I cover the waterfront. Recommended reading, links galore, plentiful screenshots, occasional commentary, line and column graphs, photographs, and color-coordinated PowerPoint slides. Not to mention Update City.
In a November 1987 interview with Restaurant Business, Cain predicted Godfather's would "exceed 1,000" restaurants within three years and take on its larger rivals. It wasn't to be. "We were smaller and we could be nimble," Wiggins says, "but cash flow was the issue for us. Going up against Little Caesars, Pizza Hut, and Domino's—we just found it daunting." By the time Cain left the company in 1996 to head the National Restaurant Assn., the industry's powerful lobbying group, the number of Godfather's restaurants had dwindled to the low 500s.
Today, Godfather's Pizza is the nation's 10th-largest pizza chain by sales, according to PMQ Pizza Magazine. The company's current officials would not reflect on Cain's leadership there—or say whether they are rooting for their old boss in 2012. Godfather's "takes no position on political candidates," the company said in a statement. "But we do make great pizza."
I was raised in Arizona using the public library system. I left the Rockford Public Library today without a library card, but I felt relieved when I thought I was eligible for the Cherry Valley Library.
But I left with no library card in hand and tears in my eyes because an out-of-district resident must pay $140 a year to use the library here.
Click here to view the great illustrations that accompany this article.
Excerpt:Seattle has a brand-new bookmobile -- a red, white and blue van that went into service this week. The vehicle replaces one of four that deliver books to child-care centers, nursing homes and homebound residents who can't get to the library.
Excerpt: The Common Council did not make a decision Thursday about providing partial funding for the proposed $1.5 million Portage Public Library expansion project, but Council members now have more detailed information.
Backed by about 15 people in attendance to support the project, Library Board President Richard Davis asked the city for $400,000 of public financing and made the case for why it should be included in the 2012 city budget.
"We all know how tight city budgets are. We all understand that," Davis said Thursday during a regular meeting of the Portage Common Council. "If we forget, we just have to look in the paper and be reminded. We know that the decision to include the library in the city budget is not going to be an easy one. We don't expect it to be, but we expect and hope that you give our project some serious consideration."
Excerpt: Our circulation statistics show that 8,092 physical books have been checked out to our patrons from January 2011 through September 2011. In contrast, only 44 ebooks have been checked out to our patrons from January 2011 through September 2011. If you look at the statistics for all 29 libraries in the Northern Waters Library System (of which Boulder Junction Public Library is a member), total ebook checkouts for 2010 was 553 and ebook checkouts for January through May of 2011 is already 764.
The conclusion I draw from these statistics is that overall ebook usage is increasing; however, ebook usage at the Boulder Junction Public Library is seeing slower growth. At the Sept. 29 town meeting Ms. Mabie referred to in her letter to the editor, I asked the attendees to raise their hands if they owned an e-reader. About five to eight people raised their hand out of about 100 in attendance. I then asked how many in the audience would rather read an ebook than a physical book and roughly 10 raised their hands. Since this meeting was a random sampling of Boulder Junction residents, this means that only 8-10 percent of Boulder Junction residents are currently embracing the ebook trend.
Excerpt:Concerning space in the library, I explained the new technologies with electronic books and the future of them. I also gave examples how the Library of Congress is willing to help local libraries set up ideas so that space can be saved and how new ideas can be implemented.
Excerpt: Revenues are down significantly in state aid, building permits and municipal court.
That anticipated loss of $216,000 is causing headaches for the city's leaders as they work through the 2012 budget process.
Those losses combined with expenditure increases of $70,000 for police, $15,000 for public works and $10,000 for fire services and city officials still must make some decisions on how to balance the 2012 budget.
As of last Thursday night, the city's deficit was about $40,000.
There appears to be at least three options being considered to deal with the deficit:
Increase the levy, which will raise the tax rate less than 1 percent.
Find more areas to cut.
Pull more money from the parking and lakefront revenue-generating funds to place in the general fund.
Excerpt:Balancing the 2012 budget just got a little harder for Rhinelander officials. A deficit was already anticipated due to cuts at the state level and the city still having union contracts to honor. That eliminated the ability to realize much savings from employees' increased retirement contributions. But now that hole is even larger due to a budgeting error recently discovered that has been occurring for the last three years.
In 2009, 2010 and 2011, city officials had thought they approved a balanced budget said City Administrator Blaine Oborn. In fact, there was around $400,000 in revenue each of those years that was incorrectly recorded, making it appear as if there was more money available for city operations than there actually was. Now that $1.2 million of incorrectly recorded revenue over three years is catching up with city officials.
"The actual expenditures and reporting was done correctly, but the budgeting was wrong," Oborn said.
The discrepancy was with the revenue generated from the city's TIF districts. Those districts have a property tax base. Any tax revenue generated beyond that due to improvements in the district is separate from the rest of the city's property tax revenue. It is meant to be used for infrastructure improvements in those districts, not toward city operations. But that wasn't how it was listed on the budget city officials would see. On the budget that TIF revenue was lumped in with the rest of the property tax revenue in the general fund.
Excerpt: Potential changes to garbage collection, parks and rec services, and funding for a community development specialist were key topics as the Ripon Common Council batted around a 2012 budget that includes more than $100,000 in cuts.
Discussion began last week Thursday, and culminated Tuesday night in the Common Council moving ahead with the budget as presented by city staff.
The decision means the city expects to cut its K-9 service, several staff positions and reduce street maintenance funding by 60 percent.
The new 12,770-square-foot building at 5190 N. 35th St. will house the new Villard Square Library Branch on the first floor and 47 apartment homes targeted to care-giving grandparents. The new branch will be replacing the 43-year-old Villard Avenue Library at 3310 W. Villard Ave., which was aging and energy-inefficient, according to a news release.
The grand opening celebration at 9:45 a.m. will include a parade of books from the old branch to the new, an opening ceremony by Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Public Library officials, and student performances. The apartments, which will be rented at below-market rates to moderate-income workers, will also be available for tours, the news release said. Rental applications will be accepted.
The affordable apartments are aimed at putting children from broken homes into stable environments by having them live with their grandparents. The library below is designed with kids in mind - 50 desktop and laptop computers, community meeting and study rooms, children's and teen areas, and self-checkout stations.
Excerpt: The estimated 2012 deficit for the city of Shawano has grown to $270,000, but City Administrator Michael Hall believes the bleeding has stopped for the most part.
Hall informed the city Finance Committee earlier this week of the new estimate, which he attributed to several factors, including a projected $30,000 shortfall with the city taxi service, which the Common Council this week tentatively committed to for another year.
Excerpt:A flurry of city employee retirements in the next month or two, especially in the Public Works Department, could have city officials scrambling to plow streets or perform other tasks, but the retirements also give the city the possibility of realizing significant savings in next year's budget, officials say.
"We have an opportunity to change a lot of staff and save a lot of money," Public Works Director Bill Bittner told the city Public Works Committee Tuesday night. "There are a ton of opportunities in the new law to save money and actually improve service."