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Ladies kept their wine safe in a little homemade sack around their next. The Downtown Beloit Association’s Fall Wine Walk is set for Oct. 9.

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COVID-19 rates rising among young people

BELOIT—COVID-19 cases among children are increasing in Rock County, according to the latest figures.

The number of children and teens who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Rock County is also increasing. From Sept. 15-21, there were 40 new cases among individuals age 14 to 18 and 38 new cases among individuals age 4 to 13, according to Rock County Public Health data.

As of Friday, there were 36 active cases in the School District of Beloit, including cases at the following: Aldrich Intermediate, 5; Beloit Learning Academy, 1; Beloit Memorial High School; 14, Converse Elementary, 1; Cunningham Intermediate, 2; Fruzen Intermediate, 3; Gaston Elementary, 3; McNeel Intermediate, 1; Merrill Elementary, 1; and Robinson Elementary, 5. There have been 90 cases in the district since the start of the school year, according to data from its website at https://www.sdb.k12.wi.us.

COVID-19 cases seem to be picking up faster north of the border as case rates of COVID-19 in Rock County surpass that of Winnebago County.

There were 247 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people as of Monday in Rock County, while Winnebago County reported 172.7 cases per 100,000 which is going down.

The Rock County Public Health Department reported 109% more new cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days compared with the previous seven days, according to Sept. 23 data from the health department. The case rate in Rock County was 118 per 100,000 on Sept. 8.

There were 122 new cases of COVID-19 in Beloit from Sept. 20-26; 139 in Janesville; 12 in Clinton; 16 in Edgerton; 20 in Evansville; 19 in Milton; and 16 in the rest of Rock County.

On Monday, Rock County reported 23 new COVID-19 cases and no death. To date, a total of 18,618 cases and 198 deaths have been recorded since the pandemic began in the spring.

There were 17,665 people in Rock County who recovered from COVID-19 and 755 active cases. There were 14 people hospitalized in the county as of Sept. 21.

In Rock County, 62.6% of eligible people received both doses of the vaccine.

As of Monday, the average new cases per day in Wisconsin for the past seven days has been 2,603. The seven-day average of deaths per day in the state has been 13, and the seven day average state positivity rate was 7.9%.

As of Sept. 21, the latest data available, there were 1,079 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Wisconsin, with 13.5% of them on ventilators.

There are 56.6% of Wisconsin residents that have received at least one dose, and 53.5% of residents who completed the vaccine series.

As of Monday, Winnebago County’s positivity rate was 4.1%, which is decreasing. There is 45.7% of the county that is fully vaccinated. The average age of someone with COVID-19 in the county is 35.3 which is going up.

On Sept. 24, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 21,787 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 239 additional deaths since reporting Sept. 17. More than 80% of Illinois adults have received at least one dose and more than 63% of Illinois adults are fully vaccinated.

The IDPH is adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation for a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in certain populations and a booster dose for those in high risk occupational and institutional settings. CDC recommends the following groups should receive boosters: people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings; and people aged 50—64 years with underlying medical conditions. The booster should be received {span}at least 6 months after the Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.{/span}

Right now, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for booster doses. Data is expected to be submitted soon to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the safety and efficacy of booster doses for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for further recommendations on booster doses.

Carrie Disch and her four-legged companion, Rusty, enjoy a walk in Riverside Park on a sunny Monday afternoon. Disch said she enjoys walking her dog in the park whenever she can. and especially when fall colors are beginning to show.

Teen bound over for trial in Nelson Avenue shooting

JANESVILLE—A Beloit 15-year-old charged in connection with a triple shooting in May on Nelson Avenue has had the criminal case against him bound over for trial, following a hearing last week in Rock County Circuit Court.

Miguel Running appeared by video conference on Friday before Judge Karl Hanson for a preliminary hearing that saw testimony from a Beloit Police Department detective and arguments by both the defense and prosecution.

Following arguments and testimony, Hanson determined there was probable cause, with Running’s case set to be bound over for trial. His case was elevated from juvenile court to be tried as an adult on June 7.

Running has not entered an initial plea in the case, court records indicate. He faces three counts of attempted homicide and remains in custody at the Rock County Youth Services Center.

As previously reported by the Beloit Daily News, Beloit police responded to a report of a shooting on May 13 in the 1300 block of Nelson Avenue. Three teens aged 16, 18 and 19 were injured after Running allegedly opened fire with an AK 47-style rifle.

In an interview with police on June 3, Running confirmed he went by the nickname “Mikey.” He admitted to police he and his brother went to Nelson Avenue looking to fight, according to court documents. But during his interview with police, Running claimed a grey car pulled up with unknown occupants that began yelling and started shooting.

One of the victims identified the shooter as “Mikey,” telling police that one of the victims fought the shooter’s older brother. Another teen victim also told police multiple fights took place prior to the day’s shooting.

The criminal complaint shows that the teens were shot in the inner thigh, calf and buttocks, respectively. One of the teen’s suffered from internal organ damage from the bullet, and another suffered a broken femur and significant bladder damage, the complaint states.

Beloit Memorial’s Baylor Denu, right, heads a ball against Evansville.

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Beloit hosts public meeting on federal pandemic aid as councilors stress equity, impact in spending

BELOIT—Specifics on how the City of Beloit will spend its federal pandemic aid aren’t yet known, but one thing is certain: The Beloit City Council and city staff want the intended uses for the “once in a lifetime” sum to have a lasting impact on residents and businesses across Beloit.

The council hosted a workshop on Monday night that saw around a dozen residents in attendance as Finance Director/Interim City Clerk-Treasurer Eric Miller and Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther explained aspects of the city’s major windfall in aid.

Beloit was allocated $15.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, with the city already receiving a $7.6 million installment in July. The second installment is expected to follow in the coming months. All federal assistance funds must be allocated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026, per federal regulations.

At Monday’s meeting, Miller, Luther and councilors stressed the need to thoughtfully and equitably allocate the funding to net the greatest impact citywide.

“We need to make them count we most likely won’t see these types of funds in our lifetime again so we need to evaluate what projects will have the most lasting impact on the community,” Miller said. “This is a very deliberate approach—We are not in any hurry to spend the money. There’s time to evaluate the long-term impacts.

Funding use requirements include: Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic or its negative economic impacts; provide premium pay to essential workers during the public health emergency; revenue reduction relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the pandemic; make necessary investments in water, sewer, stormwater and broadband infrastructure.

Possible options included in the ongoing 2022 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget draft that could be supplemented by federal dollars include the Elm, Oak and Roosevelt streets redesign projects; Beloit Police Department tactical operations equipment and City Hall air handling system; and ambulance replacement for the Beloit Fire Department.

The handful of example projects represent a “very small percentage of the total” funding allocated to Beloit, Luther said.

But all those options mentioned Monday were examples of existing projects in the 2022 budget that would be eligible for funding, not specific funding goals.

The city will use various criteria in determining how to spend the funds, officials said, guided by specific needs, including but not limited to: lead water service replacements; census tracts hardest hit by COVID-19; watermain replacements of shallow pipes; areas prone to watermain breaks; fire flows; regulatory compliance; roadway conditions and the impact on future economic development and housing.

“This is the first step in what is likely to be a fairly lengthy process,” Luther said. “This is a once in a lifetime and career opportunity and we want to deliberate and thoughtful. Determining how we can best stretch and leverage the dollars for long-range improvements is something we want to consider.”

A budget amendment to the CIP plan for 2022 is expected to be needed to accommodate any inclusion of ARPA dollars in the city’s fiscal plans, with the budget to be presented at the Oct. 4 council meeting followed by a public hearing and possible budget adoption in early November.

Councilor Kevin Leavy said the city needed to consider all possible uses for funding before making a decision.

“We need to make sure that whatever we do with these dollars that we look at the entire city, not only for our residents but also for our businesses, too,” Leavy said. I think we need to look at all aspects from residential to businesses and not just certain groups.”

To determine how infrastructure dollars might be allocated, Luther said the city may start a request for proposals process to examine possible water and sewer extensions to have a benchmark prior to allocating funding.

“We are hoping to get those out by the end of the year,” Luther said, with anticipated responses expected in 2022.