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Monday, June 30, 2008

Evansville Finance Committe meets Thursday, July 3rd

Click on the post for the full agenda.

yahoo: Markets: Jim Cramer on the Bottom in Housing

Click on the post for Jim's thoughts on video.

CapTimes: Analyst: 10 million fewer cars by 2012

Click on the post for a provocative article.

Nostalgia: July 4th Celebration 2006---Blooze Brothers on Stage-----

Click on the post for some pictures from yesteryear----from the night the Blooze Brothers came to town---yes...I do wish they would come again so I could do some video this time----and yes...I want more female cops. Last time we had just one and their band normally features more. Click on the post for the trip to yesteryear.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

St. Paul: Urban Condo Living: The Lowry

As a newborn, my doctor, Dr. Flanagan, had offices in The Lowry Medical Arts building. Today The Lowry, right across from the St. Paul Hotel, features condos from $150M to 1 million dollars.

Click on the post for a little tour. The Republican Convention will be across the street shortly. I took a tour of the Lowry last week as part of the advance team for The Evansville Observer preparing for the Republican Convention.

Centralized heating. Rail and bus connections. Skyway to avoid going outside. Underground parking with valet service.

Click on the post for a video tour of The Lowry.

Dateline Minn: Star Tribune; The Idea Man

Classic story of invention. Enjoy.

NYT: OpEd: Friedman: "Anxious in America."

Click on the post for the latest.

NYT: Housing Crisis Deepens

Click on the post for the latest.

Pioneer Press: The world of Credit Cards update:

Click on the post for the minefield of credit card debt.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Video; 1 of 3: Town of Union: Planning: Re: Pheasant Lodge conditional use permit renewal

Oregon member of Ducks Unlimited gives history of recent party at the pheasant lodge in question.

Download File

Video: 2 of 3: Re: Hunting Lodge: Ducks Unlimited member Speaks

video: 2 of 3: Ducks Unlimited speaks on recent party at pheasant lodge

Download File
Video: 3 of 3: Member of Ducks Unlimited speaks re renewal of conditional use permit of pheasant hunting lodge

Download File

Possum Lodge Corner: Marriage at the Lodge

Click on the post for a bit of nostalgia:

Dateline Normal, Mn: "The Tale of Loon Lodge"---FICTION

Click on the post for the latest in a long series of tales of FICTION about a land up just south of
Garrison, Mn, and west of the Land of Lake Woebegone----a land of fiction, but other than that.....

"The Tales from Normal"--the book is available at Blurb Press. http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/114822/?utm_source=badge&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=140x240
It is also available on podcast and can be subscribed though RSS so you never miss an exciting episode.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Town of union: Plan commission: 6-26-2008---re: conditional use permit renewal request 1 of 4 video.

Download File
Video: 2 of 4: Presentation by attorney for Pheasant shooting requests renewal of conditional use---dialogue with commission.

Download File
Re: Hunting Lodge Conditional Use Permit--3 of 4 video

Download File
4 of 4 Video: Conditional Use renewal application request

Download File
Don Krajik speaks on proposed wind ordinance and suggests an addition to enforcement language.

MP3 File
John Myers of EcoEnergy Speaks in oppositon to the draft ordinance

MP3 File
Mr. Dave Olson, Magnolia Town Board speaks on behalf of Town of Union draft ordinance.

MP3 File
Elaine Strassburg speaks in favor of the Draft ordinance for Wind Turbines at meeting on 6-26-2008 of Town of Union Planning Commission.

MP3 File

St. Paul: Republican Convention: Soucheray: Pioneer Press: Are protestors pros looking for some litigation?

Click on the post for an interesting article by Joe Soucheray on whether the protests by demontrators portend legal revenue in the future, and whether their demands and complaints stem from a civil right or merely an exaggerated sense of their marketing due. Enjoy.

yahoo: Markets: Video: Cramer: How to think about Oil?

This is the most relaxed I have seen Jim Cramer in a while. Enjoy.

Audio: Town of Union Plan: Public Hearing: Wind Turbine 6-26-2008

Mr. Kevin Kvala speaks on Wind Turbine ordinance in public hearing:

MP3 File

Yahoo: Markets: Minyanville: Can the Banks Bounce: Is the S&P next?

Click on the post for the article in Minyanville today as well as the video with the founder of Minyanville.

Audio: Town of Union, Wi; Plan Commission: Motion to extend wind turbine moratorium: June 26, 2008

Motion of Town of Union Planning Commission to extend the moratorium on wind turbine structures to November 15, 2008 to allow Plan and Board to complete ordinance process.

MP3 File

Audio: Town of Union Plan Commission: The Case of the Pheasant Hunting Lodge: Conditional Use Permit Renewal: June 26, 2008

Town of Union: Planning Commission: 6-26-2008; Request to renew conditional use permit for pheasant hunting business and lodge; Gavel to gavel audio of this agenda item., no editing. Other video clips posted of sections of this agenda item.

MP3 File

Gazette: Flood Damage Repair might not raise Janesville Taxes: Stormwater Utility fund noted

Click on the post for the full article in the Janesville Gazette today. The article highlights how a strong stormwater utility fund can buffer a loss such as this for the taxpayers. Evansville is considering adopting such a stormwater utility. Stay tuned.

New Business: Video: Opportunities for 4th available

Last year during the 4th of July Parade, the Observer happened to video a classic moment in Evansville business history-----the entrance of the Shannon-DeMarb Law firm to the parade--the parade on the 4th and the parade of business here in Evansville. It was a mix of kids loving the classic, cool 57 Chevy, loving the candy that Rebecca and Betsy were handing out, the excitement of the parade and the unique picture of Evansville on it's classic day. Over the past year many, many people who have searched on Google for the Shannon law firm have come across this video. It was just accidental marketing. Now may be your turn to do likewise.

This year maybe you have an entrant in the parade. Maybe you would like a classic video of your business joining the parade. Or celebrating your business if you have been here a while.
Email me at fre2observe@yahoo.com if this is of interest.

Nostalgia: 4th of July: 2007: Shannon--DeMarb Law Firm

Newly formed Law Firm Shannon--DeMarb takes its place in the Parade. Classic 57

Download File

June Evansville Redevelopment Discusses TID #5; Economic Growth

Click on the post for the latest.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

yahoo: Finance: Markets move broadly lower: All three indexes lower

Advances & Declines

525 (15%)
609 (20%)
2,895 (83%)
2,337 (77%)
54 (2%)
97 (3%)

Up Vol*
483 (52%)
252 (11%)
Down Vol*
439 (47%)
2,042 (89%)
Unch. Vol*
6 (1%)
11 (0%)

New Hi's
New Lo's

Park Board Meets Tomorrow;

Click on the post for the full agenda.

U of Minn: Carlson School of Business: Address to the Incoming Freshmen details vision

Assistant Dean of U of Minn Carlson School of Business address to oncoming freshmen that details the incoming class compositon, the changes in the curriculum at Carlson, the new facilities and the vision of the future.

MP3 File

Town of Union Planning Commission Meets TONIGHT--Eager Library 7PM

Click on the post for the announcement. Wind is on the agenda.

CapTimes; The Boomerang Generation

Click on the post for an interesting article about the current trend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

International Herald Tribune: Suburban Life Untenable??

Click on the post for the full article in the International Herald Tribune.

Gazette; School Beat; Janesville: Cullen urges restraint

Click on the post for the latest.

Gazette: Evansville Alderman Sornson Resigns; Applicants sought

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

St. Paul: Urban Lofts: River Park Lofts

St. Paul, Mn.; Downtown "River Park Lofts"--tour provided courtesty of Mr. Bill Smitten---he can be reached at wrsmitten@cbburnet.com or 1-651-227-9144
This first loft is the entry level loft and the 2nd video is of the more upscale unit.
Click on the post for the official website of River Park Lofts---Thanks Bill for the full tour.

Download File

St. Paul: Urban Lofts: River Park Lofts; Upscale unit

Downtown St. Paul, Mn.; Two bedroom, two balcony, upscale loft condo; connected to skyway and central district heating. Click on blog post to access official riverpark lofts website. Tour courtesy of Bill Smitten. Thanks Bill.

Download File

On Assignment: Urban Loft Living: Light Rail; Republican Convention coverage; etc.

The Observer has been on location in the Twin Cities preparing for the coverage of the Republican Convention. While preparing to see how well my zoom lens will work from the approved areas of coverage of the outside demonstrations, and estimating my costs for the coverage, I have prepared some video covering the topic of urban loft living, what it looks like in the urban setting, complete with light rail hookup, central heating and skyway linking of residents to prevent going outside in the frozen Minnesota winter------the video shows some interersting comparisons with the new Eager building restoration in downtown Evansville.

Also, I have some coverage of the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota----it has opened a new state of the art building on the West Bank and though it is currently ranked in the top 10 in the USA, it is poised and determined to move to the top.

Stay tuned.

Soucheray; St. Paul: Flooding in Iowa vs. Katrina: Iowa heroes vs xxxx

Joe Soucheray sets off a firestorm of comment in his article on the current flooding response in Iowa. Click on the post.

Janesville News: Five Candidates to be interviewed for City Manager of Janesville

Press Release

Date: Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Contact: Amy M. Loasching, City Council President
Phone: 608-346-0740
E-mail: loaschinga@ci.janesville.wi.us

Janesville City Council to Interview Five Candidates
For City Manager Job

The Janesville City Council will interview five candidates for the Janesville City Manager position. Thirty nine candidates from 16 different states applied for the position. Janesville’s current City Manager, Steve Sheiffer, plans to retire this fall after 21 years as Janesville’s Manager.

The five candidates and their current positions are as follows:

Kevin M. Brunner, City Manager, City of Whitewater, Wisconsin
David A. Hales, Director of Finance/Administrative Services, City of West Jordan, Utah
John C. “Jay” Krauss, City Manager, City of Lewiston, Idaho
William R. Ross, City Manager, City of Jackson, Michigan
Donald J. Carlsen, Director, Management Services Business Group, City of Naperville, Illinois

“I am very pleased with the quality of the candidates and excited about meeting them during the interview process,” commented Council President Amy Loasching.

The City Council plans to interview the candidates on July 14 and 15 with second interviews on July 16. In addition, the candidates will receive a tour of the City and will be interviewed by a panel representing community stakeholders. The City Council also involved community stakeholders in meetings held at the beginning of the recruitment process in an effort to provide guidance to the City’s consultant on the recruitment. The City Council invited representatives from business and industry, community partners, local foundations, the arts, and city committees to meetings held in April 2. The general public was invited to a meeting held in the evening on April 2. “We appreciated all of the input we received in those early meetings. The information, opinions, and insights were very helpful to the City Council and our consultant as we decided which candidates to bring in for an interview,” commented Council President Amy Loasching.

It is anticipated that the Council will name a new City Manager in August.

Evansville Community Partnership: Helpers needed for 4th

We’ve got a great opportunity for you to consider and you get to be right in the middle of the action! We are looking for a team of three volunteers to help post signs Friday morning for the parade line-up. The team will meet with parade coordinator, Lynn Olson, at Garfield and 5th at 7 AM on the 4th and place numbered signs along 5th street for the parade entries. It will only take about one hour with the team working together. At 9:30, two parade assistants are also needed as entries start arriving to line-up.

Doesn’t that sound fun? We’ve got many other exciting opportunities for you. Many of them only require one to two hours of your time and your ability to have fun.
If you are interested please let us know as soon as possible.
Thanks so much,

Robin L. Grignon
Evansville Community Partnership
Community Coordinator
8 W.Main Street
Building Our Future Together

Friday, June 20, 2008

NYT: Business: Banks Changing Credit Limits

Credit Card companies as well as banks are changing credit card limits as well as home equity limits. Click on the post for the full story. Have you checked your limits lately?

LaTimes: Are the Neocons planning a little pre-emptive war?

Click on the post for the speculation.

OpEd: WSJ: No Cathedral will be built soon

Bill Wieneke wades into the controversy about the contract for feasibility regarding the rebuilding of St. Raphael's Cathedral and suggests that no cathedral will be built soon.

Graduation: EHS: Supr. Heidi Carvin address:

Heidi Carvin, Supr of Evansville Schools addresses the profound, and the absurd--both aspects of graduation that parents and teachers and students are sharing.

Download File

(ed.note: I apologize for the shaky video. I will take a tripod next time. The content of this address was striking and I wanted it to be on record. )

Who am I? Where am I going? What is the answer and what if I only know the questions? How do we all fit in, parents, teachers and friends? Those are the profound parts of the speech.

Now to the absurd. As Supr. Carvin says, "some experts" say that the average graduate will have 13 career job switches in a lifetime....not job changes but career changes. The world of today is not vertical and heirarchical but flat. The challenge is the difference between the adults and students "text messaging skills." So we have teachers and parents who have lived and had experience in one or two jobs teaching students how to cope with a world the parents and teachers have no expertise with.

After a fully trained career, how does one proceed to the next 12 career changes? In a world where there appears no security and no job security whatsoever, why would one invest in such a career? How could one plan a family or even a marriage around such a career. Indeed many olders students have concluded thus.

These are questions that each GM worker is asking, and families of these workers--where do I go now to the next 12 careers. It almost requires a person to live to a very ripe old age.

This speech was only 3.5 minutes long. It has a lot of the questions that we all face. And also some positive affirmations about the rewards of the questions themselves and the voyage of discovery. Enjoy.

Dateline St. Paul: Republican Convention coming---and protests too

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

The Evansville Observer does hope to provide some street beat coverage of the convention---and yes special coverage of the Irish pubs. I do expect pretty hefty hotel prices.

Stay tuned.

yahoo: Cities feeling pinch; cutting back

Click on the post for the article in Yahoo on the effect nationally from rising gas prices.

Nostalgia; Star Tribune; Duluth: Memories of Grandma's Marathon

Click on the post for the picture of what the start of Grandma's marathon looks like. Brings my mind back to 1980. Still looks exactly the same. And yes the 4 porta potties along the side of the road for 10,000 runners also looks the same. There were two tv. choppers overhead.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Star Tribune; FBI says Twin Cities in the top ten for mortgage fraud

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

School Beat; Mortgage Crisis extends into school benefit financing---

Click on the post for the story.

At least in the example the schools are disclosing what the investment is in. In some fixed investment funds for annuities under plan management they just tell you that the fixed portion is guaranteed by the insurance company and refuse to disclose anything further. Seems that the Federal Reserve efforts to get better "transparency" does not extend much. In fact this very problem is what has prompted the Treasury dept to propose additonal authority for the Federal Reserve to force firms to disclose their investment details so that the Federal Reserve can assess the risk it might have if the firm failed.

Stay tuned.

WSJ: OpEd; Lessons Learned from the Flooding

Click on the post for the Oped piece today.

Wall Street Journal: Urban Living moves to Front Burner

Living close to public transportation, in the urban setting comes to the front burner. Click on the post for the article in the Wall Street Online.

Janesville; Press Release: Weekly: June 19, 2008

Weekly Press Release

Date: Thursday, June 19, 2008
Contact: Peter Riggs, Administrative Analyst
Phone: 608-755-3102
Fax: 608-755-3196
E-mail: riggsp@ci.janesville.wi.us
Website: www.ci.janesville.wi.us

Flood Information on the City Website
The city website (www.ci.janesville.wi.us) is being continuously updated with information regarding the flood, including anticipated water elevations, street & facility closures, JTS bus route changes and street detours. The media is encouraged to the check the website frequently to obtain the most updated information.

City, Forward Janesville to Host Community Brainstorming Session on June 26
Janesville City Council President Amy Loasching and Rich Gruber, the Chairman of Forward Janesville’s (FJI) Board of Directors, announced that the City of Janesville and FJI will co-host a Community Brainstorming Session on Thursday, June 26 from 12:30-5PM.

For the past several weeks, a group of dedicated citizens has been hard at work planning this meeting, which will help community leaders chart a new long-range economic development strategy for Janesville and the greater Rock County community.

This meeting, which will take place at the Holiday Inn Express and Convention Center, will begin with presentations about Janesville’s current economic condition and what City leaders are doing to promote economic development in our community. These presentations will be followed by breakout sessions, where members of the community can share their thoughts in a small group setting. All interested parties are encouraged to attend the meeting.

“The Janesville City Council has embraced this idea wholeheartedly,” said Loasching. “We want to hear what people think about our economy, and what it should look like in five, ten, and twenty years.”

“The feedback gathered at this meeting will be used to help chart Janesville’s course on economic development for the next decade and beyond,” added Gruber. “I hope that all the citizens of Janesville will participate in this important process by being there next week.”

There is no charge to attend the meeting, and reservations are not required. Light snacks and refreshments will be available. For more information, please contact Dan Cunningham at (608) 757-3160.

Movie in the Park Event Rescheduled for July 26 The movie night in the park event, planned for June 20, has been cancelled due to flooding. The event is rescheduled to coincide with the Coin Carnival event on July 26. For questions, call 755-3052.

Teen Bonfire and Games in Palmer Park Cancelled
The teen bonfire and games scheduled for June 20 at the Hilltop Pavilion in Palmer Park has been cancelled. For more information please call Leisure Services at 755-3030.

Discover SCUBA Classes Planned for June 21 and 28
During the summer, swimmers age 10 and older can take part in a one-day class introducing the sport of SCUBA diving at Rockport Pool. The class includes a presentation on proper diving techniques, equipment for most sizes and an in-pool session. This is a great opportunity for beginners to learn about SCUBA diving without needing to purchase equipment. The instructor for this class is Bruce DeGarmo from Down Under SCUBA, LLC, a certified PADI instructor and diver with 30 years of diving experience.

Classes are scheduled for June 21 and June 28. The June 21 class is for youth divers (ages 10-17) and the June 28 class is for adult divers (ages 18 and up). Classes will last from 9 – 11:30AM. The cost for this class is $30 per person and registration is required. To register, please visit Leisure Services, located in the Municipal Building at 18 N. Jackson Street. For questions, please call Shelley Hansel at 755-3032.

3rd Annual Father/Child Golf Outing Scheduled for June 22
The 3rd annual Father/Child Golf Outing will be held at Riverside Golf Course on Sunday, June 22 from 1:30-5PM. This nine-hole FUN tournament will include food and contest prizes at each hole. This tournament is stroke play, so the participants with the lowest number of strokes will win. Foursomes will be grouped upon arrival. The cost of the event is $10 per player and pre-registration is required. Space is limited, so register early! To register, please visit Leisure Services, located in the Municipal Building at 18 N. Jackson Street. For questions call Leisure Services at 755-3030.

Adult Softball Leagues Cancelled
Adult softball leagues at Dawson Field have been cancelled indefinitely due to flooding at the facility. For questions or more information contact Leisure Services at 755-3030.

Removal of Downtown Traffic Signals to be Consider at Monday, June 23 Council Meeting
At its regular meeting of June 10, 2008, the Transportation Committee recommended to approve a request to remove traffic signals at South Franklin Street and West Racine Street.

Interested parties are welcome to comment at the Resolution Public Hearing, which will be held during the June 23, 2008 City Council meeting. The Council Meeting will be held in Council Chambers on the 4th floor of the Municipal Building (18 North Jackson Street) at 7PM. For more information, contact Senior Engineer Dennis Ryan at 755-3171.

The Jefferson County Bluegrass Band Set to Perform Tuesday, June 24
As part of the 2008 Main Street Entertainment Series, the Jefferson County Bluegrass Band will perform on Tuesday, June 24 from 7 – 8:30PM. The concert has been relocated to the C.A.M.D.E.N. stage in Palmer Park (2500 Palmer Dr.). This concert is free to the public and is sponsored by Blackhawk Community Credit Union, Chad J. Karl Retirement Planning Specialist, 1st American Credit Union, Elmer’s Kettle Corn and the Senior Center Advisory Board.

The Jefferson County Bluegrass Band formed in 2003 and is known as one of the top bluegrass bands in the upper Midwest. Solid musicianship and tight harmonies have been the source for the band’s success. They have a great sense of devotion to bluegrass music. They respect its history and are trying to promote a solid place for it in the future. Check them out on the web at www.jeffersoncountybluegrass.5u.com. For questions, please contact Janet McLean at 755-3040.

Totally Talented Tuesday Performance Scheduled for June 24
A Totally Talented Tuesday performance is planned for June 24. During this performance, individuals ages 18 and younger are encouraged to show off their special talents, such as singing, dancing, magic tricks or other unique abilities. The performance will take place from 6:30-7PM before the Main Street Evening Entertainment Series concert. This event has been relocated to the C.A.M.D.E.N. stage in Palmer Park (2500 Palmer Dr.). The event is designed to be non-competitive. Ten finalists will be selected to perform at the Rock County Fair! All performers must complete an application by visiting Leisure Services (18 N Jackson Street) or calling 755-3030.

Ken Lonnquist Scheduled for Thursday, June 26
As part of the 2008 Kids Noontime Entertainment, Ken Lonnquist will perform on Thursday, June 26 from noon to 1PM. The concert will take place at the C.A.M.D.E.N. Stage at Palmer Park. This performance is free to the public. In case of inclement weather, the performance will be moved to the Palmer Park West Pavilion.

Ken is a popular and award-winning family songwriter. For 25 years he’s delighted audiences of all ages with fun, imaginative and meaningful songs kids love. Topical and humorous, adults hail him as the “anti-Barney!” Come and enjoy this WAMI, Parent’s Choice and American Library Association award-winner. For questions, please contact Janet McLean at 755-3040.

Wee Rec Nite Planned for June 28
A Wee Rec Nite for children ages 3-10 is planned for June 28 from 6-9PM. This event will take place at CSA Kids Sports and Arts Campus (4113 Whitney Street) and will include a snack, gym time, indoor swimming and crafts & games for a cost of only $18 per child. During Wee Rec Nite boys and girls will be able to socialize with friends and have fun while parents enjoy some alone time. Pre-registration is required by June 25. Other upcoming Wee Rec Nites are:
July 19; and
August 16.

For questions, call Shelley Hansel at 755-3030.

Holiday Hours
In observance of Independence Day, most City facilities, including the Municipal Building, Police & Fire Administration, Water & Wastewater Utility offices, the Senior Center, the City Services Center and Hedberg Public Library will be closed on Friday, July 4. JTS regular routes will not operate.

Holiday Trash & Recycling Collection
If your collection day falls on Friday, July 4, please put your trash and recycling out for pick-up the following business day, Monday, July 7.

SCUBA Diving Certification Course Available
The City of Janesville Leisure Services Department will offer a 4 session SCUBA diving certification course for those ages 12 to adult. PADI Certified instructor, Bruce DeGarmo, of Down Under SCUBA, LLC will hold class sessions July 19 & 26 and August 2 & 3. Participants must be able to swim 200 yards and tread water for 10 minutes. A written exam will be given at the first session and participants will need to have read a text book and watched a video prior to the session. The cost for all four sessions is $200 and the registration deadline is July 3. For questions, please contact Leisure Services at 755-3030.

S.A.F.E Training Scheduled for July 30
On July 30 from 5:30 – 7:30PM the Janesville Police Department will conduct safety training for women who are interested in learning more about personal protection. This event will take place at the Mercy Center at Mercy Hospital (1000 Mineral Point) in Janesville. If you are unable to attend this session, feel free to contact the Police Department to inquire about future training sessions.

What is “S.A.F.E.” Training? S.A.F.E stands for Self defense, Awareness, Familiarization and Exchange. The program is taught by police officers and is designed to educate women on how to protect themselves from crime by introducing them to physical training methods. To register for the class, please contact Mercy Health Systems at 756-6100. For additional information, call Sergeant Donohoue at 755-3133. Register early because classes fill quickly!

Evansville Municipal Court--Newspaper Report--May 2008

Click on the post for the Municipal Court newspaper Report for May 2008.

Evansville Municipal Court--Newspaper Report--April 2008

Click on the post for the newspaper report for the Evansville Municipal Court for April 2008.

Eager Library: Childrens Librarian positon up for discussion

Click on the post for the agenda for June 24th.

City of Evansville announces new email service for agenda and minutes

(Ed. note: This is the text of the Evansville news release. I encourage all citizens to subscribe to the areas they wish. This is a very welcome additon to the city resources in communication with its citizens. )


The City of Evansville will now be using E-Notify for all City Calendars, Agendas and Minutes. Anyone who would like to receive these City documents will need to sign up on the City of Evansville website http://www.ci.evansville.wi.gov/. Click on the E-Notify icon on the left side of the screen. You can subscribe to an individual group of agendas and minutes or select every group to be sent to you.

This new feature will go into effect on Monday June 23rd.

Thank You

Keri Radke
Customer Service Clerk

School Beat: Director Of Instruction positon funding?

Click on the post for the Superintendent's report from June. It appears that funding is being sought for a Director of Instruction position, one that was broken up among staff when Mary Koehl left the district due to budget constraints etc.

It was established some years ago that positons eliminated because of the budget constraints would not be refunded later in pea pod accounting game fashion. Stay tuned.

Evansville Park Board---June 2008 Minutes---July 4th Plans

Click on the post for the minutes.

Gazette; Rock County Flood Damage estimated at 42 million

Click on the post for the latest from the Gazette.

Finance: 400 Arrested in Mortgage Fraud

The arrests for mortgage fraud have begun. Click on the post for the full article in yahoo.

Evansville Home Talent Baseball---Update


Evansville has 4 wins and only 1 loss in Sunday League play!


Thursday, June 19 – 7:30 p.m.
Rio at Evansville ( Lake Leota Upper Diamond)

Sunday, June 22 – 1:00 p.m.
Utica at Evansville (HS Stan Sperry Field)

Thursday, June 26 – 7:30 p.m.
DeForest at Evansville ( Lake Leota Upper Diamond)

Concessions will be available for all home games.
Come have lunch or dinner at the ball park!

Sunday, June 29 will be Evansville Community Night at Warner Park.
The Evansville Home Talent team will play a game right after the Mallards 3:05 pm game.
Purchase discounted tickets in advance from the Home Talent team or at the Mallards ticket office with proof of Evansville residency.

Thank you to all of our 2008 Sponsors for supporting our team this year.
For a list of our 2008 sponsors go to: http://www.evansville.hometalent.org/sponsors.htm

For a season schedule and results visit our website.

Star-Tribune: Paulson: Fed needs more powers to protect financial system

Click on the post for Treasury Secretary Paulson's comments and the urgency.

CapTimes: 911 Cellphone call handling to change

Click on the post for the latest.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

yahoo: Bankrate.com : Mtg Rates continue to rise

Loan Type
Last Week
30 Year Fixed
15 Year Fixed
1 Year ARM
30 Year Fixed Jumbo

CapTimes: UW Prof says communities need to Recalculate

Click on the post for an article in todays CapTimes by a UW prof that reviews the current extremes in temperature and precipitation and weather and what that means for planning, zoning, and development.

Communities and individuals are in denial in the face of this weather catastrophe. This is normal. However, as recently as a week ago there were comments that despite the GM situation and the flooding, the planning process for Janesville would proceed-----Rock Net Roots had an article protesting that GM must be considered. Now, the article says that the weather and flooding has to be considered. The old data does not predict the future.

The quiet statement in the article that this has ramifications for zoning and development is an understatement.

I hope to have another metrerologist weigh in on specifics of the weather data. Stay tuned.

Unified Code Committee meets tonight: Buffers and Landscaping on the agenda

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Brodhead Municipal Court Report---June 2008

Click on the post for the Brodhead Court Report.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gazette: Bliss Communications acquires Community Newspapers

Click on the post for the latest.

Historic Preservation Meets Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Click on the post for the latest.

Oil Price Trend is "Fake"----

Click on the post for the latest.

CapTimes: Gays Mills may move to higher ground

Click on the post for the story in the Cap Times.

Redevelopment Authority meets TONIGHT

The Redevelopment Authority will meet tonight to discuss TIF #5.

Not much seems to have been done since the celebration of the opening of the Eager building and in light of the variance between the official plan by Ehler and Associates with positive increment and the current situation, it is unclear whether with the flood plain modifications that may affect TIF 5 whether anything if anything will occur above and beyond some lunches discussing it. Maybe it might be just closed as a TIF since nothing is planned. If it was closed to avoid "moral hazard" the debt would be placed on the tax roles now for the current generation to pay rather than the grandkids.

Stay tuned.

Click on the post for the agenda.

Minn: Major Builder Files Chapter 11

Check on the latest from the Pioneer Press.

Monday, June 16, 2008

yahoo: Red Cross Disaster Funds Depleted

Click on the post for the latest. Your contribution can help.

Flood and Disaster Response Time

Click on the post for the Red Cross donation and information site.

The flooding has been stunning. There will be plenty of time for analysis and engineering---now is the time citizens can respond to the Red Cross to aid victims of this disaster.

Click on the post.

Gazette; Evansville Wake Up Call re: Teen Drinking

Click on the post for the story by Gina Duwe in today's Gazette.

Economic Development meets Tomorrow: Chamber Board to be present

Click on the post for the latest.

Friday, June 13, 2008

CapTime; "The Time is Right For Rail."

How timely. Click on the post for the story in the CapTimes.

Gazette: Mangolia Plan approves wind ordinance-- Town Board next

Click on the post for the latest.

On Floods; On Shopping; On Shopping For Cars; Epistles of Noah

I was chatting to a local blogger recently who was recounting the terrible devastation up in Lake Delton----and was mentioning that in the newscasts that there were cars submerged all over the place. ......."and some of them looked pretty darn attractive.".

I was just stunned by the inclination of this blogger that in the midst of tragedy, there might be a buying opportunity for some real rock bottom pricing in flooded vehicles. So. I just could not stop from interjecting and recounting the two famous rules of the Epistles of Noah---never buy a flood damaged car, and the second---never buy a car from a state to our East---and it rhymes with "noise."

It is times during terrible flood damage that folks just stop and realize that nobody in their right mind buys and builds in a flood zone.

NYT: Fuel Crisis spreads across Asia

Click on the post for the latest.

Gazette; Flooding Threatens Hedberg Library

Click on the post for the latest.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

USA Today: Food and Fuel disrupted in Spain, Portugal

Click on the post. Is this type of disruption coming next to USA?

NPP: The High Price of Deregulation run Amuck: The Larger View

I have been amazed to read the criticism of local bloggers and pundits on the announcement that the biodiesel plant will not be built here, and blaming many for the stoppage. I was present at the first presentation by NPP at Evansville Planning and most all the rest, and few of the public were present. I know that there was a tremendous response was made by the city, the school district, by community organizations and the regular citizens to support this project----and I believe that the failure was the result of larger forces----worldwide commodity speculation and lack of control that made the investment unfeasible.

I well remember that Babe Ruth struck out more than any other batter in baseball history----and if the city of Evansville succeeds with the crushing plant with its investment of 50 million dollars in direct investment, the batting average will be .500---a fabulous batting average as far as economic development goes.

The good news is that we did gather together in coordinated fashion, ask the right questions, and give the planning committment to the project---and we can remember well how we did it and do it again as soon as possible.

The failure of deregulation is stunning when looked at in the longer view. In 1970, telephone, rotary phone, service cost about $7 per month. Now families in Evansville who have internet, land line, plus cell phones for the family can spend $150 easy for service.

Yes. Maybe my hands are too big for fast texting. And yes, maybe I am old fashioned in that I tend to walk without talking to a real or imaginery person on my cell phone. I realize that it is a necessity for a hip college student to talk constantly on the cell phone between classes.

As for other areas of failure in regulation----the stock market, the airlines, the securitization of mortgages etc, etc. We have paid an extreme price for the deregulation and I join with the Treasury department in calling for regulation and reform. We do not need, however, new laws to stem mortgage fraud---we have laws on that, and the lawsuits could begin in the mortgage foreclosure crisis against brokers anytime the authorities want to begin enforcing the law.

The bubble of corn prices is what caused the NPP project to be unfeasible. When we begin burning food, corn, as a public utility fuel---we need to recognize that it cannot be just up to the gamblers to set the price.

The project prospectus indicated that they were going into the investment "unhedged"---they did not hold call options or put options on corn to hedge the risk either way. I wondered about that at the time, but I think I realize why----If they spent money on options and ended up with a completed project made whole by options----they would be in a position of having an unfeasible project fully built----it is just as well that it be closed with dignity having lost half the position.

Channel3000: Lake Delton home losses not covered under Flood Insurance---City opted out

Readers of The Evansville Observer may have wondered why there has been much discussion of "amended maps" after the recent flooding in Evansville----the story of what happens to cities that do not pay attention and pass the necessary ordinances to allow citizens to purchase flood insurance for their homes is the tragic story of Lake Delton homeowners---click on the post for the coverage on Channel 3000.

As I understand it, the new flood plain maps for Evansville become effective in August 2008, and properties located in the flood plain will have it noted on their title transfer---in other words, because this is the first time there is an official MAP, rather than just a unnoffical MAP, the prospective purchaser of property will be notified legally of the condition prior to any sale of property. The city of Evansville has amended its ordinances properly and citizens are elegible to purchase flood insurance to protect themselves---and state and federal authorites are encouraging them in ads to do so.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Finance: NYFed Gov. Calls for Global Financial Regulation

Click on the post for the full story. This is the Fed governor that played the lead role in the Bear Stearns matter.

Janesville: Weather: Flooding alert

Rock River UpdateCurrent projections by the National Weather Service indicate Rock Riverlevels will be rising very quickly over the next few days. Potentialrecord stage flooding is currently being shown on their website for theRock River at the Afton monitoring location. Projected levels will havenegative impacts on a few locations in Janesville, including RiversidePark; Charles and Joseph Streets in the Mole-Sadler subdivision; MainStreet between Centerway and Hyatt near Traxler Park; and along theriver walkway between Centerway and Milwaukee Streets. Moderate floodingaffecting these areas is forecast by June 10 or 11, with record stageflooding being projected for June 13 or 14. These forecasts areprovided by the National Weather Service.Operations Division crews will be placing sandbags along the river walkbetween Centerway and Milwaukee on June 9. Motorists are advised toavoid Charles and Joseph Streets, as those streets will soon becomeimpassable given current projections. For questions, call Operations at755-3110.Slow-No-Wake Enacted for Rock River in City of JanesvilleJanesville Boat Launches ClosedThe recent rain has resulted in swollen water conditions for the RockRiver in Janesville. The City of Janesville and Janesville Township haverequested the Rock County Sheriff's Department enact a slow-no-wakespeed restriction for the Rock River within the Janesville city limits.Additionally, Janesville's boat launches are closed.

A slow-no-wakespeed restriction has been enacted because there is concern that boatwakes will cause shoreline and personal property damage. Slow-no-wake isdefined as the slowest possible speed that watercraft can travel andstill maintain steerage.

The Rock County Sheriff's Department willenforce this speed restriction. Individuals who witness slow-no-wake violations should contact theSheriff's Department at their 757-2244 non-emergency number. Forquestions, please contact Parks Director Tom Presny at 755-3026.Rebecca Smith, Management AssistantCity of Janesvillephone: 608-755-3104fax: 608-755-3196
Commencement Address; Ethan Pierick Valedictorian; Explains what is special about Evansville and about this class of 2008.

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Senior Class Officers recognize current School Board Members and give brief review of history of class.

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Ethan Pierick, EHS Valedictorian of the Class of 2008 leads the class in to "Pomp and Circumstance."

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Fr. Kevin Dooley: On "Graduation"

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Graduation Day begins with Church Services in Evansville, Wi. Seniors waded through heavy rain to attend. The opening hymn "Morning Has Broken."

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OpEd: Union Wind Turbine Discussion

In the past week as hundreds of visitors from all across the country have viewed the film clips of the Union wind turbine discussion, I have been working on connecting the dots....here goes.

Any effective planning process or due diligence process requires transparency of engineering and financial impact. In the absence of each, it becomes just vague opinions and rants. Developers who proprose projects need to understand that when projects are designed to have impact on the public, the public has a right to know the impact.

In the case of the Union wind turbine public hearing, it is clear from review that there is a rich history of WHO, World Health Organization data on the impact on human health from noise where turbines are placed close to residential neighborhoods. The problem is comparing those old turbines with the new in a rapidly changing field. Dane Albright spoke to the issue of comparing properly, and suggested that when the turbines are erected in Lena, we can just go and measure. It remains unclear to me what the EcoEnergy folks are waiting for in presenting the decibel data to the planning study committee.

I would propose that the ordinance have a stated standard for decibel level---in other words, it appears that some of those old turbines from 20 years ago might have to be 5 miles away given how primitive they were. On the other hand, maybe an "urban turbine" or "verticle turbine" such as is being installed in Fitchberg might have a very close setback. The decibel level would be guraranteed for the life of the turbine. The reserve would be made for the removal costs if there was a breach of performance. So I see an ordinance, but specifically a schedule of turbines that have different setbacks, not just one. However----the health of the residents would be guaranteed.

Years ago I had an experience with laser surgery that is comparable. I was losing my sight and laser surgery was proposed by my doctor to save it. I trusted him and knew he was the best. He wrote the book on it in fact. However, in the week before the surgery, I found on the internet that in the previous decade many of the subjects in Minnesota trials with the exact same procedure had gone blind. It freaked me out to say the least. I called him and he promptly returned my call.

Doctors normally do not enjoy patients asking too many questions----but he responded that "Yes-----those were the patients we learned from. The technology was primitive and the technique was flawed. We have learned a lot since then. It is not the same. "

Insisting on a stated decibel level that complies with WHO standards for safe sleep for children...and adults too, ensures that we who are paying for the electricity are not subjects in an experimental study----in short---we want the new technology.

Secondly---in the financial area, from the testimony of Amanda McElroy, there are questions whether with the public wind speed data available, whether all the numbers work out? In short, we need a successful project for the developers and an efficient project from the rate payers view.

In her presentation, Supr. Heidi Carvin called for "compromise"----however, all the speakers for the project spoke as if the "compromise" was just as in the past---the fact that there would be winners and losers....and that we have to weigh the kids who suffer from asthma now with the possible adverse impacts from wind turbine noise on the other hand. They spoke as this being inevitable. I disagree. It is not the health of the public that is to be "compromised." The citizens who were present made that clear. I believe that it is not necessary to be compromised.

What is required now is some transparency of engineering and finance---no more delay from the developers. No more evasion in answering the questions.

The wind is coming. This specific project from this specific developer may not be coming. We can be patient and wait till the proposal arrives that protects public health and makes sense from a financial perspective---a win for the developers and the public.

The reason that folks all over the country have come to listen in on the discussion in the Town of Union? It matters!!!!!!! The discussion here can set the standard of how it should be conducted. The state of Wisconsin did not do it in their creation of the model ordinance. The public hearing recently in the Town of Union was well done---but more work is necessary. I salute those involved in this process.

That is how I see it. And you?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

One of the classic songs of transition of the family---"I fell in love with the Roller Derby Queen" with Chris Hector.l

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Common Council Meets on Monday, June 10, 2008

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Transportation Corner: Commuter Study Open House--June 18th----5:30-7:00PM

Open House for South Central Wisconsin Commuter Transportation StudyPlanned for June 18On June 18, a public open house for the South Central Wisconsin CommuterTransportation Study will take place from 5:30 - 7PM at BlackhawkTechnical College in room 2227. All members of the Rock County communityare invited to attend.The purpose of this study was to look at the viability and need forvarious transportation options within the region. Some of the optionsevaluated were commuter rail, bus rapid transit, express bus, feederbus, and specialized transit.

The study was funded by WisDOT throughfunds secured by Senator Judy Robson and is administered by theJanesville and Beloit MPOs and a Steering Committee comprised ofinterested jurisdictions within the study area. During the open house the results of the project to date will be shared,information on existing transit options will be provided, additionalinput on the public's travel preferences and needs will be gathered andquestions will be answered. The information gained will be used totailor the recommendations of the future work plan, which will drivefuture funding requests for the implementation of projects or follow-upstudies.For questions or to provide comments before the meeting, contact AlexisKuklenski, MPO Coordinator, at 755-3095.

Video: Town of Union: Wind Turbine: WHO Data: Jim Bembinster speaks of Adverse Health Impact of Nighttime Noise

Video: Jim B speaks of the adverse health impact of nighttime noise where turbines are set too close to residential neighborhoods; Cites WHO data

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mailbag; Tom Alisankus files objection with Town of Union Planning Committee


At the Plan Commission's public hearing on the 'Wind Committee's' draft ordinance, Eco Energy distributed information directly to the Commission for its review, without it first being given to the appointed Committee to study and evaluate its contents. In fact, Eco has still NOT distributed to me, as Chair of that Committee, even a courtesy copy of what it presented that night. This is despite both public and private assurances of its representatives, including Mr. Bjurlin, that they want to have this debate 'out in the open', and to cooperate with the Committee. Their eleventh hour submissions would seem to cast doubt on such assurances. I objected to this at the time, but it was indeed late, and could not be addressed.

I am coming to you with this issue, as Chair of the Town Board--the entity which appointed the Study Committee. My objection is intended to address ALL current and future submissions, not just those of Eco. Attached is my written objection, with supporting information and argument. I would ask that the Town Clerk, included in this email, distribute this to the Board members, as well as the Commission members. As a courtesy, I would also ask that it be distributed to Mr. Bjurlin. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks, Tom

Union Township Planning Commission
Evansville, Wisconsin 53536 VIA EMAIL

To The Commission:

Please accept this as my official objection, as Chair of the Large Wind Turbine Study Committee, (hereinafter, the "Committee") to the Union Township Planning Commission (hereinafter, the "Commission") directly accepting documents, information, purported studies, and the like, without first having that information reviewed by the Committee. While this is in specific response to Eco Energy handing out information directly to the Commission last Thursday, it is also meant to apply to any information coming to the Commission at this point in time, without first being reviewed by the Committee. My support for this position is detailed below.

First, the original purpose of the Committee was to research the available information, and, after becoming knowledgeable, if not expert, on the topic, draft an ordinance that would appropriately address the health and safety issues associated with the large wind turbines. As you know, and have recognized, the Committee has invested hundreds of hours, digesting thousands of pages of documents, doing what we were asked to do.

By way of review, we held weekly, OPEN meetings, properly and legally noticed to the public. These meetings were held from late August 2008, through the presentation of the ordinance and accompanying report to the Commission, with only occasional breaks for holidays, and perhaps once or twice when the full Committee could not be in attendance for personal reasons. Additionally, Eco, WPPI and the PSC were among the groups of entities we called 'stakeholders' who were specifically identified and sent individual requests for information. What we received back from Eco, in particular, was mostly non-responsive to our specific requests; the PSC only answered five of our 18 questions. My point here is that Eco, in particular, had EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO BE PART OF THIS PROCESS, but chose, instead, to ignore us. For them to now be allowed to completely circumvent the process, and the Committee, by being allowed to submit information directly to the Commission is not only completely inappropriate by any standard of professional and ethical conduct, it would also be unfair to those on the Committee who worked so hard to bring the Commission the results it asked for.

Furthermore, to invite Eco to be a participating member of a Commission work meeting would be similarly inappropriate. It would reward them for ignoring the Committee's work, and more importantly, the Committee's offer to Eco to be part of the Committee's process. It chose not to. It chose not to attend Committee work meetings. It chose not to be responsive to the questionnaire we sent to them (twice). We went beyond any legal requirements in making our process available to anyone, including Eco. While they certainly have a right to attend any public meeting they want to, they waived any real 'right' to be part of the next step in the process. By analogy, if the Commission recommends passage of the ordinance, as proposed, to the full Town Board, how would the Commission react to the Board dealing directly with Eco, ignoring the Commission, if the Board had questions?

If the Commission intends to preserve the credibility of the appointed committee structure, the Commission MUST insist that Eco (or anyone, at this point, including the Superintendent of Schools) send ANY info, or proposed corrections, through the Committee. To do otherwise completely disrespects the integrity of the Committee, and the committee structure/process. If Eco has a factual issue, then before they get to 'appeal' it, if you will, to the Commission, practice suggests that they must first make the Committee aware of their 'issue', and give us the chance to rectify it. Eleventh hour submissions, with the excuse that until last Thursday, they didn't have the 'opportunity' to present their information, not only amounts to 'trial by ambush' (which is why in the legal system, even in criminal cases, the prosecution must share what it has with the defense BEFORE the trial day, so there are NO SURPRISES, and information can properly be evaluated), but also calls into question the veracity of the submitters.

This is not just a procedural issue, (although that IS how it is done in a court/legal setting), but it makes sense: If Eco ignores us, and brings something directly to the Commission, it denies the Commission of the 'wisdom', knowledge, etc., that the Committee has gained to assess Eco's issue. The Committee has, by design, become the Commission’s expert, and to accept Eco's submissions blindly, and without having the Committee's expertise to assess it, the Commission would be 'accepting' or 'rejecting' it without the benefit of our gained knowledge and experience, etc.

Let me give you a solid example. Today, a study by Mr. Leventhall was distributed to the Committee AND directly to the Commission. At first blush, one might be tempted to ‘accept’ the report at face value, as the Commission has not been part of the Committee’s ongoing vetting of information. However, if the Commission would defer to the Committee it appointed, it would find the following: First, the Committee has already studied information from Mr. Leventhall. That study did NOT include wind turbines at all, particularly, the extremely large one’s that Eco proposes. Second, you would find that Mr. Leventhall’s positions on low frequency sound have NOT been given credence by the larger, scientific community. Third, you would be told that much of Mr. Leventhall’s work is dated, going back as far as 1987, though there is some recent material as late as 2005; subsequent to that, in 2007, a different study that INCLUDED wind turbines, completely refutes Mr. Leventhall’s findings. And finally, if you wanted even more from your Committee, you would find that Mr. Leventhall has been a paid consultant for a number of wind energy companies/proponents. The documents relied on by the Committee have no such bias.

If you allow submissions such as this to come directly to the Commission, you will force the Committee to re-hash the data it has already evaluated, solely to answer the questions raised by the late submitters, but which likely have already been addressed, and often re-addressed, by your Committee. That, Gentlemen, is a waste of everyone’s time and energy, and is simply NOT appropriate. The Committee may look at a 'submission', and say, 'you are right, we'll change it', or it may say the opposite based on what it knows....The Commission needs to accept OUR findings, unless the 'clear weight of the evidence' shows otherwise. That's the deference that should appropriately be afforded a committee such as this. It's not something I'm pulling out of thin air; this is how it works in the legal system.

I want to remind you, and members of the Commission, that I only agreed to Chair this Committee if everyone on the Committee assured me that we would go where the evidence takes us. They did. We did. I'm sorry that some don't like the results. Like Eco has said, 'there are always winners and losers in these projects'.

In closing, therefore, I ask that the Commission officially reject, and refuse to accept submissions by Eco, or any entity, that had notice and opportunity to do so throughout the process, but chose not to. Similarly, if there is new information, ‘hot off the press’, such that it was not available during our Committee’s operational phase, that it, too, be directed to the Committee for evaluation, prior to it being distributed to the Commission. Finally, I ask that the Commission work directly and exclusively with the Committee at work sessions, with the understanding that it is the Committee’s responsibility to interact with the ‘stakeholder’ entities involved, as the Committee has offered to do all along.

Respectfully, Thomas J. Alisankus, J.D.
ChairLarge Wind Turbine Study Committee

Union Wind Turbine Public Hearing-----5-29-2008----the MOVIE

The full movie of the Town of Union Wind Turbine public hearing last thursday, 5-29-2008 is now available at the Eager Free Public Library. It is located with the wind turbine study report. It is checked out like all other videos. The full audio is available on the Observer, as well as some clips, but I hope the full uncut, unedited movie will be of interest to my readers. Enjoy.

For those wishing to purchase a copy of the movie, and indeed many viewers are from all across America, it is available for a duplication and mailing fee of $15. Just mail a check to The Evansville Observer, 255 East Main Street, Evansville, Wisconsin 53536. Any international visitors who wish to order, duplication and mailing fee is $18 International money order. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Video: WPPI speaks against Town of Union draft ordinance on wind turbine setback

Video: WPPI speaks against Town of Union draft ordinance on wind turbine setback

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Video: Wind turbine Hearing: Mrs. Exum Speaks for ordinance

Video: Mrs. Exum speaks to the health hazard of improperly sited wind turbines on human health

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Video: Jake of WPPI: Wind Turbine Hearing: Union: Speaks against Union ordinance

Jake of WPPI speaks in oppositon to the proposed ordinance of Town of Union to restrict wind turbines to 1/2 mile set back

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Video: Amanda McElroy, UW Whitewater: Speaks: "Why are We Here?" There is inadequate wind

Amanda McElroy, UW Whitewater speaks at recent Town of Union Wind turbine Public Hearing on 5-29-2008---Her wind speed study for three locations in Rock County using her data and public data suggest just by the numbers the project is not sustainable by the wind.

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Wind Corner: BetterPlan Rock County Must Reading and Viewing

Click on the post for a source of studies and video on wind turbine siting issues.

WSJ: Janesville Braces for future without GM

There may be a 5-10 year transition from the loss of 6.3% of the economy of Janesville according to a story in the WSJ this morn. Click on the post for the full story.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mailbag: Wind Turbine Study: Tom Alisankus writes:

(Ed.note: The following is a copy of a note written by Tom Alisankus, Chair of the Town of Union Wind Turbine Study Committee to the Town of Union Plan Commission.)

I will be submitting a formal request to the Commission asking that they reject the acceptance of any information that is not first submitted through the properly appointed Committee. Below is part of my support for the request:

If the Commission intends to preserve the credibility of the appointed committee structure, the Commission MUST insist that Eco (or anyone, at this point, including the Superintendent of Schools) send ANY info, or proposed corrections, through the Committee. To do otherwise completely disrespects the integrity of the Committee, and the committee structure/process. If Eco has a factual issue, then before they get to 'appeal' it, if you will, to the Commission, practice suggests that they must first make the Committee aware of their 'issue', and give us the chance to rectify it.

This is not just a procedural issue, (although that IS how it is done in a court/legal setting), but it makes sense: If Eco ignores us, and brings something directly to the Commission, it denies the Commission of the 'wisdom', knowledge, etc., that the Committee has gained to assess Eco's issue. The Commission's Committee has, by design, become their expert, and to accept Eco's submissions blindly, and without having the Committee's expertise to assess it, the Commission would be 'accepting' or 'rejecting' it without the benefit of our gained knowledge and experience, etc. The Committee may look at what they 'submit', and say, 'you are right, we'll change it', or it may say the opposite based on what it knows....The Commission needs to accept OUR findings, unless the 'clear weight of the evidence' show otherwise. That's the deference that should appropriately be afforded a committee such as this. It's not something I'm pulling out of thin air; this is how it works in the legal system. (This gets to the issue of Board's acting in 'legislative' vs. quasi-judicial roles....)

Background: Mailbag: Evansville Water Treatment Facility History

(Ed.note; This is the digital copy of the article also published in the Evansville Review. I have published it for the digital record.)

Evansville’s wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) was built in 1982, designed to last for 20 years with a capacity of 600,000 gallons per day. At its most basic level, our WWTF is a series of open ponds. In the first ponds, blowers pump air into the wastewater, this oxidation contributes to the growth of biology, or bugs, that eat the nutrients in the wastewater. From the aeration ponds, the wastewater is transferred to a settling pond to settle out the solids. Eventually, the clean water is discharged into seepage ponds that allow the water to seep into the ground. Periodically, we pump stabilized sludge from the bottom of the ponds to apply to farm fields.

Analysis of the wastewater is performed at various steps in the process to ensure that the discharged water meets the standards of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In the early 1990’s the DNR established a new standard for nitrates in the groundwater. Nitrogen, of which nitrates are one form, occurs naturally in residential waste, so it is nothing special or unique. But our WWTF was not designed to remove it from the wastewater.

A condition of our current (April 2006) wastewater discharge permit was to address our ability to meet the groundwater limit of 10 milligrams per liter for nitrates and report a plan by December 2008. In the fall of 2006, we installed several monitoring wells both above and below the WWTF to evaluate the amount of nitrate in the groundwater due to the discharge at the WWTF. The resulting analysis is that we are not consistently meeting the limits for nitrates or chlorides.

The requirement to change our wastewater treatment to reduce nitrates is the factor behind some significant upgrades for our WWTF.

The option initially considered would add insulated covers to the ponds and adding a treatment process to treat the nitrates. This would enable removal of the nitrates, on a year-round basis. The preliminary estimated cost is $2.6 million for construction plus higher operating costs around $20,000 per year for methanol.

Even though we are several years beyond the WWTF designed lifespan, the plant runs at about 75 to 85 percent of its designed capacity. So this option would address the nitrates issue and allow us some five to ten years before growth required an enlargement of the facility. Unfortunately, the pond system takes up a lot of space and there is little room for future expansion.

The Public Works Committee and City Council have had some early discussions about evaluating other options that would be more cost effective in the long run.

Other options would involve constructing a mechanical plant with an aerobic digester for around $3.2 million. In addition to addressing the treatment needs, this would increase the WWTF’s capacity and meet the city’s needs for the next 20 years. The design would also allow for future expansion when needed. The mechanical plant would also have lower operating costs without the chemical treatment and lower electricity needs.

On Tuesday, City Engineer Dave Sauer, Public Works Superintendent Dave Wartenweiler, WWTF Operator Ray Nipple, and I toured three different mechanical plants.

The facility in Brodhead was built in 1998 and treats about 300,000 gallons per day. It utilizes what is called an oxidation ditch, essentially an oval-shaped concrete channel. A number of large discs rotating on a spindle stir air into the wastewater. After the oxidation ditch, the wastewater goes through a mechanical clarifier to separate clean water from dirty water. The dirty water is returned to the aerobic digester; while, the clean water is disinfected with ultra-violet light and discharged to the river. An aerobic digester decomposes the nutrients in the solids, so the sludge can be applied to farm fields.

Lake Geneva has a different oxidation ditch system built in 1985 and treats 1.5 million gallons per day. This system has a series of three concentric channels with several spindles of discs aerating the wastewater in each of the channels. Their clean water is pumped via an eighteen-inch forcemain two miles to a former gravel pit where it is able to infiltrate into the ground similar to our seepage ponds. An anaerobic digester decomposes the nutrients in the solids, so the sludge can be applied to farm fields.

Jefferson’s facility was built in the mid 1980’s. One of its features is an aeration basin. Blowers diffuse air into the wastewater. This step is similar to our aeration ponds, but the confined space allows it wastewater to pass through the process in a matter of hours rather than a matter of days. After a clarifier process and ultraviolet treatment, the clean water is discharged to the river.

Like Lake Geneva, Jefferson has an anaerobic digester, meaning the bacteriological process acts in a non-oxygenated environment. The anaerobic digester produces methane gas as a byproduct. Jefferson captures the methane to assist in heating the sludge from the plant; however, even at just under two million gallons of wastewater per day it is too small of an operation to cost-effectively generate electricity. Their sludge is also applied to farm fields.

Evansville’s proposed upgrades appear to be in the $2 to $3 million range, and operating costs and energy use will play a decisive part in the overall selection. Whether we go with the insulated covers or a mechanical system, the DNR requires us to go through a facility planning process to examine several alternatives. Later this summer, public comments will be a part of the process. The facility planning report, with a preferred alternative, will include an evaluation of the capital and operating and maintenance costs of each alternative. The DNR has up to ninety days to review the report. After DNR approval, actual engineered design can begin.

The facility planning process has started and the report is expected to be submitted to the DNR late this summer or early fall. Construction will likely begin in 2009 and be completed in 2010.

Note of Thanks
If you saw a bunch of youngsters with brooms and rakes last Friday, they were students from Theodore Robinson Intermediate School. They filled our dumpster with all their spring cleaning downtown. Thank you to the kids, Nancy Greve-Shannon, and Evansville Community Partnership.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Plan Commission Meets Monday--June 2nd--Annexation on the agenda.

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Dateline London: LondonFlyGirl; Charity: The Lady Godiva Ride

Around here we have the 5K Charity runs---in London the latest is the Lady Godiva ride. Click on the post for the latest from LondonFlyGirl.