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“Save the Yerkes” is a phrase invented to unite a small collection of groups and as many citizens as possible to “save” the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay from extinction and even potential destruction. There is no question that, following the first attempt to shed itself of the Yerkes nearly ten years ago, the University of Chicago is still trying to sell it off and be rid of it. The last time they were above board about their intentions but suffered so much in the way of bad public reaction and relations that they withdrew that attempt. They are back, however, and much more wizened. This time they will be “forced” to sell because they spent six months advertising that they wanted all this public input and advice. What they want is money. The communities around the lake lack the funds, the personnel, and the wizened capability to run a major educational and fully functioning observatory. The University of Chicago knows that. All these groups of people around the lake and many individuals from all over have been gathered together to discover what might be done to prevent the sale and/or destruction of the observatory.

Unfortunately, that is nothing, just like the University of Chicago knows. Dianne Colman, wife of Mr. Colman, the most do nothing patrician snob who ran the Geneva Lake Conservancy right into the ground, has been put in charge of the volunteer effort. Hosanna in the highest. Here is the mission statement put out on the website for the Save Yerkes effort headed by Mrs. Colman:

“Welcome to the official Save Yerkes Observatory website: Mission Statement: #SAVEYERKES seeks a smooth, productive, and mutually beneficial transition of operations at Yerkes Observatory, in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, from the University of Chicago to the Observatory. We look forward to bringing together the university, staff, community, and all stakeholders by promoting positive feedback and stories through the #saveyerkes platform. Concerned with upholding the values of the observatory and maintaining its link to the surrounding community, we have taken to social media to uphold these principals and values throughout the transition process.”

What was Mrs. Colman’s first objective to accomplish this mission? Find something for the Yerkes to transition to? Nope. She spearheaded an effort to come up with a sticker. Save Yerkes.

Brilliant. The second objective to accomplish the mission? Come up with a “T” shirt. Why not a ridiculous bumper sticker like the fledgling failing Save Hillmoor operation came up with? That’ll work. But Mrs. Colman had one more arrow in her quiver. She had the arrow of silence and last week she hauled that arrow out and fired it (aimed by the University) straight into the heart of any effort to save the Yerkes. She agreed to a confidentiality agreement between herself and the university. What does that mean? That means the entire effort can quietly die in silence. This agreement is supposed to give Mrs. Colman more secret information in order to “negotiate” more effectively.

Negotiate what? The “transition” of the awful, cold and mean-spirited management of the University of Chicago into the good guys they want to be seen as when they dump the Yerkes for cash, which they’ve been going to do all along. Again. One would have thought that Mrs. Colman, who has to live around the lake, might have exercised more intellect and integrity in serving in the role of the Yerkes savior. She has to live among the very people who will be violated by the likely result of what’s going to happen in October. It is recommended that anyone who can, should buy the stickers and “T” shirts because those items are going to become very collectible items indeed, long after Yerkes is just a memory.


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