1:20 pm, “Music in Performance” class at the UW Humanities Building

It’s time for one of UW-Madison’s most popular courses: “Music In Performance.”

This class has a rich history at the university, dating back to the 1940s, with legendary professors Gunnar Johanssen, Rudolf Kolisch, and the original Pro Arte Quartet.

While the purpose of “Music in Performance” is to expose students to a variety of live musical experiences, many are there for one main reason: to enjoy and appreciate good music.

During each class, different performers — who might be UW School of Music faculty members, graduate students, or guests — will perform and discuss a wide-ranging repertoire for solo instruments and chamber ensembles.

Friday’s musicians are Mark Hetzler, Vincent Fuh, Nick Moran and Todd Hammes, respectively, on trombone, piano, bass and drums. All are UW-Madison faculty members. Together, they formed a jazz band to perform for the class.

Along with undergrads, grad students and senior citizens are also enrolled in the course, making this time part of their Friday routine to relax and enjoy music.

“It is a great chance to get away from the strict academic atmosphere, enjoy the music, and put them in a different world,” says Professor Marc Fink, who has taught the course for about six years.

– Xiumei Dong

10:30 pm, Greenbush Bakery

It’s just 10:30 pm so the line is not yet out the door. That doesn’t happen until about bar time, says Alex Hintz, who holds down the fort evenings at the Greenbush Bakery.

All of the donuts on the shelf were made today, says Hintz. And he predicts nearly everything will be sold by the time the shop closes at 3 am. “They rarely throw anything out.”

James Gibson, who is working late at the university, stops by to pick up some donuts for breakfast. He buys three chocolate old-fashioneds for himself and one strawberry filled donut for his wife, Sue Medaris, the artist and sister of Isthmus alumnus David Medaris.

Though reluctant at first to be photographed, Gibson decides an action shot is the way to go. Hintz complies with another chocolate old-fashioned — this time on the house.


– Judith Davidoff

10:10 pm, Overture Center-The Playhouse

Just like at political gatherings, the confetti fell when the five actors starring in Forward Theater’s 44 Plays for 44 Presidents took their bows at the end of opening night.

As the play wound through more than 200 years of history, the audience’s progressive stripes showed. Applause broke out when Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts to put 230 million acres of land under federal protection were mentioned, and again when one actor read a list of safety-net measures enacted under FDR.

But there was laughter too, including to Obama’s reaction upon taking office after George W. Bush: “Oh, what a mess.”

At the end of the play, actors handed out voter registration forms, imploring audience members that even if they were registered they should pass the forms to someone who wasn’t. And they reminded people about current voting rules: “You do not need a photo ID to vote!”

More applause.

– Judith Davidoff

8 pm, The Sett in Union South

From the counter at the Sett in Union South, student supervisor and griller Logan Glassenapp appears to enjoy his job. Tonight, his mood is contagious. While helping customers, assisting new co-workers and grilling hamburger patties, he issues more than the occasional joke, and is often seen dancing around the prep area.

“The same people that come here to have fun, just being at the Union, are students that work here, and I’m just the kind of person who come here to have fun while I’m hanging at the Union, and working,” Glassenapp says.

Working in the Sett is no easy feat. Every home football game day weekend, hundreds of Badger fans arrive at Union South craving hot dogs, nachos, and cheese curds.

“It’s pandemonium, man!” Glassenapp says. “We’ve actually got people from the community coming in, not just students.”

Beyond the music on the stage or the sports updates blaring on the television screens, Union South’s grill serves entertainment, humor, and delicious food, courtesy of grillers and life enthusiasts like Glassenapp.

– Bess Donoghue

10:10 pm, Stop-N-Go at corner of Glenway and Speedway

Joe is working the 2-11 pm shift at Stop-N-Go, as he does most nights. He doesn’t like missing dinner at home, and he admits that “this is about as boring as a gas station is going to get.” Still, he doesn’t seem too unhappy to be working here. He’s got a smile on his face, and he jokes with a regular customer while we’re talking.

Joe is also amused by an incident that happened earlier in the day, when a cute college-age girl asked for $4 in gas, then wondered if she could borrow the $4 from him. It was a crazy request, but he was just crazy enough to lend her the money.

Best of all, the Brewers won today, putting Joe in a great mood. Employees aren’t allowed to read, watch TV, or go online, but they are allowed to listen to baseball on the radio. He was no big baseball fan before, but he’s cultivated an interest in the game since working at Stop-N-Go.

“Baseball is boring,” Joe says, “but it’s less boring than working at a gas station.”

– Dean Robbins

7 pm, Chabad House on Gilman Street

“It’s going to be a small crowd tonight, a lot of people are high holiday-ed out,” announces Rabbi Mendel to no one in particular as around 40 students shuffle in to Chabad House.

Each week, the rabbi holds his breath as students enter the house, located on Gilman Street, hoping he has set enough seats.

Chabad is one of the Jewish options on campus for students who want a dose of religion while away from home. The rabbi and his wife offer free meals every Friday for the Sabbath, along with different options for the various Jewish holidays.

The Sabbath dinner draws a different crowd each week. The regulars. The one timers. And of course, students who could use a free home cooked meal, especially towards the end of the month when wallets are thin.

Many students express their desire that the meal fulfills a family feeling they are missing while they are far from home.

“I don’t necessarily go to Chabad because I am extremely religious, I go for the sense of community it offers,” says Miriam Steinberg, a junior at UW-Madison. “My family ate Friday night dinner and celebrated Shabbat every week at home growing up. Chabad provides a constant similar to the one I have at home.”

Although students who attend Chabad leave their college lifestyle and enter an oasis in time for a few short hours, Jewish students’ Friday nights do not differ from most. Chabad dinner is dismissed promptly at 8:45 pm — just in time for students to participate in perhaps less wholesome activities.

– Erica Sperber

5 pm, UW Hospital Emergency Room

It is an uneventful Friday evening so far in the emergency room at the UW Hospital. Aside from the electronic beeps from scattered heart monitors and hushed conversations between unit clerks, the room is relatively quiet. Dr. Mike Abernethy knows, however, that this scene can change in a matter of minutes.

“You don’t know, that’s the nature of this business,” he says. “Things can change dramatically.”

Abernethy, entering his 20th year as an emergency medicine specialist, has encountered a wide variety of cases. With extensive knowledge in the field, the doctor has overcome most feelings of anxiety with his job.

“You train to do this,” he says. “If I wasn’t trained in emergency medicine, you bet this would be very stressful.”

The trauma unit is constantly in “disaster mode,” as Abernethy describes it. The ward is filled with skilled staff members dedicated to the traumatized patients in the sometimes exhausting 12-hour shifts.

Yet, Abernethy realizes he is not alone, and owes much of the emergency room’s success to the team surrounding him: nurses, medical technicians, and even those who clean the rooms in between patients. Emergency medicine, Abernethy declares, is “the pinnacle of teamwork.”

‘If one [group of people] fails, it affects us all,” he says. “We all respect each other and we work well together.”

– Michael Schuerman

7:15 pm, Brittingham Park

Here are several observations from an evening jog at Brittingham Park:

  • A jogger stops to get water at a drinking fountain; his beige wool socks and neon green running shoe combo is both strange and somehow fitting for this time of day.
  • A girl wearing a maroon zip-up and accompanied by two chocolate lab puppies struggles to keep the dogs walking in the same direction. Is it me or is dusk like the perfect dog-walking hour?
  • Lake Monona is a frozen gray blushed pearly pink by the setting sun.
  • Father and son play football in the dewy grass — can I join you?
  • (And speaking of wet grass, when did mud start smelling like childhood?)
  • The silver sun-streak blazing across the water makes the sky look like it’s leaking, but not in a bad way.
  • West Shore Drive: a refreshing dose of actual families, front-porch suburbia, and silence.
  • Is it getting darker?
  • Orange leaves highlight the tips of trees like brown hair sun-dyed blond.
  • The lake breeze: brisk.
  • It is getting darker.
  • Home.

– Samuel Eichner

7 pm, Paul’s Books

Close the front door.

A sighing hush, plus footsteps and Duke Ellington. Tally up the sales. Settle the credit card machine-thingamajig. Staple the receipts. Empty the cash register, and save the music for last.

Walk a narrow path towards the back of the store, between bookshelves and book-smells: a comforting claustrophobia. Like a tight-knit wool sweater for the soul.

Turn off the fans. Lock the back door. Go downstairs. Empty the humidifier water into the bucket. Water the tree outside. Don’t forget to lock the quarter rack.

Go back inside.

The faint sound of the piano, fading. A jazzy voice, crooning from the void. Nostalgia is the record’s skips and scratches, the floor’s creaks, the pages accruing valuable dust, the oriental rugs, the cassette player, the nooks and crannies and the clippings adorning the shelves, like accidental collages.

Turn off some lights. Leave others on.

Walk outside. Emerge, as if from a closet. The cool just-night air is a splash ofcold water to the face, or an alarm, buzzing. Flip the sign from “Open” to “Closed.”

And please, don’t forget to lock the door.

– Samuel Eichner

7 pm, UW Cinematheque screening in Vilas Hall

You would think that performing the live score for a 96-minute silent Japanese film might require lots of preparation and planning. But pianist David Drazin admits he mostly wings it. While he plays the jazz song “I Cover the Waterfront” during some of the performance at UW-Madison’s Cinematheque, Drazin says: “I’m an improv guy.”

Drazin likes it because it is apparently the only gunshot fired in any of Ozu’s gangster movies. He loves Ozu because he took the American gangster film conventions and made them uniquely Japanese. “What’s neat about it is finally the director quit copying American films.”

Listen to a portion of Drazin’s performance: [soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/60720598″ iframe=”true” /]

The crowd seems enthralled by the performance and the film. And although Drazin has performed the film score before, he says he never plays it the same way twice. “It changes because it has to.”


– Joe Tarr

5:30-6:45 pm, Kollege Klub

On average, the Kollege Klub (KK), located on Lake Street between State and Langdon streets, makes over 120 grilled cheeses every Friday afternoon between 4 and 6 pm.

Students of all ages race to the KK’s Friday After Class (FAC) for the $1 grilled cheeses and country music soundtrack. One UW student says she can’t get enough.

“I’m here almost every week, whether it’s with old friends, or I’m meeting new ones,” she says.

Bartender Hannah Blake says it hard for anyone to stay away with FAC’s two-for-one drink specials, perfect for any college student’s budget.

FAC also cater to students’ class schedules by opening the KK’s doors at 2:30 p.m. Starting the end-of-week celebration earlier draws in a diverse crowd, says Blake, who admits she’s often attending FAC when she’s not working.

UW senior Lindsay proudly said she’s never missed a FAC.

“Even when I’m sick I’m at the KK every Friday,” she says, “The grilled cheeses and cheap deals are too hard to pass up.”

Whether you’re there for the grilled cheese or cheap drinks, Friday After Class at the Kollege Klub is a great way to unwind after a long week of class.

– Rachel Bozich

5:30 pm, Memorial Union Stiftskeller

Joe Wagner has finished a full day of classes, sat through a two-hour meeting and is now tending bar at Der Stiftskeller in the Memorial Union, one of Madison’s most iconic places to get a beer for UW students and Madisonians alike.

“People come here for the atmosphere,” says Wagner, a supervisor. “People come here to talk with their friends and listen to music.”

But Wagner doesn’t get to enjoy it the same way that other UW-Madison students do. He is bartending until the place closes tonight.

“It is a bummer when you see your friends going out and I work till midnight,” he says.

Wagner is a senior and has been working at Der Stiftskeller for two years. He’s gotten a real understanding of how the crowds work.

“Adults want to drink a good beer and drink it slowly with friends,” he explains. “Students want the cheap stuff.”

Which does he prefer?

“I have Celiac disease,” he says. “But we have a gluten-free beer that I get sometimes.”

– Sara Schumacher

3:30 pm, UW-Madison Gordon Dining and Event Center

3:30 pm, UW-Madison Gordon Dining and Event Center

How do cashiers at the new Gordon Dining and Event Center occupy their downtime between the lunch and dinner rushes?

“I think about stuff,” says student worker Noah Sevett, who’s manning a cash register for his 2:15 pm to 5 pm shift.

He’s isolated from many of his coworkers — and, at times, even customers.

The Gordon Dining and Event Center, which replaces the old Gordon Commons, is the main food hub for thousands of UW-Madison students living in the Southeast dorms. Thus, cashiers have their hands full during prime lunch and dinner times. A “flood of students” creates a constant line, Sevett says.

But that’s a hard scene to picture at 3:30 in the afternoon. Only a few hungry students are trickling into the extensive complex, which offers 12 dining venues and seats 600 people.

3:30 pm, UW-Madison Gordon Dining and Event Center

Management doesn’t allow their workers to pull out a book and study to pass time, Sevett says. Cell phones aren’t allowed, either.

Once in awhile he shoots rolled up receipt papers into a cup, but even that isn’t very satisfying. He can only dream of the possibilities on this slow Friday shift.

“Sometimes I fantasize about putting Pac-Man or Sudoku [puzzles] on here,” Sevett says, pointing at his cash register’s screen. “But that’s never going to happen.”

– Preston Schmitt

5:15 pm, Mills Street

Mail carrier Tammy Dawson is still delivering mail at 5:15 p.m. Later than usual. But there were “some issues” today, she tells me.

First, there was the rain. Then, when she was at BP at Park and Vilas, a woman pulled her aside to ask for help with her credit card — it was a Chinese card and wasn’t working at the pump — and another woman wanted help with the certified letter she had mailed to Israel that was then returned.

“It’s been a day,” she says.

– Judith Davidoff

3:15 pm, James Madison Park basketball courts

Located on the shores of Lake Mendota, James Madison Park is picturesque on a day of clear skies. Madison locals come to the park in bunches to soak up the sun through basketball, volleyball and countless other leisure activities.

At 3:15 pm and with clouds above, the only two at the park engaged in a recreational activity were certainly not representative of the locals who make up the park’s general population.

Tri and Kaci, two 20-year-old students at the nearby Wisconsin English as a Second Language Institute, seemed eager to spend their afternoon together playing basketball.

They were far off from their native China. While the pair plan to improve their grasp of the English language, both exhibited their affinity for American culture right from the start of our conversation.

Kaci will only be in Madison until December, but quickly exclaimed that she hoped to stay in American into “the future!”

Tri, on the other hand, in his Air Jordan basketball shoes and flat-brimmed hat, seemed to have the mind of many American males. His favorite NBA team is the Boston Celtics and favorite player Ray Allen, because he “loves his jump shot.”

When I told Tri that I have a Ray Allen poster in my bedroom, and that the basketball star is a favorite of mine for similar reasons, he quickly smiled. In that moment, the language barrier was non-existent and it was clear that all three of us have more in common than just the city we live in.

– Josh Parulski

2:40 pm, Madison Water Utility

Just announced by the Madison Water Utility: A public hearing on the draft opt-out process for the somewhat controversial meter replacement program (a.k.a. “smart meters”). The meeting will take place this coming Monday, September 24, at the utility’s 119 East Olin Avenue facility. The meeting starts at 4:30 pm. Public comments will be limited to three minutes. Those who can’t attend may send comments to water@madisonwater.org, or by mail to the Olin address (zip code 53713) — but the press release says written comments will only be accepted until the start of the meeting, so anyone planning to use snail mail better hurry.

There’s nothing like announcing a Monday afternoon meeting shortly before end of business day the prior Friday! Only time will tell if those of us in the pilot neighborhoods will receive another literature drop this weekend from the anti-meter folks.

For those who just can’t get enough of the smart meter controversy, the utility’s third and final informational open house is coming up on Thursday, September 27, from 6-8 pm., at Ashman Library, 733 North High Point Road. Earlier that afternoon, the Water Utility Board will meet at Olin Avenue to discuss the policy. More information about the water meter replacement program is available here.

– Bob Koch

3:30 pm, Chazen Museum of Art


The Chazen’s imported exhibition from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, “Offering of the Angels,” is doing land-office business. Art lovers crowd around the Renaissance and Baroque works in the invitingly dark gallery, admiring two-point perspective and chiaroscuro by the likes of Botticelli and Tintoretto. Nice to see that 500-year-old paintings and tapestries can still cause a sensation.

Security guard Kelly Moritz mans the entrance, making sure that no one brings in a backpack, takes a photo, or sips a soda around the valuable works of art. She hasn’t had any serious problems so far at “Offering of the Angels,” but she has heard tell of people touching the delicate canvases. Madison, Madison, Madison.

The works traffic in high seriousness, depicting biblical scenes related to the Eucharist. But that doesn’t prevent the occasional giggle. A trio standing in front of Dal Friso’s “The Resurrection” can’t help laughing at the extraordinarily chubby angels, one of whom gets stepped on (on the head!) by Jesus Christ. A lady points at a weird-looking dude loitering in the lower right-hand corner: “I think that’s a homeless guy who was also sleeping in the tomb.”

– Dean Robbins

3 p.m., Capitol Square downtown information booth


As a “Downtown Information Ambassador,” Dan Koenig, 23, works in a tiny wooden shack on the Capitol Square. He’s in the middle of a four-hour shift, handling questions from confused passers-by. The job is funded by downtown businesses, so Dan tends to recommend places on State Street and the Square when he gets questions like “Where can I buy a headband?” (Yes, that’s an actual question.)

Dan, who’s finishing up a degree at the UW, has heard stories of ticked-off people coming up to the booth (for example, after getting a parking ticket). But he says he’s had only really nice people since he’s been doing the job. Does he ever get an out-of the-ordinary question?

“They’re pretty much all out of the ordinary,” he says. “I never know what to expect.”

– Dean Robbins

2:45 pm, YWCA Job Ride office on Latham Drive

Friday afternoons are particularly busy for Kirk Betterkind, who schedules all rides for the YWCA Job Ride program.

The program provides subsidized rides for low-income people to and from work (and to interviews and training) and about 1/4 of them do not get their work schedules for the next week until the Friday before. In all, Betterkind schedules about 2,000 rides a month.

He started at the agency as a part-time driver about 3 1/2 years ago and liked it so much he went full-time and quit his other job. He’s been the scheduler for almost two years.

He calls it a “feel good job.”

“Most riders really appreciate us because they have no other way to get to and from work,” says Betterkind. “It’s a form of social service that benefits people who already have jobs. It’s vital.”

– Judith Davidoff

1:30 pm, Dane County Jail


The first room people brought into the Dane County Jail see as they’re processed

As of 6 a.m. today, 913 people were booked into the Dane County Jail’s three detention facilities.

Of these, 795 were men and 118 women. Four hundred and four were African American, 490 white, eight were Native American or Alaskan and 11 were Asian or Pacific Islanders. Fifty-nine were brought into the system in the past 24 hours.

This isn’t quite full capacity, which is over 1,000 people.

The command center for the county’s three detention facilities is on the ground floor of the Public Safety Building on 115 W. Doty St. People who are arrested are taken here, where they first go into a room where they’re searched and the processing begins.

This can take hours, as medical staff examines inmates, and deputies take fingerprints and photographs, inmates call lawyers, and officials determine where to send people. The processing center is surprisingly relaxed. Inmates sit in a central holding cell, but the door is wide open. “They’re brand new in here,” explains Sgt. Michelle Shelhamer, of the people sitting in the open room. “Nobody [in there] has been charged with a crime yet or convicted of anything.”

There are more secure holding cells to isolate people who are violent or have mental health issues, she says, but they generally try to keep the jail relaxed to lower stress. There are, however, deputies everywhere.

“If they need to make a phone call, we want them to,” says Sgt. Michelle Shelhamer. “Sometimes that alone can help with behavioral problems, if they’re able to make a call and connect with someone on the outside.”

The processing center isn’t just for those who are arrested, but also those who are being processed for court, getting shipped to other jails or released.

Jonathan Britton was brought in this morning from the state Waupun Correctional Institution, where he’s been for about a year. He’s back in Dane County to face additional charges that he says related from “a lot of fighting.”

“I like it here better. They give you a little more freedom,” he says. “[In prison] there’s nothing to do but lie down all day.”

Plus, he’s closer to family. He called them this morning to let them know he’s in town so they can visit — they only get to Waupun about once a month.

Jones: ‘It’s not a place you want to be.’

Derrell Jones was brought in today from Dodge Correctional Institution, also to face new charges.

“It’s not a place you want to be,” he says. “You really don’t want to be friends with anyone here. It’s best to get used to being by yourself.”

– Joe Tarr

12:30 pm, Tenney Park Locks

The Tenney Park Locks are open only Thursdays through Sundays these days, so you’d expect more of a crowd, but not today. “I’ve only seen one or two boats out on the lake all day,” says Jerry Volk, who is the — lockmaster? I forgot to ask him what his title is. “It’s the weather,” says Volk, who observes that we’ve been about one month ahead of the usual weather curve all year long.

He’s at the lock’s office to operate the machinery should any boats come through, in any case. However, in the absence of seaworthy craft, Volk has grabbed a pail and one of those metal sticks with the pokey things on the end of it and is heading out to the breakwater to pick up trash.

Volk, an LTE with Dane County Parks, works only at the locks, Thursday-Sunday. When he retired from Oscar Mayer, he wanted to get some sort of position where he could be outside, and, as he’s a longtime lake-explorer and scuba diver, this spot seems perfect for him.

Volk says he used to find a quite a few objects on the lake floor around the lock area, for instance bottles from the old Fauerbach Brewery. He seems to know a lot about the parts of Lake Mendota you can’t see — there are places in the lake called bars where the floor of the lake comes up from the usual 60-foot depth to 10 feet, he tells me. One of these is called Dunn’s Bar, and is out some distance from where we’re standing at Tenney Park; Volk describes this one as looking like a saddle. There’s another called the Brearly Bar that’s somewhere off James Madison Park that rises up much more precipitously, like the wall of a building, as Volk describes it to me.

I’m struck that there are so many parts of Madison that I know nothing about. I’m a landlubber, I confess to Volk. He nods as if that’s nothing he hadn’t figured out already.

Is he expecting more boat traffic today, toward evening? He shakes his head no. “Not with the weather like it is. But,” he offers as the day suddenly brightens, “the sun is coming out.”

– Linda Falkenstein

12 pm, Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda – Solidarity Sing-Along

There’s evidence of recent tensions between protesters and Capitol Police in the Capitol Rotunda, where people begin gathering for the regular Solidarity Sing-Along. Signs arrayed on the second-floor railing tell the story: “Indict Walker.” “Capitol Police, You’ve Lost Your Way.” “Shame.”

The police, who’ve been issuing citations to protesters at the behest of controversial new chief David Erwin, prowl the perimeter of the Rotunda. They are grim-faced and intimidating.

One of the few cheering sights is a long banner that a woman holds over the railing: “PEACE.”

It’s disheartening to witness Wisconsin citizens at war. The songs themselves are often combative, with attacks against anti-union Gov. Scott Walker thrown in. In between numbers, the loud chant of “RE-CALL WAL-KER!” goes up.

A saving grace is the rainbow coalition of people who are sticking up for First Amendment rights in the face of enormous pressure. The hundred-plus protesters are old and young, male and female, black and white. Jim Mueller, a lawyer representing those who’ve been given citations, tells me the protest movement is “a pushback against the 1%.”

On my way out of the Capitol, I glimpse a surprising scene: a protester chatting amiably with a member of the Capitol Police. Who knows — maybe “PEACE” is possible after all.

– Dean Robbins

10 am, Fromagination

The door opens and out into the cold, damp air spills the warm smell of apple cider and the earthy scent of aged cheese. Soft music plays in the background as four people work quickly around the bright shop, preparing for the busy day.

Fromagination, a small artisanal cheese shop on the Capitol Square, features Wisconsin’s bounty. The store opens at 10 am and within minutes, seven customers fill the room.

Priscilla, Fromagination’s Wisconsin cheese buyer, says the shop buys 80% of its cheese from local cheese makers.

“We want close relationships with our cheese makers,” Priscilla says. “We order our cheese straight from the people who make it on the farm.”

One of the samples is an aged Gouda. The display features information about the cheese maker, Marieke Penterman, a first-generation Wisconsin dairy farmer originally from the Netherlands.

Fromagination offers more than just cheese. Local preserves, crackers and bottles of wine fills the walls of the cozy shop. Priscilla explains Fromagination is all about the details, whether it’s selecting the best, local cheeses, helping a customer sample a cheese or decorating the shop with displays of fall colors and large cheese wheels.

– Meredith Lee

10 am, Dane County Courthouse Room 1A


The mood is far from somber as protesters cited for holding signs at the state Capitol await their appearance before Dane County Circuit Court Commissioner Todd Meurer.  In fact, they leave the courtroom singing and pose for a group photo in the lobby of the courthouse.

Bart Munger, whose ticket was delivered to him at work at UW-Madison, pled not guilty and requested a jury trial. So did the others, according to attorneys Aaron Halstead and Jonathan Rosenblum. Munger is now scheduled to appear in court on October 26.

The funniest moment in the proceedings comes when attorney Patricia Hammel wonders aloud where the prosecuting attorney from the Department Of Justice is. The department had requested that it take over prosecution of these tickets from the Dane County District Attorney.

Hammel: I heard that DOJ would be here.

Meurer: I did too.

– Judith Davidoff

10:30 am, City County Building Room 421

Fall is a busy time for Dane County executive Joe Parisi. He’s in the middle of preparing next year’s budget, so he spends a lot of time in meetings with department heads.

On Friday, Parisi meets with Lynn Green, head of the Dane County Human Services. “This is our weekly check in with Lynn, to see what’s going on,” Parisi says.

During budget time, the two often meet more frequently, and for good reason. More than half of the county budget goes towards human services. During the meeting, Green points out that one in six Dane County residents “is on some form of public assistance.”

Green gives a rundown of some of the programs the county operates, along with outcomes, for Parisi. The conversation is thick with acronyms that sound like gobbledygook soup to an outsider: ECI (Early Childhood Initiative), JFF (Joining Forces for Families), W-2 (Wisconsin Works), etc.

One of the things the two lament is that grant money is often made available for new programs, but once the program is up and running and successful, the grant money goes away.

“We get the funding to start it, it works, and then the grant money goes away,” Parisi says. “You’d hope success would be a good reason to continue funding.”

The meeting is a strategy session for how to sell successful programs to the County Board and the public for how to continue funding them. Green points out what data is available on each program.

Says Green: “Hopefully this info will help as you work the budget through.”

– Joe Tarr

10:30 am, Troy Community Farm

By the time I get to Troy Community Farm it’s already sprinkling. Despite the lack of actual human farmers, there are more signs of life than you might expect. The rows of sunflowers are alive with small birds that dart too fast for me to see identifying markers, scavenging for seeds. A table is full of bags and water bottles. Snaking throughout the compost pile are volunteer tomato vines and full-blown squash. No one likes being consigned to a compost bin — there’s a will to thrive. Sprinklers are on, encouraging a fall crop of… something. Finally I see someone near the greenhouses.

Christine Welcher is loading flats of cat grass into the back of a pickup for delivery to the Willy Street Co-op. Fridays, the sprout and cat grass operation kicks in about 6 or 7 am and wraps up about 11 am “Rain or shine, 100 degrees or 30,” says Welcher, now dotted with raindrops. She commiserates with me about my left shoe, now enrobed in wet mud. “It’s an occupational hazard.”

– Linda Falkenstein

8:15 am, Vilas Park Zoo

The animals seemed a lot more excited than staff at the delivery of a large shipment of hay at Vilas Park Zoo.

Unloading the flatbed truck is a big job, which means all the staff pitch in. It’s a dirty job and some wear masks to keep down the dust and sniffles.

Zoo director Ronda Schwetz says the zoo gets a hay shipment about four times a year. Some deliveries include straw for bedding, but this time it’s only hay for food.

The alfalfa is unloaded first at the camel barn. It’s the darker green hay on the top of the truck. Higher in protein than the grassy hay below, it’s fed to the larger animals, including giraffes and camels, says Gary Hartlage, who has worked at the zoo for 9 1/2 years.

The grassy hay gets delivered next to the red barn at the children’s zoo. The goats gather at the front of their cage, curious about all the action.

– Judith Davidoff

8:45 am, Madison Public Library – Central


Fourteen people stand outside the Madison Public Library’s central branch on South Hamilton Street and wait for 9 am to arrive and the doors to open on a warm, safe place to read or use a computer. For now, they stand in a single-file line in the rain.

Heather Welch, dressed in a sweatshirt, windbreaker, baseball cap and wool winter gloves, says she waits here for about 20 minutes every day. When asked about her favorite part of the library, Welch beams. “The books!”

Like Welch, the others in line say they visit the library daily, especially on days with poor weather.

Deane Dahl, who waits next to Welch, says he enjoys the computers and wi-fi. People can check out a computer and use the wi-fi for two hours each day. Many waiting in line say they spend most nights at a local homeless shelter and congregate outside the library each morning before it opens.

– Meredith Lee

7:15 am, Norwood Place

It’s been the same drill nearly every school-day morning for the past seven years.  Seven straight years of my heading out the door at 7:15 — my teeth occasionally, my hair always, unbrushed. But it doesn’t matter how harried the lunch packing and appropriate shoe finding is (today is a gym day and she doesn’t remember where she left her sneakers), I always look forward to joining my daughter on her walk to school. It’s not just our morning routine. It’s closer to ritual.

Today she walks with her fifth-grade-girl posse, discussing elaborate after-school plans. I walk with my mom posse, discussing carpools and ear infections. Even the dog has his posse. I’m not sure what they’re discussing, but it is discussed very loudly. I couldn’t avoid being in the moment if I tried.

I had a meeting this morning and wasn’t able to walk the whole way to Randall, just up to the corner of Commonwealth and Prospect.  As I turned around and walked home alone against third through fifth grade “traffic,” I realized that next year, when she, my youngest, goes by bus to middle school, I am going to have to figure out a new way to ground #MyMadisonDay. Especially #MyMadisonMornings.

– Sari Judge

“Madison Morning”

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/60649267″ params=”auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&color=ff7700″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

It started as an improv but I gave it a little structure so perhaps now it is a tune. Played on a gourd banjo made by Jeff Menzies, roughly tuned to B (same as standard G tuning but lower).

Patrick Logterman

7:05 am, Corner of Allen, Commonwealth and Eton Ridge


Nothing says “start of the day in Madison” like little kids walking to school with backpacks almost as big as they are. At the treacherous five-way intersection of Allen, Commonwealth and Eton Ridge, crossing guard Janet makes sure each kid’s day begins safely – not to mention amiably. Janet is legendary in this neighborhood for knowing just about every child’s name, greeting them with a smile and a friendly word. “Okay, Ben, come on and cross! Have a good day!”

In this line of work, being good with names is an important job skill. Janet notes that kids tend to obey her instructions to “wait” or “cross” if she accompanies the command with “Abbie” or “Charlie.” She is obviously in complete control of her intersection, running from corner to corner with dazzling speed as parents and children start to show up.

Still, there’s time for making actual connections. Janet remains close to families she got to know working the corner of Yuma and Midvale in the 1990s. Watching her in action, you see the appeal of donning the yellow-and-orange vest and standing in the middle of the street with the big red stop sign.

“There is nothing like getting greeted by all these smiling faces,” Janet says, “with kids calling out your name.”

– Dean Robbins

6 am, Wisconsin Public Radio


I’ve been in Vilas Hall hundreds of times, but never on the seventh floor, home of Wisconsin Public Radio. Terry Bell greets me there Friday morning and ushers me past empty desks and darkened offices.

“It’s just my one-man band,” he says, “with all my bowling pins and spinning plates.”

Bell’s voice greets thousands of Wisconsinites emerging from their slumber each morning as he delivers the state news during the broadcast of National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.” Despite growing up on a dairy farm, he doesn’t consider himself a natural morning person, but the WPR gig converted him. He arrives at about 4:30 and is on the air by 5.

The space Bell works in doesn’t resemble the other radio studios I’ve been in. There are no banners or boxes of prizes. It’s tidy and spare and quiet at this time of day. Bell says he’s not immediately aware of the reach of his voice across Wisconsin as he broadcasts.

“It feels a lot like in college doing media production labs,” he says. “It’s something you have to make yourself aware of.”

– Jason Joyce

5:30 am, 710 Cottage Grove Road

If you’re looking to get on a day labor crew at Labor Ready out on Cottage Grove Road, you’d better get up early.

“You’ve got to be here by at least 5:30 a.m.” says a man named Keith, who wouldn’t give his last name. “I get up at 4:30 or 5.”

But despite the early rising time, the guys still have to wait a long time. They won’t get on a job until 7 or 8 a.m. A Labor Ready clerk won’t let an Isthmus reporter talk to the roughly 10 guys sitting inside the office, drinking coffee and watching TV while they wait to be picked up. She also declines to answer questions about the work opportunities they provide, saying she’s too busy at the moment.

Keith — who is outside in the parking lot polishing his car while he waits — has been coming to Labor Ready off and on for about two years. He says the work and pay are good. Lately he’s been put on a crew doing concrete work, which he expects will be the case this morning. “I think we’re building the walls for a McDonald’s in Whitewater.”

– Joe Tarr

#MyMadisonDay is Friday, September 21


Our goal is simple, even if the task itself seems daunting: A day in the life of Madison.

Isthmus hopes to chronicle what happens on a typical day in Madison — big news, small details and everything in between — by collecting glimpses into the lives of the people who live, work and play here from 6 a.m. on Friday, September 21, to 6 a.m. on Saturday, September 22.

Isthmus reporters will be dispatched to write, take photos, tweet and/or capture video from around the city throughout that 24-hour period, but that will only scratch the surface of what’s happening, so we’re asking for your help.

Isthmus would love it if you would participate in this project — codename: #MyMadisonDay — by sharing what happens during a day in your life or the life of your business, organization, department, school or team. Consider this a license to capture a few (or seven or eight) glimpses of what happens on that day and share it with thousands of Isthmus readers. We hope that by doing so, in concert with a bunch of others in our network of contributors, we will create a very cool, fun and fascinating collection of observations from every walk of life, ordinary mixed right in with extraordinary.

How can you chip in? There are many ways.

Do you use Twitter? Simply use the hashtag #MyMadisonDay when tweeting. Photos encouraged!

Do you use Instagram or Flickr? Same deal: use #MyMadisonDay.

Post your contribution on our Facebook page: facebook.com/isthmusmadison.

YouTube videos are great. You can use the #MyMadisonDay hashtag there as well. Tweet a link, post it to our Facebook page or email it to mymadisonday@isthmus.com.

Email your blurb, photos, links to YouTube videos to mymadisonday@isthmus.com

Invite your friends, family, coworkers to do the same!
We’ll pull all that great stuff into a live blog at isthmus.com, which will be updated throughout the entire 24-hour period. We’ll borrow heavily from that blog to pull together a huge package for the issue of Isthmus that hits the streets on September 27.

If you have any questions or ideas, we’re all ears! Email us at mymadisonday@isthmus.com.