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Friday, January 30, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 17.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Paper
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The never-ending misconduct probe
Last month, a milestone of sorts was reached as the state Justice Department's investigation into misconduct allegations against a former Dane County prosecutor entered its third year.
World Naked Bike Ride citation dropped
In a ruling that bodes ill for the city of Madison's determination to penalize participants in this year's World Naked Bike Ride, a municipal judge has dismissed the first such case to be adjudicated.
Down and out at Capital Newspapers
The Wisconsin State Journal's circulation continues to fall, consistent with national trends, at times more so.
Madison news outlets grapple with 'inappropriate' comments
The Janesville Gazette drew national attention for its recent decision to shut down its online comments section for certain types of stories -- namely, those that concern crime, courts, accidents, race or sex.
Will geese be killed at Vilas Park?
Another battle may be brewing over the use of fatal methods to minimize goose populations in Madison parks -- this time at Vilas, where geese have long been pegged as a problem.
What do you say to a naked litigant?
The city of Madison plans to appeal a judge's dismissal of a disorderly conduct citation against a participant in last June's World Naked Bike Ride in Madison.
History revisited
The Wisconsin State Journal last week ran an interesting "Know Your Madisonian" profile on local historian Erika Janik. It concerned her book A Short History of Wisconsin, published in July by the History Press (Wisconsin Historical Society).
The sacking of Arthur Ross
In his 23 years as Madison's bicycle-pedestrian safety coordinator, Arthur Ross has impressed a lot of people and made a lot of friends. So it's not surprising that Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's move to dump him via city budgeting is prompting an angry reaction.
Dane County pols seem resigned to airport scope or grope
Few issues have aroused the chattering classes more than the Transportation Security Administration's latest airport security measures: full-body scans and, for those who don't want their junk eyed by strangers, full-body pat-downs. David Blaska, Isthmus' lovable right-wing blogger, calls these new screenings "the TSA's campaign to grope granny."
Glenn Grothman on Madison snow job: 'Mission accomplished'
State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) raised a fuss last December when, displeased with the difficulty of his post-blizzard commute, he announced plans to have the state set policy for plowing and salting Madison streets. His proposed legislation was never actually introduced, and of course had no chance of passing -- not just because it was insane, but also because Democrats were in charge.
A learning opportunity at McFarland High School
Thoreau argued that he learned more from the young than from his elders, since "age...has not profited so much as it has lost." Jim Hickey, the principal of McFarland High School, has been sounding a similar theme for years.
UW-Madison campus veterinarian quits, faulting animal care
Richard "Jim" Brown recalls his first day on the job, in October 2005, as a veterinarian at the UW-Madison's Research Animal Resource Center (RARC). His first assignment, he says, involved working with primates. Brown had been a practicing veterinarian for almost a decade, after getting a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the UW-Madison in 1996. But until that day, his experience with nonhuman primates amounted to this: "I drew blood from a monkey, one time." When he asked about training, he was purportedly told to watch the other vets.
The best Wisconsin books of 2010
Although I'm seeing more people reading on Nooks and Kindles, 2010 was a great year for Wisconsin-related books that you might physically want to hold in your hands. Two of my favorites, Wisconsin's Own: Twenty Remarkable Homes and H.H. Bennett, feature remarkable photographs that might look okay on a portable reading device but benefited from careful printing on high-quality paper stock. Carpe diem on that score. Here's a romp through my other picks from the year.
Scott Walker's new, (much) bigger ride
In campaigning to become Wisconsin's next governor, Scott Walker promised to usher in a new era of austerity in state government. But one of his first decisions suggests his determination to make the "haves" in state government more like the "have-nots" elsewhere stops at his own door - his own car door, to be precise.
Get out of jail
Scott McDonell still has a copy of a press release issued in March 2003 by Gary Hamblin, then Dane County sheriff, decrying jail overcrowding. Though the county's costly new Public Safety Building had opened less than a decade before, it was already bursting at the seams. In 2002 as many as 69 inmates a day were housed in other county jails, at an annual cost to the county of more than $350,000.
UW sociology student explores the power of prayer
A UW-Madison grad student is getting national attention for a paper suggesting that prayer, of all things, can help people get through tough times, like being abused by loved ones.
UW-Madison's most used research animal is fish
Speaking of UW research, Isthmus made an interesting discovery when, in reporting on the resignation of a UW veterinarian ("Campus Vet Quits, Faulting Animal Care," 12/17/10), it obtained the university's 2010 census of animals used or kept by the UW-Madison.
Bonus year
Well, folks, if you weren't crazy about how the year has treated you up until now, we end it on a high note with this bonus issue of Isthmus. How's that - 53 issues of your favorite weekly in a 52-week year?
Cheap Shots 2010: What a letdown!
Here in Wisconsin, voters turned against Democrats, who proved, after years of complaining that they couldn't get anything done because they weren't in the majority, that they still couldn't get much of anything done when they were. Good to know. Just don't expect Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans who'll control both houses of the state Legislature to have that problem. Heck, they haven't even waited to take office to start running the show.
Soglin's online barbs presage mayoral match-up with Cieslewicz
Paul Soglin's entry into Madison's mayoral race presents fresh avenues of analysis, given that both he and incumbent Dave Cieslewicz are prominent local bloggers. Soglin, who was Madison's mayor for a total of 14 years, has been writing Waxing America since 2005; Cieslewicz, who beat Soglin in 2003, has written Mayor Dave's Blog since January 2009. Both have used these forums to sound off on what will surely be a major theme of their campaigns: each other.
A renter's double whammy
Jessica Nelson got two surprises this holiday season, both unwelcome. First, she was reportedly robbed of her rent money by an intruder who may have taken advantage of her landlord's failure to keep the premises secure. Then the landlord moved to evict her for not paying her rent.
34,000 pounds of ground beef recalled due to E. coli, Badgers lose 21-19 in the Rose Bowl, Scott Walker sworn in
La Follette High School to open credit union
Paul Simon famously mused, "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all." Point taken. But schools do occasionally try to prepare students for life.
Death on tap?
The video maker known as madtimeinmadison admits via email that his latest offering is "kind of over the top and dramatic but my idea was to scare people...." It might just do that.
Soglin blasts Cieslewicz's management style
One wag describes the difference between the two main contenders for Madison mayor as follows: "Paul Soglin will punch you in the face, but Dave Cieslewicz will stab you in the back." The speaker prefers the former approach, which shows a willingness to clash openly rather than exact retribution.
My Hero: Ludell Swenson
Often our heroes are people who refuse to give up. People like Terry Fox, the Canadian who ran more than 3,000 miles on his one remaining leg while dying of cancer. Or France's Philippe Croizon, who this September swam the 22-mile English Channel despite being a quadruple amputee - no arms, no legs. One of my heroes is a Madison man with similar grit. His name is Ludell Swenson.
Walker plan on nursing home neglect a boon to bad care
Phillip Wilms wasn't looking to enrich himself, only to protect others. "Why I filed the lawsuit in the first place is I wanted to be sure people in nursing homes get better care than we did," the former elementary school teacher told The Capital Times last fall. Wilms' wife of more than 50 years, Cynthia, died in September 2007 at age 72 after receiving substandard care from the Willows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sun Prairie, where the couple lived.
Scott Walker's state-provided SUV racked up more than 12K miles in two months
Scott Walker spent more than $6,400 of the taxpayers' money on his personal vehicle during the two-month period before he took office, Isthmus has learned. Receipts provided by the state Department of Transportation show that Walker racked up more than 12,500 miles on a brand new 2011 GMC Yukon XL provided by the state for his personal use.
Does Mayor Cieslewicz give too much credit to new Wisconsin DCF head Eloise Anderson?
Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, in a recent blog post, cheered Gov. Scott Walker's cabinet picks as "actually pretty good," noting that some have ties to Madison and Dane County." This includes Eloise Anderson, the new head of the state Department of Children and Families, who Cieslewicz notes "worked for Dane County for many years."
Madison starts contract with new paratransit provider
The city of Madison has a new paratransit provider -- based 120 miles away in central Wisconsin. As of Jan. 1, Abby Vans of Neillsville became one of three companies serving city residents under contracts collectively worth about $4.5 million a year.
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