Zack Zdrale

Photo by Zack Zdrale

Some literary scholars tell us that the least reliable interpreter of a text is the person responsible for its creation. When confronted with powerful, provocative images, it’s virtually instinctive to ask, “What’s the artist trying to tell me? How do the attributes and symbols resonate with my experience and knowledge?”

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An Inspired Life in America

Photo by Cuma Ugur

Imagine leaving everything you know behind. The small village you and your friends grew up in. The city where you attended high school. And now you’re going somewhere a lot bigger, and nobody there speaks your language. You’re probably a little intimidated. Probably anxious or scared. Excited, sure, but I don’t think any of those other words describe how Cuma Ugur felt when he traveled from Turkey to the United States.

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Salvatore's Tomato Pies

Photo by Eric Tadsen

The year is 1991. I’m seven years old wearing hand-me-down jeans and a t-rex print t-shirt, and my favorite cartoon heroes have a new movie out: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. The movie opens with a shot of New York City, the Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground. We zoom in and get to ground level, where everybody is eating pizza. All these years later, I still remember the couple eating pizza between smooches and the cops eating pizza while making an arrest. In my mind, everyone on the East Coast lived and breathed pizza; I found mecca to a religion I didn’t even know I belonged to.

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The Charming Mount Horeb Main Street Historic District

Photo by Grumpy Troll

While some may think that Norwegians named the village of Mount Horeb, its moniker was actually given by George Wright, an Englishman who came to Blue Mounds township in 1858. Wright was appointed postmaster of a new post office meant to serve residents of the eastern part of the township in 1861, and he had the privilege of naming it. After searching the Bible, Wright chose the name Mount Horeb. The post office remained in his home, about a mile from the present-day village, until 1867.

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Make 2023 a Year for the Birds

Photo by Arlene Koziol

As we look back on 2022, Madison Audubon celebrated some wonderful successes thanks to the support of our community, members, and volunteers. We helped band 300 American kestrels with the Central Wisconsin Kestrel Research team and 580 purple martin nestlings with the Wisconsin Purple Martin Association, which will eventually provide data to conservationists and researchers studying these amazing avians facing population decreases. Migrating monarch butterflies, which were listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, will benefit from hundreds of pounds of native plant seed collected and the 3,819 total acres that are being protected in our sanctuaries as habitat for wildlife. It’s been an incredible, joyful year, and we owe so much of it to the communities we serve.

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Wisconsin Women's Network

Photo by Wisconsin Women's Network

Since 1979, Wisconsin Women’s Network (WWN) has worked to improve the status of women and girls in Wisconsin through communication, education, advocacy, and connections. The names and faces behind the organization’s mission are strong women fueled by passion who seek to improve the community around them and make Wisconsin a better place for women and girls.

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From the Publisher

Photo by Eric Tadsen and Travel Wisconsin

The end of the year, for me, is a time to express gratitude. Thanks to the efforts of everyone impacting Madison Essentials, we’ve reached 18 years, and, personally, I hit a 25-year company milestone. I was also heartened to be the third recipient of the Dane Buy Local Rose Molz Local Legacy Award, an award established to recognize long-term contributions to Dane Buy Local and local businesses. Rose was the first recipient, with Metcalfe’s Market to follow. It’s my goal to pay homage by continuing to work on behalf of local businesses and our community as a whole.

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Goodman's Jewelers

Photo by Eric Tadsen

As Clark says, Eddie’s heart is bigger than his brain, and it’s Cousin Eddie’s spirit of generosity that permits us to forgive his antics. The holidays are approaching, and with the spirit of giving and understanding in full bloom, I’m once again in awe of the charity of others. This includes the charitable small businesses in the Greater Madison area, whose fostering of interpersonal connections throughout the community aren’t just for show.

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Gifting Memories Through Travel

Photo by Travel Wisconsin

Memories, though intangible, are some of the most rewarding gifts to give. Electronics become outdated; clothes go out of fashion; gift cards run out of value; but traveling with family, friends, or as a solo adventure is enriching and unforgettable. The thrilling activities, mouthwatering food, and awe-inspiring scenery lead to long-lasting memories—memories to be shared, relived, and cherished.

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