“Mad Dog” Mattis to Be Defense Secretary

Another great pick.

US President-elect Donald Trump has named Gen James Mattis, a former marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as his defence secretary.

“He’s our best,” Mr Trump said, as he announced his pick in a speech in Ohio.

Gen Mattis, who is known as “Mad Dog”, was an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s Middle East policy, particularly on Iran.

He has referred to Iran as “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East”.

Lefties Struggle to Understand Trump Victory


The Elections Research Center at UW-Madison will host a day-long symposium next Friday, Dec. 9, on the historic upset that made Donald Trump the president-elect.

Election Symposium 2016 is free, but organizers recommend that people who want to attend register online beforehand.

Journalists Molly Ball of The Atlantic, who has written extensively on Trump’s presidential bid, and Dan Balz, chief Washington correspondent for the Washington Post, will be joined by political scientists and researchers from UW-Madison and other universities.

They are clearly trying to understand the new landscape. What’s interesting is that I’m willing to bet that almost all of the people on their panel voted for Clinton. I’m also willing to bet that most of the people on this panel know very few people – if any – who voted for Trump. If they are truly seeking understanding, shouldn’t they include some folks who supported Trump? Wouldn’t they be in a better position to explain the motivations of the Trump electorate?

Stein Invests in Living Wage Jobs in Wisconsin


GREEN BAY – Aided by more than 120 temporary workers making up to $25 per hour, county clerks across Northeastern Wisconsin on Thursday will begin their recount of ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election.

A judge’s ruling that the work could be done by machine rather than by hand will reduce the time needed for the recount, several clerks said. But the work still could take a week or more, and officials say there’s no way to tell exactly how long it will take to recount thousands of ballots.

“We’re hoping to be done by next Thursday,” said Shawano County Clerk Pam Schmidt.

The money isn’t coming from county coffers. Green Party candidate Jill Stein  and independent candidate Roque De La Fuente this week paid the state almost $3.5 million to cover the estimated cost of recounting nearly 3 million presidential ballots. Officials in the state’s 72 counties would have until the end of the day Dec. 12 to complete the count.

Buzz Aldrin Evacuated from South Pole

Hope he’s OK.

Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the Moon, has been evacuated from the South Pole after falling ill.

The former 86-year-old astronaut was visiting the US Antarctic Program’s research centre as part of a tourist group.

The White Desert tour company said Mr Aldrin was stable under the care of a doctor.

Gatlinburg Burns


Gatlinburg, Tennessee (CNN)The death toll from raging wildfires fires in Sevier County, Tennessee, climbed to seven after authorities recovered three more bodies at a residence, officials said Wednesday.

Authorities are working to identify all the victims and will notify their families as soon as possible, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said.
He said he thinks the three latest victims were adults.
“All of us are praying for those families and are very distressed at the loss of life in this situation,” Waters said.
Several others are said to be missing after the blazes scorched roughly 15,000 acres in a resort-heavy area of eastern Tennessee, which showered residents with embers and forced tourists to evacuate from their accommodations. More than 700 buildings were either damaged or destroyed in Sevier County and in the Gatlinburg city limits, Waters said.

Reddit’s Edits

I don’t know why anyone would even bother with Reddit anymore after their CEO admitted to actually editing other people’s comments. And now he is silencing people with whom he disagrees in order to promote “healing.” Whatever. There are plenty of other places on the web.

News-sharing community Reddit is taking action against what it calls its “most toxic” users.

Hundreds of members of the site have been identified, Reddit’s chief executive Steve Huffman wrote.

Specifically, attention is being directed at /r/The_Donald, a subreddit – section – of the site created and used by supporters of the US President-Elect.

Mr Huffman, who posts as “spez” on the site, said he would not ban the section entirely as he wanted to push a “spirit of healing” on the site.

But he has been under heavy criticism after he admitted he had personally edited comments left by users.

“More than anything, I want Reddit to heal, and I want our country to heal, and although many of you have asked us to ban the r/The_Donald outright, it is with this spirit of healing that I have resisted doing so,” he wrote on Wednesday.

“If there is anything about this election that we have learned, it is that there are communities that feel alienated and just want to be heard, and Reddit has always been a place where those voices can be heard.”

Obama Sends Representatives to Honor Tyrant

Of course he does.

President Obama is sending two senior officials to represent the United States at a service on Tuesday for the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro. But don’t call it an official delegation, the White House insisted.

“I can tell you that the president has decided not to send a presidential delegation to attend the memorial service today,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. “I can tell you, however, that Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes will attend the service, as will the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba, Jeff DeLaurentis.”

Rhodes was one of the key architects of the secret diplomacy with Cuba that led to the stunning December 2014 announcement that the two Cold War adversaries would renew diplomatic relations and pursue deeper economic ties. Obama nominated DeLaurentis, the top U.S. official at the embassy in Havana, to be ambassador, but Republicans have blocked the nomination.

Nancy Pelosi Wins Leadership


Pelosi got 134 votes to Ryan’s 63 — winning 68 percent of the votes after declaring before the election that she had the support of two-thirds of the caucus. The victory sends a message that while there’s a growing appetite for major changes in the party’s leadership structure and messaging tactics, it’s not strong enough to loosen Pelosi’s grip on a liberal-heavy group that’s rarely challenged her authority.

After getting shellacked time and time again, the Democratic Party has chosen to stay the course. That bodes well for Republican prospects. This also indicates that the Democratic Party is becoming more and more radical. As long as they continue to focus all of their energies on fringe issues and not issues that actually matter to vast swaths of the American population, they will remain in the minority.

The Pence Effect

I’ll say it again… Trump’s cabinet so far looks outstanding. These are smart, substantive people who are capable of doing very big things in their jobs.

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump’s incoming administration is increasingly becoming Mike Pence’s dream team.

Trump’s decision to tap Seema Verma — Pence’s own Medicaid policy consultant in the Indiana governor’s office — to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provided the clearest evidence yet of the prominence Pence and his conservative allies will have in Trump’s Washington.
Trump’s choices so far have reflected Pence’s politics — potentially proving helpful on Capitol Hill, where the Indiana governor and former House Republican leader has long been expected to help Trump most. Pence’s devotion to conservative principles — and his relationships with powerful groups, including the Heritage Foundation — have allowed him to help Trump navigate a Washington terrain that is unfamiliar to the billionaire business mogul who just ran his first campaign for any office.

West Bend Maintains Flat Spending for 6th Consecutive Year

Wow. Some amazing work happening in West Bend. Kudos to the Mayor and the Council.

Common Council members approved the 2017 budget during the Nov. 14 meeting that maintains the tax rate at $8.51 per equalized value, imposes a 2 percent merit pay adjustment for some employees, a $225,000 increase in contingency funding and road maintenance, and that continues to limit borrowing to $1.5 million annually to fund capital improvement projects.

“We are proud to say that the level of government is right around that same 2011 spending mark that we had been maintaining for a long time,” City Administrator Jay Shambeau said. “That comes with great accomplishment in trying to do things at a very lean manner, but also comes with somewhat of a risk.”

There have been multiple meetings related to the budget dating back to early October. At one session, Mayor Kraig Sadownikow instructed administrators to accommodate a merit pay increase for personnel while leaving the tax rate steady.

At a subsequent meeting, Shambeau warned the public that state transportation aid funding would be less than the previousyear by about $100,000. Staff and administrators are adjusting the budget to accommodate that shortfall.

The budget will generate an estimated $20.6 million in revenues from property taxes, along with a general fund balance of about $23 million. They will also pay slightly more than $4 million in interest and principal for debts incurred.

To incorporate the decreased state funding and Sadownikow’s directive into the budget, Shambeau and staff had to reduce expenses or find additional savings in other areas.

Judge Rules Against Stein

Color me surprised.

Madison — Green Party candidate Jill Stein paid $3.5 million Tuesday to clear the way for Wisconsin’s presidential vote recount but had a judge reject her lawsuit to require all Wisconsin counties to do the recount by hand.

Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn said the effort to force the hand recount — which was backed by Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign — did not meet the state’s legal standard for prohibiting the use of machines in the recount, saying that the two campaigns did not show a hand recount, though more thorough, was necessary or show there was a clear and convincing evidence of fraud or other problems.

Let the budget battle begin

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

Some headlines are already using misleading words like “shortfall” and “deficit” when describing the state of Wisconsin’s next biennial budget. Those are odd descriptors for a budget that has not been written yet, but it is based on the results of the first step in the budget process. The hard work is just beginning.

Wisconsin’s two-year budget will be crafted and passed next year by the new, enlarged, Republican majorities in the state Legislature. While such dominance by one political party may lead one to believe there will be unanimity of thought, there are actually quite a few areas of severe disagreement between various factions of the Republican Legislature and the governor, including transportation, education and debt load. It will be a lively budget process.

The first step in the budget process is for all of the state agencies to submit their budget requests, or wish lists, to the governor. From those budget requests, the governor prioritizes and builds a budget proposal. The legislature then takes the governor’s proposed budget, washes it through the spin cycle of the legislative process, and hands it back to the governor for signature. After the normal veto/override process, the budget is enacted into law.

But we are still at the first step, which is what led to the misleading headlines. The cumulative total of the state agencies budget requests exceed the projected state tax revenues for the next two years by $693 million. In other words, the wish lists add up to $693 million more than the state expects to extract from us in taxes.

That does not really encapsulate the whole story. While the state agencies requested $693 million over projected tax revenues, they actually requested more than $1.5 billion more than what they will spend in this fiscal year. That is a big wish list. It should be noted the largest share of the requested increase — $707 million — comes from the Department of Public Instruction, which runs independently from the governor’s administration.

First, it should be noted the agency budget requests are just that – requests. As with every budgeting cycle, agencies ask for as much as they can knowing full well that they will not get everything on their list. This is true in families, businesses, governments and everywhere else where wants outstrip the funds available. The governor and the Legislature have a duty to prioritize spending and make sure that the government does not spend more than the taxpayers can afford.

Second, while state agency requests exceed estimated tax revenues by $693 million, the estimated tax revenues are substantially higher than what Wisconsin took from us last year. Despite a number of tax cuts enacted over the past few years, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue expects state tax revenues to increase $1.4 billion over the next two years.

That means the government could spend an additional $1.4 billion in the next budget without raising taxes or adding debt. Or it could fulfill all of the budget requests and borrow the difference between the taxes collected and the money spent.

I urge the legislature to do neither. Despite Republican dominance of the state levers of government for the last two budgets, the state of Wisconsin has increased spending each subsequent budget. If the election of Donald Trump has taught us anything, it is the public is tired of the status quo. We are tired of our government just spending more every budget because that is all they know how to do. We are tired of the same old government insiders just pushing the same old agendas.

Instead of fighting over how much the state of Wisconsin will increase spending, I urge state lawmakers to actually spend less. At the very least, if the state simply kept spending flat, it could use the additional $1.4 billion over the next two years to reduce the state’s debt or, even better, return it to the taxpayers. Wisconsin is still in the top-10 highest-taxed states. The only way to change that is to actually start reducing spending. The tax reductions will follow.

Wisconsin does not have a tax problem. It has a spending problem. If state Republicans are ever going to convert their rhetoric about fiscal discipline into real life, this is the budget to do it.

Wisconsin Recount Progresses

What a colossal waste of time and money. And it’s all for purely political reasons. Nobody requesting a recount really cares about the integrity of our elections.

The $3.5 million figure is far more than previous estimates, and the state Elections Commission said in order for the recount to begin the amount must be paid in full in by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday by the campaigns of Stein, de la Fuente or a combination of both.

 Also Monday, Stein’s campaign asked a Dane County judge to order that the recount of all ballots tallied by optical scan machines — which is how the vast majority of ballots in Wisconsin are counted — be conducted by hand after the commission rebuffed that request earlier in the day.
I am almost certain that a Dane County Judge will rule that we have to do a recount by hand. Does the Elections Commission get to redo the cost estimate for that? The good news is that the Dane County Judge’s ruling will quickly be overturned.

Death Throes of West Bend Theater

The saga of the West Bend Theater is entering its gasping final stages. From the Washington County Insider:

The theatre is a hot topic. It marked its 87th anniversary on November 26.

Since about 2007 the theatre has gone dark. There have been some recent rumblings about a possible sale or even razing the building for an outdoor amphitheater. None of the rumors have been confirmed by building owner Matt Prescott.

What has been confirmed is a December deadline regarding the renovation or removal of the bridge behind the theatre. The downtown West Bend Business Improvement District put forth a $75,000 surety to save the pedestrian bridge that extends from the back of the West Bend Theatre over the Milwaukee River.

That deadline, now a year later, is just a couple weeks away.

During Sunday’s West Bend Christmas Parade an attempt was made by historian Terry Becker to rally some support for the future of the theatre by having people gather below the West Bend marquee for a photo.

About 30 people drifted over to the theatre but came away disappointed.

“It’s just disorganized,” said Bartelt. “People are looking at information. I asked if they were going to do the community picture and nobody answered me.”

The West Bend Theater and its iconic sign has been a centerpiece of downtown West Bend for generations, but its time is over. The problem is that there just isn’t enough interest in doing anything with it. There are a handful of people who are actively involved in trying to restore it, but they lack the funds (or are unwilling to spend their own funds) to do it. The rest of the community is about like me, I suppose. I would like to see something done with it, but it isn’t important enough for me to invest much of my own time or money in doing so. It would be “neat,” but I have other priorities.

The theater has been empty for almost a decade. The flurry of activity last year to save it has fizzled out like the previous attempts to save it. It’s time to admit that West Bend has moved on and let it die.

The Evolution of Wisconsin’s Public Sector Unions

The Milwaukee paper has a very good, and very long, story about the history of Wisconsin’s public sector unions. It goes back to their foundation, covers the illegal teacher strikes and responses in the 70s, the growth in the 80s, the political concentration in the 90s, and what’s been happening since Act 10. It is a pretty straight forward piece and worth the read.

I found this little tidbit interesting:

After Act 10’s passage, the 4,500-member Milwaukee union took a hard look at the local’s work and found that 85% of its time went toward litigating disputes and misconduct cases involving 2% of its members.

To broaden the union’s appeal to potential members, especially younger teachers, leaders shifted to working with the district on improved classroom practices, new student discipline techniques and culturally responsive teaching.

What a nice consequence of Act 10 for Milwaukee’s teachers. Instead of focusing the vast majority of resources on protecting bad apples, the union is trying to do things to benefit the majority of teachers. I know they will never admit it, but surely some of Milwaukee’s teachers are appreciative of the union’s renewed focus – even if it is a consequence of Act 10.

Kaepernick Hearts Castro

Note to the NFL… your viewership is cratering because you allow losers like this to represent your league.

After that game, he showed up at a news conference wearing a T-shirt depicting a meeting between Castro, who was alive then, and the late black rights activist Malcolm X.
During an interview with Miami reporters on Wednesday, Kaepernick defended his choice to wear the T-shirt, according to Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero’s personal account.
Over a teleconference call, Kaepernick reportedly praised Castro for investing in Cuba’s education system, as opposed to the American investment in the prison system, according to Salguero.
Kaepernick got a lot of criticism earlier this month. He didn’t vote in the recent election, saying it would be “hypocritical” of him to cast a ballot.
As for Sunday’s game, it came down to the final play. Kaepernick had the ball in his hands but was stopped short of the goal line.
The Dolphins defeated the 49ers 31-24. This was the 10th consecutive loss for the 49ers, the worst losing streak in team history.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

A tribute to Tom Strachota

There was a pall cast over the community of West Bend this week as neighbors try to wrap their head around the recent deaths of Tom Strachota, Doug Devenport and Dan Fuge.

There is a sense of shock from many regarding the news of Strachota’s death; he died suddenly following a heart attack Monday night at Pleasant Valley Tennis Club, he was raced to the hospital down the road but lifesaving measures weren’t enough.

Friends and neighbors are recalling Strachota as a man of conviction and community spirit.

“Tom had a real commitment to West Bend,” said John Rozek. “It showed in his family’s commitment to Regner Park and he was very involved in all different aspects.”

Robb Mehring golfed with Tom Strachota during a Notre Dame outing at the West Bend Country Club.

“He was really a great person. He always made everyone feel important.” said Mehring. “They say you are remembered not by how you treated people but how that person made you feel and Tom made people feel important and respected. I will never forget that about him.”

Tom and Patty Strachota were involved in a variety of community projects. The pair teamed with local civic organizations and helped refurbish and dedicate the Strachota bandstand at Regner Park in 2010. It was part of the 75th anniversary celebration of Regner.

The Strachotas also co-chaired the 2015 United Way Campaign in Washington County and they were part of Roots & Branches.

Robby Robrahn was part of the 2015 campaign. “Tom was quiet but he always had that smile,” said Robrahn. “Tom was one of our celebrities last year during our fundraiser for Roots & Branches. He was very community minded and a backbone of the Strachota family.”

Strachota was general manager at Dairyland Seed in Kewaskum; the company started by his grandfather Simon in 1907.

Word of Strachota’s death rocked the agricultural industry. Strachota had leadership roles within the seed industry, and the American Seed Trade Association.

Gary Leeper, a sales leader at Dairyland Seed, was quoted by industry publication Seed World.

“It is truly a sad day for all of us as we have lost not only our leader, but a dear friend to every one of us,” said Leeper. “Few people enjoyed their dealers, customers or co-workers more than Tom. He always carried a smile and was genuinely happy to see and talk with everyone with whom he came into contact.

“Tom’s death is a tragic loss for all of us who considered him a close friend and co-worker as well as a loss for Dairyland Seed, our dealers, the community of West Bend, the state of Wisconsin and the U.S. seed industry,” said Leeper.

George Prescott, local philanthropist and owner of Timmer’s Resort, said he remembered when Tom paid him a visit, prior to August 2008, when Dairyland Seed was sold to Dow AgroSciences.

“He came to me when he was thinking about selling the company and I was kind of flattered by that,” said Prescott.  “I thought the world of him. He had a responsibility to the family, who were his stakeholders, and he took very good care of family, shareholders, customers and suppliers.”

Prescott said it was also quite a compliment that Tom was pursued by Dow AgroSciences. “They kept him on for about five years after the sale, which is almost unheard of,” he said. “Tom was always taking the high road, representing strength and leadership. He always just did a great job.”

A Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m. at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church. Visitation will be at the church on Monday from 2 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.  Burial will be in Holy Angels Cemetery.

Doug Devenport

Douglas Dean Devenport, 81, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 in his home surrounded by family.  He was born January 11, 1935 to Leverette (Earl) and Ethel (nee Jones) Devenport.

Doug attended the University of Wisconsin where he met his wife Norrine.  Doug was a member of the UW wrestling team and the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

Douglas and Norrine (nee Blaha) were married on January 15, 1956 at the Corinth Mississippi Methodist Church.  Doug was born and raised in West Bend and was President and CEO at Level Valley Dairy Co. in West Bend, and Cumberland Creamery in Nashville, TN.  Doug and his brother Roger, grew the company to where it was ranked in the top 30 companies on the WI 100 list of largest privately held corporations.

Doug and Norrine have been long time benefactors to their community, contributing the “Ajuga Daydream” sculpture at Riverside Park, the Devenport Family Stage at the Washington County Fairgrounds, and were major benefactors of the Washington County Ice Center and the Museum of Wisconsin Art as well as many other organizations and causes throughout the community.

Doug was a member of the Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church, past member of the board of directors of M&I First National Bank, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.  Doug enjoyed hunting, fishing and golfing with family and friends, as well as watching his race horses run at the track.

A Funeral Service will be 12 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 28 at the Phillip Funeral Home Chapel, 1420 W. Paradise Dr. West Bend, with Pastor Jeff Hesse officiating. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 10 a.m. until the time of service.  Interment will follow at the Washington County Memorial Park.

Remembering Dan Fuge

Dan Fuge died this week. “He had pancreatic cancer,” said his cousin Bob Fuge. “I don’t think they discovered it until it was Stage 4.”


Dan owned Fuge Heating & Air Conditioning; it was a business started by his father, Herb and uncle, Robert H. Fuge. At one point Fuge Hardware Co. was in downtown West Bend.

“Do you remember when the Fuge building was across the street,” said Todd Tennies from Tennies Ace Hardware. “It was across Main Street just to the south of Collin’s Deck Bar by Tony Jasen’s building.

“During Thanksgiving the Fuges would put two live turkeys in the window,” said Tennies.

Tim Stern remembered the turkeys. “My grandfather Robert Fuge continued that tradition when the store turned into Fuge Plumbing & Heating” he said. “My brother and I along with the family would always help get the window ready and take care of them.”

Bob Fuge remembered a contest and the prize was a turkey, sometimes a live turkey. “I was very involved with doing those turkey windows and finally I talked my dad into going to frozen turkeys because it was such a hassle with those live turkeys,” he said.

Robby Robrahn was a good friend of Dan Fuge. “He was a big Indy race fan,” said Robrahn.  “He also sponsored a duck every year in the Duck Derby. He was a quiet guy but supportive in the community.”

Dan Fuge was a life-long resident of West Bend. He attended local schools, graduating from West Bend High School. He also was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church. Dan Fuge was 60.

Operation Warm

For the third year in a row members of the West Bend Professional Firefighters Union gathered this week with members of West Bend Early Risers at Decorah Elementary to carry out Operation Warm; a program where more than 200 down winter coats are distributed to students in need. Alyana, 9, got a turquoise coat. “It’s my favorite color and it’s totally warm,” she said.

Ayden, 9, said he already had a coat. “I have one but this one is better because it’s softer,” he said.  “I also like dark colors because it’s easier to hide when I play hide-and-seek.”

On a side note: As kids were gathering in the classroom waiting for the coat distribution to begin they plopped themselves on the floor and looked at the adults in the room. Pretty soon one man was tossing out arithmetic problems. “What’s 11 minus 9,” he asked.  A couple hands went up.  “What’s 7 plus 5,” he said. Then from the back of the room one of the firefighters said, “What’s 4 and 6?  Third place in the NFC.”

Husar’s holiday ornament

Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds has unveiled a new glass ornament for the holidays. For the past seven years the Husars have been highlighting West Bend with Norman-Rockwell flair. The first year the ornament featured the Husar building with the West Bend Theatre marquee in the background. This year the ornament features the Gehl Company building.

Husar’s President Mike Husar said his dad, Marvin Husar, was the one who came up with the idea of featuring significant buildings in the community as the ongoing theme for the annual ornament. The ornaments are painted using a Chinese form of age-old art called Li Bien, which means “inside.” The ornaments are for sale at Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds.

Declaration of candidacy papers distributed

City and Village clerks in Germantown, Hartford, Slinger, Kewaskum, and West Bend are prepping for a primary in February 2017.

Aldermen in the even-numbered districts in West Bend are up for election and along with the mayor. Aldermen include Dist. 2 Steve Hutchins, Dist. 4 Chris Jenkins, Dist. 6 Steve Hoogester, and Dist. 8 Roger Kist and  Mayor Kraig Sadownikow who already indicated in July he’d run for another term in office.

Aldermen can start circulating papers December 1. They need to collect between 20 – 40 signatures and the mayor needs to collect 200 – 400 signatures, which are due Jan. 3, 2017.

In Slinger, Village President Russell Brandt is up for election as are trustees Rick Gundrum, Richard Kohl, and Dean Otte. Each seat carries a 2-year term.

In Germantown, 4 of the 9 trustees are up for election including Dist. 1 David Balm, Dist. 2 Rick Miller, Dist. 3 Robert Warren, and Dist. 4 Jeffrey Hughes.

In Kewaskum, Village President Kevin Scheunemann is up for reelection along with trustees Jim Wright, Jim Hovland and David Spenner.

In Hartford, Dist. 1 alderman Robert Jewell is up for a 1-year term, Dist. 1 Randy Meyer for a 3-year term, Dist. 2 Dennis Hegy for a 3-year term and Dist. 3 Barry Wintringer for a 3-year term.

In Richfield Village President John Jeffords, and Trustees Rock Brandner and Sandy Voss are up for election. All terms are 2 years, and 20 signatures are required for each position.

There will be a primary Feb. 21 as four candidates are running for state school superintendent including: Tony Evers – Incumbent, Jeff Holmes – Administrator, Germantown School District, Lowell Holtz – Former superintendent, Beloit School District and Remy Gomez – 2016 candidate for mayor of Tomah

Updates & tidbits

Circle your calendar for this year’s West Bend Christmas Parade. The theme is Let it Snow. The parade steps off at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27 from the corner of Main and Silverbrook across from Tochi and Rivershores.

-Enchantment in the Park got underway Friday, Nov. 25. Tonight, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. is the big raffle drawing with a top prize of $5,000.

The West Bend Parks Department will fill Regner Park Pond for ice skating this winter. The rink and the warming house are expected to open Dec. 17 at the earliest, once weather permits.

-A Christmas Tea will be held Monday, Dec. 5 at 1:30 p.m. in the Grand Hall at Cedar Ridge. The tea will be presented by Jessica Michna in Margaret Cummins “Christmas at Balmoral.” Michna will take at look at the traditional celebration of Christmas as seen through the eyes of the head housekeeper at the Balmoral castle.

– Sunday, Nov. 27 is the First Sunday of Advent.

-Earlier this week there was frost on the grass, kids were actually wearing coats, the temperature read 25 degrees and West Bend crossing guard Chuck Fellenz showed Mother Nature who’s boss by wearing khaki shorts during his shift on the corner of Decorah and Main.

– The Jack Russell Memorial Library in Hartford had new audio/video equipment installed this week. The library also received a new train table and Lego table through a very generous donation from a private foundation.

-Ashley Lynn of Campbellsport, a RN in the Birth Center, 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.

-Equipment problems have delayed the project to repair building lights in downtown West Bend. Work is scheduled to resume on Main Street on Monday, Nov. 28. The project, funded by Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), will replace the small light bulbs that extend across the tops of the buildings.

– Konnor Sadownikow, 12, is the talk of the town at Holy Angels School in West Bend as the story made the rounds this week about how he took down a 14-point buck on Sunday.

-Last Saturday, Nov. 19 was opening day of the gun-deer season in Wisconsin. On the west side of the Washington County Courthouse in the city of West Bend motorists stopped to take note of  a buck and a doe standing on the grass. “It’s like they’re mocking us,” said Marge Gengler.

– The Madrigal Dinner is Friday, Dec. 2, from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., at the West Bend East High School cafeteria. Musical entertainment is presented by students from the Choir & Orchestra programs. A limited number of tickets are available at the door the nights of the performances.

– Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School purchased a new marimba for its band and percussion ensemble. Band director Dan Hubert said the new instrument is top of the line. “You can’t get one any better than this,” said Hubert. Story courtesy Jacob Mueller.

Promoting Small Business Saturday

Businesses in downtown West Bend are working to promote Small Business Saturday; Nov. 26.

The day after Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year dedicated to supporting small businesses. Small Business Saturday was an effort launched by American Express; the goal is to encourage area families to shop small, independently owned businesses in their community and help fuel the economy.

“Family-owned businesses have big advantages over big box stores,” said Todd Tennies with Tennies Ace Hardware. “You see us in our stores, we know the factory representatives, we stand behind our products, and we generally go the extra mile when it comes to customer service,” said Tennies.

“Family-owned businesses often support community events, fund raisers and local sports teams,” said Tennies. “And we have a great deal of concern for what happens in our community.”

Phil Dhein is a longtime Tennies Ace Hardware employee.

“We work to understand the customer’s problem; whether it’s showing them how to repair a toilet or install a light switch. We also follow up on special requests and orders that are a normal part of the job with local businesses,” said Dhein.

“Big-box stores often lack the ability to take the initiative to order unusual items or they think there isn’t enough profit in it.”

Tennis Ace Hardware is a well established business in West Bend dating back more than 40 years.

There are many other locally-owned businesses in downtown West Bend including Sager’s Men’s Apparel, Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds, Mountain Outfitters, Idle Hour or Two, Café Seourette, and Laurel’s Camera and Gift. “Money spent at a locally-owned business is more likely to be spent again at another locally-owned business,” said Pat Fehring from Laurel’s Camera.

As the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear the business community in downtown West Bend is encouraging neighbors to spend their money locally.

Today marks the 87th anniversary of the West Bend Theatre

November 26 marks the 87th anniversary of the grand opening of the Historic West Bend Theatre. In an effort to mark holiday traditions past, present and future there is an effort afoot led by local historian Terry Becker to gather below the West Bend marquee for a photo and to show support for the preservation and renovation of this cherished downtown landmark fondly remembered as simply “The Show House.”

The gathering will take place after the 64th Annual Christmas Parade on Sunday, Nov. 27. Neighbors are invited to please take a few minutes after the parade to gather and share memories, hopes and dreams for the future of downtown. Without community support the theatre’s future is uncertain and may very well be in jeopardy.elmersign

Jeb Bush Calls for Constitutional Convention

I agree.

Americans, by wide majorities, agree that Washington is broken, so let’s send power back to the people and back to the states. Republicans should support convening a constitutional convention to pass term limits, a balanced-budget amendment and restraints on the Commerce Clause, which has given the federal government far more regulatory power than the Founders intended.

The federal government has become too unwieldy, too powerful and too distant—precisely the problem that the Constitution was designed to avoid. The breakdown of our constitutional system isn’t a theoretical discussion. It’s affecting every American in real ways. Republicans’ job is to make a compelling case for change and then help citizens regain power over their lives, from the bottom up.

A Constitutional Convention is a risky venture because once we open up the document for wholesale revision, it is unlikely that the convention will restrain itself to only modifying the things on Bush’s list. But frankly, the courts have “interpreted” parts of the Constitution unrecognizable from its original intent. A convention is the only way to wrench it back into a recognizable form.

Jill Stein Forces Wisconsin Recount

Few things

Wisconsin will begin a historic presidential recount next week and the state could risk losing its ability to have its 10 electoral votes counted if it doesn’t meet key deadlines next month.

Hitting a Dec. 13 deadline could be particularly tricky if Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein is able to force the recount to be conducted by hand, Wisconsin’s top election official said.

Stein and independent presidential candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente separately filed recount requests late Friday, the last day they were able to do so. Stein received about 31,000 votes and De La Fuente about 1,500 out of 3 million cast.

One or both of them will have to pay for the recount because they lost by more than 0.25%. The cost could top $1 million.

Stein is also planning to ask for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, which have deadlines next week. She has raised $5 million for the recounts in recent days — more than she raised during her campaign leading up to the Nov. 8 election.

Wisconsin’s recount will likely begin late next week, once the state has tallied a cost estimate and received payment from Stein’s campaign, said Michael Haas, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

First, what a sweet deal for Stein. She helps bleed off votes from the Democrats during the election and now she’s using the Democrats’ hysteria over a rigged election to bilk them out of millions. Well played, Jill… well played.

Second, where was all of this concern over voting machines and vote fraud before the election when the Democrats and the media were sure that Clinton was going to win? I seem to remember them chastising Republicans for having concerns about vote fraud, but now they are behaving like true believers. Situational ethics are pretty forgiving.

Third, I have no doubt that the result will be the same after the recount is done. And while it is a big PITA, at least some election workers will get some nice overtime right before Christmas.

No Challengers for Wisconsin Supreme Court

I have a hard time believing that the lefties will let Justice Ziegler go unchallenged.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – No one has announced plans to challenge Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler’s re-election – potentially setting up an uncontested race for a seat on the state’s highest court for the first time since 2006.

The deadline for candidates to file is Jan. 3. But typically challengers to an incumbent justice spread the word privately for months that they’re thinking of running, announce their campaigns and start fundraising well before circulating nomination papers in December.

For example, two candidates announced in June 2015 that they were going to run for a seat that was on the ballot the following April.

That hasn’t happened this year.