Midge Miller And The Gift Of Friendship

A fixture of Madison passed away today.

Midge Miller, a political dynamo, and incredible personality was a force of good concerning so many causes that passed her way over the decades.  Many in Madison knew her for one of the many issues that she embraced and cared enough about to work all her will on so to make a difference.

But others knew Midge Miller far better than the news articles, and meetings where Midge would be present.

Wit Ylitalo, a dear lady in her mid-eighties who lives in Madison, was Midge’s best friend for 50 years.  When we think about that for just a minutes it is quite a remarkable thing.  For longer than I have been alive two people shared life experiences, traded family memories,  and embarked on life and all that it had to offer.  When I spoke with Wit today and offered her our sympathies she remarked concerning Midge “we never had a cross word with each other”.

“I don’t remember how we met,” Wit mused, “but I think it was when she came to my door for some reason.”  From then the two were friends.  “Her friendship was a gift.  It was so easy to be around her and laugh and share things with her.”

Wit smiled when I mentioned Midge’s vehicle, and the many bumper stickers for all sorts of causes.  With a laugh of memory Wit stated, ‘Well Midge said no matter where she went people knew she was there.”

Over the past week Wit was at the bedside of Midge.  At some point in the past days Wit told me that she was not able to converse with her dear friend, and I told her that just being there and holding her hand was all that needed to be done.  After all these years words were not needed.  The touch of friendship would be more powerful than mere words.

When it comes to these moments when a loved one is removed from the lives of family and friends it is important to remember why it hurts so much.   Because the one that is now absent was so special, and so loved.  In spite of the hurt I know that Wit understands the 50 years of memories goes on forever, and no one would trade the memories away just to miss the pain of this moment.  The tear today will again turn into a smile over those memories.

And when it comes to Midge Miller we have a rich treasure trove of memories to talk and smile about as a city for a long time.

When Iran Cracks Open A Door We Should Look In

My thoughts are the same.  Great letter from today’s newspaper.

Michael Rubin is careful not to mention two facts that do not fit his thinking in “What Iran Really Thinks” (op-ed, April 14). First, Iran was very helpful when we went into Afghanistan in 2001. Instead of building on that relationship, we denounced Iran as part of the axis of evil.

After our invasion of Iraq, Iran offered negotiations with all issues on the table. Instead of taking this opportunity to negotiate from strength, the Bush administration continued to view Iran with hostility. The Iranians in government at that time were subsequently removed by the religious authorities who dominate politics in Iran.

History has shown that when a door is opened, failure to act can close the door for a very long time. New policies may or may not have good results.

Stan Ediger
Las Cruces, N.M.

Congress Needs To Support NASA, Not Impede Future Plans

Congress needs to let NASA and the scientific community set the agenda.  Pull the politics out of the equation.  We need to move on past the shuttle and into the future with new and bold ideas for space exploration.

The faltering economy threatens to disrupt plans to retire the U.S. space-shuttle fleet next year and free up funds to develop a new generation of manned spacecraft.

With Florida and parts of Texas particularly hard hit by the recession, their congressional delegations are maneuvering to stave off thousands of additional layoffs there by delaying shuttle retirements.

Concerns about adding to local unemployment rolls recently prompted Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida to put language into a budget bill providing an extra $2.5 billion that could keep the shuttles flying through 2011. A House-Senate conference committee is considering the matter, even though officials at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are pushing to end the program a year earlier.

Instead of an arbitrary 2010 deadline, the goal should be to safely complete the remaining nine shuttle missions “and finish the international space station before shutting operations down,” said Mr. Nelson, a former astronaut who flew on the shuttle and heads a Senate Commerce subcommittee with jurisdiction over space exploration.

But reflecting the uphill battle facing any lengthy extension, a congressionally created panel released a report Thursday strongly endorsing NASA’s 2010 date for safety and other reasons.

The crux of the problem is that NASA can’t afford to keep the orbiter going and also accelerate work on its next family of multibillion-dollar rockets and exploration vehicles. NASA managers worry that extending the 1980s-vintage shuttles past 2010 poses significant safety problems. They also believe such a step would preclude robust funding of replacement systems, and likely end up lengthening the currently projected five-year gap between the final shuttle mission and the anticipated maiden flight of its replacement.

Spring Starts April 18th….Really…With Dane County Farmers Market

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With the dawn breaking across the Madison Isthmus on Saturday morning, April 18th, spring will ‘officially’ arrive.  Maybe not in accordance with what the calendar lists as the starting point for spring, but for those of us who live through long harsh winters we know one event truly ushers in the warm season.

The Dane County Farmers Market.

With partly sunny skies, highs in the low 70’s, and only slight chance for showers late on Saturday the first market of the season around the Statehouse will be perfect!  Donuts, salad fixings, donuts, flowers, donuts, garden plants, and don’t forget the donuts.

There are so many reasons to attend the market each week through November 7th.   From meeting friends for coffee, and a stroll around the square while making purchases, to people watching while admiring the great downtown attractions of  Madison.  We all are blessed to call this city home and fortunate to be able to enjoy this most wonderful event, so make the most of it, and live the day fully.

And ‘Happy Spring’ to you!