2016. What a horror show. Let’s relive the blood and gore one last time by taking a look at the most popular stories on isthmus.com.
The No. 1 “story,” “Open letter from a poll worker to the UW student who tried to vote yesterday” (2/17/16), was submitted by Carrie Scherpelz as a letter to the editor after she worked the polls for the spring primary. The four-paragraph post clearly struck a nerve with Wisconsinites frustrated by the state’s new voter ID law. It also clearly struck a nerve outside the Badger State, with 43 percent of readers coming from outside Wisconsin. Guess we’re not the only ones with pent-up rage for state government.
No. 2 was “Man who recorded Madison police arrest speaks out” (6/23/16), a piece by Steven Potter about Daniel Patrykus, who filmed the violent arrest of 18-year-old Genele Laird by Madison police officers. Madison police also figured in the No. 3 story: Dylan Brogan’s “Quicksand: Police attempt to find solutions devolves into cruel joke” (9/17/16), about a whiteboard in department headquarters that contained some less-than-helpful ideas for dealing with loitering and homelessness problems at the top of State Street, including the use of Burmese tiger pits and unlimited heroin laced with fentanyl.
No. 4 was Jon Kjarsgaard’s piece, “Dateline NBC” joins media frenzy with own take on the Steven Avery case” (1/26/16), which provided a quick update on a few more ways “Making a Murderer” fans could ravenously devour the lurid tale of Wisconsin’s own Steven Avery.
The many ways Gov. Scott Walker has hurt higher education always proves to be a crowd-pleaser. And Aaron R. Conklin’s scoop, “Time to Leave” (7/25/16) — that Kurt Squire and Constance Steinkuehler, co-directors of UW-Madison’s Games + Learning + Society Center, would be leaving for California in January 2017 — was no exception, coming in at No. 5. The pair directly cited the “open hostility” of the political climate in the state as their reason for departing for the coast.
In the No. 6 spot, Alan Talaga addresses one of the big criticisms lobbed against the University of Wisconsin by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. Vos thinks it’s deplorable that there aren’t more tenured professors getting fired. In this Madland piece, Talaga counters that there’s a pretty good reason for that. The headline says it all: “Why do so few tenured professors get fired? Because it is really hard to get tenure” (5/28/16).
Depressed yet? Would it cheer you up to know about a “nipple equality” event that was held in Madison this summer? If so, you’ll enjoy the No. 7 story. Steven Potter’s “Au naturel” (9/8/16) followed a group of women (as well as a few men) participating in International GoTopless Day as they made their way from the beach to a few downtown bars. The No. 8 story was also less depressing and even a little hopeful. Alan Talaga’s forward-looking Madland piece, “Six Democrats who could challenge Walker in 2018” (1/29/16), listed some ideas for how the party could turn things around in 2018.
Madison police come up again in the No. 9 story, “Chief Koval must go” (6/16/16). In this opinion column, Bill Lueders identifies behavior by the Madison police chief that could be considered a violation of the department’s rules of conduct.
And the top 10 list ends where it began, with the state’s restrictive voter ID law. Todd Allbaugh’s “Republicans were ‘giddy’ about suppressing turnout with voter ID law, recalls former staffer” (4/6/16) is a first-hand account of being in the closed Senate Republican Caucus as lawmakers cheerfully mused on the ramifications of the voter ID bill. You know, like how it would disenfranchise minority and Democratic voters.