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FEATURED STORY

Mormon Road Trip! My weekend with a group of Madison believers

It's 7 a.m. on a sunny Friday in late July when a trim 28-year-old named Dan Hinckley greets me, a green smoothie gripped in one hand. We're standing in the parking lot of Madison's "university ward" of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nearby, two passenger vans are gased up and ready to take two-dozen young area Mormons five hours south to Nauvoo, Ill., a small town on the Mississippi River that is something of a mecca for Mormons. >More

NEWS

Shouldn't Melissa Agard Sargent be home with the kids?

The Saturday before the Aug. 14 primary elections, Melissa Agard Sargent drove to Milwaukee to help support progressive Democratic candidates running for Assembly. On Sunday, with her youngest son in tow, she talked to constituents at the north-side Ride the Drive. Then she went knocking on doors. >More
 Confusion reigns on Act 10 decision: Impact of a Dane County judge's ruling is uncertain

Anyone looking for clarity on the state of Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 -- which eliminated most collective bargaining rights for most public employees last year -- won't likely find it any time soon. The law was partially overturned last week by Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is asking for a stay on the ruling until appeals can be heard. That alone has left local officials in a state of confusion. >More
 Will judge's decision stand on Wisconsin's collective bargaining law?

Last Friday, Dane County Judge Juan Colas partially overturned Act 10, which eliminated most collective bargaining rights for most Wisconsin public employees last year. Gov. Scott Walker's office released a terse, bitter reaction in which he calls Colas a "liberal activist judge in Dane County." Ouch. >More
 Obama's immigration policy stirs hope and fear

In June, President Barack Obama announced that he would "defer action" on undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children and have lived here for five years, allowing them to avoid deportation and get a work permit. The announcement gave a lot of immigrants hope, but it has also stirred fears among those who stand to benefit. >More

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Wisconsin's leadership deficit

In May 2006, the Harvard Business Review published a study examining just what the heck corporate second bananas did. Authors Nathan Bennett and Stephen Miles admitted it was kind of weird what they discovered about chief operating officers, the guys who serve under the company chief executive officer. >More
 Classroom clear-out

It takes an entire summer to get the kid smell out of a school building. Custodian chemicals are powerful but only do their thing over time. Accumulated child smell, especially in high-traffic areas, demands more gallons of Zep Professional Grade Foaming Citrus than you'd expect. >More
 Tell All: Sally Ride's private life was irrelevant

Dear Tell All: Both Isthmus and the letter writer Challenger miss important points in deriding both Sally Ride and homophobia for the late astronaut's failure to openly acknowledge her sexual orientation ("Sally Ride Is No Hero," 9/6/2012). >More

MUSIC

John DeMain sticks with the Madison Symphony Orchestra while becoming one of the world's top conductors

When John DeMain raises his baton on the Madison Symphony Orchestra's podium, nearly 100 musicians come to attention, awaiting his mighty downbeat. During his 19 seasons as the orchestra's conductor and music director, DeMain has given our city masterpieces by the introspective Mahler, the flamboyant Strauss, the brooding Sibelius. >More
 Andrew Bird changes pop music to his liking

Andrew Bird is one of rock's most unlikely stars. A classically trained violinist with a penchant for whistling, his brand of cool is anything but conventional. He didn't even like pop music until his late 20s. Then he embraced loop pedals and reworked "Don't Be Scared," a sparkling alt-country tune by the Handsome Family. >More
 Beyond Bright Eyes: Conor Oberst sheds his famous moniker for a solo tour

For a long time, Conor Oberst was synonymous with Bright Eyes, the manic folk project he often helmed alone. Only his birth name will appear on the bill when he comes to the Overture Center's Capitol Theater Sept. 23. At this show, he'll likely perform songs from his latest Conor Oberst releases: 2008's self-titled LP and Gentleman's Pact EP, and Outer South, his 2009 release with the Mystic Valley Band. >More

AT A GLANCE

ARTS

PhotoMidwest's juried show highlights discussion-worthy pictures

Some pictures are worth a thousand words. Others merit an in-depth discussion, according to Bill Pielsticker, chair of PhotoMidwest, a biennial celebration of Midwestern photographers hosted by the Center for Photography at Madison. These pictures are the focus of a juried show that runs through Oct. 30 at Memorial Union's Porter Butts and Class of 1925 galleries. >More
 Strollers Theatre's Paragon Springs brims with timely political sentiments and enjoyable Midwestern characters

Strollers Theatre gets political for Paragon Springs, its opener for the 2012-13 season. This isn't just a nod to the presidential campaign: The specters of the Capitol protests and the failed gubernatorial recall loom large in this production, which runs through October 6. >More
 The Mindy Project doesn't follow the romantic-comedy script

Dr. Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) has spent a lifetime looking for the perfect man, but she can't find him. In the pilot for The Mindy Project, we perceive her problem: She sees everything through the lens of romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally. It's hard for a self-described "chubby 31-year-old woman" to live up to the Meg Ryan standard -- especially one as narcissistic and hardhearted as Mindy. >More

MOVIES

The Master is much more than a Scientology saga

Is The Master -- Paul Thomas Anderson's hauntingly intimate epic -- about Scientology? Many people have been focusing on this question, hoping perhaps for a searing, roman à clef takedown of L. Ron Hubbard's movement. It's easy to deduce the inspiration for Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the film's magnetic author-philosopher-guru character. >More
 A con man poses as a missing teen in The Imposter

I complain a lot about contemporary documentaries. That's because too many documentarians keep making the same distracting mistakes. They condescend to their subjects. They use cutesy animations. They stage reenactments. Reenactments bother me the most. >More
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EATS

Being vegan on the UW-Madison campus: Five best bets for student herbivores

Vegan students feel welcome in Madison. That's according to Hannah West, a music education student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. West, 22, is involved in several groups working to bring more vegan choices to the UW campus and area restaurants, but says Madison is already ahead of the curve when it comes to vegan dining. >More
 Wisco wine: Hits and misses from local vines

Late August and early September was grape harvest here in Wisconsin, so the stomps are mostly over. But now is an ideal time to visit local wineries, enjoy the coming fall colors, and sample some of our state's homegrown adult grape juice. This summer I crossed paths with a number of indigenous bottles, and that might be due to the fact that new wineries are popping up nearly as fast as new distilleries. >More

SPORTS & RECREATION

Brewers still face a battle

Two months ago, on July 20, the Milwaukee Brewers were a promising 44-48, 8 1/2 games out of first in the National League Central Division and seven games out of the second wild card playoff spot. On Aug. 20, they were 55-66 and had slid to 11 1/2 games out of the wild card race. >More
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