By Steve McCarthy, LENA Treasurer with Joyce Phillips contributing
How can you gain the holiday spirit and buy (neighborhood) local? A visit to Dean Mueller's place on Maher Avenue for your Christmas tree will help. Dean has sold Christmas trees, from his front yard, since 1987. Right here in the middle of Lake Edge neighborhood. These are trees he grows on the family tree farm, in Adams county.
You walk up his driveway to look through the available trees. He typically offers white pine, balsam, and Frasers fir trees, with heights varying from about 5' to 9'. This year he added concolor firs, for people looking for a tree with needles between the long needle white pine and a shorter needle tree. Most of the time, Dean will meet you right away. If he is not there, look around, pick a tree, and use the "honor system". Very neighborly!
Many of the customers are neighborhood regulars. You may be one of them. Some people walk over, and carry the tree home. Others bring a cart for a slightly longer haul. Most will tie it to the car. People have been known to come from far off Verona, just to buy from Dean - and to visit.
Selecting a tree is only part of buying a tree from Dean. A conversation is often a part of the holiday routine. With Dean, this could be a time to catch up. And since many are from the neighborhood, it is another change to visit with your neighbors. Friends come from when Dean taught at Lafollette High School for six years, and then as an unemployment compensation adjudicator for the state. You have to be ready to buy Dean's trees. The neighborhood Christmas spirit is strong. You cannot buy them before Thanksgiving, and you can't wait until Christmas. Here it is a week before the holiday, and Dean already has a sign up: "Sorry, Sold Out, Merry Xmas - Dean"
Images Courtesy of Joyce Phillips
By Chad J Corfits, Accurate Custom Creations, LLC
The Lake Edge Neighborhood on the east side of Madison has made some very positive changes recently including the expansion of the bike path, tear down of the old Royster Co. factory, new condos, small businesses coming back, just to name a few.
Mitat (Mike) Ibrahim has been a long time business owner in our community who has owned and managed the Horseshoe Bar on the corner of Dempsey and Cottage Grove Roads for almost 25 years. Some recent structural damage to the main entrance facing Cottage Grove Road has sparked interest to not only replace as was, but upgrade to add value to the business appearance, customer appeal, and neighborhood as a whole.
We are proposing to build a beer garden to the front entrance rather than replacing it to original and outdated look. The outdoor seating area will include a composite deck, pergola, and small tables for patrons to gather, enjoy conversation, and food with a drink. There will be no bar, television, or loud music included to the proposed outdoor area. As well as adding to the visual appeal, it will encourage patrons to the front (commercial area) rather than the rear entrance (residential area).
The Horseshoe Bar now sits on the corner of the bike path. We are hoping that this will attract a positive group of customers to enjoy a relaxing outdoor setting.
We were able to gain over 203 signatures in less than a week from people who frequent Mike’s and are excited about proposed upgrades. Mike is a responsible business owner and is not on any lists for neighborhood disturbances, arrests, or criminal activity. He employs security guards to ensure that it remains a positive and enjoyable place to be.
I can provide our signed petition from neighborhood residents and customers who would like to see this upgrade become a reality if requested. Here are some of the street names of current signees:
For more information, contact Chad directly:
910B Cottage Ct.
Madison, WI 53716
Proposed Structure and Plans
By Sue Carr, Monona Grove Nursery School
Three and four year olds are certainly a bundle of energy with lots to do and say all day every day. In a preschool environment, in a class of 15 or 16 other kids, the collective energy can be overwhelming for some children. Often, children need to be taught how to help themselves calm down, take stock and breathe. This is often referred to as mindfulness, and here are some good techniques for preschoolers to practice. Remember that with little people, it takes a lot of practice for these things to become intuitive and regular. So keep at it!
*Breathing—with a kiddo who is really riled up we often start with breathing- “take three big breaths from your belly”. Putting one hand or both on their belly helps them to feel the movement of the air through their body. This is also a great way to get a group of kids to settle in after a transition—playing or clean up to circle time, or a singing-dancing circle time to a book. We often close our eyes, put our hands on our bellies, and sit still listening to the breathing for a few minutes. For a family, it might be a way to start a meal or a family activity—take the moment for everyone to gather themselves.
*Stretching- another way that we help kids to be very present in their body is to talk them through some simple stretches and helping them to focus on the various muscles in the various parts of their bodies- Focusing on their feet, stretching each toe, the ankle and their leg, or on the hands, stretching each finger and the palm, allows them to focus on their own body and can bring them back to a central sense of being especially when things with friends get a little crazy.
*Yoga- We use some ABC yoga cards with our kids- helping to get them to form their bodies into various letters and then holding that position carefully. There is also wonderful resources where young kids can be taught various animal based yoga positions. Yoga brings down the level of activity, and brings kids into clear focus with exactly what their body is doing.
*Focus on the Senses- Sometimes we practice mindfulness by having a noticing moment. Whether in the classroom, waiting in line, outside on the playground or on a walk, we help the kids to use all 5 senses to notice things. What do you hear, what do you smell, what do you feel (how is your body touching the ground) and what do you see. We have a bubble fountain in our classroom, and sometimes just taking a moment to focus on that sound (which is a constant background noise) brings everyone in the room back to a more calm, present, and peaceful place.
Teaching children to be present in their own bodies is a lifetime skill that in this crazy busy, media focused world can be a lifesaver for both you and them!
Sue Carr is a teacher and the director of Monona Grove Nursery School, a fixture on Madison’s East Side for almost 60 years.
By Ross Cohen, REAP Food Group
Family Food Fest - Sunday, May 21 11am-2pm at Lincoln Elementary School, is a free community-based event put on by REAP Food Group that brings together students, parents, and community members to explore Farm to School! At Family Food Fest, kids will have the opportunity to partake in fun farm to school games, delicious local food samples, creative art projects, garden exploration, and physical activity challenges! Families will be able to meet local farmers, taste locally-grown produce, engage with community groups, and experience student dance performances. Activities will be fun, educational, and free for all ages.
We currently have 30 local businesses and organizations signed up as exhibitors who will be facilitating children-focused activities. Some activities include; making smoothies with a bike-powered blender, planting herbs and flowers that can be brought home, cooking demonstrations and many art projects. In addition, there will be a few food carts there selling affordable food and the first 200 attendents get a voucher for a free meal.
This free festival would be a great opportunity for Lake Edge Neighborhood children and residents to come engage in healthy, outdoor fun while growing their understanding of sustainable agriculture and farm to school practices.
Please contact Ross Cohen firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Family Food Fest will be held rain or shine.
By David Benforado, Madison Gas and Electric Company
As we announced in October of last year, Jeff Keebler succeeded Gary Wolter as President and CEO on March 1, 2017. Gary continues to serve as Chairman. Jeff has been with MGE since 1995 and has served in various leadership positions across the company. To help introduce him to the community during this planned transition, we have a number of online updates, including a Q&A with him at https://www.energy2030together.com. Jeff was instrumental in developing our Energy 2030 framework and is committed to MGE remaining a trusted energy partner in our community. He talks in the Q&A about a number of things beyond energy. We also have a new video with him at https://www.mge.com/Energy2030. You might see Jeff out and about in the community. If you do, say hello!
Since the introduction of our Energy 2030 framework, we've been working on a number of initiatives, including a proposal for a major wind farm:
Thank you for your time and interest in these matters. Please stay engaged in our energy future. We look forward to sharing updates with you periodically and through stories on our Energy 2030 website,
David J Benforado is the Community Services Manager at MGE - a proud sponsor of LENA!
by Paula Tiffany, Movin' Out, Inc.
Movin’ Out, Inc. is looking for homeowner’s in the Lake Edge neighborhood who have a family member with a disability and are in need of home repair or accessibility improvements. Movin’ Out Inc. is an agency committed to helping people with disabilities with housing. The ability to provide this assistance was made possible because of a generous gift from a family in the Lake Edge Neighborhood. In addition to having a family member with a permanent disability, families must also be below 80% county median income. If interested, please contact Movin’ Out for further details at 251-4446 ext. 7.
Paula Tiffany is the Housing Counselor at Movin' Out, Inc. located at 902 Royster Oaks Drive, Suite 105 - a proud sponsor of LENA!
Rutabaga Paddlesports is excited to open a kayak and stand-up paddleboard rental concession at the Olbrich Beach House this summer. We look forward to expanding our rental program to east-side Madison neighborhoods and to be able to offer additional instructional programs at this new location.
Weather permitting, we will be open 7 days a week beginning approximately May 20. Hours will be Mon-Fri from 10am to 8pm; Sat, Sun and holidays from 10am to 6pm. We will offer hourly rentals of sit-on-top single and 2-person kayaks, fishing kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUP). In addition to kayak and SUP rentals, we will sell snacks such as pretzels, ice cream, and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as small paddling accessories such as water bottles, glasses straps and sunscreen. We will also expand the opportunity for community members to store their personal canoes, kayaks or SUPs near the water with the addition of rack space for rent. Our most popular adult classes are also coming to Olbrich. Join us for a recreational kayak or stand-up paddleboard class, or for our full moon SUP community paddles. We hope in the future to offer additional youth programming at this location.
Rutabaga is all about creating communities where people can gather and learn to love the outdoors, particularly on the water. We are happy to help create such a community, and look forward to helping more people enjoy the lakes we all love and cherish.
For more information about rentals see: www.rutabaga.com/rentals
To learn more about classes see: learn.rutabaga.com
We look forward to seeing you this summer!
Nancy Saulsbury is the Director of Outdoor Programs and Amelia Musser is the Program Coordinator at Rutabaga Paddlesports located at 220 W Broadway - a proud sponsor of LENA!
By Sue Carr, Monona Grove Nursery School
Preschoolers are a bundle of energy and curious about all kinds of things. While they are exploring and playing it is important to provide some activities that aid in the development of the muscles needed to eventually have a comfortable pencil grip. In preschool, these activities can be fun and creative, while still building important muscles. Here are some of our favorites.
We use all kinds of tongs, tweezers, connected chop sticks, and pipettes to pinch, which strengthens the muscles in the thumb and forefinger. For the youngest kids, there are big, easy tongs that can be used to pick up pompoms or cotton balls. For older kids, tweezers can be used to pick of small things like beads or noodles. Think of the old game Operation! We also use pipettes to water color paint or to simply move water from one container to another. All preschoolers love that! The squeezing of the pipette and learning how it works strengthens the same muscles.
Play Doh and Clay:
We expose our kids to some form of playdoh, slime, or clay almost every day. The actions of rolling, pinching, pushing, stretching and kneading not only offer some sensory activities to stimulate the brain or calm the mood, but also builds the muscles in the wrists, hands and fingers. The strengthening of these muscles is key to being able to comfortable hold crayons, markers and pencils for future writing. Some of our favorite play doh add-ons are Potato Head pieces, birthday Candles, rolling pins and cookie cutters, and ice cream scoops. But anything that is washable can be played with at the playdoh table!
MGNS Play Doh Recipe
2 tsp. Cream of tartar 1-cup water
1-cup flour 1TBS.oil
½ cup salt food coloring
Put cream of tartar, flour and salt in pan on stove. Add water oil and coloring. Mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until dough forms a ball.
Cool and kneed. Store the play dough in an air tight container in refrigerator.
On a bigger scale, working on vertical services usually engages more of the larger muscles- strengthening the shoulder, arm and core muscles of the body. We use chalkboard, dry erase boards, easels, and vertical lego walls to create spaces for kids to stand and work vertically. Other ideas would be to tape paper to the wall to allow the kids to draw or paint. Magnet games on the refrigerator, or using washable glass markers on a patio door or a large window are also fun activities. Using a big surface will usually engage the kids to use both hands and practice some of that all important crossing of the midline as well.
Easy Fine Motor Activities:
There are lots of other activities that all parents do that can be used or tweaked to specifically engage fine motor muscles. Stringing beads is an easy one. We use a piece of tape on the end of the yarn to create a hard end to string through and grab, and we sometimes use uncooked noodles (penne or wagon wheels) to string. If yarn is too hard, try using a pipe cleaner for easy stringing. Finger painting is also a great way to use those muscles, especially when you challenge your kiddos to use one or two fingers at time, or make small fingerprints. And simply putting a hole in a container, and having something for your little one work to push through the hole will really exercise those muscles. Pompoms work well, cotton balls, Cheerios.
In the end, all preschool age kids should be exploring and growing at their own rate and with their own choices. But if they are interested, you can easily provide activities that are fun and calming as well as muscle strengthening. Bonus!
Sue Carr is the Director at Monona Grove Nursery School located at 4200 Buckeye Road - a proud sponsor of LENA!
By Amy Barrilleaux, Madison Water Utility
Madison Water Utility is looking for neighborhood input as it embarks on a unique educational campaign aimed at showcasing the latest in home water efficiency and innovation. The Water House Project will be a demonstration home on display to the public that features water and energy efficient fixtures, building systems and landscaping.
The water utility currently owns a large lot at 4724 Spaanem Ave., which is the site of a municipal well facility and 3-million gallon reservoir. Part of the property will be subdivided into three residential lots, and the utility will be responsible for all improvements necessary for their development. The demonstration home and two remaining residential lots will ultimately be sold to recover costs after a period of public education. Madison Water Utility hopes to begin construction of the home in the spring or summer of 2018.
Input from LENA
The Water House Project will be designed and built with neighbors, students, educators and the Madison community in mind, so public input is critical. Interested in following the project and providing feedback? Head to the Water House Project web page to learn more and sign up for the project email list.
By Pastor Lex Liberatore, Lake Edge UCC and LENA member
Last month a new neighborhood effort was announced to support our most vulnerable students and families at Frank Allis Elementary School. A joint effort will provide non-perishable food to up to 60 students each weekend (more by Fall). The first scheduled delivery is Friday, January 27. This program, led by Lake Edge United Church of Christ (4200 Buckeye Road), Zion Lutheran Church (Atwood Ave @ Linden Ave) and Frank Allis School Administration, will help some 60 students each week.
More than just food security, we want to build community. Beginning in March, a monthly First Friday meal will be offered without cost (a free will offering will be taken). First Fridays support our neighbors, and we mean anybody. Anyone in our school community and neighborhood, whether your budget is tight or not, can come and enjoy a hot meal and time together. First Fridays will give parents a break, give children a chance to run around and have fun, help us pack the next weeks food bags, and most important, give all of us time to talk. If our neighborhood can better understand each other, we can create a real sense of hope and connection. To find out more about First Fridays or the backpack program, or to find out how you can help out, contact Pastor Lex Liberatore, 608-222-8668 or email at email@example.com. The First Fridays program will officially begin Friday, March 3 at 5:00pm at Lake Edge church, across from Frank Allis Elementary School.
Articles are written and submitted by members of the Lake Edge Neighborhood Association, residents, business owners, community members, and elected officials in the Lake Edge neighborhood or vicinity.