LiveBlog Wrap: Optimistic Nostalgia

Romney gives speech with few details, goes full neo-con on foreign policy

Mitt Romney gives his nomination speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida on August 30, 2012. Courtesy:

On a night when Romney had to appear human and the Republican party appear inclusive, it sort of happened. The line-up of Romney warm-up speakers strained to present a party that was inclusive of women and minorities. Several speakers rolled out sentences and whole paragraphs of Spanish to prove they like people that are not white. Then they were put back in their cages.  Continue reading

Skysurfer Ready to Test Jet Wing

 Former MTV Stuntman Troy Hartman ready for Phase 2 of flight testing

Troy Hartman tests his Personal Jetpack as part of Phase 2 testing for his Jet Wing, which will be powered by the two UAV engines that are strapped to his back. Courtesy: Troy Hartman

Do you remember in the late 1990s a Super Bowl ad featuring a goose drinking Pepsi, aerial refueling style from a guy flying next to him, his feet strapped to a snowboard? The ad was the tops for the Super Bowl in 1998 and remains one of the best all-time for Super Bowls ads. By then sky surfing, which is what the man in that ad was doing, was a worldwide sport and Troy Hartman was its champion.  Continue reading

LiveBlog Wrap: Ryan’s Night of Lies

 Ryan avoids truth telling in acceptance speech, Maddow owns Walker in interview

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan speaks before the Republican National Convention Wednesday night August, 29, 2012. In accepting the Republican nomination for Vice-President, it was his first major national speech. Courtesy:

Below is a summary of WSB’s live blog of the RNC convention from Wednesday night, August 29, 2012. We joined the evening speeches when Former National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice addressed the convention. She was followed by New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez who gave way to one of the Tea Party’s kingmakers Mike Huckabee. The final speech was given by Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as he accepted the Republican nomination for Vice-President.

Probably the most entertaining part of the evening was seeing Scott Walker get grilled by MSNBC anchors Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz after Ryan’s speech. Walker, who has been hailed as a hero this week probably expected to go on television, spew his prepared talking points to the floor reporter, smile his dopey smile, and move on.  Continue reading

C.D. Smith / EUA Withdraw Union Corners Proposal

The C.D. Smith Construction/Eppstein Uhen Architects proposal includes a plan for a grocery store. EUA also designed the Goodman Community Center.

In an email to City of Madison officials C.D. Smith Vice-President Mike Krolczyk said the firm was withdrawing their proposal for Union Corners due to “specific market conditions” and other opportunities they were pursuing.

C.D. Smith partnered with Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) on their proposal which included a grocery store as part of the retail component of the site, however the plan did not depart much from a 2004 plan that failed before ground was ever broken. EUA has history in the neighborhood as just over the hill to the east of Union Corners is the recently redesigned Goodman Community Center, which was an EUA project.

Union Corners had been dying a slow death for decades as businesses struggled to exist on that corner and Ray-O-Vac’s manufacturing plant faded away. In 2010 the city purchased the site for $3.57 million and issued an RFP in June. The remaining proposals vary in cost, topping out at $108 million with public assistance requests as much as $15 million, which the Mayor said may be difficult to provide.

With C.D. Smith / EUA dropping out only the team of Livesey / Stonehouse remains to present to the Union Corners Committee which will take place August 29. A public hearing on the four active proposals is on September 12, 2012 at 5 p.m at the Madison Senior Center.

Related: Where the Sidewalk Ends

Gallery: Orton Park Fest – Sunday

Festival ends with smooth, heavy chords and sunshine

Wendell Holmes of The Holmes Brothers gets into a jam early during their Sunday afternoon set at the 47th Orton Park Festival, August 26, 2012.

The final day of the 47th Orton Park Festival began with light drizzle but ended with sunshine and dry ground, and the smooth, heavy chords of Anders Osborne. The rain never got above mildly annoying and eventually faded to local showers under specific trees when there was a gust of wind.

As the sun rose, so did the audience in front of the main stage. Food and drink vendors did a brisk business as the neighborhood gathered one last day to enjoy a late summer party which is a fundraiser for the Marquette Neighborhood Association. Proceeds raised through the auction, cake walk, along with food and drink sales supports Wil-Mar Center programs including after school programs, food pantry, health classes, and educational programs. Continue reading

Gallery: Orton Park Fest – Saturday

Photo by: Thomas Balistreri

Day three of the Orton Park Festival is underway and the park is filling up nicely. Kids games, vendors, bingo, artists, neighbors visiting, along with music on the stage are part of this warm and slightly muggy afternoon.

Madison legends Peter and Lou Berryman began the music lineup at noon and it was followed by other singer/songwriters like Tret Fure and Pieta Brown. The music will continue throughout the day with Canadian indie-rock band The Sadies taking the stage at 8:30 p.m. as the final act of the day.

Brand new Madison resident Thomas Balistreri spent his first Orton Park Festival volunteering at one of the beer stands, but took some time to pass along some photos from this afternoon.

All photos by: Thomas Balistreri

View the 2012 Orton Park Festival schedule here

Previous Orton Park Festival coverage:

Cycropia Dazzles Orton

Orton Park Ready to Celebrate

Mythical Tree Spirit to Fly at Orton Park Fest

Cycropia Dazzles Orton

International music night with Cycropia’s “Kodama” at 8:15 p.m.

Cycropia peforms “Kodama” on Family Night of the Orton Park Festival, August 23, 2012. Photo by: D.M. Hughes

Crycropia’s performance of “Kodama” was an absolute stunner with throngs of people  attending on Family Night at the Orton Park Festival. Tonight is International Night featuring Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars at 6 p.m., with a break between music sets at 7 p.m. for the MNA Auction, followed by the final festival peformance of Cycropia’s Kodama.

“I went last night. It was breathtaking, beautiful, thrilling-at times, jawdropping. As we used to say, back in the day, ‘It blew me away’, said Atwood resident Dan Melton after viewing Kodama.  “When I shut my eyes to sleep last night, I had pictures of the performance swirling in my head. Still do, this morning.”  Continue reading

Orton Park Ready to Celebrate

47th Orton Fest is here despite lingering noise and crowd concerns

In 1975 the festival was known as the MNA picnic. Rented from the City was a trailer that transformed into a stage. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot

The Orton Park Festival (August 23-26) is just days away in this year of the perpetual summer. After Orton there is just one last neighborhood gathering to go, the Willy Street Fair. The Fair, The Fest, La Fete and Waterfront have been fantastic neighborhood celebrations; but may be a victim of their own successes as they have grown exponentially in popularity, and for some, threaten the beauty of the neighborhood they celebrate.

As a kid over three decades ago, the Orton Park Festival was the last event of the summer since it always seemed to fall on the Sunday before the first day of school. That would be Monday, the very next day. So it was a bittersweet time, filled with games, food, music, and my friends, but the first day of school always loomed.

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Mythical Tree Spirit to Fly at Orton Park Fest

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.

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Hudson Park Rehab Begins Sept. 3

Project will bring better lake access for swimmers and light watercraft

Hudson Beach decades ago was a popular spot, and could be again with a construction project that will improve lake access for swimmers and light watercraft.

Hudson Park is an idyllic yet somewhat unknown part of the picturesque route along Lakeland avenue that skirts Lake Monona. Stretching for several blocks, it hugs the shoreline and provides a shortcut for exercise devotees; but has one treasured feature, the native american effigy mounds located in two separate sections of the park.

The park is also home to Hudson beach, except unless you walked right up to the water you would not have known it. The beach, located between Hudson and Miller Avenues, has some sand followed by an uneven stone wall that leads to maybe five feet of beach below at the waters edge.

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