Home » News » June 2006 Newsletter

WWPC June 2006 Newsletter

WWPC presentation at Fitchburg Community Center: Tues., June 27

Come one, come all! We will be making our case for a sustainable future for Fitchburg’s Northeast Neighborhood (NEN) at the Fitchburg Community Center, 5520 Lacy Rd., Fitchburg (next to the city hall) at 7 p.m.

The evening will start with a presentation by a representative of 1000 Friends of WI, who will show us the problems associated with poorly planned growth, and the positive alternative: mixed-use, high density, walkable neighborhoods, such as is being planned for Green Tech Village, just west of Hwy. 14.

Next we will hear from Cal DeWitt, UW professor of environmental studies, world-famous wetlands expert, and resident of Lalor Rd. He will describe the high quality, federally protected wetlands of Dunn, and the dangers to them if the NE neighborhood is developed. (See sidebar on page 2.)

Phyllis Hasbrouck and Butch Powell, residents of the Meadowview Subdivision and Blooming Grove, respectively, will give a presentation on the WWPC’s alternative vision for the land: a school of organic agriculture on a working farm, an indoor-outdoor farmers market, community gardens, and a restored wetland.

Senn Brown, Dir. of the Charter Schools Assoc. of WI, will give a brief talk on the growing trend of environmentally focused charter schools, and how to start one.

The presentations will take an hour and 15 min, to be followed by a half hour of community discussion. Attendees will have the chance to ask questions, express their opinions, suggest alternatives, and get involved.

Your presence is necessary to show the alders of Fitchburg that there is community support for this sustainable alternative to sprawl. Please come, and bring your neighbors! And if you live in Fitchburg, please urge your alders to attend or at least stop in.

$1K donation launches drive for technical and organizing support!

A $1000 donation from a generous NE Neighborhood resident has started a fundraising drive to purchase technical and organizing support from independent contractors. WWPC has big plans for a power point presentation with the different alternatives for the NEN photo-shopped in, as well as a large standing display that illustrates all of the arguments for keeping the NEN rural and promoting our sustainable alternative. We also will be making photo-shopped flyers for different neighborhoods, highlighting the problems they can expect with NEN development.

We also need help coordinating all the volunteers from the NEN and Fitchburg, and so are looking for a contractor who can help with training canvassers, leading canvasses and phone banks, doing phone calls and personal visits.

We need your financial assistance to save this beautiful piece of land from development! Please use the coupon to send in your donation today! Our current goal is $2500. The WWPC is applying for 501-c-3 status, which will make your donation tax-deductible (retroactively) if the IRS approves our application. If you are giving more than $100, we have a fiscal sponsor now, so that your donation will be immediately tax-deductible. (See coupon on page 3.)

We need your help to grow! Come and Canvass June 17, 18, 24, 25

Canvassing is nothing more than talking to your neighbors at their door. We need 2 hours of your time to give Fitchburg residents the chance to sign our petition and get yard signs. You just come to our HQ (someone’s house, call for location) at 10 a.m. for training and a 90 min. route on June 17,18, 24 or 25. You can go with a partner if you like. It’s fun, you get to see some beautiful gardens, and you help preserve the NEN.

Call Phyllis Hasbrouck at 223-9571 to RSVP.

First Annual Picnic a Sunny Success

Our party on Sun., May 22 was a huge success, with 64 adults and 18 children in attendance. We played croquet, badminton, and bolo tossing, set off water rockets and ate great food. We also met neighbors, learned about the issues facing our neighborhood, and had a great time.

Many thanks to our hostesses, Patricia and Lucianne Long and Sally Rae O’Riley, and to the party committee: Denny, Deryle, Patricia, Lucianne, Sally, Patti Ann, Catherine, Phyllis, Chris, and Ron.

Our Precious Wetlands

by Cal DeWitt

According to the Wisconsin DNR and The Nature Conservancy, the wetlands located in an old lobe of Lake Waubesa along its southwest shore, “is one of the highest quality and most diverse wetlands remaining in southern Wisconsin. Nine major springs and numerous smaller ones located within and around the area provide the wetland with an abundance of high quality water.”

The extensive wetlands and high quality of the water contribute significantly to the water quality of Lake Waubesa. Two inlet streams are also present - Murphy Creek and Swan Creek. Peat deposits - up to 95' deep in places - underlie a mix of sedge meadow, fen, and shrub-carr communities.

The sedge meadow is a complex of different species that vary in abundance and structure in response to the complex hydrological system. The state-threatened Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) inhabits this wetland and, in the immediate upland area of this preserve, the state-threatened Cream Gentian can be found. Its ownership includes the DNR and The Nature Conservancy and was designated a State Natural Area in 1974.

A municipal water well to service homes in a NE Neighborhood development could rob these wetlands of their water and destroy them.

Ruekert –Mielke Update

On May 31, over 65 people attended the second meeting run by Ruekert-Mielke, the engineering firm hired by Fitchburg to study whether to develop the NE Neighborhood. The meeting covered city water, storm water, transportation, and parks and open space. Mostly the Ruekert-Mielke people just repeated what the policies governing these areas are, and assured us that they should any development happen, they would abide by it. They did very little actually planning as to what the consequences of building 200, 500 or 1000 homes on the land would be.

The one area where they did propose changes was some new roads cutting through the property. One of them would go right through the clubhouse where we had our party!

Though we were instructed not to make any statements, just to ask questions, many good points were made by neighbors, especially concerning wetland preservation. Cal Dewitt managed to give a 15 min. lecture in 4 segments, and you’ll be able to hear it again at the June 27 event!

There are 2 more public meetings to go: one in July/August, and one in Sept/Oct.

So we can expect a vote in Oct. in the Fitchburg Common Council on whether to accept Ruekert-Mielke’s recommendations for the NEN.

ATC: Local victory, but ratepayers beware of unnecessary lines!

We can congratulate ourselves that the Meadowview Subdivision/Lalor Rd. corridor is no long under consideration for a 345-kilovolt transmission line. But the existing line that runs through Cal and Ruth DeWitt’s yard on Lalor Rd. at the bend is one of the 3 remaining choices. And all Dane Country residents are in danger of paying 100’s of millions of dollars for these lines that may not even be needed!

WWPC is a part of the Stop the Line Coalition, whose website is www.stopatc.com. We are calling for a 6-month moratorium on installing transmission lines, and an independent study of Dane County’s energy needs. To learn more, please attend the Town Hall meeting at Rome Corners Int. School, 1111 S. Perry Pkwy, Oregon, on Thurs., June 15 at 7 p.m.

We need your participation!

The only way to stop business as usual is for people to get organized, get active, and let their elected representatives know how strongly they feel. Please look over this list and let us know how you can make a contribution to our effort to save the NE neighborhood.

  • Internet research to find good articles, videos, books, photos
  • taking digital photos of various roads and land.
  • photo-shopping flyers.
  • laminating pages and putting Velcro on
  • canvassing and petitioning
  • phone calling
  • writing letters to the editor
  • writing to your alderperson if you live in Fitchburg
  • making a donation of dollars
  • Slogan-writing contest!

    One way to show support for an idea is with lawn signs. We have a few ideas for slogans, but maybe you have a better one!

  • Save the Wetlands:
  • For Our Children: Save Land for Food
  • Keep the NE Neighborhood Rural.
  • No development in the NE Neighborhood.
  • Please send us your ideas today. The prize for the winning slogan is a free yard sign!

    Please contact Sen. Mark Miller

    Congratulations to all who wrote to State Rep. Joe Parisi, who recently signed on to Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts’ letter to the Public Service Commission, asking for the moratorium on transmission lines and independent study of Dane County’s energy needs. Now we need you to write to State Sen. Mark Miller, who is refusing to sign on, even though he was among those who first organized the effort! What has happened to him?

    His district covers the entire town of Dunn, none of Fitchburg, and the eastern half of the village of Oregon. Please write him at Room 106 South, State Capitol, P.O. Box 7882, Madison 53707-7882, or call him at 266-9170, or email him at sen.miller@legis.state.wi.us.