did not go as far as warning against specific events or activities.

Read the full story at

UPDATE July 1, 10:15 a.m.

Younger generations account for most COVID cases here

Younger generations have accounted for most of the confirmed cases of coronavirus in Shawano and Menominee counties so far, according to health officials.

The elderly population seen as being at most risk for serious illness or death as a result of COVID-19 have had relatively few cases, according to data released by the Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department on June 25.

Of the 73 confirmed Shawano County cases reported on June 25, seven were under 20 years old; 28 were between 20 and 39 years old; nine were age 40-49; 13 were 50-59; 10 were 60-69; and five were over 70.

Health Officer Vicki Dantoin said the numbers are in sync with what is being seen across other Wisconsin counties.

Read the full story at

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UPDATE Julu 8, 9:30 a.m.

Antigo Tater Trot goes virtual

Due to COVID-19 and the recommendations to avoid large gatherings, the 2020 Antigo Tater Trot, presented by CoVantage Credit Union and Volm Companies, will be a virtual-only event as the committee considers the health and safety of its participants a priority.

Tater Trot participants can register online by Aug. 1 for the 10K run, 3.75 mile run/walk, or 1 mile run. Registration for the Virtual Event will only be available online.

Run or walk your race anytime between Aug. 3-9; you can run any course you would like while adhering to physical distancing guidelines that are in place at that time. Results will be submitted electronically, and participants will receive a race shirt via mail or pickup.

Individuals can visit for more information or to register. Complete details and procedures for this event will be published prior to the race and emailed to those who have registered.

County and State Government

Gas prices / consumer issues

Health system

UPDATE July 8, 9:30 a.m.

Local Aspirus clinics reopen

Several central Wisconsin Aspirus clinics are reopening to patients after having been temporarily closed in April to allow staff and providers to support operational and COVID-19 surge planning needs at other Aspirus locations.

Aspirus Birnamwood Clinic, 75 Main St., Birnamwood, and Aspirus Wittenberg Clinic, 1660 Sue Alan Drive, Wittenberg, both reopened July 6.

Reopening dates vary by clinic as staff and providers transition back to their previous locations. Patients will receive information related to these changes during scheduling and through appointment reminders and other means.

Read the full story at

UPDATE July 8, 9:30 a.m.

Aspirus health center reopens in Antigo

The Aspirus Health & Performance Center, located at 112 E. Fifth Ave. in Antigo, opened to members Monday. The center is taking a phased reopening approach for the safety of members and staff.

Hours of operation during phase one will be Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. This will allow staff to frequently clean equipment and common areas. Locker rooms, towel service and drinking fountains are currently not available. Aspirus Langlade Hospital is providing current members with the month of July at no cost. As billing resumes in August, the members will only be charged for half of their August membership to offset the closure time in March.

Read the full story at


UPDATE July 8, 9:30 a.m.

Plans to reopen Wittenberg-Birnamwood schools this fall are being developed

As we approach the middle of July, we are working with our staff on reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year. There are many details to work out related to all aspects of school operation, but as I write this update, our intent is to open in full capacity with obviously a number of safety precautions we must take.

Regarding our timeline, the administrative team is communicating with staff the week of July 6 and then sharing our reopening plan with the Board of Education on July 12. Once approved, we will communicate the plan in its entirety with our parents and families the week of July 13. Please know, whatever design we agree to, it will need to be fluid to address changing conditions in our school environment.

Additionally, we are working out details regarding extra-curricular events and schedules. We will be sending out a request to fill out a quick survey on family transportation intentions (whether your children plan to ride the bus or not), as well as schedule an opportunity for parent feedback on the proposed plan. Please look for this more definitive information to be shared the week of July 13.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer and look forward to the start of the coming school year!


State, CDC links

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention