From the Publisher

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Déjà vu. It was this time last year when I wrote of the hope and promise for a new year. I had long awaited the end of 2020, and even though I didn’t anticipate a snap-of-the-fingers change on January 1, I thought that 2021 couldn’t possibly be as bad or worse. Others’ opinions may vary on the outcome of that specific detail, but certainly none of us could have imagined the year that was.

COVID-19 deaths continue to mount, with more variants appearing every few months. National and local economies are struggling. We’re divided seemingly more than ever on civil rights, personal rights, and motives and outcomes of present-day historic events.

Locally, we’re very much affected, but I’ve felt a sense of community, support, and determination to come through it better and stronger. Madison Essentials is once again honored to be a sponsor of Soup’s On! ( ). Each weekly sale gives me a chance to personally talk with community members who tell me they’re so glad we’re continuing the event and efforts to support local restaurants, FEED Kitchens, and Badger Prairie Needs Network. They want to help, and this is a great opportunity to do so. In return, they get to enjoy delicious soup!

It’s not just there I hear these expressions. I am fortunate to get to talk with many people, and it’s always heartwarming to hear the success stories from individuals, families, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and others who have made it through difficult, sometimes traumatic, times. There’s a lot of love here, and given the opportunity, I think people want to do what they can to make our community a better place for everyone in it. But we have a lot of work yet to be done.

We at Madison Essentials will continue to do our part by telling stories about the people, places, and things of the greater Dane County area. It’s my hope that this is a kickoff to a year full of hope and triumphs.

Amy Johnson