I kept changing my mind on what I wanted to write about in this space of your favorite weekly newspaper this week, beginning with …
Put it in Park: The most prescient observation about Platteville’s downtown parking situation came from city Director of Public Works Howard Crofoot, who said, “From my perspective, you never fix a parking problem in an area like this. … Users change, uses change, and the dynamic changes in conversations like this,” the Common Council downtown parking work session March 8.
At least one council member, District 3 Ald. Barb Daus, appears to have learned from the 2012 downtown parking sturm und drang when she suggested doing a couple things — say, better signage and enforcing existing parking and traffic regulations downtown — and wait on bigger changes until the city sees how those small steps work. For one thing, since the Library Block project and the Steve’s Pizza Palace expansion won’t be done until the end of this year at the absolute earliest, summer and the return of UW–Platteville students this fall should be sufficient time to evaluate incremental improvements.
Entreprenurials: The mass visit by Gov. Scott Walker and his top political appointees Sunday and Monday included a session with business people and administrators for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the state Department of Workforce Development Monday morning. (You have not lived in my line of work until you have interviewed a governor under black and disco ball lights in a bowling alley.)
One of the subjects Monday morning was how to promote business creation among the so-called millennials, those, among other places, now at UW–Platteville. Owning a business is really the only way to get wealthy (as the term is usually understood) in this country, and yet business owners don’t generally become wealthy until they sell part or all of their business, and until then they get to enjoy working nights, weekends and holidays and the stress of having other people’s livelihoods in their hands. I know people about my age who worked for their parents, and that swore them off becoming the next generation in their, or any other, business. And yet, no businesses, therefore no employees.
The key may be convincing millennials in these permanently uncertain economic times to take a risk with less long-term downside (who will remember at 60 if your business didn’t work out at 30?) than potential future upside. And, of course, to take a risk here among those whose tax dollars paid for most of their education.
’Tis the season: I may have more to say about the April 5 election in this space next week, but given the upcoming election and Easter this weekend, I am compelled to say that my favorite Old Testament verse is Psalm 146:3: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”
Madness! If you need any evidence of the compelling quality of sports, you need not go farther than to the first two rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Michigan State, whose fans thought it should have had a number one seed, got a number two seed instead, which the Spartans proceeded to flush down the toilet by losing to 15th-seed Middle Tennessee State. If you picked Michigan State to win the tournament (and I bet you know people who did), your bracket instantly became, depending on your favorite social media meme, a dumpster fire, a toxic waste dump, a mushroom cloud … you get the idea. That same night, Northern Iowa won its first-round game by upset over Texas thanks to a buzzer-beating half-court shot.
Neither, however, were nearly as locally dramatic as Sunday night’s second-round game between seventh-seed Wisconsin — two nights after winning, to quote legendary NFL Films narrator John Facenda, “a grim defensive struggle” over Pittsburgh — and second-seed Xavier. Given the physical superiority of the Musketeers, it seemed strange to me anyway that the Badgers seemed to be still hanging around toward the end.
And then, in order, Brandon Koenig nailed a game-tying three-pointer, the Musketeers were assessed an offensive foul (the wonder of an official’s call actually going the Badgers’ way!), and then Koenig drilled the game-winning triple from the corner as the buzzer reverberated through the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, and, in order, UW announcer Matt Lepay, TNT announcer Brian Anderson and Westwood One announcer Wayne Larrivee all lost their on-air minds. (Then Nigel Hayes’ appeared to try to throw Cobb’s, Iowa–Grant’s and UW–Platteville’s own Greg Gard into the locker room ceiling. Don’t hurt your coach, Nigel.)
This Platteville-to-Madison coach thing seems to be working out. On to Philadelphia and Notre Dame Friday, and hopefully Indiana or North Carolina Sunday. On Wisconsin, indeed.