Third time's the charm
Morning Update: Tuesday, June 7
In this newsletter
Good morning, Madison!
Here's a little bright spot to start your day: a Sandhill Crane in Middleton was spotted playing delightfully with a stick.
Thanks to the Reddit user who captured the playful moment. I think it officially melted the last bits of winter ice off my heart.
Now let's get into the news.
🚌 Despite calls for delay, changes to the city's transportation system aren't slowing down.
- The latest: At their meeting Monday night, the city's Transportation Policy and Planning Board approved a re-design plan for Madison's bus network. The plan now heads to the full City Council tonight.
- Why the re-design? In making changes to the city's bus routes, officials hope to increase access and frequency and decrease travel times. The city has been working on this plan for years and has held many public meetings to receive feedback.
- But it's not so simple. In its attempt to create more efficiency, the re-design will leave some residents with longer walks to the bus stop and less service. This has raised questions surrounding equity and the possible adverse effects the re-design could have on some Madison communities.
- This story is too big for just a few bullet points in a newsletter. To get the fuller picture here's some recommended reading: Fewer routes, but more frequent (Isthmus), Amid concern and calls for delay, city nears sweeping change to Metro Transit system (Wisconsin State Journal), Madison’s Southdale neighborhood fights for transportation, without representation (Tone Madison).
🚫 The city shut down 131 West Wilson (again, again).
- Once again, the owners of 131 West Wilson failed to comply with inspection requirements. As a result, the city is forcing the building's closure, for the third time.
- In a statement, the city said it does not believe the building is at risk of imminent collapse.
- The city's Plan Commission is set to consider a demolition request for the building at its June 27 meeting. Building inspector Matt Tucker told the State Journal he anticipates the request will be approved. “Everything we know about the building, it’s lasted its useful life and it’s time for it to be replaced, to be demolished,” he said.
🚨 Slow down and watch out for cops in these spots.
- Some context: The summer is often a deadly season on the road and as part of their 2022 Summer Strategic Plan, the Madison Police Department announced they want to reduce car crashes by 15%.
- Based on data they gathered from the Department of Transportation, MPD will have an increased presence at the following locations: Mineral Point Rd. at S. Gammon Rd., Mineral Point Rd. at Whitney Way, Mineral Point Rd. Corridor between Whitney and Gammon, Beltline at Verona Rd. (h/t NBC15)
🐶 Happy Take Me Home Tuesday! Meet Finch.
- From the Dane County Humane Society: Finch is an adult Alaskan Husky who was found as a stray in Cottage Grove at the end of May. Even though Finch is a big guy — at 75 pounds — he's a friendly boy who can't wait to find a family who will spoil him with walks, treats, and pets.
- Learn more about Finch on the humane society's website here.
📔 City Council will consider creating a workgroup to evaluate Madison's historical and current racial disparities.
- At their meeting tonight, City Council will consider a resolution to create a "Truth and Reconciliation Workgroup" that would operate under the city’s Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC).
- District 6 Ald. Brian Benford, who is a member of the EOC, introduced the resolution as a way to examine racial disparities in Madison. If approved, the group would meet bi-monthly, facilitate forums, and produce a report with recommendations by the end of the year.
- The city's oft-cited Race to Equity report is nearly 10 years old, Benford noted to Madison365. And while it called attention to many aspects of racial disparities in Madison, it "didn't move the needle."
- “Things are actually worse here," Benford told the news outlet. "Why aren’t our political leaders screaming about this? I like to think that they care. But maybe they’re misinformed. And maybe this process will get us all thinking that we got to do much, much more.”
🩺 WEA Trust is laying off its staff and ending coverage in Wisconsin.
- The Wisconsin-based nonprofit announced it will end its health insurance market offerings by the end of 2022.
- Additionally, the organization is laying off 110 employees and will cease insurance-related operations at its Madison office (located at 45 Nob Hill Road), IB Madison reports.
🎶 Your lunchtime read: Who's that guy playing marimba? Meet Madison's Eric De Los Santos.
- Via Cap Times: "In 2016, a day after getting fired from his job as a delivery driver, Eric De Los Santos hauled his marimba out on the streets of Madison for the first time, playing a half-hour set.
“I remember telling myself this probably won’t last for very long,” he said. “But you never know what’s going to happen unless you actually do it, and easily, one of the best things that’s happened to me was that delivery place letting me go.”
Now, almost a decade later, De Los Santos’ music has become a staple of the city."