Early in 2020, Cambridge persevered and adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses pivoted to curbside pickup and take-out. Churches went virtual. Healthcare professionals stepped up and teachers taught in new ways. Local festivals were called off. Economic and mental health needs rose, and community members positiviley paid it forward.
In the second half of the year, some Cambridge students returned to school in-person, while others remained virtual. Businesses reopened, subject to rules. More community events, including the Dane County Breakfast on the Farm at Hinchley's Dairy Farm and Midwest Fire Fest, were canceled. Protesters joined the Black Lives Matter movement with events in Veteran's Park. Pandemic-related economic need remained a focus. The community, meanwhile, continued talking about expanding its fire station. Some local homeowners faced off with a developer about affordable housing and Kwik Trip came to Cambridge.
Below is a recap of what made news in Cambridge in 2020.
Longtime Dane County Board District 37 Supervisor Bob Salov announces he will not run again. Cambridge residents Kathleen “Kate” McGinnity and Kris Breunig compete for Salov’s seat… The Cambridge Arts Council announces its annual summer concert series dates for June, July and August… Wood Station Co-op opens in downtown Cambridge, selling hand-crafted, locally sourced wood pieces… The Cambridge Elementary School Art Club sees record-high participation in its fifth year.
2020 Cambridge School Board and Cambridge Village Board races are set. Incumbents Courtney Reed Jenkins, Tracy Smithback-Travis, Julie West and Jim Womble, and challenger Grace Leonard will run for four seats on the School Board. Incumbent Eric Wittwer and challengers Carla Galler and Wyatt Rose seek three seats on the Village Board...Open air painters paint capture scenery outdoors.
The Cambridge School Board sets an April referendum for a $9.9 million, 498-seat performing arts center at Cambridge High School … Cambridge School Board member Tom Wright resigns… PLOW, a downtown restaurant, closes for the winter to expand its menu, planning to reopen in April.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says it won’t require the Village of Cambridge to fully clean up the former Melster Candies Company site. Instead, the village is allowed to remove exposed debris if the site is redeveloped, or cover debris if the site is made into a park… 4K students visit the Cambridge fire and EMS station.
The Cambridge Community Fire and EMS commission kicks off the design process for a fire and EMS station expansion. The commission proposes holding five April 2021 referendums, one in each represented municipality, to fund the project... The Cambridge Winery announces it will hold a Pride Prom celebrating the LGBTQ community... The Cambridge Wellness Collaborative holds its annual Wellness Expo… CommonHouse, a coffee shop also focused on holistic nutrition, opens in Galleria 214 in downtown Cambridge.
The Cambridge Village Board debates the cost and scope of a fire and EMS station expansion… Hinchley’s Dairy Farm is chosen to host Dane County’s annual Breakfast on the Farm in June… A group of Christiana residents oppose the a solar farm proposed to be developed by Chicago firm Invenergy.
Dozens jump into a freezing Lake Ripley for the annual Dip for Dozer fundraiser… School administrators hold public presentations to share information about the upcoming performing arts center referendum. Local organizations like the Cambridge Deerfield Players Theater, the Cambridge Music Boosters and “Back the PAC” mobilize…
School administrators say seat belts added to buses have improved behavior during a pilot program beginning in February 2019… Grace Leonard is appointed to the Cambridge School Board, to fill Tom Wright’s vacant seat… Anna Evenson of Cambridge competes to be Jefferson County's Fairest of the Fair… The Cambridge Community Activities Program hosts a Hawaiian-themed Hero Dance… Cambridge FFA celebrates National FFA Week…
Two years after the school district changed its middle school math curriculum, teachers say students are building reasoning skills and growing in math, and administrators are seeing test scores inch upward... Art Club members paint a mural on the Cambridge Elementary School cafeteria wall.
The Cambridge Village Board votes to fully fund its portion of the fire and EMS budget, about $169,900, by cutting its entire 2020 streets budget… A building committee for the expansion of the Cambridge fire and EMS station looks at a first round of plans… The Cambridge Arts Council holds a Havana Nights fundraising gala… Cambridge High School hosts solo and ensemble contest… Local clergy offer on-the-go blessings for Ash Wednesday.
The Cambridge Plan Commission green lights rezoning 27 acres along U.S. Highway 12-18 for business use. Todd Schultz of Cambridge Real Estate Ventures owns the acres, and presents plans for adding infrastructure and selling lots to other developers… Candidates for the Dane County Board and the Cambridge School Board share their views in an election forum hosted by the Cambridge News & Deerfield Independent… Dancing Goat Distillery will expand onto a second site east of Highway 134… Nikolay Middle School hosts its first-ever Social Emotional Awareness Day, connecting students to mental health resources.
Gov. Tony Evers on March 13 shuts schools statewide due to Covid-19 and Public Health Madison & Dane County issues its first gathering restrictions. In an emergency meeting, the Cambridge School Board votes to moves all students to virtual instruction until at least April 6...Pastor Brenda Lovick of East Koshkonong Lutheran Church live-streams Sunday worship to an empty church, after services are cancelled due to Covid-19… Cambridge Farm to School hopes to bring back Fall Fest… The Cambridge Village Board approves rezoning a site on U.S. Highway 12 and 18 for business use… The Cambridge Market Cafe scales back its hours due to Covid-19… Food pantries prepare for rising usage and the Cambridge Area EMS prepares for coronavirus, stockpiling supplies and increasing sanitizing.
Cambridge-area municipalities agree to finish architectural plans for a fire and EMS station expansion, but will stop short of committing to 2021 referendums to fund the project, because of Covid-19… Senior meals for Cambridge residents become drive-through… Grocers see high demand, supply chain delays… Cambridge High School’s DECA club competes at state… Cambridge Deerfield Players Theater postpones auditions for summer shows… Cambridge schools clean out classrooms and send home materials to students for virtual learning.
The Cambridge School District announces that if voters approve a $9.9 million performing arts center referendum, it will delay construction until at least 2022, due to Covid-19… Cambridge teachers lean into virtual learning by creating videos, writing letters to students, focusing on mental health, embracing technology and staying positive… School administrators begin delivering meals to students… Cambridge businesses pivot as storefronts close due to public health orders, switching to online ordering and asking for local support.
Cambridge middle and high school students will be graded pass/fail for the fourth quarter of the year… Home Again assisted living center and Our House Senior Living plan safe activities to keep residents engaged… Bob Salov serves his last meeting as Dane County Board Supervisor… The Spring Pottery Tour, scheduled for May, is cancelled… Quilters begin sewing face masks… Little Joys Children’s Boutique opens online with a downtown Cambridge store planned…
Voters reject a referendum to add a performing arts center to Cambridge High School… Tracy Smithback-Travis, Julie West, Grace Leonard are elected to the Cambridge School Board, with Courtney Reed Jenkins and Jim Womble tying for the last seat… Kathleen “Kate” McGinnity wins a seat on Dane County Board… Local musicians turn to lives-treaming and creating music in isolation, after in-person shows halt… Artists continue to create, turning to online sales with in-person events canceled… A building committee working toward a possible Cambridge fire and EMS expansion updates its design plans of the facility… School administrators say high school graduations are on, for now… The Cambridge Market Cafe allows customers to pay it forward by purchasing food for essential workers.
The annual Memorial Day fire department breakfast, parade and Veterans ceremony are canceled… Drew Jeffery, Haden Hartwig, Molly Hellberg, Dane Jensen, William Kaiser, Allison Lund, Tyler Tofte, Hailee Sundquist, Karn Vethe and Olivia Williams are Cambridge High School’s top ten seniors… Gov. Tony Evers extends the Safer-At-Home order and orders school buildings to stay closed through June 30… Cambridge Village President Mark McNally opposes station planning… Cambridge Deerfield Players Theater cancels its summer shows… The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce’s Girls Night Out shopping event is cancelled… Courtney Reed Jenkins wins a two-year term on the Cambridge School Board via lottery to break an election tie, with Jim Womble appointed to a one-year seat left vacant after the election… Rowe Pottery Works marks its 45th anniversary online.
In an online meeting, Kathleen “Kate” McGinnity is sworn in as the Dane County Board's District 37 Supervisor… The Cambridge Community Library begins offering curbside pick-up… Kerry Marren is the Cambridge Food Pantry and Resource Center's new coordinator… The Cambridge Arts Council cancels its June summer concerts… The Lake Ripley Country Club reopens as state health restrictions on golf courses ease… Businesses are allowed to offer delivery and curbside pick-up, as public health restrictions ease… The Cambridge School District expands its meal deliveries to any student in the district, regardless of need.
Cambridge school staff plant school gardens without the help of students, who continue to learn virtually… The design firm hired for a potential fire and EMS station expansion suggests cost-cutting measures… The Koshkonong Trails Governance Board looks for new members… Local garden centers see business spike as people beautify their living and outdoor home spaces… Cambridge clergy hold a pastor car parade to connect with members and the general community… Dane County’s Breakfast on the Farm at Hinchley’s Dairy Farm is postponed to August… CommonHouse coffee shop and Ruby Rose Gallery at Galleria 214 reopen.
Midwest Fire Fest is canceled, along with the Cambridge Arts Council's remaining summer concerts... Cambridge High School will host a virtual graduation ceremony in June and an in-person graduation ceremony in late summer… Cambridge High School honors graduating seniors with yard signs… Cambridge Fire Chief Terry Johnson releases new estimates of the potential tax impact of a fire and EMS station expansion… Kaleidoscope Fibers, Galleria 214, Rowe Pottery Works, and other Main Street businesses prepare to reopen as Covid-19 business restrictions loosen… Farms that rely on tourism look to fall…. The Cambridge School District says it plans to hold summer school.
Cambridge 4-H and FFA members prepare for the Jefferson County Fair, which is still scheduled to go on, after the Dane County Fair and Stoughton Fair are canceled… The Cambridge School Board votes to keep school buildings closed through June 30, despite the Wisconsin Supreme Court's overturning of a statewide school closure order... Dane County enacts its own public health orders to replace overturned statewide orders… The Cambridge Village Board weighs how many animals local households should be allowed to have… Cambridge churches don’t plan to reopen soon for in-person services… The Dane-Jefferson County line splits the Village of Cambridge, leaving businesses on different sides of the county line subject to different Covid-19 public health requirements…
Dane County loosens its COVID-19 restrictions as summer begins while Jefferson County remains open for all activities with public health guidelines but no restrictions… Artists install a collection of pieces in Ripley Park… Cambridge teachers pack up their classrooms, left in March, and say goodbye to a disrupted school year… Cambridge EMS looks to rollout a secure health app to help residents video chat with local EMTs… Dane County begins offering free Covid-19 testing… The Cambridge Market Cafe reopens for dine-in.
Dane County moves to Phase 2 of its Covid-19 reopening...The Cambridge Community Fire and EMS Commission hopes to hold community meetings in the summer and fall to share information on its proposed fire and EMS station expansion. The project moves forward with sights set on municipalities holding five April 2021 referendums… The Cambridge Village Board weighs its pool fence height ordinance… The Jefferson County Fair is cancelled, replaced by a virtual fair… Families of Cambridge High School seniors plan a graduation parade… Area berry farms open for season… Cambridge Farm to School tends its garden at the Severson Learning Center.
Cambridge High School seniors mark graduation with a car parade and virtual ceremony… Protestors gather in Veterans Park to support Black Lives Matter, after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The Cambridge School District starts a conversation on racial equity, paralleling a nationwide conversation. School Board members consider next steps, policy changes and future professional development on race… The Cambridge Food Pantry and Cambridge Area Resource Team anticipate a late summer and fall spike in usage… Cambridge schools provided over 40,000 meals to students from March to June… Cambridge school administrators weigh staying virtual into the fall… Cambridge Village Board members say they have unanswered questions about the proposed fire and EMS station expansion.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction releases fall instruction guidelines. Cambridge school administrators say it will be late summer before they make a decision on fall classes… The Cambridge Historic School Museum reopens with a Women’s Suffrage exhibit… Area women in farming join a panel discussion and network.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi shares the county response to the Covid-19 pandemic with the Cambridge Village Board, citing caring for vulnerable populations as the top priority… Lake Ripley area property owners say they value water quality most highly, in a survey to the Lake Ripley Management District… The Cambridge Village Board asks Cambridge Community Fire and EMS Commission to hire a financial advisor to clarify the tax impact of a proposed fire station expansion.… Dane County’s Breakfast on the Farm at Hinchley’s Dairy Farm is canceled… Longtime Cambridge Elementary School volunteer Georgia Gomez-Ibanez earns a statewide conservation award… Due to Covid019 concerns, the Cambridge Village Board delays approving a permit for Keystone Grill to hold its annual RibFest…
Dane County issues a face mask order… Local municipalities including Cambridge and the Town of Oakland say they're not yet seeing a negative financial impact from Covid-19. Towns and villages are receiving state funds, boat launch revenue is up in Oakland but also are seeing higher election costs…
The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce considers dissolving or reorganizing, in light of volunteer and funding shortages… The Cambridge Community Fire and EMS Commission will ask its five municipalities to set referendums to fund a fire station expansion… Utica Fest, the Cambridge Volunteer Fire Department's Appreciation Day and CAP Touch-A-Truck are all canceled…
Local teens see fewer summer local job opportunities due to Covid-19… School administrators continue to weigh whether fall instruction will be in-person, blended or virtual. Administrators say their first choice is to bring students back in-person five days a week… The Cambridge Village Board considers creating a new tax incremental finance district that incorporates land on which Dancing Goat Distillery wants to expand… Cambridge High School scales back its in-person graduation plans to a photo opportunity of students walking across the stage.
The Cambridge School Board votes to ban wearing or displaying Confederate flags on school property… Cambridge-area volunteer firefighters and EMTs will be paid lost wages if exposed to Covid-19 on a call and forced to miss their day jobs… The Cambridge School District and Cambridge Area Resource Team collect school supplies for needy families.
The Cambridge School Board votes to bring elementary school students back to school in-person in the fall, while middle and high school students will begin the year virtually… The Lake Ripley Management District hires seasonal scientists to track lake conditions… Downtown retailers hold sidewalk sales for Maxwell Street Days… Kwik Trip announces it is purchasing Stop-N-Go stores, including a Cambridge Stop-N-Go on U.S. Highway 12 and 18… The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce decides to dissolve… The Cambridge Area Resource Team hires local workers to clear brush and trees from the yard of a local resident.
Cambridge High School marks 2020 graduation with an in-person outdoor ceremony… Civil War Veteran Edward Potter of Oakland is one of six Deerfield and Cambridge-area soldiers whose military stories will be included in “We Shall Not Forget,” an annual salute to local soldiers to be published in November.
The Cambridge School Board decides to bring all elementary school students back in-person to Cambridge Elementary School, instead of splitting them between two buildings… Severson Learning Center interns harvest produce from the garden and donate it to the Cambridge Food Pantry… The Cambridge Area Lions Club celebrates its 40th anniversary… The Cambridge School District considers borrowing $1.7 million for energy projects like replacing lighting, insulating and adding solar panels… Koshkonong Trails Charter School students will return in-person in the fall.
Public Health Madison & Dane County orders all students in grade 3-12 to begin the year virtually... Cambridge Elementary School tests in-person learning for 60 students in two weeks of in-person summer school… The Cambridge EMS works on becoming a fully-designated paramedic service… Civil War Veteran Charles Goodrich of Oakland is one of six Deerfield and Cambridge-area soldiers whose military stories will be included in “We Shall Not Forget,” an annual salute to local soldiers published in November…
The Cambridge School Board votes to bring special education students back to school in-person at Cambridge High School, which is in Jefferson County and not subject to Dane County’s school closure order… The Cambridge Village Board pushes for more financial details on future fire and EMS spending… Protestors gather for a second racial injustice and gun violence demonstration at Veterans Park… Civil War Veteran William Carrier is one of six Deerfield and Cambridge-area soldiers whose military stories will be included in “We Shall Not Forget,” an annual salute to local soldiers published in November… The Severson Learning Center opens for visits from students and families… Cambridge Elementary School marks its first day of school with 4K, kindergarten, first and second-grade students returning in-person.
Dane County amends its school closure order to allow special education students to learn in-person… Cambridge administrators say they will bring about 60 special education students, who started the year at Cambridge High School, back to their regular school buildings… Cambridge teachers of specials classes like art, gym and language adapt for virtual learning and create socially distanced activities for students learning in-person… Cambridge schools continue to offer free meals for students learning virtually.
Local volunteers help the Cambridge Winery harvest its grape crop… Cambridge Community Activities Program Executive Director Lesli Rumpf resigns… After a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling blocks Dane County’s school closure order, Cambridge school administrators say they will bring more grade levels back for in-person learning… Village Pharmacy & Gifts is purchased by Forward Pharmacy in Cottage Grove… Dancing Goat Distillery’s expansion onto a second site on Lagoon Road advances… Cambridge 4-H members build hand sanitizer stands for Cambridge Elementary School… Cambridge Farm to School’s Fall Fest is postponed to 2021.
The Cambridge School Board delays its middle and high school return to in-person learning by a few weeks due to rising local Covid-19 cases… Members of the Cambridge Community Fire and EMS Commission and the Cambridge Village Board work to find common ground on the proposed fire station expansion…Cambridge is selected to receive a $1.28 million affordable housing grant from Dane County, for a 75-unit Cambridge Artists Lofts apartment complex to be developed by Gorman & Co….Cambridge School District residents will see a lower school tax rate than previous years… The Cambridge School District plans to borrow $1.7 million for energy-saving projects… The popularity of canning, pickling and preserving foods rises during the Covid-19 pandemic… The Cambridge Historic School Museum hosts a traveling exhibit from the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Grades three, four and five return in-person to Cambridge Elementary School… Volunteers with the Lake Ripley Management District cut invasive species plants on the district’s preserve… The Cambridge Community Fire and EMS Commission sends a nearly $1 million budget request to area municipalities. Commission members also consider skipping referendums, and instead simply approving funding for a fire and EMS station expansion at the municipal board level… Cambridge Area EMS paramedics have voted to join a union and are negotiating a collective bargaining agreement… Cambridge sets trick-or-treat hours despite concerns about Covid-19.
The Cambridge Village Board votes to set a referendum to fund its portion of the $6.5 million fire and EMS station expansion… Cambridge again delays the return of middle and high school students to school buildings… Cambridge High School postpones Homecoming… A Madison developer wants to build a $17 million mixed-use artist housing development, with studio and gallery space, near The Vineyards at Cambridge neighborhood… The Cambridge Village Board cuts ties with Town & Country Engineering, after contracting with the firm for 30 years… Dancing Goat Distillery's expansion progresses, with the Village Board approving a land purchase, certified survey map and master plan… Cambridge Elementary School art teacher Sarah Krajewski releases a children’s book.
Cambridge schools see enrollment drop due to the Covid-19 pandemic… Homeowners speak out against the proposed Artists Loft development, after developers pitch the project to the Cambridge Plan Commission… The receipt of a state stewardship grant wraps up a Cambridge group's fundraising for an off-road bike route that will come close to connecting Cambridge to the Glacial Drumlin State Trail… A Cambridge PTO fundraiser delivers flocks of Blue Jay yard art to unsuspecting homeowners… The Earth Wood and Fire Artist Tour remains on, a much-needed financial event for local artists… Local groups begin considering whether community holiday festivities can happen.. The Cambridge Food Pantry relocates.
The Cambridge School Board delays the return of middle and high school students to school buildings until mid-January... Cambridge Elementary School shuts down for two days due to a Covid-19-related staffing shortage, and prepares to follow that with two weeks of virtual learning… Cambridge custodians are doing more work and a lot of sanitizing to keep building safe… The Village Cambridge's preliminary 2021 budget shows a $44,000 deficit.
The Village of Rockdale and the towns of Christiana, Lake Mills and Oakland lean toward not holding referendums in 2021 for the fire and EMS station expansion… Cambridge and Deerfield see high numbers of early, mail-in absentee ballots cast in the Nov. 3 election… Local artists sell their work during the Earth Wood and Fire Artist Tour… Cambridge village officials work toward a 2021 budget that's constrained by state levy caps. One result: village residents in 2021 will see higher garbage collection and water rates… The Town of Oakland votes to borrow for its 2021 operating budget… The Cambridge Area Senior Resource Network works to improve resources for local seniors… Cambridge High School celebrates a virtual Homecoming… The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce holds a “Shop Local” promotion.
Cambridge children trick-or-treat on Halloween… The Cambridge Village Board approves an easement with Bertram Communications to build a communications tower near the village fish ponds… Cambridge Elementary School reopens for in-person learning... The Cambridge Village Board considers putting a second question on the April referendum, asking voters to cover the operating costs of a fire and EMS station expansion… Antique and oddity store Rustic Rediscoveries opens downtown… Wesley “Jug” Jarlsberg reflects on 100 years of living in Cambridge…
Local voters leaned slightly more toward Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 presidential election.. .Special education teachers adapt to pandemic year.
Cambridge Superintendent Bernie Nikolay announces he will retire in 2021… The Christiana Town Board considers holding a referendum on a fire and EMS station expansion… A new Dane County public health order bans all indoor gatherings, and limits outdoor gatherings to ten people at Covid-19 cases rise again… Cambridge Elementary School adds a kindergarten teacher to meet in-person demand.
The Cambridge Food Pantry gives Thanksgiving baskets to over 70 households… The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce clarifies its plans for Classic Christmas activities that don’t involve gatherings… Rockdale and the Towns of Oakland and Christiana reconsider holding referendums for the fire station expansion... Area municipalities set their 2021 budgets… Cambridge Community Activities Program staff set up holiday lights at Ripley Park.
Norwegian holiday foods are important Christmas traditions to people in the Cambridge area, some residents say… Local families celebrate St. Nicholas Day with simple gifts, time together and giving back… The Cambridge Village Board may hire its own financial consultant to clarify questions about funding the proposed fire and EMS station expansion… A Madison developer withdraws plans for the Artists Lofts affordable housing complex after residents oppose it… The village puts off a decision on how to move forward with costly upgrades to a village well… The Cambridge Village Board adopts its 2021 budget… The Cambridge Area Lions Club quietly sets up a Christmas tree in Veterans Park… CAP C.A.R.E. holds its annual Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
CAP hosts a drive-through Breakfast with Santa with a Grinch theme… Cambridge businesses compete in a window decorating competition hosted by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce… Kwik Trip finalizes its purchase of Stop-N-Go… The Cambridge Area Senior Resource Network surveys local seniors and their needs and access to services.
Koshkonong Trails Charter School students make ornaments for residents of six different senior living facilities, to build community this holiday season… Public Health Madison & Dane County says it believes it’s safe for schools to reopen for in-person learning if safety measures are in place… The Town of Christiana and Village of Cambridge have set fire station expansion referendums for April. The towns of Oakland and Rockdale are continuing to discuss that possibility… Holiday plants brighten up December.
Cambridge school administrators still plan to bring middle and high school students back to school in mid-January… Icelandic horses visit downtown Cambridge… As the pandemic drags on, economic need and mental health crises are both on the rise… Cambridge begins searching for a new school superintendent, hiring a search firm to help with the interview process… Local churches make the best of a pandemic Christmas with parking lot carols, pre-recorded pageants and socially distanced services.
Members of the Cambridge Community Fire and EMS Commission are again headed toward five April referendums to expand the fire and EMS Station, with the commission voting to set the same referendum language for all five municipalities… Local property tax bills are in the mail… Neighbors Kitty Epperson and Mark McNally work together to craft birdhouses.