MPD Chief Barnes Swearing-In Ceremony

Live-Stream Event on February 1st at 10AM

The Swearing-In Ceremony for Dr. Shon F. Barnes as the 30th Chief of Police for the City of Madison will be streamed live for the media and public on Monday, February 1st. Please see the attached PDF for more details.

What: Chief Barnes’ Swearing-In Ceremony
When: Monday, February 1st at 10:00am
Virtual Event Live Stream Link:

Welcome and Introductions: Madison Police Department Public Information Officer Tyler Grigg
Opening Remarks: Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway
Police and Fire Commission (PFC) Administers Oath to Chief: PFC member Jacqueline Boggess
Pinning of the Chief: Dr. Stephanie Dance-Barnes
Remarks: Chief Shon Barnes

Secure Ballot Drop Boxes Open Tomorrow

Boxes will be open Jan. 26 to Feb. 15 for the Spring Primary.

The City of Madison’s secure ballot drop boxes will be opened tomorrow, Jan. 26, for the Feb. 16 Spring Primary. The boxes provide a secure way for City of Madison absentee voters to return their ballots to the City Clerk’s Office.

If you requested an absentee ballot for the Feb. 16, 2021 election, you should see it in your mailbox in the next few days. Follow the instructions included with your absentee ballot to make sure your ballot is counted.

Click here for more info

Congratulations to Vice President Harris

Congratulations to Vice President Kamala Harris as the first female vice president, the first African American woman and the first woman of South Asian descent to hold that office. She is an inspiration to many and demonstrates to our BIPOC youth that they can aspire to hold one of the highest elected offices in the land. At a time when our nation is reeling from unprecedented civil unrest, Vice President Harris can lead the way toward healing.

Read more here

The Recycling Truck Fire: Why You Need to Follow Recycling Rules

Recycling Truck Fire

From the City of Madison Website

On January 14, 2021, a load of recyclables within a Streets Division collection truck burst into flames. Thankfully, the operator was able to act fast to keep herself safe and unload the burning recyclables into the street to save the vehicle from burning. The Madison Fire Department responded swiftly to extinguish the fire. The burnt and ruined recyclables were sent to the landfill.

The exact cause of this fire is unknown.

However, lithium-ion batteries, the same ones used to power cell phones, vape pens, laptops, electric bicycles, and many other electronics, are very often the reason  for these incidents. Fires at recycling facilities  and within recycling trucks from lithium batteries are a worldwide  problem.

What should you do with lithium batteries?
Never place batteries, particularly lithium batteries, into your recycling carts at your home.

The City of Madison Streets Division offers battery recycling for Madison residents at the drop-off sites.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also has additional information on how to handle batteries on their website. 

What can you put into your recycling cart?
For residents of the City of Madison, you have an abundance of resources to learn what you can place into your green curbside recycling cart. You can check the websitecheck your recycling cart lid PDF , check your Recyclopedia booklet, or maybe even check your refrigerator if you have requested a free recycling magnet.

Contamination within our recycling is at an all-time high. Nearly 19% of everything placed into our recycling carts does not belong. While not all contamination is as physically dangerous as lithium batteries, all of it hurts the system, increases costs, and can damage or jam sorting equipment .

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I think one of the best ways to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, is to remember his dream. #Honor #Respect #Truth

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
August 28th, 1963 – Washington D.C.

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.”

From Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s blog

Please join me and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi next Monday, January 18, at 6:00 pm at the City-County Humanitarian Award Ceremony honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The award winners, selected by the City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, are community members who reflect the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While the names of the awardees will not be public until closer to the event, I ask that you mark the ceremony on your calendar. You can log on to the event at this site: . It will be a wonderful evening, with music, speakers and gratitude for individuals who work to honor the legacy of Dr. King every day.

I  look forward to welcoming, and listening to, keynote speaker Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.  – a NY Times best-selling author, respected commentator, and Princeton University Professor. For more information about this event, other King Coalition events, and other community events planned to commemorate the King Holiday you can access the King Coalition Facebook page.

No Refuse, Recycling or Drop-off Services on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

There will be no trash or recycling collection by the Streets Division on Monday, January 18, 2021 in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday. The drop-off sites will also be closed.

Curbside Collection Information
Madison residents who normally have their trash and recycling collected on Mondays should instead place their carts out for collection by 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 19.

Refuse and recycling for residents that have a Tuesday collection day will also be collected on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

Residents must have their scheduled collection carts out and ready for pickup prior to 6:30 a.m. Carts set out late may not be collected until the next scheduled collection. As a reminder, residents should avoid placing carts in the street because they become obstructions for snowplowing operations and vehicle traffic.

Other Streets Division services, such as large item pickup and Christmas tree collection, may be temporarily delayed as crews need to be diverted from their regular duties in order to assist collecting refuse and recycling.

Drop-off Sites
The City of Madison drop-off sites will also be closed on January 18, 2021.

The drop-off sites will reopen for winter hours at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 19.

The sites are located at 1501 W. Badger Rd. on the southwest side and 4602 Sycamore Ave. on the east side.

Additional Information
Information about all of the Streets Division’s recycling and solid waste services, including additional information about the drop-off sites, can be found at

New Emergency Order #12 Issued

Public Health Madison & Dane County has issued Emergency Order #12 PDF . The order goes into effect January 13, at 12:01am and will be in effect for 28 days.

Notable differences from the last order

  • Allows outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people (not including employees), with physical distancing. (Previous limit was 25.)
  • At restaurants, indoor dine-in capacity is still limited to 25% of approved seating capacity levels, with physical distancing between parties. To determine whether an establishment is a restaurant or a tavern, gross receipts for the period July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 will be considered. (Previous period was July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.)
  • Drive-in activities may now also offer outdoor seating, as long as it complies with gathering limits.
  • Physical distancing between individuals not from the same household or living unit must be maintained to the greatest extent possible for low risk PDF  sports. Games and competitions are allowed for low risk sports with physical distancing maintained to the greatest extent possible and in compliance with gathering limits. (Previously required physical distancing at all times. Physical distancing is still required at all times for medium and high-risk sports.)

More details here

Reducing Salt Usage

Salt Guide

It is important to ensure your sidewalks are clear of snow and ice so that everyone can use them without the fear of slipping and falling. We should also be aware of our neighbors who may be in a wheel chair or use a cane/walker. Snow covered sidwalks can be even more dangerous for them. Here are some tips on how to ensure our sidewalks stay clear and safe, while reducing the amount of salt that ends up in our lakes.

  • Start clearing your sidewalk when the snow starts accumulating and continue to clear it throughout the snow storm. This will ensure that ice doesn’d build up under the snow. It will also help prevent injuries due to heavy snow.
  • Put spread salt after you have cleared the snow. Did you know a coffee cup size scoop of salt can cover a 20 foot driveway or 10 sidewalk squares by leaving space between the grains?

Help Your Neighbors

Let’s be aware of our neighbors and help them out. If you have older neighbors, consider shoveling their driveway and sidewalk. If you have a snowblower, consider running past the houses next to you, to help them get ahead of the snow. During the last snowstorm, I noticed one of my neighbors shovelling the heavy snow by himself. I ran my snowblower down his sidewalk and helped clear it. Found out that his snowblower broke right before the storm. He was grateful for the help and it only cost me a few extra minutes of my time.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Builds Strong Communities

Learn more about reducing salt usage at this city website.

Keeping Up With City Meetings

There are currently 83 committees, sub-committees, boards, commissions and ad-hoc groups listed as active within Madison’s government machine. This number fluctuates depending on agenda items brought forth in the Council’s every other week Tuesday meeting.

How can anyone possibly keep track of it all? It is a challenging task even for the most tech saavy person let alone all the rest of us. My goal is to help shine a light on the path you can take to find information on the topic you are interested in.

Madison Boards, Commissions and Committees

Here is the current listing of the 83 active committees, boards and commissions. You can search through and find all the notes, public comment, and other documents related to each. I will be doing another deeper dive post on how to navigate this site.

Meeting Video Archive

All of these public meetings are recorded and archived on the Madison City Channel. Here you can look up any meeting you may have missed and replay it again. You can find that archive here

Agenda Items Quick Jump

One of the nice features of the archived videos, is that you can see where the agenda items start in the video and you can jump to those sections. They are represented by the yellow dots you see in the image to the left here.


The meetings are also posted to the City of Madison YouTube Channel, here you will find those meetings as well as other featured videos.

People Shouldn’t be Dying in our Parks

It is heartbreaking to see this news as you start your day. No one should be found dead in our parks. Although we don’t know the circumstances around this individual’s death, it is another indication of the crisis that faces our community. It begs us to ask the questions: Are we providing the help people need? Are we addressing both the physical needs and the mental health needs? Are we thoroughly assessing what programs are working and what are failing?

We need outside-the-box ideas to tackle the complex challenges that face our community: Homelessness, Addiction, Poverty, Racism, Violence.

As we head into a new year, I encourage you to take some time and bring forth your ideas on how to tackle these issues. We all have a story and your story has helped you navigate this world. Your experiences have given you wisdom and understanding. We need your voice to help solve our most complex issues. Resolve to share your ideas. Email me, I’m listening. gary[@]

People shouldn’t be dying in our parks.

On Saturday morning, Madison Police and Fire responded to a man down in the 1800 block of Portage Rd near the bike path in Reindahl Park.  Witnesses were out for a morning walk through the park and called 911 after discovering a body at the bottom of a small hill.  MPD’s Violent Crime Unit, detectives and investigators responded to assist patrol in this incident. 
An autopsy is scheduled and it will be up to the Dane County Medical Examiner to determine the cause and manner of death.  The deceased is in his 30s and lists no permanent address. 
This remains an on-going death investigation and if you have any information regarding this incident, contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 266-6014