Last week I was somewhat at a loss as to how to characterize 2006. This week, as we launch selves and sensibilities into 2007, I'm at a loss to tell you what's in store for this brave new year - other than a couple of things.
For one, I am informed in this week's cover story, "Blockbuster!" by editor Marc Eisen, that the long-running Block 89 development will finally wrap up this year. The project was 10 or 20 years in the making, depending on which event starts your clock ticking. I can tell you that when the Isthmus offices moved across the street from the future development in 1992, you could still find Gus Casanova, proprietor of the grocery store on the corner, knocking them down off-hours at the late, truly lamented Pinckney Street Hideaway. It was all soon to be gone, as preparations began for building 10 East Doty and underground parking.
For another, I predict that Isthmus will be on top of the 2007 spring elections. Harking back to our successful 2002 coverage umbrella, "Mayorathon," be prepared to meet "Electathon" at TheDailyPage.com. Vikki Kratz and Kristian Knutsen will staff the site, with contributions from others, notably education writer Jason Shepard. Knutsen has already begun cataloguing responses from Common Council aspirants on the Web site. Next Monday, Kratz will begin interrogating mayoral candidates. Shepard will be responsible for dealing with the combatants in the three school board contests. There are also plans to highlight the candidates for Fitchburg mayor and the State Supreme Court. All of this will debut in the Daily section of TDP, to be excerpted in the weekly paper. Be mindful, the primary is Feb. 20 and the general election is April 3.
Okay, one more thing I'm sure will transpire in 2007. News editor Bill Lueders will be awarded his third Golden Gavel at the Wisconsin Newspaper Association convention in the Dells on Feb. 9. The Golden Gavel is awarded by the State Bar of Wisconsin for articles that contribute "to the public understanding of our system of law and justice." The period examined in this judging cycle was July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006. Lueders was recognized for his Isthmus cover story "Guilty! The Trial and Conviction of Gordy Sussman," published July 8, 2005. Lueders sat through the entire two-week trial of the Madison businessman, charged with sexual assault and child pornography, in order to prepare his story. He won the award previously in 2003 and 1996.