The Kit Man: Kevin “K-Dog” Harter Keeps Forward Madison Ready to Win

 Kevin Harter has been in the locker room for a few hours already when I meet him in the cramped space under the stone grandstand at Breese Stevens Field. Still, he’s behind his usual schedule -- the Forward Madison FC equipment manager usually has the locker room prepped the night before home matches.

Forward Madison FC, playing in its first season in the inaugural season of the new 10-team USL League One, is the city’s first foray into professional soccer, and seems to have touched a nerve. With fans following the team on social media from literally around the world and home attendance that far outpaces the rest of the league, Forward Madison has embraced the quirky weirdness that is Madison -- including the adoption of the pink plastic flamingo as its mascot.

Harter’s official job description as equipment manager, or “kit man,” for Forward Madison FC, puts him in charge of cleaning, prepping, and organizing the team’s clothes and practice equipment. In Harter’s case, it also means coordinating logistics with host sites for away games, screenprinting fan gear, coordinating with Forward outfitter Hummel, ensuring that every player has his specific superstitious “lucky” thing for game day, DJing the hype music in Forward’s locker room before games, howling from the sidelines during the games, razzing players about their choices in facial hair, keeping his team from getting into it with officials, and generally having the time of his life.

“It’s Bigger Than Me.” Lilada Gee Comes Out as an Artist, Seeks to Empower Women and Girls

From our content partner, Madison365. Everything in Lilada Gee’s life has been hard. Her childhood was hard, she divorced, raised two kids on her own, and lived through sexual abuse, verbal abuse and posttraumatic stress. 

“Everything in my life has been hard,” says Gee. “But these are the only thing that hasn't been hard. Nothing has been hard about it.”

Gee is referring to the digital paintings she’s been creating, paintings that celebrate Black girlhood and womanhood with joyful colors and child-like exuberance. 

Gee, founder of Lilada’s Livingroom, an organization to help women and girls deal with the trauma of abuse,  revealed herself as an artist on social media earlier this summer.

Community Partnership Helps People Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Gwendolyn Diemer, 69, the vice president of Triangle Neighbor Organization, had been sleeping on an air mattress for almost a year before she landed in an apartment at the Community Development Authority’s Triangle complex, just south of downtown Madison, six years ago. 

“You have to light it up, put it down and you have to sink all the way on the floor to get on it,” said Diemer, “It was just not comfortable.” 

Fortunately, Diemer was able to get a bed through a partnership between CDA’s Triangle complex, UnityPoint Health-Meriter and Steinhafel’s which is providing beds for residents on a monthly basis.

Madison Commons Media Digest, August 18, 2019

Madison and Dane County

Madison Flooding: Another deluge like 2018 would bring 'deep trouble' to area, Chris Hubbuch, Wisconsin State Journal, August 18. More than 1,000 Madison homes would be 'incompatible for residential use' with F-35 jets, Shelley K. Mesch, WSJ, August 11. Performance Review: Critics acknowledge Koval's challenges, describe him as defensive, emotional; 'I feel outnumbered': An interview with Mike Koval, Abigail Becker, Capital Times, August 14. Community

Ten reports of Klan propaganda in and near Madison, Robert Chappell, Madison365, August 15. A Wisconsin group leading efforts to bring supplies to Mississippi immigrants families torn apart by ICE, David Dahmer, Madison365, August 15.

The Bus Stops Here: For Belt Tightening

A counterintuitive way to reduce congestion is to go on a road diet or, in this case belt-tightening. The common view? No. On July 24, 2019 officials involved in a Wisconsin Department of Transportation project called US 12/18 Madison Beltline Improvement Alternatives held a well-publicized public involvement meeting1 on a ten mile stretch between Whitney Way and I- 39/90 . The stretch had to be upgraded, the perfect time to consider modifications to the current arrangement.

Artist Jenie Gao Seeks “Uncommon Ground” in New Exhibit

Full time artist, creative director and entrepreneur Jenie Gao said when opinions, clash people often want to find common ground to bare solutions. 

Gao, however, sees it differently. 

“From personal to professional to political spaces, I have paid attention to disputes between people who plead for common ground yet gloss over perspectives and leave issues unresolved. I have wondered that if instead of common ground, we should advocate and claim space for identities and representations that are rare,” Gao said. 

Madison Commons Media Digest, August 11, 2019

Madison and Dane County

'Extraordinarily Disappointing': Madison police union calls out Rhodes-Conway over comments, August 10; Madison City Council approves initial recommendations from police committee, August 7; Rhodes-Conway offers next steps to address mental health crises, August 6, Abigail Becker, Capital Times; Madison mayor condemns police response to June arrest, Chris Rickert, Wisconsin State Journal, August 7. State to triple size of Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center on North Side, Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal, August 8. Community

Women allege they were sexually abused a kids at Calvary Gospel Church in Madison, Katelyn Ferral, CT, August 9. Community leaders speak out against ICE raids, rally at Capitol, Ruth Conniff, Wisconsin Examiner, August 9. Education

Jennifer Cheatham hopes she positioned Madison School District to get to the 'next level' on racial equity, Logan Wroge, WSJ, August 11.

Mellowhood Foundation Gets Big Grant for “People on Premises” Program

Mellowhood Foundation, a non-profit organization nestled in Madison’s Meadowood neighborhood, received a grant to empower youth and create deep understandings of the community. 

In early July, the Madison Common Council awarded close to $120,000 as a part of a U.S. Department of Justice grant to the organization for its “People on Premises” initiative. 

“I feel blessed but also a major responsibility,” said Tutankhamun “Coach” Assad, the executive director of Mellowhood Foundation. 

Madison Commons Media Digest, August 4, 2019

Madison and Dane County

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway focusing on building relationships, staff, Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal, August 4. Madison City Council launches Twitter account, Abigail Becker, Capital Times, August 3. City faces costly choice on low-cost housing for Judge Doyle Square, Dean Mosiman, WSJ, August 1. Community

Marginalized communities would be most impacted by jets at Truax Field, Olivia Herken, WSJ, August 3. Support Staff: New network offers support for all pregnancy options, including abortion, Steven Potter, Isthmus, August 1.

Short Stack Eatery to support Just Bakery with percentage of proceeds for August

For the month of August, Short Stack Eatery in downtown Madison is partnering with Just Bakery to bring some of its signature goods to the table. 

Madison-Area and Urban Ministry’s Just Bakery program, a 12-week employment training program, combines commercial bakeries with culinary education and jobs for formerly incarcerated people to build community ties. The program is mainly intended to aid former inmates with employment and ease their way back into community life. Short Stack Eatery, a local restaurant located on the State Street, has been known as a bustling hub is famous for its all-inclusive brunch since 2015. This month, something different is on their menu. “For OTM (Organization of the Month) this month, Just Bakery, we are going to sell some of their ice-cream sandwiches and include their food” on the menu, said Short Stack shift managerIsabel Mchugh. 

As MUM’s Just Bakery Program and Short Stack Eatery got together, they found that they had common goals in serving and supporting the community, thus forged a collaboration.