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Sunday, April 30, 2006

What went wrong with natural gas?

Click on the post for a lengthy but interesting article on what went wrong with natural gas. Will the future supply problems be as difficult as those faced in California with the contract gamblers in charge? Are large homes a thing of the past? What went so terribly wrong with the dream of a clean burning fuel to power
America's homes? Click on the post and enjoy.

Janesville Students and Virtual Schools----Janesville may begin virtual school Jan 2007

Click on the post for an article today in the Janesville Gazette regarding students from Janesville that attend virtual schools. The Janseville School District may open a Virtual School of its own in Janesville 2007. This may prevent students from leaving the district and may add many students as well. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

"Fred" has the scoop on Special City Council meeting; Audioblogger Assist

this is an audio post - click to play

Click on the post for the recap of "Fred" of the Special Common Council meeting last night. Click on the audioblogger to listen to the opening moves as the Council moves to suspend the rules and then undo the joint motion of the previous meeting that appointed both Ald Roberts and Ald Hammann to the Planning Commission. Enjoy.

Evansville Planning Commission; May 1, 2006; Schedules action on application for "Indoor, commercial, entertainment" facility off Brown School Road

According to the Evansville City web site, the action on Monday nite is as follows:

"At 6:00 PM on Monday, May 1, 2006, the Plan Commission will hold a public hearing regarding an application by Bernardo Morice for a conditional use permit for a indoor commercial entertainment developement on a lot at the east end of Brown School Road. Two sides of the lot border on property in the Town of Union. A conditional use permit is required in any zoning district for an indoor commercial entertainment business, which includes restaurants, taverns, theaters, health and fitness centers, dance studios, martial arts training centers, bowling alleys, roller rinks, and pool halls, because such activities often have operating hours that extend significantly later than most other commercial uses. "

Because of the fact that such "commercial uses" do have "operating hours that extend significantly later" and that this facility will adjoin a residential area and also because it is unclear what kind of "dance studio" might be applicable under the designation "commercial entertainment," some residents have some concerns about the pending application.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to The Evansville Observer.

Evansville City Council; Moves to appoint Chris Eager to Redevelopment Authority for 5 year term; Discusses recusal in conflict of interest cases

The Evansville Common Council met on Friday, April 28, 2006 and appointed Chris Eager to the Redevelopment Authority for a five year term. There was considerable discussion of whether Mr. Eager would recuse himself in cases where he had a conflict of interest. Two cases were mentioned. The first is covered in the audiopost by Mr. Sorenson and was the vote to approve the new Bank at Union and Main. Mr. Eager cast the lone dissenting vote. The question was from some citizens whether this was due to the fact that this was a competitor as compared to the merits of the case.

The second case was the motion by Mr. Decker and second by Mr. Eager to approve the application of the Economy Store for 25% of 1.9 million where UB& T was identified as a possible banker of interest in the matter.

The council was told that Mr. Eager would recuse himself appropriately and the council voted unanimously to approve his appointment.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Habitat for Humanity sponsors Bike Ride June 10;; To raise money for 14th home in Green County

Click on the post for info on the big bike event in Brodhead on June 10th to raise money for the 14th home built by Habitat for Hummanity in Green County.

Brooklyn Blocks Asphalt Plant

Click on the post for the latest happening in Brooklyn.

New Computer Virus; Cripples computer and demands Ransom

Click on post for the latest of the Trojan viruses. This story was on Yahoo news. It requests a Western Union amount. I wonder where the closest Western Union is? The Observer will follow this story. Enjoy.
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SPECIAL NEW RELEASE BLOWOUT SALE---Hometown Video--May 2006--rent Two get one FREE Monday through Thuesday

  Posted by Picasa
this is an audio post - click to play

Click on the audiopost and listen to Barb talk about this special from Hometown Video for the month of May. Print this ad ad bring it in. Tell them the Observer sent you.

Re: Public Listening Session

Bill Connors <bill.connors@ci.evansville.wi.gov> wrote:
Would you please report on the Observer that no one showed up for last night's listening session regarding the draft recommendations from the Large Scale Commercial Development Study Committee?  I find it hard to believe that even the developers in the city do not care about this.
Bill Connors
Evansville City Administrator
31 S. Madison St.
P.O. Box 76
Evansville, WI 53536
(608) 882-2263
fax: (608) 882-2282

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Dateline Monroe Times: Letter to the Editor: Speaks on Gov. Doyle veto of Brett Davis virtual school bill

Click on the post for one readers view of the veto by Gov. Doyle of the bill of Brett Davis re. virtual schools.

Alternative Fuels; Companies emerge in Madison to meet market

Click on the post for an article in the Cap Times on several firms in Madison that are helping customers convert their autos and also obtain necessary fuel. Enjoy.

Gazette Corner: Mark Cufaude in the spotlight

Click on the post for a nice article in the Janesville Gazette on our own Mark Cufaude and his pole vaulting.

Gazette Corner: Wis. Gas Gouging Bills move to front burner

Wisconsin has no current gas gouging law and lawmakers are scrambling to enact one. Click on the post for the full story in the Janesville Gazette.

Nature vs Nurture: UN Study finds first 5 years are key; Nurture is critical

Click on the post for a United Nations study on child development. The first five years are key. Nurture is more important than Nature. Any surprises here?

You make the call.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The American Dream; Myth; Reality

Click on the post for a recent study on the reality of the American Dream. You make the call.

Supreme Court Beat: Case heard today re immigration using RICO theory; Could have devastating impact on employers who hire illegals.

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing today a case agains Mohawk, a carpet maker, who is accused of driving down wages by employing illegal immigrants. The case is being sued on the RICO statutes that normally are used against criminal underworld activities. It provides for double and treble damages. If other suits are allowed and suceed using the RICO, it would send a chilling message to employers not following current U.S. law. Stay tune.

Click on the post for the story in USA Today.

Even the Wisconsin Council of Churches opposes TABOR or TPA; League of Municipalities also opposed.

The Wisconsin Council of Churches sees the potential impact of TPA as devastating for social services and sees this as an essential "social justice" issue.

Click on the post for access to The Wheeler Report. The Scroll down to the Council of Churches report.

Water and Light Rates Under Review: TONIGHT; Any approved change would be effective Sept 2006?

(Ed note. This is in response to my inquiry about when the last increase had been and what the future looked like for rates.)


I am not aware of any increase in our utility rates as of Jan. 1, 2005. Our utility rates have not changed in many years. We have received draft studies of electric and water rate increases we would be justified in requesting. We have to go through a review process by the state Public Services Commissions to increase our rates. The rate increase are likely to take effect in Sept. or Oct. 2006. The city will publish information about the proposed rate increases at some point in the future. The draft studies will be discussed at tonight's Water & Light Committee meeting at 6:30 PM at the Water & Light garage on Old 92.

Bill Connors
Evansville City Administrator
31 S. Madison St.
P.O. Box 76
Evansville, WI 53536
(608) 882-2263
fax: (608) 882-2282

The Ace Ventura --Pet Detective --Story of the Day

(Click on the post.) This story compliments of the Janesville Gazette wins the Observer distinguished "Ace Ventura Pet Detective Award" for this week. Congrats.

"Fred" invites input on "water concerns";

In his blog, "Fred" has invited concerned citizens who have expressed concerns about water on the west side, to contact him about a possible meeting about those concerns.

Click on the post.

Reorganization; Authority and Responsibility; How shall we govern?

(Ed. note. Please excuse poor tone quality. Board discusses reporting formats, functional and detailed reports etc.)

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

Reorganizational Meeting. Doesn't seem too exciting. However, this is the meeting whether at the city or the school, where representatives elected by the citizens decide the details about how they will govern. Since sometimes, as in the case of the school, the election has just happened, you can listen as the new structure takes place. Sometimes you can sense a new way of conducting business--- a new style.

If you listen to the Evansville School Board discuss the details of how the Board receives detailed information from the principals and the administration, you can hear that the new Board wants to avoid the confusion that has resulted from two sets of reports---one set of detailed transaction reports and another report generated by excel spreadsheet manually. They are unable to make the two sets of reports reconcile. The need to know they do reconcile.

When times are flush with money, the phrase used to be "just throw the change over my shoulder". I briefly remember that phrase from my youth. Anyway, in lean budget times, everything matters, and you can hear in the audiotape that your elected board members are serious about knowing the detail. They understand that the community is counting on them. They understand that they are responsible.

This is the first meeting of the new Evansville School Board. As I see it, this was an excellent beginning. Stay tuned. The Observer is on the job.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"Walton" comments on Gazette op ed piece on public notice of meetings

Click on the post for the comments of "Walton" on the idea floated by the Gazette on public meeting notice.

Secretaries Week ---April 24-28 ---Evansville Floral Standing By

Click on the post for the web site for Evansville Floral. Handy to get prices and make selections for Secretaries Week, April 24-28.

Tell them The Observer sent you.

Volunteers Needed:

For further information contact:

Karla Sendelbach, 608-882-6587, sendelbachka@evansville.k12.wi.us


Fred Juergens, 608-882-2489, fredjuergens@charter.net

Volunteers Needed

The Evansville Park & Recreation Board is looking for volunteers (individual/groups/organizations) who are willing to help plant and maintain flowerbeds throughout our local parks and/or to make monetary donations to cover planting expenses.

An informational and organizational meeting will be held in Lake Leota Park at the Upper Park Shelter near the corner of Grove Street and North Second Street on

Saturday, May 6th,, 2006

at 10:00 a.m.

If you are interested in participating and can not attend this meeting, please contact either Karla Sendelbach, 882-6587 or Fred Juergens, 882-2489.

Your support will be greatly appreciated.

Monroe: School Beat: Private Donation funding proposal keeps all four band instructors

Click on the post for the story from Monroe where private funding is proposed to keep all four music instrumental instructors.

Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

If you are going to visit the Mall of America, make a note that the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel near Prior Lake is the official casino of the Mall of America.

It features five restaurants, gambling, (click on the post for the details.) and the full Vegas feeling with a few exceptions---but major ones.

One of the "pro bono" staff of The Evansville Observer, one of the "stringers" in the news biz so to speak, the younger brother of The Observer himself, attended a corporate function there last weekend.

His observation is that the Casino is ALCOHOL FREE----so the effect when you enter the casino is that folks are smoking up a storm.....and as the excitement of the evening goes on.....rather than reaching for another drink.....the gambler folks reach for another smoke-----the result is really, really, really smokie.

So, when we consider the benefits of allocating a portion of the Wisconsin landscape near us to gambling, the Observer hopes that we will not duplicate the "Mystic" experience here. The next thing that might happen is that someone might ban cheese...or even brats.... which would be devastating.

Minutes: Economic Development: 3-21-2006



Minutes of meeting

Tuesday March 21, 2006 5:30pm

Roll call.
Ald Aikman, Mr. Arnold, Mr. Decker, Mr. Otterstein, Ald. Anderson, Mr. Berg, Mr. Edmonds, Mr. Bass.
Approval of agenda.
Mr. Decker asked that item 5 be removed, Mr. Decker was thanked.
Approval of minutes of February 28, 2006 meeting.
Motion passed
Citizen appearances, other than on items listed below.
Wendy Soucie of Sortis
_Expression of Gratitude to Mr Decker for Chairing the February meeting.
See above item 2
Discussion of Presentation by Wendy Soucie of Sortis and decision on course of action to recommend to Council if any.
The discussion was lengthy and centered around Mr. Ottersteins recommendation that between RA Smith and UW-Extension, the UW was the better fit. Mr. Otterstein found the UW proposal had a greater focus on implementation. Mr. O informed the committee that the price ranged from $11,700 -$19,000 and conceivably could extend out for the life of the TIF, or 20 years because of the ability to add on additional data.
Because the cost of $19,000 exceeds the yearly budget of ED, which is only $5,000, it was suggested by Mr. Decker that perhaps ED could solicit enough contribution from other interested committees such as RDA, that

Going before Council for the funds would not be necessary.

A motion was made by Mr. Berg, and seconded by Ald Anderson as follows:
Motion to accept UW-Extension as vendor with a cap of $!9,000 with details to be worked out at the next meeting with the understanding Economic Development will contribute a percentage to be determined. - Motion passed
Recommendations for future agenda items.
It was agreed the next meeting in April would focus on developing the presentation to other committees and choosing two Economic Development committee members to make the presentations together.
D&D Proposal for Annexation on the May agenda.
Karen Aikman, Chair

Audioblogger: Evansville School Board; Mr. Hatfield elected VP, Mr. Willoughby Clerk, Mr. Phillips Treasurer

this is an audio post - click to play

Audioblogger: Evansville School Board Election: Michael Pierick elected new President

(Ed note. Click on the audio symbol. Listen to the nominations, the speeches, the wait till the ballots are counted.....and the decision. )

this is an audio post - click to play

Newsflash: Michael Pierick named new Evansville School Board President; Mr. Hatfield named VP.

On a 4-3 vote this evening, Mr. Michael Pierick was named President of the Evansville School Board. Mr. Hatfield was named V.P., Mr. Willoughby was named Clerk and Art Phillips was named Treasurer.

Prior to the vote for President, Mr. Pierick stated that the reason he was running for President is that he thought the budget process needed improvement from the most recent process.

The board then went over the budget and discussed various items. The final section of the meeting was termed a "budget retreat".

More on the meeting tomorrow. The Observer

Open Meeting Law: Right to record audio and video

(Ed. note: The following is text from the sample Mass. Open Meeting law regarding taping of public meetings as well as video. P. 25. Click on the post for the full text.)

"Except when a meeting is held in executive session, any person in attendance may record the meeting with a tape recorder or any other method of sonic reproduction, so long as no active interference with the conduct of the meeting arises as a result of the recording. The Law also allows any person attending an open meeting of a municipal or district governmental body to videotape the meeting from one or more fixed locations as determined by the governmental body, so long as there is no active interference with the meeting."

The Observer has posted this so all my dear readers may know that taping public meetings is not only normal for the news media, but is normal and customary in open meeting law legislation.

There is one important proviso however-----it would appear that the person recording could not move around during the meeting hoping to get a better audio or video position and thereby disrupt the meeting.

So there it is. The purpose of recording is to get the story straight. And it is not only allowed and tolerated, but it is protected by law. Make a note of it.

Disorderly Conduct; A time to speak; A time to be still

this is an audio post - click to play

(The following is text from the sample open meeting law of Massachusetts that pertains to disorderly conduct. P.27. Click on the post for the full text)

'Insofar as meetings of governmental bodies at the municipal or district level are concerned, the Law specifies that no person may address a meeting of the governmental body without permission of the presiding officer, and that all persons shall be silent at the request of the presiding officer. If a person persists in disorderly behavior in such a meeting after warning from the presiding officer, the officer may order him or her to withdraw from the meeting. If the disorderly person does not withdraw, the presiding officer may order a constable or another person to remove the offender and confine him or her in some convenient place until the meeting is adjourned. "

"Grumps" has the rant on "Big Oil".

Click on the post as "Grumps" follows the money.

Agenda: Economic Development Committee--Tuesday, April 25, 2006 6:00PM



Notice of Meeting

and Agenda

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

6:00 p.m.

Please take notice that the next meeting of the City of Evansville Economic Development Committee will take place on April 25, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. at the 2nd Floor of the Evansville City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin. The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

1. Roll call.

2. Introduction of new committee members and designation of chairperson pro tem.

3. Approval of agenda.

4. Approval of minutes of March meeting.

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

6. Report and recommendation to Common Council re: trade market analysis and grant funding.

7. Report and funding commitment re: joint session with Chamber of Commerce and Evansville Community Partnership, to be moderated by Bert Stitt.

8. Report on establishment of Main Street Construction Task Force.

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

10. Adjournment.

John R. Decker, Member

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Gas Price Map

Click on the post to get a visual of gasoline prices nationwide.

Gazette Corner: Small School Districts turn to Health care consortiums to battle rising premiums

Some small school districts are banding together to fight rising health care premiums in the midst of the revenue cap environment for schools. Click on the post for the latest.

Gazette Corner: Gina Duwe covers the South Pole-Evansville Story

Click on the post for the story by Gina Duwe of a local Evansville man and his job at the South Pole.

Help Wanted: Normal School District: Seasonal

(Ed. Note. This advertisement was seen up in Minnesota near Normal, Mn., close to Lake Woebegon. It is reprinted faithfully in hopes someone can be found fully qualified.)

Window Washer seasonal part time sought for rural school district in Northern Minnesota. High flexibility required for washing windows and repetitive stooping and reaching. Must be able to mix proper soap and water for appropriate solutions.
This seasonal temporary part time position features 18.75 hours per week with no benefits.

Experience with Windows XP is preferred. Some knowledge of digital file handling with .wave format preferred. Experience with spreadsheet analysis and powerpoint a plus as well as wordperfect version 99.123.

All applicants must apply in person. Normal School District, Normal, Mn. All replies confidential. The Normal School District is an equal opportunity employer.

Email and the Open Meeting Law

(Ed. Note. Citizens may not realize that emails can create problems of compliance with the open meeting law. I have quoted from the Mass. Open Meeting Law for review.)

"With the advent of computers, it has become more common for persons, both at home and at work, to communicate through electronic mail, or "email." Like private conversations held in person or over the telephone, email conversations among a quorum of members of a governmental body that relate to public business violate the Open Meeting Law, as the public is deprived of the opportunity to attend and monitor the "meeting." Thus it is a violation to email to a QUORUM messages that can be considered invitations to reply in any medium, and would amount to deliberation on business that must occur only at proper meetings. It is not a violation to use e-mail to distribute materials, correspondence, agendas or reports so that committee members can prepare individually for upcoming meetings."

Because of the limitations of the Open Meeting Law, you will note that most governmental units have a "spokesperson" that will respond in uniform public fashion--rather than individual members of a unit. In the case where a "public" media is not available for uniform response, the unit of government might choose not to respond till a properly noticed meeting occurred and the issue of interest could be discussed in a proper forum.

If "information" is sought, on a particular point of fact, you will note that governmental leaders such as city managers or superintendents will issue "information" memos as opposed to engage in debate as such.

I invite comments and clarifications from our own city administrator, Mr. Connors, as to this post. I did miss the famous city council meeting, known as the St. Valentines Day meeting, during which this issue was discussed.

Evansville School District: Agenda: Special Meeting, Monday, April 24, 2006--HS LMC, 6:15PM

On the agenda are:

1) Annual Board Reorganization
a) Election of Officers
b) Discussion of Committees, Determine Committee Structure and Make assignments
c) Determine Meeting Time and Dates

2) Business( Action Items)
a) Approval of 2006-7 Teacher Contracts
b) Approval of Selection for Delegate for CESA 2

3) Board/Administrative Team Retreat:
a) Discussion of Budget Planning 2006-07 and Beyond

(Ed. note. The above is a summary of the agenda. Official public notice of the agenda is at the Eager Library and on the official school site. )

Friday, April 21, 2006

"The Facts and nothing But the Facts."; How History and stories are written

(This story is written in celebration of my college professor David W. Noble of the U of Minn on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Fifteen years ago they established a Special Chair in his honor, the usual token of retirement. David never noticed. Today his schedule is busier than ever. Hundreds of his students have been inspired by Dave over the years to go into teaching. Yes, he published 10 books----but teaching was the love of his life. Happy Birthday, Dave.)

Years ago, one of my favorite shows, was Dragnet. I think some of this series was in black and white---anyway, Jack Webb would speed to the scene in that old 1940's Dodge and interview the witness. "The facts and nothing but the facts," he would say. It really was a struggle between the lies and the facts. Pure and simple.

Later when I was in college, of of my prof's favorite phrases was "The facts and nothing but the facts." Not in a reverential tone of voice, but in a satiric tone. In American History, due to the influence of The Frontier Thesis, there had grown the myth that America was not like anyone else----on the frontier we were purified by nature and we did not have any of those foreign European crazy ideas like aristocracy, religion or superstition. We lived in touch with real down home reality. Thus, in the long tradition of Presidents, even if our President say went to Yale, we still always thought of him as one of those down home cowboys just tending the ranch. Each President has a little of the cowboy in him.

The major point of all my prof's teasing was that when you write something----you cannot get out of the fact that YOU are involved. You have a point of view. Before you even lift up the pen it is best to understand where you are coming from or what you write is probably going to be nonsense. Whether it about local politics or national politics or just a fictional sketch, there is just no such thing as total understanding of what "the neutral facts" are. If there were such a thing, there would not be such a big effort to write the story or even understand what it was all about.

Thus--most folks who say "You didn't get the facts straight," many times really mean that the story was not written the way they would have preferred. Instead of making the person look like a hero, some embarassing fact may have been revealed. Alas.

I even have the problem sometimes with the camera. When folks take a picture of me, I simply say "That's not the way I really look. That is a bad picture." In fact, it has even extended to mirrors. I feel so young, but the mirror just does not do me justice. I have solved this by removing the mirrors.

Recently during a local election, one correspondent from a paper asked me "Do you think you are OBJECTIVE?"

My reply was, "HUH?" "I just begin the story. My readers finish it. They correct me along the way. "

I always enjoyed that Dragnet show. It is just too bad that life did not turn out so black and white. Something broke down somewhere -----like that old 1940's Dodge. I don't ever remember Jack Webb having so many stories from a suspect that he finally blew up because he got confused about the facts. The facts came pretty quickly. After all he just had a half hour show.

In life, and in the news biz, sometimes the facts take a whole lot longer than a half hour. Stay tuned.

(Click on the post for a bio sketch of Frederick Jackson Turner. He was an important charter Prof of the U. of Wisconsin and author of The Frontier Thesis.)

Minutes: Redevelopment Authority; March 21, 2006 7PM

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 7:00 PM

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

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 PM. Present were Ald. Anderson, Betsy Ahner, Dean Arnold, and John Decker. Ald. Aikman was absent. Chairperson Hagen and Vice-Chairperson Eager arrived during the discussion of agenda item 8a. James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, and Bill Connors, Executive Director, also were present.

The agenda was modified as follows: add item 8b, trade market analysis study; add item 8c, discussion of encouraging Main Street businesses to apply for financial assistance for alternative entrances; add item 8d, discussion of date of April regular meeting; and change preliminary agenda item 8b, closed session, to item 8e. The agenda was approved as modified.

Motion by Ahner, seconded by Anderson, to approve the minutes of the February 26, 2006, regular meeting with on correction: on page 2, it should read, “Based on a suggestion by Mr. Otterstein.” Motion passed.

Citizen Appearances Other Than Agenda Items Listed None.

Unfinished Business
The commissioners continued their discussion of the “pay back” provision in section 5 of the agreement with Triple B Investments regarding the Badger Coach Building. Mr. Connors presented two versions of possible new text for the provision and a calculation of the annual payments that would be due from Triple B Investments to the Redevelopment Authority under either version of the new text. Roger Berg for Triple B Investments said the owner would prefer to have the city assessor increase the value of the property on the property tax roll so that it complied with the target value in the agreement. The commissioners directed Executive Director Connors to ask the city assessor to look at the property again and see whether the value on the property tax roll should be increased.

New Business
The commissioners discussed why the property at 357 Union St. was omitted from TID No. 5. Jim Krueger, the owner of the property, said his parcel should not have been excluded based on a conversation between Executive Director Connors and Rick Symdon of Symdon Chevrolet, as disclosed in email message from Mr. Connors to members of the Redevelopment Authority and Plan Commission. Mr. Krueger said there never was an offer from Symdon Chevrolet to purchase his property. He wanted to know how the city was going to make this right.

Mr. Connors said he had a conversation with Rick Symdon months before the Redevelopment Authority started discussing the possibility of enlarging TID No. 5 in 2005. Mr. Symdon asked Mr. Connors if Symdon Chevrolet’s and Mr. Krueger’s property could be included in TID No. 5. When Mr. Connors asked what improvements Symdon wanted to make and might seek assistance for, Mr. Symdon said the dealership might want to acquire Mr. Krueger’s property, knock down the building, and expand their parking lot. Mr. Connors said he told Mr. Symdon this would not generate tax increment revenue, and instead would reduce the amount of tax increment revenue, and so it was not a good candidate for tax increment assistance. Mr. Connors said that months later, when the Redevelopment Authority started discussing enlarging TID No. 5, he remembered this earlier conversation, and excluded Mr. Krueger’s property from the list of parcels to avoid creating a risk of losing tax increment revenue. Chairperson Hagen said he spoke with Mr. Symdon, and Mr. Symdon told him Symdon Chevrolet has no immediate plans to acquire Mr. Krueger’s property and to knock down the building. Roger Berg said he also said he spoke to Mr. Symdon, and Mr. Symdon never asked Mr. Connors to exclude Mr. Krueger’s property. Mr. Connors said that is correct.

The commissioners asked Mr. Krueger what sort of redevelopment project he might come forward with if his parcel is added to TID No. 5. Mr. Krueger said it is not his obligation to come forward with a proposal in order for his property to be included in the district.

Executive Director Connors suggested that the Redevelopment Authority could publish a notice asking if anyone wants to have their property added to TID No. 5. Motion by Eager, seconded by Anderson, directing Mr. Connors to publish a notice informing property owners that they could come to the April meeting of the Redevelopment Authority and request to have their property included in or removed from TID No. 5. Motion passed.

Mr. Otterstein informed the commissioners that the Economic Development Committee has been working with Sortis LLC to identify economic-development related grants the city might apply for, and tentatively concluded that two grants the city might apply for could be used to fund a trade market analysis study. A trade market analysis would examine where the people come from who purchase goods and services in Evansville and where the residents of Evansville purchase goods and services. This data could be helpful to existing businesses for ideas for new goods and services to provide, and for potential new businesses in Evansville. The estimated cost of the study is $19,000, and would take 3 months to a year to complete. In addition to or instead of the grant, sources of funding for the study could be the Economic Development Committee, Redevelopment Authority, and the Chamber of Commerce.

The commissioners discussed how to encourage Main Street businesses to apply for financial assistance for creating or improving alternative (i.e., rear or side) entrances to their businesses. Ms. Ahner expressed concern that no downtown businesses have yet applied for this assistance. She suggested that maybe the Redevelopment Authority should establish what it was willing to contribute to such projects, e.g., 30% of the cost to a maximum of $1,000 of assistance. Mr. Otterstein suggested that the Building Improvement Grant Program could be modified to provide assistance with alternative entrances.

Chairperson Hagen suggested that maybe there should be a meeting between David Sauer, City Engineer, and downtown businesses owners to discuss how difficult it would be for them to create alternative entrances to their businesses.

Tess Gruenstein, intern from Beloit College, briefed the commissioners on her efforts to reach downtown businesses owners about the 2007 Main Street Reconstruction Project, and asked for suggestions on how to encourage business owners to speak with her. One suggestion was that Executive Director Connors should work with Mr. Sauer to create a fact sheet about the project to distribute to downtown business owners, in hopes this would stimulate their interest in discussing the project. Another suggestion was that Ms. Gruenstein should seek assistance from Becky Heimerl and Trish Graves at the Chamber of Commerce.

Executive Director Connors reported that the next regular meeting date for the Authority, Tuesday, April 18, conflicts with the Council reorganization meeting that evening. The consensus of the commissioners was the next meeting of the Authority should be on Tuesday, April 25.

Motion by Eager, seconded by Anderson, to go into closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. Sec. 19.85(1)(e) 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. The motion passed unanimously on a roll call vote at 8:20 PM.

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

The meeting adjourned at 8:52 PM.

Prepared by

William E. Connors, Executive Director

Thursday, April 20, 2006



Agenda: Redevelopment Authority--Tuesday, April 25, 2006 7PM

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, April 25, 2006, 7:00 PM
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin

Call to order.
Roll call (Chairperson Hagen, Vice-Chairperson Eager, Ald. Hammann, Ald. Wyse, Betsy Ahner, Dean Arnold, and John Decker).
Approval of agenda.
Motion to approve minutes of March 21, 2006, regular meeting as presented.
Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed.
Public hearing regarding possible changes to boundaries of Tax Incremental District (TID) No. 5.
Brief statement by the Executive Director regarding the history of TID No. 5, process for changing the boundaries of the district, and purpose of the public hearing.
Statements by anyone requesting to have property included in or removed from TID No. 5.
Statements of all other persons in favor of granting the request.
Statement in rebuttal by persons opposing the request.
Statements in rebuttal by anyone making a request and by other persons favoring the request.
Statements in rebuttal by persons opposing the request.
Statements by any persons not previously heard but only on matters not previously discussed.
Closing of the hearings or, if necessary, adjournment of the hearing to a fixed future date.
Unfinished business.
Update regarding possible revaluation by city assessor of Badger Coach Building at 133 N. Madison St., which was prompted by the provision in redevelopment agreement with Triple B Investments LLC for return of a portion of the grant if the full market value of the improvements was not as much as provided in the agreement.
Update on research regarding past data on inflationary increases in value and changes in property tax rate applicable to tax increments.
New business.
Presentation of reports by Tess Gruenstein and David Hariman, interns from Beloit College.
Discussion and possible motion requesting Common Council to approve program to provide financial assistance for creating or improving alternative entrances to businesses on the route of the 2007 Main St. reconstruction project.
Motion to adjourn.
Bill Connors, Executive Director

Gazette Corner: Gina Duwe covers where we are on Lake Leota

Click on the post for the recent article by Gina Duwe that is background for the meeting next week that will discuss Lake Leota.

Mailbag: "Hardy Boy writes": Re: WKRP in Evansville?

Frank Hardy <whyhardyboy@yahoo.com> wrote:
When I was a kid our family didn't have a lot of material possessions.  I wasn't as bad as Patches, but close.  My siblings and I used our imagination to recreate popular T.V. shows  and come up with our own dialog while staying in character.  Sometimes it was Knight Rider other times it was Family Ties, but the one that we had the most fun with was WKRP in Cincinnati.

We would all try to play our favorites, mine was Johnny Fever.  With only three kids, no one ever had had to be Les Nessman or Herb Tarlek.  We all knew our roles since that was one of the few shows that we could watch.  When someone played Andy Travis, you knew for sure, since he was in a position of power and persuasiveness, he would bypass the token station manager Mr. Carlson and go over his head to his behind the scenes mother and get what he wants.  We always knew that Andy got what he wanted or else.  When he had an idea that would help him look better he made sure he used his power and got it.

With Mr. Carlson, well, I guess he was called the Manager, but everyone that was involved with the end product knew he was a pawn with a nameplate.  He really had no power and would act like he did by getting upset a lot, but in the end, Andy and his mother ran the show.

Herb Tarlek was the cheesy sales guy trying to make the station more appealing and help direct its future.  He tried luring new companies to use there station to increase business and exposure.  Herb put on a tough guy front, though everyone close to him knew he was all talk and no action, a pushover.  My best description of Herb, he's just a bad pickup line and a tacky suit.

And then Les Nessman, he was the butt of every ones jokes, garnered no respect, and tried so hard to get people to see his point of view.  He was serious about what he did, was the utmost professional, but in the end he accomplished nothing more than amusing those around him with his optimism and dedication.

I miss childhood, the make believe and pretend things we used to do.  As and adult these things will never happen again.  In the end it was a just a T.V. show.

On an unrelated note, best of wishes to the new Mayor, new and existing City Councilmen, City Administrator and Business People/Developers for a productive next year.

Blab-away for as little as 1¢/min. Make PC-to-Phone Calls using Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.

The case of the "emergency meeting"

The Open Meeting Law has an interesting description of what constitutes an "emergency." If you click on the post and proceed to page 13, you can review.

Just calling something a "special" or an "emergency" meeting does not make it so. As in the example cited on page 14 "a board of selectmen acting as the local licensing board convenes an emergency meeting because it has just been informed by the potential purchaser of a restaurant that unless the purchaser receives approval of the transfer of a liquor license that day, he will lose his option to purchase. This is not the type of emergency that justifies an emergency meeting because the circumstances calling for immediate action is the private financial interest of the purchaser, not an event or act relating to the licensing board's responsibilities. "

So--private financial interest is not an acceptable reason for calling for an emergency meeting.

It is good to know that a strict interpretation of the word "emergency" will eliminate 95% of the emergency meetings we have been holding in our fair city. What a cost saving that will be.

"The Budget Retreat"

Over the years, whether it has been in sales in the securities business or in the insurance business, I have been to some pretty awesome "team building" events. Some were pretty outlandish.

One such event was an "emergency" "top priority" sales event in New York City, where brokers were flown in and after attending a sunset cocktail pre-session at the World Trade Center overlooking all of the kingdom, sales staff were treated to a sales pump session for a new airline private placement offering----one of those now outlawed private partnerships that was for rebuilt 747's. At the highlight of the sales pitch, the leader chanted "They'll fly forever" which the brokers repeated till the walls echoed. Then at the peak of frenzy, the leaders threw towels out into the auditorium "ala Elvis style" with the logo of the airline on them.

You all may remember the "rest of the story." After the brokers had returned on the red eye flight on Sunday nite, they awoke on Monday to learn that "Aloha Airlines" had the top of one of it's airplanes blow off. So much for "They'll fly forever."

Ever since that incident----I have been a little wary of those private "team building" sessions. Maybe it was the picture of all those passengers clinging to the seats as the airplane decended.

So-----I have approached with some calm sensibility the news that our beloved school district is headed off to a "team building" event called a "budget retreat."
The problem, of course, is that budgets and short and long range planning are NOT among the NINE acceptable exceptions to the Open Meeting Law-----as seen in the prior post. Yes. We all should have been invited.

As many of my dear readers remember, there was pervasive and intense public involvement in the planning of the new Evansville High School and there has always been open debate in matters of annual budgeting. There is no question that public discussion may be uncomfortable because there may be differences. However, the last time I checked at the dinner table, and yes teens are involved, there are some pretty vigorous areas of difference in all sorts of matters. It comes with the territory.

It's time to open wide the doors. Let the discussion begin. After all. This is not a marriage encounter weekend. It's about budgeting. Big difference.

(Ed. Note: Click on the post to access the model Open Records statute; The NINE exceptions allowed for executive session begin on Page 29)

The Open Meeting Law

Click on the post for the open meeting law model as is modeled in Mass. It is instructive as to what the purpose of the law is, what are the exceptions, the effect of modern technology such as email on the law, and the obligations of the county district attorney to enforce and other matters.


"Grumps" wins the "Headline of the Week Award"

In the very old days when newspapers were laid out on light tables, there was always one member of the staff that had a certain knack for the perfect headline. I suppose you would call that person the "Headline specialist." Grumps wins the headline award this week. Click on the post and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

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Gazette Corner: Gina Duwe has the scoop on last nights "Reorganization".

Click on the post for all the details of last nights meeting of the Evansville Common Council as covered by Gina Duwe of the Janesville Gazette.

"The Honeymoon" ; Or, It's not like the movies

This past Easter, one of my daughters came home from California to visit. In chatting, she told a story of a college chum that had recently gotten engaged. The chum had explained that all throughout college she thought she was just friends of a guy, but suddenly realized after the separation of graduation that it was something more.

Her final words to my daughter were," It's not like the movies."

What a rude shock. It's like all the investment in the long genre of "Princess Bride," and all the rest has been in vain. So--I guess there is the myth of the movies and then there is the way it really is.

Come to think of it, the honeymoon is like that. It really begins earlier in the plans for the wedding. Who to invite. How to please everybody. How to pay all the bills. That process of growth from engagement to the wedding day is very real and is the first real project that a young bride and groom undertake together. (insert your own story here.)

Last night I headed off to the inaguration or installation of the new mayor of Evansville, Sandy Decker, and the new alderman. For the record, I took neither a pen nor pad of paper. I took no tape recorder. I was just going to revel in the moment. Just enjoy. Just smell the roses so to speak. I figured that this was the honeymoon period. This was a sacred time. I needed to give some distance and abstain from writing.

The oath of office was wonderful The mayor had a beautiful corsage and the new male alderman were dressed in the casual sweater look. By the time I had visualized how they might look in white sport coats and pink carnations, the oaths were completed and the first item of business was ready.

The first item seemed pretty simple. The Motion to appoint the Evansville Review the official newspaper of the city for one year. There was a brief discussion of the request for an increase from $850 to $900 per month for the contract price. There was some discussion of the long ordinance printings that had resulted in extra charges that Kelly Gildner explained in detail.

Then, out of the blue, newly elected alderman, Tony Wyse, indicated he had concerns about the objective reporting of The Review in the recent campaign. That seemed to ignite a firefight of dialogue. Gina Duwe of the Gazette reached for her pen. Alas---- I had left mine home. I could not believe that the honeymoon had been so short. Finally, right in the midst of a long letter to the editor read by Kelly Gildner, Sandy Decker did gavel for silence and called for the vote which was unanimous--for the contract. It had to be one of the most contentious unanimous votes in recent memory----by my memory anyway.

The meeting then proceeded and there was open frank discussion about conflict of interest issues, inequity of committee assignments, feelings of members regarding their assignments, etc. etc.

In short----it was frank open discussion like I have not heard much and after a good night of sleep, I find refreshing. We have a new mayor and new alderman. There is a learning curve. This is the honeymoon.

It just does not look like I thought it would.

The Observer is on the job. I promise to take pen and pencil and recorder next time. I promise.

It's not like the movies.

(Ed. note: If you attended the meeting last night and wish to add comments or corrections, feel free to do so on the comment line.)

January 2006 Weather Comparison to 30 Yr. Average

(Ed. note: Click on the post for a graphic from NOAA that shows the unusually warm January 2006. This graph goes with the "weather consult" from Wxman. Thanks wxman.)

Wisconsin Weather Resource Info.

(Click on the post for some graphs and data on historical data of weather from Wisconsin. )

School Beat: Weather Consult: "Wxman Writes----2005-6 winter 9.5% below 30yr average; Observer cautions

"I can tell you that in terms of heating degree days (HDDs), we were 9.5% below normal (less is warmer) for December - February (meteorological winter). If therms are directly proportional to HDDs, and therms are directly proportional to cost, then the school's cost for heat was about 10% below normal (1971-2000 winters). But someone else will have to verify that.

The numbers for Madison look like this:

December normal (1971-2000) 1298
December 2005 1391

January normal 1490
January 2006 1029

February normal 1203
February 2006 1192

Only the last week of December and the month of January were significantly above normal. The first three weeks of December were quite cold for that time of year. Unlike most recent years, February was reasonably chilly. See http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mkx/climate/tempgraph.php


Thanks Wxman for the weather segment. What does this mean for us and the Evansville School District 2006-2007 budget?

In the budget handout, Heidi Carvin indicated that there was a $60,000 energy saving. However, in another section of the meeting, she referred to the fact that the district just did not have to borrow $240,000 out of savings to cover the energy spike but only $180,000. How is that a saving? It is NOT.

The school budget for 2006-2007 reflects a 5% increase from "actual" expenses for energy. As the weather analysis indicates, last years weather was 9.5% below "normal". In budgeting one has to expect some increase in cost and possible increase in usage in addition to the "normal". Hence------it is clear that a 5% budget increase is bogus. The Observer would propose for debate purposes that one has to take the $60,000 to get to normal plus add the increased cost of energy for the coming year say 10% and then come up with a $120,000 expected "actual" dollar increase for the budget. A 10% increase in energy price may be dreaming so the cost may be a lot higher. I hope not. ... So----there is still a gap that has to be dealt with that cannot wait till next year and/or will have to be taken again from the fund balance.

The school board and the public have been kept in the dark on these matters. It is time to confront the budget "gap" and the energy crisis. Disinformation does not help.

The Observer is calling for a clarification of the numbers in this matter. The Observer would appreciate the admission that the $60,000 represented to the board as saving is bogus.

The Observer is also calling for a disclosure of what exact amount is planned to be taken from the fund balance for the coming school year. This was not disclosed to the school board.

It would be wonderful if I am wrong in this analysis. I hope I am wrong.

Thanks Wxman for the weather.

The comment line is open. You make the call.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Coming Oil Crisis

Click on the post for an interesting article on the coming oil crisis.

The Normal School Board (fiction)

Recently I drove up to northern Minnesota, up Hwy 10 to Normal, Minnesota, a small town just outside of Garrison, Mn. and stopped in at the classic bait shop run by my old friend, Rex, who in addition to selling beer, bait and ammo, was pretty much everything in town---constable, meter reader etc. In fact, after his rush to the hospital recently for an apparent heart ailment, he gave up his water meter reading duties and decided to sit on the Normal, Mn. School Board. He felt it might be less stressful than dealing with irate residents hasseling him about their rising utiity bills. Anyway.

I had done some reading up on the history of financing Minnesota schools, (click on the post for a brief history), and wanted to know what Rex thought of the whole crisis in funding for education.

"Shucks," Rex exclaimed. There's no crisis up here. Everything is just fine."

"How can that be?", I wondered.

"It's real simple," Rex explained. "Last year our school administrator proposed to the board that we break up one full time groundskeeper position on union scale into two separate non-union positions at lower pay and then offer the old groundskeeper one of the positions. Naturally he refused. The result was two part time positions at a lot lower wages and zero cost of employee benefits."

Then he went on: " The school board was so impressed by the financial moxie of the proposal, that they made a motion to extend the concept to all teachers and administrators. We made em all part time, all temporary with no benefits."

I was just stunned.

"Even the administrators?', I exclaimed.

"Sure," Rex explained. We don't call em Principals or administrators anymore, we call em "building managers." We have a morning building manager and an afternoon building manager. "

"It's reduced our budget like a miracle. In fact, folks have come from all over the country to see our experiment. We're what's called in big city slang "a role model." "Aint that somethun."

It sure is great to be back home in good ol Wisconsin. Free from all those funny ideas of Minnesota folk.

Re: Mr.Connors writes: Explains impact of Westfield Meadows on Evansville Housing stock mix

(Ed. note: This post was in the comment section but I have posted it separately for better view)

billconnors <noreply-comment@blogger.com> wrote:
billconnors has left a new comment on your post ""Grumps" has a good question":

As promised, here is the information about the zoning of Westfield Meadows Subdivision for minimum house size. Of the 152 lots zoned for single family houses (although duplexes will be constructed on some of these lots), 35 lots (23%) are zoned R-1A (minimum total of 1,300 square feet on the first floor or above), 88 lots (58%) are zoned R-1B (minimum total of 1,450 square feet on the first floor or above, and 29 lots (19%) are zoned R-1C (minimum total of 1,600 on the ground floor or above).

By way of comparison, most of the houses in the Abey Koth Subdivision and on S. 6th St., W. Main St., and Millard Ct. in the Berg Woodworth & Petterson Subdivision are 1,300 to 1,500 square feet on the first floor or above (some are smaller than 1,300 square feet). Most of the houses on Hillside Ct. or over 1,600 square feet on the first floor or above, as are some on Wyler Dr. There are some much larger two-story houses on the south end of S. 6th St. in the Southgate Subdivision.

So Westfield Meadows probably will not do much to help re-balance the housing supply to include a greater percentage of somewhat larger homes (a 1,600 square foot house is not a large home in today's market). The city expects more help with that issue from Capstone Ridge and the potential residential subdivision north of Porter Road.

Bill Connors
Evansville City Administrator

Evansville Observer at 4/18/2006 09:57:08 AM

"Normal" and other mysteries

I have been reflecting a lot lately on what is normal----mostly in regard to weather, mean historical temperature stuff. The question has come up during these reflections of what is "Normal" .....what is "mysterious" .....and what is flat out "miraculous"

In researching, I have started with where every researcher begins----on Yahoo... When you search on "Normal" you always begin with "Normal, Illinois." Right there is the oxymoron. How can anything in Illinois be considered "normal?" Even before looking at the data, questions arise. O.K.

If you click on the post, you will see the website for Normal, Illinois. Note its history, its Redevelopment Authority, and its restoration of the downtown. One of the things that leaps out at you on the site is that you can make a tee-time reservation through their web site for golf. Now is that a miracle or what? We should do that immediately. And, you can even type in a suggestion for city government. Is that a miracle in Illinois, or is that "normal?"

Few folks know that there is also a town called "Normal" in Minnesota. It has no web address. It's not listed on any official map. The cartographers made an error while doing their survey in the late 1800's and it has stuck ever since. The map maker in the wagon shouted, "Look at that bait shop with all the colored rocks" What is that? " "That's just "Normal" was the reply. Ever since then, the small town just outside of Garrison, Mn. has had the alternative name of "Normal", Minnesota. In that town, if you ask any question, the answer is "That's normal." Such as, " Why is the Mayor--- Rex--- also the constable, dog catcher, snow plow driver, city assessor and the electric meter reader all in one?

"That's just normal," is the reply.

Last week, there was just a little panic in Normal, Minnesota when Rex was taken suddenly to the hospital for a heart procedure. Did I mention that Rex also ran the bait shop? or more precisely, the beer, bait and ammo shop?

In one terrifying moment, the whole city of Normal, Minnesota was on the verge of meltdown. They were on the cliff of a reorganizational meeting of vast proportions.

Right in the middle of the panic, right in the eye of the storm stepped the solution----Louise, the wife of Rex. She boldly strode in the bait shop and took charge. She had always wanted to have a shop of her own. She was ready to make a contribution. She knew she needed to act quickly before Rex returned or was buried. She put some tasteful red ruffled curtains up and proceeded to spruce up the bait shop with a real woman's touch.

Well. Rex came home from the hospital after a day. Just a scare. He resumed all his duties. He never mentioned the red ruffled curtains. He just let it be. Some said his vision was goin and he never even saw them. Others said he was just older and wiser. We will never know.

Even today, when folks driving by ask, 'What's with the bait shop with the red curtains?", the answer is just automatic.

"Oh, that's just Normal."

Re: Mailbag:" Hardy Boy", Back From Missouri and Hearing Dueling Banjos all the way home; On Ballroom Dancing in Blue Jeans

hardy boy @yahoo.com> wrote:
Should Evansville Plant Gumdrop Trees?

Remember that song at the beginning of Oh Brother
Where Art Thou, The Big Rock Candy Mountains? I do,
and I think the city of Evansville has been seduced by
it as well. If you haven't heard the song it was
written during the 1920's about an ideal hobos life.

Here is a verse: In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, all
the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth and the hens
lay soft-boiled eggs
The farmer's trees are full of fruit and the barns are
full of hay
Oh I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall, the wind don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

When it comes to an Industrial Park in the city of
Evansville, I think that song takes precedent over
reality. I hate to be downer, but why would a major
business want to come to Evansville? Evansville is
convinced with the " If you build it they will come "
approach. I feel there are a lot of reasons that make
that dream a sad unreality.

Hwy 14 is my Number one reason. Great road to get to
Madison and J-town on, that is if you like driving on
road courses, but why would you want to build
something twenty minutes from I90 when you could build
it right there? That eliminated possible NEW large
Industrial companies.

Evansville is a nice town, and maybe it would appeal
to a service based commercial company. I still
haven't completely ruled that out yet, but then you
have to compete against every other " Evansville " in
the Local to Regional area. How many tax breaks and
incentives do you give before you are as profitable as
the WNBA?

I'm not knocking Evansville the city, I love living
here, it's just time that Evansville quit looking over
it's shoulder to see what City A,B,and C are doing and
use the brain resources it has and reinvent the
business park wheel.

Evansville may draw one or two minnows into its net,
but I think the wall hangers will stay wary.
Evansville needs to look at what it has to offer and
use that to it's advantage. Evansville has a lot that
many other cities don't. I just think Evansville is
trying to ballroom dance in blue jeans. Evansville is
a small rural community with a fairly well educated
body of people.

Hmmmm, rural. Lots of Corn, lots of Soybeans. Have
you gassed up Betsy lately? My subtle hints point
towards some kind of cooperative plan with the town of
Union and encourage a Soy Diesel and Ethanol Plant,
heck throw up some wind turbines and we're all set.
With that done, other prospective science/research
companies might be willing to come to this town if
they think we are a progressive role model for the
alternative fuel world.

With the storage capacity of Landmark and rail system
already in place, a lot of the dirty work is sorted
out. This would be a great incentive for local
farmers to keep farming, and make farmland valuable
for what it was meant to do. Full circle economic
impact, not just one area.

I'm not saying put these up next to the Pig, but with
everything in life comes compromise. Not everyone
will be on board, so you might as well throw it on a
fall Referendum!

This idea may also sound like a fantasy so maybe
Evansville should construct a business park, who am I
to second guess them, or maybe I just ate too many
soft boiled eggs this weekend.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Scene--Evansville--2006

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(Revised Agenda)Evansville Reorganizational Meeting TONIGHT: Assignments Announced

Common Council Meeting

Tuesday, April 18, 2006, 6:30 p.m.

Re-organizational Meeting

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

Call to order.
Administer Oath of Office to Mayor Decker, Ald. Braunschweig, Ald. Juergens, Ald. Sornson and Ald. Wyse.
Roll call of new Council.
Nomination and election of Council President.
Motion to appoint The Review as the City of Evansville’s official newspaper for a term of one year.
Motion to waive the seven-day notice on aldermanic and citizen appointments.
Committee Aldermanic Appointments.
A. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Roberts as Chair and Ald. Braunschweig and Ald. Juergens as committee members to the Finance and Labor Relations Committee.

B. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Hammann and Ald. Roberts to the Plan Commission.

C. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Wessels to the Historic Preservation Commission.

D. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Cothard as Chair, and Ald. Sornson and Ald. Wessels as committee members, to the Water & Light Committee.

E. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Braunschweig and Ald. Wessels to the Evansville Fire District Board, and Ald. Cothard and Ald. Sornson as alternates.

F. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Hammann as Chair, and Ald. Juergens and Ald. Sornson as committee members to the Public Works Committee.

G. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Juergens and Ald. Wyse as committee members to the Economic Development Committee.

H. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Juergens as Chair to the Park and Recreation Board.

I. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Cothard as Chair, and Ald. Roberts and Ald. Sornson as committee members, to the Public Safety Committee.

J. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Hammann and Ald. Wyse as committee members to the Redevelopment Authority.

Citizen Committee Appointments.
K. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Gil Skinner for a 3-year term to the Plan Commission

L. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Mike Anderson for a five-year term to the Board of Review.

M. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Kent Englund and Eric Pease for three-year terms to the Board of Appeals.

N. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ron Carlsen and Barbara Jacobson for three-year terms to the Park Board.

O. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Karen Aikman for an unexpired two-year term and Wally Shannon for a five-year term to the Police Commission.

P. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Cheryl Dickert for an unexpired two-year term, and Gene Bass and Roger Berg for three-year terms to the Economic Development Committee.

Q. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of John Decker for an unexpired one-year term, and Steve Culbertson, Steve Christens and Louis Keely for two-year terms to the Historic Preservation Commission.

R. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Chris Eager for a five-year term to the Redevelopment Authority.

S. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Paul Miller for a five-year term to the Housing Authority.

T. Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Eloise Eager for a three-year term to the Library Board.

Communications from the Mayor.
New Business.
Motion to authorize Foth & Van Dyke, City Engineer, to perform a traffic impact analysis study regarding development north and south of USH 14 east of CTH M.
Motion to adjourn.
Jim Beilke, City Clerk/Treasurer

City of Evansville

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

Re: Mailbag: FW: The Swimming Hole

*>Subject: Swimming Hole
>An elderly man in Florida had owned a large farm for several years.
>He had a large pond in the back, fixed up nice;
>picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some apple and peach trees.
>The pond was ideal for swimming, although he rarely did that anymore.
>One evening he decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there
>for a while, and look it over.
>He grabbed a five gallon bucket with which to bring back some fruit.
>As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee.
>As he came closer he saw it was a bunch of young womenskinny-dipping
>in his pond.
>He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end.
>One of the women shouted to him, "We're not coming out until you leave!"
>The old man frowned, "I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim
>naked or to make you get out of the pond naked.."
>Holding the bucket up he said, "I'm here to feed the alligator."
>MORAL: Old men can still think fast.

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Public Listening Session--"Big Box" ordinance Draft Proposal--April 27th, 2006 5:30PM

Evansville Large Scale Commercial Development Committee

Special Meeting

Thursday, April 27, 2006, 5:30 PM

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

Call to order.
Roll call.
Approval of agenda.
Motion to approve the minutes of the April 13, 2006, meeting.
Presentation of the committee’s draft recommendations.
Public listening session.
Other business.
Motion to adjourn.
Christopher A. Eager, Chairman

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

Friday, April 14, 2006

Agenda: Redevelopment Authority: April 2006

Evansville Redevelopment Authority
Regular Meeting
Tuesday, April 25, 2006, 7:00 PM
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin


Call to order.

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

Approval of agenda.

Motion to approve minutes of March 21, 2006, regular meeting as presented.

Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed.

Public hearing regarding possible changes to boundaries of Tax Incremental District (TID) No. 5.
a. Brief statement by the Executive Director regarding the history of TID No. 5, process for changing the boundaries of the district, and purpose of the public hearing.
b. Statements by anyone requesting to have property included in or removed from TID No. 5.
c. Statements of all other persons in favor of granting the request.
d. Statement in rebuttal by persons opposing the request.
e. Statements in rebuttal by anyone making a request and by other persons favoring the request.
f. Statements in rebuttal by persons opposing the request.
g. Statements by any persons not previously heard but only on matters not previously discussed.
h. Closing of the hearings or, if necessary, adjournment of the hearing to a fixed future date.

Unfinished business.
Update regarding possible revaluation by city assessor of Badger Coach Building at 133 N. Madison St., which was prompted by the provision in redevelopment agreement with Triple B Investments LLC for return of a portion of the grant if the full market value of the improvements was not as much as provided in the agreement.
Update on research regarding past data on inflationary increases in value and changes in property tax rate applicable to tax increments.

New business.
Presentation of reports by Tess Gruenstein and David Hariman, interns from Beloit College.
Discussion and possible motion requesting Common Council to approve program to provide financial assistance for creating or improving alternative entrances to businesses on the route of the 2007 Main St. reconstruction project.

Motion to adjourn.

Bill Connors, Executive Director

Janesville Schools: Outgoing Board Pres. Predicts Sharper Cuts Ahead

Click on the post for the article by Frank Schultz in the Janesville Gazette. Outgoing Janesville School Board President Nancy Sonnetag predicts that next year will bring cuts of about 2 million also, and all these cuts will affect students. She even mentioned music and sports as cuts next in line. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Grumps" has a good question

One of the key provisions of the developers agreement on the development of Westfield Meadows was that NOTHING would begin till the retention pond was completed. This was to be of benefit to all the areas adjacent. "Grumps" is one of those homeowners adjacent. Click on the post for the feelings of "Grumps" on this matter.

By choosing to not require the developer to comply with their agreement, was the original agreement void? Was it not an equal bargain? Was it in hindsight misrepresentation of the facts to the homeowners such as "Grumps?"

There must be some additional information that could be brought to bear on this question. I would appreciate Mr. Connors to weigh in on this and explain for my dear readers and "Grumps." Stay tuned.

Minutes: Evansville Planning Commission--4-3-2006

Plan Commission

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, April 3, 2006, 6:00 P.M.

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

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

Approval of Agenda.

Agenda items 7(E), Subway Restaurant awning sign, and 7(D), Tax Incremental District No. 6, were moved after agenda item 5, Citizen Appearances. The amended agenda was approved.

Approval of Minutes.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Skinner, to waive the reading of the March 6, 2006 Minutes and approve them as printed. Motion carried.

Citizen Appearances Other Than Those Agenda Items Listed. None.

New Business.

Mary Leeder from the Subway Restaurant at the northeast corner of Union St. and E. Main St. appeared and said she wants to install an awning sign that does not comply with the sign regulations in the Municipal Code. Code only allows a sign on the vertical flaps of an awning and not on the slanted part, which limits the amount of available area for signs. Subway Restaurant wants the sign on the slanted part. The Commission instructed staff to draft an ordinance allowing signs on the slanted part of an awning, except in the Historic District. Ald. Hammann and Cothard would be sponsors.

Greg Johnson from Ehlers and Associates Inc. led the discussion regarding the creation of the Tax Incremental District No. 6. The type of district proposed for creation is a Mixed Use District. Based upon the land area designated for inclusion in the district, greater than 50% of the land area would be suitable for industrial and commercial use. The area proposed to be included in the district encompasses approximately 92.2 acres. A portion of the proposed district is currently part of an annexation process that must be completed prior to the creation of the district. State of Wisconsin Law requires any municipality desiring to create a new district have no more than 12% of the municipality’s equalized value contained in a tax increment district. Currently, the City has a single tax increment district in operation, with an increment value of $622,300. Based upon City’s current equalized value, the current increment value, plus the estimated base of the proposed district represent roughly 0.60% of the statutory maximum (12%) that could be included in a tax increment district. The proposed district would incorporate the area north of USH 14, which is already developing, to generate some increment right away. Based on Ehlers’ cash flow projection, the proposed district would close out in 2018.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Hammann, to set a public hearing regarding the creation of Tax Incremental District No. 6 for 6:00 PM on Monday, May 1, 2006. Motion passed.

Unfinished Business.

Roger Berg led the discussion regarding the update on filing of final plat for Grand Orchard Estates subdivision. The developers conducted a Phase I environmental assessment to determine if the property contains any contaminated soils. The assessment revealed the need to conduct a more thorough Phase II environmental assessment. This site investigation uncovered a buried petroleum tank that was previously undetected by the developer and the property owner who lived on the property for a number of years. Testing showed it was sound and did not contaminate surrounding soils or groundwater. It has been removed consistent with state requirements. In addition, the investigation found arsenic levels in the northern part of the subdivision that exceed the threshold established by the state of Wisconsin. Arsenic occurs naturally in some soils but these elevated levels resulted from its use as an apple orchard. Arsenic is a persistent element and is restricted to the upper soil layers. It does not pose a threat to groundwater. Mr. Berg reported they applied for a grant to help mitigate the arsenic-contaminated soil. If they receive it, they will use the money to clean up more lots.

Joel Zirkle from Fehr-Graham and Associates (FGA) reported the developer and his firm worked with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to develop strategies to allow the development of the property for residential purposes while protecting the public health, safety, and welfare. Their plan to mitigate the arsenic-contaminated soils is that all soil excavated from each property (basements, utility trenches) will remain on the property from which it was excavated. Then, after construction is completed and prior to occupancy, the potentially impacted soil will be graded across the individual property and a sod cover will be applied. All property owners will be notified of residual arsenic impacts prior to purchase of individual lots. Affected soil from the roadway areas will moved to “Outlot 3” and will be bermed and undeveloped. Outlot 3 will receive its own deed restriction and is placed on the WDNR GIS Soil Registry.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Sauer, to recommend to Council the adoption of a motion accepting the proposed mitigation of environmental concerns for Grand Orchard Estates subdivision.

The Commission discussed the issue of dust and erosion control during construction and the issue of landlords having to notify the tenants about the residual arsenic in the soil.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Skinner, to include that the developer is required to follow the DATCP recommendations, and the building inspector and city engineer should check to make sure controls are being followed. Motion passed.

The original motion, as amended, passed.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Sauer, to remove from the table a motion to recommend to Council adoption of Ordinance #2005-37, as amended by Plan Commission. Motion passed.

Mr. Connors led the discussion regarding amending the Municipal Code relative to requiring sidewalks and modifying requirements for vehicular access in the B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4 and O-1 zoning districts. He reported this ordinance was tabled a couple of times, amended, and tabled again. The genesis of this ordinance was that the zoning code says that commercial development should have its vehicular access on collector or arterial streets, but the city had ignored that provision and allowed commercial development along local streets, such as Brown School Road. The ordinance was drafted to eliminate the provisions requiring vehicular access only on to collector and industrial streets, and the Plan Commission amended the ordinance to add a provision requiring sidewalks for all commercial development. Then the Plan Commission started to have second thoughts about eliminating the provisions regarding vehicular access, instructed Mr. Connors to draft text that would protect residential development from commercial traffic on local streets, and tabled the ordinance. Mr. Connors drafted Amendment 2-1 to provide the requested text.

The Commission discussed how combining the two issues has caused difficulties for them. The consensus was to eliminate all sections pertaining to vehicular access and to pass only section 1 pertaining to the sidewalks. No one moved to adopt Amendment 2-1.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Hammann, to delete sections 2,3,4,5, and 6 and delete the following words from the title, “and modifying requirements for vehicular access.” Motion passed.

Mr. Connors noted other needed changes in the motion.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Aikman, to change the following lines on page 2: (1) on line 22, replace the word final with preliminary; (2) on line 23, replace the date November 30, 2005 with March 31, 2006; (3) on line 29, replace the word final with preliminary; and (4) on line 30, replace the date November 30, 2005 with April 1, 2006. Motion passed.

The original motion, as amended, passed.

Mr. Connors led a discussion on the update of sidewalks on the south side of Brown School Road. He wrote a letter asking the Bank of Monticello to construct a sidewalk along the south side of Brown School Road during the 2006 building season. The Bank, for a variety of reasons, responded now was not the time to construct a sidewalk.

Mr. Schwecke gave an update on text amendments to the City’s floodplain regulations so as to be consistent with state and federal requirements. He submitted a draft ordinance to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) because ultimately they would have to approve it. With the DNR’s input, the draft ordinance would then go to a public hearing.

Mr. Schwecke gave an update on 2005 Assembly Bill 299 that would repeal a state requirement that county shoreland zoning applies to lands annexed in a city or village. Both houses have approved this bill, waiting for the governor’s approval. Currently, when property is annexed, the county shoreland zoning regulations continue to apply to the property. The new bill would strip that provision away. If this bill becomes law, the city will have the option of adopting its own shoreland zoning regulations.

New Business.
Attorney Robert Fleischacker, representing D & D Development, presented the annexation petition (Application #2006-3). This annexation is being requested to facilitate commercial and industrial development at the southeast corner of USH 14 and CTH M.

Acting Chairperson Hammann opened the public hearing at 8:01 PM. No one appeared. Mr. Hammann closed the public hearing at 8:02 PM.

Mr. Schwecke reported the City received a questionnaire from the state Department of Administration and recommended the motion incorporates the approval from the state Department of Administration. The Commission favors the petition for annexation, conditioned on the city’s receipt of a letter from the state Department of Administration approving the annexation prior to the Common Council vote.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Aikman, to recommend to Council the adoption of Ordinance #2006-3 as drafted, subject to the conditions contained in the staff report and subject to approval from the state Department of Administration. Motion passed.

Mr. Schwecke led the discussion on the zoning code text amendment relative to replacement of damaged nonconforming structures so as to comply with 2005 Wisconsin Act 112. The Legislature enacted 2005 Wisconsin Act 112, which prohibits a city from limiting the repair or reconstruction of damaged nonconforming structures. Ordinance #2006-6 would amend the Municipal Code to be consistent with 2005 Wisconsin Act 112.

Acting Chairperson Hammann opened the public hearing on 8:07 PM. Sandy Decker, 143 W. Main St., raised the issue of a public nuisance if a damaged building is left un-repaired or is not cleaned-up. The city has the authority to raze property considered a public nuisance, and 2005 Wisconsin Act 112 has no impact on this authority. Mr. Hammann closed the public hearing at 8:09 PM.

Motion Aikman, seconded by Hammann, to recommend to Council the adoption of Ordinance #2006-6 as drafted. Motion passed.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Hammann, to recommend to Council the approval of the Extraterritorial land division for five lots off of Travis Trace for R Four Inc (Application 2006-11). Motion passed.

Mr. Connors distributed a revised draft 4/3/06 of the Amended Final Land Divider’s Agreement – Westfield Meadows at this meeting and reviewed the changes with the Commission. Mr. Sauer expressed concerns regarding the minimum elevation that will be permitted for openings in the foundation and asked the motion be subject to receiving information for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirming that the 100-year-flood elevation is approximately 903.00. The developers requested that the provision requiring them to pay the city an amount for future maintenance of the storm water detention pond on Outlot 4 be removed from the agreement, because the DNR has required the pond to be seeded with plants that must not be mowed. Furthermore, the developers requested that the city issue building permits before the storm water detention pond north of Porter Road is complete.

Motion by Sauer, seconded by Hammann, to recommend to Council the approval of the amended land divider’s agreement for Westfield Meadows subdivision with the following changes: (1) no building permits will be issued until the storm water detention basin facility south of Porter Road is complete; (2) no occupancy permits will be issued until the storm water detention basin facility north of Porter Road is complete; and (3) approval contingent on the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirming that the 100-year-flood elevation is approximately 903.00. Motion passed.

Preliminary Development Presentations. None

Report of the Evansville Redevelopment Authority. None

Report of the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission. None

Report of the Evansville Large-Scale Commercial Development Study Committee.

Mr. Schwecke reported the Committee will present a draft ordinance regarding Large-Scale Commercial Development to Chamber of Commerce on April 20 at Romano’s Pizzeria.

City Planner’s Report.

Mr. Schwecke distributed his report to the Committee. He asked for additional guidance on an ordinance that would either ban outdoor wood furnaces in the city or regulate where they may occur and are operated.


Motion by Hammann, seconded Aikman, to adjourn, carried. The meeting adjourned at 8:50 PM.

Prepared by:

James A. Beilke

City Clerk/Treasurer

Classic Audioblogger of Yesteryear, yesterweek: School Beat: Michael Pierick Speaks; On Impact of Revenue Caps; On facing that cuts cannot be reborn

(This audioblogger dates from the famous 7am school board meeting about two weeks ago. It is relevent because it reflects the zero sum, or worse than zero sum game that the revenue caps present---and the necessity that our community confront the reality that any discussion of "additions" means "cuts equal to and more."

this is an audio post - click to play

At the Evansville School Board meeting on Monday morn, March 21st at 7am, there was some discussion of the adverse impact of the prior cut of a custodial position of a cost of $34,282. There was some mention that one of the proposed positions to be hired might help in this regard.

Michael Pierick spoke to the issue of firmness in not holding out to anyone the "rebirth" of cut positions under the revenue formula, since this type of thinking would just result in additional cuts to match the additions and produce dissaray. The reality of the revenue caps is here.

Click on the audioblogger to hear his discussion of this.

Mailbag: "Mason" writes: On change: On beginning and much, much more

Right now represents a transition for me. I was on the inside of the now famous Evansville blog scene and was on the outside of city government. Well as you all know my website is no longer. The feelings are mixed to be sure. Life was relatively easy for me when I was outside and complaining before the election. And so I make this transition.

At this point it is difficult for me to even speculate as to how this new administration will affect our city. One thing I can safely assume is that we are in for some changes. For one Evansville will have a new Mayor and 2 new council members. There most certainly will be new committee assignments and clearly a few more voices heard up at town hall. What will those voices be saying? Will Evansville care?

Since the election I have been congratulated by some, and some others have not a clue as to the make-up of their new government. I guess that is the apathy that so many people refer to lately. I have thought about apathy long and hard in the last few weeks and it seems to me that people view their governments on a scale of sorts. If it leans one way they may not care, and if leans the other way they may not care, however if it leans too far in either direction people begin to stir. And if the scale is able to actually tip completely to one side then you say you want a revolution…well you know we all want to change the world. For example if gas prices go up to $3.50 this summer we are going to have a whole new breed of activists out there. Just imagine Chaz in his Ford Expedition in a picket line…it’s easy if you try.

So how does all of this get people more involved in local government? Easy, as soon as the scale begins to tip, one way or the other, the people will begin to get more involved. Remember all people are different as to what level they are willing that scale to tip. That is a key point. So as long as everything is relatively safe, then you will still have your apathetic people staying at home and watching American Idol rather then going to the Economic Development Committee meeting.

As for me, well I am going to start changing right now. I am actually going to vote for my favorite American Idol contestant, not just watch the show. You have to start small people.

Mason Braunschweig

( Fiction:) "The Texas Two-Step"

Recently I have been up in northern Minnesota to chat with my old friend, Herman, the country boy lawyer, and celebrate the arrival of spring. After the long, long drive up Hwy 10, I arrived very late at the Spruce Goose Motel, and crashed. On awaking in the morn, I headed to the lone restaurant just opposite the world renowned Bait Shop. After I had gulped down a large, black, no whipped cream, lots of sugar, coffee in the standard Minnesota Viking blue mug, I called Herman on my cell phone to see what was happening.

"He's out fishing," his secretary told me. "You can come over to the office and wait for him though. He should be back shortly."

I was a little mystified. It was too early in the season for serious fishing. But I went over to the office and waited.

While I was waiting, I noticed all the volumes of legal books on the shelves and the tons and tons of corporate records lining the walls of his office.

Finally, Herman strode through the door. When I asked him how he could be fishing when the fishing pole was still leaning in the corner of his office, he just laughed: " I just got elected to the city council, and we call all our planning sessions "fishing." Saves a lot of time with all that open meetin stuff.

I was totally shocked.

Then he said, "Wolfman, (that's what he always called me) haven't you ever heard of the "Texas Two-Step?"

"The Dance?" I replied. It sounded a lot like maybe the "hip-hop" or "lindie" that my daughters talked so much of.

"Shucks no" he laughed. "See all them legal books and such on the walls here. Those are all the billy bob legal requirements we must comply with. We have all those books just for show. You know. Just to make it look good. Then we just do as we always have done."

I was totally speechless. "Really?" I said.

He went on, "I was off to a planning meeting this morn. We call it "fishing" cause the official business has not begun. Then he let out with a chilling roar of laughter that rocked his whole frame.

I had never heard of the "Texas Two Step."

Thank Goodness I am back in good old Wisconsin where what you see is what you get----- and the dances are straightforward.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Mailbag: Monroe Times: Writer Wants to Replace Property Tax with Broadend Sales Tax

Click on the post for a proposal to replace the property tax with a broadened sales tax.

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

Janesville Schools initiate Athletics Fees: Cut Athletic Budget: Restore Teacher and support

Click on the post for the recent actions on the budget from the Janesville Schools.

In the budget discussions for the Evansville School District there has been no discussion of increasing athletic fees. No discussion of raising any fees except matrial fees.

What fee increases and cuts do you recommend for the Evansville School system? You make the call.

Mailbag: Opinion: " Hardy Boy" writes: :

Lake Leota or Goose Poop Pond?

Ahhhh, I can almost imagine it now. The ducks and
geese chasing my two year old daughter around the park
because she won't drop her piece of bread. Those are
beyond Kodak moments. What makes a park a park? I
think it's the memories created there by customer
appreciation parties, family reunions, sports
memories, etc.etc,,,,,,,,,

The " crisis " of the future and present of the Lake
that Leonard built is interesting to me. I have
passively followed this situation and have formed an
uncharacteristic strong opinion. Break down the
eyesore that is the ....... dam and let the wild waters
return back to there normal stream based state. That
way you eliminate the whole dredging issue completely.
Let the lakebed return to its original intended
state with marsh grass and the like. Make a hiking
trail around or through parts of it and the school
system could use it as an educational resource for
kids to learn about our ecosystem. Best of all,
citizen Jerry Maguire doesn't have to show Evansville
the money.

Worst case scenerio, you solicit offers from corporate
sponsors and build a stadium where the now deceased
lake stands.

Nature intended things for a reason. All this talk
and worrying about a problem man created. It's not
Leonards fault, but his names all over it.

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School Beat: 2006-7 Budget Plan hopes for 5% increase in utility costs

The past winter was the warmest in at least 40 years. Consequently, planning on another warm winter may not be prudent. Yet, in the Evansville School Board budget discussion tonight, Supr. Carvin notes that her proposed budget will ".... allow for a 5% increase in utility costs over what is projected this year. "

Ah....... the power of positive thinking.

What is your personal plan for energy budget for next year? Did you budget a 5% increase in cost also?

You make the call.