Barca Takes Heat for Foxconn Vote

In the Democratic Party, no independent thoughts are allowed.

Subeck, in an email sent to all Assembly Democrats obtained by the AP, accused Barca of failing “on all accounts” to differentiate his views on Foxconn with that of the rest of Democrats who voted against the measure. She was particularly upset with Barca for holding an impromptu news conference in the Assembly parlor, right around the corner from his office, shortly after the evening vote Thursday.

“I have to admit that I was surprised that immediately after a vote on which you took a different position than most of the caucus, you would hold yourself out to speak on our behalf on the issue, especially without letting any of know you intended to do so,” Subeck wrote to Barca. “I am also concerned that the message you conveyed … It seems you were trying to justify your own vote rather than share the caucus perspective consistent with our agreed upon message.”

She said that Barca’s public comments “have not been consistent with the majority position of the caucus and have served counter to our interest.”

Subeck said Barca should have allowed someone else to speak who could better represent how most Democrats felt about Foxconn.

I think that most people watching Barca speak understood that he was speaking for himself and not on behalf of his caucus. We know the hive mind even if the occasional drone strays.

USS Indianapolis Found


Naval researchers announced Saturday that they have found the wreckage of the lost World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, 72 years after the vessel sank in minutes after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

The ship was found almost 3 1/2 miles below the surface of the Philippine Sea, said a tweet from Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, who led a team of civilian researchers that made the discovery.

Historians and architects from the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, District of Columbia, had joined forces with Allen last year to revisit the tragedy.

The ship sank in 15 minutes on July 30, 1945, in the war’s final days, and it took the Navy four days to realize that the vessel was missing.

Spanish Terror Cell Was Prepared for Bigger Attack

Scary stuff. This is a good reminder that trying to stop attacks like this by going after the weapons is a fool’s errand. In this case, they were using a vehicle and mundane gas containers. Stopping these attacks means finding and stopping the murderous people and ideologies behind them.

A 12-strong terror cell that carried out two attacks in Spain this week had collected 120 gas canisters and was planning to use them in vehicle attacks, Spanish police say.

Canisters were found at a house, said to be used by the cell, that blew up in the town of Alcanar on Wednesday night.

Police are still hunting for the driver of the van that hit dozens of people on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, killing 13.

On Sunday, a Mass was held in Barcelona to mourn the victims.

In addition to the 13 killed on Thursday afternoon on Las Ramblas, a woman died in a second vehicle attack early on Friday in the town of Cambrils. Five suspected jihadists were shot dead by police in the second attack.

Emails Increase Doctor Visits


Emails between patients and doctors lead to more office visits and don’t improve health, contrary to the intent of the increasingly popular exchanges, according to a UW-Madison study.

A likely reason for the additional office visits: Patient conditions are too complex to explain by email and doctors want to avoid liability, so they often bring in patients who email — even for minor problems for which patients would not have sought an office visit.

“These emails basically work as a trigger because they’re not as comprehensive as a face-to-face interaction,” said Hessam Bavafa, an assistant professor of operations and information management at UW-Madison’s Wisconsin School of Business.

The findings, published in the journal Management Science, could lead health care organizations to rethink or improve “e-visits,” which have become widely available in recent years, including in Madison.

I suspect that the humanitarian fear of getting a diagnosis and treatment wrong, coupled with the fear of legal liability, is primarily driving this behavior. In the age of FaceTime and similar technologies, it seems that a quick, live video conversation would reduce the inconvenience and cost for everyone.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Final flavor of the day selected at Toucan Custard

“That’s A -Moehr –A” a Smores custard with chocolate flakes,  marshmallows and graham crackers will be the flavor of the day today as the Moehr family works its final day at Toucan Custard.

After 27 years as owners of a landmark business in West Bend the Moehr family is moving forward with their lives announcing the sale of Toucan Custard. “We’ve been in the process of trying to sell Toucan,” said Jacquelyn Heise.

“Our last day here will be August 19 as we have found different owners and they will take over and kinda keep Toucan the same which we are very, very excited about,” said Jacquelyn Moehr Heise. “We’re sad to go but happy at the same time and want to thank you all very, very much for the last 27 years.”

“Of course we’d hate to see it completely change but we were at the end of what we were doing and whoever bought it would do whatever they would need to do,” Jacquelyn said.

The sisters said they are looking forward to doing their new thing, which includes a family trip.

“After the sale we’re going to get into several cars and all drive to Graceland,” she said. “Because we can!

“The only way we can go on vacation together is to close Toucan and we could never do that,” Jacquelyn said.

The girls picked Graceland as a promise to their mother who had been battling cancer. “Being able to travel now as a family is just the silver lining in this whole thing.”

On a positive note the Moehr family said they would really miss the people. “We’ll miss the kids,” said Jacquelyn. “They’re like our kids and they’ll tell you this is a family down here.”

As far as a final shebang to go out in a blaze of glory with a big celebration… the girls said they prefer to leave quietly but hope people write their memories.

“It would be cool to get a memory book down here and have people share/write their favorite memory,” said Jacquelyn.

The business was listed by BOSS Realty

Funeral Monday for form Washington County Supervisor John Kohl

The funeral is Monday, Aug. 21 for former Washington County Board Supervisor John B. Kohl of Richfield who died Wednesday, Aug. 16; he was 87.

Kohl was very active in the community. He took over his family farm operations and kept the family-farming tradition going.

Kohl served on the Richfield Volunteer Fire Co. and the Richfield Lions Club for 50 years. He served as a Treasurer and Trustee at St. Boniface Parish, served on the Richfield School Board, was a Town Supervisor for six years before becoming Town Chairman, which he held for 16 years.

Kohl ran for County Board in 1972 and held that position for 34 years as County Supervisor.

Kohl  worked side-by-side with elected officials like Reuben Schmahl, Ken Miller, Herb Tennies and Marilyn Merten.

Kohl also served six years on the Richfield School Board and he was a member of the Ag and Industrial Society.

“He worked in politics for many years,” said former Washington County clerk and now County Board Supervisor Marilyn Merten. “I know when I was county clerk they called and asked if I could look up all the years he served on different boards and committees. They wanted to recognize him for all his years of service.”

“He was a very concerned individual doing what he felt was best for the citizens of Richfield, town of Richfield and Washington County,” Merten said.

Kohl worked on a farm on Highway 175. “They were known for Kohls Corn,” said Merten. “That was one of the trademarks of the Kohls farm.”

Visitation will be Monday, Aug. 21 at St Boniface Catholic Church W204 N11924 Goldendale Rd Germantown, WI from 3 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. Boniface or the Richfield Lions Club appreciated. There will be a private burial at the church cemetery.

WB East athletic director hits hole in one at YMCA golf outing

Big excitement at the 16th annual Kettle Moraine YMCA Golf Outing at the West Bend Country Club. During this afternoon round Denny Ziegler, the West Bend East High School athletic director, hit a hole in one and won a two-year lease on a 2018 Toyota Camry from Russ Darrow.

“It was on the 17th hole and a 155-yard shot and I used a six iron,” he said about the par-3. “It just hit the flag stick, heard the loud boom, went up and looked and it was in the cup.”

Ziegler, 34, was in shock. “It was just sitting in the bottom of the cup.”

“Overall I’ve been playing ok. I approached this like any other shot and it just happened to work.”

This is a best-ball tournament with a record 39 foursomes participating. “The sponsorship and support from the community has just been wonderful,” said YMCA director of donor development Jenny Kruse-Zaskowski. “All proceeds benefit the Y’s annual scholarship program.”

The goal of the Kettle Moraine YMCA is to raise $50,000. “We just want to make sure the Y is affordable and accessible to everyone in the community,” said Kruse-Zaskowski.

Former St. Paul’s Church in Slinger being transformed into theater

Neighbors in Slinger are keeping a close eye on the transformation of the former St. Paul’s Church, 204 S. Kettle Moraine Drive as it is being transformed into a theater by Kettle Moraine Players.

According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Gothic Revival style church was built in 1886. It was last surveyed in 1977. The wall material is made of “cream brick” and in 2016 the building was purchased by Kettle Moraine Players.

Keller Inc. of Germantown is managing the entire project. “The exterior is getting two new additions along with some new concrete in the front and the driveway on the west side,” said Scott Lausten, Design/Project Manager and company co-owner.

Theater lights and trussing have been hung from the ceiling, new lights, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC are all in the process of being installed.

“A new stage, theater catwalk, grandstands, balcony seating, bar, and flooring will all be installed within the next few weeks. Some of those items are being completed by the owner,” said Lausten.

On a theater note: The Kettle Moraine Players are on track to “open the Playhouse this fall” with a five-show season. Work sessions at the Playhouse got underway this evening.

According to Kettle Moraine Players founder John Brandl, “This week we will be framing catwalks, repairing the top of the balcony railing, carpentry work in the balcony and possibly the basement and we will do some cleaning whenever we get somebody who prefers that work. There is great satisfaction in seeing what you’ve accomplished in just a few hours.”

The inaugural season is set to get underway October 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m., October 21 at 4 p.m., October 22, 29 at 2 p.m.

The annual Allenton Picnic is this weekend                                                  By Ron Naab

The 2017 Allenton Annual Picnic is this weekend August 19-20 at Veterans Park on First Street in Allenton. Saturday there is a 5K Run/Walk through Allenton starting at 10 a.m., a Bags Tournament at noon. Flight for Life air ambulance will land at 1 p.m. followed by Kids Waterfights at 2 p.m. and Fire Department Waterfight Tournament at 4 p.m. In the evening there will be Bingo and music featuring Gary Cross.

Throughout the weekend there will be rides by Voss Marshland Rides and Amusements along with car seat checks at 11 a.m. and a kids’ obstacle course.

Sunday, Aug. 20 at 11:30 a.m. the annual Allenton Parade steps off from the Allenton Fire Station. “We believe we offer one of the most entertaining and enjoyable parades in southeastern Wisconsin,” said Ron Naab, chair of the parade. “This year we have seven bands performing including: West Bend Community Band, Hartford City Band, Oshkosh VFW Band, Pommersche Tansdeel Freistadt, Green Beret Marching Band, Dual County Band and the famous Slinger High School Marching Band.”

Following the parade there will be a concert in the park featuring all seven bands performing.

Updates & tidbits

– Wheels on Main is looking for 20 volunteers for its event Sunday, Sept. 3 in downtown West Bend. Volunteers receive a free meal and beverages. Opportunities include registration, assistant in beverage tent, selling donuts and coffee, 50/50 raffle tickets, soda & water. New this year Bloody Marys and root beer floats. Contact or 262-338-3909.

– Archbishop Jerome Listecki will join honored guests for a 160th anniversary Mass and celebration Sept.10 at St. Mary’s Parish in Barton.

– Keller Inc., a Design/Build General Contractor with an office in Germantown, will build a large freezer, office and product expansion for Angelic Bakehouse under the direction of Keller project manager Nathan Laurent and architect Tony Tislau.

-The West Bend High School Class of 1952 will be celebrating its 65th reunion on August 26, 2017 at West Bend’s Germanfest.

– Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (WELS) on the corner of Decorah and Indiana in West Bend will hold a ground breaking ceremony Sunday, Sept. 10 at 9:15 a.m. for its recently adopted building project.

-The West Bend High School class of 1948 is will hold a reunion luncheon August 19 at noon at the Top of the Ridge.

-There will be a grand opening celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 22 at Consider the Lilies, 136 S. Main Street in downtown West Bend.

-The 19th Annual Richfield Historical Society Thresheree is Sept. 16 and 17 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. There will be wonderful family-fun activities including a live auction, tractor parade, and kids can build a scarecrow.

-The West Bend VFW Post 1393 is looking for a bar manager, full-time and part-time bartenders. Please send resumes to PO Box 982 West Bend, WI 53095

– E.H. Wolf & Sons, Inc. is adding a new 2-story office building to its property in Slinger, 414 Kettle Moraine Drive South. Keller Inc. of Germantown is working on the project; Dave Uttech is Project Manager and Ron Lindstrom is the Architect.

-Orientation for incoming freshmen is Tuesday, August 22 at 10 a.m. at UW-Washington County.  Classes at UW-WC get underway Tuesday, Sept. 5.

– Crossroads Music Fest is Saturday, Sept. 23. This year’s free Christian music event is being held at Hartford Town Hall on County Road K in Hartford. From noon – 7 p.m. there will be live music, food, a silent auction, and lots of family-friendly activities.

– More than 4,000 people stopped last weekend in Hartford at the 10th annual Wisconsin Hot Rod Radio car show. Jackie Puzia from Milwaukee was the big winner of a $10,000 engine.

Village Board votes to move 9/11 Memorial in Kewaskum                              By Ron Naab

During a Kewaskum Village Board meeting  there were some concerns brought up during an informal non-agenda discussion, about the proposed location for the 9/11 Memorial.

Following the meeting, Gordon Haberman and Jerry Gosa; members of the Kewaskum 9/11 Memorial Committee, met with Village Administrator Matt Heiser and Fire Chief Mark Groeschel to address these concerns.

Initial plans for the Memorial were for the location to be in front of the Kewaskum Fire Station on the east side of USH 45.  These plans were presented to the Village in September of 2016, and were subject to the approval by the Village Board, which included a Memorandum of Understanding with the Village concerning future maintenance of the structure.

During the meeting with Mr. Heiser (who is also a Board member of the Kewaskum Remembers 9/11 Memorial Inc.), and the Chief, valid issues of concern over this location were expressed including the proposed Fire Department location offered only limited parking availability for the memorial; and if there would be an expansion of the Fire Department, it could be in conflict with the constructed memorial.

Of prime concern was the location of the memorial at the fire station could hinder access of FD personnel responding to calls and perhaps create safety issues both for the public and to EMT’s and firefighters when FD vehicles leave the station for emergency calls.

Since the September 2016 Village Board meeting, the Kewaskum Remembers Committee formally incorporated Kewaskum Remembers 9/11 Memorial, Inc., and is presently awaiting approval of their 501 C-3 application by the Internal Revenue Service. The Kewaskum Remembers Committee has continued to fund raise through the Kewaskum Area Arts Council during this time period and the response has been tremendous from both the community and the surrounding area.

As a result of this meeting, it was agreed by all the parties that the lawn area in front of the Kewaskum Village Annex fronting 45 was a more viable site for the memorial.

There is a tremendous amount of parking available at this site as well as the availability of the Annex building for special events. A subsequent meeting with the architect and designer of the memorial indicated the design will be adaptable to this location and indeed may be easier for construction.

At the July meeting with the Village Board, the Annex site was discussed as a viable location and again subject to the Memorandum Of Understanding and public hearings on the Annex location, a new survey will be completed and moderate design modifications to the Kewaskum Remembers Memorial will be developed.

During the August 7, 2017 Village meeting discussion of the Annex site as well as presentation of a draft Memorandum of Understanding between the memorial corporation and the Village were agenda items.

On Aug. 28 the Village Board will meet again to vote on the Memorandum of Understanding.

Haberman is hopefully their 501 C status will be official shortly and the project can comfortably proceed with the new survey of the site and moderate design changes to the memorial for presentation to the Village Board and the community. The steel from the WTC and the new sign depicting the memorial are now at the Annex site.

Haberman said the concerns about the Fire Department site would have had to been addressed prior to any construction being begun and that the Kewaskum Remembers 9/11 Board is greatly appreciative of the support by the Village in seeing this important memorial become a reality.

UWO Foundation Goes Bankrupt


The embattled UW-Oshkosh Foundation filed for bankruptcy Thursday, with leaders saying their hand was forced by a “flip flop and ill-advised political gamesmanship” from University of Wisconsin System officials who backed out of a potential settlement with the foundation’s creditors.

The System faced pressure from state lawmakers not to use taxpayer money to settle the private nonprofit’s debts — which stem from real estate projects that UW officials say were improperly financed with public money and credit — when the discussions came to light earlier this year.

In a blistering news release Thursday, leaders of the foundation, which oversees fundraising for UW-Oshkosh, said those talks had produced “a fair and reasonable settlement” agreement.

But, they said, the System’s Board of Regents bowed to political pressure and withdrew its support for the settlement, leading to the federal bankruptcy filing.

Remember that this came about because the former Chancellor illegally used taxpayer funds to back risky private building projects of the foundation. Oh, and meanwhile, the foundation bought the Chancellor’s house for roughly $120,000 more than it was worth as he moved on (*cough* kickback *cough*).

The UWO Foundation got caught dealing dirty with its hand in the taxpayers’ cookie jar. They deserve to go bankrupt. Unfortunately, it is their creditors who are left holding the bag.

Getting Back to Mining


Two Wisconsin lawmakers on Thursday introduced a controversial proposal to repeal state law requiring mining companies to demonstrate that they have operated without polluting before they are permitted to extract metals here.

“People want to make things in America again,” said Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst. “Our neighbors, Minnesota and Michigan, have placed their shovels in the dirt of America’s future. It is Wisconsin’s turn to do the same.”

Tiffany, who was instrumental in a 2013 law relaxing state iron mining regulations, has been talking for months about lifting the so-called “moratorium” on mining for sulfide metals such as copper and gold.

By its very nature, mining is an intrusive process. But it can be done in a way that minimizes the long term damage. As long as we humans insist on using natural resources, I would rather mine it in Wisconsin where Wisconsinites can enjoy the economic benefit while also ensuring it is done as safely as possible.

Steve Bannon Leaves White House

Frankly, I’m a bit sick and tired of the Game of Thrones coverage of this administration. What matters to me more… Bannon’s career or tax reform? Priebus’ career or repealing Obamacare? And yet this is what we will obsess over for the next week.

(CNN)President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has been fired, two White House officials told CNN Friday.

A source told CNN that Bannon was given the option to resign but was forced out. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Bannon’s departure but did not say whether he was fired or resigned.
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Sanders said in a statement.



Over the past 40 years, the two Voyager spacecraft have explored Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. They have sent back detailed views of these strange worlds, revealing moons encased in ice, covered in volcanoes and bathed in gasoline smog. The missions have changed our perspective on the Earth and, with golden gramophone records attached to their sides, are now taking human culture to the stars.

Remarkably, both Voyager spacecraft are still working. Whenever Voyager 1 sends back a signal, it is from the furthest distance any human-made object has travelled from Earth.

Voyager 1 left the solar system in 2013 and is (at the time of writing) 20 billion kilometres (12 billion miles) away. Voyager 2, on a different trajectory, is 17 billion kilometres (10.5 billion miles) away. Maybe it’s easier to imagine it like this: it takes a radio signal, travelling at the speed of light, 38 hours to travel from the Earth to Voyager 1 and back. And it’s some 30 hours for Voyager 2. (For their latest position, visit the Voyager home page.)

Assembly Debates Foxconn Deal

Get ‘er done!

Calling the Foxconn vote “one of the most important votes in Wisconsin history,” Vos said the Assembly’s actions today “will speak louder than the ugly words from hate groups.”

“We will approve legislation that will give hope to all Wisconsin families by providing a future that’s rich with career opportunities and a strong, healthy economy,” he said.

McCarthy Teaches History of Anthem

Good for him.

GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy doesn’t know if anyone on his sideline will join the ranks of NFL players using the national anthem as an opportunity to protest.

But if they do, the Green Bay Packers coach can say this for certain: They will do so with a knowledge of the history of the anthem and an understanding of how important he believes it is.


McCarthy said he addresses the anthem and his expectation of proper decorum during it with the players via a preseason presentation. He said this year’s demonstration came just before the team’s annual Family Night event on Aug. 5.

“It’s something that I’ve done each and every year here since I’ve been the head coach,” McCarthy said. “We have a PowerPoint presentation that you update (each year), and you always try to deliver the message clearly to the team.

“Our approach has always been to give the history and the understanding of what the national anthem means, and why it’s played before any National Football League game, particularly how (the tradition) started after World War II. I go through the whole history and the importance of what it means to you personally.”

Study: De-escalation Policies More Dangerous For LEOs

Interesting research. I wonder what the impact of de-escalation policies are on citizen injuries/deaths.

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. – A research project shows that law-enforcement officers working for agencies with de-escalation policies are far more likely to killed or injured in the line of duty.

The study looked at metropolitan law enforcement agencies around the country; some have de-escalation policies while others do not.  It used data from more than 75,000 officers over a five-year period.

De-escalation policies require officers to slow things down and attempt to lessen or avoid force on all calls.

“The agencies without de-escalation policies, the number of officers killed and assaulted were dramatically lower than the agencies with de-escalation policies in place,” said Brian Landers, author of the study.

Landers, a former police officer, is chair of the criminal justice department of Madison College.   The research was done for his master’s thesis.

“I’ve had officers tell me that they are forced with decisions out on the street that goes against every facet of training and instinct of officer safety from fear they are going to be disciplined because the policy is telling them that they should not use force,” said Landers.


“Overall an officer working in a de-escalation agency, by my study, was twice as likely to be killed in the line of duty and 10 times more likely to be injured in the line of duty.”

Sports Story

I’m amused that Yahoo classified this as a “sports” story.


Expanding in Wisconsin


TOWN OF ONALASKA — Dynamic Recycling is expanding for the fifth time in a decade.

Company officials celebrated a visit by Gov. Scott Walker on Monday that highlighted a 140-000-square-foot expansion project that began in May. The extra space will boost the processing capacity for scrap and electronic recyclables, as well as provide additional office space for the company.

Company CEO Miles Harter said the hope is for the new facility to come online in early 2018, as the company already has outgrown its current space. The expansion is expected to add 150 jobs, nearly doubling the workforce of Dynamic Recycling, which also has facilities in the Twin Cities and Nashville, Tenn.

“We can do good while making a profit doing it,” Harter said. “We have a goal of recycling more than 100 million pounds next year.”

Trump Says Both Sides to Blame in Charlottesville


US President Donald Trump has again blamed both sides for the violent unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one protester dead and others injured.

In a statement on Monday, he had condemned white supremacists.

But in New York on Tuesday he also blamed left-wing supporters for charging at the “alt-right”.

He also defended the time it took to make his statement, saying he had wanted to establish all the facts.

Mr Trump had been accused over the weekend of failing to condemn the far right specifically.

Heather Heyer, 32, died and 19 others were hurt when a car was driven into people protesting against a far-right march in Charlottesville on Saturday.

Mr Trump said that the car driver was a disgrace to himself and his country.

The whole response to Charlottesville has been a prime display of the hyper-polarized cultural environment we are currently in. The same people who say that we must take a nuanced view and response of phenomena like Islamist Terrorism or Black Lives Matter, which we must, are enforcing a rigid binary response to Charlottesville. What we are supposed to do, according to the media and the Left, is categorically condemn the white nationalists as the bad guys here and that’s it. Any suggestion of a more complicated story than “racist white Americans caused a riot that killed people” is to be included among those racists.

Trump is trying to present a more comprehensive response to what happened. It appears that we had at least four broad groups at work here. First, we had white nationalist and Nazi bigots. Second, we had Antifa anarchists and communist provocateurs. Third, we had relatively normal people protesting the removal of Confederate statues and purging of Southern history. Fourth, we had relatively normal people protesting the racists white nationalists and Nazis.

Primarily, we had the first and second groups enter into the day with the intention to provoke violence and they succeeded. There’s a lot of fault to go around and it is possible to condemn the Nazis and white nationalists with all possible vigor and still condemn the actions of the Antifa movement which has repeatedly sparked destruction and violence. One does not detract from the other.

The side issues around this are also worth exploring. Were the police properly deployed to keep the competing protests separated? It appears that the driver of the car was on anti-psychotic drugs. We have seen that be related to violence before. Are we properly helping the mentally ill?

Instead of focusing on whether or not Trump sufficiently condemned the white nationalists (he did), wouldn’t it be a more useful exercise to try to understand the undercurrents of our culture that led to what happened in Charlottesville?

West Bend School Board Ratifies Contracts for New Principals

As expected, the liberal majority on the West Bend School Board rammed this through.

August 15, 2017 – West Bend, WI – During Monday night’s West Bend School Board meeting the board voted 5-2 to approve the contracts for Darci VanAdestine as principal of West Bend East and Ralph Schlass as principal of West Bend West. No details on their contracts were released.

Board members Monte Schmiege and Ken Schmidt were the two dissenting votes.

Ken Schmidt – “I’ll be voting no on this. Not as a reflection upon the qualifications or anything in regard to the candidates but in regard to the process by which this happened and that’s why I will vote no.”

Schmidt’s comment dates to the July 25 school board meeting and questions others had, including school district staff, about how the principals were selected.

West Bend High School assistant principal Jenn Johannsen addressed the board asking about the hiring process for a second principal at the high school. During a special meeting Thursday, July 20 the board voted 4-1, with two members absent, to move forward and add a second principal to the high schools.

-“I was looking for clarification on the administrator hiring process for assistant and head principals that are appointed,” said Johannsen.

-“I also would like to know if it had been considered to open up the hiring process again before the second principal prior to appointing somebody? With a smaller school to head we may have had a larger pool of candidates to interview which would have been exciting. I am asking this as an assistant principal of the high school right now because I was not included or aware of an interview process for a second candidate and I was part of the first candidate’s interview process”

They also moved forward with forming a committee to lead the way to a referendum. Interestingly, they said that they had allocated $35,000 with Bray Architects for the process. I have asked the board president how Bray was selected, but I have not yet received a response. Was there an RFP process to pick the best company? Were local building and architectural firms considered? What was the selection criteria? That’s a lot of taxpayer money to go out the door without some sort of process.

Wisconsin continues to REIN in government

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

With all of the news emanating from Madison about the wrangling over the state budget and the Foxconn incentive package, one could be excused for missing the fact that the legislature passed, and Governor Walker signed into law, one of the most significant government reforms since ACT 10. The Wisconsin REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act is a significant reform for preventing the inexorable bloating of government.

When we all learned about government in Civics 101 — or from Schoolhouse Rock — the process seems fairly simple. The legislature passes a bill and then the executive signs it into law. But that is only part of the process. Laws, as written, are usually written rather broadly. It is then up to the bureaucracy in the Executive branch to take that law and put it into action. They do this by interpreting the law and creating all of the detailed rules and regulations to promulgate and enforce it. It is the necessary and proper role of the bureaucracy.

Throughout the decades, however, as the size and scope of government has grown, so has the bureaucracy and its power. Too many unelected bureaucrats deep in the bowels of state government have taken it upon themselves to use their regulatory latitude to advance their own agendas. Protected as civil servants and relaxed in the knowledge that elected officials come and go as the bureaucracy remains, these bureaucrats passed massive and costly regulations with barely a hint of legal authority to do so.

When the Republicans and Gov. Scott Walker swept into power in 2010, one of the first reforms they made was to restrict the power of the bureaucracy with 2011’s Act 21. This law narrowed the rule making authority of state agencies and injected some more oversight by the governor and the Legislature into the rule-making process. It also importantly allowed state rules to be challenged in any of Wisconsin’s 72 counties — not just liberal Dane County.

The REINS Act is the next advance in moving power away from the bureaucracy and into the hands of elected officials. The REINS Act accomplishes three major reforms.

First, the REINS Act increases public input into any proposed rule. The law now requires that an agency get affirmative approval from the governor of a scope statement describing the statutory authority for the rule and the impact of the proposed rule on people. After approval, either chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) may require that the agency open a comment period and hold a public hearing. All public input must then be included in the published rule analysis.

Second, the REINS Act puts up an additional barrier if a proposed rule will cost more than $10 million for people to comply with it. Under the new law, if a proposed rule is projected to cost businesses, local governments, and individuals more than $10 million during a two-year period in compliance costs, then the agency must halt all work on the rule. The only ways for the new rule to then proceed is for the legislature to enact a bill specifically authorizing the rule or for the rule to be rewritten to bring the compliance costs below $10 million.

Third, the REINS Act authorizes the JCRAR to permanently suspend a proposed rule by majority vote if the committee objects to it for a statutory reason. For example, if the committee decides that the agency lacks statutory authority to create the rule, then the committee can stop them from doing so. Of course, the committee can always be overridden by the full legislature.

The growth of government happens in many ways. Some of it happens through big laws debated and passed by the legislature. But much of it happens deep below the sightline of the public and hidden from scrutiny in the greasy gears of the bureaucracy. The REINS Act goes a long way toward injecting light and accountability into our state government. Congratulations to Gov. Walker and the Legislature for passing this important reform.

Eliminating Down Syndrome By Killing Everyone With It

That’s one way to eradicate it.

With the rise of prenatal screening tests across Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased, but few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.

Since prenatal screening tests were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, the vast majority of women — close to 100 percent — who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy.

While the tests are optional, the government states that all expectant mothers must be informed about availability of screening tests, which reveal the likelihood of a child being born with Down syndrome. Around 80 to 85 percent of pregnant women choose to take the prenatal screening test, according to Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavik.

We used to call killing an entire people because they are different “genocide.”

Trump Condemns Racists


US President Donald Trump has spoken out against racist violence after the killing of a protester in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

“Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs,” he told reporters.

He said the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists were “repugnant” to everything Americans held dear.

Generac To Expand

Good news!

Generac Holdings Inc. is planning a $73 million in an expansion plan that will include several Wisconsin facilities, and is projected to create 400 jobs in the next five years, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), the state of Wisconsin’s lead economic development agency, said Monday.

Waukesha-based Generac, a manufacturer of generators and small engines, could receive up to $10 million in Enterprise Zone Tax Credits from the WEDC through 2021.