Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Brewer's pitching is SICK!

A GIFT.  When you are hot things bounce your way and last night was one of those times.  No way does Davis score (5 for 7 with a HR in extra innings this year) if the Cards 2nd baseman DOESN'T touch the ball.

In the last 32 innings that the bullpen has pitched either tied or with a lead, they have given up one earned run and that run came in last night.  That is a 0.28 ERA.  wow.

Oddly if the Brewers were doing worse people would be saying that the Crew were better then expected.  But now that they are 20-7 it's an anomaly.  If the Brewers win this afternoon they will be the first team in MLB HISTORY to win 21 games before May 1st.     
--------------------------------------------

Driving home in DJs car yesterday the tire light goes on indicating a tire is low on the Honda Fit.  Well, I did notice that the car seemed sluggish.  BUT - forgot all about it until this morning and I went out and . . . f*ck, a completely flat back right tire.  YEA - that explains "sluggish".   What pisses me off a little was that no one on the road told me or pointed or whatever.

I always do that.  If I see someone with a flat tire I try to point it out.   One Saturday my buddy and I were driving back to Columbus and a car had a flat ahead of us.  We were pointing and so forth and I think the guy thought we were trying to rob him or something.

Then he made some hand signals and we both pulled over and he expected US to change his tire.   WHAT??   Hey - let's not take this good insemination . . . . . (damn spelling checker) samaritian too far.

So . . I called AAA.  Yea - I could change it myself and probably should right? But we pay $$ to AAA and if a tow truck comes out and changes the tire I figure they must get paid by AAA so I'm helping the economy right?  It's like using insurance BUT, not being penalized for using it.    

Yea - changing the tire would make me feel manly but . . .

-----------------------------------------

This little guy I named Frank is going up in Hydro Street today.   I'm surprised how many comments I have gotten.

--------------------------------------------

I forgot to mention yesterday that if you could pick one day a week to be fully invested in the stock market that day would be Tuesday. The DOW has gained on 20 straight Tuesdays now.

--------------------------------------------

Rain - here are the Columbus rain totals since April 20th

24 hour total ending on

4/20/14- Trace
4/21/14- Trace
4/22/14- 0.33 
4/23/14 
4/24/14- 0.30 
4/25/14- 0.25
4/26/14 
4/27/14
4/28/14- 0.22 
4/29/14- 1.05
4/30/14- 0.07

That freaking LOW is right over our heads today - if you look up you might see a giant "L". 

The Wisconsin corn crop is 1% planted and farmers are not happy with the rain.  They would rather have a mini drought to get the crops in.  Plus wet soil makes crops lazy.  Crops don't have to put roots down and can lead to difficulties later in the summer as roots will be shallow. Basically you put corn in the soil now and they sit around eating Bon Bons that float by and don't grow roots. . 

Sounds like winter had an adverse effect on grapes also. Wollershine is worrying about a huge loss of vines and reports from NY are the same. 

---------------

Google + is dieing.  "TechCrunch reported that Google will start viewing Google+ as a platform rather than a product, meaning it may no longer compete as a social network against Facebook and Twitter."

I'm on Google+  . . . . I think.  sort of like Linkedin - I'm on it?  but don't have a clue how to use it.

---------------

So I was checking out the Fall River Chamber of Commerce site and was surprised that Fall River had a battleship. REALLY?  I had never seen this battleship.  How did they get it there.  Does the Crawfish river to to Fall River and if so why don't WE have a battleship.  DAMN YOU FALL RIVER.

Wait . . . . oh, Fall River WISCONSIN is different.

Have a great day!   A sun break this weekend.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cut Off Lows, Omega Highs and Rookery's

Anyone that drives between Madison and Columbus on 151 stay tuned and alert when driving near the Diesel Truck Driving School.

What I thought was just a coincidence is now a phenomenon . . . or something (that sounded good).

Several times in the past few years I have seen a Bald Eagle flying near that little woods area and last year a Great Blue Heron almost hit my car flying low in the same area.

WELL, through the beauty of Facebook I entered a conversation when another friend casually mentioned the same things.  What I find out and can now confirm after my ride in to Madison today was their is a huge rookery* near the top of the trees in the woods between the south and northbound lanes (doesn't that sound weird?  north and southbound lanes sounds better).    
*Rookery is a colony of breeding animals, generally birds.
I would estimate maybe a dozen LARGE Great Blue Heron nests way up in the trees.  They will be invisible once the leaves come out but now they look really awesome.
-----------------------------

As we all know weather comes in many flavors and this one, if you take the miserable weather us humans are going through, is really very interesting and unique.

We are experiencing a Closed Low which has become a Cut Off Low and it is combined with an Omega Block pattern.

This is a typical LOW that we see in America, not a strong one but it produces rain and icky weather


Open lows move fast across the U.S.


But when a low pressure area becomes large, vibrant and strong they tend to slow down and are called Closed Lows such as the one from last May that we experienced.


Closed lows move slowly, plodding along gaining energy as they suck up moister but still move west to east because they are linked to the normal westerly flow of air masses.

BUT - when that low pressure becomes disassociated with normal air masses they are called cut off lows which mean an extended period of wet, cool, and stormy weather.  This is what is happening now.

BUT WAIT - let us complicate things even more.  We have something called

  AN OMEGA BLOCK(insert echo).



An upper level, warm, high pressure area north of the jet stream which is very stable and block all movement eastward of any weather patterns trying to cross the country.  So we have a large, slow moving low being blocked by a persistent wall of high pressure and this is totally dominating the U.S.

Look how crazy big this low pressure is.


 This is what it looked like SUNDAY!



Luckily by Friday the low will open up and we should have a sun break Saturday . . . maybe.

Since last Tuesday Columbus has had 2.13 inches of rain with 1.05 last night.  It's rained 5 of the last 7 days and today and tomorrow we should be a lot more rain. 
---------------------------------

Brewers - wow - any game the Crew can win against the Cards is a gift.  with Braun, Segura and now Ramirez all not starting OR finishing the game last night a win was delicious. Strong pitching once again and fielding has been GREAT this year.  

---------------------------------

I'm considering starting a new Melotte/Council blog so I can separate my irreverence and contempt for all things I don't agree with I should have a blog where I can think and act like an adult (which I actually do do) (HA - I said do do).   Plus being called a "Leftists blog" by someone that voted for removing Walker is just confusing me.

I met for about 90 minutes with Edie at the new Columbus American National Bank. This is a place I want to send entrepreneurs and I believe this is a REALLY nice addition to Columbus.  I'm not a big advocate to banking, not anti-bank but not pro-bank.  Something I really don't think that much about but these guys got it together and they understand that it's all about building a better community and how can we get there (better websites for Chamber AND the City would be a HUGE start - they are both embarrassing). 

If you are a business or an agribusiness looking to increase your knowledge, go talk to them. Seriously.  They certainly know things that Summit did not know when Summit dropped the ball and we took all of our funds out after 20 years being a customer.

nuff said.

OH - I'm not even going to comment on what is going on with The LA Clippers.



Rod 

    



Monday, April 28, 2014

Weird? Really?

Really?  Where does "Weird" come into play?

Stereotype Map Of Every U.S. State — According To British People



Alaska - White Walkers - AHH HAA!!   

----------------------------------------------------------

HEY - if you are looking to buy a used car I suggest you wait a little while because there is going to be a crap-load of new used cars flooding the market soon.  Like 1.7 million new used cars so overall the used car market will have cheaper cars because of supply and demand.

The reason is that back in 2010 and 2011 many people were not buying NEW cars but instead leasing because of the economy and all of those cars are now reaching their maturity and will soon be hitting used car lots.

Just sayin'.

 --------------------------------------------------

Remember a few months ago when I said I went to McDonalds and just did not like their Cheeseburgers?  In fact I could not eat a whole one?

Check out this chart - it shows that in 2010 McD's was averaging 5% growth when compared to previous years. 


---------------------------------

Big series coming up for Milwaukee and I'm not excited.  The Brewers are very good when they are healthy.  BAM - with one swing of Braun's bat Segura goes down for a week and later Braun is out for a week.  

Not that that is the entire line-up but two pretty critical components.  Segura was playing below the average shortstop but his replacement is worse.  Braun on the other hand is a huge blow and is having a Braun-like year.

The Brewers have actually widened their projected lead to 1.9 games over the Cards and now have a 66.1% chance to make the playoffs - THUS - this series with the Cards is important.

-----------------------------------

The NFL schedule came out and everyone is looking to see who has the easiest schedule and so forth. The normal way is to look at who you play and look at last years records of those teams which does not work.

The Lions were suppose to have one of the hardest schedules LAST year and in reality they had the easiest schedule of all teams.

The best way is to use a regression to the mean method (phenomenon that if a variable is extreme on its first measurement, it will tend to be closer to the average on its second measurement—and, paradoxically, if it is extreme on its second measurement, it will tend to have been closer to the average on its first.)

So adding in home field advantage the Packers will have the 13th hardest schedule. Pretty much the same as the Bears and the Vikings and the Lions.
-------------------------------

Weather?  This week will totally blow.  This LOW that is effecting us is so big it is diverting the jet stream and since it has no reason to move, it ain't gonna.  It's just going to sit on us and spin all week.  If you didn't get your lawn mowed, well, no worries as you will not have a chance for the next 7 days at least. 

Rain totals will be pretty interesting. The cool thing is Columbus and my observations are now global and will appear in  NOWData which is a tool the National Weather Service uses which comes from the Applied Climate Information System which is in turn was/is developed and maintained by the Regional Climate Center.

SO - now my daily data is fed to the U.S. Cooperative Network and CoCoRaHS which then feed it into ACIS by the Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN) Daily database which is collected, compiled, and distributed by the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC.

No, there will not be a test.

Columbus had 0.22 inches of precip in the last 24 hours ending at 7:00 this morning. 

Cheers!

OH - The new bank in Columbus - the American Something Something Bank MIGT have my images on their walls.

OH OH - DJ was looking at some homes for sale online and looking at rooms and all of a sudden came across one of my images on their walls!    TOO COOL!!! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hyperinflation / Weather - STOP WHINING / An Alderman blog?

I'm a little surprised at the response I'm getting in other venues of my Grackle image.  One comment is "You've captured the spirit of the grackle perfectly!"   

I think that is true - not my GOAL but yea.  They have such strong personalities.




Put this on your calendar - May 15th I'll be in Sun Prairie for their annual Art Walk - each business that participates has an artist and wine! The perfect combination. You go store to store sampling and looking at art. I did this last year and it's a big event and people REALLY enjoy it.   I was sort of surprised and was not expecting that much.  I'll be at Cannery Wine and Spirits.

My very very first art fair was an art walk in Portage which was a complete bomb.  Two days and 50 people waked into the store. 

RodMelotte.com
--------------------------------------------------------

I see S&P has lowered Russia's bond rating to one notch above junk bonds!  LOL  That's funny.   

The Russian inflation rate is at 7% now which is pretty bad. Not as bad as Hungry after WWII though when they went through hyperinflation.

In 1944 Hungry became the battleground between Russia and Germany and most of the countries industry was  ruined. When the war was over there were no jobs and people had no money so the government started printing vast sums of cash and basically giving it away so people could buy stuff.  

Check this out.  If something cost 379 Pengö in September 1944, by January 1945  it cost 72,330 Pengö, 453,886 Pengö by February, 1,872,910 by March, 35,790,276 Pengö by April, 11.267 billion Pengö by May 31, 862 billion Pengö by June 15, 954 trillion Pengö by June 30, 3 billion billion Pengö by July 7, 11 trillion billion Pengö by July 15 and 1 trillion trillion Pengö by July 22, 1946.

You are going to need a pretty big freaking wallet to go grocery shopping.  Inflation doubled every 13.5 hours

In March 1941, 5 Pengö = $1.US,  June 1944 33 Pengö = $1  by May 1946 460 trillion trillion Pengö = $1.

Seems excessive.  
---------------------------------------


Baseball Prospectus predicts the Brewers will go 69-71 the rest of the summer which will put them finishing in 1st place in the Central Division 1 game better then the Cards.  They have a 62.9% chance of making the playoffs and a 4% chance of WINNING the World Series.

Rickie Weeks is complaining about his playing time.  ummmm  Let's see. He's batting .120 and statistically is one of the worst fielders in the league. Scooter Gennett who is taking his place on the other hand is batting .348, is 8 years younger and is a left handed batter.   Yea - Rickie, you go and complain all you want.

As long as the Crew stay healthy (knock on wood) I see no problems.
----------------------------------------


Sun Prairie Worthogs had their meeting last night.  One of the larger homebrew clubs in Wisconsin that actually talk about homebrewing (Madison Home Brew no longer talk brewing at all - we were invited to an event and we were the only ones that brought homebrew).

We meet at the 7:00 at the Nitty Gritty in Sun Prairie the 4th Thursday of every month.  If you brew and want to try a huge assortment of what other people produce you are welcome to attend. 


-----------------------------------------

I'll be riding my bike downtown to meetings this summer - are there ANY bike racks in Columbus?  Or are we anti-bike rack community.  I know the Police Station wants one which would be a good place.

-----------------------------------------

I need to get a photo of myself taken today at Walcott Studio so it can go up on the city website - then people can download it, blow it up and throw darts at me.

Keep those cards and letter coming I'm enjoying hearing from everybody.

------------------------------------

Weather - enjoy the sun while we have it the next two days - there will be ZERO sun next week just rain from late Sunday to at least Friday and cool, but everybody needs to stop whining about weather.  IT'S SPRING!

Remember back in 1996?  Now THAT was a whining time.  I know - I got married in Las Vegas and when we landed on June 9th it was 100 degrees and with the 1st sunshine in weeks hitting our pale pasty white skins.

Here are the stats from 1996

March -15 days of precipitation, 22 days below average temp,  8 days >10 below average
      5 days >20 below average
April  - 19 days of precipitation, 23 days below average temp, 11 days >10 below average
May -  22 days of precipitation, 25 days below average temp,  5 days >10 below average
June - nine of 1st eleven days below average, 10 of 11 days had rain

NOW THAT SUCKS!!!

Compare that to this year

March -15 days of precipitation, 21 days below average temp, 11 days >10 below average
      4 days >20 below average
April  - 14 days of precipitation, 10 days below average temp, 2 days >10 below average
  
Does not look so bad now does it.   And remember - one of the most powerful El Nino's is shaping up  for this summer. What does this mean?  It means it's a crap shoot on what it means except it will be significant . . . .whatever it is.    Typically in El Nino years, Indonesia and Australia see below average rainfall, while South America and parts of the United States see much more than usual.

Commodity brokers around the world are now taking this into account.  

Nuff said!

The house seems so empty.  sigh

BTW - I really want to get a spot on the city website for alderperson - that way I can separate my blog with more important and political stuff.  I can separate my two hats.  The irreverent blog and actual serious Columbus talk.   I know that people overwhelmingly wanted me to tell them what is going on in Columbus politics and I would have a much easier time separating the two.   

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Grackles be gone / an interview with The State Journal


Ya gotta love Grackles


No you don't, what am I thinking!  I know the Grackle population is shrinking fantastically and is now down to 73 million from a high of 190 million which I'm sure farmers appreciate.  

Grackles are one of the few birds that love humans and their messiness.  I caught this image under my feeder yesterday as this dude was checking out an old sesame bun I tossed out.  He looks pretty happy with his catch.

----------------------------------------------

I had a meeting with the Police Chief yesterday . . . on purpose . . . . and all went well.  One of the things I was really hoping for was to be in a high speed chase with hopefully me behind the wheel.  I've played enough Need for Speed so I figured I knew my way around chasing someone.  

Well, we were talking about stuff and I heard a siren and I got all prickly and excited, here we go I was assuming!  sigh.  . . . but alas it was the fire department.  DAMN IT!  bad timing.  Perhaps next time.  I was thinking about asking the Chief if next time there was a high speed chase if they could pick me up. 

This morning I had a meeting with the City Engineer which is always nice. I totally love that stuff.   

Yea yea yea there are all sorts of misleading emails being forward to anyone who will listen which really have no relevant value except for the love of poking the bear for absolutely no reason at all,  but that is fine,  free speech and so forth. Not going to worry about it.

I tell ya - I honestly did not know how much fun being in city government would be. Soaking up knowledge every day and my brain is loving it. It's like I'm on a knowledge rush. 

One thing that has been proven which seems to be a typical government thing, the lowest bidder is not ALWAYS the best choice. Case in point are the contractors who put the new metal roof on the police station and promised that there would be no problem with receiving radio waves.   

Well, perhaps not for typical office buildings but it's a little more important for police stations.  There were some lessons learned and that is what we can take away from that experience.  Cheapest is not always best. 

OH - there was something really cool in the station that looked like an electric chair but it was for holding really violent people.  

I don't have any real entertaining takeaway from our talk, it was a good talk and I was allowed to leave whenever I wanted too. 

Seems to be how things go in my life with police anyway.  I was kicked off an elevator at the Department of Justice by an officer for absolutely no reason except he did not like the way I looked.  Oddly a year later I was allowed to sit in the Attorney Generals office and look through his binoculars at bullet holes in Miss Forward (yup, bullet holes). 

 I was kicked out of a squad car once, actually pushed out by an officer for some unknown reason when a call came in.  

Then there was the incident in County Stadium where a bachelor party got crazy and the guy sitting next to me felt that since Tommy Thompson was only 600 yards away on the field it was the best time to moon him.  Seems some people thought that was inappropriate and I was collateral damage.  I was asked to leave the little jail place under County Stadium.  BTW - I have a photo of me and Tommy Thompson and he has his arm around my shoulder . . . .and he is wearing lycra.  I cannot unsee that image.

But I digress.  I'm just adding fuel for the email misinformation "police".  This IS a "leftist blog" you know, can't be trusted, just like the State Journal can't be trusted I was told. 

OH OH - I was interviewed by that leftist newspaper and I gave Sentry and Columbus a shout out advertisement. I was asked on camera if I considered the recession over.  I asked "technically" or a "personal observation".  (Technically it ended YEARS ago).   

Long story short, I said in Columbus there are houses being built after a few years of no building and a developer was about to build a new Sentry and Hardware store so I thought that if the developers were building again money must be starting to flow again.  We shall see how much reaches the paper.  
 ---------------------------

That's all I got - I have to emotionally prepare myself for Milo goign to the vet this afternoon.  ;-(


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Give teens a voice. / Brewers Bull Pen / Lorde

A very cool website I frequent every day is call Daily Baseball Data and what I like is being able to see how all the other bullpens in baseball are behaving.

As we all know bullpens account for typically 1/3 of the game pitching-wise and when pens get overworked teams suffer on the back end.

The Brewers pen this year has been outstanding but this last week as really REALLY been tough for the pen, except for the Red Sox and White Sox the Brewers pen is overworked, not from ineffectiveness of the starters but from close games and extra inning games.

The past 7 days the bullpen has pitched basically 3 full games (27 innings), HOWEVER - except for Wei-Chung Wang and Rob Wooten who pitched 4.67 of those innings the bullpen has a 0.80 ERA which is OUTSTANDING.  Their Component ERA* is 1.54 which is still really really good.

*Component ERA (or ERC)= invented by Bill James. It attempts to forecast a pitcher's earned run average from the number of hits and walks allowed rather than the standard formula of average number of earned runs per nine innings. ERC allows one to take a fresh look at a pitcher's performance and gauge if his results are more or less than the sum of its parts.

For those following along . . . . .

PTB = 0.89×(1.255×(H − HR) + 4×HR) + 0.475×(BB + HBP)
ERC = ((((H + BB + HBP)×PTB)/(BFP×IP))×9)*0.75
Now "we" just need to get some clutch hits!
-------------------------------------------------------------

I'm trying to figure out how to get high school people more involved with the city.  One way is to have some sort of High School government organization to attend city council meetings which would probably be hideously boring.

Another way is to form a high school governing body that will meet and discuss what THEY need out of the city. How can we help the young people of Columbus.  Then once a month or when needed they could present their idea to the council. Colville Washington has a Youth Commission that informs their council.  How we can improve THEIR quality of life (not Colville but our youth).

This would help Columbus long term by teaching leadership and how city's work and build future leaders of Columbus. 

Another thing we should do is if have an article written by a High Schooler in the Columbus Journal once a month. Give them a voice. 
------------------------------------------------------------

Our society is doomed! 


Really?  we need instructions for counting?
--------------------------------------------------------------

I've had this song in my head for two days and it's a GOOD song.  Not like "The Boys Are Back in Town" .   Lorde is so different from any other female vocalists I have heard.  DJ purchased her CD and the whole thing is pretty nice.

This was her performance at the Grammys.  17 years old?  COME ON.
This song just blows me away!
---------------------------

I'm sort of bumbed - While driving home yesterday I was pushing a button on my CD played in teh car and a bump made me hit multiple buttons and now NO buttons work.  The whole thing is frozen.

My manual makes no mention on what do do in this case.
 --------------------------------
And then there is Milo  - I'm afraid Milo, my cat my buddy, is losing his battle with a brain tumor.  He was/is the James Dean of cats.  Living life for all it's worth.   sigh!  sad.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The hobbit-like Fire Station

Planning Commission  April 17th

I see that Madison Alders have their own little area on the city website - for instance, this is David Ahrens site on the City of Madison website.  This would be a great way for people to stay in tune with his or her alder.  There is also a way to subscribe to Mr. Ahren which is excellent.  I will have to look into this.      

One thing Columbus REALLY needs and something I have had more then a few calls about is transparency and the need to know what is REALLY happening in Columbus.  When meetings are and what were the results. Hopefully the Columbus Calendar can help to fill some of that void.    
 --------------------------------------------

NEWS - this is what the new American Packaging will look like with their 37,000 square foot, $22.6 million expansion on West James.  


BOOM - THAT'S what I'm talking about! 
 -----------------------

I took a tour of the Fire Station last week and I did not get a helmet or get to take the hook and ladder truck for a spin. sigh!! So much for THAT bucket list check off point.

When I was a tiny kid and a grown-up asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I said I wanted to be a fire truck.  Well, that dream was certainly dashed when reality happened (unless I'm Johnny Depp in Transcendence).

So I toured the hobbit-like structure of our Fire Station and the big thing I came away with was - WOW - we really do need a new fire station.  Not just because a fancy station would be cool but because the one we have now is dangerous.

For instance - there is a fire and there are 14 rather large muscled firefighters running around putting on 80 pound of equipment . . . . all in this row.  Now remember I'm using a 10mm lens for the below photo so it looks a lot wider then it actually is.  And look out for those power cords hanging from the ceiling for every truck to stay charged. It's probably about 3 feet wide.

 
 Did I mention that there are no back up generators if the power goes out?

And once a fire is over and things need to be cleaned their washing machine is smaller then the one I have at home.

Gotta dry your hoses???  If you drive by any REAL fire station they have a drying tower where they hang hoses.  In Columbus, wet hoses lay on the floor slowly rotting because . . . where else can you put them.   


Notice how close the trucks are to each other.

You know that game with the tiles where you have to move the back tile around all the other tiles to get it to the front?



Yea - that is what the Fire Chief does every fire.  I have heard he is a puzzle master (I've never actually heard this).   OH - and most REAL fire Stations have two sets of doors, front AND back.


We have one back door.  And if for some reason the hook and ladder (hook???) has to go out the BACK door because the front door is blocked? it will have to squeeze through that tiny gray door.

This is the Lake Mills Fire Department. 


Since there is no room at the current location and thinking outside the box I came up with a multi-story (perhaps 4 or 5 stories) fire station with the trucks in the top 3 or 4 stories and a handicap accessible entrance on the ground floor (currently there are no handicap entrance for pancake breakfasts and so forth).  What could possibly go wrong  :-) 

We really need to come into the 2000s and get a new larger fire station. 

---------------------------------------

Next up is the Police Station where I'm hoping I can be involved in a high speed chase of some sorts.

Here is a problem that I believe ALL Police Departments have.  If you are doing a great job and there is no crime, politicians will say "Why do you need so may officers" when it's BECAUSE you have officers that the crime is low.

This year, compared to ALL of last year Columbus is down 36% in Criminal Incidents, but, holy cow what happened the last 2 weeks.  Weather related??  Ne'er-do-well's are not afraid to go outside anymore?

I like seeing the Police Reports in the paper and I appreciate the Cops and Coffee thing.  I personally would love love to see a patrol officer walking the downtown area twice a day.  Not that he or she would catch bad people but if you were in a car driving through Columbus the vision of a walking officer would be outstanding.  Being visible is a good thing.   

Like ALL government departments, by doing a good job you get your budget cut.  People always say treat government like a business but you can't.  It just doesn't work that way. In government if you do not use all of your budget, politicians seem to think you don't need it.  Wrong.
------------------------------------------


According to Baseball Prospectus the Brewers now have a 60.3% chance of making the playoffs and will end up 86 -76. We would be 1/10th a game behind St. Louis at the moment.
-------------------------------


    
     

Friday, April 18, 2014

Misconception

Video of the Columbus Common Council 

Video of the  Committee of the Whole (COW) 

I don't want to dwell on the workings and thought process of the council because all I know about are MY personal feelings but I do want to clear up some misconception's.  The one thing I have seen in the last few years is that no one knows the back story on why things happen the way they do in council which in turn sparks wild speculation and wrong assumptions and I want to make things clearer.  

It has also come to my attention that the developer of the Commerce Center has been calling people telling them that the council does not want new development and spreading other rumors when perhaps he does not know all the facts.  That's fine, its a free country and he can do what he wants but he is 100% wrong.

The whole controversy of approving the agenda at the beginning the Common Council could have been avoided.  At the last council there was a request to have item 6 concerning the Conditional Use Permit put on the agenda for the COW.  This would have given the new members of the council more time to wrap their head around the intricacies of this request.  What get's approved for the Commerce Center effects the entire city, not just that one area.  We could have asked questions and had more time to try to understand all that was going down. One weekend is not enough time to be thrown into the fire with all the issues we were looking at.

This request was ignored because I assume they wanted to rush it through and thus a measure was taken to give us more time.

I can totally understand that the developer wants to put shovels in the ground, he's doing his job. That area needs a commercial anchor.  But as a council member I personally have a responsibility to the people of Columbus and I don't want to be rushed into making a decision before I'm ready. That is MY job. 

As you can see by the very first vote of the new council we are NOT a team and that is good! I don't want to be on a team. The Council should NEVER have a team.

There are many things that sometimes people do not understand when it comes to politics and rules.

For instance, at the School Board meeting concerning the purchase of that house near the grade school.  A question was asked "Have any of you even gone and looked at the house, raise your hand".  And not one person raised their hand.

To a normal citizen (like me) I was shocked.  But then I learned that they are not allowed to respond and ALL of then had toured the house.

Just like that first council vote. There was a real reason for wanting to put off voting, NOT because the council was anti business but because the new members needed more time to gain knowledge. Should we just blindly vote without really knowing all the ramifications of what happens down the road?  Is that what the citizens of Columbus want?  I would hope not.


My personal opinion
Rod 
      






Thursday, April 17, 2014

16/60 Reconstruction, Carlo Gomez

I want to draw your attention to the right side where it says "The needed words". 

I was reading guidelines for Social Media that Municipalities should know about, PARTICULARLY Facebook and blogs and how Municipalities with Facebook pages need to be concerned with open meeting laws, you don't have to have a quorum to get in trouble because there are such things as "walking quorums".  (Maybe a new show on AMC?  The Walking Quorums).

OH - did y'all see that a card (10 of spades??) picked the winner of a alderperson race in Baraboo? Seems two candidates were tied so it came down to picking a card.  I wonder if Columbus has a contingency plan for ties.

One thing I want to stress about the new Grocery Store - the council members that voted to wait on passing the zoning thing are NOT against the store.  All we want is to make sure everything is done correctly.  If we would have voted to pass it might have had ramifications throughout the town causing other problems in the future. (I'm talking out of semi-ignorance at the moment - still learning).

My view is if the problems are not fixed and not on paper that have been fixed, then they have not been fixed. Promises don't hold a lot of water in court.  Do you want a gentlemens club in that area?  It's a Industrial TIF area that is being used for commercial at the moment. This is fine as long as there is control of what "commercial" actually means.  Strip clubs are commercial, adult book stores are commercial - just sayin'.
     
------------------------------

Carlo Gomez and the Brewers.

If you look back a few years you will probably find that I'm been a Carlos fan from the very beginning. When he was traded to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy the one thing Minnesota people said was he was a human highlight reel in the outfield.

So I was looking at numbers and metrics yesterday and saw a few things.

Carlo Gomez, hands down, is the best CF in the majors defensively (and maybe offensively now).  Last year he led the majors in robbing Home Runs with 5 which by itself accounted for 8 runs saved, the next best was 2.  In the last 10 years since those records have been kept he is #2 in the majors (Tori Hunter has 1 more) at robbing home runs.

But wait - there is a metric introduced by John Dewan in The Fielding Bible that has "Defensive Runs Saved" which combines 7 other metrics which I won't go into because I don't really understand them . . . . yet.

Last year Carlos saved 38 runs on defense (0 is league average) leading the majors and in the last three years he has almost doubled the  amount of runs saved from the 2nd place dude Austin Jackson.

Of note is Rickie Weeks.  In the last 3 years Weeks is the worst second baseman in the world defensively letting 50 runs go past his glove. Dan Uggla is 2nd worst with 28.  Oh, Prince Fielder you ask?  Worst full time 1st basement. 

Of course we all know that Baseball Prospectus said that last years Brewers 1st base combination, offensively AND defensively was the worst "IN THE RECORDED HISTORY OF BASEBALL" (well, since 1900).   

Oh yea, Aramis Ramirez is the 3rd worst 3B in the last 3 years.

Interestingly enough the Brewer outfield was REALLY good.   Braun is 6th best in the majors, Gomez is THE best and Norichika Aoki was 5th best in the last 3 years. And one more thing is Martin Maldonado, 7th best defensive catcher in the majors.

A sidelight is range. A guy can have a GREAT glove but no range. 

When I played my 25 years of softball in the #2 league in Madison (small brag there, reminiscing, sorry) our 3B had a GREAT glove, but zero range.   Ricki Weeks, by far has the least range of all 2Ber's.   I almost forgot, Derek Jeter is the worst SS defensively. And if you are wondering Alcides Segura is  . . . . better then average (+4).

For my Phillie friend, Chase Utley is worse then average (-4) 2B, Jimmy Rollins is horrible, almost the worst (-15) Domonic Brown (-7) , Carlos Ruiz (+3).

Brewers regulars Weeks (-15), Segura (+4) Gomez (+38) Aoki (+13) Lucroy (-2)
----------------------------------------

16/60 Reconstruction

I attended the 16/60 Reconstruction and was sort of amazed at the scope.  I don't think a lot of people understand how BIG (and expensive - not covered last night for home owners) this is going to be.  It ain't just the highway going through town. No no.

The entire area around the KwikTrip is changing, hopefully that driveway to get to Pic-N-Save and KwikTrip will be a thing of the past  by moving that entrance down further.   The stop lights and lanes will change around Walgreens once a road is put in (yea, no roads there for a while).

Another section getting a overhaul is the Manning Street area shaded below.  This is going to be a contention point as some want that closed off completely and there are 4 different plans for this intersection.    


One thing I chuckled at was when the people from DOT were talking about all the trees along the corridor that were "in danger". 

In danger?  You mean they will be cut down right? Don't fall in love when your trees as they will soon have a big orange X on them.

The city will get a good amount of money to replace those trees.  For every tree chopped down we will get some big bucks to replace.  So if anybody wants to, now would be a good time to plant some fast growing trees.  >;-)

I'm on the task force for the strategic plan so if you have any comments, bring them in.  Once my new email address is running I can respond officially.  We really want feedback.

OK - I gotta drive walk to Beaver Dam for a new drivers license.  I realized last night that mine seems to have expired a month ago,  never got a letter or anything.

See ya

Rod   

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

I suppose there will be more readers today after the Council so I'll try to be politically correct ( or at least I will attempt to be, it's so so hard).
------------------------------
When the city attorney proclaimed at 9:30 that we should table the final closed session meeting because of the time I was actually disappointed.  THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN!!  Seriously.  I loved every second.  I was not ready to quit, I still had a good hour left in me. One member to my right was ready to leave an hour earlier I think  LOL

It all started with a BANG and after 5 minutes I suspect some people were a little startled.  This city council was not like the councils of the recent past.  Not that there was anything wrong with past councils but a major altercation concerning the approval of the agenda sort of made people sit up and take notice.  Yikes, we're here to play ball.

The crux of the problem was with the Commerce Center and Aldermen Clark wanted to table the conversation because the Commerce Center did not have all of their ducks in a row yet.  Why should we vote on something NOW when all of the listed problems had not been worked out yet.   

And I agree.

It was sort of a shot across the bow to developers, get your papers in order and THEN come to the Council for permission.  Let's not agree to things that have not yet been completed.  We are not going to rubber stamp something on a promise.   HOWEVER - there were representatives from True Value/Sentry Foods and Ace Hardware who wanted to meet and greet.

The vote for NOT letting them talk and tabling was Thom, Royem and Clark and the vote for letting them speak was Adams, Melotte and Bomcamp with The Mayor voting for them to speak.  The key was that even if we talked about the recommendation we did not HAVE to vote.

And that was the very first action of the new Council.  WHEW!  Game on!

 **
The new store will be 30,000 square feet and will be the very first combined Sentry/Ace Hardware.  They will employ 50 to 60 people from the area with half the positions being full time and will offer insurance. I wanted to hear about the part time employees and if they would have insurance available because I found out that a department in Columbus purposely has one employee on 29 hours instead of 30 so they don't have to give this individual insurance,  I think this is abhorrent.

Once the presentation was finished and we were assured that the problems with this one area would be worked out in a few days the vote was taken and it was tabled.  

**
Other actions of note were that Columbus might actually have our own street sweeper soon.

Presently we pay $13.500 a year to have our streets swept twice a year but we have a chance to picked up a 2001 sweeper with 5000 hours on it for $25,000.  This should last 10 years.  Aldermen Royem asked to have an oil analyses before we make the purchase and if the physical examination passes we should have our own sweeper.

**
A small rewording to a position description for a part time Economic Development & Marketing Position was approved and applications are being accepted.

It doesn't sound like much for that took 1:45 hours

The Council of the Whole was next and this is basically new business.
 **
There was a review/recap of the intercity snowmobile trails.  This was the 1st year for this so in my view it was a learning year. You really don't know the problems until you see what happens.  There were a few glitches and adjustments will be made but it seems most people think it was a success.
 
 **

Parks and Rec want to put aside $100 for each rental agreement to put towards maintenance of the Pavilion and Rest Haven.  This came under fire from the Mayor who said that as of last year rental fees did not cover the cost of maintaining the building so putting aside money should not be an option.

On one hand I agree with him, HOWEVER, "we" (Parks and Rec) restructured our fees and I do not believe we will run at a deficit this year. Thom had an idea of instead of $100 per rental make it a percent and Crombi countered with a set amount.  For instance, since it costs $25,000 a year to maintain, any funds over $25K be put for maintenance.  The problem with this is timing of said funds at the end of the year.     

ANYWAY - Amy Jo will bring data to the next council showing that we should be making a profit from here on from rentals. I personally felt that we were a little  . . . . . contentious on this subject and somehow I feel we should apologize to Amy.  It's a great idea, we just have to work out the kinks and I personally thank her.
  
Seeing numbers and so forth will help on this subject.

 **
There was talk about an employment agreement for Loren Glasbrenner who runs the city pool that I personally do not understand enough about to have an opinion.  Questions were asked about job descriptions as the Pool and Parks and Rec have seemed to split into two entities with no clear job boundaries.  This will be discussed again.

**
The creation of the CSS Task Force was discussed and the need for one and who should be on it.

The background on this is this.

This has to do with the 16/60 reconstruction which will kill Columbus downtown business for a summer, it will be horrific.  The DOT said "we need a strategic plan by late June".  And we just found out about this two weeks ago.

Being on the CDA we have been working on this but we knew we had at least a year and had just gotten estimates on how much things cost.  HOWEVER - now we have 2 months for an official document OR, the entire project could be moved back a few years.

Bomcamp then complains that Rod and Nathen should NOT be on the task force because we are on the CDA* which is totally useless and we have done nothing for two years.

I ignored his insult to whomever it was intended for and we moved on.

So the plan is to spend about $8K to hire a consultant that has done this before in Oregon, Sun Prairie Watertown, Grafton and a few other places.  He will be a facilitator  in charge with knowledge and the task force will tell him what we want.  We only get this chance once and I felt knowledge is a very important thing and we don't have a lot of time.    

This will move forward.

CDA* - here is the problem with the CDA.  I believe the CDA is sort of a think tank. But I believe a huge problem is where we meet.  The Council Chamber is a horrible place for ideas. 

Next time you have a meeting and are tasked to brainstorm and come up with ideas, have everybody put there chair against a wall so everyone is facing an empty room and no one can see anybody else and then bounce ideas around.   No one can really see anybody else, no facial expressions, no body language and when you speak you are speaking to an empty room and not the other members on your team. 

Do you think that is how Apple did it?

The Council Chambers is an idea crusher. 

Just my personal opinion.  Plus CDA meets only once a month.

**
We are considering a subcommittee to review and come up with a website which, against MY judgement, a very nice site was voted down a few months ago (I was a web designer in a former life and did not see any real problems).

And then the sad word came up  adourn  :-(

------------------------------------

I believe the new council was great.  Lots of ideas, opinions and activity.  I felt like I personally was Council lite.  I'm not a construction person, more of a visionary but I feel each member of the council has certain things they excel in, it's a well rounded group that want to get things done correctly without just rubber stamping things.

I'm sure some will complain about "micro managing" but it's better then not managing at all.     

  
      

  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blood Moon

Wake up, get outta bed, drag a comb across my. . . . no wait . . I don't do the comb thing  . . never mind.

2:00 this morning I wish I would have taken this photo but MY attempt fell short.  HOWEVER, my nephew in Texas was more successful.


My attempts were problematic as I still had a slice of moon which was brilliant white and with the darker red moon the contrast was just too much for my sensors.  So, I have a plan for October 8th (a Wednesday night/morning) and I'll have something really cool planned for the NEXT Blood Moon.

Learned a few things.
-----------------------------

City Council Meeting tonight! 

1. Election of Council President
2. Mayor Appointments to commissions and boards
3. Presentation of Service Plaque to Bill Breuing CFD
4. Proclaim Arbor Day
5. Take Action or not, on Hospital Bonding Request
6. Take Action or not, on Conditional Use Permit for Sentry/Hardware Store *(1)
7? reads like #6
8.Lots of Room Tax requests
13. Approve Waste-water's repair of their hydro excavating machine
14.Approve or not, of purchasing a used Street Sweeper for a cleaner downtown *(2)
15. US Census Bureau's Consolidated Boundary and Annexation Survey
16.Senior Center Advisory Board Ordinance fix (age discrimination thing)
17. Approve or not, A Resolution in Opposition to Eliminating the Tax Exempt Status of Municipal Bonds.
18. Approve or not, Economic Development & Marketing asst Position
19. Approve or not, an operators licenses
20. Approve claims for a lot of money
---------------------------
Council of The Whole (basically NEW business)

6. review/recap Intercity Snowmobile trails
7. recommendation by Parks and Rec to set aside $ from rentals for maintenance of Pavilion and Rest Haven
8. Creation of a Columbus Tourism Commission to handling ALL Room Tax $$ without Council approval
9. Founders Day Ordinance giving all city employees a day off with pay
10. Primary elections
11. Employment agreement for City Pool Manager
12. CSS Task force (hiring a Consultant with knowledge for 16/60 Strategic Plan)
13. Contract with Carrico Aquatic Resource for Chem management for pool
14. Consideration of a subcommittee for review website
15. Secret meetings
go home



Monday, April 14, 2014

Melvil Dewey and his system

A little rain this weekend in Columbus.  1.35 inches Saturday and 2.37 inches yesterday for a whopping total of  3.72 inches of precip.  Still no "day of the worms" yet.

Seems every year there is one day when all the worms come out of the soil covering the roads and sidewalks so you drive to work by killing thousands of squishy worms.  Robins must love that day.  A Robin Thanksgiving.

------------------------------------

Pet peeve whine of the day - Justified.  GREAT show.  I was watching the season finale' and the DVR did not record the final 10 minutes.   DAMN IT. So it was on again Saturday night and I had the DVR set to record it.  Well, of COURSE the storm came and I AGAIN, missed the last 10 minutes when the sat went dead.

OK OK - It's on On Demand.  So I recorded it and guess what - NO FAST FORWARD!!    sigh!!
----------------------------------

Had a meeting with Eric the Water & Light czar and I gotta tell ya, I was not offered a fresh glass of water OR a cup of electricity.  I'm wondering if this is all a front.  I didn't even see a bubbler in the building.

I suppose the first thing out of my mouth should not have been "Why the hell do we pay so much for water!!"  At which point I was expecting to have water thrown in my face but . . . . . too expensive to waste? (notice I did not complain about electricity).

In reality this whole "water is too much" is silly.  Is it more expensive then other towns?  YES, but not by THAT much and factor in that we do not have to have a water softener or buy salt.  The reason for soft water in Columbus is unknown but it started back in the 1950s and no it has nothing to do with birds.

Our water is extremely hard in Columbus which is great for dark beer and horrible for light colored beer.  But I digress.

Many people will be surprised that Water & Light is NOT a government organization but more like the Post Office, a separate entity that is sort of hired by the city. A community owned utility and they gave Columbus about $450,000 last year, 6% of the City's total revenue.  They are the largest tax payer in Columbus.

The one thing that needs to be stressed is that Columbus has a very fast On-Site Response time, we have our own people on site within 8.7 seconds . . . well, that is the goal at least, your time may very depending on a number of factors.

Today I will tour the Department of Fire hoping I will at least get to see what an uncontrolled fire looks like and perhaps take a truck for a spin and wear a hat.

I also need to talk to Davis about DPW and The Chief to tour the Police Department.  I had a tour of the Senior Center last year and perhaps the library could give me a run down on the Dewey Decimal System which was named after Melvil Dewey.

Before Melvil's brilliant idea libraries put books in a permanent shelf location in order of when they acquired the book, not by subject but they were shelved by date.

In 1876 Mr. Dewey published a pamphlet titled  "A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library." and in March 1876, he applied for, and received copyright on the first edition of the index.   

Could you see going to a library looking up a book and then looking for the June 1976 shelf?

WELL, there ere many people that did not appreciate Melvils system because of it's complexity and limited scope of "scheme-adjustment".  In particular, the arrangement of subheadings has been described as archaic and  being biased towards an Anglo-American world view.  That's what Americans do, it's all about us.

Some libraries, particularly in Arizona are switching to the  Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) system which is used in bookstores.

Fascinating.
------------------------------------------------

How about those Brewers!  YIKES!  The last time they won this many in a row was . . . . . LAST YEAR . . . . IN APRIL!! And then they went on to win 5 of the next 21 games.

Ride the streak and enjoy it while you can. 

   

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sleep

Looks like my Columbus Connects link did not "take" yesterday.  I'll see if this works.

Columbus Connects is a Facebook page which shares information on local events, happenings, meetings, elections, news, and more for the city of Columbus WI
------------------------------------

I received my sleep study results from the UW Sleep Cohort  . . . study.

Seems I'm an 85% efficient sleeper which is normal.  In my study I have 5 periods of REM sleep which is also normal in a nights sleep but I was only in REM for 49.5 minutes total and they would like to see 90 minutes.  Well,  take those damn wires off me and I would sleep better.      

Have you ever woken up from a deep sleep and you are like paralyzed?  You are half awake but cannot move? You will yourself to roll over but your body is not paying attention?  It's because you woke up in REM sleep.  Your limbs actually ARE paralyzed.  In REM sleep blood flow to the brain increases and your body temperature and breathing rate also increases. But at the same time large muscles are virtually paralyzed and your arms. legs and trunk can not move. 

The good news is that I never stopped breathing.   It took 9.5 minutes to fall asleep and my first REM was 129 minutes later.      

My cardio study was fascinating and contrary to popular believe I do have blood flowing to my brain. 

---------------------------------

The Broadway Theater Group attended the 2014 League of Historic American Theater Conference in Chicago.  There were two presentations on fundraising and another one with an excellent perspective on the advantage of operating a historic theater and then a tour of the renovated Uptown Theater of Chicago.

Well done.

---------------------------------

The DOT is holding a public information meeting on the James Street project at the Columbus Middle School in the multipurpose room. The meeting will take place from 4:30 to 7:00 pm. It is an opportunity for the public to see the initial design and plans for the new roadway. Engineers and project managers related to the project will be on hand to present information and answer questions.

I think there are two major things happening.  The actual construction of the road and the revitalization of the downtown which I will be involved with. I vision is to keep the historical aspetc of Columbus but update to get rid of that "old and tired" label.   


Construction is currently planned for 2017. WIS 16-60, James Street through the USH 151 Interchange area is planned to be reconstructed. The project will include a new pavement structure, intersection improvements, bike and pedestrian improvements, and storm sewer upgrades. This project is not anticipating any new right-of-way needed for construction. The existing USH 151 overpass structures are to remain in place. Construction is currently planned for 2021.

The above meeting is the construction part, what are the problems we will have and so forth.   I urge all residents to stop in and take a look at what is going down.  
-----------------------------------

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Columbus Connects

There is a new Face Book page that is highlighting things going on in our fair city

Columbus Connects - if you are a business or organization that wants to get word out send "whoever" a message and they will put it up.
 *******

It's Customer Appreciation week at the Columbus Antique Mall!  Did you know that of the 1000 people that visit the mall each week, less then 10% are from Columbus?   
 ******

I hear people complaining about all the empty store fronts downtown.  Guess how many are empty. I'll have the answer later.
******

I've read perhaps 8 books and on small town Urbanolgy and the latest one lists Waterloo as one of the top 397 Agurb* towns in the U.S.  A town that embraces the 7 1/2 keys to success and quality of life.      

Agurb = a prospering rural town with a tie to agriculture and a location outside of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).  They have experienced growth in population and employment and have a per-capita income growing at more the 2% 
I have no idea how to pronounce that word

Waterloo is out gaining Columbus in population % in the last 12 years but not by much.  Waterloo grows at 1.94% a year while Columbus grows at 1.85% a year. Of course there is Sun Prairie where I hear people complaining about roads and tax's (I believe 95% of the U.S. population complain about roads and tax's) is growing at something like 4.1% a year which is too fast.

But I digress 

Did you know Columbus is 48.8% males and 51.2% females?  And the average age is 38.8 compared to the Wisconsin median age of 44.3?  We're actually a young town.

The median house or condo is $159,529 and the Wisconsin average is $166,700.

Our crime rate is at historic highs (well, for the last 12 years at least) for Columbus as of 2012 but still way way way below larger towns and not a worry in my book.

A fun toy I was playing with is a cost of living calculator.  If I made $50,000 and moved to Madison I would have to make $51,882 to have the same quality of life. $51,373 for Sun Prairie, $84,777 for New York. 

Looking at all sorts of towns, the smaller the community the less you have to make . . . .except Beaver Dam.  

I have no idea how this calculator works but it was fun until I got bored.  
--------------------------------------------------

We all know I'm a chart and numbers geek and this one was interesting.  The average work week for a manufacturing job is 42 hours now.   This chart shows average work week length in manufacturing and what it was when "we" went into a recession. 

Does not look like we will be recessioning for a while. 


------------------------------------------


How many empty store fronts?   Unofficially we have 50 stores that are occupied and 13 empty.  What we need is to occupy those 13 stores with something that draws people down town.

Have a great day

Rod