In a year already beset by campus strikes and off-campus riots, no wonder it rains on the Fourth of July. There’s even an early morning squall so strong it sends tree branches crashing down and flattening an 880 square foot tent at Warner Park. It’s put back up, and the weather clears by afternoon, as 40,000 pour into the park for the 18th annual Lions Club fireworks. It’s the second celebration at the North Side facility; the Madison Park Commission ended the use of Vilas Park after the summer of 67 over fears the fireworks would harm animals at the adjacent zoo.
To everyone’s disappointment, but no one’s real surprise, Bob Dylan does not give a free Independence Day concert on the steps of the new Mifflin Street Community Co-Op. About 200 Mifflanders gathered around just in case the greatest singer-songwriter since Homer did appear, but the concert advertised by the co-op’s Pterodactyl Transit Co does not happen.
Several thousand attend an old-fashioned neighborhood celebration in Orton Park, sponsored by the Marquette Neighborhood Association to raise funds for park improvements. There are stagecoach rides, a midway with games and food, and music and instruments of the Civil War era, played against the backdrop of an American flag from 1861. True to the neighborhood’s free spirit, the party doesn’t take place until July 6th — because Milwaukee’s First Brigade Band, the only active Civil War band, was already booked on the Fourth.
Three projects that will redefine downtown and the far west side move ahead. The Plan Commission approves the first 20-acre plat in Wexford Village, Patrick J. Lucey’s 683-acre development, running from Gammon Road to the Beltline, and north from Mineral Point Road to Middleton. Lucey, the former Lt Gov and chair of the state Democratic party, prevails in a fight with assistant traffic engineer Warren Sommerfeld over the turning radius in three of the dead-end streets. Sommerfeld wanted the cul de sacs to have more than the proposed 130 feet, but the Commission lets Lucey have his design. The Commission also approves plans from the First National Bank for a modernist all-glass building, designed by the Chicago firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, at the corner of East Washington Avenue and N. Pinckney St. In addition to the current bank building from 1922, other historic structures to be razed include the adjacent Washington Building from the 1880s and the old fire station around the corner on Webster Street.
And a big change coming to State street, as the Board of Public Works approves plans for a transit mall from the Square to Gilman Street, with widened sidewalks and no parking. Although the $300,000 budget will be borne by special assessments against the affected properties, businessmen from upper State Street largely support the project The Plan Department wants the semi-mall to continue to Lake Street, with a full pedestrian-only mall down to Park Street, but businessmen in the 500 block and beyond are fighting the plan over lost parking. The city hopes a successful phase one will persuade the opponents to support the project.
For as long as anybody remembers, the Madison School Board has named as president its most senior member. And there have been a lot of members who were very senior; presidents averaged about twenty years on the board before becoming president. When former State Representative Ruth Doyle was first elected to the Board in 1964, the six other members had been in office for a combined 110 years. But a series of retirements and defeats – and one death – caused a complete turnover of the board by this April’s election – leaving Mrs. Doyle the most senior member with just five years’ service. Following its long-standing policy, the board this week names her its first female president. Mrs. Doyle founded the UW’s tutoring and financial assistance program for minorities in 1966 and ran it until this January, when she was forced out because black activists said a white person could not run the program. She is now a special assistant to Vice Chancellor Merritt Norvell.
A grand jury empaneled by her husband, federal judge James Doyle, hands up indictments for draft-dodging, drug-dealing and prostitution. Nine young men from around the state are charged with failure to report to their local draft boards for induction; one young man from New Jersey is indicted for selling a quarter pound of hashish to federal agents and three persons residing in the northern border town of Hurley, including John (Blacky) Ravenelli and Lois (Frenchy) Gasbarri, are indicted for alleged interstate traffic in prostitution. And Carlo Caputo, State Street businessman and reputed boss of Madison La Cosa Nostra, checks into the Dane County Jail as Doyle ordered to start his thirty-day jail sentence for income tax evasion, after which he’ll be on probation for 23 months.
In protest news, Madison radicals find something to be neutral about – the bitter competition for national leadership of the Students for a Democratic Society between a group from Boston affiliated with the Progressive Labor Party and Worker Student alliance, and a Revolutionary Youth Movement group from Chicago including Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn and other former SDS officers. After dueling charges of Maoism and Stalinisn, Madison SDS votes 66-35 to not recognize either group. Veteran antiwar activist Betty Boardman is one of five women arrested for trespassing at the White House after they stage a three-hour sit-in at an entrance gate, demanding an audience with President Nixon. In 1967, Boardman was one of nine Quakers – and the only woman — who defied a government ban and sailed in to Haiphong Harbor with $10,000 in medical supplies for North Vietnamese civilians.
The Equal Opportunities Commission releases the second program in its series “Madison, the Good Life or the Ghetto?” written and narrated by Radio personality and author George “Papa Hambone” Vukelich. The program, available for free from the commission office, features interviews with area African-Americans who are non-professional and lower income about police/community relations, welfare, interracial dating and jobs.
And it’s last call for an important campus area rendezvous as Lorenzo’s Restaurant closes on July 1 after 26 years at 813 University Ave. The Italian eatery, to be razed to make way for the Vilas Communications Hall, will relocate to 461 W. Gilman Street.