We have a new way to live, learn and laugh as a neighborhood!

This digital publication has been established to build community and connect our neighbors along with supporting our greater community in the Madison area. We recognized that without a community gathering space or town square we needed to look to multiple means to connect each other as neighbors and collectively work to build our community. The Birchwood-Oaks Neighborhood Association was established to do just that!

Please feel free to forward this publication and encourage neighbors to sign up to become a member of this association using this form.

What’s happened around our neighborhood recently?

Update from our last featured family… We may have a ninja warrior in the neighborhood.

Patrick Lagman announced: I’m excited to announce I’ve been selected to participate on NBCs Season 14 of American Ninja Warrior.

At the end of 2020 I made a 2021 goal to apply for the show at the end of the year. With 70,000 applicants every year I did not have any expectations, but was proud and grateful to meet my goal and send in my application. Well, now I get to set a new goal. Completing the qualifying course!

I plan to enjoy every step of this journey and soak it in as much as I can. The reality of it is still setting in, but more real than anything has been the immense support and inspiration from Bailey Brienne Lags . You have continuously inspired me to uncover a version of myself that for a long time I forgot existed. A version that exceeds expectations rather falling short of them. While exemplifying the type of person and success I aspire to be, you have simultaneously made sacrifice and given me two beautiful daughters that have taught me more about life and love than I could ever have hoped to know.

This journey is a culmination of many years of hard work and dedication to fitness, to nutrition, and to my mind. A culmination of over 100 books and over 1000 workouts. And to be fair, mixed with a little bit of luck and consideration from the casting team and producers. No matter what the result, I’m grateful for the journey.

Also thank you to friends and family who always support my wild ideas and aspirations, and thank you to Patrick Gilles and Pat's Gym for your commitment, expertise, and personalized training throughout this process.

What’s coming up in our neighborhood?

Winter Scavenger Hunt:

A fun idea we've had is a self paced scavenger hunt! We'll be creating these to marry up to the seasons throughout the year. It's a great way to get out of the house to see if you can spot these items and animals!! Check out the winter scavenger hunt list below!

When you're done, feel free to post it on the NA page!

It's heart month, and we've included a fun & completely voluntary event to participate in if you'd like to!! Print this note and drop off a special treat to let your neighbors know that you're thinking of them!

The Neighborhood Association will be surprising 10 lovely NA members with "You've Been Hugged" baskets this upcoming week!! We'll be choosing the lucky neighbors via Wheel of Names. But this fun (voluntary) activity is for everyone to participate in! So spread the love by participating as well!

Mark Your Calendars

This year's community-wide garage sale will take place from Thursday, June 9 through Saturday, June 11. More specific details will follow, but we wanted to let people know the date asap so you can start planning and cleaning out your basements.

If you have specific suggestions regarding the sale this year, please email them to

Sections to expand…

Kids Corner

Love to spotlight are many neighborhood kiddos joy, duties, promote entrepreneurial items like lemonade stands, yard work, snow removal, etc. If you have an item to share please complete this form and we will follow up for details.

Family Profile - Getting to know your neighbors

We would like to feature a neighborhood family and get to know a little about each other in this neighborhood profile. Submit pictures, answer a questionnaire, tell us a little bit about each of these highlighted families in our neighborhood. If you would be willing and able to be a featured family please email and we will get you featured.

This month…. Meet Deb Smith

Deb does a great job of being a welcoming sign to Birchwood Point, if you enter Sugar Maple off Mineral Point you can see the regular advocacies and celebrations of the time of year with her vast array of flags. She relayed that this comes from her basic oppositional personality, “I found the bit in the Birchwood Point Covenants that forbids the posting of signs in our yards to be a bit much. I had a Black Lives Matter sign in the yard at my old house and it pissed me off that I couldn't have it here. So, I did some research and sure enough you could get a flag with that on it. So, I put up the flagpole on my porch and hung that flag. There is nothing in the Covenants about flags (unless you want to install a pole in the ground). So, I had a laugh at the expense of the Covenant people. It just spiraled a bit out of control from there and I ended up with a whole bin full of flags.”

Deb grew up in Racine and has two brothers and a sister. Her mother is still alive. Nobody stayed in Wisconsin besides her and she is a Smith, but doesn't know what kind of Smith they were in the beginning. She came to Madison in 1977 to attend law school and developed many close friendships and was involved in the LGBT community. She doesn’t always love Madison, but couldn't possibly leave the friends she has had for over 40 years. Deb moved into Birchwood Point in 2017. She lived on the east side for many, many years and then moved to Middleton, owning a home there for over 20 years. She bought this place in Birchwood Point as her “age in place” house. Even though I haven't really become close with any of my neighbors, I like that I live where there is diversity. As diverse as places in Wisconsin get. I like that Madison is progressive and has lots of opportunities to explore one's interests and passions.

Deb has a small entourage in a Cat: Edward the three legged vampire, and two Dogs: Rosie the miniature dachshund and Lucy the wild child.

Title of her memoirs…Oops! Won't do that again. Deb has been a fiction writer for several years and taken workshops from some local authors but I will give her a moment to share this “autobiographical essay” I derived from responses to the questionnaire to give you a picture of the person behind the flags.

I am retired, so my whole life is a hobby. I try to do the basic things like greeting people with a smile and saying please and thank you. I volunteer at the food pantry.

Last year's mission during Covid was to learn to bake bread. I make a delicious pumpernickel and have now mastered focaccia

I hunt and fish and shoot trap. I have recently taken up pickleball. I like going to the dog park with friends. We like the Prairie Moraine Park outside of Verona.

I like to drive in the country a lot. I have an unnatural fascination and attachment to the Merrimac Ferry. I often drive up there when the ferry is open. There are a lot of small parks and natural areas to explore around there. I found one where, in July, there are millions of wild black raspberries. I also go morel hunting although I have never found any.

My extended and dispersed family gets together now and then as a whole group. I have very fond memories of family trips up north every summer. We are a fishing family and we would always work very hard to have enough fish for a big fish fry on Friday night before we had to go home. We are planning a get together this July to celebrate my mother's 90th birthday. We have rented a giant house near Lexington because it allows most of the family to drive there.

My best vacation was years ago when I went to Jamaica with two work friends. It was so completely relaxing and at the time with work being so intense, relaxing was the best thing it could be. We sat on the patio and drank rum punch and played euchre for a week. My playlist is a bit odd. I have a lot of old R&B/Motown, I grew up on James Taylor, but I also am a big fan of Pink.

I am very interested in voting rights. I volunteer as a poll worker and I worked some with Voter ID which is a program through the League of Women Voters

I have wishes for Deb after getting this small snippet of who she is that if we could make it happen we would find a way to get her to spend the day with Gertrude Stein in a cafe in Paris smoking Gauloises and drinking wine. And back here in the neighborhood she'd like to have a little breakfast/lunch place over on Silicon Valley Parkway where neighbors could come in for coffee and some pancakes and the older folks would sit at the back table and play cards on Wednesdays. Thanks Deb for being a wonderful member of Birchwood-Oaks neighborhood and a wonderful person to get to know.

By Jeremy Schlitz


We also would like to feature birth/death/anniversary/graduation and other milestone announcements. Please submit via this recognition form what you’d like to be announced next month.

Congrats on your new puppy… To the Zurbriggen family.. Luke, Megan, and their two young boys, added a new havanese puppy to their home on Sunshine Lane. Luke is a physician at UW in the hematology/oncology department. Megan works at UW’s law school. They have two young boys and now a new puppy named Hawkeye Pierce (who gets the character reference?!)

Community Events and Resources

Black History Month around Madison

Public library events - check out book discussions, films, virtual opportunities and more

Other area events - Soul food night at the Kohl Center, Tik Tok dance lessons, comedy shows, lectures, and more

Blood Drives

American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis – its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care. Amid this crisis, doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available. Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments.The Red Cross asks the country to roll up a sleeve to help ensure people receive the care they need. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)

Annual HOA Meetings

DSI Neighborhood Association Thousand Oaks is scheduled for 2/8 at 6pm and Birchwood Point/ Birchwood Point South Annual meeting is scheduled for February 9th at 6pm via Microsoft Teams, send an email to for an invite.

Submitted articles: Please consider penning an article or repurposing something you created and want to share with your neighbors

If you would like to submit an item for this Monthly magazine, please email

Business Ads

As our community and membership continue to grow, we recognize the importance of supporting local and family owned businesses right here in Birchwood-Oaks. We'd love to feature your Business Ad in an upcoming newsletter! Please contact us at, and include your name, business name, location, phone number, website, email address and applicable logo and/or pictures!

*Please continue to let your neighbors know about the NA and encourage them to sign up to receive info and updates to build our community

If you would like to donate to the neighborhood association please donate to Jeffrey Thorn Venmo

Ali Reinhard – Secretary & Interim President
Bridget Boyer – Interim Vice President
Jeffrey Thorn – Treasurer

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Birchwood-Oaks Neighborhood Association · 517 Sugar Maple Ln · Verona, WI 53593-5127 · USA

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