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.

sports

Expanding in Wisconsin

Excellent!

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

Yup.

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

Indeed.

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.

Assembly Pushes Forward With Foxconn Bill

I’m glad to see some urgency on the part of the Assembly.

Assembly lawmakers on Monday will cast the first votes on a package of incentives designed to convince Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn to build its first U.S. plant in Wisconsin.

Lawmakers on the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy will vote Monday afternoon to advance Gov. Scott Walker’s bill that provides Foxconn with nearly $3 billion in tax credits, exempt the company from a number of environmental regulations and spend $20 million in state funds on job training to ensure the state’s workforce is prepared. The full Assembly is scheduled to vote on the package Thursday.

But a leader of the state Senate said Monday the Assembly’s action this week is “largely irrelevant” and that changes recently made to the bill by Assembly Republicans on Friday may not have the support from Walker or Senate Republicans.

Senate President Roger Roth, R-Appleton, told conservative talk radio show host Jerry Bader on Monday that the speed at which the Assembly has pushed the Foxconn bill has the Senate on the outside looking in.

It worries me that the Republicans running state government can’t seem to get their acts together on this. Why is it so difficult to get in a joint committee, hash out the details, and get this thing done? The answer is that it isn’t difficult – if they wanted to do so. Several Republican leaders appear to be using the Foxconn package as a political football for other agendas. In doing so, they risk fumbling it after Walker got it to the goal line. (yes, I’m ready for some football)

West Bend School District Heading to Referendum

The West Bend School Board is going to start the ball rolling to ask for a referendum next year. They won’t likely admit that, but that is the inevitable outcome of the process they are starting. This is the relevant item on Monday’s School Board agenda:

Topic and Background:

As part of the 17-18 Strategic Plan, the district has committed to evaluating the district’s options to address an aging Jackson Elementary School and the East/West High School facility. To that end, the district has hired Bray Architects to assist in the process.

Public engagement with the process will be crucial. The team is recommending the formation of a board appointed, citizens committee to analyze possible solutions and ultimately make a recommendation back to the board in spring of 2018.

Rationale:

It is extremely important to keep the Board apprised of the activities that are taking place. The formation of the citizens committee is a key component of the plan as we move forward.

Budget:

$35,000 which has already been budgeted for activities related to this strategic plan item.

They have also included a handy document describing the process. You can find that here.

The process is designed to gather public input (good), assess needs (good), and make recommendations to the board (good). The process is also designed to lead to one inevitable conclusion – referendum.

What’s the tell? Look at the firm contracted for the engagement. Bray Architects is a firm that specializes in helping school districts get referendums passed to fund projects that Bray then completes. On their website, they even brag about their role in recent school referendums that passed.

cheerleadingreferendums

They even talk about how they helped get referendums passed that had previously failed:

HUDSON MIDDLE SCHOOL

After an unsuccessful referendum with a previous partner, the Hudson School District collaborated with Bray Architects to identify and evaluate potential solutions for the District’s secondary (6th–12th grade) space needs.

Following the completion of the needs analysis and an extensive planning and community engagement process, the School Board placed three referendum questions on the April 2016 ballot. All three questions were approved, including $7.9 million for an addition and renovation to Hudson Middle School. The addition and renovations will focus on grade-level house organization, classroom layout, gymnasium space, educational resource areas, Small Group Instructional rooms, and Special Education learning spaces.

The addition will feature a new gymnasium with one main basketball court and four side courts, two Special Education classrooms, three general-purpose classrooms, and one science classroom. A classroom will be added to an existing “house” on the first floor, while second floor renovations will include improvements to an art classroom and the conversion of an existing space into a science classroom. New lockers will be added to existing “houses” on both floors.

The School Board has contracted with Bray for one purpose and one purpose only – to get a referendum passed. That is the expected outcome of this process. Here is how this has happened in other districts and what we can expect:

  1. Form a committee loaded with people predisposed to support more spending
  2. The committee will conduct a needs analysis that has a very wide definition of “need”
  3. Conduct a propaganda campaign through the committee (so that it appears to be coming from the community) that bemoans all of the facility “needs” (expect to hear about sewage backups in Jackson Elementary again)
  4. The committee will determine that existing district resources are inadequate to meet the facilities “needs”
  5. Conduct a community survey with slanted questions, e.g. “Would you support a referendum to prevent the children having to learn while standing in a foot of sewage?”
  6. The committee recommends that the board go to referendum based on the survey results
  7. The School Board puts the referendum(s) on the ballot

I will be gleefully pleased if I am wrong, but I plan to pull this post back up next year to show how predictable this was.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

New owners for Toucan Custard in West Bend

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

The family made the initial announcement in February that they were putting the business up for sale. Gathered in the dining area of the restaurant on Tuesday afternoon the sisters,  Jacquelyn, Rebecca Moehr- Lambrecht and Elizabeth Moehr had a rather tearful update.

“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. “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.”

Since the business went up for sale there were about a half dozen interested parties. The sisters said they would prefer the new owners keep the 1950’s theme of the restaurant but after a while on the market they were more accepting.

“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 buyer, according to the Moehrs, stepped in at the eleventh hour.

“It was to the point where we were going to end up leaving,” said Jacquelyn.

The sisters said the new owners will keep the custard and the business name.

“This is what we wanted; it’s time,” said Jacquelyn. “This is a family thing for us.”

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.” Another silver lining is being able to walk away from the 24-7 demands of the business. “Your phone is always ringing and you’re at work seven days a week,” said Rebecca Moehr- Lambrecht. “It’s going to be weird but phones are going to be quiet.”

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.

Behind the scenes….

As the last two weeks of business draws to a close the Moehr girls are informing their employees and customers about their decision. “The gentleman who bought my dad’s Mustang was in today and he looked a little sad,” said Jacquelyn.

The business was listed by BOSS Realty

The new owners are a husband and wife, along with the man’s brother.  “They will keep the business mostly the same,” said Jacquelyn. “They will add their touches.”

No word if the new owners will bring back the famous Al Moehr fried baloney sandwich.

The new owners did come in this morning and watched the custard-making process.

Picking the final flavor of the day at Toucan Custard

Word is spreading across the community and Washington County that the Moehr family is selling Toucan Custard in West Bend and moving onto another stage of their life.

While the sisters say they would like to slip away in style they have agreed to have neighbors pick the final flavor of the day.

The cherry on top….. they’re asking you to create a name for the flavor as well.

“My husband has his entry,” said Jacquelyn Moehr Heise. “Thanks a bunch crunch.”

The possibilities seem endless as Toucan Custard has developed an extensive history of memories over the last 27 years in the community.

– Al Moehr, the patriarch of the family, was heavily involved in Kiwanis and the annual Duck Derby.

-Al also was creative with some of his menu selections including the taco cheeseburger and fried baloney sandwich.

-Remember the Toucan car?

-When John McGivern visited to do a segment on Toucan Custard for his Around the Corner show he remarked, “Can Al Moehr have an ugly daughter?”

-“He’d always want us to have our lips on,” said Rebecca. “He just thought if you didn’t have lipstick on it made you look tired; lipstick meant you were ready for the day.”

The Moehr girls have always been pretty creative with the custard flavors at Toucan. They’re throwing down a challenge and the deadline for submissions is 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 16.

The selected entry will be served on their last day at the store, Saturday, August 19.  New owners take over on Sunday.

Submissions must be submitted to WashingtonCountyInsider.com or Washington County Insider on Facebook.

Some of the early suggestions include: That’s A-Moehr-a! (That’s Amore), Rich Schommer said, “Al would order fresh Apple turnovers from me at The Old Fashioned Bakery, make an Apple Turnover custard and send several pints home with me the next day. ” Al’s Apple Turnover Custard.”  Gary Knoeck suggested “S’moehr (s’mores) what a better send off than to use the family name.” Laurie Kraemer wrote, “Grateful for the MeMoehries: I can’t pick just one favorite , so a mix of favorite flavors!: Butter Brickle (butter/butterscotch custard with toffee pieces) with Caramel swirls, Cashews (and/or pecans) grated chocolate, and to have the “lips on”- cherries on the top.” In tribute to the restaurant’s 1950’s theme and classic car night Billy Spiropoulos wrote “Cadillac CARmel cashew.”

Repairs underway to apartment damaged by fire

Six months after a fire gutted an apartment on Braatz Drive in Kewaskum reconstruction is finally underway. On February 10 at approximately 7:36 p.m., the Kewaskum Fire Department was dispatched to a fire located in the bedroom of 222 Braatz Drive apartment No. 7.All eight units in the building sustained substantial fire and water damage. All residents were safely evacuated.

This week contractors from Timber Ridge Construction LLC began making repairs by putting on a roof and framing out rooms as the interior of the building was gutted to the studs. Construction is expected to be completed by October/November. Building owners said delays in repairs were due to weather and permits.

Business in neighboring Dodge County is closing

A longtime business in neighboring Dodge County is closing. An article in the Daily Citizen is reporting Thunder Pallet, which is a pallet manufacturing and heat treating facility, will end operations this October.

A portion of the article by Ben Rueter reads: “It’s been a great run,” company president Ben Mahsem said. The Department of Workforce Development wrote, the facilities at 625 N. Menomonee St., Theresa, and at 909 River Knoll Drive, Mayville, will begin slowing down production Oct. 2 until the complete closure Oct. 31. A notice of the business closing was received by DWD on Aug. 2. The closure will affect 46 employees, four salaried and 42 hourly.”

Mahsem said the business is closing because of his health and the decision to close down Thunder Pallet was something he did not foresee. The article indicates equipment from Thunder Pallet will be auctioned off in November.

Former local Assembly Rep. Mickey Lehman has died

Michael A. Lehman “Mickey” passed away on August 7, 2017 with family at his side. Mickey would like to thank everyone for their support and express his gratitude in being allowed to serve 8 terms (16 years) in the Wisconsin State Assembly, 2.5 years with the Department of Revenue as Administrator of State and Local Finance, Lastly, serving on the Miller Park Stadium Board for 12 years. Mickey shared; “Appreciate the opportunities God provides you throughout life, and enjoy every day! I SURE DID!” Services for Mickey Lehman were held Friday, August 11, 2017.

West Bend Common Council honors 2017 WIAA Baseball champs

The West Bend Common Council led its Monday night meeting with high praise and recognition for the West Bend West High School baseball team which won the WIAA State Championship and finished the season with a record of 33 – 0.

“More important than the scoreboard is how they won their games,” said Mayor Kraig Sadownikow. “They represented themselves and their school and their families and this community with integrity and a humble manner that is well beyond their years.”

Spartans coach Billy Albrecht introduced a portion of the team in attendance and provided a list of some of the accolades and achievements.

-Three of the seniors on the team got a Division I scholarship to play baseball at college.  “Pretty amazing that in a town our size can put out players that can go to the top level of college baseball,” said Albrecht.

-“We had eight players on our team make All Conference and we had four of our guys Evan Albrecht, Jack Thelen, Anthony Schlass and Nathan Burns named first team All State.

-Evan Albrecht and Anthony Schlass were co-Players of the Year in the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference. Anthony Schlass was named Player of the Year for the entire state of Wisconsin in summer baseball.

-Schlass was also named the Player of the Year in the entire state for all high schools spring and summer baseball. Schlass also won the Dick Falk High School Player of the Year award.

-“I’d like to thank West Bend for its awesome support. I’ve coached a lot of teams and obviously the wins here are special but the way they went about it is more special to me and I appreciate you (the council) honoring them,” said coach Billy Albrecht.

Updates & tidbits

Ashly Kasten of West Bend, RN in the Intensive Care Unit, has been recognized with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin St. Joseph’s Hospital’s first quarter DAISY Award for her patient care and professionalism.

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

-Allenton Parade is Sunday, Aug. 20. Step off is 11:30 a.m. from the Allenton Fire Station.

– 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.

-More than 140 avid golfers took part Monday in the annual Jingle Bell Open at West Bend Lakes Golf Course. Proceeds benefit the annual West Bend Christmas Parade. First place went to American Metal & Paper Team. The 1st Place Co-Ed team was Pillars / West Bend Lakes Team. Most Fun Team – Grafton Transit and BJ and Company and 1st Place Christmas Spirit – Horicon Hills Team.

-The West Bend High School class of 1948 is preparing to relive some of its glory years at a reunion luncheon August 19 at noon at the Top of the Ridge. 1948 was an era when choosing the class ring (the Royal Crown) was a big deal, along with winning the debate championship and taking first place in the American Legion Essay Contest.

-Take a Step Back in Time on Sunday, Aug. 13 from noon – 3 p.m. at Richfield Historical Park, 4399 Pleasant Hill Road. Experience the old-school method of washing clothes, grinding coffee, hauling grain. In olden days they called these things chores.The Messer/Mayer Mill, Mill House, and Lillicrapp Welcome Center will all be open and there will be hands-on activities. There is a $5 tour fee and children 5 and under are free. All proceeds benefit the Richfield Historical Society.

-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.

Microaggressions

My goodness

In the document, posted to the school’s student health services web site, microaggressions are defined as ‘brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or not, that communicate a hostile, derogatory, or negative slight or insult toward a targeted group.’

The guide gives plenty of examples of seemly innocuous situations that they deem microaggressions, including traditional ‘male’ or ‘female’ bathrooms,  because ‘trans and/or gender nonconforming folks don’t feel safe or comfortable in either’.

Professors who don’t ask what gender pronoun someone wants to be called by are guilty of microaggression too.

Even classroom seats can be a microaggression because they are ‘too small for many people’.

Apparently there are multiple kinds of microaggressions too, which the guide helpfully breaks down into three categories: microinsults, microassaults and microinvalidations.

How can anybody possibly function in an environment such as this? You are expected to feel constantly offended by the microaggressions being committed against you while simultaneously feeling perpetually guilty for all of the microaggressions you have committed. It is a completely unhealthy and socially destructive construct.

Venezuelan Tyrant Tightens Fist

Tyrants doing what tyrants do.

On Thursday, the opposition accused the government Thursday of persecution after the supreme court this week sentenced two of its mayors to 15 months in prison for not preventing anti-government protests. Both were also barred from holding public office.

The verdict brought to 23 the number of mayors targeted by legal action, according to the opposition.

“Is this the peace that Maduro is talking about?” said Gerardo Blyde, another mayor who is the target of a legal investigation.

The Constituent Assembly has already sacked the attorney general, a Maduro appointee-turned-critic who opposed its creation as unconstitutional.

The developments fuelled tensions that have been flaring in Venezuela for the past four months. Nearly 130 people have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces.

The protests have lost steam in the past week as security forces have stepped up repression and demonstrators have grown discouraged by the opposition’s failure to bring about change.

Illegal Illegals Not Welcome

Glad to see my representative pushing for this.

Driscoll and some other farmers say the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown is making it harder to find workers. But if Wisconsin farms face labor shortages today because they’ve relied on workers in the country illegally, state Rep. Bob Gannon, R-Slinger, doesn’t want to hear about it.

“If it takes illegal immigrants to make their business model operate, I think their model is broken,” he said. “I’m in agreement with President Trump that if you break the law in the United States, you should expect to get a one-way ticket out of here.”

He also has a problem with cities that don’t do more to help the federal government. Gannon is a co-sponsor of a controversial Assembly bill aimed at preventing sanctuary jurisdictions of all types.

Milk Shortage in Europe

This is a fascinating study of a market correcting after years of government control.

Here’s the basic story:

Overproduction was a problem in the EU’s early days too, until the Commission in 1984 brought in milk quotas — caps — as a way of stabilizing ballooning production. A wave of market-oriented reforms in EU agricultural policy over years committed the bloc to ending them. In 2003, the Commission said it would lift milk quotas in 2015 — in theory leaving farmers ample time to adjust their business models.

But geopolitical events wrecked those best-laid plans. By the end of the quota system in March 2015, the Russian food embargo — retaliation for EU sanctions enacted after the annexation of Crimea — had already been in place for five months.

Russia bought 13 percent of EU milk exports before the ban, according to Commission data. For milk products such as cheese and butter, the EU’s stake in the Russian market was far higher: The country bought 32 percent of EU-produced cheese, and 24 percent of butter, before the ban.

“A huge market … was literally wiped off the grid,” European Council of Young Farmers President Alan Jagoe said. “It turned a problem into a crisis.”

Almost simultaneously, the U.S. shale-gas boom accelerated oil production and triggered a decline in crude-oil prices. In a remarkable example of economic interconnection, this has a major effect on milk yields. Animal feed costs fall with dropping crude oil prices, said David O’Neil, director of dairy commodity trading house Dansko Foods, and low feed costs encourage farmers to add use more feed — which leads to larger milk yields.

“The flip side of this is that the major oil-producing countries have less buying power as their GDP falls, therefore they buy and consume less dairy products,” O’Neil said. “This leads to an oversupply, lower-demand scenario which leads to a lower milk price.”

That story was from last year. Since then, many milk producers have exited the market (by choice or otherwise) and there is a shortage:

The EU would go on to intervene in the market, but many dairy farmers went out of business. Over 1,000 stopped production in the U.K. alone, according to Moreau.

The looming shortage

The next worry is a shortage of butter in Europe.

Butter production slumped 5% in the year to May 2017. Meanwhile, butter stockpiles have plunged 98% in a year, according to the European Commission’s Milk Observatory.

“While supplies remain tight and demand has increased, there has been a shortage of butter in the EU, causing prices to soar as buyers try to lock into contracts to obtain stocks,” said Michael Liberty, dairy market analyst at Mintec.

Peder Tuborgh, CEO of U.K. dairy giant Arla, warned the BBC last month that there might not be enough milk and cream to go around at Christmas.

Unfortunately, these kind of wild swings are normal as a market adjusts from one of central control to more free market. If left alone, it will continue to take more, but increasingly smaller swings until it reaches equilibrium. In the meantime, can Wisconsin export some butter to the EU? There’s a market opportunity there.

Couple Buys Private Street in Rich Neighborhood

This is hilarious.

The wealthy residents of an exclusive San Francisco street have threatened legal action after learning that the communal areas outside their homes have been sold to a private investor for a combined total of just £70,000.

Despite the street’s mansions selling for millions of dollars, an unpaid tax bill saw the carefully manicured lawns and pristine pavements of Presidio Terrace auctioned for a mere $90,000.

Michael Cheng and his wife Tina Lam bought the gated street and now own the road, footpaths and other areas of “common ground” in the private development.

The auction stemmed from an unpaid bill after the homeowners association for Presidio Terrace failed to pay a $14-a-year property tax, something that owners of all 181 private streets in San Francisco must do, the San Francisco Chroniclereported.

The Californian city’s tax office put the property up for sale for $994 in an online auction to claw back unpaid back taxes, penalties and interest. The couple eventually won the street with a $90,100 bid in an April 2015 auction.

Walker Signs REINS Act

Great!

WAUSAU – Governor Scott Walker today signed the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act into law at the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce. The bill makes various changes regarding administrative rules and rule-making procedures.

“One of our top priorities for Wisconsin is ensuring government services are effective, efficient, accountable, and operate at good-value for the citizens of our state,” Governor Walker said. “This bill allows for more input from citizens and stakeholders before a new rule is drafted, ensures expensive or burdensome rules are subject to legislative scrutiny and approval, and creates additional oversight over state agencies. I thank Senator Devin LeMahieu and Representative Adam Neylon for taking the lead on this protaxpayer reform. ”

Senate Bill 15 – makes several changes to the administrative rulemaking process, specifically the preparation of scope statements, economic impact analysis, approval of rules, promulgation of emergency rules, and certain hearings on proposed rules. The bill requires the Department of Administration to complete an initial review of proposed scope statements from agencies and determine if an agency has the explicit authority to promulgate the rule, prior to submitting the scope statements to the Governor for approval. Authored by Senator Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) and Representative Adam Neylon (RPewaukee), the bill passed the Senate with a vote of 19-14 and was concurred by the Assembly with a vote of 62-34. It is Act 57.