Making the Marquette Neighborhood Better Than You Found It

If you like it here, this is how you can/should help: JOIN MNA

The MNA Board during a meeting in March 2014.

The MNA Board during a meeting in March 2014.

The Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) has always been a very active organization but the need for motivated members and leaders is a constant. Our neighborhood, located in the heart of the state capital, is host to many constituencies and their agendas can have stark impacts.

For example, the effects of the demolition of a long-standing industrial building have yet to be fully enumerated and the neighborhood is still trying to get answers from the state.

Additionally, the neighborhood is grappling with development and how to interpret the detailed neighborhood planning that was undertaken only a few years ago. Wounds are still fresh from the shooting of Tony Robinson and the response to a brutal sexual assault on the bike path is just beginning.

The MNA was also instrumental in thwarting an ill-conceived reconstruction of Jenifer Street that would have permanently changed the look and feel of this idyllic yet key transportation artery minor.

If you live here it’s likely that you love the festivals, which are the top four neighborhood events in the city. Our streets, homes and parks makes for destination living. But it took four decades of effort to make it this way and keep it so.

Your neighborhood needs to hear from you through words and engagement.

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Help Blake Beat Burkitt’s Leukemia This Sunday

Fundraiser for a boy who beat leukemia but needs help beating bills

1899955_272627359567181_877352916_nI first met 4-year old Blake Rickert at a birthday dinner for his mother about a year ago and I was impressed with his undying exuberance even though he was the only child amongst ten other adults.

I would see this precocious young man at other friend gatherings from then on, playing with toys that boys often find interesting like trucks and large construction equipment. This fellow has more texture than that as I’m told he also likes gardening, shoveling, and of course, superheros. Just about every superhero needs a sidekick. With the evil foes Blake has been fighting so far in 2014, he is looking for his Robin (Dick Grayson for purists).

It was earlier this year that Blake was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Leukemia, a rare form of cancer that is aggressive (growing in size every 14 hours) but also highly treatable. Since January he has been undergoing an aggressive treatment protocol at the American Family Childrens Hospital with very encouraging results. Recently Blake’s mother Jill announced that a bone marrow biopsy found no leukemic cells and all the tumors are gone.

I guess he has earned a newly bestowed moniker: Super Blake

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Willy Street Blog @ “2”

Neighborhood blog to continue hyper-focus

What do you give the neighborhood that has everything? Well certainly not another person with an opinion. When you start a blog, its like any good essay, pick a few central themes and nurture them with attribution and reasoned analysis. But it is no small challenge to write about by far the most engaged, opinionated, funky, and cool neighborhood in the nation.

Willy Street Blog was born in March 2012, in the midst of the recall drive, but soon turned away from state politics as plenty of great voices were already speaking to the issue. In a city that features stupendous local reporting from numerous outlets, why should anyone bother to read some random blog?

The key is to really not care.

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Star Bar Ready to Shine

One Barrel and Jade Monkey owners collaborate, open bar in Capitol East District

Star Bar, 756 East Washington Avenue, is on the first floor of The Constellation building.

Star Bar, 756 East Washington Avenue, is on the first floor of The Constellation building.

A new bar opening in the 700 block of East Washington Avenue plans to fuse Madison’s near-East Side industrial heritage with the present-day funky vibe of the Tenney and Marquette neighborhoods.

Star Bar, operated by Peter Gentry and Hawk Sullivan, opens January 16 on the first floor of The Constellation building, part of a slate of first floor retail offerings for the 12-story mixed-used building which opened last year.

Both men grew up in the Marquette neighborhood and hope to create a bar that is accessible to the surrounding neighborhood while also seizing on the rising activity in the Capitol East District. Gentry opened One Barrel Brewing on Atwood Avenue in 2012, while Sullivan is a longtime business owner with three other hospitality establishments in greater Madison.  Continue reading

Paul Howard Poberezny, EAA Founder Dies

Poberezny perfected crowdsourcing for aircraft homebuilders before it was cool

The man who built a whole movement around aircraft homebuilding and recreational flying as the founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Paul Poberezny, died this morning (August 22) in Oshkosh.

For Aviation, Poberezny came along at just the right time. It was January 1953 and the post-war boom was in full swing as the United States was in the final months of its hot war with North Korea. There was a glut of World War Two pilots and more would be coming home soon from Asia.

Aircraft makers like Piper and Cessna were doing a brisk business, putting pilots in small aircraft, but not everyone could afford the equivalent of a luxury car. Poberezny saw this and found a way for the tinkerer generation to discover flying in a most accessible and affordable way; build the airplane yourself.

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Flying Fun: Wisconsin’s Best Export

A flying car, night air shows, and veggie options show AirVenture’s inclusiveness

An RV-4 homebuilt settles in for its AirVenture visit. Builders and owners often camp with their planes.

An RV-4 homebuilt settles in for its AirVenture 2013 visit. Builders and owners often camp with their planes. Courtesy: EAA

The foremost aviation gathering is now underway in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Seven days, 10,000 aircraft, 500,000 people, nine air shows including two at night, 800 exhibitors, and over 900 registered media are all you need to know that the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture event (July 29-August 4) is the world’s largest fly-in and convention.

This year is the 61st annual gathering of the most diverse collection of aircraft in the world. From the very rare vintage, warbird, and one-of-a-kinds; to thousands of familiar production aircraft to the thousands of homebuilt (amateur-built) aircraft that EAA was first founded to promote.

Wisconsinites know it as “The Big Air Show” but its much more than that as its the largest gathering of aviation enthusiasts and the most democratic as anyone can fly-in. Of EAA’s 170,000 worldwide members only a fraction actually attend with most wishing they could.

But as has been the case for the last 16 years, you can attend via EAA Radio which began its seven days of live programming at 6 a.m Central time today (July 29).

  • Listen to EAA Radio to hear 24/7 coverage of all the events on the field, as well as interviews and diverse programming. EAA Radio also has a live video feed from their studios. LISTEN

(program note: I will be returning as a guest host on EAA Radio July 29 and Aug 1-4 12-1 p.m. Central time)

  • Watch the live tower cameras that show sweeping views of north, central, and south parking and runway approaches. WATCH
  •  Watch the Air Show camera that follows the daily air show live. You especially don’t want to miss the night air show. WATCH
  • Watch Theater In The Woods, EAA’s evening programming. WATCH
  • Listen to the Air Traffic Controllers handle the rush via LISTEN

EAA Radio: Hear how controllers sequence arriving aircraft

Visit EAA’s multimedia site AirVenture LIVE

Willy Street Co-op Membership Meeting Tonight

Meeting kicks off first night of La Fete de Marquette for 2nd straight year

Co-op Board President George Hoffheimer addresses the membership Thursday July 12, 2012 as other board members look-on.

Co-op Board President George Hoffheimer addresses the membership Thursday July 12, 2012 as other board members look-on.

The Willy Street Co-op will hold their annual Membership Meeting tonight (July 11) as a kick-off to La Fete de Marquette (July 11-14) at the corners of East Washington Avenue and South Dickinson Street. The Co-op, a presenting sponsor of the festival, will present a financial report of the just concluded fiscal year as well as candidates for the Board of Directors which will be voted-on in August.

Of interest this year is a $2 Million remodel of the Willy East location which members approved last August. However, in a letter to membership, General Manager Anya Firszt on behalf of the Co-op management and Board is seeking authorization to spend anadditional $2 Million to remodel and expand the East Side location.  Continue reading

Born To Bun

Chance encounter with two Wienermobile drivers on their first day

Oscar Mayer Hotdoggers Attadog Alex Connett (left) and Sizzlin' Stephen Hays. made an an impromptu stop by at Ella's because they were desperate to nosh.

Oscar Mayer Hotdoggers Attadog Alex Connett (left) and Sizzlin’ Stephen Hays made an impromptu stop at Ella’s because they were desperate to nosh.

If you are from Wisconsin you KNOW about the Wienermobile. If you are from Madison a Wienermobile driving by may not create tourist whiplash but it is a source of pride. Lunch this past Tuesday was quite the nostalgic day for me as I dined with a high school friend and her kids and witnessed the crossroads of Americana, the Wienermobile dropping by Ella’s Deli.

The arrival of a hot dog and bun on wheels at the very end of our lunch was not a planned event, but ironically an impromptu stop by its drivers who were desperate to nosh.

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Protecting Their Ladybusiness

Women and men rallied at the State Capitol today as the Wisconsin GOP doubled-down on social issues with the passage of Senate Bill 206. Over 20 demonstrators met at the top of State Street and made one lap around the Capitol Square before moving inside to join the Solidarity Sing-A-Long.

Inside the Capitol the Guerrilla Feminism Protest AB 227/SB206! took place in the Assembly gallery. Women were asked to appear with tape over their mouths to signify the chilling effect the legislation will have on women’s rights in the state. Activist and DJ Nick Nice posted this observation to his Facebook Page:

“Watched 3 people get arrested/kicked out for wearing tape over their mouths to protest the GOP bill that sanctions State-mandated rape”

Nice told Willy Street Blog later that soon after he left with his son the Capitol Police cleared out the entire gallery. Meanwhile, the GOP seems afraid to support their own bill in the light of day. Observers are reporting that most GOP members of the Assembly are not even on the floor during the debate. Obviously this bill, so doggedly pursued by this party, doesn’t sound as appealing once its heard out loud.

District 6 Candidate Q & A: Scott Thornton

Challenger says Ald. Rummel has failed to lead and communicate with residents

Scott Thornton. Courtesy Scott Thornton for District 6

Scott Thornton. Courtesy Scott Thornton for District 6

Scott B. Thornton, 49, has lived in District 6 since 2000 and Madison since the late 1980s. One of his first jobs in Madison was working for the United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County which had its offices in the Atwood Neighborhood Center and he has been tied to the near East Side neighborhoods ever since.

However Scott has made his strongest impacts as President of the Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) for the past four years, nearly quadrupling the membership during his tenure. He also secured tax exempt status and aggressively developed a public art program in conjunction with the Madison Arts Commission that has flowered in public and private spaces around the Marquette neighborhood.

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