Women Begin Driving in Saudi

As a child, I lived in Riyadh for 9 years and watched as a driver had to take my mom, and every other expat woman who was perfectly capable of driving, everywhere she needed to go. It’s a new era.

Saudi Arabia has today finally lifted its ban on women drivers. I was up until after midnight scrolling through social media for photos and videos of women hitting the roads in the moments after the ban was lifted.

Day one is a quiet one on the roads – a school summer holiday. Not a bad thing for anxious first-time drivers. Accompanied by my dad, for a few tips and some moral support, I set out for work.

On the way I pass the police, but I’m not scared of being pulled over. I have a licence and I’m driving legally in Saudi Arabia. I stop to get coffee from a drive-through, and I’m the first female driver the barista has ever served.

Wisconsin Ponders Internet Sales Tax

Times’re a changin’.

Wisconsin could generate as much as $187 million in new tax revenue annually if it extends its sales tax to online retailers based in other states — enough to give about $84,000 to every Wisconsin school or make permanent this year’s one-time $100-per-child tax credit and back-to-school sales tax holiday.

However, Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers have already signaled that additional funds from such taxation should be used for a different purpose: automatic reductions in state income tax rates.

[…]

On Thursday the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling, which did not split along ideological lines, overturned the 1992 decision and said states can tax internet sales.

The ruling doesn’t mean such a sales tax will begin immediately in Wisconsin as it will in many other states that have laws where the court decision automatically triggers a sales tax collection for online sales.

Walker’s office, the state Department of Revenue and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau are still reviewing the decision and declined to comment before completing the review.

So it’s unclear if new legislation is needed or whether the Walker administration can collect the tax from out-of-state companies through regulatory changes.

Walker and the Legislature enacted a law in 2013 requiring income tax rate cuts corresponding to any potential online sales tax revenue collections “as a result of any federal law to expand the state’s authority to require out-of-state retailers” to collect the tax. But that law doesn’t refer to U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

I agree with the decision of the Supreme Court. Whether or not a state can tax inline purchases should be up to the state. But then each state must decide if they want to do it or not.

There is not escaping the fact that taxing online purchases is a tax increase imposed on the people in the state who buy stuff online. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad thing since it spreads the tax burden a little wider and puts online and brick-and-mortar retailers on the same footing when it comes to the sales tax.

If Wisconsin law makers decide to impose a tax on internet purchases to reap the projected $187 million windfall and uses it to increase spending, it would be just another tax increase to fuel more government spending. If they impose the tax for the purposes of being more fair, or whatever, and use the tax revenue to offset other taxes while not increasing spending, I might be okay with that. I don’t trust their discipline to resist just blowing any additional tax revenue – especially in an election year.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

‘Protest art’ at Mayville Middle School Art Fair  (warning – adult content)

A piece of “protest art” by an 11th grader in the Mayville School District drew some harsh comments about what sort of education is being taught in the public schools in the small community of just over 4,900 in Dodge County.

Parents and taxpayers questioned the graphic nature of the piece that was part of a K-12 Art Fair held this past May at Mayville Middle School.

Lifelong Mayville resident Tom Jacquot was first to address the school board.

“I was told a student presented a picture of President Trump with words containing “PUSSY,” “PIECE OF ASS,” and “TREAT ‘EM LIKE SHIT” “PRETTY picture YOU DROPPING TO YOUR KNEES” written in big red letters on the piece. Donald Trump’s picture had a big red clown nose on it. So apparently it’s okay to use that kind of language now in the school district … that is … if it fits their narrative I guess!

I need to ask what the answers were to the younger students when they asked what the words really meant?

I’d like to know who in their right mind would think this was a fitting thing to do by presenting it! Schools are for teaching children and learning to be good citizens while respecting boundaries and acceptable behavior and norms. Tell me what is good about this?

School Board member Joe Hohmann passed out copies of the ‘protest art’ drawing prior to speaking to the board.  He mentioned how the student had First Amendment rights but was the Middle School Art Fair an appropriate venue for the piece.

After the art fair in May calls were placed to School Board President John Westphal and District Superintendent Scott Sabol. Neither returned calls or offered a comment.

On Wednesday night, Westphal responded to parent concerns saying “we will make sure there will be some consequences for this.”

Westphal said he “did not see the art.”

Board member Norber Dornfeldt said kids see this sort of stuff on television. Dornfeldt acknowledged the piece was in the Middle School but said he didn’t see it.

When two children from the Mayville Middle School came home and asked their parent about some of the words in the picture the parent said she tried to get a hold of teachers and administrators. Below is an email response from Mayville High School art teacher Sarah Heideman sent to a parent on May 23, 2018.

The school district’s Ted Hazelberg, also sent an email response to the parent on May 21, 2018.

From: Sarah Heideman <sheideman@mayville.k12.wi.us>

Date: Wed, May 23, 2018, 7:36 AM

Subject: Re: protest art – Invitation to view

Cc:, Scott Sabol <ssabol@mayville.k12.wi.us>, Bob Clark <bclark@mayville.k12.wi.us>, Ted Hazelberg <thazelberg@mayville.k12.wi.us >, John Schlender <jschlender@mayville.k12.wi.us >, Jessica Stortz <jstortz@mayville.k12.wi.us>

My student’s assignment was to create a talking conversation through a piece of artwork about something that they felt strongly about. The fact that a discussion is happening is a positive outcome, as well as, a learning opportunity. In the process, I apologise for not thinking about the placement and content for a younger viewer, since the show is over, I cannot fix it this year, but can promise in the future that these things will be addressed and learned from.

Thank you for raising the questions,

Sarah Heideman

From: Ted Hazelberg [mailto:thazelberg@mayville. k12.wi.us]

Sent: Monday, May 21, 2018 8:00 PM

Cc: Scott Sabol; Sarah Heideman; Bob Clark; John Schlender; Jessica Stortz

Subject: Fwd: protest art – Invitation to view

Good Evening,

I copied your message that you sent to me through ClassDojo down below. I included others in this response as well.

I understand your concern about a certain piece of art that was displayed at the Middle School Art Show this past weekend. I have no control over what pieces of art are being displayed. I do know that there was a sign near this piece of art that talked about protesting. Please see slides 8 and 9 in Mrs. Heideman’s slide presentation in Google Slides.

If you feel the need to talk with someone who was in charge of the show, please contact Sarah Heideman, High School Art teacher. I have already talked to Sarah about your concern. She can answer any of your questions/concerns regarding this situation. Respectfully, Ted Hazelberg

Board member Joe Hohmann said he thinks this is a big part of the First Amendment but it was inappropriate for the art show because Mayville is a family-oriented school district.  “Every parent should be questioning what are we teaching our students but they should know that hopefully from this point going forward no conduct like this will end up happening in the future,” he said.

On June 14, 2018 the principal from Mayville Middle School, John Schlender sent a letter to parents in the Mayville School District. A parent forwarded that letter, which she received on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. The final entry notes Schlender is leaving for a new position as Educational Consultant with CESA 6 in Oshkosh. Board president Westphal said Schlender did not leave because of the ‘protest art’ incident but because he was offered another job.

Below are the full comments from life-long Mayville resident Tom Jacquot.

I was told a student presented a picture of President Trump with words containing “PUSSY”, “PIECE OF ASS”, and “TREAT ‘EM LIKE SHIT” “PRETTY picture YOU DROPPING TO YOUR KNEES” written in big red letters on the piece. Donald Trump’s picture had a big red clown nose on it. So apparently it’s okay to use that kind of language now in the school district … that is … if it fits their narrative I guess!

I need to ask what the answers were to the younger students when they asked what the words really meant?

I’d like to know who in their right mind would think this was a fitting thing to do by presenting it! Schools are for teaching children and learning to be good citizens while respecting boundaries and acceptable behavior and norms. Tell me what is good about this? And we wonder why children think nothing of harming one another if this is what is being taught or promoted! And the artwork was not just promoted or taught…it was held up as the crowning jewel… It won! I wish I really knew how and who voted to make it the winning entry. And then it was sent on to the Art Contest at UW-WC as representative of what is the best Mayville School District can offer??? Really?

The picture won so why isn’t it prominently shown here at the Administration District office along with all of the others? It was on the School District Facebook page last week but suddenly it was removed yesterday. Could you tell me why?

A caveat. If the student was trying to show that Sexual and other types of harassment are wrong, they certainly succeeded but was there any notation to that effect on the picture by the student. None that I could tell from what I could see after having the picture forwarded to me.

Would the art teacher have felt it okay if it was a picture of herself, a fellow student, the Principal, the Administrator?

Some of the Mayville School District following policies that I will list discuss Sexual and Other forms of Harassment and each one was blatantly disregarded and willfully broken by the student and then condoned by the Art? Teacher when the student’s artwork? If you can even call it that; was presented here at Mayville and at UW – WC.

5720, 5517, 5516, 5600, 0145

IMHO The teacher has proven to be untrustworthy and shown to be incapable of following the rules and policies of the school district! By condoning this picture.

I want to know why no other teachers or member of the Administration (look directly at Scott Sabel) didn’t have enough guts to pull this picture knowing it violated multiple school district policies which I have previously listed. I can’t believe not one of the teachers pulled it out!!!  Are they ALL that morally inept? In my mind they are just as complicit as the Art??? Teacher in condoning this. Or was it because this is not really original artwork.

I hope that because the Art??? Teacher willfully broke not one but several District policies by condoning this disgusting piece that she will be immediately dismissed for just cause and not simply given a slap on the wrist and told oh, you should have known better.

I’d like to finish with this thought.

“Do you honestly believe it is ok to degrade women by making these types of comments, so then “why is it ok to have that picture presented as part of the artwork representing Mayville School District at its best.”

West Bend Baseball Association makes a pitch for funding to West Bend School Board

Members of the West Bend Baseball Association spoke before the West Bend School Board on Monday and asked the board for support in helping match a $500,000 grant from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to make improvements to Carl Kuss Field at Regner Park.

This past May the West Bend Common Council signed off on a Memorandum of Understanding in which matching funds would come from the City, WBBA, private donations and the West Bend School District.

That plan, however was quickly set aside after the school district announced it hadn’t agreed to the deal.

During Monday’s meeting the WBBA’s John Rozak brought forth a message to the board from West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow.

“To date the city of West Bend council has agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with $100,000 in cash to Carl Kuss Field and a minimum of $75,000 in-kind labor and equipment for the project

How many know that Regner Park was home of the baseball summer league championship for over 20 years. Now summer baseball is gone and there needs to be a place to play spring baseball and through this project we’ll have a facility to give opportunity to play baseball in the spring in West Bend.

Right now the ability to play at either Regner or the high school diamond would be very limited.

The city is willing to do something and additionally both City Administrator Jay Shambeau and the Mayor are willing to entertain a $100,000 5-year amortized loan to the district to be paid back to the city. This would still need council approval.

We’re looking for a great partnership with the Baseball Association, the school district and the community.

This is a great opportunity with money from the Cal Ripken Foundation, the Baseball Association and the City and hope the school district will also participate.

It’s a facility that can be used for a lot of things. It would be a great addition to the City.”

West Bend Baseball Association President Willie Mueller also spoke briefly to the board. “Looking to help Regner Park and  with the City of West Bend and hopefully the help school board to make a park the community would enjoy going to. We did this at Concordia and it thrived.  You guys have an opportunity to do something like that and all I can do is ask,” said Mueller.

Howard Henrich also spoke to the board as a parent to secure a multi-use facility for the community. Henrich said there are “milestones and hurdles to overcome” and “this is a high priority for the greater community.”

Henrich mentioned how the multi-use facility could be used for a variety of sports and different leagues. “I currently umpire at high school baseball field and I feel it is in suspect condition,” he said.

Craig Larsen then spoke on behalf of the WBBA.  “This is an opportunity to do something in the community and give back to the school district,” he said. “The facility at Regner Park is beyond repair.”

The board is expected to take up discussion in July surrounding the $500,000 matching grant and its potential participation in the project.

Pillars Pub sold

A big weekend on tap at Pillars Pub, 225 S. Fifth Avenue, West Bend.  After nine years Pat Kent is selling the establishment and moving on but he plans to WOOP it up big over the next three days and exit with a shebang. Kent said the biggest thing he will miss about the business is the friendships he made.

Pillars has been sold to Tom and Ashley Mitchell and they open July 5. The new establishment will be called Blondie Pop. Entertainment this weekend at Pillars Pub: Sat. June 23 – Illusion 8:30 p.m. and Sun. June 24 – 5 Card Stud 2 p.m.

Memorial dedication in Kewaskum for Larry Ammel | By Roger Strack

There was a nice dedication memorial for Larry Ammel at River Hill Park in Kewaskum on Tuesday night. The event included a dedication of the recently refurbished band stand along with a memorial stone in honor of Larry Ammel, who passed away April 16, 2017 at the age of 73.

Ammel moved to Kewaskum in 1973.  He served as the high school band director and adviser to a large number of student groups in Kewaskum until his retirement in 1999.

He was an active member of the Kewaskum community serving on the village board, Kiwanis Club, American Red Cross, Big Band, Kettle Moraine Symphony and the Kewaskum Area Arts Council.

He served as Choir Director at Peace United Church of Christ for over 30 years, where he directed the chancel choir, women’s choir and men’s choir. He was instrumental in the formation of the  local group, the “Ecumen”, a men’s choir consisting of men from multiple communities and denominations.

The ceremony was presented by the Kewaskum Kiwanis Club. The ceremony was followed by a concert by the Goodtime Dutchmen at Music in the Park.

Colin DeYoung was recognized for painting the bandstand as part of his Eagle Scout project.

In the days since his passing his family has been contacted by many of his former students, expressing not only their condolences for his passing, but sharing how he touched their lives in meaningful and irrevocable ways.  They described his role as their teacher and mentor citing how “Mr. Ammel” was the one that listened, encouraged, and believed in them when they needed it most.

West Bend School Board debates location of Pathways Charter School

The West Bend School Board held a lengthy discussion Monday night about the future of Pathways Charter School. The issue was the location of the school and whether a new site could be found within the next two months.

The item on the table was a 1-year extension of the contract for the Charter school, open to grades 7 – 12 at 1430 S. Main Street. There are generally about 60 students enrolled each year.

Board President Joel Ongert took issue with the location of the school which is house in the Mutual Mall on Main Street in West Bend.  “My sticking point is the safety. My understanding is it’s a shared facility. Doors aren’t secured. Close to Main Street. That being said – I want to amend the motion through June 30 of 2019 and add at location other than current location,” said Ongert.

Board member Ken Schmidt aske if it was reasonable to consider that. “We don’t have a lot of time. Unless someone in this body has a place. I share the same concerns but I look at reasonable compromises. We need to have a facility available for those who are enrolled in Pathways Charter School. If we can’t find one then there’s no Pathways. No other facility – no Pathways – I could not support that and I don’t think it’s reasonable.”

Some other talking points included:

– We would have capacity at the high school but we would need to determine the optimal location. Pathways reviewed a location at the HS and had some suggestions and there were drawbacks.

– Laura Jackson said, “We could look further within our own buildings. Look further anywhere. Not up to date on available space within the community.”

– Board member Nancy Justman, “I have same concerns. I’m not willing to say ‘No Pathways’ and that’s not fair to students. I charge this board and the governance council.  I won’t support it either – I don’t want Pathways in jeopardy.”

– Ongert said, “I don’t want Pathways to end either. My only holdup is the location.”

– Ken Schmidt said, “Are all our facilities totally safe. We can’t prevent every safety problem. If we can’t come up with an alternate location that would be safer than the one we have then it would be my thought and go ahead some improvements to the safety of the building so it would  – but if we can’t secure something in the next few weeks we need to move forward with improving the facility we have.”

-Board member Tonnie Schmidt – “I don’t have any hard evidence. If there’s room at the high school and even less than ideal – I’d like to see more information on that.”

-Board member Chris Zweigart – “We’re so close to the deadline. I wish we had more time and we don’t. This is the year we need to take a very hard look at this. Because of the tight timeline I agree with Mr. Schmidt.”

Vote taken on Ongert motion to approve and at any location other than current location.  Motion fails 6-1 with only Ongert in favor.

Approve one year extension through June 30.

Ongert – “My hope is to find a location so they are not in that building. Not a blade of grass, parking 2-feet from classrooms, on the main drag, and cosmetically it’s not WB’s finest. My plea to the governance council and lead teachers at Pathways – let’s try to work with district and find something soon.”

Board member Kurt Rebholz –  “There were concerns when this agreement was signed five years ago. It doesn’t take long to set up a committee to evaluate other sites.  We do want a safe school environment and let’s start evaluating.”

Ken Schmidt – “It’s not fair to lay this responsibility at the feet of the governance board.”

Tonnie Schmidt – “They never had the chance to explore an environment that’s best for them. I don’t want the governance council to feel responsible and alone I’d like to empower them and we should consider their opinions.”

Vote 7-0 to approve a 1-year extension of Pathways Charter School at its current location, 1430 S. Main Street.

Cobblestone Hotel & Suites and Wissota Chop House restaurant open in Hartford

It was September 2017 when ground was first broken for Cobblestone Hotel & Suites and Wissota Chop House restaurant on Highway 60/ 110 E. Sumner Street in Hartford. Fast forward nine months and the new restaurant and hotel are now open.

A quick look inside the four-story hotel shows a head nod to Hartford history along with upper-midscale accommodations that mix “convenience, comfort and extraordinary customer care.”

Jeremy Griesbach, a 1992 graduate of Hartford Union High School, is the president of development with BriMark Builders, LLC a division of Cobblestone Builders. He felt there’s always been a missing piece to the hotel puzzle in Hartford.

“For the past 20 years of so I’ve always thought we were missing that business hotel in town and that quality lodging,” Griesbach said. “We were always losing those people to the surrounding communities and anytime somebody doesn’t stay here they’re not eating here or buying gas here and now we’re finally getting something done.”

For Hartford it’s a “shot in the arm for the community” according to Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Scott Henke.

Historic photos at the hotel are courtesy retired Hartford Police officer and Hartford Historical Preservation Foundation Board Member Troy Fassbender and the Hartford Historical Society. There are a number of historic sepia photos in every room and a framed picture of Hartford’s Peace Celebration in every bathroom.

Aside from the restaurant and ease of access to downtown Main Street the hotel also offers a pool, fitness room, and a complimentary breakfast.

Contract released for new West Bend Superintendent

On May 29 the West Bend School District announced it hired Don Kirkegaard as the new Superintendent. Kirkegaard is scheduled to start in the district July 9.  His contract is public record and highlights include an annual salary of $175,000, moving expenses up to $15,000 and the “District shall annually contribute 6% of the Superintendent’s salary ($10,500) to a 403 (b) retirement account. The salary for the last superintendent in West Bend was $155,000.

Blue Lotus Retreat Center receives Grant

Bader Philanthropies, Inc., one of southeastern Wisconsin’s top 10 foundations, announced its board of directors has approved a $20,000 grant to Blue Lotus Farm and Retreat Center, which provides recreational and therapeutic outdoor opportunities for older adults living with life challenges, as well as children and adults.

The funding, distributed across two years, will allow Blue Lotus to continue providing opportunities and day retreats for older adults, most of whom visit from urban areas in Milwaukee and have little exposure to natural settings. Blue Lotus, is located at 5501 County Highway M in West Bend, operates from May through October and served more than 4,000 individuals in 2017.

The grant from Bader Philanthropies will help Blue Lotus with programming, supplies, snacks, and other needs for the older adults that visit the retreat each year.

9th annual West Bend Community Foundation Donor Recognition | By Joan Rudnitzki

The Board of Directors for the West Bend Community Foundation hosted its ninth annual Donor Recognition event at Old Settlers Park on June 20. The event celebrates the accomplishments of the Foundation and the area nonprofits the Foundation supports.

As part of the evening’s program, the Foundation selected the Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington County as the winner of its Founders’ Service Award. This award recognizes an organization that used a West Bend Community Foundation grant for a special project/program that significantly benefitted the West Bend community.

Peter Ziegler, President of the West Bend Community Foundation and the son of Doug Ziegler one of the founders of the West Bend Community Foundation, offered some comments and impressive numbers about the work the Foundation has done over the past 20 years.

Updates & tidbits

– The Barbershop, a hair salon for men, is now open in West Bend, 2028 S. Main Street. Take a tour and then stop in for a cut, shampoo, trim and signature shoulder massage and hot towel. It’s the 50th location for owner Todd Degner and his wife Shannon. “We are a male-centric salon designed specifically for men. It’s something that straddles between a traditional barbershop and a salon,” Degner said. “We have a comfortable, timeless look and feel that’s the same for men and boys and grandpas and students and millionaires.”

– Rally Time Sports Bar and Grill in West Bend is looking for a part-time line cook position. Rally Time has a family-friendly team atmosphere. The position is primarily day shift and coverage as needed. Call Dan at 262-389-1142 or Cindy at 262-389-0839 or stop at the bar for an application.

-Relay for Life of West Bend will host its annual fundraiser Saturday, July 21 at Regner Park.

-Full time and part-time bartenders wanted at the V.F.W. Post 1393, 260 Sand Drive, West Bend. Call Jerry Faber for details 262-388-7006.

Unveiling the new Gehl Foods Performing Arts Pavilion in Germantown | By Andrew Davis

Smiling faces filled the grounds at Fireman’s Park in Germantown on Wednesday for the official unveiling of the Gehl Foods Performing Arts Pavilion.

The Pavilion was introduced in 2009 as a concept for a small band shell structure in the middle of the park. The Germantown community loved the idea, and many individuals and businesses generously donated to the project.

Several of these donors were present Wednesday afternoon including representatives from Fibreform Containers Incorporated, and Keller Incorporated, as well as three members of the Marine Corp League Kettle Moraine Detachment.

Several members of the Gehl family were also at the event. Gehl Foods, a leading manufacturer of dairy-based products, has been based in Germantown for over a century.

The Gehl family created a wave of enthusiasm for the project with an upfront $100,000 donation and later an additional $25,000 donation.

The Germantown Kiwanis also played a huge role in the development of the Pavilion. John Krause, a member of the Kiwanis, led a campaign that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and kept the interest high.

The plan for a small band shell gave way to a beautiful pavilion that will become the focus of many Germantown activities. The Village President of Germantown, Dean Wolter, emphasized that, “This pavilion will act not only as grounds for celebrations such as 4th of July, but also as a prominent performance arts center in Germantown.”

Wolter continued by accentuating the support the community has had for the project.

When referring to the foundation of the stage, which is constructed of bricks with the engraved names of some of the more prominent donors on them, Wolter commented, “Each one of these bricks represents a person or a family who believed in this project, and expressed that support through a rather large donation. Behind those, are the bricks that were purchased when people donated $25, $10, or $5. No matter the donation size, everyone in the community was part of this process, and we will all be able to enjoy this fantastic new addition to this park.”

The official program concluded with the cutting of a ceremonial ribbon, but the festivities were far from over. Afterward popcorn, soda, and snacks were provided for those in attendance.

At this point, the Germantown Community Band filed onto the Pavilion. This band, directed by Jim Barnes, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and the band’s many diverse members were thrilled to be playing on the newly-opened stage.

As the first notes of the Star Spangled Banner erupted from the brass and wind instruments, it became evident the Gehl Foods Performing Arts Pavilion was well worth all the time, effort, and dedication.

SCOTUS Rules Against Police Use of Cell Phone Locations Data Without Warrant

This is a close call, but I agree with the ruling. In the digital age, we are trying to figure out how far we want our government to be able to know our private information. I fall on the side of strong 4th Amendment protections. If law enforcement thinks that someone is guilty of a crime, then they should be required to get a warrant to search and use their cell phone data just like if they were searching their home.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police generally need a warrant to look at records that reveal where cellphone users have been, the Supreme Court ruled Friday in a big victory for privacy interests in the digital age.

The justices’ 5-4 decision marks a big change in how police may obtain information that phone companies collect from the ubiquitous cellphone towers that allow people to make and receive calls, and transmit data. The information has become an important tool in criminal investigations.

Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by the court’s four liberals, said cellphone location information “is detailed, encyclopedic and effortlessly compiled.” Roberts wrote that “an individual maintains a legitimate expectation of privacy in the record of his physical movements” as they are captured by cellphone towers.

Roberts said the court’s decision is limited to cellphone tracking information and does not affect other business records, including those held by banks. He also wrote that police still can respond to an emergency and obtain records without a warrant.

But the dissenting conservative justices, Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, cast doubt on Roberts’ claim that the decision was limited. Each wrote a dissenting opinion and Kennedy said in his that the court’s “new and uncharted course will inhibit law enforcement” and “keep defendants and judges guessing for years to come.”

Rule of Law “Virtually Absent” in Venezuela

Remember that Venezuela was a thriving, capitalist country a couple of decades ago. After turning socialist, here they are. Also note that this is what can happen when only the government is allowed to have guns. Can it happen in America? Of course it can.

Venezuelan security forces have carried out hundreds of arbitrary killings under the guise of fighting crime, the UN says in a new report.

The UN’s human rights body says it has credible accounts of security forces raiding poor neighbourhoods and killing young men, often in their homes.

The rule of law was “virtually absent” in the country, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.

Venezuela has in the past dismissed human rights allegations as “lies”.

The country is going through a protracted political and economic crisis.

Mayville Schools Display Raunchy “Protest Art” to Middle Schoolers

Wow. From the Washington County Insider. Follow the link for videos of parents and others commenting. What the heck are they teaching in Mayville? Is creating protest art a positive and effective use of taxpayer resources? Apparently the teacher who sanctioned this thing so. She said that, “The fact that a discussion is happening is a positive outcome, as well as, a learning opportunity.” Really?

 

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June 20, 2018 – Mayville, WI –  A piece of “protest art” by an 11th grader in the Mayville School District drew some harsh comments about what sort of education is being taught in the public schools in the small community of just over 4,900 in Dodge County.

Parents and taxpayers questioned the graphic nature of the piece that was part of a K-12 Art Fair held this past May at Mayville Middle School.

[…]

After the art fair in May calls were placed to School Board President John Westphal and District Superintendent Scott Sabol. Neither returned calls or offered a comment.

[…]

When two children from the Mayville Middle School came home and asked their parent about some of the words in the picture the parent said she tried to get a hold of teachers and administrators. Below is an email response from Mayville High School art teacher Sarah Heideman sent to a parent on May 23, 2018.

The school district’s Ted Hazelberg, also sent an email response to the parent on May 21, 2018.

From: Sarah Heideman <sheideman@mayville.k12.wi.us>
Date: Wed, May 23, 2018, 7:36 AM
Subject: Re: protest art – Invitation to view
Cc:, Scott Sabol <ssabol@mayville.k12.wi.us>, Bob Clark <bclark@mayville.k12.wi.us>, Ted Hazelberg <thazelberg@mayville.k12.wi.us >, John Schlender <jschlender@mayville.k12.wi.us >, Jessica Stortz <jstortz@mayville.k12.wi.us>

My student’s assignment was to create a talking conversation through a piece of artwork about something that they felt strongly about. The fact that a discussion is happening is a positive outcome, as well as, a learning opportunity. In the process, I apologise for not thinking about the placement and content for a younger viewer, since the show is over, I cannot fix it this year, but can promise in the future that these things will be addressed and learned from.
Thank you for raising the questions,
Sarah Heideman

Unions Using Dirty Tricks to Skirt Law

Typical.

In Wisconsin, for instance, United Steelworkers Local 2-482 makes workers wait up to 13 months before the union will stop grabbing dues from their paychecks.

That’s the subject of an ongoing legal battle led by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of Donald Dillabough, an employee at the Clearwater Paper Corp. plant in Neenah. 

In December, Dillabough emailed the SteelWorkers local informing officials there that he was resigning from the union and revoking his authorization for the union to automatically collect dues from his paycheck. Easy enough under Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, right? 

Wrong. 

Union officials denied the request. They claimed it was not submitted during the union’s self-created “window period.” The labor organization had established a 13-month waiting period in between windows in which employees are able to withdraw their membership, according to the foundation. 

Patrick Semmens, vice president of Public Information for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, said the prolonged waiting period is just one of many tricks unions have pulled in emerging right-to-work states like Wisconsin, which became the 25th state to adopt a worker freedom law more than three years ago.

“What we see are these union policies where they go, ‘Okay, you’re allowed to resign your union membership at any time, but you have to keep paying union dues, except when you revoke in this small, little window,” Semmens told MacIver News Service this week on the Vicki McKenna Show, on NewsTalk 1130 WISN. “This is something we are seeing all around the country.”

West Bend School Superintendent’s New Contract

The last super made $155k. It looks like the district is paying a premium.

June 19, 2018 – West Bend, WI – On May 29 the West Bend School District announced it hired Don Kirkegaard as the new Superintendent.

Kirkegaard is scheduled to start in the district July 9.  His contract is public record and posted below. Highlights include an annual salary of $175,000, moving expenses up to $15,000 and the “District shall annually contribute 6% of the Superintendent’s salary ($10,500) to a 403 (b) retirement account.

Obama Administration Failed to Counter Russian Intrusion Into American Elections

Another Obama failure.

WASHINGTON — The Obama White House’s chief cyber official testified Wednesday that proposals he was developing to counter Russia’s attack on the U.S. presidential election were put on a “back burner” after he was ordered to “stand down” his efforts in the summer of 2016.

The comments by Michael Daniel, who served as White House “cyber security coordinator” between 2012 and January of last year, provided his first public confirmation of a much-discussed passage in the book, “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” co-written by this reporter and David Corn, that detailed his thwarted efforts to respond to the Russian attack.

They came during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing into how the Obama administration dealt with Russian cyber and information warfare attacks in 2016, an issue that has become one of the more politically sensitive subjects in the panel’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election and any links to the Trump campaign.

The view that the Obama administration failed to adequately piece together intelligence about the Russian campaign and develop a forceful response has clearly gained traction with the intelligence committee. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the ranking Democrat on the panel, said in an opening statement that “we were caught flat-footed at the outset and our collective response was inadequate to meet Russia’s escalation.”

That conclusion was reinforced Wednesday by another witness, Victoria Nuland, who served as assistant secretary of state for Europe during the Obama administration. She told the panel that she had been briefed as early as December 2015 about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee — long before senior DNC officials were aware of it — and that the intrusion had all the hallmarks of a Russian operation.

Vaping Included in Milwaukee Smoking Ban

Heh.

E-cigarettes are now banned in the same locations where smoking is prohibited in the city of Milwaukee, after the common council unanimously passed a measure to do so on Wednesday.

The measure bans the use of e-cigs on city property and in places where state law currently bans smoking, such as bars and restaurants.

“Next month we celebrate the 8th anniversary of Wisconsin’s smoke free law in public places,” said Alderman Cavalier Johnson in a statement, who co-sponsored the proposal. “As new products have since emerged we can better address them through this resolution and align our policy with state law.”

The resolution was part of a three-part effort aimed at public health and tobacco use. It also included a measure to increase fines for those who sell tobacco to minors and another item to prohibit the sale of e-cigs to minors.

Trump Changes Detention Policy for Illegal Aliens

I really don’t like Presidents bypassing laws via executive order.

The executive order calls for:

  • Immigrant families to be detained together while their legal cases are considered

  • Expediting immigration cases involving families

  • Requesting the modification of a court ruling that dictates how long immigrant children can be detained

     

But I do agree that detaining and deporting the families together is the best solution from a list of bad ones.

Kelda Roys Support Increases 100% in Latest Marquette Poll!!!

It is interesting how different the results from the party activists at the convention was from a poll of registered Democrats. There appears to be a disconnect.

The last time the Marquette Law School Poll was conducted in early March, former Rep. Kelda Roys received less than 1 percent support from registered Democratic voters.

[…]

Since March Roys has garnered national attention with a campaign video in which she was possibly the first candidate for office in American history to breastfeed on camera.

Roys also won a straw poll at the state Democratic Convention earlier this month and on Wednesday announced the endorsement of Emily’s List, a national organization that supports female candidates. The group backed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who went on to win the state’s Democratic nomination.

But in the Marquette Poll she only received 2 percent support.

Republicans need a vision to break the blue wave

Here is my full column that ran yesterday in the Washington County Daily News.

Since President Donald Trump was elected Democrats and their liberal allies have been predicting that Democrats would win a sweeping victory at the polls this November. Dubbed the “blue wave,” the Democrats have history on their side. The opposition party to the president traditionally wins big electoral gains in the midterm election following the president’s inauguration.

While Democrats are still likely to win more elections than they lose this year, the threat of a blue wave appears to be diminishing. Trump’s rising approval rating, the booming economy, the prospect of peace in North Korea and a host of other factors are sucking some of the strength out of the wave.

The reason there might be a blue wave, or perhaps a blue ripple, is not because millions of heretofore Republicans have suddenly become Democrats. It is because Democrats are more energized to vote as they focus their hate around the figure of President Trump. Hate is a powerful emotion that drives a lot of people to the polls. But as we saw in Wisconsin when the Democrats fixed their hate on Gov. Scott Walker, it is not always enough to win elections.

There were two special elections last week in Wisconsin districts previously held by Republicans. A Republican won one and a Democrat one. Given that both districts are considered Republican-leaning, the results lean toward the Democrats, but it belies the notion that there is a gigantic blue wave that will sweep Democrats into power over all opposition. These special elections indicate that candidates still matter. Hard campaigning still matters. Local issues still matter.

Walker is running for his third term and is rightly running on his record. Most Wisconsin Republican incumbents are doing the same. Republicans are right to run on their record because it is a powerful record of success. Wisconsin is far better off than it was before Walker assumed office and Republicans won control of the Legislature. Taxes are down. The state budget runs a surplus instead of a deficit. Unemployment is at an alltime low. Job participation and incomes are rising. And the Republicans have enacted dozens of important reforms from concealed carry to Act 10.

It is a marvelous record, but it is not enough to get Republicans energized and flocking to the polls like they did in 2012 and 2014. What is sorely missing from the Wisconsin Republicans’ message is a vision for the future. While it may not be fair, politics is not about what you have done. It is about what you are going to do next.

If you go to Walker’s campaign website, it has some great details about his historic conservative record, but is scant in detail about what he wants to do in his third term. The Assembly Republicans’ site touts their “Forward Agenda” from 2016. A tour of the sites for incumbent Republican candidates offers much of the same.

If Wisconsin Republicans want to get their base excited and energized to counter the Democrats’ enthusiasm, they need to present a bold vision of what voters can expect if they return Walker for another term and Republican majorities to the Legislature.

For example, here are some things that I, as a conservative member of the Republican base, could get excited about: Cut spending. Don’t just bend the curve down or cut the rate of spending increases. Republicans should actually pass a budget next year that will spend less than the current budget. It is a corollary to Parkinson’s Law that government spending will always fill the budget allocated. That is part of what drives increasing budgets. Republicans should aggressively cut the budget to reflect what Wisconsinites can afford instead of what bureaucrats want to spend.

Once spending is cut, Wisconsin Republicans should end the income tax. It may sound insurmountable, but it isn’t. Nine states manage to function without a tax on regular income. Wisconsin Republicans have certainly shown themselves to be capable enough to enact comprehensive reforms and this one would be welcomed by anyone with an income in the state — including many of our seniors on fixed incomes who find themselves fleeing the state to afford their retirement.

Republicans should reform Wisconsin’s welfare system. In an age of full employment, there is no excuse whatsoever for every able-bodied person who wants to work to get a job. And if they do not want to work, the taxpayers should not be forced to pay their bills. Wisconsin Republicans have made some reforms in this area, but there is a long way to go.

There are many more great conservative reforms waiting to be enacted. If Wisconsin Republicans want to stay in power come November, they will need to articulate for Wisconsin’s voters what they intend to do with that power. Now is not the time to celebrate the past. It is time for Republicans to announce the future.

U.S. Withdraws From UN Human Rights Council

Good. It is a joke of an organisation and a waste of time.

The US has pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling it a “cesspool of political bias”.

The “hypocritical and self-serving” body “makes a mockery of human rights”, said US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley.

Ms Haley last year accused the council of “chronic anti-Israel bias” and said the US was reviewing its membership.

[…]

The United States has always had a conflicting relationship with the UN Human Rights Council. The Bush Administration decided to boycott the council when it was created in 2006 for many of the same reasons cited by the Trump administration.

The then UN ambassador was John Bolton – who is currently President Trump’s national security adviser and a strong critic of the UN.

It wasn’t until years later, in 2009, that the United States re-joined under the Obama administration.

Chris Pratt Gives Advice

He is right on every point.

Thousands of Cases of Potential Voter Fraud after 2016 Election

Good reporting from MacIver. Fortunately, we have enacted some voter integrity measures since then.

MADISON, Wis. – Almost a thousand cases of potential election day registration fraud were referred to district attorneys across Wisconsin following the 2016 general election, and questions remain over thousands more voters who can’t be located or verified, according to data from the state Elections Commission.

All together, 368,392 people registered to vote on election day in November 2016. When the state sent postcards to their addresses to verify their residency after the election, 10,461 came back as undeliverable. Local officials claim they were able to reconcile all but 3,871 of them. That means, officially, 3,871 voters in the 2016 election cannot be verified and potentially voted illegally. Unofficially, there could be as many as 10,461 cases of voter fraud from the 2016 election due to election day registrations (EDR) alone.

Municipalities in Milwaukee County take that possibility seriously. A total of 44,797 people registered to vote on election day in Milwaukee County, and 2,563 postcards bounced back. When all was said and done, the City of Milwaukee referred 886 cases of potential voter fraud to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office after deactivating the individuals’ registrations. An additional 32 cases were referred by the city of Greenfield, for a total of 918 in Milwaukee County.

Milwaukee County assistant district attorney Bruce Landgraf did not return calls asking how many cases were opened in response to the mountain of referrals following the 2016 election.

Republicans need a vision to break the blue wave

Due to a tweak in my agreement with the Washington County Daily News, I will not be posting my column on the blog the same day it runs in the paper. The only way to read it is by picking up a paper or following this link! And, of course, you want to do that. Here’s a sample to get your juices flowing:

It is a marvelous record, but it is not enough to get Republicans energized and flocking to the polls like they did in 2012 and 2014. What is sorely missing from the Wisconsin Republicans’ message is a vision for the future. While it may not be fair, politics is not about what you have done. It is about what you are going to do next.

Go read it the whole thing!

SCOTUS Sends Wisconsin Redistricting Case Back to Lower Court

Great news. It seems that the court has set an almost insurmountable standard for plaintiffs to prove injury.

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled the plaintiffs lack standing in Wisconsin’s nationally watched gerrymandering case — but in an unusual move, it agreed to send the case back to a lower court for further argument.

The unanimous decision in the case, known as Gill v. Whitford, does not resolve a challenge to the legislative maps the Republican-controlled Legislature drew under tightly controlled secrecy in 2011.

But it does end the plaintiffs’ hopes that a judge could order Wisconsin’s legislative boundaries to be redrawn in time for the 2018 elections. Federal judges ordered that last year after ruling the maps were unconstitutional.

In a separate unsigned opinion, the court also did not side with Maryland Republicans who challenged a single congressional district on partisan grounds. Another case involving challenges to North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts may address some of the standing issues in Wisconsin.

In the Wisconsin case, the court said the plaintiffs, a group of registered Democrats, failed to demonstrate they had a personal stake in the outcome.

“It is a case about group political interests, not individual legal rights,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. “But this Court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences. The Court’s constitutionally prescribed role is to vindicate the individual rights of the people appearing before it.”

But rather than dismiss the case entirely, the court ruled 7-2 to send the decision back to the district court “so that the plaintiffs may have an opportunity to prove concrete and particularized injuries using evidence — unlike the bulk of the evidence presented thus far — that would tend to demonstrate a burden on their individual votes.”

Leah Vukmir’s “Threatened” Ad

Love it. Many of us remember the hate spewed by the Left in that era.

Madison Scouts Admits First Woman

Time’s a changin’

When Megan Hutera was invited to audition for the highly competitive Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps, she was cautioned she could be making history.

“I did some pre-audition stuff, but when I got to my live audition I remember somebody saying, ‘You know you will be a celebrity, right?’ ” the Wisconsin college student said.

“I don’t really see myself in that light. It is without a doubt that I am doing something with this organization that has not been done before, and I do acknowledge that,” she said.

“But either way, I’m here to perform with my brothers and put on the best show that we can.”

Hutera, a 19-year-old trumpet player from Rice Lake, is the first female musician to perform with the Madison Scouts. Now in its 80th year, with a reputation for top-notch musicianship, marching precision and members who come from around the world, the group is still officially all-male.