- Five petitioners continued their effort to challenge the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ approval of a water pollution permit for an expanding livestock facility in Kewaunee County. Petitioners filed an appeal of the agency’s final decision to permit the company to operate without a limit on the number of animals in the facility or a requirement to monitor the conditions of groundwater where the company spreads manure offsite. “Petitioners had to take this action today in order to save the drinking water in their community,” said Sarah Geers, staff attorney with Midwest Environmental Advocates. On Friday, September 11, 2015, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a final decision on the challenged water pollution permit, circumventing the October 2014 Administrative Law Judge’s decision and doing an about-face on the position the agency argued in the case. In October, the Judge found that the DNR does have the authority under state law to include an animal unit limit and off-site groundwater monitoring requirement in the industrial livestock operation’s permit, and called the polluted groundwater in Kewaunee County evidence of a “massive regulatory failure.” “The DNR’s decision to approve this permit disregards a court decision and dismisses reasonable measures that would help protect Kewaunee County groundwater from more bacteria and nitrate pollution,” said Geers. “It is yet another example of how the leadership of our natural resources protection agency says their hands are tied when it comes to acting on behalf of the public interest, but will act quickly when it is in the interests of industry.” Midwest Environmental Advocates is working with Kewaunee County petitioners in this appeal by providing the citizens with legal and technical support. In a parallel action, Clean Wisconsin has also filed an appeal of the agency’s decision as it sets a precedent that will negatively impact groundwater protections throughout the state of Wisconsin. For more about the case, legal documents and other links, visit the Kinnard Farms CAFO expansion water pollution permit challenge page on the Midwest Environmental Advocates website.
- Two Door County state parks were among the 2015 Gold Seal Awards winners sponsored by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Peninsula State Park was named Best Place to Camp with the Family, and Whitefish Dunes State Park was named Best Dog Beach. Awards will be presented to a representative for each of the winning categories at the 19th Annual Awards Banquet to be held Nov. 14 at Monona Terrace in Madison. Each year the public can vote online at The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks website wsp.org for the best park, forest, trail or recreation area in different categories each year.
- Need a 14-seat theater, and a 5,000-square-foot master bedroom with his and hers bathrooms in a home? If so, the price of the 35,000-square-foot Ellison Bay Manor has dropped from $19.5 million to a mere $2.9 million. There are a total of five bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and two half baths, an indoor pool and spa, eight fireplaces a four-car garage and a guest cottage. For more information and to take a video tour of the mansion, visit ellisonbaymanor.com/truenorth.php.
- The 35th Annual Southern Door Arts & Crafts Fair will be held from 9 am to 3 pm on Nov. 1 at Southern Door Schools. This is Door County’s largest craft sow under one roof, with more than 100 booths. The event is sponsored by the Southern Door Athletic Booster Club. Admission is $2.
- Applications for the 2016 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Excellence Scholarship can now be obtained in the principal’s office at Wisconsin public, religious, and independent high schools, from the Wisconsin Parents Association, and at kohleducation.org. A total of 100 students will be chosen to receive $3,000 scholarships from among all applicants throughout the state. Completed applications are due on Nov. 6, 2015, for public high school students, and Nov. 25, 2015, for religious, independent and homeschooled high school students.