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Wisconsin Wit

Friday, December 30, 2005

Cap Times: Weekend Entertainment Ideas

Click on the post for a couple of ideas for this weekend.

Evansville Officer Denies Charges

Click on the post for the latest on the Sgt. Fitters case.

On Fontana: Judge intervenes to guarantee right of public for referendum

A judge has intervened to make sure that the people of Fontana get a chance to put a project to referendum. After all, the public is going to be funding it in a TIF project. There was apparendly a manuever to split the project up to avoid the necessity of going to referendum. Stay tuned as the saga of Fontana continues....

Click on the post for the full story in the Janesville Gazette.

Attracting the Boomers= The New Economic Development Program

With the first of the baby boom generation entering retirement, the rush is on for communities to attract them along with their retirement savings and housing gains. The USA Today calls this the "New Economic Development".

Click on the post for the full article.

The question might be how well any community, even ours, is doing in making itself an attractive place to retire.

Developer Gorman seeks TIF for purchase, renovation of Oregon "Red Brick School,"

Developer Gary Gorman has approached the Oregon School District about purchasing the old Oregon High School and converting it to commerical office space for his company. He is seeking a TIF district to make this financially possible.

As schools scramble to make their facilities energy efficient and size appropriate, I see the conversion of older, historic, brick schools to private use to be a growing trend. This is a story to watch.

Monroe Schools face declining enrollment, consolidation, referendum; Supr. Speaks

The Supr. of Monroe Schools has begun a series of articles describing the challenges facing Monroe Schools as it faces declining enrollment and a difficult state revenue formula with little prospect of relief. He sees a referendum in the horizon for Monroe.

Click on the post for the full story.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Natural Gas plunges;

Natural Gas prices have plunged according to Yahoo news. All due to the warm weather we have been having.

On very volatile days in the brokerage business, an options trader, Elvin, who sat next to me, would, in moments of extreme volatility, just stand and intone "Vol--a--tility." We all would smile. Volatility is the magic that makes option traders rich. In a market that fluctuates from $15 to $10 in a couple of days, it is a sign that in an area that is in the public trust, speculation has gone amuck.

Reflecting on the warning from "Mark" about speculation in the energy markets and the thought that this may be all manipulation, the Observer is more cynical each day about what is happening. I am sure that re-regulation is the answer.

Click on the post for the whole story in Yahoo news. What do you think? You make the call.

Wayne Steinlein announces for 4th Ward Alderman

In an exclusive Christmas Eve interview, Wayne Steinlein of 243 East Main Street has announced for the 4th Ward Alderman positon on the Evansville City Council. Wayne is a recently retired U.S. Air Force veteran who has served two tours in the war theatre, has played an active role in the citizens effort of the 4th ward to preserve their neighborhood as R1 zoning, and has been outspoken about the need for industrial and commercial development that will bring good jobs to Evansville, as opposed to TIF development that would only enrichen developers and create minimum wage employment.

I have reprinted a post of Wayne from last September in which he spoke of the ethanol project in Milton and of the TIF in Evansville.

Stay tuned to the Evansville Observer for all the debate, all the most breaking news of the coming election in Evansville.

The Observer has questions. You have answers.

WATERCOOLER :Wayne speaks: "TIF, TIF, TIF .....Is it time to switch to corn?; On why industrial development or an ethanol plant might work?

( ed. note. Reprinted from Sept 1, 2005) The other night one of my neighbors stopped in and I was told he was waiting for me in the living room. Said he had something to talk to me about. Naturally, I was wondering what about. Only in Evansville could readers appear in person to voice their posts to my ears in person. Anyway.

Wayne (fictional name) a lumbering military type guy spoke up. " Well, " he said, "me and the neighbors have been talking it over, and we think we really need industrial growth in Evansville, like that ethanol plant in Milton. Let's welcome them here. Milton does not seem to want them much. TIF, TIF, TIF will give us some low paying jobs and make developers happy, but will do nothing for residents that need good jobs with benefits. We need the good jobs NOW.

"Further," he went on, "with the cost of energy going up, our resources in grain here in Evansville make us perfectly situated for an ethanol plant. It would be perfect."

So that's it. The voice mail WATERCOOLER for the day. What do you think? You make the call.

Planning Commission Meeting Agenda--1-3-2005

Evansville Plan Commission

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, January 3, 2006, 6:00 p.m.

City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI

AGENDA
Call to order
Roll call
Approval of agenda
Approval of minutes
Motion to waive the reading of the December 5, 2005 minutes and approve them as printed
Motion to waive the reading of the December 15, 2005 minutes and approve them as printed
Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed
Unfinished business
Final land division for City of Evansville and MJ Properties LLC (boundary line relocation) – Application 2005-25
Motion to remove from the table
Motion to recommend to Council approval of the final land division for the City of Evansville and MJ Properties LLC
New business
Zoning code text amendment relative to violations of sign regulations
Initial presentation by staff
Initial discussion by Plan Commission
Public hearing
Final discussion by Plan Commission
Motion to recommend to Council the adoption of Ordinance #2005-46 as drafted
Zoning code text amendment relative to minimum building sizes for group developments in the B-4 District
Initial presentation by staff
Initial discussion by Plan Commission
Public hearing
Final discussion by Plan Commission
Motion to recommend to Council the adoption of Ordinance #2005-47 as drafted
Zoning code map amendment relative to rezoning territory from Central Business District (B-2) to Residential District Two (R-2)
Initial presentation by staff
Initial discussion by Plan Commission
Public hearing
Final discussion by Plan Commission
Motion to recommend to Council the adoption of Ordinance #2005-48 as drafted based on the findings as contained in the staff report and on the conclusion that the public benefits of the proposed zoning classification outweigh any and all potential adverse impacts, if any.
Moratorium on the installation of outdoor furnaces within the City of Evansville
Initial presentation by staff
Initial discussion by Plan Commission
Public hearing
Final discussion by Plan Commission
Motion to recommend to Council the adoption of Ordinance #2005-49 as drafted
Zoning code text amendment relative to minimum lot size in Residential District One (R-1) and Residential District Two (R-2)
Initial presentation by staff
Initial discussion by Plan Commission
Public hearing
Final discussion by Plan Commission
Motion to recommend to Council the adoption of Ordinance #2005-50 as drafted
Amendment of Chapter 126 of the municipal code relative to wellhead protection
Initial presentation by staff
Initial discussion by Plan Commission
Public hearing
Final discussion by Plan Commission
Motion to recommend to Council the adoption of Ordinance #2005-53 as drafted
Plan Commission Resolution 2006-1 recommending to the Common Council the amendment of the City’s comprehensive plan by changing the classification of certain parcels from single-family residential to commercial on the interim future land use map and the future land use map
Motion to recommend to Council the approval of an easement agreement between the City of Evansville and MJ Properties, LLC
Preliminary development presentations
None
City Planner’s report
Update on drafting of proposed amendment to the floodplain ordinance to be consistent with the state floodplain management model ordinance of 2004
Update on proposal to adopt architectural design standards
Update on fiscal impact analysis
Enforcement – Tom Nonn, dba Badger Cycle
Report of the Evansville Redevelopment Authority – none
Report of the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission – none
Motion to adjourn
Mayor Janis Ringhand, Plan Commission Chair

Please turn off all cell phones while the meeting is in session. Thank you!

Joy in the Winter

Planning Commission Minutes--12-5-2005

Plan Commission

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, December 5, 2005, 6:00 P.M.

City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI

MINUTES
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Ringhand at 6:00 PM. Present were: Mayor Ringhand, Ald. Aikman, Ald. Hammann, Cheryl Dickert, Gil Skinner, Dave Sauer, and Jeff Vrstal. Staff present: Tim Schwecke, City Planner; Bill Connors, City Administrator; and Jim Beilke, Clerk/Treasurer. Ald. Cothard, Juergens, and Sornson were present in the audience.

The Plan Commission move item (7-A) regarding the discussion on the impact of residential growth in the school district facilities and finances after item (5) citizen appearances. The agenda, as amended, was approved.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Skinner, to waive the reading of the November 1, 2005 Minutes and approve them as printed. Motion carried.

Citizen Appearances Other Than Those Agenda Items Listed. None.

New Business.
The Plan Commission discussed the impact on the school district facilities and finances from residential growth in the school district. Heidi Carvin, Evansville School District Superintendent, distributed a pie chart on the school district population by township showing the student population consisting of 50% from Evansville, 22% from Union, 8% from Magnolia, 5% from Porter, 5% from Center, 6% from Janesville, and 4% from others (attached). Next, Ms. Carvin distributed the school district enrollment projections, noting the most growth is in the K-5 grades (attached). With this growth, the school district facilities are now at 83% capacity (attached). Ms. Carvin asked the communities for input regarding residential growth. The City of Evansville has agreements with two major developers limiting them together to an average of 70 new lots per year for next 4 years. Mr. Connors added that future agreements would need to require fewer new lots than 70 per year if the City of Evansville is going to meet the targeted population growth rate of 27% over the next 10 years. Kendall Schneider, Town of Union Chairman, stated that currently the town is considering limiting growth to 44 new lots per year in the new Start Growth Plan, but that plan is not yet adopted. Ms. Carvin stated that the school districts facilities will be above 90% capacity within the next 10 years, and state revenues are not keeping up with the costs to run the schools. The state revenues are based on enrollment and/or Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 1993, the Wisconsin school revenues were capped, and it is illegal to exceed the revenue cap unless authorized in a district-wide referendum. Since then, the CPI inflation was lower than the inflation schools face, such as, insurance, wages, fuel, and textbooks. In 2005, the medium growth in budgets allowed by revenues limits was 2.5%, and the medium growth in the cost of schools was 4.2%, which leaves a typical gap between the cost growth rate and revenue growth rate of 1.7%.

Unfinished Business.

The Plan Commission discussed a draft ordinance that would permit smaller single-family and two-family residential lots in older platted areas of the city than is currently permitted in the R-1 district. Last month, the Plan Commission reviewed a draft ordinance that would have created a new zoning district (R-1Z) to accommodate all of the small lots in the older parts of the city. The newly revised draft ordinance would amend the regulations for the existing R-1 and R-2 districts to allow smaller lots if they created by plats recorded before January 1, 2001. Ald. Hammann and Aikman would sponsor the ordinance.

The Plan Commission discussed a draft ordinance that would allow outdoor furnaces within the city limits provided specific conditions can be met. Ald. Aikman favors banning outdoor furnaces within the city limits because of public safety and health issues. After some discussion on public safety and health issues, the consensus was to grandfather in existing outdoor furnaces but with regulations. The Plan Commission instructed staff to draft an ordinance banning new outdoor furnaces and regulating the existing outdoor furnaces. Ald. Sornson instructed staff to place on the next Council agenda a moratorium for new outdoor furnaces with him and Ald. Hammann as sponsors.

The Plan Commission discussed a draft ordinance that would revise provisions of the sign code relating to violations. After reviewing the draft ordinance, Ald. Hammann and Sornson said they would sponsor it.

The Plan Commission discussed a possible boundary agreement between the City of Evansville and the Town of Union. Ald. Hammann reported that last month the Commission talked about a possible Joint Cooperation Agreement with the Town of Union, who is working on their Smart Growth Plan. After they complete it, the City and Town will then work on a boundary agreement.

New Business (continued).

The Plan Commission reviewed Secured Equities, LLC’s site plan located at 204 Water Street (Application #2005-26) for a building approximately 3,500 square feet, which will be divided into three spaces. Originally, the site plan requested a building with two phases, but Secured Equities, LLC amended the site plan by removing the second phase.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Vrstal, to approve Secured Equities, LLC’s site plan (Application #2005-26), with conditions contained in the staff report, and other conditions as may be imposed by the Commission.

Mr. Berg stated the correct address for the project is 204 Water Street, and that the Plan Commission agenda and information in the packet listed the wrong address. Additionally, Mr. Berg is not asking for financial assistance from TIF and will not construct the second phase of the building. Mr. Schwecke recommended the applicant obtain a floodplain permit to construct the project within the 100-year floodplain, obtain a sign permit for any proposed signage, and build a bufferyard with opacity of 0.3 along the eastern boundary.

Motion carried.

The Plan Commission reviewed Charles Rohloff’s preliminary certified survey map (CSM) that would create a single parcel of 2.65 acres, which will be added to an adjoining public park (Application #2005-32).

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Vrstal, to recommend to the Council the approval of Charles Rohloff’s preliminary CSM within the city’s extraterritorial plat review area (Application 2005-32). Motion carried.

The Plan Commission discussed the zoning code text amendment (Ordinance #2005-43) relative to reconstruction of damaged nonconforming structures

Mr. Schwecke reported that under the ordinance, any “nonconforming structure” could be reconstructed, and any structure containing a “nonconforming use” (regardless of whether the structure is conforming or nonconforming), could be rebuilt and the nonconforming use re-established within 18 months from the day when the damage occurred. The Plan Commission could grant an additional 18 months extension.

The public hearing was opened at 7:40 PM. Ald. Sornson spoke in favor of this ordinance. Steve Hagen, 420 W. Main St., raised the issue that many buildings are on lots too small to conform to current municipal code, or the building use does not conform to current code. If the buildings were damaged, the buildings could not be rebuilt conforming to current code. Thus property owners would not be allowed to rebuild, and their lots would remain vacant. This ordinance would allow these nonconforming buildings to be rebuilt in their existing footprint. Mr. Connors reported that in section 1, paragraph (a), the Commission may want to add the words, “except as provided in paragraph (c),” because paragraph (a) and (c) contradict each other. The public hearing was closed at 7:45 PM.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Aikman, to recommend to Council adoption of Ordinance #2005-43, as drafted.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Aikman, to amend section 1, paragraph (a), to include the words, “except as provided in paragraph (c).” Motion carried.

The original motion, as amended, carried.

The Plan Commission discussed zoning code text amendment (Ordinance #2005-44) relative to creating a new zoning district – Special Use Business District (B-5). Mr. Schwecke distributed a memorandum (attached) and reported that Ordinance #2005-44 establishes a new zoning district entitled B-5. What it does not establish are bufferyard requirements, provisions related to signage, or landscaping requirements for the new B-5 district. The amendment in his memorandum that he distributed would correct these omissions. This ordinance would create work-live units, defined as a building with commercial activity that occupies the majority of the space and with living quarters (for only the business operator) that occupies a minor portion of the space. This ordinance also allows railroad lines as a conditional use.

Ald. Hammann noted that John Petterson from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6905 would like to change the zoning of the VFW’s property from B-2 to B-5 as a contiguous property to the newly proposed zoning district. In the new proposal, indoor commercial entertainment (page 4, item 130-408) is not allowed as a permitted conditional use. The VFW Post requested the City would consider changing the status of indoor commercial entertainment to a conditional use in B-5.

The public hearing was opened at 7:57 PM. Mr. Berg stated the City should consider changing the zoning of the VFW lot to B-5 because it may not be a VFW Post twenty years from now. If the lot were zoned B-5, it would be easier to sell. He added that the City should also consider the work-live units because they would incubate new small businesses. Mr. Schwecke noted that only the business operator could live in the residential space and that owners are not allowed to rent their residential space. Mr. Berg stated that would be problematic for the small business owners who want to rent their residential space. Dave Olson, from Baker Manufacturing Company, and Ald. Sornson do not favor having residential space in the new B-5 district because the business environment in this area is inappropriate for residents. In the spirit to move this ordinance forward, Mr. Berg recommended eliminating the residential components in this ordinance. The public hearing was closed at 8:05 PM.

After considering the issues of work-live units in this business area, the consensus was to eliminate it from the new B-5 district. The Plan Commission reviewed the VFW Post’s request to change the zoning district for their parcel to B-5 and adding indoor commercial entertainment. Additionally, the Commission discussed adding outdoor commercial entertainment, deleting commercial apartments, and deleting farm residence in the new B-5 district.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Aikman, to recommend to Council the approval of Ordinance #2005-44 with following amendments: adding both indoor and outdoor commercial entertainment as a conditional use (on page 4, item 130-408 and 130-409); deleting commercial apartments (on page 5, item 130-522); deleting farm residence (on page 5, item 130-523); deleting work-live (on page 4, item 130-422); deleting Section 2 pertaining to the work-live units (on page 1); and including Section 12 through 17 in the City Planner’s 6-page memorandum that was distributed at this meeting. Motion carried.

The Plan Commission reviewed the zoning code map amendment (Ordinance #2005-45) relative to redesignating specified parcels from Community Business District (B-3) to Special Use Business District (B-5) (Application 2005-27). Mr. Schwecke reported that changing the zoning district as shown on the map is in the best interest of the City. The map in the Commission packet did not include the lot for the VFW Post in the new B-5 district. The VFW requested their lot be included in the new B-5 district.

The public hearing was opened at 8:27 PM. Ald. Sornson spoke in favor of this ordinance. The public hearing was closed at 8:28 PM.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Aikman, to recommend to Council adoption of Ordinance #2005-45, including the VFW property. Motion carried.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Skinner, to recommend to the Council the release of an easement established in favor of the City on parcel 6-27-165 (Dean Community Center parcel and adjacent parking-lot parcel). The Council approved a preliminary Certified Survey Map (CSM) splitting the properties between the City and MJ Properties. There are existing easements, which the City Attorney advised abandoning them and recording a new CSM without the easements. Then the City should enter into a new agreement with MJ Properties giving them an easement across Lot 2 (owned by the City), so that they would have access to the back end of Lot 1 (owned by MJ Properties). Motion carried.

The Commission then discussed the size requirements on group development projects in the B-4 district (Section 130-853, paragraph (12) of the Municipal Code). At the request of the business community, the Common Council adopted Ordinance #2002-11, which removed a minimum size for tenant spaces in a strip development building. The original intent of the ordinance was to remove all of the references to minimum floor area for tenants and for buildings, according to John Morning. Ordinance #2002-11 did not remove all such provisions, specifically Section 130-853, paragraph 12, which contains minimum size requirements for group development. This was a simple oversight in 2002. Ald. Sornson and Hammann would sponsor an ordinance that would eliminate the Section 130-853, paragraph 12, from the Municipal Code.

The Plan Commission discussed a possible amendment to the Interim Future Land Use Map and Future Land Use Map in the Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan to be consistent with the recent enlargement of Tax Incremental District No. 5. There are a number of single-family residential parcels along Union Street at the northern end of the added territory, which are shown as single-family residential on the interim and future land use maps of the city’s comprehensive plan. Given the recent investment in the road reconstruction project and given this area is in the tax increment district, the Plan Commission considered amending the map changing the zoning from single-family residential to commercial or a similar use. If the map amendments were made, the current single-family residential zoning would not change until the property owners submit an application for a zoning map amendment. Mr. Berg spoke in favor of amending the map because it would encourage businesses to buy these parcels. Ald. Hammann noted that the Town of Union is working on their Future Land Use Map and maybe the city should hold off making changes to its Future Land Use Map until the city and township’s future land use maps are made consistent through negotiations. He added the Plan Commission would welcome any business proposal to change the zoning map, but there is nothing compelling to change it now. After further discussion, the commissioners reached a consensus that it was about time for the first annual review of the city’s Smart Growth Plan, and this possible change to the Future Land Use Map could be considered as part of that review.

Preliminary Development Presentations. None

City Planner’s Report.

Mr. Schwecke reported the floodplain ordinance would be ready next month.

Report of the Evansville Redevelopment Authority. None

Report of the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission. None

Adjournment

Motion by Skinner, seconded Vrstal, to adjourn, carried at 8:56 PM.

Prepared by:

James A. Beilke

City Clerk/Treasurer

The Minutes of the Plan Commission are not official until approved by Plan Commission.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Sugar Daddy Christmas; Or, A Christmas Story

Several years ago, the stress of the Christmas season seemed to have destroyed all the joy---the desire to get the perfect gift for others and the complementary desire to get the perfect gift from the perfect family member just screamed out for change. So, I designed what the kids have come to call the "Sugar Daddy Christmas." Prior to Christmas we would focus soly on the religious nature of the holiday. All the advent ceremony. All the reflections on waiting. All the cleaning out of the old and preparation for the new. Then, on the day after Christmas, we would go total capitalist.

On Christmas Day, each family member would give one gift to each other, with a strict price limit of $10. It would hopefully be a book, some body lotion or something of interest. A handmade gift would be the ideal. Then on Christmas Eve, we would celebrate at the Cathedral in Madison at midnight with all the brass instruments.

On the Day after Christmas, each person would get a "Sugar Daddy" envelope with $100 in it for the shopping spree. Each would then go on the shopping spree and keep all the receipts. The person who got the most value measured in discounts from original retail, would get an additional $50.

This shopping spree was quite a competitive event. The girls were all amazed how much those precious things before Christmas were discounted just one day later. What an added benefit for just having a religious emphasis before Christmas. Religion seemed to have some economical side benefits. Molly, the youngest, did get some purchasing help from one of the boyfriends, Greg, who devised a purchasing strategy of using deeply discounted toys to win the contest. However, in the end, the first year, Amy was the declared winner.

Now they all just ask, "Are we still doing the Sugar Daddy?" When the answer is yes, they know there is no stress. They have asked for stiff penalties for anyone who goes over the $10 limit however. No exceptions allowed. It is a real challenge to keep the gift under $10. It is also a challenge to keep the spirit of Christmas from being destroyed by Madison Ave.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Father D; Or, A short history of Blarney

Father D; Or, a short history of blarney

If you search on the Yahoo search line for the name Woulfe, you will find that this is an Irish name. The family is from Tempelglantine. If you know anything about Ireland, you know that it was real big on potatoes, and blarney.

One of the uncles of mine was Father D, the brother of my grandmother, who came to America right after the seminary. He was assigned to the first Irish parish in St. Paul, up on the top of the hill as you enter St. Paul on Hwy 94. The entire hill in the 1880s was filled with little shanties where the Irish who worked on the railroad lived. In a short 40 years from 1880 to 1920, the Irish moved from nothing to being in charge of the Irish political machine that ran St. Paul.

Father D used to come to all the family gatherings. Like my First Communion, Confirmation, etc. I remember one such occasion when the adults were telling stories about some of the locals. I presume, in retrospect, that they might have been sipping wine while they chatted. My relatives were going over some of our local stuff. If we had a problem with increasing the money collected, Fr. D had the solution. He simply took out every other strand in the collection basket and then anyone who put change in the basket was instantly embarrassed. The collection basket revenue doubled instantly. Father seemed to have the solution for everything in my young mind.

Then someone mentioned that there was a somewhat racy and fast crowd in the lake set. In fact, some had pretty loose morals. It was shocking. Fr. D said he indeed had faced that problem also, but had solved the problem quite simply. One lady in particular seemed to come to Church each Sunday in the most provocative of dresses. Finally, one Sunday, he felt that it had simply had gone too far. Surely the Lord must be deeply offended. Father D felt he was being called to make an example of this exact offence. So, he just motioned over to the altar boy to go and get the chasuble. He draped it over the young women with the shocking dress that was so provocative. Then he gave her Communion.’’

It was a pretty shocking story for a young 12-year-old to handle. Over the years as an alter boy, I came across some pretty provocative women in Church…I always wondered whether the priest would send for the chasuble for these women; but no, they never did. As the years went on, I imagined that that dress must have been VERY provocative indeed. On the other hand, when I got about forty, I began to wonder just where Father D was at and whether celibacy might have been wearing on him a bit.

As the years have rolled on, I have understood that it was just the blarney. There was a little truth, maybe the part about the beautiful women. And there was a little exaggeration, maybe the part about the chasuble. And then I am never quite sure. Each Sunday I wonder whether this Sunday will be the time that the chasuble is finally called for.

On Plenty; On Satisfaction and much much more; A bit on parables

On Plenty; Or, Why a lot of a little is a little and a little of a lot is a lot; Or, a thought on parables

Phil Laut was a new age author that I had the pleasure of meeting in 1984 just after he had published his first book, “Money is my Friend.” In the beginning of this book, Phil examines the nature of “satisfaction.” In real life it is clear that some folks cannot be satisfied by the amount of money they have. Their life is a constant quest followed by the feeling of being disappointed. The question is whether the feeling or the fact comes first? According to Phil Laut, the sense of having plenty comes before the plenty itself, and also the sense of scarcity always comes before the scarcity itself. The feeling comes before the fact. Anyway, this was a pretty striking thought for me back in 1984. Being a man of action. Who would have thought that feeling had anything to do with it. Anyway.

Phil Laut's whole discussion makes me think back on the parable of the loaves and fishes. The verse goes that the crowd was fed and was “ satisfied. ‘ Now was it that the loaves and fishes were so much multiplied, or was it that in the state of peace their anxiety was reduced and hunger was taken away? From the story, one cannot say for sure. Was the multiplication of the loaves and fishes all about the feeling or the fact ? The reason I point this out is that the parables tell a story to make a point. Might the point have been lost? Lost right in the midst of doing the math.

Along with the concept of plenty, is the concept of what a “ little” is. And what a “lot” is. We often see people that want to dominate every transaction but in their enthusiasm to get every dime, make sure they fail.. The effort to dominate does not result in huge success. Thus comes the saying, "a lot of a little is a little."

On the other hand, there is the rule that “ a little of a lot is a lot.” A good example of this is the computer programmer that comes up with a novel idea of how to handle text that can be used worldwide. However, it is just a part of a larger program, a fact he recognizes. In working for the larger program success, his element gets worldwide sales and he becomes rich.

The key thing that makes this happen is an attitude of allowing others to participate in a large idea and just keep a little for oneself. The attitude comes before the reality. Feeling before fact.

I still do really like those action movies. This all does make me wonder about those loaves and fishes though.

The Ministry of Life; Or, What if everything you did was tax deductible?

Some years ago, when I was a single guy working at a hospital in Minnesota, I took the time to add up all the withholding from my paycheck---being that Minnesota was like Wisconsin a high tax state. Then I did some dreaming about what it might be like if one did not have to pay taxes.

One day in looking through the newspaper, I saw a story about a firm that offered a short course in becoming a registered pastor in a group of ministers called "The Ministry of Life." Well, in truth, it was a very short course indeed. It was just a small fee and a certificate. No coursework was required at all. How wonderful! I did some further research on this group and found that the IRS was not too keen on their claim of tax exempt status, and indeed, had filed some legal actions against it. That did damper my enthusiasm.

I has studied some business law and contracts, and was aware that with rights and responsibilities come freedoms. I theorized that with the right and responsibility that each man has to be a "minister" to others of the gospel, there must be some freedoms and benefits to such responsibility. Yes, it was the privilege of being tax deductible in all that one did that was in the scope of being a minister. Which was pretty much everything that I planned on doing, since indeed all of my life as I saw it was pretty sacred. I felt called to such a ministry with such benefits. As the cost of living went up, the call became even stronger. "This must be a vocation," I thought.

Over the years, I have had a fascination with tax laws and the rules and procedures of the IRS. Yes, I did even work for them a couple of years keying tax returns. I never did register to be a minister. However, each year around tax season as I review the amount of taxes paid, I review what the benefits would have been if indeed the tax laws had simply recognized a very deep truth---that we are all called to minister, and that there SHOULD BE a tax deduction somewhere, in fact ANYWHERE, in fact even a very little one would be better than none.

So, I just leave it up to you. What do you think? You make the call.

Is there a Santa Claus?

Over a hundred years ago a child asked the question of the New York Sun News. The answer then is still the answer today.

Click on the post for the full story.

The Hearse; Or, On the importance of natural advertising; Or, Memories of "Harold and Maude"

(Ed. note. Click on the post for audio.)

The Hearse; Or On the importance of natural advertising




One of the famous advertising stories of Minneapolis is the story of “Paul Stafford Electric.” He was a fellow student of Don Sheehan in 1994. The truth was that advertising expenses were so large for Paul Stafford Electric that he asked Don Sheehan for some advice. Paul had been buying trucks for his electricians to drive to the job site and in the space of one year, the number of accidents of his electricians had sent his insurance premiums skyrocketing. In addition, gas prices were skyrocketing along with advertising, and after paying all the expenses, there was little to celebrate about.

Don Sheehan came upon a novel strategy. First, Paul Stafford went to the local mortuary and purchased some used hearses. The price was about $1500 for a used hearse those days. Then he purchased some small trailers that he could tow to the job site after the trailer hitch was put on the hearse. In the trailer were all the proper electrical supplies necessary for the job. Then he placed the distinctive advertising on the hearse and trailer. The rest is history. The name of Paul Stafford Electric is known throughout Minneapolis and the best part is that he pays no advertising.

I pondered that if it worked for Paul Stafford, it would work for me too. So, yes, I did talk to Paul Stafford and he did give it his blessing. I purchased a hearse and used it in the computer business. I can tell you that it worked wonders and I also learned that those hearses have wonderful premium sound systems, precisely because the music is so soothing for the recently departed.

As young girls, Amy and Julie loved riding in the hearse and riding in the back in the midst of heavy traffic on the 35W following the hearse. They loved to shock drivers behind by quickly opening the curtains and shouting “boo.” The petrified look in the drivers faces was thrilling. The girls did not know what a “hearse” was, and just called it the “pretty car with the curtains.”

It is not clear whether the interest in hearses was due to my love of the movie "Harold and Maude," or whether it was because I was always the alter boy at St. Jude’s Church who got to go to Calvary Cemetary with full motorcycle escort when I was in 8th Grade. I do think it was simply that the advertising expenses were zero. Yes, when I was on the road, my CB handle was “Hearseman.

This is simply an example of “natural advertising.” I will have other examples in further posts.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

"Grumps" begins blog; Reflects on Christmas and much more

One of the legendary bloggers of The Evansville Observer has become a frequent blogger himself, forming the blog www.happycircumstance.blogspot.com . You can click on the post for his reflection on his family Christmas traditions and how they have evolved over time.

Shortly you will be able to link to "Grumps" and his blog on the link section of the Observer.

GED now offered online; Virtual instruction is not in the future, it is now

For some students who reside in the rural communities or have transportation or child care barriers to education, the GED online is a solution.

Click on the post for the story in the Monroe Times.

Angela Drake remembered for her compassion and care

Leigh Mills has written an interesting article on the care and compasssion that Angela Draka gave to one disabled boy and his family.

Click on the post for the full story.

Re: Status of Troop Withdrawal Petitions around Wisconsin

--- Fred Juergens <FredJuergens@charter.net> wrote:

>
> Here is a present for you -- the list of cities,
> towns and villages in
> Wisconsin where efforts to put a troop withdrawal
> question on next
> April's ballot have been made, and their status at
> this time. From
> west to east and north to south, people all over
> Wisconsin will have an
> opportunity to have their voices heard on this
> issue. Thanks to all
> who have circulated and/or signed the petitions in
> our home town.
>
> As you probably know, Evansville's city council will
> take up the
> question on January 10. Then I'm sure Evansville
> will be moved from
> "likely" to "certain" in the first category, as will
> other
> municipalities as soon as their local governments
> receive the certified
> petitions from their clerks.
> -----------------------------------------------
> Date: Fri, 23 Dec 2005 09:57:57 -0600
> From: Jeff Peterson <peterson@lakeland.ws>
> Subject: updated list
>
> Here's the latest list of municipalities where it is
> likely that a
> troop withdrawal referendum will appear on the
> ballot in April:
>
> 1. City of Algoma (Kewaunee Co.)
> 2. City of Amery (Polk Co.)
> 3. City of Baraboo (Sauk Co.)
> 4. Village of Casco (Kewaunee Co.)
> 5. Town of Draper (Sawyer Co.)
> 6. Town of Edgewater (Sawyer Co.)
> 7. Village of Egg Harbor (Door Co.)
> 8. Village of Ephraim (Door Co.)
> 9. City of Evansville (Rock Co.)
> 10. Village of Exeland (Sawyer Co.)
> 11. Village of Frederic (Polk Co.)
> 12. Village of Forestville (Door Co.)
> 13. City of Kewaunee (Kewaunee Co.)
> 14. City of LaCrosse (LaCrosse Co.)
> 15. Village of Luxemburg (Kewaunee Co.)
> 16. City of Madison (Dane Co.)
> 17. City of Monona (Dane Co.)
> 18. Town of Newport (Adams Co.)
> 19. Town of Ojibwe (Sawyer Co.)
> 20. Village of Osceola (Polk Co.)
> 21. Village of Shorewood (Milwaukee Co.)
> 22. Village of Sister Bay (Door Co.)
> 23. Spider Lake Twsp. (Sawyer Co.)
> 24. City of Sturgeon Bay (Door Co.)
> 25. City of Watertown (Dodge/Jefferson Co.)
> 26. Village of Winter (Sawyer Co.)
>
> And here are the municipalities where efforts --
> including efforts to
> convince city councils to put the question to voters
> -- are still
> underway and appear likely to be successful:
>
> Village of Radisson (Sawyer Co.)
> Village of Couderay (Sawyer Co.)
> City of Hayward (Sawyer Co.)
> City of Green Bay (Brown Co.)
> City of Milwaukee (Milwaukee Co.)
> City of Oshkosh (Winnebago Co.)
>
> And here are the places where I don't know where
> they're at:
>
> City of Eau Claire (Eau Claire/Chippewa Co.)
> City of Superior (Douglas Co.)
> City of Portage (Columbia Co.)
> City of Ladysmith (Rusk Co.)
>
--------------------------------------------------------
>
> Fred Juergens, for CUUE
> 401 Badger Drive
> Evansville, WI 53536
> 608-882-2489
> " Be the change you want to see in the world.",
> Mohandas Gandhi
>

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Taking Presidential Wiretap Games to a new---ECHELON

So you thought the big flap over the taping of international phone conversations was a story that maybe there was a bit more to---well, you were right. It is a story that is bigger and has a long history.

Click on the post for an executive summay of the ECHELON program and what it means for all Americans.

From now on, use the word ECHELON a lot in your emails. Maybe you too will have your emails and phone converstions tapped.

Re: K12now Notification from Evansville School District---School Performance Report

--- K12now System <noreply@bounce.k12now.com> wrote:

>
> School Performance Report
> Each year all school districts in the state create
> an annual School Performance Report. In the past
> copies have been sent home with students and made
> available in the community.
> There have been three changes in the law surrounding
> these reports:
> 1) They should now be distributed by May 1st rather
> than January 1st;
> 2) The report may be published on the school
> district’s website;
> 3) Paper copies should be made available to citizens
> who request them.
>
> All of the information in the report is audited and
> therefore is two school years behind the current
> year. Information in the report includes such items
> as attendance, expulsion, suspension rates, student
> performance on state tests, student participation in
> extracurricular events and other highlights the
> district chooses to include.
>
> If you would like a copy of this report when it is
> available in May 1, please make a request to the
> school district by calling Kaye Crocker at 882-3380
> or email her at crockerk@evansville.k12.wi.us.
>
> When the report is available, it will be posted on
> the district website. Copies will be in each school
> office and the public library.
>
>
> ----
> Message sent from Evansville School District by
> K12now.
> To manage your K12now subscriptions visit
> http://my.k12now.com
> ----
>

Are we all high tech junkies? Internet addiction as Normal?

The pattern of purchasing this holiday season suggests that Americans are as a nation completly addicted to tech. Tech now is considered essential to life itself.

Click on the post for the full story. You make the call.

On the Energy Crisis; Or, Was Mark right about the manipulation theory?

Recently I purchased a wood pellet stove. It seems that all of America has also had the same idea. After purchasing the stove, I happened to call a local Coop to see about purchasing a supply of "feed" or wood pellets to burn. "We're all out," the gentleman said. " All of America is switching out of natural gas and the demand for wood pellets was something we did not foresee."

Throughout the purchasing process in the back of my mind I had been remembering the comment by "Mark" who suggested that his gut instinct was that a lot of this "crisis" was manufactured manipulation. The thought that we in America could have run out of wood pellets when we were so close to the timber forests of Canada just frankly got me a little fired up. After shopping further, I found some "budget" pellets at a mass big box chain that produced about three times the amount of ash as the oak pellets I had grown accustomed to, and burned about twice as quickly. In fact, at the rate they burned, they became more expensive than natural gas.

At church on Sunday, I mentioned my fuel frustration to a fellow worshiper. I suggested that America might have to switch to burning cow manure. He replied that technically it might be possible. The obvious name of the company would be Cow Power Co-op.

He did mention however, that if the problem was in fact manipulation, shortly after the magic of cow manure was discovered, we would wake up to learn that only two or three people in Rock County had cornered the total supply and that there was a shortage.

The Saga of the GCHS--Green County Humane Society

If you click on the post, you can read an editors explanation of the series of articles in the Monroe Times over the past month about the crisis facing the Green County Humane Society.

The equation seems pretty simple. Rising costs + Rising animals in+ do not kill policy+ declining public support== problems.

I am not an expert in humane shelter management. Some of my bloggers are. This is your chance to finish the story I start. If you click on the regional stories you will see the stories on the GCHC over the past month. What is your take on the month of investigation that was done by the Monroe Times? What is the solution to the problem?

You make the call.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mailbag: Reader Questions Memory of Observer: Re: Frozen Tundra?

--- reader wrote:

---------------------------------
Hey Dick,

Easy on the Frozen Tundra stuff on the Observer! Did
you read my paper? Denise says you must be
experiencing a little old-age memory loss! According
to the National Weather Service, as of today,
Minneapolis has 6 inches of snow cover, Madison has 7.
Since December 1, Minneapolis has recorded 1022
heating degree days, Madison 1009. Since July 1,
Minneapolios is at 2347, Madison at 2339! That's a
whopping 0.34% difference. Frozen tundra indeed!

BTW, if you take a look at the current weather,

http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/surface/

you'll see that there is really no cold air at all in
the upper midwest. International Falls is at 18F,
Duluth is 15F, Minneapolis is 16F, and Madison is 18F.
I'm sure that as the weather warms up this weekend,
you guys will be talking about how warm Christmas is
here in tropical Madison, but if you have time, check
out the temps in Minneapolis and you'll find that they
are also very mild. Our air is coming at us from the
Pacific coast the next few days and we'll all warm up
quite a bit.

Wxman

---------------------------------
3 FREE months of MSN Dial-up Internet service. Click
for full details and to sign-up now!

Economic Development Committee Minutes--12-20-2005

CITY OF EVANSVILLE

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Minutes

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Council Chambers

6:00 p.m.

Roll call. Present: Gene Bass, Roger Berg, John Decker, and Karen Aikman
Approval of agenda. Passed unanimously
Citizen appearances, other than on items listed below. None.
Election of committee officers (chairperson, secretary, and any others as determined by the committee). Karen Aikman was elected to serve as Chair and Secretary. Position of Chair must be filled by a Council member. No other officer position was found to be required at this time.
Presentation by Sortis, and committee directions as to grant application(s).
Sortis was unable to attend. It was explained to Karen that Sortis has been hired to investigate and apply for Grants for the City of Evansville. There was a question as to if Sortis has been paid. (Which Bill Connors, at the following RDA meeting, confirmed they have) It was explained Sortis has a lead on a Grant involving Bike Trails, among others types.

Follow-up on new business inquiries to City, Chamber, ECP, etc..
Mr. Bass inquired if a check has been paid to the Ag teacher, FFA, for some Landscaping - Karen agreed to look into it.

Discussion then focused on bringing Karen up to speed and included a history of the ED committee and some braining storming on ways to move forward. These included:

Distribution of smart growth books
Define ED role
Put ED on the Planning or Council agenda as a reporting committee
Show interest in TIF
Show interest in Box Box group
Organize follow-up to new business inquiries
Increase awareness and involvement in ED
Action Items:

Karen will:

Investigate procuring Smart Growth Books

Investigate payment of Sortis (done at this writing, see above)

Investigate payment for Landscaping

Adjournment.

Respectfully submitted,

Karen Aikman

Note: Committee minutes are not official until approved at a subsequent meeting.

Agenda of the Evansville Police Commission--Thurs--12-22-2005--3PM

EVANSVILLE POLICE COMMISSION

Notice of Meeting

and Agenda

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Please take notice that the next meeting of the Evansville Police Commission will take place on December 22, 2005 at 3:00 p.m. in the Municpal Judge's Chambers, 3rd Floor of the Evansville City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin. The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

1. Roll call.

2. Approval of minutes of November 21, 2005 meeting.

3. Citizen appearances.

4. Continuation of initial hearing in Disciplinary Proceedings Against William Fitters, Sergeant of Police, pursuant to Rule 11 of the Disciplinary Procedures of the Evansville Board of Police Commissioners.

5. Motions to convene in closed session:

a) pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 19.85(1)(g) to confer with legal counsel who is rendering oral or written advice concerning strategy to be adopted by the Commission with respect to litigation in which it is or is likely to become involved; and

b) pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 19.85(1)(a) to deliberate concerning any case which was the subject of any quasi-judicial hearing before the Commission.

Votes to be by roll call.

6. Adjournment.

John R. Decker, Secretary

Gov. Doyle to sign bill to end gasoline tax indexing---

The end to gasoline tax indexing is at hand. Legislators will have to vote each year to increase the tax as they choose. Consumers have been frustrated that the gasoline tax in Wisconsin has risen higher than neighboring states. However, the question is raised in the article whether ending the indexing is just a scapegoat thing. The gasoline tax fund was the source of the rescue of the school funding in the last budget period. The result of all this may be increases in vehicle registration or even toll roads. In short, the bills for the building of roads will be paid. The question is where from.

What is your take on this issue? You make the call.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Update on Plans for Evansville Skateboard Park

Click on the post for the latest from the meeting last night of the Parks Committee.

That Special Christmas Gift:

This Christmas give a special gift. Give it to your kids, the high school and college grads that have moved out and started a new life. Give it to your relatives from afar. Yes, give it to the inlaws. Yes, even give it to those you may disagree with politically.

The gift is FREE. It is the Evansville Observer. Tell a friend about it. WWW.evansvilleobserver.blogspot.com It is free. It is independent. Just like you.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Spring Evansville School Board Election Information:Free Information Session TONIGHT--District Offices--6PM

Click on the post to link to the information on registering to be on the ballot for the spring election for Evansville School Board.

Because of the holiday vacation starting on December 23rd, interested candidates need to stop in the District office by 3PM December 22nd and fill out the form necessary. This is unlike filing for city office and no signatures need to be obtained of citizens etc.

There will be a free informational session for anyone who is considering to be a candidate for Evansville school board on December 19th at 6PM at the District Office on Fair Street. Call 882-5224 and let Kelly Mosher know you plan on attending. The informational session is not a requirement for running for the office and is completely optional.

Evansville Redevelopment Authority-Minutes--11-15-2005

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, November 15, 2005, 7:00 PM

City Hall, 31 S. Madison St., Evansville, WI

MINUTES
Chairperson Hagen called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM. Present were Chairperson Hagen, Vice-Chairperson Eager, Ald. Anderson, Betsy Ahner, Dean Arnold and John Decker. Bill Connors, Executive Director, and James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Authority, also were present. Ald. Sornson and Ald. Aikman were present in the audience.

The agenda was approved as presented by the executive director, except that item 8a was moved to be immediately after item 5.

Motion by Eager, seconded by Decker, to approve the minutes of the July 11 and October 18, 2005, regular meetings. Motion passed.

There were no citizen appearances on items not listed on the agenda, and no public hearings.

New Business
Ed Francois and Roger Berg made a presentation regarding a potential project to redevelop the building located at 7, E. Main St., which originally was the Economy Store, and which currently is occupied by Dave’s Ace Hardware. Ace is moving to a new store on the east side in the spring of 2006, and the developers think it is likely that the building will be hard to lease back up between then and the completion of the Main St. reconstruction project in the fall of 2007. They have an option or contract to purchase the building with contingencies, and believe the street project provides a great opportunity to redevelop the building during 2006-07. Their vision is to have retail/service/office space on the main floor and in the basement, and possibly 10 one-bedroom apartments on the top floor. To know if the project is feasible, they need to spend about $10,000 on the services of an architect and the Virchow Krause accounting firm. They anticipate that they will need to receive all of the tax increment generated by the project, to the full extent allowed by law, to make the project work financially. They want to know if the Redevelopment Authority or other city committees see any roadblocks to the project before they spend the initial $10,000 to determine if the project is feasible.

Vice-Chairperson Eager raised the issue of parking. Mr. Berg said they have discussed this issue with the Council and will need assurances that the current city policy of allowing one permit for parking in the city lot for each residential unit would continue well into the future. He said they would like the parking stalls in the city lot for their residential tenants to be marked as such.

The commissioners said they saw no roadblocks, and were unanimous in their enthusiastic support for the project.

Redevelopment Authority Policies and Application Form
The commissioners decided to hold a public hearing on their policies and application form after some expressions of concern about them, particularly the text about providing assistance in the form of an interest-bearing loan. The commissioners pointed out that the text also says the commissioners have the discretion to alter the loan rate and/or term. Mr. Eager said he thinks criteria should be established for altering the loan rate and term, and those criteria should be ranked in order of priority. Mr. Decker pointed out that the current policy does list some criteria.

Mr. Connors said he thinks the policy should be changed to say that the commissioners also have the authority to give a grant, because in his mind, a forgivable loan means there are performance requirements the developer must meet after the project is completed that will justify forgiveness of the loan, and there will not be meaningful post-construction performance requirements for all projects. Mr. Otterstein said that if the policy says grants are available, everyone will ask for a grant, and that since there are performance requirements for all grants, any benefit that could be conferred in the form of a grant also can be conferred in the form of a forgivable loan.

The public hearing was opened at 7:50 PM.

Ald. Sornson said developers are going to want grants, not interest bearing loans. He said that giving grants is what the Redevelopment Authority has done thus far, and that is his understanding of how a TIF district is supposed to work. Repayment of the city’s investment is supposed to come from the tax increment, not from the developer repaying a loan. Mr. Connors said that most of the projects in TID No. 5 thus far have involved grants, but for the Grange Building project, the assistance was given in the form of forgivable loans. Chairperson Hagen pointed out that the current policy says the commissioners have the discretion not to charge interest on the loan or even to require it to be repaid.

Ald. Aikman asked whether the commissioners could make a forgivable loan into the functional equivalent of a grant by making the requirements for forgiveness quick and easy to perform. Mr. Otterstein said that is correct.

Vice-Chairperson Eager said the problem in the situation with the potential exterior restoration project at 19 W. Church St. is that some people thought Mr. Connors should be the Redevelopment Authority’s point person for discussing what forms of assistance are and are not available, and he does not think that should be the case.

Richard Woulfe, 255 E. Main St., asked what would be the criteria used for adjusting the loan term and interest rate, for example, in the case of the potential project at 7 E. Main St.

Ms. Ahner said that she would prefer that the policy say that the commissioners have the authority to give assistance in the form of grants, forgiveable loans, or interest bearing loans, depending on the merits of the project. She believes the current text is not inviting. Mr. Otterstein reiterated that if the policy says grants or forgivable loans are available, everyone will ask for grants and forgivable loans. Mr. Decker said that completing the project alone was often a major accomplishment and could be sufficient performance to justify forgiveness of a loan.

Ald. Aikman said the Council could overrule the Redevelopment Authority if the Council thinks the commissioners have become too loose with the TIF money, but the Council cannot override the commissioners if the Council thinks they are being too conservative. She encouraged the commissioners not to be too conservative. She said some projects just will not pay for themselves, but still are good projects.

The public hearing was closed at 8:17 PM.

Mr. Decker said he thought the potential historic restoration project at 19 W. Church St. was a good candidate for TIF assistance because it added housing units to the downtown area, increased the tax base, and accomplished historic restoration. He thinks all of these should be included in the criteria for altering the loan term and interest rate.

Vice-Chairperson Eager said he thinks the policy should be written more clearly so that everyone can understand it without need for assistance interpreting it, and that if there are gray areas in the policy, city staff should not attempt to explain the policy but instead encourage the potential applicant to come to a Redevelopment Authority meeting and ask questions or call individual commissioners. Mr. Connors said that when Mr. Berg caught him as he passed through the big room on the second floor of City Hall and asked him, under the new policy, was an interest-bearing loan the only assistance he could receive for the projects regarding which he and Mr. Connors had had past discussions (including the potential historic restoration project at 19 W. Church St.), Mr. Connors responded he did not know, because the policy was new. Mr. Connors said he pointed out to Mr. Berg that the policy provided that the commissioners have the authority to alter the loan rate and term. Later, Mr. Berg called Mr. Connors and said he understood that he could obtain more generous assistance than an interest bearing loan, but that he did not want to have to ask for assistance more generous than the standard policy, so he was not going to submit an application for assistance with the historic restoration project at 19 W. Church St., and instead would use vinyl siding on the building. Mr. Otterstein said that at Mr. Connors’ request, he called Mr. Berg to explain the purpose of the policy and the kinds of assistance that might be available to him, and it is his impression that Mr. Berg decided not to apply for assistance with the project at 19 W. Church St. for a variety of reasons. The consensus of the commissioners was that if Mr. Connors or any other city staff are asked a question about the Redevelopment Authority’s policies, staff should politely decline to answer the question and instead encourage the questioner to attend the next meeting of the Authority or to call individual commissioners.

Ms. Ahner reiterated her belief that the text of the policy needs to be changed to make clear that more forms of assistance are available. She said that if Roger Berg, who has had past dealings with the Redevelopment Authority, could misunderstand the policy and be discouraged by it, there is a good chance that others without experience with the Redevelopment Authority would also be discouraged.

The commissioners will consider bringing proposals for changes to the text of the policies to the next regular meeting of the redevelopment authority.

Unfinished Business
Mr. Connors had no new information on the financial condition of the TID No. 5. He reported, as he had indicated in a previous email message, that the roller rink property has been sold again. He also reported that he soon will receive large maps of TID No. 5 to provide to the commissioners.

New Business (continued)
Mr. Eager reported that he has been contacted by a Beloit College student who would like to work with the Redevelopment Authority to study the impact of public opinion on expenditure of public funds for economic development or redevelopment projects. The commissioners expressed interest in working with the student.

Motion by Eager, seconded by Arnold, to convene into closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. Sec. 19.85(1)(e), deliberation or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reason requires a closed session, to discuss possibly pursuing the purchase of or acquisition of options to purchase property located within TID No. 5, subject to approval by the Common Council, and not to reconvene into open session. Motion passed unanimously on a roll call vote at 8:35 PM.

Motion by Eager, seconded by Anderson, to adjourn. Motion passed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:57 PM.

Prepared by William E. Connors, Executive Director

The Minutes are not official until approved by the Authority.

Mailbag: War on Christmas as Diversion; Or, Poems in the Congressional Record

In the War on Christmas, the Congressional Record has broken out the big artillery---poetry---yes and both sides have opened fire.

Click on the post for the poem by John Dingell and the poetic reply.

Revised Redevelopment Authority Agenda--Dec. 20, 2005--7PM

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, December 20, 2005, 7:00 PM

City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin

AGENDA
Call to order.
Roll call (Chairperson Hagen, Vice-Chairperson Eager, Ald. Anderson, Betsy Ahner, Dean Arnold, and John Decker).
Approval of agenda.
Motion to approve minutes of November 15, 2005, regular meeting as presented.
Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed.
Public hearings (not applicable).
Unfinished business.
Continued discussion and possible motion to revise Redevelopment Authority’s policies and application form.
New business.
Presentation by Glen and Carla Neuenschwander about improvements to 13 S. Madison St. and possible application for financial assistance.
Upon the proper motion and approval vote, the Redevelopment Authority will convene into closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. Sec. 19.85(1)(e), deliberation or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reason requires a closed session, and will not reconvene into open session. The Redevelopment Authority will discuss possibly pursuing the purchase of or acquisition of options to purchase property located within TID No. 5, subject to approval by the Common Council.
Motion to adjourn.
Bill Connors, Executive Director

Sub-Teacher Pay raised in Stoughton; Absenteeism is 10%; Questions raised

Because Stoughton substitute pay was among the lowest in the area, they had trouble getting the 30 or so teachers they need to substitute on a daily basis. The total teacher staff is 297.

There were some eyebrows raised about the apparent 10% absenteeism rate, but there was the explanation that there are a variety of reasons that a substitute can be utilized including professional development, meetings etc.

Click on the post for the entire article.

Brett Davis sponsors bill to provide liabilty coverage for first responders;

Click on the post for all the details in the Oregon Observer news. According to the article, the bill would be signed by Gov. Doyle by now. We will have to check whether this has become law. This is a developing story.

Requests for Energy Assistance Skyrocket in Rock County; May run out of money mid-season

Requests for heating assistance have skyrocketed in Rock County and may finish 60% higher than last year.

Click on the post for the full article in the Janesville Gazette.

Albany celebrates arrival of new $120,000 ambulance

The new $120,000 Ford Econoline ambulance has arrived in Albany. The EMS staff is very pleased since the old ambulance was 15 years old and the equipment in it was not as state of the art as the new one.

Click on the post and click past issues for the full story.

Friday, December 16, 2005

"Best of the Evansville Observer 2005" now available at Eager Free Public Library

Now the Best of the Evansville Observer 2005 is available at the Eager Free Public Library. The best of the battles, the best of the stories including the classic "Baby Carriage and the Paving Bricks," or the "Tale of the Wee Ones Day Care." Now all the famous politicians and blog characters of Evansville that you have come to know and love so much....like Evilleblogger, Cueball, Grumps and much, much more.

Albany Schools Update: Technology Technician Job Applications beging accepted till 12-23; Audit report scheduled for Jan. 9th

Click on the post for the latest from the Albany School Board Meeting. There is a technology tech job opening that one could apply for. The upcoming audit is noted. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Agenda- Economic Dev. Meeting-- Tuesday 12-20-2005--6PM

CITY OF EVANSVILLE

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Notice of Meeting

and Agenda

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Please take notice that the next meeting of the City of Evansville Economic Development Committee will take place on December 20, 2005 at 6:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 3rd Floor of the Evansville City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin. The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

1. Roll call.

2. Approval of agenda.

3. Approval of minutes of November 15, 2005 meeting.

4. Citizen appearances, other than on items listed below.

5. Election of committee officers (chairperson, secretary, and any others as determined by the committee).

6. Presentation by Sortis, and committee directions as to grant application(s).

7. Follow-up on new business inquiries to City, Chamber, ECP, etc..

8. Future visits to Evansville businesses.

9. Discussion of possible agenda items for future meetings (not for action during current meeting).

10. Adjournment.

John R. Decker, Member

Big Box Stores may use WTO to destroy local land use regulations

John Nichols of the Wisconsin State Journal has an interesting article that describes the threat of big box retail chains using pending WTO regulations that will destroy local land use restrictions. Cities such as Evansville could be vulnerable if they are unable to implement any land use restrictions.

Click on the post for the full article.

Monroe Clinic to implement EMR (Electronic Medical Records) ; Aims to stay state of the art

Click on the post for the story in the Monroe Times of the major investment that the Monroe Clinic is making to implement Electronic Medical Records.

The Observer worked for a health system that made the first attempts back in 1979 to implement such a system designed by Standard Register. Electronic systems have come a long way since then. The system to be implemented by Monroe Clinic is one of Epic Systems of Madison.

Click on the post for the full story.

Re: Direct Legislation Petition re Iraq troop withdrawal set for Evansville City Council action Jan 10, 2005.

--- Fred Juergens <FredJuergens@charter.net> wrote:

> As many, if not all of you, know, CUUE has
> circulated petitions for
> direct legislation to put a resolution for troop
> withdrawal from Iraq
> on the Evansville City ballot for April 4,
2006...... I am pleased to announce that,
> after consultation
> with the City Attorney, the Clerk has reviewed and
> certified the
> following resolution to the Evansville Common
> Council.
>
> It is scheduled to appear for action on the Agenda
> of the Council at
> its meeting on January 10, 2006:
> ----------------------------------
> WHEREAS, the educational and political group called
> Citizens United of
> Union/Evansville has collected and submitted many
> more than the
> required 206 signatures of Evansville electors on a
> Petition for Direct
> Legislation to the City Clerk of the City of
> Evansville, Wisconsin
> (“Evansville”), pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 9.20; and
>
> WHEREAS, the Evansville City Clerk has reviewed and
> certified this
> Petition for Direct Legislation and submitted it to
> the Evansville
> Common Council, pursuant to Wisconsin law; and
>
> WHEREAS, Wisconsin law requires that the Evansville
> Common Council
> either adopt the resolution in question itself, as
> set forth in full
> below, or refer it to a vote of the electors of
> Evansville, Wisconsin
> in the next general election, in April 2006;
>
> NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following
> resolution is referred
> to a vote of the electors of Evansville on April 4,
> 2006, so that the
> citizens of Evansville may have their voices heard
> on an issue of local
> and national interest:
>
> “It is hereby resolved that the people of the City
> of Evansville,
> Wisconsin request that the United States Government
> immediately begin
> an orderly and rapid withdrawal of all its military
> personnel from
> Iraq, beginning the with National Guard and
> Reserves.”
>
--------------------------------------------------------------
> Needless to say, I am delighted that CUUE has
> accomplished the first
> phase of this effort. I assume the Council will
> pass this resolution
> in January; under Wisconsin Law, its only other
> choice is for the
> Council to adopt the Resolution itself as the sense
> of the city. It
> cannot bury the resolution by any legal means.
>
> I invite you all to come to the Council Meeting to
> see how it goes down.
>
> CUUE will begin an educational campaign beginning in
> late February
> within Evansville to encourage a large turnout in
> the April 2006
> election and to educate its citizens on why this
> resolution should be
> overwhelmingly approved on the ballot. We will
> surely have a public
> forum on the issue in the weeks immediately
> preceding the election. I
> invite you to participate in this campaign as we get
> closer to election
> time.
>
> Fred Juergens
> 401 Badger Drive
> Evansville, WI 53536
> 608-882-2489
> "The voice of intelligence is drowned out by the
> roar of fear. Most of
> all, it is silenced by ignorance."
> --Karl Menninger
>

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Salvation Army Saga; Or,

Here is a blog post from madison.com on the case of students who were going to do some bell ringing for Salvation Army until a parent protested.

Click on the post for the story.

What are your thoughts on this? You make the call.

"Walmartopia," The Musical

Two Madison playwrites have created a new musical about everything Walmart. Click on the post for the info on this new muscial comedy.

Brodhead Churches Feature Live Nativity Scene--Dec. 17th

Two Brodhead Churches have combined efforts and will present a Live Nativity Scene. Click on the post for the full story in the Monroe Times.

WCLO Cancellations page;

Click on the post for the latest in Rock County school closings and event cancellations.

Re: K12now Notification from Evansville School District

--- K12now System <noreply@bounce.k12now.com> wrote:

>
> IMPORTANT NOTICE!
> High school parent-teacher conferences scheduled for
> tonight, December 14, have bee POSTPONED until next
> Wednesday, December 21.
>
> ----
> Message sent from Evansville School District by
> K12now.
> To manage your K12now subscriptions visit
> http://my.k12now.com
> ----
>

Mike Putnam, Evansville grad, joins Albany Middle School staff

Mike Putnam, Evansville resident and H.S. grad, has joined the Albany Middle School staff teaching science. Click on the post for an article in the 11-30-2005 Albany Vision paper that tells his story and shares the fun he is bringing to the classroom in Albany.

A Million Solar Roofs; Or, California proposes bold solar energy plan

California is proposing a bold solar initiative targeted at residential homeowners.
Click on the post for the full story. This will be an interesting story to watch as its develops.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Nation where "doubling up" is normal; Where living in basements and garages is the norm?

The agency that is an advocate for low income housing has written that there is no county in the USA where a person making the minimum wage can rent an apartment and do that with 30% of wages.

Click on the post for the full article.

Re: Evansville-Union Smart Growth Implementation--Next Meeting--January 19, 2006

--- Bill Connors <bill.connors@ci.evansville.wi.gov>
wrote:

> The Dec. 15 meeting of the Evansville-Union Smart
> Growth Implementation Committee has been cancelled
> at the request of the Town of Union members.
>
> This committee will meet again on Thursday, January
> 19, 2006, by which time the Town of Union's Smart
> Growth Plan might be adopted.
>
> Bill Connors
> Evansville City Administrator
> 31 S. Madison St.
> P.O. Box 76
> Evansville, WI 53536
> (608) 882-2263
> fax: (608) 882-2282
>

What are "Clickers"? ; Why are they selling like hotcakes to schools?

Click on the post for an article about " clickers ", a tech device that is being sold with textbooks in some cases, and has transformed how feedback on the progress of learning in real live time is measured and responded to.

Janesville passes new condemnation ordinance;

Janesville has had quite a lot of condemnation proceedings in the past year. In an effort to protect property owners, Janesville city council has revised the ordinance governing this process.

Click on the post for the full article in the Janesville Gazette.

Edgerton Schools approve 4 Yr. Old Kindergarten; No public school space used; Some bus service provided

The Janesville Gazette is running an article on the approval of the Edgerton School District of 4 Yr old kindergarten for the 2006-2007 school year. Due to a decentralized model where school staff will go to several private daycare providers, no public school space will be utilized. Some bus service will be provided.

Click on the post for the full article.

I wonder if the Edgerton structure of 4yr. old kindergarten will be the model for other communities that have limited space available.

What are your thoughts on this? You make the call.

Agenda: Special Planning Commission Meeting: Thursday Dec 15, 2005, 5:30PM

Evansville Plan Commission

Special Meeting

Thursday, December 15, 2005, 5:30 p.m.

City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI

AGENDA
Call to order
Roll call
Approval of agenda
Motion to defer reading of the December 5, 2005 minutes until the next regular Plan Commission meeting
Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed
Unfinished business
All unfinished business is deferred to the next regular meeting
New business
Conditional use application for ADEVCO LLC (Roger Berg) – Application 2005-31
Initial presentation by applicant
Staff report, if any
Initial discussion by Plan Commission
Public hearing
Final discussion by Plan Commission
Closing comments by applicant
Motion and roll call vote to act on the application (not defer to a later date)
Motion to approve the application based on the findings as contained in the staff report and on the conclusion that the public benefits of the proposed use outweigh any and all potential adverse impacts, if any, with conditions as may be contained in the staff report, and other conditions as may be imposed by the Commission
Site plan application for ADEVCO LLC (Roger Berg) – Application 2005-30
Motion to approve the application, with conditions as may be contained in the staff report, and other conditions as may be imposed by the Commission

Motion to adjourn
Mayor Janis Ringhand, Chair

Plan Commission

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monroe LSR (Large Scale Retail) Committee Makes Recommendations

Evansville is pondering the very thing Monroe has made recommendations on, namely the specifications of what retail would be best in size and style.

Click on the post for the details.

Minutes of Evansville Police Commission meeting--11-21-2005

EVANSVILLE POLICE COMMISSION

Meeting Minutes

Common Council Chambers, City Hall

Evansville, Wisconsin

November 21, 2005

6:30 p.m.

1. Roll call. Commissioners in attendance: Barbara Jacobson, Scott Brummond, John Decker, Steve Hagen, Walter Shannon.

2. Approval of Minutes. Minutes of the Commission's meeting of November 1, 2005 were reviewed. Motion by Jacobson to approve the minutes as distributed, seconded by Hagen. Approved by voice vote.

3. Citizen appearances. None.

4. Initial hearing in Fitters disciplinary matter. City Attorney Mark Kopp appeared on behalf of the Complainants Megan Lowe and Chief Scott McElroy; Megan Lowe also appeared in person. Attorney Gordon McQuillen appeared on behalf of the Respondent; Sgt. Fitters also appeared in person. Attorney Robert Krohn appeared on behalf of the Board of Police Commissioners. Commissioner John Decker presided, per the designation by the Commission's President. The following matters were determined:

Attorney McQuillen stated the Respondent's objection to consolidation of the Lowe and McElroy Complaints for hearing.
Attorney McQuillen agreed to file the Respondent's Answers to the Statements of Charges on or before November 29, 2005.
The parties agreed the evidentiary hearing in the Fitters disciplinary proceeding will be held on January 4 and 5, 2006, commencing at 4:00 p.m. on both dates. [Note: As the result of correspondence and telephone conversations following the initial hearing, all parties and the Commissioners have agreed to reschedule the hearing to January 4, 2006, commencing at 8:30 a.m. in the Common Council Chambers at City Hall in Evansville.]
Commissioner Decker advised the parties that the evidentiary hearing will be recorded by a court reporter.
Attorney Kopp agreed to serve and file the Complainants' list of witnesses on or before December 6, 2005; Attorney McQuillen agreed to serve and file the Respondent's list of witneses on or before December 12, 2005.
The parties agreed that a second scheduling conference, if needed, may be conducted on December 14, 2005 at 10:00 a.m., and that counsel may appear by telephone. The parties are not required to appear in person at that time.
5. Motion to convene in closed session. Deferred. The Commissioners met with Commission counsel Robert Krohn.

6. Adjournment. Motion to adjourn sine die by Brummond, seconded by Shannon. Approved by voice vote.

Respectfully submitted,

John R. Decker

Secretary

Note: Minutes of the Commission are not official until approved by the Commission at a meeting called and noticed for that purpose.

Re: Mailbag: Clarice writes : A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS POEM

--- Clarice wrote:

> I received this from friends who have two boys in
> the service. Was wondering if it were fitting to run
> on the Observer, or not. Thank you.
>
> Note: forwarded message attached.
> ------------------------------

> A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS POEM
>
> The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
> I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
> My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
> My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
> Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
> Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
> The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
> Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
> My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
> Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
> In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
> So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
>
> The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
> But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
> Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
> Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the
> snow.
> My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
> And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
> Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
> A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
> A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
> Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
> Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
> Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
>
> "What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
> "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
> Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
> You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
> For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
> Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
> To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
> Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
> I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
> "It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
> That separates you from the darkest of times.
> No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
> I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
>
> My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
> Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always
> remembers."
> My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
> And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
> I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
> But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her
> smile.
> Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
> The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
> "I can live through the cold and the being alone,
> Away from my family, my house and my home.
> I can stand at my post through the rain and the
> sleet,
> I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
>
> I can carry the weight of killing another,
> Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
> Who stand at the front against any and all,
> To ensure for all time that this flag will not
> fall."
> "So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
> Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
> "But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
> "Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
> It seems all too little for all that you've done,
> For being away from your wife and your son."
> Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
> "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
>
> To fight for our rights back at home while we're
> gone,
> To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
> For when we come home, either standing or dead,
> To know you remember we fought and we bled.
> Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
> That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.
>
> >>> GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS, AND GOD BLESS
AMERICA!!!<<<

Minutes of Evansville Economic Development Committee-11-15-2005

CITY OF EVANSVILLE

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Minutes

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Council Chambers

6:00 p.m.

1. Roll call. Present: Thayne Anderson, Dean Arnold, Gene Bass, Roger Berg, John Decker, James Otterstein.

2. Approval of agenda. Motion by Bass, seconded by Arnold, to approve the revised agenda, as distributed. Approved by voice vote.

3. Citizen appearances, other than on items listed below. None.

4. Request to Mayor re: vacancy on committee. Following discussion, Mr. Decker agreed to contact Mayor Ringhand to request her early attention to appointments to fill vacancies on the committee.

5. Interim committee organization. Pending the appointment of a second Common Council member to the committee, and the committee's election of officers, Mr. Decker agreed to serve as interim meeting coordinator.

6. Direction for committee activities. The following items were discussed:

Survey responses. Mr. Otterstein noted that results of a survey on economic development activities had been prepared, and that they may be in the possession of former Ald. Kooyman. The survey results might be used in a constructive fashion.
Mr. Otterstein also noted that the committee previously undertook a project to analyze development activities and opportunities. This program might be reviewed and reinstituted.
Visits to Evansville employers. Committee members agreed the visits made by the committee to the large employers in Evansville had been informative and productive, and that additional visits should be conducted. Mr. Berg agreed to make arrangements with Metal Culverts, and Mr. Decker agreed to make arrangements with Evansville Manor. Visits to Landmark Services Cooperative and to small-scale retailers and service providers also would be desirable.
7. Follow-up on new business inquiries to City, Chamber, ECP, etc.. The following items were discussed:

Mr. Otterstein suggested a joint meeting might be held, to include the City Administrator, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Evansville Community Partnership and the Economic Development Committee, specifically to discuss follow-up to inquiries on behalf of potential new businesses. A written protocol for such activities was developed in the past, and Mr. Otterstein believes he has a copy available.
Chamber of Commerce President John Williams reported that the Chamber has set a priority for 2006 to revitalize the recruitment process for potential new businesses in Evansville, and reviewed programs existing in other locvalities. He observed that most communities assign a designated "point person" for new business inquiries, and also assign backup individuals. Mr. Williams agreed to attend next month's Economic Development Committee meeting for further discussion on this topic.
Mr. Berg suggested that the Committee might wish to interview parties that have made applications to the City to conduct business or otherwise engage in activities which would add to the tax base or to the local economy, so as to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the City's responses.
8. Contribution to expenses of street dedication event. On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Williams asked the Economic Development Committee to reimburse the Chamber one-half of the cost of rental of a portable toilet utilized at the East Main Street dedication event, and advised the City Administrator had assured the Chamber that the City would make such payment. Bass moved, seconded by Arnold, to authorize the requested payment, subject to confirmation that funds are available and that a previously-agreed reimbursement of FFA expenses has taken place. Approved by voice vote.

9. Participation in Rock County Visitors Guide. Mr. Williams reported on the 2006 Rock County Visitors Guide, and asked the Economic Development Committee to continue its practice of contributing with the Chamber to the cost of Evansville's full-page entry in the Guide. Anderson moved, seconded by Otterstein, to contribute $475.00, from the Committee's 2006 budget, to pay for one-half of the cost of the Evansville page in the 2006 Visitors Guide. Approved by voice vote.

10. Report on proposed development project at 7 East Main Street. [Note: Mr. Berg stepped down from the committee for this agenda item.] Ed Francois reported to the Committee that a newly-formed partnership has negotiated an option to purchase the historic Economy Store, located at 7 East Main Street, and presently occupied by Dave's Ace Hardware. The partnership proposes to perform a historic restoration of the property; to develop the basement and first-floor levels as commercial space; and to construct up to 10 one-bedroom apartments on the second floor. The magnitude of the project will require significant public participation including TIF financing to the maximum permissible level; allocation of parking spaces in the municipal parking lot adjacent to the building; coordination of the City's Main Street reconstruction activities with those of the partnership's demolition and construction contractors; and cooperation in the staging of construction materi! als.

Committee members expressed strong and enthusiastic support for the project.

11. Adjournment. Arnold moved to adjourn, seconded by Bass. Approved by voice vote.

Respectfully submitted,

John Decker, Member

Note: Committee minutes are not official until approved at a subsequent meeting.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

On the "Happy Holidays" Matter; Or, Why just giving a smile, not a greeting, is a safer path

Bill Wineke always seems to address the difficult issues. Click on the post for his article on the "Happy Holidays" politically correct greeting this season.

What are your thoughts on this matter? You make the call.

You are tracked by your cellphone; Or, what privacy right?

The ability of law enforcement to track people without probable cause that a crime has been committeed has raised concerns about privacy.

Click on an interesting article on this subject.

What are your thoughts on this? You make the call.

WSJ; Bill Wineke: Condi Says we don't torture; So I feel much better

Click on the post for Bill Wineke's recent reflection of the statement of Condi Rice that assured everyone that we don't torture.

What do you think of all of this? You make the call.

Evansville Common Council Agenda--Dec. 13, 2005, 6:30PM City Hall

Common Council

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, December 13 2005, 6:30 p.m.

City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI

AGENDA

Call to order.
Roll call.
Approval of Agenda.
Motion to waive the reading of the minutes of November 8 and 22, 2005, meetings and approve them as printed.
Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed.
Reports of Committees.
Evansville Community Partnership.
Plan Commission Report.
Second reading and motion to adopt Ordinance #2005-43, amending the Municipal Code relative to Replacement of Damaged Structures, as amended by Plan Commission.
Second reading and motion to adopt Ordinance #2005-44, amending the Municipal Code by creating a New Zoning District (B-5), as amended by Plan Commission.
Second reading and motion to adopt Ordinance #2005-45, rezoning territory from central business district (B-2) and community business district (B-3) to special use business district (B-5), as amended by Plan Commission.
Motion to approve the preliminary plat within the city’s extraterritorial plat review area as proposed by Charles Rohloff (Application 2005-32)
Motion to approve the release of an easement established in favor of the City on parcel 6-27-165 (Dean Community Center parcel and adjacent parking-lot parcel)
Finance and Labor Relations Committee Report.
Motion to approve W&L bills and authorize their payment.
Motion to approve the City bills and authorize their payment.
Motion to approve the agreement to settle a claim for contribution to the cost of cleaning up the Bickford site and authorization for City Administrator to sign any documents related to the settlement and release of liability.
Motion to approve the agreement for Coordination of Senior Services.
Motion to approve the agreement with YMCA of Dane County for operation of youth program.
Motion to adopt Resolution #2005-64, amending the adopted 2006 city budget to increase the appropriation for recycling and disposal.
Motion to adopt Resolution #2005-65, amending the adopted 2005 city budget to increase the appropriation for Dean Community Center.
Public Safety Committee Report.
Public Works Committee Report.
Water & Light Committee Report.
Economic Development Committee Report.
Evansville Redevelopment Authority Report.
Parks and Recreation Board Report.
Historic Preservation Commission Report.
Fire District Report
Unfinished Business.
Communications and Recommendations from the Mayor.
Motion to approve the mayoral appointment of Fred Juergens to the following:
Park and Recreation Board as Chairperson
Public Works Committee
Fire District Board as an alternate (replacing Ald. Aikman)
Motion to approve the mayoral appointment of Karen Aikman to the following:
Economic Development Committee
Evansville Redevelopment Authority
Communications and Recommendations from the City Administrator.
New Business.
Motion to authorize commencement of a condemnation action to acquire additional right of way on the south side of USH 14 for a drive-by lane opposite J. Lindemann Dr. and to authorize the City Administrator to hire legal counsel recommended by the City Attorney to represent the city in the condemnation action.
Introduction of New Ordinances.
First reading of Ordinance #2005-46, amending Municipal Code relative to violations of Sign Regulations. [sponsored by Ald. Hammann and Sornson]
First reading of Ordinance #2005-47, amending Municipal Code relative to minimum Building Sizes for Group Developments in the B-4 District. [sponsored by Ald. Sornson and Hammann]
First reading of Ordinance #2005-48, rezoning territory from Central Business District (B-2) to Residential District Two (R-2). [by application]
First reading of Ordinance #2005-49, establishing a moratorium on installation of outdoor furnaces within the City of Evansville. [sponsored by Ald. Sornson and Hammann]
First reading of Ordinance #2005-50, amending Municipal Code relative to minimum Lot Size in Residential District on (R-1) and two (R-2). [sponsored by Ald. Aikman and Hammann]
First reading of Ordinance #2005-51, amending Municipal Code relative to Obstructions of Public Streets. [sponsored by Ald. Hammann and Wessels]
First reading of Ordinance #2005-52, amending Municipal Code relative to No Parking Zones. [sponsored by Ald. Hammann and Sornson]
First reading of Ordinance #2005-53, amending the Municipal Code relative to wellhead protection. [sponsored by Ald. Sornson and _______]
First reading of Ordinance #2005-54, amending the Municipal Code relative to City Treasurer’s bond and City’s obligation to pay property taxes [sponsored by Ald. ________ and __________]
Upon the proper motion and approval vote, the Common Council will convene into closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. Sec. 19.85(1)(e), deliberation or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reason requires a closed session, and will not reconvene into open session. The Council will discuss acquiring additional right of way for intersection improvements as part of the state Department of Transportation’s resurfacing and reconstruction of Madison St. in 2008.
Motion to adjourn.
Janis Ringhand, Mayor

Requests for persons with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this meeting should be made to the Clerk’s office by calling 882-2266 with as much advance notice as possible.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Americans are switching to corn burning furnaces--orders backed up till next fall

If you have shopped for a corn burner, as I have, you know that the waiting list is long. The savings, however, are big.

The external corn burners will not be allowed in the city limits of Evansville by an ordinance being currently drafted, but the inside ones are ok as well as the highly efficient wood pellet stoves.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Cost of Public Safety Administration rising; Or, new tech may transform paperwork

The Monroe City Council has authorized General Obligation bonds of over $500,000 to pay for the upgrade in software needed to implement the new public safety administration. I have covered this in an earlier post, but the new system will transform the way tickets are issued and the whole paperwork system. It will be paid for over 10 years.

Click on the post for the article in the Monroe Times. It is unclear whether once it is implemented that costs of the system will really rise. It is a transformation of how things are done.

Stay tuned to The Observer. Things are changing.