Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Columbus applying to be Googleized!

At the moment there is no broad band (is that one or two words) in Columbus. We can get fast internet from Cha Cha Charter which has worked out nice for $38 a month (if you are paying more you are getting screwed) but now it seems Google is looking for a community to welcome Google with open arms and have "FOR FREE" Google install their new fiber optic lines.  One of their requirements is that want it to be hassle free. No whining, no complaining you are getting something no one in the world has  . . . .FOR FREE!!  

Charter has speeds for about 5 meg per second downloading. Google would have 1 GIG per second downloading. So the powers in Columbus think that we should apply. Madison, Milwaukee, Marshfield and Appleton have applied along with some other towns in other states. The Mayor in Duluth  Don Ness jumped into Lake Superior.  We will THROW our mayor into the Crawfish river!!!   HOWEVER - Columbus has a lot going for it even it it does not fit the requirements.

We are a "green" city. Columbus was awarded a grant of about $150,000 to help make the town the FIRST town in Wisconsin to have all LED Street Lights (not stop lights, street lights). Columbus is gaining a lot of buzz around the state as we have been designated as a Energy Independent Community.

In the March 2010 issue of Wisconsin Builders Columbus is front and center.

The article by Melissa Rigney Baxter reads

Full speed ahead

Columbus takes citywide approach to going green 

Drivers have two parking options in Columbus: with or without a plug.

A leader in sustainable living, Columbus, a city of 5,000 people in south-central Wisconsin, is one of 23 communities that received grants through the state’s Energy Independent Community Partnership pilot program.

Deciding how and where to spend the money is difficult due to the lack of direction, said Steve Sobiek, director of economic development and energy sustainability for Columbus.

“There are no road maps,” he said. “We are the first generation of leaders, and there are no examples in Wisconsin of doing this. We have to accept the fact that there’s a risk, but we need to mitigate those risks and do our homework.”

Columbus was one of the first pilot program communities in the state, Sobiek said. The city aggressively mines many sources of grant money to help meet the state goals without burdening taxpayers, Sobiek said.

For instance, a $225,000 Community Development Block Grant, paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, helped cover the cost of converting all of the city’s streetlights to LED. The conversion is projected to save $10,000 and 221,908 kilowatt hours per year.

“We were able to procure the grant so the city was not on the hook for $225,000,” Sobiek said.
In his dual role as leader of economic development and energy sustainability, Sobiek is breaking new ground for Wisconsin. His is the only office in the state to combine those areas, he said.

In that position, Sobiek aggressively pursues a blend of economic growth and sustainability. His work is in conjunction with a committee of key community members who form the Greater Columbus Energy Task Force, which includes the past and current mayor, private employers, the local hospital president and representation from the local school district.

“They really set the tone,” Sobiek said. “We’ve had a lot of progress for exciting programs.”
The city, for example, landed grant money to help pay for two Prius hybrid plug-in vehicles and an electric truck for public works functions, moves made to reduce fuel consumption, he said. The city also was among the first to adopt a neighborhood electric vehicle ordinance allowing electric cars on city streets, and the parking lot at City Hall is equipped with electrical outlets.

Bridging the gap between municipal and commercial interests, a public-private partnership between Columbus Water & Light and Brookstone Homes is building up to 10 energy-efficient homes in the city to educate the public on green building practices. The first house was completed in December and sold in January.

The city’s residential construction permits held steady in 2009, Sobiek said, which shows the city can promote sustainable practices to save energy and spur economic growth.

“We’ve been really successful encouraging economic development with energy sustainability,” Sobiek said.

“We’re bringing people from the region to Columbus.”

There is a lot of things going on behind the scenes that are not newsworthy but a steady moving forward. There is a new dog food plant being built in the Town of Columbus (going towards Fall River) and while it's not IN the City it will create jobs and growth.   What I like about SIM CITY Columbus is that the leaders have been visiting other small towns all around Wisconsin looking at what works and what is not working. getting ideas on what other towns have done and getting first hand experience on the let downs, draw backs and victories in other small town Wisconsin communities. 

The one problem Columbus has with getting new businesses to locate here is that . . why should they?  Sun Prairie is just south, Beaver Dam is just north, why would you put your business in a small town.  

So the leaders had to figure out an clever angle.  Let's go "green".  Let's promote our little city as a community that cares about the environment.  


I tell ya - I'm completely impressed with the direction Cbus is heading.  Mayor Bob is doing a fine job, yea - he is conservative but that is not a bad thing. I call myself a liberal but that does not mean I'm anti-conservative. What I like about him is that he actually listens and thinks about what he is being told.  Yea - odd right?  Someone that uses common sense?

I now rest the subject. 

I have a request to all gardeners. I am looking for gardens that will have very late day sun so the flowers can be back lit.  If you know or see any of these gardens that have clear ground to their west let me know so I can watch for flowers. 

I have two photos below that are back lit sunlight  - one you have seen before but not THIS iteration. A few of you that are signed up for my email list will get a copy of this without the watermark (still low res though).  Sorry about the water mark but there comes a point where I have to protect my images.  I've been finding a few copy's on the net lately.  (I'm not talking about you Mr Kraemer - no worries LOL).

And another one  . . . . well - I thought I had the other one but I grabbed the wrong folder - dang it. I worked on it for hours last night!  grrrrrr  

OH - nevermind - I found it..

These and others will be available on canvas.

You know this whole art fair deal is chock full of logistics and decision making - seems easy from the outside but once you actually start to work towards something it's a pretty big undertaking.  I'm actually getting a mock up of my canopy to see what I need to fill it.  $CHIHG $CHING!!  Anybody want to sponsor me LOL  I could use a 1% business loan!  I have much more respect for Art Fair people then I did a few months ago. It's a lot of work!!

At least I'm getting a Credit Card Processor - I can get my own cash from me soon.  If I need some money I'll just use my machine and get some. 

And speaking of weather.

 I suppose all of you have heard the word snow in the forecast for this weekend.  Almost makes you want to watch the weather more doesn't it.  Well - this weekend will be basically like last Saturday!  No big deal. the ground will be so warm IF there are snow flurries they will melt.  The LOW will be 30 degrees!!!   It'll be windy and cool - LIKE SPRING!!! 



  1. What a great article about Columbus. Very good positive promotion of our community. Steve Sobiek is a huge asset to Columbus. I'm not sure how many people realize how much he is working on for Columbus at any given time. He is one person making a big difference.

  2. Lots of goodies from Columbus today! Great blog! And a surprise newsletter! The photos are wonderful! Great ideas! Good luck with the fairs! I have to go now! My !!!!!! key is broken!!!! You are an inspiration --I'll never be as good with the camera, but I can try.