Middleton Times-Tribune: For starters, tell us about yourself:
Jason Compton: I’m a 13-year resident of Middleton, and a producer for Madison Shakespeare Company.
MTT: Can you tell us a bit about the founding of Madison Shakespeare Company? Has the experience matched expectations so far?
Compton: Madison Shakespeare Company was started in 2011 by John Varda, Warren Hansen, and Steve Cover to present affordable, high-quality theater classics in Dane County. MSC staged Julius Caesar in 2012 and Antony and Cleopatra in 2013, but then went dormant. Our initial performing space, Breese Stevens Field, was an interesting venue and a lot of fun to play, but very expensive. And not very intimate. During this time I appeared in supporting roles in both productions.
Q: What made Wayne Larrivee a choice for one of your books? Why do you think he resonates with the Packers fan base?
A: Triumph Books, the publisher of the majority of my books, has a nationwide series going right now in which many national play-by-play men are telling their stories. Having Wayne give his thoughts from the booth after nearly 20 years of calling Packers games was a natural fit.
Wayne is the ultimate pros-pro. He does his homework. He’s thorough. He’s smooth. He misses next to nothing. I think Packers fans really appreciate how lucky they are to have him.
Q: What sort of access does Wayne have that others may not? Is he treated like a journalist around the team?
A: Wayne flies on the team plane and stays in the team hotel. He certainly sees and hears things most others don’t.
November 4th, 2016 – At approximately 12:30 am, a Dane County Sheriff’s Office deputy attempted a traffic stop on a Ford Focus traveling 85mph in a 45 mph zone on County M near Signature Rd in City of Middleton. When the deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, it sped up and a pursuit ensued lasting approximately one minute. The pursuit ended when the suspect vehicle struck a stoplight at County Highway M at County Highway Q. Three people fled the vehicle on foot; one passenger was taken into custody by a Dane County Sheriff’s Office deputy. The City of Middleton Police, a Town of Madison K9 Officer, and a Maple Bluff K9 Officer responded to establish a perimeter and search for the remaining two suspects, but no one else was located.
The Dane County Sheriff’s Office investigation to identify the driver and remaining passenger is ongoing.
In late 2004, a shy young man involved in a vast marijuana ring vanished. He left behind a beloved dog, a heartbroken mother and countless questions about the bizarre circumstances surrounding his disappearance.
Today, 12 years later, a group of journalists, filmmakers, friends and family are still doggedly pursuing answers in the mysterious case of Amos Mortier.
Their latest effort is “What Happened to Amos?” It is a hard-hitting foray into the life of Mortier, his puzzling disappearance, and the multiple investigations that followed. They believe they have solved the case, locking together clues the authorities in Fitchburg and Dane County chose to ignore. And now they want to be heard.
“I’ve never grown up,” says Kirby Nelson, overlooking a glistening pond on which he recently blew up a fairly large dragon. “And honestly, I can’t think of anything I would hate more.”
Today the pond is more serene. Nelson is sitting on a hulking slab of limestone, sipping a powerful beer and watching a flock of geese as they float quiet laps on the water’s glasslike surface. His white hair is blowing in the late summer breeze. He is talking candidly – it’s the only way he can talk, those who know him are well aware – about his past, his present and, most importantly, his future.
Nelson is 60. He is one of the founding fathers of craft beer in the Midwest. And he believes firmly that his best years are yet to come.
Jennifer Chiaverini’s new novel starts with a bang. Literally.
John Wilkes Booth has just shot history’s most beloved U.S. president in the back of the head. Booth, convinced he has rid the world of a brutal tyrant, is on the run, hiding in a tobacco barn while the authorities doggedly pursue him. It’s a rip-roaring scene, full of action and almost biblical undertones. As the posse closes in on him, Booth is still convinced he is working as “an instrument of [God’s] perfect wrath.”
It is violent and tragic, but perhaps the most surprising thing about the beginning to this story is the fact that, through some kind of literary alchemy, Chiaverini has managed to humanize Booth. He’s a villain, obviously. But he is also a human being.
It’s an impressive feat, and it’s one only possible for a novelist who, after 25 prior books, is at the height of her powers as a writer.
2015-2016 Wisconsin Poet Laureate Kimberly Blaeser is a Professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she teaches Creative Writing and Native American Literatures. She is the author of three collections of poetry: Apprenticed to Justice, Absentee Indians and Other Poems, and Trailing You. Blaeser is Anishinaabe, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and grew up on the White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota. She is the editor of Stories Migrating Home: A Collection of Anishinaabe Prose and Traces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry. She is currently at work on a collection of “Picto-Poems,” which combines her photographs and poetry.
MTT: How did you initially become interested in poetry?
It started with a little girl in southern India, riding in a car with her father and listening to classical music on cassette.
“I would go on long car rides with my parents,” says Vanitha Suresh, who has her own children today and lives 8,000 miles away in Middleton, Wisconsin. “I remember singing along with the great masters on tape.”
Suresh’s father died when she was only nine years old, but during their too-short time together, he left what she describes as an “indelible” impact on her life.
“My father worked a lot, and he traveled for work, but whenever he was with us he was completely with us,” she says tenderly as she drizzles honey from a plastic bear into a cup of spicy Chai tea in her kitchen.
The music – primarily classical Indian music, as well as some classical Western – started in those early days with family, and she has never stopped learning about it, loving its beauty and its vastness, as well as teaching it.
Deneen Carmichael is a mother of two and a small business owner. Jennifer Johnson is an international non-profit attorney. But those are just their day jobs, like Clark Kent’s gig at the Daily Planet.
These local women are also part of a profession where courage and integrity are their most valuable assets. They can wake up in the middle of the night to answer their pagers and potentially save lives. They wear heavy, hot and uncomfortable clothing for work. They lug cumbersome equipment up tall ladders and pry open car doors following accidents.
They hold the hands of people in need and comfort them in hard times.
Carmichael and Johnson are volunteer firefighters with the Middleton Fire Department.
Johnson has been living in Middleton for about two years. She bought a house and opened her own non-profit consulting company called NCG. She is also an international non-profit attorney and she loves what she does.
It is almost time for lunch, so the kitchen at Restoring Hope Transplant House it is getting loud. Snacks are already set out on the kitchen counter. Coffee is brewing, as is conversation.
“Some people thinks this is a sad place because there is a lot of stress,” explains Cindy Herbst, the transplant home’s executive director. “But this is a wonderful place. It really reminds you of the good in people.”
At the corner of Terrace Avenue and Parameter Street stands an old Victorian house that many transplants families and patients have called home.
Many people walk by, because the library, a bus stop and downtown Middleton are just a stone’s throw away. The Restoring Hope Transplant House was born in 2006 when executive director Cindy Herbst’s family went through a transplant process firsthand.