Police tape

Police tape marks the scene of an early morning shooting on the south side of Madison in August. At its Tuesday meeting, Madison's City Council approved peer support plans, which aim to reduce violence in the city.


Madison-area Urban Ministry and the Nehemiah Community Development Corporation have been selected to implement long-term peer support services to formerly incarcerated individuals and people affected by violence, respectively.

Each organization would receive up to $150,000 in 2017 funds and up to $200,000 in 2018.

To address individuals returning to the community from incarceration, Madison-area Urban Ministry will provide participants community engagement opportunities, peer mentoring, employment and housing opportunities, in addition to mental health and alcohol and other drug abuse support.

MUM plans to partner with an urban agriculture employment training program called the FAIR Initiative and the Employment and Training Association, which will work with program participants to identify career interests and access training, work experience and job placement services. Access Housing, a community living program for individuals facing barriers to housing, and Vision Beyond Bars, a peer mentoring organization, are also partnering with MUM.

Under Nehemiah’s crisis response proposal, peer support specialists with the Focused Interruption Coalition will respond to violent incidents and provide trauma-informed care with the intention of reducing violence in Madison.

Participants will receive peer counseling and case management in addition to assistance with housing, transportation, access to AODA and mental health services. Priority entry into job skills training and placement programs will also be provided. The program will staff a 24/7 hotline with two dispatchers on call to respond to situations.

Last fall, the City Council approved $400,000 in the 2017 budget to fund the first steps of a 15-point violence reduction plan put forward by the Focused Interruption Coalition. The executive operating budget for 2018 includes $400,000 to continue violence prevention efforts through peer support programming.

Willy Street Co-op alcohol license

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Madison’s City Council also approved the Willy Street Co-op’s proposal for an alcohol license, which will allow the co-op to sell beer, wine and cider at its near east side location.

Management at the store located at 1221 Williamson St. hope the addition of alcohol will boost stagnant sales by an additional $400,000 to $600,000 per year, which include products shoppers often buy when they purchase alcohol.

The Marquette Neighborhood Association's board voted 6-4 not to support the co-op’s license, and neighbors are divided on the proposal. Those opposed are concerned about the possible effects on Star Liquor, located down the street from the co-op at 1209 Williamson St., and on the density of businesses selling alcohol in the area.

Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, represents the neighborhood where the co-op is located and supported granting the license.

"I have no doubt that the co-op would be a very good operator if the license is granted," Rummel said in a letter to the ALRC. "It is an important and beloved neighborhood business who is an active community partner faced with increasing competition."

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.