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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Academic Problems continue to plague Belleville High School

Teachers and administrators are continuing to make efforts to address poor academic performance at Belleville High School

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

Concealed Carry Override Vote Fails--

In a victory for Gov. Doyle, the override vote which would have allowed concealed carry in Wisconsin has failed.

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

Thank goodness.

What are your thoughts? You make the call.

UB&T Donates Van to Seniors for Transportation

Click on the post for an article in the Janesville Gazette on the donation by UB@T of a van for transportation of seniors in Evansville.

School Transfer Limit Ending--Albany Schools may be affected

The Milwaukee Journal has an excellent article on the ending of the open enrollemnt limit as of the upcoming school year, and quotes Brett Davis concerning the possible effect on the Albany School District.

Click on the post for the full article.

Evansville Mayoral Race: Mike Anderson Open House--TONIGHT--7PM

"Grumps" has all the details on the open house tonight at the home of Mike Anderson. 7PM Click on the post.

It's time to meet the candidates.

It's hard to make the call when you don't know the choices. See you at the open house.

You make the call.

Community Heating--The story from Finland---

This weekend while the AFS students were visiting Evanville, I had a chance to chat with Alex from Finland about energy. I had just showed him our new wood pellet stove and upon pausing in my story of independence through wood pellets, I asked him what they did in Finland. He just replied, "Community Heating."

If you click on the post you will see a nice article on CHP, community heating program, which Finland leads the world in. Finland is a country with NO resources in natural gas. Yet, by using waste generation and a combination of other sources, they have achieved very low costs in energy production compared with the rest of us.

The energy crisis is a story. Is it bad or good? It may feel real bad right now, but if we are motivated to change if just might be good. Maybe waste generation and wind power would work for us if we could get units of government to work together on it. Finland has a lower rate for nightime electric consumption to encourage zone heating. Why do we have the same rate for day and night with our electric utility?

I still like the idea of the "Cow Power cooperative," using the power of manure to improve lives. Kinda catchy.

Click on the post for the full story from Finland.

You make the call.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Informational Seminar on Virtual Schools Scheduled

Click on the post for an article in the Monroe Times about a seminar in Janesville coming up in February for parents who are interested in Virtual Schools.

Fees are THE answer

Click on the post for an article in the Janesville Gazette on Sunday that describes the growing movement of all units of governemnt to use fees rather than increase property taxes.

Would you like fees or would you like to argue about which services to cut?

Click on the post for the full article.

You make the call.

On Telephone

This weekend I had a chance to chat with some kids from around the world on telephone. I mentioned that the way telephone is bundled today, one can get internet plus DSL plus unlimited long distance for about $100 a month, and then to add cellular for a mobile family with three cell phones, it can add another $70 per month.

The kids just laughed. They said in Europe there is an internet only connection and then everyone uses cell for everything. When I talked to my telephone carrier today, I just told them I wanted the same deal they have in Europe. She laughed and said "Yes, I understand. It's not available here."

The numbers do not add up. Something must change. Maybe Vonage or the new internet telephone is the answer.

Anyone out there who has experience with the new internet telephone, feel free to offer thoughts on the comment line.
AFS WEEKEND FRIENDS

Saturday, January 28, 2006

"The Biggest Loser"---The contest

It appears that Swiss Colony employees are holding a "Biggest Loser" contest pitting one department against another to determine which can lose the most weight. The accounting department is engaged in a fierce struggle with the human resouce department.

Click on the post for the full article covering this battle in the Monroe Times. Also, a nice picture of each department weighing in on the company truck scales.

The only problem I had with the story was the reward. The winner gets coupons for freebies from Swiss Colony. Just when you lose a ton of weight, you get a reward of a ton of cheese and sausage. Huh?

I like the concept however. Do we have a handy truck scale in Evansville? Would we have the challenge between companies or just go ahead and challenge Monroe? What would be the reward?

O.K. It is clear that I need some help with the details. Rather than the "Biggest Losers" we could go with the "Kings of Wellness." O.K. the Losers headline would be more catchy. Here again, it is your deal.

You make the call.

Stoughton Mailbag: Reader has a very,very simple solution to world hunger

From Stoughton, via the Monroe Times, comes a suggestion for the solution to world hunger.

Click on the post for the full story.

What are your thoughts? You make the call.

Monroe Clinic celebrates its history; On "go" and not "ride" or the perils of strict interpretation

The Monroe Times has an extensive article on the historical celebration of The Monroe Clinic. Click on the post for the full article.

The one part of the article that caught my eye was that the founder felt he needed to walk the 170 miles in his circuit because the Good Book said to "go" and not "ride."

Now this is the narrow area that the Observer has an expertise in. It seems to me that if the Lord could ride into Jerusalem for the Sabbath on a donkey, the least his followers could do would be to use a horse to ride the circuit. O.K., that's really going out on a limb here, but it is a slow news weekend, and that's just how I see it.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Napkin Dreams

Napkin Dreams


When I was in my late 20’s, each year it seemed to get harder and harder for the guys to get together for the frequent parties we had enjoyed previously. It especially got hard once the guys started getting married and having kids. So, we began the tradition of each fall having a camping weekend. It was mandatory. Bring the wife. Bring the kids. But show up by 9PM at the campfire. We called this “check in.”

One Friday eve, about 9pm we all showed up at a campground near Sugar River, MN. Tom, a rising legal star, was next standing next to Craig, a rising architect. W e were going through what management gurus call “opening round”. Each was sharing a beer. “Well, Craig said, How are things?” Tom replied, “Do you mean personally or professionally?” Craig responded, “Both.”

“Professionally things are great. I just argued a case before the Supreme Court last week and I think we won. You may have heard about it in the news. Personally though, I am going through a messy divorce and it is the pits. I have been sitting in my shack on Lake Calhoun and just am really determined to begin a new life.”

“Well,” Craig said, “ what’s wrong with the “shack’? “Everything-- It’s just a four square bungalow and I really need a beautiful chalet.”

Which side of the lake? “ Craig asked. “South side? “Yes”, Tom responded.

“Well,” Craig said,’ Has anyone got a piece of paper or anything.” Everybody at the campfire searched. “Nope.” Finally, Cindy yelled from the tent where she was just putting two young ones to bed. “How about a Bounty napkin? “ “Yes, that would do,”Craig yelled.

Getting situated with the bounty napkin on a large piece of wood, Craig said. “ I think this is going to require a beer or two.” Quickly Tom yelled out “Get this man a beer!

Craig then went over the fact that because the home was on the south side of the lake, it was in a great position for a view, except for the fact that it had poorly placed windows and was not high enough. Then he sketched how Tom might change the design
to fully utilize the lighting.

Furthermore, if you added a third story---admittedly a “periscope” on the very top of the house, you would have yourself a magical law office that would have a fabulous view of the whole lake. He then sketched how it would look.

As we looked around the campfire glow, everyone had a look as though if Tom did not build it, one of the others would. Tom, however, was very excited about it.

Then Craig tore off the excess Bounty napkin in a flourish and handed the design to Tom. Tom folded it gently and headed to his tent. “We’ll need a little more detail so you can build from it, but that is the beginning,” Craig yelled. Everyone laughed.

If you drive along the south side of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, you will see a beautiful tri level home, with the third story that looks like a large periscope. It was once just a shack but now is probably a million-dollar home.

Over the years I have marveled at how large dreams can begin in a very small fashion, and even on just a napkin. However, you do have to have the napkins. Just words and stories will not do.

As I have told this story often in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the question always comes up, “What kind of beer was it?”

I suppose the fantasy is that one could have a large dream with just cheap beer. All I know is that it was not Cold Spring beer. It was a fine dark German lager. After all, it is my story.

AFS Weekend in Evansville; It's time to make some news.

Beginning last night and running through the weekend, students from around the world have come to Evansville for AFS Weekend. Three students, from Italy, Spain and Norway, are staying with The Observer and family.

This morning I explained that it looked to be a slow news day. Alex from Finland, said, "That's ok, we'll go out and make some news."

Yes. That's the spirit.

In the meantime, I am standing by, waiting for some scoop. I will keep you posted.

Is the President afraid of Helen Thomas? He sure is avoiding her questions.

Click on the post for the view of Helen Thomas, namely that the President in his news conferences has been avoiding her questions.

"Grumps" covers concealed carry legislation; Clint Eastwood as Everyman

Click on the post for the thoughts of "Grumps" on concealed carry.

Communities around Evansville are acting to respond to the expected override of the Doyle veto.

What are your thoughts? You make the call.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

School Update: Levi Leonard Mid year enrollment update shows increase of 20 or 4.68%

At the recent Evansville School Board meeting in January, it was revealed that 9 more students are in Early Childhood and 8 more students in Kindergarten. Three more in 1st Grade. This has raised concern that additional staffing might be necessary---the rate of increase in Levi Leonard is at 4.68%, higher than anticipated. Stay tuned to the Observer for updates.

School News: EHS; Mrs. Marguerite Johnson, Math Instructor, announces retirement

After 35 years of service to the Evansville School District, Marguerite Johnson, math instructor, has announced her retirement effective in August 2006.

You EHS grads that are on the blog can go on the comment line if you wish to tell one of the many Mrs. Johnson stories. I just know that when both girls went off to college, in the first month we got a frenzied call asking us to rummage through their storage chest to find "Mrs. Johnson's calculus notes." Most calculus classes in major universities are taught with TA's who don't have a clue, and Mrs. Johnson's notes have been the savior for generations of EHS grads.

Mrs. Johnson has a passion for math that has inspired decades of students at EHS. She has also had an independent spirit that has never failed to speak up for math instruction. I remember during the 4 period day controversy when many were afraid of expressing dissent, she rose to cite the damage that the 4 period day had done nationally to math instruction and test scores.

The Observer salutes Mrs. Johnson on her 35 years of teaching. I still would like to see her publish a little book of notes....maybe "The secrets of calculus."

Aikman weighs in on "Openess" and "Inclusion"; Praises Mayor Ringhand; Pledges continued improvement

In the first ever Mayoral forum on line, Mayoral candidate Karen Aikman described the improvement in "inclusion" that has marked the term of Mayor Janis Ringhand, and she pledged to continue this and even make it better. She related a story of a governmental meeting some 5 years ago or so where she was told her attendance was not welcome. This has changed.

Karen Aikman goes on in her comments to praise the leadership of Mayor Janis Ringhand in leading and allowing this dialogue to occur. The Observer agrees.

Those of you who had the opportunity to purchase "The Best of the Evansville Observer 2005," or take it out from the Eager Free Public Library, know that the book is really a chronicle of the progress over the past year in "openess", a progress that did not just happen, but one that the city and its leaders participated in and enabled. In short, the book is a campaign document, although sadly it is now out of print.

In many of her speeches and private communication, Mayor Ringhand has urged others to participate in public life, citing what this service has given her. Some might dismiss that as just political talk. It is not. She may have began her service believing that because she has always lived in Evansville she had a right to serve, but she has ended her service demonstrating that because she has the skills of leadership she has the ability and desire to serve. Big difference.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Althouse Blog: Taking the car test

Take time out from the fast pace and determine what car you are.

Yes, you are your car.

Click on the post. Enjoy.

Google Agrees to censor

Not wanting to offend, Google agreed it would censor for the Chinese in areas that might offend their sensibilities----like items about human rights abuses etc.

Click on the post for the full story.

Aikman weighs in on Taxes, On Development; Braunschweig notes that Economy Store information presented was "speculative at best". Other candidates MUM

Mason Braunschweig, a local aldermanic candidate and blogger, has written a summary of the current candidates for mayor. He has also posed a few questions for all and invited all candidates to respond.

Click on the post for the thread of discussion.

Enjoy.

MAILBAG: CUUE hosts Forum on Women's Reproductive Rights--Feb.9th, 7PM, Eager Free Public Library

Women’s Reproductive Rights

Public Forum Evansville Library

Thursday, February 9, 2006, at 7 PM

Sara Finger, Director of WI Alliance for Women’s Health, will speak on the status of women and reproductive health legislation in Wisconsin.

Ann Wiedenhoeft, retired licensed clinical social worker, will speak on women’s role in society.

Many people’s values are instilled by their involvement with faith communities. With the deepest respect for the citizens of Evansville’s diverse views, we invite you to be part of a great discussion on women’s issues. This forum is pertinent for adolescents as well as adults.

Citizens United of Union-Evansville (CUUE) will host the public forum. Terry Brumley will moderate. Anyone interested in more information may contact Beryl Gribbon Fago, at gribbb@jvlnet.com. CUUE is a group of citizens committed to fostering grassroots political action and education.

School Cuts Shock Monroe

Shock and anguish in Monroe as abstract numbers known for some time have been replaced with precise programs and personnel on the chopping block.

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

"Grumps" reflects...on the lack of reflection

Is is really possible to reflect if one is a politico?

Is is all really pre-ordained?

Click on the post for the answer from "Grumps". It's the political season in Evansville and the reflection is timely.

You make the call.

Madison Schools use $100 budget exercise to determine citizen priorities

Madison Schools face cuts of millions, but have been using a $100 budget exercise in workshops this week to aid in determining citizen priorities.

Click on the post for the full article in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Case of The "Roundabout"

Last night, right in the midst of the public hearing about the coming road construction on Main Street in Evansville something pretty remarkable happened. Well, it is really about what was averted. Namely disaster. Precisely a gender war that could have been very damaging indeed for all of Evansville.

The street designer was in the midst of explaining how a "roundabout" worked, when Ald. Sornson rose to object because of the possible danger of roundabouts. He said, "Do you know how many old women drivers we have in this town? These roundabouts are going to be far too complicated for them to understand. Why, I can see them taking a left turn and hitting somebody head on. Causing lots of accidents. This is going to be real expensive."

The old pro, Bill Hammann, tried to intervene, saying, "Now John...." John was not to be stopped however. He started to go on.

There were maybe 4 women out of 50 people in the room. Two were mayoral candidates and they were reviewing their position papers on the issue...
Another woman was the new reporter for the Janesville Gazette, the famed, Gina Duwe. She was just reaching for her pen and raising it to write.....

I had just seen the movie," The China Syndrome", the previous night, staring Jane Fonda, which tells a story of a possible nuclear meltdown. Right in the middle of the meeting, I began to hear the intermittent horns of meltown about to happen.....

Just then a burly guy in the front row spoke up, "John, we have seen how you drive, and we are concerned about YOU too."

Everyone in the room laughed. Then they began breathing again. Gina Duwe put down her pen. Disaster was avoided.

So there it was. Right before the debate began on who were the worse drivers, old women or old men. Evansville saved by just one burly guy who spoke up.

Even today, in the coffee shops, people are wondering, "Who was that burly guy?"

So, sometimes you wonder why the Observer is at all these meetings. Yes, even I sometimes wonder. It is because sometimes there is a little something that the mainstream news omits that you really need to know. Like how a disaster was avoided.

The Observer is on the job.

Billy Bob's Auto Parts

Billy Bob’s Auto parts

After I bought my first car, I began to learn the ins and outs of auto expenses. On the vast salary of a fry cook at the Pioneer Drive Inn, yes it was just like Mel’s Diner in American Grafitti , I quickly learned about the benefits of buying salvage auto parts. Thank goodness we had a fine auto salvage yard. … “Billy Bob's Salvage.”

One day I had a key part on my Blue 1965 Mustang fail. I told my dad, “Well, no problem, I’ll just go to Billy Bob’s. They have everything.” My dad smiled and said, “Well, I suppose you're a friend of Billy Bob?" “Of course not, Dad". I replied. He pointed out to me that he had noticed that in the matter of quality, there were two grades. The finest went to the FRIENDS of BILLY BOB, and the lowest quality went to everyone else. I was shocked to hear of such a thing.

Over the years, I have noticed that my dad’s observation was indeed correct, in auto parts, and well… in almost everything. In fact, there is a saying in our family… WE DON’T DO BILLY BOB.

Scanner Alert: Roundy's settles scanner error case; Or, How to report scanner error

Click on the post to see an article in the Wisconsin State Journal detailing the settlement by Roundy Foods in scanner error cases around Wisconsin.

At the end of the article is the telephone number where you can call to report scanner error as well as the local store.

Much of this appears to be human error regarding when the sale pricing expires but the sign has not been taken down.

In any event, be alert. After all, it's your money.

Evansville Road Project Gathers steam---

Gina Duwe has written of the public hearing last night at City Hall that presented to the public two possible choices for upper east Main as to width of traffic lane and sidewalk. Also a bit on the "roundabout" that is proposed for the intersection of Madison and Main.

Click on the post for her story.

The Hearth Effect

Sometimes because of early Choir practice, we give a neighbor gal, "C" a ride to school. One morning, she was a bit early and noticed we had installed a new wood pellet hearth and we droned on how happy we were with it. Her home is heated with a wood furnace, so they had been natural gas independent for some time.

I explained that in "olden times" like the 1930's (my mother in law told me so) young kids would awake in the morn and run down to stand around the wood stove to get warm. And also, in the cold winter evenings, families would gather around the fire to stay warm and play games. They did not have cd players or i-pods in those days. It was really a way of keeping families close.

"C" thought for a moment. Then she said, "Well, it seems it was really just a choice between staying warm with the family or freezing to death in the bedrooms? That doesn't seem like a very fair choice."

"Yes," I said, "that was the choice."

Such a wonderful way to keep families together. And as more and more families are switching away from natural gas to alternative, the closer we may all become.

It's just freeze or stay warm together.

I will leave it up to you. You make the call.

A modest proposal for the improvement of justice in Evansville

Beloit is about to begin it's own version of Court TV. It will begin broadcasting the municipal court on TV. It's going to be "Judge Joe." It will appeal to those viewers who need to know about their neighbors and what they have been up to, as in disorderly conduct and such. (Click on the post for the full story.)

We in Evansville know a bit about marketing and we can certainly do better. We have seen Judge Judy. O.k. Let's see. We have Judge Tom Alisankus. Now "Judge Tom" would not seem to rhyme much. We need something like "Judge Rocky" to really get attention. But------ if we just shortened the last name a bit-----yes-----Judge Ali---

It's now "Court TV with Judge Ali"-----that's catchy.

All the revenue from ads would go to support the municipal court. That would be instead of going on high speed chases. Think of the benefits.

We would create jobs for camera folks and make up and lighting. What a fantasy! Revenue way over budget!

Let's not rush too fast on the idea though----We should talk to the Judge first. After all, we should let him have a say in his own name change. Then, there is the question of whether "Judge Ali" is dignified enough." I will let the bloggers weigh in on that. However, it sure is powerful enough. It would strike fear. It sure would deter crime. Just think of the headlines, "Judge Ali levys huge fine...." So it all comes down to the "fear" and "respect" aspects of the name change.

I will leave it up to you.

You make the call.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Janesville Schools face 1.8 million in cuts;

Janesville Schools face 1.8 million in cuts. No plans are being made to cut further into the fund balance.

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

Boy's as "Losers"' ; Or the latest in the gender wars

Click on the post for Prof. Althouse's take on the recent reporting that boys are doing worse in school than girls.

The case of the unenforceable Promise; Or, "I will love you forever...I promise..."

Every college student who takes a business law class or maybe in law school, the first "Contracts" class remembers the first day of class. Everyone is pretty excited and nervous. The prof enters the room. The prof's first words are:

"Good morning, class."

"Now.... can anyone tell me the difference between a "promise" and a "contract?"

Usually, cause it's the first day, there is just quiet.

So, the prof says, "Well, let's put it a different way. When a boy says to a girl, "Honey, I will love you forever." Is this an enforceable promise?

Quickly a hand is raised. "NO WAY" says an older, wiser female student. Everyone in the class chuckles.

What follows in that class is one of the best and funniest classes of a college career. So......

The other night at the Redevelopment Authority meeting, with the college students of Beloit College in the back row observing, Mr. John Decker proposed that he could support the $1.9 million dollar proposal for restoration of the old Ace, if the developers would pledge to pay taxes on the 1.9 million "cost" of the project, even if the completed project was assessed at a lower value, even say, 1 million.

Once Mr. Decker had completed his proposal, there was a silence as spectators were holding their breathe and trying to remember that college class years ago and how it all came out?

We have some fine legal blogger observers. There has been some time now since the meeting for the medium and long term memory to kick in.

Would such a promise be just "void" or would it indeed be enforceable?

You make the call.

Observer welcomes students of Prof. Georgia Duerst-Lahti to blog

Two students of Prof. Georgia Guerst-Lahti of Beloit College in her Political Leadership class are engaged in a project to study the various methods business has used to survive "extreme makeover". The Observer welcomes them to observe and participate in The Observer.

The students are Tess Gruenstein, and economics major and David Harriman, a Political Science major. Both attended the recent Evansville Redevelopment Authority meeting.

Welcome.

UW Marching Band comes to Brodhead March 6th; Tickets on sale.

Click on the post for all the details for the UW Marching Band's gig at Brodhead on March 6th.

It's Time to "Think Baseball"--Home Talent Baseball; Sign up NOW for Bowling Tournament Feb 18

Now is the time to begin to focus on baseball, Home Talent Baseball. It takes a lot of sponsors to sustain these teams. One way to help and have fun is sign up for the bowling tournament coming in February.

Click on the post for all the info.

The Evansville Observer will be listing the Home Talent Baseball team as one of its regular links.

The Ambulance Ride, a true story

In the late 1970's, my father was in failing health, and the physicians were searching for the right combination of medications to help him.

The family home was in Mahtomedi, Mn., a small town exactly the size of Evansville, about 30 minutes outside of St. Paul. My folks were living in a small cottage near White Bear Lake. It was the middle of winter that year. Now Mahtomedi was staffed with 1 full time police officer, and 1 gentleman who we shall call TC ( the grandkids still remember the story.) who worked half time driving the winter snow plow and also was the on call person as ambulance driver. Now TC was a former neighbor of ours, and we knew him well. Wonderful guy. The only slight draw back was the fact that he had lost one eye in an injury, his right eye, and this had certain drawbacks. He did wear a black patch over the eye----it did give him a certain Captain Hook effect.

About 3am one cold snowy winter night, I received a breathless call from my brother alerting me to head to St. Paul Ramsey Hospital. It seems that Dad had awoke in the middle of the night with severe breathing problems and mom had called the ambulance.

Upon arriving at the hospital in about an hour---it was snowing and slippery and the plows had not gone out yet----I headed to the emergency waiting area to look for my mom. Upon inquiring at the desk, I was told that my mom was in the emergency ward as well. Stunned, I went over to the chairs nearby to sit and wait.

Some of the fellow patient's relatives in the waiting room heard the name "Woulfe" and came over to talk to me.

It seems that TC was under some considerable pressure under the circumstances to get to the ER fast, being that yes my dad's condition was not good, and also because the plows were to be on the job at 4AM---and that was going to cut it close. You must understand that everybody in Mahtomedi was counting on him. No snowplowing and nobody went to work.

So, speeding down the left passing lane on 35E, TC was making good time in difficult conditions. Then, at the last minute, TC realized that dad was not going to St. John's Hospital on the East side, but going to St. Paul Ramsey which was a sharp right exit at downtown. That is where the right eye would have been helpful.

Making a bold, sharp, right lane change, the ambulance, one of those older Ford van types, lost precious traction and proceeded to do a complete 360 before TC regained control and while not making the exit, did manage to exit downtown--yes, well sliding sideways anyway, and circle back to the hospital. However, as the relatives in the ER recounted, many vehicles hit the ditch in panic in order to avoid that ambulance. Many folks were subsequently treated at Ramsey for high anxiety from the experience.

It appears from their explanation that my mom was admitted for heart irregularity and shortness of breath as well as my dad, who blissfully was dimly aware of the drama around him.

Over the years here in Evansville thus, I have had a great respect for the dedication of our ambulance crew, because I vividly realize how far ambulance training has come. However, if I see any eye patches, especially on the right eye, it would bring back some deja vu all over again.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

"Grumps Speaks,"; Do we really need more 8yr old hunters?

Grumps reflects on whether we really need to increase the number of 8yr old hunters. Physicians say no.

Click on the post for the Grumps reflection.

What do you think? You make the call.

Juergens Speaks on Direct Legislation, "Process" and "Content"

Fred Juergens has written a post explaining "Direct Legislation", how it works and why it is an important vehicle for citizen expression.

Election Time in Woman Lake

Recently I have been on the road up to the frozen tundra of Minnesota to visit my old friend Herman, the country boy lawyer in Woman Lake. As you may remember, Woman Lake is near the famous Lake Woebegon. (Click on the post for some further info on Woman Lake). There are only a few women in Woman Lake and the only young one works at the Woman Lake Bait Shop. It is a classic bait shop with an exterior made of colored stones that is unique. Stop by if you are ever in the area.

I stopped in recently to check the results of the local primary. I needed to physically be present to check the election results since there is no internet service within 100 miles of the bait shop. They just got telephone service recently.

"Well," Herman said, "It was just the primary, but it is goin to be a real dogfight." There was three candidates, and just two remain." The Walleye guy was eliminated. "

"Huh?" I asked. I don't understand.

"Up here in Woman Lake, everything is REAL simple. There are Sunny, Bass or Walleye people. That't just the way it is. Can't change it. The Walleye guy was just out of place. There is no lake really to work with here for walleye. So, it is just up to the Sunny and the Bass fisherman to fight it out."

"What's the big difference?, " I asked. A fish is just a fish.

"Absolutely not,"Herman replied. A sunny fisherman is just a worm and bobber kind of deal. Real simple. Good eatin. Real laid back fishing skill. Wonderful people and all. Real simple and all. It's just boring. Now a Bass fisherman -----that's different. It's all about bigger boats, sonar, analysis, REAL skill. And Poker. The sunny guys just usually play euchre. The bassman loves poker.

"Which party do you vote for, Herman? I asked.

"I'm a bass fisherman, myself, Wolfman (that's what he always called me) It's just a more complicated world. Takes more intellect. Lots of detail on the analysis side. When I am worrying about how a bass might be thinking, it is hard to think of anything else. It's REAL relaxing. The sunny thing of fish and catch is just boring for me. I'm a Bass man all the way.


It sure is good to be back home. Home in our fair city. Free of the simple life of the northern tundra.

Janesville Gazette OpEd: On why Open Government is Best; On Bumps in the road for Milton

A Federal judge has stepped in to the ethanol case in Milton. It seems the Planning Commission held some meetings in private where deals were struck not identical to the ones in public.

Click on the post for an interesting oped piece in the Janesville Gazette this morn.

What is your opinion of this issue? You make the call.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Stock Market Corner: "Niacin" Press coverage begins; Or, the dialectic of the news

As an admitted "news junkie" I have observed over the years that within minutes of adverse, negative news in the financial press, there is a carefully orchestrated release of stories of just the opposite persuasion to calm the waters.

If you click on the post, you will see an article by a reporter who is described as an AP business writer who tells you that the plunge of the Nikkei stock market in Japan is really no problem when one looks back to the history since 2000. This is really reassuring for the American investor who these days is heavily invested in international stocks.

If one reads the recent stories of the problem in Iran, and that Iranian finance ministers are pulling their money from the West in preparation to avoid a repeat of the problem they faced when the US froze the assets in the Jimmy Carter days, one can see that this is exactly what the US treasury does not need, folks moving money out of dollar denominated investments, and even worse, out of US treasuries. A full scale panic could cause interest rates to skyrocket. Bad for everyone.

The effect of the "niacin" press is to calm, and freeze investors. However, folks need to be aware of the risk of investment and not be frozen from appropriate action. When we are children, we might have adult folks place a hand on our shoulder and tell us "everything will be ok." When we are adults, we need to make up our own mind.

The "Eve of Destruction"; Or, What is the role of government in preserving business in time of extreme makeover?

In the middle of the Hwy 14 project, I wrote a post called "Is the Cure Killing the Patient," and reflected that the pain of local businesses along Hwy 14 reminded me of the pain of patients who were going through chemo and wondering whether it was the cancer or the medication that was killing them. I also reflected on what the role of government was during this time of extreme change to mitigate the pain. The answer that I received from many folks was one word---"NONE".

However, now that we know the extent of the damage done, it might be helpful to ask the question one more time. Now that we know. Now that we are wiser. Now that we can better forsee the future. Forgetting the thought of bringing wonderful business to Evansville for a moment. What is the role of government of keeping the business we have here on Main street healthy..... and alive?

The comment line is open. You make the call.

P.S. For the trivia folks, it was the 1965 song by Barry McGuire called the "Eve of Destruction." I have referenced the lyrics on the post. Time flies.

"Extreme Makeover--Evansville Style"

Gina Duwe has written on the "Extreme Makeover" scheduled for downtown Evansville and the hardships that are coming for downtown business and the efforts of business to gather together to persist through this period of renewal.

Click on the post for the full story.

Friday, January 20, 2006

CTM Theatre Company Closure hints of "The Overture Effect"; Will others follow? Soglin thinks so

The Childrens Theatre Company has cancelled the rest of its season amid a debt of $300,000. The closure has prompted concern that others might follow because of the "Overture Effect."

Click on the post for the full story in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Evansville Water and Light--Minutes--Tuesday--1-10-2006

Evansville Water & Light Committee

Special Meeting

Tuesday, January 10, 2006, 6:00 PM

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

MINUTES
Chairman Cothard called the meeting to order at 6:10 PM. Present were Chairperson Cothard, Ald. Sornson, and Ald. Wessels. Staff present was Scott George, Superintendent of Water & Light Department, and Bill Connors, City Administrator

Motion by Cothard, seconded by Sorson, to defer approval of the minutes of the December 28, 2005, meeting until the next regular meeting on January 25, 2006. Motion passed.

Motion by Cothard, seconded by Sornson, to approve letter of engagement with Virchow Krause & Co. LLP for year-end bookkeeping services and preparation of the 2005 report to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Ald. Sornson asked Mr. Connors if it would be possible to hire a person with fewer qualifications to be the city finance director and then use the service of Virchow Krause & Co. each year to perform some of the more complex accounting duties, if the city continues to have difficulty finding a highly qualified person to be the city finance director. Mr. Connors said that would be possible, but he thinks that the combination of salary for the less qualified city finance director plus the fees of Virchow Krause would be greater than the salary of the highly qualified city finance director the city is seeking to hire. Motion passed.

Motion by Cothard, seconded by Sornson, to approve request from the Evansville Community Partnership for a grant in the amount of $3,950 from public benefits money for the 2006 Evansville Community Earth Day Energy Fair. The members of the committee commented that the Water & Light Department has made a similar contribution to the Energy Fair in past years. Motion passed.

Motion by Cothard, seconded by Wessels, to adjourn at 6:15 PM. Motion passed.

Prepared by

William E. Connors

City Administrator

Minutes of meetings of the Water & Light Committee are not official until approved by the committee.

Evansville Police Commission Agenda--Meeting - 4PM --1-24-2006

EVANSVILLE POLICE COMMISSION

Notice of Meeting

and Agenda

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Please take notice that the next meeting of the Evansville Police Commission will take place on January 24, 2006 at 4:00 p.m. in the Common 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 minutes of January 4 and January 16, 2006 meetings.

3. Citizen appearances, other than on agenda items listed below.

4. Chief's report.

5. Discussion of status of eligibility list and recruitment issues.

6. Review of internal disciplinary procedures and supervisory responsibilities, and relationship to proceedings on formal Charges filed with the Commission.

7. Discussion of agenda items for future meetings (without action thereon at current meeting).

8. Adjournment.

John R. Decker, Secretary

Thursday, January 19, 2006

TIF #5 Update: Dialogue for Redevelopment meeting Tonight challenges all to find WIN-WIN projects; Win for investors, Win for taxpayers; Stay tuned

Memorandum
To: Redevelopment Authority Commissioners

Cc: James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Coordinator

From: Bill Connors, City Administrator

882-2263

Date: Dec. 20, 2005

Re: Cash Flow Projection for TID No. 5

I have attached a cash flow speadsheet that is identical to the spreadsheet that is Exhibit 3 on page 14 of the amended project plan for TID No. 5, which was prepared by David Wagner of Ehlers & Associates. James Otterstein suggested that I provide you with some explanation of this document for background information when you are making recommendations on investments using tax increment from TID No. 5.

The second column from the left, labeled “Projected Tax Increment,” projects tax increment to be collected. It assumes construction will add the following amounts of value in TID No. 5 in the following years (taken from Exhibit 1 on page 11 in the amended project plan):

$622,300
$1,250,000
$2,507,500
$2,515,000
$775,000
$800,000
$800,000
$800,000
$800,000
$800,000
$300,000
Total $11,969,800

The third column from the left shows a series of debt issues based on the assumptions in the “Key Assumptions” box above the spreadsheet. For example, it was assumed that public improvements would total $3,490,900. The recent decision by the Finance and Labor Relations Committee not to recommend amending the 2005 adopted capital budget to designate $450,000 of Exchange St. costs as being financed by TID No. 5 has reduced the estimated total public improvement expenditures to $3,040,900.

The fifth column from the right, labeled “Net TID 5 Payments,” shows the projected uses of tax increment each year to pay debt service and other costs. The fourth column from the right, labeled “Annual Balance,” shows the difference each year between the amount in column labeled “Projected Tax Increment” and the amount in the column labeled “Net TID 5 Payments.” The third column from the right, labeled “Cum. Balance,” shows a cumulative total of the amounts in the column labeled “Annual Balance.”

The amount in the “Cum. Balance” column never goes negative. David Wagner was able to achieve this result by using debt service schedules that call for most of the principal to be repaid in later years, which is quite typical of TIF-related municipal debt service issues.

However, the intention of this spreadsheet was to show, in general terms, that TID No. 5 could generate enough tax increment flow to finance all of the costs included in the amended project plan budget, not to show precisely, year by year, how the cash flow would work. For example, the first borrowing related to TID No. 5 occurred in 2005, not 2006, so debt service costs have been incurred earlier than shown in this spreadsheet. Second, the administrative expenses not associated with debt issues have not been capitalized, which increases the use of cash in the short term but decreases the use of cash in the long term. If this spreadsheet were to be modified to show the actual sources and uses of cash for TID No. 5 during the opening years of the district, it probably would show some negative numbers in the “Cum. Balance” column.

There are “threats” to the viability of this cash flow projection. First, developers might not come forward with projects that would increase the value of improvements by a total of almost $12 million, or developers might not bring these projects forward soon enough, or they might insist on public contributions having a present value in excess of the $1.5 million budgeted. As you can see by comparing $12 million in increased value from projects with $1.5 million in incentives to developers, we need developers to bring forward large projects that do not consume all of the tax increment they generate.

Second, the total property tax rate on equalized value in the city has been decreasing. Exhibit 1 in the original project plan for TID No. 5 used a rate of .02800 for calculating projected tax increment, while Exhibit 1 in the amended project plan used a rate of .02673. David Wagner said if he updated this spreadsheet again, he would use a rate of .02423, the actual rate for 2005/2006 property taxes. As the total property tax rate on equalized value decreases, the amount of tax increment on the same value decreases.

Iran Threatens Oil Crisis; Or, How much should we budget for energy next month?

Iran has played the energy card in its dispute over nuclear energy.

Click on the post for the story in Yahoo news.

In this chess match, what is the next move? You make the call.

Dateline Toyko: Stock Market Panic deepens with suicide of Livedoor suspect

Not exactly what the Japanese stock market needed this morn as a confidence booster after two days of panic selling. Now one of the principals involved in the Livedoor scandal has committed suicide.

The panic stock selling may affect US markets we are told by the pundits.

No problem. Everyone foresaw this and has moved to cash.

Just kidding.

After the 1986 US stock Market crash, one of the usual responses of the New York stock market guru set was when they were asked how they were bearing up under all the stress, would simply say that they had foreseen everything and had moved to cash the prior week. It became a real, sick but dry New York joke. So, no matter how much money one loses in an energy stock market panic or whatever, the response is form #1, "It's no problem, I moved to cash last week. "

O.K. Now we're prepared for anything.

Former Parkview Teacher sentenced for Sexual Assault

Gina Duwe has written an article in the Janesville Gazette on the recent sentence given to a former Parkview teacher.

Click on the post for the full article.

One of the victims in this case stated that he did not feel that there was adequate investigation of other possible victims or adequate punishment in the case. The teacher did surrender his teaching license, ordered to perform 30 hours of community service and pay a fine of $1000 as well as serve probation.

What are your thoughts on this case? Was this an appropriate sentence or was it just a slap on the wrist? You make the call.

TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT; Or, Pleading at the Public Trough to happen TONIGHT, 7:30PM, City Hall

Arch fiscal conservatives have waxed eloquent recently on the blog on alleged profligate excess in small amounts for such projects as the skateboard park etc,. Please be advised that the real action will occur tonight when the Redevelopment Authority meets to carve up the TIF #5 money. Will those same folks who have such passion for small amounts of governmental fiscal spending be also present tonight when the big bucks flow? We will see. Certainly any aldermanic candidate who has a serious interest in city political process will be attending. Stay tuned. The Observer will take attendance.

When I say TONIGHT's The NIGHT, I do not want to over sell the excitement of the meeting as a rival to the theme song for WEST SIDE STORY. One of the other songs from the musical would fit more appropriately, but I did have to get your attention. No, Maria won't sing. But, it would be good to review all those salesmanship tapes you have saved from your youth to refresh yourself on the superstar techniques employed by the pros. You can see all the fine points of salesmanship tonight. Think of it as a free night class.

If you are looking for the stretch limos or Cadillacs outside City Hall at 7:30PM, forget it. There is a long standing tradition that folks when they come begging drive their "humble" car....... The old beater that is the secret to their riches. So, look for the beaters tonight.

See you at the meeting.

BREAKING NEWS; Alternative Direct Legislation Petition being circulated in Evansville

An alternative Direct Legislation Petition is currently being circulated in Evansville for placement on the ballot in the April 4, 2006 election.

It reads:

"Shall the following resolution be a proclamation of the majority will of the people of the City of Evansville, Wisconsin, USA ?"

"We, the citizens of Evansville, Wisconsin USA, while not necessarily fans of war, nor supporting or understanding every decision of this war, do desire to express by public referendum our strong support for our honorable President's leadership, and to express to our honorable men and women in uniform our great esteem and appreciation for their dangerous sacrifices on our behalf, as they labor without rest to protect our freedoms, and our way of life against the unfathomable wickedness of the forces of terror, and we desire our President and troops to not quit this fight until unquestioned victory is clearly won."

If you wish to sign this petition, you can contact Ron Gay at 882-5576 or Tony Ryerson at 882-0753.

If you do sign the petition, you might also want to change the date of the election that the petition wishes to be listed on since it is currently listed as April 4, 2000.

So, Wisconsin provides for the right of direct legislation under provisions of W.9.20.

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Secret

There is a secret in Evansville. It is a secret that many of the bloggers know. It is a secret that every weightlifter and athlete knows. It is a secret that every musician or guitar player knows. What is this secret?

What is the number 1 Academic Goal of the Evansville School District for the 2005-2006 school year?

The answer is: (drum roll) To Improve Student Writing.

At the recent Evansville School Board meeting it was explained that the district is implementing the 6+1 traits writing methodology. The rationale: "The State and ACT Test scores indicate need for improvement in writing. Improvement in writing has been shown to improve performance in other academic areas."

It is clear that in reviewing the traffic statistics for the Evansville Observer that our local bloggers are doing their best to improve the average time spent writing per day for Evansville. Some bloggers have barely taken time to sleep in their effort to increase that average. I commend them. Others need to begin writing however. The bloggers can't do it all. It is time for students to start their engines.

Over at the weight room, that's door #26, the lifters learn that you have to train every day to be a champion. In music, you learn to sing and train your voice--every day-- to be a champion singer. In guitar playing, you aint going to be a champion if you don't play every day. Ok... it's a passion so it aint no problem. The drummers...well...they saw "Blue Man Group.".. they know... The point is. It's the same rule. " Every day. "

I have challenged some of the local bloggers to watch to see when after writing every day to note and then email me when they begin writing the stories in their sleep..... When, after listing the topics on a note card, the stories just come and are ready in the morning. The bloggers have been a little defiant. They have said "If you train like that every day on ANYTHING you would be changed. "

Yes

That is the secret

Al Gore's MLK Day Speech

Click on the post for the speech Al Gore gave at Constitution Hall in Washington for Martin Luther King Day.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Evansville Redevelopment Authority, Agenda, Thursday 1-19-2006 7:30PM

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Regular Meeting

Thursday, January 19, 2005, 7:30 PM
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin

Please note the change in date and time of the meeting.

AGENDA (revised 1/17/06)
Call to order.
Roll call (Chairperson Hagen, Vice-Chairperson Eager, Ald. Aikman, Ald. Anderson, Betsy Ahner, Dean Arnold, and John Decker).
Approval of agenda.
Motion to approve minutes of December 20, 2005, regular meeting as presented.
Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed.
Public hearings (not applicable).
Unfinished business.
Review spreadsheet showing possible cash flows for TID No. 5.
Review and motion to approve Redevelopment Authority’s revised policies and application form.
New business.
Application of Nelson-Young Lumber Co. for financial assistance with decorative fence along Union St.
Initial presentation by applicant and review of application.
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 reconvene into open session. During the closed session, the Redevelopment Authority will discuss the application.
Possible motion to recommend to Common Council providing financial assistance.
Application of Roger Berg, Paul Brunsell, Jeff Farnsworth, Ed Francois, and Rick Francois for financial assistance with redevelopment of 7 E. Main St.
Initial presentation by applicants and review of application.
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 reconvene into open session. During the closed session, the Redevelopment Authority will discuss the application.
Possible motion to recommend to Common Council providing financial assistance.
Application of Lewis B. and Marion A. Farnsworth for financial assistance with façade improvements to 12–14 E. Main St.
Initial presentation by applicants and review of application.
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 reconvene into open session. During the closed session, the Redevelopment Authority will discuss the application.
Possible motion to recommend to Common Council providing financial assistance.
Select projects for Beloit College student interns to work on during spring semester 2006 under the supervision of the executive director.
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. During the closed 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

Evansville Press Corp Welcomes Gina Duwe of Janesville Gazette

In the hour while the legal folks were busy negotiating at the recent Police Commission Hearing, Tammy Pomplun of the Evansville Review and Richard Woulfe of The Observer had a chance to welcome the latest edition to the Evansville press corp, Gina Duwe of the Janesville Gazette. It was a low key welcome and mostly just consisted of making sure there was an outlet for her laptop computer.

Gina is a recent grad of UW EauClaire and did her internship at the Milwaukee Journal. She also worked for the EauClaire Leader Telegram during her college years and in addition had a fellowship at the Washington Post.

We hope all city and school staff will join us in giving her the usual warm welcome for the press.

Re: 1/17/2006 01:20:03 PM AARP Tax Help coming to Evansville

--- amanda <noreply-comment@blogger.com> wrote:

---------------------------------
AARP will have a tax representative at the Evansville
Senior Center in Febuary for 4 sessions. Watch the
Review for times and dates or call Senior Center ask
for Amanda 882.0407

--
Posted by amanda to Evansville Observer at 1/17/2006
01:20:03 PM

Evansville Park Board meets; Discusses Skate Park; A Short History of Experience Rating

At a well attended meeting last night, the Evansville Park Board met to discuss many items. In one action, the Park Board heard public input regarding the proposed Skate Park. Estimated cost of the proposed park is 25M. The Skate club has raised 4M. The allocated city budget for this in the 2006 budget is 10M. The difference is 11M. There was a vote of 5-1 to recommend to the City Council to add 11M to the Skate Board project for this year.

There was concern expressed regarding the liability issue. The bottom line is that skateboarders wear helmets only if they want to. There was some discussion of getting waivers from any skateboarders who use the park. Fred Juergens, chair, mentioned that he had contacted the city and they explained that there was no "extra charge" for the coverage and that it was experience rated.

I thought I would give a short history of "experience rating" since I did some of this 35 years ago and explain how it is handled today and how one can review the actual experience of accidents at these parks. Years ago insurance companies would have a basic policy and then add coverage such as this with an endorsement and charge a fee for the addition. Soon they discovered that this was a way to lose huge amounts of money. So, they they added the language to the policy but made it subject to "experience rating.".... Meaning that you would pay an initial premium and then at the 8 month mark of a annual renewable policy, the auditors would charge an additional amount depending on the claims history. So. Point one. There is a charge.

What is the history of cities this size that have skateparks? Usually one insurance carrier will not have enough cities of this size in its portfolio, so it sends its data to a "Rating Bureau" which compiles the data on accident frequency. Each insurance company pays to belong to the "Bureau" and gets a booklet every 6 months or so showing the rating experience. So. There is a factor that the bureau has to describe the incidence of claims. One just needs to ask the underwriting dept of an insurance company what the bureau rating is of this risk. It sounded like the inquiries that have been made so far were to the wrong people. Citizens are correct in wanting to know what the history of claims has been in America in cities of our size. There is a history of this. It is a dollar amount and it can be found.

Finally, insurance companies who insure cities know what signs to put up and actively will help cities if they are asked to.

If you attended this meeting and wish to add comments feel free to do so. If you are a lawyer and wish to add something on the liability issue please do so. This is a developing story.

Baldwin: Immediate Action needed to avert Health Crisis on Medicare Pharmacy Benefit Implementation

The first problem of the new Medicare Pharmacy benefit was its complexity. With much effort, this has been addressed although not totally solved. Seniors have signed up but now it is taking 60 days to get their cards and get the computers to accept the claims. The problem---they need pharmacy now in January and local pharmacies are telling folks that they need to pay cash and get reimbursed later. Many don't have the money.

This is a developing story. Some states have had Medicaid step in and pay for the pharmacy. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Madison International Speedway to expand to include non-racing events; also camping

The Planning Commission covering the MIS has been reviewing the conditional use permit that has remained unchanged since the 1980's. The new proposal will expand the events beyond strictly racing and even may include camping where there are back to back racing events.

Click on the post for the full article in the Oregon Observer.

Ah, with the warm weather comes the readiness to start the engines.

Martin Luther King Day Observed

Today is Martin Luther King Day. On Saturday night at the Milwaukee Bucks game, prior to the start there was a dazzling overhead video of Martin Luther King. After the national anthem, the stadium darkened to reveal just one Milwaukee Buck at the mike.

He simply said, " Monday is Martin Luther King day. He had a dream. It was not a dream just about blacks, but about all races. It a was dream about you and me, and all Americans and about the dignity and respect that we have for each other. I hope you parents will tell your children about this dream and how important it is for us all. "

Attn 4th Ward: Park Meeting Re Franklin Park TONIGHT--6:00PM

There will be a meeting of the Park Board tonight at 6:30PM at City Hall with the future of Franklin Park on the agenda. It is important for members of the 4th Ward to attend this meeting if possible.

Evansville Police Commission Accepts Settlement re: Fitters; Public Policy issues remain

It took about an hour for the parties to reach a settlement and then the Evansville Police Commission went on the record to accept the settlement.

Chief McElroy as plaintiff agreed to accept a 60 day unpaid suspension for Sgt Fitters. It would be for "conduct unbecoming" but would not be tied to any specific allegation. Sgt Fitters did not admit any of the 11 factual allegations made by the plaintiff in the complaint.

Counsel for Chief McElroy stated that the public needed to know that there was inadequate evidence to sustain a "rape" charge.

Counsel for Sgt. Fitters stated that Fitters denied the allegations and in addition would be filing a complaint with the department for the false allegation of rape and both counsel agreed that this would be forwarded to the DA.

The Evansville Police Commission took no evidence and heard no witnesses.

Counsel for the Evansville Police Commission questioned both lawyers closely as to their understanding of the Police commission powers. Both lawyers stated that the Commission had no independent authority to pursue complaints outside of those before it and since they had been settled, there was no further action the commission could take. The police commission agreed that this was their only alternative.

Presiding Officer John Decker explained to the The Observer after the proceeding that the Police Commission structure is a "reform" of the LaFollete progressive era when city councils heard these type of cases. It is not a perfect process.

Further, he explained that much of the statutes on the books are designed to protect the officers from unwarranted prosecution in the line of duty.

As I see it: Who won and lost? Everyone lost. Plaintiff still has to worry about the charge of "false allegation of rape" being referred to the DA. Defendant has lost much in reputation and will be a very supervised policeman. The Public has lost because as a community that relies on "community police" theory, TRUST in our officers is everything. Fitters had plead in his defence that there was nothing in his police manual that prohibited his conduct. Members of the public are wondering whether this was so. Some communities have specific legal agreements between school districts and their police as far as conduct is concerned, and it is unclear whether such an agreement is needed.

The bottom line is that the law is structured so people cannot just bring up any allegation they wish against police. There has to be solid evidence. If there were other matters regarding Sgt. Fitters, no complaining party brought it to the commission's attention. If there were a broader pattern of conduct, no evidence of it was brought to the commission's attention.

The matter is settled.

(Ed note: Because no evidence was presented, the blog will remain quiet on the comment line.)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Evansville Police Commission Update: Re; Sgt. Fitters; Opening Statements and Evidence to begin MONDAY Jan. 16th 8:30AM

The opening statements and first evidence in the police commission hearing re. Sgt. Fitters will begin on Jan. 16th at 8:30AM. Both sides have promised to keep their opening remarks to 10 minutes flat.

Initially there were two actions, one by the city and one by the plaintiff. These two have been consolidated into one by the city and plaintiff has agreed to it "with prejudice" meaning she cannot file another action at a later date but will abide by the result of the one action.

In addition to plaintiff and defendant having counsel, the police commission is being represented by counsel, Mr. Krohn.

Next update on the Observer will be on January 16th.

(ed note. The Observer will remain in quiet mode on this matter during the course of the disciplinary process. The comment line will be closed.)

Evansville-Union Policing Agreement explained

The Janesville Gazette has an article that explains the joint agreement between Evansville and Union that has Evansville officers running radar outside of town and the proceeds of fines go to the joint municipal court.

Click on the post for the full article.

Dateline Normal: School Election Looms: SOS issued-----FICTION

(Ed. note. This sketch is part of a long series of fictional tales from the land of Normal, a small town south of Garrison, Mn. These sketches are available for download to your IPod from the Itunes store at no charge. You also can directly download each audiopost from the Observer site. Right click the mp3 Icon to download. Or just click the play icon and listen. Enjoy.)

It's been a long week filled with details and I thought I would head up North and enjoy the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in my favorite getaway spot, Normal, Mn., a small fishing village just south of Garrison, just west of the land of Lake Woebegon. It was snowing lightly in Madison as I left, but as I drove on, the snow piled up. There is just something wonderful how the white snow cover changes a dreary landscape and makes everything bright. That and a lot of great fireplace time is real relaxing.

As soon as I entered the town limits of Normal, I checked in at the Spruce Goose Motel, where all the comforters are down, and all the walls are covered with trophy game and then headed over to the coffee shop to meet Herman, my old countryboy lawyer friend, for the usual coffee. I shared with Herman that I was in a school board election race with 5 other candidates and that it would necessitate a primary. I asked him for any advice, since he had been through many such election contests.

"Shucks, Wolfman (that's what he always called me) 6 candidates is nothing. Up here in Normal, we have a real crisis cause we have 40 candidates that have filed for the local election. Now THAT is a REAL contest!"

"How many seats are open for the election?, I asked.

"Two." Herman replied.

"What is the problem.?" I wondered.

"Well," Herman went on, "This is no big city like yours. There are only 200 citizens who are registered to vote here. And it is an off year election. So. Faced with a declining enrollment and fear of budget cuts, every employee of the school district has asked their spouse to run for school board. It's just the natural way up here."

"The real problem is that under the very legalistic rules up here in Normal, a candidate cannot be declared the winner unless he gets 30 votes. With all the candidates, and no primary being available, cause they are strictly outlawed, we have the possiblity that NO candidate will win."

"What would happen then," I asked.

"A real crisis, Wolfman. A real crisis. There would not be enough board memebers to issue checks. Payroll checks. Understand?"

'Now I understand, Herman. With every family voting for their relatives, it could happen that nobody will be elected--right?"

"YES", Herman said quietly. "You get it."

With the weather prediction getting worse and the temps going below zero in the frozen tundra, I was glad to head out of town and back home.

It sure is good to be back in good old Wisconsin. Where we have real elections and not just voting for relatives and spouses. Where we can talk of issues and such. And where we can have primaries. And where we have more to think of than just payroll checks.

Alleluia.

School Election in Normal faces crisis


MP3 File

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Agenda: Evansville Redevelopment Authority; January 2006

Evansville Redevelopment Authority
Regular Meeting
Thursday, January 19, 2006, 7:30 PM
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin


Please note the change in date and time of the meeting.


AGENDA (revised 1/17/06)

Call to order.

Roll call (Chairperson Hagen, Vice-Chairperson Eager, Ald. Aikman, Ald. Anderson, Betsy Ahner, Dean Arnold, and John Decker).

Approval of agenda.

Motion to approve minutes of December 20, 2005, regular meeting as presented.

Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed.

Public hearings (not applicable).

Unfinished business.
Review spreadsheet showing possible cash flows for TID No. 5.
Review and motion to approve Redevelopment Authority’s revised policies and application form.

New business.
Application of Nelson-Young Lumber Co. for financial assistance with decorative fence along Union St.
i. Initial presentation by applicant and review of application.
ii. 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 reconvene into open session. During the closed session, the Redevelopment Authority will discuss the application.
iii. Possible motion to recommend to Common Council providing financial assistance.
Application of Roger Berg, Paul Brunsell, Jeff Farnsworth, Ed Francois, and Rick Francois for financial assistance with redevelopment of 7 E. Main St.
i. Initial presentation by applicants and review of application.
ii. 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 reconvene into open session. During the closed session, the Redevelopment Authority will discuss the application.
iii. Possible motion to recommend to Common Council providing financial assistance.
Application of Lewis B. and Marion A. Farnsworth for financial assistance with façade improvements to 12–14 E. Main St.
i. Initial presentation by applicants and review of application.
ii. 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 reconvene into open session. During the closed session, the Redevelopment Authority will discuss the application.
iii. Possible motion to recommend to Common Council providing financial assistance.
Select projects for Beloit College student interns to work on during spring semester 2006 under the supervision of the executive director.
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. During the closed 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

What is your opinion on the Wisconsin ethanol mandate bill? You can give input online.

The new Wisconsin Bill AB 15, called the Ethanol Mandate Bill is being considered and there is an article on this issue in the Monroe Times. There is a link so you can vote or indicate your views on this issue.

Click on the post and cast your vote.

Maryland law forces WalMart to improve employee benefits. Will Wisconsin follow?

Recently Maryland passed a law requiring Wal-mart to make changes in their benefit programs so their employees do not automatically qualify for Medicaid. Will the action by Maryland be followed in Wisconsin? The speculation is that Republican lawmakers will not want to disappoint their business supporters and will not vote to make Wal-Mart change their policies.

What do you think? You make the call.

"Grumps" gives the background of the "Foti" story;

click on the post for the dynamic background of the "Foti" story currently in process in Madison.

Update on Evansville Ballot Resolution re Iraq War

Click on the post for the Janesville Gazette article covering the resolution to be placed on the upcoming Evansville election in April.

The issue should provoke discussion over the coming months. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Minutes of Evansville Redevelopment Authority--12-20-2005

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, December 20, 2005, 7:00 PM

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

MINUTES
Chairperson Hagen called the meeting to order at 7:07 PM. Present were Chairperson Hagen, Ald. Aikman, Betsy Ahner, and John Decker. Vice-Chairperson Eager, Ald. Anderson, and Dean Arnold were absent. Bill Connors, Executive Director, also was present.

The agenda was approved as presented by the executive director.

There was a discussion of the minutes of the November 15, 2005, meeting. Motion by Ahner, seconded by Decker, to approve the minutes November 15, 2005, regular meeting as presented by the executive director with the following correction: the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph on page 3 is changed to read as follows “The commissioners discussed what Mr. Connors or other city staff should say if they are asked a question about the Redevelopment Authority’s policies, but there was no consensus, except that Mr. Connors or staff should encourage the person asking the question to attend the next meeting of the Redevelopment Authority and promptly make the commissioners aware of the inquiry if permitted to do so by the person asking the question.” Motion passed.

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

Unfinished Business
Mr. Connors provided each commissioner with an 11” X 17” map of TID No. 5 after the recent enlargement, but noted that the map contained an error, and that he would provide corrected maps at the next meeting. He also distributed a spreadsheet from the Amended Project Plan for TID No. 5 and memorandum explaining the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet shows projected cash flow for TID No. 5. The memorandum identifies some “threats” that might prevent achieving the financial results shown in the spreadsheet. This memorandum and spreadsheet will be discussed again at the next meeting.

The commissioners discussed possible changes to the statement of Redevelopment Authority’s policies and application form. There was consensus that the text in the description of the Property Loan Program and the Façade and/or Interior Loan Program should include a reference to a more extensive list of criteria drafted by John Decker and each of these sections should contain a paragraph called “Conditions” in which the applicant is informed that the Redevelopment Authority will consider negotiating additional performance criteria with the applicant that would allow for some or all of the assistance to be in the form of a forgivable loan or grant. The commissioners also agreed with a suggestion by Ald. Hammann that the application form should be amended to provide a rough calculation of the amount of tax increment that will be generated each year as a result of the proposed project. Executive Director Connors will make these revisions for review and approval at the next meeting.

New Business
No one appeared to discuss a possible project involving the Neuenschwanders’ property at 13 S. Madison St.

Motion by Ahner, seconded by Decker, 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.

Motion by Decker, seconded by Aikman, to adjourn. Motion passed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 PM.

Prepared by William E. Connors, Executive Director

The Minutes are not official until approved by the Authority.

The School Board Race--- Key points ---The Analysis

As you approach the Evansville High School notice---- the cornerstone----with the large numbers---2002. It has been five years. Five Years since the three schools were built and rebuilt to meet the student needs.

Five years later--------we have proposals to build one .....and possibly two new schools. These proposals are contained in the Plunkett Raysich study--. They are internally generated options. Not one has been the result of community input.

It is time for the options to BEGIN-----the options the community would desire. The time for the School Board to LISTEN has begun. The community will have it's say on Monday, March 12, 2007 at the March Evansville School Board meeting, 5:30PM at the High School LMC. It is a must meeting.

The most stunning section of the Plunkett Raysich presentation is the very first section where PRA moves to "redefine building capacity." In a magical flash of the hand with scarfs, they say the "capacity" is 1874 students. It was 2100 students in 2002.....presto....now it is 1874. One can just see the rabbit in the hat come out. Such smooth magical tricks ------our public can deal with skillfully----we have seen this before.


The debt payments for the bonds for the new school were "back loaded"----which means that each year they get higher. They ASSUMED that each year more and more housing and industrial and commercial investment would minimize the impact to the taxpayer. Forgotten or minimized was the fact that this development, if all residential of lower cost homes, would add to the space crunch. Forgotten or minimized was the additonal fact that the city would need more commerical investment in non-TIF districts, and had minimul prospects. In summary: To assume that one could make it to the end of the bond period was......just wishful thinking. To make the matters worse....was the "backloaded feature."

On backloading: Backloading would be like you buying a car, a new 2007 car for $100 a month and then each year as the car aged, you would add $100 a month to the payment....assuming that you would be making more salary. After all. You were young. You were optimistic. As Tom Petty sings it, "The Future was wide Open. "

It is true that there has been commercial investment in the past two years in Evansville. It is also true that the biodiesel plant and the other possible crushing plant will provide---someday--help for our schools----but that day will be 20+ years from today. As Supr. Carvin said at the TIF #6 meeting at City Hall---The TIF #6 looks fine. It will be great in 20 years. We need to see that day." The tax formulas will allow other taxpayers to be taxed more--such as YOU----but the taxes from these commercial ventures will be used to repay the TIF investments made.

There are only two human emotions present when things do not work out as far as the numbers---those emotions are "blame" and "resentment". In order to be effective in planning, one has to get beyond these two emotions. We will never be able to do so if the planning process is not an open, honest and engaging process. PRA has shown that it cannot deliver this planning process to Evansville.

We as a community can gather together and review. Review what must be done to balance our assets---our space for instruction-----and our debt paying capacity---how much we can pay for schools over the next 15 years.

I have engaged our community in debate and discussion on other issues. I now believe that unless we engage the community and review fully and openly we will be unable to be successful in solving it. Top Down decision making will fail. This was the case in the final years when Dr. Benzinger was superintendent. At that time, it appears to me that faith and credibility had been lost in our school administation, and it was time for a change. No proposal would have been acceptable to our community.

The question is not whether you love kids. Or whether you love our schools. The question is which potential school board candidates you believe has the skill to work with our community to find the best affordable solutions for right now that will be sustainable.

The time to get involved is now. Plan on attending the March 12th Evansville School Board meeting.


.

Altouse describes Alito Hearings as "trench warfare."

Click on the post for the latest from Ms. Althouse, famed UW Law prof. blogger. She says that the Alito hearings have resembled trench warfare. After all, when a wife leaves the room with tears is the major headline of the day, there must have been very little else to cover.

Click on the post for the famed Altouse.

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

"Grumps" Explains the Law of Improbable Dispersal

Thank goodness our local blogger, "Grumps" has the complete edition of "Murphy's Law" with the famous additional law, the "Law of Improbable Dispersal."

Click on the post and enjoy.

Dean Health System cuts 82 jobs; Cites Change of Patient mix, cost shifting

If you click on the post, there is the story in the Wisconsin State Journal on the Dean Health System elimination of 82 jobs. In the story, there is the deeper explanation of the why---the fact that the mix of patients has been changing. There has been a 32% decrease in the number of commerical insurance patients and an increase of 27% in Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Traditionally, Health insurers have used "cost shifting." That means that they given large governmental entities a lowball price for their business and then charge commerical insurance carriers, who would insure a regular business more. AND, the person who must pay cash pays the MOST of all. This disparity of prices is why if you just innocently ask your medical clinic right before you get a treatment, " How much will this cost?", they cannot tell you. They will respond, "It depends." Yes, it depends on who is paying the bill.

The other part of the story is that those who do offer commercial insurance will counter by offering less coverage for the same amount of money. So, the resulting effect is there is a rising number of people who have NO insurance and paying cash and a rising number of people who have less insurance coverage. Not good news.

How could this be improved? Bring high paying jobs to Wisconsin. Stem the loss of manufacturing jobs. There is also the folks who want to pass laws to mandate benefits. Like sick leave etc. In summary, there is a disagreement on how to change this trend.

You make the call.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

AARP Tax Aide Program Info;

Tax preparation assistance is available for seniors needing it. Click on the post for the info. The nearest appears to be Albany. When I get the Janesville location I will post it also.

Downtown Madison Bomb Alert has citizens on edge

Click on the post from the Wisconsin State Journal on the search for the person responsible for the recent pipe bombings. A report of a suspicious man who dropped an object in a manhole downtown has prompted swift action by the Madison bomb squad.

This is a developing story.

Classics Computer repair and dry cleaning comes to Evansville

Several of the bloggers on this site have told me good things about the "computer dude" at Classics Computer recently opened in Evansville.

Click on the post for the new blog of Classics Computer. Check out the types of services they offer. If you stop in, tell them that The Observer sent you.

"Big Box" Committee meets TONIGHT, 1-12-2006; Work begins on drafting ordinance

Evansville Large Scale Commercial Development Committee

Thursday, January 12, 2006, 5:30 PM

Regular Meeting

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

AGENDA
Call to order.
Roll call.
Opening round.
Approval of agenda.
Motion to approve minutes of the December 8, 2005, meeting.
Work on draft ordinance.
Discussion of public input.
Other business.
Motion to adjourn.
Chris Eager, Chairman

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

Woulfe speaks on Spousal Health Insurance Coverage for Teachers; Cites Hospital experience

During the five years that I was the Business Manager of a metropolitan hospital in Minneapolis, I had the opportunity to supervise 40FTE employees and in the course of my responsibilities was responsible for the financial payment of the 200,000 hospital in-patient and outpatient accounts that were generated.

Can you guess which of the 200,000 accounts I had a chance to specialize in? Yes, the ones that had inadequate health insurance coverage. Eventually they had to be paid or written off to Hill Burton Charity care, which I also was directly responsible for. My experience has given me a good view of the consequences of inadequate health insurance on families.

There has been the concept expressed that school district teachers who choose "family coverage" when their spouse already has coverage with an employer are somehow "wasting" health insurance coverage. That is a misguided view. Teachers and anyone choosing health care coverage pick family coverage because it is needed. Period. It is true that health care expenses are rising. It is also true that family coverage is a negotiated benefit that teachers have a right to choose as I understand it.

In many cases I have seen, "family" commercial health insurance coverage is very inadequate. Surgical schedules are inadequate. "Usual and allowable" expenses that the policy provides are inadequate. Such inadequate coverage can result in disaster. Thus, in such a case, anyone and yes teachers would wisely choose family coverage for their spouse because it is a prudent financial planning decision.

Finally, there are two classes of folks that have the highest exposure to health expense risk. You guessed it. Health care workers and teachers. If you work in a hospital you are very aware of the risk and it is important to be well covered with health insurance. Ditto for teachers. Those folks who work in public safety know this.

In summary, I strongly support the right of teachers to choose spousal family health coverage because they are best able to make the proper choices for their family and because I know first hand that when it is chosen it is because it is needed. It was a valid negotiated benefit and needs to be honored.

I would, if the public selects me as school board member, use my experience in the hospital setting to review coverage to the mutual benefit of the district and its employees.

Re: Press Release: Iraq War Resolution placed on April Evansville Election Ballott

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

> Press Release: for immediate release January 11,
> 2006
> ***************
> Evansville Common Council last night voted
> unanimously to place the
> following resolution in the ballot for April 4, 2006
> election:
>
> "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 with the National Guard and
> Reserves."
>
> Council acted in response to a Petition for Direct
> Legislation
> submitted to the City by Citizens United of
> Union/Evansville (CUUE), a
> local educational and political organization. CUUE
> collected many more
> than the required 206 signatures required by law to
> place this
> resolution before the Council. Council had the
> choice of either
> passing the resolution itself or referring it to a
> vote of the
> electorate. CUUE urged that the latter course be
> taken. In this way,
> the issue can become a topic for discussion and
> debate within the
> community, and voters can express their views in a
> secret ballot.
>
> Similar petitions have been submitted by grass-roots
> groups in many
> other municipalities across Wisconsin from Algoma to
> Watertown, small
> towns such as Amery and large cities like Madison.
> Voters across the
> state will make their voices heard on this issue of
> national interest.
> CUUE will send the results of the Evansville vote to
> Wisconsin's
> Senators and Congressmen, as well as the President
> of the United States.
>
> Interested citizens may contact CUUE at this email
> address:
> citizensunitedue@hotmail.com.
>
> ***************
> For further information, contact:
> Fred Juergens, President
> Citizens United of Union/Evansville
> 401 Badger Drive, Evansville
> 608-882-2489
>

Milton Schools faces further school budget cuts

Up to $400,000 may have to be cut from the Milton School District budget for the 2006-7 School Year. Some cuts have already been made and some additional cuts have been listed as possibilities.

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

The article does provide as good an explanation of the impact of open enrollment as I have seen. There is an impact if a student moves into district A and then never attends district A but goes to district B. I am not sure what the original purpose was of this provision since it makes no sense to me.

Thus, if a student moved into the Evansville School District but never attended in Evansville but always went to another school, it would mean a net loss each year for the Evansville School District.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Four Lakes Distance Education provides Evansville School Board Demonstration

Last night at the Evansville School Board meeting, Don Holman of the Four Lakes Distance Education Network provided a demonstration of the capabilities of the distance learning network that Evansville Schools participates in. Mr. Diego Ojeda was also present to explain how he teaches Spanish via the network.

The interactive nature of the instruction was stunning in how much it has improved over the past 30 years. Click on the post for the Four Lakes web site. On average Evansville uses 390 minutes per day for this type of instruction. There is also the capability for staff training applications and even some community corporate applications although none is utilized at this time.

Juergens reflects on "Hometown."; Observer reflects on second grade

If you click on the post, you will see that someone has questioned Fred Juergens about his claiming Evansville as his "hometown" since he was not born here. His response handles the question nicely.

Last night in the Evansville School Board meeting, the units of study of First and Second Grade Social Studies were reviewed. This is out of my immediate memory span, so I took the time to review. In First grade students learn about their role in the classroom, school and the Evansville community and about being a good citizen. In second grade they learn that "History is change," and that "People make history."

So, the young students of Levi Leonard know that the future history of Evansville is up to them. What they do today counts. It will be celebrated in the future.

It's also nice to know that Fred has not forgotten these grade school concepts. The responsiblity of citizenship does not revolve around where one was born.

Click on the post for Fred's article. You make the call.

Madison Police: Solving Parking Lot Pipe Bomb Cases Top Priority

Three Pipe Bomb incidents in municipal parking lots in Madison have been found to be connected and solving the mystery of who planted them is the top priority of Madison Police.

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

Monday, January 09, 2006

Public Works Meeting of 12-27-2005--Minutes

Public Works Committee Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, December 27 at 5:00 p.m.

Council Chambers, City Hall

Call the meeting to order @ 5:04 PM.
Roll Call: Ald. Hammann (Chair), Ald. Juergens & Ald. Sornson. Staff: Dave Wartenweiler, Public Works Director (arrived 6 p.m.). Quorum attained.
Minutes of November meeting unanimously approved on a Hammann-Sornson motion.
Citizen appearances
Evansville resident, Larry Granzak, pledged donations for Leota Park. Discussed implementation of contributions and park maintenance issues. Directed Larry Granzak meet with the park board.

Discussion of 2006 Public Works Action Items from Smart Growth Plan
Housing #1 - Consider pedestrian access and amenities as part of any housing development.– continue
Housing #4 – Implement regional storm water management – completed in 2005
Transportation #1 - Use PASER for road quality ratings – continuous
Transportation #1 – Review Transportation Network Map every 5 years – Review in 2006
Transportation #2 – Coordinate road construction schedule with Rock County & WisDOT – continuous
Transportation #3 – Sidewalk Plan – partially completed. Finish in 2006
Transportation #5 – Design road network according to traffic patterns – continuous
Transportation #5 – Adopt a Class B Highway Ordinance – 2006 Project
Transportation #6 – Reduced speed on USH 14 between Elmer Road & city limits – continue request to WisDOT in 2006
Transportation #8 – Provide information about road improvements at Public meeting – continuous
Transportation #8 – Encourage WisDOT to provide information about road improvements to public – continuous
Transportation #9 – Downtown parking – part of Main St. reconstruction in 2006 - 2007
Transportation #9 – Replace downtown sidewalks & curbing – part of Main St. reconstruction in 2006 - 2007
Utilities & Community Facilities #2 – Upgrade utilities when reconstructing streets - continuous
Utilities & Community Facilities #2 – Reserve streets, parkland & easements in undeveloped areas – continuous
Utilities & Community Facilities #2 – Apply for grants for public improvements – continuous
Utilities & Community Facilities #2 – Pursue intergovernmental cooperation opportunities to reduced shared costs – continuous, but a focus in 2006
Utilities & Community Facilities #4 – Develop a regional storm water management plan with Union township – 2006 Project
Utilities & Community Facilities #4 – Minimize need for storm sewers – continuous
Agricultural, Natural & Resources #1 – Require analysis for soils with engineering limitations – continuous
Agricultural, Natural & Resources #2 – Determine if Allen Creek’s floodplain near the downtown can be narrowed – complete in 2006
Agricultural, Natural & Resources #2 – Allow additional urban development along Allen Creek near the downtown, provided the developer can demonstrate it can be done without creating a high risk of flooding the new development or increasing the risk of flooding downtown – continuous
Agricultural, Natural & Resources #3 – Wetland areas adjacent to Lake Leota or Allen Creek, wetlands within areas having special wildlife and other natural values, and wetlands having an area of five acres or more should not be allocated to any development except limited recreation and should not be drained or filled – continuous
Agricultural, Natural & Resources #3- To the extent practicable, areas immediately adjacent to and surrounding wetlands should be developed in such a way as to minimize effects on wetlands – continuous
Agricultural, Natural & Resources #4 - Complete wellhead protection program – 2006 Project
Economic Development #3 – Downtown streetscape plan - part of Main St. reconstruction in 2006 - 2007
Economic Development #3 – Support the historic design/character by investing in needed lighting, signage, pedestrian amenities, plantings and other improvements identified in the streetscape plan part of Main St. reconstruction in 2006 - 2007
Economic Development #3 - Complete an evaluation of parking availability and consider opportunities to establish parking on vacant lots, as well as shared parking areas along Union Street - part of Main St. reconstruction in 2006
Land Use #1 – Develop connectivity standards within the subdivision and zoning chapters of the Municipal Code to promote better connectivity though the community – 2006 Project
Land Use #1 – Employ traffic calming techniques in Evansville to reduce speeds. Consider traffic calming measures in new developments – continuous
Land Use #3 – Expand identification, directional, and historic street signage – Focus in 2006
Land Use #3 – Standardize lighting to meet the needs of both motorists and pedestrians and enhance a historic theme – continuous
Implementations #2 – Require that land division plats indicate how street and utility access will be provided to adjacent land – continuous
Lake Leota Restoration
Springs have opened up on the southwest corner keeping the area wet. Discussed changing the stream to northeast bank in an attempt to dry area quicker.

Discussion attaining on test dredging permits.

Request “Keep Off” sign to prevent kids from venturing out into the soft mud.

City Engineer to provide park’s bridge capacity to S.O.L.E.

S.O.L.E. will present Allen Creek’s watershed study in January.

Update of Paving Bricks in Main Street Reconstruction in 2007
Starting fund raising and preliminary grant application.

Plan to have a Public Hearing on Main Street reconstruction in January.

STH 59/213 Resurfacing Project: Discussion on Improvements to the intersections of S. Madison St. with Water St.
S. Madison St. and Water St. – Involves widening intersection turn radius to allow truck traffic. While both residential homes have sufficient set backs to allow widening of the road, narrow strips of land acquisitions on both intersections. Engineer has designed intersections and the city contacted the property owners.

Direct the City Administrator to contact WDOT stating Evansville’s intentions to include improvements to the intersections of S. Madison St. with Water St. to STH 59/213 resurfacing project unanimously approved on a Sornson- Juergens motion.
Communications from City Engineer – No Report
Communications of Public Works Director
Current Public Works projects include:

Snow Plowing!
New Business - None
Meeting adjourned @ 6:06 p.m. on a Hammann-Sornson motion
Next Meeting: Monday, January 23 at 6:00 p.m.

Bill Hammann Chair, Public Works Committee

Corn Pillows Are the Rage

The latest fad is heating pillows filled with seed corn in the microwave and then warming ones head as one slips off to sleep. Click on the post for the full story in the Janesville Gazette.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Skatepark Coming.....to Monroe;

After a history of effort and dreams going back at least five years, the Skatepark in Monroe is nearing reality.

Will Evansville be the last community in the nation to have a skatepark? No. The skatepark is on the agenda for 2006 as I understand and there is interest in getting this done. If you have an interest in this contact the Park Board chair, Mr. Fred Juergens.

Click on the post for the full story.