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?

Summer party in the park

The second neighborhood Party of this year on August 28th in 1000 Oaks Park was a great success! It was a great time for everyone to connect, eat, congregate, and compete with our neighbors. Thanks to all that made it a great event!

Thanks to everyone who made this party a success, especially all of you who came out to celebrate with us! A special thanks to our volunteers: Bridget Boyer, our community events coordinator, Ali Reinhard, NA President, and Kayla Julius, NA Secretary, for setting up and hanging out at the welcome table. Thanks to everyone who shared their bags boards, ladder golf, other games, and their time to make this another huge success!! Jenn & Jeffrey Thorn, Sarah & Mitch Splinter, Heather Reinke, Katlin & Drue Hemingway, Pete Reinhard, and Stephanie Topel!

If you have suggestions for our next party or want to volunteer, please email us at

Outdoor Movie Night

Outdoor movie took place on Sunday night, September 4th. Thanks to Mitch Splinter and Danny Verdecchia for hosting another Sunday night outdoor movie this month in Sugar Maple park on September 4th! Watch for Mitch to post the next movie on the Facebook page.

What’s coming up in our neighborhood?


Save the date for our next event, a Tailgate Party on September 24th! More details to follow on our Facebook page and via email.

Stay tuned for more information on our second annual Halloween Party (taking place on Sunday, October 30th) and Trick-or-Treating as well!

Kids Corner

Are you planning to DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids? With inflation, it might be a good idea to be creative and pick up materials to DIY one this year. If you don't know what to make, you can learn ideas from different online resources.

85 DIY costume
22 DIY Halloween costume
85 easy DIY Halloween costume

We would like to gather costume photos for the November newsletter. If you are willing to share the costume photos, please send them to We will highlight your creativity in our "Kids Corner".

We’d love to spotlight our 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 Susan and Gary

Susan and Gary met not once but twice. They were married for about five or six years and having dinner with some friends. One of them asked how they met. Gary began telling one story when Susan interrupted. She proceeded to tell a completely different rendition of their first meeting. It involved a different place and time, like two years earlier. Since then, they have been able to piece together and expand upon each version including their first impressions of each other. You will have to ask them in person to tell their respective stories. They are somewhat long, involved and funny.

Another complicated story is how they came to live in our neighborhood. The two of them moved into Thousand Oaks a year ago. The move was triggered by "a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy . . ." To be totally transparent, they confessed it was "a guy who knows a gal who knows a guy who knows a gal who knows a gal who knows a guy." A wonderful, intriguing and involved story again best explained in person.

But that is only half of what prompted their move. The other part was the warped opinion of their two children and their spouses who thought Gary and Susan were reaching the age of infirmity, senility, and total incompetence. Since their son and his wife live off of Mineral Point Road just a couple of miles away and their daughter and son-in-law intended to move to the Madison area about now, Susan and Gary needed to be closer to their children. The obvious intent was for them to look after their parents as they swiftly declined. Which Susan and Gary are bound and determined to prove to them that talk of their decline is premature and intend to forestall any talk of geriatric care for several more decades.

Their family has grown over the years from two children to two children with spouses. Add to that two granddaughters, one working and the other a college sophomore. They have spent more than ten years following the college granddaughter swim competitively. They say, what better way to spend cold winter days than in warm, humid natatoriums watching her swim. They would be remiss in not mentioning three "grand dogs" that occupy the home and lives of their son and his wife. For now, that is the extent of the family.

Moving into a small corner home in Thousand Oaks, they were impressed by the warm welcome they received by many of their neighbors. Within just a couple of months they knew more than two dozen people. Of course, they had the advantage of living directly across the street from the mailboxes.

This summer they have sought to extend and expand the welcome they received. Since they live on a corner and across from the mailboxes, they have tried to foster neighborliness by hosting "Fabulous Fridays." They invited those neighbors they had met and some of the new people who had recently moved in to gather outside on Friday evenings. The Stillwell’s provide simple snacks while everyone brings their own beverage. The Stillwell’s have had a "question of the week" to facilitate initial conversations. People who have lived here since the inception of the neighborhood are meeting and getting to know each other for the first time. Plus, everyone is getting to know the people who live around them much better.

Susan and Gary have vastly different hobbies. She loves to garden (Some may have noticed the quick emergence of a garden along the side of their house and pots of flowers on both the front porch and deck). Susan also makes rag rugs through a process called twinning; and sews pillowcases, baskets, table runners, and quilts. With a degree in art education, Susan has spent many years substitute teaching. To help her students, whether in kindergarten or high school seniors, she would tell classes she had the perfect last name for a substitute teacher. She would say, "I am not sick. I am still well."

Gary is involved in building rooms in their basement doing all but the plumbing work himself. One of the rooms will be Susan's studio. Another will be used by Gary to build wooden ships and for playing the trumpet. He has freely shared some of his handyman talents with the neighbors. He use to have a Hobie Cat that only purred when it was up on one hull flying across Lake Mendota. He misses sailing but not the constant maintenance of the boat.

The two of them love to travel and have had the privilege of doing so throughout the United States. They have also traveled in the Caribbean, Central America, and Europe. The highlights for them have always been the people they have met and gotten to know. Whether it has been owners of homes built for hurricane victims, working on a Rose Parade float, attending worship in King's College chapel, or camping with friends, each has been special in its own right. Recently they returned from a week visiting family in northern Germany followed by two weeks in Ireland. Again, they met several remarkable individuals whose hospitality was overwhelming.

Susan and Gary have made many new friends, younger chronologically but not in spirit or winsomeness. Gary's best buddy is two-year-old Valentino. When he was just a year and a half old, Valentino would cross the alley and knock on the garage door (the big one) calling out Gary's name and wanting to see him. Susan's best friend is Calvin who lives across the street and loves to garden with her. And of course, they cannot ignore "the boys" - Peter, Luke, Gregory and Francis. They are always so full of new knowledge and wonder. Susan and Gary are grateful for the youthful energy of their neighbors and being included in the vitality of their lives.

By Jeremy Schlitz


If you’d like your pet/s to be featured, please send their profile and pictures to

September Pet: Wynn Reinhard

Hi, I’m Wynn Reinhard. I’m a 6-year old, female Plott Hound mix and I live on Sunshine Lane with my mom (Ali) and dad (Pete), and my fur sister, Sandy. I used to live in Alabama until some really nice people found me and helped bring me to Wisconsin. I had to undergo treatment to get rid of my heartworms, which sucked (so don’t forget your preventatives!), but I eventually got a clean bill of health and was finally able to be adopted in 2019. I went to an adoption event in April and as soon as my mom and dad saw me, we all knew it was a perfect match and I came home with them. Yay! Since then, I’ve proven to be the bestest, most loveable girl. I had a pretty big health scare a little over a year ago and since recovering (thanks to the hippie vet who saved my life), my mom and dad cherish me even more and all my adorable little quirks.

Things I like: naps, belly rubs, people of all sizes, breakfast, napping in sunny spots, sniffies, cuddling, being a foster fur sister, dinner, smooches, napping in all the beds in the house, hunting bunnies and chipmunks, treats, napping wherever my dad is, Sandy, car rides, eating delicious grass snacks and napping.

Things I do NOT like: thunderstorms, fireworks, rain, my winter booties, hammering noises/things that sound like thunder, light breezes, generally any weather whatsoever, airplanes, and other dogs who come in too hot.

We don’t live in a house with a fence, so we go on LOTS of walkies. If you see us out and about, please feel free to ask to pet me – I’d love to meet you! You can follow me and all my adventures, i.e, naps, on Instagram at @shiba_and_the_plott.

Diversity matters in our neighborhood

We live in a neighborhood with diversity. We added this section with the mission to educate, advocate, celebrate and empower all of us to create an environment that is inclusive, equitable, and diverse. We encourage you to learn about all the diversity dates and events this month.

Mid-Autumn Festival (September 10)

The Mid-Autumn Festival,[a] also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated in Chinese culture with over 3,000 years of history since the Shang dynasty. Similar holidays are celebrated in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other countries in East and Southeast Asia.

It is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture; its popularity is on par with that of Chinese New Year. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar with a full moon at night. This year it is on Sep 10th, 2022. The festival celebrates three fundamental concepts that are closely connected: Gathering, Thanksgiving, and Praying. A notable part of celebrating the holiday is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, or floating sky lanterns.

An important part of the festival celebration is Moon worship. Making and sharing mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of this festival. If you’d like to learn more, please find more information here.

Mexican Independence Day (September 16)

Mexico, once known as New Spain, was a colony harshly ruled by the kingdom of Spain for over 300 years. On September 16, 1810, a man named Padre Hidalgo delivered a speech now known as the Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores), demanding the end of Spanish rule. This started the Mexican War of Independence. To celebrate, the day is filled with patriotic speeches, flag-waving, parades, live music, and home-cooked feasts. The colors of the Mexican flag –red, white, and green, are seen everywhere across Mexico and even cities in the USA with big Mexican populations. If you’d like to learn more, please find more information here.

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15)

Every year from September 15 to October 15 Americans celebrate National Hispanic LatinX Heritage Month by appreciating the community’s history, heritage, and contributions of the ancestors of American citizens who came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and South and Central America

This month is celebrated in a plethora of ways As several other celebratory holidays fall during this month such as the independence days of several Latin American countries concerts, parades, food fairs, and more are organized throughout Educational events like art exhibitions take place as well, highlighting important Latino heroes in history. If you’d like to learn more, please find more information here.

Contributing to Fire Station 12

Do you want to make a meal for our firefighters? Or do you have any other ideas on how to show our appreciation for them? Please email us at if you’re interested in contributing.

What do you like about our neighborhood?

We would like to hear your stories or a short note of what you like or what would expect to improve in the neighborhood and why you chose to live in our neighborhood. Please send your stories and notes to We will post it in next month's newsletter! Please note that we would use your name unless you state you’d prefer to be anonymous.

Request/Offer help corner:

Do you need help or want to offer help for neighbors with shoveling, cutting lawn, etc.? Please send your requests/offers to We will post it in next month's newsletter! Please note that we would use your name and contact information (email or phone).


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.


Is your Newsletter getting lost in your Gmail account? You may want to check your “Promotions” tab. If you find the Newsletter there, you can add the NA's email ( to your Google contacts and explicitly move that email to your inbox. Ideally, this should teach Gmail to send future Newsletters to your main inbox.

Community Events and Resources

Please visit to find events in Madison, including food events and tours, concerts, farmer’s markets, sports, theater, and arts.

Farmer markets:

April through November; Capitol Square, Downtown Madison
November to December; Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr.
January to April; Garver Feed Mill, 3241 Garver Green

May through October; 300 E. Main St.

April through November; 750 University Row (corner of University Ave. and University Row)

May through October; Hilldale Shopping Center, 726 N. Midvale Rd.

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

Sponsors of our Association

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 – Vice President & Interim President
Bridget Boyer – Community Events Coordinator
Jeffrey Thorn – Treasurer
Briehl - Secretary

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Birchwood-Oaks Neighborhood Association · 517 Sugar Maple Ln · Verona, WI 53593-5127 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp