The reason for this column is the supposed lack of newsworthiness of transit issues in Madison. We say “supposed” because what journalism students are taught in a for-profit media market and what the situation might be in another context could be very different. Currently however, though public transit is an integral part of what makes Madison, Madison. It is usually just ignored or taken-for-granted, either way under-reported. The only times it may appear in mainstream media are when fares rise, an accident occurs or service gets cut, as most recently appears to be the fate of our beloved “above and beyond” paratransit service for disabled people. Such negative exposure conveys the notion that public transit is problematic rather than the treasure it really is. This was brought home recently when listening to a UW-Madison journalism student speak about transportation equity.
A Fund for Women awarded $74,500 to Madison nonprofits in October.
The organization, a partner of the Madison Community Foundation, announced the recipients of the award during an annual fundraiser on October 12. The award is designed to improve the lives of women of color, single mothers, and women who experience economic hardships. The four recipients include Latino Academy of Workforce Development, Onward Odyssey, Doyenne Group Evergreen Fund and YWeb Career Academy (YWCA). All are organizations involved in the Madison area that focus on uplifting women. “These nonprofits have already proven their effectiveness in strengthening the lives of women and girls, and we’re thrilled to support them in growing their impact,” A Fund for Women Board Chair Nicole Jenkins said.
Willy Street Co-op launched a program in September to help small businesses market and improve their products. The Retail Ready Lab program debuted during the co-op’s Eat Local Month promotion. The program provides support from the co-op and customer feedback on products for local vendors for one month. General Merchandise Category Manager Angela Pohlman said in a press release that the program was inspired by vendors’ interest to appear on the co-op’s shelves but whose products or packaging needed further development. Throughout the month, staff at Willy Street meets with the vendors, gives them space in stores to advertise and hand out product samples to customers, and features them in the business’s magazine and social media.
A deep dive into the protest history of the Wisconsin capitol building shows just how strong the city’s roots of dissent run. Education
Got student loan debt? Madison-based student loan servicer Great Lakes was purchased by a Nebraska company that will slowly merge the portfolios. Folk schools, where handcrafts and trades are taught, are making a comeback. A successful driver’s education program backed by Dane County’s executive is expanding beyond Madison’s high schools to several nearby schools.
Residents of Madison's Mansion Hill neighborhood remain concerned over noise disruptions following last week's approval of an entertainment license for the Edgewater Hotel. The City of Madison Common Council approved the license on Tuesday, October 3rd, following an application process that lasted several months. The license allows the Edgewater to hold 35 outdoor public events each year, limiting the permissible noise level to 70 decibels. The Edgewater earned Council approval for an entertainment license in 2014, according to city officials, but failed to pay the $300 licensing fee. The revelation this summer that the hotel lacked the proper licensing for events such as amplified outdoor music put a stop to their summer programming, which has drawn numerous noise complaints from the Edgewater's neighbors.
A planned reconstruction project for Madison's Atwood Avenue has sparked conversation among East Side residents, who see the initiative as an opportunity to improve safety conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. The project, a joint effort between the City of Madison and the City of Monona, would rework a 1.3-mile stretch of Atwood Avenue running from Fair Oaks Avenue to Cottage Grove Road. With an $8 million budget, the reconstruction aims to improve safety and traffic conditions for the avenue, particularly in the area running along Olbrich Park. While project elements such as a complete reconstruction of the Atwood Avenue–Walter Street intersection aim to serve the Avenue's estimated 14,000 daily motorists, community members are advocating for more consideration of multimodal transportation. A major component of the preliminary plan is the addition of a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.
Whistleblowers are supposed to be protected from losing their jobs in Wisconsin. But, it’s not working that way. Education
DeForest elementary school’s remodel has a design meant to get students to collaborate and work in teams. Students at Badger Rock will get school-owned bicycles through a grant program. Nature Circles of Support gives marginalized populations a place to feel welcome in schools. Development
Olbrich Botanical Gardens is showcasing plans to begin a $10 million project that will begin construction September 2018. The design of a proposed Microtel Inn and Suites that will be targeted at millennials is up for discussion at a planning meeting.
United Way of Dane County and Hy-Vee are partnering to offer free flu vaccinations in October and November. United Way will cover the cost for uninsured individuals to get shots. Accepted insurers include Medicare, WI Medicaid, BadgerCare, Unity, GHC, Dean, and Physicians Plus. A Hy-Vee Mobile Immunization Center will be available at following locations and dates:
North/Eastside Senior Coalition on October 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
East Madison Community Center on October 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Leopold Elementary School on October 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Mendota Elementary School on November 16th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Undocumented immigrants are the vital to keeping Wisconsin dairies running 365 days a year. Education
High school students in several Dane County schools can take a nursing assistant class and the certification test through a school program. In the younger grades, enrollment in 4K program is increasing and diversifying, but still about 20 percent of graduates attend kindergarten in another district. Development
Judge Doyle Square development will likely include a $1 million biking center, complete with a mechanic and a bike washing station. Several businesses and homes will be repairing and rebuilding in the next week after a rare October tornado touched down on the East Side.
The 2016-2017 annual report of the Madison Metropolitan School District shows gains in reading and math comprehension, as well as progress for English language learners, but lags behind in building personalized pathways to college for high school students. This annual report marks the last year of the current strategic framework. During the next year, a new strategic framework will be developed that uses the foundational tools the district built over the last five years. “The first five years was building a lot of foundation and putting a system in place for improvement,” James Howard said. “We know we’ve been making gains, but next you have to figure out how to accelerate those gains.”
The current strategic framework defines the district’s ideal vision as an environment that will allow every school to reach its fullest potential and every student graduate from high school prepared for whatever lies ahead, specifically “college, career and community.” Ultimately, the goal of the district is to close opportunity gaps for students.