Solution offered for Gibraltar tree dispute
The controversy over brushing of Gibraltar town roads continues. Most of the work scheduled for this year has already been completed on Gibraltar Bluff Road. Only the intersection of Cottage Row at Gibraltar Bluff Road remains to be done, where all trees and shrubs within 21 feet from the center line on each side of the road at and near the intersection will be clear cut.
The Town Board believes it is imperative to do so in the interest of public safety, while a substantial number of property owners and residents feel the scope of the proposed work is beyond what is reasonably called for by statistics and should be scaled back to preserve a uniquely beautiful town treasure.
It is my belief both safety and preservation issues deserve serious consideration, and for that reason I submit a workable solution that balances both points of view as best I see possible.
1. Reduce the current 35 mph speed limit on Cottage Row between Wisconsin 42 and Gibraltar Bluff Road to 25 mph. There is no need for traffic to move this fast (which often goes faster), and it will help slow down drivers as they approach the Gibraltar Bluff Road intersection. Furthermore, many bicyclists, hikers, dog walkers, joggers and large oncoming vehicles will benefit.
2. Make the Gibraltar Bluff Road intersection at Cottage Row a four-way stop. There is no safer type of intersection construction other than a roundabout. This would eliminate the current perceived necessity by the Town Board for 21-foot clear cutting on either side of the road leading up to the intersection. Instead, a significantly reduced amount of brushing could be performed surrounding the immediate area of the intersection to ensure sufficient visibility.
Adoption of the above changes will produce gains for both sides. The board achieves a solution for safety that is more effective then their original proposal. The preservationists save a number of beautiful trees from needless removal. And the taxpayer saves a little money (notice how much has been spent so far).
But most of all, our community will be spared the continuation of a contentious and counterproductive situation that becomes sadder by the day. Far more important issues require the attention of our Town Board. Settle this situation now with reason, and let's move on. Small-town life functions best when "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine."
Voucher school criticism sources clarified
Recently I wrote a letter critical of state Rep. Garey Bies' vote in favor of expanding private school vouchers in Wisconsin. Subsequently a reader responded by questioning the authenticity of my data and misrepresenting my statements about private schools.
For the record, my data for the statement regarding the cost to taxpayers "hundreds of millions, perhaps close to a billion dollars" comes from a briefing paper prepared by the state of Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, a nonpartisan arm of the state government entrusted by members of both political parties to provide unbiased analysis.
Specifically, my source is LRB Brief 06-15, an analysis of the Milwaukee voucher program, which is the basis for this unjustified and costly expansion. The program began in 1990, and according to the analysis, in just three school years, 2004-2007, the program cost to taxpayers to pay voucher schools was $284,137,546.
As to the writer asserting that I "damn private schools," I did not and would not. Private schools provide a valuable service to families and young people in Wisconsin. There are excellent private schools in Wisconsin, as there are superb public schools. My criticism is of the voucher program.
In the past week I have received mail and seen public notices of meetings and agendas for my local school district in the paper. I have seen the published minutes of School Board meetings. My local school district and all local school districts in Wisconsin are subject to open meetings and open records law; voucher schools are not. Budgets are accountable to taxpayers in public schools, and in voucher schools they are not.
As to economists and social scientists the writer invokes, the many evaluations of voucher schools conducted by economists, education experts and social scientists diverge on some points of analysis, but the consensus is voucher schools perform no better than public schools.
Poppy drive was another success
From VFW Post 3088 in Sturgeon Bay, a big thank you to Main Street Market in Egg Harbor, Pick'N Save, Walgreens, Econo Foods and Walmart of Sturgeon Bay for hosting our Poppy Drive. Also thank you to the poppy workers, and all you good people who donated to make this drive a success, thank you again.
Any questions about where these donations go can contact Ray Hogan, quarter master. None can be used for the post itself.
Quarter master, Post 3088