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Plan Commission Sends Airport Improvement List to Council, Gives Negative Recommendation on 14-Story Apartment Complex

MIDDLETON–Community members showed up in person, by phone and via the Internet for an April 14 public hearing during the Middleton Plan Commission meeting.

The hearing was to discuss a resolution concerning improvements at the Middleton Airport/Morey Field over the next five years. The plan is required by the Board of Aeronautics (BOA), and must be submitted every six years. Middleton last updated the plan in 2014. 

One point of contention with residents had been the language in the original resolution, which included use of eminent domain for land acquisition. City planner and zoning administrator Mark Opitz stated that the wording was simply boilerplate language provided by the BOA, and because none of the plans call for land acquisition, the airport commission removed it from the final resolution, which it passed unanimously at the commission’s Feb 8. meeting.

Opitz gave the following list of improvements:

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Voting Rules Constantly Changing Ahead of Tomorrow’s Election

In an April 2 ruling to allow a week-long delay in accepting absentee ballots, Federal judge William M. Conley of the Western District of Wisconsin criticized the State Legislature, Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The ruling extended the deadline for absentee ballots to 4 p.m., April 13 and extended the deadline for requesting absentee ballots to 4 p.m. on April 3. But an executive order issued by Evers on April 6 could change dates again.

Conley wrote that the Legislature and Governor “apparently are hoping … that the efforts of the WEC [Wisconsin Election Commission] Administrator, her staff, the municipalities and poll workers, as well as voters willing to ignore the obvious risk to themselves and others of proceeding with in-person voting, will thread the needle to produce a reasonable voter turnout and no increase in the dissemination of COVID-19.” 

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All Polling Places Moved to Kromrey

MIDDLETON–Due to a vast reduction in available workers at the polls, the City of Middleton, with the assistance of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, is consolidating all polling locations at Kromrey Middleton School on April 7.

At the Spring Election and Presidential Preference Vote to be held on April 7, 2020, in the City of Middleton, the following polling place location will be used for the wards indicated:

Kromrey Middleton School, 7009 Donna Drive All Wards 1-22

Voters are asked to enter in Door 5. Parking is available in the lot accessed by Donna Drive or on the street.

All polling places will be open from  7:00 a.m.-8:00 p,/

For questions concerning your polling place, contact the municipal clerk.

Lorie J. Burns, 608-821-8350 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

All polling places are accessible to elderly and disabled voters.

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Safety Committee Recommends Use of ATVs on Paved Streets to Village Board

CROSS PLAINS–The village’s Public Safety Committee recommended last week that all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles be allowed on streets between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at speeds up to 15 mph.

A vote of residents attending the March 3 meeting showed that 12 approved and eight opposed the idea of allowing the four-wheeled vehicles to operate on streets within the village.

Village Board Member and Committee Chair Lori Zander said the intent of any proposed ordinance was to permit residents to operate ATVs “from to point A to point B,” as opposed to just aimless joyriding.

The committee developed discussion points for the Village Board to consider at its March 23 meeting. They included:

• Prohibited from operating on US 14 (Main St..), except to cross it

• A 15 mph speed limit

• Operators must be at least 16 years old, have valid driver’s license and ATV training

• Passengers under 18 must wear safety helmet

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Ramsey to Run For Middleton Mayor

MIDDLETON–Middleton District 7 Alder Dan Ramsey II said there are some issues that have come up over the past two years that played into his decision to run for mayor.

“I was approached to run after Gurdip [Brar} said he was not running,” Ramsey explained, and decided to continue with the campaign even though Brar did decide to run again.

“One of the things that is really important to me is the number of apartments,” he said and noted that without single family homes and townhomes, there is little room for homeownership and building equity.

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County Purchases 79 Acres to Restore Wetlands, Prevent Flooding

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–Dane County seeks to lessen future flooding in the Black Earth Creek watershed by purchasing 79 acres north of US 14 in the town of Middleton.

The proposed $4 million purchase from the Judith Hellenbrand Family Trust would restore part of “Old Mud Lake,” a 140-acre wetland near the headwaters of Black Earth Creek that once filtered sediment from runoff before entering the world-class trout stream.

“By saving this property from possibly being developed and restoring it to prairie, about 5.9 million gallons water will be prevented from flowing downstream each year,” County Executive Joe Parisi said Jan. 16 at the Hellenbrand farm.

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Paulsen Joins Mayoral Race

MIDDLETON–Middleton Plan Commissioner Kurt Paulsen announced his bid for mayor on Dec. 10. 

“A lot of people have asked me to run for mayor based on my leadership on equity and sustainability,” Paulsen said in an interview last week.

Affordable housing is one of the four priorities Paulsen would tackle as mayor. He serves as a member of the Workforce Housing Committee and said, “People who work in Middleton can’t afford to live in Middleton. A lot of teachers who work here can’t afford to live here.

“We need a greater variety of housing in the city. As chair of the workforce housing committee, I led the effort to develop our strategy and goal of 295 affordable units before 2020, and we’re about to reach that goal!” Paulsen continued. He said there is a lack of smaller houses, and said it is the “missing middle.” 

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Middleton Airport Commission Reins in Public Comment

MIDDLETON–Increased interest in the possible expansion of Middleton Municipal Airport Morey Field has prompted Airport Commission meetings to be moved from an airport conference room to City Hall, and now reining in audience intensity is being tried.

Commission Chair John Hallick introduced a two-to-three-minute limit on public comments, regulated by a timer and a buzzer. Also, no public comment would be taken after the initial comment period is closed.

Without being recognized by the chair, several audience members complained about the few minutes they would be allowed to speak.

“It can be none,” Hallick said at the beginning of the Dec. 5 meeting, “I’m giving you two minutes.”

Noting that the Middleton Common Council gives the public three minutes near the beginning of its meetings, commission member Cynthia Richson said the Airport Commission rules should be consistent. 

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Middleton Mayor to Run for Second Term

MIDDLETON–Middleton Mayor Gurdip Brar said he would be running for a second term in the April 2020 Election. Brar has served one term as mayor and previously served on the Middleton City Council for nine years and was in the Conservancy Lands Committee for one and a half terms before becoming mayor in 2017.

“I’m not sure I was ready at the time,” Brar said of his first campaign for mayor, but now he has experience under his belt. He said that over the past two and a half years, he has built relationships with other community leaders and governments, which he feels would make him a more effective mayor in a second term.

Brar said he has started working on some projects that are ongoing, and one of the reason he seeks a second term is to continue that work.

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Firefighters Receive CAPS Training

MIDDLETON–Nearly 40 Middleton firefighters learned Monday how to respond to an emergency involving an airplane equipped with a rocket-powered parachute.

Cirrus Aircraft builds all its planes around its Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) which the pilot can deploy in the event of engine failure to prevent a crash.

CAPS uses a small solid fuel rocket to pull a large parachute from the rear of the plane which allows it to float to the ground, landing with the impact of a 13-foot fall, said Matt Hofeldt, Capital Flight co-owner, which hosted the training session.

While there are at least two Cirrus airplanes based at Middleton Municipal Airport-Morey Field, many more are in the sky as Duluth, Minnesota-based Cirrus has sold more than 7,000 of its SR series single-engine aircraft. Also, CAPS can be retrofitted to planes made by other companies. 


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