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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"The Twist and Shout" was just an oldie--the new version is "The Shout and Twist."

MP3 File

Gazette Corner: Wis. Legislature passes Ethics Reform Bill--Gov to sign

One of the big stories from last night was the ethics reform bill. Click on the post for the story in the Janesville Gazette.

How to subscribe: Receive updated agendas when posted

The Observer has created a separate blog for agendas----see on the right side of The Observer----after you click on it you see the latest agendas. If you wish to "subscribe" to receive the latest agendas as soon as they are posted, scroll down to the end of the Evansville Agenda blog and click the icon which says "subscribe." You will receive all agendas as soon as they are posted on the blog. No guarantees however. We do not receive anautomatic feed from governmental units.

This is NOT an attempt by The Evansville Observer to in any way substitute for offical notice. It is simply a courtesy for my readers. It is also an attempt to relieve the main blog which is one of the largest in the nation and gets larger each day with audio and video.


Yahoo: Superbowl Hype Begins:

Do the Bears have a chance? Will the addition of the zone blitz be enough that Peyton Manning has not seen? Click on the post for a review by the experts.

Gazette Corner: Parkview teachers in mediation

Click on the post for the latest from Gina Duwe on the stituation at the Parkview School District.

Dateline Normal; " In Loco Parentis"---The Doctrine of the Crazy Parents"---Fiction

powered by Audioblog.com

MP3 File

Open Enrollment Feb 5- Feb 23rd---Recruitment picks up

The original virtual school, the WCA, the Wisconsin Connections Academy has been recruiting in the area. Click on the post for the story in the Monroe Times.

WSJ: OP Ed: What we did not hear last night----

The Wisconsin State Journal OpEd column today points out what we did not hear last night in the Governor's State of the State Address-----some hopeful leadership in the area of school financing formula.

Click on the post for the article.

Biofuels Corner: Prairie Fire BioFuels Fund Raiser---Thursday--High Noon Saloon- 7PM-"The Kissers" lead act

The classic Irish punk rock band, the "Kissers" will be on hand on Thursday night at the Hign Noon Saloon--7PM as part of a fund raiser for Prairie Fire Biofuels.

Click on the post for all the details in the Wisconsin State Journal blog section. Enjoy.

Re: Evansville Home Talent Baseball - Bowln' 4 Baseball

Jon Frey <jonfrey@charter.net> wro 
Evansville Home Talent Baseball Team invites you to participate in our 2nd annual 9-pin tap bowling tournament.
Where: Evansville Bowl, 108 E Main Street
When: Saturdays, February 10 & 17 (two shifts per day 3:00 & 7:00 pm)
$200 Top Prize with payouts to top ten bowlers
Entry Fee $15.00 – sign-up at or call the alley 882-5210
Tournament Raffle Top Prize: Two Brewers vs Cubs Tickets (with preferred parking pass) game on Friday, April 6.
Raffle includes three other games of Brewers tickets and other donated prizes from Evansville merchants (see list below).
Thank you to Evansville merchants who donated raffle prizes:
Four 6" Subs - Evansville Subway (2 prizes)
$25 Gift Certificate - The Night Owl, Evansville
Free Oil Change - Evansville Oil Pros
Free Large Pizza - Romano's Family Restaurant, Evansville
$20 Gift Certificate - Prairie Threads, Evansville
For more information please visit our website: www.evansville.hometalent.org
Please share/forward this email with others who may be interested. Also, if you can, please post the attached flyer at your place of work.
Thank you for your time and support.
Jon Frey
General Manager / Player

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nostalgia: ClassicAudioblogger: (Orig post 6-27-2006) Plunkett Raysich Architects Presents to School/City/ and Seniors

(Ed. note: I have republished for my readers the original presentation by Plunkett Raysich on their services. Originally there was going to be a collegial project with city and seniors. Click on the audio to listen in.)

Last night at the Evansville School Board special meeting, Supr. Heidi Carvin introduced the architectual firm of Plunkett Raysich to the Board, Mayor Sandy Decker and also a representative of the Primetimers.

In her introduction, Supr. Carvin noted that the successful completion of the Evansville High School was due to full engagement with the community, and that this engagement as well as the ability to collaborate with various governmental and other entities were some of the qualities that the Evansville School District was looking for and why Plunkett Raysich was presenting regarding their services in planning services.

If you click on the three audioblogger icons you can hear about the first 12 minutes of an hour presentation.

The school, city and senious have goals and needs that a collaborative effort would be required to be successful in. The architects reviewed their experience in collaborating with cities, school and seniors. Indeed they even have a division devoted to health care design etc. They are also very experienced in libraries-

In prior development, the Evansville School District did the engagement and then told the architect what to build. In this process, the architects would aid the district in needs assessment, site procurement and long range plan.

If you click on the post you will access the web page of Plunkett Raysich and can see some of their innovative work. They also have extensive experience with geo-thermal, which the Evansville School district has been successful with.

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play
Supr. Carvin discusses adding back curriculum director now that energy costs are below budget

MP3 File

Gazette Corner: Janesville Schools unveils Virtual school possibility

Click on the post for an article in the Janesville Gazette about the new Janesville Virtual school that may offer a mix of real and virtual aspects. Enjoy.

Background: "Up on the Roof"--- Roof Status of TRIS----2000 and 2006--Questions raised

One of the stunning areas of discussion at the Buildings and Grounds meeting in January 2007 concerned the status of the Theodore Robinson Intermediate School. On page 4 of the Plunkett Raysich study, it says, "The Theodore Robinson Intermediate School was constructed in 1962 as a high school with an addition to the east in 1992 and a small remodeling in 2001. The building area is 88,897 square feet....The current enrollment is third grade through fifth grade."

"According to a March 2000 roofing report written by SRI, approximately 20% of the roof is ballasted EPDM roof. This roof section had some membrane flashing problems that to be addressed."

The Observer assumes that this area of the roof is the area above the library that is scheduled to be repaired at a cost of $75,000 and is in the capital budget for next year.

The report (p.4) says "Taking the current age of the building into account and a summary of the roof work completed since the report, approximately 20% of the roof has a life expectancy of 0 to 1 years, 30% has a life expectancy of between 1 and 5 years and the remaining 50% of the roof has a life expectancy over 5 years."

In 2000, as the report notes, there was a little "remodeling" to get space for the intermediate grades. That is the area of growth and stress over the next ten years for the school. In 2000 that building was evaluated as being a candidate for remodeling and an investment worth making. If one reads the section on the window status of TRIS, and adds this to the statements about the roof, one has to wonder---either the engineering reports were flawed in 2000 and the building built in 1962 was of poor quality and would never be a long term solution or.....it was a good candidate for further investment. Did folks just not want to know in 2000?

The members at the Building and grounds meeting discussed whether if the further repair of roof and windows would be worth it....or whether it might be necessary to simply raze the oldest section of the school and rebuild....either on the site or elsewhere. I say this not to shock folks or create alarm. It is a question of review of the facts that is not complete at this time.

So----I mention this not to go back and blame anyone in the past...2000....but because it does become a factual issue of whether the oldest section built in 1962 is so totally flawed in essential aspects that further investment would not be prudent. Only a full engineering review....and by an independent engineering firm not in sales promotion for building schools...would be of value.

Make a note of it. You make the call.

The Magic of The Second Opinion; For Major Surgery or Construction; Reflections on Roofs; Plunkett Raysich

I am encouraging all folks to read the Plunkett Raysich report on line so they are well informed. (Click on the post to access the study.) It is time for a full and comprehensive review. Whether the Plunkett Raysich is such a full review is in debate.

A second opinion is always in order for life threatening surgery---if one has doubts. One of the questions as one reviews the Plunkett Raysich report is the sections on roofs. A thorough examination of roofs of the schools by qualified engineers is appropriate----such a review was made in 2000. It is cited by the Plunkett report as being done by SRI. The report states with respect to the J.C. McKenna Middle School,(p.8) "According to a March, 2000 roofing report written by SRI, approximately 60 percent of the roof is ballasted EPDM roof....Taking the current age of the building into account and a summary of the roof work completed since the report, approximately 38% of the roof has a life
expectancy of 0 to 1 years. 10% has a life expectancy of 1 to 5 years and the remaining 52% fo the roof has a life expectancy over 5 years."

With respect to the roof that has 0-1 year life expectancy----I would hope there some warning signs below so students are not walking in that section. I need to know more as the Observer to fully appreciate the engineering aspects of this.

What were the engineering reports of 2000 regarding the middle school and the current Intermediate and Levi Leonard? The public needs to see them.

More on the roofs of the other schools is coming. Stay tuned.

Dateline Normal: The Candidate Forum---Fiction

(Ed. note: This is one of a long series of tales from the land of Normal, Mn., up just south of Garrison, Mn., and west of the Land of Lake Woebegon. It is not on the Google Earth map, but then neither is Evansville. These tales are on ITunes for FREE and can also be downloaded from this site onto your Ipod. When shipped on cd, they are shipped in a brown paper wrapper clearly marked FICTION.)

This week, with the cold weather alert and all, I thought I would just call Herman, my old country boy lawyer friend in Normal, Mn., rather than making the long trip. It would save lots of time, and besides, I had called for reservations at the Spruce Goose Motel, the only motel in Normal where the premium down comforters were standard. All the rooms were taken. They were fully rented all weekend. In the midgst of the cold spell.

"What's goin on up there, Herman? I asked.

"It's real simple, Wolfman, Herman replied.

"It is Candidate Forum Weekend up here in Normal."

"Tell me more. I still do not understand, " I replied.

"Well---we are deeply committed to democracy up here. Our community has over 20 school board candidates. In fact,....we recruit candidates. We have a pre-function at the Hideaway Lounge on Friday night, the Forum on Saturday morn, along with the bake sale, and then the ice fishing contest all day Sunday.

"Why would you recruit candidates?, I asked.

"It's real simple, Herman replied. Each year we have a candidate forum bake sale on Saturday morn. The proceeds from this event are the main source of revenue for the Daughters of the American Constitituion, the big political social group up here. All the ladies belong. In order to ensure that we have enough attendance at the bake sale, folks are actually recruited to run for office so that their relatives will all come to the candidate forum---which is held on Saturday morning DURING the bake sale."

"During the bake sale?", I asked.

"Yes," Herman went on.

"We begin the candidate forum and break for intermission. Then when ALL the baked goods are sold we resume the rest of the program. Sometimes it takes ALL DAY till all the baked goods are sold. "

"Do you mean that the candidates are held hostage to the baked goods?"

"I never thought of it that way, Wolfman,(that's what he always called me.) In the format of the forum, each candidate is asked why he/she is running for school board. Most say in a loud confident voice that they are running to ensure the success of the bake sale. The crowd goes wild. They just love the loyalty of them folks."

"Then, right after all the baked goods are sold, the candidates that are just running for the bake sale success can withdraw--but not before. It's a real firm rule."

I was just stunned. You mean that candidates just run to raise the attendance at the forum in Normal. And some withdraw after the baked goods are sold?"

"Exactly" Herman replied. "In fact, Wolfman, you might consider trying that format in your town."

The battery on my cell phone was starting to run low, so I had to get off the line.

Thank goodness I am back in good old Wisconsin. Where we don't just hold candiate forums for baked goods revenue. Where candidates are serious and do not just withdraw after the baked goods are sold.

Still. I could understand why someone that was just running for the baked goods might want to withdraw. In fact. I had to agree with Herman. It might be best.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Background; Plunkett Raysich notes expansion capacity of New High School for HVAC (p. 27)---8-10 classrooms

In preparation for the February 2007 Evansville School Board meeting, on page 27 of the Plunkett Raysich study, they note the the HVAC capacity for 8-10 classrooms is already built in to the current new high school. They note on page 27 that "The piping from the building to the geothermal well field is sized for the addition (future expansion). However, to save money during the initial building phase, only enough "bore holes" were drilled for the present load. ....if any expanion of the building takes place, additional "bore holes' and buried loops will be required."

In summary---the new high school is ready for expansion without any major HVAC expense. The geothermal system is ready for it.

Background: Heating Systems: Levi Leonard:

One of the recommendations in the Plunkett Raysich study to be discussed at the February 2007 Evansville School Board meeting,( Page 21) is that in the event that the Levi Leonard structure is remodeled, that the heating systems be upgraded---the current boiler is a 1962 Cleaver-Brooks boiler. The recommendation for replacement is the DeDietrich Cast Iron Boiler.

Click on the post for some background information on this new De Dietrich Cast Iron boiler.

In reviewing the study, it is unclear to me why there were two new boilers installed in 2001 and are Bryan flex tube hot water boilers, but the 1962 Cleaver-Brooks boiler was considered o.k. in 2001. I am including this post for all those HVAC folks in Evansville, where we have more HVAC guys per 1000 of population than anywhere in America. Just kidding, guys.

Audible Althouse: Podcast #77; On Podcasts, the process...etc.

The Latest from Ann Althouse. Click on the post.

School Beat; Blackhawk Schools reduce referendum Request after "Consult" with taxpayers

Click on the post for the latest from the Blackhawk School District that has modified its referendum request after input from taxpayers on the impact of the initial request on their mill rate.

Click on the post for the full article in the Monroe Tiems. Enjoy.

School Beat: Finance Meets on Monday night--January 29th to review Program Budgets

Budget Finance Committee Meeting Agenda
Monday, January 29, 2007
High School Library
640 S. Fifth Street
Evansville, WI 53536
6:30 p.m.

Committee Members:
Heidi Carvin Mike Larson Michael Pierick
Dennis Hatfield Deb Olsen
Citizens Financial Advisory Committee Members (CFAC):
Karen Aikman Georgia Duerst-Lahti Rollie Jeans
Bridget Morley Wally Shannon Arlene Larson

I. Old Business:

A. Approve November 20, 2006, and January 15, 2007, Minutes.

B. Presentations of Building Level Program Based Budgets.

II. Set Next Agenda Items and Date of Meeting.

III. Adjourn.
This notice may be supplemented with additions to the agenda that come to the attention of the Board prior
to the meeting. A final agenda will be posted and provided to the media no later than 24 hours prior to the
meeting or no later than 2 hours prior to the meeting in the event of an emergency.
Persons needing special accommodations or more specific information about agenda
items may be obtained by calling 882-5224, ext. 3386.
A quick audioversion of the weekend in review

MP3 File

WSJ: School Financing, The Game

(Ed. note. Click on the post for the school financing game---caution...it is a rigged game where some choices are not acceptable. )

WSJ: UW Prof Has a dream for State School Funding: Considered DOA

A UW Prof has a dream for state funding of education. It would drastically increase costs allocated to education. It is opposed by many for many different reasons. Click on the post for the article. Enjoy.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gazette Corner: Larson Acres gets Conditional- -Use Permit Approval

Click on the post for the latest story by Gina Duwe in the Janesville Gazette.

Weather: The Big Chill:

I normally don't do weather, but if you click on the post you can see the chilly temps out East. Stay tuned.

WSJ: Foreclosures Up

When you click on the post, review the article on foreclosures in the Wisconsin State Journal. Then review the headline. It makes one wonder.

The foreclosure rate in Dane county is up 400% over last year. 280 v. 70. Even with the traditional conservative banking institutions of Wisconsin, one can clearly see there is a problem. Certainly----the spin of the headline is not indicative of the facts of the situation. But...

You make the call.

Press Release: School Board Candidate Forum Schuduled Feb 3nd, 10AM EHS Media Room

For Immediate Release

Citizens Group to Hold Forum for Evansville School Board Candidates

A Grassroots Forum has been organized to showcase the candidates for Evansville School Board in the Spring Primary Election. The forum will be held on Saturday, February 3 beginning at 10 AM in the Media Room at the Evansville High School, 640 South Fifth Street. The ninety minute event is planned to allow each candidate time to present their vision for the district to the public.

“This event is not intended to be a debate or to be confrontational,” said Karen Aikman, one of the event organizers. “The candidates will each be provided with a list of the questions to be asked so that their responses will be well thought out and exactly what they want them to be. We are striving to build a safe environment to start a discussion of the issues facing the district.”

Each candidate will be given three minutes to respond to each of four questions. The questions are:

You have each chosen to take on the difficult and rewarding task of running for the Evansville School Board. Please share with us the top two reasons you wish to serve.
The School Board is asked to respond to the needs, wants and demands of many stakeholders in the district. Who is the primary “customer” of the school board and why?
We read each week of the competing demands placed on the school district and upon the board. Please focus on those which you consider to be the top two issues facing the board after the election and how you would balance those with the remaining issues.
There are six candidates to fill two seats. Why should the voters of the district hire you? What skills and experiences will you bring to the board making you the best candidate for the position?
“We hope that this forum will be a starting point for the district rather than a stand-alone event. The voters seldom get a chance to meet the candidates in a venue like this and the candidates will have a unique opportunity to frame their own platform for the voters,” said Jim Brooks, the event’s other organizer. “Karen and I hope that the public will stay after the forum to meet with the candidates.”

Each of the six candidates has been invited to participate. The six candidates are: Richard T. Woulfe, 255 East Main Street, Tris Lahti, 8702 N. Territorial Road, Jeff Herbers, 411 S. Fifth Street, Kathi Swanson, 4322 N. Cornfield Drive, Gary Rehfeldt, 10678 W. Oak Ridge Road, and Melissa Hammann, 250 Eager Court.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Video: Preview: RKM Studios: A Sample of RKM in action

(Ed. note. RKM Studios has counseled The Observer that this style of video production might be more exciting than city meetings. All these actors are from Mr. Ojeda's Spanish class. All video production compliments of RKM Studios---who will be producing tomorrow night's Rock Concert at EHS of "Final Motive. " Rock on dude. Thanks to Ryan K. McNeal for this exclusive Observer preview. )

juanes----video by Mr. Ojeda's Spanish class
Compliments of RKM Studios. Ryan K. McNeal

Download File

BIG( Building Improvement Grant) Committee; Minutes: January 2007

Evansville Building Improvement Grant Committee

Special Meeting

Monday, January 22, 2007

City Hall, 31 S. Madison, Evansville, Wisconsin


Call to Order. The meeting was called to order at 5:00 pm by Dan Wietecha. Present: James Otterstein, Betsy Ahner (arrived 5:12), Rich Modaff, John Decker, and Chris Eager. Also present: Mayor Sandy Decker and Jeff Farnsworth.
Declare Quorum. There being a majority of the members present at call to order, a quorum existed to conduct business.
Approve Agenda. There was no objection to the agenda as distributed.
Election of Chair. Chris Eager moved, seconded by John Decker, to name Rich Modaff committee chair. Motion approved with all voting in favor.
Election of Secretary. Chris Eager moved, seconded by John Decker, to name Dan Wietecha committee secretary. Motion approved with all voting in favor.
Approval of Minutes of October 17, 2006 Meeting. Motion by John Decker, seconded by Chris Eager, to approve the minutes as distributed. Motion approved with all voting in favor.

Old Business. On behalf of Peter Dast, Sandy Decker gave a recap of the previously approved project. The original application had been to install a rear door with an entry porch. The BIG committee approved a matching grant for the project contingent on approvals from the Historic Society. The Historic Society approved the door but indicated a different design would be required for the porch. The $6,344 door has been installed, and the property owner intends to move ahead with a porch in the future. John Decker moved, seconded by Chris Eager, to award the $1,200 grant for the door only and release the restriction on the porch. Motion approved with all voting in favor.

New Business.
Jeff Farnsworth submitted his application for a $1,200 grant to restore the façade of 12-14 East Main Street. The project consists of restoring the original symmetric positions of the doors and windows of the building and painting the front with period colors. Chris Eager moved, seconded by John Decker, to approve the $1,200 grant. Motion approved with all voting in favor.

Committee discussed accepting future applications on an on-going basis. It was noted that addition interest in the program is anticipated after reconstruction of Main Street; however, the number of applications has been small enough to be manageable without set deadlines. There was also a request to check into the fund balance in the old revolving loan fund; it had been the original source of capital for the BIG account and may be available for additional funds. Chris Eager moved, seconded by John Decker, to accept applications on an open pipeline basis until further direction by the committee. Motion approved with all voting in favor.
Adjournment. Chris Eager moved, seconded by Betsy Ahner, to adjourn the meeting. Motion approved unanimously at 5:17 pm.

Minutes: Redevelopment: Jan 2007

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Board of Commissioners

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 7:30 pm

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


Call to Order. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm by Chair Chris Eager. Present: John Decker, Tom Calley, Chris Eager, Bill Hammann, Betsy Ahner (arrived 7:35), Tony Wyse, and Roger Roth (arrived 7:40). Also present: Executive Director Dan Wietecha, Mayor Sandy Decker, Greg Johnson (Ehlers & Associates), Roger Berg, Ed Francois, Jeff Farnsworth, and Dick Woulfe.
Declare Quorum. There being a majority of the commissioners present at call to order, a quorum was declared by the chair.
Approve Agenda. The agenda, as distributed, was approved without objection.
Approve Minutes of December 6, 2006 Meeting. Minutes, as distributed, were approved without objection.
Old Business. The commissioners discussed the Eager Building Historic Renovation Project.
Greg Johnson noted that Ehlers and Associates had reviewed the developer’s construction bid documents from subcontractors and a competitive bid from another general contractor. The bid prices were valid and used in the TIF projections.
Johnson distributed a memo and presented projections for the tax increment financing based on $2 million in increased valuation. The debt service schedule is based on a loan from the Taxable State Trust Loan Fund. Discussion noted that a lower equalized valuation would result in less increment revenue and need to be covered by the developer. It was also noted that any appreciation in the property’s value over time would work to the benefit of the financial projections.
Dan Wietecha noted receipt of a letter from Dean Peters of Associated Appraisal Consultants. The letter indicated, “After consideration of the construction costs and potential net operating income that the building is likely to produce, I have arrived at a range of value between $1,300,000 and $1,600,000.” Discussion noted that the comparatively low rental rates in Evansville are driving the lower appraised value. The developer would need to cover the difference if the finished product is unable to generate tax increment sufficient to service the debt.
In February 2006, the Common Council had approved providing TIF funds to the project conditioned on there being a written development agreement. Noting that the draft agreement is a more complete version of the draft discussed by the board at its December meeting, Wietecha presented the proposed agreement for discussion. Emailed comments from City Attorney Mark Kopp were also noted.
Discussion of the Recitals section noted that the project costs are $2,012,000. The five conditions previously required by the Common Council will be listed explicitly. The city’s intent program income from the CDBG funds to be capitalized into a revolving loan fund. There was also a request to check with the city attorney about the language incorporating the recitals as part of the agreement.

Discussion of the Improvements section noted the need to reference the plans and specifications approved by the State Historical Society and that there would be no change from the architect’s elevation without prior authorization.

Discussion of the Tax Increment section approved monthly draws of the funds to be handled through a title company with the architect’s verification of completed construction. Expenses associated with the title company will be borne by the developer. No draws will be made until after the CDBG funds have been approved. There will be personal guarantees by the developer’s principals to cover any shortfall between the actual increment and the projected increment.

Discussion of the CDBG Funds section made it explicit that the city would not be in default of the agreement if the Department of Commerce did not award the grant. The developer indicated that without the CDBG funds, the project may not proceed immediately; in order to avoid a problem, the city will withhold disbursing any of the TIF funds until the CDBG status is known. Disbursement of the funds would be tied to the occupancy permit for the apartments. In addition to the mortgage, a personal guarantee would also be required of the principals of the developer.

John Decker moved, seconded by Tony Wyse, to set the terms for the loan of the CDBG funds with a five year deferral and a twenty-five year payment schedule for a total amortization period of thirty years. Motion approved unanimously.

Discussion on the Events and Remedies of Default section provided that any uncontrollable delays to the construction will not throw the TIF guarantee off schedule. The possibility of monetary damages for default was also included.

Discussion of the Miscellaneous section noted that any professional out-of-pocket expenses paid by the city in preparation for the development agreement must be reimbursed by the developer. The agreement was also modified to require the city’s consent before any assignment of the developer’s obligations, such consent to not be unreasonably withheld.

Bill Hammann moved, seconded by John Decker, to approve the development agreement as modified. Motion approved with all voting in favor, Chris Eager abstaining.

Wietecha noted that the alley and parking lease mentioned on the agenda is an issue for next week’s Public Works Committee, not the Redevelopment Authority.
New Business. None.
Adjournment. Chris Eager moved, seconded by Bill Hammann, to adjourn the regular January meeting. Motion approved unanimously at 9:35 pm.

Janesville Senior Center---the history

If you click on the post you will see the information on the Janesville Senior Center. It is located in a restored building downtown on Water Street in Janesville. If you browse the other links, you will see the rental rates for public meetings by non-seniors for the facility.

One of the features discussed at the meeting last week in the Evansville Fire Station, was use of the Senior Center for community meetings.

Stay tuned.

Dateline Normal: "Twisting by the Pool"----FICTION

(Ed.note. This is one of a long series of tales about a town in Northern Minnesota, just south of Garrison and west of the Land of Lake Woebegon. These tales are available for FREE from the Itunes store and can be downloaded for your mp3 player from the Observer (click on the mp3 icon). When they are mailed via cd, they are wrapped in a brown paper wrapper, clearly marked FICTION.)

With all the stress of the school board race building, the coffee and tea parties, the meeting voters and, yes, even kissing babies, that make up the very essence of every political campaign, I felt it necessary to head on out of town for the weekend. There was a slight problem with a car however. My wife needed ours, so I made a very rare move---I rented a car. After all, one of our family friends worked at a Nissan dealership, so I asked for a rental----- loaded with all the extras.

I downloaded from The Observer web site the Plunkett Raysich audio, as well as some of the other audio minutes of school board meetings. It would be a long drive...but then it would be kinda doing my homework in preparation for the big SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE FORUM------- happening on February 3rd, at 10:00 AM sharp at the EHS media room, where all the school board candidates would square off to answer questions. Just the chance to appear in the same room with the legendary "Grumps", the famous politico blogger, was a real thrill.

I was cruising along just this side of Osseo, when the soft voice from the navigation system said, " Warm blueberry muffins are now on special at the "Norske Nook" just a mile off the interstate at the next exit. The muffins will be out of the oven in 4 minutes just in time for your eating pleasure." I immediately turned on my blinker. Boy. That was pretty impressive. I am just helpless when it comes to blueberry muffins. And the timing was just perfect. I had not bargained for this navigation feature when I asked for a Nissan "loaded." I did like it though.

After I had a great breakfast at the Norske Nook, the rest of the trip was pretty routine. Yes, the colder weather met me at the border, but I adjusted nicely. As I cruised into Normal, I headed immediately to the Hideaway Lounge, where Herman, my old country boy lawyer friend was waiting for me. He had called me on the cell phone and said that a special rock and roll band was playing, and even though there was a cover charge, they were well worth it.

As I entered the lounge, I heard one of my favorite songs, "Twisting by the Pool." It was one of the "Traveling Wilburies" tracks and I especially liked it cause Roy Orbison sang with the group.

I mentioned to Herman that "Twisting by the Pool" was one of my favorite songs. Over the loud music he agreed. "Shucks, Wolfman, (that's what he always called me), this town has never been the same since the Traveling Wilburies came here in person a decade ago."

"Whatever do you mean, Herman?," I asked.

"Well," he went on, "It was one of the coldest winters in memory up here, and everyone in town was here at the lounge that night. After hearing the song "Twisting by the Pool," everyone was just TOTALLY sold. We just HAD to have a pool------ right NOW. The rest is just history."

"What happened next?," I asked.

"Well, the seniors had been saving for 20 years for a senior center, but when they heard that song.....that was a REAL deal breaker. They made the decision in "closed executive session"---after all, it was concerning acquisition of property etc......." and after all, they were all here at the lounge....they had a quorum....even though most had been drinking most of the night....---they made the decision to build a pool, and leave the senior center to be built right next door ---LATER.

" I just do not get it, Herman." What could be the problem. It sounds pretty good to me., I said. After all, I was on my second round, and after a couple of drinks, a little pooling sounded pretty great to me.

"The seniors built their pool. And the city got so excited that they built one too. In fact, EVERYONE was so excited---even the Boy Scouts built a pool! The excitement was real catchy."

"What's the problem?" I asked. It seems you were" building it so that they could come."

Then Herman went on. "Well, Wolfman. Here is the problem. In the summer, with all the fishing and all, the population surges to 2000 folks or so. But in the winter......it dwindles to .......42. Needless to say, we have plenty of space for everyone.

"Whatever happened to the Senior Center?" I asked.

"It was never built," Herman replied. In fact, that is one subject that is never mentioned up here. Not even with a whisper. In fact the city fathers have outlawed talking about it.

"Now we have all our meetings at the pool. It is very nice. Very warm. Real downhome. And there is nothing like talking about finances right in the middle of water aerobics. There is a starbucks poolside so it is real upscale and all.

"You mean you have all civic meetings IN the pool?"

"Yes," Herman replied.

Thank goodness I am back in good old Wisconsin. Where we discuss finances in regular meetings and not during water aerobics. Where everyone can share our large civic venues and not each civic entity have a separate pool of its own. And where our seniors build a senior center they can afford and not a pool and nothing else.

I do have to admit it has been an adjustment though. Each time I attend a finance committee meeting, I just wonder how it might all look if the meeting was in a pool.

A serious examination of the civic process in Normal, Mn. , where all business is conducted in the local pool.

MP3 File

Dateline Rock Scene: "Final Motive" comes to EHS Friday, January 26th 7PM

(ed. note. The Evansville Observer will have coverage of this classic event this Friday night at EHS. We're hip. Not hokie. We cover the local news. We leave the murder, beer, bait and ammo stories to others. Rock ON dude! There are still some tickets left. Only $6 at the door. )

"Final Motive, the rock band, is coming to EHS PAC on Friday night, January 26, 2007 from 7PM to 9PM. This event is being produced by RKM productions, the production arm of Ryan McNeal, a junior at EHS. The proceeds from the concert will be used to help defray his expenses of a trip to Europe as a People to People ambassador.

Tickets will be available at the door for $6. This includes a raffle entry for door prizes.

Raffle winners will be chosen at concert intermission.

The demo CD of Final Motive will be for sale following the concert

Final Motive will also be signing autographs after the concert.

Click on the post for the trailer of Final Motive.

The Final Motive Band consists of:

Lead Vocals: Parker Janes
Lead Guitar: Jake Smith
Drums/ Vocals Buck Bellman
Bass Guitar Markus Huffman
Producer: Ryan McNeal
Sound Mgr: Garrett Carlson

Automotive Corner: The New "Navigation" Coming

Click on the post for the breaking news today that Nissan is going to expand their navigation systems to include live data regarding gasoline prices so as to reduce the cost to the driver of gasoline.

I suppose that this will occur as a flashing notice on the navigation system -----and accompanied by a smooth voice letting the driver know that "regular" gas is only $1.99 at the exit ahead. And then....as the driver does not signal at the upcoming exit, the voice may become more insistent on the necessity of exiting to take advantage of the once in a lifetime gasoline bargain.

I can visualize a further enhancement once the gas saving feature is installed----the cost savings on food. Yes. First the pleasant voice letting the driver know that barbeque chicken wings are on special right NOW at the KFC just conveniently off the exit 2.1 miles from right now, and if the driver mentions the audio infomercial, they will receive an additional 10% discount.

Then as the driver approaches the exit and chooses not to signal.....the discount goes to %15. Plus a free beverage.

I am not sure that I really can fully appreciate all the possibilities of this new navigation system. Maybe Hotels and other services will be featured on the navigation system.

I just do not know. After all, there already are so many voices gently telling us where to go...... and what to do---do we really need another navigation system right now? And to pay for the honor of being so navigated is....maybe...just too much.

You make the call.

Gazette Corner: On the Senior Center

Click on the post for the scoop from Gina Duwe on the dreams, and "pool dreams" of the Seniors of Evansville. Enjoy.

Security Note: Trojan Horse Virus Noted: Protection Measures Recommended by Semantec

(Ed.note: The Observer has noted increased spam attacks over the past week, and has taken steps to counter them. I have posted this security notice for readers to be on the lookout for the Trojan.Peacomm virus. It is presented via news stories. Symantec is the firm that makes the Norton AntiVirus software, and I have posted this as information only and not any recommendation of any sort. )

Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 15:58:00 -0800

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To: woulfe98@yahoo.com

Subject: Outbreak Alert: Trojan.Peacomm threat level increased
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In order to ensure you are informed of the latest online threats, we wanted to alert you that Symantec Security Response raised the risk level of Trojan.Peacomm from a category 2 out of 5, to a category 3 threat, due to the speed and volume in which it is being aggressively spammed across the Internet. The Trojan, which was first spotted January 17, 2007 has been raised to a higher category following a sustained increase in new versions of the attack which appeared over the weekend as the malware author responded to improvements in protection made by security companies by adjusting his tactics.
Trojan.Peacomm is one of a number of spamming Trojan horse programs Symantec has seen lately that appear to originate from Russia and are clearly aimed at making money for the author by pumping up penny stocks. The victim is enticed through social engineering techniques to open an attachment, which typically appears to be a video clip on a recent, newsworthy event.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mailbag: Hammann writes RE: New Wis. Aids Proposal: Impact on Evansville

I too was cautiously optimistic when I saw this article. However, when I researched the Committee reports online yesterday, I was somewhat exasperated. The transportation aid proposal is to bolster aid to the schools whose transportation costs (standard, not including special education costs) exceed 4% of their total costs. This often happens with widely spread districts. Evansville's current transportation costs are equal to 2.58% of total spending (total aid received $37,973 based on most recently audited 04-05 data). Under this reallocation, since we have been thrifty in this area, we would lose $28,129 in aid for a total proposed transportation aid package of $9843.

The second arm of the proposed change in legislation includes an option for School Boards to vote to increase their Revenue Limits by 1% of the statewide average allowable Revenue per pupil. For 2006-07, that would have given Boards the authority to increase their Revenue Limits by $88 per pupil above and beyond the allowable Revenue Increase based on the 3 year rolling average enrollment. That would have meant an additional $153,296 in allowable revenue in Evansville. But it would have also meant an increase in the mil rate to fund the increase.

The third proposal alluded to in the article in the paper would not affect Evansville at this point. It has to do with bolstering aid to those districts that have per pupil allocation that is below state average.

Melissa Hammann

Gazette Corner: Dateline Milton Schools: Construction course product of formal Agreement with Homebuilder---a model for Evansville?

click on the post for the latest from the Janesville Gazette on the arrangement bewtwen Milton Schools and a local homebuilder that will bring revenue to the school district-----and provide for worthwhile experience for students.

The Evansville School District has been considering a similar construction course, but without the revenue aspect, which looks interesting. Could the Milton model be a role model for Evansville? Stay tuned.

School Beat; School Board Candidate Forum: Sat. Feb. 3rd, 10AM; EHS Media Room

All the preparations have been completed for the Evansville School Board Candidate Fourm to be held at EHS on Saturday, Feb 3rd, at 10AM.

Click on the post to access the Evansville Observer Agenda blog and read over the rules as well as the questions to be answered by all the candidates.

See you there.

Dateline Minnesota: Gov. Pawlentry agrees Schools need more money: Downplays expectation for all day kindergarten funding; $160 Million Price tag

Click on the post for the story from Minnesota on the Governors proposal to increase school funding. He has also downplayed expectations for mandated full day kindergarten funding by saying that the price tag of $160 million is not the best bang for the buck.

It is interesting to see that Minnesota cannot afford full day kindergarten---o.k., I will tease my relatives there that they should move to Evansville where we are oh so much richer than those poor Minnesota folks. I will let you know how they respond.

Stay tuned.

I have reposted the speech from Mr. Bill Connors entitled "Half-Day Kindergarten, the Low Cost Option." This is as a courtesy for all my Minnesota friends that might be tuning in. Enjoy.

powered by Audioblog.com

MP3 File

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Union: Planning: Prof. Georgia Duerst-Lahti Speaks---Reflects on Future Land Use Vision

On the Theory of 35 Acres per household---On the necessity of reviewing this model as the Town of Union looks to future--

MP3 File

Union Planning Commission: Commerical Development Proposal Withdrawn-- Confrontation averted---click on audio to listen in

Proposal to place commercial at Territorial and M withdrawn----Developer will resubmit as totally residential proposal

MP3 File

BREAKING NEWS: Seniors meet: Eliminate Nursing Home Location as Possible Center Site: Hear Eager Bldg Proposal

This morning at 8:30AM, the Seniors and members of the City and the consultant Boris Frank, met in the Evansville Fire Station to discuss the latest in the proposals on the table for an Evansville Senior Center that would utilize the gift of one million dollars, or the income from a million dollars for a senior center.

Click on the audio icon to listen in as Mr. Roger Berg presented a proposal for the Seniors to use the lower area of the to be restored Eager building for the senior center. It would be about 7-8,000 feet, and it could be leased with flexible terms so the seniors could lease it till they were ready to own their own location.

After listening to the presentation, and discussion what was on the wish list for features, the seniors voted to ELIMINATE the previously discussed Nursing Home proposal as not fitting in with their plans.

They also discussed the possiblity of a location where the old Union Coop used to be as a possible long term location. There would be plenty of room for a pool, parking and all the features that they had wanted.

They then arranged a followup meeting to discuss the Eager building proposal as a temporary location that would be available in October 2007. The architect for the Eager project would be present to go over design ideas.

Click in to the audio to listen in to the meeting. Please forgive the background noise of the fire folks on the radios---after all it was a fire station. This is the construction period for the city hall folks, so lets all be flexible. Enjoy.

Remember. When you think of Evansville. It's The Evansville Observer. We break the news. Today. Not tomorrow or a week from tomorrow.

Mr. Roger Berg and Mr. Jeff Farnsworth present proposal to turn the lower level of the Eager building, currently being restored, into a Senior Center.

MP3 File

OP_Ed: "The Slam Jam"---Great in Basketball; Bad in Sales: Worse in Financial Planning

(Ed. note: I normally leave the sports stuff to other famous bloggers who are far more capable than I...in sports, beer, bait and ammo. However----I will make an exception......
just this once.)

I always did love the Blue Devils basketball team of several years ago that had the 'Up tempo" game as a real weapon. At some point after everyone got warm and comfortable,and.... say the score was pretty close, "Big Blue" would launch its "Up tempo" weapon.

The quick long inlet pass to the breaking guard to the hoop. Then the "press" on the subsequent inbound pass of the opposition-----then the steal and the jam to the hoop. WOW.

A quick 4 points. The enemy unnerved. Confidence lost. It was the turning point in many of these games. The crowd went wild. The rush of excitement of the locals brought down the house. It does not get any better than that..... In basketball That's the basketball "Slam Jam."

In sales, it looks a bit different. The evening telephone call during dinner. The offer of a special deal of a one time opportunity----available only right now etc, etc, etc......You all know the rest of the story. These calls are why there is a "do not call" list.

In financial planning, or school financial planning it also looks a bit different. A consultant is called. A quick set of options discussed in closed meetings. Options eliminated without public discussion. Then the short public presentation in February at a board meeting and then the solicitation of bond counsel right before a school election. Limited public input. No time for reflection. No chance of successful outcome.

So. To summarize. I just love the "slam jam." It is GREAT in basketball. I just hate it in public policy and school planning.

Make a note of it.

Madison: School Beat: School Funding Formula: Some Relief in Sight?

Click on the post for an article in today's Wisconsin State Journal about a legislative proposal to alter the state funding formula that has not been working---it has beep particularly harmful to school districts in rural areas that have had declining enrollment.

As I understand it, there would be some help in the transportation aids area. The current rule is that if a program is offered, transportation must be offered. For rural school districts where transportation costs have been rising, this is a problem. It is unclear whether the transportation aid increase would help Evansville schools. I hope so.

In the other area--it appears that there will be an adjustment upward of the allowable levy----Click on the post to read the article.

This all is happening today as there is a hearing on this legislative proposal. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Politics: Humor: The Weekly Radio Address

Click on the post for the weekly radio address---featuring a conversation with the late Gerald Ford.

Minutes: Community Senior Center

(Ed. note. In preparation for the meeting tomorrow morning at the Fire Station, I have published the prior month minutes.)



January 1, 2007


The minutes of the December 21, 2006 meeting were corrected and approved.


Cliff Woolever presented a concept drawing for a 7,000 square foot building attached to Evansville Manor. Questions were raised regarding amount of parking and compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood. The Manor intends to break ground for their addition in the Spring of 2007. The Committee would need to indicate its intention of continuing to pursue this site by the end of January.

Greg Helgesen presented a concept for a stand-alone 6,200 square foot building on the former Co-Op site, possibly co-located with a new Post Office and other businesses. Questions were raised regarding zoning status and possible purchase of the property by the Community/Senior Center.

The Post Office has 3 years remaining on its current lease. The Library is considering expansion into the current Post Office site in 2010.

Committee members briefly discussed each option, raising questions about size of facility, ownership vs. leasing, expandability, potential of a co-located swimming facility, timing, operating costs, fundraising for construction and outfitting and relationship to the TIF District.It was agreed that the next meeting would be devoted to a detailed discussion of these and other site related an organizational issues.


Boris Frank drafted Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws. They were reviewed by David Ross who made several minor changes.

Attorney Ross will serve as the initial registered agent and will file the Articles with the State, with the current Community/Senior Center Committee serving as the initial Board of Directors.

Boris Frank will present revised Articles and By-Laws at the next meeting.


Boris Frank will draft a preliminary operating budget for the Center.

Following corporate filing, a post office box will be secured for the Friends.

Boris Frank will explore securing Officers and Directors Liability insurance.


Subject to clarification of how any interest earned on deposits is dispersed, it was agreed that the South Central Wisconsin Community Foundation should be considered as fiscal agent for the project until formal 501(c)(3) status is achieved. Eleaine Strassburg will seek clarification of that issue.


Mayor Decker will continue to seek additional Committee members, especially representatives of surrounding Townships.

Corporate officers will be elected at the next meeting


David Ross will contact Kent Knutson to discuss written formalization of the relationship between the donor and the Committee.


The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for 8:30 AM, Tuesday, January 23rd at the Evansville Fire Station.

Community Center Planning Committee: Agenda; Tuesday, Jan 22nd 8:30AM Fire Station


The Community Center Planning Committee will meet Tuesday, January 23rd, at 8:30 AM in the Evansville Fire department


Revised January 21, 2007

1. Call to order

2. Introductions

3. Committee membership

4. Presentation by Jeff Farnsworth - site option

5. Discuss site options

6. Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws

7. Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin

8. Next steps

9. Next meeting date

10. Adjourn

Questions or for further information contact:

Boris Frank

Boris Frank Associates

7094 Paoli Road

Verona, WI 53593

(608) 845-3100


School Beat: Agenda: Policy Committee, 7:15AM, Jan 25th

Thursday, January 25, 2007 - 7:15 a.m.
District Office Conference Room
340 Fair Street - Evansville, WI 53536
Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard Elementary School
Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School, J.C. McKenna Middle School Office, High School Office,
Evansville School District Web Site: www.evansville.k12.wi.us, and by forwarding the agenda to the
Evansville Review, M&I Bank, Union Bank & Trust and Eager Free Public Library.

Committee Members:
John Willoughby Kelly Mosher Krista Jones
Tina Rossmiller Heidi Carvin

1. Approve Minutes of December 21, 2006
2. Policies for Review:
• Policies from Board Meeting:
• Policy #322 – Student School Day
• Policy #341.6 – Kindergarten Instruction
• Policy #151.1 – Definition, Adoption, Amendment and Termination of Policy
• Policy #345.51 – Academic Honors
• Policy #443.7/523.4/861 – Abusive Behavior
• Policy #662.3 – General Fund Balance
3. Discuss New Business:
• Policy #453.4 – Administering Medications to Students
• Policy #453.41 – PreK-8 Physicians Order Form
• Policy #453.42 – PreK-8 Parent/Guardian Medication Consent Form
• Policy #453.43 – High School Medication Consent Form
• Policy #533.1 – Pre-Employment, Current Employment, and Volunteer Criminal
Background Checks
• Policy #532.1 – Use of Sick Days

4. Set Next Meeting and Agenda.
5. Other.
This notice may be supplemented with additions to the agenda that come to the attention of the Board prior to the meeting. A final
agenda will be posted and provided to the media no later than 24 hours prior to the meeting or no later than 2 hours prior to the
meeting in the event of an emergency.
Persons needing special accommodations or more specific information about the agenda items
should call 882-5224, Ext. 3387 at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

Dateline Monroe: Even if Monroe School Referendum passes, Marching Band and Capstone Programs Cut

Click on the post for some further details from the Monroe Times regarding the upcoming referendum to be decided by Monroe voters.

Mailbag: Nostalgia; History; Musical; Political

A loyal reader has sent The Observer this interesting review of history set to music, and classic music at that. Enjoy.

Althouse Corner: Hillary's Announcement--the analysis

Click on the post for the analysis of Prof. Althouse on Hillary's announcement for President. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Podcast Browsing:

Click on the post to browse some podcasts on a wide variety of subjects. Enjoy.

Dateline Milton: Milton Schools plan new school; Purchase 24 acres for $620,000. Use Eminent Domain

Milton Schools is planning ahead for 2010 and has used eminent domain to expand its present school site to accomodate a new school. Click on the post for the article in the Janesville Gazette.

One of the options for Evansville Schools discussed in the Plunkett Raysich Report to be presented at the Evansville School Board meeting in February envisions usage of "friendly eminent domain" to possibly expand the current site of either the Grove Campus or the Middle school campus.

At least seven different "options" were discussed at a recent Buildings and Grounds meeting. The transcript of this meeting can be found on the Evansville Observer. If you would like to know more about the plans of the Evansville School district, attend the February School Board meeting.

Gazette Corner: Janesville Schools list possible cuts

Click on the post for the latest in the possible cuts for Janesville Schools.

Pink Flamingo Braces for Cold Weather, Snow


In a further move of support for Woulfe for Evansville School Board, the legendary pink flamingo has secured gloves and hat to prepare for a cold and blistery campaign. In a move seen as possibly teasing Mr. Woulfe who always seems to be wearing a NY Hat, the pink flamingo has its own winter cap with NY insignia. The flamingo seems to have forgotten that gloves do not fit and is pondering the next move.

Stay tuned to the Evansville Observer for all the episodes of the lone flamingo.

Remember. Never underestimate the power of a Lone Flamingo. Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dateline Normal School District: The Marathon Man----FICTION

(Ed. Note. This is one of a long series of tales from the land of Normal, Mn., just west of the Land of Lake Woebegon and south of Garrison, Mn. Any resemblence between these tales and reality is purely an accident. These tales are available from ITunes in the comedy section under "Tales from Normal" and also can be downloaded from the Observer site. When shipped in CD format, they are shipped in a brown paper wrapper clearly marked "FICTION." )

It has been quite a hectic week here with the pace of the school board election picking up, so I decided to brave the cold of Northern Minn and head up HWY 10 to my favorite town, Normal, Mn.. The roads were pretty slick, but after I stopped at Osseo at the Norske Nook cafe and had a little of their good home cooking, I was powered up for the long drive. I got to Normal and quickly checked in at the Spruce Goose Motel, the only motel with all goose down comforters, and a trophy game on every wall, and where you get a little mini-dove bar in the ash tray as a little up-scale treat.

I headed over to the local diner and met up with Herman, my old country boy lawyer friend. I remarked to Herman that the drive had just been very tiring, with the weather and all. I asked him what he had been up to.

"Well," Herman smiled, " I have been gettin in shape with some marathon training. It is REQUIRED if you are on the school board in NORMAL. It looks like you might benefit from some fitness training, Wolfman (that's what he always called me), cause ya really need it."

" I just don't see what marathon training has to do with serving the public on the school board," I said.

"Just wait and see," Herman replied.

"Up here in God's country, It's just survival of the fittest. Our leaders on the school board schedule marathon meetings that can last as long as 12 hours. Only the very fittest can survive to vote on the finance matters at the very end of the meeting. "

"How could they last 12 hours," I asked.

"Well, it is real tough to cut off the sharing that folks want to enlighten the board with. In fact, it is the real plan to wear down the opposition till only a minimum of board members is still not sleeping in their chairs. Then the approval of bills and the motion to adjourn are lumped in one final motion."

"You mean the meeting is not adjourned till the bills are approved as presented."

"Yup," Herman said. "It is sheer moxie."

"So, I have been in marathon training so I can say awake longer without takin any of that no doze stuff. "

I was pretty tired just thinking about those long meetings. I headed out early to head back to good Old Wisconsin----where we don't have to be marathon athletes to compete for the school boards. Where the bills are a separate motion from the motion to adjourn....and where meetings are not deliberately lengthened to avoid unpleasant topics at the very end.


The Legend of the Lone Flamingo

Residents of West Main Street in Evansville were shocked this morn to see one bold pink flamingo-----standing in the cold, having battled all the way from warmer climates to declare it's support for Woulfe for Evansville School Board.

In a terse press release, the Woulfe campaign indicated its gratitude to this lone flamingo for it's support. Anticipating questions from the press whether any registration was necessary for this powerful flamingo lobby, Mr. Woulfe indicated that the usual lobby laws did not pertain to pink flamingo's. In fact, this was the only area of life left that had been untouched by the expanding legal framework of life. He indicated again that the flamingo had asked for nothing in return for its support, other than a general desire for warmer weather.

The Woulfe campaign also indicated that other expressions of support from other flamingos or even regular folks, would be welcome. No campaign contributions were necessary. Just best wishes.

Remember. Never understimate the power of a Lone Flamingo.

Clarification: School Beat: Curriculum Director:

(Ed. note. There was some confusion after I posted regarding the proposal by Evanville School District Administration to hire a Curriculum Director now that ....well.... the weather had warmed up.

One of my loyal readers has pointed out to me, to my surprise....that the answer was in the archives of The Observer and....why I might have been confused as to the facts on who was doing these duties and for what compensation for the past several years....

Click on the post.

Pioneer Press: College Beat: Wisconsin says "NO" to adjusting reciprocity agreement with U MInnesota

Six Million Dollars is the size of the disparity of money between students attending Minnesota vs. Wisconsin under the reciprocity agreement. Click on the post for the full story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Agenda: Public Works; Jan 22, 2007; 6:00PM


The regular meeting of the Public Works Committee for the City of Evansville will be held on the 22nd day of January, 2006, at 6:00 p.m., at City Hall, 31 South Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin. Notice is further given that members of the City Council might be in attendance.

Public Works Committee

Regular Meeting

Monday, January 22 at 6:00 p.m.

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


Call the meeting to order
Roll Call
Approve minutes of December Meeting

Citizen appearances
North Praire Productions Biodiesel Facility
Storm Water Management Plan
Wastewater Reduction Plan
Main Street Reconstruction Update
Lake Leota Restoration Update
Eager Building Historic Renovation Project
Agreement for dumpster in alley and dedicated parking spaces

Communications from City Engineer
A. Discussion and Possible Motion to Approve City Bicycle Transportation Plan

Communications of Public Works Director

Interior Remodeling of City Hall Update
Developing 2007 Public Works Smart Growth Plan Action Plan

New Business
Discussion and Possible Motion about Eager Building Dumpster and Parking locations in Municipal Lot

Discussion on applying for Safe Route to School Sidewalk Grants.

Possible Amendment of Fence Ordinance – Discussion Item
Bill Hammann Chair, Public Works Committee

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

Notice of Public Hearing: Feb 13, 2007, CDBG Community Development Block Grant

Publication Date: January 24, 2007


Regarding City of Evansville CDBG Projects

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 6:30 P.M., at the 3rd floor Council Chambers of the Evansville City Hall located at 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin, 53536, to obtain citizen comments regarding two proposed Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applications in the City of Evansville. The first grant would be used to help fund restoration of the Eager Building located at 7-9 East Main Street. The second grant would be used to extend sanitary sewer and water service along Cty M to serve the proposed biodiesel plant. Participants will be given an opportunity to comment on housing, public facilities, and economic development needs in the City of Evansville.

Any persons having questions about this public hearing or the projects, or needing special accommodations on order to participate in the hearing, please contact Jim Beilke, City Clerk, City of Evansville at (608) 882-2266 during regular business hours.

Jim Beilke

City Clerk

Op Ed; Evansville New Administrator arrives; Assumes Duties

On Tuesday night at the meeting of the Redevelopment Authority, the agenda was filled with the details of the development agreement between the City of Evansville and Dysis II, the partnership that will restore the Economy Store, or the Old Ace.

No media were present other than the movie crew of the Evansville Observer. No citizens were present. Yet, something happened that you can hear on the audio, and will see in the coming movie. The long awaited vacuum of city administrator has been filled.

The details of the financial plan for The Economy Store had been the subject of intense efforts by developers, lawyers, city officials, and financial consultants over the past thirty days. As far as first tasks go, it was not one that I would have chosen. It was possibly the most difficult story that I have covered in the past year.

Mayor Decker sat in the back row and let the City Administrator take the lead in the discussion of the revised developers agreement. When it came time to present on the issue of the expenses of the engineering and financial consultant pertaining to the project, Dan Wietecha simply said, "I can't speak to the past. I can only speak to the future. It is normal and customary that the developers pay these expenses and in fact.....(in the biodiesel matter) that is the case. "

In one flash, it became clear that we have a new administrator and he is serious and experienced. It showed and it was welcome. I wish you all could have been there. You can listen in on the audio. Enjoy.

Melissa Hammann Speaks: Half Day Kindergarden: 2007

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Election Corner: Hammann launches Campaign for Evansville School Board----

Melissa Hammann launched her campaign for Evansville School Board today with the arrival of her yard signs. One thing the politicos noticed immediately-----she is prepared for DEEP SNOW, and is prepared to wade through it with the long metal legs for her signs. A close review of the WOULFE signs will reveal short metal legs preparing for NO MORE SNOW. If you are seeking a Hammann sign, call 882-9993.
Some of you may not remember Melissa, so I have included her speech before the Evansville School Board on the Half-Day Issue under her sign. Enjoy.

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Dateline Normal School District: The Catalog Caper; Or, The Cart and the Horse.---FICTION

(Ed.note. This is one of a long series of fictional tales from the Land of Normal, Mn., just west of the Land of Lake Woebegon and south of Garrison, Mn. They are available for download from the Observer (right click the mp3 icon) and are also available FREE on the Itunes store. Any resemblance between these tales and reality is purely accidental.)

With the pace of everything picking up here, the election, the roadwork, the restoration, I thought I would just kick back and head out of town for a little R & R. Up that long winding road, Hwy 10 up north of the Twin Cities, to my favorite getaway---- Normal, Mn.. After checking in at the Spruce Goose Motel, where all the comforters are down, and all the walls have stuffed game, I headed over to the local diner for my usual coffee, lots of sugar and whipped cream, to chat with my old friend Herman, the country boy lawyer, and member of the Normal School Board.

I reflected to Herman that I just could not understand how he and the whole town of Normal seemed to be so calm and all, whereas, I seemed to be caught in a flurry of change. And to be more specific, I mentioned that whereas we seemed to be in a flurry of change in schools in Wisconsin, he seemed to be the picture of tranquility up there in Normal.

"How do you achieve such perfect tranquility up here, Herman?, I asked.

"I understand how you feel, Wolfman. Some of my best friends down in the big Cities feel the same way. I used to feel that way until I went through the "big change."

"What BIG CHANGE?" I asked.

"Well," Herman went on, " years ago at the Normal School District, there was lots of stress and all. It was real exhausting. Then, one December, Louise, the administrative secretary for the Normal School system, was in the process of ordering the course catalog. The usual order was 250."

"Well, to make a long story short, she made a slight decimal point error, and ordered 25,000 catalogs. Yes, the local printer was her boyfriend, but.....well...it was a real prediciment."

"In the end, we all recognized that this was the Lord's will. To waste would be unthinkable. So, for the past 10 years we have made not one change in the course offering. "

"What does the School Board talk about then, Herman?"

"We go over all the options, Wolfman, (that's what he always called me) a real democratic process and all, with lots of tolerance to difference in feelings and such, but ......in the end.....nothing changes.

"Over time we have grown to love the peace. Love the stability. Love the nothing ever changing. It's become the natural law up here in God's country."

I was just speechless. "You mean that everything----all the decisions are driven by the catalog order error?"

"Yup," Herman replied.

Thank goodness I am back in good old Wisconsin. Where we have school boards that make decisions on course offerings and where the catalogs are printed after the decisions.... and not before. Where our peace of mind is based on something else....anything else....rather than an ordering error. Alleluia.

How peace and tranquility was achieved in the Normal School District though a simple decimal point adjustment

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Podcast Corner: Law: Interesting Podcasts on Judiciary Independence, Intellectual Property and much, much more

Hamline Law School has some interesting podcasts available. Chose, download and enjoy.

Economic Development: Note

(the following is a portion of the December Economic Development minutes. )

"12. Discussion of business development summit. The following recommendations were made by consensus:

The goal of the summit should be to produce an economic development plan for the Evansville community. All businesses, large and small, and within and outside the corporate limits of the City will be urged to attend.
Significant attention should be paid to revitalization of the community's business environment post-completion of the Main Street project.
Discussion should be had as to attraction of new businesses to the community, growth of existing businesses, and encouragement of the establishment of "branch" businesses in Evansville.
The summit should be held shortly after commencement of the Main Street project, but so as not to conflict with the Energy Fair. Schedule and budget will be discussed at the January committee meeting.
The program should be held at the High School, should have an outside facilitator, and should include plenary and breakout sessions.
The chair will contact Bert Stitt prior to the January meeting to discuss fees and ideas for format and content.
A "field trip" to a successful local community (e.g., Stoughton, Milton or Mt. Horeb) might be instructive.
13. Continuing review of Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan. The chair will bring copies of the "Objectives" portion of Chapter 12 of the Plan, as pertains to economic development, to the January meeting to help focus discussion.

14. Adjournment. Juergens moved, seconded by Decker, to adjourn to the next regular monthly meeting in January. Approved by voice vote at 7:17 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

John Decker, Secretary

Note: Meeting minutes are not official until approved at a subsequent meeting of the committee"

RDA: Economy Store: Audiotranscript: Tuesday, 1-16-2007, RDA--Chris Eager, John Decker, Bill Hammann, Roger Roth, Tony Wyse===

(Ed. note. The noise in the background is the heater fan. It gets turned off after 35 minutes. The voice you may not recognize is our new Evansville City Administrator, Dan Wietecha. Email the audio post using the mail icon. Download each segment to your ipod using the mp3 icon. "The Economy Store---the movie" is in production, and will be available for historical preservation. Enjoy.)

At the Redevlopment Authority meeting in January, the RDA presented the draft developers agreement for review and discussion with Dysis II, the developers for the Economy Store. Presenting for the City of Evansville was the new Evansville City Administrator, Dan Wietecha.

Readers will well remember the famous meeting on December 7th, where it became clear that the parties had some homework to do regarding the details of the development financing and the developers agreement.

As the meeting opened, Greg, the representative from Ehlers and Assocates, the financial advisors for the City of Evansville, presented the finanical analysis that showed that the project would support the investment of the city for TIF #5 of about $500,000. For purposes of the analysis, he assumed that there was ZERO inflation. Greg also stated that considering that there is a ramp up period of the investment for revenue purposes, for the purposes of the CDBG, Community Development Block Grant, it was usual and customary for the first 5 years to be no payment. After considerable discussion, it was agreed that the term would be 5 years of no payment, followed by 25 years of payments on the Block Grant, assuming that it was approved by the Department of Commerce.

Mr. Berg stated that the developers had every intention of complying with the requirements of the Bacon-Davis Act, and all the other requirements of the Block Grant. It was essential that this grant be secured for the project to go forward.

He wanted to make sure that all the parties understood that if for some reason, the Block grant was not secured, there might be a delay of the project for a month, a year or whatever, but that this would not be a breach. The developers would seek the TIF and the Block Grant money when the project was completed, so a delay would not affect the dispersal of funds. The dispersal of funds for the Block Grant would be on the "Occupancy Permit" being approved.

Chris Eager reviewed the fact that this was a profitable venture and not non profit, and indeed that was in incentive for developers to do the project and for others to do more. Also, he went over the fact that the projections by Ehlers were assuming ZERO inflation. Greg from Ehlers said that he expected the figure to be 2% or higher. Readers who do the numbers can see that a project that would assess at 1,600,000 upon completion, would over 27 years assuming a constant inflation factor of 4% would be valued at$4,613,387. The problem with this of course, as pointed out many times by the developers in both meetings, is that regardless of inflation, the critical measure of value in a commercial building for appraisal purposes, and thus sale purposes, is the RENTS, and in downtown Evansville, the rents have been sub-par. This is something that this cornerstone project is hoping will be the turning point of that problem-----however---there are no guarantees as to this happening.

With respect to the bills for legal, financial advisor services, and engineering services, City Administrator Dan Wietecha said that he could not speak for the past, but for the future, and developers would pay for these bills, and indeed the developes agreement currently being drafted for the biodiesel plant had the very same conditions. In short, all developments were being treated the same.

With respect to the possiblity that a member of the developer-owners might not live for the full term of the TIF period of 27 years, it was pointed out that the city had their name on the deed and had the ability to control future change of ownership.

Mr. John Decker did ask that language be inserted in the agreement that specified that in the event of any breach during the TIF period of 27 years that in addition to remedies of equity, there would also be given to the city, the remedy of cash damages.

"The Economy Store---the Movie" is currently in production. It will be placed on The Evansville Observer when it is completed.

Stay tuned to The Evansville Observer. Remember. We actually go to the meetings.

First 35 minutes of RDA meeting--audio--to discuss developers agreement

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RDA: Economy Store: 45 minutes of Developers agreement

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Developers Agreement continued

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RDA: Developers Agreement: 1-16-2007--Final Segment Audio

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Dateline Madison: Dental Corner: Podcasts begin for Patient Education

(Ed. note. It is not clear in the press release about podcasts for patient education whether any of these dentists have indeed noted the podcasts from the "Tales from Normal" of the Evansville Observer. Needless to say, though, I am pleased that this very popular and very affordable technology is being used for patient education. So---podcasts have broken out of the land of Fiction and college education and have entered dentistry. Who knows where else this might be applicable. Alleluia.)

Podcasts New Patient Education
Tool for Madison Dental Group
Contact: Steve Busalacchi, 608.698.5298/PRDR@tds.net

(Madison) January 15, 2007—Dental Health Associates of Madison is among the first dental
offices in the nation to offer podcasts as a way to help patients better understand dental procedures.

“Patients really have similar questions regarding dental conditions and procedures, so it made
sense to offer easily downloadable audio interviews with our dentists, which can be accessed at any
time,” said Brett Veerman, DDS, of Dental Health Associates.
Podcasting is a relatively new technology that is growing in popularity and is an ideal vehicle
for effective communication through a website. “We’ve been amazed at the diverse applications there
are for this technology,” said John Patchett, Principal at Enlightened Vision, LLC. “Their use is limited
only by your imagination, and podcasts can be very helpful for many types of professional groups and
businesses,” he added.

The Dental Health Associates podcasts were co-produced by Enlightened Vision, LLC, and
Busalacchi Communications, LLC. To hear them, click on the Dental Health Associates of Madison
website at: http://www.dentalhealthofmadison.com/podcasts.
Enlightened Vision LLC (http://www.enlightenedvision.com) was created in part to develop
innovative, web-based communications, including podcasts – focusing initially on professional groups,
businesses, and college sports. It was founded by John E. Patchett, JD, former CEO of the Wisconsin
Medical Society and senior staffer at the American Medical Association and the Florida Medical
Association. Patchett also has experience in commercial and public broadcasting. (608.576.7979, or
Steve Busalacchi, a former reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio, started his own health
communications-consulting firm in 2006, after doing public relations association work for nine years.