Nov

28

APPLETON — City leaders are betting on one of their favorite development tools to help them reel in building projects to the riverfront.

The new boundary would absorb an area, once occupied by the defunct Riverside paper mill, on the south side extending to the Oneida Skyline Bridge and take in the Eagle Flats residential/commercial development.

The Common Council studies and acts on the recommendation next month.

“The vision is really to start to turn that into a neighborhood,” Mayor Tim Hanna said.

As part of that package, the commission last Tuesday approved the rezoning request from CBC Coating for a 10-acre parcel in the 800 block of S. Lawe Street. It seeks to redevelop the Riverside paper mill into a housing and commercial facility, with focuses on assisted living and senior housing.

The TIF, which captures property tax revenues, would help pay for improvements.

The city has not programmed infrastructure or development projects in the 2011 budget.

Ald. Joe Martin, the council president and a proponent of the proposal to expand the district, expressed confidence more activity would come to the area by the second quarter of the year.

“Once we get (this) on the council floor, they’re going to start taking down Riverside paper,” said Martin, eyeing Dec. 15.

Hanna tried to pre-empt critics of the financing tool. He said the city’s risk has been minimized by changing rules three years ago.

“The developer borrows the money, but we pledge (a portion of) the tax on the increment to help the developer pay off what they’ve borrowed or what they owe,” he said.

The base value of the district is estimated at $6.3 million and $775,000 could be added next year and $9.8 million in 2012, according to an economic feasibility study.

Martin touted some of the features.

Property owners, he said, could receive grants of up to $10,000 to refurbish their buildings.

Other irons are in the fire.

On the west bank, PHP Project Development wants to build an $8 million, eight-unit condominium complex. The 8-acre site was occupied by Foremost Farms USA.

To the north is the proposed RiverHeath, a $55 million housing and commercial venture on 15 acres. The project is in part backed by federal funding and outside investors.

City leaders are counting on the Fox River to make things happen in the district.

“When it’s done, it’s going to be beautiful. I’m excited,” Martin said. “People are drawn to the river.”

via TIF district could boost development along Fox River | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent.

Nov

28

MADISON — Wisconsin water officials are urging property owners to register large piers by spring.

The state Department of Natural Resources’ registration requirements are linked to a 2004 law that exempted traditionally-sized piers from the permit process.

State legislators passed a law two years ago that extended the exemption to most larger piers installed before 2004. Owners of larger piers that don’t qualify must register with the DNR by April 1. Owners who don’t qualify for the exemption will have to downsize or obtain a permit.

The DNR says large piers can hurt aquatic plants by blocking out sunlight. The agency says large piers also can interfere with boating, swimming and property owners’ neighbors.

via Pier owners must register by April | wisconsinoutdoorfun.com | Wisconsin Outdoor Fun Wisconsin Hunting, Fishing, Camping| Wisconsin Hiking, Biking, ATV.

Nov

28

NEENAH — The Winnebago County Sheriffs Department rescued a Minnesota boater from Lake Winnebago after he lost his paddle while duck hunting Friday morning.

Michael Mayer of Cannon Falls, Minn., lost control of his paddle while attempting to retrieve a duck about 8 a.m. Friday.

High winds tossed the boat away from the shore.

A resident saw Mayer from the shoreline and called authorities, who brought Mayer back to the shore safely.

He was not injured.

The Town of Neenah police and fire departments assisted with the rescue.

via Lake Winnebago boater rescued by police | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent.

Nov

26

CHICAGO — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to study how to prevent invasive species — including the voracious Asian carp — from migrating between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds, is a “massive and complex” effort that could take years.

The primary focus of the estimated $25 million study will be on Chicago-area waterways, where canals provide the only direct connection between the two basins. But the Corps also will look at other areas where flooding could allow invasive species to slip from one watershed to the other.

Concern that the Asian carp, which can grow to 4 feet and 100 pounds, were close to Lake Michigan prompted the study. But Maj. Gen. John Peabody, commander of the Corps’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, said it will look at many different types of invasive species.

A final recommendation on how to stop the movement of such species — possibly by separating the watersheds permanently — is expected to be made in 2015, Peabody said.

“The scope of this study is massive and complex,” covering an area over 1,000 miles long with dozens of invasive species and “no known or single set of solutions,” Peabody said. “It will take time, support and cooperation.”

Joel Brammeier, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, expressed frustration that the Corps wasn’t further along in its study, which was authorized by Congress in 2007 and funded last year.

“Is this where we stand … a plan to do a project?” Brammeier said. “We all know a solution will not come online overnight, but we continue to see deadlines pushed back.”

The Alliance advocates permanently separating the two watersheds to stop the carp from getting into Lake Michigan. Right now, a series of electronic barriers in the shipping canals that deliver a jolt to the fish are the only thing between them and the lake.

Asian carp have been migrating up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers toward the Great Lakes for decades. Biologists fear if the ravenous fish get into the lakes, they could decimate a $7 billion-a-year fishing industry by outcompeting native fish for food.

But the shipping industry has argued that any solution must allow them to still be able to move goods between the Great Lakes and inland waterways.

Peabody said it is possible that some solutions could be implemented before the study is completed, and that the study could be finished early depending on funding and if the Corps gets research help from outside agencies and experts.

But it’s also likely that officials will find other areas of research that need to be pursued, possibly adding to the costs and length of the study, he said.

The Corps will hold public hearings on the study plan, beginning in Chicago next month.

via $25M study of invasive species suggested | greenbaypressgazette.com | Green Bay Press Gazette.

Nov

17

Welcome to the definitive list of stations that sell ethanol-free gasoline in the U.S. and Canada! It’s growing fast!

If you buy ethanol-free gas, and your station isn’t listed here, please add it now! (State-by-state labeling requirements are listed at fuel-testers.com.)

Sign the petition to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, asking her to write federal regulations to ensure production and sale of ethanol-free gasoline!

Map note: The Google station map often loads without the stations; if that happens, hit your browser Refresh, and it should reload with all the stations.

Update or remove a station by clicking details->update this station on the station’s listing below. Please remove stations that no longer sell pure gas, even if you didn’t post them!

RSS Feeds: The large RSS icon to the right gives you a feed of ALL stations, most recent at the top. The smaller RSS icon that shows when you select a state gives you a feed for that state only, most recent at the top.

We currently have 2073 stations entered for the following states and provinces. Click on a state to see them!

Ethanol-free gas stations in the U.S. and Canada.

Nov

17

The Oshkosh Common Council considers river walk urban trail segment construction a high-water mark of its capital improvements project, but docks included in the project are taking on water.

During a 2011 capital improvements program workshop on Tuesday, councilors made it clear they continue to support inclusion of river walk segment construction projects. But councilors also identified transient docks included in segments to be built in 2011 along Marion Road and from Jackson Street to Main Street along City Center as a chance to cut project costs.

The cost of the river walk came under scrutiny after the city found out its application for a $1.6 million state grant that would have cut costs on the City Center segment in half was recently rejected. The grant funds would have provided about 22 percent of the $7.1 million included for the river walk in the 2011 capital improvement program.

Mayor Paul Esslinger said he sees the benefit of docks, but called the cost to install them “crazy.” He said he even favored returning a $325,000 state grant to fund docks along the Marion Road segment.

“This is crazy. If we put up all these docks here, fishers won’t be able to fish along the river. We have a storm water utility whose rate has the potential to go up 150 percent in the next five years,” Esslinger said. “I’m wondering if there isn’t a fourth scenario to use this money and move on with the river walk. … We need to complete the river walk.”

Of the $3.2 million in total funding for the City Center river walk segment, Community Development Director Allen Davis said docks are only estimated to cost $100,000 of the total segment costs.

Oshkosh City Manager Mark Rohloff said the allocated funds could likely be shifted to fund more river walk construction, but said the city could seriously risk getting any future state grants for waterways improvements by returning the Marion Road funds. It would be the second time the city would have returned such a grant.

“We’ve already turned it down once and the chances of getting another one will be minimized if we turn another one down,” Rohloff said. “City Center does have docks included, but we can minimize the number of docks there. And maybe that’s how we save money on City Center. I just want to be cautious about turning the grant down a second time.”

Other councilors supported the inclusion of the docks as a way to help spur boat traffic for downtown businesses.

“I am a boater and I can’t park my boat on the river (in Oshkosh),” Councilor Steve Herman said. “There are no places open. Go to Winneconne and ask what happened when they put in transient docks. Talk to Menasha. People want destination places to go.”

Councilors also asked whether the city had explored public-private partnerships with boating and waterways groups to help fund river walk costs. Parks Director Ray Maurer said he had met with local fishing clubs and conservation groups about either helping raise funds for the river walk and/or maintaining the docks once they are installed.

Ultimately, councilors will decide what river walk work will be funded when the capital improvements program, and the entire 2011 city budget, are considered during the next council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23.

via Council may cut costly docks as way to reduce spending in Capital Improvement Program | thenorthwestern.com | Oshkosh Northwestern.

Nov

8

WINNECONNE — A 38-year-old woman whose lifeless body was pulled from a channel Sunday night near her home along Twin Harbor Drive was identified as Blanca Morales.

The cause of the village woman’s death was not released Monday. Winnebago County Coroner Barry Busby, who attended the woman’s autopsy Monday morning in Fond du Lac, was not immediately available to comment.

Police Lt. Paul Olson said the death appeared accidental.

The autopsy showed Morales drowned while having a “large concentration of alcohol” in her system when she drowned.

The complete autopsy results, including toxicology reports, will be available in about two months.

Village police and Winneconne-Poygan Fire District first responders were called to Morales’ home shortly after 8 p.m. in response to a report of a woman who wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse.

Olson said the woman was missing about an hour before her husband located her in the channel that links homes in the northeast part of the village to Lake Winneconne.

via Police identify Winneconne drowning victim as Blanca Morales | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent.

Nov

4

The Northern Association of Boating Administrators (NABA) scholarship applications are due November 30, 2010 for the spring 2011 semester. NABA annually awards one or more $1,000 scholarships to outstanding student(s) from colleges and universities across the northern states.

To qualify for the scholarship, students must be full-time college or university students majoring in a recreational boating safety-related field such as, law enforcement/criminal justice, natural resources/environmental science, education, public relations/marketing or journalism.

To find out more about this scholarship opportunity and how to apply, visit the NABA Scholarship brochure at: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/es/enforcement/DOCS/NABAscholarship20102011.pdf

For more information, contact Roy Zellmer at 608-264-8970.

Nov

2

The Wisconsin Waterways Commission awarded a $319,000 grant to the village of Egg Harbor by the Wisconsin Waterways Commission at its meeting on Tuesday in Wausau.

Two previous Waterways Commission grants totaling $1.585 million helped offset the $6.5 million cost of the new village marina, which was dedicated Aug. 14.

“These additional monies from the Waterways Commission will be used to ensure the boaters and visitors take away wonderful memories of their time in Egg Harbor,” Village President Nancy Fisher said. “Increasing our marina hours, adding amenities, and making wise use of this generous grant are all priorities as we complete our 2011 budget.”

Village Trustee Mike Fitzgerald, who also serves as Harbor Committee chairman, said the committee has a number of “wish list” items that could not be funded in the original marina borrowing. He is planning to revisit the specifics at the next committee meeting.

via Egg Harbor Marina granted $319,000 | wisconsinoutdoorfun.com | Wisconsin Outdoor Fun Wisconsin Hunting, Fishing, Camping| Wisconsin Hiking, Biking, ATV.

Nov

2

In an effort to prevent more crashes into Lake Winnebago city leaders in Neenah are making changes to roadways near boat launches and parks.

In Neenah, two cars have gone off of Wisconsin Ave. and into Lake Winnebago. Some locals believe it’s personal problems, not the road leading to the wrecks.

It’s also happened at the end of Nicolet Blvd, twice.

In total, there have been four incidents resulting in two fatalities in the last month. Neenah’s police chief calls it a fluke, but to prevent further fatalities, officials have placed three reflective road signs on Nicolet Blvd.

The city has also put down reflective powder. Once it settles, it will serve as a guide for motorists driving down the street at night.

The city is also looking to move street lights closer to the lake, and more warning signs further down the road.

Neenah’s Police Chief says most of the people involved in these incidents are from the area, but didn’t live near the water. The City’s traffic engineer continues to investigate each wreck.

Bret Lemoine has the report.

via New precautions being made to keep vehicles out of Neenah\’s waters | WFRV Green Bay: Northeast Wisconsin News, Weather and Sports | Local.