Ad-hoc committee finds contract with Madison police fraught with challenges

Members of the ad-hoc committee tasked with evaluating the contract between the Madison Police Department and the Madison Metropolitan School District found a complex situation for which there was no obvious solution, according to committee members interviewed by Madison Commons. Nonetheless, the committee produced a list of recommended changes to the Educational Resource Officer contract that seek to address the problems of police presence in schools as comprehensively as possible, barring termination of the contract. Although some committee members believed that terminating the contract with Madison police should be the district’s long-term goal, the committee did not recommend doing so immediately in its final report to the Board of Education last December. “I was surprised how much [EROs] were built into the infrastructure of school functioning, and how much they were perceived [by staff] to be essential. And for me that raised concerns about a complete and abrupt removal,” said Abra Vigna, one of nine community members on the committee, which also included three MMSD school board members.

Maydm recieves $46K grant to expand computer science programing for girls and students of color

Maydm, a Madison-based technology non-profit, received a $46,000 grant from the Madison Community Foundation to expand their programing for girls and students of color. Maydm provides computer science courses, mentorships and internships for youth across the greater Madison area. Since their launch in 2016, Maydm has instructed over 700 youth, and over half have been girls or students of color. Tech is one of the fastest growing career fields, but only one in 10 K-12 schools nationwide teach computer science classes. In Wisconsin, only 32 percent of high schools offer AP computer science courses, and of the 1.498 students who took the AP Computer Science exam in 2018, only 20 percent were female and 7 percent were students of color, according to a Maydm press release.

Dining in the Dark for Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired

The Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired is hosting a Dining in the Dark event on March 21. The unique experience will happen on Charlie’s on Main in Oregon, and will start at 6:30 p.m. and end around 9:00 p.m. 

The guests will enjoy an Italian inspired four-course meal while blindfolded prepared by chef Dave Heide, followed by a showing of “Sound of Sunshine Sound of Rain.” Dinner costs $60 per person and a wine pairing is available for $20, and proceeds benefit the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. “You have this really powerful opportunity to experience food through all of your other senses and to really have that exquisite multisensory experience with food,” said Denise Jess, executive director of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. “To notice what implications it has to not see the food, both in what the gift of that might be and what the loss of that might be.”

This is the second time Dining in the Dark is held at Charlie’s on Main, with the first time being in March 2018. The first time the Council held this type of event was about six years ago in Appleton at a restaurant called GingeRootz Asian Grille.

Plant Dane Native Plant Program accepting orders through March 20th

Plant Dane is now accepting plant orders for their 14th annual native plant program. The program provides discounted plants native to Wisconsin to schools, non-profits, municipalities and residences in Dane County. These native plants are important to local ecosystems, and provide a natural habitat for local animals and improved water quality. Dane County Land and Water Resources Department and the Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership (MAMSWaP) sponsor this program to improve water quality, according to Christal Campbell, the Stormwater Education Coordinator for Dane County. “Native plants have long, deep root systems that allow stormwater to soak into the ground preventing runoff from washing pollutants down the storm drain into our lakes, rivers and streams,” Campbell said.

March 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. Nadya Mariam Ponce, WORT-FM

Nadya Mariam Ponce helps as a radio presenter on WORT's En Nuestro Patio ENPA, a Spanish language radio program that is produced by a team of volunteers and has become an important part of WORT. She is also one of the organizers of Madison's first Latinx community cycling club, BiciClub Latino de Madison. Ponce supports strongly the LatinXs on the Trans community and is always willing to help.

The Bus Stops Here: In Winter Too

Using Madison Metro bus lines in the winter can be challenging. Days are short; dark comes early; it is cold, icy and slippery. But using the bus can offer some advantages over driving in winter: there’s no need to de-ice a car, or risk damage and injury trying to drive on a slick, corrosive, or rough road. Riding the bus in winter eliminates the worry that your car might not start, get stuck in a snowbank, or worst of all, that you may run afoul of those infamous 'alternate side parking’ rules. And of course, for many riders, using the bus in winter isn’t merely a convenient choice—many riders rely on the bus as their primary means of transportation year-round, or use the bus as a backup to traveling by foot or on bike as the weather gets cold.

Madison Metro Bus Lines Poetry Project Now Accepting Submissions

Here’s your chance, Madison, to share your poetry stories about your favorite Madison places with the thousands of Madisonians who ride the bus every day. Madison Metro Transit and Madison’s poet laureate, Oscar Mireles, are inviting members of the community to send short poems, haiku, prose poems, or excerpts from longer poems, 3–15 lines total, to the 2019 Bus Lines open call for poetry. “In the past, we’ve had over 300 submissions,” Mireles tells Madison365. “The winning poems will be put either on the back of a bus or the fare card/transfer card. Or they will be put on the ride guide, the booklet that has all of the bus schedules for the city, or on the webpage.”

Mireles is the first Latino to hold the position of Madison’s poet laureate, a position he has held since January of 2016.

Community Shares of Wisconsin to Hold Fifth Annual Big Share

The Community Shares of Wisconsin will hold their 2019 Big Share on Tuesday, March 5, marking the fifth year that the fundraising event has taken place. The purpose of The Big Share is to raise funds and bring awareness to 70 nonprofit organizations aligned with CSW’s goals to promote social and environmental justice in Wisconsin. Through the ongoing support of longtime partners and sponsors such as Madison Community Foundation, the Big Share has raised over $1.2 million for participating organizations in the past. This year, organizers hope to break past donation records with the goal of collectively raising $500,000. 

As part of the event, there will be the opportunity to match donations and win prizes. Another highlight is the creative strategies employed by participating organizations to give potential donors a sense of their mission and impact.