This week's cover story is a report on Wisconsin's frac sand controversy from the belly of the beast. Contributor Tamara Dean, who lives in Vernon County, lets us know how it feels to have the sand mining industry scope out her neighborhood.
Dean is the author of The Human-Powered Home and the best-selling textbook Network+ Guide to Networks. She's just one of the many national-caliber freelancers who live in the area and contribute to Isthmus. We'd be nothing without these folks, whose individual voices give the publication its flavor. A typical issue contains some who are relatively new to Isthmus and others we've relied on for years. In the current issue, Andy Moore, Jennifer A. Smith, John W. Barker and André Darlington are among those who go way back with us.
Our freelancers have won state and national awards for their work in Isthmus, and we keep tabs on them even after they move away from Madison. We cheered when Rachel Pastan's novel Alena recently got a rave review in The New York Times. Richard Farr just released the nonfiction book You Are Here: A User's Guide to the Universe, and his novel The Fire Seekers is due out next fall.
Last week we feted our current group of contributors with the annual Freelancer Appreciation Party, held at the Rigby. I hope all those talented writers and artists got the message: We ♥ them.
Don't forget we need your help with "Madison at Play" on March 28 and 29. From 6 p.m. on the 28th to 6 p.m. on the 29th, Isthmus reporters will go wherever Madisonians are having fun and post stories, photos and social media updates at MadisonAtPlay.com. Join in by telling us how you're having fun during that period, using the hashtag #madplay on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Vine. In the process, you'll become an Isthmus contributor yourself.