WisDOT Secretary Frank Busalacchi's news conference in Milwaukee today brought the welcome news that a troubled Zoo Interchange bridge could be more quickly replaced - - like about seven weeks early ! - - but that leaves two big questions:
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Will this be the end of so-called "Climategate?''
Posted by James Rowen at 3:34 PM
The advertising boycott aimed at Fox News and specifically at Glenn Beck's daily weirdness continues.
Posted by James Rowen at 3:30 PM
Posted by James Rowen at 2:59 PM
The Journal Sentinel is reporting that in a recent three-month period, only two trucks were stopped by the State Patrol for weight violations on Zoo Interchange bridges known to have structural problems, and no citations were issued.
Posted by James Rowen at 10:08 AM
Posted by James Rowen at 9:29 AM
Lest you get hit by falling concrete due to failed maintenance...
Posted by James Rowen at 6:00 AM
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I'll bet in a few years these cars will be more affordable and very popular.
Posted by James Rowen at 7:29 PM
Years of city and grassroots planning on the so-called "overlay district" on the Milwaukee River is taking shape.
Posted by James Rowen at 4:08 PM
Tomorrow, March 31st, is the last day on which you can send comments, observations or materials to consultants who are writing the last, pivotal section of a regional water supply study.
Posted by James Rowen at 12:57 PM
She's got the data.
Posted by James Rowen at 11:43 AM
Sean Ryan of The Daily Reporter writes that Waukesha believes it can guarantee to Wauwatosa - - the planned discharge point for Waukesha wastewater if Waukesha receives Lake Michigan water - - that the discharge will not foul Underwood Creek or lead to flooding. - - issues that Wauwatosa and downstream neighborhoods in Milwaukee have faced.
Posted by James Rowen at 10:32 AM
Deep into a fascinating column about internal divisions at Fox over Glenn Beck, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz offers this succinct summation of what's happening with media - - old and new:
Still, the old and new remain connected. In examining more than 1 million blogs and social networking sites, the project found that 80 percent of the links are to the "legacy media" -- the traditional organizations that are largely shrinking."
Posted by James Rowen at 5:13 AM
So reports the Journal Sentinel.
Posted by James Rowen at 12:10 AM
Monday, March 29, 2010
Don Behm of the Journal Sentinel has Waukesha Water Utility manager Daniel Duchniak disclosing that provision for a payment of an unspecified sum to Milwaukee towards economic losses that could result from a Lake Michigan diversion is included in Waukesha's cost estimate of $164 million to divert the water, via the Milwaukee Water Works, and then return it to the lake.
Posted by James Rowen at 4:58 PM
The Republican National Committee spent tens of thousands of dollars last month on luxury jets, posh hotels and other high-flying expenses, according to new Federal Election Commission filings, including nearly $2,000 for "meals" at Voyeur West Hollywood, a lesbian-themed nightclub that features topless dancers in bondage outfits.
The RNC spent more than $17,000 on private jet travel in Febuary as well as nearly $13,000 for limousines, according to the documents. The GOP's main political committee also ran up tabs at numerous posh hotels, including the Beverly Hills Hotel ($9,000); the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons ($6,600) and the W Hotel in Washington ($15,000), and spent more than $43,000 on its controversial midwinter meeting in Hawaii, not including airfare.
Posted by James Rowen at 1:32 PM
The seven-county regional public-private coalition known as M-7 and its Water Council put on a program this morning at UW-Parkside on how best to use water and Lake Michigan to maximize the region's growth, job retention and overall competitiveness.
Posted by James Rowen at 12:31 PM
Caught a few snippets this morning on Milwaukee's AM righty talk radio shows, and as they went to town ripping Tom Barrett over the Zoo Interchange bridge repair - - as if he controlled this out-of-Milwaukee project - - it came to me:
Posted by James Rowen at 12:12 PM
Dave Dempsey, author, activist, and former environmental adviser to the Governor of Michigan, takes aim at Waukesha's plan to divert Lake Michigan water, and notes the activity of a new southeastern Wisconsin business group - - the Sustainable Water Supply Coalition - - that is eyeing the diversion as a regional economic boon.
Posted by James Rowen at 8:26 AM
As has been noted on this blog more than once (samples here, or here), the City of Waukesha is planning on sending, on average, about 11 million gallons of treated wastewater into Underwood Creek in Wauwatosa, in order to get its wastewater to Lake Michigan.
...we believe it is in Wauwatosa’s interest, as an initial matter, to point out gaps and deficiencies in Waukesha’s draft application, and to require Waukesha to address them before entering into substantive negotiations over the terms of a proposed return flow to Underwood Creek.
With that in mind, we will itemize a number of issues and questions which Waukesha’s draft application raises, which have been repeatedly brought to Waukesha’s attention:
- Unavoidable Need: The Compact is clear that the need for any proposed diversion cannot be reasonably avoided through efficient use and conservation of existing water supplies. Waukesha’s draft is puzzling because of the complete abandonment of the city’s current water supplies.
- Alternative Sources of Supply: It is not at all clear that Waukesha’s application has considered all reasonable alternative water supply sources, and has evaluated how much of the requested diversion could be supplied by a combination of other sources.
- Reasonable Use: The Compact is clear that diversions are limited to quantities reasonable for the purposes for which the diversion is proposed. The use of water for growth certainly raises the stakes. According to Waukesha, its population is projected to increase by about 25-30% while average annual demand increases by 58% and peak daily demand for water increases by 87%. The real question is about using Great Lakes water for future growth and development more than to sustain the life and vitality and economy of the community which exists in Waukesha today. Those who will decide on behalf of the other States and Provinces whether Waukesha’s request meets the Compact’s requirements will want to know how much of the desired water is needed to sustain the people and businesses which are already in Waukesha, and how much is wanted for expansion. A thorough and complete application would answer those questions and explain or justify the volumes requested.
- Return Flow: The Compact calls for all used water to be returned back to the Great Lakes Basin, less an allowance for consumptive use, at a place as close to the place at which the water is withdrawn. Waukesha has proposed to return its treated wastewater to Lake Michigan via Underwood Creek and the Menomonee River. The cumulative impacts of this discharge are unknown and raise many concerns and potential problems:
Flooding: The City of Wauwatosa and MMSD have together spent approximately $150 million on flood management efforts in Wauwatosa and the downstream areas of the City of Milwaukee. What will be the impact of adding Waukesha’s wastewater flows during high flow periods?
Water Quality: Throughout most of the year, Waukesha’s treated wastewater contains concentrations of bacteria which are more than 9 times higher than the maximum discharge limits set by MMSD for its contractors (900 cfu/100 ml vs. 100 cfu/100 ml), and 20 to 30 times higher than the actual monthly effluent concentrations achieved by MMSD and its contractors, historically. What would be the impacts of sending such poorly treated wastewater through Wauwatosa?
What will be the impact of discharging Waukesha’s phosphorus and orthophosphate, which exceed new expected phosphorus limits for state rivers and streams.? There is already excessive algal growth in Underwood Creek and the Menomonee River.
Monitoring: What monitoring will be conducted of the impacts of water quality and quantity if Waukesha’s wastewater is discharged through the City of Wauwatosa? Who will conduct the monitoring? Who will pay for it?
Location: The source of the water is Lake Michigan, not Underwood Creek -- and apart from the extra cost of piping the wastewater all the way back to the Lake, there is no apparent explanation or justification for returning it in this manner. The Compact does not say that any community is entitled to obtain water from the Great Lakes just because other sources of supply are more costly. Similarly, it doesn’t say that it is acceptable to return the water by whatever means is cheapest.
- No significant adverse impact: Under the Compact, diversions will result in no significant adverse individual or cumulative impacts. Again, the current draft portrays an unclear picture on the impacts to the exhausted or over-stressed Southeast Wisconsin aquifers and throughout the Great Lakes basin.
- Environmentally sound and economically feasible water conservation: Looking at the draft application, it is not clear that the benefits of Waukesha’s ongoing water conservation programs have been factored into its projected future demands, and thus into its request for Lake Michigan water. This is important for this precedent-setting application as the diversion request must reflect the successful and sustained implementation of reasonable conservation measures. The increased size of the requested diversion, the historical loss of industrial water users which constituted the largest component of the City’s usage, and the lack of specifics regarding further plans, commitments and methods of enforcing additional sound and economically feasible conservation activities all raise serious questions about the application, which need to be answered.
- Compliance with all applicable laws: In addition to requiring compliance with its own specific requirements, the Compact requires that any diversion also comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws. Among the many other applicable laws that need be addressed, and which have not been so far, is the Federal Clean Water Act. It appears that the proposed return flow will be a new discharge to Underwood Creek, which is already impaired for bacteria. As a result, it seems that returning the water in this manner would be problematic, at best, under recent Clean Water Act decisions. This isn’t addressed at all in the draft application.
Among the other applicable laws, particularly if federal funding is obtained -- which it is, of course reasonable and understandable for Waukesha to seek – are EPA policies regarding environmental justice and Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act, which prohibit federally funded programs and activities which have discriminatory adverse impacts on racial minorities or the handicapped. To the extent that Waukesha’s diversion application is designed to serve future growth in population and in commercial and industrial development, which will be located at considerable distances from the low-income and underemployed minority populations in Milwaukee and Racine Counties, impacts on access to jobs, access to affordable housing, and access to public transportation for job commuting become very relevant issues for purposes of the Civil Rights Act.
Posted by James Rowen at 12:01 AM
Sunday, March 28, 2010
More evidence of Wisconsin's penchant to over-build and waste money on road projects: Believe it or not, there is still a push to build a bypass around little Hortonville, with a population of about 2,700.
Posted by James Rowen at 10:07 PM
Marie Rohde, the former Milwaukee Journal and Journal Sentinel in-house expert on the Milwaukee archdiocese, has a piece in the Chicago Tribune, here.
Posted by James Rowen at 3:00 PM
Posted by James Rowen at 12:01 AM
Saturday, March 27, 2010
I am saddened by the news that Kaz Oshiki has died.
Posted by James Rowen at 11:56 PM
Posted by James Rowen at 6:55 PM
These lines jump off the page in Saturday's piece in the New York Times about church sexual assault victims in Milwaukee being disregarded at every turn:
"They also went to the office of E. Michael McCann, the district attorney of Milwaukee County, and spoke with his assistant, William Gardner.“A criminal priest was an oxymoron to them,” Mr. [John] Conway said. “They said they’ll refer it to the archdiocese.”Calls to Mr. McCann and Mr. Gardner this week were not returned."
Posted by James Rowen at 1:54 PM
Friday, March 26, 2010
Mark Belling was in uber-rant this afternoon over the news that a bridge in the Zoo Interchange has been closed and two months of fresh congestion will further goof up the busiest interchange in the state.
Posted by James Rowen at 5:14 PM
I predict failure for the upcoming effort in England for leading newspapers there to charge for Internet access.
Posted by James Rowen at 10:53 AM
Affordable housing advocates in Waukesha County have a blog and have posted links to a housing study underway by a committee set up, after more than 35 years of planning inaction, by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.
Posted by James Rowen at 9:59 AM
There's no good reason for UWM to split its School of Freshwater Science, as outlined in this piece.
Posted by James Rowen at 9:02 AM
One protester makes an apology and a gesture of reconciliation for his unacceptable conduct.
Posted by James Rowen at 5:40 AM
Thursday, March 25, 2010
One GOP critic of the GOP loses his job.
Posted by James Rowen at 7:40 PM
US District Court Judge Lynn Adelman's ruling last year against expansion of Highway 164 (J) in Waukesha and Washington Counties is in its final procedural stages, with citizen activists again coming out as winners, explains the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Posted by James Rowen at 12:42 PM
The last time I checked, 49 states, with Wisconsin finally getting on board this year, mandate that drivers buy automobile insurance, and driving without it is illegal.
Posted by James Rowen at 12:25 PM
Wisconsin groundwater needs far-reaching conservation, and the legislative process to do just that takes a major step forward on March 31. Here is information from one of the key advocates - - the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters:
We'll never run out of water in Wisconsin, right? Well, think again.
Some of our rivers and lakes, like the Little Plover River, Long Lake, and others are running dry.
Where did all the water go?
It's drying up because our groundwater is being over-pumped.
From the swimming holes where we like to relax, to the beer we brew and the cheese and paper we make, we depend heavily on groundwater in Wisconsin. that comes out of our taps, to the fishing and
You can help.
The problem is - we're not just running out of groundwater.
We're running out of time.
Where did all the water go?
The Assembly Hearing is on March 31st - and we need to get a vote and a win on this important bill - before the legislative wells run dry. We also need resources - to activate our membership to send letters to the editor, make calls to their legislators - and hold them accountable!
Posted by James Rowen at 11:53 AM
The Waukesha School District was the biggest loser in a banking action taken against five Wisconsin school boards whose wild west financial investment schemes went south.
Posted by James Rowen at 6:55 AM
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Involved is the St. John's School for the Deaf, in St. Francis, as well as several notable Wisconsin church officials, and now a local victims' advocacy group that released the documents with the disclosure.
Posted by James Rowen at 9:44 PM
UWM oversells its unfunded and land-gobbling County Grounds construction proposal as the greatest regional development idea going (I thought that was Lake Michigan water to Waukesha!) - - thus making land conservationists and environmentalists into regional meanies, or worse.
Posted by James Rowen at 2:47 PM
Tom Daykin has the facts and even dives into the comment section to undo some of the myths.
Posted by James Rowen at 1:22 PM
Well, it's official; The Waukesha County Board of Supervisors has decided - - unanimously - - to decline joining a regional transit authority.
Posted by James Rowen at 12:49 PM
The Republican Party will continue its negative strategy, if you can call it one, in a futile attempt to derail health care legislation in Senate, reports the Washington Post.
Posted by James Rowen at 6:19 AM
Posted by James Rowen at 5:19 AM
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Yesterday's low-lights from the world of rightist hysteria on the radio:
Posted by James Rowen at 10:36 AM
Apparently the COP, not satisfied with letting Wall Street cripple the economy in 2008, wants to let the financial barons run amok again.
Posted by James Rowen at 7:42 AM
Posted by James Rowen at 12:35 AM
Monday, March 22, 2010
Pretty good crowd Monday night at the Wauwatosa Public Library to see poster boards and hear details about Waukesha's plan to discharge its wastewater into Underwood Creek.
Posted by James Rowen at 9:32 PM
Serving the 19th District of Texas
Posted by James Rowen at 1:47 PM