Happy Friday, besties.
We've made it through another week. Nice.
Here's a bit of feel-good news to end the week: The Henry Vilas Zoo welcomed a new baby orangutan into its family.
The new baby arrived early Saturday morning and is now bonding closely with its mother, Chelsea. The zoo says, "Chelsea has been doing such a good job of taking care of her baby, we don’t even know the baby’s sex yet!"
The zoo expects the pair to be visible to the public sometime in late June.
✨ Celebrating Juneteenth in Madison.
- What is Juneteenth? The holiday commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Texas were told by Union soldiers they were free and generally celebrates the ending of slavery in the United States. President Joe Biden declared it a federal holiday last year.
- There are a number of Juneteenth celebrations planned across town this weekend. The Kujichagulia Madison Center for Self-Determination has put on a host of events throughout the week and will cap off festivities with their annual Juneteenth parade Saturday.
- “The importance of Juneteenth is that shared history, the richness of who we are, and the coming together,” Madison Juneteenth founder Annie Weatherby Flowers told Madison365.
- For more events check out this roundup from Madison Magazine or this piece from the Wisconsin State Journal.
🌩️ The storm cleanup continues.
- The city will work into the weekend to clean up the remnants of this week's storms.
- If you plan to use the Olin Avenue drop-off site on Saturday, the city says to expect "large vehicle traffic, dust, noise, and potential delays." It suggested using Sycamore Avenue or South Point Road drop-off sites instead.
- So far, the Streets Division has cleared away 419.27 tons of brush from the storms.
🎲 Get your Roll Play fix at Garver Feed Mill.
- Local board game cafe Roll Play opened a pop-up location inside the Garver Feed Mill on Madison's East side.
- The gaming restaurant first opened on State Street in 2019 but left that location in April when its owners decided not to renew their lease.
- The pop-up location still serves the same menu of Asian street food, desserts, and bubble teas and has an extensive board game library. Madison Magazine reports the pop-up will be around through mid-September.
🍺 An update on Wonder Bar.
- At the start of this week, the city's Plan Commission unanimously approved a proposal from McGrath Properties to build a large apartment building for the site of the old Wonder Bar and Coliseum Bar (222-232 E. Olin Ave.).
- Cap Times reports the development will be split into two lots, with the new development on one, and Wonder Bar on the other. The proposed new property will be a 12-story mixed-use building with 192 apartments and roughly 13,500 square feet of commercial space.
- The Coliseum Bar, which closed in June 2020, will be demolished.
- The full City Council still needs to vote on the proposal before it's set into motion.
🪦 Paisan's owner held a 'wake' for his restaurant.
- Following months of back and forth over the re-opening of 131 West Wilson Street, the fight to keep the building standing is seemingly coming to a close as the two remaining tenants work to settle their respective lawsuits against the building's management company.
- Earlier this week, Paisan’s owner Wally Borowski held a “wake” for staff at his sister restaurant Porta Bella to commemorate the restaurant's looming departure from its home of 16 years, the State Journal reports. “We still have a lease,” Borowski told the news outlet. “We have not been able to come to a resolution with the landlord (Executive Management). We want to get on, too. We know the building is going to come down. I want to leave. I want to do it now."
- Borowski is looking for a new home for Paisan’s (potentially Estrellon's former space on West Johnson Street).
- Attorney Nick Loniello has reportedly settled his own lawsuit against Executive Management and will move out of the building in July.
- The city's Plan Commission is expected to approve a demolition permit for the building at its June 27 meeting. City officials have stressed that the building is not in immediate danger of collapse.
🚰 Mmmm PFAS.
- What are PFAS? Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, aka PFAS, are a class of synthetic chemicals used in everyday products like nonstick cookware, stain-resistant clothing, and firefighting foam. The chemicals are known to cause serious health issues and have been linked to increased cancer rates, thyroid disease, and fertility issues.
- What's the news? Earlier this week, the Wisconsin Legislature's Republican-controlled Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules approved limited PFAS standards despite regulators calling for tougher rules.
- WPR reports water and industry groups had urged the DNR to wait for federal standards for drinking water rather than propose its own statewide limits. The state's standards for PFAS in drinking water are far lower than the EPA's latest advisories. (The EPA says there is no safe level of PFAS in drinking water.)
- Related: Dane County sues DNR over requirements to keep PFAS out of lakes, streams (Wisconsin State Journal)
- The bigger picture: EPA warns toxic ‘forever chemicals’ more dangerous than once thought (Washington Post)
🌻 Your lunchtime read: From planning to planting a balcony garden.
- From PBS Wisconsin's Let’s Grow Stuff: "If you have a tendency toward perfectionism or worry about “doing things wrong,” planting in containers is no-fuss and straightforward. When we garden in the ground, especially over time, we have to think about the health of the soil, whether and when it needs nutrients, the development of soil-borne diseases, the arrival of non-beneficial critters and pests. But when we plant in containers, we’re typically encouraged to use fresh potting soil, sometimes mixed with compost, which removes several of the potential hurdles to successful growing. As long as you have the right size container for your particular plants, understand how much sun or shade they need, perform some simple container/soil prep, the actual planting is a breeze! Just plug ‘em in the soil and water ’em."