Park comes alive for 50th Anniversary

It was a great day for Glenwood Children's Park on October 9th. The little park celebrated its 50th anniversary full of people enjoying the newly improved landmark. The events of the day included a nature scavenger hunt for kids, a classical duet by two West High students, acknowledgments and a talk by John Adams-Kollitz, restoration landscape architect. Mrs. Ruth Southworth, former neighborhood resident and Parks chairperson in 1957, said a few words. Louis Gardner Jr., son of Louis Gardner attended with his family. He shared their gratitude that the park they celebrated 50 years ago was still being cared for and appreciated. Pictures of the event were on the DMNA web site later that day.

Right: Jon Adams-Kollitz addresses the crowd in the stone council ring.

The fundraising commemorative booklet, Glenwood Children's Park, From Quarry to Landmark became available that day. It is now sold at several locations throughout the neighborhood for $5.00. All DMNA proceeds go toward the park's restoration fund.

Flowers were donated by George's Flowers, rolls from Breadsmith, cider from Moze's and donuts from Gardner Baking Company. Gardner's was originally owned by the family that donated the land for the park. A good time was had by all. It was a rewarding culmination for everyone involved in the parks restoration this year, and a rewarding continuum for those who knew the park 50 years ago.

Neighbors gather for refreshments in the lower park.

President's Column

By Bill Barker

Between fishing, birding and canoeing, I spend a fair amount of time down at Lake Wingra. Rarely do I return from an outing without having witnessed a magical event. From startling a big tiger muskie (OK, perhaps they're just carp, but whatever they are they generate a pressure wave as big as my boat as they dart away in the shallows), to sitting quietly as a great blue heron fishes a few feet away, to paddling right into a technicolor sunset, I am always rewarded for the time I spend on Weengra. (Wingra, in contrast to the Four Lakes, retains its aboriginal name. "Weengra", meaning duck, is a phonetic spelling of native pronunciation and was the original designation for the lake.)

In spite of having a Southerner's inborn skepticism concerning frozen lakes, I recently crept out on the ice to witness the Solstice moonrise. Beneath a star-filled sky, bathed in the light of the last full moon of the second millenium, the ice was moaning. Actually, it sounded like whalesong, as if some leviathan called beneath the frozen surface. I couldn't help but wonder what the native inhabitants of our neighborhood would have thought of this phenomenon. What would this experience be like, beneath a sky without light pollution and amidst a frozen and silent woodland bereft of the blasphemy of traffic noise from Monroe Street and the South Beltline? Is it any wonder that more Late Woodland Period effigy mounds surrounded Weengra (69 of approximately 170 survive) than any lake of its size in the world? If these structures carried any spiritual connotation for their builders, Weengra has been a deeply sacred place for a thousand years.

I like to think it remains so, and I am extremely proud of the multitude of interconnected initiatives fostered by the DMNA to preserve, protect and enhance this treasure which we have been given for safekeeping. The Lake Wingra committee organizes the annual cleanup in conjunction with Jazz in the Park, and the Edgewood Woodlands and Oak Savanna Committees provide volunteers engaged in ecological restoration efforts of almost the entire Northern shore. The Gardening Committee is developing materials to promote ecologically sound lawn care and gardening practices, and the Rail Corridor Conversion Committee is pushing for no salt use, permeable paving, and native vegetation along the new bicycle path. The Parks Committee is restoring native plants and shrubs to the Glen. The DMNA provided matching funds to secure a grant from the DNR to the Friends of Lake Wingra to fund a multidisciplinary UW Water Resources Management study of the Lake Wingra watershed. DMNA representatives are advocating for sound control barriers along the beltline at the Mayor's Advisory Study Committee. As always, I hope you and your family will choose to participate in these activities, but if you'll keep in mind that dandelions are the sign of a healthy and safe lawn, and that everything runs downhill, that'll be a good start.

Residents Sustain Strong Neighborhood Support

Strong neighborhood support and the hard work and dedication of DMNA's 86 Block Captains and 10 Area Reps, whose names surround this article, made the fall membership drive another success. A total of 903 households joined DMNA, over 85 neighbors volunteered to serve on our active committees, and 227 members recognized the D-MNA Parks Committee's months of labor on Glenwood Children's Park by contributing $1,976 to continue the restoration.

D-MNA boasts a membership of over 70% and raises a significant amount of money, which is matched by city funds, for the Capital Fund. Beyond the fall drive, the Membership Committee and Area Reps/Block Captains work together throughout the year distributing D-MNA publications. Additional volunteers and new ideas to bolster their efforts are always welcome.

New features of this year's drive included a membership solicitation mailing to residents in locked apartment houses. By now every home should have been contacted about membership, committee service, and the Capital Fund Drive, and should have received a copy of Exploring the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood. New members should have received a copy of the 1999-2001 D-MNA Directory and Past and Present: A History of the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood and Association. If you were missed, please notify Shirley Lake, Membership Chair, 738 Western Ave., phone 238-1647 (slake@execpc.com).

Thanks to Membership Committee members Paula Benkart and Sheila Fay for their good services; Ann Clark, Lois Cosmides, Marge Jacoby, and Jane Riley for their assistance; and to all who made this year's drive such a success. See you at the wine tasting gala!

Block Captains Welcome New Residents

Do you have a new neighbor on your Block? D-MNA Welcome Kit coordinator Shawn Schey takes Block Captain requests for kits to deliver to new residents. The kits, which have been much appreciated by recipients, include a loaf of fresh bread and trinkets donated by area businesses, as well as useful information about DMNA and the neighborhood. Shawn, who can be reached at 238-7937, delivers the kits to Block Captains for them to distribute to the new residents.

CORRECTED list of names to include in border around Membership Drive article; listed by Area, with Area Rep listed first, and then the Block Captains in order of the numbered Blocks

Harvest Potluck Dinner/Dance

On October 6, 1999, an enthusiastic group of neighbors ranging in age from one to 85 years gathered in the Dudgeon gym for our first fall family dinner/dance. A delicious buffet was enjoyed by all, featuring wonderful desserts including Paula's famous chocolate cookiesVirginia's favorite!

Neighbors visited with new and old friends. Bill Barker highlighted the DMNA accomplishments of the year including the second place award from Neighborhood USA for our transportation committee Pedestrian Zone Campaign and our stunning publications. We hope to see more neighbors at next year's event.

Social Committee Events to Bring Neighbors Together

The Social Committee works on three events during the year; an October get-together, February wine tasting (see insert) and the April Annual meeting. We welcome new committee members who enjoy working with neighbors and enjoy planning entertaining events.

One of our members, Karen Brown-Larimore would like to coordinate additional events, especially for children and families such as a Halloween parade and party, home visits by Santa, and a sprint egg hunt. You can call her at 238-7938 to offer our ideas and help in planning.

To help with the February Wine Tasting, call Mary Jo Croake at 231-1406. We look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Glenwood Children's Park Booklet Available

The 50th anniversary commemorative booklet for Glenwood Children's Park is available for sale throughout the neighborhood. Glenwood Children's Park - From Quarry to Landmark covers the story of our neighborhood gem from it's geologic history to last's year restoration effort. The many people involved in the development make up a rich history. The cost is five dollars, all DMNA profit will go toward GCP's restoration fund. Buy one for yourself and one for a neighbor! You can find the booklet for sale at The Flower Shop, Rowe Pottery, Neuhauser's, Seed Savers, Moze's, Monroe Street Antiques, Utoypia, Parman's, Mallotts and Regent Street Coop. For more information, contact Paula Benkart at 255-2690.

Great Year for Parks

2000 will see improvements in all three of our neighborhood parks. Wingra park will get upgrades in the basketball court and the softball field. The softball backstop will be upgraded this year, and the playing field will be regraded next year. In Dudgeon Park along Monroe Street a native garden will be planted along the slope below the existing chain link fence. Glenwood Children's Park restoration will continue. The DMNA Capital Fund Drive goal of $2000 was met in 1999 thanks to all your support. The city Parks Division will match those funds. Volunteers are needed for the Dudgeon garden and Glenwood Children's Park restoration. Contact Maggie Jungwirth, 233-6663/maggiej@tds.net for more information. There are many ways to help that don't involve digging in the dirt, so please consider giving some time to your neighborhood parks!

Did Lake Wingra "Die" 130 years ago?

In 1869, some people labeled Lake Wingra as 'Dead Lake'. Judge Levi B. Vilas, provoked by this insult, shot off a reply in a city newspaper:

"I protest here and now to the attempt in your issue of last evening to fasten the name of "dead lake" upon that beautiful body of water upon the borders of our city known upon all the maps as Lake Wingra. It is one of the most healthy and beautiful lakes in our midst, and deserves no such name as you and your poetic contribution attempt to attach on it. It has none of the qualities of the Dead Sea, but on the contrary, is full of living fishes and surrounded and covered with winged fowls and singing birds from which it obtains its true and appropriate name. It takes its rise and origin from bubbling springs around its shores, and has a large flowing outlet by a connecting stream into the waters of Lake Monona. Then in the name of justice, truth, history, and propriety, let it always have its own true and beautiful name, 'Lake Wingra'."

Lake Wingra continues to live today despite the way we have treated the land in the Lake's watershed since the middle of the 19th century.

In late February, 2000, the Friends of Lake Wingra will celebrate our Lake as a living community resource. Join us at the Wingra Watershed Community Fair for facts and fun. We'll feature up-to-date, relevant research from the UW-Madison's Water Resource Management seminar and help you learn what you can do to promote a healthier Lake.

Dates: Thursday, Feb. 24, 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 26, 9 a.m. noon

Place: Edgewood College's Sonderegger Science Center.

For more information, contact Jim Lorman (lorman@edgewood.edu, 663-6921) or Kevin Little (klittle@iecodesign.com, 251-4355) or visit http://danenet.wicip.org/fowingra.

Groove Merchants

The Hornblower likes to highlight new neighborhood businesses but this new business is as much about new neighbors as it is about their business. We like that. Last May, Beth Tryon, Ted Petith and their three children moved from Carbondale, Illinois, to the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood. I got to meet Beth, Ted and young Miles in June, when they volunteered at the Lake Wingra Clean Up. It was then I found out that not only are they a wonderful, neighborhood-involved family but Beth and Ted are also musicians in the jazz ensemble, Groove Merchants. You may be familiar with the group from their performance at this year's Isthmus Jazz Festival.

Groove Merchants has been together since 1993 and has just released its second CD, "Chaos Theory." (The CD is available at Monroe Street Consignment Antiques and at Strictly Discs.) Originally based in Carbondale, the group has a strong following and critical recognition in the Southern Illinois region. Beth was voted vocalist of the year at the 1997 Southern Illinois Music Awards. In a true jazz fashion, the strength of the ensemble explodes from each of the six musicians and the variety of their musical experiences. Ted, a Madison native (but that's another story), plays tenor saxophone and has toured the country with the McDonald's All-American Jazz Band and performed with trombonist, Wycliffe Gordon, who is currently working with Wynton Marsalis. Beth is vocalist and plays bass. She has performed country swing, rockabilly, blues and jazz around the country. Add to that her extensive travels in Puerto Rico where she studies and collects music. Can you ever have too much creative energy?

The almost telepathic, improvisational music of Groove Merchants creates jazz that is a gift to the listener. The CD, "Chaos Theory," is a perfect frame for the group's artwork. Dare I say, "hang it on your CD player today?".

One final word about Beth and Ted. Through a Dane County Cultural Affairs grant, they will be teaching a rhythmic and improvisational skills program at Wingra School in the spring. Groovy.

Transportation Committee Update

Pedestrian Zone Campaign: Five Madison neighborhood associationsTenney-Lapham, Emerson East, Vilas, and Regent, led by Dudgeon-Monroejoined forces with 18 schools the first week of October to focus on reduction in vehicular speeds and pedestrian safety. The week was kicked off with a press conference at Randall School, at which both Mayor Bauman and Superintendent of Schools Art Rainwater spoke. County Executive Kathleen Falk declared the week Pedestrian Safety Week, and there was major media coverage of our activities.

In our neighborhood, volunteers were out with the speed board and walking in a body across Monroe Street to call attention to the Monroe and Harrison 'Yield to Pedestrians' sign. Several police patrols worked Monroe Street, stopping speeders and issuing tickets throughout the day. Two of the more amazing incidents which resulted in tickets being issued were to the driver of a vehicle proceeding east on Monroe Street at 47 mph, and another being driven at 40 mph while the diver held a phone in his left hand and what appeared to be a coffee cup in his right hand!

UW Expansion/Traffic, DMNA upon recommendation of its Transportation Committee and approval by the Council, has sent a letter to the UW Joint West Campus Area Committee, composed of UW and City planning and transportation staff, along with representatives of Regent and Dudgeon-Monroe associations, and Shorewood. The letter requests basic information needed to help the DMNA determine its position vis-a-vis the many new buildings on the West Campus, planned additional parking, and resulting traffic through Regent, DMNA and Vilas neighborhoods.

Walker Associates, the consultant group which studied parking needs to serve the occupants of these new UW buildings, recommends an additional 1,214 parking spaces in one enlarged and three new parking ramps adjacent to University Hospital. Hospital visitor parking accounts for 426 new spaces, and employee parking shows a net increase of nearly 900 spaces. The study identifies needed roadway improvements to accommodate the resulting increase in traffic at University Avenue intersections. The greatest problem is at University Bay Drive/Farley intersection with University Avenue, which may require a $7-$20 million overpass, or a 'cheap' alternative of $3 million to add lanes and provide a pedestrian overpass.

Thus far, no one has estimated the resulting increase of traffic through neighborhoods to the South. DMNA may be affected on Glenway and Allen/Edgewood, so we are asking for that information. Nor has the University made it clear how its employee/parking space ratio will be affected when the new buildings are staffed and the new parking ramps filled. Also the group has not tackled 'big picture' issues, for instance, what more the University could do to cut the demand for parking, how commuter rail would affect the picture, and why it is important to keep adjacent neighborhoods healthy. We have now asked for all this information formally. We hope to report the results in a future newsletter issue.

Traffic Calming on Gregory Street

DMNA applied for City funding to slow traffic on Gregory Street. We came in fourth place in the competition, not enough to get funding this year. However, we have been encouraged by the city to reapply next year. Yuma, Sherman Ave, and Glenway (a stretch between Regent and Speedway) were the top contenders.

The funding would provide us with the opportunity to make physical changes to the street to reduce speeding. Possible methods include islands and 'speed humps' like those on Manitou Way. There will be neighborhood meetings and a vote to determine neighbors' opinions on the project before anything is done, even if we better meet the city's criteria next year. Questions? Want to help? Contact Jeff Carroll, 238-5207.

Straight Story on the Monroe Street Pedestrian Sign

The DMNA Transportation Committee and the City Traffic Engineering Department have been fielding frequent queries about everyone's (well, almost everyone's) favorite street sign. The sign in question is the 'Yield to Pedestrians' sign which graced the middle of Monroe Street at Harrison between Ken Kopps' and Neuhauser's in 1999. It was intended to reinforce the often ignored state statute at a busy pedestrian crossing with a history of car/pedestrian accidents.

According to Traffic Engineering, the sign, like its four siblings at other Madison locations, was experimental. Each year the city studies these sites, evaluates the data, and requests permission of the Federal Highway Administration to continue the experiment for another year. If the request is approved, the sign will reappear in the spring for another season (it must be removed for snowplow-ing). The exact location may need adjustment because the food distribution semis turning right onto Monroe from Ken Kopps' lot had to pass directly over the sign to make the turn. This accounts for its often scruffy appearance!

Preliminary data shows that motorists voluntarily yielding to pedestrians increased from 3% to 18% during the sign's tenure. Let's try to improve our showing! And if you really want to be sure we get our sign back, call Traffic Engineering at 266-4761 to tell them how important it is.

Ann Clark (238-5612)

Help Keep Our Sidewalks Safe!

Are you up on your city ordinances? Do you know the requirements for keeping your sidewalks clear?

It is the property owners' legal responsibility to remove ice from their sidewalks, as well as removing snow by noon the following day after a snow storm stops. Residents with corner lots are responsible for clearance of the sidewalks all the way to the street at the intersection, including removal of snow that may have been piled up by plows. And here is a tip. Use of metal long-handled choppers to remove ice instead of using salt and/or sand will help protect Lake Wingra.

Your fulfillment of your clearance responsibilities will help ensure safe winter walking for all our residents, including the elderly and those with disabilities.

DMNA Leads Property Tax Mini-bellion

DMNA's housing committee saw that the last member survey pointed strongly to three problems. One, lack of ethnic diversity. Two, seniors reluctantly leaving the neighborhood because they cannot pay propety taxes. Three, increasing local property values driving taxes to the point of hardship. One simple solution could ameliorate all three problemscut our property tax loadso the committee simply called on local social and political leaders to publicly discuss the issue with an eye toward fixing the problem.

On January 20, DMNA's forum filled a major part of Beth El Temple's auditorium. Local radio, TV and newspaper crews were conspicuous, and their coverage played out for several days. The event was assembled by DMNA's Housing Committee and chaired by member Franklynn Peterson.

The forum panel included former mayor Paul Soglin; former assembly representative for our district, Rebecca Young; past and present mayoral planner and lobbyist James O'Keefe; Todd A. Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayer's Alliance. Ms Young's successor attended and was asked to join the panel.

Despite diverse politics and backgrounds, the panel agreed that the cause of DMNA's record-setting property tax hikes over recent years has been our proximity to the center of town, Campus and UW Hospital and the relative affordability of our homes compared to many outlying neighborhoods. In other words, our smaller houses were in demand in greater numbers than our supply, so potential sale prices soared and taxes increased.

The panel also agreed that Madison has been receiving less state tax revenue per capita and per dollar of taxes collected than most of the state.

The answer? Get Madison its fair share of revenue from the state. The panel suggested that DMNA convene a community-wide forum similar to this one, using perhaps the same panel members (all of whom volunteered to participate). And that forum could provide the kickoff for a citizen's initiative for property tax relief. Unfortunately, letters to all other Madison-area neighborhood associations met with near unanimous apathy. One association replied that Madison was probably affluent enough to afford its property taxes. Only the Vilas association offered to join.

This is a major issue. We will not give up the fight.

Report from the County Supervisor

The County Budget was finalized on December 1, 1999. It increases spending for seniors, children and parents, and persons with disabilities. It also funds programs that aim to control the jail population. Moreover, it increases the Conservation Fund at a rate consistent with the overwhelming support received on the Open Space Referendum last spring. In the final budget, funding was approved to better reimburse communities that maintain library buildings. Only those communities that have no library will pay these taxes to reimburse communities that do have them. This will distribute the library tax burden more fairly. In other action, the board also approved on a voice vote Resolution 184, which acquires land to protect Fish Lake, a jewel of the county. Karen Cornwell 233-1355