Gooooood morning, Madison!
Did you miss me?
Sam and I were in Austin last week to attend the Independent News Sustainability Summit. We had a great time learning from industry professionals and can't wait to get started working on all the new ideas swimming in our brains.
The cherry on top of the weekend happened Saturday night when Sam won a surprise award and was recognized for his community engagement efforts (!!!).
Since we've been away for a while, we've got a lot of news to catch up on. Let's get into it.
🩺 Today marks the start of health care open enrollment.
- The annual period during which you can sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace starts today.
- The coverage for these plans begins Jan. 1, 2023. Enrollment runs through Jan. 15, 2023 but to be covered by Jan. 1, you have to sign up by Dec. 15, 2022.
- Questions? Shopping for ACA health insurance? Here's what's new this year (NPR)
🚔 The city has named its independent police monitor (again).
- Who? The Police Civilian Oversight Board has named Robert Copley as Madison's independent police monitor. Copley has a law degree from Marquette University Law School and has served as a legal adviser on public records with the city of Milwaukee.
- Having déjà vu? You're not alone. In October, the city concluded its second search to fill the job when it named former Wisconsin Parole Commission Chairman John Tate II to the position. Tate later withdrew his acceptance to take a job in Racine. Prior to that, Madison civil rights administrator Byron Bishop was the lone finalist for the job but later withdrew from consideration.
- The Independent Monitor is tasked with investigating complaints against the Madison Police Department, recommending policy changes, and engaging with the community. The city first created the position along with the Police Civilian Oversight Board following the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.
👻 A Halloween without Freakfest.
- If you'll recall: The annual Halloween music festival Freakfest was canceled for the third year in a row.
- Despite the lack of a formal event, thousands of costume-clad people took to the streets to celebrate the occasion. Madison police arrested or cited 20 people in the downtown area Saturday night.
- A man dressed as Adolf Hitler sparked controversy on State Street and the incident went viral on Reddit. MPD received numerous reports about the individual who has been identified as a Madison Children’s Museum employee.
- "This employee has cognitive disabilities due to a traumatic brain injury," the museum wrote in a statement. "His work with the museum over the past 10 years has been closely supervised, coached, and supported. It is our understanding that he believed his costume to be mocking Hitler."
- Related: ‘Come for the costumes, stay for the riots:’ A history of Freakfest (The Daily Cardinal)
🧀 Ope! UW-Madison announced its winter commencement speaker.
- The state's flagship university named New York Times best-selling author and comedian Charlie Berens as the winter class of 2022's commencement speaker.
- Berens earned his bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison in journalism and geography in 2009. He's best known for hosting his comedic online news show “Manitowoc Minute,” which serves up a mix of headlines with a uniquely (and familiar) midwestern twist.
📣 Workers at another local company have announced a union.
- Workers at Noble Knight Games in Fitchburg announced Monday they’ve formed a union. The retail company sells "the world’s largest selection of tabletop games" and employs roughly 75 people according to the Cap Times.
- At least 70% of eligible workers signed union cards with Communications Workers of America. The group is seeking higher wages, affordable benefits, and more transparent work policies. According to Cap Times, most workers make between $13 and $15 an hour.
- The bigger picture: The unionization announcement follows the successful unionization efforts at Middleton’s Raven Software and an increase in unionization efforts across Madison (from UW Health to Crushin’ It Apparel).
- Dig deeper: Support for labor unions in the U.S. is at a 57-year high (NPR)
👋 The town of Madison is officially gone.
- On Oct. 31, the Town of Madison ceased to exist. It's not part of a Halloween scare, but rather the conclusion of a years-long process to dissolve the town, which covered less than four square miles.
- The dissolution of the town means hundreds of residents are changing their addresses right before the midterm elections. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, all town residents previously voted at the Town Hall on Fish Hatchery Road. That facility is no longer a polling place.
- To find your polling location, enter your address at MyVote.wi.gov.
🏳️⚧️ Your lunchtime read: A case of calcified hate: Madison’s anti-trans chalk wars.
- Via Tone Madison: "This past spring, on an evening stroll that I had made ritual during those first few weeks of warm Madison weather, I stumbled upon some street art behind the Willy Street Co-op. 'Protect Trans Kids,' it read, scrawled in pink chalk, accompanied by a blue and pink heart meant to resemble the transgender pride flag. It was an unsurprising albeit symbolic message for the Marquette neighborhood, whose lawn signs share sentiments of inclusivity, and I was glad that more community members were expressing their support during Pride month. I went on with my walk, grateful for the fresh air and sun. But on my way back home, I noticed the message had been altered, taking on a completely opposite stance."
- An Evening with Clint Smith at Memorial Union Theater (or virtual)
- Lucid Tuesday at Crucible
- Sleepy Gaucho at The Bur Oak
- Starcrawler at High Noon Saloon
- Carly Rae Jepsen at The Sylvee
- The Furious Bongos Play the Music of Frank Zappa at High Noon Saloon
- Humbird at The Bur Oak
- Skrizzly Adams at Ruby Madison