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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Union Plan: 2-28-2008: Wind Turbine

Union Plan Commission: 2-28-2008: Plan discussion of Wind Turbine Issue; Discussion with counsel on process; Possibility of State legislation or LRB action next week to place Public Service in control of siting decisions (23 min)

MP3 File

Union Planning: 2-28-2008: Janes Plat

Union Planning: 2-28-2008: Discussion of plat of Janes residential subdivision at M and Territorial

MP3 File

Federal Reserve: 2-27-2008

Barney Frank notes the mention of "Consumer Protection" by a Federal Reserve Chairman is historic, and timely.

MP3 File

Federal Reserve: Ben Bernanke Speaks

Remarks of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday, February 27, 2008

MP3 File

OpEd: Markets: Reflection: "Mark to Market"----Fed Chairman Speaks

One of the questions that was asked by Sen Shumer today of Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve was how to deal with markets that there is no price valuation for? Mortgage assets are valued at "fair valuation" and not "Market valuation". Shumer then asked why they could not use a rolling average 6 months backward bringing nostalgia....this was a technique used in the past for projecting the enrollment of some school districts by using a rolling average looking backwards when looking forwards---and this technique has been dismissed as ineffective.

One of the interesting things in retrospect about the crash of 1986 is that many stocks did not open after the crash, and for purposes of margin valuation, they were left at the last price that was traded. This was significant in that these positons of a portfolio thus were not liquidated at very low prices or contribute to liquidation on accounts that were heavily margined or under pressure. Thus----a trading halt is one technique that is used to slow down the impact of panic.

Recently the Feds asked lenders for a 30 day suspension on foreclosures, and one of the Presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, asked for a suspension in foreclosures until a plan can be formulated. Such a suspension was used in the 1930's. Clearly the federal government is responding too slowly to this spreading problem and the failure to freeze these foreclosures could lead to a larger market panic.

Similarly, the Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernnake mentioned at the very end of his remarks on Wednesday that he will submit rules for tighter mortgage lending practices that will outlaw banks pressuring appraisers for certain favorable appraisals as a condition of future business. It is hard to believe that there are not laws currently on the books that could be used to prosecute these violations. Posing that he needs additional authority is really just a method of delay.

In addition Mr. Bernanke mentioned an inquiry into abuses in the credit card industry. This investigation is going to happen way too slowly to be effective. In his own PhD thesis Mr. Bernanke wrote that speed was the key to avoid the cascading effects of a market event. A model credit card agreement with legislated language and format for rate disclosure may be required. It seems just a lot of hot air at this time.

After two days of testimony the Fed Chairman appears willing to forecast lower rates that will not be delievered to borrowers, predict a weaker economy and higher unemployment, and seems willing to allow the non-action of policy makers to drive prices of homes sharply lower midst the rising pain of unemployment and and rising foreclosres.

Twin Cities.com: Wis Appeals Court rules Municipalities can suspend development pending plan

Click on the post for the latest.

Public Works Minutes; January 2008

Click on the post for the details.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NYT: Lender halts student loans

click on the post for the story from Wednesday.

Town of Union Planning Commission Meets Thursday, Feb 28, 2008; 7PM

Town of Union
February 28, 2008

The Town of Union Plan Commission will hold a regular meeting on Thursday, February 28,
2008 at the Eager Free Public Library, 39 W. Main Street, Evansville at 7:00 p.m. (use 1st Street
entrance; lower level meeting room). The topics of discussion and action will be:

I. Approve January 31, 2008 Plan Commission Minutes

II. Discussion of preliminary plat map and development phasing plan of Robert Janes,8739
N. Territorial Rd. Evansville, for the 29 lot land division approved at the February 7, 2008
Town Board Meeting for the 53.7 acre parcel #6-20-197,SW corner of Territorial Rd. and
County Hwy M.

III. Discussion of Large Wind Turbine Siting Regulating in Union Township. During the
current moratorium the Large Wind Turbine Citizens Committee has developed a
recommended ordinance to protect the public health and safety of residents. The
recommended ordinance requires a tower setback of 2640' and maximum noise level of
35 dBa at the nearest house, as compared to 1000' setback and 50 dBa noise maximum
under the state Model Wind Ordinance currently used for most sitings. The Plan
Commission may make a recommendation for adoption to the Town Board at their
regularly scheduled March meeting.

NOTE: There may be a quorum of Town Board members present; however no Town Board business will
be discussed nor decisions related to such business made.
Requests from persons with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this meeting should be
made to the Clerk by calling 608-882-0285 prior to the meeting date.
Published February 20 & 27, 2008
Regina Ylvisaker, Clerk 608-882-0285

Fortune; The VIE

First the CDO, then the subprime....now the VIE. Click on the link for the latest. Jim Grant of the Interest Rate Observer was correct when he predicted in December that it was going to be a twisted tale of denial and repentence.

Stay tuned.

Public Works: 2-26-2008: New Senior Center Site Plan

Evansville City Engineer Dave Sauer reviews the submitted site plan; Notes areas of concern; Has requested resubmission.

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Public Works: 2-26-2008; Lake Leota Refill?

Lake Leota: Discussion regarding lake fill-up before dredge project; Discussion re possible motion regarding weeds in Lake Leota; Engineering report discussion

MP3 File

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NYT: On the Coming Mortgage "Intervention"

Click on the post for an interesting article in the New York Times on the possiblity of a bailout by the Federal Government of the mortgage industry.

The next question is that with the growing mortgage crisis having spread into consumer banking and student loan banking, will the Feds have to take over all that as well? The consumer never read the language. The rates on acceleration were unjust. The level of consumer bankruptcy simply skyrocketing.

That prospect would be pretty stunning...... Banks only offering drive up service and passbooks.

Cap Times; Foreclosure/ Housing problem grows worse locally

Click on the post for an article in the Capital Times.

Gazette; Digital Sign Compromise reached for Janesville

Click on the post for the latest from the Gazette.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Classic WCLO: Tim Bremel: "I'm Rich, at least according to FAFSA"

Tim hits the nail on the head. This is a must article for all college bound students and their parents.

Click on the post and enjoy.

NYT: Jury Finds Insurance Executives Guilty

Click on the post for the latest.

Mailbag: Prof. Cooper Writes: On the Burning of an Embassy

Reflections on a Burning Embassy
By Dennis Cooper, River Falls

As one who has traveled to Serbia on business and hosted Serbian colleagues here at UW-River Falls, it saddens me to see the mob attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade. Yet, without condoning or excusing these attacks, I think the anger and frustration of the Serbs over the independence of Kosovo can be understood by Americans.

The historical significance of Kosovo to the Serbian nation cannot be overstated. Unlike other former Yugoslavian republics, Kosovo has been Serbian territory for centuries. The annihilation of the Serb army by Turks at the Battle of Kosovo, in the fourteenth century, established the Serbian ethos of heroic victimhood, which is still part of the Serbian psyche today. Since then, Serbia has had a troubled history, including the disastrous rule of Slobodan Milosevic, whose wars and “ethnic cleansing” made Serbia the pariah of Europe in the nineties. In 2000, after years of economic sanctions and a 78-day NATO bombing campaign, the Milosevic regime was overthrown by a remarkably peaceful revolution.

Although an influential minority of nationalists, communists, and organized criminals still opposes democratic reforms and peaceful resolution of regional disputes, many Serbs long to put their pariah status behind them and join the European Union. Even the most peaceful, democratic Serb, however, feels humiliation and anger in response to the loss of Kosovo. Thus, the declaration of independence by Kosovo was tailor-made to spark an explosion in the combustible emotions of Serbian society.

By its bloody campaign of ethnic cleansing against Albanians in Kosovo, the Serbian nation lost its moral claim to that territory. One can only hope that the Serbs will move on with their accession to the EU. It is time for these proud, tragic, gifted people to put their history behind them, and join the peaceful and democratic nations that now make up most of Europe.

Washington Post: "Saying is Believing"

Click on the post for an interesting article with a bit on psychology of national politics.....and yes local too.

One of the follow up questions to this article, is what responsibility the press has to get beyond the "Saying is Believing" rhetoric and examine whether the rhetoric is reflective of the facts.

When my girls were younger, they would play "dress ups." After extensive wardrobe work, they would usually show off their creation and announce to me "Look Dad, I am Cinderella," or maybe they would say, "Look Dad, I am Snow White." I would always respond patiently to their marketing efforts, "Yes Dear, very well done." They would know, and I would know the inner secret reality----

I never went to the press with their pronouncements or published their assertions of being Cinderella....or Snow White. That would be such bush, or green journalism.

Recently, however, when national political heros announce things, and for that matter LOCAL political heros announce things, such as "We are a wonderful Green community"......it brings back the old days of make believe.

And I just respond, "Yes Dear, very well done."

WiscPlow---2005----Whatever happened to it?

In 2005 there was a GIS program to measure effectiveness of snow maintainance operations throughout the state of Wisconsin. Click on the post for the summary of the project.

As you might have guessed, one of the first areas of Wisconsin to opt out of the study was Trempeleau County, citing that they anticipated that there might be some increased costs coming. As one heads to the Twin Cities, when you see the Trempeleau County sign, or even if you cannot see the sign, you will know you are there by all the cars in the ditch. The resources of the county are simply not there for the maintanance of the freeway, and a driver coming into this area is at peril not knowing this.

There appear to be some improvements in technology coming---the 511 program, which relies on telephone is one. The other is the current MAP program used via the internet---evidentally there were so many hits to this program during the recent storm that it crashed several times. It is not clear whether this was because it needs an additonal server to sustain it in times of heavy workload, or what exactly the problem was. The report on the recent Hwy 90/39 incident did not go over details. Another issue is who is in charge of the data, and how it is responded to. The current responsibility chart is confusing. However, it would be nice if the navigation systems in all these mobile systems could pick up emergency notices and if there were roadside emergency digital information signs that could be activated alerting drivers to the latest.

The problem of resources still remains as I see it. I wonder about the resources from the Illinois border to Madison and whether the burden on local communities of providing salt etc and snowremoval is realistic as currently designed. We have an oil reserve nationally for disasters. Do we have a "salt reserve" also. When a community runs out, it is unrealistic to go to someone other than their regular supplier to get some precious salt---I wonder how this works now and how it could be improved. Recently Evansville and Union met to discuss some of these issues. This is part of the road maintainance equation and I wish it was discussed more in the recent incident report.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Right Corner: The Nihilist in Golf Pants

Click on the post for a popular blog of the Twin Cities.

Star Tribune; Loan Defaults Soar in Minnesota

Click on the post for the latest from the Star Tribune.

Gazette Corner: The 511 System Coming

Click on the post for discussion today in the Janesville Gazette of technology applications that might avert the recent Hwy 90/39 incidents.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nostalgia: January 2007: School: Discussion on Adding staff due to lower energy bills

(Ed.note: Last year in the middle of a warm winter, my weather man consultant WXMAN always reminded me that we were in a "cycle" and that there were no guarantees. It sure is good we did not transfer that school heating budget to FTE's which is a budgeting No,NO. Enjoy listening to the historic audio from days of old..2007)

Supr. Carvin discusses adding back curriculum director now that energy costs are below budget

MP3 File

Dateline Normal, Mn.: " Economic Development in Focus"---FICTION

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

Nostalgia: Mayoral Forum: 2006: "What Would You Do to Reduce Taxes"

Click on the post for a step back in time.

Gazette: Janesville Coucil: Public Hearing on Electronic Billboards on Monday

Click on the post for the latest.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Looking for Clocks

The Evansville Observer is looking for suggestions for clocks that might be on the cover of the next Book of Minutes 2008. If you have a suggestion and a jpeg, please email it to fre2observe@yahoo.com The next Book of Minutes will be published on December 31, 2008. Plan on it.

The clock tower in the picture is from University of Callifornia Berkeley.

Evansville: Unified Land Development Code Committee

Meeting on Thursday, February 21, 2008 to review draft of municipal code. One of the principal discussions was on where decisions are currently made and how, and if and where the decision process should be changed.

MP3 File

Plan Commission: 2-21-2008: New Auto Repair Approved

Evansville Planning Commission reviews application for new auto repair on Water Street and approves unanimously.

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Senior Center News: Community Organizations meet for Lunch re: NEW Senior Center

Yesterday at lunch, members of the many community organizations met at the Senior Center on Fair Street for lunch. The purpose of the lunch was to share the plans for the new Senior Center and specifically the fund raising efforts.

After Mary Libby opened the meeting with a toast, she passed the baton to Janis Ringhand who reviewed the history of the project--much of which is on video on the Observer from the Country Club meeting. Then Doug Zweizig rose to present;

He opened by noting that the many organizations in Evansville have current plans for projects on the table and asked them to list them. They did:

The new Library
The new Fire Station
The New Sewage Plant
The Restoration of Lake Leota
The New Baker Building
The new fire station
The New Senior Center

Mr. Zweizig then announced that the strategy of the organizations was that they could accomplish all of these projects with fund raising.

Observer asks for sign review

There are two giant taboos in Evansville in the midst of winter. 1) Never pray for more snow, and .....2) Never ask for a review of the sign ordinance.

Relax. I am not praying for more snow.

However, last night at the Uniform Land Development Code Committee, I did ask for a review of the signage that has been allowed for the shopping center on Brown School Road. I have done this on my own and not at the request of either the property or business owners. After visiting the location in the past week, I was stunned at how little visibility the traffic has of these businesses and how inadequate the signs are.

In advertising, at least as I see it, natural advertising through signs is primary. Other fancy and expensive stuff like radio and tv. is expensive and can never compensate for inadequate natural signage---Hence, if a community says it wants economic growth but allows inadequate signage-----the truth is that it does NOT want economic growth, and is in fact CONFLICTED. Evansville has been conflicted about growth for a long time. Now, more than ever, we need to be on the same page as to commercial growth, and the necessity of this in order to make the numbers come out for everyone.

That is how I see it. And you?

Planning Commission: New Auto Repair Shop coming to Evansville

Last night at the Evansville Planning Commission, members approved unanimously the plan of Paul Bucham to open an auto repair shop at 498 Water Street. They plan on opening in the next month.

Bill Hammann noted that auto repair is an area of need currently since the current shops are backlogged and this fits in to the community. The plan does have the contingincy of having the approval of the building inspector regarding any ventilation issues.

Nostalgia: Memories of Obama's Visit

Audio: Catch the excitement of the Obama visit to Madison at the Kohl Center. Not since that visit of John Kerry almost four years ago was there such excitement among loyal Democratic fans.

MP3 File

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"HGH"-----the poem or " The Pitch"

(Ed.note: I found this writing on a piece of paper near the baseball diamond at a local park. It lay under a Mountain Dew bottle, and the Dew helped preserve it though the winter. I have faithfully reproduced it without alteration.)

a curve
It was

a fast
It was
a slider

that took
It was

don't take
it might
my memory

wasn't a
just low

didn't have

wasn't a
confict of
It was

It was

It was

wasn't a fast
It was

The Rise of Computer: The Rise of Control Data and Bill Norris---inventor and social visionary

At our local library in the old VHS tapes are a series on secrets of World War II. In several of these tapes they cover the black box operation during the war called "Code Breakers" which was based in London and charged with breaking the German code. The success of this operation played a large role in the victory of the Allies.

The rest of the story is what happened to the technology of these code breakers. Some of this technology ended up in the company first called Univac and then called Control Data. One of the young employees was Seymour Cray who later went on the build the Cray Supercomputer. If you click on the post there is the background in Wikipedia.

Bill Norris, who headed up Control Data, was not only an entrapeneur, but a business leader that supported business development and inventors. Folks are very aware of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis----that noisy and yes terrible place to watch football. Few are aware of the BTC, or the Business Technology Center about two blocks away. It is earth sheltered. Heated with passive solar 30 years ago. It was designed to house some Control Data offices, but mostly those that could support young business that was in formation stage and which needed low cost office space to begin in.

In those days, computers were running cp/m software, with large 8" discettes. Folks could build their computer purchased from a Heath Store in kit form, or they could buy one from Ohio Scientific. The software for these early computers was supported and sold by Control Data with an office in South Minneapolis. These beginning packages were pretty primitive compared with those in style today, but to have a General Ledger program, a data base program and an accounts receivable program was considered to be pretty hip. My first business computer was purchased in this way.

In addition to forming or helping form and support many new business ventures, Bill Norris was a visionary social thinker and formed the manufacturing divisions of Control Data in the very worst spots----like down in the ghetto of St. Paul----It is now a beautiful area of St. Paul. More importantly, these manufacturing divisions provided good paying jobs, and training to unskilled workers so they could become skilled.

His most extreme idea was to contract with prisons and pay wages to inmates to assemble computer parts. One of the representatives of Control Data gave my wife and I a tour of this facility in Stillwater prison and I can still remember the sound when the steel doors slammed shut. I was exploring whether the computer parts which I was manufacturing could be done by prison labor.

I wonder how many businesses were formed out of the efforts of Bill Norris. His "incubator concept" has been a model for all communities that are wondering what to do next. Thanks, Bill.

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "The Virtual Prom"----FICTION

Click on the post for the latest from Normal, Mn.. A land of fiction....but other than that....

The New Video

Click on the post for the latest in video applications for law enforcement.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gazette: Rock County Speaks: Vote Details from Tuesday

After all the trash talking of the final 48 hours....Wisconsin and closer to home, Rock County voters has a chance to speak------Click on the post to see what they said.

Observer Announces: Book of Minutes-2006 Arrival

The Evansville Observer is pleased to announce the publication of The Book of Minutes 2006---the Unauthorized and Unedited minutes of the governmental units of Evansville, Wisconsin for 2006. All minutes were taken from public internet sources and no editing was done.

Click on the post to view the book and preview the first 15 pages. All content of the Book of Minutes is also searchable on Google.

Now on every hotel night stand in Evansville will be two books side by side: The Gideon and the Book of Minutes.

Spring is On the Way---

Posted by Picasa

Doubleclick photo for largest view.

Evansville Redevelopment Meets: No New Business

Click on the post for the minutes of yesterday's meeting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

School Beat; Virtual School compromise in Limbo?

Click on the post for the latest.


AWARE: Julie Hermanson announces Easter Program

Download File

AWARE has again teamed up with St. Paul Knights of Columbus and the local daycare providers to bring the Easter Basket program to the community.

Families with children in the local daycares are encouraged to watch for flyers asking them to donate either a bag of plastic eggs or a bag of individually wrapped Easter candy. The Knights of Columbus will be raising funds at St. Paul Parish to pay for items for the Easter dinners which will be provided to families that enroll in the program.

Low-income families are encouraged to complete a registration form to participate in the Easter Basket program. Forms are available through AWARE, the school and the Evansville Ecumenical Care Closet and must be completed in full and returned to AWARE, P.O. Box 4, by March 10th. Distribution will take place Tuesday, March 18th from 4:30 to 6:30PM at the Care Closet, which is located at 206 South Madison Street.

Anyone with questions may contact AWARE at 882-9900 or send an email to aware@community-action.org.

AWARE: Julie Hermanson Speaks:

Julie Hermanson of AWARE agency thanks those who donated last year and made it a big success.

Download File

Hi, I’m Julie Hermanson, program manager for AWARE in Evansville, a program of Community Action, Inc. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their generous donations to AWARE through the Toys for Evansville program, Love Light Tree campaign, and our holiday mailing.

Whether it was a direct financial donation, the purchase of a gift for a child in the toy program, volunteering your time, or giving hats, mittens, food, or more, please know it was greatly appreciated and helped to make a joyful Christmas and a warmer New Year for many. Our Toys for Evansville program served 79 families with more than 200 children this past Christmas and we couldn’t have done it without you!

Also, on behalf of AWARE and United Way of North Rock County, I would like to thank anyone who donated to the recent United Way campaign. Please know your contributions help not only AWARE, but many other organizations that reach out and provide a variety of services to Evansville residents.

Historic Preservation Meets Wednesday----

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Gazette: Govert Well and Pump to pay $100,000 fine

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

Winter Getaway

Double click for the largest version. A local Evansville resident sent this from Florida to cheer on the readers.

Beloit College: Obama Speaks of Change--audio

Click on the post for the story in the Janesville Gazette plus audio of the speech last night.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Planning Commission: February 18, 2008---additional info

Staff Report
Date: February 18, 2008
To: Evansville Plan Commission
From: Tim Schwecke, AICP, City Planner
Subject: Conditional use application for auto repair at 498 Water Street (Application #2008-7)
Agenda Item 6-A for February 21, 2008 Plan Commission meeting
Applicant: Tom Davis and Jan Davis
Description of request: The applicant has submitted an application to establish an auto repair
business (Sec. 130-417). It is a conditional use in all districts (B-3, B-4, B-5, I-1, and I-2) where
it is allowed.
Current zoning district: The subject property is located in the Light Industrial District (I-1).
1. The proposed use would occur in the newest of the three buildings on the parcel
(northwest building).
2. The proposed use would occupy 50 feet along the front of the building or 2,000 square
feet of floor area.
3. The future land use map of the smart growth comprehensive plan shows the property as
4. Access to the subject property will be off of Water Street.
Staff Report
5. The subject property abuts residentially-zoned property to the north. Section 130-
417(2)(b) requires a bufferyard opacity of 0.05 when this type of use abuts residential
property. Because the property is zoned I-1 and abuts a residential district, an opacity of
0.6 is required. Therefore, no additional bufferyards are required for the proposed use.
Required Plan Commission findings: Section 130-104 (3) of the Municipal Code includes
criteria that should be considered in making this decision. I offer the following narrative which
should be referenced in the Plan Commission’s motion to approve, if it so chooses.
1. Consistency of the use with the comprehensive plan. The proposed use in general and
in this specific location is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan of June 2005, as
2. Consistency with the city’s zoning code, or any other plan, program, or ordinance.
The proposed use in general and in this specific location is consistent with city’s zoning
code, or any other plan, program, or ordinance, whether adopted or under consideration
pursuant to official notice of the city.
3. Affect on nearby property. The use will not result in a substantial or undue adverse
impact on nearby property, the character of the neighborhood, environmental factors,
traffic factors, parking, public improvements, public property or rights-of-way, or other
matters affecting the public health, safety, or general welfare, either as they now exist or
as they may in the future be developed as a result of the implementation of the city’s
zoning code, the comprehensive plan, or any other plan, program, map, or ordinance
adopted or under consideration pursuant to official notice by the city.
4. Appropriateness of use. The proposed use maintains the desired consistency of land
uses, land use intensities, and land use impacts as related to the environs of the subject
5. Utilities and public services. The use will be adequately served by, and will not impose
an undue burden on, any of the improvements, facilities, utilities, or services provided by
the city or any other public agency serving the subject property.
Required Plan Commission conclusion: Section 130-104(3)(f) of the Municipal Code requires
the Plan Commission to determine whether the potential public benefits of the conditional use do
or do not outweigh any and all potential adverse impacts.
The proposed motion that is included on the meeting agenda states that benefits do in fact
outweigh any and all potential adverse impacts.
Staff recommendation: Staff recommends approval with the following conditions:
1. The business operator, now and in the future, shall comply with all provisions in the
city’s zoning code, as may be amended, related to vehicle repair and maintenance
(Section 130-417).
2. Expansion of the use beyond 2,000 square feet will require review as a new conditional
As a condition of approval, the Plan Commission may also want to limit the number of vehicles
that are stored on the property.

Mailbag; Eager Library writes:

Eager Free Public Library will hold an Open House for Latino community members at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5th. The purpose is to welcome Spanish-speaking residents to use the Library's resources, and to familiarize them with Library policies and procedures.


Kathi Kemp

Mailbag; Rep. Davis writes:

80th Assembly District Update - February 18, 2008
Action Needed to Jump-Start Economy and
Close Budget Shortfall

On Wednesday, February 12 the Director of the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) briefed the Assembly Republican Caucus on the status of our state's economy and its impact on our state budget. While there was some positive news about the economy in the first part of 2007, the overall picture is sobering. In short, due to the downturn in the national economy, the state is facing a $652 million shortfall. Governor Doyle, as required by state law, is expected to introduce a budget repair bill in the coming weeks.

Click here to access a copy of the LFB memo that I received at the briefing. According to the LFB, despite the weakness in the housing market, high energy prices, and disruptions to credit markets, the national economy continued to expand throughout 2007. In addition, LFB noted the labor market was very resilient in 2007. LFB stated personal income grew by 6.2% compared to last January’s estimate of 5.1%, which reflects higher than anticipated growth in both jobs and wages. That's the good news.

The bad news is that economic growth slowed significantly in the fourth quarter and the current forecast assumes that the economy has begun to contract. Positive growth is expected to resume in the third quarter of 2008, in part due to the effects of interest rate cuts and the federal stimulus package; however when the federal stimulus package wears off, economic growth is uncertain.

Now more than ever, Wisconsin residents need both sides of the political aisle to come together and work in a bipartisan fashion to fix this serious budget issue. I applaud Governor Doyle for taking a significant first step by asking state agencies to cut an additional $111 million. In addition, I am encouraged that the Governor has stated he is committed to working with the State Legislature to solve the problem without raising taxes.

Ultimately, it is important we are proactive as a state to pass a number of measures designed to stimulate economic growth. As I stated in last week’s column, Assembly Republicans are reaching across the aisle and working with Governor Doyle to pass a series of family and business friendly policies, which include reforming our tax structure and providing incentives that will encourage in-state research and development.

Minutes: Economic Development: January 2008

City of Evansville
Economic Development Committee
Tuesday, January 22, 2008, 5:30 PM
City Hall, 31 S. Madison St. Evansville, WI

1. Roll Call: Meeting called to order at 5:30 by Tony Wyse. Present: Roger Berg, Gene Bass David Olsen, Julie Meredith and Fred Juergens at 5:42. Also present: Bridgit Larsen and Mayor Sandy Decker. Matthias James and Rock County Rep. James Otterstein not present.

2. Approval of Agenda: David Olsen made a motion to approve and Gene Bass seconded.

3. Motion to waive the reading and approve the Dec. 2007 minutes: Gene Bass made a motion and Roger Berg seconded.

4. Citizens Appearances, other than on items listed below: None.

5. Economic Development Summit: The goal is to refine the objectives. 1)Workforce Development. 2)Downtown Revitalization. 3)Government Relations. 4)Marketing. 5)Entrepreneurial Environment.

6. Chamber of Commerce report: Monday membership meeting. Focus on Energy. will have a representative Alicia Rankin speaking on energy efficiency incentives.

7. City Administrator report: None.

8. Rock County Visitors Guide: Out and on the stands.

9. City Website update and discussion: None.

10. Discussion; Promotion of Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund: Review panel being established

11. Discussion Room Tax: Looking into how much tax should be charged.

12. Motion to Adjourn: Roger Berg made a motion and David Olsen seconded.

Redevelopment Authority Meets Tuesday, Feb 19, 2008

Click on the post for the agenda.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

NYT: Britain Will Nationalize Troubled Mortgage Lender

Click on the post for the story out of London from the New York Times.

Here is the rule: If you cannot SUPERVISE, NATIONALIZE-----

Britain has recognized its responsibilities and now will supervise. Last week, the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Paulson, was still mouthing that "there is no going back from the world of securitization."

The problem is however, that our government has not instituted close supervision of its wayward financial industry---yes they have given some mortgage holders in foreclosure a thirty days suspension of the proceedings---and yes it might be necessary to renew this provision monthly as opposed to just calling it a "foreclosure holiday" as was done in the 1930's.

Here is the bottom line: Britain has set the lead. Will the US follow in dealing with the current mortgage crisis? or, will it be allowed to grow dramatically worse right in time for national elections?

You make the call.

Gazette; Rotary Project Features books for Philippine young readers

Click on the post. Have some unused books? Maybe you too can help. See the details at the end of the article.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New Evansville Sewage Plant in Near Future? 1-2 Million

(Common Council Minutes Nov. 13, 2007 Strategic Planning Session)

"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."

Mercury Corner: Bush Administration Pressured States to back off tougher mercury rules

Many students from Evansville Schools participated in the International Mercury Conference held in Madison, and this story has a personal touch for many here in Evansville. Click on the post for the latest.

Gazette: Walworth Board Candidate Questions current use of TIF

click on the post for the full story in today's Gazette.

Gazette: Pet Corner: Politics: Is Holistic Pet food better?

The Gazette wades into the political fray. Click on the post for the full story.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Minutes: Historic Preservation Janaury 2008--Second Historic District?

Evansville Historic Preservation Commission
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 7:00 P.M.
3rd Floor, City Hall

Present: Dennis Wessels, Steve Culbertson, Rich Modaff, John Decker, Steve Christens,
Betsy Ahner
Also Present: Jim McGoey

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 December 19, 2007 minutes and approve them as read. Motion carried.

Applications – Appearances

There were no applications to approve.

Old Business

Jim McGoey was present to discuss Historic District lighting. He informed Commission members that since their December meeting a proposal was on the agenda for Public Works. At that meeting he asked that the light fixtures removed from downtown Evansville not be used outside of the Historic District. 1) the original intent was to locate these poles in the Historic District 2) it is difficult to budget to purchase more ornamental lighting. He felt his proposal was well received with no objections raised by Dave Sauer or Dave Wartenweiler.

Next steps – there is a question of whether the poles need painting and what the cost might be.

Motion by Dennis Wessels that the Historic Preservation Commission has discussed a proposal for the installation of a combination of ornamental lights removed from the downtown area and cutoff lighting for the Historic District and recommends that this be pursued by the City of Evansville. Second by Steve Culbertson. Motion carried. (Note: in the December meeting $1,500 from the HPC 2007 budget was set aside for this project.)


Redevelopment Authority – no proposals are before the RDA at this time.

Plaque Program Applications – there were no applications to act upon. The application has been provided to the City but has not yet been added to the website.

Grove Society – John Decker reported that Alison Becker will be hosting the January Old House Group and he invited those present to participate. The home belonged to the Hipkes and Ruth Ann Montgomery will be making a presentation on the history of the home. Also, John has talked to the Chamber leadership and they remain interested in taking space in the Historic Baker Office Building. He is putting together a work group. The Grove Society will have a table display at the grand re-opening of the Eager Building.

Document management – we are still waiting for the City to move forward on this.

Second Historic District – John suggested that we invite the residents of the proposed districts to get together and discuss their interest in this.

There being no other business a motion to adjourn was made by Culberson and Seconded by Wessels. Motion carried.

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

Minutes: Evansville Planning Commission: February 2008

City of Evansville Plan Commission

Regular Meeting
Monday, February 4, 2008, 6:00 pm
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin


I. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm by Mayor Sandy Decker. Present: Sandy Decker, Diane Roberts, Gil Skinner, Bill Hammann, Jim Brooks, Mason Braunschweig (arrived late), and Jeff Vrstal (arrived late). Also present: City Administrator Dan Wietecha, City Planner Tim Schwecke, Fire Chief Mike Halvensleben, and Dean Schultz.

II. Approve Agenda. Skinner made a motion, seconded by Roberts, to approve the agenda as presented. Motion passed unanimously.

III. Approve Minutes of January 3, 2008 Meeting. Skinner made a motion, seconded by Brooks, to approve the minutes as presented. Motion passed unanimously.

IV. Citizen Appearances. None.

V. Action Items.
a. Fire Hall Site Plan.
i) Applicant Presentation. Dean Schultz of Excel Engineering presented the site plan, including the 17,715 sf building, parking and driveway access around the building, landscaping, wetland delineation, grading, and a stormwater pond. Plans for a separate storage building are no longer part of the proposal.

ii) Staff Report. Schwecke presented his written report. He noted that the proposal exceeds the required parking standards, sidewalks need to be added between the parking and the building, it satisfies the landscaping requirements, the lighting plan is pending the city engineer’s review, and there are no wetland impacts. The Commission noted a letter from the city engineer indicating more time would be needed to review the proposed pond and stormwater management.

iii) Commissioners Discussion. The Commission asked about on-site vehicle maintenance, washing, and fueling. Halvensleben and Schultz indicated any maintenance and washing would be done indoors where trench drains and a curb would contain any spills; fueling would not be on-site. The Commission asked about the floodplain permit. Schwecke noted that the city administers its own floodplain regulations, this site plan is based on the anticipated new FIRM maps, and this project has been approved. Schultz noted that a general DNR permit would be required because of the amount of excavation; this permit has already been approved. The Commission noted that Water Street is a designated truck route and recommended warning lights or signs for approaching traffic.

iv) Applicant Comments. Schultz noted that the pond would have a poly liner per DNR standards because of the high groundwater. The sidewalks recommended by the planner will be added.

v) Decision. Braunschweig made a motion, seconded by Roberts, to approve the site plan contingent upon the following conditions: 1) Prior to issuance of a building permit, the city engineer shall have approved the stormwater management plan, erosion control plan, and outdoor lighting plan; 2) Prior to issuance of a building permit, the applicant shall have paid all charge back application fees that may have been assessed; 3) The applicant shall obtain a separate sign permit for all on-site signage, 4) Sidewalks shall be provided along the side of the parking lots, closest to the south and west sides of the building; and 5) “Fire Truck Entering” or similar warning signs and lights shall be installed on Water Street.

VI. Discussion Items.
a. Fees in lieu of parkland dedication. Schwecke noted that the state had recently amended the statutes to again allow collection of fees in lieu of parkland dedication. Wietecha noted that the City Code had never been amended to disallow the fees; however, it would need to be reviewed to ensure it conforms to the new statutory language. The Commission noted that the formula and amount of fees would also need to be reviewed. The Commission noted its willingness to hold a special meeting if needed to make the City Code conform to the new statutory language.

VII. Preliminary Development Presentations. None.

VIII. Rock County Smart Growth Plan. Decker indicated she expected to attend their next meeting on February 7. The land use element is on the meeting agenda.

IX. Site Plan Amendments. None.

X. CRS Application. Schwecke indicated that it is in process; FEMA will be scheduling a site visit.

XI. Redevelopment Authority. None.

XII. Historic Preservation Commission. None.

XIII. Evansville-Union Implementation Committee. Hammann noted the committee had held its first meeting. They intend to address service matters (such as street maintenance) prior to addressing policy issues (such as land use). They discussed snow plowing during the first meeting and will be discussing law enforcement next. Janis Ringhand was appointed chair, and Bob Janes was appointed vice chair.

XIV. ULDC Advisory Committee. Schwecke said they had held their initial meeting and the next meeting is February 21.

XV. Common Council Actions. Schwecke noted his written report.

XVI. Board of Appeals. None.

XVII. Enforcement. None.

XVIII. Upcomi/evansville-health-club.html
a. The Commission agreed to a special meeting at 6:00 on February 21 to hold a public hearing for a conditional use permit (CUP). The applicant will be responsible for the expense of the special meeting.

b. The Commission noted the next regular meeting date of March 3, 2008.

XIX. Adjournment. Hammann made a motion, seconded by Braunschweig, to adjourn the meeting. Motion approved unanimously.

Fed Lowering Rates: Mortgage Rates Rising:

Loan Type Today Last Week

30 Year Fixed 5.76% 5.57%
15 Year Fixed 5.20% 5.04%
1 Year ARM 5.01% 5.07%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 6.78% 6.66%

Recovery of the housing segment will not take place till rates have lowered to the consumer marketplace and homes have become affordable relative to purchasing power of the consumer.

A review of the Yahoo finance numbers for the mortgage rates for today as compared to last week suggests that all the numbers are going the wrong way. The banks may be beefing up their balance sheets, but everyone else is coming up worse for the exercise. Stay tuned.

Gazette: The Obama Janesville Policy Speech

Click on the post for the article in the Janesville Gazette that reviews the policy initiatives that were presented in the speech in Janesville.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Janesville Gets Federal Earmark for Transit Center

Janesville Receives $735,000 Federal Earmark for Transit Services Center
In late December 2007, President Bush signed into law an Omnibus Appropriations Bill which will fund most of the domestic programs of the federal government for FY 2008. The City of Janesville received a $735,000 earmark within this bill toward the cost of the design and construction of a proposed new Transit Services Center to replace the current 47 year old facility on Parker Drive.

The City of Janesville thanks Congressman Paul Ryan for his efforts in assisting with the federal appropriations process. His support of the City’s needs was significant and this earmark represents the first commitment of federal funds to this project.
(Ed.note; per Janesville city Press release

The new Transit Services Center is proposed to be located at North Parker Drive and Blackbridge Road. A 2005 study estimated the cost of this project to be $4.97 million dollars. The site has already been purchased by the City at a cost of $395,015. The City has an additional $434,985 available through existing or planned note issues for this project. All of the funds the City spends towards this project will be matched by the federal government.

Although sufficient funds are not yet available to begin construction of the Transit Services Center, progress is being made. The City Administration will continue to explore funding options to ensure this project is completed.

For questions, please contact Transit Director Dave Mumma at 755-3150.

Economic Development Meets Next Tuesday-2-20-2008

Click on the post for the full agenda

Minyanville: Failed Bond Auctions Pose Problems

80% of all the bond auctions for cities, schools and student loan organizations failed yesterday----click on the post for the full article in Minyanville.

Yahoo: Bernanke Says Economic Outlook has worsened

Click on the post for the story breaking today.

Park Board Meets Monday, February 18, 2008; 6PM

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Budget "Gap" coming; Handcuffs for State and Local governments

Two weeks ago, right in the middle of discussion of the Evansville Common Council of the ordinance to allow referendum only for items over 5 million dollars, a person in Asia searched on Google for "handcuffs." Guess what. That person came upon our local story. It is a small world.

The real "handcuff" is the shrinking budget caused by the slowing economy as well as the restricted municipal debt market which due to the perilous financial state of bond insurers may not have the capacity to handle new issues that are desired. We will see.

Click on the post for the story in the Janesville Gazette on the budget gap projected for the State of Wisconsin.

Gazette Corner; Senior Center Plans Progress; Meeting set for Thursday

Click on the post for the latest from Gina Duwe of the Janesville Gazette.

Jeff's Blog Corner: Where the candidates stand?

Jeff's Back. Click on the post for the latest.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Municipal Bond Corner: Selling the Best; Holding the junk long term; HUH?

Yesterday, Warren Buffet himself, posing as a white knight, but underneath looking a bit like a predator, offered to the municipal bond companies a strategy where he would buy their best holdings or reinsure them, and then leave them with the junk.....

States, which are facing a deteriorating credit situation due to the decline in affordable debt offerings, should be feeling the squeeze shortly, if not already. There is a time lag in these matters, and folks are usually in one room talking about cuts, while in another room adventurous development types are discussing adding more municipal debt----it takes a while for the picture to come together---but this is coming together quite fast----and the pains of cash and carry will arrive shortly.

It appears that the time for municipalities to focus on essential projects and not dreams has arrived.

Click on the post for the article on the Buffet offer.

Video: 4 of 4: Lake Leota Presentation 2-12-2008

Video: 4 0f 4 Presentation of Dredging estimate for Lake Leota at Common Common Council 2-12-2008--for full length movie, contact fre2Observe@yahoo.com

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Video; 3 of 4; Common Council: Lake Leota: 2-12-2008

Video; 3 of 4 of Presentation at Evansville Common Council meeting on 2-12-2008 on Lake Leota Dredging Proposal.

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Video: 2 of 4 Lake Leota Report

Common Council: 2-12-2008; Lake Leota Presentation

Download File

Putting the "Party" back in political party----last night

Last night at the Majestic in Madison, Fighting Bob and company had a little party----click on the post for the video----the momentum is building. And there was talk of the superdelagates----click on the post.

Video: 1 of 4: Common Council 2-12-2008 Lake Leota

Video: 1 of 4: Virbiercher and Associates Presents Report to Common Council on Dredging Estimates for Lake Leota

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Gazette: Magnolia Town Hall water high in nitrates

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

WKOW: Video: Obama packs the Kohl Center

Click the link for the full video of his speech last night.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Half-Day Kindergarten Info Meeting--TONIGHT---February 12, 2008

Half-Day Kindergarten Informational Meeting - February 12, 2008

Are you considering sending your child to half-day kindergarten in the Evansville Community School District?

Parents considering half-day kindergarten for their child(ren), ages 0-5, are invited to attend an evening of information and discussion about Evansville's half-day kindergarten program on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Eager Free Public Library basement meeting room.

Specific information will be shared about the 2008-09 half-day kindergarten program, although people are invited to attend if they are considering half-day kindergarten in the future.

Speak with Steve Hoffenberg, Evansville's half-day kindergarten teacher, receive information about Evansville's half-day kindergarten program, discuss the benefits of half-day kindergarten, and connect with other families who will choose, and have chosen, half-day kindergarten for their child at this parent-led information meeting. 3 Evansville parents who have had their
children in the half-day program will be speaking and answering your questions at this informal

Kindergarten registration for the 2008-09 school year begins at the orientation at 6:00 PM on Tuesday,February 26,2008.

At this meeting, parents indicate if they want the half-day option for their children, on a first-come, first served basis.

Kindergarten screening will then be held on March 17,18 & 19, 2008.

The Evansville Community School District Board of Education has supported the continuation of a stand-alone half-day kindergarten provided 15 students are registered by April 1 and 12 students remain registered by August 1. Please make childcare arrangements as there will not be childcare available in the library.

Contact Jackie Liebel at 882-6383 with questions on the information session.

Gazette; Evansville Common Council: TONIGHT: Lake Leota on agenda

The proposal for the restoration of Lake Leota will be on the agenda tonight at the Evansville Common Council meeting at 6:30PM at City Hall.

Click on the post for some details from the Janesville Gazette.

Twin Cities: Central Corridor Light Rail is the Hot story

Click on the post for a feature story in the Midway Monitor on the Light Rail segment that is the hot topic of the Twin Cites--the central corridor from St. Paul to Minneapolis.

Video: "The Training Circuit"

Justin Schott of The New Evansville Health Club explains how the weight equipment provides a circuit of exercise that conditions the total body.

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Video: Evansville Health Club--the new Bench Press

Justin Schott of the new Evansville Health Club explains how the new safe bench press works

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Yahoo: Do Perfect Dates Make Lousey Partners?

Click on the post for the latest.

Gazette: Beloit Turner gets 4k and referendum for 8.6 million

Click on the post for the latest.

Gazette Corner: Obama coming to Janesville Tuesday

The details are still in flux. Click on the post for the Gazette story.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Nostalgia: 2006: The Phantom Impact Study---

(Ed.Note: This is a portion of the minutes of Evansville Planning Commission January 2006)

Plan Commission
Regular Meeting
Tuesday, January 3, 2006, 6:00 P.M.
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI


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

Approval of Agenda.
The Agenda was approved after deleting “(Move agenda item 7H to be the first item under new business)” in item 3 – Approval of agenda.

Approval of Minutes.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Sauer, to waive the reading of the December 5, 2005, Minutes and approve them as printed.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Hammann, to amend the minutes to incorporate into a statement that the City of Evansville, Town of Union, and Evansville School District will seek to cooperate regarding managing the impact of residential development on the school district and to consider contributing to a study projecting future enrollment and/or a study of the fiscal impact of residential development. Motion passed.

School Beat; Evansville School District Lists Goals

click on the post for the goals for academic improvement as well as long term planning.

Gazette Corner: Lake Leota Proposal: Executive Summary

Click on the post for the story by Gina Duwe that has the executive summary.

COWS; Center On Wisconsin Strategy

COWS, or the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, is an important element of the Economic Development equation, and is one of the sub committees of the recent Evansville Economic Summit.

Click on the post for a review of this organization.

The essential notion is that we cannot as a state "leave any worker behind", and must work on skill development for workers who do not have college degrees or may be changing careers etc and lack the necessary skill set in a changing economic environment.

This is a regional strategy and is not about keeping everything within a city limits, but rather developing a regional strategy for success.

School Beat: Buildings and Grounds Committee meets today; 4:30PM;

Click on the post for the full agenda.

School Beat: Superintendent's February 2008 Report

(Ed.note: This text is from the Evansville Schools Web site)

February 2008 Superintendent’s Report

Mid Year Goal Update: My mid-year goal update is in the February Board packet and will also be
posted in the administrator corner on the district website.

Snow Days: While DPI allows us to count 5 days for conference and inclement weather, they don’t allow
us to count conference time in the evening. This means we can actually have 5 snow days. However, they
also require a set number of minutes which is highest at the high school level and lowest at the K-6.

After two snow days and one early dismissal day, we are out of time at the high school. I will propose at
negotiations tonight that the high school goes a full day on February 20 and April 30 while the rest of the
District has early release to make up what will likely be a snow day tomorrow (Wednesday).
If we need another snow day, the whole District will need to go to make up the day(s). This would mean
we would need to go into the second week in June. We would not change the date of commencement. It
will shorten summer school.

Custodial Super Stars: With over 50 inches of snow and counting, our custodial crew deserves special
recognition for keeping our roads and sidewalks clear and safe. They are here very early in the morning
sometimes as early as 3. When they finish snow removal, those on days dash right into the buildings to
catch up on the morning cleaning they typically do when there isn’t snow or ice to deal with. Joe Francis
deserves special praise for keeping our equipment in working order and planning ahead for our ice and
salt supplies – no small feat given the demand this year.

Congratulations Wrestler: Coach Rob Kostroun and his staff are to be congratulated on their excellent
work with our wrestling team who won their third conference wrestling championship in a row. It all
starts over now with tournament season ahead of us. A program like this is built over time. Parent groups
and the middle school wrestling program share in the success of our students. Thanks to Butch Beedle,
Pat Kelley, Andy Lehman and Rob for all their hard work.
Blackhawk Technical College: I have a meeting with Sharon Kennedy, new director of student learning
at Blackhawk on Monday. It will be fun to share our wonderful facility with her. Eric Larson, President,
will share information about how our graduates fare at Blackhawk at our March board meeting. BTC is
making more of an effort to reach out to area high schools and do a better job of recruiting students right
out of high school.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weather Update: Travel

Click on the post for channel3000.

Dateline Satirewire: "Remaining CEO's Make a break for it."

Click on the post for a classic from satirewire, the blog.

Twin Cities: Nokomis Messenger: Get Fit Twin Cities

Click on the post to see what a celebration of the multicultural shopping center looks like and also the 100 day fitness challenge for the Twin Cities, which features salsa dancing as well as yoga....just what it needed in the days of frozen tundra weather.

Joe Soucheray: Pioneer Press: "Next time you are mugged, note the teeth"

Click on the post for a classic from Joe Soucheray.

Interstate 39/90 at Stoughton at N is closed-----10:02AM Sunday

The problem at 39/90 persists near Stoughton as falling temps have hidered the effectiveness of salt and cars and trucks are having difficulty moving. Plan an alternative route.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

UW Extension: "Creating a Culture of Innovation"--Follow up to Evansville Economic Summit

Click on the post for the web site of the UW Extention for I and E Clubs.

Limited copies of "Catch the Culture"---the movie----the exciting speech from the Economic Summit are available from The Evansville Observer. Email fre2observe@yahoo.com for details.

Evansville School Board Meets Monday; 5:30PM

Click on the post to get agenda.

Gazette: Lake Leota: Time for Citizens to Listen and then Speak:

Click on the post for further details on the Lake Leota Restoration plan that will be presented to the Evansville Common Council next Tuesday, February 12, 2008. Council President Mason Braunschweig states in the article that it is time for the public to review the proposal and then speak. A fall referendum is possible.

The Evansville Observer hopes to have full audio and selected video of the meeting next week.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Gazette: Lake Leota Restoration: Estimate 1.7 --2.6 Million

Click on the post for the article in the Janesville Gazette. The Evansville Common Council will formally receive this report on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 at their regular Council Meeting at 6:30PM.

Background; Common Council: Lake Leota: Vierbicher and Associates

Click on the post for the background info of this firm that will present their final results to the Common Council regarding Lake Leota on Tuesday, February 12, 2008.

Gazette: Schools in Rock County request to shorten the school year

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

What is the problem? There are plenty of days left in June. You make the call.

Evansville Common Council Meets Tuesday,Feb 12, 2008---Lake Leota Study on Agenda

Click on the post for the full agenda.


Click on the post for the latest from Grumps.

CapTimes: OpEd: Capital Times Goes Digital; Explains; Death or Rebirth?

Click on the post for today's oped piece and comments.

Click for largest version.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Cap Times: Capital Times Makes Shift to Internet

Click on the post for the full story.

Reducing it's print cycle from 6 days to 2, and moving to emphasize internet news. Stay tuned.

Union Wind Issue Attracts World Attention: Click on post

Welcome to all of you. Click on the post to see where everyone is coming from. Whether it is Washington, DC, or Europe or across the USA, folks are interested in the discussion of the proper safety and health aspects of wind turbine placement that the recent Town of Union Planning Commission has been discussing.

Remember when you get in Wisconsin. Just stop on by Evansville. Until then......

Enjoy your tour of the Evansville Observer. Come Back often.

Nihilist in Golf Pants Blog; Reasons the Giants Won

Click on the post for the latest from one of the top Twin Cities Blogs.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Gazette Corner: Rescue of Stranded Motorists under way

Click on the post for the latest.

Virtual Shopping for a Winter Day----Observer tours Big Sweeties Pet Supply Store

Ann, manager of Big Sweeties Pet Supply Store, at 801 Brown School Road, Evansville gives a tour of their new store.

Download File

Nostalgia: OpEd: On the Housing and Mortgage Crisis--view of five months ago

(Ed.note: Original Post on September 5, 2007)

"On Jawboning"--- effective method, or cruel Hoax?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007
OpEd: "Jawboning"---- effective method or cruel hoax

Sometimes when policy makers do not want to take concrete steps to solve problems, they indulge in an exercise called "jawboning." This "jawboning" has risen to a high art in financial and political circles, whether you are the Federal Reserve Chairman or the President of the US or whomever.

Last weekend I went to Wisconsin Dells to join my editor brother in a doubles game of tennis with two younger...and faster tennis players. My bro and I only had age and .....whatever wisdom we called "experience" to work with. Speed, vision and deft of hand has been slipping for some time. O.K. You understand the situation we were in.

It was a furious paced game with lots of net play. Just the kind of game Denis and I have always loved. At a critical point, Denis hit from the baseline a direct ball toward the opposing net player, who hit it with his backhand, and popped a weak lob in the air, which I smashed for a winner.....one of the few of the day for me.

As I walked to the other side of the net, celebrating, I cheered my bro on and said, "Let's go big guy.....they may be losing their arm strength."

On the next play, the opponent smashed the ball at me and although I was ready for it, it came on the backhand and I blew the shot. The "Jawboning" had worked. I had the shot I wanted....just not the skill needed.

So------"Jawboning" as a rule of thumb is always the mark of weakness.

Think of President Bush "jawboning" the mortgage industry to "work with" the holders of the mortgages that are going to be set to new higher interest rates---over a million of them this coming year. He has the power to take effective administrative action to modify the rules of handling, but instead uses "jawboning." That indicates weakness and .....portends trouble.

"Jawboning" in the mortgage case is his way of distancing himself from the problem---a problem that he cannot distance himself from since the Treasury supervises or.....should have supervised....the industry.

In fact.....over the past 30 years whether it has been the savings and loan industry in the 80's, the bond fiasco, the stock market crash, the techno bubble, or the current situation---- money.....special interest campaign money has impaired the proper functioning of our government in the financial sector.

For years, the government has been trying to weaken the barrier between banks and the stock brokerage industry---the Glass Stiegel Act of 1933. To the extent that they have weakened this barrier, banks too have become vulnerable to the downdraft of bundled mortgage products they are financially tied to.

So---the problem: Right when we need effective decisive action from our government we get just "jawboning." Kinda like we got with Hurrican Katrina.

Today the stock market seems to be responding to the "jawboning."----and seeing right though it. That is how I see it.

Stay tuned.

Finance and Labor Meets Thursday Feb 7, 2008; Selling Lot for $6800.

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Dateline Mama's:: Blizzard Warm Up---- HOT, HOT, HOT----Cajun coming to MAMA Albericis Deli

Beginning next Tuesday, Cajun entries will be featured at MAMA Albiricies all week long---MAMA has the cajun cooked and it is worth it to stop on buy and warm up.

Stay tuned.

Click on the post for the regular menu of MAMA's.

Press Release; Karate America under New Ownership

Tel. 608/882-2444
Cell Phone: 608/235-7468
Email: xtremekick@sbcglobal.net

New Owner and Chief Instructor: 4th Degree Black Belt, Mr. Hans Paulson

As of February 1st Karate America Evansville, located at 27 West Main Street in downtown Evansville, is now owned and operated by Hans Paulson. Mr. Paulson is a fourth degree Black Belt with over 17 years of Martial Arts experience. Mr. Paulson graduated from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater with a Bachelors of Science in Education with an emphasis on Health and Human Performance.

“Mr. Paulson came to my classroom for a demonstration. The focus and respect he taught to my students has been invaluable for their learning.” states Jean Hodel, first grade teacher from Belleville Elementary school.

Karate America Evansville offers Martial Arts training for ages four years and above. The kids program focuses on developing respectful and motivated children whose goal is to excel in karate, as well as at home and school. Karate America’s adult program combines self defense and sport karate, creating a unique fitness program.

Karate America Evansville is located in The Grange Store building on Main Street. New students are always welcome. Paulson best sums it up by saying, “It doesn’t matter what your physical abilities are, Martial Arts is all about doing the best that you can do.”

Eager Library Is Closed Today--Wednesday

The Library director has written The Observer to say the library is closed today.

Mailbag: Fashion: U of Minnesota: Joan Writes

(Ed.note: The Observer does not normally cover fashion and relies on others for input.)

The Pre-Runway Pump you up session--ala Charlie's Angels

Winter Wonderland---Snowstorm--

click to view the live scene in Evansville today.

Lake Leota Study on Feb 12th Common Council Agenda

At the February 12th Evansville Common Council meeting at 6:30PM, the Council will discuss the Lake Leota Report submitted by Vierbicher and Associates.

Janesville Teachers urge Contract

Click on the post for the web site of the Janesville teachers which outlines their position.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A trader's Misdeeds or a Bank's misjudgment?

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

Classic Yahoo Finance: 8 Painless Ways to Cut Back

These are classic. Click on the post. Enjoy.

Gazette Corner: Janesville Schools face declining enrollment; Debate use of Fund balance

Click on the post for the latest.

Evansville Observer launches E-Business Applications

Over the past three years, The Evansville Observer has grown from internet community chatting, to internet political debates, to internet video and audio recording of governmental meetings, to website development for small business.

Today I am announcing the next step----- E-Commerce applications for local business. Why not have folks not only visit your business with video and internet, but buy and pay for goods and services on-line?

Click on the post for a preview of The Trinity System offered through Central Payment Corporation whom I am affiliating with for this application.

Remember. The Evansville Observer. Not just talk. We're taking care of business. Your business.

Email me today at fre2observer@yahoo.com

ISM Index plunges; Service jobs contract; Market drops

Click on the post for the story in the New York Times.

The thing that is new here is the contraction in jobs occured in the service sector. The last time this occurred this sharply was in 2001.

It was not a good sign last week when the Federal Reserve lowered it's benchmark rate .50% and then the mortgage rates for 15 and 30 year rose. That indicated to me that banks have no intention of passing the saving on to the consumer, but are keeping the difference to shore up their balance sheets. That is good and bad news. The banks will get stronger, but the bad news is that the consumer will not be able to spend freely till the lower rates are delivered to the marketplace in the form of lower mortgage costs.

That is my take on the story.

Click on the post for the full story in the New York Times.

Union Wind Turbine Study Attracts National Attention

Over the past weekend, folks from all over the country have been visiting The Evansville Observer to learn more about the Union Wind Turbine Study and listen to the presentation by Tom Alisankus and watch the video.

Special Interest sites have downloaded the audio and sent it to their interested readers. Click on the post for the National Wind Watch site which has highlighted the Union Study.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Town of Union Wind Turbine Study Report---the movie

Many folks have been visiting The Observer regarding the Wind Turbine Report presented at the Planning Commission Meeting on 1-31-2008. The Full Screen movie version of this presentation is available. Contact the Evansville Observer at fre2Observe@yahoo.com for details.

Gazette Corner: Union Wind Study Report could be used in State discussions

Click on the post for the follow up article by Gina Duwe of the Gazette.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Public Safety Meets Next Week, Feb 6---Evansville Taxi on agenda

Click on the post for the agenda.

Evansville Planning Commission Meets Monday

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Mailbag: Rep. Brett Davis Writes: Re Virtual School Status

Virtual School Compromise Moves Forward

It was a significant week of progress for the virtual school legislation I am leading through the State Legislature. After striking a deal on compromise legislation with a bipartisan group of legislators, the bills were passed by Assembly and Senate Education Committees.

In addition to my support, the compromise language is supported by the Senator John Lehman, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Education Committee; Elizabeth Burmaster, the Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction; as well as the coalition of virtual school families and virtual schools.

The bills, Assembly Bill (AB) 697 and Senate Bill (SB) 396, were both passed at the committee level. SB 396 was passed unanimously, while AB 697 was passed on a 6-3 vote.

As you know, earlier this year, a court ruling threatened to shut down the state’s online education programs, and put more than 3,000 students in limbo. We responded quickly and put legislation on the fast track to keep virtual schools open and make sure state government doesn't stand in the way of a student’s education.

The consensus legislation addresses the court ruling directly and sets specific standards, requirements and best practices for the state’s virtual schools. The legislation will, among other things:

• Require the same hours of instruction per year for online students as those in brick-and-mortar schools;
• Establish a “Web academy,” administered by the state’s Department of Public Instruction, to share and promote best practices and curricula. This academy is not mandatory: virtual schools are not required to use it and do not have to pay for it; and
• Require that only certified, licensed teachers be allowed to develop lesson plans and grade assignments, set certification and training requirements for teachers, and require that teachers respond to parents and students within 24 hours.

Both bills will now need to be passed by the full Assembly and Senate, respectively, and be signed into law by Governor Jim Doyle.

Union Planning: 1-31-2008: On Siteing and Sound

Video: 3 of 3: Judge Tom Alisankus presents on the two key aspects of ordinance: The site location and the Sound impact

Download File

Gazette Corner: Proposed Wind Ordinance: The Details

In today's Janesville Gazette, Gina Duwe covers the ordinance discussed last night at the Union Planning Commission and what it might mean for possible sites in Union. Click on the post and enjoy.

Union Planning Commission 1-31-2008

Video: Judge Tom Alisankus; 2 0f 3; On the State Model Statute

Download File

Union Planning Commission 1-31-2008--Wind Turbine Study Report---On Site, On Sound; Draft Ordinance Presented--Tom Alisankus Presents Summary

Wind Turbine Study Report and Recommendation of Draft Ordinance--1 of 3 Video: Tom Alisankus Presents ;

Download File

Order Your Pizza ON LINE; and TRACK it ONLINE:

Just in time for Superbowl Sunday, is the latest from Domino's Pizza--where you can order your pizza and then for the impatient folks, track it's progress on line.

These virtual applications are not only available at Domino's, but are coming to Evansville. The Evansville Observer will be working with local business that wants to set up a shopping cart in their web site and sell product and allow customers to charge to their favorite credit card.

If this is something that you are interested in learning more about, email the Observer at fre2Observe@yahoo.com. Click on the post for a demo of the Trinity System that provides flexibility for a merchant, in the store or on the move, or from a web site.

Dateline "Chasing the News": On Animal House II; On the Foodfight!!

It is a matter of trivial historical note that on the Observer's honeymoon, some 27 years ago, we were in a small resort area and decided to head downtown to see a movie. The movie showing at the time was "Animal House" starring John Belushi.

Over the years I have grown accustomed to assuming that when it comes to "TOGA" or "FOODFIGHT" that was the finest moment.

Click on the post. The Observer was wrong. "Chasin" brings us up to date.

Capital Times: Former Overture Center Director Pleads Guilty

Click on the post for the latest.