Thursday, April 17, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 45.0° F  Overcast
Signed & Sealed
Madison has been blessed with an iconic skyline that gives it a strong visual identity. But its true self-portrait can be found in the way its movers and shakers project themselves graphically to the public. From international brands to the rock band downstairs, every local player (including the city itself) needs a good logo -- a symbol that will stick. >More  Maps
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A fully searchable (for instance: try malts), comprehensive guide to dining in Madison, available 24/7 here as well as via your mobile device at m.isthmus.com.

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Helpful information about Madison and environs for newcomers and old-timers

New in town?
The resource directory that follows has scads of useful information, but we've pulled out some of the most pertinent for newcomers and highlighted it in this section.

Arts
Yes, it's the year of The Lion King at the Overture Center. Yet the 32-show run of the Broadway blockbuster next spring won't overshadow the many grassroots groups who continue to do excellent work in spaces ranging from former movie theaters to housing co-ops.

Citizen Action
Why wait for others to solve problems for you when you can take action yourself? Madison is a very grass-roots kind of place, whether it comes to working for health care care refore, Peace, equal rights or a myriad of other important causes.

Education
Madison is not just a college town; it's a multiple-college town. It's home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as Edgewood College and Madison Area Technical College. A raft of other satellite campuses and special program schools fill out the roster.

Environment
We reduce, reuse and recycle. We patronize farmers' markets and join CSAs. Dane County communities struggle to protect farmland from the expanding suburbs. The Ice Age Trail Foundation acquires land to complete the trail. And we never ever leave our picnic garbage on the ground.

Government
Madison is governed by a mayor and body of individuals oft referred to as "alders" -- people, not trees-- who make up the common council. Yes, mind the lingo: it's not city council, it's common council. Dane County is run by the county executive. There are about 60 municipalities, including villages, towns and cities, within Dane County.

Health
The University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and Meriter are the heavy hitters, with the American Family Children's Hospital and the Veteran's Administration Hospital rounding out major services. The Don and Marilyn Anderson HospiceCare Center and the Ellen and Peter Johnson HospiceCare Residence are great area resources, located in Fitchburg. And there are support groups for friends and family members for health and wellness concerns.

Media
Print media, media that comes to you via the airwaves. Citizen journalists. Bloggers. Some folks even get their news directly through the fillings in their teeth.

Parks
Picnic in summer, sled and ski and skate in winter. Watch for birds all year round. We love green space and enjoy a wonderful system of city, county and state parks.

Social Services
The safety net you've heard so much about, and the many ways it may be able to help.

Special Interest Groups
Put on your hand-beaded vest to go play bridge, then deliver a meal to a senior and finish out the day with a rousing game of Scrabble.

Sports
The UW-Badgers loom large, but there are the Northwoods League Madison Mallards baseball team, bicycling clubs, disc golf, ultimate Frisbee, even polo and squash. And we do know how to take advantage of those lakes, too.

Transportation
Though funding for expansion has slowed, Madison already has an excellent network of bike paths. Don't have a bike? Borrow one from the Red Bike program. Don't have a car? Join the car sharing service Community Car. You can take a Badger or a Greyhound or a Van Galder bus out of town. Want to take a train? Sorry, you're out of luck.

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