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UW Marching Band receives “significant donation” from Lions’ Raiola

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 8:52pm

The University of Wisconsin Marching Band received a donation from Detroit Lion Dominic Raiola Tuesday, a year after an incident between Raiola and members of the band at Lambeau Field.

The incident occurred when the Detroit Lions center allegedly yelled inappropriate slurs at several band members as the band was preparing to play the national anthem before the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions took the field in the October 6, 2013 division matchup. The Packers went on to win that game 22-9.

Raiola has since apologized to the band and his team for the incident, saying in a statement his actions were inappropriate.

NFL player apologizes for hateful remarks toward UW bandAfter Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola made ”inappropriate comments” to University of Wisconsin Marching Band members during their Green Bay performance …

University of Wisconsin Marching Band Director Michael Leckrone said he didn’t feel he needed to press the issue with the Lions.

After media outlets asked recently if the donation had been received and Leckrone said it hadn’t, the issue was brought up again and Raiola committed to sending the funds, Leckrone said.

“We had sort of moved on before, but I’m happy that everybody felt it was important enough to follow through on the donation, and we’re very happy with what we were provided,” he said.

Leckrone would not disclose the exact dollar value of the donation, saying only that it was significant.

The marching band relies on an endowment and fundraising for most of its income, so the additional money will be greatly appreciated, Leckrone said.

“We’re pretty self-sufficient in that way, so any funds like this are very welcome,” he said.

Raiola was criticized for a similar incident in 2008 when he made an obscene gesture toward a heckler during a game.


Categories: Local Media

Man arrested after allegedly taking photos of woman at tanning salon

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 5:19pm

A Madison man was arrested Thursday after he allegedly took photos of a woman while she was undressed in a tanning salon booth.

Madison Police arrested 28-year-old Benjamin J. H. Brossard after an investigation into the incident.

The incident occurred on Friday, Oct. 3 at a tanning salon in the 300 block of East Campus Mall, according to Madison Police spokesperson Joel DeSpain.

The 24-year-old victim told police someone had placed a cell phone under the wall separating two tanning booths and took pictures of her, DeSpain said.

The investigation led police to Brossard, who has been arrested for representations depicting nudity, DeSpain said.

The investigation is ongoing, and the tanning salon is cooperating fully with police, DeSpain said.

Categories: Local Media

SSFC hears WCSU budget and approves ALPs

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:52pm

An Associated Students of Madison committee unanimously approved the Adventure Learning Programs budget and heard a budget presentation from Working Class Student Union in a meeting Thursday.

Student Services Finance Committee unanimously approved the ALPs’ budget for $155,049.58, instead of the initially requested $155,839.58.

Sam Toppe, an ALPs facilitator, said their phone line of the budget was incorrect in Monday’s meeting and the correct amount was $460.

The committee changed the budget line for the phone, and the budget line for hardware and software to $1,001 less than the original plan.

Secretary Brett Ducharme said the hardware and software was reduced because ALPs was originally going to replace one of their computers with a MacBook Pro with a Windows, but decided to buy it through DoIT, which saved money.

WCSU is requesting $49,187.12 for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

“We support and advocate for first generation low-income students,” Hong Trinh, WCSU finance director, said.

Funding for the club’s Art Night in the 2014 year only spent $73 of the $300 requested, but Trinh said they are requesting $350 this year because they want to fully utilize the event and incorporate knitting and ink purchases for MEChA collaboration.

Trinh said they are introducing a new kick-off program that requires funding. WCSU requested $150 for this because they want to have food at the event to attract more students.

Another point brought up for question was the salary of their president, which is currently listed as $9.44 per hour. Rep. Todd Garon said the SSFC guidelines state the salary can be $9.69 per hour for a position of that standing.

Rep. Cheyenne Langkamp asked about WCSU’s Metro Ad Campaign, in which they bought advertising space on city of Madison busses.

Langkamp wanted to know if they only purchased space on ones specifically servicing campus. Ducharme said he wanted to know how effective those ads were.

Trinh said they would have answers to both of their questions Monday in open forum.

Categories: Local Media

UW Alumni gives “RED Talk” on campus during Homecoming Week

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:50pm

The University of Wisconsin Homecoming Committee co-hosted a Red Talk featuring a “Forward under 40” alumna who spoke about her campus experience and non-profit work via UNICEF.

The talk, held in Gordon Commons on Thursday, is a part of Homecoming Week, committee member Amanda Rabito said. This year, the committee chose Casey Rotter, UNICEF’s Next Generation founder and director, as the featured speaker.

Rotter, who graduated from UW in 2005, credited the university for who and where she is today.

“UW is a place where I was able to find my passion, a place where I could grow and not get lost,” Rotter said. ”I was truly able to make Wisconsin my own.”

Rotter found her place in UNICEF’s organization after discovering the average age of a donor was 63 years old. Many non-profits are panicking about an aging donor base, she said. Rotter said there was also an aging staff that didn’t know how to engage with the next generation through media and technology.

This gave her the opportunity to meet with the President of UNICEF and present her thesis about how to engage with the next generation of young supporters, she said.

Rotter then founded UNICEF Next Generation, a group of young professionals between age 21 and 40 who are committed to doing whatever it takes to save children’s lives.

Rotter said UNICEF has coverage in over 150 countries, and Next Generation chooses specific projects to back.

A student asked what they are working on now, and in reply Rotter said UNICEF Next Generation is involved in an education project in Syria.

Next Generation is almost through collecting donations of a half million dollars, which will be matched to reach $1 million to improve the education of children in Syria.

“Children have been using the classrooms as bomb shelters, yet they hadn’t gone to class in over five years,” Rotter said.

She said one of her hardest trips was to Burundi, in Central Africa, where only three percent of the country has access to the electrical grid.

UNICEF Next Generation made portable LED lights for children and families so that they did not have to rely on candles. In turn, this improved their breathing from less smoke in the air, she said.

UNICEF Next Generation recognizes that it takes financial resources, education and advocacy to reduce the number of daily preventable deaths of children from 17,000 to zero, she said. She said she is confident that they will accomplish this.

“Just because you are in a big pond, doesn’t mean you have to be a small fish,” Rotter said. ”Everyone can make a difference.”

Categories: Local Media

MillerCoors providing free Madison Metro bus service Saturday

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:49pm

Rides on all Metro buses throughout Madison will be free Saturday, after MillerCoors gave the city $10,000 to operate the buses at no cost.

Beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday, riders will be able use the bus service for no cost until the end of the service day.

The free bus service coincides with University of Wisconsin’s Homecoming celebrations, providing visitors with another form of transportation around the city, Metro spokesperson Mick Rusch said.

Freeze the Keys has provided free Metro bus service in Madison on New Year’s Eve for more than 20 years, Rusch said.

In addition to the New Year’s Eve service, free buses have run as part of the program for events like the Taste of Madison, he said.

This year, MillerCoors chose to run the service during Homecoming weekend instead of during Freakfest.

“It all depends on what they [MillerCoors] want. They picked the date,” Rusch said.

According to the Metro website, buses will still run Nov. 1 during Freakfest, but they will use a detour running along the south side of the isthmus.

All you need to know about Freakfest 2014 With a little more than a week left until Halloween, it’s time to prepare for Freakfest. Last year, an estimated …

Riders will be able to plan their routes and find bus times using Google Maps or several mobile applications, including the Mobile UW app for iOS and Android devices.

Metro staff will also be available by phone until 8 p.m. Saturday to help riders plan their commutes, Rusch said.

Categories: Local Media

Abuzz about honeybee shortage, Madison establishes bee task force

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 9:43pm

The city of Madison is abuzz over a rapid population decline of honeybees — and has created a bee task force to stop it. 

The task force will consist of members from various city departments, including the Food Policy Council, the Parks Department, Engineering Department, Landscape and others, said Mark Woulf, the city food and alcohol coordinator and member of the bee task force.

The task force will work to understand the nature of the bee decline and will review the Madison’s practices related to pesticides, pollination and landscaping, Woulf said.

Wisconsin has seen a bee population decline of 33 percent each winter since 2005, Woulf said.

The development of the local task force follows a recent memorandum from the federal government about the bee population, according to their website. The federal government created the Pollinator Health Task Force in order to promote the health of honeybees and other pollinators.

Madison structured their task force similarly to that of the federal government, so the Madison task force could review local and regional practices first, using the government’s research in helping frame the issue, Woulf said.

“It is great the federal government is working on this, [as the problem] requires that level of intervention,” he said. ”But we thought it was important enough to look at our own practices, and not wait for the federal government, on certain things we can do better in our city.”

The recommendations for Madison’s bee task force are due by August 2015.

A major cause of the decline in the bee population is colony collapse disorder, a disease that causes various honey beehives to disappear during the winter at unusual levels, Woulf said.

“The colony collapses, and it is unknown to what the cause is,” Woulf said. “Given that the rates are at such a high level, we are looking at how to research it.”

Pesticides and insecticides are harmful to bees, especially when used in higher concentrations, he said.

Johanne Brunet, a University of Wisconsin entomology professor, said there have been studies of potential viruses that could cause CCD, but the exact cause is unknown.

Pollinators are responsible for a huge portion of consumption, Woulf said. Nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables all depend on the pollination by honeybees and other pollinators to produce those products, he said.

“If you like to eat fruits and vegetables, you want to have bees around,” Brunet said. ”We need the bees and the work they do.”

Categories: Local Media

Commencement returns to Camp Randall for another spring ceremony

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 9:35pm

Once again, graduating Badgers will gather together in Camp Randall for a single commencement ceremony in the spring.

A year ago, the ceremony was moved to Camp Randall from the Kohl Center, allowing for one ceremony for all University of Wisconsin undergraduates and some graduate students. This year’s senior class officers decided to continue the tradition at their May 16 graduation.

UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement that her first spring commencement would have been exciting wherever it was held, but its return to Camp Randall made it truly memorable because of the tradition and excitement that goes with it.

Maria Giannopoulous, the senior class president, said hosting the ceremony at the stadium is less “fragmented” than having it at the Kohl Center.

“We decided to keep commencement in Camp Randall because we think it gets all of us together as graduates in one place, in one ceremony as Badgers,” Giannopoulous said.

With a platform as big as Camp Randall, she said, they are able to attract better known keynote speakers.

Schools and colleges will still host separate ceremonies throughout the weekend, according to the UW statement. Professional and doctoral students will celebrate in the Kohl Center at 5:30 p.m. May 15, as usual, while non-terminal degree holders will join the undergraduates in Camp Randall.

Categories: Local Media

UW departments prepare to ‘trim the fat’ in case of tuition freeze extension

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 9:30am

A two-year extension to the University of Wisconsin System tuition freeze would mean trimming the fat in UW’s budget.

Even with the uncertainty surrounding the likelihood of such an extension, UW is currently preparing deans of administrative units across campus for the possibility of budget cuts anywhere between 2 to 6 percent.

For the past year UW was able to reduce the impact on administrative units from these cuts by spending fund balances for programs and services across campus, Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in an interview with The Badger Herald.

“We can’t continue to fill the budget gaps with fund balances,” Blank said. “At the end of this fiscal year, our tuition fund balances will have declined almost by half. With no change in the budget, we will need to cut a little more than 4 percent from all of our state and tuition-funded programs.”

John Scholz, dean for the College of Letters and Science, said this is a difficult task for administrative units because there is no longer “fat to trim.”  The College of Letters and Science already went through an 8 percent budget cut in 2008-2009, he said.

“The lion’s share of the L&S budget goes to people,” Scholz said. “So budget cuts necessarily mean there will be a reduction in people. Whatever fat was there, is long out of the budget.  By not filling positions that become vacant we will offer fewer courses, attract fewer external research dollars and reduce services that students rely on.”

All departments and units on campus could potentially be affected by budget cuts should the exercise become effective in reality, Susan Zaeske, associate dean for the arts and humanities, said.

However, one department that could potentially feel the squeeze of budget cuts is the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature.

“At this point it hasn’t had an impact on the day-to-day workings of the department because the day-to-day funds that we spend in the department are already budgeted,” Rania Huntington, chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, said. “I think that the concern is for the future.”

The main concern of EALL is a change in the number of teaching assistant positions funded next semester.

Access funding allows for the means to open additional sections of classes when there is high enrollment for a certain class. EALL often needs to do this for some of the more popular language classes, Huntington said.

“What budgets cuts could potentially do, and this isn’t happening yet, but possibly fewer sections of highly in demand courses would be offered,” Huntington said. “Section size is especially crucial in our language classes because East Asian languages is challenging and students need a lot of opportunity to practice. When a section gets large, the opportunities for each individual student to speak and practice their language and have direct help from their professor or TA get reduced.”

Students would be affected in the EALL department if budget cuts are applied because fewer sections for popular courses may be available. This could either mean that students were in a larger section or that there were sections available at fewer times so fewer students would be able to fit these classes into their schedule.

The second concern of the EALL is that anything the department would like to ask the administration for that would require an additional investment of funds would be denied.

“So we have to make sure that we’re really asking for the things that are most important to us and that we’re making as strong of a case as we possibly can,” Huntington said.

Categories: Local Media

Crowds gather at pre-weekend Homecoming events

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 9:22am

As University of Wisconsin celebrates its 104th homecoming this week, large crowds have already gathered at campus events this week in anticipation of parades, football and alumni events.

Excitement and Badger pride was apparent at Tuesday’s “Yell like Hell” Homecoming event, following the Spirit Parade lead by the UW marching band.

Joey Reuteman/The Badger Herald

The event, held at Union South, was for groups from the same fraternity or sorority, residence hall or student organization to take popular songs and exchange their lyrics with UW themed lyrics, Jared Borislow, a student on the Homecoming Committee and former The Badger Herald copy editor, said. They were judged by three fellow students and cheered on by the crowd of about 200.

“[Yell like Hell] is after the Spirit Parade, which is where we have the band and spirit squad go all around campus, starting at Dejope, down Bascom, through the Memorial Union Terrace, to Gordon, all the way over here and it ends here and that’s when we start Yell like Hell,” Borislow said.

The UW Homecoming Committee, made up of 40 student volunteers along with the UW alumni association, are the ones who plan all the events leading up to the Homecoming football game, Borislow said.

Homecoming week is made up of three different groups: Greek life, residence halls and student organizations, Borislow said. In this event, there were three Greek teams competing with one another and three student organizations.

In addition to the singing competition, there was a DJ and a performance by the student acapella group, Fundamentally Sound.

“They were very talented and actually sang one of my favorite songs … and the guys were dancing, and it was awesome, it was very lively.  I enjoyed it, and I hope they do it more often,” Ivan Gamez, a sophomore participating in Yell like Hell, said.

Greek Team 5 and Alpha Kappa Psi’s came out on top as the winners of the singing competition.With the students putting themselves out there, it makes people happy and excited for more events like the ones held during homecoming week, Gamez said.

Shooting Down Cancer, or #MakeBoPay as it is known on social media, was also held at the Kohl Center Tuesday as part of homecoming week, bringing in more than 2,000 students and raising more than 275,000 dollars.

The annual event gives students the opportunity to come and shoot baskets with the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team. For every student who walks in, men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan donates $1, for every free throw, he donates $10, and for every half-court shot he donates $1,000.

Since 2012, the amount of students and, subsequently, the amount of money raised has more than doubled, Patrick Herb, assistant director of Athletic Communications, said.

While incentives, such as free food, shirts and prizes were used in order to increase numbers, students participate for the cause.

“It’s a testament to the type of people on this campus, that Coach Ryan and his wife are willing to donate their time and their money for this cause, the student-athletes on the team are willing to donate their time to volunteer at this event, and then that this event can get 3,000 kids from the campus to wait in line for an opportunity to donate money,” Herb said.

Categories: Local Media

City urges bars to enforce underage laws, capacity limitations

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 9:16am

Approximately one-third of University of Wisconsin’s undergraduate student population is of legal drinking age, but police visiting taverns and bars on Friday or Saturday night meet a younger crowd.

Representatives from the Madison Police Department, Fire Department and the Department of Civil Rights met with the city’s tavern employees Wednesday, stressing safety issues in bars and ways to stay free of underage violations.

“Every bar in this room has a reputation, whether you like it or not. You don’t want to be the bar with the bad [reputation], or, from the underage perspective, good-reputation,” Sergeant Scott Kleinfeldt said.

When it comes to fake IDs, Madison Police Officer Christopher Frank said each bar needs its own plans and protocols.

Frank said much of the responsibility lies with the bouncer. This individual must check IDs, manage the capacity, summon police aid if needed and evaluate the patrons.

Kleinfeldt said it is better for the bouncers to play it safe when evaluating questionable IDs.

“If you think they have a fake, call their bluff and call us if necessary,” Kleinfeldt said. “If you’re not sure whether or not to call us, just call. Don’t get hung up on the number of calls for service your bar has.”

Lucía Nuñez, director of the Department of Civil Rights, said bars get into trouble when staff members start to apply policies inconsistently, leading to the question of whether they are profiling by appearance.

It is fine for a bar to have a dress code, Nuñez said. It is not fine, however, to not apply that dress code equally to every patron. If inconsistencies exist, people could press charges, Nuñez said.

Scott Strassburg, fire marshall for the Madison Fire Department, said capacity and overcrowding are other important issues the city looks for in bars.

“Capacity is not just a number,” Strassburg said.

Capacity is important because the less crowded bars bring less fights, more tipping and an all-around a better experience for everyone, he said.

Strassburg said it would be much better if bar staff started looking for warning signs, such as difficulty moving around and verbal arguments, rather than just counting the number of people at the bar.

Another problem Strassburg said MFD has been seeing is obstruction and blocked exits in bars and restaurants.

Obstruction and blocked exits not only include objects at the actual door and objects blocking the hallway leading to a door, but also exits that require more than one motion to get out, Strassburg said.

Strassburg also spoke about the dangers usually accompanying Halloween decorations. All decorations must be flame resistant and the bar must possess documentation to prove this fact.

To emphasize how dangerous fires are, he showed video footage of a bar fire in which nearly 100 people died. Because of the amount of flammable decorations present, the fire got out of control very quickly.

Kleinfeldt said  the police force leaves the responsibility of management to each bar, and it is the police force’s job to check in occasionally and see if each bar is following city laws.

The officers placed an emphasis on the fact that they want to communicate and work together with bar owners and staff, not just slap them with tickets.

“This is your business, and you all want to protect your business,” Nunez said.


Categories: Local Media

New city proposals aimed at better living for Madison’s pets

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 8:50am

A new series of proposals from city officials hopes to end the stigmatization of pit bull type dogs and better the quality of life for all types of Madison’s pets.

Ald. John Strasser, District 14, said the new package combines several individual proposals, including the prohibition against breeding in residential neighborhoods, with exceptions for service animals and people who breed for competition. In addition, if an owner permits an animal to have a violation of running at large, biting or even illegal breeding, Dane County Animal Services can order the animal to be spayed or neutered, Strasser said.

Strasser said he met with the city’s health and animal service departments several months ago with a proposal concerning several initiatives of animal welfare. After discussing each issue one at a time, they determined the most important initiative was the destigmatization of pit bull type dogs, Strasser said.

Strasser said his goal is to end the bias against pit bull breeds and work towards proposals that will promote better lives for all animals in the city.

An expanded, packaged proposal was later considered a better process after it became clear that the original proposal would receive enough votes from the council, Strasser said. The new proposal could then include concerns from various other groups that had spoken out about the pit bull ordinance.

An increase in the licensing fee for 2016 corresponds with change in policy where there will no longer be issued warnings to people without a pet license, Strasser said.

If the police or animal control find an animal to be without a pet license there will be a $125 fine. That money will help offset the cost of the animal welfare programs and expand outreach and education programs, he said.

Strasser said he and the public health and animal service departments have been meeting with the Dane County Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States, shelter organizations, shelter veterinarians and people who run low-cost spay and neuter clinics.

“We’ve been taking these issues topic by topic to get a consensus of changes that we could all live with,” Strasser said.

The Dane County Humane Society was one of the many groups that shared their concerns about the original proposal, Public Relations Director, Gayle Viney, said.

Although the Dane County Humane Society was part of the original reanalyzing process of the ordinances, they have yet to review the new proposed ordinances. Viney said they will be reviewing the proposals next week.

Viney said the humane society is glad that other groups concerned with the welfare of the dogs and community participated in the discussion because it is an important issue.

“We are all very excited to work together with other participating groups to come up with ordinances we feel are in the best interest of all the dogs, and ones that we can agree on,” Viney said.

The ordinance was presented to the council Tuesday, and next week a group of citizens will meet to discuss the language of the proposal to determine if there is anything that needs “tweaking,” Strasser said.

Three proposals from the package will then go to the city’s board of health, and one of them will go to the zoning committee.

Once the committees make their recommendations, the proposal will come back to council and will be scheduled to come back to council sometime around the first meeting of December to hopefully be voted upon, Strasser said.

“I see no obstacles that will get in the way of passing it,” Strasser said.

Correction: The original headline and lead said the proposals were based on the mandatory spaying and neutering of pit bull breed dogs, which was incorrect. The proposals are focused on ending bias against these types of dogs specifically and promoting better general welfare for all types of animals in Madison.

Categories: Local Media

Chef talks culinary technique, technologies

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 8:26am

Although using your mouth may still be the most important part of being a chef, Dave Arnold, creator and director of the first Department of Culinary Technology at the French Culinary Institute, shared how he paired his love of food with technology to develop new cooking techniques.

Arnold spoke Wednesday as part of the Wisconsin Union Directorate Distinguished Lecture Series, sharing his innovative technologies and techniques in the culinary world.

Over the past two years there has been an incredible explosion of creativity in both the professional and culinary food world, Arnold said. Because of this expansion of creativity people who would not have necessarily gone into food in the past now are.

“My schtick is that I use new technologies and techniques in the service of making food and cocktails,” Arnold said. “The problem in doing this professionally is that it is extremely difficult because we can not prove that they are safe.”

Proving that their new technique or technology is safe is necessary for any developer and those in the culinary world will place little weight on techniques that have not been deemed safe, Arnold said.

However, this task can be extremely daunting for people who do not have a lot of resources.

“For the first time an open source model has been provided where anyone without a lot of money but a large amount of energy or passion can go and develop new technologies with a professional basis and have backing to say, ‘This is good,’” Arnold said.

Another difficulty that comes with developing new techniques for the culinary world is that the chef training does not line up as the same training one receives as someone who deals with food safety every day.

Arnold developed both types of skills independently. There was a situation in which he could use his ideas for technology to forward the improvements he was making in food.

“I was very lucky that it did not take long for me to realize that my love for technology and my love for food could come together,” Arnold said. “I never focused on making food different, just on improving technologies, like ‘How can I make my oven hotter?’”

However, now people are coming into the culinary world with the tendency to glom new techniques and ideas together before they develop their skills in the kitchen, Arnold said.

A chef must already have an understanding of the way a kitchen environment works revolving around food before trying to improve upon it.

“Cooking is still something that has to be done with your hands, with your brain, with your mouth,” Arnold said. “The most important thing to do for a young cook is eat a lot and cook a lot.”

One weakness in inexperienced chefs is their tendency to trust their intuitions, despite the fact they may be completely wrong, Arnold said.

An intuition that is completely wrong when it comes to low temperature cooking is that cooking has to do with time when its actually the relation between temperature and time, he said. Proteins and fats will not overcook as long as one does not go over a certain temperature.

One new technology to improve upon low temperature cooking are immersion circulators. Immersion circulators hold a liquid, which is usually water, at a very specific temperature. This temperature can be regulated within two-tenths of a degree.

“Most people are used to cooking with relatively inaccurate things and still have relatively good food,” Arnold said. “A person can cook very well with inaccurate temperature but there is a whole range of things that they can do once they have super high accuracy.”

Categories: Local Media

Early voting begins in Wisconsin with new hours

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 7:54am

As absentee voting becomes more standardized in Wisconsin, lines of early voters have been growing at city clerks’ offices.

Wisconsin is one of 34 states that allow early voting, which occurs the two full weeks before Election Day. Beginning this year, in-person absentee voting hours have changed and are now standardized throughout the state.

“The legislature talked about wanting more consistency in the hours,” Reid Magney, spokesperson from the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, said. “So the clerk can offer absentee voting in their office between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.”

In accordance with this new regulation, in-person absentee voting is available at the Madison City Clerk’s office from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 20 to 24 and Oct. 27 to 31, Magney said. Voters can also send in their absentee ballots by mail during this time.

Magney said any ballot cast before Nov 4 is considered absentee, even if it is cast at the clerk’s office, a process that sometimes causes confusion and about which there are often misconceptions, Magney said.

“Sometimes voting in the clerk’s office is called early voting, but it is truly in-person absentee voting,” Magney said.  “Some people expect to be able to put their ballot into a machine, but that’s not possible. It goes into an envelope and it goes to the polling place and it gets counted on Election Day.”

Magney estimated that 15 to 20 percent of ballots are typically cast before actual Election Day, making absentee voting an essential part of the election process. In addition, anyone is able to vote absentee in Wisconsin.

“Since 2000, you don’t have to give a reason why,” Magney said. “You don’t have to be in the hospital or out of town or anything like that.”

There are many factors that cause individuals to vote absentee, Magney said, including illness, being out of town or wanting to avoid lines at the polling locations.

However, he said the last reason should not be particularly compelling. Magney said there have been lines at clerk’s offices to vote and there may not necessarily be lines on Election Day.

“It’s far more convenient if you can vote over an extended period of time than if you have to vote on a specific day,” University of Wisconsin political science professor Matthew Kearney said.  “Early voting dramatically increases the flexibility that people have.”

Kearney said absentee and early voting has been increasing over time. He speculates that the new standardization of early voting hours will increase in-person early voting in Wisconsin.

In many parts of the state, in-person early voting hours have actually increased this year, due to the new regulations. Kearney suggests this will reduce the need for absentee ballots by mail, because there is a longer period of time for people to do it in person at the clerk’s office.

“What I would predict, is that liberalizing early voting will decrease absentee voting by mail, and probably increase overall turnout,” Kearney said.

Categories: Local Media

Number of babies born in Wisconsin declines for six straight years

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 7:53am

The birth rate of babies in the Badger state has been on the decline due to what an expert at University of Wisconsin says has to do with changes in Wisconsin’s economy.

Claire Smith, spokesperson from the Department of Health Services said the number of babies born in Wisconsin declined for the sixth year in a row last year.

The department recorded 66,566 live births to residents of Wisconsin in 2013, 633 fewer than the previous year. The teen birth rate also declined, with a crude rate of 19.7 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19, compared to 21.9 births in 2012.

Smith said the department only records data, so they were not able to put these numbers into context.

David Egan-Robertson, an applied demographer with University of Wisconsin’s Applied Population Laboratory, said the decline in the overall birth rate was most likely due to the 2007 recession.

” … When you look back further in the time series of birth patterns, every time there’s a recession you see birth rates start to decline,” Egan-Robertson said.

Egan-Robertson said this “recessionary pattern” was also present in Wisconsin after recessions at the start of the millennium in the early 1990s, and even further back at the beginning of the 1980s.

This pattern is not specific to Wisconsin, Egan-Robertson said. Recessions have caused a decline in birth rates nationally, following trends very similar to those in Wisconsin.

Egan-Robertson said trends like this are known as “period effects” and reflect a change in the environment rather than a population itself, as opposed to a “cohort effect” which reflects a change in some characteristic of a population and is a longer-term trend.

“There has been discussion in some academic circles as to whether the current generation coming into their most fertile years might be a cohort effect of actually having a reduced number of births long-term,” Egan-Robertson said.

This theory is very tentative, however. Egan-Robertson said it is impossible to know if a cohort effect is present until data is collected from a few more years. It cannot be said with certainty that there is a change in some characteristic of the population unless there is data over a more significant period of time.

If the birth rate continues to decline, there could be something bigger going on than family planning related to the recession, Egan-Robertson said. But few have speculated what the cause of such a trend would be. For now, the 2007-08 recession is the most probable cause of the decline in births both nationally and in Wisconsin.

“The decline in teen birth has been a longer-term pattern and has been declining since is peak in 1990, both in Wisconsin and nationally,” Egan-Robertson said.

Egan-Robertson said, unlike the overall birth rate, the teen birth rate has more to do with societal changes than the recession. He said the teen birth rate can be attributed to heightened efforts to encourage contraceptive use among teens.

It is possible that the decrease of overall births could be accounted for by something similar to this, but “we’ll have to wait until more data is collected to know for sure,” Egan-Robertson said.

Categories: Local Media

ASM hears plans for redesigning sports facilities

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 7:28am

Recreational Sports Director John Horn laid out the current timeline and Master Plan for the future redesigning of recreational sport facilities for students at Wednesday’s Associated Students of Madison Student Council meeting.

Under the Master Plan four major University of Wisconsin athletic facilities will be redesigned through fall of 2022.

 “[The project] is waiting for a signature in the capitol building,” Horn said. “These changes are supported by 83 percent of students.”

Horn laid out an approximate timeline for the redevelopment and completion of the new athletic facilities. The first phase of the project is to complete renovations of the Near West athletic fields by fall 2016, the SERF by fall 2019, the Natatorium by fall 2021 and lastly the Near East fields by fall 2022.

Horn said he hopes to get it moving as soon as possible and that $55.5 million were allowed for the project by Chancellor Becky Blank.

“The changes are necessary because the SERF is operating on 200 percent capacity from when it was originally built in 1983,” Horn said.

Horn also hopes to get students involved in the project and create a student committee in order to help oversee this timeline of future renovations and redesign projects.

A legislation put forth by the finance committee to reallocate $33,000 from operations grants into the finance committee’s travel grant fund passed unanimously.

“[The travel grant fund] is being used up faster this year than in any other past years,” Mary Prunty, Finance Committee chair representative, said.

Other unanimously approved legislations included: a $6,168 grant for the Wisconsin Union Directorate Film Festival, a $5,061.12 grant for India Night and a $7,871 grant for the 1491’s Comedy Show.

Also discussed was Student Judiciary Bylaws Repeal and Recreation legislation. The rules committee, headed by Rep. Sean Owczarek, made an effort to pass legislation that will make the changes to the current bylaws official.

“[The committee] edited the wording of the bylaws to be more ‘user-friendly’,” Owczarek said.

After the proposal was put forth, debate around the necessity of changing the current bylaws ensued. The legislation was tabled and will be discussed at the ASM meeting next week.

Debate also arose over a new committee requirement legislation which includes stricter rules on representatives missing committee meetings. Opponents of the changes to committee attendance meetings included Rep. Steven Hughes.

“The organization wants to get people who want to be active in committees instead of manipulating people into serving on committees,” Hughes said.

Proponents of the legislation to introduce stricter measures included Rep. Andre Hunter. Students need to be kept accountable, and if they have prior commitments then they should probably not be on student council, Hunter said.

In the end the legislation failed to pass with a vote of seven for, 12 against, and nine abstentions.

Summaries were given about old business which included: the Conference Selection Committee, Bylaw Revision for Finance Committee’s Open Fund, Parliamentarian and SACGB Bylaws and Allocations Procedure.

There was no new business or viewpoint neutrality appeals and after roll call the Student Council meeting adjourned.

Categories: Local Media

All you need to know about Freakfest 2014

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 9:51am

With a little more than a week left until Halloween, it’s time to prepare for Freakfest.

Last year, an estimated 35,000 people attended Madison’s annual combination costume party and music festival. Below are your must-know details for the event, including where to get tickets and information on the lineup and transportation.


Freakfest takes place Nov. 1, and gates open at 7 p.m.

It also falls on Daylight Savings time this year, adding an extra hour to the State Street Halloween party.

Freakfest attendees will be able to access State Street through several entrances.


Tickets will be available for purchase before Freakfest for $8, or for $12 on the day of the event.

Logan Reigstad/The Badger Herald

Several local businesses will sell tickets for the event, including B-Side Records, Knuckleheads, Mallatt’s Pharmacy, Ragstock, Strictly Discs, Sunshine Daydream, University Bookstore, Community Pharmacy, Stop and Shop, Los Gemelos, Osaka House, Madison Optometric Center, Tower Apartments and Red Card.

Businesses, city gear up for Freakfest 2014Organizers of this year’s Freakfest Halloween celebration said “it’s going to be a pretty cool party,” but heard from downtown …

Tickets can also be purchased online.

Residents living within State Street access areas can request complementary tickets.


The music lineup, which consists of both local and national talent, will be spread across three stages.

This year’s headliner, Minneapolis-based hip hop group Atmosphere, will play on the Capitol Stage at the top of State Street with the Capitol in the background.

Freakfest’s main stage to showcase mainly hip hop actsFreakfest organizers are trying to “keep it fresh” this year, according to Frank Productions spokesperson Jesse Sherman, who confirmed the …

The Capitol Stage will also play host to other acts, including deM atlaS, Prof, WebsterX, Charles Grant and Coby Ashpis.

The Gilman Street Stage will feature alt-rock group American Authors, known for their single, “Best Day of My Life.”

Also playing on the Gilman Street Stage are The Mowgli’s, Generationals, Springtime Carnivore and Step Rockets.

The WSUM Frances Street Stage will feature local acts, including Eagle Trace, Catch Kid, Sky Urchin, Dense City and Midas Bison.

Public Transportation

All Madison Metro buses that normally operate in the State Street corridor will be detoured Nov. 1.

Westbound buses will wrap around the south side of the Capitol Square, turning onto Broom Street until returning to the regular route on University Avenue.

Eastbound buses will turn off of Johnson Street at Bassett Street and follow a detour that runs south of the Capitol Square.

Route 80 will be detoured onto University Avenue and Park Street before continuing on its normal route on Observatory Drive. Routes 81 and 82 will be combined into one route, and will not serve the State Street and Langdon Street areas.


Parking for the event will be available in city ramps in the downtown area.

Hey Badgers! Are you ready for Halloween?! #Freakfest14 is right around the corner! #badgers #madison #Bucky

— freakfest (@freakfest) October 18, 2014

Categories: Local Media

Alders propose changes to Soglin’s 2015 budget

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 5:54am

City alders offered amendments to Mayor Paul Soglin’s 2015 Executive Operating Budget at a Common Council meeting Tuesday at the City-County Building.

City Council members proposed additions and cuts to the budget in order to prioritize programs, which included neighborhood policing, body cameras for police and general ways to raise city revenue.

Many alders spoke in favor of increasing funding for three additional neighborhood resource officers, which Police Chief Mike Koval proposed in his budget request.

Ald. Maurice Cheeks, District 10, said the lack of officers was felt throughout the community.

“Neighborhood officers have been extremely effective in Allied, and when we reduced the number of neighborhood officers in Allied when we were having staffing limitations in the summer the neighborhood really felt it,” Cheeks said.

Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, proposed equipping police officers with body cameras, saying the cameras would provide a cost savings to both the police department and city residents.

Public Safety Review committee meeting talks body cameras and fire response At a Public Safety Review committee meeting Tuesday, representatives from Madison Police and Fire Departments further discussed a city alder’s …

The city has received 425 emails regarding body cameras for police officers, Resnick said.

Ald. Mark Clear, District 19, questioned whether the city should spend as much as it planned on the renovation of the Madison Municipal Building.

Plans for Madison Municipal Building renovations in the works The renovation of the Madison Municipal Building is one step closer to becoming reality, as the design firm working on …

“I think we need to think hard about whether we need to spend $30 to $40 million on office space for city employees,” Clear said.

Ald. Matthew Phair, District 20, suggested eliminating the proposed Wi-Fi service in Metro buses.

Madison Metro buses could have Wi-Fi as soon as 2015University of Wisconsin students could have Wi-Fi on their bus rides as soon as next year, as Mayor Paul Soglin’s …

“The Wi-Fi service wasn’t a top priority when we’re facing so many big questions,” he said.

Clear and Phair also said they supported Koval’s request for additional neighborhood resource officers, though Clear favored realigning the existing positions in the department instead of increasing funding.

Ald. Anita Weier, District 18, proposed making up the difference by allocating the funds to hire a new assistant police chief to two neighborhood resource officers.

Several alders, including Phair, said they were in favor of eliminating an assistant economic development director position within the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development.

Other proposed cuts included selling the Yahara Hills Golf Course, which has been losing money for the city and rolling back funding for the Overture Center to current levels.

They also proposed reducing funding for a neighborhood center on the city’s southwest side and cutting funding for the recently passed public market on the east side of the city.

One proposed source of additional revenue the council debated was exploring the possibility of raising parking ticket fees.

Alders also discussed their current rate of compensation and whether they could become eligible for benefits.

Categories: Local Media

UW professor talks about history of wilderness on 50th anniversary of Wilderness Act

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:55am

On the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964, University of Wisconsin history professor William Cronon spoke on how history has impacted the perception of the wilderness.

In the Tuesday talk at the Memorial Union, Cronon addressed the concept of wilderness and said he sees a strong intersection between humans and nature.

“These lands are all about touching, knowing and loving the world we inhabit,” Cronon said.

He said children in today’s world are experiencing nature differently, either through screens or what he called the “virtual natural.”

“The idea of wilderness is a culture phenomenon,” Cronon said.

He said America’s history involves a land that was home to millions of native peoples. In the beginning, land was known as “the frontier,” but Cronon said it eventually transformed from wilderness into land.

Native people made treaties essentially signing over their property rights and eliminating native and human rights, he said.

He also said the French Revolution was an important part of land history, and people during that time shared the land in order to become a nation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau also had an impact on the perception of landscape, he said.

Cronon said Niagara Falls was a popular destination for mostly wealthy white males in its earlier days, especially considering their travels there for the purpose of pilgrimages.

He showed artwork that depicted couples and families taking pictures with the view of Niagara falls in the background.

He also discussed the “infamy” of Yellowstone National Park and how it was grounds for Americans to use nature for recreation.

He detailed how the Army was appointed as administration of the Yellowstone National Park and held the responsibility of protecting it.

Cronon also said railroads held the most centralized role within the history of the wilderness while the invention of the automobile held the most decentralizing role.

“Railroads helped take people to see natural wonders,” Cronon said.

However, he said the automobile did the opposite. He said highways made their way into the wilderness by connecting metropolitan areas to rural areas.

Categories: Local Media

10 trivia tidbits to know about UW

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:52am

As Homecoming week gets underway, the Wisconsin Alumni Association shared 10 bits of trivia Badgers might not know about the homecoming tradition, campus icons and Madison culture.

Here’s what they said:

1.       “On, Wisconsin” could have been “On, Minnesota”

This tune was not originally written for the University of Wisconsin, but for the University of Minnesota. The anthem’s composers Carl Beck and William Purdy brought it to UW after Minnesota rejected it because UW is Beck’s alma mater. The song debuted here in 1909, according to university archives.

2.     Mifflin Street Block Party originated after a protest 

This tradition marked the first anniversary of the French student rebellion in 1968, at which 100 were arrested for disturbances and 70 were injured. The party also occurred as a political demonstration against the Vietnam war.

3.       Former Chancellor went from Bascom Hall to White House

Chancellor Donna Shalala served as the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services from 1993 to 2001 in President Bill Clinton’s cabinet.

4.       Gopher vs. Badger football rivalry is 100 years old 

The first game took place in 1911. UW wanted to “Wallop Minnesota,” but ended with a 6-6 tie.

5.       Law students have unique homecoming halftime tradition 

The UW law students organize a “cane toss” at halftime of the homecoming game during which they throw a white cane over the goal posts. A tradition for third year law students, catching their cane on opposite side of the posts is a sign that their first case will be a success. This custom came from Harvard to UW in 1910, according to the university website.

6.       Origin of antique firetruck, a parade favorite 

The homecoming parade wasn’t included in campus tradition until the third homecoming game was held. Also, the La France fire engine, a parade favorite, was given to the Wisconsin Alumni Association in 1932.

7.       State Street Brats has deep roots on State Street

This campus treasure originally opened in the 600 block of State Street in the 1930s. The owners A.S. Keys and Warren Lamm originally called it the Log Cabin. It moved to its current location in 1953 and was called the Brathaus. The name was changed in 1989.

8.       Pitchers weren’t always available at the Rathskeller

It was open during prohibition and therefore did not start beer sales until its end in 1933.

9.       ‘The birthday place of Madison’ turns 46 this year

The Nitty Gritty is well known for its birthday glass. Students have been going there for free beer, or soda, from 11 a.m. until midnight on their birthdays since 1968.

10.   First bowl game appearance happened six decades ago

UW’s first Rose Bowl was against USC and the Badgers lost 7-0 in 1953. UW won its first Rose Bowl in 1994 against UCLA. Since then, Wisconsin has had nine Rose Bowl appearances.

Categories: Local Media

C-SPAN ‘Cities Tour’ to feature Madison

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:54pm

Cable network C-SPAN selected Madison as a featured city of its 2014 Cities Tour, showcasing historical and literary aspects of Madison on its nationwide network.

The tour is part of the series, which premiered in 2011. Debbie Lamb, the coordinating producer for C-SPAN Cities Tour, said C-SPAN was attracted by many special features of Madison.

“We came to Madison, because it’s the capital of Wisconsin, to see how it has developed throughout the years, and because there is a great literary culture of nonfiction authors here,” Lamb said.

C-SPAN’s producing team will visit various locations around Madison to interview local historians, authors and civic leaders over the course of the week, according to a statement.

Among the historical sites of Madison the tour plans to feature are the State Capitol, the Vietnam War era protests, the Wisconsin Historical Society and University of Wisconsin Libraries.

The Book TV program will feature local authors, including Ron McCrea, author of “Building Taliesin,” and “Dollarocracy” author John Nichols.

The tour showcases cities that C-SPAN’s national audience won’t always get to experience by highlighting each city’s public policies and cultural tradition, according to Lamb. 

“Our national audience gets a chance to get an inside look at Madison and its rich heritage,” she said.

C-SPAN is teaming up with the Charter Communications in Madison to bring the tour in Madison to life, she said.

Our partner @cspan filming segments about the history of @CityofMadison #wisconsin Watch: @WKOW @CSPANCities

— Charter News (@CharterComPR) October 20, 2014

They reached out to Charter because the cable industry has local means to keep viewers informed, Lamb said.

“C-SPAN came to us and sought a partnership and asked us to help us with the Madison portion of the tour,” Kim Haas, a spokesperson for Madison-based Charter Communications, said. ”We basically are helping organize it and offer input, just wanting to be a good host.”

This is a great opportunity to showcase the city, since Madison has such a rich history and vibrant charm, Haas said.

Every first and third weekend of each month, a city in the United States is featured with seven segments on its unique history and nonfiction authors.

The Madison portion of the Cities Tour will air Nov. 15 and 16 on Book TV on C-SPAN2, Charter channels 76, 997 and 742 in HD. American History TV segments will be broadcast on C-SPAN3, Charter channels 88, 996 and 743 in HD.

Categories: Local Media