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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dateline Normal, Mn.: " Arbor Day Comes to Normal, Mn; The Surprise Twist"---FICTION

Click on the post for the latest.

NYT: Fertilizer in Focus

Lots has been written about the rise of food prices and shortages of rice etc in parts of the world, but few articles connect the dots. This article in the New York Times reviews the role of fertilizer in the equation----and to my dismay after teasing that even manure could be cornered by Wall Street types in the options exchange, it appears that we actually are short.

Click on the post for the full story.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gazette; GM drops to One Shift

Click on the post for the scoop.

"Annie Get Your Gun" Coming this Weekend--plus Dinner special on Saturday Night

The Evansville High School is putting on the play "Annie Get Your Gun" this coming weekend, May 2-4.

Play times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. If you wish tickets to the play contact Peter Dietrich at 882-3570 or diedrichp@evansville.k12.wi.us

"Remember to include your name and number of tickets to which show. "

In addition to the play on Saturday, the Music Boosters are sponsoring a dinner before the 7:30 PM show. Below are the details on the dinner and at the bottom is an e-mail address and/or phone number you can contact to make your RSVP for the dinner by May 1.

Hope to see alot of you there!

Mary Anne Alt

A HS Music Parent

Dinner theater experience offered with high school musical

If you’re planning to see the Evansville High School production of “Annie Get Your Gun” the first weekend in May, turn it into a dinner theater experience by attending the Wild West Dinner before the show on Saturday, May 3. The buffet meal will be served from 6 to 7 p.m. in the high school commons, with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium.

The event is being sponsored by the EHS Music Boosters group as a fund raiser to help support music programming in the school. It’s also designed to help theater goers get in the mood for the western-themed musical with special cowboy decorations, costumes, background music, and food. The menu consists of:

Annie’s Never-Miss Chicken

Bull’s Eye Pork Loin (BBQ Sauce on the Side)

Buffalo Bill’s Calico Beans

Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes

Golden Nugget Corn

Frank’s Fine Coleslaw

Texas Caviar and Chips

Cowboy Cookies

Ticket prices are $8 for adults, $5 for children in grades K-8, and free for preschool children. Reservations are required and are limited to the first 250 people. For reservations, send an E-mail to arnoldd@evansville.k12.wi.us or telephone 882-3847. In your message leave your name, number in your party, and telephone number. You will receive a confirmation of your reservation. Payment is due at the dinner.

So remember, enhance your musical experience by first getting in the Western mood with scrumptious vittles, a Wild West atmosphere – and cowboy music to boot!

-Sent on behalf of EHS Music Boosters,

Review: Nostalgia: "Intolerance" by D.W. Griffith-----the Movie

Years ago, as a student at UW, I hung around with some grad students who were film historians---specifically historians of the 20's and 30's. Imagine the scene. 1969-70. Paul Soglin is a student leader. "Free Bobby Seal" is painted on the side of the buildings on State Street. The Green Lantern is a food cooperative by day and offers old films at night. The Humanities Building, billed as the great building savior of the arts, is just an open hole. A young professor Russell Merritt has been hired to head the film dept at UW.

As a member of the film study group, the obligation of each member was to supply one or two films during the year for the group to study. The films were available in Super 8 format----and were expensive. These were major expenditures for the students, given the average net worth of grad students. When I asked my friend, Charles, what movie would be a good "investment" he replied that the clear best investment would be "Intolerance" by D.W. Griffith. I ordered it for about $100. I also had to order the original orchestra score from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The Silents had a full score for orchestra in New York, and then depending on the movie theatre, some had organ music, some piano etc.

Some thirty-eight years later, the film is still in my basement filed right next to the Nordic Track. It was a blockbuster then for its length--over 4 hours, and also because of the impact in its time.

In the structure of the film, D.W. Griffith tells a story of love and compassion, against the backdrop of intolerance throughout the ages. Maybe it did not need four hours to get the point across...... The point that intolerance kills love and compassion in any community.

That simple film viewing back then sparked for me an interest in the career of Lillian Gish, who stared in films from 1916 to 1987. Pretty stunning.

If you are a student of film, "Intolerance" is a must see. The message is still the same. Still relevant. It was one of my best investments. Click on the post for some info on the movie.

Town of Union Wind Turbine Siting Issue Attracts Worldwide Attention

The Evansville Observer welcomes people from all over the world who are visiting to review the details of the Town of Union Wind Turbine Study Group findings and are looking for the evidence regarding these issues.

Last night we had a visitor from Australia:

Here are the details:

IP Address 124.177.112.# (Telstra Internet)
ISP Telstra Internet
Location Continent : Oceania/Australasia
Country : Australia (Facts)
State/Region : Queensland
City : Walloon
Lat/Long : -27.6, 152.6667 (Map)

Language English (Australia)
Operating System Microsoft WinXP
Browser Internet Explorer 7.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
Javascript version 1.3
Monitor Resolution : 1280 x 720
Color Depth : 32 bits

Time of Visit Apr 29 2008 7:23:29 am
Last Page View Apr 29 2008 7:23:29 am
Visit Length 0 seconds
Page Views 1
Referring URL http://www.google.co...2 miles away&spell=1
Search Engine google.com.au
Search Words wind turbines at might have been documented to be disturbing people 1.2 miles away
Visit Entry Page http://evansvilleobs...urbine-noise-by.html
Visit Exit Page http://evansvilleobs...urbine-noise-by.html
Out Click
Time Zone UTC+9:00
Visitor's Time Apr 29 2008 9:23:29 pm
Visit Number 45,532

One might wonder. Why are folks from all over the world concered with this topic. Why would they care?

The answer is clear. What we do here matters.

OpEd: The Graduation Syndrome----the theory

As a parent of a EHS graduate this June, I have to smile thinking back on the graduation of my younger two daughters and the preparations that we as parents made for the magic day. A decade ago, in a frenzy, we got the carriage house ready for the party, and also got some additonal rugs and repairs done on the house---not for us mind you. It was for the graduate.

In visiting with other parents I found this compulsion to prepare and remodel very widespread. We were not alone. In fact other parents got home improvement loans to remodel or reside their homes. Some bought new cars. All in dutiful preparation.

I say this because this graduation year also comes at a time of the tax refunds or rebates to stimulate the economy---and I would suggest that many parents have earmarked that money for a little preparation for the magic day.

In reading some books on the subject of transitions, there is a theory that when the child leaves home, the parent reviews his/her own leavings----and there are some powerful emotions that arise. So. If you feel the compulsion to go out and buy a red convertible this June, it can be assumed that it will not be for the graduate---the old car will be for the graduate.

Just as we are graduating a senior, our middle daughter, who prefers to be called "Dr. J"----announced last week that she was accepted at the University of Wisconsin in the Phychology Dept for Graduate School. She has been working in California and will be returning to relearn about Wisconsin winters.

Thus---the Observer is in a jetwash----I must review my leaving at 18 and then also the leaving for grad school, and the double whammy might call for some extensive remodeling. I plan on using loud rock and roll music and hammering and pounding to get through the transitions. And I want to assure other parents that you can get through this transition without a second mortgage----forget the idea. You might not even qualify for one anyway. Times have changed.

If you ever feel some turbulent emotions about the graduation period, simply focus on the carriage house on the blog, and then....turn up the rock and roll very loud and...breathe deeply....you can get through it.

WSJ: Forums: The Politics of Association---Obama/Wright : McCain/G.Gordon Liddy

Click on the post for some of the flavor of the point-counterpoint on how important relationships or friends are in a political race----With the buzz about Obama and Rev. Wright has come the counter about the the relationship between McCain and G. Gordon Liddy.

I still have the audio cassette version of "Abuse of Power" by Stanley Kutler. The problem is that I cannot get beyond the second cassette. If there is anyone out there that has ever listened to the entire audio version without reading Dale Carnegie, the Power of Positive Thinking between cassettes. Let me know.

Still there is an irony. The Abuse of Power then seems to really get me down in the memory of it. Yet. The Abuse of Power of the past eight years does make that of Nixon seems like child's play.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Finance: Food Investing: Options: Where is Enron When we need Them?

It seems only a few months ago since we could buy broadband futures with Enron or maybe Carbon credits. Now the Wall Street Journal pundits are even writing about which foods to hoard as a possible investment---after all, with yields dropping, an investment in skippy peanut butter, chunky of course,not creamy, with a possible appreciation of 7% would be an attractive alternative to a simple money market yield----what has it come to??????----I cannot even go to the store to shop without considering the alternatives whether a December skippy peanut butter chunky style future would be preferable to maybe spagetti sauce as an investment. It is so hard to make the proper choice.

It just seems like a bad grade "B" movie. I remember the good old days when Susie Ormon could suggest investing all of your money in 401K and to think that it might be all of your money in skippy peanut butter is just too much.

OpEd; Observer urges reuse of Old Historic Lighting::: Estimates Bogus

(Ed.note; The following is the minutes from Feburary 2008 of Historic Preservation committee:

"Old Business

Historic Lighting Follow-up – Jim McGoey reported that he had attended a Water and Light meeting and they estimated a cost of $7,000 to $9,000 per light to install new underground wiring. Since wiring must be installed underground it is not possible to just swap the historic style lighting for the current poles. At this point it seems Jim won’t be able to pursue it further. Commission members expressed their appreciation for his efforts."

There is one word which describes the estimate by Water and Light for the expense of wiring for the reuse of these old historic lights---BULL. We as a community seem to love historic in certain situations and then seem to be very stubborn in others. If you want to place all these lights on Old East Main please do. But please do not give the excuse that you have more important historic things to do....like bricks....HUH?

The Observer requests, respectfully----a review of the decison to do nothing. I believe that the 17 light poles could be used and that there are ways of using them in Evansville that would be appropriate and affordable. Let's figure out how.

Nostalgia: Dateline Normal, MN: Economic Development in focus---FICTION

Click on the post for a nostalgic fictional view back to Febuary 2008, in the land of Normal, Mn.

WSJ: Consolidation in Wisconsin Heights Schools: Others are next

The impacts of the current school funding formula are relentless---and when enrollment declines come, with no remedy, the alternatives are painful.

Click on the post for the full story.

The relatively even enrollment for Evansville Schools has been welcome. The future is unclear, but as senior retire and leave Wisconsin because of hostile tax and energy environment, it will be important for our community to emphasize the positive elementary school environment that has a rich tradition here. Young families will come if invited. We are not Wisconsin Heights.

Mailbag: Grove Forest Trail Planting Update

From: Phil & Nancy [mailto:nancphil@charter.net]
Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 12:03 P

Hello All,
Thank you, thank you to all who have been able to help with the initial Grove Community Forest Trail planting. We have a wonderful start...and we couldn't have done it without your help and expertise. This is a great multi-generational project with volunteers of all ages working together.
Work days for this week: Tuesday, April 29, 2:00 - 4:00
Tuesday, April 29, 6:00 - Sunset
Wednesday, April 30, 6:00 - Sunset

To do: Label and inventory planted trees/shrubs
Plant trees/shrubs along forest trail and in nursery area
Install tree protectors
Mulch new plantings (Please bring wheelbarrow, shovels and/or 5-gal. buckets.)

The latest news is...

The remaining trees and shrubs are being stored in a bark berm until the high school nursery area is tilled.
Bark for mulching has been delivered behind the high school.
The School District has given us a garage corner for storing tools, tree protectors and stakes.
Francette Hamilton has donated a large watering tank, and
Burt Wheeler has donated welding repairs and upgrades to the tank.
Ms. Guenther's and Ms. Schultz's 4th grade classes planted additional trees and shrubs last week.
The Veteran's Campground area is planted and mulched.
Ann Larson has volunteered to coordinate the Cub Scout summer watering of that area.
A grant proposal to the Evansville Fund has been written for tools and signage.
Nature has provided the rain!
If you are able to help, please contact Kresses @ 882-40ll or nancphil@charter.net or just come when you can!

Phil and Nancy Kress

yahoo: Warren Buffett Speaks; " It will be fairly long---fairly deep"

Click on the post for the latest.

Water and Light Meets Wednesday---Public Benefits and Historic Lights on Agenda

Click on the post for the latest.

CapTimes; High School Sports about to Change?

Click on the post for the latest.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mailbag: Nostalgia: Chris writes: "The Great Bank Robbery"

Almost 30 years ago, a youngster in our family produced this little movie that the Observer wanted to share.

Click on the post. Enjoy.

FT: London Cabs Going Green

Click on the post for the latest from London. The classic cabs will get an electric version look-alike.

Reflection: OpEd: East Meets West: While you were Sleeping

Recently I have been reviewing bike transportation in Asia as possibly relevant for my transportation, and I found it timely that all of Asia is moving up from the bike to the small car, just as we are headed for the bicycle.

So---I was stunned when recently someone visited the Evansville Observer while we were sleeping---someone from Thailand, and they were curious about "minimum housing"---Here is the record of the visit:

Country : Thailand (Facts)
State/Region : Krung Thep
City : Bangkok
Lat/Long : 13.75, 100.5167 (Map)

Language English (U.S.)
Operating System Microsoft WinXP
Browser Internet Explorer 6.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)
Javascript version 1.3
Monitor Resolution : 1024 x 768
Color Depth : 32 bits

Time of Visit Apr 9 2008 4:01:28 am
Last Page View Apr 9 2008 4:01:59 am
Visit Length 31 seconds
Page Views 2
Referring URL http://www.google.co...earch=Search the Web
Search Engine google.com
Search Words minimal home plan
Visit Entry Page http://evansvilleobs...7-minimum-house.html
Visit Exit Page http://evansvilleobs...7-minimum-house.html

So---yes the world may be flat. People all over the world are wondering about subjects that we are talking about, but their understanding of minimums may be very different.

And, if the world is coming together by their standard of living is rising, we might learn a little about theirs, because ...well....our standard of living may not be headed upward.

In summary---the whole world is watching----so...when you are on camera for a public meeting, or on audio....speak up.....the world is listening.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Chasin" Weighs in on Economic Development:

Click on the post for the latest from "Chasin." Always timely. Always on the edge. "Chasin the News."

Fire Hall Corner: Why only 5 Year financing?

In an environment of rapidly rising commodity costs---with the stories of municipal bond insurers on the ropes----with the vision of the 80's with stagflation on the horison----you are offered a mortgage for 5 years for two million and then you will have to "renogiatiate."

Normally you would laugh in response to the bank offer. There was no explanation offered at the recent presentation at City Hall.

Do you think rates will be higher or lower in five years?

Here is the bottom line. From a purchaser point of view, or the citizens point of view----a five year mortgage with baloon is not the preferred choice because it creates the interest rate risk at the five year mark when things could be a lot more expensive. Better to lock it in now.

Hence: I wonder why our Fire Hall went this route?

Economic Development: Marketing Team: Tidbits

Last week at the Economic Development presentations there were lots of ideas, lots of good ones and some that left folks wondering. And the format of the presentation was just like that used in marriage encounter weekends or even religious retreat-----the person speaks, the other listens and then the parties go to their corners to reflect:

Hence: there has been no debate or critique of the ideas that you may have listened to on The Observer or other media.

In the Marketing section, the presenter went over some pretty basic things---and their simplicity hit me right away. Like develop a marketing plan with advertising. Or develop the web site to be more effective in marketing the city.

Reflecting back on things...yes...normally one has to spend more on advertising and marketing than on luncheons and coctails to be effective in marketing an idea.

But the key sentence:

"You have to figure out what you have to offer people.......and then tell them what it is."

Then the follow up:

"For me, it is a community to raise a family in a safe environment...that has a lot of history too......(rough quote)"

Click on the video below to hear the exact presentation. Thanks to all who were involved in this process.
Marketing Team Presentation: Marketing 101

Download File

Nostalgia: Minn: White Bear Lake: Memories of the Avalon Theatre

What a shock. Last week the Avalon Theatre in White Bear Lake, right across the lake from Mahtomedi, my boyhood home, collapsed during some construction. It seems that there was really no proper foundation.

This was part of the shock. The other part of the shock was to hear in the Minnesota papers that the Avalon Theatre was part of my historic heritage----actually, I went there for my very first date as a youngster---and have to admit I do remember the girl, the movie and the Bridgmans malt afterwards, but alas do not remember much about the Avalon.

It seems the theatre had been converted to shops and there was a wine labeller in one and a parakeet shop in another. I think that's what happens to you when you lose your history. You kinda forget what the deal was. Yet its kind of a sentimental thing.

It is tough though, to recover your history just when it is being torn down. Still. I wonder about the girl. I think she married a minister....but I will have to confirm.

Click on the post for the story. Trust me. I am not making this up.

Minnesota: Tales From Normal: On Firetrucks: Size Makes a Difference

Click on the post for the classic from the Minnesota Observer.

yahoo: The Naked Economist; "Small Towns, Big Problems"

Interesting analysis of small town demographics, politics and a vision of the future. The one thing he does not do is blame the media. Thanks, Mr.Wheelan.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Entrepreneur Team Presentation:

Download File

Observer publishes "Poems of the Fishermen"

The first edition of the "Poems of the Fishermen", a small book of poems of abbreviated reports of the fishing days in those early years has been published at Blurb Press. The bookstore can be accessed on the right side of the Observer. Also, I have included some extra stuff. Click on the post for a sample.

Nostalgia; Economic Development Minutes: September 2006---Mr. Otterstein Speaks

(Ed.note: This is a portion of the minutes from Economic Development meeting of September 2006----this same recommendation of a go to person was made by Betsy Ahner of the Governmental Relations Team in the Presentation of the Econ Dev. Task force on April 17, 2008. It is on the video on the blog.)

"5. Presentation by Chamber of Commerce. Becky Heimerl and John Morning appeared on behalf of the Evansville Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber's Board of Directors has noted that several neighboring communities have identified a "go to" person who responds to inquiries of potential new businesses or industries. Evansville does not have such an individual, at least on any kind of formal basis. The Chamber is concerned that potential new businesses may be "lost" to other communities unless Evansville hires an "economic development czar."

Discussion ensued as to pending efforts of the Chamber of Commerce, the Evansville Community Partnership and the Economic Development Committee to coordinate activities in areas of mutual interest or concern. Several participants in the discussion suggested that ECP's interests were of a broader nature than those of the C of C and the EDC, and that the latter two entities were most appropriate for sponsorship of an economic development coordination function.

Mr. Otterstein pointed to Milton's recent resolution of its coordination issues: three of its community organizations, including its tourism board and chamber of commerce merged into a single entity. He urged consideration of a similar merger in Evansville. Mr. Bass responded that all three of Evansville's entities are experiencing a resurgence of interest and activity, and that merger discussions at the present time are premature and potentially counterproductive. Ms. Heimerl observed that the ECP is having its annual planning retreat this coming Saturday, and that the topic of a better partnership with the Chamber and the EDC is on the agenda; the Chamber is also committed to its own similar examination."

Head Start: Lunch: Parents and Volunteers are Key

Observer shares lunch at Head Start: Rock and Walworth County. Parents and Volunteers are Key in Head Start Success. A Head Start Location is in Evansville. Call Head Start to check elegibility.

Download File

Nostalgia: Feb 2008: "The BinLaden Videos---the Challenge"----Classic Observer

The BinLaden Videos---the challenge

Recently the two videos from Osama Bin Laden had put the Evansville Observer himself in quite a tizzy. After all. Imagine an aging guy like Osama, working out of a cave somewhere in Pakistan with a wireless laptop maybe, or maybe with an expensive MAC PRO with video and Final Cut Pro software ---and yes an external generator outside the cave to provide some power once in a while to recharge the batteries.

In short---the guy had some adversity to his production schedule---and yet he publishes two 15 minute videos---and with complex editing and with compression. Yes.
It appears that he knows far MORE about video than the Observer does.

Just when I was getting a little jealous about this guys ability to learn new technology while hunkered down in a cave----the news came out that indeed the video was a total fake. What a relief!!!!!

The whole incident could have been a huge black eye to all of us bloggers and yes--even cities too. Imagine being a city, even a city here in God's county, midst the plenty of cheese and the Green Bay Packers....and saying that we just cannot do video and audio for our community civic meetings----but Osama seems to have the ability right out of a cave. Yes. That comparison might have harmed our reputation.

Relax. They were just a fake.

Monday, April 21, 2008

yahoo: Finance: Mortgage Rates Keep Going Up

Loan Type Today Last Week
30 Year Fixed 5.90% 5.62%
15 Year Fixed 5.47% 5.21%

Public Works Meets tommorow: April 22, 2008

Click on the post for the full agenda.
Video; Cheryl speaks of two aspects of Literacy at Head Start: Family Literacy and Early Literacy. Your child may be elegible for this program. There is a location in Evansville now.

Download File

Minutes; Economic Development: 4-17-2008

Economic Development Committee

Regular Meeting
Tuesday, April 17, 2008, 5:30 pm
Evansville High School, 640 S. Fifth Street, Evansville, Wisconsin


I. Roll Call. Present: Tony Wyse, Gene Bass, Dave Olsen, Roger Berg, Janis Ringhand, James Otterstein. Absent: Matthias James. Also present: Mayor Sandy Decker, former Committee member Julie Meredith, City Administrator Dan Wietecha, Chamber of Commerce Director Bridgit Larsen, consultant Judy Whalen, and members of the public.

II. Approval of Agenda. The agenda was approved as presented.

III. Minutes of February 19, 2008, Meeting. Berg made a motion, seconded by Olsen, to waive the reading of the minutes and approve as presented. Motion approved unanimously.

IV. Citizen Appearances. None.

V. Economic Development Strategy: Task Force Presentations.
a. Workforce Development. Jim Brooks presented the task force’s goal: Develop and nurture co-operative working networks to secure the resources to build an adaptable and skilled workforce with a positive work ethic and a strong sense of personal responsibility. Recommendations were presented for business, education-based, community-based organization, and government networks.

b. Governmental Relations. Betsy Ahner presented the task force’s goal: Develop a cooperative, intergovernmental, straightforward, and clearly defined process to reach out, attract, and retain a broad economic base for Evansville. Recommendations included establishing an Economic Development Alliance, improving web/internet tools for use by members of the Economic Development Alliance, and expanding outreach between governmental bodies (local, county, and state).

c. Downtown Revitalization. John Gishnock presented the task force’s goal: Create a healthy, vibrant, and walkable downtown by expanding and attracting employment, shopping, and social activities. Recommendations included hosting a downtown retail start-up fair to connect entrepreneurs with information on maintaining an existing business, opening a new business, and acquiring funding; forming a steering committee to develop a user-friendly manual for city government and the public that lists a menu of low-cost tools and strategies for revitalizing Evansville’s central business district; developing a pilot business for the principal objective of creating a template for new business start-ups; and creating a green business initiative to form the “Allen Creek Collective,” a green business mall in downtown Evansville.

d. Marketing. Don Meggers presented the task force’s goal: Stop the leak. Recommendations included improved marketing to local and surrounding communities, making Evansville a destination location, and incentives for existing or beginning businesses.

e. Entrepreneurial Environment & Networking. Eric Larsen presented the task force’s goal: Facilitate the interaction of entrepreneurial people, ideas, and resources. Recommendation included creating a better networking environment for local business, developing greater access to high-speed internet, and creating a business resource center (both web and brick & mortar) for the city.

VI. Chamber of Commerce Report. Bridgit Larsen said that the Chamber is hosting a breakfast with Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin on Monday, April 21.

VII. City Administrator Report. Wietecha distributed introductory materials for the Economic Development element of Rock County’s Smart Growth Plan. Otterstein said that the advisory committee’s August meeting would consider recommendations for that chapter; there is also a smart growth open house scheduled for May 29.

VIII. Adjournment. Wyse thanked everyone for attending and the task forces for their work. With no further business, Bass made a motion, seconded by Wyse, to adjourn. Motion approved unanimously.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Downtown Revitalization Team:

Download File

Debate axiom: "The Big But Rule"

As a young impressionable freshman in high school, going to debate after school was always exciting. Our debate coach Mr. Ryan started out the year by having a debate and involving all of us. He said he wanted to see where we were at.

After the first debate, he spent a few moments of praise and then went over some pointers about the arguments presented.

"Do you all know about the BIG "BUT" rule? " he asked.

I was a little shocked by the question.

Then he went on:

"Whenever someone says to you, " I believe in academic freedom,.....BUT......." you automatically know that the first phrase is a lie.

I never forgot the rule. I heard the big "BUT" phrase a lot last week. It brought back memories.

Evansville City Meetings Now Podcast Globally---You can subscribe now

Click on the post for the most recent additons to the selected podcasts of Evansville City Meetings---there is audio and video.

There is nothing like listening to these meetings when you are driving, exercising, or even I am told as a way to induce sleep.

Click on the post. The whole world is listening.

Reader feedback: Robo Calling----an art that is easily forgotten?

It has just been a year----since the launch of the robo callers in the Evansville School District School Board election----some of you may have forgotten. Seems like robo calling is an easily forgotten art.

O.K. It was easy for me to remember because I was the candidate and the target of the robocalling.

What is the mystery? A devoted reader of The Observer asked me about it last week: Here was his question:

How could the folks that unleashed the robo calling then, and certainly know how to use it also to collect overdue lunch balances------just cannot remember how to use the same technique to call those that are in daily truancy???? After all....they are the same folks are they not?

Usually, as the Observer, I like to have the answers. The answer will out eventually. For now, I just have questions. It is just a mystery.....The Mystery of the Big Blue Robocallers.

Maybe I could help with some folic acid for memory loss.

Background: Nostalgia: (ORIG POST Feb 13, 2007) Mailbag: Judge Tom Writes: Good News

(Ed.note: I have reposted this note as background for the Public Safety meeting coming up on May 7, 2008 when truancy will again be on the agenda.)

( Ed. note: If you look at the Evansville Common Council agenda tonight, there is a motion to amend the truancy ordinance. I asked Judge Tom Alisankus to review with us what this was all about. Here is his reply. )


I can't remember if the Observer was able to cover the whole truancy issue as it developed last year, so if this is 'old' news, ignore it.

Under state law, there are two types of truancy: Daily truancy, which is punishable by a forfeiture of up to $50 plus costs (actually, I should start replacing the word "costs" with the phrase, "legislatively imposed fees", since it is the Wisconsin Legislature which turns a $50 ordinance violation into a $109.00 ticket; or a $30 traffic ticket into an $83.80 ticket in municipal court--much more if it goes through circuit court--but, I suppose that's a different story....) and requires the school to notify the parents of the truancy; and, Habitual Truancy, which has significantly higher penalties (up to $500 plus l.i.fees; drivers' license suspension of up to one year; and a host of others....) PLUS, it requires the school not only to notify the parents of the truancy, but do a number of other things, such as meet with the parents, actively try to find out what could be causing the truancy--either academic, social, home-or other contribuiting factors--and other things, required by state law.

Well, when E'ville recodified its ordinances several years ago, by error, our local ordinances made the Habitual T. requirements apply to the Daily T. cases as well. The school and the p.d. wanted to change it back, but, to the credit of the Public Safety Committee, they accepted my recommendation that at least for a year, they should leave it the same--with the idea being that maybe early intervention on Daily T's could avert the more serious Habitual T.'s

We will be at the one-year mark in March, when I plan to crunch the actual numbers.In the mean time, the school asked if it could refine the questions it had to ask on D.T.'s--which I reviewed and agreed with--and THAT is what Public Safety--again, to its credit--agreed to change. (I really do appreciate Public Safety Committees' genuine interest in this topic; they've been wonderful to work with under Tom Cothard's leadership.....)

BTW, our collective truancy program that includes the school, police and court, have SIGNIFICANTLY reduced overall truancy.So, that's what's up with that.

OpEd: Rock County: The Home of those Sensitive to Wind Types?

If you click on the post you will find an article on the current wind controversy which includes discussion on the issue in the Town of Union. The audio and video of these discussions can be found on the Evansville Observer on the right side under Town of Union Meetings---and you can even subscribe to get future audio by RSS and access all the past available by clicking the "XML" link.

One of the commenters on the article praised it for being "balanced." In reviewing the article, I find it infected with "spin."

The Town of Union task force that investigated the wind turbine issue produced a voluminous report with much evidence from all over the world---the World Health Organization and many European countries have data as old as twenty years on this issue.

Thus: The statement that the health effects are just "anecdotal" is just a public relations spin---there is evidence. The Town of Union found it. The State of Wisconsin did not---and did not because they did NOT look for it.

Secondly: The notion is advanced near the end of the article that folks that are opposed to wind all of a sudden get sensitive to noise---a little psychosomatic thing. I think not. Rather-----I believe that the sleep disturbance effect on the young which has an effect on language acquisition and the effect on the elderly with balance and the middle aged with high blood pressure and heart disease are matters that need to be reviewed by health researchers and not politicians.

The research in the Town of Union study group file suggests that the set back should be 1.5 miles. The ordinance proposed by the study group made it 1/2 mile. A strong case could be made that that is far too close a set back given the research available.

I love wind. I love a good night's sleep. I want both. I want balance. That is my kind of balance.

The white shoe public relations firms have been hired. The are fast at work. It is time for concentration on the facts of the issue before us and not just the spin.

That is how I see it.

And YOU?

WSJ: Focus on the Homeless in Dane County

click on the post for an interesting article in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Workforce Development Team Report: Presenter: Jim Brooks

Download File
4-17-2008: Betsy Ahner Presenter of Governmental Relations Team Report at Economic Development meeting

Download File
Economic Development: Workforce Development team presentation: 4-17-2008: Jim Brooks Speaks

Download File

Mailbag: "Sonic" writes: Video: "Shift Happens"

Here is a video sent to The Observer that highlights some interesting stuff. Enjoy.

Yahoo: Mortgage Interest Rates Moving Higher

Loan Type Today Last Week
30 Year Fixed 5.87% 5.63%
15 Year Fixed 5.44% 5.22%

Mailbag: ECP: Energy Fair: Tours: Solar Home and Larson Acres

Free Tour of Larson Acres and Open House of Solar Home Offered at the Energy Fair

There will be two tours available that feature energy conservation as part of the 6th annual Evansville Community Earth Day Energy Fair. The Evansville Energy Fair will take place on April 25th from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm at 320 Fair Street.

The High School Building Trades Class taught by Rob Kostroun, will have an open house from 4:30-7:30 pm at the site of their new construction. The new home is at 342 South Sixth Street (Corner of Badger and 6th Street). . Students and teacher will lead tours that feature the many energy-saving components that have been included in this new home. The most dramatic feature will be the new solar panels.

A tour of Larson Acres dairy farm will be from 6:00-7:00. There will be free transportation to and from the farm provided by Ringhand Bus Service. The bus will leave @ 6:00 pm from the Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Fair Street Entrance and return around 7:00pm. Larson Acres Dairy wants to show some of their energy projects, which will include the sand separator room and water recycling program. This tour is appropriate for children. The tour is free and open to everyone. Children must be accompanied by adult.

Evansville Plan Commission Meets in Special Session Next Monday

Click on the post for the special agenda.

Economic Development Task Force: Entrepreneurial Environment Team Report: 4-17-2008

Entrepreneurial Environment: Presenter Eric Larsen

MP3 File

Economic Development Task Force: Marketing Team Report: 4-17-2008

Marketing Team: Presentation 4-17-2008

MP3 File

Economic Development Task Force: Downtown Revitalization Team Report: 4-17-2008

4-17-2008: John Gishnock III Presenter: Downtown Revitalization Team

MP3 File

Economic Development Task Force: Governmental Relations Team: Betsy Ahner Presents: 4-17-2008

4-17-2008: Betsy Ahner Presents the Governmental Relations Committee Report

MP3 File

Economic Development Task Force: Workforce Development Team: Jim Brooks Presents: 4-17-2008

Workforce Development: Jim Brooks Presenter: 4-17-2008

MP3 File

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Age to Age; Father to Son: The Navy Tradition

LondonFlygirl has written that she is under the weather with a cold in London. We wish her well.

Here are some photos of the long historical view. Top is LondonFlygirl's dad about 1950 with Navy bomber jacket and instructing in the art of plumbing---next is Dennis Navy man and her husband----and last is David, the latest Navy man, dancing during a beach party in Hawaii. The lady dancers are all part of the party package.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Economic Development Meets Tomorrow--5:30PM; EHS Media Room

Click on the post for the full agenda. This meeting will feature presentations by the task force areas of the Economic Development Conference.

Successful AP Experience a Must for Top College entrance

Two years ago I visited our local high school one Saturday morning prior to school start and a then senior was overheard when asked what was happening said: "When I visit the colleges all they talk about is AP. I need some," he said.

Some time ago I visited Notre Dame and listened to the admissions director talk about the necessity for high challenge and AP courses to be in a high school students resume if they hope to enter Notre Dame. The average applicant has 4-6 of these AP courses----and has scored a 3 or higher. Click on the post for the video of the visit to Notre Dame.

I suggest that the road to a top school is completely blocked unless a student has this pattern of AP courses in their transcript.

Focus on Head Start: Health and Nutrition

Catch a glimpse of the Resource Room at the Head Start of Rock/Walworth Co. Learn about the role of health and nutrition services for qualified families and children.

Download File

These services are available at a location in Evansville.

Run/Walk: Unusual: 5k Poker Run: Thursday Night 4-17-2009 for Special Olympics

One of a kind run-walk. Click on the post for all the details. Run or walk: Participants get three cards when they start. Two when the finish. The best hand of poker wins.

How great is that for those older runners. Click on the post. Raceday registration is ok. Enjoy.

St. Paul/Minneapolis: Legislation moves forward on State Foreclosure Help

Click on the post for the story in the Daily Planet.

Gazette: Milton to vote on eliminating Police and Court

Click on the post for the latest.

yahoo: Video: FOX: Status of Student Loan Scramble

Click on the post for the latest.

CapTimes; Zweifel: On WMC Gloating on Supreme Court Victory

Click on the post for the latest

Mailbag: Prof. Onellion writes:

Stoughton Senior Center
Summer Class on Science and Religion

The Stoughton Senior Center offers a new class on Science and Religion, taught by our very own local authors Steven Fortney and Marshall Onellion. The course starts Wednesday, June 4, 1:30PM at the Stoughton Senior Center and meets seven times. The cost, including an autographed copy of the class book (shown in this flier) is $50 (paperback) or $60 (hardcover); the cost is $28 for those who have the book already. Please call 873-8585 to reserve a place.
Deadline for registration is May 26.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New School Board Sworn In: Cathy Swanson, Michael Pieriek, and Mr. Hatfield recite the oath of office, bathed in the sunlight or halo effect.

Download File
Sun Shines on Recognition Ceremony of Mr. Larson on service to School Board.

Download File

Evansville School Board defers decision on Attendance Policy 540 till May or June or....

After noting that Melissa Hammann had done an analysis of attendance process that had covered four pages of spreadsheets, Mr. Pierick suggested that this was a matter requiring further review. Mr. Hatfield made a motion that the matter be deferred till May or June of 2008 or whenever the Superintendent deemed appropriate.

Policy 540 on attendence did not have any language referring to municipal ordinance requirements, but referred to state statutes and building adaptation to state requirments appropriate to grade level.

Melissa Hammann mentioned the meeting of Public Safety in May, but nothing was discussed further.

School Beat; Evansville School Meetings Podcasted

Now you can relax and have audio and video of selected portions of Evansville School Board meetings sent directly to your computer.

Click on the post for the feed from the recent meeting Monday night. Now people all over the world can listen in....at a click of a mouse.

And---you can subscribe to this free service by simply clicking subscribe. Enjoy.

Someday, cities and schools everywhere will offer agenda and meeting podcasting as a normal course of business. For now, meetings from the City of Evansville, Town of Union and Evansville School Board have this service by the Evansville Observer.

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "Cost of Cowchips Skyrockets"---Herman Explains---FICTION

Click on the post for the latest.

School Beat: 4-14-2008--- EHS Geothermal Payback Analysis

Finally an analysis of the geothermal system at the Evansville High School---click to listen to all the details.

MP3 File

School Beat: 4-14-2008---Low Enrollment Courses Discussed

Evansville School Board discusses course approval for low enrollment courses

MP3 File

Mr. Hatfield summed up the discussion by noting that one cannot assume that one first chooses the courses that are of top priority and work downward to those taught---but rather one first reviews who the staff is and what they can teach.

This has produced a case where advanced biology is rejected for low enrollment whereas several art courses are allowed. It has caused a business law course to be not approved but a course for yearbook and set design approved.

Click on the audio for the full discussion.

School Beat: 4-14-2008--Supr. Carvin: Budget Analysis

Budget Analysis: Supr. Heidi Carvin: On course offerings and current staff alignment

MP3 File

Volunteers Needed----Tree lovers of all ages needed

Sent on behalf of the Grove Community School Forest Trail Master Plan Committee

To Those Interested in Helping with the Grove Community School Forest Trail:

This week we received notification that the 1200 native trees and shrubs will be brought to Evansville the evening of April 18.

We're planning work dates for (Light rain won't stop us from working, but a storm definitely will):

April 19, Saturday 1 to 3:30,
April 20, Sunday 1 to 3:30, and
April 21, Monday 6 to dark.
Please meet at the Fair Street parking lot near the woodlot -- Veterans Campground.
Flags and markers will be put out before the trees arrive so that all will have plenty of chance to help on Saturday and Sunday.
We'll have our current version of the master plan map available for viewing -- as long as weather allows.

Bring the shovel, pick or spud you want to use for planting, (Some tools will be available.)
Or... you might bring a plastic bag to pick up litter.
Please bring a plastic milk or water jug for watering the new plantings. (We will water the new plantings even if the soil is wet.)
Bring any drinking water or food you will need during the 2.5 hours

Tasks to select from:
Labeling the trees
Planting trees or shrubs at the marked flags
Watering the trees or shrubs just planted
Placing protective shields around the trees just planted
Staking the trees/protectors
Picking up litter
Arranging logs and brush in the woodlot to complete an amphitheater or brush pile
Planting some trees and shrubs in pots and/or in the nursery area near the High School Greenhouse.

We might work on April 22 or 23, but that will depend upon what needs to be done at that point.

Questions? Respond to Phil or Nancy Kress at nancphil@charter.net or call 882-4011

School Beat: EHS Principal Jamie Gillespie Speaks: Where the Jobs Are----

Where the Top Jobs Are-----Things students and parents need to know

MP3 File

School Board: 4-14-2008; Brian Benson discusses NEW AP Environmental Science Class--New Clickers technology

Brian Benson discusses the new AP Environmental Science Course to be offered at EHS next year...the new textbook....the new technology---clickers----that can be used along with lecture to quickly determine which concepts students understand or not and revise lesson in fluid fashion.

MP3 File

Observer salutes Frederico Parodi; Webmeister of Comunidad News

About a decado ago I had the pleasure of teaching some students in ESL through the Janesville Literacy Council---they ranged in ages from 5 to 60. One of my first students was Frederico Parodi.

Frederico loved soccer, computers and yes words. I note that he now works in web design and layout with the Lacomunidad News in Madison. Keep up the good work, Frederico.

Click on the post for the newspaper. I have also linked the paper to the Observer as a permanent link.

Blog Corner: On Moving Poverty as the Solution?

Mayor Dave has proposed a new regional solution to the problem of poverty in Madison. A local blogger has asked the question----Is moving it around the solution? Click on the post and enjoy.

OpEd: Quality Health Care and Competitive Health Care is a Bargain; New Hospital Brings Excitement to Janesville

I have reviewed the stories that have been published about the new St. Marys-Dean Hospital venture in Janesville.....and the stories have left me wondering. Since when did competition between two health organizations for my health dollar become a bad thing?

The current hospital in Janesville is a primary advertiser of the current newspaper, so one could expect that "mysterious people" or "some people" would mysteriously critize the new hospital. Relax. It will be exciting for quality health care employees as well as patients.

I once wrote a story about a man that was undergoing brain surgery and in the midst of the surgery the man woke up. He saw the surgeon smiling over him and saying, "Relax, I'm doing the surgery for FREE". The man suddenly died.

Nothing in life is free. If I had to go to a hospital for a life saving procedure, saving a few bucks would not be my only concern. Quality and caring staff as well as cost would be.

Secondly----I have read a story about "some people" that have critized St. Mary's for exiting the Chicago market because their hospital wrote off 20 million dollars due to bad debts. I had the pleasure years ago of working in a hospital in a major metro area and handled charity care as well as bad debts. No hospital can survive if the balance of patients is so severe as the case of the Chicago hospital. Everything is paid for...by somebody. In this case there was just nobody left to transfer the cost to.

So----Janesville relax---and get excited because quality health care is on the way. Let the competition begin. That is how I see it.

And YOU?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Evansville Common Council: Tuesday, April 15, 2008: 6:30PM Organizational Meeting; Mayoral Appointments

Common Council Meeting
Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 6:30 p.m.
Organizational Meeting
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI


1 Call to order.

2 Administer Oath of Office to Ald. Ringhand, Ald. Wyse, Ald. Sornson, and Ald. Braunschweig.

3 Roll call of new Council.

4 Nomination and election of Council President.

5 Motion to appoint The Review as the City of Evansville’s official newspaper for a term of one year.

6 Motion to waive the seven-day notice on aldermanic and citizen appointments.

7 Committee Aldermanic Appointments.
A Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Cothard as Chair and Ald. Braunschweig and Ald. Roberts as committee members to the Finance and Labor Relations Committee.
B Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Braunschweig to the Plan Commission.
C Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Roberts to the Plan Commission.
D Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Cothard as Chair and Ald. Sornson and Ald. Jacobson as committee members to the Water & Light Committee.
E Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Jacobson and Ald. Wessels to the Evansville Fire District Board, and Ald. Wyse and Ald. Sornson as alternates.
F Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Braunschweig as Chair and Ald. Ringhand and Ald. Sornson as committee members to the Public Works Committee.
G Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Ringhand and Ald. Wyse as committee members to the Economic Development Committee.
H Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Ringhand as Chair to the Park and Recreation Board.
I Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Roberts as Chair and Ald. Wessels and Ald. Sornson as committee members to the Public Safety Committee.
J Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Jacobson and Ald. Wyse as committee members to the Redevelopment Authority.
K Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Wessels to the Historic Preservation Commission.
L Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Ald. Cothard to the Evansville-Union Implementation Committee.

8 Citizen Committee Appointments.
A Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of John Gishnock for a three-year term to the Plan Commission.
B Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Steve Melanz for a five-year term and Phil Kress as alternate for the balance of a term ending in 2010 to the Board of Review.
C Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Carol Endres for a three-year term to the Board of Appeals.
D Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Fred Juergens and for three-year terms to the Park Board.
E Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Rebecca DeMarb for a three-year term to the Economic Development Committee.
F Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Steve Culbertson, Steve Christens and for two-year terms to the Historic Preservation Commission.
G Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Roger Roth for a five-year term to the Redevelopment Authority.
H Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Sue Wilbur for a five-year term to the Housing Authority.
I Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Gwen Clendenning, Susan Kruser, and Wally Shannon for three-year terms to the Library Board.
J Motion to approve the Mayoral appointment of Rob Savaske and for three-year terms and for the balance of a term ending in 2009 to the Youth Center Advisory Board.

9 New Business
A Motion to approve Resolution 2008-09, Designating Authorized Parties to Sign for Transactions Involving City Bank Accounts and Transactions.
B Motion to approve Resolution 2008-10, Providing for the Sale of Not-To-Exceed $870,000 Note Anticipation Notes (for Madison Street construction).
C Mayoral Proclamation Designating May 18-24, 2008 as Emergency Medical Services Week.

10 Motion to adjourn.

Sandra J. Decker, Mayor

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

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

School Beat; Supr. Carvin Report and Building Reports for April

Click on the post for the reports released today.

Evansville School Board Meets TONIGHT: 5:30PM

Click on the post for the full agenda. Note meeting location.

Agenda; School; Buildings and Grounds Meets Today; 4:30PM

Buildings And Grounds, Transportation, and Safety Committee Agenda
Monday, April 14, 2008
J.C. McKenna Middle School LMC
307 S. First Street
Evansville, WI 53536
4:30 p.m.
Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard
Elementary School Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Office, J.C. McKenna Middle
School Office, High School Office, Evansville School District Web Site:
www.evansville.k12.wi.us, and by forwarding the agenda to the Evansville Review, M&I Bank,
Union Bank & Trust and Eager Free Public Library.
Committee Members:
Heidi Carvin Deb Olsen
Joe Francis Tina Rossmiller
Dennis Hatfield Arthur Phillips


1. Approve March 10, 2008, Minutes.
2. Building Trade House Update.
3. Update on Traffic Concerns/Study.

4. Long Range Planning Committee:
o Timeline

5. Capital Project Budget Update.
6. Use of Future Web Site.

7. Report From Buildings and Grounds Manager:

o Finalizing Parking Lot Quotes
o WPPI Grant
o Energy Savings on Geothermal System
8. Other.
9. Set Next Agenda; Agenda Items and Date.
This notice may be supplemented with additions to the agenda that come to the attention of the Board prior to the
meeting. A final agenda will be posted and provided to the media no later than 24 hours prior to the meeting or no
later than 2 hours prior to the meeting in the event of an emergency.
Persons needing special accommodations or more specific information about the agenda items
should call 882-5224, Ext. 3387 at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.
Posted: 4-9-08

Minutes: Historic Presevation March 2008

Evansville Historic Preservation Commission
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 7:00 P.M.
3rd Floor, City Hall

Present: Dennis Wessels, Richard Modaff, John Decker, Steve Christens, Steve Culbertson, Betsy Ahner
Also Present: Chris Eager, Mayor Sandy Decker

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by chair Richard Modaff. Motion by Dennis Wessels, second by Steve Culbertson to waive the reading of February 20, 2008 minutes and approve them as read. Motion carried.

Applications – Appearances
16 W. Main Street – Eager Fox LLC – Renovation Plans (consideration of this item was delayed until Chris Eager could be present) Chris Eager explained the plans for the building at 16 W. Main Street and showed photos of what the building looked like without the brick addition on the front. He also presented drawings showing the proposed exterior and interior designs. They would like to remove the brick to restore the front of the building and add onto the rear of the building to expand the first floor retail space and make room for two apartments on the second floor. John Decker explained the importance of staying with the plans that were approved by the HPC and coming before HPC for approval of changes that are made to the approved plans. Motion by John Decker to approve the proposed project subject to the owners building in conformity with the drawings and renderings exhibited. Any changes made to the proposed drawings and renderings must come before the HPC for pre-approval. Second by Dennis Wessels. Motion carried.

Old Business:
a. Inventory of Pavers from Main Street Project
John Decker reported that there are approximately 67 pallets left of which 10 are the red street pavers and 57 are a buff/concrete color. The value is $.60 each or approximately $11,700 for the lot. There is a list of people who have expressed interest in purchasing the bricks and the HPC was asked their thoughts on who they should be sold to and for how much. Motion by Dennis Wessels that the buff/concrete bricks be sold to City of Evansville residents first for $.90 per brick with the proceeds going towards historic lighting. The red bricks to be retained by the City for use in patching and repair of the bricks on Main Street. Second by Steve Culbertson. Motion carried.

b. Standpipe Designation
Our standpipe is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and we are responsible for its preservation.

a. Grove Society: John Decker reported he will be submitting the 2007 Annual Report. The Chamber of Commerce has decided it does not want to relocate to the Historic Baker Office Building but the ECP is interested. The Chamber would like to use the whole building that they are presently sharing and ECP would like to relocate by May, but that can be somewhat flexible. John has talked to Rich Schuch of Paul Davis Restoration. They have a restoration person on staff and are interested in working on the project with us. They have agreed to provide free and reduced rate work and will try to get a discount on materials. The Chamber has also promised some financial help.
b. Redevelopment Authority: Betsy Ahner reported that the RDA met with Chris Eager to discuss the building at 16 W. Main and they are supportive of the project. They are also concerned about several vacant buildings in the downtown and are discussing ways to work with the owners to find purposes for the buildings.
-John Decker reported the Eager Building is being nominated by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce for the National Trust Housing and Urban Development Secretaries’ Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. We will hear the results in September. Only one award is given for the entire country. An application is also going to be submitted for the State Historical Society Award for Restoration that is awarded in the fall. It is the same award that the Farnsworths won for their restoration on the corner of Main Street and Madison Street.
c. Plaque programs: there is some interest in the program
d. Management of Documents: the police have done one years worth of their records and are pleased with the results.
e. Second Historic District: a Letter of Intent to file is due in September and the application is due in October for a grant for funding to do the writing of the Historic District application. It was suggested we concentrate on South First Street and hold an open forum to let people know about the project and what the designation can mean to them. John will contact Tim Heggland to get a rough idea of the cost of the two districts and designation of 8 individual properties and then we will know if we can do it all in one grant cycle or if we have to do it in two or more. He will also ask Tim for a price to do a Saturday forum and if it is better to do a district first or the individual designations.

Comments and Concerns:

Banner for light poles: Mayor Decker explained that the current banners do not fit on the new poles. The price for a custom silk-screened banner is $75 and she estimates we have 13 poles on Main Street with 1 or 2 more on Madison Street. Motion by Steve Culbertson to earmark $1,350 towards banners for the City light poles. This is to cover half the cost (one banner per pole) in the downtown area. Second by Dennis Wessels. Motion carried.

Dennis reported that he asked for more information on the cost of installing the decorative light poles in the historic district and learned that state law requires the use of underground cables. He suggested that we might be able to use some of them on East Main where underground cables are already in place. The Mayor suggested using them on Madison Street. The Office of Energy Independence would like to see more LED lights in use. Can the decorative lights be retrofitted? The LED lights are much cheaper to run and the light doesn’t scatter as much as traditional lighting.

Motion by Dennis Wessels to adjourn. Second by Steve Christens. Motion carried.

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

Sunday, April 13, 2008

School Beat; Popularity of "Parent Portals" Grows

Click on the post for the latest.

The New Event: 2009 April 1st Evansville Downtown Pillow Fight

Blogging is good. But nothing beats the energy of a great pillow fight. Click on the post for a report in the Wisconsin State Journal today.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spotlight on Head Start:: Rock Walworth Counties: Family Literacy: Cheryl Speaks

Family Literacy in Focus---Cheryl Speaks:
Click on the video to hear the details and catch the excitement of reading at Head Start.

Download File

To obtain more information about Head Start or to reqest an application, call 1-800-774-7778.

Friday, April 11, 2008

AWARE: Week of The Young Child--Family Night Friday Night!!!

Julie Hermanson of AWARE, announces the Week of the Young Child Festivities---over 800 people attended last year.

Download File

Evansville’s Week of the Young Child event will be celebrated April 7-11th.
We are one of the few communities in southern Wisconsin that celebrates this special week. AWARE is working with local daycare providers, the school, Exchange Family Resource Center, and Eager Free Public Library to coordinate the event.

As the special week draws closer, you will see artwork displayed in various businesses, showcasing the creativity of Evansville’s youngest artists.

Weather permitting (i.e. NO snowstorms), we will hold our annual parade on Tuesday, April 8th at 9:30AM with Shelly Bisch serving as our Grand Marshal. Shelly has done so much for the children of Evansville.

Eager Free Library will provide special activities during craft and story time that relate to Week of the Young Child.

The highpoint of the week will be the fantastic family night celebration, Friday, April 11th from 5:30 to 7:30PM. The FREE event will be held at the Levi Leonard Elementary field house and is a great way for families to learn about the many opportunities in the Evansville community.

Many local organizations and businesses will be on hand to provide hands-on fun, activities and special prizes for the kids. If you are an organization or business who would like to participate, please contact AWARE at 882-9900 soon so that we can include you in our promotions and add you to our floorplan!

More than 800 people attend this celebration each year. The kids truly enjoy seeing the baby pigs, chickens, rabbits, playing a variety of games, and doing a sing-a-long with Steve Hoffenberg, one of our talented kindergarten teachers here in Evansville. Parents enjoy the convenience of a one stop resource where they can learn about and in some instances, sign up for recreational activities, scouting, 4-H, free eye-testing, and more! It is also a great way for parents to learn about local businesses, especially the many fine childcare centers here in Evansville

Low-income households finding it more and more difficult to keep up with their basic household expenses are encouraged to contact Energy Assistance to learn if they are eligible for help with their heating bills. Their number is 363-9200.

Families with school-aged children are encouraged to contact AWARE to enroll in the Snackpacker Backpack program. Through this program we send kid-friendly foods in backpacks directly home from school.

If you hesitate to sign up for this program because you prefer the school did not know your financial situation, please contact me directly at 882-9900 and I will try to work with you to find another way for you to participate in the program. Please know I totally understand and respect your desire to protect your family’s privacy.
Common Council: Fire Hall; Chief answers questions

Download File

Gazette; Magnolia tables wind turbine ordinance

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

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yahoo: Lenders Dropping out of student loan business; Is this the next crisis?

Click on the post for the article in Yahoo.

Debate on the homesless polarizes Madison

Click on the post for an article today in the Wisconsin State Journal with comments.

BREAKING: Gazette: New Hospital Coming to Janesville

Click on the post for the latest.

Wietecha: "Council determination "Independent"

(Ed.note: The following is a portion of the minutes from the meeting of the whole from last Saturday at the UBT)
6. Legal refresher. Wietecha reviewed a couple procedural concerns for conducting public hearings. In a quasi-judicial role, the Plan Commission or Common Council should not be deliberating on the merits of an application until after the public hearing has been closed. This can be addressed by changing how public hearings are presented on the agenda. The Council’s decision on an application is independent from the Plan Commission recommendation; therefore, the Council should explicitly document its findings before making a motion to approve or deny an application. This also can be addressed by changing how public hearings are presented on the agenda."

The Evansville Common Council has considered two building projects totalling 5 million dollars, the Senior/Community Center as well as the Fire Station and both are sited on high water areas.

I would take the comments from the Committee of the Whole by Mr. Witecha to mean that the Council has the responsibilty to make an independent determination and not merely rubber stamp the Plan Commission findings.

Finance: April Minutes Available

Click on the post for the latest.

Food Riots Spread Across the World

It is happening all across the globe----as speculators make huge profits in the options exchanges real consumers are suffering.

Click on the post for the full story.

Observer mourns loss of the "Meriter Nurses Run"---change the Date not the focus

Because of a series of years where the weather has been bad for the Meriter Nurses Run, hospital officials have decided to eliminate the event that had recently had about 1800 runners----instead they are going to focus on a little recognition of peers in the institution---HUH?

This run was always one of my favorites of the season, and was a celebration of nursing as well as health care itself----many of the employees in all of the hospitals and clinics in Madison used to run in it. I used to call it the "Runnin with the Nurses Run".

Change the date. Don't Delete the Event!!!!!! 1800 runners actually makes a more enjoyable event from the runner's perspective because one does not have to wait 5 minutes at the start line to get it going.

Click on the post for the article in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Chief Mike presents the status of the new Fire Station---the groundbreaking is tonight at 4PM

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Evansville won the DNR Tree City Award for the second year in a row. Guess which alderman got the coveted hat?

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yahoo: Some green ideas---and one from Evansville, Wi from Ken.....

Click on the post for some ideas---and one from Ken from Evansville, Wi. I wonder if anyone knows who this is?
After announcing the matching award of $4,000,000 from Governor Doyle Randy Kuyle reviews the prospective timeline of the crushing plant project for Evansville.

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Randy Kyle of Landmark shares the news of the $4,000,000 matching grant awarded by Governor James Doyle on Tuesday to Landmark for a Crushing Plant----

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New Evansville Finance Director/Treasurer was introduced to all at the Evansvillle meeting on 4-8-2008. Welcome Lisa Novinska

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Common Council: Economic Development Report: 4-8-2008: Mark your calendar for April 17th

Key Presentation of Task Force Reports from the Economic Development Summit will be on April 17, 2008, High School Media Room at 5:30PM. Presentation only no debate. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

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Debate over the excess pavers; Ald Wessels urges use of the old historic lights for East Main rather than no action.

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Randy Kyle reports that there is "more of the same with NPP; Reports the great news that $4,000,000 was awarded personally by Gov. Doyle on Tuesday--these are matching funds. Explains.

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Fire Hall Update: 4-8-2008

Fire Hall Update: Chief Mike Halvensleben reports current status of bids, design, and construction timeline

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Evansville Police Commission: 4-7-2008: Police Hiring Process Review

Audio: Review of Evansville Police Hiring Process and amendments; Presented by Chief McElroy

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Evansville Police Commission: 4-7-2008: Review of Complaint/ Charge Process Draft

Audio: Review of the draft Complaint/Charge Process; Discussion

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Yahoo: Markets: Fed postured positive but was worried about severe long recession

Click on post for the latest.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dateline Normal,Mn: " Normal Schools and Police Merge to Save Energy"----FICTION

Click on the post for the latest in a long series of tales of FICTION.

Biodiesel Corner: Nostalgia: November 2007: Ald. Fred Juergens Asked the question

Following Mike Robinson, Pres. Of North Prairie Productions, presentation at Common Council in November 2007, Ald. Fred. Juergens asked a question:

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Global Scope: Local Content

The Observer was stunned today in reviewing the visitors to this site-----click on the post to see why.

Yes. Even the rare Observer poem such as "Lunch Pail Love" has gone global----

BREAKING;: Gov. Doyle Awards Landmark $4,000,000 for Soybean Crushing Plant

Click on the post for the latest.

The Status of the Biodiesel Plant------

(Ed.note; The following is a portion of the minutes from the Committee of the Whole from Last Saturday, April, 5, 2008)

E. North Prairie Productions. Wietecha presented a copy of a November 13, 2007, memo. He noted that North Prairie is not in default on the development agreement nor is the City pulling the plug on the project. However, with construction still suspended, North Prairie will either need to resume construction or revisit the development agreement soon to avoid becoming in default.

Although the City committed approximately $2,355,000 to support the biodiesel project; funding was set to be made as construction progressed. At this point, the City has incurred about $600,000 toward the project; about two-thirds of which is securable by special assessment levies against the property.

The overall project notwithstanding, there are two specific issues that the City will need to consider in the immediate future. Anticipating $250,000 in state grants for the project, the City bonded for less than the construction costs on County Road M. This will result in a temporary cash-flow problem this spring. The City had intended to provide about $1.9 million as a development incentive. With construction on hold, the City is incurring unnecessary interest expenses on these moneys. The City will be paying off the associated State Trust Fund Loan to avoid the interest expenses; new funding can be secured when construction resumes.

Wietecha said that while the biodiesel project has been on hold, a soybean crushing facility has been gaining momentum and now looks quite promising. Although the North Prairie agreement did have a number of safeguards to minimize the City’s exposure; the City may want to negotiate a pay-as-you-go arrangement on future tax increment projects of this magnitude.

Economic Development meets Thursday April 17--Presentations of Development Tast force Sections

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Gazette: GM Job cuts

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Evansville Sewer Improvements Come to the Front Burner

(Ed.note: This is a portion of the minutes of the Evansville Common Council Committee Meeting of the Whole from last Saturday, April 5, 2008)

C. Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Sauer said that the City’s wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) had been built in 1982, designed to last for 20 years with a capacity of 600,000 gallons per day. We are currently around 80% of capacity, but nitrate and chloride concentrations above state standards are driving the need for upgrades to the WWTF. The facility planning process has been started; construction may start in late 2008 or 2009 and be completed in 2010.

The least expensive option would add insulated covers to the lagoons and install a moving bed reactor for around $1.85 million. This may meet the City’s needs for the next 5 to 10 years but would not allow for future expansion.

The other options would involve constructing a mechanical plant with aerobic digester for around $2.25 million. In addition to addressing the current treatment needs, this would increase the WWTF’s capacity and meet the City’s needs for the next 20 years. The design would allow for future expansion when needed. The mechanical plant would also have lower operating costs.

The possibility of a mechanical plant with anaerobic digester was discussed. This type of infrastructure is very expensive and not cost effective for a city of Evansville’s size. However, it could be an attractive option with grant money to offset the capital costs.

The Committee agreed that the most cost effective option in the long run would be a mechanical plant and indicated this should be included in the facility planning. Noting that 50-60% of the WWTF operating costs are energy, the Committee indicated that any opportunities for energy conservation should be explored for the new facility.

Minutes; Evansville Common Council: Committee of the Whole: Saturday April 5---Construction; New Sewer Plant; Current Biodiesel Plant Status: & More

Click on the post for the latest.

Minutes for Evansville Common Council---March 2008

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Dateline St. Paul, MN: Outrage in St. Paul: St. Paul Mayor Responds to Governor Line Item Veto of Central Corridor bonding amount

>Subject: Mayor Coleman Responds to Governor's Veto of Central Corridor
> Funding

>For immediate release
>SAINT PAUL -- Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
>released the following statement on Governor
>Pawlenty's line item veto of the $70 million
>bonding request for Central Corridor.
>"The Governor's veto of funding for the Central
>Corridor shows a stunning disregard for the
>largest economic development opportunity in our
>region's history. This action is the worst kind
>of political gamesmanship. It is a direct
>threat to the City’s future. The City,
>County, and business and neighborhood groups
>have played by the governor’s rules. The
>Governor requested this funding, and promised
>more if all of the groups could come to an
>agreement. We have done so. >prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
>"We took the Governor at his word in February
>and have done everything asked of us. We've
>come to an agreement, cut costs, and put
>together the best strategic plan for any
>proposed transit project in >prefix = st1 ns =
>/>America. Everyone who cares about the future
>of the City of Saint Paul should be outraged by the Governor’s action today."

Minn; Metro Traffic Congestion gets Worse; sets record

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Minnesota: Daily Planet: Gov. Pawlentry uses Line Item Veto---Rail Project at Risk?

By trimming 70 million dollars from the central rail corridor that had been planned for linking St. Paul with Minneapolis in the second phase of the new rail system for the Twin Cities and beyond, the governor appears to have vetoed his own proposal.

Click on the post for the article in the Daily Planet.

Monday, April 07, 2008

WSJ: Overture Funds drop below 100M

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Town of Union Annual Meeting and Monthly Meeting; Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Evansville Common Council Meets Tuesday: Welcome to New City Treasurer;

Click for the other details. The presentation of the details of the Economic Development Task Force will be on April 17th. Stay tuned.

FT: Spotlight on Rice:

Worldwide turmoil is possible as rice prices have risen 50% in a very short time. Click on the post for an article in the Financial Times.

Interest In American Axel Situation Builds; How Low will Auto Go?

If you click on the post you can see the visitors to The Evansville Observer from all over the country. Many are looking for information on the situation regarding the strike at American Axel. The CEO of American Axel and the head of the Union are to meet today.

Will the current staffing of Janesville GM be sustainable at current levels or will a shift be trimmed? Will another supplier other than American Axel be secured?

Positve pundits have hoped that auto sales will rebound in the third and fourth quarters---the hopes of GM as well as workers are that this is the case.

A lot of questions and few answers have led to a lot of anxiety by a lot of readers. Stay tuned.

Minneapolis: Daily Planet: Biomass Energy Plant: New Roadblock

The permitting process will have to consider the cumulative pollution of this area of town---click on the post for the latest.

Evansville Police Commission Meets TONIGHT--6:30PM

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Jobs; Where they have been lost----manufacturing

Click on the post for the interactive graphic presentation.

What is happening with American Axel?

Click on the link for the latest from CNN.

Business: What will happen to Delphi?

Click on the post for one analysis.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Agenda; Common Council Meets on Saturday, April 5 as Committee of the Whole--at UBT; 8am.

Common Council
Special Meeting as Committee of the Whole

Saturday, April 5, 2008, 8:00 a.m.
Union Bank & Trust Building, 2 East Main Street, Evansville, WI

1. Call to order

2. Roll call

3. Approval of Agenda

4. Motion to defer the reading of the minutes of March 11, 2008, regular meeting to the next regular meeting.

5. Citizen appearances

6. Legal Refresher: procedures for public hearings.

7. Topics for Discussion – no action will be taken.

A. Madison Street Construction.

B. Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence.

C. Wastewater Treatment Facility.

D. Stormwater Utility.

E. North Prairie Productions.

8. Motion to adjourn

Sandra J. Decker, Mayor

Requests for persons with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this meeting should be made to the Clerk’s office by calling 882-2266 with as much advance notice as possible.
Please turn off all cell phones while the meeting is in session. Thank you.

LondonFlyGirl Checks In: On Heathrow; On Aloha Airlines....and more

Check on the latest scoop from LondonFlyGirl, a regular contributor to The Evansville Observer from London.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

May 2008 Public Safety Committee to consider ordinance revision to fine school attendence officer

Under the current Evansville municipal ordinance for truancy, as I understand it, our municipal court can fine school age offenders of truancy laws, but there is no provision at the present time for fines to be levied against the school personnel if the proper legal procedures are not followed.

In preparation for the presentation of an amendment to the current ordinance at Common Council in May 2008 to remedy this situation, the Public Safety Committee on May 7, 2008 will consider the matter. Parents, students, School board members, and interested parties are expected to be present for the discussion. The Evansville Observer will be providing full audio and video coverage.

Books: Janesville: "Minnesota Crime Wave" coming to the Hedberg

Minnesota Crime Wave @ Your Library

"Minnesota Crime Wave," a dangerously humorous trio of prolific mystery authors from Minnesota, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 17, at Hedberg Public Library, 316 S. Main St., Janesville. Writers Carl "Sailor" Brookins, William Kent "Iceman" Krueger, and Ellen "Murder Most Fowl" Hart will appear in gangster costumes, present a panel discussion about mysteries, and answer questions from the audience about mysteries and mystery writing. The program is free and open to the public as part of the Nancy Parker Library Programs for Adults series funded by the Nancy B. Parker Endowment.

Among them, the authors have written 35 crime novels and received more than 23 national and regional awards. William Kent Krueger is the author of the Cork O'Connor mystery series set in the great Northwoods of Minnesota. His recent novels are Thunder Bay and Mercy Falls. His awards include the Minnesota Book Award, Friends of American Writers Prize, and Anthony Award for Best Novel.

Before he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Carl Brookins was a freelance photographer, public TV program director, cable TV administrator, and university counselor. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Private Eye Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. With his wife and friends, he has sailed in many locations across the world. He writes a sailing adventure series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney and the Sean NMI Sean private investigator series.

Ellen Hart is a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Popular Fiction and five-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award for best lesbian mystery. For the last 11 years, she has taught an introductory mystery-writing course through The Loft Literary Center. Her newest novels are No Reservations Required, Night Vision, and The Mortal Groove. For more information about library programs for adults, call the library service desk at (608) 758-6588 or visit hedbergpubliclibrary.org.

City of Janesville Weekly News

Click on the post for the latest.

UPDATED: Evansville School Board Meets Next Monday

Click on the post for the full agenda. Seems that this item of goals has been left over from last July--Here is the agenda from then: (Melissa Hammann has explained at bottom of post.)

Special Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
District Office Conference Room
340 Fair Street
5:30 p.m.
Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard Elementary
School Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Office, J.C. McKenna Middle School Office,
High School Office, Evansville School District Web Site: www.evansville.k12.wi.us, and by
forwarding the agenda to the Evansville Review, M&I Bank, Union Bank & Trust and Eager Free
Public Library.

I. Roll Call: Michael Pierick Arthur Phillips Tina Rossmiller
Dennis Hatfield Jeff Herbers
Mike Larson Melissa Hammann

II. Information & Discussion:

A. Board Goals – The School Board may be joined by a consultant/facilitator to assist them
in the Board goals setting process.
B. Board Development – The School Board may be joined by a consultant/facilitator to
assist them in the Board development process.

III. Business (Action Items):

A. Approval of Board Goals for 2007-2008 School Year.

IV. Adjourn.

It is unclear whether it has taken eight months to get the goals decided or what?
One of the goals that should be on the list, is to address the self assesssment by the School Board last fall that listed items of concern to be remedied. These items are discussed in the small book by Melissa Hammann called "School Issues that Count." These items have been intentionally ignored or delayed.

UPDATE: Melissa has written and clarified:

Hi Dick-The meeting this Monday will include the administrative team and Judy Whalen to develop goals for the 08-09 school year. The agenda you posted from last July was referring to the 07-08 district goals. Unfortunately, by then, the buildings had already developed their goals for the year. This year we have placed the board goals development ahead of the building goals in order for each building administrator to have district goals for a framework in which to work in planning for each building. We all thought this was the best approach. I hope this clarifies the issue for you. Melissa Hammann

Classic "Grumps"----"Excuuuuse Me"

Click on the post for a classic for the election season from "Grumps."

Yahoo: "Voice Search" now available for mobile web phones

Click on the post for the full story. Pretty stunning development. You are driving along with your blackberry and simply say "ice cream" and after a few seconds every shop in the world is on your phone. O.K.

WSJ: UW Student Slain Prompts Alarm

A terrible loss of a wonderful student. Click on the post for the full story.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Nostalgia: (Original 9/2006) " Normal Video"

(Ed.note: In honor of the meeting tonight where use of video in Evansville Police cars will be discussed, I have republished this classic post.)

I have mentioned to my dear readers that improvements are coming to The Evansville Observer as to video coverage of common council meetings and planning meetings as well as our Evansville School District monthly and finance meetings.

So as to give my readers a a preview of things to come-----If you click on the post you will see the videos that are the standard all across America------it is Normal. In fact, recently in Minnetonka, Mn. seniors have been recruited to man the video cameras for all city meetings.

It's showtime.

OpEd: Reflection: Darkness Before the Dawn; or what? On "Chasin" fiction

Recently I was wathcing the Bloomberg Business Channel when it was announced that a heretofore totally solid investment firm was announcing an additional 19 billion dollar loss. The firm's CEO announced his abrupt departure. Then they announced that they had secured 19 billion in additional financing through some foreign source and were in very solid position...thank you.

The reporter from Bloomberg then asked the person, "Do you think that this is really a positive thing...I mean is it time to buy this company?"

There seems to be a real fashion lately that when things are totally desolate, it really is a buying opportunity and ....and...well really wonderful.

Recently a blogger in Evansville, Chasin the News, has noted that even though there has been quite a bit of painful costs incurred by local businesses due to going on three years of downtown construction, some news sources have been firmly intent on hyping this as a totally prosperous situation. Chasin even felt it was a propaganda bit or at best poorly written fiction.

Addressing the first of these, I would recall with fondness the Yale professor, Mr. Shiller who said on T.V. lately that the recent infusion by the Fed has really solved nothing....It did refloat things for a while....and delay...but the underlying problems persist....and thus in his view the national housing situation will persist....

In the local situation, it seems likewise that simple denial of the reality of business contraction does nothing but provide an excuse for inaction. And even better than denial of the situation is to not talk about it at all, except in circuitous prose, or fictional fantasy.