Happy Monday, Madison.

If there's one thing I love it's spending a day getting lost in thought over an iced latte at a local coffee shop. Over the weekend I spent much of my time doing just that at the east side's newest shop, Forward Craft & Coffee.

The coffee and beer spot opened at 2166 Atwood in the space that was once home to Barriques (RIP). Following a successful soft opening, Forward is holding its grand opening this week, serving "drinks, food, and fun."

The festivities kick off today, but they're only open until noon on Mondays, FYI. The spot offers typical coffee shop beverages and two dozen tap lines of beer. Truly a match made in beverage heaven.

You can check out their full tap list here and count on more festivities throughout the week.

— Hayley

📣 Hundreds of students are calling on UW to support the APIDA community following a string of downtown attacks.

  • What happened? In the past two weeks, at least three people have been attacked by the same group of men downtown. Last Tuesday, a Chinese Ph.D. student was attacked on the 400 block of West Gilman Street. Earlier that night, the same group allegedly attacked another Asian student on Library Mall. Police have said the attacks don't appear racially motivated, despite the attackers allegedly throwing a banana at the victim in the latter event.
  • Arrests made: Madison police Saturday arrested four suspects in connection with the attacks.
  • Official responses: The university released a statement saying it was "aware" of the attacks and is "deeply concerned by these reports." It also said UWPD and MPD are working together to investigate. Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway tweeted a statement in support of Madison's Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) community.
  • Community response: UW students held a protest Friday in response to the events and plan to hold another demonstration June 24 at 4 p.m. in front of the Capitol building in hopes of prompting action from government officials.

🚴‍♀️ A reconfigured Vilas Park Drive is now open to pedestrians and cyclists.

  • The western end of Vilas Park Drive (starting at Edgewood Avenue) is now officially closed to motor vehicles and open with new and improved lanes for walkers and bikers.
  • The eastern end of Vilas Park Drive (from S. Orchard Street to the Vilas Park Shelter) now allows for two-way traffic.

🏳️‍⚧️ All Dane County buildings will soon have gender-inclusive bathrooms.

🎂 Two Sun Prairie mainstays will close their doors at the end of the month.

  • Carl’s Cakes and Market Street Diner announced in a Facebook post June 30 will be their last day of operations.
  • Market Street Diner has already closed for carryout, delivery, and dine-in service but Carl's will remain open for the last two weeks of service.
  • "We’d like to thank all of our wonderful customers over the years—we’ve had so much fun creating beautiful cakes and desserts for so many events, weddings, birthday parties, etc., etc., and we’ll certainly miss being a part of the Sun Prairie community. THANK YOU for all the continued support through the years!!!" the post reads.

🌆 A look at a newly proposed downtown development.

  • A Michigan development company has proposed a 14-story, 337-unit building with 17,000 square feet of commercial space at 121 E. Wilson St. (Not to be confused with 131 W. Wilson, troubled home to Paisan's.)
  • The proposal includes plans for a promenade that would give “outstanding” access to Lake Monona, District 4 Ald. Mike Verveer told Cap Times.
  • The development team has made presentations to the city's Urban Design Commission and recently held a neighborhood meeting to field questions from area residents. They still need to submit a land use application but if that's done soon enough, the project could go through the approval process in the fall.

💻 The county will keep its broadband task force around through 2024.

  • Last week the Dane County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to continue the work of its broadband task force, which works to better understand the issue of broadband connectivity in the county.
  • The task force was first created in 2020 and is funded through $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, Cap Times reports. At the time, nearly a quarter of rural Dane County residents said they lacked access to reliable, affordable broadband.
  • Last week's vote created a new version of the task force — aptly called task force 2.0 — which will now be able to work toward implementing the recommendations the first version of the task force had previously made.

🌳 Your lunchtime read: Dear Papa, I’m writing to you on birch bark.

  • Via Wisconsin Life: "When WPR producer Steve Gotcher’s daughter, Erika, was a little girl, she started a tradition of sending him letters on pieces of birch bark. Recently, they sat down and talked about how and why it began."
  • Happy (belated) Father's Day to all the dads out there (but especially mine)!