Impromptu food pantry started six weeks ago now serves 100 families

From our news partner Madison365:

When Jimena Maier offered to host a mini-food pantry in her garage less than two months ago, she never thought it would grow to serve more than 100 families. The first week the pantry was open it served 12 families. By week six it served 102. “We had a line of vehicles all the way down Tomscot (Trail). You couldn’t see the end of the line of vehicles,” Maier said.

Marsy’s Law passed in the Spring Primary, but what does it actually mean?

The Marsy's Law amendment was supported by an overwhelming majority in this month's election, passing with 75 percent of the vote. While the amendment appeals to common common sense  on the surface, opponents like the ACLU of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Justice Initiative (WJI), say the wording of the amendment is misleading. 

Madison Commons Media Digest, April 26, 2020


Governor Tony Evers unveils criteria for eventually reopening Wisconsin businesses amid pandemic, Mitchell Schmidt, Wisconsin State Journal, April 21. Updated information from Wisconsin State Journal. Corona Coverage

Meatpacking facilities cited as Wisconsin reports largest 1-day increase of COVID-19 cases, Associated Press, April 26. 30,000 Wisconsinites apply for new pandemic unemployment funding in opening days, Briana Reilly, WSJ, April 25. Flouting stay-at-home order and social distancing, anti-lockdown protesters descend on Wisconsin Capitol, Wisconsin Watch, WPR, Capital Times, April 24; More than 1,500 rally to 'Reopen Wisconsin,' Robert Chappell, Madison365, April 24; Inside the conservative network backing the anti-quarantine protests, Issac Stanley-Becker and Tony Romm, Washington Post, April 22.

Golf courses reopen — cautiously

Gov. Tony Evers extended the Wisconsin stay-at-home order until May 26, with regulations loosening for some non-essential businesses. Along with arts and crafts stores, libraries and lawn cares services, public and private golf courses reopened starting at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24. Reporter Kylie Compe spoke with one local golf pro about the precautions being taken.

Despite closures, schools continue to keep communities connected

As COVID-19 continues to change the lives of those across Madison, the importance of local school systems has risen through the ways they have strived to support local families.

“It has completely changed the lives of every person I know.” Michele Ritt, a Special Needs teacher with the Madison Metropolitan School District who was recently re-elected as County Supervisor for Dane County’s 18th District, said.

Willy Street Co-op’s business model paying dividends for community during difficult time

If you have lived in Madison for any substantial period of time, you have likely wandered among the produce-lined and organically-stuffed aisles of Willy Street Co-op. With three locations across Madison, the customer-owned grocery store has been filling the carts (and bellies) of locals since 1974. 

Three-plus generations of success unfortunately don’t protect businesses like the co-op against a global pandemic, though. The upside of having ownership split among 35,000 individuals in this time, however, is reactivity. 

“Because we are owned by people right here in our community, it plays an important role in our decision making process,” said Communications Director Brendon Smith. “We can be responsive to community needs in a way that chain stores cannot.”

Chapman concerned for family, community and country during COVID-19 crisis

Kathleen Chapman admitted she is bored under the current stay-at-home order, but she also recognizes the struggles faced by millions of others around the country -- especially people of color and those in single- income households.

“I live in a position of enormous amounts of privilege. My husband's job is secure. My job is secure. Heck, even my daughter's job is secure,” Chapman said. “We are not in a position to worry about whether or not we're going to make our mortgage payments or any of that. My concern is for the people who are going to be more disproportionately affected, and that's going to be people who have always been more vulnerable in our society.”

Racism a concern for Chinese students amid COVID-19 pandemic

Tao Zhou is one of thousands among the UW-Madison Class of 2020 whose college years were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many seniors, the abrupt ending to college has been anything but easy. But for students like Zhou, it has sparked a whole new outlook on life. 

“I started to feel the gaze when I was walking on the street, probably around February, when the U.S. started to first see cases of the coronavirus.” 

Zhou, an international student from Beijing, China, has been studying economics and photography at the University of Wisconsin - Madison for the past four years. Following the first break of news around COVID-19 in February, Zhou started noticing a major increase in acts of racism around her. After spotting graffiti on UW- Madison campus reading, “It’s from China, #chinesevirus” Zhou shared a picture of the chalked words on her Instagram page.

Hollandale’s Kirsch sticking with Trump despite turmoil

Rhonda Kirsch and her husband and son care for 500 cows on a dairy farm in Hollandale, Wisconsin. Kirsch has been a Trump supporter from day one, voting for him in the Republican Primary in 2016.

She intends to vote for him again this November. 

 “I like Trump for the business,” said Kirsch. “He had a lot to clean up. I don’t know why anyone would want to be president.”

Earth Day turns 50, goes online

Fifty years ago, on April 22, 1970, about 20 million people gathered throughout the nation for the first celebration of Earth Day in the United States.