Wisconsin voter ID law directly impacts students

The November 6 general election is fast-approaching, and it’s a big one. County, state and federal offices are up on the ballot, including the governor’s office, state legislature, and Congressional representatives and U.S. senators. But, some states, including Wisconsin, are accused of suppressing voter turnout through repressive voter ID laws, which could impact election results. Wisconsin’s voter ID law, passed in 2011 after Republicans took control of the state legislature and the governor’s office, is one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country. The law requires citizens to show a photo ID and provide proof of residence before exercising their right to vote.

Community bonds make investing in Madison easier

The City of Madison issued a one-week selling period of municipal bonds in early October to fund the renovations of Olbrich Botanical Garden. Sold in $500 increments, the bonds are meant to be more accessible to residents to provide an opportunity for them to invest in their community. While these appropriately-named “community bonds” are receiving much attention, the use of bonds to fund City projects is less unusual than it may seem. David Schmiedicke, City Finance Director, says the City of Madison issues about $100 million of debt a year in the form of bonds to pay for things like facility renovations, road construction and park improvements. Typically, these investments are sold in $5,000 denominations.

Dane County’s Bookmobile is gearing up for expanded service

Dane County’s miniature library-on-wheels is on the move. Starting on November 2, the Bookmobile will make weekly stops in Maple Bluff. Local residents will find the Dane County Library Service’s mobile library on Oxford Place adjacent to the fire department on Friday’s from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

“Typically what the Bookmobile does is serve the communities in Dane County that don’t have a municipal library of their own,” said Tracey Herold, the director of Dane County Library Service. When the Bookmobile launched in 1966, it served areas like McFarland and Fitchburg, which lacked their own public libraries at the time. The Bookmobile currently serves 16 different municipalities where public libraries don’t exist, or it doesn’t make sense to establish a library, which incurs continual expenses.

The Bus Stops Here: For Bus Buddies

One of the pleasant features of public transit is that it can provide riders a sense of community even as each passenger may be going to a different destination for a different reason. Some talk while others acknowledge another’s presence with a nod, eye contact or some other form of nonverbal communication. The poem, Express Route Madison, written by Catherine Young reinforces the communal nature of public transit. “This bus is bound for Community. It’s around the next bend.

Enter Madison’s Selfie Contest Now

The City of Madison’s Selfie Contest is well under way, but there’s still time to enter. As part of Madison’s Historic Preservation Plan, the city seeks the input of its citizens regarding the places that have shaped the cultural, social, and physical character of the city.  

Residents who wish to enter the contest can do so by taking a picture of themselves in a Madison locale that they believe symbolizes something significant about the city. After snapping the photograph, send an email of their picture to historicpreservation@cityofmadison.com with a short description of the value and significance of the place in the photograph.  

Those selected for the first, second, and third prize will win $100, $50, and $25 respectively in the form of gift cards.

News ideas honored at Wisconsin Innovation Awards

Ten Wisconsin-based companies the Wisconsin Innovation Awards last week, an award which highlights and celebrates innovation in Wisconsin companies. 21 business leaders comprising the Awards Committee selected the 10 winners from 33 finalists. Each winner represented a different industry or business sector. Joseph Boucher, co-founder of the WAI, said this year the WAI received more than 350 nominations. “The goal is to have people from different backgrounds, different interest, meet each other and see what else is going on and collaborate,” Boucher said.

Madison Metro Transit launches equity survey

The City of Madison’s Metro Transit agency launched an online survey on September 28 asking passengers to report on equity in their bus service. According to the Metro Transit web page, the survey was launched to “reflect the goals and values” of Madison’s Racial and Social Justice Initiative. The survey asks passengers to report how frequently they use Metro Transit services, which routes and transfers they use most, and more questions about each individual’s personal profile and how accessible Madison’s bus services are to them. Madison’s bus services were at the center of a racial equity complaint in January when the Wisconsin Department of Transportation closed two DMV locations on Madison’s west side and opened a new DMV office that is more difficult to access by public transit. In response, Madison’s Department of Civil Rights filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation, with Mayor Paul Soglin rebuking the decision to open the more isolated DMV office.