Damage wrought by an EF1 twister, ‘hood seeks to repurpose downed Orton trees
This Orton Park oak, stricken by the recent tornado, may soon become a playground for neighborhood kids. Courtesy: Orton Park Natural Play Structure
It sounded like a tornado, the damage looked like a tornado and on Friday (June 20) the National Weather Service (NWS) in Milwaukee updated its assessment of the storms of June 16-17 adding the Marquette neighborhood to the list of areas touched by a tornado, rating it an EF1.
The storm impacted an area from B.B. Clarke Beach to Olbrich Park, with the heaviest along a narrow grouping of streets from the Monona lake shore to Wilson Street. The damage matched many descriptions of typical tornado damage where some structures were decimated while other objects only feet away incurred nary a scratch.
In Orton Park a few trees did not survive, including an old oak next to the middle path in the center of the park. But the tree may live on as a unique and rapid effort by neighbors has delayed removal of that tree, designating it for possible conversion into a “natural play structure” for children.
Circus Quercus amazes and delights Family Night at Orton Park
Luv Joy Seamon (center) and two other Cycropia performers during the opening act of Circus Quercus on Family Night at the Orton Park Festival, August, 22, 2013.
Several thousand people, most of them families, gathered under the grand oak next to the Orton Park gazebo to watch Cycropia’s salute to the trees of the park and the modern circus movement with their performance of Circus Quercus.
Crycropia uses various rings, trapezes, and custom-made metal apparatuses adorned with colorful silks and suspended from trees in their performances. Thursday (August 22) was a veritable mid-summer night’s dream as theater-style lighting allowed the performers to fade in and out of the darkness like one had happened upon playful forest creatures in a clearing on a glorious summer evening.
Orton Park Fest organizers fine-tune event but neighbor concerns linger
Anders Osborne during last year’s Orton Park Festival.
For the forty-eighth time the Marquette Neighborhood and all their friends from beyond will gather under the stately oaks of Orton Park for the festival that bears its name and is emblematic of the people who live here. The Festival, which is put on by the Marquette Neighborhood Association, runs from Thursday through Sunday (August 22-25) featuring an aerial dance troupe, cake walk, auction, and three days of live music from local, regional and touring bands.
From the outside the festival will not be much different from past years, however behind the scenes there has been a reshuffling of responsibilities as longtime director Bob Queen retired last year from his leadership role. Taking over the helm is MNA Vice President Ralph Kuehn who cut his teeth in event organizing through his membership in the Madison Home Brewers and Tasters Guild and their annual event The Great Taste of the Midwest.
Quality-of-life, big city priorities clash during budget process
B. B. Clarke Beach circa 1951. An early version of the diving platform can be seen. Later version paralleled the shore and were located approximately 150 yards off shore.
As the Madison Mayor Paul Soglin prepared his budget for the coming fiscal year he asked all departments to make a five percent cut in their operational budgets. At the Parks Department they arrived at those cuts in part by eliminating and consolidating some very popular services in some parks; specifically the elimination of nine seasonal ice rinks and focusing lifeguard services at regional beaches.
In a city known for year-round recreation probably the most sacred of activities is ice skating and swimming. It is almost a cruel irony that a community whose water-borne identity is intrinsic should have to cut back on this celebrated quality-of-life benefit. Continue reading →
Cycropia Aerial dance to perform “Kodama” in the Orton oak trees
Cycropia Aerial Dance performs at Orton Park in 2011. This year they can be seen on the evenings of August 23 and 24. Courtesy: Crycropia Aerial Dance
In Japan they call it “Kodama”, the mythical tree spirit that protects old trees. Cycropia Aerial Dance hopes to evoke that spirit in Orton Park, a former graveyard, as severe drought has plagued southern Wisconsin this year. The trees are also the center of a neighborhood debate over the effect of thousands of feet and infrastructure the Orton Park Festival (August 23-26) has each year on the park’s Burr oaks.
For the past 10 years Cycropia Aerial Dance, a local collective named for a silkworm moth that is native to Wisconsin, has electrified the first two evenings of the festival with aerial displays to entertain what last year was an estimated 4,000 people crammed into the park.