Evansville Water: The Movie: Part 1

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Mailbag: Library Writes: Closing today at 3PM

The Eager Free Library will be closing today, December 31, 2007 at 3:00 pm



Thanks

Friday, December 28, 2007

Video; Senior Center Meeting: 12-27-2007: Boris Frank speaks on his role

Boris Frank, Consultant, speaks about his role in the development of the planned Senior Center.

Download File

Video; Senior Center: 12-27-2007: Kent Knutson as representative of donor speaks

Kent Knutson of Edward Jones, the representative for the anonymous donor of the one million dollars for the Senior Center, spoke on "Creating Unity."

Download File

Question: Is the Site in a Flood Plain?

A simple question: A "Complicated" answer.

Download File

Video: Excel Engineering: Dean Schultz Speaks: Senior Center Meeting: 12-27-2007

2 of 2: Dean Schultz of Excel Engineering reviews plans for the new Senior Center

Download File

Senior Meeting: 12-27-2007--Excel Engineering: 1 0f 2 video

Dean Schultz with Excel Engineering reviews plans for building

Download File

Video: 12/07: Senior Center: Intro: Phil Kress speaks

Mr.Phil Kress Introduces the Senior Center Board, and sets the stage. The needs have been analyzed, the building designed, the site is last to be decided on.

Download File

WSJ: Weather: Stay off the Roads if possible

Click on the post for the latest from Wisconsin State Journal. Bad road conditions out there.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Audio; 12/07: Senior Center Meeting: Ringhand explains initial zoning is I1, light industrial

Question on Zoning:

MP3 File

Senior Center Meeting:

What is the site of the proposed Senior Center?

MP3 File

Audio: Uncut; What is the size of the facility? Senior Center Meeting: Dean Schultz of Excel Enginner responds

What is the size of the facility; Phase I and Phase II

MP3 File

Senior Center Info Meeting: Dec. 27, 2007

Intro: Mr. Phil Kress

MP3 File

Update: TODAY--- Meet and Greet--Country Club--5PM to 7PM---Friends of the Evansville Community/Senior Center

Update for the Friends of the Evansville Community/Senior Center


The Board of Directors of the Friends of the Evansville Community/Senior Center have been busy these past few months. We would like to invite everyone to a “meet & greet” at the Evansville County Club on Thursday, December 27, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

We will have the plans for the center available to view and Architect Dean Schulz, from Excel Architects & Engineers will be present to answer your questions. Other consultants who have worked on the project, Boris Frank, Ginny & Brad Gilbert of Gilbert Cost Control, Kent Knutson from Edward Jones Investments, donor liaison, will also be present to answer questions.

This project is a major undertaking for our community and your input is needed to make sure we are addressing the needs of the community. We are very excited to be able to show case the plans we have been working on for many months. These plans will not be final until the public tells us they are satisfied with them, so please plan to attend, bring your friends and family for a fun and social evening.

Please look for our ad in the advertising section of the paper.

Weather: Snow Advisory for Friday

Watches and Warnings
Evansville Forecast

/O.CON.KMKX.SN.Y.0009.071228T1200Z-071229T0000Z/
WASHINGTON-OZAUKEE-JEFFERSON-WAUKESHA-MILWAUKEE-LAFAYETTE-GREEN-
ROCK-WALWORTH-RACINE-KENOSHA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...WEST BEND...PORT WASHINGTON...
JEFFERSON...LAKE MILLS...WAUKESHA...BROOKFIELD...MILWAUKEE...
DARLINGTON...MONROE...JANESVILLE...BELOIT...ELKHORN...
LAKE GENEVA...RACINE...KENOSHA
1139 AM CST THU DEC 27 2007

...SNOW ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 6 PM CST FRIDAY...

SNOW WILL SPREAD OVER SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN
FRIDAY. THE SNOW MAY BE MODERATE AT TIMES. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS
BETWEEN 4 AND 6 INCHES ARE LIKELY.

A SNOW ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN 3 TO 6 INCHES OF ACCUMULATIONS ARE
EXPECTED IN 12 HOURS OR LESS...WITH WINDS LESS THAN 25 MPH. BE
PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES. USE
CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.

Bhutto Killed in Pakistan

Click on the post for the latest.

Minyanville: China begins to think Renewable Energy

Even China is getting Green--click on the post for the news from Minyanville.

Wisconsin State Journal: OpEd: Economic Development in Wis must have job growth in Focus

Click on the post for a timely article on economic development. The Economic Summit in Evansville is on January 12th. The Evansville Observer will be providing full coverage. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

City Assessor web site revealed: Search function appears not to work

Click on the post for the Evansville city assessor web site.

If you already know the parcel number you are looking for, and the tax id number, like if you have it handy in your hand, then presto you can access the valuation.

However, if you do not know and wish to know the valuation of an address....the site appears not to work in search mode.

Stay tuned.

Police Taser Unarmed Man at West Towne

Click on the post for the latest.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"Merry Christmas"

Christmas greetings to all the readers of the Evansville Observer across the country. After a day of Peace and Joy, we plan on being back on the job tomorrow, reviewing some of the best of the Evansville news stories of 2007.

Stay tuned.

Monday, December 24, 2007

yahoo: Tax Corner: Property Taxes spike up in some states

Click on the post for the story in Yahoo.

Dateline Northfield, Mn.: Northfield Common Council asks Mayor to Resign

The Mayor of Northfield has been asked to resign for trying to promote his family business interests in matters connected to city contracts----he has refused to resign. Click on the post for the full story.

NY Times: Home Reassessment gathers steam

Click on the post for an article in the New York Times about the nationwide trend of reassessment to lower values.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mailbag: Jeff Pieterick, VP North Prairie Productions, writes: Re: Best of Times, Worst of Times

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity..."

- Charles Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities"



Dickens' assessment of the times leading to the French Revolution resonate still as the world confronts climate change and our need for renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. Foolishness and incredulity remain a concern, particularly when confronting those who insist that our present rates of energy consumption and carbon emissions are sustainable.



There is a great deal of activity in renewable energy and conservation that is nevertheless encouraging. In only one example, the Bali Summit offered a forum for world governments to effectively come together in tackling the important policy and investment decisions required to minimize our carbon emissions and gain energy independence.



In the spirit of the season, let's look at other positive developments in the renewable energy arena that have gained momentum in 2007 sufficient to advance this effort into the New Year and beyond.



Wisdom and Belief

At long last, consensus is buildingthat global climate change is upon us and that the window of opportunity to avoid irreversible damage to our environment is finite. Effective carbon cap-and-trade is being embraced by industry itself and by our state and local governments. Congress has passed an aggressive Renewable Fuel Standard and new CAFE standards within the 2008 Energy Bill. There is even talk about embracing a comprehensive renewable energy development program on a scale not unlike the Apollo Project that placed a man on the moon.



Here in Wisconsin, we have made great strides in developing renewable energy as a home-grown industry. Under the leadership of Governor Doyle, and with bi-partisan support from our State Legislature, we have moved forward in establishing Wisconsin as a leader in the fight to achieve energy independence. The creation of the state Office of Energy Independence; establishment of effective subsidies for renewable fuels; the founding of the Great Lakes Bio Energy Research Center; the pioneering work of Focus on Energy; the hosting of, and participation in, the Midwest Governors Association Energy Security and Climate Change Summit; the effortto embrace a full portfolio of alternative energy solutions such as biodiesel, wind, geo-thermal, solar, biomass, etc.;- all are examples of the number of ways in which Wisconsin has moved from passive concern to active leadership in addressing the global climate change crisis we face.



The energy challenges we confront are enormous. We retain a fundamental belief, however, that we can overcome these challenges. We also understand that the time to act is now.



"The best of times, the worst of times"

For the domestic biodiesel industry, these are indeed conflicting times. Looking forward, biodiesel has an extremely important role to play in reducing the carbon footprint of our transportation fuels. Diesel engines are themselves being introduced into the marketplace as an Alternative Fuel Vehicle option, made all the more "Green" with the use of renewable biodiesel fuel.



As with any start-up industry, however, the "Growing Pains" confronted by the biodiesel industry are daunting, and how we develop this industry will provide a roadmap for success in introducing the alternative energy sources that will follow. Biodiesel is proven to be an effective product that meets our carbon reduction objectives without requiring massive changes in engine technologies. It's a solution that is available now.



Yet, for the biodiesel industry to establish a firm foundation, it requires public support to get it through its growth stage. Effort must be made to establish a commercial distribution network. Research and development of alternative, sustainable feed stocks (i.e. algae, camelina, jatropha, etc.) needs to be encouraged. Private investment in renewable energy alternatives must be supported.



There is world-wide commitment to develop alternatives to fossil fuel to confront the challenge of climate change. We must also have the wisdom to persevere in our support to gain full mileage from the solutions we create. Five years from now, biodiesel will be an important element of the renewable energy portfolio that will help us overcome our addiction to oil. But it will only be available if we have the foresight now to invest in the policies and supports that will gain the biodiesel industry firm footing in the marketplace.


Happy Holidays to you and your family. We look forward to sharing with you all the good news on the renewable biofuels industry throughout the coming New Year.


Regards,Jeff Pieterick

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gazette Corner: Ken Hendricks of ABC Supply dies in accident;

Click on the post for the story of this incredibly successful businessman---and who was to keynote the upcoming Economic Development Summit in Evansville in January. Stay tuned.

Minutes: Evansville Redevelopment Authority--December 2007

Evansville Redevelopment Authority
Board of Commissioners

Regular Meeting
Tuesday, December 18, 2007, 7:30 pm
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin

MINUTES

I. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm by Chair Chris Eager. Present: Chris Eager, Betsy Ahner (late), Tony Wyse, John Decker, Barb Jacobson, Roger Roth (late), and Tom Calley. Also present: Executive Director Dan Wietecha and Mayor Sandy Decker.

II. Declare Quorum. There being a majority of the commissioners present at call to order, a quorum was declared.

III. Approve Agenda. Decker made a motion, seconded by Wyse, to approve the agenda. Motion carried unanimously.

IV. Approve Minutes of November 20, 2007 Meeting. Wyse made a motion, seconded by Jacobson, to approve the minutes. Motion carried unanimously.

V. Old Business.
a. 16 West Main Street. Eager indicated that he and Cheryl Fuchs have purchased the building and are currently considering their options. Wietecha noted that the extent of the historical restoration will likely determine the availability and amount of TIF assistance.

VI. New Business.
a. Board Chair. Wietecha indicated that the Board had not officially appointed a chairperson for the 2007-2008 term. Decker made a motion, seconded by Wyse, to recognize Chris Eager continuing in the chair position through May 2008. Motion approved with all voting in favor, Eager abstaining.

b. Board Vice Chair. Wietecha noted that the Board had not officially appointed a vice chairperson for the 2007-2008 term. Jacobson made a motion, seconded by Decker, to recognize Tom Calley continuing in the vice chair position through May 2008. Motion approved with all voting in favor, Calley abstaining.

VII. Other Business.
a. TID #5. Decker suggested having the additional assistance criteria on a future meeting agenda for discussion and official adoption. They should also be posted on the website to keep the process transparent and public.

b. Allen Creek & North Union. The Board said the approved Redevelopment Plan should be sent to all property owners in the corridor as well as information on TID #5.

c. Economic Development Summit. Sandy Decker noted that the Economic Development Summit is scheduled for Saturday, January 12, 2008. Board members may be assigned recording or note-taking roles during the Summit.

d. Next Meeting. Wietecha indicated that because of a conflict with the rescheduled Common Council meeting, the Board’s January meeting would need to be rescheduled for January 22.

VIII. Adjournment. Calley moved, seconded by Jacobson, to adjourn the meeting. Motion approved unanimously at 8:10 pm.

Fog Alert

Watches and Warnings
Evansville Forecast

/O.EXT.KMKX.FG.Y.0013.000000T0000Z-071222T0300Z/
SAUK-IOWA-DANE-LAFAYETTE-GREEN-ROCK-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...BARABOO...DODGEVILLE...MADISON...
DARLINGTON...MONROE...JANESVILLE...BELOIT
919 AM CST FRI DEC 21 2007

...DENSE FOG ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CST THIS EVENING...

THE DENSE FOG ADVISORY IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CST THIS
EVENING.

DENSE FOG WILL REMAIN SHROUDED OVER THE AREA WEST OF A LINE
ROUGHLY STRETCHING FROM GREEN LAKE TO MAYVILLE TO WAUKESHA AND
LAKE GENEVA. THE DENSE FOG WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES TO ONE QUARTER
MILE OR LESS.

THE DENSE FOG WAS CAUSED IN PART BY MELTING SNOW ALONG WITH LIGHT
SURFACE WINDS.

Water and Light Meeting for December Cancelled

NOTICE

Water & Light Committee Meeting
Regular Meeting
Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Due to a lack of pressing business, the December 26, 2007, Water & Light Committee regular meeting is CANCELLED.

The next regular meeting will be at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, January 30, 2008, at the Water & Light Shop 15 Old Highway 92.

Public Works Meets Next Wednesday---December 26, 2007

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Minutes: Economic Development Committee: December 2007

City of Evansville
Economic Development Committee

Regular Meeting
Tuesday, December 18, 2007, 5:30 pm
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin

MINUTES

I. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order at 5:30 pm by Chair Tony Wyse. Present: Tony Wyse, Roger Berg, Gene Bass, and James Otterstein. Absent: Matthias James, Fred Juergens, Julie Meredith, and Dave Olsen. Also present: Mayor Sandy Decker, Dan Wietecha, Bridgit Larsen, and Don and Shanna Meggers.

II. Approve Agenda. Bass moved, seconded by Berg, to approve the agenda. Motion approved unanimously.

III. Approve Minutes of Prior Meeting. Berg moved, seconded by Bass, to approve the minutes of the October 16 and November 20 meetings. Motion approved unanimously.

IV. Citizen Appearances. Decker reported a recent visit by representatives from the Main Street Program in Platteville; it was agreed that the brick project should be promoted as a success story for the re-development of the downtown. Upcoming groundbreakings and grand openings were noted for the Evansville Manor, Cobblestone Inn, and the Eager-Economy Building.

V. Taxi Service. Don and Shanna Meggers explained their concept for starting a taxi, package delivery, and errand service. No license is required by the state; Wietecha noted that Stoughton issues taxi business licenses for both the cars and drivers. Evansville may want something similar. Depending on how they conduct the business, it may be permitted as a home occupation under the Zoning Code. It was noted that insurance will be an important factor in all their business decisions.

VI. Chamber of Commerce Report. Larsen said the Christmas party was a great success with a large attendance. The Chamber is organizing another Evansville delegation to meet with Senators Kohl and Feingold and Congresswoman Baldwin. Chamber Board membership will be the same next year. Contractual details for the Community Business Directory are progressing.

VII. City Administrator Report. Wietecha indicated the January meeting would need to be rescheduled because of a conflict with the rescheduled Common Council meeting. Wyse made a motion, seconded by Berg, to hold the next regular meeting on Tuesday, January 22, at 5:30 pm. Motion approved unanimously.

VIII. Rock County Visitors Guide. Wietecha noted that past commitment has been for the Committee to cover half the annual expense for Evansville’s listing in the Rock County Visitors Guide. The new Guide should be expected in mid to late January.

IX. City Website. Bass asked to have the photos on the front page updated. Wietecha noted that based on discussion back in May, the website would focus its calendar on official governmental meetings. It will provide links to Chamber and School websites for broader community-oriented events and activities.

X. Economic Development Summit. Decker said that the phone survey is ongoing, the press release has gone out, attendee packets will start being mailed this week. Students will help register attendees and participate in the Summit itself. Committee members may be assigned recording or note-taking roles during the Summit.

XI. Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). Wietecha said that copies of the policy had been sent to loan committee members. A typo was noted; the correct limit for completing a project and hiring employees should be thirty-six months. The Committee agreed that the RLF should be advertised in the Chamber newsletter and through contact with local lenders immediately following the Summit.

XII. Room Tax. Discussion was tabled for a future meeting.

XIII. Adjournment. Bass moved, seconded by Wyse, to adjourn. Motion approved unanimously at 6:55 pm.

yahoo: The Legend of the Secret Santa---is alive and well

Click on the post for the full story.

WSJ: Air Quality Alert Noted

Click on the post for the alert for Dane County and others. I cannot recall ever seeing one of these before for this area.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gazette Corner: Mayor Decker to seek election

Click on the post for the latest story from Gina Duwe.

MBIA reveals risks to CDO's exceeds it's net worth

The current credit "crunch" continued to take its toll on Wall Street as the nation's leading bond insurer indicated it has loss exposure larger than its net worth.

The stock of this company plunged.

With the insurance companies that insure bonds revealing their risk, the question has been clear: What does "investment grade bonds" mean? What is your pension fund investing in?

You make the call.

Click on the post for the full story.

Minutes; Park Board, December 2007

City of Evansville, Wisconsin
Park and Recreation Board Regular Monthly Meeting
Evansville City Hall Council Chambers
Monday, December 17, 2007 6:00 PM

Minutes



1. Call to Order at 6:00 pm. Members Carlson, Farnsworth, Juergens, Krueger, Modaff and staff Anderson, Hamacher and Wietecha present. Member Merritt absent.

2. Motion to waive reading minutes of October 2007 PRB meeting made by Modaff, seconded by Krueger. Passed unanimously.

3. Motion to approve agenda as published made by Modaff, seconded by Krueger. Passed unanimously.

4. Citizen appearances other than agenda items. None

5. Chair’s report on actions of City Committees & Common Council on items of interest to PRB.
a. City Budget for 2008 has passed with no changes affecting the city’s parks or recreation programs.
b. Public Works Committee chose an engineering firm to propose a restoration plan for Lake Leota.

6. Reports/Updates on pending park projects and maintenance: Park Maintenance Supervisor Ray Anderson
a. Lake Leota Park: Police have apprehended those responsible for the recent spate of graffiti in the park, and clean-up is proceeding as weather permits. Clean-up of the footbridge will wait until spring, and sanding of the wood will probably be the best way to handle the damage there. Bathrooms closed on November 1st.
b. Franklin Park : none
c. Countryside Park : Bathrooms closed on November 1st.
d. West Side Park: If we issue a purchase order for the playground equipment and installation before December 21, 2007, we will receive the price budgeted in the 2008 Capital budget. Otherwise, the price could rise by 8% or so.

Krueger moved, Modaff seconded that the purchase order for the West Side Park playground equipment and installation be issued as soon as possible, with the understanding that the city will not be billed until 2008. Motion passed unanimously.

e. Other projects, if any. none

7. Aquatic Report: Aquatic Director Rick Hamacher: None

8. Old Business.
a. Report on Allen Creek retaining walls restoration project. Anderson, who took part in the restoration workshop in October, made the report. The workshop went well, with 90 feet of wall replaced on the lower lagoon. He was especially complimentary concerning the work and attitude of the three work-release inmates during the workshop. Some lessons learned:
1. Very little of the existing retaining wall material was re-usable, as it was of very low quality. Thus, more rock had to be brought from the quarry, and much of the existing material had to be carted away to a dump site.

2. It would be better to have masons go to the Footville Quarry to choose and palletize the rock there, rather than just truck in loads of rock and sort at the park. A significan portion of the delivered rock was not usable for various reasons.

3. Restoring the inner walls of the lagoons will be considerably more difficult because of the labor to transport rock across the water-way, even if the lagoon is dewatered.

4. Putting future work out for bids would probably not be possible because of the extreme variability of the pace of work. It is probable that contracting for future parts of the project will probably have to be on “time and materials” basis.

Anderson felt that the training received by all 8 participants would be very beneficial to continued work on the creek walls in the future. He stated that the local contractors who worked on the project now have sufficient skills in dry-wall masonry to train and lead other workers on future parts of the restoration.

b. Lake Leota Restoration; Engineering Contract Report. Vierbecher was chosen as the contractor. Their representatives have met with SOLE, and expect to have a report done by January 31, 2008.

9. New Business:
a. “A League of Their Own” Discussion. Juergens reported that he had had a conversation with the director of the league over the past weekend. After such conversation, he felt that the director didn’t need to come to the PRB meeting yet. He urged the director to prepare a budget for their likely reveneues and expenditures for the coming year. Many of the board’s concerns about finances can probably be dealt with by city staff. Juergens will discuss the concerns with staff and report back to the board at the next PRB meeting. Wietecha pointed out that this should be resolved well before spring, and Juergens said that he expected resolution by the February 2008 PRB meeting.

b. Juergens reported that Karla Sendelbach has resigned from PRB, and that the Mayor had been notified. He also reported to the PRB that he will not be running for re-election as an alderperson, and thus will not chair the PRB after April 2008. He stated that he will be willing to become a citizen member of the PRB, should the Mayor wish to appoint him in the future.

10. Motion to Adjourn was made by Modaff, seconded by Farnsworth at 6:25 pm. Motion passed unanimously.

Minutes written by Chair Juergens, and are not official until approved at a subsequent PRB meeting.

Note: next regular meeting of Park and Recreation Board is scheduled for January 21, 2008

Economy Corner: A story about "Lucy" and "Charlie Brown"

Click on the post for the analysis of Ben Stein.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Observer welcomes Readers from all over the Country

Welcome to the readers of the Observer from all over the country. It is a snowy winter wonderland this morning in Evansville, Wisconsin.

Folks are gathering at Real Coffee to chat, while others head to the Post Office to mail gifts. Kick back and relax and browse the Observer.

For that special viewer from Minnesota that was looking for a "Walleye poem," I hope you found the one you wanted; For the folks from Everett, Wa, welcome to you as loyal readers. And also to you folks from Monticello, Mn.. Special season greetings to all.

To see where everyone is coming from, click on the post. Our circulation is open and transparent to all. Welcome to Evansville, Wisconsin...... the home of The Evansville Observer. Stop in and visit Evansville when you get in the area.

Law Corner: "Chasin" has the scoop

Click on the post for the latest.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

School Beat: Middle School: How History is Written:

In the Middle School reports for Evansville for December 2007 is the following:

"21st Century Content

J.C. McKenna Middle School has a number of projects that facilitate learning and thinking skills. During
the 06-07 school year we focused on learning strategies for students, and many of the in-service items
including teaching students to use graphic organizers to help students understand traditional curriculum
material. In addition we have an assessment PLC focusing on Authentic Assessment. This means that
students will be assessed by giving them assignments that reflect the work people do in the real world. For
example instead of memorizing dates and places in history class, students would have to write history
using primary or secondary sources and publish their work on the web. That is the task of a real historian
would perform and not just the work of student memorizing events and dates."

The objective of this learning strategy is excellent. The development of critical thinking skills is an area that the school board has identified as crucial not only for testing well on tests, but for functioning well as a citizen.

I vividly remember the very first class in an American History 101 class in college---we were reviewing the concept of "primary source." The professor handed out the "Declaration of Independence" and the "Bill of Rights". Two pretty primary documents. Then he asked the class: "When it says "All men are created equal," who was the document speaking of?"

A student quickly raised a hand: "I assume all men and women, ".

Quickly other hands went up. In 1776, one student offered, only "males" were considered "men" and women and slaves were considered "chattel" or property.

I had assumed that the first student was correct. Quickly I adjusted to the notion that every single fact had to be checked with the primary source for historical context and I could never assume again. Other secondary sources could not substitute for the primary.

Similarly, recently in Evansville, we have had incidents where video or audio of events clearly describe events that the description of which in police reports or minutes of meetings are not adequate. The audio and video is primary.

Stories that are written from secondary reports from political or appointed officials are not stories as defined by traditional standards of journalism. They might just be fiction. Primary sources are crucial for being able to write history that is worthy to be preserved.

Dateline Normal School District---GTT Program gets Award--FICTION

Click on the post for the latest from the "Tales from Normal,"---FICTION, a land of fiction but other than that......

Minutes; Evansville Youth Center--November 2007

Evansville Youth Center Advisory Board
Meeting Minutes
November 29, 2007



1. Call to order by President Dave Rossmiller at 5:30pm
2. Roll call Present—Dave Rossmiller, Tina Rossmiller, Rob Savaske, Tracy Schroeder (EYC Director) and Don Clark (YMCA of Northern Rock County COO) Absent—Chris Ehle and Sandi Konkel
3. Approval of minutes as written
4. Director’s report by Tracy Schroeder—The center continues to be busy. The 5th and 6th grade youth continue to make up a high number of our attendance. Even though, the center has seen more 7th and 8th grade youth coming in. The pool tournament on Wednesdays is a big draw for the 7th and 8th grade kids! Taffy apple day was very popular. 21 kids attended. Center staff showed the kids how to make their own with various different toppings. The kids had lots of fun and there several kids that never had made their own or had one before. The center was fortunate enough to have enough apples left over that the kids had plain apples for snack for a few days. The new youth board has met a few times. The youth board decided they would like to have a foosball tournament every week, so that has been added to the calendar. Tracy is working with the youth board on brainstorming new ides for activities. They are working this month to bring new ideas to the next meeting. The Halloween party was attended by 27 kids. The center ordered pizza, had candy, watched ‘scary’ movies and had a costume contest. 9th/10th grade night was slow. Tracy has had volunteers from 9th/10th grade that still come in to talk at the center, to help plan the next night. The center will try another 9th/10th grade night in January. Tracy handed out the December calendar and noted the days the center will be closed due to the holidays.
5. Financials by Don Clark—October financials were passed out to the board. Don went over the numbers and noted that there were the usual expenditures. If the forecasted numbers hold true, we will end with a positive number for the year. The center will look at purchasing some new equipment with this. The 2008 budget will be presented at the next meeting.
6. Update on community projects/events—Tracy attended the first chili cook off meeting and presented the board with what we need to do for the kids’ activities. Tracy was not able to attend the first 4th of July meeting, but emailed Tom Calley to let him know we are committed to doing to youth day/activities and our usual concession stand. Tracy and volunteers did letters to Santa at the old Dollarland building when Santa came to town. We had over 40 kids visit the table. Santa will be replying to these letters, they will be going out the week before Christmas. Board discussed other ways to get the kids involved in the community and different projects they can do.
7. 2008 Planning—Tracy reminded the board that the December meeting usually consists of planning the next year’s fundraisers and events. Dave Rossmiller spoke on limiting our fundraisers to 3 (or so) a year. The board will bring ideas to the December meeting and start the planning process.
8. Other business—The board voted to move its December meeting to December 20th instead of December 27th due to holiday schedules.
9. Adjournment by Dave Rossmiller at 7:00pm.

THESE MINUTES ARE NOT OFFICIAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE EYC ADVISORY BOARD AT THE NEXT REGULAR MEETING.

Fed Unveils Plan for the future---

Click on the post for the story in Yahoo News. The Fed is moving to address future tightening of the rules for mortgage lending.

They may even "consider" making rules to prevent misleading advertising----or heaven forbid fraudulent advertising. Such bold language.

Is this just closing the barn door after the horses have left? You make the call.

Gazette Corner: Officer no longer employed by EPD

Click on the post for the latest from the Janesville Gazette.

Monday, December 17, 2007

December School Reports:

Click on the post for the Evansville School reports for December.

Evansville School Board meets TODAY--5:30PM

Click on the post for the full agenda.

School Beat: Finance Committee Meets Monday----11AM

Click on the post for the agenda.

Oped: Mysteries of the Inner Sanctum----Enrollment rises and Falls at the same time in Evansville

Click on the post for the recent article in the Janesville Gazette on the much talked of purchase of land for the future needs of the Evansville School District.

In the first sentence of the article, the District is described as "Growing." Then in the text of the article, Mr. Pierick explains the enrollment decline of last year.


"Enrollment took a slight dip this fall, given the fact that new home construction slowed in the last year and a half, Pierick said.

“That actually buys us some time,” he said."


So enrollment is rising......and falling....at the same time.......


Some folks have wondered about this. How could this be so? For the Observer, who every day specializes in the deeper mysteries of news, this is really part of normal practice of the news.

Most folks out there are married. Remember when you said your vows......

For Better or Worse
Richer or Poorer...
Till Death...etc.

Maybe it was Better and Worse
Richer and Poorer...
Till Death......

And let's face it, whatever the facts were....you were in love
and the details were not too important.....however....

The RBM----the Rational Business Method----- explains all the article. The Plunkett Raysich report suggests that the current Intermediate School should be converted to a Middle School, and an elementary school be built elsewhere. The elementary school is where the population study done for the school district says the enrollment growth will occur. Also, the current intermediate school has the convenient athletic fields just perfect for a middle school. This has been talked of for years. It would appear that it might be logical to build a new elementary school.

That would be too logical. Some folks want to build BOTH a NEW elementary school and a NEW middle school. They are truly in love and not looking at the facts.

The video of the Plunkett Raysich Presentation is on the blog. The full audio is available.

As to the mysteries.....will the voters be in love with the proposal? Will it be for better or worse or better and worse.....stay tuned to The Evansville Observer.

"Chasin the News Corner: Magic of Video

In all the confusion of that bar fight incident, Chasin notes that video tape is truly wonderful in sorting out the facts.

As soon as the video is available, I will post it for all to see. Stay tuned. Click on the post for Chasin the News...... On the job.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

NYT: Ominous sign for Retailers

Click on the post for an article in New York Times today.

yahoo: Greenspan uges stronger action to help homeowners: Notes "stagflation"

Click on the post for some thoughts from Mr. Greenspan. He seems to advocate targeting cash to the folks that are hurting rather than generally reducing interest rates----and he mentions the dreaded word "stagflation"---a term for rising inflation that comes along with decreased economic output---and with that term some bad memories from the Pres. Jimmy Carter years.

Click on the post for the story.

Shortgage of Dickel Whiskey noted;

Click on the post for a story today on Yahoo regarding the shortage of Dickel Whiskey--I have confirmed that there is a shortage in Minnesota, but just wonder----are we short in Wisconsin too.

Gazette: Ethanol and Biodiesel in the spotlight

Click on the post for an article in the Janesville Gazette today regarding the prospects for ethanol and biodiesel due to the rising costs of commodities.

Gazette Corner: Evansville Building Permits sign of Times

Click on the post for the story of new residential construction in Evansville in 2007.

Gazette: School Beat: Land Acquisiton for Evansville School studied

Michael Pierick in the article said:

"If we can avoid building anything substantial until the high school is paid for in 2021, that would be great,” he said. “That would be great for the taxpayers of the district and great for the district as a whole.”"

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

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gazette: Snow Emergency Declared in Janesville

Click on the post for the latest.

Attention to Energy Conservation; Education; Consumer Focus is Welcomed; Timely

If you click on the post you can access the Evansville Initiative----a group of folks that have been focused on energy for some time----one of the elements that has not been developed as much has been the city participation and the consumer involvement----if you check on the Water and Light minutes and the Minutes of the "Public" Benefits Committee, you can see that taxpayer dollars have gone to business and schools in Evansville, but the individual residential application administration has been spotty---I am working on getting the exact dollar expenditures for the consumer side as we speak.

The bottom line is that the proposed ordinance of the City is welcome and timely. Stay tuned.

Gazette Corner: Janesville Schools Cut Math Tournament to Cut Costs: Who is doing the Math?

Click on the post for a classic.

Minyanville: Review of Commercial Real Estate

The effect of the housing crisis or credit crisis has already affected commerical real estate. Click on the post for an article by Minyanville.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Economic Development meets next Tuesday

Click on the post for the latest.

Evansville begins Energy Initiative and introduces Resolution 2007-50

Resolution No. 2007-50
Implementing Community-Wide Energy Program

WHEREAS, the City of Evansville and Evansville Water and Light is committed to being an environmentally responsible utility, dedicated to improving global and local quality of life through active environmental stewardship; and

WHEREAS, it is cheaper to educate utility employees and board members to use fewer kilowatts than it is to purchase electricity for the operation of City of Evansville and Evansville Water and Light facilities; and

WHEREAS, Evansville Utilities already promotes energy conservation and recycling; and

WHEREAS, Evansville Water and Light and Wisconsin Public Power Inc. have developed and implemented mutually beneficial renewable energy and energy conservation programs, projects and educational activities within the community of Evansville; and

WHEREAS, implementing a community-wide energy project will require that the City of Evansville and Evansville Water and Light “lead by example,” making a commitment of financial and human resources toward the initiative;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of Evansville and Evansville Water and Light will set a community goal to reduce demand for electricity, water and natural gas by 10%; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Evansville and Evansville Water and Light will lead by example and create a utility-wide effort to instill a conservation ethic, demonstrate the effectiveness of energy efficiency, conservation and renewable resource development and help establish the community as a leader in these areas; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Evansville and Evansville Water and Light will adopt a municipal policy to curb energy use in utility and other municipally owned facilities.

Passed and adopted this 11th day of December, 2007.



Sandra Decker, Mayor


ATTEST:
Judy Walton, City Clerk

Yahoo: Sports: Sportswriters urge end to "Culture of Cheaters"

Click on the post for the latest feedback from the Mitchell Report.

Evansville School Board Meets Monday---Budget on the agenda

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Yahoo News: Fed to meet on Tuesday to address unfair Mortgage lending practices

Click on the post for the latest.

Gazette: Evansville Officer Cited in Bar Fight

Click on the post for the latest.

College Finance Corner: Caltech joins Harvard in replacing loans with scholarship gift aid

Caltech Helps Students Afford College

PASADENA, Calif.- The California Institute of Technology will eliminate loans for its neediest undergraduate students by replacing loans with additional gift aid, such as scholarships and grants. Beginning with undergraduates entering in the fall of 2008, most domestic students whose total family incomes are $60,000 per year or less will be offered a financial-aid package that substitutes scholarship gift aid for loans.

"We know that some families who have not had much experience with higher education or large loans are often reluctant to incur debt for their children's education. This factor, added to the sticker shock of the cost of a college education, can easily cause families to believe that such opportunities are out of their reach even when their children are admissible," says Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau.

For domestic applicants, the Institute offers need-blind admission to its undergraduate programs without any consideration of ability to pay. Caltech is also among the very few colleges or universities that make it financially possible for any U.S. student who is admitted to attend and graduate.

Caltech currently provides financial assistance to more than half of its 913 undergraduate students, meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need through a combination of gift aid and self-help--student employment and loan--assistance. The average scholarship/grant for students who entered in fall 2007 was $26,704. The average total financial-aid award, including loans, for this group was $28,580. This represents approximately 61 percent of the estimated cost of attendance for these students.

The average indebtedness at graduation for Caltech's undergraduate students already ranks among the lowest in the nation. Of the undergraduates who graduated during the 2006-07 school year, 43 percent had student loans; the average indebtedness for a student at the time of graduation was $6,268. Of those who graduated during the 2005-06 school year, 34 percent had student loans; the average indebtedness was $5,156. This compares with a national average of $19,146 for undergraduate students who graduated from four-year colleges in 2005-06, the last year for which data is available.

"This latest initiative is consistent with the Institute's ongoing commitment to keep a Caltech education accessible to domestic students regardless of their ability to pay. Caltech appreciates the generosity of its donors, whose funding makes the school's financial-aid initiatives possible," says Chameau.

### Contact: Jill Perry (626) 395-3226

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Classic Observer: "The Wild West"

Click on the post for the latest from The Reflection Blog.

Dateline St. Paul: High School Security Protocol Foils Intruders

Click on the post for an interesting article in the Midway Monitor from St. Paul, Mn..The security plan for this high school worked effectively. A case in point. Enjoy.

Minutes; Historic Preservation Commission: November 2007

Evansville Historic Preservation Commission
Minutes
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 7:00 P.M.
3rd Floor, City Hall

Present: Dennis Wessels, Steve Culbertson, Rich Modaff, John Decker, Steve Christens,
Betsy Ahner
Also Present: Michael Sinshack

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by chair Rich Modaff. Motion by Steve Christians, second by Dennis Wessels to waive the reading of October 17, 2007 minutes and approve them as read. Motion carried.

Applications – Appearances

116 Grove St – Michael Sinshack was present to explain the need for a backyard fence and the materials that he planned on using. The house is a plaqued house and the fence will be made of wood in a style suitable to the Craftsman style home. Motion to accept the application by John Decker, second by Steve Culbertson. Motion carried with 5 yes, 1 no.

Old Business

16 West Main Street – This is the former law office of Richard Eager. John Decker explained that the building has been sold and may be restored. Jim Sewell has looked at the building and said that the Wisconsin Historical Society would consider it permissible to restore the brick to its original look with the larger windows, even though the brick is not original to the building. Because an insurance payment has been made on the building it is not eligible for tax credits. Commission members discussed the project and felt it would be most desirable to see the brick removed and the building restored to its original fa├žade. Ruth Ann Montgomery does have some pictures that show what it looked like.

Administrative

WAHPC Fall Convention – John Decker announced there will be a follow-up program. The director of the Main Street Program in Platteville would like to bring some people over to see the brick and would like to see the power point presentation. Betsy Ahner presented bills of $154.26 for food and supplies for the convention. Motion by John Decker to approve reimbursement to her. Second by Steve Culbertson. Motion carried with Ahner abstaining.

Update on Bricks – the bricks are complete and most people are finding them aesthetically beautiful and they are slowing traffic down.

Grove Society – Betsy and John invited commission members to attend the Old House Group meeting on the 4th Thursday of the month. It will be held in a home that was built by Levi Leonard.

Redevelopment Authority – expect to be meeting with the new owners of 16 East Main Street at their December meeting.

Easement Form – John reported that we have two easements to file.

Plaque program applications – John Decker is currently the contact person for applications. The form can be downloaded from the City’s website.

Management of HPC Documents – we are waiting for the City to develop its program.

Discussion of Second Historic District – it was suggested we use the money we have left in the 2007 budget towards an application for a historic district. We would need an invoice within the next three weeks and a contract drafted for the work to be done.

Discussion of Historic Landmarks – one of the documents still needed on the City website is an application for Local Landmark Status.

There being no other business to discuss, Dennis Wessels moved to adjourn. Second by Steve Christens. Motion carried.



The minutes of the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission are not official until approved by the Commission.

Park Board Meets on Monday----Lake Leota on the agenda

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mailbag: Bill Connors Writes;

(Ed.note: This was a posted comment that I have brought forward for better visibility. Click on the post for the Smart Growth Plan of Evansville and Chapter 6 which describes the Sewage Treatment Facility and the Smart Growth prognosis.)


Common Council Corner; New Sewage Treatment Plant...":

The interesting thing is that when David Sauer of Foth & Van Dyke was interviewed about the future of the wastewater treament plant during the Smart Growth planning process, he said the current plant could handle the increased flow from many new residential subdivisions without any problem. If you look in the section of the Smart Growth plan about the wastewater treament plant, you will read a rosy assessment. But now the tune is different. Perhaps the regulatory landscape changed after the plan was adopted.

Bill Connors
Former Evansville City Administrator

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

OpEd: Stock Market Corner: FED lowers rate 1/4 point; Traders disappointed; Dow plunges 294----

It was a long awaited FOMC, Federal Open Market Committee meeting today----and most pundits had expected a 1/4 point lowering of the interest rate. Many had hoped for a half point lowering.

More disappointing that the numbers was apparently the writing that went along with the lowering. Here is the situation as I see it. Mr. Bernanke wrote his PhD thesis on the flaws in the first Crash of 1929, and in his thesis he argued strongly for BOLD action to prevent a meltdown in the midst of a credit crisis. Mr. Paulson of the Treasury department, has been not as bold in his moves to rescue the housing market, and went to great lengths at his press conference last week, to descibe how the Treasury plan was voluntary.

My OpEd view is that the traders do not see the action today as BOLD and rather see it as TIMID and bound to FAIL. That was bad news to them and they sold.

The good news. Bond prices went up as folks fled to Treasury securities. Lower interest rates on the mortgage sector may be on the way---just what those home buyers in their 20/s have been waiting for.....oh yes and lower prices....which may be coming also.

Click on the post for an article on this subject from Minyanville.

Stay tuned.

Evansville Common Council Meets TONIGHT--6:30PM

Click on the post for the full agenda.

"Boy Scout Sunday"-----or "Be Prepared"-----a true story

Last Sunday something unusual happened. It was December 2, and the First Sunday of Advent. Christmas shoppers took off a little time on Sunday morn to attend Church. As I entered one local church here in our fair city, I smelled natural gas. My nose has been finely tuned to the smell, and I went to the lower level and the smell got stronger. Others had noticed and had called the proper authorities to inspect.

The side doors to the Church were opened, and the service began. There was a slight interruption when the sirens stopped right outside the Church as the sermon began---and the sermon began with the text reminding folks to "Be Prepared" for the end of times. And noting that even at the time of the big flood, with Noah building the ark and all, the neighbors went about their business with the normal festivities, weddings and carousing of the time. They saw Noah, but just figured it was some guy that was on the edge.

When the pastor began the sermon, he noted that this Sunday was pretty simple----the message was "Be Prepared." This is the time for preparation and not the shopping frenzy.

I liked the sermon. I even got the "Be Prepared" message without the natural gas smell. I have always loved shopping at the last minute anyway, or better yet with gift cards so the person receiving gets those great after Christmas bargains. I seems the way this season is going, all of America is on board for the after Christmas bargains.

Finally----the spirit of Be Prepared and the secular bargain thang are in perfect synch.

So---prepare----wait-----there is plenty of time to shop. Later.

Funeral Services; Jared S. Fredrickson

Funeral Services will be held on Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 10:30am at St. Paul's Church in Evansville. Father Kevin Dooley will officiate, with burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. Visitation will be on Wednesday, December 12, 2007, from 3:00PM to 7:00PM at Ward Funeral Home, Evansville.

Midwest Glazed by Ice Storm

Click on the post for the story from MyWay news.

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "Porta Pottie Time"----FICTION

Click on the post for the latest.

Common Council Corner; New Sewage Treatment Plant in Planning Stage--1-2 million in expected cost

(Ed.note: The following was noted in the Common Council Strategic Planning meeting from October in the Book of minutes.)


"Wastewater Treatment Plant: Wartenweiler and Sauer said we do need some upgrading to address elevated nitrates levels, approaching capacity limits in a 25-year-old treatment plant, and increased regulations to be imposed upon us in the next few years. Instead of doing an interim upgrade (which was done about three years ago and bought us another six years time), we should really upgrade the facility to meet the new capacity for 20 years and design it better to meet these limits. Our compliance schedule states that by the end of 2008 we need to have a design; this means planning within the next few months. The plant will take over a year to build it and it will cost about $1 to 2 million. The upgrade will also help us open up for more economic growth in the city. The City currently has three licensed operators."

School K12Now Notification: School Closed for Evansville Tuesday

EVANSVILE SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED TODAY DE TO THE INCLEMENT WEATHER

----
Message sent from Evansville School District by K12now.
To manage your K12now subscriptions visit http://my.k12now.com
----

Channel 3000: Evansville schools Closed Today

School closed today for Evansville per Channel 3000--notified at 5:19am.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Unlawful Use of Telephone, Part II

(Ed.Note: Judge Tom Alisankus has provided the statute details.)

Here is that statute--in its entirety--about unlawful use of a telephone. Both sections (1) and (2) can be heard in Municipal Court. You should note that where it discusses the penalties, a 'Class B misdemeanor' carries up to $1,000.00 fine, and/or 90 days in jail; where it says 'Class B forfeiture', there is no jail--just the $1,000.00 penalty. Of course, if the case is heard in Municipal Court, then the penalty is up to $1,000.00, unless the person doesn't pay w/in the prescribed period of time (usually 60 days, but can be anywhere from immediately--that same day in court--or, up to one year), in which case the Municipal Court can order incarceration in the county jail for up to 90 days for each offense.

Hope this helps your readers. We get about 1/2 dozen of these a year.

Tom

947.012 Unlawful use of telephone.

947.012(1)
(1) Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor:

947.012(1)(a)
(a) With intent to frighten, intimidate, threaten, abuse or harass, makes a telephone call and threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or the property of any person.

947.012(1)(b)
(b) With intent to frighten, intimidate, threaten or abuse, telephones another and uses any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggests any lewd or lascivious act.

947.012(1)(c)
(c) Makes a telephone call, whether or not conversation ensues, without disclosing his or her identity and with intent to abuse or threaten any person at the called number.

947.012(2)
(2) Whoever does any of the following is subject to a Class B forfeiture:

947.012(2)(a)
(a) With intent to harass or offend, telephones another and uses any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggests any lewd or lascivious act.

947.012(2)(b)
(b) Makes or causes the telephone of another repeatedly to ring, with intent to harass any person at the called number.

947.012(2)(c)
(c) Makes repeated telephone calls, whether or not conversation ensues, with intent solely to harass any person at the called number.

947.012(2)(d)
(d) Makes a telephone call, whether or not conversation ensues, without disclosing his or her identity and with intent to harass any person at the called number.

947.012(2)(e)
(e) Knowingly permits any telephone under his or her control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section.


947.012 - ANNOT.

Jared Fredrickson: July 11, 1998---December 9, 2007

Jared Fredrickson July 11, 1998 - December 9, 2007

"It is with great sadness we write, that yesterday, December 9th at 10:00am Jared Fredrickson passed away surrounded by his family. There are many things we could write you about this courageous little boy, but only two things are important: he is no longer in pain; & everyone who knows anything about Jared knows that yesterday he had the best seat at Lambeau Field to watch Brett & the rest of the Packers beat the Raiders.
http://www.caringbridge.org/wi/jared_fredrickson/index.htm

He is greatly missed.
Sincerely,

Denise & Ian Janssen Eager"

Weather Note: National Weather Service

Watches and Warnings
Evansville Forecast

/O.NEW.KMKX.WS.A.0006.071211T0900Z-071211T2100Z/
WAUKESHA-MILWAUKEE-GREEN-ROCK-WALWORTH-RACINE-KENOSHA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...WAUKESHA...BROOKFIELD...MILWAUKEE...
MONROE...JANESVILLE...BELOIT...ELKHORN...LAKE GENEVA...RACINE...
KENOSHA
1238 PM CST MON DEC 10 2007

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY
AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN HAS ISSUED A
WINTER STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
TUESDAY AFTERNOON.

A MIXTURE OF FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN BY
AROUND 3 AM...AND CONTINUE INTO THE EARLY AFTERNOON TUESDAY. ICE
ACCUMULATIONS MAY REACH ONE QUARTER OF AN INCH...WITH UP TO
AROUND 1 INCH OF SNOW ACCUMULATION AS WELL.

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL.
CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.

Gazette Corner: School Beat; Edgerton Schools face decline in enrollment--cuts to staff--may switch from 4 period day

Click on the post for the article in the Gazette. The Edgerton school board meeting is tonight.

Yahoo: Finance: Sell v. Rent Out-----the choice

Click on the post for an interesting article on how to decide.

Point of Law Corner: "Abuse of Telephone"

Recently the Observer sat in on municipal court so I could gain some better understanding of the workings of our municipal court. There is a lot more to the court than the results as published. Here is one thing I learned:

You may see the charge "Abuse of Telephone or Improper Use of Telephone." That charge is not poor reception by a cell phone. Rather it is the charge that results when someone calls another and makes threats on the phone. In fact....if a person calls another and hangs up, and then calls repeatedly in order to disrupt the peace of mind of the person, that is a violation also.

Whether it is on the internet or with your telephone, you can be traced, and making threats are not only in bad taste---they are subject to legal proceeding and fine.

If I can get some legal statute on this or further info, I will post it.

Young Couples Excited as House prices fall; Shopping

Recently I went to a Christmas party where several couples in their twenties were present. Yes. I do find it helpful to stay up with the hip ways and such. These couples were all excited about looking at homes in various parts of Madison, and even had looked in Evansville. They were very moxie about the style of home they wanted, the price, and yes the interest rate that they could afford.

I was pleased to see that each and every one of them knew the rule of asset deflation: "Every day and every way things are getting cheaper." Each couple was excited, but not in a rush to buy, but rather very intent on getting an affordable house.

Getting out of the house is wonderful. I had been surrounded by local thinking that it is important to rush to purchase large improvement projects because even though the community cannot afford the costs, it will always be more expensive in the future. Those young couples were saving their cash and determined to get the best value. They were also determined to not buy more home than they could afford long term. How refreshing.

School Beat : Policy Committe Met Monday--this morn---Today.

If you click on the post you will see that the policy committee of the Evansville School district met this morning.

The School Board is charged with setting the policy of our school district---and meets each month to review in an organized manner old policy as well as new proposed policy. In reviewing this agenda, I noticed that the composition of the committee consists of the Superintendent and two staff members and only two members of the School Board. The bottom line is that it would appear that whatever the school board members wanted, the vote could be 3-2.....even on such matters as the evaluation of their boss, who was also at the meeting reviewing the way they voted.

Minyanville: Why the mortgage rescue plan will fail.

The mortgage plan outlined last week by Treasury Secretary Paulson, on detailed anlaysis by Minyanville, is really designed to help the lenders, and it is targeted to homeowners who could be more better served by walking away from their homes.

Click on the post for the analysis.

WSJ: School Beat: Madison School Board to vote on Security Hike tonight.

Click on the post for the latest.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mailbag: Virtual Schools: Rep. Brett Davis Writes:

(Ed.note: This is part of an e-date from Rep. Brett Davis.)

Protecting Wisconsin’s Innovative Virtual Schools

Just as modern technology is allowing many people in our country to work out of their home, innovative public school districts nationwide are allowing students to learn from home via virtual schools without having to attend a traditional brick and mortar school. Our education system in Wisconsin utilizes virtual schools, which are changing the way education is delivered to some students. As we prepare our children for the 21st Century workplace, we have to seriously consider the role of virtual schools and how they can enhance student achievement. We must ensure our state laws allow public schools to continue offering this important alternative school setting.

Virtual schools are not for every student. They certainly are not meant to, and will not, replace traditional brick and mortar schools. Virtual schools are simply an option for certain students that learn better outside of the traditional classroom setting. Gifted and talented students, as well as students with special needs, can benefit from this model of learning. To ensure high quality, state licensed teachers monitor a student’s progress, while parents play an active role in the daily education of their child.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) website, there are 9 virtual schools in Wisconsin that enroll thousands of students. The Monroe School District's public virtual school currently has over 700 students participating.

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks virtual schools like the Monroe Virtual School should be allowed to run as it currently exists. The Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the Madison-based teacher's union, has sued multiple virtual schools in court over the past few years. Up until December 5, the courts have ruled in favor of virtual schools.

However, a recent appeal by the teachers union was successful, thus jeopardizing the future of virtual schools in our state. This ruling means the Wisconsin Virtual Academy, run by the Northern Ozaukee Public School District, will not receive the funding it needs to continue operating in July from DPI, leaving parents, students and the school board wondering if the school will be shut down. It also could force property taxpayers to pick up the final tab.

An especially frustrating component of the trial was over parental involvement. Although the students are taught by DPI licensed teachers, the union argued that the parental participation the virtual school program was too great. In this day and age we need to be stressing the importance of parental involvement in our children’s education, not discouraging it.

While it's too early to tell the how the District 2 court ruling will eventually play out, the big question is whether or not other virtual schools can continue to legally operate under current state law.

During the last legislative session I authored a bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 1060, that would have solved this issue. AB 1060 was approved by the full Assembly and Senate, but vetoed by the Governor. This session, as the Chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, I immediately began working on new legislation when I learned of the court decision. I believe virtual schools are a valuable asset to Wisconsin students. Public school districts like Monroe should be allowed to continue operating their virtual school. I look forward to the important debate in the legislature about the role of virtual schools in our education system.

In Wisconsin, we must constantly be looking for ways to improve our school system so our students can compete in the 21st Century workplace. Virtual schools are a proven model of success for students of all ages and abilities and will help keep our schools among the best in the nation.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Book of Minutes

The latest feature of the Evansville Observer is the Book of Minutes, which will have as a resource the Common Council as well as Planning Commission, Redevelopment Authority and Finance Committee minutes. Click on the post for the site in construction.

The Observer notes that these are unofficial. They are searchable. Simply go to the top of the blog and type in the search word. Thus, if you were searching for a topic, you could trace the progress of an ordinance right through the various committees to passage. This provides a quick solution to the tedious process of looking through all the minutes for the item when one does not know when it was discussed.

As always, audio and video of the meetings may be on the Observer also. The minutes only reflect a small portion of the rich action of the audio and video however. Enjoy.

Evansville Common Council Meets Tuesday; Dec. 11, 2007

Click on the post for the full agenda in the Agenda Blog.

Greenberg: How We Got in the Mortgage Mess

Click on the post for an in depth article on the mortgage mess, and what the prospects are that the proposal of this week will solve it.

Dateline Normal, Mn: "Earplugs Out of Stock in Christmas Frenzy"------FICTION

Click on the post for the latest from the land of fiction----Normal, Mn.

The Tales From Normal are now available in book form. On the right of the blog is the link to the bookseller.

To all viewers, but for especially my reader in Slovenia, I would say, "Yes, these Tales might be about you."

Winterwonderland: Preparing For Christmas


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Pioneer Press: Will Minnesota opt out of No Child Left Behind?

Click on the post for the story.

Nostalgia: Classic Observer: "The Cookies"--a true story

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
"The Cookies"----- a true story

Years ago, one of my friends was the savings manager of the downtown Minneapolis Minnesota Federal. Minnesota Federal was a very staid old line savings institution. The two benefits of this job were the Athletic Club membership he was given to entertain depositors and woo new deposits. The other duty was to manage the depositors on "cookie day" each week. I think it was Tuesday.

All customers were treated to cookies and coffee. It was great to stop off while switching busses and get a cup of coffee and one of those great chocolate chip cookies. I suppose I could have felt uncomfortable standing around chatting with the older folks about stuff----actually I loved it cause they always had some great stories, and besides....the cookies were great.

Depositors who created a new account for $5000 or more, or added $5000 to an existing account got a wonderful set of stainless steel silverware. I can see it now in the classic wooden case. How elegant. Someday I thought. Someday I will get some of that silverware.

One day I stopped in and there was NOTHING. What a shock. What a letdown feeling!! It had been a terrible winter day battling traffic on 35W and ...well...I really was in the mood for some coffee....and the cookies. What a blow!!

I went right over to my friend, Mike, and asked, "What the heck is the deal, Mike? How could you destroy such a sacred tradition like the cookies?"

Mike just smiled. Then he went on: "The stainless steel silverware was a reward for those folks that deposited NEW money. The plain truth is that we had a large number of present customers that threatened to take their $5000 out of the bank if they did not get the silverware. It became a blackmail game. The incentive just did not work. So---we discontinued it, along with the coffee and cookies."

Over the years I have thought a lot about that incident. Things have changed. Yes I have learned how to make my own coffee.

Mike taught me a wonderful lesson that morning. A lesson about Economic Development. A lesson about sales. Economic Development is about going out and getting the NEW money---not about being blackmailed by the old. The stainless silver cookware goes to the NEW.

Thanks, Mike.

Star Tribune: Virtual Schools in Wisconsin---are they in threat of closure?

Click on the post for the story in the Minneapolis Star.

Housing: Some details on Presidents Plan; Plan of Hillary Clinton would go further

Click on the post for the full story. The briefing will come today at 12:40PM.

Yahoo: Finance: Are Washington Efforts on Sub-Prime Too LIttle Too Late?

Click on the post for the article this morn that suggests that the actions of Washington politicians may be too little too late, and may be only the appearance of "trying" rather than active engagement in the problem which was misjudged as to the depth of the problem.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Washington Post: Tha analysis of the Housing Crisis

Click on the post for a classic.

Evansville Economic Development Summit set for January 12, 2008

(Ed.note: This information is taken from the Evansville city web site: Click on the post for the text of the Whalen Report of the Focus Groups. )


One of the goals of Evansville's Smart Growth Plan is the development and implementation of an Economic Development Strategy. The City's Economic Development Committee has been working with the Chamber of Commerce and Whalen & Associates to convene an Economic Development Summit. Ken Hendricks of ABC Supply will be the keynote speaker.

The Evansville Economic Development Summit is scheduled for Saturday, January 12, 2008. All Evansville area businesses are encouraged to participate. Background information and registration forms are available on this page leading up to the event. Action items and follow-up information will be here after the Summit.

Focus Group Report - Local business representatives from the Agribusiness, Construction, Manufacturing, Retail, and Service industries met in August to discuss the local business environment and opportunities for the upcoming Summit.

Summit Press Release - Dec 7, 2007

Summit Registration Form - Please register by January 4

Attendee Information Packet - coming soon

Gazette Corner: Preview of Proposed Ordinance to bypass voters for public works projects under 5 million

Click on the post for the article by Gina Duwe on the proposed ordinance that would bypass voters input for any public works project under five million.

Cities such as Evansville, which have affordable living as the main draw when compared to cities such as Madison, need to have control of the taxes, whether it is schools or city municipal or even Technical Education such as Blackhawk. The past several years where officials have talked about mill rate in the face of rising appraisals have been relatively easy for budget purposes. When municipal revenues are flat or fall, due to slowing growth as well as flat or falling property valuation and expenses rise, mill rates go up for no additional services.

Proposing large public infrastructure projects without allowing citizens to decide has been traditionally political suicide. It has also been considered irresponsible disregard of citizens.

What do you think? Click on the post for the full article by Gina Duwe and the text of the proposed ordinance. You make the call.

Will Housing Rescue Plan Work? Democrats prefer modification through bankruptcy courts; lenders balk

Click on the post for the article on Yahoo news.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday: 12-3-2007: Treasury Paulson speaks

On Monday, Dec. 3rd, Treasury Paulson spoke about the foreclosure crisis facing the United States and outlined a strategy. (These are partial remarks.)

MP3 File

Minutes: Water and Light: November 2007

Water& Light Committee Meeting
Regular Monthly Meeting
Wednesday November 28,2007
6:30 P.M. At 15 Old 92
Minutes

Members Present Tom Cothard Chair, John Sornson and Barb Jacobson

Staff: Scott George Superintendent, John Rasmussen foreman and Dan Wietecha City Admin.

Also present were: Lolita Martins

1. Chairperson Cothard called the meeting to order at 6:30:00 P.M.
2. Motion by Jacobson 2nd by Sornson to approve the September 26, 2007 Water & Light Minutes with one change motion carried 3-0
3. Citizens concerns Lolita Martins requested reimbursement for a damaged water heater and paint Motion by Cothard 2nd Sornson to pay $425.00 for the water heater and $125.00 for paint Passed 3-0
4. Discussion and motions on Public Benefits. 1) $10,000.00 for the school house solar project Motion by Cothard 2nd by Jacobson Passed 3-0, 2) Evansville Schools energy education project $1,306.88 Motion by Cothard 2nd by Jacobson Passed 3-0
5. Discussion and motion on South Madison St. water main replacement Motion by Sornson 2nd by Jacobson to recommend to the Finance Comm. To do the project at a cost not to exceed $425,000.00 including Engineering Passed 3-0
6. Committee Reports – Chairman Cothard: Tom had nothing
7. Committee Reports - Supt. Scott George: Scott had nothing
8. There was no other legal action to come before the committee
9. Motion to adjourn by Cothard 2nd by Jacobson at 7:06:45 P.M. Passed 3-0

These minutes are not official until approved by the Water & Light Committee.

Submitted by John A. Rasmussen

Twin Cities: Daily Planet: "Guilty until proven innocent?"

Click on the post for a review of the impact of data mining on citizens.

Biodiesel Corner: Jeff Pieterick of Wisconsin Biofuels Association writes:

"Is it just me, or did the policymakers writing the federal 2008 Renewable Fuel Standards simply run out of gas?"

How else to explain the short-sighted thinking behind this newly released"Renewable Fuel Gasoline Standard?"
In a recent address, Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) tells us that our nation's security does itself depend upon expanding "our supply of energy sources that can substitute for oil." Why would we then limit our renewable fuel effort to the act of simply adding alcohol to gasoline?

A truly effective RFS would include a fuel-neutral, low-carbon emphasis that would encourage development of the most efficient renewable alternatives that can provide maximum benefit. For now, however, the least we can expect is to properly define transportation fuels to gain a proper baseline from which to start - and diesel fuel needs to be in the policy mix.


According to DOE figures, market share for gasoline in the transportation sector has actually decreased nearly 10% since 1970, a period during which the distillate (diesel) fuel market segment doubled with over 50 billion gallons of diesel being consumed for transportation fuel in 2005.

As pointed out recently in this space, the US diesel portion of the transportation market is about to surge even further ahead - and for all the right reasons.

The enactment of the Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD - "Clean Diesel") mandate in 2006 opened the door for automakers to offer a diesel option to US consumers. And these car buyers are already looking to these diesel powered offerings as Alternative Fuel Vehicles that can lower our carbon footprint by way of the improved fuel economy, lower emissions, and lifecycle durability these new generation diesels provide. These same consumers recognize biodiesel as an alternative to the petroleum diesel used in these engines that will further enhance this choice for a "green" power option.

Diesel fuel therefore represents a significant portion of the present transportation fuel sector and is expected to grow as an alternative to gasoline. Meanwhile, diesel itself is recognized as a preferred, "green" option over gasoline for the increased fuel mileage and other carbon efficiencies it provides. Lastly, biodiesel is a commercially viable alternative to petroleum diesel that further compounds the environmental benefits inherent to diesel as an alternative to gasoline. It therefore would seem apparent that any Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would include provisions to encourage the distribution and use of diesel and of biodiesel in the diesel market, right?

If you're the policymakers in charge of writing the "2008 Renewable Fuel Gasoline Standard," it's apparently not so obvious. Instead, they chose to place the entire focus of this effort to encourage renewable fuels upon the gasoline segment of the transportation market. Moreover, they choose only "renewable fuel blended into gasoline" (READ: ethanol) as the only tool in the arsenal to improve carbon efficiency and to address the other environmental, geopolitical, and social impacts of our use of transportation fuels.

I suggest instead that we contact our Federal Legislators and ask that they request the EPA to abandon this myopic ethanol mandate and return to the drawing table to arrive at a true Renewable Fuel Standard that addresses the entire transportation fuels market.

Separate formulae will undoubtedly be needed to address the different ways in which each alternative fuel impacts its specific segment of the market. But I don't foresee difficulties that would cause these policymakers to run out of gas in making the trip to revision. Rather, it would seem that by effectively embracing diesel and biodiesel, they will gain much more mileage for their efforts.

Regards,Jeff Pieterick

Yahoo: Details on "Teaser-Freezer" Plan may come as early as today

Click on the post for the latest.

ECT News: "Holiday in the Grove" will not be Presented

Due to scheduling conflicts, the ECT show, “Holiday In the Grove,” will not be presented this coming weekend. ECT wishes to thank everyone for their interest and participation.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ecumenical Choir ---Evansville---Sounds of the Season

Planning Commission Meets Monday Night

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Notre Dame Admissions: 3 of 3

Admission director, final segment.

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Notre Dame: Admission: 2 of 3

Admission Director stresses high school students to take challenging courses; Easy courses with high grade point is not enough. Extra curricular is important to give view of student

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Notre Dame: The admissions Office 1 of 3

A step inside the admissions process at Notre Dame

Download File

Notre Dame: The View

Follow along for the tour

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Economic Development-----January 2007

CITY OF EVANSVILLE
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE


MINUTES

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
5:30 p.m.




1. Roll call. The meeting was called to order by chair Wyse at 5:36 p.m. Present: Gene Bass, Roger Berg, John Decker, Cheryl Dickert, Fred Juergens, Dave Olsen, James Otterstein, Tony Wyse. Absent: None. Also present: Mayor Sandy Decker, City Administrator Dan Wietecha.

2. Approval of agenda. The agenda, as distributed, was approved without objection.

3. Approval of minutes of December 19, 2006 regular meeting. So moved by Berg, seconded by Juergens. Approved by voice vote.

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

5. Update on City web site. Fred Juergens displayed the new design for the web site, which will permit easier updates and improved navigation. Fred and City staff will update the information on the site, but there have been delays in doing so becasuse of an organizational glitch and the move of the City offices.

Discussion ensued as to the "point person" concept for new business inquiries, and sources of demographic information for the "site selection" aspects of the site. Discussion was also held as to coordinaton with the Rock County economic development offfice, and the Location One web site.

6. Economy Store CDBG update. Ron Van Stratton of Foth & Van Dyke will serve as the city's advisor on administration of the grant. Wage levels will not be an issue, but paperwork to demonstrate compliance with the Davis/Bacon Act will be a burden. Formal subcontracts and payroll records will be required.

7. Update on CDBG for additional streetscape funding. The city's engineering firm will finalize and submit the application; Ron Van Stratton also is handling this assignment. The engineers are still considering which project delivery method (multiple prime contracts, prequalification of brick subcontractors, or a delay in award of streetscaping contract work) will be most advantageous.

8. Discussion re: Rock County Planning & Development Agency. James Otterstein noted that Evansville has been listed on the County's web site, but that two factors precluded Evansville's listing in the Location One portion of the site. First, Evansville did not have a "product" available for listing (i.e., specific available real estate for industrial or commercial development). Second, the Location One site was sponsored and underwritten by a utility company, whose rules didn't permit a listing. Those rules subsequently have been liberalized. As soon as site-specific information can be furnished to the County (e.g., with respect to the newly-annexed commercial and industrial land on the east side) it will be listed on the site.

The City Planner and City Administrator can can work on getting Evansville development information onto as many web sites as will be helpful. James Otterstein will advise Dan Wietecha what he needs for the County web site.

9. Update on trade market analysis. James Otterstein has submitted the preliminary grant application, and has received a favorable response from Department of Commerce staff (though no guaranty the final application will be approved). The final application will need a Common Council authorizing resolution.

Motion by John Decker, seconded by Juergens, to recommend to Council an application for a CDBG - Planning Grant for a trade market analysis, with project expenses not to exceed $20,000.00, and with the required 25% local match to come from the TID #6 project budget, previously approved. Approved by voice vote.

10. Report from Downtown Reconstruction Task Force. An informational meeting was held at Hagen Insurance on December 21 to give business owners and operators an opportunity to see the streetscape plan and to ask questions and give direct input to the City Engineer and to the Public Works Director. About 30 persons attended from the business community. The Task Force continues to concentrate on signage and promotional issues.

11. Discussion of business development summit. Mayor Decker noted that the Smart Growth Plan calls for the community to create a business development plan. Wisconsin Public Power (WPPI) has $1,000 in grant money available to help defray expenses.

James Otterstein volunteered to suggest persons to serve as facilitator, and said that the proposed summit can create a platform for communication input for the proposed trade market analysis.

Berg moved, seconded by Decker, to have the committee invite Chamber of Commerce promotional director Bridget Larson to to the next committee meeting. Approved by voice vote.

Berg moved, seconded by Juergens, to have the committee send "can we assist you" letters to Evansville Manor, North Prairie Productions and Landmark Services. Approved by voice vote.

12. Final review of chapter 8 of Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan. The chair noted that Chapter 8 calls for continuing review of economic development issues, and that the specifics are best addressed in connection with Chapter 12.

13. Begin review of chapter 12 of Smart Growth Comp[rehensive Plan.

Item 1 Web Page. Work is in progress, as previously discussed.

Item 2 Land Use. Tony Wyse will follow up with the City Planner.

Item 3 Distribution of Plan. Cheryl Daniels will review and suggest which portions of the Plan document will be most useful to the real estate community. Dan Wietecha will also meet with Bridget Larson to see that a copy of the document is available at the Chamber/ECP office; it would also be helpful to have a copy of the Town of Union Smart Growth Plan available.

Berg moved, seconded by Juergens, to authorize production of 6 compact disks, to be sent to the community's largest 5 employers. Approved by voice vote. Fred also suggested that copies on CD be distibuted to each economic summit invitee.

14. Adjournment. Berg moved, seconded by Wyse, to adjourn to the next regular monthly meeting in February. Approved by voice vote at 7:26 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


John Decker, Secretary

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

Exploring Notre Dame

Everytime we have explored with our youngest, and especially colleges, we have encountered extreme weather. This weekend was no exception. Our survival with me at the wheel directly through the eye of the storm through downtown Chicago will have to be told in the list of tales to be written later.

We stayed at the Jamison Inn, just down the street from where the famous "Rudy" went to college prior to his years at Notre Dame---St. Mary's College. To give you a sense, we arrived late in the foggy light, and a waitress at a local restaurant did not even know where Notre Dame was---it was just three blocks away, and yet it is in a world of its own. It is commonly called "The Notre Dame bubble."

When one explores, it is important to have the full range of options--from the supremely affordable to the supremely miraculous. Notre Dame, with its highly selective admission process, where over 15,000 apply for only 2000 freshman spots is needless to say very selective. In short---it is in the "miracle" level. Never the less, it is important for families as well as students to try to deal with the anxiety in just thinking of, much less applying for the dream. This is a needs based admission process, where if you get in, there is a way. The problem is to get in. Remember the film "Rudy."

Sit back and relax. Come with us on the tour of Notre Dame, via video. I just promised the admission director that it would not be on Utube.

Address of Michael Pierick 7-7-2006

Mr. Michael Pierick addresses Evansville Planning Commision 7-7-2006 on growth issues-----what difference a year makes. The Past does not predict the future. The title of the speech might have been "Very Expensive Ice Cream Indeed"----

MP3 File