Improve the system
I'm amazed at the arrogance Bill Lueders displayed in his opinion column "Make It About Merit" (2/1/08). He rants against the democratic way we elect judges in Wisconsin and champions the idea of a "merit selection" committee that would pick our judges for us.
The federal government uses Lueders' model. Some say, of course, that these judges have, from time to time, been selected based not simply on their merit, but also on their political affiliation and campaign contributions. He fails to acknowledge that governments that choose judges based on alleged merit have just as many problems with their judges as the states that elect judges.
Lueders misses what should be an important lesson for Wisconsin voters. We need to improve the way we allow campaigns to be financed and run. We must educate voters on the significant role the judiciary plays. We should take greater steps to ensure that our children understand the democratic process.
Linda Falkenstein did her homework ("Shoppin' Around," 2/15/08) but failed to mention why Whole Foods is sometimes difficult to navigate. It's simply because the store has superior product and the most helpful and courteous employees.
You never have to walk more than a few feet from your cart to find a knowledgeable employee restocking the shelves who will gladly help you find a particular product. I can't find that service in any other market in Madison.
I'm a co-chapter leader of Madison's Weston Price chapter, which helps people find sources for high-quality, nutrient-dense food. (Price was a nutrition pioneer in the 1930s.) There are a few details I would like to add to Linda Falkenstein's article.
High-fructose corn syrup is not the only ingredient to avoid in baked goods. Bromated flour is also toxic. Bromine blocks the absorption of iodine that is needed by every cell in the body. It is added to flour as a dough conditioner and is also found in carbonated drinks such as Mountain Dew, AMP Energy Drink and some Gatorade products.
All vegetable oil that is heated to a high temperature (for long shelf life) is unhealthy. Even canola oil, a health-food-industry favorite, contains trans fat (and genetically modified ingredients), even though trans fat is not listed on the label for the liquid oil.
Food today is much less nutrient-dense than it was in the 1930s. U.S. government food tables reveal that food grown today has only half of the nutrients of food grown in the 1960s.
Weston Price chapter members use a Brix meter to measure nutrient density. Adolf Brix, a 19th-century scientist, created the scale for measuring the degree of fruit ripeness. Brix is usually a reflection of overall nutrient density. Food that has higher Brix values usually tastes better than food with low Brix values.
Mary Jo Fahey, Weston Price Chapter, www.madisonwapf.org
Linda Falkenstein didn't do her homework. I do my grocery shopping in a swath from the Regent Market Co-op to Copps in Middleton. In that swath there are seven full-service grocery stores. Whereas she gave reasonably good information on Whole Foods, Metcalfe's and the Copps near Midvale Boulevard, she goofed on the others.
She correctly noted that Brennan's north-side store had closed, but did not note that the west-side store has amazing cheeses.
Falkenstein omitted the independent Knoche's on Old Middleton Road, which has perhaps the best meat counter in Madison. And the location given for Copps in Middleton has been vacant since 2005.
To make matters worse, she lauded Trader Joe's, a national chain with stuff shipped in from Lord knows where, without mentioning it has no meat counter, so that you can't buy, for example, six slices of bacon, which you can do at the Regent Market, Whole Foods, Brennan's, Knoche's and Copps/Middleton.
Laird Marshall, Middleton
I found your article on Madison's grocery stores informative, but a full review of Brennan's was missing. Brennan's is much more than a specialty fruit and cheese store. Yes, the fruit is awesome but it also has a consistently fresh produce section.
Brennan's is also an outlet for Clasen's Bakery, Jacobsen's Meats and the amazing Hughes' Seafood. It also has great beer and wine selections, including reasonably priced "everyday" wines. I usually make a weekly trip to Brennan's with minimal additional purchase from a standard supermarket.
Bob Millholland, Verona
Linda Falkenstein replies: Brennan's, Knoche's and other fine specialty markets were not included because the focus was on full-service grocery stores, of which we had to cover 15. The map incorrectly listed the closed Middleton Copps location rather than the new Middleton Hills location where I actually shopped.
Fred and Mary
What a great story about Fred Mohs and the Kennedy Manor. Both are treasures, a point that author Ann Grauvogl and photographer Eric Tadsen captured exquisitely ("Madison Original," 2/2/08). But there's a back story that more people should know. When just about everybody else was moving to the burbs in the early '60s, Fred and Mary Mohs weighed in as card-carrying contrarians.
They could have lived anywhere they wanted. But they stayed downtown, restored one of Madison' finest homes, and threw themselves into downtown revitalization. What a track record they compiled!
Mary chaired the Landmarks Commission for a decade. Fred served on the first Downtown Madison Inc. board in 1972, and he's still on it. A summary of Fred's civic achievements could not be jammed on a full Isthmus page.
And here's the take-home story: What a difference they made! When someone writes the history of the Downtown Renaissance, no one will loom larger. Thank you, Fred and Mary. We are in your debt.
David and Leigh Mollenhoff