SSFP Reporters Visit the Weis Earth Science Museum

One hot day this summer, Deney, Sarah, Josepha,  drove all the way from the Free Press newsroom off West Broadway to Appleton, Wisconsin, ready to learn about space and geology. We embarked on this journey to attend the annual Wisconsin Space Grant Conference, titled “Uncharted Lands: Geology and Space.” While we were in the city, we visited the Weis Earth Science Museum to learn about fossils, rocks, and minerals. The Museum is named after Leonard and Donna Weis, who donated the first gift to the Weis Earth Museum and later became its directors. Joanne Kluessendorf is the museum’s founding director. All of the exhibits in the museum were donated by T. John Barlow, Clyde Stephenson, and Donald G. Mikulie.

More Black familes are choosing homeschooling, citing bias and desire for culturally-rich education

Around 11:30 a.m., fourth grader Karleese, 9, was given a vocabulary word he had never said before. “In-thoo-see-as-thic?” Karleese said as he hurdled each syllable of the word on his computer screen. His mother Kaulia Powell, 37, coached from the end cushion of the couch where Karleese’s Wednesday English lesson was being held. “Enthusiastic…you got it!” said Powell patiently. Karleese calmly repeated the word as best he could.

JUST Bikes Unveiled the Last of Four Self-fix Bicycle Stations that were Constructed this Summer

JUST Bikes, formerly known as the Madison Bicycle Equity Group, unveiled four self-fix bicycle station, new bike racks, and recognized graduates of the Mobile Bike Repair internship program on Wednesday at Centro Hispano. The projects were made possible by Madison Community Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Year of Giving grant “Mad About Bikes.” Mad About Bikes provides access for all riders, regardless of economic status, and helps them take advantage of Madison’s Platinum-level status as a Bicycle Friendly Community. The $84,200 grant included a 1,100-bicycle giveaway in March, the installment of public fix-it stations, bike repair internships for community youth, starter bicycles for beginning riders, safety education and repair training for riders of all ages, and an electric-assist bicycle outfitted as a repair vehicle that travels throughout the city. Just Bikes’ Fix-it Bicycle Stations are equipped with various tools needed to keep bikes in working shape. The other fix-it stations were installed during the summer, and are located at Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, Bayiew Community Center, and Lussier Community Education Center.

City of Madison After School Services Initiative Criticized for “Lack of Transparency”

Local watchdogs and litigators say a City of Madison initiative and its multiple committees should provide the public with greater transparency. In a unanimous 2017 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that committees created by local governmental bodies in Wisconsin are themselves governmental bodies subject to the state's open meetings law. Wisconsin open meetings law states: “All meetings of all state and local governmental bodies shall be publicly held in places reasonably accessible to members of the public and shall be open to all citizens at all times unless otherwise expressly provided by law.”

Public bodies are required to give notice of the time, date, location and general agenda of all meetings at least 24 hours in advance. Even when, “for good cause such notice is impossible or impractical…in no case may the notice be provided less than 2 hours in advance of [a] meeting.”

Madison-area Out-of-School Time, or MOST, is a City of Madison initiative. According to the City’s website, the group was started by Mayor Paul Soglin.

$15 million Imagination Center prioritizes community’s input and needs in planning for its construction in 2020

Ald. Samba Baldeh is gathering citizen input to help shape what will be known as the Imagination Center in the Northeast side of Madison. “The City is growing very very fast so it really was overdue for us to have a library in this area. It’s important that we have resources for after school programing that can cater the possibility of people of color who sometimes struggle after school to have a personal place to go,” Baldeh said. The Imagination Center has been a year in planning, receiving a budget of $500,000 last year for outreach to gather information on what citizens want to see in it.

“Scholars of Promise” Program Expands

Thanks to the new “Scholars of Promise” program, 150 students at Madison Area Technical College have access to new opportunities. Created by Madison College along with University of Wisconsin-Madison, qualifying students who complete their associate degree will be admitted to UW-Madison, free of cost, to continue pursuing their education. President of Madison College Dr. Jack Daniels and UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank finalized the groundbreaking decision. “Though financially disadvantaged, these individuals can now pursue the dream of a college degree and the career of their choice,” Daniels said. The first Scholars of Promise class is made up of “hard-working, resourceful and persistent” students, said Daniels.