Evansville Water: The Movie: Part 1

Audio/Video Evansville Schools Meetings

Seek the High Ground

Loading...

Search This Blog

Wisconsin Wit

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wind Corner: Zweizig writes Wisconsin State Journal: Is WSJ a PR firm or PAC? or newspaper?

From: dougzweizig@hotmail.com
To: wsjopine@madison.com
Subject: Large wind turbines
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 05:51:52 +0000

Your editorial on Friday, March 20, and your editorial cartoon on March 23 look more like a PR campaign in support of proposed legislation than a reasoned position and would have far more credibility if the WSJ had actually done some reporting on the issue of the placement of wind turbines too close to homes, rather than just editorializing. It seems inconsistent that the WSJ with its strong interest in public information would not have investigated how the Public Service Commission arrived at their minimal setbacks.
As desirable as wind is as an alternative, non-fossil fuel source of energy, large turbine wind farms have already caused harm to Wisconsin residents where wind turbines have been placed too close to their homes. Anyone wanting to get an idea of living next to a large wind turbine can type in "wind turbines" at YouTube or look at betterplan.squarespace.com. You trivialize the experiences of these people by your insistence on the NIMBY cliché.

Doug Zweizig 6037 N. Finn Road Evansville, WI 53536 608-882-4225

Dateline Normal: "Cost of Cowchips Skyrockets"--FICTION

Tales from Normal: On the rise of commodity prices; On the scarcity of cowchips; On the abundance in Wisconsin--we have plenty of bull---FICTION

MP3 File

Wall Street Journal: Speed Cams---are they the answer for the budget gap?

Click on the post for the latest.

Evansville Police Station Remodel on Agenda at Public Safety

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yahoo: President Obama takes questions from Public via WEB---

The new media has transformed America, and President Obama has recognized that by directly engaging citizens via the WEB.

Click on the post for the details.

Gazette: Janesville Day in Madison----

Big day in Madison yesterday for Janesville. Janesville groups went to Madison to highlight the plight of Janesville. Click on the post for the coverage in the Gazette.

One of the legislators mentioned that the key thing is creation of private sector jobs, as opposed to public sector jobs.

Yes.

There has been lots of talk of building infrastructure and public sector jobs---but horrendous job losses in the private sector are what we see. One could color a picture of an individual that has actually created a private sector job. It might be instructive.

Yahoo: Wall Street: Regulation coming

Click on the post for the latest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gazette: Janesville faces flooding; Will hold info meeting on Friday--

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

UTube: British PM takes the heat.

Click on the post for a classic.

Pres Obama News Conference---broadens news reporters in loop

It's not just the insiders and big name newspapers that are asking the questions now---President Obama has widened the list of news reporters he allows to ask questions. Are the blogs next? The Evansville Observer is ready. Click on the post for the full story.

Minn; Star Tribune: 300 Foreclosed Homes go to Auction

Click on the post for the latest.

St. Paul: Pioneer Press: City of St. Paul Cuts Staff, salaries, hours

Cuts to staff and current salaries are a reality in St. Paul, Mn.. Click on the post for the full story from the Pioneer Press.

Duluth Trading---The Boss is Gone Special




Click on the post for the full catalog.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NYT: OVERSAVING, a burden for our time-----

Click on the post for the latest.

Reuters: Newspapers are next---bill to allow them to be non-profit? Are bloggers next?

Click on the post for the latest. Nothing like a bailout to hinder a total transformation of media. The positive side is that bloggers could be non-profit too? What a wonderful idea.

Minn: Star Tribune: DWI Court Wins praise

Click on the post for the latest.

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "The Money Changers in the Temple--the revised version"-----FICTION

Click on the post for the latest. It's a land of fiction....but other than that...

OpEd: Reflection: Nixon-Frost --the movie----the magic of full discussion

Click on the post for the latest.

Gazette; Janesville School Board braces for large enrollment loss

Click on the post for the article today in the Janesville Gazette.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mailbag: Rep Brett Davis Writes:

80th Assembly District Update - March 20, 2009
Focus on Jobs and the Economy
As a small rally in the stock market over the last week brings some welcome financial news, times remain difficult for families, seniors and businesses in our area. With a fresh round of job loss announced due to the recent decline in agriculture commodity prices, it is more important than ever for our state government to remain focused and committed to retaining and growing jobs in our state. This effort must focus on ways for our government to become more efficient and not simply raise taxes and fees on the people that pay the bills - the taxpayers.

The following is a list of policies focusing on job creation and economic development the state legislature has enacted since reconvening in January.

Buy Wisconsin
American Jobs Act
Tax Credit Consolidation
Angel Investment Tax Credit
Dairy Cooperative Investment Credit
These provisions were fast-tracked by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Doyle and will help the recovery of our state's economy. From ensuring more jobs stay in our state and country, rather than go overseas, to providing incentives for private investment in our state, these policies will help boost economic development and create jobs.

There is more state government can do; however, to help the citizens of Wisconsin be better positioned to compete in a global marketplace and to strengthen our state budget for decades to come.

First, I am working on drafting legislation that would create a Workforce Tax Credit. The bill would help those who lost their job get back on their feet faster by providing financial help to obtain education at area technical colleges. By providing this tool, we can help people that are motivated to improve their skills and ensure Wisconsin's workforce remains strong.

Also, the current sunset on the Dairy Facilities Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit should be eliminated. By extending this tax credit we can strengthen the dairy industry that is crucial to our local economy. A recent report demonstrates the tax incentive is helping businesses invest in their facilities allowing them to retain and create jobs, even in a challenging economic climate.

Ultimately, the bottom line is that government needs to tighten its belt in tough economic times. Families and small businesses across the state are coping with the economic recession by making tough budget decisions. The same must be true of our government. This is not the right time to vastly expand our state government with new spending. The proposed $2.5 billion in tax increases in Governor Doyle's Budget will likely have a negative impact on our already fragile state economy and job climate.

Finally, our state government must enact measures like the Truth in Budgeting Act, which I am a co-author of, to ensure our state finally balances its budget and is on the road to fiscal recovery. Families and businesses in Wisconsin could not budget the way the state currently is and state government should not be any different from the people who pay the state's bills.

I want to hear from you and will work hard to serve you however I can. If you, a family member or friend has been impacted by job loss and they don't know where to look for help, please make sure to use me as a resource. We will help connect you with the best available resources there are to offer.

Nostalgia: Traders Little Black Book: February 2008; The deregulaton of Wall Street etc.

Click on the post for one of the classic rants from The Trader's Little Book from February 2008.

Audio: Nostalgia: Aug 2008: "The Tale of Loon Lodge"--FICTION

Click on the post for a popular tale of yesteryear.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Reflection: Nostalgia: "Riding with the King" ; the song; the photoshoot; the walkable neighborhood


Some time ago, my brother, Denis, introduced me to the John Hiatt version of the BB King song, "Riding with the King." There sure are lots of versions of the song and you can see many of them on Utube.

In Panama City Beach, Florida recently there was a planned movie photoshoot at an upscale, very upscale walkable neighborhood, and the owners of the hotel there mentioned it to us that we might want to come to be extras etc. for the shoot. Wow. What an opportunity.

It was the event that never happened. Nobody showed up. There I was left to pose with Elvis...just the two of us to carry on the party.

It left me with the notion that walkable neighborhoods cannot be faked. There has to be an essential need for people to live in community, and not just an offshoot of some real estate con.

Most of the folks at our condo area were from Minnesota and Canada--hence I switched to my Minnesota hat. There are lots of parties for both Badgers and Gophers in Panama City----It was somethig I was not expecting.

Click on the post for on of my favorite version of "Riding with the King."

Elise Larson Performs at Real Coffee TONIGHT--March 13, 2009---Music begins at 7PM

Elise Larson will be performing at Real Coffee in Evansville, Wi this friday night---March 13, 2009: Doors open at 6PM and Music starts at 7PM. There will be piano and guitar accompanyment. Elise is remembered as the EHS graduate who performed at Carnegie Hall as a Senior. Her performance of "Flight of the Bumble Bee" is published on The Evansville Observer and has been viewed around the country by visitors.

Space will be tight on Friday night. Get there early to get a seat.


(2007)Elise Larson, senior, EHS, performs on Oboe, "Flight of the Bumble Bee. She will be performing at Carnegie Hall next week.


Download File

Dateline Normal, Mn.: " Normal, Mn. Responds---EVERYONE goes back to school"---FICTION

Click on the post for the latest.

Minn: Star Trib: Minnesota schools face 1 billion in cuts

Click on the post for the latest.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Video: City attorney explains referral of resolution on acquisition of land for waterway to the Plan Commission preparatory to acquisition


Download File
Video: City Administrator Dan Wietecha explains that high school drafting class preparation of plans will not do, and the $75,000 budgeted for the remodel will be inadequate.


Download File

Gazette Moves to Mornings:

Click on the post for the latest.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

BNET: Nostalgia: Relationship Selling v Order Taking

When it is just widgets and not a relationship, when the panic hits, the phones die.

Click on the post for a look back in time almost ten years.

Recently I was in sales meeting as a guest, and observed a sales trainer describing the difference....or rather trying to describe the difference: He said:

"Men, think of your prospect as ....well....like you would think of a date.....Come to think of it, when you are dating, what is it that your date most likes to talk about?

With that....there was a complete silence...... he went on....kind of nervously...


Well...O.K.....I realize that most all of you are single....and yes...well.....do not have any love life to speak of......but still....just imagine...."

....Relax....the Observer was still. I thought time would be a good enough instructor for these guys and I was not going to say a word...not one word.

Audio: Common Council: Mar 10, 2009: City Attorney discusses land acquisition action process

Audio; Common Council, Mar 10, 2009: Evansville City Attorney explains motion to refer to the Evansville Planning Commission re land acquisition for waterway.


MP3 File

Audio; Common Council: March 10, 2009: Remodeling of Fire Station for Police discussed

Audio; Evansville Common Council: Mar 10, 2009: Update on Police Department remodeling of former fire station.


MP3 File

WSJ: WIAA goes too far--tries to eliminate newspaper reporting of high school sports except excusive approved

Click on the post for the latest.

Background; "Unemployment"-----the game; or forgetting the "discouraged workers

Employment and Unemployment

August 24th, 2004
"GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC REPORTS: THINGS YOU'VE
SUSPECTED BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK!"

A Series Authored by Walter J. "John" Williams

"Employment and Unemployment Reporting"
(Part Two in a Series of Five)

August 24, 2004
_____



The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, conducts two monthly surveys of U.S. employment and unemployment. Results usually are released on the first Friday of the month following the survey:

Household Survey (also Current Population Survey) -- The household survey generates the unemployment rate from a statistically designed monthly sampling of roughly 60,000 households. Other surveys, such as the annual poverty survey, often are piggybacked on the employment questions. The survey measures the number of people who have jobs.

Payroll Survey (also Establishment or Current Employment Statistics Survey) -- The payroll survey generates an estimate of the number of nonfarm jobs in the U.S. economy, based on a monthly non-random sampling of payroll tax filings of about 160,000 U.S. corporations and government agencies. The survey measures the number of jobs (some individuals hold more than one job).

The household survey is conducted during the week that includes the 12th of the month. The payroll survey is conducted as of the payroll period that includes the 12th of the month. Other than for seasonal factors, the household survey gets revised only with series or population redefinition. The payroll series is revised for two months following the initial release and then again in an annual benchmark revision.

Where the household survey includes farm workers, the self-employed and workers in private homes, the payroll survey does not. The payroll survey counts jobs, making no adjustment for multiple jobholders. Yet, adjusting for all differences, the BLS never has been able to reconcile the two series within one million jobs.

Conventional wisdom in the financial community is that the payroll survey is more accurate, given its larger sampling base. To the contrary, the household is scientifically designed, and the error can be estimated to any degree desired. The payroll data are haphazard at best, and the BLS has no idea of potential reporting error.

The BLS estimates a 90% confidence interval for a change in the unemployment rate of ±0.22%, and a 90% confidence interval for the monthly change in payrolls of ±108,000. The BLS, however, admits the payroll survey's confidence interval is not solid, given built in biases and the lack of randomness in the monthly sample.

The payroll survey used to include a regular monthly bias factor of about +150,000 jobs. Those jobs were added each month for good measure, as an estimate of jobs created by new companies. Companies that went out of business generally were assumed to be employing the same number of people as before they went out of business.

In the last couple of years, the BLS has modeled and seasonally adjusted its bias factor; there is no more guesstimation. Accordingly, new monthly bias factors have ranged from -321,000 to +270,000 during the last year. This, combined with continuous seasonal adjustment revisions, has added to the volatility of recent monthly reporting.

Suggesting that the household survey is more accurate than the payroll survey, however, does not mean household survey accurately depicts unemployment. While its measures have definable statistical accuracy, the accuracy is related only to the underlying questions surveyed and to the universe of people surveyed.

The popularly followed unemployment rate was 5.5% in July 2004, seasonally adjusted. That is known as U-3, one of six unemployment rates published by the BLS. The broadest U-6 measure was 9.5%, including discouraged and marginally attached workers.

Up until the Clinton administration, a discouraged worker was one who was willing, able and ready to work but had given up looking because there were no jobs to be had. The Clinton administration dismissed to the non-reporting netherworld about five million discouraged workers who had been so categorized for more than a year. As of July 2004, the less-than-a-year discouraged workers total 504,000. Adding in the netherworld takes the unemployment rate up to about 12.5%.

The Clinton administration also reduced monthly household sampling from 60,000 to about 50,000, eliminating significant surveying in the inner cities. Despite claims of corrective statistical adjustments, reported unemployment among people of color declined sharply, and the piggybacked poverty survey showed a remarkable reversal in decades of worsening poverty trends.

Somehow, the Clinton administration successfully set into motion reestablishing the full 60,000 survey for the benefit of the current Bush administration's monthly household survey.

While the preceding concentrates on the numbers that tend to move the markets, the household survey also measures employment. The payroll survey also surveys average hourly and weekly earnings and average workweek.
______

Books: Video: "Bailout Nation"--Ritholtz----the debate on Nationalization of banks

Click on the post for the interview with the author.

Evansville Common Council Meets Tonight--6:30PM.. Packed Agenda

Click on the link for the full agenda.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Guardian; Ape shows forseeability trait; Zoo keepers decide remedy

Click on the post for the latest.

Mailbag: Observer invited to attend Hannover Messe in April 2009

Click on the post----Hannover Messe is a huge international exposition of manufacturing and energy efficient stuff happening in April 2009.

Responding to posts on The Evansville Observer about wind energy issues, I received the following note from China:


Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is Vian Lu, the sales from Ruihua Renewable Energy Development Co.,ltd.
We are a professional small wind turbinesr maker from China, our Black series wind turbines Black300,Black600,and Black1500. have incredible feature especially generator design. For Black300W,it turn at a windspeed between 1, 5 and 1, 8 m and begin to charge at a windspeed of 2,5 m/s.The diameter of the blades is 1, 22 m the rated output at 9 m/s is 300 watt if you have more wind, the generator can also go up to 500 Watt, the total weight 15kg which can be post very easy!
we also provide wind&solar hybrid system,such as lamp,monitor,communication tower...etc.
we suggest you can buy 10units as first order for check market and our good quanlity.
We also sale solar panel as competitive price for support you.

With best regards,

Vian
Ruihua Renewable Energy Development Co.,ltd
Website:www.ruihuaenergy.com
Email: vian@ruihuaenergy.com
Skype: vianlu9756
Msn: luchunqin@hotmail.com
Tel: 0086 571 88898254
Fax: 0086 571 88970075
Mobile: 0086 13706718205
Visit us at the trade fair "Hannover Messe 2009". We are looking forward to your visit at our stand at Hall 27 S19. Use the opportunity to get a personal consultancy.

School Reports: Evansville Schools: March 2009

March 2009 Superintendent’s Report


Alternative Education Grant


Attached is the abstract for the Alternative Education Grant we submitted on Tuesday with DPI. We have
submitted both a Charter School grant and an Alternative Education grant in the past to improve out
support to at-risk students. This year we met with the person in charge of the program at DPI, Beth Lewis,
and representatives from 7 area small districts to see what we could do to improve our chances of getting
the grant. We used that feedback along with two meetings with Blackhawk Technical College, several
meetings with Albany and Parkview to develop this grant. These efforts should improve our chances of
getting this grant which would be $100,000 for three years, then $80,000, then $60,000 before the grant
ends. It would be prorated with Parkview and Albany based on overall enrollment. We would also retain
10% for administration and training since we have some of staff trained already.
We believe that our grant has a unique focus. We would use career planning through WisCareers and
skills assessment using the Employability Skills Certificate program as the cornerstone for identified atrisk
students. If a student needs to improve basic skills to reach their career goals, we would use materials
as much as possible that are related to that career to help motivate the student and develop their
background in their chosen career. The grant would help provide time to train staff to work in this way
with students, as well as identify and purchase some materials. The majority of the grant would go to pay
part time program managers who would work with the students and their families to keep them on track to
achieve their career goals. Through revisions in our guidance program all students beginning with this
years 8th grade class will have portfolios on-line with WisCareers where they will be able to keep
resumes, results of career interest assessment and other career related evidence. The alternative education
program would provide additional supports beyond what the typical student needs.
Another important aspect would be community members which would be employers and other adults
willing to provide opportunities for students to gain work experience and feedback prior to a capstone
experience such as or similar to our Co-op program. We have gotten several letters of support as part of
our application which will also strengthen it. I have attached those letters. If you see the letter writers,
please thank them for going to bat on behalf of our students.
Employability Skills
There are 22 Employability skills split across several areas that employers have repeatedly indicated are
needed for their employees to be successful. Added to that list are two other qualities: punctuality and
grooming that get evaluated. A copy is attached to the board packet so you can see what the skills are.
Students then get evaluated at an entry and exit level by whoever is responsible for supervising that part
of their portfolio. Students in work-experience programs, FFA, and the Stateline Career and Technical
Academy are the most likely participants in the program on a formal basis. However, we intend to use it
at earlier grades to help students understand the skills they need to improve their likelihood of success in
their chosen careers. In this economic downturn, there is increasing anxiety about our children being able
to find meaningful employment. We hope these efforts will improve our students’ chances of success.
Kindergarten Registration
We have 136 students on our incoming kindergarten list. Registration is Thursday so by the time the
Board meets, we can let you know how many have registered. We continue to follow up with families
who don’t make that event, but have also tried to contact everyone prior to registration so we believe this
number is quite accurate. We are using 134 for program based budgeting purposes. By the April board
meeting we should know if we have the 15 students signed up that are required to offer a half day
kindergarten program.


Levi Leonard Elementary School
School Board Report
March 9, 2009
BOARD THEME/CURRICULUM TOPIC: The Arts
The arts at Levi Leonard begin, as so many subjects do, by developing a foundation on which future grade
levels can build. In doing so, we try to build in a love of learning both in the arts and in other academic areas.
We do this through a variety of instructional activities to teach visual arts concepts and design as well as
giving time to practice those concepts. Similarly in music, we work on transitions between buildings and focusing
on Rhythm, Intervals and other major music concepts. The music Professional Learning Community (PLC)
developed a mission statement for the Music Dept. as a whole. They also discuss their curriculum and work toward
a cohesive, fluent building of key music goals and objectives.
We try to build a love of the arts in our students by giving students a chance to hear and see professional
artists through field trips and samples in class, as well as giving students a chance to perform. For this reason, each
grade level has a concert that is performed for families and friends. Students are also involved with a parade and
art display for Week of the Young Child, a 2nd Grade musical performance for the Energy Fair, and a variety of
activities for March: Youth Art Month. (Please see the materials Michelle Klopp has provided for more on this.)
General education teachers also support the arts by integrating various visual art activities in the academic
curriculum as well as including music, plays and other performances for families.
STAFF DEVELOPMENT:
On February 5 and 6, several teachers attended one day of the Wisconsin State Reading Association
(WSRA) Conference. These teachers, Jackie Andrew, Terrie Schmoldt, Penny Viken, Nancy Brummond, JoMarie
Oakeson, Renee Bjugstad and Terri Belz, will share what they have learned at the March staff meeting.
CELEBRATE!
On February 20, Heidi Carvin and I went to the Wisconsin School Counselors Association Conference to
see Marilyn Brink awarded the SPARC for our school counseling Program of Promise. The award is on display in
the elementary showcase.
ANNOUNCEMENTS/UPCOMING EVENTS:
March 10 1st Grade Concert, 7:00 at PAC
March 11 Lock-Down Drill
March 13 PTO Book Swap with Storyteller 6:00-8:00 PM
March 16 REACh/RtI Leadership Team meeting – all day
March 17 1st and 2nd Grade Forensics
March 18 Staff meeting 3:15
March 18, 19, 20 Kindergarten Screener
March 30 Begin Spring Break
Please join us for any of the above events or drop in to visit and talk with students and staff. You are always
welcome!
Respectfully submitted;
Lou Havlik,
Principal


Theodore Robinson Intermediate School
School Board Report
Vicki Lecy-Luebke, Principal
March 9, 2009
The Arts
The arts play an important role in the development of students’ creative capacities. We have two
outstanding teachers, Trent Schmick and Sarah Hass, who stay abreast of current trends and research in
arts education. Sarah Hass has been attending graduate school for the past two summers to become
certified in the ORFF method of teaching music. Students learn through speech, movement, singing, and
playing. Sarah finds that students understand concepts better using this method because a concept is
approached from many angles. If you’ve attended any of our concerts, you may have noticed the
attention given to the variety of approaches presented. Sarah is currently working on a unit that
incorporates music and art. Students study paintings and tie them to various types of music. Sarah also
works with students after school, leading our Theodore Robinson Singers and Xylophone and Drumming
groups. Approximately 60-70 students are involved in these groups.
Trent Schmick just finished getting his graduate degree and continues to be able to draw out the best from
our students. A walk through our lobby will “hit” you with some outstanding art forms. Trent continues
to incorporate the works of famous artists in his lesson so that students understand the concepts behind the
work they create. One project third graders are working on is “weaving.” Before doing so, students learn
about color schemes and then apply it to their projects. Fourth graders are making a slotted ceramic
sculpture influenced by Alexander Calder’s Stabiles. Students will glaze and have their sculptures fired
but then will create a 3 dimensional background showing where their sculpture might be viewed. Fifth
graders learned about John James Audubon and then began a unit on drawing and printmaking. These
drawings will then be turned into relief prints. Trent also works with approximately 15 students after
school in the Art Club he started. The latest project is creations of artwork based on a movement in the
60’s called Optical Art. Students first studied the work of Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely, two OP
artists.
Both of these creative teachers are always accessible to staff and students and play the lead role in our
strong arts program at the intermediate school.
Professional Development
Lou Havlik and I attended the AWSA (Association of Wisconsin School Administrators) conference in
February. Topics included brain-based learning, progress monitoring for RtI (Response to Intervention),
current legal issues, to name a few.
Our special education staff attended an Open House at Crossroads in Janesville. We currently have a
student attending this institution and needed to become more familiar with what is offered.
Celebration
Six students participated in the 5th Grade Regional Math 24 Tournament in February. The regional
competition was developed by the Greater Dane County Talented and Gifted Coordinators Network.
Participants were: Jacob Kennedy, Alexander Diebold (second place trophy), Alexander Veit (third place
trophy), Noah Schiller, Sam Topel, Kyle Rutkowski, with Ben Haegele as alternate. Teresa Doyle was
the team coach, with Nancy Kress serving as one of the proctors.
Our Hoops for Heart activity raised over $5,000 for the American Heart Association. Charity Kostroun,
Deb Miller, and Jenny Katzenmeyer organized the all school event.
Announcements
The fifth grade concert will take place March 19 at 10:15 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. in the high school
Performing Arts Center. Please join us if you can.
Our local Forensics contest is on March 18. Over 30 intermediate students are participating and many
more at the elementary level. The regional competition is in Orfordville on April 4. We are seeking
judges, so if any of you are interested please contact coordinator Nancy Greve-Shannon.
JCMC


School Board Report
Bob Flaherty
March 2009
The Arts:
We are fortunate enough to have a strong arts program at the middle school. Much of the credit for the
success of the programs in visual and musical arts is because of the staff. The teachers attract students to
the arts and students have good experiences in the program. I believe we have a “pent-up” for the arts and
if the school offered more programming the students would take more music and art courses.
Currently we offer art classes in the block. This means students get a chance to take art every other day
for 82 minutes for one third of the year. I am pleased that art from the art room continues to spill into the
hallways of the school. Each year a new mural is created in classrooms or the hallways. Last year the
chorus room was “flipped” by the art students and a rainforest mural was placed in the hallway outside of
Mr. Beedle’s room.
The music program scheduling is a challenge. We continue to split the band and chorus groups in half in
order to make sure they can fit in the classrooms. Holding separate rehearsals for the band is not ideal,
but we will continue the practice as long as we are housed in the current middle school. This year we held
a split 6th Grade concert. The chorus concert was in the auditorium while the band portion was held in the
gym because the stage would not hold all of the students.
We currently have 76 students participating in solo ensemble from chorus and 68 students participating in
solo ensemble from band. Also we had two students in the Wisconsin Honors Choir and Band last year.


This is an excellent showing for our school!
Professional Development:
We continue to work on implementing strategies to improve reading skills among some of our needy
students via the Reach Grant. Academic teachers are meeting twice per week for twenty minutes to teach
reading skills to students in their content area. Teachers consult with a reading specialist when they have
questions.
At our last staff meeting we worked on “boundary” issues with students. We read several scenarios that
teachers discussed and made corrections to regarding teacher/student interactions. The questions ranged
from issues of transporting students to confidentiality concerns when talking with students.
Celebrations:
Students are currently holding a food drive in home bases. The cabinet in the cafeteria is currently filled
with food items collected by our students. It is wonderful to see students making a difference in the
community.
( RREACH) Respect, Responsibility, Empathy, Attitude, Cooperation, Honesty
Attendance Rates
• 97.03 %
• 23 Unexcused Absent
• 0 Habitual Truant Referral (2008 = 8)
• Total Habitual Truant Referrals (2008 = 8)
Discipline Summary
• 192 Student Discipline Referrals ( 2008 = 189)
• 19 (2008 = 30) Students Out-of-School Suspension / 3 of which were from not
showing up for Saturday Detention
• 11 (2008 = 8) Student In-School Suspension
• 1 (2008=0) Student received a truancy citation referral
Parent Involvement
• Spelling Bee
• Student Council Food Drive
• Ski Trip to Cascade
Celebrations
Upcoming Events
March 3rd – Quiz Bowl at Edgerton
March 10th – Quiz Bowl at Brodhead
March 13 – 6th Grade Field trip to Madison
7th Grade Toga Day
March 14 – Solo Ensemble at McFarland
March 19 – 6th Grade To Blackhawk Tech
Evansville High School
Report to the Board of Education - March 2009
Submitted by Jamie Gillespie, Principal
The Arts
To be well educated, one must not only appreciate the arts, but must also have rich
opportunities to actively participate in creative work. There has been much research on the
importance of the arts, particularly music and drama, in education. Learning in music affects
what can only be called a fundamental cluster of brain functions--namely spatial reasoning and
what researchers have begun to call spatial-temporal reasoning. Spatial-temporal reasoning
includes skills such as the ability to plan most anything, solve mathematical problems, and
engage in creative scientific processes. Drama shows consistent effects on narrative
understanding as well as on component skills: identifying characters, understanding character
motivations, reading and writing skills, and interpersonal skills such as dealing with conflict.
Visual art is also an important component of education, although there is less research in this
area. What we do know is that drawing is an effective communicator of learning in history and
contributes to organization and persistence in writing. We also know that training in
visualization contributes to reading skills and reasoning about visual art seems to transfer to
reasoning about science.
(source: http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/arts/catterall.htm)
Students at EHS have many choices when it comes to the arts. We have course offerings that
are quite extensive, particularly when compared to other schools our size. The entry level
course for the visual arts is Basic Design. This is a one-term course that teaches the elements
of design, styles of art, and design-related careers. After successfully completing this course,
students may enroll in Drawing & Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Drawing & Printmaking,
Jewelry & Metalwork, Photography, Cultural History-Art Appreciation, Digital Design-Multimedia
Production, Stage Design, and Computer Graphic Design.
In music, students may enroll in Chamber Choir and Symphonic Band. For Concert Choir,
Treble Choir, and Wind Ensemble, students must audition. With the consent of the instructor,
students may enroll in Music Theory I or II. There are also music opportunities that are not
courses, such as Jazz Band and Vocal Jazz. Auditions are required for these, also.
In drama, we offer two courses – Drama Seminar and the Stage Design course that is offered
through the Art Department, which has students build the set for the school’s musical. However,
there are many co-curricular opportunities for students. We have three dramatic productions
each year (a fall play, a student production, and a musical) with opportunities for students to
perform or work behind the scenes.
Professional Development
As part of our REACh action plan, several staff members are working on creating a manual of
strategies for teaching reading skills and vocabulary. Most of these staff members have
attended workshops on reading strategies over the past few years and they are now teaching
their colleagues some of these strategies at our monthly faculty meetings. Reading has been
the focus of our goals for the past four years and it will continue to be our focus during the 2009-
10 school year. As our test scores show, we still have some work to do to get our students to
where they need to be.
Celebrate
We have a National Merit Finalist – Barry Badeau. This is a great achievement for Barry and for
the Evansville Schools. We wish him the best as he continues in the competition for a National
Merit Scholarship.


Evansville Community School District
Student Services Board Report
March 9, 2009
Theresa G. Daane, Director of Student Services
Topic Focus: The Arts
The dictionary defines art as "the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects,
environments, or experiences that can be shared with others." When we think of the arts, we may think of
poetry, painting, music, writing or acting. There are many forms of art. Musical artists range from
classical to jazz to country western to rock and roll. Art is all around us and perceived differently by each
of us.
When we think of the term artist, many different people may come to mind. We may think of Stevie
Wonder or Ludwig von Beethoven, each have written music that is enjoyed by many. Tom Cruise or
Chris Burke, both gifted in dramatic arts. Or perhaps you think of Helen Keller, William Yeats and
Virginia Wooolf, gifted authors. Each of these people have added to the lives of others through their
artistic endeavors. Each has had the challenge of having a disability.
Within the schools we have many children with disabilities. Many of these students face unique
challenges. They may have difficulty with learning to read and write, but may have the ability to tell
wonderful stories. They may struggle with emotional regulation, but create wonderful drawings with
such attention to detail that it appears a much older child created it. They may have autism or be visually
impaired and play the piano or violin by ear. At times, these children surprise and amaze us.
Within the public schools we teach many subjects including reading, writing and mathematics. Our focus
is on the core subjects and teaching what students need, to be independent in life. For students with
disabilities, access to the arts is less than their non-disabled peers, due to the need to have study halls or
extended instructional time. Parents, teachers and students are faced with difficult decisions. Do you take
band and play the trumpet or have that time committed to getting help in writing papers or doing
homework? While some may say the opportunity to learn to play an instrument is less important than
learning math, what happens to the hopes and dreams of the musically inclined student? It is a difficult
choice to make.


For younger children with disabilities, we are fortunate to have art and music as part of our curriculum.
There is no need to make the choice between learning to read or exploring arts. While the time is built
into the day, there may be other barriers to participation. These barriers need to be addressed creatively.
Students with physical disabilities may need adaptive equipment to participate. This may include special
scissors that work with less pressure or spring back to open. We may build up handles for paint brushes
or use something to keep paper in place. For students with emotional or learning disabilities we may need
directions more clearly spelled out with other visual supports. For music we may select instruments that
are more easily manipulated or adapted to allow a student to participate. Parent of students with
disabilities have been known to cry upon seeing their child participate in a holiday music show. They
may worry about what other parents think as their child makes an unusual noise or movement, all part of
their disability. This moment is no less special to the parents of the child with a disability, in fact may
hold even greater meaning to the family.
Access to the arts is important to all children. For students with disabilities this may present additional
challenges. Through the use of adaptive equipment, voice recognition software, the support of an
educational assistant or through occupational therapy, many children with disabilities are able to express
themselves artistically. Often our teachers are the most creative in finding a way for student to
participate. The arts need to b accessible for all and through the supports available; our students are able
to participate.


Professional Development:
March 9th – ATODA Coordinator Meeting at CESA 2
March 13th and 20th– Regional Support Network Meeting at CESA 2, Autism
Announcements/Upcoming Events:
March 5th – Program planning meeting for Theodore Robinson Intermediate School staff
March 6th – Early Childhood Screening Day
March 17th - Parent Education Network Group Meeting 6:30 in the TRIS LMC, Asperger’s Syndrome
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Rock County birth to three program, TLC, and the
Evansville Community School District will be finalized this month. This MOU provides guidelines for
both to follow when planning on the transition of children with disabilities between the birth to three
programs and public school early childhood programs.


School Board Report
March 9, 2009
Curriculum Topic: The Arts
Evansville Community School District
Office of Curriculum and Instruction
Paula J. I. Landers, Director of Instruction
The Arts in Education
If “a picture is worth a thousand words,” why do we often ask students to write a thousand words rather than draw a
picture? The positive correlation between student achievement in core areas and the arts is increasingly borne out
through educational research. A strong integration of visual arts, drama, and music supports the development of fine
and gross motor skills, promotes understanding of text, and develops empathy and cultural awareness, among other
things.


Some of the best known research linking the arts to academic achievement is Howard Gardner’s Multiple
Intelligences Theory. Developed in 1983, this theory suggests that traditional beliefs about intelligence are too limited
in scope, and that there are eight different types of intelligence that describe the wide range of human talents. These
intelligences are:
• Linguistic intelligence – “word smart”
• Logical-mathematical intelligence – “number/reasoning smart”
• Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence – “movement smart”
• Spatial intelligence – “picture smart”
• Naturalist intelligence – “nature smart”
• Interpersonal intelligence – “people smart”
• Intrapersonal intelligence – “self smart”
The implication for curriculum and instruction is that the arts and academics create learning synergy. Teachers
should develop lessons that include music, drawing, drama, and movement in order to engage students through their
learning strengths. When we address learning through multiple dimensions, students readily make connections
across academic areas, develop communication and organization skills, and build their literacy in the arts.


Staff Development
March 4, 2009 – “What in the World is NIMAS?” Developed to help educators better understand the responsibilities
around ordering print materials so that students with visual impairments can have access to the same materials as
their classmates.

March 5, 2009 – Middle school and high school math teachers will meet to discuss the math curriculum and the
student transition experience from 8th grade to high school math.
Upcoming Events
March 9, 2009 – Blackhawk Technical College Tech Prep Math Workshop
March 18, 2009 – Alternative Education Grant Reading at DPI
March, 2009 – Susan Udelhofen meets with Advanced Mapping Team
March, 2009 – Curriculum Mapping Software Presentations to Advanced Mapping Team
MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY
SCHOOL BOARD REPORT
MARCH 2009
Technology and the Arts
Technology is naturally integrated into parts of the art curriculum. One of the art content standards
focuses specifically on technology:
Art Content Standard: Students in Wisconsin will understand the role of, and be able to use, computers,
video, and other technological tools and equipment.
Activities may include:
• Finding out which is the most popular television program of elementary, middle, and high school
students and why
• Comparing and contrasting advertisements on similar products, such as a soft drinks or jeans
• Analyzing the visual choices made for a television program and how these choices make the
program successful
• Looking for examples of stereotyping (race, gender, age, or occupation) in the media
• Identifying films in which computerized images are used to create unusual affects
• Using a variety of techniques to create images with a computer
• Doing a group video with a director, camera person, lighting designer, set designer, and sound
technician
• Making some drawings, photos, or video clips to show several ways one would redesign a scene
from film or video
There are two courses offered in art combined with technology at the high school; digital design and
graphic design. In digital design, students create digital images, videos, web pages, and slideshows. In
graphic arts, students use digital imaging tools and processes used by graphic arts professionals. These are
two very important areas of the art curriculum, as careers now and in the future will require knowledge of
digital designing tools. In addition, demand is now high for web designers and graphic artists.
Technology and Music
Technology plays a major role in music today. Production of sound tracks/CDs are technologically
driven, allowing the production of albums to be at their very best. Music theory and composition has
taken on a new wave as well, with computer programs that allow musicians to compose easily. At EHS,
Students use “Finale,” a widely used music composition program in the industry.
Respectfully submitted,
Anne Gath
Evansville High School
Associate Principal/Athletic Director
School Board Report
March 2, 2009
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT/PROGRESS ON LEARNING GOALS:
• February Attendance Rates
􀂾 92.21 % (2008 = 92.51)
􀂾 92.21 % + Excused Absences = 99.19 % (2008 = 99.09)
􀂾 00.81 % Unexcused Absent (2008 = 00.91%)
􀂾 0 Habitual Truant Referral (2008 = 0)
􀂾 Total Habitual Truant Referrals 2008-09 school year = 4 (2007-08 = 4)
• February Discipline Summary
􀂾 149 (13.2%) Discipline Referrals (2008 = 135, 14.4%)
􀂾 15 (2008 = 10) Students Suspended Out-of-School = 25.75 Days (2008 =8.25)
􀂾 8 (2008 = 9) Students Suspended In-School = 6.50 Days (2008 = 7.00)
􀂾 94 % of students receiving attendance related detentions
served their assigned detention(s) in February (36 attendance related
detentions/ 2 no shows).
􀂾 3 (2008 = 2) Students received a truancy citation referral in February.
􀂾 Total of 6 (2007-08 = 5) student has received truancy citation referral in the 2008-09 school year.
PARENT INVOLVEMENT:
• Evansville High School was fortunate to host the WIAA Division II wrestling regional on Saturday,
February 7th, the WIAA Division 4 girls sectional semi-final on Friday, March 6th and the WIAA Division
III boys regional final on Saturday, March 7th. I would like to thank the Evansville sports boosters, district
staff and Evansville community members for assisting me in hosting these WIAA tournament events.
CELEBRATIONS:
Congratulations to Evansville High School wrestler Nick Patchen for his 5th place finish in the 189 pound weight
class at the 2009 state wrestling tournament. Nick is the first Evansville High School wrestler to place at the state
meet since 1994.
ANNOUNCEMENTS/UPCOMING EVENTS:
• Spring Sports Begin:
o Boys/Girls Track – Monday, March 9th
o Girls Soccer – Monday, March 16th
o Girls Softball – Monday, March 16th
o Baseball – Monday, March 23rd
o Golf – Monday, March 30th

Gazette; Ryan opposes Federal budget plan

Click on the post for the article in the Gazette today.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Minn: Pioneer Press: Schools Consider 4 Day School Week

Click on the post for the latest.

Mailbag; Alisankus writes Re: "The End Around"---FICTION

(Ed.note: I have posted this comment for better visibility. Click on the post for the original tale from Normal, MN.)



"Normal's" Herman is right on. Once again, the wind folks are simply going to go to Madison, and pull the 'end around' by trying to give these wind siting decisions exclusively to the PSC--you know, the ones who already served us so well on this issue, by admitting that their coveted "Model Ordinance" had absolutely ZERO scientific support.

So, after Union Twsp. spent untold hours (and dollars) coming up with a science based, legally defensible siting ordinance, the Eco folks decided to take the fight to Madison, where they will try to erase what we did, and build these things where the wind doesn't blow--but they will still get their million-dollar-tax check from the federal govt.

The excuse that some politicians will use to support doing this is that "the environmental groups support it". Well, most of us also support wind energy--where it is feasable! All we are saying is that don't let these idiots build these things where it inflicts harm to those in the surrounding area, simply so the wind folks can take their tax incentive (which they get whether the wind blows or not). DO build them--if you want--where they will actually generate useable amounts of electricity--like, far out in the lakes.

If the Gov. and the Legislature (meaning the individual legislators that support this) allow this 'end-around', you can kiss local control over anything goodbye.

"Angry" doesn't begin to define how many of us are feeling about this.

Thanks, Observer, for keeping this issue alive for the people who still think local control is a GOOD thing.

Tom Alisankus

Social Networking Corner: Twitter update

Audio; Public meeting in Madison of Writers re uses of "Twitter."


MP3 File


Click on the post for the Wikipedia for "twitter" which is apparently the third largest social networking site.

Madison users came together recently to discuss how this social networking technology is used in business.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

WSJ: Stimulus cannot solve school budget shortfall--higher property taxes ahead

Click on the post for the latest from the Wisconsin State Journal.

Mailbag; Rep. Brett Davis Writes: Opposes Higher mandatory auto insurance liability limits

Insurance Mandate in State Budget Could Significantly Increase Auto Insurance Rates
Since Governor Doyle introduced his 2009-10 state budget proposal about two weeks ago, we are starting to learn more details about what is included in the 1,700 page document. In the past, it has been a rule that the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) would remove any non-fiscal policy items that the Governor would include in his budget bill. I am hopeful that this process will continue and JFC will remove a provision that would likely make automobile insurance more expensive for low and middle-income families in Wisconsin.

The budget bill, Assembly Bill 75, includes language that mandates increases in the minimum insurance coverage required in the state. The mandate would increase the current liability limits of $25,000 per person to $100,000 (a four-fold increase); $50,000 per accident to $300,000 (a six-fold increase); and $10,000 for property damage to $25,000 (a 150 percent increase). As I learn more about the implications of this policy, I have concerns over this provision being in our state budget, as it will not only force families to pay more for their car insurance, but it also does nothing to help fix our current budget deficit, create jobs, or boost the economy, which is what we should be focusing on.

According to the Insurance Alliance of Wisconsin, the average price of auto insurance would go up $300 per year - a 33 percent increase for low and middle-income drivers if this mandate becomes law. Wisconsin drivers currently enjoy the third lowest auto insurance rates in the country. If the mandate is enacted, Wisconsin would have the highest mandatory auto insurance coverage limits in the nation.

I am concerned that the government is telling families they must purchase unnecessarily high levels of auto insurance in such difficult economic times. According to the Insurance Research Council, 96 percent of all bodily injury claims are $15,300 or less. The Wisconsin Insurance Alliance (WIA) confirms that well over 90 percent of all auto claims are settled below $25,000. Therefore, it is unclear why motorists should be forced to pay for expensive rates above these levels.

Overall, I think this provision should be pulled out of the budget and go through a thorough debate on its own merits. We need to stay focused on enacting a budget that improves the business climate, creates jobs, and lowers the overall tax burden in our state.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I and E Club Meets, Wed March 11, 2009

EVANSVILLE AREA
Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club
I&E
Wednesday: March 11, 2009 @ 6:30 PM


Location: Eager Economy Building Guest Speaker: John Russell &
7 East Main Street Rob Waterman
Evansville, WI 53536 SCORE - Madison
(brick building, lower level) Chapter #145


“SCORE as a Resource for Small Business”
The guest speakers this month will be John Russell & Rob Waterman of SCORE
(Counselors to America's Small Business) Madison, Chapter #145. SCORE is a
non-profit organization sponsored by the Small Business Administration, dedicated
to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of small business
nationwide. Keep in mind their services are free! The topic will be, “SCORE as a
Resource for Small Businesses.” Please join us, you never know who you may meet
and what you could learn!


Evansville’s I&E Club hosts not just inventors and entrepreneurs, but
welcomes established businesses, new businesses, and investors.
Most importantly the Club will provide an environment to cooperatively
collaborate.

You do not need to have an invention or currently be an entrepreneur to
participate. Join us and network with like-minded individuals - share
resources, exchange ideas, and be mentored. You never know who
you may meet and what you could learn!
For more information contact:
Cindy Hammer
cindy@hammerbuilder.com
608-774-6382
Monthly meetings will be held on
the second Wednesday of each
month at the Eager Economy
Building, downtown Evansville.

Dateline Normal MN: "The End Around"----FICTION

Check out the latest from the land of fiction, Normal, Mn.

CapTimes; Janesville Unemployment approaches 12%

Click on the post for the latest.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Grit Magazine: Dare to Wear out your Fire-Hose Work Pants

Click on the post for the article in Grit Magazine on the new Duluth Trading Firehose work pants guarantee.

Some might chooe to wear out their pants as a challenge---I dream of outliving my firehose work pants.

UBT on National News Tonight: Wolf Blitzer is next---

Video: December 2008: The Fireside Chat: Chris Eager, President of UB&T speaks on the economy, banking and how UB&T is responding, and has some thoughts for the community on surviving and thriving in these times.


Download File



Tonight UB&T will be on ABC World News with Charles Gibson at 5:30 central!
It seems that the bank's 15 minutes of fame has been extended to international status. CNN & Wolf Blitzer want an interview as well as Christian Science Monitor.

Dateline Normal, Mn.: Normal Senior Fitness Center eliminates bathrooms, fitness area; Adds Flyfishing room---FICTION

Click on the post for the latest.

Remodeling of new Evansville Police Quarters on the Agenda today

Click on the post for the full agenda of the Finance Committee that meets today at 5:30PM.

Mailbag: View of the City Digital Version: City Administrator Dan Wietecha Writes Re: Stimulus and City Plans

Here at City Hall, we have followed two items in the recent news with particular interest. President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; this is also known as the economic stimulus package. And Governor Doyle presented his recommendation for the state’s 2009-2011 budget.

Evansville’s involvement with the stimulus package began in early December when the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence asked if we had any clean, green job-creating projects which would be ready to go within 90 to 180 days. Our one project that may have met those criteria was the planned upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).

Our current wastewater facility was built in 1982, designed to last 20 years with a capacity of 600,000 gallons per day. Subsequently, in the early 1990’s, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) adopted new discharge limits, including a groundwater limit of 10 milligrams per liter.

Currently our wastewater facility does not consistently meet DNR limits for nitrates or chlorides. Even though we are several years beyond the designed lifespan, the plant runs at about 75 to 85 percent of its designed capacity. The requirement to change our wastewater treatment to reduce nitrates is the primary factor behind significant upgrades for our WWTP.

The planned upgrades to the WWTP will involve the installation of a mechanical plant at the cost of about $4.25 million. The improvements will include added capacity to accommodate future industrial and residential growth in the city. It is also being designed to be extremely energy efficient and will be the first WWTP in the state to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Even though energy efficiency may add to the upfront costs; lower operating costs make this the most cost effective approach over the life of the WWTP.

There are several key points to this project which may be applicable for any potential stimulus funding. First and foremost, it is “shovel-ready,” meaning it is ready to begin construction within a few months. The engineering has already advanced enough and we have even pre-bid some of the mechanical equipment that construction is scheduled to begin this spring. If one of the features of the stimulus money is that it be put to immediate use, the WWTP certainly meets that expectation. And it will support jobs during its 15 to 18 months construction. Depending on the phase of construction and nature of the work at hand, at its peak there could be 25 to 30 construction workers on site.

For the most part, the federal stimulus money is being funneled into existing programs. For wastewater collection and treatment, this means the state’s Clean Water Fund. In discussion with state officials, we understand that the Clean Water program has around $1 billion in potential projects statewide for some $400 million in funding. In order to manage the list, and to focus on shovel-ready projects, projects had to be on the DNR’s list last November to be considered for the stimulus funds. It is coincidence that we submitted our facility plan in November; but we lucked out and are on the consideration list.

Another feature that benefits our project is the emphasis on energy efficiency: 98% efficient motors and pumps, LEED design, and probably a small wind turbine for electrical generation. Sanitary sewer infrastructure may be the most obvious description of the project, but we may have access to some other stimulus money because of these energy and conservation aspects.

In early January, we were asked through our city engineers to provide a list of any shovel-ready projects the city may have. This was in preparation for the Governor’s trip to Washington and his desire to have a list of potential Wisconsin projects. The list was to serve two general purposes. One, the list would demonstrate the need for federal money (so many thousands of projects totaling so many billions of dollars). And, two, the list could be categorized to roads, to sewers, to buildings, and such, to estimate how and where the anticipated stimulus dollars might be distributed.

It was basically a phone call around 9:00 in the morning saying to submit any projects by noon; everything with the stimulus package has had very short deadlines. We supplied a list of 9 shovel-ready projects, totaling almost $8 million and potentially providing 75 construction jobs. Again the WWTP was the city’s top priority. Our list also included upgrades to our electrical system, park projects (interestingly, the stone creek walls in the park were originally built to provide employment during the Depression), several small street and utility improvements, and the privately-planned community/senior center. Two of our submissions were struck from the list, presumably because they were too small to be considered (around $50,000-$75,000).

Then a couple weeks ago, discussions between the Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities led to WisDOT’s solicitation of street re-surfacing projects. They were looking for relatively small projects throughout the state, that could be accomplished with minimal engineering or preparatory work, could be done within existing rights-of-way, and had to be classified as a collector road or better.

Evansville submitted the re-surfacing of County Road C (West Main Street and North Fourth Street) between First Street and the city limits. The road is a collector and has a state pavement rating of “fair,” with an aging but structurally sound condition, needing a non-structural surface overlay. This project would include selective replacement of curb and gutter and the replacement of five sanitary sewer manholes. Our project has made the first cut, which basically means it met the eligibility criteria.

And, although they are not specifically on the list of the city’s infrastructure projects, if there were some opportunity that the stimulus package could help advance the soybean crushing facility or an occupant for the vacant Stoughton Trailer building; the city would obviously support a project that meets local economic development needs.

Whether through direct contact with state officials or through our city engineer or the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, we have followed the development of the federal stimulus package and have submitted several infrastructure projects for funding. Everything with the stimulus package has had very short deadlines; fortunately we have several projects that are advanced enough or straight-forward enough to submit under such an expectation of immediacy. At this point none have been awarded money, but we do stand a strong chance at seeing some of the stimulus dollars going to infrastructure in Evansville.

The other recent news that was followed closely at City Hall was the Governor’s budget proposal. The main items of concern for city operations were shared revenue, general transportation aid, and levy limits.

The Governor proposed keeping 2009 shared revenue at the 2008 levels and then cutting it by 1% in 2010. The 1% reduction is to be apportioned among local governments first on the basis of equalized value, with no municipality’s payment reduced by more than 15%. The remainder of the reduction would be accomplished on a per capita basis. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau needs a couple weeks to analyze this and other portions of the proposed budget before reporting on how the cuts would be distributed among municipalities throughout the state.

From a management standpoint, I am quite pleased to hear that the proposed cuts would not take effect until next year; it will be easier to plan how to address it in the city’s budget.

In 2008 we received $484,196 in shared revenue from the state; at about 17% of our general fund operating budget, this supports a significant portion of city operations. If the reduction is likely between 1% and 15%, Evansville can expect to lose between $4,800 and $72,600 next year. I do not mean to sound alarmist; we will play the hand we are dealt. But we already run a very tight budget, so significant reductions will be felt in eliminated or cut services or in increased user fees and property taxes. It is simply the reality of the current economy that it will be felt at a number of levels.

The Governor proposed leaving the 2009 funding level for general transportation aid untouched, reducing the program by 1% in 2010, and then holding 2011 the same as 2010. Again, the specific details about how this would be distributed are undetermined. At $227,814 in 2009, general transportation aids are also a significant part of the city’s operations.

The Governor proposed extending levy limits for another two years. Under his proposal, in 2009 and 2010, municipalities would be able to increase their property tax levies by the greater of 3% or the percentage increase in equalized value due to new construction. The Governor also recommended that municipalities be allowed to carry forward unused levy capacity.

The city has actually been able to address inflationary costs and new services while reducing the property tax rate the last few years. This has been due to holding a tight budget and due to growth in the tax base. But with the severe slow down in construction the last year, we can expect it to be tighter and more difficult for the city to hold the line on the tax rate going forward, especially if we see reductions in shared revenues.

Personally, my opposition to levy limits is not in some odd desire to raise taxes. I disagree with levy limits because of a fundamental belief that the City Council is in the best position to make tax decisions for local services. But it looks likely that they will be extended, and the city will set its budgets within them.

The economic recession obviously has an impact on jobs. And there is additional financial distress with home mortgages. More than anything, there is certainly a level of anxiety and uncertainty. The slow down will also impact the ways in which city business is conducted. There will be changes. But, all in all, I am quite confident in the ability of the City Council and city staff to continue providing necessary services in a responsible manner.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Chili Cook-Off Coming Soon---March 7th---

Evansville Community Theater Supports ECP Chili Cook-Off

Local non-profit group, Evansville Community Theater, will be participating in the ECP Chili Cook-off on March 7 at the Grove Campus Field House with two entries. Linda Draeving-Hammack returns with her award-winning “Winds Of Change Chili,” and Dave Sobeski will enter “The King’s Thai Chili.”
ECT will be supporting their upcoming production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I.” The group is looking for a large cast and will hold auditions on May 16 and 18. Watch for more information or check the ECT website at ectstagelights.org .
Evansville Community Theater’s most recent production was “Escanaba In Da Moonlight” at JC McKenna last October. This will be the group’s first musical in five years.
Make sure to stop by and support these two entries or bid on one of two four-packs of tickets to “The King and I” in the silent auction. These ticket packages are a $48 value. Proceeds from the silent auction go to Evansville Community Partnership.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Video: Plan Commission: Mar 2nd: City Planner John Stockham presents: Big Sweeties

Video: Plan: Mar 2, 2009; Animal Boarding for Big Sweeties


Download File

Video: Plan Commission: Condo Conversion for 498 Water St?

Video: Plan Commission: 3/2/2009: John Stockham, new Evansville Planner, presents condo conversion initial presentation for 498 Water St.


Download File

Video: Plan Commission: Senior/Community center cuts Bathrooms,fitness; Adds carpentry area

Video: Senior/Community center cuts bathrooms, fitness area, substitutes carpentry area


Download File
Audio: Plan Commission: March 2, 2009: Evansville City Planner Summarizes the Flow and Procedure of the 7 essential permits


MP3 File

Audio: Evansville Plan Commission: Prelim Presentation: Senior/Community Center cuts Fitness area,bathrooms, inserts carpentry area

Audio: Senior/Community Center: Proposes to eliminate fitness area and bathrooms and substitute are for woodworking


MP3 File

Audio: Evansville Plan: Prelim Presentation: 498 Water Street: Conversion of Commercial rental to condo format

Audio: Preliminary Discussion: Plan Commission: March 2, 2009: Condo conversion of existing commercial rental units to condo format.


MP3 File

Trouthout: CIA destroyed 92 Tapes

Click on the post for the article.

Audio; Plan: Animal Boarding for Big Sweeties approved

Audio; Plan: Mar 2, 2009: Animal Boarding comes to Evansville.


MP3 File
Audio: Evansville Planning Commission: Monday March 2, 2009


MP3 File

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Breaking: ABC NEWS coming to UBT tomorrow, Monday Mar 2nd, 2009-----story on role of Community Banks---

Video: The Fireside Chat: Chris Eager, President of UB&T speaks on the economy, banking and how UB&T is responding, and has some thoughts for the community on surviving and thriving in these times.


Download File

Walkable Neighborhoods: Florida: Seaside: Design: Ampitheatre at center

 
Posted by Picasa


Doubleclick to enlarge

One of the interesting aspects of Seaside, a residential and commerical area adjacent to the ocean, was the use of a natural theatre where plays and entertainment could occur, surrounded by base level commercial--one of the shops featured Wisconsin made cheese....

It was off season, and traffic was slow. It was impossible for me to determine the vacancy rates of the residential units since owners are prohibited from putting up signs for sale per their agreement. My observation was that traffic design was inadequate, and narrow roads of access could not bring the crowds necessary for retail success---but it is hard to know for sure since I could not stay for boom season. The natural theatre surrounded by artistic shops was interesting.

OpEd; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Acceptance----When will we adjust to challenge?

Having spent some years in the acute hospital business, I had the occasion to read the book by Kubler--Ross called "On Death and Dying"---and she labeled four steps of grief in loss and proposed that they were in the sequence--Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Acceptance.

When one gets to retirement, one has seen over the years lots of losses---lives, jobs, careers, hopes, etc....and one thing I have concluded is that there is not a specific sequence---it is more like all the three---Denial, Anger and Bargaining are like a jugglers sticks tossed in the air----and I notice that the public right now is doing a lot of juggling---anger is pretty intense.

In the bargaining juggler hoop, is all the discussion of "It's not me"---let the cuts to the budget come from somebody else---not me, Lord," Municipalities, Legislatures, Colleges, Lawyers, Government officials, Professors, etc. all mouthe that the recession and temporary employment, poor wages, struggle is fine for the victims in the retail sector, or the manufacturing sector, but--heaven forbid if one should touch them. This is bargaining at its best.

Mention in mixed company how in the future, college tuition will fall, as families cannot pay the ever increasing tuition and loans, despite the wonderful italian tile in the entre area of the spanking new athletic facilities that every college in the nation has built to be "competitive." The numbers no longer compute. Families will--I predict---choose more affordable options such as technical schools that can provide a faster payback for the investment. Families are already making these moves and they will accelerate.

When will the acceptance come? In the book, "The Crash" John Kenneth Galbraith asserted that the major cause of the Great Depression was the inequality of wealth in America----many folks denied this. President Obama has said in speeches that this is correct---and he has an agenda to create an economic climate where the consumer will have the money to purchase goods again.

When we all get it and pitch in, just as was done in the 30's, things will get better. I think it means stopping all the ranting, and going back to work to fashion together a solution. That Acceptance is on the horizon.

Gazette: Downtown Edgerton Faces Uncertainty

Click on the post for the article today in the Gazette re: mixed used in downtown development.

Minn: Pioneer Press: Minnesota Economic Forecast looms next week

Click on the post for a preview.