Archives for : Reporting

Madison’s Workaday Performer pt. 4: Playing for God

Lyle grew up on a farm in Abbotsford, Wisconsin. The son of Norwegian and German parents, he was confirmed into the Peace Evangelical & Reformed Church in 1958. It was the church which provided a meager sustenance for many of his years in Madison.[Myers] says that, of the two organists, he thinks Lyle is the better one.

On November 13, he is performing at First Church of Christ, Scientist, deep in Madison’s west side. He is warming up as people file in. Twenty-one followers will arrive on time.

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Madison’s Workaday Performer, pt. 1: French Linguistics & Frozen Lakes


Lyle Anderson (left) pictured here with the late Jim Packard (right). Photo: Jacob Bielanski, Feb 5, 2011.

In February of 2011, I interviewed Michael Feldman for what I thought would be a great insight into a Madison icon. To get closer to the iconic host of Public Radio International’s “Whad’ya Know?”, I interviewed one of his longest-standing co-workers, Lyle Anderson. And it goes from there.

Stacked with browning books and oddly arranged papers, the State Climatology office remains mostly dark during the day, the workers illuminated only by personal lamps. From a computer at least 10 years old, the volunteer director, a former UW professor in Climatology, prints PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide. The slides use circles and bullet points to outline what the office could, should, would be. A quick glance shows the office is not any of these things.

The office has no supplies budget. When the printer runs out of paper, it is quietly, dutifully refilled by the office’s only paid employee, a white-haired man named Lyle Anderson.

This is only one of Lyle’s five offices.

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A Photographic Eulogy to the Anti-Walker Movement

It was all pretty interesting. Sometimes fun. Sometimes serious. Sometimes, a complete spectacle. In Madison, particularly, it was always a little theatrical. A portly man going on a hunger strike. Decrepit, carbon-spewing automobiles, re-purposed to carry the banner of “Recall Walker.” A weekly outdoor play, showing an angry “badger” going after a “weasel,” (note: the “badger” in the play makes an appearance in a picture of the June 5 recall rally. My daughter was a little terrified of getting any closer). On the evening of the election, a tandem bike rode by our outdoor table, adorned with “Barrett/Mitchell” signs.

Both riders were dressed as Spider-Man. For some reason.

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In defense of: State Senator Glenn Grothman

“We’re out here protesting Obama’s health care mandate,” said Jolene. She was clearing a table at a rapidly dispersing protest outside the Federal Courthouse in Madison.

Curiously stacked among the bumper stickers and anti-abortion material was a flyer from Wisconsin’s favorite extreme conservative, Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend).

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Four Hours: Learning to Carry Concealed in Wisconsin

Training Requirements for WI Concealed Carry Derided by instructors, law enforcement, and gun rights advocates

Auto Mechanic Kerry Kimball considers his gun collection small—a couple of shotguns, a .22-caliber rifle each for his son and himself, and three handguns of varying calibers. When asked about his upcoming pistol course, he produces packet full of NRA literature, to be handed out at his first, eight-hour session October 15. Kimball emphasizes that this is not a concealed carry class, that he and his partner intend to put together a better, longer curriculum which addresses additional knowledge they believe people should have when carrying a concealed firearm. But that does not matter—according to the new law, Kimball, operating out of his home near New Glarus—will already provide his students the minimum training required to carry a concealed firearm in Wisconsin.

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