Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Big News Day

There's still a few days left before the filing deadline for Appleton City Council races, but my campaign took a pretty sudden turn tonight.

WHBY reported earlier today that Jim Clemons, who currently represents Appleton's 13th district, will not seek re-election this spring. Clemons has been a member of the council since 1992, making him easily the city's longest-serving alderman. Since he has decided not to run, I'm currently the only declared candidate for the seat.

I wanted to take a moment before we go any further to thank Alderman Clemons for his service to the city. Serving on the council can be a challenging and often thankless job, and the fact that he's been doing it for 20 years shows a truly admirable level of dedication to making Appleton a great place to live. You have to respect anyone who's willing to put in that much work and subject themselves to that level of public scrutiny for that long. I'll raise a glass in his honor tonight, and I'd encourage you to do the same.

With that said, Alderman Clemons' decision to step aside changes this race significantly. Things could change before Tuesday's filing deadline (which has now been extended to Friday, January 4), but at the moment things are looking pretty good for me as the only established campaign in the field.

Obviously, a lot of what the coming months will look like remains up in the air. It's still possible multiple candidates will file and there could be a primary in February. However, today is a big day for this campaign and effort to bring a new level of openness to the council.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday-adjusted garbage pickup schedule

Hey folks,

I hope you're all having a fun, safe and healthy holiday. I also wanted to pass along a quick note to let you know that garbage pickup schedules have shifted a bit this week to accommodate the Christmas holiday.

You can see the full pickup schedule here, but here's the quick version:
  • If your garbage is normally picked up on Monday or Tuesday, this week it will be Wednesday.
  • If your garbage is normally picked up on Wednesday or Thursday, this week it will be Thursday.
  • Friday's garbage will be picked up as usual.
There will also be a minor change to the schedule next week, as trucks won't go out on New Years Day on Tuesday. Tuesday and Wednesday's garbage will both be picked up on Wednesday.

Again, you can click the link above for the full adjusted schedule and to see the recycling schedule for the holiday week, which is different in some places.

Again, I hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Local Food On The Table For The Holidays

If you're looking for me on a Saturday morning, more often than not you'll find me at the Appleton Downtown Farmers Market. I drive my Facebook friends nuts by posting pictures of my finds, because I'm always excited about the quality and variety of items I'm able to get from our local vendors. Here's what I picked up today:
From left to right: A loaf of ciabatta bread with gorgonzola butter, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, salad greens, a spinach and artichoke pasta salad, a potato salad, carrots, goat cheese curds, eggs, fingerling potatoes, a chicken and some mushrooms.

Appleton is really fortunate as a city to have such a phenomenal farmers market, where I was able to find all these things in one trip even after this week's snow. Having this resource has made it much easier to keep local food as a big part of my life.

I already roasted the chicken and the potatoes for lunch today, and will be making chicken soup with the carrots and ciabatta bread for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Quick Update From December 19th's Meeting

Hey folks,

While tomorrow's expected blizzard closed in, the City Council held their scheduled meeting tonight. Here's an update on three issues I discussed earlier this week:
  • The council approved the "calming measures" on Ashbury 15-0 without discussion as part of a blanket vote on items from the Municipal Services Committee. Ashbury Drive will be narrowed at its intersections with Sourapple and Applecart Drives when the street is redone next summer.
  • The council also approved the Fire Department's request to purchase thermal imaging cameras unanimously and without discussion. 
  • Finally, the recommendation to cancel the city's SWAT agreement with the Town of Grand Chute passed 12-3 after spirited debate. Several aldermen argued that it sends the wrong message to be negating agreements with our neighboring communities, but in the end most sided with an argument that the city needs to support Chief Helein in this matter.
The council will now take two weeks off for the holidays. Committee meetings will resume on the week of  January 7 and the next full council meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 16.

Stay safe, everyone.

Appleton Snow Emergency Declared

With heavy snow expected over the next 48 hours, the City of Appleton has declared a Class III Snow Emergency beginning at 2 am Thursday. That means no cars will be allowed to park on the street, making room for plow crews to keep the roads clear.

You can see the city's full update on the situation here.

The Common Council is still expected to meet tonight as scheduled.

Monday, December 17, 2012

What You May Not Know: Week of December 17

There's always a lot happening with the Appleton City Council, but frequently you wouldn't know if you didn't go looking for news yourself. There's a lot of information buried in the agendas and minutes of various meetings, but most voters probably don't have or make the time to slog through all of that looking for news that impacts their lives.

The Appleton Common Council will meet on Wednesday, December 19 at 7 pm to vote on issues including the following:
  • Approval of street narrowing in two locations on Ashbury Drive, at its intersections with Applecart Drive and Sourapple Drive. This passed 4-0 in the Municipal Services Committee last week, and residents of the area were informed of the plan by a letter several weeks ago.
  • The Appleton Fire Department's request to purchase thermal imaging cameras. This passed 5-0 in the Safety and Licensing Committee on Thursday.
  • The cancellation of the Appleton Police Department's Tactical Response Agreement with the Town of Grand Chute. Nick Penzenstadler of the Post Crescent had a note on this in Sunday's paper. Neither Grand Chute town chairman Dave Showalter nor Mayor Hanna want this to happen, but it was approved 5-0 in the Safety and Licensing Committee at the request of Appleton Police Chief Pete Helein.
The final issue here is easily the most interesting and also possibly the most problematic. The City of Appleton and Town of Grand Chute maintain an agreement for the use of Appleton's SWAT team, but following a recent call Grand Chute refused to pay $186 billed to the town for Chief Helein's time. Helein isn't a part of the SWAT team and doesn't command it, so they felt like it wasn't necessary for him to be there.

This seems like a minor issue but over the last couple of months it's blossomed into a full-blown dispute that could lead to the termination of the agreement. The issue was directed back to the Safety and Licensing Committee on December 5 to give the two sides more time to work out a resolution, but progress has not been made.

It'd be a shame to lose an agreement like this based on what amounts to a difference of opinion, but it seems likely that's what will happen.

The full agenda for the meeting can be seen here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What You May Not Know: Week Of December 10

There's always a lot happening with the Appleton City Council, but frequently you wouldn't know if you didn't go looking for news yourself. There's a lot of information buried in the agendas and minutes of various meetings, but most voters probably don't have or make the time to slog through all of that looking for news that impacts their lives.

If you're one of those voters, here's something you may have missed: The city's Parks and Recreation Committee is meeting on Wednesday night at 6 pm at City Hall, and one of the items on the agenda is discussion of improvements at Vosters Park. This park is down the street from my house, and presumably also near many of yours.

Here's a quick look at the sidewalks as planned. A better version of this picture is available in this week's meeting agenda:

This is a relatively large amount of work being done in the park, and its layout could have a pretty significant impact on further improvements planned in the space in the future (a pavilion and basketball courts have been discussed). However, it's likely to be approved in committee tomorrow and by the full council next Wednesday and this week was the first time I'd heard about it.

Because work wasn't done to inform neighborhood residents that this decision was pending, the decision is going to be made without insight from many of those with strong opinions on the matter: neighbors whose houses border the park, whose children use the facilities and whose property will be most impacted.

Discoveries like this are the primary reason I decided to run for city council. There's a lot going on with city government that I simply don't feel like we're hearing enough about. I think our district needs an alderman that will work to keep his constituents informed about the issues that impact them, and I'd be honored to have the opportunity to serve in that role.

I'm on the ballot!

I come to you a day late but nonetheless with big news: Yesterday shortly after noon I turned in my nomination petitions, officially claiming my place on the 2013 ballot. Thanks to everyone who came forward to sign and nominate me to be your voice on the council.

As of this writing to the best of my knowledge I'm the only candidate on the ballot. Our current alderman (Jim Clemons) hasn't announced if he plans to seek re-election, and no other new challengers have come forward.

I'm excited to have this hurdle behind me so the campaign can move forward. Now, we wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Announcement

After months of consideration, yesterday morning I went down to City Hall and made it official: I'm running for City Council in the April election. The press release I'm sending out to announce my candidacy is below.

Lobner Announces Campaign For City Council Seat

Tuesday morning Kyle Lobner of Appleton filed the necessary paperwork to announce he plans to run for a seat on the City Council in April’s spring elections. Lobner, the 29-year-old Managing Editor of Brew Crew Ball (, is hoping to represent the city’s 13th district. The 13th district includes the city’s 37th, 38th, 39th, 40th, 41st and 58th wards on the city’s northeast side.

“I’m very fortunate to be in a position in my life where I have the time and energy to try to make a difference in my community,” Lobner said. “I’m excited about the possibility of serving on the council and helping move Appleton forward.”

Lobner’s top priority as alderman would be doing more to keep his constituents informed of the Council’s activities so they can get involved, and improving the city website. He’s already launched a campaign blog ( and Twitter account (@appletonCC13).

“As a potential alderman I think it’s important that I find as many ways as possible to communicate with my constituents to keep them informed, ask for their insight and hear their concerns,” Lobner said. “As an elected official I plan to work hard to make sure residents of my district know who I am, where I stand on issues facing the council and what I’m working on.”

Lobner has until January 2 to submit enough petition signatures to get on the ballot. 

“I’d like to get that formality out of the way as soon as possible so we can move forward.” Lobner said.
Spring primary elections are scheduled for February 19, with the city elections scheduled to follow on April 2.

We'll have more on the campaign and issues facing the city in this space going forward, so thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back!