Monday, April 30, 2012

Habitat for Humanity update

Those of us at Habitat would like to thank the following for assisting in a Neighborhood project this afternoon. 

The Boys and Girls Club
The Oshkosh Police Dept
The City of Oshkosh
Several neighbors in the Near East Neighborhood.

A few weeks ago Habitat was contacted by the city who advised us there had been some yard work done at a property on Grand St that was not done properly. After speaking with the planning dept. it was agreed Habitat would assist in correcting the problem.

One of Habitats goals with our new Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative is to engage the community and ask for assistance on projects. 

We first contacted Sgt Schuldes and asked him if he could put us in touch with someone from the Boys and Girls Club to see if they would be able to help. Tiffany was more than willing to help out. 

We also contacted Thatcher Peterson who lives in the area. He also was more than happy to help. 

A few days before the project, Thatcher and I walked around in the neighborhood passing out pamphlets and making contact with people in the 500 blk of Grand St. We explained what we were doing and advised people to feel free to come and assist. 

The project consisted of planting several shrubs, planting a tree, roto-tilling, spreading dirt, moving a couple yards of wood mulch, spreading grass seed and preparing some wood surfaces for paint.

Along with both homeowners, Tiffany showed up with a 1/2 dozen kids from the Boys and Girls Club. Sgt Schafhauser showed up with Officers Pechacek and Achterberg. Thatcher showed up as did some other neighbors from the neighborhood. Some of the neighbors provided tools that we did not bring or did not have enough of.

It took about 2 1/2 hours to finish the project which the homeowners were very happy with. The only issue we had with the entire project was one of the volunteers thought Thursday was Friday and originally showed up a day ahead. Now that is enthusiasm !

While the city could have pursued enforcement of the violation, correcting the problem was a much better solution. We thank the city for their patience in allowing us time to coordinate  this project.

Habitat thanks all of you!
Steve Kaiser
Habitat Board Member 

Oshkosh Police Dept Safety City Program Registration Now Open

The Oshkosh Police Department has provided hands-on safety education to nearly 2,000 children through the summer Safety City program since 2004. Funding for the initial development of the program was provided by the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation Hiwela Youth Fund, Mercy Health Foundation, Aurora Health Foundation and many individual donors.  The program continues to receive donations from individuals, civic organizations and businesses. A nominal registration fee is charged to participate.

The program will run June 11-July 26 with four weeks for 4-6 year olds and two weeks for 7-9 year olds. Safety City provides hands-on safety education using interactive and classroom activities.  Safety City for ages 4-6 incorporates a portable neighborhood with streets, traffic signs, bikes and pedal cars.  Safety City for ages 7-9 incorporates activities appropriate for the changing developmental stages of elementary school-age children and includes a bike rodeo and supervised bike ride. All the safety education is provided by law enforcement officers, classroom teachers and other community partners. Fox Valley Technical College Oshkosh Riverside Campus is the location for the program. Participants receive a t-shirt, bike helmet and snacks.

New this year is a partnership with the Oshkosh Area School District summer school program for the 4-6 year old sessions.  Parents had the opportunity to register their child for Safety City as part of the four-week Getting Ready for Kindergarten or Getting Ready for First Grade summer school program.  However, participation is open to any Oshkosh-area child.

Day Cares are welcome to arrange participation in the program as a field trip option and should contact Community Programs Coordinator, Dorry Wilner for details. Volunteers are welcome and must complete a Volunteer Application. Parents can register their child for the program directly with the Oshkosh Police Department. For registration forms and more information visit the Department website or 236-5714.

PLEASE NOTE: June 18 and June 25 sessions for 4-6 year olds are full.  July 9 and July 16 for 4-6 year olds and June 11 and July 23 sessions for 7-9 year olds are open for registration NOW.

New Law Enforcement Career Exploration Summer Camp for High School Youth Offered in August

Area Law Enforcement Agencies, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Continuing Education and the Scouting Learning for Life Explorer program have partnered to offer a new residential summer camp program for high school-age youth interested in law enforcement careers.  For more information:

Here is a link to the microsite for the Law Enforcement Camp:

The short link is

Letter to the editor

[Following is a letter to the editor of the Oshkosh Northwestern by Dan Rylance, and we thank him for sharing it with us so we can bring it to you here...]

Letter to the Editor
April 26, 2012

The two "Stevie Wonders" on the Oshkosh Common Council need to explain their vote of Tuesday, April 24 waving the special events fee for Sawdust Days.

The two Stevies, of course, are Stevie Cummings and Stevie Herman, both recently reelected to their second term on April 3, 2012.

Let me explain.

On Janurary 24 before the April election, both Council members voted to assess the popular Farmers Saturday Market with the special events fee. Their vote represented a victory for the taxpayers and a confirmation of the intent of the special events policy adopted by the Common Council earlier.

On Tuesday, April 24, they flip-flopped and voted to grant Sawdust Days an exemption of the special events fee. Their vote represented a burden on the taxpayers and a reversal of the intent of the special events policy.

The two Stevies approached their vote differently. Cummings struggled with his vote. Herman, on the other hand, unabashedly supported the waiver.

As a result of the April 24th Common Council meeting, Oshkosh taxpayers foot city expenses for one of the biggest special events of the year while all other special events pay their own way. It smacks of favoritism.

Dan Rylance

Here is what's playing this week on Eye on Oshkosh...

Be sure to join us starting Monday, April 30 when Cheryl and Dan talk with outgoing state Rep. Richard Spanbauer about his reasons for not seeking re-election to a third term in the state legislature, what he learned during his time in Madison, what he doesn’t like about the partisan politics being played there, and what advice he has for whoever gets elected to his seat. During the second segment, Cheryl and Dan chat with Janet Wissink, president of the Winnebago Audubon Society, and Betty Harriman, member of the Oshkosh Bird Club and past president of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. They’ll talk about the upcoming Birdfest 2012 and explain about bird migration and what we all need to be aware of birds migrate back to our area following the winter months.

In the Oshkosh area, "Eye on Oshkosh" can be seen Mondays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m. Check with your local cable company or its TV listings for replay times in other, more outlying areas. “Eye on Oshkosh” also may air at times other than just those listed. Check the guide on your cable access channel for other days and times, as well. Eye on Oshkosh is copyrighted and any unauthorized copying or use of any portion of the program is strictly prohibited by law.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Here is what's playing this week on Eye on Oshkosh...

Be sure to join us starting Monday, April 23 when Cheryl and Dan spend the hour with Oshkosh City Manager Mark Rohloff. The three of them will discuss the state of the city, things Rohloff will like to see happen in the future, the city’s plan to go with automated refuse (garbage) pick-up in the fall, how Act 10 and other things implemented by Gov. Scott Walker have impacted the city and its citizens, and much more.

In the Oshkosh area, "Eye on Oshkosh" can be seen Mondays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m. on local cable access channel 2 (Time Warner Cable). Check with your local cable company or its TV listings for replay times in other, more outlying areas. “Eye on Oshkosh” also may air at times other than just those listed. Check the guide on your cable access channel for other days and times, as well. “Eye on Oshkosh” is copyrighted and any unauthorized copying or use of any portion of the program is strictly prohibited by law.

Menominee Park Master Plan Meeting Scheduled for April 25th

(Oshkosh, WI.) The Oshkosh Parks Department has scheduled a special meeting of the Advisory Park Board on Wednesday, April 25th to discuss and receive citizen input on the development of the Menominee Park Master Plan.

The city has hired Rettler Corporation of Stevens Point to assist in the development of the plan. Citizens will be provided the opportunity to share their thoughts about existing Menominee Park facilities as well as future park development and amenities. Parks Department staff and Advisory Park Board
members will be discussing input and ideas to be included in development of conceptual plans, which will be considered by the Advisory Park Board in June of 2012.

The April 25th meeting will be held in Room 404 at City Hall. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please contact the Parks Department at (920) 236-5080.


Automated Garbage Collection Cart Selection Forms Due May 1st

(Oshkosh, WI.) The Department of Public Works would like to remind residents that automated garbage cart selection forms must be returned to the city by May 1, 2012.

The selection forms can either be dropped off in the City Hall lobby at Collections or on the third floor in the Public Works Department office. The forms may also be mailed to:
City of Oshkosh
Attention: Department of Public Works Sanitation Division
215 Church Ave.
Oshkosh, WI. 54901

If you currently receive collection from the City of Oshkosh Sanitation Division and did not receive a cart selection form, please call (920) 232-5383.

Examples of the 64 and 96 gallon carts are on display in the City Hall lobby. For additional information on the city’s transition to automated garbage collection including a list of frequently asked questions, a timeline for implementation, and photos please visit the city website’s automated garbage collection page,
For further information, please contact the Sanitation Division at (920) 232-5383.

* Site administrator's/editor's note: The sizes of the garbage bins or carts are the same size as those of the recycling bins currently in use in the City of Oshkosh. That is easier than trying to figure it out based on the measurements the city has provided or trying to get down to City Hall to look at what's there.


Street Construction Starts April 23rd on City’s North Side

(Oshkosh, WI.) The city of Oshkosh would like to notify residents that construction will start on the city’s next street reconstruction project on Monday, April 23rd. The scope of work is generally located on the north side of the city.

Streets impacted by the street reconstruction project include:
• Bay Street from Otter Avenue to Washington Avenue
• School Avenue from Broad Street to Bowen Street
• Shawano Avenue from Bay Street to Bowen Street
• Boyd Street from Washington Avenue to Parkway Avenue
• Irving Avenue from North Main Street to Bowen Street
• Irving Avenue extended from Hazel Street to Millers Bay
Work is expected to begin in the area of Bay Street, School Avenue, and Shawano Avenue. The general contractor on the project is Vinton Construction. The project superintendent for Vinton is Lyle Wettstein. Properties impacted by the construction will receive further notices from Vinton
Construction as the work approaches their properties. These notices are
distributed door-to-door, so property owners are encouraged to keep an eye out
for notices.

The work on Irving Avenue is scheduled to begin on or after July 9th, to avoid impacting the Independence Day Parade and Sawdust Days festivities in Menominee Park.
If residents have any questions on the project, or status of the project they can contact the Department of Public Works office at (920) 236-5065.

Friday, April 13, 2012

National Night Out date scheduled

National Night Out is taking place on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 from 4pm to 8 pm and will be the 5th annual NNO event for the City of Oshkosh. 

Last year’s National Night Out was the first one to take the event back to the neighborhoods and the event this year will continue in Oshkosh neighborhoods.  The Oshkosh Police Department is setting up a list of organizers that would like to hold an event on August 7, 2012 in their neighborhoods. When planning the event, you can make it as big or as little as you would like, just so long as you are celebrating your neighborhood. Two of the parties last year had well over 100 people. The Oshkosh Police and Fire departments will visit your event and have some giveaways. 

If you have any questions about National Night Out or if you would like to hold an event, please e-mail your information or call Crime Prevention Officer Joe Nichols with the Oshkosh PD at 236-5742. 

Inspection scheduled for Wisconsin Street Bridge in Oshkosh

Inspection scheduled for Wisconsin Street Bridge in Oshkosh

Motorists should anticipate traffic backups

(Green Bay) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) northeast region office in Green Bay is announcing an annual bridge inspection for the Wisconsin St. (WIS 44) bridge crossing the Fox River in Oshkosh. The inspection is scheduled for Monday, April 16 from 9 a.m. to noon.   Lane closures are planned and motorists should anticipate traffic back-ups, use caution and remain alert when driving through this or any work zone.

Grand Chute Capitol Drive Bridge project

(Green Bay) An approximately $175,000 bridge repainting project is about to get underway in the town of Grand Chute (Outagamie County). Beginning Monday, April 23 the Capitol Drive Bridge crossing US 41 will be closed to traffic as the steel members are repainted. The project is scheduled for completion by Friday, May 25.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) northeast region says this project will extend the life of the bridge. 

Because this work involves lane and ramp closures on US 41, most of the work will be done during the evening. Crews will attempt to restrict use of equipment generating higher levels of noise to earlier evening hours.  Efforts will also be made to coordinate closures with local Timber Rattler games. 

Pontential ramp closures are located at W. Northland Ave. and US 41 (County OO/WIS 15) These and any other ramp or lane closures will be announced if and when theya re scheduled and as the project progresses. Motorists on US 41 are advised to use caution and remain alert when driving through this or any work zone.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Take the Edible Book Challenge at Oshkosh Public Library

The library is currently accepting entries from individuals, families, school or community groups, book clubs - anyone who loves reading and has a flair for the creative can enter this contest that’s a quirky meeting of the literary and the culinary.

The concept is simple: make a representation of a book entirely out of edible ingredients. Contest entries can look like a book, be inspired by a book or even be a pun based on a book title. It could be something elaborate and artistic, such as a cake that looks like the cover of your favorite
Dr. Seuss book. Or it might be as simple and clever as a round loaf of bread with that classic tomato condiment for Ketchup in the Rye.

On Sat., May 19, a group of celebrity judges will choose winners in several categories:
Best Individual Entry
Best Family/Group Entry
Best Pun
People’s Choice (the public will vote during the event)

Entries will be displayed in the library’s lower level meeting room from noon to 4 p.m. during the May 19 event. The public can vote for the People’s Choice Award from noon to 3 p.m. Although they must be edible, entries are for display only and will not be served to the public. Winners will be awarded prizes.

Contest entry forms are due May 17 and are available at the library or at For those who need a bit of inspiration, the OPL web site includes photos of 2011 contest entries. For more information visit the web site or call 236-5205.


Seminars set for businesses wanting to get into government contracting

There are lots of good opportunities for businesses who wish to do business with the government by working on federal, state, or local contracts. And contrary to what you might believe, these contracting opportunities are not just for big business. Even the smallest of businessses can win a government contract. So many businesses have not only grown through taking on public sector contracting work, for some it has been the reason for their survival.

But in order to win contracts you must know the technical requirements, be competitive and understand what the federal agencies and their prime contractors really want. No matter what kind of business you have, you can learn these things and more to help get a competitive edge in the government markets that your business needs to succeed by attending one or more of these upcoming seminars.

Upcoming events for Wisconsin’s Government Contractors:

April 17, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI
SELLING TO THE General Services Administration (GSA) - What you need to know

April 27, 2012 -- Eau Claire, WI
Contracts & Certifications: Market Opportunities in Government Contracting for Small Businesses

May 3, 2012 - Marinette, WI
Federal Contracting 201
Past the Basics- Winning Federal Contracts            

June 20-21, 2012 – Rosemont, IL
NDIA 9th National Small Business Conference
Additional information contact Joseph Smetak at or 414-270-3600.


There is much conflict about taxes, often with more heat than light. We really need a calm and balanced discussion of Wisconsin’s tax policy. Please consider attending this free event Thursday night and consider bringing others. All the details are below. More information can also be found at this link:

This Taxing conversation gives people in the Oshkosh area a chance to hear two very different perspectives on tax policy without the screaming and name-calling that makes it impossible to hear anyone’s ideas clearly. At this forum, a conservative and a progressive will calmly and intelligently address two fundamental questions:

How does tax policy affect economic growth?
How should tax responsibility be shared by groups and people?


From the right:  George Lightbourn is the President of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute – a free market think tank committed to small government.  Mr. Lightbourn served two governors as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration.  He currently chairs the Monona Community Development Authority and sits on the board of WCA Services, Inc.

From the left:  Dr. Jack Norman is Research Director at the Institute for Wisconsin's Future – a progressive think tank committed to strong public sector.  Before joining IWF, Jack was a business and local news reporter at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel where he organized a newsroom union and served as president of the Milwaukee Newspaper Guild. 

Moderator:  Stew Rieckman (General Manager and Executive Editor of The Oshkosh Northwestern)

Thursday, April 12 from 7- 9pm
Fox Valley Technical College in Oshkosh Room 133
150 N. Campbell Road, Oshkosh
For more information call: (920) 233 9191

Sponsored by Citizens for a Strong Oshkosh (CSO) - promoting civil dialogue and debate to further understanding of the importance of public structures and the impact of government policy on those structures.

Monday, April 09, 2012

City to institute automated trash pickup, still plenty of questions - hoping for answers sooner rather than later

Earlier this month Oshkosh residents received a letter from the city advising us that later this year our trash will start being picked up via automated means, much like our recyclables are picked up, effective a few years ago. There are all kinds of reasons for the city doing this, they say, including to reduce the number and cost of injuries to employees resulting from lifting trash containers. Certainly no one wants to see anyone get hurt – on the job, or otherwise – but on that note, I would hope the city will provide some data as to how much those kinds of injuries have cost to date and how much of a reduction we’ve realized in frequency and cost per injury once automation begins and has been underway for six months to a year.
Generally speaking I don’t mind us going to an automated system but I found the letter to be lacking in information and the date established for when we must have our trash bin sizes “ordered” somewhat premature.
I say it is premature because we all have to have our bin size selection made not later than May 1. If you want or need to order more than one bin for your property, you also have to have that decision made by that time, however, the letter says the city will determine at a later date how much additional a property owner will have to pay annually to have the additional bin(s) serviced. Isn’t that something we should know before making a decision? In addition, for the property owner who will only occasionally have more trash than what will fit in the bin, the city anticipates selling stickers for the overage. But again, there is no price yet determined for what the stickers will cost. Clearly these are things the city should have determined before requiring us to make decisions by May 1. Informed decisions cannot be made without having all the answers.
Over a week ago I contacted all seven of our city council members about these issues. To date I have heard from only three: Deb Allison-Aasby, Steve Cummings and Steve Herman – in that order. They all said they understood the concern and would hope to have answers by the May 1 deadline, but there was no guarantee of that. Nor is there a whole lot of time between now and then. Since the council only meets twice per month, they really need to have this ironed out by tomorrow night’s meeting in order to get the information out to the public in a timely manner. If they cannot do that, then they should consider extending the date by which citizens have to place their bin order.
I have not heard from the other council members, nor have I had any responses from city manager Mark Rohloff or Public Works director Dave Patek, to whom the three council members who wrote me said they were sending my emails on to for great clarification. Mr. Rohloff will be appearing on an upcoming edition of Eye n Oshkosh and I know some of our questions will focus on this new program.
Meanwhile, there are some other things citizens need to be aware of so they are not caught off-guard or have to call city hall inquiring.
·         When the recycling bins were introduced a few years ago the city automatically gave everyone the larger bin, unless a property owner specifically told them they wanted the smaller one. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that is the same case here; it’s not. Instead, the city is doing it just the opposite: This time around everyone will automatically have delivered to them the smaller bin unless they specifically request a larger one. Why the change? Doesn’t the city think most households will generate more trash than what can be held in the smaller bins, especially if they have children? Or is the “point” to be able to charge people for extra pickups, and the like? A cynic might say, that is exactly the point.
·         These trash bins are the same size as the recycling bins. I don’t know why the city could not just say that in its letter to us, instead of providing us with measurements and dimensions of the new bins. People can’t always visualize sizes by hearing or reading dimensions, but since we all now know the sizes and capacity of the blue bins, that would have been the smarter way to go.
·         The letter says we’ll get more information delivered to us at a later date as to how we’re to pay for the bins. But on the city’s web site the day the letters went out, it stated the cost of the bins would be put on people’s tax bills. Why couldn’t they just say that in the letter instead of saying “We’ll tell you later,” then wasting more time, paper and postage later to tell us?
It’s these kinds of thing that I find as annoying as my grandmother might have found a bee in her bonnet. I just have this sneaking suspicion that the city will not have the extra fee information ironed out in enough time for people to make informed decisions by May 1. I hope they prove me wrong. But if not, that will be one more reason why people are suspicious of and do not like government. Government should have things figured out before asking people to make decisions. To do anything less is irresponsible and somewhat reactionary. And reactionary government does not make responsible or good government.

P.S. Call City Hall at 236-5000 to get your other questions answered or voice your concern over this situation. You can also reach the city council members and other city staff by going to the city's web site at

Warming shelter wrapping up for the season

The Day by Day Warming Shelter is getting ready to wrap up for the season, completing its first season of operation. To find out how many people it served, how the season went, how much its operation cost and what the plans are for the next season, beginning in October 2012, check out this article in the Oshkosh Northwestern.|mostview

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Here is what's playing this week on Eye on Oshkosh...

Be sure to join us starting Monday, April 9 when Cheryl welcomes UW-O political science professor Jim Simmons to the show to provide analysis of last week’s election and to look ahead at the upcoming recall election of Gov. Scott Walker, and his deputy governor, Rebecca Kleefisch. In the second half of the show Cheryl is joined by Rep. Gordon Hintz from the 54th Assembly District who provides a recap of the last legislative session and the impacts those legislative actions are already making or can be expected to make in coming months. *Programming note: This show will run two weeks.

In the Oshkosh area, "Eye on Oshkosh" can be seen Mondays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m. on local cable access channel 2 (Time Warner Cable). Check with your local cable company or its TV listings for replay times in other, more outlying areas. “Eye on Oshkosh” also may air at times other than just those listed. Check the guide on your cable access channel for other days and times, as well. “Eye on Oshkosh” is copyrighted and any unauthorized copying or use of any portion of the program is strictly prohibited by law.