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Citizen Advice Wanted for Dane County Parks Plan

by Kadjata Bah, age 12

For the first time, the Dane County Parks Division has developed a survey as an added outreach effort to get citizen input on their Parks and Open Space Plan. Every five years, the Parks Division updates the plan, but this year they will administer a survey of Dane County residents in English and Spanish. The feedback from the survey will be considered to design the 2018-2023 plan.

"We really believe in a grass roots level, hands on planning approach...and encouraging as many people to provide input as possible," said Chris James, Senior Landscape Architect at the Dane County Parks Division. [read more]
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Mural Off the Beltline Pays Homage to Monona’s Historic Beauty

by Armond Garcia Harper, age 12 and Azario Garcia Harper, age 14

Simpson Street editor Taylor Kilgore was driving home from our South Towne office the other day when she noticed something beautiful. Before her eyes, a group of artists, including teenagers, were working on a colorful mural on the side of the Well No. 3 Building on 6500 Raywood Road in Monona.

When it was safe, Taylor pulled over to the side of the road, parked her car, and approached the artists. She spoke to one of the mural’s painters, Alicia Rheal, who told her more about the project. The mural was designed by Rhea Ewing and other contributors include Rheal, Emida Roller, Sonya Sankaran and Amy Zaremba, who are all members of Dane Arts Mural Arts (DAMA), a division of Dane Arts that aims to engage the public and young people through mural art. [read more]

Lodi Marsh Wildlife Area and State Natural Area Adds 58 Acres to Protected Lands in Northern Dane County

by Andréanna Wright, age 16

by Andréanna Wright, age 16

But in the midst of these bleak realities, 58 acres of wetland wildlife habitat in Dane County will now be preserved thanks to the efforts of long-time Lodi residents Lydia L O’Brien, Mary J. Thompson, and Marjorie Quam of the Miller family. [read more]

Dane Country Streams Now Susceptible to Invasive Snails

by Christy Zheng, age 14

A tiny creature is making a big splash in Dane County. The New Zealand mud snail was detected for the second time in the area, and officials are becoming concerned about the invasive mollusk. First discovered three years ago in Black Earth Creek, the snail was recently sighted in Badger Mill Creek in Verona.

Although the snails are only one-eighth of an inch long, they reproduce asexually and can create a colony of one million clones in a year. The snails don’t thrive everywhere, however. Researchers suggest that their numbers tend to spike when they are first observed, and then decline for unknown reasons. One possible explanation is that the snail might have a predator—the aquatic flatworm. [read more]

Recent Where in Dane County Articles

Mary Kolar, District 1 Supervisor and member of the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission, and I recently sat down with James Mills discuss local water issues. He spoke articulately and passionately about his work, the environment, and his perspective on water. [read more...]
Dr. Jack Daniels recently announced in a press conference that Madison Area Technical College will open a new campus on the south side of Madison in 2019. The college also announced a new partnership with the Madison School district. The plan is to open an expanded campus able to serve as many as 5500 students. [read more...]
Most buildings nowadays are made of metal. However, the new Festival Foods located on East Washington Avenue took advantage of another organic material: ash and red pine trees. [read more...]
Michelle Richardson llegó a nuestra oficina con una sonrisa y un mapa en sus manos. Ella es la analista GIS (siglas en inglés para Geographic Information System) en el Departamento de Recursos de Tierra y Agua del condado de Dane. Pasamos la mañana discutiendo con ella sobre su carrera, vida personal, y experiencias trabajando en el departamento. Ella fue muy dulce y conversacional, preguntándonos sobre nuestra escuela y nuestras vidas. [read more...]
At exactly 10:30 am on a Thursday morning we welcomed Steve Ottelien into our office at the Dane County Land and Water Resource Department for an interview. This friendly, approachable man had agreed to talk to us about his job as a soil and water conservationist. [read more...]
Last Thursday, I paid a visit to the Jenni and Kyle Preserve, a Dane County Park with a positive mission. Specially designed for people with disabilities, the park is fully accessible to ensure a fun outdoor experience for all. [read more...]
After 30 years of planning, the Lower Yahara River Trail will soon be open to the public. The highly anticipated trail will connect McDaniel Park in McFarland with Capital City Trail in Madison. It does more than just bridge two places; however, it will also tie two communities together. [read more...]
Recently, a sandbox was installed at the Henry Vilas Zoo. But it’s not just any sandbox. It is an Augmented Reality (AR) sandbox that simulates topographic features and water systems to teach people about watersheds. The Dane County Land and Water Resources Department and the Henry Vilas Zoo partnered to construct this educational model for all ages to view. A watershed is a piece of land that drains precipitation into a body of water. The exhibit at Vilas will help citizens of Madison understand how watersheds work. The model also aims to make viewers more aware of where water goes when it runs off their yards and driveways into storm drains, lakes, and streams. [read more...]
Simpson Street, the road on which Simpson Street Free Press was established, was once a corn field and the Royal Airport. The area around Antler’s Tavern—a beloved institution—has been through many challenges, but it’s always had a strong sense of community. [read more...]
Over the past year, Wisconsin has revised dozens of permits for high-capacity wells, allowing for an additional billion gallons of groundwater to be extracted. Recently, Wisconsin legislature passed a bill essentially removing the Department of Natural Resources' permit checks when wells are repaired, rebuilt, or transferred. [read more...]
For many Wisconsinites, summer means enjoying the thousands of lakes sprinkled across the state. However, the spread of invasive species can heavily damage these waterways, and even endanger visitors. [read more...]
After years of planning, a major redevelopment project is taking shape in Monona. The recently approved project is getting positive feedback from residents and will start construction later this year. The $36 million improvement plan, developed by Galway Companies, will take place. [read more...]
Rulers of Japan for almost 700 years, the Samurai warriors established an impressive legacy, one that continues to astound many to this day. Recently, SSFP staff and students had the opportunity to delve into the fascinating history of Samurai warriors at the Chazen Museum of Art’s stunning “Samurai: The Way of the Warrior” exhibit. [read more...]
The Simpson Street Free Press interns for the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department recently had the chance to attend a teaching workshop at the UW- Madison Arboretum. It was hosted by the Latino Earth Partnership, an organization that works to promote collaboration between educators and Latino communities. [read more...]
Por primera vez, la división de parques del condado de Dane ha desarrollado una encuesta como un esfuerzo añadido para obtener aportes de los ciudadanos en su Plan para Parques y Espacios abiertos. Cada cinco años la división de parques actualiza su plan, pero este año realizará una encuesta para los habitantes del condado de Dane tanto en inglés como en español. Los resultados obtenidos de la encuesta serán considerados para diseñar el plan para el periodo de 2018-2023. [read more...]
For the first time, the Dane County Parks Division has developed a survey as an added outreach effort to get citizen input on their Parks and Open Space Plan. Every five years, the Parks Division updates the plan, but this year they will administer a survey of Dane County residents in English and Spanish. The feedback from the survey will be considered to design the 2018-2023 plan. [read more...]
Simpson Street editor Taylor Kilgore was driving home from our South Towne office the other day when she noticed something beautiful. Before her eyes, a group of artists, including teenagers, were working on a colorful mural on the side of the Well No. 3 Building on 6500 Raywood Road in Monona. [read more...]
We met at our South Towne newsroom early one Wednesday morning—most of us with droopy eyes and tired faces. It was early, but we were excited for the day’s adventure: we were headed westward toward Mount Horeb to visit the village’s new Driftless Historium & Mount Horeb Area Historical Society. [read more...]
In the 21st century, the world is at our fingertips. Smartphones provide the answers to any question imaginable in just a few seconds. These pocket-sized devices also allow users to connect with others almost anytime, anywhere. Yet while we may take them for granted, smartphones didn’t always exist: inventors worked through decades of design to bring us the modern phone we have today. [read more...]
UW-Madison recently created a new website, the STEM Diversity Network, that promotes connecting diverse people on campus in various STEM fields. The website compiles resources on science, technology, engineering, and math. [read more...]
From wetlands to prairies, a diverse range of biomes contributes to the preservation of natural resources and wildlife in Wisconsin. Climate change, prairie loss, and deforestation have reduced some of the state’s richest sources of species diversity over the last couple of decades. [read more...]
A tiny creature is making a big splash in Dane County. The New Zealand mud snail was detected for the second time in the area, and officials are becoming concerned about the invasive mollusk. First discovered three years ago in Black Earth Creek, the snail was recently sighted in Badger Mill Creek in Verona. [read more...]
Wisconsin will face $7 billion in wastewater infrastructure and drinking water needs over the next 20 years, according to a recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers. [read more...]
The DNR states that the mission of Wisconsin state parks is “to protect and enhance our natural resources...to ensure the right of all people to use and enjoy these resources in their work and leisure… and in this partnership consider the future and generations to follow.” Unfortunately, these goals may become less attainable with Governor Walker’s recent proposal to eliminate tax support for the state park system. [read more...]
One effective way to conserve is to spread awareness about environmental issues. We at Simpson Street Free Press know this well and emphasize energy and environment topics in our curriculum. Members of the Wisconsin chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recently visited our South Towne newsroom to present a panel around the theme “Conservation and the Environment.” [read more...]
Alyssa Anderson, a 7th grade student at James C. Wright Middle School, was recently chosen from thousands of applicants as the Wisconsin winner of the ‘Doodle 4 Google’ contest. [read more...]
In an effort to reach underserved young people and diversify their pool of applicants, Edgewood College recently created a program that would encourage diversity among its college students. To learn more about this program—the “Edgewood College Math Precollege Program”—Simpson Street Free Press reporters interviewed Steven Post, professor of Mathematics at Edgewood. [read more...]
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced recently that $2 million is available in the Urban Water Quality Grant Program for 2017. This is welcome news to county residents seeking to halt the flow of local water pollutants. [read more...]
A new exhibit recently opened to the public at Henry Vilas Zoo. The exhibit celebrates Wisconsin history and the creatures who are the face behind it all—badgers. [read more...]
Imagine a wall. On it is painted a destructive sea with a mountainous tree in the middle. Grimy pollution litters the tree’s roots. Also featured are small white human and animal silhouettes. Elegant flowers gild treetops. Behind these designs are two worlds—human and natural—that depict antagonistic relationships. This wall, these images are more than just fantasy; in fact, this is a real mural that Japanese artist Ikeda Manabu has worked on for the past three years at the Chazen Museum of Art. [read more...]
A recent discovery from a Dane County study found that targeting residual sludge might be the key to mitigating phosphorus pollution in the waterways of southern Wisconsin. This has spurred immediate action by the county, and a new plan by Dane County Executive, Joe Parisi may make waves in Wisconsin environmental efforts. [read more...]
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced recently that local benefactor Stephen Morton donated 114 acres of forestland to Dane County Parks. Located in the Black Earth/Mazomanie area, the newly-unveiled Morton Forest illuminates many scenic views including the Blue Mound, which is the biggest hill in southern Wisconsin. [read more...]
Marianne Morton, Executive Director at Common Wealth Development, announced her retirement after 35 years working for the company. Morton began working at Common Wealth as a VISTA volunteer with the AmeriCorps program and was hired as permanent staff in 1983. From there, she rose through the ranks. [read more...]
According to a 2003 study, more than 70,000 Dane County residents grapple with low literacy. Founded in 1974, Madison’s Literacy Network directly combats low literacy and provides free services for those hoping to improve their English language skills. [read more...]
Katrin Brendemuehl, age 13 and Callan Bird Bear, age 12 The gorgeous artwork crafted by Native American tribes known as beadwork can be as intricate as the wings of a dragonfly. The allure of colorful glass beads against a dark, rich fabric is enough to catch nearly anyone’s eye. This fall, the James Watrous Gallery, a gallery at the Overture Center with a focus on contemporary Wisconsin artists, features these culturally significant, powerful works. [read more...]
Recently, friend of the Free Press and valued volunteer, Jane Coleman, surprised a group of Free Press reporters with a field trip to the Japanese wood block exhibit at the Chazen Museum of Art. The group of us—including Diamond, Dija, James, Christy, Felicia, Ruthanne, and our editors Taylor and Aarushi—met at the South Towne newsroom where Jane gave us a briefing. Jane explained that Dr. Gene Phillips, professor of Japanese Art, had generously agreed to take us into the “floating world.” He would be acting as a docent, or a volunteer guide, for us. Excited, we grabbed our freshly sharpened pencils, notepads, and camera. We piled into two cars and crossed the isthmus. [read more...]
For many lower income students, going to college might seem like an unreachable dream. Thankfully, a $50,000 donation from UW Health and Unity Health Insurance to Madison College will provide scholarships to under-represented youth to help them get on the right path toward a health care career. [read more...]
Completing college is a milestone that improves quality of life and future earning potential. But for many graduating high school seniors, high tuition fees are a barrier to attending college. To help bridge the gap for lower-income students, Madison College (MATC) has launched the Scholars of Promise program. [read more...]
The ‘Maker Faire’ movement is sweeping the nation. And earlier this month, it took Madison by storm. [read more...]
Fans of Shakespeare, buckle up! The first folio, a printed collection of William Shakespeare’s work dating back to 1623, is coming to Madison. [read more...]
In Flint, Michigan, people have unwittingly ingested lead-infused water due to a change of water sources. But how do they find out where people are getting poisoned and who has lead in their blood? [read more...]
Out of the 600 Somali Wild Asses in the world, two of them were sent to our own Henry Vilas Zoo, earlier this summer. [read more...]
When I first walked into Simpson Street Free Press about six months ago, I couldn't believe it. There were young people of all ages, colors, and backgrounds working in a newsroom. And working really hard. This group of kids produces five publications, including the bilingual newspaper La Prensa. SSFP students also organize book clubs, do geography quizzes, and hold vocab contests. At first I was a little intimidated, but now I actually think it’s fun. My point is this: none of this would be possible without United Way of Dane County. [read more...]
Have you ever wondered what the inside of a technology company looks like and what goes on there? Recently, Simpson Street Free Press student reporters had the opportunity to visit Hardin Design and Development (HDD), a Madison software and application firm founded in 2008. Vice President and Co-founder of HDD Scott Resnick and HDD employee Anouson Bounket led us on a tour of the start-up company. We also had the chance to sit down with them and ask questions about what it’s like to work in the tech industry. [read more...]
Simpson Street Free Press student reporters recently had the opportunity to meet and interview potters from the rural Mexican village of Mata Ortiz at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA). Each artist has a unique story—some began the trade at age 17, while others started at only four years old. All of the artists, young and old, share a deep passion for the ceramic arts and their village. [read more...]
A small, once dirt-poor Mexican village now hosts one of the largest concentrations of modern artists in the world. In fact, for the 1,200 residents of Mata Ortiz, high-quality ceramics have become more than an expression of culture—they have become a way of life. [read more...]
The Barrymore Theatre played host to special guests this past Mother’s Day: Ann Imig and the cast of “Listen to Your Mother.” [read more...]
Even before the renovation, when the Goodman Library was just another block in the strip mall, my family and I have gone there to do everything from participating in movie nights, to finding a quiet corner and reading. [read more...]
The E.D. Locke Public Library of McFarland has been my favorite library since it was built in 2005. This library houses numerous books, audio books, movies, and magazines. It also has many different features that make it a great place to read, study, and relax. [read more...]
Those who frequent Vilas Park have likely noticed the Old-Woman-in-a-Shoe slide. For decades it has entertained young children, yet its history has mystfied the public. [read more...]
It was a misty afternoon when we decided to venture out to the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. As we pulled up the long and winding road towards the Center, we were greeted by a couple of sandhill cranes. We could tell this was going to be a trip to remember! [read more...]
Margaret Jenks, music teacher at Van Hise Elementary school, accepted the first Award for Excellence in Music Education from the Madison Symphony Orchestra earlier this Spring. Created in partnership with Ward-Brodt Music, this award recognizes a passionate, dedicated, and innovative educator who positively effects the lives of students. [read more...]
During a recent tour of the newly expanded Aldo Leopold Nature Center, executive director Camille Zanoni shared some alarming data with Free Press student writers. Zanoni said that children spend only one percent of their time outside. This directly correlates with a rise in childhood obesity, depression, ADD/ADHD, and cardiovascular problems. [read more...]
We recently made a trip to downtown Madison. Simpson Street Free Press writers, Lucy Ji, Alex Lee, and Helen Zhang, visited the City-Council Building looking for another piece of local history. What we found was a little-known treasure that is both history and art. [read more...]
Summer time is great for a lot of reasons. It’s warmer, there’s no school, there’s no rules, and there’s so much free time. With almost three months of summer vacation, it is important to add in some reading to your free time. [read more...]
Co-founder and owner of Isthmus Publishing Company is selling to the owners of Red Card Media, an off-campus meal-card program for students. In a post on the Isthmus website Thursday, Vince O’ Hern announced the sale to a group including Craig Bartlett, Jeff Haupt, and former Green Bay Packer, Mark Tauscher. [read more...]
En la opinión de la abogada Amber Raffeet, la educación es muy importante. Ella piensa que con una educación, todo es posible. Su trabajo con la comunidad latina y el sistema de inmigración es ejemplar. [read more...]
When Jacob Gillizter went to the Department of Natural Resources to get approval to fish in a local creek for a school project, he was told it would be a waste of time. [read more...]
When I was five my mother took me to an introductory rehearsal of The Tempest at the Young Shakespeare Players theater. My mom talked to the directors and read pamphlets; she was scoping out the program to see if it was something I’d like to do in a few years. But when she decided it was time for us to leave, she found me, of all places, on stage introducing myself and saying I wanted to be in the play. Richard DiPrima, the founder and director of Young Shakespeare Players (YSP), told my mother, “The readiness is all,” a quote from Hamlet. Even though the age minimum to perform was seven, he encouraged me to join. I recently completed my 11th production, Will & Sid Ride Again, and am about to start on my 12th. [read more...]
When Free Press reporters decided to check out the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, I was thrilled. As a consistent museum goer, I am impressed by the Chazen’s vast art collection and recent building expansion. [read more...]
Bullies usually don’t pay for what they do, and often parents have no idea what’s happening. But now, the city of Monona has decided to hold parents accountable for their children’s actions. [read more...]
Mount Zion Baptist church is a vital institution in south Madison. It has contributed in many important ways to the south side community. Any of us who have grown up in south Madison know Mt. Zion. It seems like the church has always been here. But, that is not the case. [read more...]
On a clear and crisp evening reporters from Simpson Street Free Press set out for the UW-Madison campus. There, we got a chance to visit the Washburn Observatory and catch a glimpse of some well-known planets in the night skies. [read more...]
Recently, a group of Simpson Street Free Press reporters and I took a trip to the UW Madison’s L.R. Ingersoll Physics Museum located in Chamberlin Hall. The museum featured hands-on physics demonstrations that appeal to young and old audiences alike. The exhibits were fascinating, and really grabbed our attention. We knew right away that this was a story we wanted to cover. The experiments that take place here explain physics in a way that even a younger child can understand. It is a place of exploration and discovery. [read more...]
Recently, fellow reporters Rosalinda, Patricia, Alexis, Aarushi, Claire and I visited a museum rich in ancient fossils and animal artifacts. Unlike other museums, this one was located cozily between the kitchen and living room of David Wandel’s house. [read more...]
Recently, fellow Free Press reporters, Alex Lee, Pallav Regmi, and I went on a trip to the “oldest classroom in the Wisconsin”. The Cave of the Mounds is a national landmark located in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. There really is a lot to learn about this million-year old cave! [read more...]
One hundred fifty years ago master architects Samuel Donnel and August Kotzbock built a number of beautiful buildings right here in Madison. Five of these buildings still stand today in a downtown district called Mansion Hill. [read more...]
On a recent cold evening, a group of Simpson Street Free Press reporters gathered at the Goodman South Madison Library. We were in pursuit of a very hot story. [read more...]
It was a bright and beautiful Wednesday afternoon when fellow staff writers, Antoneah Armour, Pallav Regmi, Victor Lien and I, went to visit Mahon Antique Restorations. Located less than five minutes from our south side newsroom, our editor told us this would be a good story. We weren’t sure why. We were anticipating a lecture about furniture, but instead we found something much more fascinating. [read more...]
Simpson Street Free Press reporters love road trips. They’re fun, educational, and we often come back with great stories for our newspaper. One of our recent road trips brought us to another remarkable place. When we got there, we found ourselves up-close and personal with a slice of Wisconsin’s past. [read more...]
When we think of schools today, we generally think of large buildings filled with hundreds of students. On a recent visit to a one-room school house, we were reminded there was a time when schools were not so populous. We spent the day learning what it was like to attend the Old Halfway Prairie School House, a school that was founded in 1848. Now it’s a museum. Our gracious hosts were Darlene Grover, a former student and her teacher, Cleo Brockman. [read more...]
If you travel north of Madison on Highway 12 for about 25 minutes you will cross the Wisconsin River at Sauk City. Soon after crossing the Wisconsin River Bridge, Highway 12 begins its climb through an ancient mountain chain. This is Wisconsin’s famous Baraboo Range. [read more...]
On a recent sunny Saturday, Free Press reporters took a short trip from Madison to Cross Plains. This is a cute little town just west of Middleton on Highway 14. Cross Plains also happens to be where Wisconsin’s first ever “green library” is located. The Rosemary Garfoot Public Library is built to the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). [read more...]
Just south of Verona, where county highway PB meets state highway 69, lies the adorable little town of Paoli. Over the years Free Press reporters have visited Paoli several times to get ice cream, snack on delicious cheese, and study local history. [read more...]
One hot summer afternoon, we were on a quest to find a snack to cool us down, when we encountered some trolls. This may seem odd considering we live in Wisconsin, but they greeted us in the town of Mount Horeb, also known as the Troll Capital or Trollway. [read more...]
About 2.5 million years ago massive glaciers the size of continents began to move across the surface of the earth. About 10,000 years ago the last of these magnificent ice structures in North America receded from what is now the Midwest and Great Lakes region. In Wisconsin they left behind a path we now call the Ice Age Trail. [read more...]