This website is dedicated to grassroots neighborhood movements that seek to protect the environment and improve the quality of life for the surrounding residents.


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The neighbors in the Dodge County Township of Shields, just northwest of Watertown, WI found themselves embroiled in a tragedy that evolved into a controversy after a massive fire at a tire recycling facility.  Local residents had tried for years to urge officials to bring the company into compliance.

On July 19, 2005 a fire began that burned for six days.  Plumes of smoke were sent into the atmosphere as photographed by NASA satellites.  A special foam agent was used to extinguish the blaze.  108 fire departments and more than 25 agencies assisted in handling the disaster.

The grassroots organization that evolved was neither anti-business, nor anti-renewable energy, yet the response to their efforts was often politicized.  The residents experienced the transition from having a state-supported, to a state-prosecuted, corporate neighbor.

After considerable public pressure, the WDNR referred WTR to the Wisconsin Department of Justice for prosecution of alleged violation of scrap tire storage and permit violations, including lack of maintaining adequate fire lanes.

A settlement was reached in June of 2006.


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© 2006 Mike Sage