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Sunday, September 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 56.0° F  Overcast
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Local microfinance group Working Capital for Community Needs helps alleviate poverty

Coffee is a fickle crop. Production depends on the amount of rainfall, soil composition, pests, sun exposure and disease. Too much or too little of anything, and the output falls. Unpredictable rainy seasons and a new fungus have reduced yields in Central America and made income even less dependable in recent years. Farmers must usually wait until after coffee has been processed and exported to get paid, and often run out of money between harvests, forcing them to borrow or do without. >More
 Wisconsin Republicans ready slew of abortion bills

Republican lawmakers this week began circulating a number of bills aimed at regulating abortion services, restricting insurance coverage for abortions and birth control and bolstering constitutional protections for religious groups and activities. The bills would exempt faith-based groups from the 2009 state law requiring that all insurance policies with a prescription drug benefit also cover prescription contraceptives; ban coverage of abortion services in public employee health plans; and spell out requirements for the disposal of fetal remains. >More
 American Federation for Children's campaign donations grease skids for school vouchers in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has long played a pivotal role in the national movement to redirect taxpayer dollars to private, often parochial schools. And money -- much of it from out-of-state -- has played a huge part in that process. Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan watchdog, recently reported that "wealthy campaign contributors and shadowy electioneering groups" spent nearly $10 million in Wisconsin over the past decade to back school voucher programs. >More
 City and Gorman still working out details on Union Corners development

Although ground has yet to be broken, the primary parties involved in the latest effort to develop the Union Corners site hope and expect to reach a formal agreement in the coming weeks. The city of Madison, now the landowner of the 11.4 acre site at the corner of East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street, and Gorman & Company, the developer chosen by the city's special Union Corners Committee last November, are still working out the financial details of the project. >More
 Elliot Hughes discusses Amelia and Nathan Royko Maurer's continuing crusade on WORT

Isthmus contributor Elliot Hughes reports on the couple's crusade in the May 16 issue and discussed his story with WORT producer Dylan Brogan on the same day's installment of In Our Backyard. >More
 Proposed Webster Street apartment project receives mixed reviews at neighborhood meeting

Developers revealed the first drafts of a proposal Wednesday that would tear down four houses on North Webster Street for the construction of a five-floor apartment building. Some of the 25 people who attended the neighborhood meeting were critical of the project, due its close proximity to the Robert M. Lamp House, a National Register of Historic Places landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. >More
 Will Madison run dry? We can't take our water supply for granted

The operations center for the Madison Water Utility doesn't exactly have a panic-room vibe. Large windows overlook the lawn and trees of the Alliant Energy Center. There are more than a dozen monitors showing security feeds, chemical levels, truck locations and key-card swipes. Two idle screens feature -- really -- cat pictures. But the four monitors that track the heart of the operation were blinking an urgent green last summer as the hot drought of 2012 stretched on. >More
 Amelia and Nathan Royko Maurer continue crusade for shooting victim Paul Heenan

If you've been following the controversy over the death of Paul Heenan, chances are you've heard of Amelia and Nathan Royko Maurer. Heenan was living with the married couple when he was shot and killed by Madison Police Officer Stephen Heimsness on Nov. 9. >More
 Neighbors worry about East Washington hotel project's effect on traffic, parking and Lamp House

The first of two neighborhood meetings for development projects just east of Capitol Square revealed deep concerns from neighbors about parking, neighborhood design and the future of Frank Lloyd Wright's Lamp House. Neighbors met Tuesday night to listen to a concept by the Alexander Company for a 10-story hotel at the corner of East Washington Avenue and Webster Street, at the site of the old Pahl Tire Company. >More
 Gov. Scott Walker draws flak for non-fiscal items in Wisconsin's 2013-15 budget

Some campaign promises build in a bit of wiggle room. The one made by candidate for governor Scott Walker to "Strip policy and pork projects from the state budget" did not. This unequivocal pledge, posted on Walker's campaign website, committed the candidate to eschewing both parties' longstanding practice of using the budget to make policy changes and reward special interests. >More
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