Pollinator Protection work group aims to address City’s pesticide use

The Madison Food Policy Council’s Pollinator Protection work group introduced a resolution to the Common Council last week allowing the creation of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy Review Task Force.  

The task force will revisit policies on pesticides and integrated pest management. Their goal is to explore ways to eliminate or reduce pesticide use to improve the habitats of pollinators on city-owned land. Currently, the resolution is being referred to five to six committees, and the Council is expected to adopt the resolution by July. If approved, the task force will convene and begin reviewing recommendations and then dismiss by early 2019.

Statewide quarantine to fight emerald ash borer

In an announcement made last month, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced that starting Friday March 30th, the entire state will be placed under quarantine for the invasive emerald ash borer. The quarantine prohibits moving firewood from quarantined areas to non-quarantined areas, and will require that business handling ash wood and untreated ash products work with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to adhere to protocols that reduce the risk of transporting the insect to other areas. The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle species that feeds on ash trees, and has been destructive to American ash tree populations. The beetle was first found in Wisconsin in 2008 – now, it has been recorded in 48 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Emerald ash borer quarantines were previously enforced at the county level, but the growing extent of the infestation prompted the statewide quarantine.

Don’t be salty: The negative effect of road salts on water and Madison’s efforts to reduce it

When snow falls in Wisconsin, children may think about the snowmen they’re going to build, students may think of the school cancellations they’re going to enjoy and drivers may think about their safety on the road. When they hear the rumble of snow plows that clear the streets and scatter salt behind them, they likely feel peace of mind that actions are being taken to ensure safe driving. Wisconsin’s surfaces see more than 650,000 tons of salt dumped on them each year to ensure safety in winter. While spring is technically here, how Madison clears its roads in the winter has year-long effects. Road salts and de-icers melt ice to help prevent harm to drivers and pedestrians, but at a significant cost to the surrounding environment.

Madison Recycling System sets ambitious goals while educating public on services

Before the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the City of Madison established the first curbside recycling collection in the nation when it began collecting newspapers in 1968. During the past half-century, the waste management program in Madison continues to grow and change, but there is still need for improvement. “Nearly 60 percent of all the waste we generate as a city is recycled, which is fantastic. But that also leaves plenty of room to get better,” said Bryan Johnson, the City of Madison Recycling Coordinator. According to the EPA, the United States recycles about 35 percent  of the waste it creates.

What You Need to Know about the Spring Election

On April 3, Dane County will hold Spring Elections to elect state offices for Supreme Court Justice, Court of Appeals Judge, District IV, Circuit Court Judges, and two school board seats. Here is a brief overview of the positions and candidates voters will elect on Tuesday. 

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is the final judge for cases in the state. The seven justices receive thousands of requests for hearings each year. The Court's job is to check the actions of the Governor, state assembly, the state police, and other government officials to make sure they do not overstep their powers. A justice would help to resolve national issues that reach the court systems such as women’s right to abortion or means of U.S. Citizenship. Michael Screnock

Campaign Website: https://www.judgescrenock.com/

Rebecca Dallet

Campaign Website: https://www.dalletforjustice.com/

Court of Appeals Judge, District IV

Appeals courts consist of three judges and do not use a jury.

The Bus Stops Here: For Poetry

What helps break the boredom of riding the bus from point A to point B? A poem of course! And what better way to share your talent with others in your community than to have one of your poems displayed on the bus! From modest origins less than a decade ago, and with the involvement of Edgewood College’s Graphic Design program, Metro Transit has teamed up with Madison’s Poet Laureate to sponsor a “Bilingual Bus Lines Poetry Contest.”1 Anyone of any age is invited to send short poems, haiku, prose poems, or excerpts of 3-5 lines from longer poems to the Bus Lines 2018 open call for poetry.  Submissions can be made in English or Spanish. The theme this year is home: “What is that special thing (event, person, place) about Madison that makes you call it ‘home?’”

The Poet Laureate wades though the submissions and picks the top poems (30 poems were selected last year).

Madison Community Foundation Pledges $75,000 to Reclaim Trees Killed by Emerald Ash Borer

The Madison Community Foundation announced this month a $75,000 grant intended to help local community organizations utilize wood from ash trees felled by the invasive emerald ash borer insect for educational and artistic projects. This grant represents the tenth in a series of twelve major community donations made by the Madison Community Foundation, which pledged an approximate $1 million toward various local causes through the twelve gifts. Titled ‘Phoenix from the Ashes,’ the latest gift aims to help the Madison community find productive benefits from the recent threat of the invasive insect to Madison’s ash trees. The project is a partnership between the Madison Parks Department, Madison Arts Commission and Wisconsin Urban Wood, all local groups which intend to use milled lumber from the felled trees toward their own community projects. “Phoenix from the Ashes is a model of effective collaboration that builds on Madison’s legacy as a green city with forward-thinking leadership,” said Madison Community Foundation President Bob Sorge.

The Bus Stops Here: Vote for Public Transit in Dane County’s 2018 Board Race

Bus riders and friends have good reason to vote their interest in public transit in the upcoming Spring 2018 County Board elections. Public transit is a basic pocketbook issue with environmental and social significance. After the cost of housing itself, transportation can be an average household’s second largest expense. That is on average. Madison Area Bus Advocates does not endorse political candidates but can provide transit-related information with which to evaluate political candidates, and it can encourage people to vote.

Statewide school garden organization provides resources, connects Madison schools

School gardens have found a home in Madison. Over 30 local schools are incorporating garden-based education into the curriculum, and the rewards outweigh the challenges. Ginny Hughes, education director for Community Groundworks, said gardens often begin with the vision of a passionate teacher, parent or community resident, but leadership changes and lack of funding, time and energy can lead to the downfall of an intended garden space. “It’s always changing, and it always requires attention, so that work requires resources,” Hughes said. “I think that’s where we find a lot of lack in our Madison schools.”

That’s where the Wisconsin School Garden Network comes in.

The Bus Stops Here: For a Participatory Democracy


One of the many examples of the disconnect between public transportation and land use in Madison that has been disenfranchising transit-dependent people for years is the impending relocation of the state’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Service Centers on the west side. The new location will make it more accessible to car travel but less accessible to bus travel. One must go to a DMV Service Center to obtain the photo ID card now necessary for both voting in Wisconsin and receiving many federal services (i.e. a “Real ID,” passports can also be used at federal agencies, but are more expensive). Governmental and non-governmental organizations have for decades been relocating offices from oftentimes cramped quarters downtown to more spacious accommodations in car-centric and sprawly fringe areas of Madison. The Madison Area’s own Transportation Planning Board (MPO) moved its meetings from downtown to a location with limited transit access some years ago.