Sun Prairie Fire Department service awards (2019)

Sun Prairie Fire Chief Chris Garrison (left) and Mayor Paul Esser (second from left) presented service awards to members of the Sun Prairie Fire Department during the Aug. 6, 2019 Sun Prairie City Council meeting held in the council chambers at the Sun Prairie Municipal Building, 300 E. Main St.

Sun Prairie Mayor Paul Esser and Sun Prairie Fire Chief Chris Garrison on Aug. 6 presented service awards to nine Sun Prairie Fire Department personnel whose combined service totals 145 years.

Both Esser and Garrison thanked the firefighters for their service not only to the City of Sun Prairie, but also to the towns of Bristol, Burke and Sun Prairie that also benefit from protection by the Sun Prairie Fire Department.

The following firefighters were recognized for their years of service at the August 6, 2019 City Council meeting:

Five Years — Tiffany Reed.

Ten Years — Mark Mlekush, Greg Pavlik, Aaron Huebner, Natalie Courtier, Garrett Voss.

Twenty Years — Joe Tarnowski.

Thirty-five Years — Kevin Dahmen, Scott Miller.

To watch video from the presentation, check out the Videos section of

Resolution approved

Although alders delayed an anti-harassment ordinance (no longer referred to as bullying), alders did vote to approve a resolution authored by District 2 Alder Theresa Stevens.

Stevens’ resolution recognizes the Sun Prairie Area School District Task Force on Bullying and Student Behavior, and supports the group’s collective work to educate and engage with the public to end bullying behaviors.

The resolution also states, “it is the collective vision and mission of the Sun Prairie City Council to ensure a welcoming, nurturing and safe community that is free of discrimination using restorative practices to facilitate changes in culture and practice.”

It also calls for the council, whenever possible to “support the engagement of community based organizations doing restorative justice work and actively seek to identify support for restorative practices programs” including training by city employees as well as members of the Sun Prairie Police Department.

The resolution encourages “the building of a community registry of trained facilitators who can handle issues that arise in their neighborhoods.”

A similar resolution will be authored by Sun Prairie School Board member Bryn Horton for consideration by the Sun Prairie School Board.

Idling ordinance approved

Sun Prairie District 1 Alder Emily Lindsey requested an ordinance be re-created to prohibit the idling of vehicles.

City Attorney Mark Leonard, in a memo to the council, wrote that the modified ordinance will “attempt to limit emissions and deter unnecessary consumption of fossil fuels. The ordinance appears to be in conformity with overarching goals of conservation and sustainability as outlined by the Common Council. Ordinances such as this one have a secondary benefit in that idling vehicles can become a target for auto thieves.”

Lindsey, as well as the two residents who suggested it — Brian and Martha Berninger — said the city should do more to discourage global warming, and part of that includes the idling of vehicles.

The ordinance states, “No person shall permit any motor vehicle to stand or remain unattended on any street, alley or other public area, except an attended parking area, unless either the starting lever, throttle, steering apparatus, gear shift or ignition of the vehicle is locked and the key for such lock is removed from the vehicle. Whenever any police officer shall find any vehicle standing with the key in the ignition in violation of this section, such officer is authorized to remove such key from the vehicle and deliver the key to the police station for safe custody.”

A vehicle operator may be found to be in violation if the engine of any motor vehicle to operate in idle for longer than five consecutive minutes while stopping, standing, or parking on any highway or place open to the public, according to the ordinance.

Exceptions to the ordinance include:

• Idling as needed when the ambient temperature is below 20°F or above 90°F;

• Idling as needed to operate defrosters, heaters, air conditioners, or other equipment, to prevent a health or safety emergency, including for the purpose of providing shelter;

• Idling as needed for testing, servicing, repairing, or diagnostic purposes;

• Idling as needed to operate auxiliary equipment for which the motor vehicle was designed, other than transporting goods, including, but not limited to, operating a transportation refrigeration unit, lift, crane, pump, drill, hoist, or ready mixed concrete mixer; and

• Idling as needed for traffic conditions over which the driver has no control, including, but not limited to, traffic congestion, an official traffic control device or signal, a railroad crossing while a train is passing or the crossbars are down, traffic controls in a construction zone, or at the direction of a law enforcement official.

The ordinance also exempts city emergency services vehicles, which often idle to keep equipment inside them fully operational, and provide a safe temperature for officers, K-9 officers, passengers, patients or suspects.

Alders quizzed Acting Police Chief Brian Teasdale on what actions officers might take if they found a vehicle operating without a key inside. District 3 Alder Mike Jacobs said he knows there are vehicles that can operate without keys and only fobs, but doesn’t have personal knowledge of those vehicles.

“I’ve seen them in movies,” Jacobs said.

Lindsey and other alders pointed out the fobs usually contain keys, but could allow vehicles to remain locked and passengers remain inside to remain warm or cool if the vehicle remains operational.

Leonard said the ordinance was substantially the same as the one approved by Madison two years ago.

Alders approved the resolution unanimously.

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