‘The arts save lives’: Dane Arts looks to support creators through crisis

Each Friday at 5 p.m., Emida Roller has been hopping on Facebook Live to highlight the creativity bursting out the doors of Dane Arts Mural Arts (DAMA) on Madison’s southeast side. As the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated things for artists and creators across the globe, DAMA has reacted by setting up a virtual gallery on their website to encourage folks to support their artisans and outreach programming. 

Libraries prepare for curbside service

While many folks have been finding solace in Netflix or social media during social distancing periods, book-lovers like Tracy Herold are swapping screens for spines. During her last five years as Director of the Dane County Library Service, Herold has been expanding free and equitable access to library services across the county. 

Impromptu food pantry started six weeks ago now serves 100 families

From our news partner Madison365:

When Jimena Maier offered to host a mini-food pantry in her garage less than two months ago, she never thought it would grow to serve more than 100 families. The first week the pantry was open it served 12 families. By week six it served 102. “We had a line of vehicles all the way down Tomscot (Trail). You couldn’t see the end of the line of vehicles,” Maier said.

Golf courses reopen — cautiously

Gov. Tony Evers extended the Wisconsin stay-at-home order until May 26, with regulations loosening for some non-essential businesses. Along with arts and crafts stores, libraries and lawn cares services, public and private golf courses reopened starting at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24. Reporter Kylie Compe spoke with one local golf pro about the precautions being taken.

Willy Street Co-op’s business model paying dividends for community during difficult time

If you have lived in Madison for any substantial period of time, you have likely wandered among the produce-lined and organically-stuffed aisles of Willy Street Co-op. With three locations across Madison, the customer-owned grocery store has been filling the carts (and bellies) of locals since 1974. 

Three-plus generations of success unfortunately don’t protect businesses like the co-op against a global pandemic, though. The upside of having ownership split among 35,000 individuals in this time, however, is reactivity. 

“Because we are owned by people right here in our community, it plays an important role in our decision making process,” said Communications Director Brendon Smith. “We can be responsive to community needs in a way that chain stores cannot.”

Chapman concerned for family, community and country during COVID-19 crisis

Kathleen Chapman admitted she is bored under the current stay-at-home order, but she also recognizes the struggles faced by millions of others around the country -- especially people of color and those in single- income households.

“I live in a position of enormous amounts of privilege. My husband's job is secure. My job is secure. Heck, even my daughter's job is secure,” Chapman said. “We are not in a position to worry about whether or not we're going to make our mortgage payments or any of that. My concern is for the people who are going to be more disproportionately affected, and that's going to be people who have always been more vulnerable in our society.”

Hollandale’s Kirsch sticking with Trump despite turmoil

Rhonda Kirsch and her husband and son care for 500 cows on a dairy farm in Hollandale, Wisconsin. Kirsch has been a Trump supporter from day one, voting for him in the Republican Primary in 2016.

She intends to vote for him again this November. 

 “I like Trump for the business,” said Kirsch. “He had a lot to clean up. I don’t know why anyone would want to be president.”

Earth Day turns 50, goes online

Fifty years ago, on April 22, 1970, about 20 million people gathered throughout the nation for the first celebration of Earth Day in the United States. 

Amid post-election frustration, Chapman trying to make best of quarantine

Editor's note: This story is the third in Madison Commons' series of profiles focused on the current climate of economic uncertainty and the 2020 election cycle. Long-standing voter Kathleen Chapman is left with frustration and anger after not being able to cast her vote this primary election. As an immunocompromised individual, she has been isolated in her home for more than 30 days. Compromising her health by going to the polls was not a risk she was willing to take. Out of the 11 states holding an April primary, Wisconsin was the only state to hold an in-person election and not postpone.