Police shooting highlights shortcomings in our progressive culture
Tony Robinson, in a picture released by his family the night of his death.
Friday was the day we all realized that our neighborhood, which over the decades has changed for good in many ways, really hasn’t changed at all. Sitting with family and friends for dinner at Take Five, we saw an urgent parade of police vehicles pass by, seven in all.
It is normal to see ambulances and fire trucks on this important artery through the Near East Side. But this was different; we knew a serious situation was occuring when so many police are the first to rush by.
A regular patron headed down the street to investigate and reported back that shots had been fired in the 1100 block of Williamson Street. His information was rushed and proved accurate on only two points: that someone had been shot and that he saw CPR being peformed on an individual before an ambulance took him away.
I say “him” because it was Tony Robinson who was killed during a scuffle with a Madison Police officer. His eventual death has displayed in very stark terms this city’s continued struggle with race, police deadly force protocol and access by our minority communities to Madison’s perennial “Best Place to Live” status.
Former Alder has spent years preparing to be Mayor; she’s ready
Mayoral Candidate Bridget Maniaci talks Madison at the Johnson Public House.
The most important election for Mayor of Madison is not in April when the next Mayor is chosen but tomorrow (February 17) when the Mayor of Madison is chosen. No this is not a riddle, there are five individuals running to be the next mayor including the incumbent. Voters actually have a real choice now, in the primary, in deciding which two candidates will make it to the final round.
Aside from money infecting our politics, the other problem that is degrading our democracy is a lack of participation or even engagement by the voter. This issue is especially acute at the local level where elections have deep and immediate consequences.
We are very lucky in Madison to have this many choices for mayor and we should pay attention as all of them seem to care about the city and many agree on the issues. But only one candidate, in our opinion, will truly love this job like it needs to be loved: Bridget Maniaci.
Forestry to replace some, but not all, with shorter, power line-friendly trees
The glorious leafy canopy that arches majestically over Jenifer Street is unlikely to return after a large street reconstruction this year. A city-wide policy of replacing trees with a species that will top-out below power lines will likely have a huge impact on the character and aesthetic of the neighborhood.
The City of Madison Forestry Division will remove approximately one-third of the trees along Jenifer between Spaight and Few Streets, mostly in an effort to protect against the Emerald Ash Borer.
“There is no way to reproduce the amount of canopy that will be lost, many of the ash preemptive removals are located under high voltage power lines,” Madison Parks Community Services Manager Dawn Grosdidier wrote in an email to Willy Street Blog. For these sites we will be replanting smaller, power line compatible tree species which is our standard practice across the city.”
A second public meeting is scheduled tomorrow (January 21) after the City of Madison officials faced numerous questions at a public meeting earlier this month regarding reconstruction of Jenifer Street which could dramatically remake a four block section of the historic thoroughfare.
The Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) submitted to the City and District 6 Alder Marsha Rummel additional formal questions regarding the reconstruction and it’s scope, the extent of planned tree removals, bus stop changes and construction equipment use.
The meeting is at 6 p.m. in Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center and will be attended by City representatives. The MNA questions can be seen below.
Project to narrow roadway, eliminate bus stops, but could damage historic homes
The 800 block (foreground) through the 1100 block of Jenifer Street will be entirely rebuilt beginning this spring. Jenifer’s notable tree canopy could be significantly degraded by the project as well.
The City of Madison hopes to begin a large reconstruction of several blocks of Jenifer and adjoining streets this spring that will impact both residents and transients that use the street daily during and after the project is completed.
The sweeping project will narrow Jenifer from Spaight to Few Street, install bump-outs to facilitate easier pedestrian crossings, move two Madison Metro bus stops and eliminate six others. Sections of Paterson Street and Brearly will also be rebuilt and portions of Few Street will be resurfaced.
While neighborhood leaders are encouraged by the traffic calming aspects of the project, there are concerns about the changes to the bus stops, the loss of tree canopy and for owners of historic homes, possible damage from construction vibrations.
Electrical fire causes no injuries, but $10,000 in damage
An electrical fire broke out inside Plan B nightclub Tuesday morning (December 23) around 10:15 a.m. causing $10,000 damage and closed Williamson Street for approximately 30 minutes as Madison Fire Department crews from Fire Station #3 responded to the incident.
Two cleaning women discovered the fire when they entered the building, but initially thought it was smoke from a fog machine since it was located near the dance floor. Concrete contractors working next door on the Madison Sourdough expansion noticed smoke coming through the shared wall and responded with fire extinguishers after the smoke intensified blunting most of the fire’s advance according to MFD Spokeswoman Bernadette Galvez.
“The cause is a electrical fire…the exact source hasn’t been pinpointed,” Galvez said. “If those guys [the concrete workers] didn’t noticed that, that fire would have taken off.”
Grocer sponsoring double-feature focusing on it’s history and U.S. food co-ops
The First Forty is a short (six-minute) video about how Willy Street Co-op grew from six volunteers opening a small grocery store in 1974 to the cornerstone of a vibrant community. Interviews from farmers, community partners, Co-op Board members and staff illustrate forty years of cooperation.
Food For Change is a feature-length documentary film focusing on food co-ops as a force for dynamic social and economic change in American culture. The movie tells the story of the cooperative movement in the U.S. through interviews, rare archival footage, and commentary by the filmmaker and social historians. More information about it is available at http://foodforchange.coop/.
Wednesday, October 22
7pm (doors open at 6pm)
Thursday, October 30
Middleton Performing Arts Center
7pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
Board elections plus Good Neighbor Award, Yahara corridor planning on tap
The MNA Board during a meeting in March 2014.
The Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) holds its annual Membership Meeting Thursday October 15, at 6:30 p.m. with an open house at 6 p.m. The gathering, held in the Marquette Elementary School Cafeteria accomplishes several goals for the year.
It allows members to pay annual dues, vote on new Board members, hear the yearly state of the neighborhood address from the President and approve the yearly budget. The Board also presents the Good Neighbor Award to two individuals who have made positive impacts on the community.
The Marquette neighborhood runs from Blair street on the west end to Division Street and portion of Dunning on the east. Its northern border is East Washington Avenue and then winds its way toward the lake along First Street and then along Eastwood Drive.
Boosters hope to rally community to pressure district on facility priorities
“The Aud” in the mid-1960s was a much larger venue, but was artificially reduced in both capacity and aesthetic. All photos courtesy: RaiseTheCurtain.org
There is a renewed push to thrust the renovation of East High’s Margaret Williams Theater back into the funding priorities of the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). Several years ago theater boosters launched an effort to restore a certain amount of grandeur to the auditorium that was completed in 1926, four years after the school was built.
Landmarks gives owner a year to sell or tie property to Petinary expansion
1018 Williamson (right) is spared from demolition for now. Owner Mike Kohn, who also owns the Petinary (left), wants to convert the property to greenspace.
When Petinary owner Mike Kohn purchased 1018 Williamson in 1992 it was in sorry shape and he planned to tear it down. A year later the City of Madison Landmarks Commission granted him permission to demolish the property but it never happened.
Now 22 years later, after restarting the process, Kohn will have to wait another year to try for a demolition permit. Landmarks has suspended his application for demolition until next fall, a move that one person close to the process says may be nearly unheard of in Madison.