Former UWO Chancellor Accused of Illegal Use of Tax Money

Amazing how this can go on for so long and with so much money.

OSHKOSH – Former University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells is accused of overseeing the illegal transfer of more than $11 million in university funds to support five Oshkosh-area building projects.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Dane County by the UW System claims Wells and Tom Sonnleitner, retired UWO vice chancellor of administrative services, made illegal financial guarantees between 2010 and 2014 to secure backing for high-profile building projects on and around the Oshkosh campus and later used university funds to support foundation projects, which is prohibited by state law.

[…]

Wells and Sonnleitner are accused of authorizing multiple transfers to the projects between 2010 and 2016. They included $1.46 million for the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center; $2.17 million for Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Oshkosh; $4.14 million for a biodigester in Rosendale that converts waste to energy; $2.33 million for a second biodigester on Witzel Avenue; and $806,000 for the Oshkosh Sports Complex, which includes Titan Stadium, according to the civil complaint.

Sonnleitner also authorized transfers to the foundation that were not tied to a specific projects, one of which occurred a week after he was suspended by the university. Those transfers totaled an additional $344,000, according to the complaint.

In October 2014, Sonnleitner also entered the university into a lease agreement with the foundation that obligated the university to pay $700,000 a year to use the biodigester. The university payments required by the lease were unconstitutional, the lawsuit claims.

That $11 million could have funded a lot of education for students. Also, remember that these same folks were crying poor to the legislature and the public as they were illegally funneling money to private projects.

I would suggest that law enforcement look into who was actually receiving all of this money and who the owners and investors of those companies are. Someone was benefiting from this.

Vos Accepts Reality of Gas Tax Increase

Good. He’s seeing the light.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Wednesday said it’s unlikely that lawmakers will increase the state’s gas tax to help erase a projected $1 billion deficit in funding road projects.

Vos, R-Rochester, and Gov. Scott Walker have been at odds over how to pay for roads, including raising the state’s gas tax.

But at a forum Wednesday, when asked by an audience member if he would raise her gas tax so she could help pay for road fixes, Vos said, “Probably not.” That was a signal that Assembly Republicans would stop calling for Walker to consider the idea.

“If you are a card player, I have a pair of twos, the governor has a straight and I have to draw three of a kind to win. Now it’s not impossible, but I wouldn’t bet on me,” he told an audience at a luncheon hosted by Wispolitics.com.

Washington County Board Extends Sales Tax

Once again, the Washington County Board extends the sales tax that was supposed to be temporary, thus confirming the maxim that “there is no such thing as a temporary tax.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, members of the Executive Committee voted to approve a resolution that extends the 0.5 percent sales tax for qualified items. The resolution was amended such that it would be reviewed every five years. The original allowed the tax to continue indefinitely unless there was a concern.

“It is pretty important,” Administrator Joshua Schoemann said. “It is a significant portion. Well over 10 percent of our total operating budget comes from the sales tax. In addition to that, the sales tax precludes us from having to borrow specifically for road improvements.”

According to the accompanying committee report, a sales tax was adopted in 1998 by County Board supervisors and implemented in 1999. Nearly all products are included in the resolution, but there are exceptions, such as food.

“At that time, it was primarily about Fair Park,” Schoemann said. “When they developed Fair Park, that is the revenue source they used to pay off the debt.”

Yes, it is very convenient for Washington County Government to have more money. How nice for them /sarcasm.

The newspaper soft sells it, but for those who don’t know the history… the county had a few major and “urgent” capital projects for which they did not have the money. To address this, they enacted the county’s first sales tax. The tax was supposed to be implemented until those specific projects were paid off, and then sunset. Instead of doing that, when those projects were done, the County Board just decided to keep the tax going and use the money to pay for whatever they want.

Never. Ever. EVER trust a politician who tells you that a tax will just be a temporary measure to cover emergency expenditures.

Wisconsin Projects Surplus

It’s still just a projection, but it’s positive news as the legislature considers the next budget. Since there’s “extra” money, the taxpayers can expect a refund, right?

Wisconsin’s biennial budget picture got $714 million brighter Wednesday, with a projected deficit turning into a small surplus, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Fiscal bureau director Bob Lang reported tax revenues are expected to be $455 million higher than what the Department of Administration projected in November. Also, spending in the current fiscal year that ends June 30 is expected to be $226 million lower — largely due to lower-than-expected Medicaid enrollment — and other revenues are expected to be $33 million higher.

That turns what was thought to be a $693 million deficit for the upcoming budget into a $21 million surplus, including all departmental budget requests.

It also adds more cushion to the state’s bottom line as it closes out the 2015-2017 budget cycle. Previously the net balance was about $40 million. The latest estimate has the state closing out the year with a $362.2 million ending balance.

Obama Forgives a Traitor

Help me understand this… Obama rattles his war saber at Russia over information they allegedly gave to Wikileaks about the Democratic Party, but he forgives a traitor who released classified military information to Wikileaks? I agree with this:

Manning isn’t a woman in need of rescue. He’s a soldier who committed serious crimes. He wasn’t a “whistleblower,” as many of his defenders claim. He just dumped hundreds of thousands of classified documents into the public domain for the purposes of “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms” without the slightest regard for the lives of others. There is no excuse. Manning is a traitor who pled guilty to a lesser offense to avoid the full penalty for his crimes. He has received too much mercy already. Obama’s commutation of his sentence is a disgrace.

Considering our library and its debt

My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here you go:

A little spat over debt between the West Bend library and the city of West Bend, of which the library is a part, has been resolved, but it begs us to confront some broader questions.

At issue was an old debt. Thanks in part to generous donations from individuals, the West Bend library undertook a major expansion project at the turn of the millennium. But as is always the case with projects of this sort, the taxpayers were not left completely off the hook. Part of the project was financed through debt that Washington County and the city of West Bend agreed to pay back.

For almost two decades, Washington County has been paying roughly $100,000 to the city of West Bend and the city put in about $150,000 to pay off the debt.

The process was a bit convoluted. Since the library is an entity of the city and the city managed the debt, the process was set up so that the county would pay the city; then the city would allocate the funds to the library; then the library board would authorize the same funds to be sent back to the city for the service of the debt. As some point, someone at the city decided that such a process was convoluted and the city just bypassed allocating the money to the library.

The squabble over it arose last year when the Library Board decided that its prerogative was being violated because it should authorize payment to the city. In trying to unravel all of this, it was found that there was very little documentation to back up any of these agreements — including the term for paying off the debt. Since the process was all part of the internal workings of the city and the Common Council decided all of this in closed session over 15 years ago, nobody perceived a need for rigorous documentation.

Since nobody could tell any different, the library and the city agreed last week that they would consider the debt fully repaid in two years, at which time the money the county and the city allocate to the library every year for this purpose would be banked for capital projects.

This invites the question, what might those capital projects be? Would it be a wise expenditure of tax dollars to expand or renovate of the library?

And in the digital age, do the taxpayers really need to spend money on a traditional library at all? In the past, libraries served a critical function to diffuse knowledge into a community. Books were expensive and most homes rarely contained more than a Bible and a handful of other books. We relied on libraries to provide a window to the past and to the wider world.

The internet has changed almost everything in our society and libraries are not immune.

Now people can access billions of books, magazines, newspapers, pictures, films, recordings, and other media in hundreds of different languages within seconds. The internet did not just open the window. The internet has torn it off its hinges and kicked down the wall to provide a panoramic view.

As a lifelong bibliophile, I love libraries. I love bookstores too. Despite also being a technophile, I vastly prefer browsing a dusty row of books or paging through the dog-eared pages of a good book to the glow of a screen.

But I can get the same knowledge from a tablet and it is difficult for me to justify the taxpayers paying for preference of reading format.

The taxpayers currently spend about $1.4 million per year on the library and the Library Board expects some major capital needs within a few years. To put that in perspective, it would only cost about $1.34 million per year to provide each of the roughly 13,500 households in West Bend with a subscription to Amazon Prime with access to far more information than the library could ever hold. While that probably is not the best alternative, there are certainly many alternatives to the traditional library model that would cost far less.

The mission of the West Bend library is, “to be a lifelong learning resource by providing quality services, resources, and learning opportunities through a variety of formats to meet informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs of the community.”

With the world changing around us, it is prudent to consider if there are other means by which the library can accomplish its mission.

Cambodia Cancels Exercises with U.S.

This is interesting

U.S. Embassy spokesman Jay Raman confirmed in an e-mail that the exercises for 2017 and 2018 have been canceled. He said military exchanges and training programs are not affected. After the local elections in June, Cambodia will hold a general election in 2018 in which long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen is expected to face a strong challenge.

Some analysts tied the cancellation more closely to China’s influence in the region, which they believe will be exercised more vigorously after Donald Trump becomes U.S. president. Trump’s rhetoric on China has been unfriendly, and he has suggested that the U.S. may reduce its involvement in the region.

Southeast Asian nations, even traditional allies of the United States such as the Philippines, have recently drawn closer to China as Beijing flexes its diplomatic and military muscle in the region. Cambodia depends on China as its most important ally and has demonstrated its willingness to do Beijing’s bidding in diplomatic initiatives in the region, especially regarding Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.

“China is going to test the United States,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a professor of political science at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. “This is one of the early test signals. Cambodia is a bit part in the overall picture.”

Questionable Investing

This is why politicians get so dang rich while “serving” the people.

Washington (CNN)Rep. Tom Price last year purchased shares in a medical device manufacturer days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the company, raising new ethics concerns for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary.

Price bought between $1,001 to $15,000 worth of shares last March in Zimmer Biomet, according to House records reviewed by CNN.

What a Game

Sorry for the short hiatus. Did you miss me? I didn’t think so. I was occupied…

20170115_153517

Massive Cost Overruns for California High Speed Train

What!?!? Unheard of! /sarcasm

California’s bullet train could cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more. And that’s just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

A confidential Federal Railroad Administration risk analysis, obtained by The Times, projects that building bridges, viaducts, trenches and track from Merced to Shafter, just north of Bakersfield, could cost $9.5 billion to $10 billion, compared with the original budget of $6.4 billion.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Wash. Co. 4-H members file stories from Presidential Inauguration   By Mariah Mihm

Hi, our names are Mariah and Ashley Mihm.  We are two of 11 delegates from Washington County 4-H going to the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. This is a highly sought after opportunity and we are excited to be part of it.

We found out about this trip in November 2015, a year before the actual election.

Washington County 4-H did a great job promoting the opportunity, sending information packets and e-mails, explaining the activities involved as well as reminders on the sign-up date.

In March 2016, applications became available online. At 6 p.m. when the application opened, members would fill out simple questions about themselves and submit it within a couple minutes.

Delegates were chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis; there were 31 spots available for all Wisconsin 4-H members.

My sister Ashley and I decided to double up on the application system. I sat at the kitchen table on the laptop as Ashley was on the desktop. We logged in at 5:30 p.m. and anxiously waited for the process to open at 6 p.m. Once the application was available, we quickly filled out the questions.

After waiting a couple of months for an answer from the state, we both got letters congratulating us for securing a spot on the trip.

Our 5-day adventure to Washington D.C. begins Tuesday, Jan. 17. All delegates are departing from the Milwaukee airport around 1 p.m. The inauguration of the President of the United States is Friday, Jan. 20.

Watch for updates from the Presidential Inauguration as members of Washington County 4 – H file stories at WashingtonCountyInsider.com

Retired Slinger band teacher facing sex assault charge

Charges were officially handed down in on Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court as former Slinger High School band director David T. Hanke, 66, was charged with a Class D Felony for alleged sexual assault of a student by school staff. If convicted Hanke faces up to $10,000 in fines, up to 10 years in prison, or both.

Hanke appeared in court Wednesday afternoon before Judge James Pouros.

Hanke had a court appearance for a bail/bond hearing before Washington County Judge Andrew Gonring on Dec. 14, 2016 at which time a $3,000 signature bond was signed and Hanke was told to have “no unsupervised contact with females under age of 16. No contact with HLB or RAS.”

The criminal complaint was filed by a former Slinger High School student who was under 18 years old when the alleged assault occurred around September 1999 or 2000. The complaint said the girl was a band student in Hanke’s class. She recalled going to his house, drinking a beer and then going to the basement of the home where a back massage turned to “grabbing and groping.”

In 2004 – 2005 the complaint said the woman wrote an anonymous letter to the school but did not want to disclose the incident. In 2016 she reportedly wrote another signed letter to the principal at Slinger High School and he turned it over to authorities.

“We’re very troubled by the news about our former colleague and we have tremendous compassion and sadness for what the alleged victim went through in this circumstance,” said Slinger High School Superintendent Daren Sievers.

“We will be fully supportive and cooperative of all aspects of this investigation and the pending charges and it’s disappointing to see Slinger School District attached to this type of accusation.”

Sievers said the school district is “prepared to be supportive to anything connected to these accusations.”

“We need parents to trust that these accusations are very much isolated to the year 2000,” said Sievers. “We’re doing everything we can every day to provide a top educational experience and a safe educational experience for their kids.”

Sievers also stressed “it’s important for parents to talk very openly about what they’re experiencing in school so they know what they’re feeling and experiencing.”

Hanke retired in June 2012 after a 37-year career in the Slinger School District. Sievers described him as a “valued member and a high-performing band teacher with quality programming for kids.”

Sievers said, “Our heart goes out to the victim until we know more.” Hanke was ordered to return to court on January 30, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.

Slinger High School evacuated Friday following dryer fire

It’s been a one-two punch for the Slinger School District this week but administrators are handling it with a great deal of professionalism and organization.

District Superintendent Daren Sievers said a clothes dryer in the basement of the high school caught fire this morning. “It’s an industrial-strength dryer and some towels were in there,” he said. “The phy ed teacher found it along with head of maintenance and the principal and AD chipped in and got fire extinguishers and put the fire out.”

The smoke forced evacuation of the building. Nobody was injured. Sievers said the Slinger Fire Department has determined that toxin levels are low enough for people to return to the building.

Long Branch Saloon for sale

 

Watch for the Long Branch Saloon, 1800 Barton Avenue, in Barton to go up for sale. The local restaurant at the corner of Barton Avenue and Commerce Street closed in early 2016. The building went to a sheriff’s sale and then got hung up in the system. Paula Becker with Re/Max United is listing the property for $184,500. The property was last assessed at $242,200.

 

The property is described: Former popular restaurant and tavern needs new owners to breathe new life into it. Priced right, the dining room is in great shape, as is most of the bar area. The kitchen needs a renovation to be usable again. Historic building sits on a very visible corner, well traveled by those entering Barton/West Bend from the NE. Spacious two-bedroom apartment upstairs with separate entrance can also be accessed from the bar. Parking pad for two cars, shed, and little yard to the east.

 

New wine bar opening in West Bend

 

Remodeling is underway for the new Riverview Arts & Spirits, 277 S. Main Street in West Bend. “This is a natural expansion and the town needs it,” said owner Tammy Denz.

 

The space for wine and art is connected to Denz current business, Zodiac on the River, which is a “unique shop that offers seasonal full service Kayak/River Tube Adventures/Rentals, an Internet Café, an Event Venue for rent and Electronic Cigarettes, MODS, and over 100 E- Juices.”

 

Denz said she was exploring a venue similar to Board & Brush in Cedarburg. “This isn’t just wine and art it’s stained glass and people can come in and use the expensive equipment like our pottery wheel and we’ll have days where members can come in for classes and eventually we’ll expand out to the river with a deck,” she said.

 

The past few weeks Denz has been taking the space, connected to the south of her store, down to the bare walls as she prepares to add the bar, some high-top tables and bring in more light.

 

“The bar will be open until 11 p.m. and over here we’ll have large windows overlooking the river and there will be tables made out of the recycled wood from the Habitat Restore,” she said.

 

An opening date is tentatively around mid February. Denz is looking to establish a local connection with a wine vendor. Anyone interested can contact Denz at riverviewartsandspirits@gmail.com

 

The space next to Zodiac opened after the owner of ROOTZ purchased the old John’s Decorating building, 536 S. Main Street.

 

Laura Pedersen purchased the building for $80,000 and will re-open her business. Pedersen opened ROOTZ (Fair Trade and Locally Made) in 2011.

New sous chef at Café Soeurette

Café Soeurette will celebrate 10 years in business this year and owner Jodi Janisse-Kanzenbach is preparing to take the S. Main Street restaurant in West Bend to the next level.

One of the primary steps has been to hire sous chef Kyle Pett, 30.

“Jodi’s farm-to-table concept is what drew me in,” said Pett.

A native of Lake Mills, Pett went to Waukesha County Technical College for culinary management along with hotel and restaurant management. After spending time at the Oconomowoc Lake Club and La Merenda in Milwaukee, Pett was ready for a new adventure.

“Jodi had been talking with one of my old mentors and our paths crossed and she was looking for someone and here I am,” he said.

Starting in 2007 Executive Chef Janisse-Kanzenbach has morphed Café Soeurette into a trend-setter that’s been helping set the restaurant scene in West Bend.

She has opened her doors to host cooking classes, taken her restaurant to the middle of Main Street for Dish Downtown and inspired by seasonal produce Janisse-Kanzenbach struck up a partnership with vendors at the local Farmers’ Market. She has pickled and canned produce that would rival any grandma’s pantry.

Janisse-Kanzenbach has also grown her family and with a 2 year old in the mix she said investing in another sous chef was needed. “It’s just time to take the restaurant to that next level,” she said. “With farm-to-table and my kid, my time is a little more limited. I’m still in the kitchen but now I have somebody who can take care of these things and create new menu items while I’m running the business and working on marketing.”

Janisse-Kanzenbach spent several months looking for the right person to add in the kitchen. “I almost didn’t even bring Kyle in because I felt he was overqualified for the position,” she said. “I’m glad I took the leap because we have a lot of the same flavor profiles and we believe in the same things from a culinary aspect.”

WB common council approves salary for new city clerk

During this week’s West Bend common council meeting Mayor Kraig Sadownikow read a proclamation declaring January 16-20, 2017 as Adult School Crossing Guard Recognition Week. There were a couple of crossing guards in attendance out of 16 that help safely guide students to school in the morning and get them home in the afternoon.

“West Bend is proud of our school crossing guards and commend them highly for their continued commitment to the safety and well-being of our children,” said Sadownikow.

“And tell that guy at the corner of Main and Decorah to put some pants on,” said Sadownikow referencing crossing guard Chucky Fellenz.

In other action during Monday’s meeting the council voted unanimously to hire Stephanie Justmann as its new clerk.

Justmann takes over from Amy Reuteman, who left at the end of December to take over the clerk’s position in Rome, Wisconsin. Justmann’s salary was approved at $65,985. She will start the job January 23.

With that hire brings a vacancy at clerk in the Village of Kewaskum. Administrator Matt Heiser said they’re currently accepting applications and said Justmann will be missed.

Meeting on the No Reliever Route

There is an open meeting Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hartford Town Hall on Highway K about the latest developments regarding the proposed Highway K reliever route.

The Washington County Board is moving closer to making decisions regarding this reliever route option.

The preliminary engineering report will be presented at a joint meeting of the Executive Committee and the Public Works Committee of the County Board on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 7 a.m. The meeting will be at the Ziegler Building at the Washington County Fairgrounds.

Questions/comments will not be taken from the public at this meeting. A “listening session” for public feedback on this reliever route alternative will be scheduled for February.

Updates & tidbits

 

-The West Bend East National Honor Society will be presenting a check today for $1,085.94 from its holiday loose-coin drive to the family residing in the new Habitat for Humanity home on Bender Road in West Bend.

 

-Nabob Prairie Riders Snowmobile Club is hosting its 18th annual Winterfest & Fisheree on Saturday, Jan. 14 on Big Cedar Lake. There will be raffles, cash prizes, food and music at House of Heileman’s. Winterfest tent opens at 9 a.m.  Fish judging at 3 p.m.

-There will be a 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Kewaskum Junior Women’s Club on Sunday, Jan. 15 at Hon-E-Kor Country Club, Kewaskum. Noon lunch followed by a program.

– Sonny’s Party & Variety in Slinger is holding a 70% off sale. In true five & dime store fashion, Sonny’s ad reads like a carnival barker for retail. “This is your last chance to stock up on items you’ll need soon anyhow. A whopping 70% off everything. Bargains galore at Sonny’s Party store on Highway 175 in the Village Square Shopping Center in Slinger. Free peg board and scrap wood. Weekday hours 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– The Washington County Dairy Promotion Committee is looking for volunteers to serve on its board (3-year term). Three positions will be voted on at the Feb. 2 annual meeting. Contact President Bill Hinckley if interested at williamh921@charter.net or 262-365-9734.

– Someone with the West Bend Theatre project will address the common council during its January 23 meeting. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow made clear the council has no say in the project as the building is owned by a private party.

– The gloves will be coming off Feb. 25 at the Boys and Girls Club in West Bend as Tin Love, Justin Dredd and Damon Knight climb into the ring for Mayhem for Mason. Money will be raised for Mason Holbrook and family.

– The Optimist Club of West Bend 2017 Oratorical Contest is Tuesday, Jan. 31 at the Lighthouse of West Bend. There are cash prizes and a chance to advance to Zone, District, and World Championship with a potential $22,500 in scholarships. Deadline to register is Jan. 20. Request more inform at WestBendOptimist@gmail.com

History photo

Today’s c.1940s photo, courtesy the Washington County Historical Society, features an ice harvest on Big Cedar Lake. For six weeks beginning in January, men came armed with sharp-toothed saws and steel tongs and cut blocks of ice from the frozen lake.12

Another Act 10 Case Settled

Excellent. Hopefully other districts will follow Neenah’s lead.

NEENAH – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has declined to review a case brought by Neenah teachers over a change in retirement benefits.

The court’s denial ends a process that has lasted nearly four years, the district said in a news release Friday.

After Act. 10 was passed, Neenah was prohibited from bargaining or contractually agreeing to any provisions other than base wages, according to a state Court of Appeals document.

“In response, Neenah drafted an employee policy manual, which established policies and procedures to address benefits and the terms and conditions of employment that had previously been addressed” in the collective bargaining agreement, the document states. Neenah then voted to change the retirement benefit plans, which applied to those retiring on or after Oct. 2, 2012.

The new plan significantly reduced retirement benefits.

The teachers argued that the original retirement plan was promised to teachers in return for lower salaries and benefits.

A Winnebago County Circuit Judge dismissed the case, a decision the state Court of Appeals for the Second District upheld, though on different grounds.

Ruling Party In Turkey Continues to Consolidate Power

Sad to see this happen.

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s parliament has approved key measures allowing the president to be a member of a political party and issue decrees, part of a constitutional reform the opposition says will fuel authoritarianism.

The ruling AK Party, backed by the nationalist MHP, is pushing through legislation that President Tayyip Erdogan says will bring strong executive leadership needed to prevent a return to the fragile coalition governments of the past.

The three articles approved overnight set out parliament’s supervisory role, enable the president to retain ties with a political party and detail the president’s executive powers as head of state, including the power to issue decrees.

U.S. Deploys Troops to Poland

President Obama sure is making a lot of dramatic, far-reaching foreign policy moves right before he leaves office. If you think this move isn’t motivated by Obama’s selfish political calculations, just think… would he have done this (or slap Israel; or change Cuba policy; etc.) if Hillary had won?

U.S. and other Western nations have carried out exercises on NATO’s eastern flank in past years, but the new deployment – which includes some 3,500 U.S. troops – marks the first-ever continuous deployment to the region by a NATO ally.

It is part of a larger commitment by President Barack Obama to protect a region that grew deeply nervous when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and then began backing separatist rebels in Ukraine’s east.

If we were going to do this, we should have done it in 2014 when Russia invaded Ukraine. It might have had a deterrent effect to stem Russia’s advance at that time. It’s too late now. All it does is set up political landmines for the incoming president.

Here’s how this will go down… Trump will pull back these troops because their deployment to Poland serves no purpose and aggravates Russia for no gain. Then the Democrats and media will jump on Trump and accuse him of being pro-Russia, a puppet for Putin, etc. Domestic political posturing ensues.

Millennials Earning 20% Less than Boomers At Same Stage in Life

And then there’s this

With a median household income of $40,581, millennials earn 20 percent less than boomers did at the same stage of life, despite being better educated, according to a new analysis of Federal Reserve data by the advocacy group Young Invincibles.

The analysis being released Friday gives concrete details about a troubling generational divide that helps to explain much of the anxiety that defined the 2016 election. Millennials have half the net worth of boomers. Their home ownership rate is lower, while their student debt is drastically higher.

[…]

Education does help boost incomes. But the median college-educated millennial with student debt is only earning slightly more than a baby boomer without a degree did in 1989.

[…]

Yet compared to white baby boomers, some white millennials appear stuck in a pattern of downward mobility. This group has seen their median income tumble more than 21 percent to $47,688.

Median income for black millennials has fallen just 1.4 percent to $27,892. Latino millennials earn nearly 29 percent more than their boomer predecessors to $30,436.

The analysis fits into a broader pattern of diminished opportunity. Research last year by economists led by Stanford University’s Raj Chetty found that people born in 1950 had a 79 percent chance of making more money than their parents. That figure steadily slipped over the past several decades, such that those born in 1980 had just a 50 percent chance of out-earning their parents.

This decline has occurred even though younger Americans are increasingly college-educated. The proportion of 25 to 29 year-olds with a college degree has risen to 35.6 percent in 2015 from 23.2 percent in 1990, a report this month by the Brookings Institution noted.

Millennials’ Cash Planning

Interesting.

Millennials were the most financially prepared to handle monetary headwinds with 47% of those aged 18-29 saying they could dip into savings to cover an unplanned expense, a substantial increase from 33% in 2014.

Wheel Taxes on the Rise

Is it coincidence that both Meth and wheel taxes are on the rise in Wisconsin? Correlation or causation?

Municipalities have increasingly leaned on the measure in recent years to fund road construction projects, offset special assessments or reduce borrowing; 13 of the 16 cities in Wisconsin that employ such a tax have passed it in the last two years, according to a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin analysis.

A wheel tax is a charge tacked on to $75 annual registrations of vehicles 8,000 pounds or lighter — or most personal vehicles. Commercial vehicles are exempt from paying such taxes under state law. For processing the tax, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation takes a 17-cent cut of each registration, according to the agency’s website.

State guidelines also dictate that wheel taxes must be used strictly for transportation-related projects.

Meth Rivals Heroin in Wisconsin

Honestly, I had thought it was on the decline based on news coverage in recent years. Clearly, it is not.

From 2011 to 2015, methamphetamine use in Wisconsin likely expanded between 250 and 300 percent, based on analysis of meth-related arrests, cases, charges, and seizure statistics provided by local law enforcement, state government agencies, and open source reporting. While heroin use continues to remain a focus for Wisconsin’s law enforcement and treatment services, meth has quietly surged to a point where the number of cases, arrests, and charges are on par with heroin. The areas affected by increasing meth use are mostly concentrated in western Wisconsin and rural areas of the state. These areas, unlike more urban areas, are ill-equipped to handle rising methamphetamine use as they do not have the necessary resources to effectively mitigate the threat.

[…]

  • Wisconsin meth is produced in Mexico and trafficked to the state via California or Minnesota.

  • High availability of methamphetamine across Wisconsin has led to the price being relatively low cost.

  • Methamphetamine use is highest in Northwestern Wisconsin but in the past five years has expanded south and east.

  • Between 2011 and 2015, meth-related cases submitted to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab increased 349 percent. In comparison, heroin-related cases rose 97 percent in that same period.

Swiss Deny Vegan Citizenship

These folks have standards.

(CNN)A vegan woman has twice had her application for Swiss citizenship rejected because annoyed locals object to her “loud” opinions about animal rights.

Nancy Holten, 42, has lived in Switzerland for more than 30 years. There, applications for citizenship are determined by local governments — sometimes with input from residents.
And among the requirements are that a person is integrated in the Swiss way of life and familiar with Swiss customs and traditions.
And therein lies the issue the residents of Gipf-Oberfrick have with Holten.
[…]
“Shortly before [the applications] she had begun to fight against various Swiss values such as church bells, cowbells, livestock farming, hunting, pig racing, eating meat, circus animals, mouse-catching, giving out milk at school, etc. She did this above all in the media,” Urs Treier, a spokesman for the municipal council, told CNN.

Obama Forces Return Of Refugees Fleeing Tyranny

I thought we were supposed to welcome refugees with open arms? No borders and whatnot… never mind.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is ending a longstanding immigration policy that allows any Cuban who makes it to U.S. soil to stay and become a legal resident, a senior administration official said Thursday.

The repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy is effective immediately, according the official. The decision follows months of negotiations focused in part on getting Cuba to agree to take back people who had arrived in the U.S.

[…]

The official said the Cubans gave no assurances about treatment of those sent back to the country, but said political asylum remains an option for those concerned about persecution if they return.

Yet another handout to a tyrannical regime in return for nothing. A lot of Cubans yearning to breathe free will pay the price for Obama’s love of this Communist regime.