Monster 2016 Willy Street Fair Parade Gallery

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Willy Street Fair Parade - 2016

New Reporter to Expand Reach of Willy Street Blog

Hire part of new focus after recent headquarters relocation

Recently, Willy Street Blog has undergone a deliberative process to realign editorial focus following a change in permanent headquarters in February.  As part of this process, we are pleased to announce at 12:08 a.m. April 11, 2016 the addition of Silas Faisal Guyot (8 lbs. 19 inches) as Assistant Editor in charge of our Nuclear Family Desk.

Silas was recently named the 2016 Marcia Brady Fellow at the prestigious Sibling Rivalry School at the University of Southern North Dakota. His groundbreaking thesis on the link between the 1970s children’s program “New Zoo Revue” and the meth epidemic in America has already cemented his status as a leading light in child development reporting.

“Reporters are not made, they are born, said Willy Street Blog Editor Fareed Guyot. “We are fortunate to have Silas on our team considering his glittering credentials.”

At the Willy Street Blog, Silas will focus on topics that will probe the root causes of vexing sibling issues such as: Whose toy is it really? Why he won’t stop bothering me? And if “mom truly loves me more than you”.

WSB’s Infant Sustainability Bureau Editor and brother Salah was effusive in his praise after meeting his new co-worker.

“I’m older than you”, Salah said.

Willy Street Blog Art Director Jamie Guyot did not comment, as is her policy, but was seen with a glowing smile following the announcement and is doing fine.

Warning of a Treepocalypse

Jenifer residents hopeful some trees can still be saved

Will the Jenifer Street tree canopy survive reconstruction and a short-sighted City tree policy?

Will the Jenifer Street tree canopy survive reconstruction and a short-sighted City tree policy?

City of Madison forestry crews have begun to trim trees on Jenifer street ahead of a four block reconstruction project that will last most of the year. Forty two trees are slated for removal. Many are being removed because they are being ravaged by the Emerald Ash Borer or may be at risk.

In the face of the loss of legacy trees comes pushback from residents over the City’s policy on replacing those trees with a species that grows no taller than the base of the power lines. Lifelong residents and newer arrivals are fighting like mad as the idyllic beauty of the street is being threatened by a functional policy that takes a tactical rather than strategic view.

A silent protest arose on the 800 and 900 block of Jenifer recently as signs affixed to many of the condemned trees sought to remind residents of the coming of a possible treepocalypse.

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Saving Trees From the Ground Up

Proposal would allow higher tree heights on terraces currently limited by powerlines

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The Guyot house (right) has had this power pedestal outside their home since they undergrounded their power lateral in the late 1970s. MNA is considering a proposal to underground the primary power lines to maintain the high tree canopy which is threatened by MG&E’s tree planting policy.

The once-delayed major reconstruction or a four block stretch of Jenifer Street is moving forward again but residents are still working to blunt the impact of what may be stark changes to the look and function of the street.

The most recent initiative from neighbors is to advocate for the undergrounding of the primary power lines to help maintain the current tree canopy. The fabled canopy is under a dual threat from forced removal of trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer and any replacement trees being of a species that grows no higher than below the current power lines.

The Marquette Neighborhood Association Board (MNA) will vote this week via email to forward a recommendation to the City of Madison to include partial undergrounding of the primary power lines to help preserve the tree canopy. The initiative grew out of a series of meetings on the Jenifer reconstruction that have been held in the past months by MNA.

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The Fires of Renewal

Winter Solstice celebration at Olbrich only missing pretty snow cover

The twice annual Solstice bonfire at Olbrich Park. This celebrated the Winter Solsice. December 22, 2015.

The Winter Solstice bonfire, part of a twice annual Solstice celebration held at Olbrich Park on December 22, 2015.

The Solstice is one of the more accessible and life affirming holidays celebrated in Madison and it occurs twice a year! Centered around the astronomical cycles of the sun and the earth, the Solstice is a recognition and reaffirmation of our connection to Mother Earth.

The history of the Solstice reminds us that it is not a single deity or a collection of them that truly drives our existence; it is the natural rhythms of the earth that shaped humanity over time. This recognition is very popular in Madison with many Solstice celebrations held around the city.

Our northern city endures the ravages of winter and the tradition of a bonfire is attractive to our residents as, like in pre-Christian times, it signifies the return of heat and light from the sun after it has spent six months retreating from us.

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Willy Street Fair is Perfect End of Summer Ritual

Dry temperate weather on tap for final festival of the season

The Willy Street Fair is this weekend, September 19-20 2015.

The Willy Street Fair is this weekend, September 19-20 2015.

It has been a fantastic summer for neighborhood celebrations in Willyland. Waterfront, La Fête de Marquette, Orton were solid as ever along with some sophomores like Yum Yum Fest and Central Park Sessions. Creating addition buzz was Africa Fest and the opening of the new Goodman Skate Park in Central Park.

Our new park on Wilson street is really coming into it’s own, but it’s appropriate to bring the fun back to Willy Street for one last weekend of summer fun, music, food and celebration of our great neighborhood.

We have had some challenges this year too. The death of Tony Robinson only a half-block from where this year’s fair will take place has highlighted the work both police our city have to do to be more inclusive to our minority communities. Yes even the open arms of the Marquette neighborhood still has some things to learn.

Our funky neighborhood is also dealing with other crime such as the terrible sexual assault last weekend on the Capitol City Trail bike path and questions of how development should proceed along this street that still has many residential buildings.

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Environmental Safeguards Seriously Lacking in Central Services Demolition Plan

DOA meets with lawmakers after quiet bidding process and unresponsiveness

The former Central Services Facility is being demolished for a new State archives preservation and storage building. Residents are concerned the demolition will spread toxins that exist from 100 years of industrial activity on the site.

The former Central Services Facility is being demolished for a new State archives preservation and storage building. Residents are concerned the demolition spread toxins that exist from 100 years of industrial activity on the site.

Marquette neighborhood residents are alarmed about the impending demolition of a state storage building at 202 South Thornton Avenue, the former State of Wisconsin Central Services Facility. The 100 year-old building served as a foundry, munitions plant, manufactured appliances, housed a printing press and served as a service facility for the state’s vehicle fleet.

Neighbors, environmental groups and now local, state and federal legislative officials are concerned the Department of Administration’s (DOA) current Environmental Assessment (EA) far underestimates exactly what types and the amounts of toxins such as PCBs, PCEs, PAHs and other heavy metals remain on the site or have seeped into the ground. There is further worry that the State’s plan to contain those contaminates during demolition is woefully inadequate.

In it’s place, a four-story $46.7 Million state of the art archive preservation and storage facility will be constructed on the site along the Yahara River, for the Wisconsin State Historical Society and Veterans Museum.

The project, approved in 2013, will include greenspace and Native American ceremonial grounds which are planned for the Yahara frontage. In the future, more expansion could happen to land not in the building’s footprint on the Dickinson Street side which for now will be landscaped.

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Taking Back Bike Path Starts With Rescinding Rape Culture

Will we embrace the difficult change required to prevent future assaults?

TakeBackTheBP_CWFollowing the brutal sexual assault and attempted homicide early Saturday (September 12) of a woman along the heavily trafficked Capital City Trail bike path, the neighborhood has been organizing ways to respond.

The Marquette Neighborhood Association is planning extensive discussions of the incident at it’s Board meeting on Thursday and hopes to outline some possible solutions and strategies to forward to City leaders.

Along with that effort will be the first outward community response, a march along the bike path from Mickey’s at 7 p.m Thursday to Livingston Street where the assault occurred.

Over 1300 people have responded to the Take Back the Bike Path Event’s Facebook page but how do we move from this outrage to lasting, sustainable action? How do we move from safer walking at night tips, better lighting and mace to no rape at all?

Fortunately, at least in the immediate area, the Internet discussion following the incident on Saturday has skewed toward new thinking about how to prevent rape. Acknowledging the basic premise that one human can rape another, the majority of sexual assaults are men against women, with acquaintance rape being the most prevalent.

We don’t know the age/background/education of Saturday’s assailant. We often talk about sexual assault at schools because that is where young people are concentrated the most. But rape happens everywhere and at all ages and it starts with the culture we all accept or allow to be acceptable…current male culture and privilege.

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Marquette Waterfront Festival This Weekend

Two day music and community event kicks off festival season

MWF2014mThere are now five major community events this summer, if you also count a concert series in Central Park which will be entering it’s second year. Tomorrow (June 13) and Sunday the Marquette Waterfront Festival will commence, featuring two days of music, food and popular events with a decidedly Near East Side flair.

It begins Saturday morning with the Dandelion Dash (registration at 7:15 race at 8:30), a multi-distance run culminating in a 100 yard dash (9:15 a.m.) by the smallest of dandelions. The official festival starts at noon with El Clan Destino taking the music stage.

On Sunday at 10:30 the “Fools Flotilla” organized by the River Alliance will parade down the river featuring the Forward Marching Band. Anyone who wants to participate in this river parade with a New Orleans flair should meet at the Tenny Boat Launch on the river at 9:30 a.m.

The other river activity is more serious, The Yahara River Canoe race at noon Sunday and is open humans of all ages and human powered craft. Contact John Haugen-Wente (241-0619) to enter. Food and drink from local vendors will be available including the Wil-Mar food stand offering standard festival fair of brats, pizza and soft drinks.

The entire event raises money for the Marquette Neighborhood Association to fund it’s operations that support the neighborhood. The event was started by Bob Queen several decades ago to help fight the possible closure of Marquette elementary school and has evolved into a major community gathering.

The music at the event is a major draw. You can read more about the acts featured this weekend on stage including descriptive bios of each act and the two day music schedule here.

MNA Neighborhood Garage Sale Saturday

Residents to sell “gently used” items curbside beginning at 8 a.m.

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Click on picture for for larger view of map. Courtesy: MNA

The Annual Marquette Neighborhood Association Garage Sale begins Saturday June 6, 2015 at 8 a.m. within the confines of the Marquette Neighborhood. Residents with items for sale who have signed up in advance will be listed in advertisements and receive a yard sign, however one doesn’t need to sign up to sell items in front of their home.

The  general boundaries of the Marquette Neighborhood are from Blair street in the west to Division street in the east and from East Washington Avenue to Lake Monona. Those who don’t sell items by 3 p.m will have an opportunity to donate them to St. Vincent de Paul which will be circulating a truck through the neighborhood at that time.

New this year to the event is a partnership with the Mad City Bazaar which will be open from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of the Washington Plaza at 1800 East Washington Avenue.

The MNA is holding this community event as part spring cleaning, part ice breaker for residents to meet one another. MNA supports many community events and initiatives including the Marquette Waterfront Festival, Orton Park Festival, youth scholarships and community art projects.

If you haven’t joined MNA or your membership has lapsed; joining or joining again is only $5.