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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) 

Friday, January 05, 2018

Phone bank for Wisconsin

On January 16, there will be two special elections in Wisconsin.

In Senate District 10 (River Falls area including parts of Burnett, Polk, St. Croix and Pierce counties) voters will choose a replacement for Republican Sheila Harsdorf who resigned to head the Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection.

There are three candidates for the seat, a Libertarian, a Republican, and Democratic candidate Patty Schachtner, St. Croix County Medical Examiner.  Citnizen Action of Wisconsin is encouraging and facilitating phone banks to help get out the vote for Schachtner. Sign up here OR attend a local phone bank party in La Crosse on September 12.

Dennis Degenhardt is a Democrat running in the 58th Assembly District (Washington County including the city of West Bend).  The seat had been held by Republican Bob Gannon who passed away in October. In 2016, Gannon ran unopposed, but the 2014 election saw Gannon win with 51% of the vote with two opponents splitting the  remainder. In 2012, no Dem filed. I have not seen phone bank info for this candidate, but you can contact his campaign to see if you can help.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Country wide rail safety rallies tomorrow

from Jim in MN:

Minneapolis:  Event planned for 2:30 pm Friday January 5th at Canadian Consulate, 701 4th Ave. South.  Join us to show support for workers scapegoated workers in Lac-M├ęgantic and in concern of the recent Amtrack disaster in DuPont.  See below for background. (NOTE: Seattle protest is today, but Minneapolis is Friday.)       
Protest events will take place across North America and around the world this week calling for real rail safety and accountability regarding rail disasters like the 2013  Lac-M├ęgantic oil-train wreck. Railroad workers, rail safety and environmental activists will be calling upon the Canadian government to drop the charges against framed-up rail workers as the prosecution’s case against them unravels.  Canadian rail workers Tom Harding and Richard Lebrie are currently on trial for the deaths in that disaster facing a possible life sentence. The criminal trial has highlighted the connection between dangerous railroad policies and the need to hold the right people accountable for the danger created.

Thursday and Friday, rail safety activists across North America will be calling on the Canadian government to stop its diversionary prosecution of rail workers who have no control over the majority of the causes identified by government reports and independent investigations. In many cases, the causes identified are also at issue in other railroad wrecks in the last several years, yet no policy-makers are held accountable.

Amtrak train  #501 derailed on a 30 mph curve outside of DuPont, Washington Monday, December 18th, killing three and injuring  scores of others. Soon after, it came to light that the train was traveling at 78 mph, well above the prescribed speed. Coming on the heels of at least five major passenger train wrecks in the US over the course of the last decade, one questions, why do these tragedies continue to occur?

Train wrecks are no different than other disasters in that they are often the result of a constellation of factors, many hidden from view and potentially years in the making. We miss the point when we simply pin the worker who “screwed up” and fail to further scrutinize the situation.

We are calling for Safe Trains Now!

If you are not in Seattle  you can still support us!  Please help by sharing with your networks.

For anyone on Facebook, we do have an event page and here's the link (which shows the other events in the cities below.)

Do you know others in Chicago,San Francisco, Minneapolis or DC? 

 Chicago: Event at 1 PM on Thursday the 4th at the Canadian Consulate 180 N Stetson Avenue
  San Francisco: Press Conference and rally at 12 Noon on Thursday the 4th,  at the Canadian Consulate 580 California Street

  Minneapolis: Event planned for 2:30 PM on Friday the 5th, at the Canadian Consulate 701 4th Avenue South.

  WashingtonDC: Event planned from 12:30 PM to 1 PM at the Canadian Embassy on Thursday the 4th 501 Pennsylvania Ave.

In Solidarity,

Abby Brockway
RWU Solidarity member

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Background and a request

First, if you plan to attend Thursday's 6 p.m. meeting at 724 Main Street regarding the removal of the "Big Indian" statue in Riverside Park, you may want to read this very important history of a real and shameful La Crosse area removal. Perhaps an historical marker commemorating that removal (similar to this one) would be a more fitting tribute to the people whose land Riverside Park is on than a cartoonish lump of painted concrete (no matter how well intentioned its creator).

Now, a request.

Paul Cienfuegos will be the main speaker at the Feb. 3 Progresstival. He is a leader, educator and trainer in the Community Rights movement.

There is a possibility that he will be able to do a three-hour introductory workshop on the following Sunday, February 4 (different and separate from the Progresstival.)

I am looking for a SPACE in which to hold a Community Rights training from about 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, February 4. If you are connected to a church, community group, or organization that has a meeting space that could hold about 30 people (more or less) and would be available on that date and times, please email. I need to let him know soon whether or not this will happen. Just need a room with tables and chairs - no wifi, no kitchen.

If you would be interested in helping get the word out about such a training (if it can be set up), please email.  More info will be posted here as things develop.

We do have limited table space available for the SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3 PROGRESSTIVAL  from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Concordia in La Crosse. If your group or organization has not yet signed up, please email. We are asking for a nominal donation for tabling space to help cover the cost of facility rent.

After the Progresstival, some people are planning to continue the conversation with our main speaker at another venue - dinner and discussion. We are considering the Brickhouse for this "after event" but need to know how many people might be interested. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, PLEASE LET US KNOW. This is not a commitment by you - just a show of hands so we can figure out whether or not that venue will work.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Celebrate an active new year!

Please help us let others know about your events. Use this form or email couleeprogressive at hotmail.

3:00 pm  Good Fight Community Center Open House Free and open to all at 508 Jay St. Ste 101

 6:00 pm Removing the "Big Indian" Statue a discussion and planning meeting at 724 Main St.

Plus keep these deadlines in mind!

By January 5 apply for an environmental education grant from the Coulee Region Sierra Club (for teachers and organizations in the counties covered by the Coulee Region Group serving elementary or middle school students - see link for details, application)

By January 7 apply to pitch at the next La Crosse SOUP

By January 22 register to take the UWL continuing education course, Hear Here: Public History in Theory and Practice

If you haven't read the latest issue of The Commoner Call, please do. Mark Taylor has collected a ton of great articles to get you active and motivated during this most important political year. Many reports highlighted in this issue will show you why your participation in the Dem party is so important. People must show up and speak up for new leadership from the local parties to the very top.

The next La Crosse Dems meeting is Monday, January 15 at 5:30 JANUARY 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House. The chair of Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge (BLACK Inc) and La Crosse Human Rights Commission member, Shaundel Spivey, will be attending to talk about Civil Rights and Social Justice.