Frigid Winter Threatens and Unites Madison Community

In the early hours of January 26, the temperature in Madison reached minus 20 degrees due to the polar vortex. By the time Tom Wilson was walking his dog that Saturday morning in his neighborhood on Proudfit Street and West Main, the temperature had only risen to about minus 13. As he plodded through those frigid conditions Wilson noticed a man and a woman on a corner who looked to be in some distress and walked over to see if something was wrong. “Can you help me?” the woman asked. She explained she had found the man out in the cold, incoherent, and she didn’t know what to do.

February 2019 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. Ingrid Rothe, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin

Ingrid Rothe is the Chair of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin’s legislative committee. She is a quintessential, volunteer grassroots League leader. Her work in the nonpartisan organization includes advocating for active participation in government.

Police Chief Koval challenges the school-to-prison pipeline using statistics that show disproportionate arrests of black and brown youth in MMSD

The debate continues over the renewal of a contract between Madison Metropolitan School District and the Madison Police Department, which places police in schools. Proponents tend to argue that placing police in schools, known as Educational Resources Officers, make schools safer and allow officers to develop relationships with students, while opponents emphasize disproportionate negative outcomes of police presence on black and brown students. A recent Madison Commons article explored the debate in detail. Last week, Madison’s Police Chief Mike Koval wrote a blog post that challenged the validity of the “school-to-prison pipeline,” a concept which is often invoked by those concerned about the impact of police presence in schools on minority students. Koval’s blog post listed statistical data which supported his perspective.

Meet the Primary Candidates for Madison Board of Education

We asked candidates running for the Madison Board of Education the same six questions to understand their vision for education in Madison. The answers we received show differences in scope, detail, and logic for what education is, was, and could be. Candidates responded to our questions over the phone or through email. We avoid using framing devices and providing context in our profiles to emphasizes the voices of the candidates.  

The election for Madison Board school board takes place Tuesday, Feb. 19. 

These are the six questions we asked the candidates to understand their vision for education: 

How do you see your candidacy as addressing issues around school culture, which we define as the core set of beliefs and values that guide a school’s routines, procedures and teaching practices?

Environmental issues persist after heavy rainfall last summer

With more than three months since the heavy rainfalls hit Madison in August, many of the immediate, visible impacts of flooding in the city have been addressed. However, the potential for future environmental issues still lingers. The first issue is shoreline erosion which can result from ice damage. As winter approaches, there is some potential for adverse impacts to Madison’s shoreline areas as water freezes at higher-than-normal lake levels. According to Richard “Dick” Lathrop, a former Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources employee and current honorary fellow with the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Limnology, ice damage to shorelines is one outcome likely to occur when lakes freeze before water recedes to normal winter levels.

The Bus Stops Here: Back to the Future With a New DOT

As of July 1, 2018, Madison has revived at least two aspects of its public transportation system that it had between 1968 and the early 1990s, which is both good and bad. The good is that the city once more has a functioning Department of Transportation with a director. The bad is that citizen participation is being overly limited at a time when alders need more, not less, input from constituents. Let's begin with a little bit of history. The City of Madison established a transportation department (MDOT) back in 1968.

Environmental considerations not a top priority for Madisonians replacing flood-damaged vehicles

Madison and Dane County were deluged by record-breaking rainfall in late August which resulted in flooding that caused damage estimated at more than $150 million, including hundreds of totaled vehicles. Since then, many residents have been forced to replace their cars. According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Wisconsin has seen an increase in the frequency and severity of heavy rainfall events, a trend that is expected to continue in the coming decades. The trend toward heavier rainfall is driven in part by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, to which transportation emissions are a major contributor. Yet, for Madisonians replacing flood-totaled vehicles, emissions-reducing considerations like fuel efficiency and fuel type (electric, hybrid, etc.) are often of minor concern.

Ali Muldrow

Ali Muldrow is running for School Board Seat 4.