Phil Busse


Phoebe Guenzel

When I was 8 years old, I collected beer cans. Although I didn't know it at the time, it was a brief national trend. For several months, I picked up and rinsed out discarded cans from the teenagers partying at Garner Park across the street from my parents' house and lobbied every relative to bring cans back from exotic places like Cincinnati, San Francisco and Honolulu. Read more

Isthmus Abode

On a recent Wednesday evening, 20 participants belly up to long, chest-high tables set with bartender tools: stir sticks, strainers and shot glasses. There are also small cups containing ingredients from a local farm: sliced melon, mint and honey. The group hushes as Kiera Mulvey, executive director for FairShare CSA Coalition, begins to explain exactly what a mixology class is. Read more



Nick Berard

The temperatures are pushing past 90 degrees and the sun is steadily warming the afternoon air, but Patrick Farabaugh is dressed in stiff blue jeans, a dark jacket and wool cap. He pushes open the door to the Madison Ice Arena and strides toward the ice rink for the weekly practice of the Madison Gay Hockey Association. Read more



Carolyn Fath

Isaac Sinnott rounds the corner away from the Capitol on his 10-speed bike and pulls into the loading docks behind Graze restaurant. Snaking behind him is a low-slung, 10-foot-long trailer carrying six plastic buckets that serve as a low-tech garbage-hauling system. Read more


On a scale of one to ten, Amanda Gromoski and Bob Matty agree they are a "six" for environmental consciousness. The east-side couple recycle and are generally knowledgeable about the food they eat and energy they consume. And, like an estimated 10,000 families in Madison, they compost their food scraps. Read more


For musicians, selling songs to corporate interests used to mean selling out. That notion has been replaced by a new one. These days, licensing songs for TV shows and ads is simply smart, 21st-century business sense, a way for artists to earn extra cash -- and find more listeners from a single 30-second ad than an entire year of touring can attract. Read more



Matt Mignanelli

Up the hill from Vitense Golf Course on Madison's west side sits an unassuming single-story home. I pull into the driveway on a recent sunny autumn day, double-check the address and look for a few clues that this, indeed, is a hub... Read more

Isthmus Cover Stories


Carolyn Fath

In sports, as in life, the desired path is always from the minor to major leagues. Yet, in a 21st-century twist, the new stadium housing the Madison Mallards baseball team has reversed that logic. When the team embarked on a $2 million renovation of their stadium in Warner Park, they chose to reuse seats from a couple of major league baseball stadiums, filling up the stands with chairs from the famed Camden Yards in Baltimore, and several rows in left field from Wrigley Field in Chicago. Read more


The springtime sky is moody. An inconsistent wind gusts from the south, blowing warmly across the wide-open field in east Madison. Gloomy storm clouds gather on the horizon. "Look up at the sky," Megan Cain, the program manager for Community GroundWorks, tells a group of 40 kindergartners and first-graders. Cain wears a straw hat ringed with a bright turquoise ribbon, and stands with her feet planted in a wide stance like a benevolent drill sergeant. A few fat raindrops fall. Read more


It is a clear early spring evening, and Jack is walking along the perimeter of his south Madison property, pointing out where he grows marijuana. "You really have to look to see it," says Jack, a pseudonym. Jack is middle-aged, with trimmed, spiky gr Read more


Mark Olson talks about the combination of America's shaky finances and poor eating habits as though they were the Brady Bunch. "We're putting together two systems that are broken," says the second-generation Spring Green farmer. Olson is part of a group of farmers, investors and thinkers in southern Wisconsin who are trying to use new investment strategies to save a failing farming industry. Read more