Author Archives: Owen

The Homogenization of Islam’s Holiest City

From the Economist.

Critics call this Islamic Maoism. Out went the city’s heterogeneous mix of Maliki, Shafii and Zaydi rites; in came homogenisation under the Wahhabi creed. Alongside the black and white dress they forced on women and men respectively, the new tribal rulers reshaped the urban environment, stripping away the past. They replaced the four pulpits at the foot of the Kaaba, one for each of Sunni Islam’s schools, with a single one, exclusively for Wahhabi preachers. They cleansed the faith of saint-worship, demolishing shrines venerated by Shia and traditional Sunnis alike. Of the city’s scores of holy sites, only the Kaaba survives.

Obamacare Repeal Dead

Seriously… why even bother supporting national Republicans?

“Hello, Bob,” Trump began. “So, we just pulled it.”

Trump was speaking, of course, of the Republican plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, a plan that had been languishing for days amid unrest throughout the party as the president and his allies courted members and pushed for a vote.

Before I could ask a question, Trump plunged into his explanation of the politics of deciding to call off a vote on a bill he had been touting.

Republicans withdrew the American Health Care Act moments before a scheduled vote on March 24, after failing to woo enough lawmakers to support it. Here are the key turning points in their fight to pass the bill. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

The Democrats, he said, were to blame.

“We couldn’t get one Democratic vote, and we were a little bit shy, very little, but it was still a little bit shy, so we pulled it,” Trump said.

There’s a lot of blame to go around. In no particular order, those responsible are:

  • Trump and his supporters. Trump is not a conservative and supported the continuation of some Obamacare provisions like forcing companies to cover preexisting conditions, keeping kids on their parents’ plan until 26, etc. This forced the House to create a bill that pleased nobody.
  • House conservatives who refused to vote for a 90% repeal bill thus leaving all of Obamacare in place. Idiots.
  • Senators Paul and Cruz who agitated the House members in order to build their own egos and national profiles.
  • Speaker Ryan. He has a strong majority and couldn’t get this through his own caucus. He needed to be a Speaker that would crack heads, replace committee chairmen, campaign in his members’ districts, etc. in order to get this done. I think he just doesn’t have enough bully in him to do what needed to be done.
  • And finally, Trump is right. Democrats are also to blame. They don’t give a rip about the people being harmed by Obamacare and didn’t even pretend to work on fixing it. They are willing to sacrifice them on the altar of socialized healthcare. Socialists are always to sacrifice people.

Obama won. Obamacare is here to stay. Our nation is worse off for it.

Justman’s Troubled Past in County

One of the West Bend School Board candidates has a troubled history in Washington County. Before taking her current job, Nancy Justman was the Executive Director of AIS, which runs the Washington County Fair Park, for about eight years. She resigned abruptly after a lot of heat for botching the budget and running up a massive debt. Mark Petersen, one of the now defunct liberal columnists for the local paper, has some of the background:

The Education Committee minutes, starting on March 31, begin to tell the story. Nancy Justman, chairwoman of AIS, “presented a draft master plan for Fair Park dated February 11, 2008, and reviewed the 32 items identified in the plan. It was noted the items have not been prioritized and there are no cost figures associated with the items.” The Education Committee members approved the draft – apparently on the basis of trust, since they accepted a “master plan” that had no cost figures and no spending priorities. In the months that followed, no plan beyond this draft was approved by the County Board.

After March 10, new supervisors were elected, summer passed and, by early November, the Finance Committee had hammered out and approved a solid county budget.

Then something odd happened: a few weeks after the budget was finished AIS asked for the extra $410,000 to cover its overruns. AIS had to know about the additional $130,000 worth of improvements, apparently approved on the fly as construction was underway. Moreover, since the summer’s main events had failed to produce the anticipated profits, someone at AIS had to have known, well before the budget was finished, that they needed an additional $410,000. So why would AIS bring it up after the budget was passed? I’d like to know.

More alarming, when the request was finally presented in December, it was still missing the dollar amounts any competent County Board needs to make a good decision. The minutes from the County Board proceedings on Dec. 9 indicate that, as they’d done nearly seven months earlier, members of the Board asked for an updated business plan, this time to be submitted no later than Jan. 15.

While not excusing the poor management of the Washington County Board at the time, Justman’s failure to provide basic budgetary information was negligence bordering on incompetence. Justman resigned and ran for the hills a couple of months later under a cloud of controversy.

TOWN OF POLK – Nancy Justman, Executive Director of the Washington County Fair Park since July 2001 has accepted a new position outside of Washington County. Her last day at the Fair Park will be April 9.

“We are sorry to see her leave. She did a good job for the Agriculture and Industrial Society,” said Gordon Tonn, board of directors president. “We wish her well in her new endeavors, and it’s unfortunate that she had to leave us. She did a good job for both the AIS and the county.”

County Board Chairman Herb Tennies was surprised when notified by the Daily News that Justman had submitted her resignation. He declined to comment until he could read a copy of the resignation letter.

Justman touts her experience working with a board as a qualification for the West Bend School Board. Experience does not always mean successful performance.

Attack in London

These kinds of unsophisticated attacks are impossible to prevent except to identify and act upon people who adhere to the Islamist ideology. That’s difficult in a free society.

The Westminster attacker was British-born and known to the police and intelligence services, Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed.

She told MPs he had been investigated some years ago over violent extremism, but was “peripheral” and was not part of the current intelligence picture.

The so-called Islamic State group has said it was behind the attack.

Another Arrest in Threats to Jewish Centers

Usually, it seems, when the story says that they don’t know the motive, it means that they know the motive and don’t want to say.

Israeli police say a 19-year-old man with American and Israeli citizenship is suspected of making threats against Jewish institutions worldwide.

Police arrested the suspect in the south of Israel on Thursday morning over threats against Jewish communities in the US, New Zealand and Australia.

[…]

But Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Thursday the latest suspect’s motives are unclear.

Catholic School Sues MPS Over Busing Kids

This will be an interesting case to watch.

Officials at a private school say the more than $100,000 they’re paying to bus its 70 students could be better spent on academics, and they’ve filed a federal lawsuit to get Milwaukee Public Schools to cover the costs.

[…]

St. Joan’s is represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (W.I.L.L.), which says busing costs are an issue for the 27,000 kids in the Milwaukee Choice program.

“This is a justice issue,” said Paul Gessner, SJA’s Head of School. “Our kids really deserve to have safe and reliable transportation to and from school. That’s why we’re doing this.”

The state Constitution calls out transportation to school as a right:

Transportation of school children. Section 23. [As created April 1967] Nothing in this constitution shall prohibit the legislature from providing for the safety and welfare of children by providing for the transportation of children to and from any parochial or private school or institution of learning. [1965 J.R. 46, 1967 J.R. 13, vote April 1967]
No, I don’t think that should be in the constitution, but it is. But WILL is suing in federal court, so it is unclear to me what basis they are suing under. Like I said, it will be interesting to watch.

West Bend School Board Candidate Forum

The West Bend Chamber of Commerce held its forum for the candidates for the West Bend School Board. You can find a run down of the questions and responses at the Washington County Insider.

Chickens Flee the Coop

Well, that was a short-lived effort.

West Bend will remain chicken-free as officials highlighted their concerns to permit chickens in the area, despite several constituents publicly stating they are in favor of the measure. An ordinance that would modify the municipal code to allow chickens within city limits failed Monday because no other Common Council members would support the motion introduced by Alderman Chris Jenkins. Many highlighted enforcement issues and concerns from residents worried about the smell and noise.

One vote for Gieryn, Miller and Cammack

My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. The resignation of Therese Sizer last night puts it in a different context this morning. Here you go:

April 4 brings us another opportunity to exercise our right to elect our political and judicial leaders. While the national and state elections tend to get all of the attention, it is our local elected officials who arguably have more of a direct impact on our everyday lives. It is also our local officials who often work long hours, deal with a lot of quirky citizens and do so for little money or fame. We should all give our neighbors a big “thank you” for being willing to serve our community.

One of the important races on the ballot in West Bend and neighboring communities is for the West Bend School Board. Three of the seven board seats are on the ballot with only one incumbent running for re-election. The results of this election could push the school board in an entirely new direction.

Two incumbent school board members decided to not seek re-election. President Rick Parks and Vice President Bart Williams are both concluding their second terms and deserve a sincere thank you. While ideologically different, both Parks and Williams went about their business on the school board in a thoughtful, thorough, collegial, and effective manner. During their tenures, they navigated the district through the aftermath of Act 10, implemented a merit pay system for teachers, started a charter school, started a clinic for district staff, hired a new superintendent and many other things for which they should be proud. Thank you, gentlemen.

The third incumbent school board member did choose to seek re-election. Ryan Gieryn is running for his second term and wants to see through some of the issues he worked on in his first term including continuing to refine the teacher merit pay system, evaluate the effectiveness of the district’s testing regimen, direct the new superintendent that he helped hire and look ahead to replacing Jackson Elementary. While I did not support Gieryn when he ran the first time, his thoughtful and measured service on the board has been commendable and he has earned my vote for a second term.

There is also the issue with experience on the board. Our republican form of government is kept healthy by the constant refreshing of elected officials, but some experience in governing is necessary. An inexperienced and naïve school board shifts power to the unelected administration. If Gieryn does not win re-election, then every board member except one, Therese Sizer, would be serving their first term. Gieryn’s experience on the board will be particularly important as the new superintendent settles into his role.

Bob Miller is running for the school board for the second time having fallen just short last year. He has spent the past year talking to people, participating in school events and learning more about the district. Miller is a graduate of the district with three kids attending schools in West Bend.

He is a fiber optic technician, school bus driver, Boy Scout leader, father and husband who has some great common sense ideas to improve the district’s outcomes. A fiscal conservative, Miller wants to ensure that the district spends money wisely and has seen enough working and volunteering in the district to have some tangible ideas on how to save money. The second time is the charm for Miller and he deserves a seat on the board.

Richard Cammack has lived in West Bend for 22 years and wants to see the district improve in many areas. He believes in the importance of family, students, teachers and business and a school district that serves all constituents. Cammack considers himself a realist who needs to fully understand an issue and listen to the district’s stakeholders before making a decision. Cammack is receiving my third vote April 4.

The remaining three candidates, Tonnie Schmidt, Joel Ongert and Nancy Justman, are running as a bloc with virtually identical platforms. They all claim to be conservatives (one stands little chance of winning election in a district that is 70-plus percent conservative if one does not claim to be one). They trumpet “accountability” but only seem to want to hold administrators accountable. While that is a laudable goal, their reluctance to continue or strengthen even the mild performance pay standards for teachers is troubling.

Their repetition of the talking points coming out of the local teachers union and lefty talking heads leads one to believe that these three would be reliable agents for whatever the West Bend Education Association wants. Many of the yards in West Bend whose Hillary and Bernie signs died during the winter have now sprouted signs for Schmidt, Ongert and Justman with the coming of spring.

I will note that all three of these candidates refused to be interviewed for this column. Despite claiming to be conservatives, they had no appetite to be probed by the district’s only resident conservative columnist.

Once again West Bend is privileged to have some great people running for local office. I am happy to support three of them for the West Bend School Board. I will be happily voting for Ryan Gieryn, Bob Miller, and Richard Cammack on April 4.

 

Therese Sizer Resigns from West Bend School Board

The Washington County Insider has the story:

March 20, 2017 – West Bend, WI – Therese Sizer has resigned from the West Bend School Board.

Sizer, a clerk on the board, read a prepared statement following a vote on policy 511.1 which related to nepotism within the district.

The board passed the policy on its second reading with a 6 – 0 vote; Sizer abstained as she has a daughter that works in the West Bend School District.

The policy essentially made clear that a board member cannot vote on a measure that affects a direct relative.

After the measure passed Sizer read a 3-page statement and left the meeting.

“I didn’t take it that she was upset,” said board member Ryan Gieryn. “She made clear that she didn’t try to do anything that would have an affect on her daughter and she’s always been very ethical.”

Gieryn described Sizer’s statement as “eloquent.”

During her statement Sizer mentioned how the nepotism policy would only allow her to vote on minute amounts and she’d have to recuse herself so much that she could not fulfill her responsibilities on the oath she took to perform her duties on the board.

“Sizer just said that with this policy in place she doesn’t feel she can truly fulfill her duties as a school board member because anything she votes on would affect teachers,” said Gieryn.

Wow. Clearly she thought that the new policy would conflict with her ability to fulfill her duties. Hats off to her ethics, but it doesn’t seem that the policy would effectively prohibit a family member of a school staff member from serving. She seems to be adhering to an exceedingly strict interpretation of the policy.

As you will see in my column tomorrow, this means that if Gieryn fails to win reelection, every single board member will be in their first term. I’m all for a healthy turnover on the board, but a little experience is helpful too.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

The chicken craze is coming to West Bend.

According to the proposed ordinance, individuals who wish to keep chickens must pay for and possess the necessary license, and must keep the area clean, sanitary, and free from odors and vermin.

The ordinance also limits permission to those living in single-family dwellings and owner-occupied duplexes. It states roosters are not permitted at any time and slaughtering animals is not allowed.

The chickens must be kept in a waterproof,

rodent-proof and predator-proof enclosure in a fenced-in area. They cannot be placed in the front yard and have a side and rear yard setback of at least 5 feet. Residents are also not allowed to place the enclosure within 25 feet of any residential structure on an adjacent lot.

Eh, whatever. We have ordinances for nuisances, noise, etc. As long as those are enforced, I don’t have a problem with people keeping chickens. It’s probably less annoying than some folks’ dogs.

Gorsuch Hearings Begin Today

Expect strong warm winds emanating from Washington today.

Judge Neil Gorsuch will appear Monday before senators looking to pin him down on his philosophy — and some will air grievances about why Gorsuch is even here at all. Gorsuch, for his part, will try to defend his approach without discussing specific cases or damaging his smooth nomination in any way.

Guy Arrested for Tweet

This will be an interesting bit of case law.

A man accused of sending a flashing image to a writer in order to trigger an epileptic seizure has been arrested, the US justice department says.

John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Maryland, sent Kurt Eichenwald an animated image with a flashing light on Twitter in December, causing the seizure.

He has been charged with criminal cyber stalking and could face a 10-year sentence, the New York Times reports.

“You deserve a seizure for your post,” he is alleged to have written.

Mr Eichenwald is known to have epilepsy. He is a senior writer at Newsweek magazine, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a best-selling author of books including The Informant.

On the one hand, if the allegations are true, Rivello clearly acted with malicious intent to cause harm to Eichenwald and succeeded in causing that harm. On the other hand, we are treading in dangerous territory if we are going to start arresting people for stuff that they wrote on Twitter.

Automation Disrupting Chinese Manufacturing

This is a good reminder that automation is a global economic trend.

Rapidly growing appetite for industrial robots in China is set to hasten the decline in manufacturing jobs, according to the findings of an FTCR survey.

As part of a top-down push, local governments are subsidising companies to produce and purchase robots, while most companies reported productivity gains and forecast a reduced need for frontline workers.

This is not a zero-sum game: companies also cited a growing need for more skilled workers. This is creating demand for vocational skills and the robot revolution will be able to absorb only a minority of such workers.

The increasingly rapid adoption of industrial robots on Chinese production lines is set to hasten the fall in manufacturing employment. Among companies that intend to purchase robots in the coming 12 months, 72.7 per cent said this would mean job losses, according to an FT Confidential Research survey conducted across manufacturing centres in Guangdong in the south and Zhejiang on the east coast.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

The ordination of Bishop Jeffrey Haines    By Jill Maria Murdy

Hundreds turned out Friday for the ordination of Bishops Jeffrey Haines and James Schuerman at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee. Jill Maria Murdy, Director of Liturgy and Music at Saint Frances Cabrini Parish was selected to attend as a representative from the Cabrini and she filed this update for WashingtonCountyInsider.com

It was a beautiful liturgy, bursting with the rich sounds of organ, choir and brass, a train of priests and 20 bishops, and the church overflowing with God’s people.

There were so many symbols: the incense, being anointed with holy oil, the Eucharist, placing the Gospel Book over the Bishop’s heads.

Scriptures about God’s calling were prevalent (Jeremiah 1: 4-9, Psalm 139, 1 Peter 4: 7b-11, and Luke 5: 1-11.)

In his homily, Archbishop Listecki reminded the Bishops that it was not an honorary area title.  Bishops were to be the servants of their people. Their shepherds and servants.

Taking all these wonderful elements of the prayer and then remembering Bishop Haines was the one who hired me and brought me to Wisconsin, and it made for one powerful day, filled with tears of joy.

I felt very blessed to be able to represent Saint Frances Cabrini Parish.

Teacher from Fair Park Elementary wins Herb Kohl Foundation award

Fair Park Elementary School teacher Renee Wilberg is one of 100 teachers being awarded $3,000 by the Herb Kohl Education Foundation. Each year the foundation recognizes students, teachers and principals for their excellence in academics, leadership and high achievement.

Local students recognized this year include Mackenzie Mas from West Bend who is a student at St. Mary’s Springs Academy, Fond du Lac and Jiexin (Jessica) Yang from Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School in Jackson.

Wilberg, Mas and Yang will be presented with their awards during a banquet in April.

Chicken discussion Monday at the West Bend Common Council meeting   

On Monday, March 20 the West Bend Common Council will talk about possibly amending the municipal code regarding keeping live chickens within the city limits. Currently the city’s ordinance bans keeping livestock in outdoor pens or sheds.

Live chickens in urban areas is a hot topic. Over the years Madison and Green Bay adopted ordinances allowing chickens while other communities, like Wauwatosa, have given the idea a 1-year trial run.

In Washington County, the Village of Slinger approved chickens in 2015. Some of the stipulations include having up to six hens, no roosters, the building inspector must approve a coop, and there’s a $10 license fee.

Dist. 4 Alderman Chris Jenkins is the one bringing the bird to the table, so to speak. He acknowledged there is quite a bit to discuss. “We’d talk about things like noise and cleanup and how much of a distance the coop would be from your neighbor’s lot line,” he said.

After Slinger passed its ordinance in 2015, the Village of Kewaskum broached the subject.

“I’ve looked into it and Oshkosh allows chickens, Janesville and Mequon just passed an ordinance allowing chickens within the city limits,” Jenkins said. “I think allowing self sustainability is great.”

Jenkins researched obstacles that may arise. “Obviously no roosters and keeping it small is a good idea,” he said. “All the communities I’ve talked to didn’t really have a problem.”

In 2013 the Common Council debated whether to allow teacup pigs as a family pet, rather than as the ordinance listed, as livestock.

The city attorney has drafted an ordinance. Some of the particulars include a license fee of $8 per chicken, no slaughtering of chickens and a total of four chickens will be allowed per property.

People who are passionate about chickens are encouraged to show up on Monday. The meeting gets underway at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

Buildings sold on Schoenhaar Drive

Two of the original buildings on Schoenhaar Drive have changed hands. Vic and Frank Albiero constructed two buildings in the industrial park in April 1971. Those two buildings, 601 and 605 Schoenhaar Drive both sold for a total of $550,000.  The current tenants purchased the properties on Feb. 28, 2017 – Craig’s Auto and Habitat for Humanity.

St. Lawrence Fire Company honors its own        By Ron Naab

The St. Lawrence Fire Company took time to thank those that support the organization. Former Fire Chief and president of the fire company Anthony “Tony” Montag was honored for 50 years of dedicated service.  Lieutenant Andy Messig was awarded Member of the Year and former Fire Chief Gary Karntiz was recognized for his work. Karnitz joined the fire company in 1986 and served as chief for 21 years. Presenting Karnitz with awards were the Allenton Volunteer Fire Department, Badger Firefighters Association and the St. Lawrence Fire Company.

Updates & tidbits

In-person absentee voting for the April 4 Spring Election begins Monday, March 20 in Washington County. In-person voting runs through Friday, March 31. Some of the races on the ballot include State School Superintendent, Circuit Court Judge Branch 3, and school board races in Kewaskum, West Bend, and Hartford Joint #1.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner has a series of town hall meetings coming up in Washington County. On Saturday, March 18 the Congressman will be at West Bend City Hall at 9 a.m. and Richfield Village Hall on Sunday, March 19 at 1 p.m.

The Downtown West Bend ArtWalk is Saturday May 13 from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. The event will feature free admission to MOWA and a silent auction of banners. The banners by local artists hang along Main Street and Sixth Avenue creating an outdoor gallery from May through October.

The Allenton Buffalo Feed has been modernized! Come out for a steak dinner on Saturday, April 22 and do some gambling in the casino. Who would have ever thought…gambling in Allenton! The evening is being presented by the Allenton Area Advancement Association.

March is Youth Art Month and the West Bend School District has its Mile of Art on display in downtown West Bend. This is the 15th year for the exhibit, according to Decorah Elementary School art teacher Mickiah Wolff.

-Free Easter dinner at the West Bend Moose Lodge on Sunday, April 16. Please call to make reservations, 262-338-8122.

-On Monday, March 6 a ceremony was held as Russ Darrow broke ground on his new Nissan dealership on Highway 33. Within a short 7 days contractors have cleared the land to make way for construction of a new 24,449-square-foot dealership.

-Tickets are on sale for the 22nd Annual Newburg Lions Big Raffle. The Grand Prize is $5,000. There will only be 500 tickets sold. There will be five $100 “Early Bird” drawings from April – August. Drawing will be held Saturday Sept.9 at 1 p.m. at the Newburg Fire Department. Everyone is welcome to attend. All profits go to local charities. Tickets are $50 a piece. For tickets contact any Newburg Lions member or call 262-338-0432

– The West Bend Korean War Veterans Post 111 will be hosting a brat fry on Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8 at 1421 W. Washington Street, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Proceeds will go to the Honor Flight Program, The National Flag Day Foundations and other veterans’ programs.

-The city of West Bend will be hosting Loyalty Day in 2017.  The event will feature a parade Saturday, April 29.  Loyalty Day is observed nationally. All VFW Posts are invited to take part.

-The 30th annual Washington County Breakfast on the Farm is Saturday, June 10 at the Golden ‘E’ Dairy Farm on 8262 Orchard Valley Road, in the Town of Farmington.

-Make your Easter plans early and come out to The Columbian on Saturday, April 18 for the 35th annual Kiwanis pancake-sausage brunch with the Easter Bunny.  Tickets are available at Horicon Bank in West Bend, The Columbian and Minuteman Press.

Hartford F.D. to make honorary walk-through

There will be a special walk-through service Sunday for Cade Peter Werner, 14, of Rubicon who died March 14 following a car accident in neighboring Dodge County. Family will greet relatives and friends at the church from 1-6:45 p.m. with a Prayer Service at 7 p.m.   The Hartford Fire Department will be present at 1:30 p.m. for an honorary walk-through.

Remembering former W.B. Police Chief Jim Skidmore

There was a respectful sendoff to former West Bend Police Chief Jim Skimore on Saturday as police, veterans, family and friends gathered at Calvary Church to pay tribute. The service began with a final salute as police and veterans in uniform gathered at the front of the church.

Skidmore was recognized for the impact he had on the lives of kids, his dedication to his faith, family and the community.

“Chief Skidmore taught us to be strong but not unkind. Treat everyone with respect,” said daughter Lynn. While tough as nails in his demeanor, Skidmore’s family recalled he was “good at talking smack” and he “made The Claw famous” – a reference to WWF wrestler Baron von Raschke.

Former West Bend Police Chief Whitey Uelmen said a few words remembering Skidmore for his integrity, moral guidelines and his love of handing out nicknames. His family recalled how Skidmore “taught us to be strong and always to work hard.”

The West Bend Police Honor Guard presided over the flag-folding ceremony and a gun salute. The local VFW played Taps. Some local police, active and retired in attendance included Mike Hartwell, former Police Chief Steve Rinzel, Captain Tim Dehring, and Chief Ken Meuler… to name a few.

Skidmore served from Sept. 1, 1978 – Dec. 31, 1993. Skidmore died Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 in Florida. He was 79.

Principal at school in Jackson camps out on rooftop on snowy Monday

Fifteen inches of lake-effect snow on Monday didn’t dissuade Trinity Ev. Lutheran principal Dennis Leckwee and teacher Jim Speerschneider from paying off a bet. The pair promised to camp on the roof of the school if students reached a goal of $500 for the third-quarter offering.  The goal was met March 10 and students studied the 7-day forecast.

Their go-to day ended up being Monday, March 13.  Snowmageddon for much of Washington County.

“As you know the weather was crazy but they had made a promise and they followed through with it,” wrote school secretary Kathy Minzlaff.

Thecla Richter – life of a West Bend nurse during WWI     By Lee Krueger

Resident historian Lee Krueger is highlighting his great aunt Thecla Richter, who served as a nurse during WWI.  Below are two letters home from Richter dated July 14, 1917 and July 26, 1917 and Aug. 26, 1917.

July 14, 1917  (received Aug 6, 1917)

I wish that you could see the city of tents around here.  There is one hospital right next to another. And all are about 2000 patient capacity.  Seems awful to see hundreds of men wounded daily, many killed and little or nothing gained. Let me know in your next letter how many troops have been sent from the United States.

I do hope that they will send enough to start with so that their strength will really be felt and hopefully hasten the end of this awful slaughter.

The gains for either side are not very marked, at least not according to reports we hear.

July 26, 1917 (Received Aug 14)

I wish that you could see the hill of poppies here.  They grow wild and really are considered a weed.

…..  The only kind of meat that we ever get is beef.  Wouldn’t pork chops taste good.  Our bread is a heavy dark bread and we eat it without butter two meals a day.

We are getting some heavy rubber boots from the Red Cross Society in England.  It rains so much that we certainly cannot get along without boots, umbrella, raincoat and rain hat.  Are also receiving sleeping bags for the winter.

I have read how much the U.S. Red Cross is doing.  I think it is the best thing they can do because no one at home can realize how much the Red Cross has done for this war and the help that they give us.  Of course what we have been receiving now has been mostly from the British Red Cross.

August 26, 1917  (received Sept 17)

The American Red Cross gave each of the nurses a warm heavy soft woolen sleeping bag…..  Money that anyone has given or is going to give to the Red Cross is certainly well spent.  You actually see what they do with it.

……  We have seen many train loads of American soldiers going by our hospital to training camps and it is a big problem to get enough food into France to feed thousands and thousands of people.

We are expecting 35 additional nurses any day now.  We will give them a hardy welcome as we are in great need of them. Are my letters censored badly?   I try to be very careful and not write anything that would not pass the censor.thecla-richter-operating-room

Kaepernick Feels the Love (not)

Heh.

“Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem]. They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”

When I spoke to a handful of executives at the combine a few weeks ago, one even called him “an embarrassment to football.”

The Democrats’ Empty Bench

I read this story by Paul Funlund is entitled “A Path to Defeating Scott Walker” with the anticipation that there was a plan afoot to actually do it. What it really is is a story about two lefties sitting around day dreaming about the kind f candidate who might be able to defeat Walker. In the end, the root of the story is right here:

Granted, this person will be hard to find, and neither Pocan nor anyone else I know has a specific name.

That’s exactly the Democrats’ problem right now. Nobody knows who this Unicorn Democrat is.
That is not to say that Walker or the Republicans can get cocky or complacent. They still must govern well to ear reelection. When Americans get frustrated with their government, they have shown a penchant to elect anyone, qualified or not, just to make a change.

US Takes More Muscular Stance Toward North Korea

Unlike Obama, one gets the sense that the Trump Administration will back up a “red line.” The real question is, should we?

Seoul (CNN) The US would consider military action against North Korea if it was provoked, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday.

Speaking in Seoul at a joint press conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Tillerson said Washington’s policy of “strategic patience” had ended.

“Certainly, we do not want things to get to a military conflict… but obviously if North Korea takes actions that threatens the South Korean forces or our own forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response,” he said, in response to a question from CNN.

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe that requires action, that option is on the table,” Tillerson added.

US Reiterates Demand that Russia Vacate Crimea

Good.

Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula following a military intervention and a hastily organized referendum, which was rejected by the international community.

“The United States does not recognize Russia’s ‘referendum’ of March 16, 2014, nor its attempted annexation of Crimea and continued violation of international law,” said Toner.

“We once again reaffirm our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

In the statement the US also called on Russia to “cease its attempts to suppress freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and religion” among Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, pro-Ukrainian activists and journalists.

La Crosse County Pitches PRAT Tax

Shockingly, it’s just another tax with a fancy name.

The PRAT tax, the latest tax scheme cooked up by La Crosse County officials, is really just another half-percent sales tax that could be imposed on nearly all retail businesses in the county. As with any other sales tax, this $6.6 million new tax will inevitably be paid for by consumers like you.

“But without more money we can’t fill the potholes!” the tax-and-spend crowd keeps shouting in your ear every time you turn on the TV. What they conveniently omit are their own failures to properly prioritize county spending.

La Crosse County budgeted for $136,764,518 in revenue for 2016. It planned nearly $33 million in property tax collections and $11.6 million from the county’s 0.5 percent sales tax. Yes, the county already has a sales tax onto which the proposed PRAT tax would be stacked.

According to the state Department of Revenue, 44 categories of business are subject to this tax in any jurisdiction that enacts it — bars, restaurants, gas stations, clothing retailers, hotels — even a category called “miscellaneous retail stores,” lest any devious boutique business falls through the cracks. In short, pretty much every business that a tourist could theoretically walk into would be subject to the PRAT tax.

The PRAT was conceived for the most innocent of reasons. When the summer residents of certain areas, like the Wisconsin Dells, fled for the winter, the Dells and similar tourist reliant areas needed a consistent revenue source.

Thus the Legislature invented the PRAT, but it required at least 40 percent of assessed property values in the taxed region to be composed of tourism-related businesses in order to be enacted. Thus, only six municipalities in Wisconsin currently have a PRAT tax, according to the Department of Revenue. At 5.3 percent, La Crosse County doesn’t come close to qualifying.