Big Whoop

Whooping Cranes are back, y'all. And it's kind of a big deal.

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Big Whoop
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Gooooood morning, Madison!

Whooping Cranes are back, y'all. And it's kind of a big deal.

The federally endangered birds spend their winters in the south but fly north to Wisconsin in the spring to build nests for breeding season. Wisconsin has a special relationship with the birds, being home to the International Crane Foundation.

So far this year, the birds have been spotted in several counties across the state, including Dane.

“It is always a joy to see them back,” Anne Lacy, of the International Crane Foundation told the State Journal. “We hope for a successful breeding season with lots of chicks — always a concern, as the success of the population very much depends on that.”

Next month, the organization will host the 47th annual Midwest Crane Count. This volunteer-led effort spans over 150 counties in seven states of the upper Midwest, including Wisconsin. You can learn more about volunteering here.

— Hayley


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A rendering of the proposed building via Potter Lawson

🔨 Goodbye, Filene House.

  • City Council approved the demolition of Filene House on Sherman Avenue, clearing the way for the construction of a new housing development.
  • The multi-building project will range from one to five stories, with 311 apartments and 20 two-story townhomes units.
  • The bigger picture: While the council passed the measure with no discussion, the proposal was the subject of much debate among residents in the Tenney Park neighborhood when it was first introduced. Filene House, located at 1617 Sherman Ave., was up for landmark consideration in an attempt to save it from demolition.

🗳️ Keeping up with the candidates.

  • School Board: Three candidates running for two seats on the Madison School Board shared their views at a forum this week. Former Madison educator Blair Feltham and former Madison City Council candidate Badri Lankella are both on the ballot for Seat 6. Seat 7 incumbent Nicki Vander Meulen is running unopposed. Catch up on what the three candidates said about staffing issues, the search for a new superintendent, and more in this recap from Cap Times.
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court: Janet Protasiewicz and Dan Kelly exchanged personal and political blows in their only debate before the April election. The race is officially nonpartisan, but Kelly is firmly considered the conservative candidate while Protasiewicz holds liberal views. Get the details on the debate from WPR.
  • Madison Mayor: Mayoral candidate Gloria Reyes took aim at incumbent Satya Rhodes-Conway's management of the city's finances and criticized her handling of the city's new Bus Rapid Transit plan. But, according to Cap Times reporting, transit officials in the city say some of Reyes' claims have been "flat out false."
  • Want to learn more? The League of Women has compiled candidate Q&As here.
From the Madison Dictionary: What's BRT?

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): The new transit system has been years in the making. Compared to Madison's current transportation system, BRT will travel in dedicated lanes with fewer stops but more frequent service.

🎦 Check out some of the posters of the Wisconsin Film Festival.

  • Tone Madison has wrangled dozens "of what we determined to be the most striking official posters from the documentary and narrative features screening in this year’s festival." You can see them all here.
  • The Wisconsin Film Festival will bring 160 films to theaters across Madison from April 13 through 20.  
This is brush. Image via City of Madison

🌳 Gather all ye brush.

  • The city has announced set-out dates for brush collection this year. There will be five opportunities for pick up. To find yours, check with the city.
  • What counts as brush? It's different from yard waste. The city classifies brush as woody material trimmed from trees, shrubs or bushes, and tree and shrub trimmings over 18 inches in length.

🐠 Your lunchtime read: Why fish consumption advisories in Great Lakes states like Wisconsin carry their own risks.

  • Via Wisconsin Watch: "[A] recent study highlighting the potential dangers of “forever chemicals” has raised questions about the impacts of consuming fish exposed to toxins in the nation’s waterways, including the Great Lakes. For Indigenous nations like the Red Cliff band, where fishing is central to tribal lifeways, culture and sovereignty, contamination could pose disproportionate health burdens.

    Yet, oversimplifying or overstating the risks carries consequences."
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🎙️ Today on City Cast Madison

Photo by Molly Stentz

Egg prices have risen sharply in the past few months, after outbreaks of bird flu at major chicken farms have reduced the country’s supply of laying hens. But fear not! You can raise chickens in your own backyard safely and cheaply, with a little know-how.

This week, the Madison City Council voted to allow residents to keep up to eight chickens, doubling the previous legal limit. We talk to backyard chicken keeper (and podcast producer) Molly Stentz about how to do it.


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📅 Events



Check out even more events on our community calendar.

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🦠 Covid-19 resources

📝 Miss a Minute? Check out the headlines from yesterday's newsletter.