Massive solar project could change the landscape in rural Dane County

An international renewable energy company’s interest in starting a solar energy project in small-town Vienna, just north of Madison, is causing conflicts between neighbors and within families as farmers decide whether to lease their land to the project. 

The first mention of the project entering the area occurred in February 2019, and tensions are rising as farmers are taking opposing stances. In January 2020, residents of Vienna put together a petition requesting that the town board hold an informative meeting with Invenergy, the solar company, explaining the Great Dane solar farm project.  

Madison AirBNB hosts could face more regulation, fees

City officials and local AirBNB operators are struggling to find common ground amid recently proposed revisions to Madison’s Tourist Rooming House ordinance. The proposed revisions, sponsored by Alders Arvina Martin, Shiva Bidar, Patrick Heck and Marsha Rummel, include increased permit costs and new documentation requirements for hosts. The proposal has stirred conversations within the past few weeks. Officials intend to crack down on illegally-operating rentals to protect legal operators and try to increase neighborhood safety, but over two dozen people registered in opposition to the proposed changes. 

In Wisconsin, rental of a whole or partial residence to visitors for less than a month is legally known as a Tourist Rooming House (TRH). TRH establishments, better known by trade names like AirBNB and VRBO, have a stake in the success of Madison’s tourism, according to Diane Morgenthaler, Executive Vice President of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Buerau.

Pink Tape Looks to “Flock the Vote”

The Flock -- local pro soccer club Forward Madison FC’s rabid fan group -- is launching a new supporter group with a focus on civic engagement. 

Pink Tape 608’s leader, Amanda Hoadley, said the group will primarily focus on voter registration and education, and will hold educational and social events throughout the year. 

Madison Commons Media Digest, February 23, 2020

Madison and Dane County

Madison leaders stress 2020 Census participation, open Census Bureau jobs, Abigail Becker, Capital Times, Feb. 18. Noise concerns top list of more than 6,400 comments on F-35 study; Air Force to release final version this month, Chris Hubbuch, Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 18. Community

Dane County community groups team up to fight black infant mortality, Abigail Becker, CT, Feb.

Madison Commons Media Digest, February 16, 2020

Madison and Dane County
Madison Community Development Authority board votes to hire armed security guards, Abigail Becker, CT, Feb. 14. Madison parks board recommends allowing leashed dogs at more city parks, Abigail Becker, CT, Feb. 13. Community
'It would be devastating': Hmong community reacts to deportation talks putting thousands at risk, Madalyn O'Neill, Channel 3000, Feb.

Madison Commons Media Digest, February 9, 2020

Madison and Dane County

F-35s: Easements could lock homeowners out of noise reduction programs, Chris Hubbuch, Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 7. Check to see if the the state Elections Commission thinks you may have moved, WSJ, Feb. 7. Madison City Council moves to prevent 'involuntary' use of plastic straws in restaurants, Abigail Becker, Capital Times, Feb.

Madison Students Look to Launch All-City Black Student Union

Eleven passionate Black MMSD students gathered on Tuesday night at East High School to continue planning for the launch of a city-wide Black Student Union (BSU). 

Two high school seniors have taken the lead on organizing a coalition of BSUs at the city’s four high schools.

Community members express continued concern about PFAS contamination

Tensions were high at Sennett Middle School Thursday as experts from the Madison Water Utility and Public Health department gave a presentation and answered questions regarding recent concerns over polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in local surface water.  

Madison Commons Media Digest, February 2, 2020

Madison and Dane County

Mayor Rhodes-Conway names new executive director for Monona Terrace, Dean Mosiman, WSJ, Jan. 31. Community

Dane County Black Women's Wellness Center aims to tackle health issues, disparities, Adam Duxter, Channel3000, Feb. 1. Goodman South Madison Library to host a variety of Black History Month events, Madison365, Jan.