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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Memories of John Berryman: His Thoughts on Achievement; Ordeal, Sports Talk and more

(Ed.note; John Berryman was an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. In 1974 he committed suicide by jumping off the bridge at the Mississippi. His most famous work was " 77 Dream Songs."

One of the amazing classes that I had the chance to take as a student was a course by John Berryman, who was a well known poet, and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota.

He was already famous. And larger than life. Though he appeared to be just a fairly old guy with a somewhat white beard that lectured in dishevled suits---what he said---even if it was a little slurred at times---probably from a hard night on the town----was worth straining to hear.

In summary, it was a little like listening to "Sports Talk"-------- but about poetry and yes novels. He would talk about a poem, and the author, and then talk about the time he last saw the author, and in fact he knew some details about what the poem was talking about with respect to the authors life.

If you click on the post, there is an interview with John Berryman that captures his style, in an interview, and yes in answering questions from students.

Police Commission: Decision Pt I

Final Decision of the Evasnville Police Commission re. Scott Fields matter, Intro by Examiner, Statement by Scott Brummond, and Details on Decision by Atty Krohn.

Download File

Video: Police Commission: decision II

part II of III, Decision of the Evansville Police Commission on 7-30-2007

Download File

Police Comm: Video Part III--Decision

Part III of III---Atty Krohn details the decisions of fact and law of Police Commission

Download File

Evansville Police Commission: Prologue

Introduction by Hearing Examiner; Explanation of the process and procedures; Identification of parties and the commission; Listing of the charges. 10min. 40 seconds

Evansville Police Commission: Pt II:

Evansville Police Commission: Witnesses testimony and cross examination.

MP3 File

Audio testimony: Pt III: Police Com

Audio testimony--Police Commission 7-30-2007---segment III----Exhibits,

MP3 File

Mailbag: McGoey Writes: Says Stricter Historical Preservation Enforcement is essential;

(Ed. Note: This comment was made to a previous post on Historical Preservation. I have posted it separately for better visibility. Stricter enforcement provisions will be a matter of public hearing shortly. Stay tuned.)

Dear Observer,

It's disingenuous of you to take potshots at historic preservation efforts that most communities nationwide with historic districts have found to be economically highly beneficial. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has plenty of documentation to demonstrate this. Furthermore, resorting to petty attempts at humor in making inaccurate comments about preserving bathrooms, which by the way, as interior building components are not at all affected by proposed local ordinance, and would be minimally or not at all affected in requirements for voluntarily recieving public funding and tax breaks, does little to bolster the credibility of your argument.
The Evansville Historic District has suffered significant damage to it's original building stock in the 29 years of this very flawed 'voluntary ordinance'. Consulting, as you put it, has not worked well at all in preserving the integrity of many buildings which were in good original condition and contributing to the integrity of the building stock as a whole and then 'voluntarily' rumuddled and 'improved'to the point of having their original historic integrity largely destroyed. If you want proof I'll be happy to drive you around the district and show you.
The overwhelming majority of historic districts in Wisconsin have ordinances with enforcement provisions overseen by preservation boards that work just like any other zoning ordinances undertaken for the public good, and while not without periodic contention, have worked much better in preserving those districts and consequently improving, not impairing, property values. The attitude of "nobody can tell me what to do with my house" is fair enough if you don't live in an place that's a nationally recognized historic asset, or don't want to, regardless of it's demonstrable cultural and economic value. I think on a fair consideration though, most people here place a high value on our historic district and at this point in time will hopefully support efforts to improve it.

Jim McGoey

Monday, July 30, 2007

No Child Left Behind--- Reapproval could be firestorm

click on the post for the full article.

Evansville Police Commission Dismisses charges against Officer Scott Fields after evidentiary hearing

After four hours of testimony and deliberations, the Evansville Police Commission heard a motion from the defendent Scott Fields to dismiss the charges against him, and ruled the charges dismissed.

Full audio and selected video will follow tomorrow. Lacey Wourms made a well presented plaintiff presentation of her case and reviewed the policies and procedures of the Evansville Police Department as well as reviewed the evidence presented by the accident review report.

The Evasnville Police Commission had previously refused to dismiss the charges prior to the hearing, and the hearing examiner explained prior to the beginning of the hearing that they wanted to have a full opportunity to review and have the parties ask questions of the evidence and make up their own mind. The four hours of evidentiary hearing did just that.

The testimony of Officer Fields may have been the highpoint of the hearing. He presented the fact that he lost sight of the vehicle as he crested the slight hill near Water and East Main and then he focused on the tailights, which were another car at Hwy M and 14. Only after circling back did he find evidence of the accident.

The Evansville Police Commission found that there was no falsification in any element of the police report of this incident. In summary, this was a tragedy.

Following Observer tradition, I will let the words of the participants speak for themselves. Stay tuned.

Gazette; Brodhead Man Killed Near Footville

Traffic fatality near Footville. Click on the post for the full story in the Gazette.

Will Stricter Historic Preservation Further Dampen House Sales in Evansville?

Recently the Redevelopment Authority passed a policy amendment that provided that they would accept and approve applications for restoration of commerical buildings in the downtown historic area if, and only if, they were compliant with historic restoration standards. That is as I understand it.

Not much was made of this announcement. However, as I was reflecting about the various historic downtowns around, like Monroe, or Evansville, I reflected that such a policy would preserve for all time the historically very, very, very small restrooms that have such a precious memory for all of the folks of our fair city. That is correct. No matter what changes in our city, the restrooms of the Night Owl, will have to be historically accurate. No exceptions. What a relief.

It gets even better. The Evansville Common Council is considering putting "TEETH" into the historic preservation ordinances in our city and then if approved, if one wishes to make a change, the historic preservation's word would be FINAL. The current procedure is that the homeowner makes a request, and then if denied by the Commission, waits two weeks and can proceed anyway.

In my view, this "consult" with the historic preservation has worked generally pretty well over the past decade. To put further obstacles in front of homeowners who want to make improvements to their homes would be unwise. In fact, further impediments would IMPAIR sale of these homes. Many prospective purchasers of property will NOT purchase a property with overly restrictive historic provisions.

So---in addition to having folks in the historic district frustrated with high assessments----they will really be tickled to know that their home might not be easily saleable due to the impairment of these strict standards. In a slow buyers market, why would a buyer want to deal with additional hassle of being unable to make any improvements?

All citizens have a stake in the deliberations in the Evansville City Council about this matter. It is a shame that this is occuring in August when everyone is on their vacation.

You make the call.

New Football Field Lights?

The Agenda for Tuesday's meeting of the Evansville School Board has been amended to include approval of a donation for football lights. Click on the post for the full agenda in the agenda blog.

Stay tuned.

Agenda: Evansville Police Commission: TODAY, July 30, 2007 5:00 PM

(Ed.note: The Observe will feature full gavel to gavel audio of open session plus selected video. Stay tuned. )


Notice of Meeting

and Agenda

Monday, July 30, 2007

Please take notice that the next meeting of the Evansville Police Commission will take place on Monday, July 30, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. in the Common Council Chambers, 3rd Floor of the Evansville City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin. The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

1. Roll call.

Approval of minutes of July 26, 2007 meeting.
Motion to convene in closed session pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 19.85(1)(g) to confer with legal counsel for the Commission who is rendering oral or written advice concerning strategy to be adopted by the Commission with respect to litigation in which it is involved. Vote by roll call.
Motion for a short recess, to reconvene at 5:30 PM or as soon thereafter as possible.
Evidentiary hearing in Disciplinary Proceedings Against Scott Fields, Evansville Police Officer, pursuant to Rule 13 of the Disciplinary Procedures of the Evansville Board of Police Commissioners.
Motion to convene in closed session:
a) pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 19.85(1)(g) to confer with legal counsel who is rendering oral or written advice concerning strategy to be adopted by the Commission with respect to litigation in which it is or is likely to become involved; and

b) pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 19.85(1)(a) to deliberate concerning any motions made during the hearing and to grant or deny said motions. Vote to be by roll call.

7. Motion for a short recess, to reconvene in open session to convey the outcome of the police commission’s actions on said motions.

8. Adjournment.

Scott R. Brummond, President

Public Notice of this meeting given by posting at the Evansville City Hall, Evansville School District Office, Eager Free Public Library, Union Bank and Trust Company, M & I Bank, the Evansville Police Department and by forwarding to the Evansville Review.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Yahoo Finance: Subprime woes could get worse; Market notes

Click on the post for an article in Yahoo news that reviews the fact that the increase in delinquicies of the past months have been due to traditional loss of job, medical bills, and divorce etc., and not subprime alone.

That news is not what the market had hoped for, and explains the reaction
of the market downwards.

Stay tuned.

Nostalgia: Dateline Normal: "The Declining Birth Rate Con--Where Normal made their big mistake"--FICTION

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dateline Normal: "The Reverse Growth Rate or Declining Birth Rate Con"----Where Normal made their Big Mistake--Fiction

Well it has been sheer delight---two full days of fishing with Herman with that little 25hp Mercury motor. Clear skies. Just a slight breeze. And weather in the upper 60's. What could be better! Not a touch of cloudy weather in sight. WOW.

Last night, right after catching our limit of sunnies, and after a couple of tall cold ones, I just had to ask Herman the question of the moment:

How could Normal have calculated the lots needed for development at 9000? I did grant him a lot of moxie. He got the deal done real quickly. One 24 hour planning session and it was done for all time. Herman was a proud man. He said it was planned that way. I wondered. So I just asked:

"Herman, how did you come up with the idea that you needed 9000 plats for Normal to be developed?"

Herman just let out a huge bellylaugh.

"I knew you would ask, Wolfman. (That's what he always called me.) It's real simple. This was the one time we went outside our town to hire a contract planner to determine our needs. He calculated that since 1776, our growth rate was on average "x" and if we wanted to prepare for the declining birth rate of America, where less and less children would be in each home, just to keep even, we had to add 9000 lots.

"But Herman, I exclaimed, " Normal was only settled in 1899.

"Yup," Herman sighed. That was the big mistake. That planner was one moxie kinda guy----he simply pulled the wool over our eyes-------yes---- he pulled the reverse Freedom Fighters Dollar Averaging con-----I read about it in law school. It was really all my fault. It was one of the most famous cons of all time. I should have known."

"Ya just take the current growth, and in addition to the data, add the zeros back to the American Revolution, and then come up with all this "catch up demand" that necessitates immediate action. I am totally ashamed of falling for it.

I assured Herman that it was common for communites to fall for this con.

Thank goodness I am back in good old Wisconsin. Where even though we have hundreds and hundreds of unsold homes, we are not tricked by the backward averaging con from the American Revolution to justify busting a controlled growth plan.


Gazette Corner: The Demerit System for Bar Owners Eyed in Fulton

Click on the post for the story today in the Janesville Gazette. The "demerit" system provides a consistent process of treatment of bar violations throughout various administrations.

Could it happen in Evansville? Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cap Times: The Corn Gamble

Time to pull out the old Madonna cd, "Like a Prayer"----a prayer for rain. click on the post to find out why.

The Daily Kos: Point----Countpoint; Impact video editing

(ed. note: I have posted this for a demo on slick video editing. click on the post. The new handy cam has changed the way news is presented in many ways, and also the presidential election. Caution on language. )

Dateline Northfield, Mn: Northfield blog debates what they want to be

Click on the post for a discussion of what one blog wants Northfield to be----The issues are familiar. Enjoy.

Here is a portion of the article. Click on the post for the entire article with pictures:

"The second thing I want is to increase public safety, and make it possible for residents to have meaningful and realistic choices about how much they drive, why, and where. This means: Setting up our road/path/sidewalk connections so that non-motorized transportation can be practical and utilitarian, not just recreational.

Since it builds a stronger community if people can work here, as well as live and play here, I’d also like to see policies implemented that support and encourage the growth and development of businesses in town which are financially healthy and pay a living wage with benefits to full-time year-round employees. (This is certainly possible, and isn’t pie-in-the-sky. I’m talking businesses of 10-50 employees. There are several possible approaches to accomplishing this goal. This would be a good topic for future discussion - whether economic hunting or economic gardening is a better model for Northfield.)

If we grew a decent employment base in Northfield:

Commuting would decrease, thus saving family $$ and reducing carbon emissions
We wouldn’t have 40% of our population leaving town for 10 hours out of every day, doing their working, shopping, eating, and primary social connecting elsewhere
Taxes paid on business property would provide a net gain for the City, i.e. city receives more in commerical taxes than it costs to provide the property with infrastructure and services. (Residential is exactly the opposite. For each new household added, the City, county, and school district spend more for services than they receive in taxes.)

I’d like to see Northfield use responsible stewardship in managing the land resources available for inclusion in municipal boundaries, and prioritize its use based on a variety of factors such as need, opportunity, and short- and long-term costs and benefits. This means: Ensuring that we maximize our investment in existing infrastructure FIRST, before spending millions more to extend infrastructure and services to outlying areas. It means giving higher priority of land use to business than to residential development wherever it’s warranted and appropriate. But “business” does not mean large-scale, low-wage retail/service businesses such as big box stores, oil change places, or whatever. I mean real companies with real employees.

The untrammeled residential growth we’ve had for the past decade or more means that available land has been used primarily to build housing units whose overall cost to the community exceeds the tax revenues they bring in. More people increase the demand for services and amenities which are not adequately funded by their tax dollars. Poor design and lack of connectivity in the streets in most of these new subdivisions means more traffic that isn’t handled appropriately. Close to 40% of the people in the houses built in the past decade commute to jobs outside of Northfield; this obviously is a factor in the woeful retail purchasing statistics cited in earlier comments. So we have an increasing number of people who don’t work here, don’t spend much money here, and whose schedules dictate that they not have much time to invest here either. The result? We don’t have citizens, we have consumers. That is what a lot of the “old Northfield vs. new Northfield” arguments are about.

Dateline Lakeville, Mn: 48 Lane Family Entertainment Center Proposed

Click on the post for a glimpse of what the Family Entertainment Center looks like in the larger setting.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Candidate Video Ads-----

Click on the post for the Presidential candidate video ads. Relax. The Evansville Observer ad is coming shortly. Stay tuned.

School Beat: Board meets on Tuesday; Board Goals on Agenda

Click on the post for the full agenda in the agenda blog.

Union Planning Meets Thursday, 7PM, Eager Library

Click on the post for the full agenda in the agenda blog.

Evansville Police Commission Meets Thursday: Will consider motion ; 5PM City Hall, 3rd Floor


Notice of Meeting

and Agenda

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Please take notice that the next meeting of the Evansville Police Commission will take place on July 26, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. in the Common Council Chambers, 3rd Floor of the Evansville City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin. The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

Roll call

Approval of minutes of June 28, 2007 meeting

Citizen appearances

Chief’s report

Motion to convene in closed session pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 19.85(1)(g) to confer with legal counsel for the Commission who is rendering oral or written advice concerning strategy to be adopted by the Commission with respect to litigation in which it is involved. Vote by roll call.

Motion to convene in closed session pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 19.85(1)(a) to deliberate concerning a Motion for Summary Judgment filed with the Commission by Officer Fields and to either grant or deny said motion. Vote by roll call.
Walter E. Shannon, Secretary

Public Notice of this meeting given by posting at the Evansville City Hall, Evansville School District Office, Eager Free Public Library, Union Bank and Trust Company, M & I Bank, the Evansville Police Department and by forwarding to the Evansville Review.

Dateline Normal: "It's Practice Time Again---FICTION

(Ed. note: Click on the post for a classic tale from Normal, Mn., a fictional town in northern Minnesota, just south of Garrison, and west of the land of Lake Woebegone---but other than that.....)

Dateline St. Paul: Ramsey County to raise property taxes 5% this year, and next

Click on the post for the latest increase in property taxes.

Souch Corner; "Life in the Slow Lane......"

Another classic from Joe Soucheray of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

NYT: Beyond Spin: SubPrime Woes shake Market; 20% of subprime past due?

Countryside Financial, a large subprime lender, weighed in on the problem yesterday, and Wall Street listened.

The market and the political pundits have tried to spin the story as one that that has damage that can be minimized and that "recovery is on the way." The numbers suggest that the recovery will be slower and more painful than thought.

Click on the post for the full story in the Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wisconsin Foreclosures Up 23%

Click on the post for the latest.

Minutes: Public Works: June 2007

Public Works Committee

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, June 26th at 6:00 p.m.

Public Works Garage., Evansville, WI


Call the meeting to order at 6:00 pm.
Roll Call – Braunschweig, Sornson, Juergens, Sauer, & Wartenweiller present.
Agenda approved unanimously as amended.
Approved minutes of May 29, 2007 regular public works Meeting
Citizen appearances – None
Lake Leota Restoration update-
Received packet from SOLE. SOLE wants PW to raise budget for next year to include an engineering study.
Motion to recommend to Common Council and Finance that the 2008 capital budget include $65,000.00 for Lake Leota engineering study and permit/license fees as indicated in SOLE memo. Passed unanimously.
Site Plan Reviews - none
Contruction Updates
Main Street Progress –
Change order- Motion to approve change order for palating bricks with associated costs in the amount of $60,000.00. Approved unanimously as it was under budget.
County Trk M –
On schedule.
Change order- Motion to approve change order in the amount of $62,494.00 for the modification of stormewater system in HWY M contigent upon D&D accepting the added cost & to be paid upon a schedule to be determined. Passed unanimoulsy.
North Prairie Productions-
Wastewater reducation update – received packet of information. City engineer questioned constant flow. Also questioned whether equalization tanks would/should be necessary.
Capstone Ridge Phase II-
Fred questioned if we have parkland fees yet? Dave W. answered no.
HWY 59 agreement-
Another public meeting in Septmeber or October.

Communications from City Engineer
Wastewater treatment facility and CMAR report. 2.89 out of 4.0. Need improvement with ponds and groundwater.
Communications of Public Works Director
Current projects going well. Still wating for information ion sidewalk assesments.

New Business
Lake partially mowed. The machines could not go across the creek because one got stuck. Land too moist.
Presentation from Engineered Construction Inc. Emergency response planning firm. We have information and will follow-up in August.
Adjourned at 8:55 pm.
Faithfully submitted by:

Mason Braunschwieg,

Chair, Public Works Committee

Mailbag; Mr. Connors Writes: On Subsidy of Commercial Infrastructure---a bad deal for taxpayers

(Ed.note: This was a comment on the recent July 2007 Common Council minutes that I have posted for better visiability. )

Comment - Show Original Post

Bill Connors said...
Unfortunately, the Common Council has been fooled into thinking that using pay-as-you-go financing somehow changes the realtity that the city, ultimately, will pay for the infrastructure for commercial lots on bare ground, something it has never done in the past, and something that cities with any sense avoid doing at all cost. If this goes through, there never will be another commercial lot developed in this city without the city paying for the infrastructure. Furthermore, other developers, such as John Morning, who did not receive tax dollars to pay for the infrasturure for their new commercial lots in the past will ask to receive tax dollars to be treated fairly. This is a huge waste of the taxpayers' dollars. It is too bad the city's professional advisors don't have the guts to speak up and tell the Council what a bad deal this is.

Bill Connors

1:52 PM

Minutes; Common Council: July 10, 2007

Common Council

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, July 10, 2007, 6:30 p.m.

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


Mayor Decker called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m.

Roll Call

Members present: Chair Mayor Decker; Alderpersons Mason Braunschweig, Tom Cothard, Barb Jacobson, John Sornson, Tony Wyse, Dennis Wessels, Diane Roberts and Fred Juergens. Staff present: Dan Wietecha, City Administrator; Mark Kopp, City Attorney; Sandra Lindemann, Acting City Clerk; Dave Wartenweiler, Public Works Director; and Kathi Kemp-Tejeda, Library Director and the new city clerk, Judy Walton. Citizens present: John Willoughby, Kelly Gildner, Greg Johnson, Ehlers; Matt Gaboda, Diane Skinner, Evelyn Cantrell and Gil Wiedenhoeft, S.O.L.E.

Approval of Agenda

Motion by Braunschweig, second by Roberts, to approve the agenda as printed. Motion carried.

Approval of Minutes

Motion by Cothard, second by Roberts, to waive the reading of the minutes of June 12, 2007, regular meeting and June 25 and 27, 2007, special meetings and approve them as printed. Alderperson Braunschweig asked that the word “meet” be changed to “create” on page two, last sentence of the Plan Commission report. Motion by Cothard, second by Roberts, to amend the original motion to replacing the word “meet” and insert the word “create” in the Plan Commission Report on page two, paragraph one, last sentence. Motion carried.

Citizen appearances

Matt Gaboda, 552 S 6th Street, presented his position in opposition of wind turbines in our rural community. He stated that information on this subject was available on the WPPI website. He requested that the City of Evansville adopt an ordinance against the installation of the wind turbines.

S.O.L.E.-Gil Wiedenhoeft, member of the S.O.L.E. Committee, reported they had a small profit for the July Fourth festivities. S.O.L.E. has made their presentation to the Public Works and Park Board Committees regarding the next step that is needed and the funding required for Lake Leota restoration. Kelly Gildner stated the committee has gone as far as they can go, and recommends that it is up to the City of Evansville to continue with the process.

ECP – None at this time

Diane Skinner, Chair of the Senior Center Program, presented the quarterly senior center report. Diane stated that she is stepping down as president, with Mary Libby as the new president. She further stated they would like to see a 3% increase to the 2008 budget. The senior program received an Evansville Fund Grant in the spring. Evelyn Cantrell, who is also with the program, states that ridership has increased from 20-30 to approximately 50 per month. They have introduced an exercise program coordinated with the Y.

Diane went over some of the functions that will be coming in the next few months, i.e., September is National Senior Month, November is the Health Fair.

Plan Commission Report

Motion by Braunschweig, second by Sornson, to remove from table consideration of the final CSM for Rolland Propst (Application 2007-4). Motion carried.

Motion by Braunschweig, second by Wessels, to approve preliminary CSM for Rolland Propst (Application 2007-4) according to the Plan Commission staff report. Attorney Mark Kopp indicated that the reference on the agenda was incorrect; a preliminary copy is before the council. Kopp stated that the city could approve the division of the lot consistent with the subdivision requirements. Motion carried that this would not be creating a non-conforming lot, and that it does not impact the status of the garage

Finance and Labor Relations Committee Report

Motion by Cothard, second by Braunschweig, to approve W&L bills and authorize their payment in the amount of $715,836.11. Motion carried on a roll call vote.

Motion by Cothard, second by Braunschweig, to approve the City bills and authorize their payment in the amount of $681,386.77. Motion carried on a roll call vote.

Motion by Cothard, second by Roberts, to approve addendum to contract with Associated Appraisal Consultants, Inc. regarding postage expenses. It was mentioned that this item was to be included in the bid price per the request for proposal. Motion by Cothard, second by Roberts, to withdraw the original motion. Motion to withdraw carried on a roll call vote.

Discussion on draft of employee handbook. The employee handbook will be on the agenda of Finance/Labor Relations next month for approval. Braunschweig suggested the vacation and sick leave be streamlined to work for all employees, union and non-union alike. Wietecha stated that members should review the draft and submit their comments and questions before the next finance meeting so that they can be addressed for the final copy.

Public Safety Committee Report

Motion by Roberts, second by Sornson, to approve Class “B” Beer/”Class B” Liquor application for Bernardo J. Morice, 518 Vision Dr., Evansville, WI 53536 d/b/a Morice Enterprises, Inc., 60 Union St., Evansville, WI 53536. Alderperson Cothard expressed that he did not like the fact that they could hold the license for the year without conducting any business at a physical location. It was clarified that the license was for the individual/business and not the address, and that this license was the same as Julie Meredith’s license. Cothard called for the motion. Motion by Juergens, second by Braunschweig, to table the motion so the attorney could verify the legality of issuing a license to a business prior to its having a location established. Motion carried.

Public Works Committee Report

Motion by Braunschweig, second by Sornson, to approve Resolution 2007-29, Documenting Review of the 2006 Compliance Maintenance Annual Report and Indicating Actions to be Taken to Prevent Effluent Limit Violations. Braunschweig referring to the report with the council packet stated the wastewater plant met 2.89 out of a total of 4 points. Failing in the ponds area, and getting a medium grade in the groundwater area, further measurements will determine accuracy of the report in these areas. Braunschweig noted that Public Works had approved change orders on the Main Street and County M projects, both within the budget. Motion carried.

Water & Light Committee Report – None at this time.

Economic Development Committee Report - None at this time.

Redevelopment Authority Report – None at this time.

Parks and Recreation Board Report

Alderperson Juergens distributed a report on the Lake Leota Restoration. The committee will be discussing this at their next meeting and may bring a motion to council regarding funding. City Engineer, Dave Sauer, had given the city an estimate of $1 to $2 million. Mayor Decker emphasized that the city should get solid figures before any further discussion on the cost of the project or its potential impact on taxes.

Historic Preservation Commission Report – None at this time.

Fire District Report

Motion by Wessels, second by Cothard, to approve purchase of current Fire Station and adjacent lot for $275,000. An appraisal was completed in December of 2006. Motion carried on a roll call vote. 7-1 Juergens voting no.

Police Commission Report – Wietecha stated that the commission scheduled the hearing on July 30, with continuance to July 31st, if needed.

Unfinished Business

Cothard read the second reading, second by Roberts, and motioned to approve Ordinance #2007-7, Rezoning Territory from Residential District 1 (R-1) to Planned Unit Development (PUD) District. Mayor Decker removed herself from the chair at 6:35p.m.stating her husband, John, is on the Board. Jacobson mentioned that a letter had been received from a resident regarding the need for sidewalks and sufficient parking. Motion carried on a roll call vote. Mayor Decker returned to the chair at 6:42 p.m.

Communications and Recommendations from the Mayor

There was discussion on fall strategic planning session for Common Council and City Department Heads. Mayor Decker stated that the meeting could be scheduled for one of the last two Saturdays in September or the first two in October and asked for council’s input to schedule a date. October 13 was agreed upon as the date for the fall strategic planning session meeting.

Communications from the City Administrator

Cothard asked for discussion and possible motion on D&D Proposal regarding use of TIF in a mixed-use district. Administrator Wietecha introduced Greg Johnson, Financial Advisor for Ehlers & Associates. Johnson distributed the Ehlers Advisor newsletter that summarized the “Pay as you Go” Financing for TIF Districts and a slide packet on “Pay as you Go” Development Financing for TIF. He explained the different aspects of regular TIF financing versus the “pay as you go” TIF financing, how it works and the benefits that the city would see by utilizing this type of TIF financing for a mixed-use district.

Johnson stated that both traditional and Pay As You Go TID financing could be used within a district. It is dependent on the unique characteristics of each project.

Johnson was asked to clarify the reasoning for this approach by a developer. Johnson stated that the community could provide an incentive through Pay As You Go where it otherwise may not be able to do so. Pay As You Go reduces the risk to the city, and the city does not use its bonding capacity.

Tom Cothard stated that these negotiations have been going on for many, many years and he was surprised at this proposal. Braunschweig asked for City Administrator Wietecha for comment. Wietecha stated he realized that the big policy question was if the City was willing to provide Tax Increment for new commercial development as opposed to redevelopment. The policy question aside, the general structure of their proposal, recognizes that there is a need to reimburse the city for out-of-pocket engineering expenses. The Pay As You Go really is very fair for the city.

Braunschweig pointed out TID 6 initially was brought forth as an industrial TID and then revised to a mixed-use district. Pay As You Go had never been discussed until this proposal. If this doesn’t bring any risk to the City and the developer is in agreement this may be a good solution to actually getting development started here.

Johnson clarified that “But For” test means that without TIF the development would not occur at all, at the same time or at the same value. Mayor Decker stated that a year ago, she was opposed to TIF for commercial. This year the bowling center has investigated four city locations. None have worked. We have got a good commercial project when we are desperately looking for commercial development and we don’t have a location. We have a hotel that is interested and has looked at lots. TIF is necessary to make that hotel project work. It is a commercial project and they’ve been looking in the redevelopment district, TID 5. They cannot find an adequate lot in TID 5. We met with them this afternoon and we’ve got a possibility for a lot in TID 6, but we need commercial in TID 6. They are willing, if we can get something to happen, to break ground this fall. We are at a crossroads where we are going to start to lose commercial possibilities.

Braunschweig stated one of the primary concerns last year when Plan Commission decided they did not want to fund commercial entities out on the east side with TIF funds was they did not want to lose businesses that would otherwise go to downtown. Mayor Decker stated further that what we are doing here is losing business that can’t go downtown. Sornson stated that if we went with this, think of the jobs that we would pull in. If we put in a couple more businesses, if you put a hotel out there, we could get more jobs, people to live here, they will spend their money here and pay taxes, and that is what we want. Braunschweig stated his primary point is with the Pay As You Go the burden is shifted to the developer rather than the city so they have the incentive to fill that up and get it going. We may actually see development quicker using this kind of financing rather than the traditional TIF financing.

Wyse asked if the Pay As You Go format allows the developer more leeway in what goes into this district, or are we still in control. Johnson stated that you are still in control. It certainly does not circumvent your zoning and normal planning process and that is not replaced regardless of how you finance. Cothard called for the motion. Mayor Decker asked the city administrator for general motion language regarding TIF #6 so the city can accomplish what they need. Wietecha stated the motion should read, to approve the concept of potentially using TIF to install infrastructure in commercial areas of TID #6.

Motion by Cothard, second by Braunschweig, to approve the concept of potentially using TIF to install infrastructure in the commercial areas of TID 6. Mayor Decker called for clarification of motion language to accommodate other potential district projects. Wietecha stated that the intent is to approve the concept of potentially using tax increment financing to install infrastructure or acquire land in the commercial areas of TID #6.

Motion by Cothard, second by Braunschweig, to amend the motion to add the language “or acquire land” in the commercial areas of TID #6.

Motion by Cothard, second by Braunschweig, to approve the concept of potentially using tax increment financing to install infrastructure or acquire land in the commercial areas of TID #6. Motion carried on a roll call vote.

Performance evaluation of City Administrator (6 month). Wietecha distributed a job description and the standard evaluation form to members and asked that they complete the form and get it back to him as soon as possible. He asked that the council consider setting goals or completion of tasks. He welcomes any and all comments that they have in regard to the evaluation.

New Business

Introduction of New Ordinances

Braunschweig presented the first reading of Ordinance 2007-8, Amending Chapter 110 of the Municipal Code by Requiring that Certain Residential Land Divisions Provide for Accessible Housing for the Elderly and for People with Disabilities. [Sponsors Braunschweig and Roberts].

Cothard presented the first reading of Ordinance 2007-9, Amending Chapter 130 of the Municipal Code by Establishing Standards for Traditional Neighborhood Developments. [Sponsors Wyse and Braunschweig].

Braunschweig presented the first reading of Ordinance 2007-10, Amending Chapter 18 and 130 of the Municipal Code Relating to Fences. [Sponsors Braunschweig and Roberts].

Motion by Cothard, second by Braunschweig, to adjourn the meeting at 8:46 p.m. Motion carried.

Prepared by Sandra L. Lindemann

Acting City Clerk

Minutes are not official until approved at the next regular meeting of the Common Council.

Death of the Wall Street Journal?

Click on the post for the New York Times article on the latest in the talks about selling the Wall Street Journal to Mr. Murdoch. Will this mean that even business news is tabloid news?

Dateline Twin Cities: Does Beer own Wisconsin?

Click on the post for the latest from Minnesota. Is all the death on the highway part of the "rich heritage" too? Stay tuned.

Nostalgia: May 2005: WATERCOOLER: Let the Public Decide on Lake Leota

(Ed.note: This was one of the very first posts of the Evansville Observer. My position on the issue is unchanged. Let the people decide by referendum.)

In 2001 a focus group of Evansville citizens met at the historic Masonic Temple to reflect on the "Identity" of Evansville. In the end, the top two choices were "The Grove" and preservation of Lake Leota and the special green space of Evansville.

In the current Evansville Plan to be approved on June 15, 2005, there is only the statement that preservation of Lake Leota is consistent with the goals of Evansville, but that it appears that the taxpayers do not want to pay for the restoration. The truth is that the community has never been asked the question.

Because of a flawed community survey that failed to survey the entire community but only chose to "select" a few "elect" people, there was a flawed result that always happens in small sample surveys. The current Strategic plan document to be approved on June 15th says that the restoration which would cost about 3 million, would not solve the problem. It is the observers understanding that the dredging would only leave a yearly maintance at the upper end of the Lake.

Lake Leota has a long and rich history. In the 1920's a group of women met in the upper park as part of the Lyceum movement preparing themselves for the right to vote. Wisconsin was one of the first states to vote for suffrage for women. Since then Evansville has met at the Park and it has become a space beyond school or government where all can socialize. This is unlike many communities of this cities size.

It is time for the public to decide. Not by city council vote but by referendum. What are your thoughts on this issue?

Monday, July 23, 2007

"Chasin" has the latest on the petition for a referendum on Lake Leota

Click on the post for the latest.

Minutes: Park Board: July 2007

City of Evansville, Wisconsin

Park and Recreation Board Regular Monthly Meeting

Evansville City Hall Council Chambers

Monday, July 16, 2007


1. The meeting was called to order at 6:00 PM; Members Farnsworth Juergens, Krueger, Merritt, Modaff and staff Anderson, Hamacher, and Wietecha present. Carlsen excused. Sendelbach absent.

2. Krueger moved, Farnsworth seconded to waive reading of June 2007 meeting and approve as printed. Passed unanimously.

3. There were no changes proposed to the agenda as printed.

4. Citizen appearances other than agenda items: Dori Weigel and Kathy Hermanson, representing a League of Their Own, discussed the finances of the operation and pointed out that, in the past, if they didn’t spend money allotted to them, it apparently was lost to them and went into the General Fund. The city’s contribution to ALOTO was cut by more than half in the 2007 budget. Wietecha raised the concern of the city’s insurance covering ALOTO’s activities. This entire issue needs more study and will be placed on the September 2007 agenda for discussion and resolution.

5: ECP July 4 Report. No formal report; however, it appears that the event was successful. Comments have been received concerning the excellent condition of Lake Leota Park during the 5-day event.

6. SOLE report: Randy Rinehart and Millie Frome reported that the draw-down permit for Lake Leota expired last April. They’ve been assured by DNR that an extension will be forthcoming. Wietecha was asked to look into this. SOLE has collected more than 150 signatures on a petition advocating restoration of the lake. A dredging permit would take about 6-8 months to be awarded after application. The chair asked SOLE how much money it could contribute to the lake restoration, and they replied, basically, as much as they’ve raised. They are beginning a fund-raising campaign. They have money in the bank, and received both donations and profits from their brat-booth at the July 4th celebration.

7. Skate Park:

a. Amy Eager reported through a phone call that the Tennis Camp held the week of June 18th near the skate park went well with absolutely no disturbances or distractions in the area.

b. Anderson reported that vandalism in the general lower park area has been higher than in the past, but can’t attribute it specifically to any person, group, or activity. In particular, one toilet was destroyed recently, and much graffiti has been found.

8. Chair’s report on items of interest concerning Council and other city Committees: Public Works committee recommended to Council that $65,000 be put in 2008 budget for engineering and permit work on Lake Leota. At their July meetings, Juergens made a presentation to Finance Committee and to Council about the history of lake restoration efforts, a synopsis of where we are now, and several options for moving forward. Copies of the presentation were distributed to PRB members. He reported to PRB that he had chosen not to carry forward the June motion at those meetings, but rather to give Finance and Council some food for thought. Motions will be brought to both Finance and Council at their August meetings.

9. Discussion of report from Dry Stone Conservancy: Report promised for this meeting has not been received. Juergens reported talking with the DSC project manager, Jane Wooley, just two hours before this meeting, and was assured it would be complete within a week. During Juergens’s discussion with Wooley, it was established that about 350 feet of creek wall are in need of immediate attention for safety reasons. Wooley affirmed that they had a one-week training workshop in their schedule for the week of October 15, should the city decide to go forward with restoration of the Allen Creek walls. Juergens requested that the PRB convene for a special meeting when the report arrives to decide on what course the PRB should take.

10. Updates on pending park projects: Ray Anderson and Fred Juergens

a. Lake Leota Park: The Boy Scout house will be re-roofed after the July 4th weekend celebrations. The cost of installing a fence with gate access between the tennis courts and the skate park will be $1700-2000, depending on condition of existing fence fabric. Anderson is concerned about vandalism and said he’d talked with police about more frequent patrols. He also suggested considering motion-activated lights and/or surveillance cameras in areas of the park.

b. Franklin Park; concerning the structure scheduled to be built there, the chair met with Rob Kostroun on July 12th. Though Kostroun has had the design drawings for at least three months, only at this time did he say he can’t build the structure from them and needs construction drawings. Getting them from the architect would cost about $1500. It seems that Kostroun isn’t really interested in working on this project. Juergens suggested postponing further discussion of this matter until the August PRB meeting.

c. Countryside Park; Construction of the shelter/bathroom is still incomplete,. Public Works staff will complete the carpentry work and clean-up, and the plumber will install sinks and toilets by July 24th. Paint striping of the basketball court is complete.

d. West Side Park: Grass is just about dormant due to lack of rain.

11, Aquatic Report: Ric Hamacher.

a. Solar Panel project: Complete and costs within budget.

b. Pool operations and pool store. Revenue for pool, including passes and lessons is on target, while revenue from pool store is still lagging. This is likely due to a reduced variety of items available.

c. Low-income pass issues: Julie Hermanson from AWARE will make a presentation to the August meeting of PRB so that we may decide which standards we should use in the future.

d. There is apparently a small leak in the old pool, which will be repaired at the end of the season.

12. Old Business:

a. Juergens presented a document containing financial data relating to the PRB, which is appended to these minutes. Members discussed the implications of this.

b. The motion contained in the agenda relative to the 2008 Capital Budget was abandoned.

13. New Business:

a. Dealing with Lake Leota: After much discussion of priorities, it was concluded that action to restore the lake must happen as soon as possible, even if it means postponing some other projects already planned for 2008. Farnsworth moved, Modaff seconded the following: The PRB requests that Council amend the 2007 Capital Budget to authorize the city engineer to do the necessary design engineering for a plan to restore Lake Leota to a viable lake in the year 2009, with the costs not to exceed $50,000. In compensation, the PRB will not request the customary general fund allocation of $50K in the 2008 Capital budget. Motion passed unanimously.

b. Modaff moved, Farnsworth seconded to recommend that City Council authorize City staff to apply to the Wisconsin DNR for a permit to dredge Lake Leota to a depth sufficient to maintain a viable lake for 50 years, beginning in 2009, and to pay the costs, once known, of the application by amending the 2007 Budget if necessary. Motion passed unanimously.

c. Farnsworth moved, Krueger seconded to allocate $55,000 in the 2008 Capital Budget from the “Fees in Lieu of Parkland Dedication” account to install playground equipment at Westside Park. Motion passed unanimously.

d. Farnsworth moved, Krueger seconded to allocate $10,000 in the 2008 Capital Budget from the “Fees in Lieu of Parkland Dedication” account to complete the solar panel installation at the swimming pool. Motion passed unanimously.

e. Modaff moved, Merritt seconded to allocate $90,000 in the 2008 Capital Budget from the “Fees in Lieu of Parkland Dedication” account to pave the road from 6th St and pave a parking lot in Westside Park. Motion passed unanimously.

f. Discussion of planning a new 5-year capital-spending plan was postponed to a future meeting.

g. A recent letter from the City Administrator to the owner of a parcel of land just outside the city, concerning its possible purchase for use as a dog park, was discussed briefly. Wietecha indicated that the asking price was well over the projected cost in the PRB 5-year plan. The consensus was that this is not a priority item for the city, given the other pressing Parks projects.

14. There being no other business, Krueger moved, Merritt seconded to adjourn the meeting at 7:55 pm. Motion passed unanimously.

Meeting minutes prepared by Chair Fred Juergens. These are not official until approved at the next regular PRB meeting, scheduled August 20, 2007.


Data for Discussion: Park Board Meeting July 16, 2007

2007 Park board Budget – $50,000

Solar Paneling at Pool $10,000 (Actual cost?)

Shelter/Equipment at Franklin Park $10,000 ($500 spent so far on concept

Drawing. Spend $1500 on construction drawings?

Leaves $8K for construction;

Almost certainly not enough.

Unallocated at beginning of year $30,000

Actions since beginning of year.

Pay for visit of Dry Stone Conservancy $ 4,500

from unallocated funds.

Remaining Unallocated 2007 Funds $25,500

DryStone Conservancy 5-day workshop

In October. 2 instructors & 12 students $10,000

Or 1 instructor/6 students $ 7,500

Put Franklin Park structure out for Bids, once Construction drawings are in hand, if approved? Pay for it out of unallocated 2007 funds remaining after DryStone workshop is paid for? We should still have about $15K in addition to the $8K mentioned above.


We have about $104,000 in hand from Parkland Fees in Lieu of Land Dedication. In addition, we expect about $47,500 from Westfield Meadows, since construction has begun there. We may also get about $21K from Capstone Ridge, Phase 2, if they begin construction in the next year or so.

The Total Parkland fees available for 2008 is thus about $172K, enough to pay for the paving and playground at West Side Park.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

FBI moves to investigate Mortgage Fraud in the Twin Cities

Click on the post for the latest from the Twin Cities.

Nostalgia: September 2005: On "Backloaded Bonds"----Classic Mr. Connors

Re:Bill Connors writes: School District Debt Service Heavily Back Loaded; Reflection on the Growth bicycle; or What mix and rate of Growth is right?

--- billconnors wrote:

Managing growth is essential. But it would not be
prudent to constrain growth too much. The school
district's debt service for 2005-06 is $1.98 million.
In 2014-15, the school district's debt service will
exceed $3 million, even if no additional debt is
issued between now and then. In 2020-21, the last
year of payment on the bonds for the new high school,
the school district's debt service will exceed $4
million. The school district heavily back-loaded the
repayment schedule on the bonds for the new high
school, which means they are counting on large
increases in the school district's property tax base
through new construction to be able to pay for the
escalating debt service costs.

This appears to be prudent financial planning on the
part of the school district, but I wonder how many
people are aware that continued growth is essential to
keeping the school district's mill rate in line.

Of course, we could get away with fewer new houses in
the school district if we had more commercial or
industrial development or a greater proportion of the
new houses were larger and more expansive, and fewer
new houses would save on operating costs for the
school district.

Bill Connors
Evansville City Administrator

Posted by billconnors to Evansville Observer at
9/19/2005 10:20:06 AM

Mailbag: Dateline: London; Chicago; Toyko; Flygirl checks in

Recently, my wife' sister, Ronnie, reclaimed a dream of flying international out of London. She got the opportunity to be based in London. She took it. Click on the post for her first blog entries.

This weekend she met Sue in Chicago as she tried out being based in London and commuting to a home in SanFrancisco, Hawaii, and also visiting her family in Mpls and elsewhere.

Travel is her passion. The Observer will have her link on the right side of the blog so you can follow along with her around the world. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dateline St. Paul; Garbage burning plant faces firestorm of opposition

As reported in the Monitor, the Rock-Tenn plant in the Midway had been considering converting to burn compacted garbage for power. Then neighborhood groups weighed in.

Click on the post for the full story of what happened next.

Record Heat in Southern Europe Raises Concern

The rule used to be to go north if one lived Southern Europe---with record temps, the question has become how far north? A larger concern for folks in the "Med" is that their climate is changing and might foretell doom for the tourist industry.

Click on the post for the entire article.

Gazette Corner: Siting Board reverses portions of Larson Acres Siting Conditions

Click on the post for the Siting Board's ruling.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dateline Monroe: Master Yodeler Comes to town July 25, 2007

Click on the post for the latest.

Mailbag; Eric writes: "Big Belly Solar Trash Can"?

Thought this might interest you a bit. Basically, the BigBelly is a
public trash can that's solar powered, allowing it to compact people's
garbage and store four to six times as much as a regular can. In addition,
it keeps less trash from spilling out, meaning less food for birds,
meaning less bird poops on your car. Seems like a win-win to us. And
while your.. town government might not like the $4,000 pricetag,
I'm sure they'd like the savings in manpower, seeing this thing doesn't
need to be emptied as often, and the image enhancement of having
something solar powered on your city streets. Everyone knows that anything
solar powered is environmentally friendly, even if regular trash cans
don't use any power at all.



Legal Beagles visit "Stafford Rosenbaum Law Firm"


Carmen Arnold and Molly Woulfe visited with Stafford & Rosenbaum Law Firm litigation attorney Jacqueline Fontana on Thursday. She was a UW Law School Grad (2001) and had a stint in business right after college before entering law school. She noted that half of her graduating class were women, and that the legal field is one that women can thrive in especially for those with good collegial problem solving skills. Her undergrad interest was in math.

Carmen and Molly also toured the Wisconsin State Law Library as well as the Legislative Reference Bureau.

Thanks to local attorney Steve Zwicky who arranged the visit.
Posted by Picasa

"To Do Lists"-----are ----not purpose

Over 20 years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a couple of seminars by Phil Laut in St. Paul. He had just published, 'Money is My Friend" and was working on his second book and was touring the country with the material for it.

At the beginning of the seminar, he made a startling statement. He opened by saying to the crowd, "How many of you have a "To Do List?" Every hand in the room went up. It was pretty impressive.

Then he paused and asked ," How many of you have a statement of your purpose?" Not one hand went up.

"Well, he went on. Tonight we are going to talk about purpose. Purpose is different from a "To List." In fact, if all you have is a "To Do" list it would be better that you just stayed in bed each morning and waited till you had one. It is that important.

"Purpose," he went on, "puts intensity into the order of your life. It gives meaning to the tasks you perform."

At the end of this month, the Evansville School Board will meet in a four hour session to hammer out more than just a 'To Do" List, but a strategy for Board Development and Goals for the upcoming school year. They may hire a special "facilitator" to handle the vigorous discussion.

Stay tuned.

It should be interesting.

Almost Time for "Just Desserts"----ECP asks for nominations---Deadline August 17

Just Desserts - Nomination Form

Nominate any person, organization or business for their volunteerism and service within the greater Evansville area. Let’s give them their Just Desserts!

Person nominated to receive their Just Desserts.

Name _______________________________________________________________

Address _____________________________________________________________

Telephone _________________email address: _______________________________

Nominated by: individual or organization.? (circle one)

Person completing form ___________________________________________________

Organization name (if applicable)______________________________________________

Address ________________________________________________________________

Telephone ___________________email address:________________________________

1. List your nominees’ volunteer activities in the organization / community. (Use the back of this sheet or a separate paper for more complete answers.)

2. Why do you think this person should be recognized?

Please give us an interesting example or story about your nominee that illustrates their dedication and volunteer work. (Note: this may be shared with others at the recognition.)
4. Additional comments or information.

Mail to: Evansville Community Partnership (ECP), PO Box 321, Evansville, WI. 53536

Email: coordinator@evansville-wi.net

Nominations due by: August 17th, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mailbag; Viewer notes Riverwalk in Waukesha

One of our viewers wanted to show us the riverwalk in Waukesha. Click on the post.

Gazette Corner; Stoughton Trailer Update:

Click on the post for the latest regarding the Stoughton Trailers situation.

Finance Committee met Today: Fund 80 discussed for Homework Club

Budget Finance Committee Meeting Agenda
Thursday, July 19, 2007
District Office Conference Room
340 Fair Street
Evansville, WI 53536
8:00 a.m.

Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard
Elementary School Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Office, 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.
“Using the budget to drive the best education possible for every child.”
Committee Members:
Heidi Carvin Melissa Hammann Tina Rossmiller
Deb Olsen Mike Larson

I. Old Business:
A. Approval of June 15, 2007, Minutes.
B. 2007-08 Budget Update.
C. Procurement Cards.

II. New Business:

A. Fund 80 for After School Programming.

B. Planning for Annual Meeting.

III. Set Next Agenda Items and Date of Meeting.
August –
IV. 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.
Posted: 7/16/07

A Fund 80 is a vote by the voters to bypass the school revenue caps to pay for things such as recreation programming or homework club, things that are not traditionally considered part of the educational mission.

What is your opinion on this?

The last time a Fund 80 proposal was presented it was for a recreation district and the vote was at the J.C. McKenna School and it went down to defeat. Should the school present this proposal for $30,000 for a Fund 80?

You make the call.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Madison announces new safey initiative

Madison is moving to cameras. Stay tuned.

School Board--4 Period Day---audio transcript

School Board--7-16-2007---Audio transcript of reprort to the board on the 4 Period Day Study. 40 minutes.

MP3 File

Wall Street: Stocks retreat on Fed remarks

Click on the post for the full story.

Mr. Bernanke mentioned that the housing sector may get worse before it gets better. This is not what the market wanted to hear. Stocks moved lower.

Bldg/Grounds/School 7-16-2007

Discussion of Enrollment, discussion of purchase of one or even two pieces of land, maybe one on East and one on West for possible school sites with target of 5 Years hence.

15 minutes audio---

MP3 File

Gazette Corner: Wind Energy takes center Stage

Click on the post for the full coverage article by Gina Duwe on the progress of wind energy development in Magnolia and Rock Counties. Enjoy.

Minutes: Redevelopment July 2007

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Board of Commissioners

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, July 17, 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: Chris Eager, Betsy Ahner, Tony Wyse, John Decker, Barbara Jacobson and Roger Roth. Absent: Tom Calley. Also present: Executive Director Dan Wietecha and Mayor Sandy Decker.
Declare Quorum. There being a majority of the commissioners present at call to order, a quorum was declared by the chair.
Approve Agenda. Decker made a motion, seconded by Jacobson, to approve the agenda. Motion carried unanimously.
Approve Minutes of June 19, 2007 Meeting. Decker made a motion, seconded by Jacobson, to approve the minutes. Motion carried unanimously.

Old Business.

Allen Creek Master Plan RFP. Wietecha said that RA Smith had conducted a number of interviews with property owners last week, and they will likely finish their interviews in the next week. RA Smith has also been compiling the basic background information they will need for the project. An open house presentation of the mid-project draft is tentatively scheduled for the August 21 Redevelopment Authority meeting. The Board asked that the property owners, Plan Commission, and Chamber of Commerce be notified of the open house.

Main Street Construction.

Wietecha noted that last week the Public Works Committee had awarded the contract for the surface work on Main Street to Trierweiler Construction. Construction is expected to start the first week of August with a completion date in mid November. It would be phased by blocks similar to the underground utility work. The Board asked that the Downtown Taskforce discuss any coordination that may be needed with the businesses that may be holding sidewalk sales during the upcoming Citywide Garage Sale.

In answer to a series of questions, Wietecha said that the total cost of both phases, purchase of additional bricks, and extra utility work on Maple Street was roughly $130,000 to $200,000 below budget. The $70,000 difference is in the cost of extending the bricks from Maple Street to Railroad Street. The City Council has said that the additional block of bricks would only be done if additional grant funds were received. The second grant application was denied, but there is still some local interest in having the bricks extended to Railroad Street. The Board noted that there had been some $10,000 to $20,000 in donations pledged to the brick project a year ago.

Wyse made a motion, seconded by Ahner, to recommend to the Common Council that the bricks be extended to Railroad Street. Motion approved unanimously.

New Business.

TIF Projects with Historic Properties. Wietecha distributed the Historic Preservation Commission’s Design Review Standards for Commercial Projects.

The Board noted that several past projects in TID #5 had raised the question of requiring approval of the Historic Preservation Commission as a condition of granting tax increment financing to a project. With no projects currently before it, now is a convenient time for the Board to discuss a formal policy of considering or requiring Historic Preservation’s approval for tax increment projects.

The Board noted that the design standards were based on national and state guidelines and that attention to the historic context of the downtown was appropriate for projects receiving public funds. Jacobson made a motion, seconded by Decker, to require Historic Preservation Commission approval as a condition for TIF projects within the historic district or involving designated local landmarks.
2008 Budget. The Board noted that it has historically not worked with a budget since its operations are project-specific rather than ongoing. The Board recommended allocating $5,000 in TIF for marketing and promotion of the Allen Creek Master Plan and $10,000 in TIF for purchase of easements or other property rights.
Other Business. None.

Adjournment. Wyse moved, seconded by Jacobson, to adjourn the meeting. Motion approved unanimously at 8:20 pm.

Mailbag: Reader reports theft overnight from car---stay alert--lock the cars

(Ed.note: This theft reported did occur on Liberty Street. If you have any info on this or any other similar theft, contact the Evansville Police Dept.)

Just wanted to spread the word to any Evansville email addresses that I have here at work that someone broke into our truck in the driveway last night and took the console between the seats. There was an iPod and about $10 in change in there. The police said someone else also called and said they almost caught a short, stocky man (not a kid) trying to steal from their car last night too but he got away. They didn't give any other description or where that house was, but I did find the empty console down our sidewalk just a house away.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

4 Period Day: Mr. Hatfield asks

Mr. Hatfield asks about the 4 Period day study, the basis of its conclusions, and explains how the changes occur, and explains necessity to help kids make necessary changes

Download File

Mr. Hatfield Asks, Part II

Mr. Hatfield of the Evansville School Board asks questions regarding the 4 Period Day Study

Download File

Re: 4 Period Day: Mr. Pierick Asks

Mr. Pierick asks consult for solution to a problem

Download File

School: Supr Carvin on Enrollment Pt1

School board: Buildings and Grounds meeting--7-16-2007---Supr Speaks on Enrollment projection for next fall---Speaks on acquisition of land--possibly two parcels-- one on East and one on West

Download File

School: 7-16-2007-- Enrollment pt 2

Supr. Heidi Carvin discusses the enrollment trends and the necessiity to buy possibly two parcels of land to be forward thinking for needs 5 years in future. The purchase of the land was not covered in Plunkett and needs to be taken care of now.

Download File

School Beat 7-16-2006--Enrollment Pt 3

Enrollment Pt 3--Discussion of land acquisiton, planning for 5 years from now etc.

Download File

School Beat: Enrollment Summary--This year--next

Early Childhood--2

This Year--458
Next Year--459


This Year--385
Next Year---429

High School

This Year---566
Next Year--565

Overall change--20 students.

Fund 80 for after school "Homework Club"?

(Ed. note: I hope to have audio of this discussion later.)

At last night's Evansville School Board there was considerable discussion about the future of the "Homework Club" now that the grant for it's funding has not been renewed.

Administration hoped to use some of the "extra fund balance money" to pay the $30,000 for this expense for next year or else ask the taxpayers for the money in a special "Fund 80" request.

Mr. Pierick indicated he thought the special fund 80 request was something he would prefer to avoid, and instead wished to consider the request within the regular budgeting process.

Just the mention of "Fund 80" brought back memories of the famous "Fund 80" meeting at the middle school many years past, where Dr. Gary Albrecht asked for a special fund 80 for a recreation district----the issue went down to defeat on a big turnout from Union Twp representatives. It was shortly after that that Mr. Albrecht announed that he was leaving the district. Fund 80 is a way to break the revenue caps of current Wisconsin State law.

The Finance committee will discuss the issue at the meeting on Thursday of this week. See the agenda blog. The Board seemed evenly divided on the issue. I hope to have some audio of this discussion later. Stay tuned.

School Beat: Four Period Day Study Results Presented

(Ed.note: Audio of this section of the meeting will be posted later. Also some video spots. Stay tuned to The Evansville Observer. We attend the meetings.)

The recommendations--

1.) Different development plan to help new teachers that need help fully utilizing the block--with content differentiated between the senior teachers and the new. Teachers are looking for this.

2) Enrich staff development by cross collaboration etc. Each dept has strong teachers and their strengths need to be shared with other departments.

3) Use a professional planning calendar. Also use the planning time as professional development.

4) Consider a regular curriculum review schedule or cycle to force review of curriculum content. This was in place in the past but discontinued.

5) Re the AP scheduling problem---no solution to this.

Consultant felt that there was a strong feeling by staff and students that they want the four period day.

In comments, Mrs. Hammann noted that the sample of parents was minimul and not a representative sample to make any conclusions on the survey. She also indicated that in cases of illness, where a student misses a week due to illness, how does one recover. Agan, no solution was offered. The Consultant suggested asking the staff on ways to solve it.

Supr Carvin indicated that it was rare that a student missed a week. However, two of the board memebers had children that had experienced the result of an illness. One of the results of this, according to Mrs. Hammann is that kids come to school sick rather than deal with it. Supr. Carvin suggested that some additional on line resources could be helpful.

Mr. Pieric asked for a way to resolve the scheduling problems according to consultant experience. Consultant indicated that the students should not have study halls under this system. The block must be maximized and an empty block is bad. There is already study time built in to the block.

Mr. Hatfield indicated that the "set of data" on the study was just one set, with not any review of the results before or other alternatives presented to the people sampled. Hence--it was really not a study at all, but just a study in feelings for the moment. The board was looking for some solutions.

The board seemed unsatisfied with the results of this study, in that they had grappled with problems with the block and were looking for some help from a person experienced with it. Instead, the consultant just suggested that they talk to the staff about it---which is what they could have done without the consultant.

Later in the school board meeting, when it came time to choose a consultant, or facilitator to work through the Board Goals for the 2007-8 school year, the board specifically asked for someone NOT CESA affiliated. They preferred a neutral facilitator who would not be encumbered with jargon.

Soucheray: Sailboat Nostalgia

(Ed. note: Joe Soucheray is a famous writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He raced Johnson Boat Works X-class boats as a youth...winning many, many trophies. Here is a classic sketch on the love of old sailboats. You can catch what a Melgis C boat looks like, wooden, if you stop by the Cunningham Carpentry Shop in Evansville, sometimes called the future Boat works, as Jim plans on building boat in the future.)

Click on the post for a classic.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Supr. Heidi Carvin - Planning Commission

Planning Commission meeting of Monday, Mar. 5, 2007. Supr. Heidi Carvin reviews enrollement data and projections, reviews building permits for Evansville and Union; Answers questions

MP3 File

Plan: Design Standards

Evansville City Planner reviews draft of "Design Standards; Questioned as to failure to revise according to majority of elected officials in the TND Design committee input of May 2007 meeting with respect to retroactive nature of the wording of ordinance that would make this a punitive and unworkable ordinance. Mason Braunschweig offers to share his notes with the Planner.

MP3 File

Tonight's Park Board Agenda lists future Costs--7-16-2007

Click on the post for the latest.

Minutes: Finance Committee: New Business tidbits--7-9-2007

(Ed. Note: I have published the new business portion of these minutes:

New Business:

Contract with Associated Appraisal Consultants. Wietecha stated that the contract calls for a flat monthly payment for assessor services. This type of contract typically has a clause for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses such as postage; Associated Appraisal has asked that the contract be amended for this. Cothard made a motion, seconded by Braunschweig, to recommend to Common Council approval of the addendum to the contract with Associated Appraisal Consultants, Inc., regarding postage expenses.

The committee noted that there have been a number of public complaints about property information not being available through the assessor’s website. Wietecha said this is the result of an incompatibility between the former assessor’s data and the new assessor’s software; it is expected to be fixed later in the year.

Lake Leota Dredging.

Fred Juergens, Park Board Chair, distributed a thirty-year history of efforts to restore Lake Leota and letters and survey information supporting dredging of the lake. Juergens stated that he believes it time for the city to begin preparing for a lake restoration project in 2009. Braunschweig noted that the Public Works Committee expects to allocate $65,000 for design engineering and DNR permits in the 2008 budget ahead of any construction effort.

TIF and Commercial Development.

Wietecha noted that in May D&D had submitted a development proposal structured differently from past discussions. Although the new proposal would remove the risk from the city and give the developer additional incentive to proceed with construction; there is still the philosophical question of providing tax increment financing (TIF) for new commercial development. The committee discussed how pay-as-you-go financing works and asked if a representative from Ehlers would be available for the council meeting. The committee also discussed whether or not the but-for test was met under the new proposal.

Compensation for Special Committee Meetings.

Wietecha noted that the Municipal Code provides for paying council members for attending monthly committee meetings but does not differentiate between regular and special meetings. Alderpersons have been receiving payment for both regular and special meetings at least the last couple years. Staff would like clarification on the city’s policy regarding payment for committee meetings. The committee agreed that the ordinance could not be amended until after the next election; in the meantime, payment should continue to be for all meetings.

Contracts with Police and Supervisory Associations.

Wietecha noted that the police union contracts requires notice of intent to negotiate a new contract prior to July 1, but the other union contract prohibits notice until after September 1. The city expects to negotiate all union contracts later this summer.

City Administrator Evaluation.

Wietecha noted that six months employment makes for a convenient time to evaluate his performance. Evaluation forms will be handed out to all council members at Tuesday’s meeting.
Adjournment. On a motion by Cothard, seconded by Roberts, the meeting adjourned at 6:45 pm.

School Beat: Building and Grounds Meets TODAY: 3:30PM

Buildings And Grounds, Transportation, and Safety Committee Agenda
Monday, July 16, 2007
Evansville High School LMC
640 S. Fifth Street
Evansville, WI 53536
3:30 p.m.

Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard
Elementary School Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Office, 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:
Heidi Carvin Deb Olsen
Joe Francis Tina Rossmiller
Dennis Hatfield Arthur Phillips


1. Approve May 29, 2007, Minutes.

2. Future Space Needs.

3. Report From Buildings and Grounds Manager:

o Updates on Project Account (Elementary Roof, Boiler at Middle School, Clouds in
Elementary Cafeteria).
o Maintenance Contract.

4. Discussion on Furniture and Fixture Budget.

5. Oversight Committee for Building and Trades House.
6. Other.
7. Set Next Agenda; Agenda Items and Date.
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.
Posted: 7-10-07

School Beat; "Memories of the Field House Years"

The other night I spent a little time listening to my favorite tapes of old of the Planning Commission. Not wanting to slight anyone, I also spent a little time listeing to those who advocated expanding our school system to include 4K and again...not wanting to slight anyone in my precious listening time, I also spent some time listening to the folks that want to spend 2 million to dredge Lake Leota as well as repair the walls of the creek....and also not wanting to offend anyone, I listened to the folks that want to build a new fire station, a new library etc.....Then I finally listened to the supreme listening pleasure---the Plunkett Raysich options where we had a choice of 22 or 44 million dollars of building expense.

Most of you do not have the vast amounts of listening time that I do and all of the audio so neatly listed on I tunes, so I will summarize:

Your tax bill is headed higher---very much higher very shortly.

Everything must be paid for. The schools must provide a space for students. If the community cannot plan for its growth, then plan for your taxes. It is coming.

In today's paper is the listing of Middleton as the number 1 place to live in America. On a $300,000 home, the taxes are just $6000. They are at the same level as us. And we are going higher.

Even though "NO" stamps can be purchased at Staples in Janesville for under $10, with enough ink built right in for 6000 stamps without reinking-----it does take someone who can and will use the stamp.

And then there is the Water and Light rate increase. It is a 13.00% increase reported in the Janesville Gazette via the Public Service Commission, or is it a 7.63% increase reported in the water bills---even though the joining of our community with WPPI was to bring a 5% rate decrease.

The reason for the disparity in these numbers, the best I can reckon, is that the cost of economic development is the big portion of this rate increase----this is the homeowners expense for expansion of the city. Mike Exum of Union referred to this in Union Planning recently when he said that the cost of $1 of development is $1.13 of cost to the present taxpayers.

Here is the Chinese Fortune Cookie summary: "Not Now but Soon---Higher Taxes."

What were the "Fieldhouse Years?"----those were the years that the fieldhouse was divided up to house elementary classrooms----it is a good thing that we saved the dividers---we will need them soon.

"Why Debt Comes First"---Fiction

Dateline Normal, Mn.: Herman explains how school financing works; Explains how recycling the housing stock is code words for something profound---and devastating for seniors

MP3 File

Dateline Yahoo: "Too sexy for my bus...."

Click on the post for the latest from Germany.

The bus company is vigorously defending the actions of the bus driver as totally prudent.

However.....this isolated event of distraction should not encourage any or all of you out there that might also be distracted while conducting your very professional occupations....to simply shout out at the offending party.

Make a note of it.

Dateline Minn: Daily Planet: The Resegragation of Minneapolis-St. Paul schools.

Resegregation is back even stronger than it was 30 years ago---click on the post for the latest from the Daily Planet.

Mailbag: Ald. Fred Writes: Park Board meets tonight; Motion on engineering report to be made.

(Ed.note: This was a comment that I have posted for better visibility.)

Fred Juergens says: Milfoil's questions about cost will be answered soon, I hope.

First, the lake. At Park Board meeting tonight, I will propose a motion to get an engineering report from the City Engineer on costs of a definitive plan to dredge the lake. While SOLE has done a good job so far, they don't have the resources to pay for a serious engineering plan. We need good numbers, and soon, before we can move forward. If Park Board passes the motion, then it will come to City Council at its August meeting. I hope everyone will contact their council representatives to urge passage of this motion.

On the creek walls, I expect a report from the Dry Stone Conservancy by the end of the week. It will contain various options, at various costs, for restoring them. They've been here to examine the creek walls and to recommend restoration measures. Park Board paid for their visit here at the beginning of June. It's possible that DSC may come here to do a training workshop on wall-restoration for city staff this fall.

As always, I urge citizens to contact the Mayor and Council members with their concerns. Asking questions here is another venue for getting info out, but many council members don't read this blog.

7:13 AM

Police Commission: Info Release

(Ed. note: This post is from 6-22-2007. )

Police Commission: Hearing Examiner places "duty" on parties to release any information they receive whether positive or negative for their case within 5 days. Is the city attorney a "party". Where is the incident report? Is it past due. Click on the video.

Download File

The New Revolution: "Let Them Ride Bikes"

Click on the post for the latest from Paris.

Nostalgia: Jan 2007: Mr. Pierick Speaks on 4K------

(Ed. note; Mr. Larson of the Evansville School Board asked that 4K be placed as a board goal for the upcoming school year, or at least a review of it. I have reprinted Mr. Michael Pierick's comments about 4k at the time of the recent defeat of this proposal. It was the second consideration of 4K in one year. Mr. Larson is coming up for reelection in April of 2008.)

"I have a subjective bias about preschool, and I personally believe that there are benefits to 4-year-old kindergarten. Both of my sons attended preschool, and my opinion is based upon the positive learning experience that they had.

However, I have very strong reservations about going forward with this program, and even about going ahead with a pilot program. If I were to vote today, I would vote not to continue. In fact, I question why we are investing so many District resources and so much planning time on something that appears less than fully compelling.

My reservations are varied.

I don’t see any widely based community support for 4-year-old kindergarten, and there were more comments at the public hearing opposed to this program than in favor.

This was initially presented as a program that would benefit and be supported by the existing providers of 4-year-old preschool in the District, but most of those providers who came to the public hearing spoke against it.

The State legislative task force on this topic was presented a few days ago. The task force admitted that it did not vote on the recommendations. Regardless of the recommendations, there is a statement in the report that is unlikely to be refuted soon by anyone: “in our current limited resource setting, increased funding for 4 year old kindergarten programs is not likely, and would only be found at the expense of another education program.”

We have a facilities consulting firm, Plunkett Raysich Architects, which has given us some preliminary analysis of our facilities. According to Plunkett Raysich, we already have a need for three additional rooms to serve our elementary school population, and will need another by 2011 – in just four years. We are currently at the level of classrooms that we need to serve our intermediate school population, but will need three more rooms in four years. We now have the number of core curriculum rooms needed to serve our middle school population – not the best facility, only the right number of core curriculum rooms -- but we will need five additional classrooms in four years. And we will need one more classroom in the high school designed just five years ago. Altogether, this means we need to add about 13 classrooms in four years. The preliminary report also talks about numerous facility deficiencies in the three older buildings – some of them major deficiencies -- and even a few facility deficiencies in the new high school.

The Evansville Community School District pays about two million dollars per year for construction debt. Most of that is the debt on the high school construction, which won’t be paid off for another 15 years. The rest is debt from 1992 construction to be paid off in 2012. That construction debt represents about a third of our property tax levy, two million of the six million dollars levied.

However we go about adding some 13 classrooms and correcting some major deficiencies in our facilities, it is going to cost us some major money. And the only way we are going to get that money is by passing a referendum. My guess is that’s not politically doable until 2012, when the 1992 debt is fully paid.

I believe that the Evansville community will support this District when we go to them and demonstrate our need for additional classrooms in order to teach additional children who have moved to the district or been born in the district. But I very much doubt that the community will support us if we increase the number of students in our buildings by adding 4 year olds over the next few years, and then turn around and say it’s too crowded.

I think we need to stop planning for any 4 year old program that will place additional children in our school buildings. I think this Board needs to give a strong message about this now, so that valuable administrator and staff time can be spent on other important curriculum and planning endeavors."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Union Plan meets July 26th to act on Larson Acres and Every zoning requests

Town of Union
July 26, 2007

The Town of Union Plan Commission will hold a regular meeting on Thursday, July 26, 2007 at
the Eager Free Public Library, 39 W . Main Street, Evansville at 7:00 p.m. (use 1st Street
entrance, lower level meeting room). Town board members may be in attendance. The topics
of discussion and action will be:

1. Approve June 28, 2007 Plan Commission Minutes
2. Public Hearing: Larson Farms, 15230 W. Butts Corners Rd. Evansville, WI 53536
requests a land division to separate off a 6.3 acre parcel from its existing A1, 36.68 acre
parcel (#6-20-78) located in the SE1/4, NW 1/4 of Section 10 for the purpose of selling
the land so that the 6.3 acres would be added to the adjoining 4 acre (#6-20-78.2) A3
parcel. The joining of this land would increase #6-20-78.2 to 10.3 acres which would be
rezoned to A2. The remaining 6-20-78 parcel acreage would likely be added with
another adjoining 18.5 acre parcel (#6-20-17) which is under the same ownership as
#6-20-78 to create one large A1 parcel. If these two parcels aren’t joined, the
owner petitions for a rezone of the remaining parcel of 30.28 acres to A2.

3. Public Hearing: Every Survivors Trust c/o Daria Mary A. Every, PO Box 1, Evansville,
WI, request a land division and zoning change to divide a 4.8+/- A3 parcel from the
current A1 56.2 acre parcel (#6-20-173) located in the NE 1/4 SW 1/4, of Section 21
approximately 750 feet north of the intersection of Evansville-Brooklyn Road and Cty
Hwy C, Fire # 8140. The current owner would like to allow their son to build a new

4. Public Hearing: Proposed extended stay on construction of Large Wind Energy
Systems in the Town of Union. The purpose of an extended stay would be to give the
Town time to develop permanent regulations relating to the construction of large wind
energy systems.
Note: Additional agenda items may be announced in next week’s notice.

Clerk Linda O’Leary 882-5900

Background; SubPrime Mortgage Lending Crisis

Click on the post for a background paper on what the "subprime mortgage problem" is about. Enjoy.