Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Support school gardens

Great GROW Get-Together
Tickets On Sale Now!

Join us to celebrate school garden education with live music, great food, games, raffles and more!  The Third Annual Great GROW Get-Together will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 24 at The Nature Place (formerly Myrick Park Center).

• Mr. Blink Trio Live Music
• Food Prepared by local chefs using winning Kids Cooking Challenge Recipes
• Live Critter Visits with The Nature Place Staff
• Face Painting
• Games with Prizes
• Silent Auction & Raffles

Purchase your tickets early to save - prices will go up the week of the event


Open Gardens

You can find the full schedule of Open Garden locations and activities on the GROW La Crosse website.  These events are completely FREE and do not require any registration.

Note the adjustment to the Thursday events at Kane Street Community Garden.  These events will run from noon to 1 p.m.  Please arrive with time to complete activities by 1 p.m.  If you have not been to this garden, turn off of Lang Dr. / George St. go west onto St. Andrew at the stoplights. Turn right onto Kane Street. Follow for three blocks. Parking is on the street near the garden

Thursday, June 22, 2023

The Engine Inside


The Engine Inside is a feature-length film showcasing the power of the bicycle to help us build a better world. After premiering in Amsterdam on World Bicycle Day, you can catch the film on its worldwide tour in a city near you.

July 14 in La Crosse! Reserve tickets here.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Bike. Build. Home.

Looking for a unique way to enjoy the beauty of the Driftless Region while giving back to the community? Bike.Build.Home 500 is an annual, multi-day bicycle ride that raises funds for local affordable housing organizations. Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area is proud to be the host for this year’s ride.

Bike.Build.Home 500 was organized to continue the traditions of the Habitat 500 bike ride, which was previously coordinated by Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota. In its 30-year history, bike riders raised over $7 million to build affordable homes. 

This 5-day, 500-kilometer ride will run from July 12-16. Riders will stay at a “base camp” located at Luther High School in Onalaska. Each day’s ride will loop through different areas of the beautiful Driftless Region. The first day will be a beautiful Tri-State Century loop along the Mississippi River to Lansing, Iowa. This relatively flat route through the center of the Driftless region includes many scenic photo ops.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

City Budget Listening Session

Kudos to Council members Rebecca Schwarz and Jennifer Trost. They are hosting a city budget listening session on June 26. The session was announced in a La Crosse Tribune letter to the editor (on a page that includes two idiotically atrocious political cartoons). Residents of the 10th and 11th districts, under either the 2016 or the 2022 aldermanic district maps, will be given priority for the session, but it is open to anyone. To register, email schwarzr-at-cityoflacrosse.org or call 608-571-4851.

CM Schwarz recommends that those living in other districts contact their council member requesting a similar forum.

Friday, June 09, 2023

Free food

For the last three years a group of volunteer gardeners has helped provide fresh produce to some Southside neighborhoods. Started in 2020 by the city planning department, the "Hope Grows" victory gardens were a way to help people stay active and connected in safe and healthy ways when COVID-19 upended many social routines. In addition, the initiative added more options for fresh, locally-grown food at a time of rising food insecurity.

Now in their third year, the victory gardens--at Aptiv on South Avenue, at Hogan Administrative Center near 19th & Mississippi, and at City Hall (the EAST garden, not the  south one!)--are producing tasty veggies and encouraging more people to get involved with making local food more available.

And none too soon. The climate crisis is predicted to have devastating effects on global food systems. In the U.K., floods, droughts, and intense heat, in addition to animal-related illnesses, have disrupted food availability to such an extent that U.K supermarkets rationed fresh produce purchases earlier this year. In the U.S. wheat and corn harvests will be affected by drought. The high "food-miles" model of highly processed, packaged food products being shipped thousands of miles is also unsustainable if we want to reduce transportation emissions. And the war in Ukraine has ripped apart that important contributor. In the Netherlands, the limits of intensive, productive mean changes must be made to reduce nitrogen pollution that is devastating natural areas. In the U.S. intensive animal agriculture is a main source of ag-related carbon emissions as well as surface and groundwater contamination. Things have got to change.

The neighborhood victory gardens are a model that could and should be replicated around the city. Maybe we should have a neighborhood garden for every nine-block area? Maybe we should be planting fruit and nut trees on our streets and boulevards (as they are doing in Copenhagen) to make sure more local food is available. Maybe, rather than growing grassy lawns which do nothing to help pollinators and require costly and carbon-emitting maintenance and mowing, schools should be growing corn, beans, and squash instead. Maybe more public parks should include food gardens.

In the meantime, anyone is welcome to help garden and to pick a meal. Bring the kids. Plan a menu around what's available at the garden. Learn how you can grow food in your own yard.

Aptiv (3000 South Ave.) group gardening times are Tuesday and Friday mornings from 8 to 9 a.m.

Hogan garden hour is Tuesday mornings from 9:30 to 10:30.

City Hall garden hour is Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

For more information, visit LaCrosseNeighborhoodGardens.org/victory-gardens or email MinisterOfBeans-at-gmail.com or call 608-315-2693

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Speak up NOW! Criminalizing living

A friend pointed me to this FB post by Kevin about a City Council quick move to criminalize sleeping in parks. Please attend TONIGHT or at least email your comments.

I personally have slept in parks, but because I own a car-suit, it has not been a problem. In fact, our city spends tons of money subsidizing car sleeping spaces where someone with a car or boat, camper, motor home, canoe or bike rack, utility trailer or other wheeled thing may rest at will, sometimes for many days or weeks at a time.

If you don't own or can't afford a car-suit or a home or apartment or room, then where are you supposed to sleep? Where are services for those with nothing? 

This is a world-wide challenge as the wealth gap increases exponentially and housing, food, and health services become unaffordable luxuries.

Others are finding solutions. In some places, simple basic housing and support programs have made a huge difference. In some places, building or repurposing vacant retail space into housing for those without has made a huge difference.

But, banning sleeping is not humane and not a solution. Please speak up.

And, by the way, this has to be related to the budget the city is about to pass. Are there any items for homeless services in there?

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Apathy or deliberate disinvitation?


One of my favorite TED Talks is The Antidote to Apathy by Dave Meslin, a Toronto-based activist. I think of it every time I try to read a legal notice in the back of the La Crosse Tribune about some demolition or zoning change request. I think about it when I see lots of invitations for input that doesn't seem to actually make it into the things being inputted about. I think of it when I ask someone about how to ask for something to get into the budget. ("Which budget? Oh, that happened months ago!" is the usual answer.) Meslin points out that if government really wanted people's input, they would ask for it in easy to understand language, they would make it easy to provide the input, and they would be transparent about what happens after you provide input.

I thought of it today when I got an email from a friend asking for public input to have $50,000 put back into a budget for signs identifying the Route 1 bike trail that goes from Onalaska, through La Crosse, and down to Goose Island. And, by the way, the Onalaska section of this route was signed YEARS ago.

But, which budget? Who do we provide input to? Where and when are the sessions? ! I had no clue and was too lazy or uninformed to figure it out. But thanks to another friend who also follows these things, here is the information. There is one public hearing Monday, June 5 at 6 p.m. and there will supposedly be one on June 12 at 6 p.m. but there won't be notice of that meeting until the day before, another great way to ensure no one knows about or attends it. You may also email comments to Andrea Trane in City Planning (tranea@cityoflacrosse.org) so that they will become part of the record.

The meeting is open for in-person attendance and will also be conducted through video conferencing.

To join the meeting click this link (or typing the URL in your web browser address bar):
Meeting ID: 889 9160 7803; Passcode: CPC23; Call in: 1-305-224-1968.

The meeting can be viewed by visiting the Legislative Information Center
(https://cityoflacrosse.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx) and clicking on the "In Progress" video link to the far right in the meeting list.

If you wish to speak on an agenda item, arrive early to sign up before the meeting begins. If attending virtually and you wish to speak, contact the Department of Planning, Development and Assessment at the email or phone number below so we can provide you with the necessary information to join in.

Members of the public who would like to provide written comments on any agenda may do so by emailing tranea@cityoflacrosse.org, using a drop box outside of City Hall or mailing the Department of Planning, Development and Assessment, 400 La Crosse Street, La Crosse WI 54601. Questions, call 608-789-7512.
  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Agenda Items: public hearing
    • 23-0663 Discussion, possible action and public hearing on the 2024-2028 Capital Improvement Project Budget.
Notice is further given that members of other governmental bodies may be present at the above scheduled meeting to gather information about a subject over which they have decision-making responsibility.
Requests from persons with a disability who need assistance to participate in this meeting should call the City Clerk's office at (608) 789-7510 or send an email to ADAcityclerk@cityoflacrosse.org, with as much advance notice as possible. 
The list of unfunded requests starts on page 238 of the detailed report draft (hope you are a speed reader!) The Route 1 Signage is line 905 on page 239 in the Planning and Community Development - Neighborhoods section.