American Transmission Co--No Clear-cutting of Fellow Mortals Wildlife Sanctuary

  • by: Yvonne Wallace Blane
  • recipient: Mike Rowe, CEO, ATC; Ann Spaltholz, Corporate Communications, ATC

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital was created as a special place for injured and orphaned wildlife to heal and be acclimated for return to the wild. 40,000 animals and over 100,000 people have received help--at no charge--over the last 30 years.

The property is located on a rural road that becomes very busy in the summer months, and very noisy.  The noise and human activity is detrimental to the wildlife in outdoor flights and habitats who require a peaceful, quiet and natural environment to prevent injuries caused by stress, and to prevent habitutation to humans and human activities prior to release.

A utilities easement runs along the front of the property--84 feet in from the centerline of the road.  This easement contains mature spruce and other vegetation that are necessary for the wildlife in the final phase of care.  The trees and other vegetation provide a buffer from traffic noise, human voices and provide security and privacy.

The spruce tree in the easement is over 100 years old and has been trimmed for the nearly 50 years the easement has been in place.  All that changed this spring, when American Transmission Co. announced their intention to clear cut this easement. Sign our petition and urge ATC to trim the trees on the easement, instead of clear-cutting our buffer of beautiful mature trees!

On July 29, 2016, Judge Phillip Koss, Walworth County, Wisconsin, granted Fellow Mortals' request for a Temporary Restraining Order, allowing us the opportunity to proceed to argue for keeping the trees and vegetation that are critical to the sanctuary at Fellow Mortals. 

URGENT: A trial before is scheduled for the week of October 10, and is expected to go for four days.  At this time we are trying to raise the funds to pay for legal expenses.

If you have already signed the petition and want to do more--your donation of even $1 will help.

Our position remains firm: We are not asking ATC for anything we have not always had--the mature trees and dense undergrowth necessary for the welfare of wildlife in rehabilitation and wildlife that live free in the sanctuary of the trees. We are even willing to pay for trimming in perpetuity to keep what we have. How could we be more reasonable?

We continue to be convinced that everything happens for a reason, and that good can come from this upsetting and stressful situation. One of our mantras here is 'You never know.'
Let's make this petition 100,000 voices strong!

Thank you for your support which is keeping the wild ones safe. For ongoing updates, please like us on Facebook.

Update from late June 2016:  This past Friday, two blocked and anonymous phone calls were received from people careful to identify themselves as ‘ex’ and ‘former’ ATC employees.

1. Friday, June 17, 2016, 10:21 a.m. Voice mail from female caller left on Fellow Mortals answering machine: “I am an ex employee from ATC calling to let you know there is no way to win the fight on this mess with them wanting to clear cut. Have them put in something that is endangered species as far as plantings so that they leave the property alone once they’ve done that. They are sadly correct that if you have any sparks it can start tree fires extremely quickly, so for your protection and your animals and saving money on your end since you don’t--are a nonprofit, I am sorry to say this is what’s going to happen, but again ask them for endangered species plantings and perhaps in the future you’ll have better luck with the rest of the contact with them. Take care.”

2. Friday, June 17, 2016, afternoon. Anonymous male caller to Sal Dimiceli, co-founder of the Time is Now to Help, a charity benefitting children, impoverished adults and the elderly in Wisconsin and Illinois. Sal picked up the phone and this is what the caller said: “Hello, I heard that you, Sal, of the Time is Now to Help, are friends with Fellow Mortals. You need to tell them that they are trying to take down Goliath and it’s not going to happen. If they do not behave and go along with ATC they will not have any animals to care for.”

The caller hung up and when Sal dialed *69, he received the information that the call was blocked.

We have filed a report with the Town of Geneva Police. We are asking all of you who live in the area of Fellow Mortals to please watch for any suspicious activity around the sanctuary. Fellow Mortals is bounded by Palmer Road, by residential lawn on one side and fields on the other two sides.

We have operated quietly, privately and safely at this location for 21 years. If a fire starts unexpectedly—if an animal is injured or dies in an outdoor habitat—if anything at all happens on Fellow Mortals property—there will be no doubt it is because of this situation.

Town of Geneva Police Department: 262-248-9926 Walworth County Sheriff’s Department: 262-741-4400

Please help protect the wildlife at Fellow Mortals by sharing this post and THANK the MEDIA for covering this story.

Please also ask ATC CEO Mike Rowe why over 85,000 voices on our Care2 petition online, hundreds of signatures on paper petitions and the personal request of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp are being ignored.

Michael B. Rowe, Chief Executive Officer W234 N2000 Ridgeview Pkwy. Ct. Waukesha, WI 53188-1022 262-506-6870

To:  American Transmission Co. and "Utilities, municipalities, municipal electric companies and electric cooperatives from Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois, with an ownership stake in ATC."

We in the wildlife rehabilitation community are hoping very much ATC will be willing to work with the DNR, the PSC, and Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital to come to an agreement satisfactory to ATC that will do the best we can for Wisconsin wildlife and provide an exception to clearcutting the easement on the unique Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital property.

We realize ATC is within it's legal rights to clearcut the easement that extends 50 feet into the property of Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital from the utility poles. But, we are hoping ATC, known for being one of the country's best workplaces for giving back, will make their employees proud by doing the best ATC can do here for Wisconsin wildlife.

We are begging you reconsider clearcutting the easement on this property. We understand this will result in the need to continue trimming the trees to industry standards each year, which has a cost both in time and money to ATC that is different from that of clearcutting.

We are hoping ATC will be willing to delay clearcutting the property until an agreement for an exception, accommodating this very unique situation, can be reached that is satisfactory to ATC.

Thank you very much for your kind consideration.

Petition language:  Karen Betz Gosse, Wildlife Rehabilitator, Mineral Point, WI

Update #76 years ago
We are grateful for everyone who signed this petition. We lost at trial, and the trees were cut, but you: 1. helped educate about laws protecting migratory birds; 2. raised awareness about easement language; 3. saved thousands of birds and small mammals from injury and death by delaying cutting along the transmission line during the height of nesting season. You can keep up with us or make a donation to help us continue our work at Happy New Year!
Update #67 years ago
Beginning Monday, October 10, we will present our case to the Judge who will decide whether or not the Sanctuary stays safe and the spruce and walnuts are saved from clear cutting. You've gotten us this far--please consider a small donation to help us fight. Even $1 makes a difference.
Update #57 years ago
Fellow Mortals was granted an injunction on June 29 to stop clear cutting of the Sanctuary. A four-day trial has been set to hear our case, beginning October 10. Our attorneys are donating much of their time, but legal fees are mounting. If each one of you who helped by signing this petition could donate just $1--we will have the funds to win this fight. Thank you for your support.
Update #47 years ago
What's new? Please see the story from today's Lake Geneva Regional News. Since then, the Town of Geneva Attorney has responded to ATC that the ordinance does apply. This petition is being mentioned in news stories everywhere!… Please keep sharing the petition--your voices are incredibly important. Thank you!
Update #37 years ago
Congratulations to everyone for speaking, signing, sharing or praying—your voices are being heard.

Fellow Mortals received word yesterday that our Town Board wrote to “notify ATC …that work may not proceed until ATC successfully applies for and receives Plan Commission approval of necessary tree cutting permits.”

We will continue to need your help in the weeks and months to come, and our work is not finished, but our hearts are a little lighter today.
Full update
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