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Monday, September 15, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 57.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Paper
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Yet more hopes for 2008

Here are four more of the best wishes for a new year by Madisonians.

'Hang clothes on the line'
Jen Voichick

Every once in a while I run across elders who have conservation deep in their veins due to the hard times during the Depression. These people inspire me in their beliefs of what we now call "zero waste."

Recently, while visiting my dear friends Grace, 85, and Frank, 90, I took notice of their everyday routines to reduce waste:

  • Recycling potato chip bags for Grace's homemade bread.
  • Patching my jeans with fabric from old pants.
  • Using a suds-saver on the washing machine.
  • Hanging clothes on the line.
  • Saving even tiny portions of leftovers.
  • Reusing parchment paper for Grace's delicious baked goods.
  • Shopping at thrift stores.
  • Recycling soap scraps into a little soap mold for a new bar.
The earth would be such a healthier place if these habits were routine in every household.

Voichick is director of Habitat for Humanity's Restore, which resells used construction materials.

'Empower a new democratic movement'
Ben Manski

I hope this year gives rise to a new American democracy movement. In my lifetime, the U.S. has suffered the climate crisis, Katrina, Stolen Election I and II, Iraq II, Patriot Act and 9/11, WTO, NAFTA, Iraq I, Contras, Cambodia, Watergate, Vietnam and a thousand other costly, preventable injuries.

Getting sick and tired is getting old, and I am ready for solutions.

I hope that in 2008 we bring forward a new movement -- a democracy movement -- to change the rules and empower people. And I ask those who share these hopes for democratic change to take a look at the work we do at Liberty Tree.

Manski is executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution (

'Refine our approach to New Urbanism'
Dick Wagner

I hope that Madison continues to learn New Urbanism in 2008. We've got the 101 version down, but now it's time for more advanced study. We have learned that infill development is good, but the harder question remains: What is good infill?

We should recognize that one size or density does not fit all. By its very nature, infill means there is a context, and urban sites are not free-fire zones. Factors like the built context, historic preservation, traffic and neighborhood concerns must all be weighed for good infill done right. Let's keep learning.

Wagner, the former chair of the Madison Plan Commission, is the first recipient of the city's Jeff Erlanger Civility in Public Discourse Award.

'Celebrate the Slovenian ascendancy'
Michael Feldman

2008 will be the Year of Planet Earth; the Linux desktop; Australian Scouting; the Frog; the nonlethal Pain Ray; the Rat; Mobile Web (Canada); Super Mini-SUV; Push-Pull Polling; the Polar, Sanitation and Puggle Years; 23 new Jordan sneakers; Paniolo ranching (Hawaii); the Kucinich Revolution (unlikely); the Fiat 500; the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (Sweden); the Michigan State Year of Arts and Culture; the Slovenian Ascendancy (EU); the Bolivar Fuerte (Venezuela); Wrestlemania XXIV; the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act of 2008; Bill Gates' retirement; and the crowning of Burj Dubai as the world's tallest structure (at least higher than the 2,121-foot Warsaw radio mast, now collapsed).

I do have a puggle, have been to East Lansing, don't see Linux breaking through, and probably won't try to score one of the hot new Jordans. I'm not sure what the Year of the Rat portends, although someone said it's better than it sounds.

Feldman is the host of Whad'Ya Know?, the comedy quiz show heard on Wisconsin Public Radio and on Public Radio International affiliates.

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