Categotry Archives: General

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Mayor Meeting Update

Categories: General, Important, Informative

Last Friday, I had another opportunity to meet with Mayor Soglin and staff to discuss the neighborhood. That time, however, I was pleased to have join me Sue Weaver, who’s on the WPNA Board, and Jonathan Hunter of Underground Food Collective. Since we had a culinary powerhouse in the room much of the conversation was about food—access, quality, service, training, etc—and the topic was far from exhausted at the meeting’s end. There was just enough time to mention Internet access and tech skill building but that’s a long conversation for another day, hopefully soon.

Y’know, things are tough. It may seem we just can’t shake the ills of modern society but many of us in this community believe that being savvy stewards with creative new approaches will help treat the issues to an end that reveals a higher quality of life for all our neighbors. It’s good to know that food and tech are high priorities with the city and Soglin, and we think we’ll have some support behind Worthington Park initiatives as time goes on.

-Alfonso

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Neighborhood Yard Signs

Categories: General, Informative

Resident, and talented artist, Larry Price gave our yard sign project a much needed shot in the arm by donating a watercolor he painted. We intended the sign showcase a neighborhood kid’s artwork but after few submissions came in during a drawing contest we thought it was wise to rethink our direction. We’re pleased we did, we’re grateful to Larry for his generosity, and we’re very excited to get these back from the printer. We should have them in time for the annual picnic on July 19th.

comesoon

Thanks to funds from Madison Community Foundation, by way of a Goodman Center mini grant, and part of a Neighborhood Grant from City of Madison, we were able to get a limited supply of 18″ X 24″ full-color, double-sided, heavy duty yard signs with H Stakes for display in home and apartment yards. These are going to look great! Contact any one of the Board for information on how you can get one, or send an e-mail to info@worthingtonpark.org.

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Save the Date: Annual Picnic Coming Up!

Categories: Entertainment, General, Park Activities

WPNA hosts the annual picnic in the park on Saturday, July 19, from 12PM – 4PM. (3102 Worthington Avenue)

Back again and aiming to be cooler than ever, residents of the Worthington Park neighborhood bring the annual picnic full of food, games and fun to their community. The newly renamed Worthington Park Neighborhood Picnic will feature games hosted by Madison Traffic Garden and familiar city agencies, music, magic by James the Magician, and mouth-watering slow cooked pork and chicken made possible by generous residents and Evan Dannells and Mandy Puntney of 4&20 Bakery and Cafe, plus tempting sides by Women of WORTHington and others. Finish that off with Chocolate Shoppe ice cream and creamy Blumers Root Beer!

As always, since we love y’all and our neighborhood, at the picnic everything is free, and everyone’s welcome! Put it on your calendar and come on out to celebrate our growing community.

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Sunday Rootin’

Categories: Entertainment, General, Informative

Dave!

Dave, and yes, 3 laptops.

Volunteer Dave and I (and several online resources) spent the bulk of the day together rooting a Chromebook, which was donated to help start WPNA’s computer loaner library. As part of a tech initiative in collaboration with Women of WORTHington, we aim to launch computer training classes of varying concentrations… along with figuring a way to get free community Wi-Fi to our residents.

Stripping copper

Stripping copper

The first fun bit: Jumper the write-protect on the board. OK, with what? Not having that kind of teeny part laying around, and seeing there was nothing to use from inside an old desktop I cracked open, we had to get creative. After staring at it a second, I grabbed some excess CAT5e cable and tore out one inch-long wire. The idea: Put some copper down in the thing and hope it makes a sufficient connection. I made a lil’ loop, shoved it down in there, taped over the excess wire and closed the back cover.

rootin-03Eureka!! Write-protect disabled and Developer mode entered! Then, I made a mistake. You could say I zigged when I should have zagged. Say whatever you wish, the result was hours—no kidding, HOURS!—of scratching our noggins trying to think of what to do next. We were at a standstill. Long story short, nothing short of a miracle, we managed to restore ChromeOS and kinda start from scratch. Easy breezy from there. Sorta.

Success! (sorta)

Success! (sorta)

What did we learn? Take it slowly, do it on a Sunday, have absolutely nothing else time sensitive to get to IF you plan on goofing part of the process. Otherwise, it’s relatively simple. Y’know, the whole reason I wanted to do this is because a Chromebook is so completely limited and I wanted to open it up. The other thing is I was a bit upset that Google throws these things out in the world with relatively really good hardware and then puts such hardcore restrictions on what you can do with it. Side note: ChromeOS is a weirdo. Creating a restore stick not only made the thumb drive unusable for anything else afterwards unless wiped with a partition utility but it created FOUR partitions (one invisible). Then after successfully booting to an Ubuntu stick, the installer warned me I was about to erase 22 partitions. 22?! WHAT?!

Anyway, there are some tweaks still to do and it’s not ready for public use but the netbook is running pretty darn well. We’re looking forward to messing with more computers and building up a nice lil’ library. Excluding bulky desktops, please get in touch if you have an unused netbook or laptop laying around. Not too old, please 🙂

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First Welcome to Darbo Meeting

Categories: General, Informative

Soglin talking to kidsDuring a meeting at the mayor’s office a few months ago, Soglin asked Alder Rummel and I to put something together for the residents of the Eastpointe and CDA apartments in Darbo/Worthington. I understood the intention was to poll folks on what they saw as the future of their neighborhood. With substantial help from Deenah Givens at Goodman Community Center we put on an event for April 29th.

Sticky Notes ExerciseWhat I helped create to frame this special meeting was the concept Welcome to Darbo, what could turn into a series of events aimed at specific issues facing the Darbo/Worthington neighborhood. Though turnout was less than hoped for, the meeting was a success and quite encouraging.

Perspectives heard during that first Welcome to Darbo were valuable. However, what I found more interesting I learned while door knocking prior to the event. There are residents passionate about change but perhaps stumped by what to do or where to go with their opinions, let alone they may feel marginalized by a perceived socio-economic status, especially if their previous attempts to address concerns fell on deaf or unconcerned ears.

It’s around this borderline broken spirit with apathetic undertones, concerned folks need to rally, to help demonstrate things can be accomplished if the voice is loud and forceful enough and the mission unified, regardless of financial standing. I won’t go into here what issues are most pressing among people I talked with but I will say this: Summer’s gonna be interesting 😉

-Alfonso

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Neighborhood Update – New Year’s 2013

Categories: General, Important, Informative

This past November marked my first full year as a board member of the Worthington Park Neighborhood Association. WPNA diminished to a frail group over the years, with low meeting turnout and the bare minimum of officers, but the small collective was determined to make progress. After incremental growth, things slowed a bit in the Spring due to board turnover, and residents were disheartened by Salvation Army’s curious decision to mow down the community garden. Then with the realization of McDonald’s leaving becoming more and more real, and its departure date drawing closer and closer, we started feeling our community’s value and security threatened, not to mention its economic future. What’s going to help the tax base? The title loan store? Roll your eyes along with me, it’s OK. But those tight to the group stayed the course and focused on Summer.

And what a Summer we had! Pee-wee soccer games and Mentoring Positives “Family Fun Time” in the park, a bicycle rodeo, the annual meeting and pasta dinner, and an incredibly successful Darbo picnic, due in no small part to the hard work and generosity of community organizations. From a few Madison businesses we received food and water for the picnic but the bulk of donations came from Salvation Army, including free school supplies that brought folks in from across the city. Most people I talk with have reservations about Salvation Army as an entity (ideology, stance on homosexuality, etc), and their reservations are understood, but when the picnic effort needed help, they came through. Sadly, that glimpse of partnership was dwarfed by their immense proposal for 3030 Darbo, which I learned of just one month ago. Coupled with what I learned of Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin’s proposal only one week after that, I’m preparing for an interesting year.

Salvation Army
Have you seen the construction of The Constellation on East Wash? It’s quite the project. According to their site, The Constellation will be “12-stories of upscale apartment living and business space in a five star location.” Never mind their logo looks like it fell out of 1950s Las Vegas, the building will have a contemporary expression. The point is that whole area is going to explode with redevelopment. Maybe that’s why Salvation Army is seazing the opportunity to offload 630 East Wash, which currently holds their 20-bed facility for homeless persons, and construct an even larger shelter on Darbo.

That’s right. From what I’ve been told, Salvation Army will sell 630 East Wash and move its shelter operations to 3030 Darbo, after building an extension, or extensions, and possibly repurposing the gymnasium. It would make financial sense, I get that. Capitalizing on a local real estate market upswing by selling a now hot property, that over the last decade has been a dog in the church’s portfolio, is a smart move—on paper. It’s another thing entirely when an organization considers enlarging its homeless services capacity and relocating those services within a weakened community.

Economic hardship is hitting many nowadays. Perhaps the impetus is financial troubles. Money worry can prompt people to make hasty decisions. These decisions can have awful consequences for the environment in which they’re executed. Though the beginnings of decay can be hard to detect, the long term effects of poor choices are all around us. Fiscally responsible does not necessarily equal socially acceptable. Can Darbo/Worthington handle the impact? And that’s just one proposal.

Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin
These folks have good history in Madison, particularly around where they currently are in the SASY neighborhood (Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara). People at Youth Services do important work. I support their efforts. However, there’s cause for pause before supporting their intention to relocate in Darbo, if just to help ensure all things are considered. Or is it too late?

Property developer EMI plans to buy the McDonald’s property at 3051 East Wash. According to Youth Services, EMI wishes to construct a new two-story building there, and Youth Services intends to occupy.  By lease or by sale, it’s uncertain, but occupy nonetheless. At this new location, Youth Services proposes a 28-day maximum stay teenage homeless shelter, among other services for youth and adult clients. Sure, these other services are the bulk of what Youth Services intends to do, but a teenage homeless shelter less than 500 feet from a large shelter for adults proposed by Salvation Army? Without the teenage shelter, a high concentration of at-risk youth and a high concentration of homeless persons in a blighted area? Maybe these and other questions are answered in a Community Impact Report for each proposal.

[Unfamiliar with Community Impact Reports? This is a good introduction.]

The Salvation Army and Youth Services proposals directly affect a low income area, a challenged section of the east side with its own Neighborhood Resource Team, but no Community Impact Reports have made there way to WPNA. Why do these proposals show so much progress when there has been so little resident or community stakeholder input? A concern is that the voice of the neighborhood might not really be heard on these matters, that considerable momentum could be sustained by the time public meetings are held. The Executive Director of Youth Services stated their organization has been working the deal for over a year. Where have we been?

Well, since August, I have been in western Pennsylvania though the last 4 weeks I spent in Madison talking with who I could to get information. See, coming off a successful picnic and witnessing renewed spirit in the neighborhood, I thought I could help stabilize a new association board from Pennsylvania then step down to a support role. Despite being out of town, people could always get in touch via phone, e-mail or Facebook. Regarding the proposals, no one did. I’m asking why, and I will ask in person because I’m moving back to Madison in January.

Worthington Park is important to me. I believe the community’s health and prosperity are important to many more, and I want folks coming forward to talk about its future.

Now’s the time. Get involved.

Wishing y’all a Forward New Year,
Alfonso Flores V
President, WPNA

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November Meeting

Categories: General

Hi, folks!
WPNA will meet at 6PM on November 28th at the Rethke office. If you can’t physically be there, remote attendance will again be available by phone or Skype.

Proposed agenda items are discussing law enforcement relations and community attitudes regarding the recent fatal shooting in the nearby Marquette neighborhood, the departure of McDonald’s and what will take its place, the rumor of DOC leaving the area, and the potential installation of new community gardens next year. Complete agenda will be posted soon.

Please e-mail info@worthingtonpark.org to suggest topics.

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October 2012 Meeting

Categories: General

WPNA is zooming into the 1990s with PHONE CONFERENCING!

You now have an option if you can’t make it to 414 Rethke!  In an effort to accommodate varying schedules and reach a bigger audience, WPNA will test conducting meetings via Skype phone conference beginning tonight, Wednesday, Oct 17th.  This enables my attendance, as I’m currently in Pennsylvania, but more importantly, to Darbo/Worthington Park residents finding it difficult to be outside their home on a weeknight, it offers a better opportunity to join the conversation and share perspectives on the neighborhood.

Time for literature and special announcements will be available during the meeting but you can also upload documents to the Facebook page or attach them to an e-mail to the Worthington Park Yahoo! Group list.  This eliminates the need to print/make copies and offers Internet archiving, plus you can do this whenever it’s convenient.

Skype allows for 26 total participants.  This is plenty to begin.  If the need for more participants arises, WPNA will look into a different solution.  To participate, you will need access to a telephone -OR- a computer with Skype software.  (Computer users: The call will be audio only, no video.)

CONNECTING TO CONFERENCE
***e-mail for instructions***

There will be a call for announcements and new business toward the beginning of the meeting.  Time permitting, we will discuss new business.

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Conference begins at 6PM Central
Agenda for Wednesday, Oct 17th:

  • Welcome: Participant introductions; Conference overview, questions
  • WPNA Update: Appointment of Vice President; Not for profit status; Banking; SASYNA and WPNA; Call for interest
  • Special announcements and new business
  • 2012 Darbo Family Picnic: Appreciation; Thank you letters
  • Protocol for WP projects
  • Friends of Worthington Park: Community garden project; Grants; CAC; Madison Parks; Park improvements; Priority list
  • McDonald’s departure from 3051 E Washington Ave: Timeline; Call for land/building use ideas from WP community; Mentoring Positives letter of intent; TIF support; Other buildings on strip
  • Union Corners

Questions and comments?

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Ready to Roll!

Categories: General

And the shift is complete. This new WPNA site has its base elements and critical info, and we’re looking ahead to start the posts from residents.

Thank you for your patience while things were moved over, added, deleted and reformatted.

Take care!
Alfonso

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