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.

The Bus Stops Here: For A Downgraded Paratransit Program

Madison’s leadership in the transportation of disabled people may be coming to an end. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires public transportation agencies to provide a complementary “paratransit” service for disabled people who cannot use mainline transit. However, more than a decade earlier, Madison adopted a special transportation program for elderly and handicapped people that provided service “over and above” the lower bar stipulated by the ADA. Madison is now looking to shed those “over and above” services. And while Metro will continue to contract rides out to other vendors, it will cease to operate its own in-house fleet of paratransit vehicles.

Yard waste collection is here

Pumpkin spice drinks, warm sweaters, carving turkeys; all signs that Autumn is among us. With Autumn also comes one of the more tedious chores of owning or renting a home: raking leaves and other yard waste before the snow falls. The City of Madison classifies yard waste as “leaves, weeds, garden trimmings, and other plant debris. Twigs less than 18” long. Pumpkins, crab apples, and pine cones."

The Bus Stops Here: Reporting on Public Transit

The reason for this column is the supposed lack of newsworthiness of transit issues in Madison. We say “supposed” because what journalism students are taught in a for-profit media market and what the situation might be in another context could be very different. Currently however, though public transit is an integral part of what makes Madison, Madison. It is usually just ignored or taken-for-granted, either way under-reported.  The only times it may appear in mainstream media are when fares rise, an accident occurs or service gets cut, as most recently appears to be the fate of our beloved “above and beyond” paratransit service for disabled people. Such negative exposure conveys the notion that public transit is problematic rather than the treasure it really is. This was brought home recently when listening to a UW-Madison journalism student speak about transportation equity.