All Blog Entries by Samantha Haas

Found 99 blog entries published by Samantha Haas.

Madison is home to a collaborative network of over 15 community centers of varying sizes and offerings, most notably afterschool and summer programming. Among them is the longest-running center on the west side, now known as the Lussier Community Education Center (LCEC), which a group of mostly women started in the late 1970s at the Wexford Ridge Apartments. A swingset didn’t even exist for the almost 250 families living in the neighborhood at that time, so over the years this dedicated group formed connections to get a donation of playground equipment, access to two of the apartments for community programming, and eventually some paid staff.

In 2000 when Paul Terranova was hired as the Center’s executive director, he heard about the founders’ vision

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What started as a visit to Dane County’s newest gem, Morton Forest near Mazomanie, turned into a “bucket list” of parks for one Madison couple. 

(Michael and Jeanne Mraz stopped at Ferry Bluff State Natural Area after their Dane County Parks adventure, and they continue to explore the beautiful parts of our county and state.)

Jeanne and Michael Mraz have always enjoyed outdoor activities, especially mountain biking at CamRock County Park in Cambridge, hiking at Indian Lake County Park near Cross Plains, and cross-country skiing.

But the lack of snow in recent years meant they had to get creative finding fun, healthy things to do together in the winter. 

So when they saw a newspaper article about Morton Forest, they decided to explore its

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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter made headlines for rallying volunteers and building Habitat for Humanity homes into his nineties and even after a recent fall. 

It’s a reminder that regardless of age or ability, there are several ways you can contribute to causes that are close to your heart -- just like Habitat is for several members of the Mad City Dream Homes team. 

Take Maureen Moran, a Realtor who joined our team last summer, for example.

Maureen moved from New York to Middleton last July, and by the following month she was already volunteering with the Habitat ReStore, which sells used and new donations of furniture, doors, wood, cabinets, electrical, appliances, building supplies, lights, and fans. According to Habitat for Humanity,

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For many, pets are family. Their companionship brings us joy and laughter; and losing them can cause immense heartache -- especially if a cancer diagnosis is involved. Cancer causes almost half of deaths in pets over the age of 10, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Since several types of cancer commonly found in pets are also found in humans, treatment options are often similar but also expensive. 

Local resident Beth Viney learned this the hard way when her Great Pyrenees, Czar, passed away in 2013 after 19 months with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and a leg amputation. This gentle giant had been a therapy dog for five years with the Pet Pals program, bringing smiles and hope to those fighting cancer and illness in our

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Did you know that mental illness is more common than physical illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease? Yet we don’t often discuss anxiety, depression, and personality disorders, for example, because of the stigma attached to them. Unfortunately, this can prevent people from getting the help they need to lead a successful life -- whether that’s seeking support from friends and family or getting access to a therapist or medication. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Dane County is committed to eliminating that stigma. For over 40 years, this nonprofit has provided essential education, support, and advocacy to people affected by mental illness. 

“I think it’s important for people to know we’re out there and available as a free

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Parks and trails bring communities together by promoting healthy lifestyles through recreational and educational opportunities, and Dane County has over 25 parks and 100 miles of trail for the public to enjoy.

The Dane County Parks department maintains these areas using county funds, but support for projects to enhance the parks, promote education, and provide resources to help volunteers comes from the Friends of Dane County Parks Endowment Fund, managed by the Madison Community Foundation. 

The Foundation for Dane County Parks promotes the county parks system and fundraises for the permanent endowment, which has now surpassed $500,000. The newly established nonprofit hopes to grow the endowment into a multi-million dollar fund, from which the

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Cheese curds aren’t the only byproduct of cows that we have an excess of in the Madison area. There are also phosphorus-rich turds. And unfortunately when it’s raining, some of that fertilizer runs off farm fields and into our groundwater. 

“Over the last few decades, the phosphorus concentrations of the Yahara chain of lakes (Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa) have led to an increase in the frequency and extent of algae blooms, creating green, slimy lakes and beaches,” according to the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department.

But cows are hardly the only ones to blame for the Dairy State’s environmental woes. For that, we can take a look in the mirror and reflect on how we handle our own messes. 

Even though 94% of Wisconsin

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The trails and surrounding waterways that provide recreation, tourism, and transportation opportunities contributed to the Village of McFarland’s branding initiative in 2018, which generated a new logo and slogan: Naturally Connected. “We are a place of nature...with a small town feel but not too far from Madison,” said village President Brad Czebotar.

When the Lower Yahara River Trail opened in 2017, it created an important link between the southeast side of Madison at the newly renamed William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park and McFarland at McDaniel Park. Bicycle commuters now have a safer and quicker way to get to work using the floating boardwalk and pedestrian bridge -- the longest in the state and what village Administrator Matt Schuenke

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Have you ever looked around your home and wondered who else has enjoyed the beautiful view from that kitchen window or warmed up to that cozy fireplace? Unless you have lived there since the house was built, you might only know the names of the people who sold it to you or your family.  

There are several resources that can help you uncover the history of your home, and not just about who previously owned or occupied the house. You may also be able to research who owned the land before it was developed, when and for what price your house was built, the architect and specific house style, if it’s part of a historic district, and when major additions or renovations were completed, among many other fascinating tidbits.

Perhaps you want to find out

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Few neighborhoods in the Madison area offer the variety of homes that appear in the Nakoma Historic District, where one of our newest listings is located.

Among the hilly, curvilinear streets just west of the UW-Arboretum you’ll find numerous Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival styles as well as a smattering of Mediterranean Revival, Norman Revival, Dutch Colonial, French Provincial, Arts and Crafts, Prairie School, Craftsman Bungalow, Modern, and International styles.

Some of the best local architectural firms of the 20th century, including Henry Dysland and Law, Law, and Potter, designed these homes, which were built between 1915-1946. This time period was one of immense growth and greater mobility in Madison from streetcars to automobiles,

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