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August 2018

There are 10 blog entries for August 2018.

 The Blackhawk Ski Club is thriving and, as fall begins, the club is preparing to welcome new members. With six alpine skiing and snowboarding trails and miles of cross country skiing trails, more than 5 miles of mountain bike trails, 60 acres of land, even targets for biathlon participants, the club aims to make winter weather fun, and to make summer trails worth a visit, too. Blackhawk Ski Club is located in the Town of Middleton, on Blackhawk Road. It was founded 71 years ago by a group of ski jumpers who were seeking more space to practice. Today, the club sits next to Pleasant View Golf Course. It has expanded its offerings and aims to teach new generations to love the outdoors.

"I wanted my kids to learn how to ski, and this was the perfect

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For the last few summers we've invited our eldest niece stay with us in Madison for a weekend, and each time we try to do something new together. This year, in an attempt to captivate her 8-year-old interest (aside from her handheld gaming device), we decided to explore some sights on the city's east side.

After enjoying sandwiches and macaroni and cheese at Monty's Blue Plate Diner and checking out the rising lake levels at Olbrich Park, we headed across the street at dusk to Olbrich Botanical Gardens for its opening viewing of "GLEAM: Art in a New Light."

Before we got in line for admission we snapped a picture with the "Grow" Bucky on Parade statue in front of the building, which features textured poppy flowers, grass, roots, and clouds.

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On a sunny August morning, dozens of volunteers sporting green "Project Home" T-shirts surrounded a house on Madison's east side, paint brushes and ladders in hand. It was one of the stops for the nonprofit's 30th annual Paint-a-thon, an event that brings people of all ages together to give a new coat of paint to houses of local owners who could use some assistance. (Click here to view video.)

Project Home got its start in 1970 as a group of neighbors helping neighbors with their homes. Over the years as the needs have grown, it has added more trained and certified staff, but it still continues its mission to improve the quality and affordability of housing for low-to-moderate income residents in Dane and Green counties.

The painting program is

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Sometimes it takes a turn of events for you to find your passion. For Grant Priehs, a move to Madison was the impetus to explore new opportunities and do what he loves.

Priehs left work as an Art Director at a fast-paced marketing agency and began a successful career as a handyman in Madison. His company, Honey Do Handyman Services, has provided a rewarding way to help others. “Every homeowner has a list of things they notice every day - small tasks or updates that they just never get to; their ‘Honey-do’ list. But when you’re selling your home, you don’t want to have potential buyers leaving a showing with a dozen things they’ve noticed,” he says.

Priehs enjoys helping people complete projects they may not have the time or ability to complete on

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Late last year we published our predictions for the 2018 real estate market. So far 2018 is playing out largely as expected. Here's our quick overview of this year's predicted and actual trends.

Prediction: Madison condo prices will rise by at least 8 percent. 

Actual: The average Madison condo price is up by 9 percent through the first 7 months of the year; the price per square foot is up by 7 percent. 

 

Prediction: Madison home prices will rise by at least 5 percent. 

Actual: Both the average price and the price per square foot are up by 4 percent through the first 7 months of the year. 

 

Prediction: New home construction will remain low. 

Actual: Housing starts remain low by historical standards. Building permits are up by

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Saturday opens the 10th Annual Agora Art Fair at the Fitchburg Agora. Greek for "gathering," the Agora is a retail space surrounded by natural prairie and beautiful scenery at 5500 E. Cheryl Parkway. Beginning at 10 a.m., more than 100 vendors will be set up, and ready to display their creations for all to see. 

The vendors are all local or regional. Come enjoy their creations, ask questions, and learn more about their artistic process. "We want visitors to take in art for the senses: a beautiful mix of art, architecture, nature, music, food and community!" says Steve Leverentz, coordinator for the festival.

The Agora Art Fair is a friendly place, and visitors enjoy meandering through the tents, shopping for the perfect piece, and experimenting

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When you think about home improvements, it's common to think of the aesthetic work. Many times, the first upgrades are adding solid surface counter tops, wood flooring, or updated paint colors. These changes are all significant, and add value to your home. But while they make a beautiful impact, they will not save you money. Your monthly bills will see the greatest reduction by making changes to the energy efficiency of your home. 

Focus on Energy partners with 108 participating statewide utilities to make these cost savings possible. Their programs include simple things like swapping out old light bulbs for energy efficient models, providing incentives for the purchase of a Smart Thermostat, and they also include more significant projects, like adding

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As the summer season begins to wrap up, local community theaters are ready to open the curtains and showcase the productions they've been practicing all summer. Dane County has no shortage of arts entertainment. The Overture Center for the Arts hosts big name traveling productions, and a long list of local theater groups, including Children's Theater of Madison and Forward Theater. And while these productions are always excellent, there is another crowd of theater groups worth checking out.

The Oregon Straw Hat Players offers amateur theater that is well worth a visit. The group produces a variety of shows throughout the year, and offers a full musical performance each summer. This summer they've been working on Hello Dolly, and will provide the final

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Known as the Troll Capital of the World, Mount Horeb is more than a Scandinavian tourist destination. As this village grows on the west side of Dane County, just a half hour from Madison, it has managed to retain its authentic and walkable downtown, small-town charm, and beautiful views of the Driftless Area.

More than 7,000 people and 250 businesses and organizations call this place home, and the energy has contributed to a strong downtown corridor. Historic buildings are being repurposed, and more businesses and housing developments are branching off of the “Trollway” and the five roundabouts on the east side of the village.

Among them are Miller and Sons Supermarket, Sjölinds Chocolate Factory (which also has a Main Street location

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National Night Out, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, is being celebrated in thousands of neighborhoods throughout the country this month. The 35th annual crime prevention event, typically held the second Tuesday of August, promotes police and community partnerships aimed at making "our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live," according to its website.

In Dane County, several communities are planning their own National Night Out events, many featuring free food, games, safety demonstrations, visits from emergency personnel and tours of their vehicles, and information booths by local businesses. People of all ages are invited to get to know their local police, fire, and EMS departments and learn about crime and drug

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