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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Gallery: Snowmageddon 2012

Snowmageddon 2012

Images of the Wil-Mar and SASY neighborhoods during and after Snowmageddon 2012, December 19-21, 2012.

 

Images of the Wil-Mar and SASY neighborhoods during and after Snowmageddon 2012, December 19-21, 2012.

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Winter Solstice Celebration

The 10th anniversary of the Starkweather Solstice Bonfire is at dusk (4:30 pm) on Friday, Dec 21 at the Olbrich Park ball diamond.

This is the 21st event (twice a year).  Volunteers are welcome.  No weather postponement date. Contact John Steines is you are available to help with traffic, set up, or as a fire guard.

Winter Solstice 2009

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Budget Cuts Could Sink B.B. Clarke Swimming Platform

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

Olbrich Deep Well Activated for Drought Support

Water Utility says nearby Kipp contamination not a concern

Deep Well #8 on the Olbrich sledding hill. This seasonal well is the last of the 22 wells to be activated by the city in their drought response.

We’re not sure if Madison is running out of water, but as part of its drought response, the city has activated its last remaining dormant well as a precaution. Well #8, located at Welch and Lakeland Avenues also known as the Olbrich sledding hill, is in the process of being flushed so it will be ready in case demand increases again. The well has been dormant until now and some are raising concerns about water quality since its blocks from the Madison-Kipp Corporation plant where ground contamination has been an on-going concern.

In a letter to Madison 6th Ward Alder Marsha Rummel, Madison Water Utility Public Information and Conservation Official Gail Gawanda said that flushing of Well #8 began the week of July 17. The well is being placed in service as a precaution since all the other wells and booster stations are running at nearly non-stop pace to meet current demands.

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