Sustainable Communities Network Quarterly Meeting Minutes – January 2014


  • Roger Kanitz – City of Menasha
  • Kathy Thunes – City of Menasha
  • Dick Gosse – Outagamie County
  • Mike Van Dyke – Town of Menasha
  • Ria Hull – Town of Menasha
  • Jessica Beckendorf – Outagamie County
  • Christine Miller -Outagamie County

Approval of Notes from January Meeting read by Jessica.

No changes were made. The main points discussed at this w meeting were, NEV policies, E-recycling efforts, a potential for a joint Face Book communication campaign, the expansion of our network membership, and the need to develop a joint work plan for our Network. Jessica promised to email the minutes from the January meeting to the group.

Discussion of Earth Week Information.

The 2013 posters and flyers were passed out to the attendees by Kathy Thunes. The Earth Week Partnership was praised as having expanded with new activities. The entire process was simplified this year and Kathy was able to rely more on email connections to gather the information. The partnership members were encouraged to share the information on their own advertising networks.

Diane Paulstain again did a great job donating her time to complete the poster and flyer for the network. Kathy thanked ECWRPC for printing the posters and flyers. The Network members noted that Kathy again did a great deal of work pulling this all together!

Jessica proposed that we put Earth Week 2014 on the agenda for our next meeting to see how the network can help to expand this effort. Items noted as improvements would be advertising support, meeting earlier (in November) to develop more joint programming, getting more members of the community involved, and looking to a Facebook Sharing initiative.

Chris Miller stated that The Tri-county Recycling Center wants to be involved.

Jessica Beckendorf reported on a Town of Menasha resident’s request for additional study groups around different sustainability topics.

Based on this request, Jessica discussed some options for providing this type of study circle service. More discussion needed at our next meeting. Potential options for our network might be:
1. Working with the group North West Earth Institute (NWEI) on Sustainable Systems for the Work Place.
2. Another option might be to work more with TNS. Jessica suggested we could plan a phone call with a TNS leader at our next network meeting to explore the options they offer.

Mike Van Dyke Opened Discussion on a possible Network Collaboration Project.

He suggested we work on a joint recycling communication project. This then lead to a detailed discussion on how Outagamie and Winnebago counties differ in their handling of recycling advertising and implementation.
1. The larger the entity that provides the recycling effort for a community, the greater the grant $ that they receive from the DNR.
2. Outagamie County handles the effort for the entire county, while each community currently does this independently in Winnebago County.
3. Dollar savings from common brochure and information communication would be one potential benefit from this wider approach.
4. Currently, different communities recycle a different array of materials, such as metal recycling.
5. Chris was asked to discuss this with Jennifer and see what options they see as possible points of discussion for our network. For example, would a three county effort be to our mutual benefit?
6. Jennifer and Chris will then communicate to Jessica whether we need to add a continuation of this discussion to our next meeting agenda.
7. Lastly, it was suggested that our meeting notes generally be placed on our web-site to communicate the information to our network members.

Sharing by Committee Members

Dick Gosse – Outagamie County
1. The county plans to work with others on a Green Festival on August 17th at Sunset Park.
2. They will soon move into their new offices.
3. They have installed an energy wheel at the county jail to reduce heating and cooling costs; system has a 12 year payback outlook.
4. They want to hear more about what other communities in the area are doing in terms of sustainability.
5. They are trying to do more local buying of products and services for community buildings when feasible, like for Brewster Village, the county jail, etc…
6. The county is looking to partner with Riverside Gardens to develop a CSA relationship for Brewster Village and the Jail on a county level.
7. The county continues to work on bike lane expansions. Resources that illustrate the economic benefits of biking to communities were discussed.
8. Dick will contact Dean Gazze to encourage Appleton to send representation to our Network meetings.

Jessica Beckendorf – Outagamie County
1. She will bring information to the county green team on the benefits of the “Cool Choices” game for encouraging environmental behaviors in area children and their families.
2. It is a card game that blends the social media interests of children to have fun saving energy with their friends and family! The kids play and learn on their own.

Mike Van Dyke/Ria Hull – Town of Menasha
1. An outline of activities document was shared with the group. Ria was encouraged to place it on the website for sharing.
2. The Town is expanding their community gardens effort, doubling the number of plots available.
3. They will hold a farmer’s market during the summer on Thursdays every other week.
4. They showed their first Living Sustainably video clip on Storm Water Management after a Town Planning Commission meeting and it was well received.

Kathy Thunes – City of Menasha
1. The details of the new River Front project at the old Gilbert mill site have been discussed.
2. The electronic recycling efforts of the three area communities were worked on. The flyer for these 3 events can be found on the SCN web-site.
3. Discussions on the biking and walking plans for Menasha continue to be held.

Roger Kanitz – City of Menasha
1. A hand-out was provided
2. Support dollars for our Web-Master was again requested. A W9 sheet was handed to the Town of Menasha and Outagamie County. Roger will mail the form to the committee representatives of Neenah, Oshkosh, and Greenville to encourage them to process the $50 charge for his work this year.
3. Members are encouraged to use the site for communications. The new 2013 Earth week activities are listed there and the new sustainability video clips can be accessed there!
4. Members were encouraged to attend the SCN meeting later that day to discuss our web-site.

Our next Network Meeting is set for June 27th at 3 PM at the meeting room at the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission building in Menasha.

Addendum: Summary of Network Website improvements discussed at the SCN meeting April 6th.

Attendees: Roger Kanitz, Mike Van Dyke, Kathy Thunes, Connie Kanitz.

Suggestions were:
1. Placing the Community Network Meeting notes in the Tab listed. It was again noted that each of the 6 current communities can independently place their meeting notes and related information here as well. Each has representatives with access and writing rights on the site.
2. Removing the large map at the top of the site (home page) and placing the names of the Network communities instead. This will condense the page and allow visitors to see the new news listed on this page.
3. Expand the information listed with each of the videos, listing the web-sites that visitors can go to and get more information on the topic. This information is in the videos, but this would allow folks to get that information without watching the video again.
4. Adding in more links to other sustainable web-site and videos. The short TNS two minute video on sustainability was suggested as an example. Other websites on sustainable living were suggested too.

Comments are closed.