Madison Nonprofit Wins eBay SHINE Award, Needs Votes for Grand Prize

Freewheel, a Madison non-profit which advocates for making bikes accessible for everyone within the community, was distinguished by eBay as one of eight SHINE Awards winners, and is now up for the grand prize -- but needs votes to get there. 

The SHINE Awards aim to honor small businesses and non-profit organizations who are using eBay as a partner for fundraising initiatives. Freewheel sells bikes on eBay and invests the revenue in providing free bikes and bike maintenance to those in need here in Madison.

Hundreds Gather to Protest ICE, Border Patrol

Several hundred people gathered at Brittingham Park in Madison across two events on Friday evening to speak out against the detention of children and families at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

A rally hosted by the Close the Concentration Camps Coalition met earlier in the evening at a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, and marched about a mile to the park for a candlelight vigil held in conjunction with Lights for Liberty.

Revel Craft Bar Offers Crafting for Grown-Ups

Gretchen Underwood is a parent and a preschool teacher. Countless times, she's set up crafting projects for kids and her students, but now it's her turn to get crafty. Revel, in the Parkside building on Hamilton Street in downtown Madison, brings meaning to the idea of a “craft bar” by featuring do-it-yourself projects for adults in a casual, social setting. “Where else can you do anything like this?” Underwood said. “This is my cup of tea. I put things out for my students but I never get to create with them, so it’s pretty exciting.” 

Festival of Speed to Hit Fitchburg Saturday

This Saturday, July 13, both bicycle fans and interested families are called by Fitchburg to the city’s Agora Pavilion for the second annual Festival of Speed, a day of harsh competition followed by some family-friendly fun. “With this being the Wisconsin state criterium championship, obviously it is something that happens once a year so it is very unique. If you are a big bicycle follower, this is right in your wheelhouse ... We also have the two national touring bands, Twin XL and New Politics, so it’s an all-encompassing day,” said event manager Lucas Molloy. Criterium is a form of bicycle racing that takes several laps of a closed course.

Fourth Annual Westfest at Elver Park Will Highlight Diversity of Madison’s Southwest Side

From our content partner, Madison365

 District 1 Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney knows that people like to focus on some of the negative things that they hear and read about Madison’s southwest side, but she wants people to know that there are way more positive things happening in that part of the city. “Sure, we have our series of problems and things that we have to work through - we’re not denying that. But we also have a richness of people on the southwest side that really care about each other and humanity and are doing great things,” she says. “We want to highlight that at West Fest.”

The 4th annual Westfest will be held this Saturday, July 6, at Elver Park and it will be a fun-filled, intergenerational summer festival that will showcase the diversity of Madison’s southwest side.  

“I’m really excited about this year’s fest. We are in our fourth year and we have a really good team who have fundraised really well and we will be even bigger this year,” Harrington-McKinney tells Madison365.

The Rising Cost of Living in Dane County is a Key Factor Adding to Poverty in Dane County

The cost of living, childcare, healthcare, education and lack of access to social benefits are the main factors that limit the ability of Dane County residents to get ahead financially, according to people interviewed as part of the DreamUp Wisconsin initiative. The initiative, part of UW-Madison’s implementation of The Alliance for the American Dream, which is a community-university collaboration funded by Schmidt Futures, aims to promote shared prosperity and increase American competitiveness. For people living in poverty in Dane County, unaffordable housing, food, utilities, health insurance and taxes prevent individuals from overcoming financial troubles. It is also hard to find affordable childcare services that have flexible scheduling. Post-secondary education and training, often seen as solution to poverty, are too costly for many and remain out of reach.

Conservative Group Promotes Clean Energy Policy in Wisconsin

As the cost of renewables like wind and solar continues to decline dramatically—by 69% and 88% respectively over the last decade, according to recent analyses—the conversation around energy is changing in Wisconsin and across the country. 

While some groups, like RENEW Wisconsin, have been advocating for renewable energy in the state for decades, a new nonprofit, the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, has also recently begun promoting clean energy policy in the state. The Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WCEF) was founded in December 2017 with the goal of bringing conservatives to the table to discuss the benefits of clean energy for Wisconsin’s economy and actuating the transition through lobbying. The group is part of the Conservative Energy Network, which is also active in Minnesota, Michigan, and states around the country. WCEF’s platform might come as a surprise to some who see clean energy as tied to left-of-center policy proposals like the Green New Deal, but the forum’s director, Scott Coenen, sees a middle ground where the expansion of clean energy aligns with conservative values. Earlier this spring, Madison Commons sat down with Coenen to understand his organization’s perspective on the energy transition.

Structural Factors and Stagnating Wages Stop People From Overcoming Poverty in Dane County

The causes of poverty in Dane County are widely debated, with no single consensus existing in scholarly circles to explain it. Individual factors, such as low education, lack of motivation or culture that supports economic instability, play a key role in getting people into poverty and keeping them there. But structural factors like the characteristics of the labor market and institutional discrimination are also central. Lawrence Berger, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor in the School of Social Work and Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty, suggests that in Dane County an amalgamation of both structural constraints and individual-level behaviors drive poverty. “I think we really do know that it is a combination between structural or contextual factors and individual factors, including, part of it is the luck of who you are born to.