Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A cool spot to hang out

The Baldwin-Woodville swimming pool is a cool place to hang out this summer when the temperatures climb and the humidity makes it feel even hotter like it was on Monday of this week.

Plans for replacing Main Street pavement in tentative stage

Baldwin’s Main Street, east of USH 63, is in bad shape. It’s cracked, grooved, patched it’s rough and bumpy. Plans are being made to reconstruct the road in 2011 or 2012.

Is there anyone who thinks the pavement of the four block stretch of Baldwin’s Main Street from USH 63 to Sixth Avenue doesn’t need to be replaced? Probably not.
In fact, it was recently described by one village resident as the worst stretch of a main business street in the state of Wisconsin. That’s probably right on the mark.
So the question is: how to go about replacing Main Street’s cracked, patched, rutted, ridged and grooved surface. And the related question: what utility, sidewalk and curb and gutter work should be done as part of project?
Preliminary plans for fixing Main Street’s surface were presented at public forum last week on Tuesday to owners and occupants of buildings along the four block stretch of street, and input was sought from them.
According to an informational handout presented at the information session, tentative plans call for resurfacing Main Street with asphalt, replacing street lights, sidewalks and the water main and laterals. In addition, instead of rain water running off on the street surface, a storm sewer would be built.
The project would attempt to maintain the existing amount of parking, recognizing that diagonal parking provides space for twice as many vehicles as parallel parking. An attempt would be made to maximize the sidewalk area and also delineate crosswalks and shorten crossing distances.
Aesthetics would be improved through the use of lighting, landscaping, plantings, amenities, sidewalk aesthetics and creation of gathering spaces.
During construction of the improvements, access to businesses would be maintained by staging the construction and leaving existing sidewalks in place until it is necessary to remove them and replace as quickly as possible. While new sidewalk is being poured, pedestrian crossing bridges will be utilized to continue access to stores.
“It’s a comprehensive project,” said Village Engineer Mike Stoffel of Ayres Associates. “We’d like to do it in [the summer of] 2011.” However, he added that the village is applying for an “Enhancement Grant” from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and because that process takes more time, the project may be put off until 2012. If that grant, which would supply the most funding to the village, is not possible, a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce would be sought which would supply a smaller percentage of the project’s cost but funding could be in place from 2011.
The cost of the project “is probably just over a million dollars,” said Stoffel, probably $1.2 or $1.25 million. The primary source of funding for the project will be from the downtown TIF district, with any grants providing a secondary source of funds. “The way the TIF was set up should be able to cover” most of the cost, said Stoffel.
In the past property owners have also been assessed for the cost of new sidewalk but have sometimes been given a period of several years to pay the cost.
Also presented at last week’s information session was a description of Baldwin’s “Downtown Facade Loan Program” which provides financial assistance to encourage property owners to improve commercial buildings. Funds can be used to renovate the fronts of businesses; add lighting and graphics and new doors; and for new signs, windows and awnings.
The program, through the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, provides loans of $5,000 to $30,000 for up to 15 years with a zero percent interest rate. The loan is secured by a mortgage on the property being improved.
In addition, additional funding for building front improvement is available from Baldwin’s downtown TIF district of up to 20% of the cost of eligible work.

Independence Day traffic fatality is third in SCC for 2010

A Burnsville, Minn. youth was killed in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 4 as the result of a one vehicle crash on County Trunk Highway CC in the Town of Star Prairie. The death is the third traffic fatality in St. Croix County in 2010.
According to the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department, at 1:38 a.m. a 1999 Toyota Camry, driven by Alexander Daniel Maslow, 16, was northbound on CTH CC. The vehicle failed to negotiate the curve on CTH CC, just south of CTH H. The vehicle left the roadway and entered the ditch, striking an embankment and going airborne. The vehicle was overturned as it came to rest in the ditch. The scene is near Cedar Lake and west of the village of Star Prairie.
Although Maslow was wearing a seatbelt, he was nevertheless partially ejected from the vehicle. He was transported from the scene by Lifelink helicopter to Regions Medical Center in St. Paul. He died later Sunday.
Along with the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department, assisting at the scene were New Richmond Fire Department, New Richmond EMS and Star Prairie First Responders.
The Sheriff’s Department report said the crash remains under investigation.

New from the Exchanges
Interesting items from
surrounding communities

PIERCE COUNTY HERALD (ELLSWORTH): A dispute over a foreclosure is headed for trial. A jury trial is set for March 16-17, 2011, in a case brought by Wells Fargo Bank against Deborah and John Sherman, II, 434 Court St. North, Prescott. The bank claims the Shermans failed to make payments and now owe $384,236. According to the Shermans, they had a 10-year draw period on a line of credit but when they went to withdraw funds, they found the bank had reduced the credit limit based on a “substantial decline” in the value of their property. “The Shermans have never been behind on a payment and use the line of credit in the running of their business,” wrote their attorney as he challenged the foreclosure action. “Wells Fargo’s actions have caused my clients to be unable to run their business. Without the ability to run the business, payments on the first mortgage held by Wells Fargo and the payment on the line of credit is nearly impossible,” wrote attorney Philip Helgeson. “Wells Fargo has created this hardship.” The lawyer argued the bank isn’t entitled to foreclosure because it “created the reason for the foreclosure.”

HUDSON STAR~OBSERVER: After 25 years serving as a bailiff in St. Croix County Circuit Court, Richard “Dick” Kinney is retiring. The 78-year-old Kinney is finishing up his fourth career and figures it’s time to throttle back. “I though about going on until I was 80,” he said in a recent conversation in his Town of Hudson home, “but I’m going to hang it up now.” A factor in the decision is recent surgery to remove a lesion in his throat that may render his voice with permanent hoarseness. By and large, he has enjoyed his stint as one of the courthouse bailiffs. “Sometimes it’s boring because of the repetition, but most of the time it is interesting,” he said.

TRIBUNE PRESS REPORTER (GLENWOOD CITY): The school board spent considerable time discussing the new athletic codes at its meeting on June 22. It also found out that the work on the new high school track will cost more and the board also gave its approval for a budget for the next school year that shows a quarter million dollar deficit. At question with the new athletic codes was an item that was brought up by member Harry Joles. Joles stated that part of the codes indicated that violations are cumulative for students from grades seven through 12. Joles noted that if a seventh grader violates the codes, that violation passes with that student into high school. “I would like to see codes from other schools in our conference,” Joles told other members of the board. “Our codes should mirror the WIAA codes and there are no WIAA codes for seventh or eighth grades,” Joles said. He continued, “I don’t see that as a level playing field. We need a lot of fairness in this and be comparable to other schools,” Joles concluded. High/Middle School Principal Kevin Sipple spoke about the committee that brought the codes to the board. “When we went into this we did not vision a code for middle school students. But the committee felt middle school students should be part of the code.” He went on to say to the board that an eighth grader in the second semester is much more responsible than a seventh grader in the fist semester. On a three to one vote, the board approved removing the cumulative lines from the athletic codes for the middle school students.

SUN-ARGUS (SPRING VALLEY): The Spring Valley, River Falls and Ellsworth Medical Clinics, a division of Western Wisconsin Medical Associates (WWMA), replaced its paper medical record with a new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system to further enhance the quality and safety of the care of their patients receive. Going to an EMR doesn’t mean 100 percent of the paperwork has been eliminated, but many forms and documentation will be stored in a secure software program. “The Clinic will primarily use the EMR, but will have access to the paper chart for additional patient visits as needed,” said Julie Ducklow, Health Information and Ancillary Services Manager and project lead on the EMR. “Data from each record will be extracted and imported into the patient file so health history is preserved and maintained.” The launch of the EMR was official on April 19 but the planning and preparation has been ongoing for nearly eight years. Ducklow noted a memo from Chris Tashjian, MD and Group President dated April 20, 2002 when the discussion to move to an electronic medical record began. The memo stated that the “Physician leadership was adamant about the EMR workgroup proceeding cautiously.”