IS IT TRUE January 22, 2015


Fire Alarm Station (2009 May 14)

IS IT TRUE that the Fire Alarm House located at 116 Baker Ave. was slated for demolition in 2013 as a City owned property? …that the Department of Transportation was responsible for the structure and lot and had no use for it?…that the windows were boarded up and lawn and gravel lot kept tidy, but the City department had grown weary of expending funds and manpower?…that upon learning of its fate, the Department of Metropolitan Development took possession of the building and sold it to Michael S. Martin Realty XI LLC for $100 on October 8, 2013?…that the sale was lauded by all within the DMD as the future of that block and that it would soon be the headquarters for Mr. Martin’s business Architectural Renovators, LLC?…that fifteen months later the property is in even worse shape than when owned by the City?…that over the summer it could have been cited for weeds and trash?…that the windows are currently open, and the elements pour into the structure at will?…that this is the same company that is vying for the Owen Block Building?…that the community cannot wait fifteen months for the Owen Block Building to be secured and a renovation project started?…that it is shameful that the Fire Alarm House, built in the early 1900’s has been given to someone who cannot or will not protect it from further demise?…that this is the problem when one entity is relied upon too heavily to be the City’s savior with dilapidated property?…that there is only so much capital and man hours possessed by any company?…that it reminds us of the days when The Kunkel Group, (Mayor Weinzapfel’s golden developer) was the go-to entity for any downtown Evansville property needing improvements?…that the question must be posed as to whether Mr. Martin is capable of taking on any additional projects or is his plate too full?…we wonder if the Owen Block Building will hang in limbo as the Fire Alarm House this last fifteen months or as the McCurdy Hotel has for 6 1/2 years?

IS IT TRUE that the Office of the Mayor gave the Evansville Water and Sewer Department orders to replace 416 meters for Johnson Controls because the subcontractor Vanguard refused to replace them?…Vanguard won’t even clean out the pits if there’s any debris in them they refuses to replace the meters until the maintenance department of the Waterworks cleans the pits out for them?

IS IT TRUE that the City of Evansville is busy doing a job that only government can step in and do when our laws are written poorly and a private business fails and move on?…the lot at the former Miller Plating facility is having a fence put around it and the taxpayers of Evansville are paying the $50,000 tab for the installation?…this is a necessary precaution to keep adults, children, and pets from wandering in and being exposed to the toxic waste that is on this site?…the City County Observer would like to commend the City of Evansville for stepping up to protect the public from the liabilities associated with a toxicity filled lot?…this and other situations like this will hopefully inspire the lawmakers at the state level to amend the legislation about walking away from toxic waste sites by owners with no consequence to pay for their actions?

IS IT TRUE that the CCO also wants to thank and acknowledge President Obama for the improvements in the economy over the last 5 years?…things are better than they were in the depths of the recession in 2010 and the man in charge deserves some credit for the improvements?…the next step in really making life head back to where it was before the wheels came off the bus is to get those middle class wages back to where they were and despite some of the claims the reality is that we are still about $2,500 per year plus inflation away from getting back to the levels of 2008?…that is just the top line number without consideration to the bottom line number which has shrunk due to price increases?…the real key to middle class elevation is to elevate the skills of the people who make up the middle class?…one popular rule of thumb holds that anyone earning 25% more or 25% less than the median is within the middle class?…by that metric, households earning between $38,954 and $64,924 are middle-class?…as rules of thumb go this seems a bit off when it comes to living a traditional middle class lifestyle?…it is also geography dependent with San Franciscans needing nearly $200,000 per year to live a middle class lifestyle while Evansville families can do so for around $50,000?

IS IT TRUE that President Obama’s trial balloon to commit $60 Billion over 10 years to assure that everyone can go to a community college free has commanded much interest?…it has not been that long since community colleges were almost free offering tuition of $10 per credit hour in most locations?…during the last 20 years community colleges, like other higher education institutions have seen tuition rising faster than healthcare until a college education can be the ruin of a young person’s financial future?…IVY Tech, Indiana’s Community College now charges over $130 per credit hour making a full load of 30 credits per year set a kid back $3,900 plus FEES, books and living expenses?…the rise in tuition for college has been driven by easy federal money that is available through the FAFSA program?…as much as we support a more educated work force there is the guarantee that whatever the federal government gets involved in will increase in price?…it is almost a given that whatever program is developed will double the cost to nearly $8,000 per year just through inefficiencies and red tape?…the other stark reality is that the community colleges and even four year universities nowadays are doing the jobs of the high schools?…there was a time before big education that locally controlled schools were turning out students that had thinking skills, could fill out a job application, understood promptness, and had the mathematical skills to balance a checkbook and complete a tax form?…those people were ready to work as valuable employees right out of high school?…rather than hand out free vouchers for community colleges, maybe the best outcome would come from fixing our broken public school system so community colleges can be what they are supposed to be?…that is a low cost alternative for the first two years of college?

Please take time and vote in todays “Readers Poll”.

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  1. IS IT TRUE that the Office of the Mayor gave the Evansville Water and Sewer Department orders to replace 416 meters for Johnson Controls because the subcontractor Vanguard refused to replace them?…Vanguard won’t even clean out the pits if there’s any debris in them they refuses to replace the meters until the maintenance department of the Waterworks cleans the pits out for them?
    I am still wondering why this was not done in house. The meters were upgraded in the eighties and the nineties in house 10% were changed a year it was a requirement in the private contract we had. Also if we broke it we fixed it.

  2. Fencing @ Miller Electroplating:

    $ 50,000 wasted ! Take the Roberts Stadium seats stored under the stage at Mesker Ampitheater, stack them 4-high on their sides, weld and you have an impregnable barrier. EVANSVILLE TRANSPARENCY: light bulbs.

    • Rumor has it that we have been paying $900.+ a month for the fence around the proposed downtown hotel site. Not sure if Tri-State has that contract also.

      • The $900 a month is correct but goes to Klenck. They either own the fence or are making money by being the middle man. In addition to the $900 a month for fencing, there are costs associated with trash removal and mowing. I was told $3000 a year. That puts the cost of annual security and maintenance at $13,800. And of course, if you drive by there you will see that the site is easily accessed and full of trash. As usual, it’s money well spent.

    • That’s a $50,000 erection. They are damn proud of it and want to get all the publicity they can for it. Better late than never, I guess.

    • The failure of the City Administration to not employ its valuable assets (Roberts Stadium seats) in fencing off the toxic waste site is deplorable. In this day of tight budgets, it’s all about asset utilization. Gail Riecken should call them out on SEATGATE.

  3. Do the city attorneys read these contracts? Does anyone actually read them? There would not be a business around if everyone ran their company this way. The council needs to treat their seat like a job and Evansville like a business.

    • Right! The City Councilmen get about $19,000 a year and should treat it like a job. The mayor makes around $100,000 a year, but you didn’t mention him treating his office like a job. The part about running the City like a business is just plain inane. A city is meant to render services to its residents, within the limits of its income, not to turn a profit.
      As for the City Attorney, his firm collects well over a million dollars a year. The more they botch the job and get the City sued, the more hours they can bill the taxpayers for.
      So, yes, you just blame those nasty Democrats on City Council for the City’s troubles. It just can’t be that the Republicans are to blame for any of this.

      • $19,000 plus full benefits is a job! Would the mayor not fall under the “anyone” part of my post? Did I write anwhere that Evansville WAS a business? Have I ever wrote anything supporting Winneke? Once again you read what you want out of something just to argue or ridicule. The point being if you treated the position like a job and ran your city like business these decisions would never go through. A business would have their contracts read by employees like the council and ALL other deciding members SHOULD be doing. You can sit in on any non profit that only spends what they bring in and see that it is ran like a business. Nobody in their right mind would agree to a contract or contracts attached to other contracts without reading what is entailed. If you like blind spending then they can keep treating their position as a past time or hobby. I do not care if they have a R, D or T tattooed on their forhead. Do the job!

  4. I feel like I might be stepping into this one, because it is pretty extraordinary.

    If Michael Martin (highlighted by EDITOR in the IIT today) is not taking it on the chin enough today……GO TO HIS WEB SITE (I will provide a link), it has been HACKED and highjacked by – wait –

    ISIS….yes, ISIS which has posted their promotional recruiting video:

    Here it is:

    • This is Michael Martin Development’s web site, Architectural Renovators, based in Evansville, the $100 buyer of the Firehouse at 116 Baker Avenue.

      • To think how many local people will search for this site due to the Owen Block news… My goodness.

        • EDITOR…do you want to take the pleasure of reporting this ISIS event in Evansville, and perhaps altering the EPD/FBI?

        • Well, it appears none other than ISIS’s hacker, Team System Dz, started bragging to the balance of the hacker community they had hacked Architectural Renovation’s web site yesterday about 9pm last night. I don’t work w/ computers, but am pretty decent at research online. This was found by googling “architecturalreno” for any post w/in the last 24 hours:
          Mirror saved on: 2015-01-21 21:01:05
          Notified by: Team System Dz
          Domain: address: United States
          System: Linux
          Web server: nginxNotifier stats
          This is a CACHE (mirror) page of the site when it was saved by our robot on 2015-01-21 21:01:05

    • There you have it folks. Winnecke has been funneling money to ISIS through AR…

    • Didn’t see any hack, but also didn’t see the hose house listed as a “project”.

  5. 116 Baker:

    Is it true that not a dime of property tax has been paid on this property since its sale in October 2013? Is it true that not a dime of property tax is currently being shown as ever being due on this property?

    Did this property go up for auction to the highest bidder, or was this just another insider deal by the DMD? Can the current owner walk away from the property and leave the demo for the taxpayers?

  6. Great reporting by the CCO on the debacle of the fire house. I’ll just call it McCurdy, Jr.

    Off subject, has anyone seen the bizzare comments from Obama’s fabled Secretary of State John Kerry blaming the Charlie Hedbo Islamic terrorist slaughter on “failure” of the French to integrate the peaceful Muslim pilgrims into French society?:

    Here’s a tip for the liberal and blame us first Obama and Kerry. ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, and other Islamic terrorists have declare jihad on all of the West. They do not want to be integrated into Western society. That is what they are fighting against. Their goal is to impose strict Sharia law worldwide. We are under attack. To blame the West for their perverted religious war is the height of combined arrogance and stupidity by our “leaders”.

  7. This is an excerpt from this meeting:
    Regular meeting held at 4:00 P.M. in Room 301 Civic Center Complex – Administration Building Evansville, Indiana
    November 14, 2013:

    The 116 Baker Fire Building….”It used to be the fire alarm building for many years. Then it was turned into storage. It is in bad shape. Walls are starting to collapse. All the windows are boarded up. People have repeatedly broken into the building. We saw this coming through on a demo order and we approached the Board of Public Works, Dept. of Transportation, who actually in charge of the building, and asked if we could take it on and see if we could find a developer to rehab the building and maybe get a business or office in there. We did a request for proposals. We only got one response. But it was a good one from Michael Martin Development. He plans to move his office, which is currently down in the Haynie’s Corner Arts District on Eighth Street, to this site if the rezoning goes through. But he is in the process of getting his plans together to start remodeling the building. Right now it is zoned R-5. So it needs to go to a C-2 so he can do an office in this building.”

    • Those must be some elaborate plans to take this long. Mr. M. is awfully busy with the work on the Greyhound station. Didn’t he also get “gifted” with the Maybelle and Montrose by KC? It sounds like he already had his hands more than full, and now he’s hacked by ISIS. I thought I was having a bad week!

      • It’s not hard to envision Local in his current configuration wearing a robe and carrying a Kalashnikov. They’ve burrowed into the heart of the homeland, fortunately the weak mullaheke serving as their pointiot can’t shoot straight.

        • Hey, gimme, I have a great life. This week has just been really, really hectic, and I’ve had trouble with one computer and my phone, and had to put tires on my car. I’m touched that you’re so concerned about my happiness, though.

  8. this and other situations like this will hopefully inspire the lawmakers at the state level to amend the legislation about walking away from toxic waste sites by owners with no consequence to pay for their actions?

    This is exactly what is needed. Have you heard any of the local state legislatures talking about this issue? No? well then why not. Where is Becker and the others when this issue is in the news? They should be talking about how to fix this mess and prevent this from ever happening again. But yet they remain silent as the lambs.

  9. Can’t understand why the editor is giving credit to obama for economic improvement for the middleclass, the top 1% has gained under his tenure. The real job growth has been in the public sector paid for by QE…… which inturn expands the money supply and hurts the low and middle income through inflation. High growth and high income areas are the east coast near the federal government where the money is printed. Not a problem for the no income, they don’t pay tax. Robert Reich recently stated that good paying jobs are gone and will not come back. So the good paying jobs are going to be in the public sector paid for by QE…. I guess it’s good as long as it last. It’s taken 6 years to get back where we were under Bush, when he left office gas was $1.79 per gallon and food was 40% percent cheaper. When places like Whirlpool leave it hurts the group that is struggling to maintain low or middle level income, these folks don’t retrain well but I guess that too mundane for big I little U democrats to understand. Democrats don’t worry or think about them, their vote is assured and to ensure future success got to pull illegals in.

  10. Can we start calling Michael Martin ‘Wildfire” , that mellow song he sang in the ’70’s ?

  11. Mr. Editor:

    I must say to you, President Obama discussed many give a ways, socialist plans, in his I am the man speech. Why just pick one to tout or doubt ? We, the American Taxpayer, will be paying for any of the give a ways he discussed, including the 2 year free community college. Why discuss his socialist ways, why discuss any of his give a ways ? They ain’t gonna happen unless there is some way of pulling an Executive Order. We have the Republican Congress to thank for that, and yes, we do need to thank them for that. This is exactly what you and LKB bitch about every couple of days about the local mayor’s spending. The government does not generate any income, they only produce expenses, and as it has been said, the folks that he is taking the money from, to give away to others, will eventually not have any money either, and that is where the country is headed unless government spending, at all levels is not stopped.

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