Tibet Native, West Alum Opens Pottery Studio on Monroe St

As one of the world’s oldest art forms, pottery has proven to be an invention that can preserve the history of our ancestors and build community. The Dongzhu Pottery Studio at 1925 Monroe Street aims to provide the Madison community affordable access this “humbling” art form for both youth and adults alike. Founded by West High School alum Lejia Dongzhu, the Dongzhu Pottery Studio has been open since November 2, 2017, and has been thriving for seven months. For Dongzhu, who also works as a and Financial Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, this studio’s creation is a result of following his gut and going for it. Originally from Tibet, Dongzhu came to Madison in 2005 and has had his hands in ceramics for the past seven years, since he was introduced to ceramics through an art class at West High School.

Wisconsin Foam Opens New, Greener Facility on Madison’s East Side

From car seats to cosmetics, you probably use foam products every day. But did you know that commercial foam is fabricated right here in Madison, Wisconsin? Wisconsin Foam, a company that produces foam on a mass scale, recently moved into an energy-efficient, 150,000 square foot facility on the east side of Madison. The facility is around three times larger than the company’s previous establishment and much greener. “Saving energy was at the forefront throughout our expansion process,” said Rick Heinritz, President and CEO of Wisconsin Foam.

A New Locally Owned African Clothing Line in West Towne Mall is Open to Everyone

African n American Fits, a popular brand of custom-made African and American clothing that held its first fashion show last summer, has opened a kiosk in the West Towne Mall. Fits has been serving as a cultural bridge between traditional African fashion and African American culture for several years but, until now, has been selling clothing online. Yankuba Janneh, the founder of African n American Fits, says that the move to the West Towne Mall is a direct response to the level of popularity his products have had online and around the Wisconsin community. “We’ve been doing it online and at business expos, and a lot of our customers in Wisconsin would call and ask us what our location is,” Janneh told Madison365. “Mostly it’s just been me and my wife letting people come to our house to buy or look at clothing.

Media Digest May 17, 2018

Our Top Story this week: Robert Chappell of Madison 365 breaks the news that CEO Michael Johnson is leaving the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County to head the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Paul Fanlund @fanlund of the Capital Times talks to Johnson who offers some advice on where Madison needs to head next. In Politics, on Tuesday, May 15, there was a talk titled “Citizens’ Public Hearing on Fair Maps” in Madison, co-chaired by former Senate Majority Leaders Tim Cullen (a Democrat) and Dale Schultz (a Republican).   The event is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Common Cause Wisconsin, the Fair Elections Project, and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.  Tuesday 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church (Fellowship Hall), 203 Wisconsin Avenue, Madison. Matt Defour @WSJMattD4 of the Wisconsin State Journal  previews what is likely to be a hotly contested primary for the Westside Assembly district being vacated by longtime state representative Terese Berceau.

May 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. Kriss Marion, Wisconsin Farmers Union Foundation

Kriss Marion is a self-taught, first-generation farmer who serves on Wisconsin Farmers Union South Central Chapter Executive Board. The Foundation is a member-driven organization is committed to enhancing the quality of life for family farmers, rural communities, and all people through educational opportunities, cooperative endeavors and civic engagement. Marion is dedicated to serving her community—in addition to her work with the Farmers Union, she also serves on the Lafayette County Board and is committed to growing small town farmers markets like the market where she sells in rural Blanchardville

To learn more about the Wisconsin Farmers Union or to volunteer, visit wisconsinfarmersunion.com or call 715-723-5561.

The Bus Stop Here: Living on TIPs

A good indication of Madison’s current view of its bus system is how transit rates relative to other transportation items in the TIP, otherwise known as the Madison Area Transportation Board’s Transportation Improvement Plan. A Spring ritual in the transportation world is to quietly start the process of updating the next year’s TIP, which gets finalized in the Fall. The TIP is a compiled listing of planned short-range projects. By May, Madison’s engineers responsible for road/street and pedestrian/bicycle projects have already presented drafts of the TIP to oversight bodies, such as the Board of Public Works, the Long Range Transportation Planning Committee and the Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission. Unfortunately, neither Metro Transit nor the Parking Utility has exposed their oversight committees to that level of public scrutiny, nor do they appear to intend to do so.

Michael Johnson Named CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati

Boys and Girls Club of Dane County CEO Michael Johnson, also a key leader in the Greater Madison community over the last eight years, has accepted an offer to become the President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Johnson and the UWGC announced today. He will begin his new job on July 9. The announcement follows a six-month nationwide search. Johnson will succeed Rob Reifsnyder, who over 18 years as president and CEO, grew Greater Cincinnati to its current ranking as the sixth-largest United Way in the country. The search was led by Julia Poston, Cincinnati office managing partner at Ernst & Young LLP and United Way of Greater Cincinnati board chair, with BeecherHill, an Ohio-based executive search firm, and a committee comprised of community and board leaders.

Troy Farm’s Plant Sale Returns to Madison on Saturday

Troy Community Farms will host their Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 12. Troy Farm is five-acre organic farm located within the City of Madison. Troy Farm is a program operated by Community GroundWorks, a nonprofit organization that brings local and organic food to Madison residents. The farm promotes sustainable food systems through its organic produce and education of the next farming generation. At the sale, Troy Farm will offer 20 types of plants and 75 varieties of vegetables and herbs to purchase.

Media Digest May 4, 2018

Top Story

Energy bills should be lower for both Alliant Energy and Madison Gas and Electric customers in July after a commission ruled that lower corporate taxes should result in credits to users. Education

Madison students competed in the state SkillsUSA competition to engineer technology including welding and 3D printing. Teams of students competed to present the best plans for credit unions to diversify their membership. A team of East High students competed in a national culinary competition. Development

Child care facilities are in need, and day cares are popping up everywhere.

Local Youth Programs Awarded $30,500

By Youth For Youth, a collaborative project of United Way, Dane County Youth Commission and City of Madison Community Development Division has awarded $30,500 to 20 local youth programs and projects, which are expected to reach more than 4,145 youths and their families in the Madison area. By Youth For Youth is a volunteer committee comprised of Dane County high school students that make investment decisions for youth-led programs. BYFY gives youths the opportunity to identify needs and issues and direct funding to them. The donations for the funding of BYFY came from Brittingham Fund, Inc. of the Madison Peace Project, City of Madison, Dane County Youth Commission, Holly Cremer Berkenstadt of the Cremer Foundation, and United Way of Dane County. The funding priorities of BYFY are focused on activities promoting racial equality, education, before and after school programs, violence and abuse prevention, youth transitions from high school to employment, food security and homelessness, mental health and addition, & LGBTQ+ awareness and gender issues. “By Youth for Youth gives the next generation of community leaders an opportunity to make real impact at a young age,” said Renee Moe, President & CEO of United Way of Dane County in a press release.