Walker's Wisconsin – Leo Frigo bridge is falling down

Giddy Fortune’s furious fickle wheel,
That goddess blind,
That stands upon the rolling restless stone.

Shakespeare (Henry V, 3.3.27), Pistol to Fluellen

History and circumstance often speak more loudly and with more elegance and truth than all the speeches, press releases, and talking points of politicians, preachers, and pundits. Such is the case with the Leo Frigo bridge across the Fox River in Green Bay which has been closed since early Wednesday after a 400-foot section sagged about two feet and created a pronounced dip in the concrete deck that carried 40,000 vehicles a day.

The first thought that occurred to me was “crumbling infrastructure”.

American Society of Civil Engineers
Over two hundred million trips are taken daily across deficient bridges in the nation’s 102 largest metropolitan regions. In total, one in nine of the nation’s bridges are rated as structurally deficient, while the average age of the nation’s 607,380 bridges is currently 42 years.

After the “crumbling infrastructure” thought, came the name of the bridge itself; the Leo Frigo Bridge. I had never heard of Leo Frigo before, and began to wonder who he was, why a bridge carried his namesake, and if there was any wandering significance in the name of the bridge and the current political climate in Wisconsin. The research paid out in spades!

Leo Frigo was born into a large Italian-American family who at the time were living in Pound Wisconsin. He was the thirteenth of sixteen children. The bold quote on his founders page speaks to the character of Leo:

Founder of Paul’s Pantry
leo frigo
“Its better that I go into the dumpster rather than making the poor go there, at the end of the day my dignity will be intact and so will theirs.”

Leo passed away on February 13, 2001 from injuries sustained in a car accident. He was delivering food to a shut in. After Leo’s death, the Tower Drive Bridge in Green Bay was renamed in his honor. Leo spent his life building a bridge between the “have’s” and “have not’s.”

Bridge over troubled water

The bridge carrying the namesake of a man who spent his life bridging the gap between the “have’s” and “have not’s” is sinking. This at a time when food stamps are being cut, the federal government is being held hostage in opposition to allowing the poorest Americans to obtain health care, and the job offerings promised by the Walker administration could well be graphically characterized by Leo’s sinking bridge.

By John Schmid of the Journal Sentinel
Sept. 27, 2013

Chicago — One day after a federal report showed that Wisconsin is creating jobs at a pace that’s about half the national rate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said the uncertainty of last year’s special gubernatorial recall election stunted hiring in the state.

The obvious failure of Walker’s record in job creation is all the more strident since the echo’s of his prime promise in his campaign was, “I will create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin by the end of my first term”. Rather than accepting any responsibility for the lagging job creation, he continues to create excuses: it was the recall elections, it was the protests, it was…it was…. or it is the manner in which job statistics are compiled by the federal government:

By John Schmid and Kevin Crowe of the Journal Sentinel = Sept. 26, 2013

In a news release after the publication of the numbers Thursday, Walker’s office focused on the absolute number of jobs created, which would place Wisconsin 22nd out of the 50 states. Wisconsin ranks 20th in population, so its job-creation ranking nearly matched its size

No….Here is what it was…is… the failure of the WEDC

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation was to be the blueprint for Neoconservative efficiency – the flagship of the new Walker reform of bridge Leo Frigo2reforms to allow for the lofty goal of creating jobs, jobs, jobs. Infact, the WEDC is Walker. It exemplifies his vision, his arrogance, his philosophy of reform of government. A risen County Executive was arrogant enough to decide to abandon and demolish a major department of government, the 35 year old Department of Commerce, to make way for his concept of neocon reform. So it was that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) was created in February of 2011 by the state GOP controlled Legislature and Walker. Five months later, on July 1st – the flagship of reform took over the economic development functions of the old and antiquated Department of Commerce.

Since then, the timeline of crisis and confusion at WEDC reads like that of a patient in cardiac arrest. The shuffling and continuous reorganization of major players within the department occurs with such rapid frequency that it is difficult to keep track of, but to get a feeling for what failure looks like you might want to read – Wisconsin – Walker’s reform school.

It was not the recall elections, it was not the protests, it is not the way the numbers are compiled by the federal government – it was Scott Walker’s decision to dismantle a department of the state government, and doing so without possessing the education, managerial skills, or administrative skills to make the new department work.

Just like the Leo Frigo bridge – the problem is in the very foundation of Walker’s job creation plan, and it is sinking, sinking, sinking.

Advertisements

Walker's Wisconsin – Prosecute "Sportsmen" ALEC

Two years of finger pointing changes nothing

Has anyone noticed how consistent underscoring of scandal and play-to-play tactics employed in the deep workings of Walker’s Wisconsin only served to fill space in newspapers, and excite the social media with “must read” tweets, links, and cacophony? – Secret email networks, new voter ID laws, trans vaginal ultrasound procedures, union bashing, gerrymandering vote districts scott suder2without public input, authorizing paramilitary security in the North woods, silencing public singing in the Capitol rotunda, (take a deep breath here), replacing the Department of Commerce with the “quasi” failure of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, filing a motion to absolve legislators from responding to Freedom of Information Act orders? (Add your tweeted, posted, pasted infringement of ethical debasement “here”)

Hey. They just don’t care

The disgrace of political self interest being played out in Washington over funding the government, is alive and well in sweet Wisconsin. The concept of “disagreeing without being disagreeable” has become as dated and sentimental in American politics as episodes of “Matlock”, “Perry Mason”, and “I Love Lucy” on cable TV. The “trickle down” theory of economics has proven to be an out-and-out lie, but “trickle down” jobbery, skimming, and shuffle has become the “new normal”, the default deal, the secret email network of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Investigate Scott Suder, prosecute ALEC

The case of the Wisconsin Sportsmen grant secretly tucked into the budget bill and passed last May smells of fraud. Below is a short history of the “discovery” of another rendition of a secret email network embedded in the budget bill. The bullet points trace the powder burns of the past few weeks – the initial plot of the attack goes back much further.

1) United Sportsmen was the only applicant for the award.

2) The carefully crafted grant requirements were unanimously voted into the state budget in May after just seven minutes of discussion.

3) United Sportsmen falsified its 501(3)(c) status on the grant application.

4) United Sportsmen has a scant record of any involvement in promoting hunting of fishing.

5) Sept 5 – Late Thursday Gov. Scott Walker canceled a controversial $500,000 grant to a Sportsmen’s group with little training experience but close ties to GOP politicians.JS Online By Jason Stein and Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel

6) Sept 11 – GOP legislators did notSudder tell any member of the opposition party that the grant to the Sportsmen of $500,000 would trigger a loss of $28 million dollars to the taxpayers of Wisconsin. according to the DNR.

7) Sept 16 – Scott Suder (pictured right) the Assembly head who lobbied for the Sportsmen grant resigns to accept a position at the Public Service Commission where Walker awards a $94,000 a year salary – nearly double his legislative salary.Wisconsin Public Radio

8) Back in May Terry J. Kohler personally reached out to key Republican lawmakers to urge them to slip the taxpayer money into the state budget for the Wisconsin Sportsmen group. Read the letter: PDF of Kohler letterTerry Kohler (pictured right) was the real firepower. He is a Terry KohlerWisconsin industrialist, and one of the most influential GOP donors in the state. Journal Sentinel


The Sportsmen “sinecure” for ALEC

“Sincecure” is not my word. I had no idea what it meant until I looked it up. It is the very word used by Phil Montgomery(pictured below and left) , chair the state Public Service Commission, to rationalize and defend his confidence in Scott Suder’s appointment to the commission. The word choice is an unabashed admission that Suder was appointed as a reward for services rendered in promulgating ALEC legislative maneuvers into the legislative calendar for two years.

The quote:(the bold is mine:)


September 25, 2013 Cap Times editorial

Montgomery says he stands by his decision to help Suder secure a sinecure as the administrator for the PSC’s Division of Water, Compliance and Consumer Affairs. Why? Montgomery claims it has something to do with Suder’s legislative record.

The definition

si·ne·cure
[sahy-ni-kyoor, sin-i-]
1.
an office or position requiring little or no work, especially one yielding profitable returns.Definition

It is all “OK”

Scott Suder is being rewarded with a high paying, cushy job on the PSC for all his hard work pushing ALEC formulated legislation into the lives of the people of Wisconsin, and this is so normal and without question that Montgomery openly admits it to the press?

Passage of the golden ALEC Sinecure award dates back to Montgomery’s own appointment to the PSC.

By Thomas Content of the Journal Sentinel – March 28, 2011

Until January (2011), Montgomery served on the board of directors of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a national organization that works on development of state-level polices that promote limited government, free markets and federalism.

Investigate ALEC

When Scott Walker became governor very few people had ever heard of ALEC, but with the curtailmentmontgomery of collective bargaining and anti-union, anti-teacher, anti- women, anti-voting rights legislation showing up in red state after red state, the source of all of the similar wording in all the bills proposed in all the states were traced back to ALEC…AND they don’t care. It seems the low and unethical tactics employed by ALEC, the Koch Brother’s American for Prosperity, and the Bradley Foundation will not serve to shame them into lining up with established democratic principles. They don’t care. They don’t care in the Senate, or in the Congress or in Wisconsin. Unless the ruthless tactics of pay-to-play, rule bending, and out-and-out corruption are investigated and prosecuted – progressives, democrats, and all people of ethical consciousness are accepting complicity in the new normal of Walker, Montgomery, Suder, and ALEC.

Walker's Wisconsin – John Doe Rising

Breaking Bald

Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair–
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
T. S. Elliot

John Doe rises again like bridge Leo Frigo2a bad penny that has been stuck in the vending machine of political flimflam only to be found in the coin-return slot still bearing the date of its mint. Kelly Rindfleisch was sentenced on November 19th, 2012 to six months in jail and three years of probation for her role in rising Walker to power.

Kelly keeled, Walker walked, and all the lawyers talked and talked. Now, here we go again to get to the bottom, to discover the undeniable truth, and at a most inopportune time for the “Walker who walked” as he is up for re-election next November, and his name is included in conversation as a presidential candidate in 2016.

Judge orders documents released in probe of Scott Walker aides
By Patrick Marley and Daniel Bice of the Journal Sentinel – Sept. 25, 2013

Madison — An appeals court judge ordered the release Wednesday of numerous documents in the closed secret investigation of aides to Gov. Scott Walker, including the personal emails of convicted aide Kelly Rindfleisch.

Of course, this is not the end. Of course, there are questions, for that is the way of the flimflam machine. The workings within hide sprockets and springs that push, pull, and pedal the simplest of truths through algorithmic tweaking and twining to scare the living hell right out of common sense – Did Scott Walker really, honestly, understand what was happening with the secret email network within thirty feet of his desk? Hmmmm…I wonder?

Flimflam Machine

The flimflam machine is an energy hole, and continues as the default application of all communication in the Walker Administration sending job creation and health care and just about any constituent concern down to some lower level of attention. Why, just today we hear 92,000 people will be cut from their current Badger Care Plus health care.

State notifying 92,000 that loss of BadgerCare imminent
By Jason Stein and Guy Boulton of the Journal Sentinel- Sept. 24, 2013

The notification letters are reigniting the debate over Walker’s decision to reject additional federal money under what’s commonly known as Obamacare to expand BadgerCare Plus. That decision is costing the state $119 million in its two-year budget.

Walker has boasted of his rejection of Obamacare, since he had a better idea. But as a result of the rejection of federal funds 90,000 families are being cut from Badger Care Plus – and here is the kicker of the bucket – it raises taxes!

The move would reject an expansion of Medicaid and the more than $600 million in federal funding that would have gone with it. State taxpayers would pay an extra $119 million compared to what they would have paid under the expansion. WPR News

Put all this in the flimflam machine and push the button and hear the whirring and wind of cogs, gears, along the obfuscation belt – and what comes out the other end are computerized voices of:

Scott Walker
I care too much about the people of this state not to empower them to control their own destiny.

Or Alberta Darling:
…those pushed off may not like the copays they might soon be paying, but that “health care is changing.”

The flimflam machine has proven its worth in supplying Scott Walker with $1,498 per hour for his expenses for housing, security and in-state and out-of-state travel because that is the default. Real Job creation shows up in the low end of priorities and remains in the low forties when compared to the 50 other states.

Flimflam job creation comes solely from allowing the wealthy to become more wealthy in some rehash of the old Raegan flimflam of trickle down economics which didn’t work in his life time and is not working now. Real job creation projects were rejected by the flimflam machine early on, with putting and end to the rapid rail system and the train sets ready for manufacturing and already on the table. The job creating potential of Talgo, was already in place in Milwaukee and looking ahead to years of production.

The failure of the Leo Frigo Bridge serves as the most recent symbol for projects and priorities rejected by the political opportunists flimflam machine.


Leo Frigo Bridge closed due to significant sagging

By Jaclyn Brandt CREATED Sep. 25, 2013 – UPDATED: Sep. 25, 2013
GREEN BAY – The Leo Frigo Bridge is currently closed for an inspection. According to Lt. Jody Buth with Green Bay Police, a 150-foot section of the bridge is sagging by at least three feet. The section crosses all four lanes.

The bridge takes I-43 NB and SB over the Fox River in Green Bay. The interstate remains closed between Atkinson Dr. and US 41, and will remain closed for a minimum of 24 hours.

Officials say they are inspecting the bridge after a driver reported a dip in the road.

– and what comes out of the flimflam machine:

“It’s a key transportation link in the area,” Walker said. “Our #1 priority is and will continue to be ensuring the absolute safety of the public.”

Investment in infrastructure repair has been pushed into the background along with failure to protect Wisconsin citizens health care, and failure to create jobs. Is he even anywhere in the State of Wisconsin today?

Walker's Wisconsin – John Doe Sneak Attack FOIA

It is a “draw play” in foot ball

In a “draw” play a running back gets the ball and holds back a count. The one count pause is a sort of sneaky, smoke-and-mirrors distraction. It assumes that the defense will react to a fake hand off, leaving the runner with the ball an open field to run free – to escape the tacklers at the line. He’s going, the 40, the 30, all the way! Touchdown!

The John Doe draw play

Let us not be fooled. The smoke isdraw play filling the air, the mirrors are positioned at obtuse angels. The smoke in the play is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the mirrors are focused on Senator Leah Vukmir (R Wauwatosa). A path is being cleared. A sneaky fake hand off. The defense is being moved off the ball.

Who is the real runner in the political “draw” play? The real runner with the ball is a sneaky, tackle breaking, fake master, veteran of the draw, who is known on the field by his alias John Doe. The victims of his moves, feigns, and self focused crazy legs of opportunism, know him as – Scott Walker.

Two court actions happening at once – one a fake – one with the ball

one with the ball
A buzz developed through the Summer and flew through air in a hyperbolic pattern to become a bee in the bonnet of the Walker Administration. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was poised to file suite for the release of John Doe emails, and files.
It happened last week. The bee landed. Ouch!

By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel – Sept. 18, 2013

Lawyers for the Journal Sentinel and reporter Dave Umhoefer filed a motion Wednesday asking that the Doe be reopened for a hearing on the newspaper’s request that District Attorney John Chisholm return the sealed records to the county.

The fake – the “draw” play

In a political coincidence or like “votes out of the blue”, another legal action was announced just one week before the Journal Sentinel filed suite for the John Doe records. It seemed somewhat crazy, even for Leah Vukmir, to hope that legislators could be freed of FOIA request by the public while in office. Really?

By Patrick Marley and Jason Stein of the Journal Sentinel Sept. 12, 2013

On Wednesday, Sept 11, State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) filed a motion in Dane County Circuit Court arguing she is immune from lawsuit while she remains in office. The motion was filed on her behalf by Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s Department of Justice.

That is to say that taxpayers cannot have access to the communications of the elected officials that represent them during the time they are working for the people they represent.

Attorney General Van Hollen

Attorney General Van Hollen

The kooky, flimflam, repositioning of mirrors within the Constitution was no biggy coming from Vukmir, but when Attorney Journal Van Hollen began to recalibrate his mirrors and pump stinky smoke into the air blotting out his previous strong defense of the FOIA…well it was out of character. It was Van Hollen who warned the General Accountability Bureau that the FOIA was to be respected for its teeth. The letter was delivered in response to the rash of FOIA requests the followed the June 5 recall election. Why the sudden one-hundred-and-eighty degree turn?

The draw play

An editorial in today’s Beloit Daily news began to hint at the “draw’ play being diagrammed on a chalk board just thirty feet down the hall for Walker’s office.

EDITORIAL William Barth |: Release records from John Doe
Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2013 10:00 am

It started with an unprecedented claim of immunity to court review by State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, backed up by Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. Despite widespread condemnation of the Vukmir-Van Hollen stand, they continue to insist legislators are not subject to civil action to force them to comply with the open records process.

Now another battle is being joined, in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has filed suit asking that “thousands of Milwaukee County documents and emails seized in a John Doe investigation” of then-County Executive Scott Walker’s office be unsealed and released for review.


“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

― Albert Einstein,

Holy smokes! Could it be that the coincidence of the Vulkmir suite and the John Doe record request might be the arch of the moral universe bending toward justice? Are the two incidences being defended and created from some place just thirty feet down the hall from some office, occupied by some governor? Can you hear it,”You see, what we are going to do is kinda like divide and conquer. We going to do a “draw’ play with Vukmir.”?

Mining – Two Little towns fighting big money

Fracing – a mining procedure and a political strategy

The process is called “hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling”. Frac sand is mixed with high volumes of water and toxic chemicals and forced into the shale, where it holds open fissures allowing the oil or gas to be extracted.

The industry is employing a similar process frack-bridge-politically by forcing high volumes of promises of jobs and money into the economic cracks of rural towns and villages across Western Wisconsin. The skirmishes of each small township, village, and community are fought in isolation of one from the other yet, when you look at the mining industry’s tactics, promises, and the known outcomes – a remarkably similar story emerges.

If you will take a tour through a few of these small and isolated places, where frac mining at different stages of development has impacted the politics and lives of real people, you begin to see the large picture.

Bridgeport is a town in Crawford County, Wisconsin, United States

The population was 946 at the 2000 census. Wiki

Bridgeport has been through a number of typical battles with a sand mining proposal and is a good example of how the promises, tactics, and politics come to play in most all of the early stages of any mining operation’s entrance into a small community.

Creating fissures in the Democratic process

First the mining interests attempt to find a power welding person or persons who can gain a financial interest in a mine. The promise of big checks with lots of zeros. In Bridgeport this person is Rodney Marfilius who owns a parcel of land sited for a frac sand mine and also is a supervisor on the the town board. Obviously, Rodney would not be a hard sell since he would get the check. Although he abstained from voting on the final approval on March 24th the other two board members voted in favor of granting a reclamation permit allowing the 120 acre mine site on 305 acres to go forward.

Public input and discussion was limited or non-existent in the lead up to the vote on the mine approval and other measures were taken such as posting a meeting notice the bare 24 hour minimum required by law and limiting public discussion for those who were alert and able to attend the meeting on such short notice. In Bridgeport a planning commission meeting proceeding the board meeting allowed no public comment. A three hour board meeting prior to the vote failed to address issues and questions of concerned citizens in opposition to the mine. In the end, the final vote was taken at a 20 minute meeting with the County Sheriff present to forcibly eject anyone who dared break the “no-speak” rule.

Tactics of subversion, obstruction, and rule bending are a frac-neuhouse-238x300 common practice as mining interests inject themselves into rural communities. In Baron County Stacey Neuman was elected to Barron County Board of Supervisors last April. Soon she found her way on to two committees that are the sifters and shakers of the frac mine controversy – the Agriculture and Zoning committees. When Neuman was elected, she lived in the district she represented, as required by state law. Shortly after the election, Neuman sold her home in the district and moved out of the district to Rice Lake to live with her dad/step dad. Of course, the move should nullify her office on the County Board, but not in her case? (pictured left is Neuman’s “legal residence” in Barron County)

Maiden Rock is a village in Pierce County, Wisconsin, United States

The population was 119 at the 2010 census. Wiki

Unlike Bridgeport, Maiden Rock has been home to mining over a decade. The company Fairmount Minerals bought the underground operation in 1996. Controversy over the operation came to a boil with Fairmount’s request for conditional-use permits, filed in late 2010, to expand the mine from 789 to 1,696 acres. Since then the quiet little town has been torn apart and citizens concerned at the mine’s expansion have learned how money and politics can drill into hearts and frac minds with public relation videos that make frac mining appear the best thing since Smokey the Bear and Snow White.

The Fairmont Minerals video below begins with beautiful shots of clean water and majestic wild life.

Perceptions of the company’s efforts vary greatly and appear to have split the village into two camps: People who support the mine and people who wish it would just go away.

maiden rock mine

You won’t believe how fast it happens!

Maiden Rock, Bridgeport, Taylor, Glenwood and now, Whitehall and Independence are all Davids who are fighting the Goliath of the mining industry. The green and tranquil countryside so vital to the rural quality of life, and in which they have chosen to raise their children, seems to evaporate overnight. One of the most frequent quotes you will hear from all of new and expanded frac mine sites is, “You won’t believe how fast it happens!”. The quiet country road outside their window is suddenly filled with trucks, their coffee cups vibrate on the kitchen table as another blast rocks the house all hours of the day and night, and they watch their children come off the bus with new fears of the unknown – is the water they are drinking tainted, is the air they breath poisoning their young lungs with carcinogenic silica dust?

The answers to these questions is “unknown”. This has all happened so fast, but if we take a trip South we will discover new and strong evidence is beginning to surface that supports the worst fears of parents near frac mine sites.

Wedron is an unincorporated community in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States.

Wedron is located along the Fox River northeast of Ottawa. Wedron has a post office with ZIP code 60557 Wiki

Suspected polluter Fairmount Minerals

Fairmont Minerals is the same mining company that the people of Maiden Rock are fighting in Wisconsin. The same company that produced the video above featuring all the healthy wildlife and clean water.

Concerns are growing over contaminated groundwater in a small northern Illinois community. Residents in Wedron report a strong gas odor coming from their spigots.
Small town attracts big name

Stephanie Thompson (pictured below holding a milk jug of her tap water) “This is what they expect us to bathe our Ground waterkids in?”. “We always had bad water. It smelled bad and tasted kind of funny. But the smell of the gasoline didn’t happen until 2009,” Thompson said.

She first reached out to local officials and the EPA, but was not satisfied with the help she was getting. A few years ago, Thompson contacted Erin Brockovich, who drew fame after the landmark case involving Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California. Brockovich joined to form a team including an environmental scientist and a lawyer.

The federal EPA says it has done some testing of private well water in Wedron, found elevated levels of benzene in a handful of wells, and in the soil. But it says more work needs to be done to pinpoint an exact source.

This July, U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA collected soil samples from 18 locations in Wedron using a special drilling rig called a geoprobe that can collect samples beneath the surface. The results of the soil sampling also showed elevated levels of the VOCs benzene, chloroform, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. This investigation also identified several potential sources of the groundwater and soil contamination. In addition, U.S. EPA conducted an investigation this August at the former Hoxsey gas station to determine if underground tanks or piping are still present. The owner of the property has agreed to conduct an excavation to determine if any underground storage tanks remain on the parcel.The EPA EPA report on Wedron ground water

It all happened so fast!

The EPA began testing wells in 1983 or 30 years ago to finally assemble evidence of ground water pollution in Wedron. Even though a direct link to frac mining is yet to be proven conclusively, the Fairmont mining operation is the only industrial site within miles of the tainted wells.

‘I’ve never seen anything like this,’ says federal official who ranks state production No. 1 in nation.

The frac sand industry has grown fast,sandmine sites and no government agency has an up-to-date list of all of the mines and processing plants in Wisconsin. A year ago, the Center identified 41 facilities operating or proposed in the state. This summer 87 are operating or under construction, with another 20 facilities in the proposal stage.

60 new sites operating or under construction in little towns, villages, and communities in Western Wisconsin bearing names like Blair, Maiden Rock, Bridgeport, Hixton, Glenwood City, Independence, Whitehall- where handfuls of farmers and small town folk are fighting their local battles with some of the largest mining corporations in the country. The up hill battles are being waged in isolation, far from the media centers of Milwaukee or Madison. The real fears and concerns of Mom and Dad will not be found in the mainstream media but in the small county newspapers or blogs and face book.

One big blow

The fight to test the ground water in Wedron began 30 years ago. Over 60 new mining sites and proposals have sprung up in Wisconsin in the past year…even though we don’t know the long term effects of silica sand dust on our health or what effect deep drill into our ground water supply may have in 5, 10, or 20 years.

Independence – My home town

Where, oh where is all this get-rich-quick Wisconsin sand going? It is off to bigger, better, and more ominous sites for an unknown future.

The symbolic crushing of Independence – corporate take over of a small town – speaks to all that is America.

Proposed annexation (land grab) of 622,797 acres

That is about 10 square miles or about half the area of the city of LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

The blue grid shows the Independence land grab
The red grid shows the Whitehall land grab
The purple grid shows the rail corridor
whitehall_annex2

Notice how the Trempealeau River is the black blotch on the map, and is barely visible.

Notice how the red grid and the blue grid meet in the center of the track bed of the Green Bay and Western Railroad

Why is the map formatted in this way?

Because it is not really a map at all, it is a target for takeover. It marks the bulls-eye for the arrow of a bully. It minimizes and erases the people, places, and things that have grown and developed in and around the mine’s Machiavellian master plan for hundreds of years. This is my home town.

There is a beautifully restored City Hall in Independence, and I can remember when my Dad, Len Kern, was on the City Council in the 1960’s when weeks of planning and debate preceded the draining and dredging of Bugle Lake or the construction of a new sewer system along with the reconstruction of the main street. Months of campaigning and debate proceeded a shift in school district boundaries, or the long anticipated construction of the new high school. All of these projects combined would would not effect the lives of the community so much as a ripple in the sand when compared to the double annexation of 622,797 acres for a $80 million project for Crush. Yet, they expect it to happen with the strike of a pen, in just a few weeks? Who do they think they are? What is the rush? The sand has been beneath the fertile fields of Lincoln Township for thousands of years, and it must come out in just a few weeks? It just doesn’t make any sense.

The tactics are wrong for “Independence”

Another double meaning. The “Crush” tactics are wrong for any independent community and for the City of Independence. Years of discussion, fund raising, and volunteer work preceded the restoration of the Independence City Hall.

For nearly a hundred years,Independence the clock tower standing proudly at the top of the Independence City Hall has kept its faithful vigil. But, the tower and the building are more than just a structure from the past. Since 1903, when the unique building was completed, it has been a proud landmark for the small city of Independence. The Wisconsin State Historical Society has called it “The most visible outstanding government building in Trempealeau County”.

In 1997, the City and The Friends of City Hall, with pride and determination, made a commitment to restore this historical landmark and coax it back to its once genteel days. Volunteers have raised tens of thousands of dollars and donated countless hours to help restore the historic landmark.Independence City Hall

If “Crush” intends to manipulate the long established democratic government in order to push and bully there mining operation into the heart of the countryside surrounding Independence, Wisconsin, I don’t think the company really understands the people who live and work there – and that is not the least bit surprising.

The video below will talk about the concerns of off-loading proppants, just like the Hi Crush proppants that will be manufactured between Whitehall and Independence and on-loaded to train cars. The concerns of the off-loading are the very same for on-loading and manufacturing of proppants from Trempealeau County’s silica sand. Who will be responsible for all of the possible health problems in the future? Hi Crush? Independence? Whitehall? This is the reason why the Trempealeau County Board imposed a one year moratorium to examine the possible health effects of the Hi Crush operation. What is the rush?

As you observe the residue of silica sand on the railroad beds in the video, keep in mind that the images depict the scene in your back yard, on the Green Bay and Western railroad bed between Independence and Whitehall, if the Hi Crush annexation is adopted.

Mining – Hi Cursh of Democracy is on

Circumvent – Go Around – Assassinate the rules

While Lincoln Slept
Hi-Crush Partners, a Texas-based firm, has been sneaking about in the tranquil coulees and bluffs of the Town of Lincoln in frac dustTrempealeau County over the past months, employing tactics of deceit and corruption – like circumventing the Trempealeau County Board moratorium on sand mining.

Proposed annexation (land grab) of 622,797 acres

This is not a “sand mine” this is a plan to transform Whitehall, Lincoln, and Independence into a corporate mining operation, not for sand mining, but for the production of proppants – a whole different, mean and nasty animal.

Take a close look at the Annexation Map

By Chuck Rupnow Leader-Telegram staff

Hi-Crush has already paid about $4 million for town of Lincoln land in preparation for the operation. Other town property owners have petitioned Whitehall and Independence for annexation to the cities. If accepted, Hi-Crush would be restricted by those municipalities’ ordinances, circumventing the county’s moratorium. Leader Telegram

History of Tactics

This is how mining companies work – like carpenter ants gnawing at the foundation, behind the scenes, recruiting people with a vested interests to circumvent the rules of democracy like so many dry rotted roof joists. Carpenter ants.

Read some of the history of frac sand mine tactics

Fighting the “sand man” – Little towns fighting big money



Town of Bridgeport in Crawford County

No joke. The vote was to approveannexation use of a parcel of land owned by one of the three voting board members Rodney Marfilus! Bridgeport Mine – Supervisor gets the check!



“ The democratic process is window dressing”, Man says of Frac Sand Mining in Glenwood Posted by Heidi Herron , September 20, 2013

Over persistent opposition from citizens, on Monday night the Glenwood City council went into a closed-session meeting with representatives of Texas frac sand company Vista Sand. Many citizens feel they were left without legal representation at the closed-session meeting. Hudson Patch

The same tactics in Whitehall Wednesday Sept. 18

WHITEHALL Wis. (WEAU)- It’s a hot button issue that has an entire town buzzing. Wednesday night, the City of Whitehall was supposed to have a public discussion on a sand mine proposal, but the meeting ended without any public feedback.

The city of Whitehall says it wants tofrack bridge price get more answers from Hi-Crush Partners, the company proposing the development of a $75 million dollar mining operation that would allow for 30 years’ worth of mining.

The meeting was set to talk about annexing land for Hi-Crush to mine sand. That’s the same company operating near Augusta and Sparta.

A little over 20 minutes into the meeting the chairman called it to an end saying the committee did not feel that they had enough information to move forward with a public discussion.

“I’m going to have to apologize to the people who showed up tonight but I’m adjourning committee until we have some answers,” Committee of the Whole Chairman Dan Schreiner said.

Schriener said he adjourned the meeting Wednesday night before public discussion because he wants to make sure the members of the committee have more answers before they make a decision on the annexation of land for a proposed mine.

“The council is doing what they can to get the information that they need to on this very important issue,” Shriener explained. “With the right information I think the council feels confident that we can make an informed decision for the city.” WEAU TV

WEAU TV Video

Annexation Law

Wisconsin State statutes pertaining to annexation are found in Chapter 66, Wis. Stats.. The original survey for the state set up towns, 6 mile by 6 mile squares as the units of government for plots of largely undeveloped land. As commercial centers grew, it was anticipated they would be incorporated as villages and cities with their own governments, and the land encompassing them extracted from their surrounding township. So the statutes were devised to render the towns nearly defenseless against annexation by villages or cities.

There are a couple of different ways that land in towns can be annexed into a village or city. The process may be initiated by property owners seeking annexation of their lands, or by electors residing in the area sought to be annexed, or by referendum. (§66.0217).

There are various notice requirements and procedures attendant to each process. The State Dept. of Administration must review annexation notices and decide whether it is in the public interest, which opinion the annexing village must then review. It can get pretty complicated.

The advice of a former State Attorney is to generate grass roots opposition and talk to the town supervisors in the area sought to be annexed—unless they are in the pocket of the mine interests, generally town officials don’t want their land and tax base taken away. If they can become allies, they have municipal attorneys who should be all too familiar with the annexation process.

Contact City Officials

CONTACT
CONTACT link above for Independence City Officials

23688 Adams St. Independence WI 54747 US

715 985 3055

indchall@triwest.net

Mayor Robert Baecker

Clerk/Treasurer Lenice Pronschinske

Deputy Clerk Valerie McCormick

City Attorney LaVerne Michalak

Council Members
1st Ward

Max Baertlein

Dr. Duane Sackett

2nd Ward

David Galewski

Tammy Klimek

3rd Ward

Brad Rebarchek

Nancy Knudtson

The really small stuff of the FRACinstein Monster

Particles are dangerous for our health. The toxicity of particles depends on their chemical composition and their size: the finer the particle is, the deeper it penetrates into our lungs.respiratory10 Scientists classify particles into two different size ranges which are known as PM10 and PM2.5.

“PM” stands for Particulate Matter which is another name for particles. PM10 refers to all particles which are less than 10 microns (µm) in size. PM2.5 refers to all particles less than 2.5 µm in size. The size of airborne particles is significant as this determines where in the respiratory tract the particles are deposited when we breathe them in. It also governs how the particles are cleared from our system and how quickly. Particles and Respiratory tract

The boy fishing in the photo is breathing in the air. The skeletal diagram shows where the different sizes particles end up in the respiratory system. The smallest size particles become lodged deep with the lungs.

Hi Crush makes and distributes proppants

A proppant is a material that will keep an induced hydraulic fracture open, during or following a fracturing treatment.

Hi Cursh is buying up sand frac land in Wisconsin makes many of these proppants. One of these proppants, ATLAS CRC-E, is described on there web site:

ATLAS CRC-E is coated using proprietary technologies engineered to minimize fines.
CRC-E has good crush resistance even prior to exposure to bottom hole
temperature. The resilient coating aids in the reduction of fines generation by
encapsulating cracked substrate grains, thus permitting longer pumping times for
placement in high temperature wells.
Atlas Crce2040 PDF

ATLAS CRC-E is made using technologies that are a company secret. We do not know what the process is or what chemicals are used. A general definition of proppants on Wiki leaves some alarming possibilities as to the make-up of these proprietary technologies:

While the fracking fluid itself varies in composition depending on the type of fracturing used, and can be gel, foam or slickwater-based. In addition, there may be unconventional fracking fluids. Fluids make tradeoffs in such material properties as viscosity, where more viscous fluids can carry more concentrated proppant; the energy or pressure demands to maintain a certain flux pump rate (flow velocity) that will conduct the proppant appropriately; pH, various rheological factors, among others. In addition, fluids may be used in low-volume well stimulation of high-permeability sandstone wells (20k to 80k gallons per well) to the high-volume operations such as shale gas and tight gas that use millions of gallons of water per well.

Conventional wisdom has often vacillated about the relative superiority of gel, foam and slickwater fluids with respect to each other, which is in turn related to proppant choice. For example, Zuber, Kuskraa and Sawyer (1988) found that gel-based fluids seemed to achieve the best results for coalbed methane operations,[1] but as of 2012, slickwater treatments are more popular.

Ignoring proppant, slickwater fracturing fluids are mostly water, generally 99% or more by volume, but gel-based fluids can see polymers and surfactants comprising as much as 7 vol% , ignoring other additives.[2] Other common additives include hydrochloric acid (low pH can etch certain rocks, dissolving limestone for instance), friction reducers, guar gum, biocides, emulsion breaker and emulsifiers.

Radioactive tracer isotopes are sometimes included in the hydrofracturing fluid to determine the injection profile and location of fractures created by hydraulic fracturing.[4] Patents describe in detail how several tracers are typically used in the same well. Wells are hydraulically fractured in different stages. Tracers with different half-lives are used for each stage. Their half-lives range from 40.2 hours (Lanthanum-140) to 5.27 years (Cobalt-60). Amounts per injection of radionuclide are listed in The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) guidelines.The NRC guidelines also list a wide range or radioactive materials in solid, liquid and gaseous forms that are used as field flood or enhanced oil and gas recovery study applications tracers used in single and multiple wells.

Except for diesel-based additive fracturing fluids, noted by the American Environmental Protection Agency to have a higher proportion of volatile organic compounds and carcinogenic BTEX, use of fracturing fluids in hydraulic fracturing operations was explicitly excluded from regulation under the American Clean Water Act in 2005, a legislative move that has since attracted controversy for being the product of special interests lobbying.WIKI

FRAC INSTEIN! It’s just sand…right?

Walker's Wisconsin – Thirty feet away

Clueless

A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future. ~Author Unknown

Poor Scott Walker always finds himself just thirty feet away, and down the hall from the truth. The act of lying is a personal decision for the freckled boy caught with hands in the cookie jar, and for political players caught with their ethics stretched over the tights of an eight month pregnancy of a bastard fib. Just gas.

So, in the land of the rule of law comes a means to up the ante: “Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth?”. Walker came as close as wet to water to this “truth or dare” test of his knowledge of the secret email network operating in his Milwaukee County Executive’s office.

Through her attorney, Wink stressed that Walker knew nothing about the political activities going on in his office. Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said in a statement that Walker “expected everyone to follow the law and made that clear publicly and privately.”Mother Jones

Right up to the morning of Thursday Oct. 8 of 2012, Walker had been subpoenaed to testify in Rindfleisch’s trial, before lawyers with fat lap tops, and marked money made it all go away – no rule of law testimony – back to personal decision. Trust me.

Fast forward to September 18 – Yesterday

In case you were watching Masterpiece Mystery on PBS and missed the reality TV rolling out of Madison, get with it, tune in to the classic scam of the Wisconsin Sportsmen starring Scott Suder as the set up man, Terry Kohler as the money funneling financier of fantasy, and a return of Scott Walker as the man just thirty feet away and down the hall from all the action. Just yesterday his scene was aired with another melodrama of denial. Trust me:

“Again, not being involved in it… it’s really hard for me to comment because you get bits and pieces that you hear about,” Walker told reporters when asked if Suder handled the grant proposal appropriately as a legislator.

Host Madison

1) United Sportsmen was the only applicant for the award.

2) The carefully crafted grant requirements were unanimously voted into the state budget in May after just seven minutes of discussion.

3) United Sportsmen falsified its 501(3)(c) status on the grant application.

4) United Sportsmen has a scant record of any involvement in promoting hunting of fishing.

5) Sept 5 – Late Thursday Gov. Scott Walker canceled a controversial $500,000 grant to a Sportsmen’s group with little training experience but close ties to GOP politicians.JS Online By Jason Stein and Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel

6) Sept 11 – GOP legislators did notSudder tell any member of the opposition party that the grant to the Sportsmen of $500,000 would trigger a loss of $28 million dollars to the taxpayers of Wisconsin. according to the DNR.

7) Sept 16 – Scott Suder (pictured right) the Assembly head who lobbied for the Sprotsmen grant resigns to accept a position at the Public Service Commission where Walker awards a $94,000 a year salary – nearly double his legislative salary.Wisconsin Public Radio

8) Back in May Terry J. Kohler personally reached out to key Republican lawmakers to urge them to slip the taxpayer money into the state budget for the Wisconsin Sportsmen group. Read the letter: PDF of Kohler letterTerry Kohler (pictured right) was the real firepower. He is a Terry KohlerWisconsin industrialist, and one of the most influential GOP donors in the state. Journal Sentinel

And thirty feet away, and just down the hall…

Walker reiterated that Suder’s appointment to the PSC was not something he was “directly involved in.”

Trust me.

Coming Episodes

A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future. ~Author Unknown

Journal Sentinel files motion asking John Doe judge to release sealed county records.

Lawyers for the Journal Sentinel and reporter Dave Umhoefer filed a motion Wednesday asking that the Doe be reopened for a hearing on the newspaper’s request that District Attorney John Chisholm return the sealed records to the county. Journal Sentinel