Saturday , 25 March 2017

August 17, 2016 E-News

62,618 POUNDS: WISCONSIN IN TOP THREE FOR UNUSED DRUG COLLECTION – Wisconsin collected the third-largest amount of unwanted prescription drugs during the latest national take-back day. State residents turned over 62,618 pounds of drugs on April 30, just behind California at 64,320, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Texas led the nation with 79,418 pounds. At 5.8 million residents, Wisconsin has just a fraction of Texas’ 27.5 million residents and California’s 39.1 million. Nationwide, law enforcement collected 893,498 pounds of unwanted medications, a record since take-back days launched in 2010. La Crosse County residents contributed 760 pounds, up from 685 pounds during the one-day event in October.

COMMUNITIES TURN TO WHEEL TAX FOR ROAD MAINTENANCE – More local governments are looking into raising vehicle registration fees to keep up with road and highway repairs. Fifteen municipalities and counties are already tacking $10 to $20 onto vehicle registration to pay for local road maintenance, and now Milwaukee County, Marathon County, Wausau, Portage and Green Bay are considering following suit. Dan Fedderly of the Wisconsin County Highway Association points to a decade of stagnant road funding from the state that’s left locals with little choice. “We just simply need to address what has been a pending dilemma for many years and has got to the point where it is in crisis mode for many local units of government across the state,” Fedderly said.  The state’s transportation budget has been running a deficit for years as the main road funding mechanism—a 30.9-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline—has failed to provide enough revenue to keep up with road maintenance costs.

STUDY COMPARES CITIES’ SPENDING IN WISCONSIN – A new study shows Beloit municipal spending per person is higher than neighboring communities such as Janesville, Milton and Clinton. City Manager Lori Luther said there are many factors behind the numbers that aren’t measured or taken into consideration with a per capita study. “I am very sensitive to the cost of services and to controlling those costs to the greatest extent possible,” Luther said. “We want to be as efficient and effective as we can and always be thinking about the impact to taxpayers.” The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance study reports the total operational spending per person in 2014 is $1,031 in Beloit, $833 in Janesville, $644 in Milton and $663 in Clinton. The operational figure is indicative of key government services such as police, fire and road maintenance, according to the study. Luther said factors such as income levels, geography and density all contribute to the difficulty of comparing one community to another.

‘ICE COLD WINTER’ FORECAST BY FARMERS’ ALMANAC – In its 200th anniversary edition unveiled Monday, the Farmers’ Almanac said a deep freeze will grip the Northern Plains, the Great Lakes, the Midwest, the Ohio Valley, the mid-Atlantic and New England. For a warm winter head west, the folksy forecasting publication based in Maine suggested. This almanac’s 200th edition offers not only the usual gardening tips, homespun humor and practical advice for one’s life, but also includes material from the past as part of its nod to the milestone anniversary. “Return of the Ice Cold Winter” is how it describes the upcoming winter, basing its long-range forecasts on a formula it says is nearly 200 centuries old. Modern scientists don’t put much stock in the unconventional weather formula based on sunspots, tidal action and other factors. “February is the month to really be ready for cold conditions,” said Editor Peter Geiger. “According to our long-range outlook, many places will see downright frigid temperatures … some as low as 40 degrees below zero.”

HANDHELD DEVICES TO BECOME ILLEGAL IN WORK ZONES – The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is increasing safety for both workers and drivers by cracking down on talking and driving. Beginning Saturday, Oct. 1, it will be illegal to talk on a handheld mobile device while driving in a Wisconsin road work zone. The law is part of ongoing efforts to reduce distracted driving and increase safety for motorists and workers throughout the state. Drivers caught in violation face fines of up to $40 on first offense and $100 for subsequent offenses. Distracted driving caused more than 24,000 crashes in Wisconsin in 2015, averaging one  crash every 20 minutes, according to the DOT. An average of nearly 2,000 of those crashes happen in work zones per year.

WATER LOSS CONTROL WORKSHOP FOR THE GREAT LAKES REGION – Leaky, aging pipes and outdated systems waste an estimated 14 to 18 percent of our nation’s daily water supply.  According to a recent Center for Neighborhood Technology report, 55 water suppliers in the Great Lakes Region have reported managing over 63,000 miles of pipe that leak an estimated 66.5 billion gallons of water annually. Water saved through leak management can be very cost-effective, even in places where water is currently inexpensive and abundant. The Mott Foundation funded research to help utilities assess the extent of their system leaks and perform a cost-benefit analysis of their non-revenue water management programs. The results of this research will be shared, and other critical aspects of managing system water loss will be addressed. This free workshop & webinar is being held at the PSC Office in Madison on September 22nd. To register, go to

QUOTE – “There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.” Josh Billings

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