August 2018 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. Jenifer Cole, Wisconsin Women’s Network

Jenifer Cole is the Past President of the Wisconsin Women’s Network, an organization that promotes the advancement of women and girls in Wisconsin through communication, education, advocacy, and connections. Cole has served on the board since 2013 and currently works as a Program and Policy Supervisor for the Department of Children and Families. She has been committed for the last 20 years to gender and social justice and has worked at many nonprofit and government organizations around the U.S. Cole holds a BA in Theatre and Gender Studies from the University of Southern California and a MPA from Cornell University.

Madison’s Neighborhood Resource Teams want to shift perspectives, improve quality of life in “pockets” of the city

Mayor Paul Soglin’s Neighborhood Resource Teams are working to tune into Madison residents in order to address their needs by introducing neighborhood-based improvement projects to the city budgets and planning. Soglin created the Neighborhood Resource Teams in 1991 during his second term as mayor after noticing the division between government departments, where the topic-style organization of agencies prevented cohesive collaboration. “It became obvious that we needed a better approach in terms of the needs of specific neighborhoods,” Soglin said. “It was also obvious that the services provided should be in response to the neighborhood identifying priorities rather than the city making those decisions.”

The Mayor’s office identified neighborhoods it felt would benefit and formed teams comprised of city employees across government agencies. The teams focused on small pockets of the city until 1997, when Soglin left office.

The Mad Rollin’ Dolls break down gender norms and stereotypes

Tall and lean, Spam is known for her speed. In a bright green jersey, she whips around an indoor track at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum five nights a year, pushing and weaving her way through a tightly-knit group of women on roller skates. She works tirelessly towards the chance to hold a dismembered mannequin leg, painted gold with a roller skate on its single foot, high in the air at the championship match. Spam is a member of the Mad Rollin’ Dolls, Madison’s women’s roller derby league. The dismembered leg is affectionately known as Leggy, a championship trophy with a storied history.

Madison’s Juneteenth Will Be a Week-Long Celebration This Year

Madison’s annual Juneteenth will be celebrated for a whole week this year and will culminate with a parade and party at Penn Park. The Juneteenth Day Celebration 2018 will take place Saturday, June 16, noon-6 p.m., at Penn Park. Juneteenth in Madison is now in its 29th year. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, a day when African-American slaves in Texas were told by Union forces that they were free. They were the final group of slaves to realize their freedom.

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.

One-on-One with the candidates for the Madison Board of Education: Gloria Reyes

Madison Commons reporter, Lauren Thill, interviewed three candidates for the Board of Education in Madison. We present the interviews unaltered in transcript form as part of a three-part series. In part three, we present the comments of Gloria Reyes who is running for Seat 1 against current board member Anna Moffit for the Spring Primary election on April 3. Reyes is currently Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, Civil Rights and Community Services. Can you talk about yourself and your experiences?

One-on-One with the candidates for the Madison Board of Education: Anna Moffit

Madison Commons reporter, Lauren Thill, interviewed the three candidates running for the Board of Education in Madison. We present the interviews unaltered in transcript form as part of a three-part series. In part two, we present the comments of Anna Moffit, who currently holds Seat 1 on the school board, and has served on the board since 2015. Moffit is running for re-election against Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes for the Spring Primary election on April 3. Moffit works as a Parent Peer Specialist with Wisconsin Family Ties.

One-on-One with the candidates for the Madison Board of Education: Mary Burke

Madison Commons reporter, Lauren Thill, interviewed the three candidates running for the Board of Education in Madison. We present the interviews unaltered in transcript form as part of a three-part series. We begin with Mary Burke who currently holds Seat 2 on the school board, and has served on the board since 2012.  Burke is running unopposed for the Spring Primary election on April 3. Burke is the current CEO and founder of Building Brave, a nonprofit organization.

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).

SSFP: Three Simpson Street Reporters Receive Outstanding Young Person Awards

This story originally appeared in the Simpson Street Free Press. The story was written by Jacqueline Zuniga Paiz, an Assistant Editor at SSFP. 

Every year, over 800 Wisconsin parents, youth, teachers, school faculty, and community members come together to attend Urban League’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Recognition Breakfast. Held at Edgewood High School this year, the annual event celebrates local students’ academic achievement, extracurricular participation, and commitment to community service. About 200 middle and high school students of color from Dane County receive Outstanding Young Person awards at the event, which is one of the state’s biggest youth and family-focused celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Simpson Street staff and students are proud to announce that three of our young reporters were among those who received awards at this year’s community celebration. from St.