Categotry Archives: Informative


2014 Annual Meeting and Picnic

Categories: Entertainment, Important, Informative, Park Activities

Drawing by John Pickle

Hey, folks! Come to the annual meeting/picnic tomorrow. We’re pressing apples for fresh cider, grilling a bit of food, and generally enjoying what should be a beautiful day. (There’s a whisper about some Ale Asylum Ambergeddon, too!)

Bring some park play stuff, bring the kids, bring sides or something for the grill (it’s a potluck), BRING MORE APPLES! It’d be nice to see you 😉

Thurber Park (Fair Oaks at the tracks)
Saturday, Oct 11th

Special thanks to the Hatcher family, Adam Haen at FEED Kitchens, 4 & 20, Pickle Jar BBQ, Chris Moyer, John Minnick, Zion Lutheran Church, and our tireless board members!


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.



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.


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


Rain, Rain, Go Away

Categories: Entertainment, Informative, Kids, Park Activities

The bike repair event still happened on May 19th despite the rain, and it really came down during part of the evening. But rain or shine was what we promoted… and rain or shine is what we’ll do. Hey, there’s a shelter!


Anyway, rain isn’t enough to keep kids away from our beautiful park and playground. That night, we broke out a grill and cooked beef hot dogs for mechanics and kids. Jeff Fitzgerald from Revolution Cycles joined us for a while, too.

Next repair night is June 16th. As always, walk or ride your bike up and get some work done. Hang out, learn something, eat a hot dog 🙂

Remaining dates: June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15


Worthington Wi-Fi

Categories: Informative

This past Fall, a conversation started around finding a way to get our neighborhood connected to the Internet, for free or for cheap. At that time I was talking with Ross Tennent of Union Tech Cooperative after making introductions for another purpose. Ross shared some websites with information and a handful of folks started kicking around the idea more. Our solution was to slowly build an open mesh network, run with several small connections as gateways and many repeaters in between, and all administered by us. A true DIY experience, for sure.

Well, months later, an announcement was made by the City’s Digital Technology Committee that funds were available for a pilot program or two that addressed the “digital divide” in Madison’s lower income or challenged communities. Naturally, what we’re slowly working on was a good fit so I drew up a proposal and headed downtown on May 8th to say my piece about what we wanted our project to be.

On the City side, things are progressing how I imagine they’re supposed to. On our side, I’ve shared this idea with others, including a contact at 5NINES and also Heartland Credit Union, so things are in motion. We’ll see with what speed we can move this along. Maybe comprehensive tech solutions are in our near future. Of course, it would be beneficial to run a community-wide wi-fi here, plus have a loaner library of computers and classes to go with them, and it’s even possible to train young adults at some facets of network services. What’s great is that Worthington Park has residents with tech backgrounds. Regardless of what timeline this gets put on it’s comforting to know that when things move forward we have several residents with what it takes to make a successful project grow right here in their front yards.



Categories: Important, Informative

Yes, WPNA has become too legit. That is, most definitely, too legit to quit.

wpna-newacctI’m really happy to say that, today, I opened WPNA’s first bank account in… um… well, a long, long time, and did so at Heartland Credit Union. Big thanks to Erin Rose at Heartland on Willy for taking it right to the five o’clock buzzer dotting the t’s and crossing the i’s (I’m tired) to get our account finalized.

An even bigger thanks to the troopers, new and old, of WPNA, who’ve weaved themselves together to strengthen our community’s organization to the point of being able to reinstate its corporate status, which happened three weeks ago, thus enabling today’s step forward. What’s on the horizon? 501(c)3, baby.

“Hey, Alfonso, what money did you open an account with?” you ask. It’s pretty cool, actually. We received a grant from Dane County Bicycle Association to help fund this year’s bike repair series. Cooler than that, there are additional funds and in-kind donations on the way thanks to other community partners who believe in our neighborhood and association as much as we residents do.

Big things, folks. Big things.


Union Corners, Darbo and a Future

Categories: Critical, Important, Informative

Today, I read an article that resonated with points Madison residents are making regarding the Union Corners project, and the seemingly apparent greed or plain lack of foresight of Gorman USA, current steward of the 11-acre parcel. Attention to the long-term financial and social benefits to the city and existing and future residents must be paid but it has been given shamefully short consideration by Gorman and anchor tenant, or so the phrase has been used, UW Health. The clinic may be an anchor for Gorman, or an anchor (read: only) tenant for Phase I, but it will hardly carry the whole site, especially as its building and parking lots are currently drawn.

Back to the article, the last bit left unwritten the need for creative solutions to reduce poverty, and so, locally, the necessity to establish a cooperative economic growth model for Darbo/Worthington. An inclusive quality of life improvement agenda can do this. What can’t, and only perpetuates the societal infirmity, is the long-held tradition of displacement. We can do better.

Give it a read.


Sunday Rootin’

Categories: Entertainment, General, Informative


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 🙂


Homeless Campus in Darbo, City Says No

Categories: Entertainment, Important, Informative

Did y’all already know this?

Well, it’s evidence that I’m behind on my e-mails but I finally thoroughly read minutes from the Neighborhood Resource Team meeting earlier in January. For a relatively contentious issue I’m surprised notice didn’t go out widely—maybe I missed it—but here it is anyway: The City will not approve the homeless facility the Salvation Army had a boner about building at 3030 Darbo. I’m sure City staff didn’t use the word boner but Salvation Army was rather excited about cashing in their hot downtown real estate and royally screwing our neighborhood.

As Salvation Army complains it barely has funds to run its limited programs, it seems appropriate to start discussing alternatives. Maybe they’ve run their course, maybe their hierarchy is convoluted or unnavigable, or maybe their international organization is too archaic and removed to encourage the needed advancement of Darbo/Worthington. I don’t know. Whatever the reasons for underperforming, maybe there’s a different group to take it from here, to shape 3030 Darbo into a high-functioning community center, one that appeals first to the diversity of our neighborhood then beyond its modest boundaries.

I’m far from demonizing Salvation Army. I know their food programs and other services fill a need. What I’m doing instead is asking the question: Who else could do the same or better or offer more? Looking around Dane County you’ll see organizations involved in similar work. Maybe a few could come together under one roof to provide the current services at Darbo, maybe they’d expand services into the evening, maybe they’d have child care, or maybe they’d have weekends chock-full of entertaining and educational and physical activities. Well, maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about. But, at least I’m talking, and I would love to hear feedback.


Update – Playground and Basketball Courts

Categories: Garden, Informative, Park Activities

New Basketball Courts As y’all can see when walking, biking or driving by, the workers and machines are plugging’ along: new basketball courts are going in and the playground looks really close to welcoming its new equipment. While the City and contractors are doing the initial work it is largely going to fall all us, the residents, to ensure its health for years to come. That means getting out and doing more in the park, picking up some trash while out there, and helping kids and adults understand the long-term benefits of keeping our park litter free. Playground AreaIf you create a valued relationship with someone, and they see how you feel about the park, it’s likely they’ll adopt a similar attitude. Case in point, it still takes some direction on my part but one of the kids I play soccer with will now take trash with him after playing to throw it away at home. Pretty cool.

Garden SpotYou remember the talks about putting in a community garden in Worthington Park to make up for the sad loss of the space on the Salvation Army property?  Well, a couple weeks ago, before a Saturday Soccer session, I stopped and noticed an area of the removed basketball courts I thought would be great to situate a garden. There’s plenty of sunlight, it’s outside the large green space, and it’s near the shelter (which really, really needs a rehab).

Later this week, I’ll have some time with Parks and a gardens coordinator from CAC. If you’d like to offer your comments or criticisms, or if you have time to volunteer in developing a garden plan, please get in touch. You can e-mail Friends of Worthington Park to help get the ball rollin’.

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