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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 27.0° F  Fog/Mist
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First, as we'll call them, some program notes.

This is the last weekend for submitting a Madison's Favorites ballot. The ballot on page 23 serves as a reminder. You can fill it out, but we prefer that you go online to TheDailyPage.com/favorites and do it there. Much easier to tally. You can revisit your ballot to make changes or additions. The deadline is midnight Sunday, June 30. The results will be in the Annual Manual, to be published this year with issue number 35.

Also of import is the fact that Isthmus next week will appear on Wednesday, July 3, the next day being some type of holiday. I joke, of course. It does seem that Independence Day comes early this year. I guess it's because of the late spring.

Around here, the Fourth has meant Rhythm & Booms for the last 20 years. It will again this year, though in a more modest presentation, as described in our cover story this week. In fact, the future of the event faces challengers. Former Channel 27 weathercaster Terry Kelly, current president and CEO of My Weather LLC, founded the event as a gift to his adopted home of Madison. A 1971 meteorology graduate of the UW, he made his fortune in the weather graphics business, and Madison has benefited from his largess in sponsoring one of the largest fireworks extravaganzas extant.

That franchise is under pressure, however, due to ecological and logistical challenges. Read all about it in the story by Julia Cechvala. Cechvala is a 2008 M.A. graduate of the UW School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She tutors at the Madison College Writing Center and is a volunteer reporter at WORT, where she contributes to The Perpetual Notion Machine, a science program. Her UW degree carried an emphasis in health, science and environmental communication, which she delivers on in this story.

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