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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Updates on February events!

Hope you can join us for the 2018 Progresstival, 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 3. We are excited to welcome and welcome back many local organizations working on issues of social justice, sustainability, voting rights, human rights, and more. This year, for the first time, we will also have short workshops on organizing and the importance of people power in our area. There will also be appetizers and beverages.

Our keynote speaker, Paul Cienfuegos, is a national organizer and trainer in the community rights movement. Community rights and the related rights of nature movement reject the corporaate system we currently live in and encourage activists to make laws and systems work for the people and natural systems that sustain us all. Following the event at the Concordia, those interested are encourged to continue the conversation over pub food and drinks at the Brickhouse with our speaker, event organizers, and others.

We still have a couple of half-table spaces available so if your groups would like to display, sign up, and network, please email. We are also looking for a space for Mr. Cienfuegos to stay while he's in town (possibly Friday evening and/or Sunday evening). If you can offer a space (cat free) for him, please email.

The event is open to all. Donations at the door will help pay for event costs. The Progresstival will get your active new year off to a great start. Connect and network with the many groups working on important issues and sign up to help make good changes happen!

Please help get the word out by sharing and posting flyers:

On the following afternoon, Sunday, February 4, Paul Cienfuegos will present a three hour Introduction to Community Rights from 2 to 5 p.m. In the upstairs Community Room of the People's Food Co-op, 315 Fifth Avenue South, La Crosse. The event is open to all and free (though donations at the door will help pay for the event. Please register in advance if possible at

Look for a flyer soon. But in the meantime, please share this info!
Did you know that it's illegal for a city, town, or county government to pass laws that protect the health and welfare of a community from destructive corporate activities? No wonder it's so difficult to stop corporate mines, pipelines, and factory farms, even when an entire community opposes such activities. There are fascinating historical reasons why communities are not allowed to pass such laws, but these reasons make no sense as they violate We the People's right of self-government that our ancestors fought and died for in the American Revolution.
Paul Cienfuegos' introductory workshop will share some of this history, introduce the Community Rights movement, and outline how We the People can breathe new live into civic engagement by reclaiming the structures of law that have made real democracy impossible until now.
Since 1999, 200 communities in nine states have passed legally groundbreaking locally-enforceable Community Rights laws which have banned fracking and oil drilling, water withdrawal for bottling, toxic sludge dumping on farmland, corporate-managed infrastructure, unsustainable energy development, and more. 95% of these laws have never been challenged in court.
“We the People” must exercise our RIGHT to pass laws that protect our community's health and welfare. Let's get organized!

No previous experience or knowledge is necessary to attend this three hour introductory workshop.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Your action requested

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Public input needed on rules for areas vulnerable to groundwater contamination and on DNR property master planning at NRB meeting Wednesday, Jan. 24

Revised rules to protect sensitive areas in northeast WI from agricultural pollution - NR 151

Next week, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will ask the state Natural Resources Board to approve its final rules to protect groundwater in sensitive areas from manure spreading in NR 151 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. This rule revision is the result of years of work by advocates in northeast Wisconsin who are living with drinking water contaminated with nitrates, bacteria, and parasites.

Midwest Environmental Advocates advocated for more stringent drinking water protections, but ultimately supports a compromise that will provide modest additional protections for residents of the northeast part of the state. For more, visit MEA’s webpage on this rule proposal.

Though advocates, experts and the public have worked for years to shape this compromise, powerful special interest groups are already opposingthe very modest public health protections in the proposed rule.

Take action – testimony and comments needed: residents concerned about clean drinking water can testify before the NRB on this rule proposal. The NRB and legislators need to hear from those struggling with polluted drinking water about why these very basic protections must stay in the proposed rule.

We encourage residents of southwest WI who also have groundwater vulnerable to contamination to testify about why DNR needs to do more to implement existing rules and assess the extent of contamination in southwest WI. Send written comments to the NRB via email to by Friday, January 19th at 11:00 a.m.
DNR request to revise master plans for DNR properties without following classifications in NR 44

The Department of Natural Resources is also asking the state Natural Resources Board to allow it to revise some of its master plans for DNR properties without following certain rules for master planning, contained in NR 44. DNR says it would still follow public participation requirements, but wouldn’t update the plans to be consistent with the land and recreational use classifications that are currently required by rule.

This request would only affect master plans for state parks and other properties written before the rule was in place in 1996. However most planswere created before this date.

A judge recently rejected DNR’s attempt to amend a master plan for Blue Mound State Park without following the classification system in NR 44. The judge concluded that because DNR didn’t follow the NR 44 classification system, the agency didn’t adequately consider whether authorized park uses, including a proposed snowmobile trail, were compatible.  The DNR is attempting to persuade the NRB to give it blanket authorization to disregard the classification rules for a broad category of parks and other property.

Take action – testimony and comments needed:  residents who care about public lands, long-term planning and public participation, and who have invested their own time and expertise in protecting land with conservation and recreational value can testify at the NRB meeting or contact the NRB with their concerns. Send written comments to the NRB via email to by Friday, January 19th at 11:00 a.m.
Visit DNR’s webpage for this NRB meeting, which provides instructions for commenting and registering to testify at the NRB meeting on Wednesday, January 24th. The deadline to send written comments or register to testify is 11:00 am on Friday, January 19th.
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Monday, January 15, 2018

Coming up

Today is our national holiday honoring the courage, vision, and service of the Reverand Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thank goodness the day hasn't yet been turned into an opportunity to hold another appliance sale. The movement to make it a day of service is fine, but we should also remember that Dr. King was an activist. His marches, his speeches, his organizing, his coordinatinng with other groups, his lobbying, ... all these actions, many done in very difficult circumstances and under threat of death, led millions to a new understanding of the power of the people.

Being an activist is serving others. We can give people food and we can fight to change the system that keeps people hungry. We can march for funding for medical research and we can work for a  society where drug company executives do not earn million dollar bonuses for raising the prices of vital life-saving drugs. We can donate school supplies for children whose families can't afford them and we can work to elect leaders who working to make the gap between rich and poor narrower not wider.

So, please attend tonight's tribune to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 7 p.m. at Viterbo University's Fine Arts Center and then plan to work on the many other important issues facing our community and our world.

9:00 a.m.  Get training to help people do their taxes through the AARP tax assistance program. Training for intake volunteers and for tax helpers will be at the La Crosse Public Library.

6:00 p.m.  Washburn Neighborhood Assn monthly meeting at Lincoln Middle School. They'll be talking about a possible painted bike path on Jackson Street.

6:30 p.m.  GENA monthly meetint at Emerson Elementary School.

noon  Values vs. Conventional Wisdom a talk with lunch hosted by local interfaith leaders at the English Lutheran Church (16th & King). Please RSVP at link for free lunch.

4:30 p.m.  La Crosse Area Planning Commission annual public meeting where you get a chance to have input and network with decision-makers. The meeting and after-meeting social hour will be at the Two Beagles Brewpub, 910 Second Avenue North, Onalaska

6:00 p.m. La Crosse Bar Association offers free legal assistance on a walk-in basis at First Baptist Church, West Ave. & Main

6:45 p.m. Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Assn meeting to talk about the plans for a Jackson Street bike lane.

6:30 p.m. La Crosse Citizens' Climate Lobby monthly meeting will be at 401 West Ave South. 

6:00 p.m.  La Crosse Area Freethought Society holds its monthly Think & Drink at JavaVino.

1:00 p.m.  INDUSTRIAL AG IN THE DRIFTLESS - How do we protect our communities? is a citizens' conference to address the environmental, economic, and community destruction caused by industrial size ag operations in local rural areas. This event is in Boscobel but it's super important to learn what's happening as large animal feeding operations pollute our wells and trout streams, ruin our roads, pollute our air, and threaten our economies. Keynoter, Dr. John Ikerd, professor emeritus at University of Missouri will talk about Defending against rural colonization. 

2:30 p.m.  Hillview Urban Agriculture Vermiculture Tour at 921 Ferry Street.

4:00 p.m. Alt Truth Project presents Fahrenheit 451 at the Brickhouse

4:00 p.m AND 7:00 p.m. Awareness Through Performance Privilege Unplugged VII The mission of Awareness through Performance is to promote greater consciousness around social justice, diversity, and climate issues on the UWL campus and beyond. Using the stage as our forum, we creatively challenge systems of privilege and oppression and strive to plant seeds of social responsibility, inspire critical thought, and spark a campus-wide conversation. Privilege Unplugged XII showcases the passions, stories, and perspectives of UWL student leaders who hope to create awareness around the topics of privilege and oppression. Shows are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Advocating for Sustainable Transportation

Several opportunities are coming soon to advocate for more and better sustainability priorities and infrastructure in our area. If you can attend any of these events, please do.

Thanks to Jake, we learned that the Wisconsin DOT/City of La Crosse are planning to put bike lanes (alas, it looks like just paint at this point) on Jackson Street. Here's what he heard from the DOT about it:

*The Wisconsin Department of Transportation presented multiple alternatives to the City of La Crosse with varying facilities and provisions for parking, bicycles and vehicular traffic. From these alternatives, the City of La Crosse Board of Public Works endorsed/recommended on March 6, 2017 to remove parking on the north side of the entire corridor and to add bike lanes on both sides of the roadway as shown at this link

This recommendation was contingent on other inputs from other groups and the public as you canread in this minutes

*The City of La Crosse Engineering/Planning staff then presented this preferred typical section to the Neighborhood Revitalization Commission on December 4, 2017 and their recommendation was to have the project information presented by the City at each of the impacted Neighborhood Association monthly meetings in January. These meetings are as follows:

  • Monday, January 15 at 6 pm: Holy Trinity-Longfellow Neighborhood Association at Faith United Methodist Church (1818 Redfield St)
  • Tuesday, January 16 at 6 pm: Washburn Neighborhood Association (510 S. 9th St.)
  • Wednesday, January 17 at 6:45 pm: Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Association (Southside Neighborhood Center at 1300 S. 6th St.)
Whether or not you live in these neighborhoods, if you bike in the city and would like to support improved bicyclilng infrastructure, please attend one or more of these events. Just to play devil's advocate, you have to wonder why we must squeeze bike lanes between moving and parked (on one side at least) traffic on one of the busiest streeets in the city when we could just as easily and with less disruption, designate a parallel, less travelled road as a "city bikeway" or something (bikes have right of way) providing better safety for cyclists.

On Thursday, January 11, the La Crosse Area Planning Committee's Advisory Committee on Transit and  Active Transportation will meet at 3 p.m. and discuss MTU goals for the coming year. While this is not a public hearing, if you have ideas or suggestions, you could contact the chair or attend the meeting and ask to have your ideas included in the discussion.

Next Wednesday, January 17, the La Crosse Area Planning Committee will hold it's annual meeting, public invited, followed by an informal idea exchange (with free appetizers). This is your chance to weigh in on sustainability issues for the region, especially transportation (see the agenda here). The meeting will begin at 4:30 at Two Beagles Brewpub, 910 2nd Ave N (STH 35) in Onalaska

Sunday, January 07, 2018

This week's events (January 8 -14)

Please send us your events! Use the form or email couleeprogressive at hotmail.

8:00 a.m.  MPower Showcase at the Sustainability Institute Lunda Center, Western TC

NOON  League of Women Voters Lunch & Learn: Online Voter Registration  (lunch $13 at 11:30 if you RSVP) Moxie's

6:30 p.m.?  There may be an Indivisible/New Directions meeting, but who can tell?

6:15 p.m.  SURJ Book Club - Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown. The groups meets every other week in the 2nd floor loft at Pearl Street Books.

4:30 p.m.  Sustainable La Crosse Commission monthly meeting open to public. What is the county doing to become more sustainable? Third floor conference room, La Crosse City Hall

6:00 p.m.  SURJ Discussion - White Supremacy and Us part 2  See link for details. 

7:00 p.m.  Our Wisconsin Revolution La Crosse meets at the Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House, 724 Main St.

5:30 p.m.  Phonebank for Patty Schachtner who is running for a seat in the Wisconsin State Senate, District 10. Sponsored by LaX Dems. Please RSVP through link. If you can't make this phone bank, you can do it yourself from your own home (visit Citizen Action link for details)