Saturday, October 18, 2008

October is American Humane's Adopt-A-Dog Month

Millions of dogs face euthanasia every year across the country because there are not enough caring, loving homes for them. This is why American Humane's Adopt-A-Dog Month was established. Celebrated every October, the tradition promotes dog adoptions from animal shelters (or rescue groups) and provides an opportunity to spread the word about responsible pet care. Improve your life with a dog's companionship, and support these voiceless creatures.

Why Adopt a Dog?

- Dogs are generally considered faithful and fun companions. But there are many other benefits of dog ownership.

- According to a survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, an increasing number of dog owners are citing health benefits and "walking, jogging and exercise" as top benefits of having dogs in their lives. Pets help lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, and fight depression and loneliness.

- Dogs can also serve as a "social aid" -- they can facilitate introductions to new people, promote conversation and encourage increased social contact and greater bonds between people. Studies show that pet owners are more likely than people without pets to participate in community activities and do favors for their neighbors.

For more information about Adopt-A-Dog Month and animal adoption, visit

Governor Doyle Announces Record Funding for Low-Income Heating Assistance

MADISON—Governor Jim Doyle announced yesterday an additional $17 million in Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds to aid low-income Wisconsin families pay their energy bills this heating season. This funding is in addition to the $130 million in funds announced on October 1, 2008, bringing Wisconsin’s total funding this heating season to a record $147 million for low-income energy assistance, nearly double the funding Wisconsin received last year.

“These funds will help us further reduce the burden of heating costs for the thousands of hard-working low-income families across the state who struggle to pay for their basic needs,” Governor Doyle said. “I applaud the cooperation of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation that helped release these crucial funds.”

Wisconsin continues to be a national leader in low-income energy assistance. The state estimates that over 165,000 will need assistance paying their energy bills this heating season. With the additional funding as part of the 2009 Continuing Resolution, the state estimates that the average benefit to low-income families will increase to $569.

Households eligible for energy assistance may receive payments under the LIHEAP and the state public benefits program. Payments depend upon household size, income level, and home energy costs. Wisconsin’s Home Energy Assistance Program helps households with incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level pay for home energy costs. Households may also qualify for crisis assistance benefits which can include purchase of home heating fuel, reconnection of utility service, temporary shelter, and heating unit replacements or repairs.

To receive more information about applying for the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program go to or call Energy Help Hotline at 1-800-522-3014.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Consider the source

One of my recent blog postings focused on the ongoing dilemma surrounding the waterfront development along the Fox River. It talked about how a developer who councilmember Paul Esslinger spoke on behalf of at a September Redevelopment Authority meeting first offered up development plans for the area and successfully got a decision by the RDA temporarily delayed, only to withdraw those “plans” approximately two weeks later. That was certainly talked about in the community and was worthy of being blogged about, as did several besides me, including bloggers on the Oshkosh Northwestern’s site. The fact that Esslinger got involved in the situation only to end up – in some people’s opinion, including mine – looking foolish, was worth noting, especially when I don’t think his involvement was necessary, nor was the need for such secrecy and anonymity.

Now, along comes Kent Monte, a longtime mouthpiece for Esslinger, stating I’ve turned it personal and suggesting I should let it go and get on with my life. Making things personal is what we’ve seen time and again on the Monte blogs. I almost feel sorry for the Montes because there seems to be a real disconnect for them between that which is fair criticism of actions by an elected official and things which truly are personal. So while I agree with Mr. Monte that there is more to life than Paul Esslinger, and thank God there is, the fact is he is an elected official in this community and, as such, will be talked about for his actions and votes. If his mouthpiece and friends don’t like that, perhaps they should encourage him to not run for re-election in the future. Or at a minimum, maybe they could tell him to stop grandstanding and trying to act like a hero at every turn. Since I expect neither will happen, Mr. Monte can expect to continue seeing his pal Paul talked and written about whenever I feel his actions as a local representative - good or bad - call for it, just as most everyone else seems to have the right to do without criticism.

So the short answer to your question of when will it end, Kent, is it will end when Paul Esslinger is no longer in office (unless we're looking back historically).

In the meantime, it’s also amusing to watch the Monte spin on things. There are plenty of things I’ve given Paul Esslinger praise for over the years, both on the show and this blog, as well as in conversations with others. But we never see Kent or others in the Paul Posse commenting about that. They only carp about things when poor Paul Esslinger has been criticized by CERTAIN people. Then those people – and only those people – become targeted. THAT is what’s personal, not to mention hypocritical and biased, Kent. But, like others, I’ve grown accustomed to your M.O. and don’t expect it to change. Instead, I just consider the source and smile.

Friday, October 10, 2008

And then there was one

Earlier this week, Oshkosh City Manager and local developers rolled out their plans for development along the riverfront. Of all the plans we've heard about during the past three years or so, just one remains. It is for a 25,000-square-foot office building, restaurant and 45-unit apartment building, and has been proposed by local developers Andy and Art Dumke, Mike Goudreau and Randy Schmiedel, collectively known as Oshkosh River Development LLC (ORD). Approving the re-assignment of the Development Agreement from Akcess Acquisition Group to ORD and approving a term sheet for the revised development agreement was on the agenda at a special meeting of the RDA scheduled for yesterday.

ORD entered the picture several weeks ago, when Akcess pulled out of the project. A vote on the ORD proposal was to have been taken last month, but was delayed when councilman Paul Esslinger went to the meeting with word of a “mystery developer” who had big plans and who wouldn’t need TIF money. The following week that developer appeared in the form of Sweetwater Performance Marina and Care Properties owner Jason Lindemann. Lindemann proposed two office buildings, a hotel, 42 urban cottages along the Fox River and a deli-coffee shop at the corner of Marion Road and Jackson Street. But that proposal was short-lived and made Esslinger the laughing stock with some in the community, when earlier this week Lindemann withdrew his pitch for developing the area. (It should be noted he still may work with the folks from ORD on something in the future.)

Speaking of that, while some are hailing Esslinger as some kind of hero for “bringing Lindemann forward,” I have to say I personally thought – and a lot of folks agree with me – that Esslinger injecting himself into this situation was both ridiculous and highly inappropriate. The reason he appeared at the RDA meeting was apparently because Lindemann was out of town the day the meeting was held, but wanted to see if a vote on the ORD plan could be delayed, giving him time to present his ideas to the city. Frankly, I think that could have been accomplished without Esslinger’s “assistance.”

After all, Lindemann, who already runs a successful business in town, was given the city’s stamp of approval this summer when the council gave a liquor license, previously held by the owners of the former Pioneer Inn, to his group for the Boat Yard Bar & Grill, a new restaurant concept to be located along the Fox River on Fifth Street. Ironically enough, that application beat out one from Esslinger, who was vying for the same liquor license. So I believe that if Lindemann had gone to the city and explained he could not attend the meeting, but had an idea that he wanted to present, the city may well have delayed its vote so he could make a full presentation the following week. It really did not need Esslinger’s involvement and I certainly don’t understand the need for anonymity during the week in between the RDA meeting Esslinger appeared at and when Lindemann materialized with his plans. But for all that hoopla of big promises and saving the taxpayers money, for Lindemann to withdraw only a couple weeks later, has left Esslinger looking foolish - perhaps appropriately so. He’s also been uncharacteristically silent on the issue to date, with not one quote that I’ve seen in the paper or heard on the radio since Lindemann’s withdrawal. I don’t know Lindemann’s reasons for withdrawal and I hope something gets going along the riverfront soon, but this will hopefully make Esslinger think twice in the future about putting himself into the middle of a situation where he really doesn’t need to be, even if his ego tempts him to be.

Friday, October 03, 2008

City to host Public Input Session on Marion Road/Pearl Avenue Phase II Redevelopment Area

Oshkosh, Wis. – On Wednesday, October 8, 2008 the City of Oshkosh will be providing the public an opportunity to learn more about the current status of the Marion Road/Pearl Avenue Redevelopment Phase II Area. The event will be held at Oshkosh Seniors Center North Building (234 North Campbell Road).

An open house format will begin the evening at 6 p.m. for the public to review and provide input on Marion Road/Pearl Avenue redevelopment plans including riverfront development plans with riverwalk, seawall and park improvements. City staff from Planning and Community Development will be available to provide information and answers questions. At 7 p.m. City Manager Mark Rohloff will present a program to summarize the highlights and financing details from the most current riverfront development proposals from both Oshkosh River Development LLC and Jason Lindemann.

City Manager Rohloff’s presentation will be videotaped for replay on CitiCable 10 at a later date. For replay times, or to videostream the program please visit For additional questions about this Public Input Session please call the Community Development Office at (920) 236-5055.

Public invited to attend Wisconsin Street Bridge Dedication on Oct. 11

Oshkosh, Wis. – The public is invited to attend a variety of special programs and activities planned on Saturday, October 11, 2008, to commemorate the dedication of the new Wisconsin Street Bridge. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) announces they anticipate the Wisconsin Street Bridge will be scheduled to open Wednesday, October 22, 2008, following successful testing and final adjustments.

The Wisconsin Street Bridge Dedication highlights will include musical performances by the Oshkosh VFW band, a bridge dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, a parade and more. As bridge approaches will not be completed, the public is being asked to use parking areas north of the bridge. Free public parking for this event will be available at all UW-Oshkosh parking lots and the City of Oshkosh is also providing additional public parking options on nearby city streets. A map of public parking areas for the bridge dedication events and the parade route can be found on the city website: and at

Event activities will begin at 1 p.m. with VFW band performances followed by a tree-planting ceremony in Carl Steiger Park (north) at 1:30 p.m. Mayor Frank Tower will preside over the bridge dedication ceremony at 2 p.m. in the center of the bridge. Governor Jim Doyle, Congressman Tom Petri, Representative Gordon Hintz and City Manager Mark Rohloff are expected to present at this special ceremony. Other local and state dignitaries are also expected to attend. Following the ceremony a parade will begin on the bridge that will include Oshkosh North, Oshkosh West and Lourdes High School marching bands, automobiles from the decades, fire trucks and more. The parade route will lead to the “Bach to Rock” music, food and festivities beginning at 3 p.m. in downtown Oshkosh. For more information about the “Bach to Rock” festivities please visit For media inquiries about any Wisconsin Street Bridge Dedication events please contact Mayor Frank Tower at (920) 236-5000.