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in the news logoThis issue of In the News covers SSEC news and events from April 2006 and previously uncovered pieces. Use images freely with credit to the Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison. Jennifer O'Leary and Terri Gregory produced this issue.

Please note that this is predominately a time-sensitive publication. When we provide links to newspaper and other outlets that publish our work, the story may or may not be archived at the time this newsletter goes out. If this is the case, feel free to use the media outlet's search function to locate the article in question.

May 2006

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A letter to the News-Sickle-Arrow

by Kurt Karbusicky

Thank you, [News-Sickle-Arrow], for last week’s front-page coverage of American Transmission Company’s (ATC) actions with regard to the power pole dispute in Black Earth. Kim Lamoreaux’s reporting was, as always, very accurate and diligent - and John Donaldson exercised his usual good judgement in recognizing a story that has wide implications for residents in the county and state, and not just in Black Earth.

ATC officials were quoted as part of the article, and I believe that three of their specific claims are inaccurate and/or misleading. ATC’s Frank Fenessy claims that the Village did not give enough advance notice about the need to move the pole. This is simply not true. As a member of the Village Board at the time, I know that we asked our engineer to begin notifying ATC a full year prior to the start of the street project. ATC’s response was to procrastinate, in spite of repeated requests by the village to move the pole. Negotiations with the property owner didn't even begin in earnest until AFTER the street project was completed (around the pole)!

Several ATC officials keep rejecting the idea of a fair compromise with the Roths, with the claim that it “will incur additional expense for ratepayers.” This claim of concern for ratepayers leaves one stupified, when one considers that ATC has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of ratepayer money in the form of local campaign contributions and “payoffs” to environmental and civic groups prior to PSC hearings.

Finally, ATC’s Thomas Erstad claims the threat of condemnation here is a “last resort.” Sorry, Mr. Erstad, but that dog don’t hunt. ATC’s own proposals to the Roths indicate there are clearly other options short of running a family out of their own home.

In a country where people are supposed to be safe in their own homes and on their own property, it is chilling to watch as a corporation - apparently, in this case, accountable to no one - comes in and literally TAKES a homeowner's property, merely because it is the cheapest and most convenient thing for that corporation to do.

We should all be concerned about how this turns out.

Kurt Karbusicky
Black Earth


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05-11-06 - jaol