Liberals Whine About Fiscal Restraint

There seems to be a pressing meme from the Left that goes something like this: “we shouldn’t cut small government programs because it won’t make a substantial difference in the debt/taxes/spending.” At the same time, they say that we can’t cut the big government programs like Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. The only thing they seem to be OK with cutting is the military. Funny how that works

Slashing funding for the IRS, the Coast Guard and legal aid for the poor would not move the needle on the United States’ long-term debt problem.

Yet these and other domestic programs are exactly where President Trump is expected to focus his proposed budget cuts due out Thursday.

This kind of spending — called nondefense discretionary spending — goes to everything from education programs to food stamps to foreign aid to technology grants to national parks and museums.

Donald Trump’s Taxes

I just don’t care. If he did anything illegal, I would hope that officials at the IRS and Justice Department would have prosecuted him. If he didn’t, then I just. don’t. care. It has zero bearing on my life. But I do love how Trump trolled the media once again. They jumped on this leak, which I’m willing to bet came from Trump himself, and made themselves look like fools. Now he’s effectively taken the story line away from them.

US President Donald Trump paid $38m (£31m) in tax on more than $150m (£123m) income in 2005, a leaked partial tax return shows.

The two pages of tax return, revealed by US TV network MSNBC, also showed he wrote off $103m in losses. It gave no details on income sources.

The White House said publishing the tax return was against the law.

Mr Trump refused to release his tax returns during the election campaign, breaking with a long-held tradition.

Corps of Engineers Finishes Cleaning Up After Protesters

Trashy people.

The Army Corps of Engineers has finished cleaning up three Dakota Access pipeline protest camps that were on federal land in North Dakota.

The Corps hired a contractor after the main camp and two others were cleared out and shut down late last month in advance of the spring flooding season. They’d operated since last spring and at times held thousands of pipeline opponents.

Corps Capt. Ryan Hignight says a total of 835 industrial-size trash bins were filled and removed in the operation that wrapped up late last week. That doesn’t include materials such as lumber and propane tanks that were set aside for reuse or recycling.

The total cost of the operation hasn’t been tallied yet, but the Corps has estimated that it could cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million.

State Evaluates Moving Agency to Milwaukee

Excellent.

A Republican bill seeking to examine the relocation of state agencies outside Dane County — including moving the Department of Children and Families to Milwaukee — could cost about a half million dollars or more, while potential savings are unknown, according to a state fiscal analysis.

If a study led to an agency moving out of Madison it has the potential to disrupt hundreds of Madison workers and have ripple effects on the city’s office rental market.

The proposal from Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-West Allis, tasks the Department of Children and Families with developing a plan to move its headquarters from Madison to Milwaukee in the 2019-21 budget.

In the horse era, it made sense for most of any state’s government agencies to be located in the capital city. It allowed for the convenient sharing of information and work to flow between agencies as needed. In the 21st century, it is no longer necessary. Not only can workers easily travel across the state in hours if needed, but the availability of inexpensive and powerful collaborative technologies makes it easy for workers to work together from anywhere. Businesses and governments are doing it all of the time.

In the 21st century, it make much more sense to distribute state work. First, putting certain agencies closest to the people its serves makes sense. In this case, a vast number of DCF’s customers are in Milwaukee. It makes sens for them to be close to them. It might make more sense for the DNR to be centrally located in the state or for the Department of Corrections to be in Waupun… maybe. It’s worth a look.

For agencies that serve the whole state, it would benefit Wisconsin to “spread the wealth,” so to speak. Wouldn’t Appleton benefit from the jobs and investment if the Department of Revenue were located there? I’m sure Stevens Point would be delighted to host the Department of Public Instruction? And La Crosse seems like as good a place as any for the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. The point is that all Wisconsin taxpayers pay for these agencies. Why shouldn’t some of those tax dollars flow back into communities all over the state instead of just into Madison? Not only would it help more people be closer to their government, but it would help more of our government be closer to the people.

Trump Making Progress

The wins keep coming. I could get used to this.

EPA cuts may be deeper than previously reported

Michelle Obama’s healthy school lunch program in jeopardy?

White House demands deep cuts to State, UN funds

Trump is expected to announce a rollback of auto emission and fuel-economy regulations

The future of education in Wisconsin is on the ballot

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

For years the teachers unions and the rest of the liberal education establishment has considered the Wisconsin State Department of Public Instruction to be their exclusive domain and rightfully so. Almost all previous superintendents in the past several decades have been put into office by the money and power of the teachers unions and each superintendent has returned the support by pushing the union agenda. The current superintendent is no exception. Fortunately, Wisconsin has a real opportunity to make a change April 4 and elect a superintendent whose values and priorities are more in line modern educational thought.

The Department of Public Instruction is a somewhat unusual department in Wisconsin. Although part of the executive branch headed by the governor, the superintendent of the department is a constitutional non-partisan office that is elected every four years. The state constitution simply says that the state superintendent is responsible for the supervision of public instruction and that their “qualifications, powers, duties and compensation shall be prescribed by law.”

In the 169 years since the office was created, the legislature has granted more and less power to the office and shifted the responsibilities with the needs and wants of the time. The DPI is responsible for a wide swath of responsibilities including distributing state money to local districts, administering federal programs and money, providing operational and technical services to local school districts, crafting curriculum, compiling state education data and many other things. With a budget of over $6 billion per year, it is one of the largest state agencies.

The incumbent superintendent, Tony Evers, is asking for a third term in office. Evers’ agenda for the previous eight years has been to advance the liberal and union education agenda. He has passionately and aggressively fought back against the expansion of school choice in the state. Evers has been in step with the Obama Administration’s federal intrusion into education including pushing Common Core. After eight years of Evers’ leadership, the state’s education infrastructure is still languishing in mediocrity and he has fought every innovation coming from the legislature to try to improve it.

Thankfully, Wisconsin has an excellent alternative to just doing the same tired thing and getting the same disappointing results. Lowell Holtz, a selfstyled “Kidservative,” plans a new path for Wisconsin education.

Holtz has a broad and varied resume. He was a teacher in both private and public schools in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He was once Wisconsin’s Principal of the Year and was recognized as a National Distinguished Principal. Holtz has been the superintendent or district administrator of three Wisconsin public school districts in Palmyra-Eagle, Beloit and Whitnall. What is interesting about these districts is that they cover a range from rural to urban, small to big and homogeneous to diverse. In every leadership position, Holtz can point to a strong record of making a positive change.

More importantly, Holtz has a vastly different vision than Evers for improving education for Wisconsin’s kids. In fact, Holtz’s vision for education is much more in alignment with what the voters have been supporting as reflected in their choices for state and local leaders in the past several years. Holtz breaks down his vision into three basic categories.

First, Holtz wants to push more control back to the local districts and pull back state and federal mandates – including Common Core. Second, he wants to improve the graduation rate and close the achievement gap. He proposes to do this by providing resources and collaboration to the school districts who need it. Third, Holtz wants to empower teachers by pulling back burdensome administrative hurdles and improving classroom discipline.

Perhaps most importantly, Holtz supports innovation in educational choices including choice, charter, and online school options. Instead of trying to maintain the education establishment of the 1950s, Holtz welcomes a 21st century educational infrastructure to serve 21st century kids.

April 4 is a chance for Wisconsin to force the Department of Public Instruction to look to the future instead of protecting the past. Vote for Holtz.

 

Illegal Voting in Wisconsin

One might think that the misinformation campaign was intentional.

The state saw at least 60 cases of 17-year-olds voting illegally during the 2016 spring primaries, according to a report the Elections Commission will submit to the Legislature.

Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney said that was a significant increase from prior elections, which had seen only a handful of these cases.

The report, which commissioners will review at their meeting tomorrow, notes some political campaigns “were providing false information” that indicated 17-year-olds could vote in the April primary if they turned 18 by the November general election. Other states let teenage voters do so but “the answer is clearly no in Wisconsin,” the report says.

The report also highlighted other cases of potential voter fraud or irregularities, including at least 16 cases of people voting twice in the same election or felons voting despite being under Department of Corrections supervision. The report looked at anything between June 30, 2016, and Feb. 15, 2017, and includes cases in both the primary and general elections.

Magney attributed the increase in 17-year-olds voting illegally to a “perfect storm” of false information on social media and high interest in the April presidential primaries. Magney said people can register to vote before they’re 18, but cannot vote until they hit that age.

Germany Rebuffs NATO Committments

Germany is refusing to meet its commitments to NATO and the U.S. by failing to invest in its own defense. This sets up some interesting decisions for Trump.

The world’s fourth-largest economy spent $37 billion — 1.2% of its economic output — on defense last year, according to government figures. That is far short of the 2% set by NATO and a third of the 3.6% of gross domestic product that the United States spent in 2016, according to NATO figures.

That shortfall by Germany and other NATO countries is why Trump renewed his call in a speech to Congress on Feb. 28 for NATO members to pay their fair share of defense costs. “Our partners must meet their financial obligations,” Trump said. “Now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that. In fact, I can tell you that the money is pouring in.”

That’s not quite the case in the German capital. The federal government plans to increase its military spending by $2.1 billion this year. It would bring total spending to $39 billion, a 5.4% annual boost. The increase pales in comparison with the 10%, or $54 billion, hike in U.S. defense spending Trump proposes for 2018.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will meet with Trump at the White House on Tuesday, recently announced plans to add 20,000 soldiers to the Bundeswehr to bring the force to nearly 200,000 but not before 2024, and the increase merely offsets recent cuts in troop strength.

Here’s the thing… the United States has invested billions of dollars for the past 80 years to provide a military defense for Europe and Europe has benefited from that by being able to spend their money on rebuilding their economies and infrastructures after WWII. But while there were some altruistic motivations for that, the real reason was that it was in the best interests of the U.S. to do so. The macropolitical reasons were that if Russia were to ever bulge out of its borders in a quest for world domination, it will most likely have to go through Europe before getting to America. American leaders invested in European defense because we would rather fight the Russians on the continent of Europe and let them exhaust their energy on that soil than let them do so on the shores of New Jersey.

While the Russian threat has ebbed in recent decades, we are right of the precipice of a new Angry Bear with the face of Putin. He has already invaded Ukraine, created a virtual satellite state in Syria, and is threatening Poland and other former Eastern Bloc countries. One would think that European nations would see the threat and act accordingly, but the memories of WWII and the abject pacifism remains a powerful cultural phenomenon.

So what should the U.S. do? If we withdraw from Europe and leave them to themselves, the threat of war increases. And in the event that another European war breaks out, it is inevitable that the U.S. will become involved. Or, in another scenario, Germany’s inability to defend themselves with conventional forces may lead them to launch a nuclear defense in the face of a Russian assault, thus starting the nuclear war that we have spent 80 years trying to prevent. But if we continue to defend Europe with American forces, we are expending a lot of money to prevent an eventuality that may never come.  How much American money should we spend to defend countries who refuse to adequately defend themselves?

What will the Trump Doctrine be?

Massive Oil Deposit Found in Alaska

America’s output can dwarf the Middle East if we allow ourselves to do it.

Some 1.2 billion barrels of oil have been discovered in Alaska, marking the biggest onshore discovery in the U.S. in three decades.

The massive find of conventional oil on state land could bring relief to budget pains in Alaska brought on by slumping production in the state and the crash in oil prices.

The new discovery was made in just the past few days in Alaska’s North Slope, which was previously viewed as an aging oil basin.

Russia! Russia! Russia!

Of course, I trust Putin’s mouthpiece about as far as I can throw him, but he’s right in the fact that it’s the JOB of an ambassador to talk to people and build multilateral relationships.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said in an interview Sunday that the Russian ambassador who met with Trump campaign officials also met with “people working in think tanks advising Hillary or advising people working for Hillary.”

“Well, if you look at some people connected with Hillary Clinton during her campaign, you would probably see that he had lots of meetings of that kind,” Dmitry Peskov told CNN “GPS” host Fareed Zakaria. “There are lots of specialists in politology, people working in think tanks advising Hillary or advising people working for Hillary.”

Peskov said it is the job of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to meet with officials on both sides to talk about “bilateral relations.”

Tolerant Hollywood Liberals Force Conservatives Into the Closet

Read this whole article and replace the words “Republican” and “conservative” with “gay” or “trans” and then ask yourself if it is acceptable.

In such a charged climate, many conservatives in Hollywood keep a low political profile.

“There’s a McCarthyism coming from the left,” said one prominent TV and movie actor who requested his name not be used for fear of professional repercussions. The actor, who is conservative but not a Trump supporter, said political shouting matches have erupted on the set of one of his shows and that a conservative producer he works with has been shunned by colleagues.

“In 30 years of show business, I’ve never seen it like this,” said the actor. “If you are even lukewarm to Republicans, you are excommunicated from the church of tolerance.”

(Unless you’re a star like Eastwood and Jon Voight, Oscar winners who have openly supported Republican candidates. Voight even spoke during Trump’s inauguration festivities: “God answered all our prayers… Let us rejoice in knowing that from this time on, we will see a renewed America.”)

“Once you reach a certain level of success, it’s fine,” said Michael Medved, the conservative film critic and radio host. “It doesn’t matter.”

NASA Finds Lost Lunar Orbiters

Cool.

(CNN)It made history as India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft. Then it vanished.

Nearly a decade later, NASA has located two unmanned spacecraft orbiting the moon, including India’s Chandrayaan-1, which went quiet in 2009.
Scientists used a new ground radar to locate the two spacecraft — one active and one dormant, NASA said Thursday.
“We have been able to detect NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter [LRO] and the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in lunar orbit with ground-based radar,” said Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
“Finding LRO was relatively easy, as we were working with the mission’s navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located.”
The Chandrayaan-1 was more of a challenge because the last contact with the spacecraft was in August 2009.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Turning a family tragedy into a legacy

Herb Ellis and his daughter Alina were a pretty high-profile pair in the educational arena in Washington County.

Herb was a retired teacher in the Hartford School District and Alina ran an extremely popular in-home nanny care business called The Hoot House.  It’s the impact they had on families and children that makes their deaths last week even more difficult to swallow.

On March 2, Herb Ellis, 79, and his daughter Alina, 38, died after complications from different forms of influenza. The real anomaly, according to Alina’s older sister Carine Krull, is that Alina and her dad were born on the same date, June 8, and they died on the same day.

“This was absolutely unexpected,” said Krull. “When I talked to them Tuesday night Alina had the flu and dad had a cough. A day later they’re both in heaven; I’m just blown away.”

The family of Herb and Alina Ellis are overwhelmingly touched by the outpouring of support from the community and as they prepare a Saturday service, Krull said they are also working to take a tragic event and turn it into a memorable legacy.

Leaders in education…

During a one-on-one conversation Thursday night Krull described her father as “a teacher at Hartford High School forever.”

“He was very well loved and respected; he was quite the character very dramatic and really good at his job,” she said. Sister Alina was “a nanny who just loved, loved, loved children.” Krull raved about her sister’s in-home nanny care, The Hoot House.

“It just wasn’t like a regular child care. She had full-on lesson plans and on superhero day they had firemen outfits and capes and they’d visit the police department,” she said. “During the letter ‘P’ week they’d stop at Sal’s Pizza and learn how to make pizza and play with the dough.”

Riveredge Nature Center, MOWA, and the West Bend Public Library were some of the normal stomping grounds for the Hoot Nanny and her owlets.

“People who were lucky enough to be part of this program – it’s like the most magical thing in the world,” said Krull.

Keeping the Hoot House memory alive

Krull said Alina and her dad were like “two peas in a pod.”

“We are a very close family,” said Krull. “Dad took care of mom and Alina took care of both of them.”

In an effort to keep Alina’s passion of giving alive, Krull is working to continue her Owls for Owies program.

“Alina’s approach with children was about love and compassion,” she said. “Just the idea of helping others.”

Up to the very end, Krull said Alina helped. “She was able to donate her heart and kidneys to bring a new outlook on life to three individuals,” she said. “The St. Luke’s team worked really hard to make that happen. The staff with the Organ Donor Network was so kind to our family.”

Alina’s favorite program was The Owls for Owies. “Every year she’d collect money and they’d take the stuffed toy owls into the hospital at St. Joe’s and donate them to the sick kids,” Krull said.

In an effort to continue this program and grow Alina’s legacy, Beanie Boo Owls or funds to help the program are being collected. Questions can be addressed to:  owlsforowies@gmail.com

A memorial service in honor of Alina and Herb will be held Saturday, March 11 at 2:30 p.m. at Immanuel United Church of Christ, 501 Walnut St., West Bend.  The family will greet relatives and friends at the church on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until the time of service.

Former Gehl property is a hot-ticket item

On March 20 city officials in West Bend will be reviewing a couple development proposals regarding the former Gehl Co. parcel on East Water Street.

The city acquired the Gehl property in 2005 and the mayor said cleanup should be completed in 2017.  The property is designated mixed use and the 8 acres on East Water Street and South Forest Avenue could become multi-family housing or commercial space. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said development on a small grassy field north of Dublins is also in the mix.

Shepherd Centre I is sold on W. Washington Street

Steve Kearns has sold Shepherd Centre I, 3700 W. Washington St. in West Bend to Joe Valind, the owner of Auto Safety Center. Valind purchased the property for $1.4 million. “We’ve been here since January 2013 and we closed on the purchase on Feb. 24,” said Valind. “I really like West Bend; I was born and raised here (1996 WBE) and it’s always been a goal to own a location.”

On a history note: Auto Safety Center dates to 1965 when it was on N. Main Street between the old Habitat Restore/St. Vincent de Paul and the Mexican Grocery. The shop was owned by Ralph Schmidt and he called it the Schmidt Safety Center.

Roger Berth purchased the business in 1983 and coined it Auto Safety Center. Valind bought the business in 2005; he moved it to the Shepherd Centre in 2013. Some of the other businesses in the strip mall include Miller Monument, Hertz Rent a Car, Signature Studios and West Bend Optical.

Pizza Ranch easement approved – construction expected to start shortly

During this week’s West Bend Plan Commission meeting a green light was given to a new easement for Pizza Ranch. The driveway on the south end of the property was moved to the west. Stacy and Matt Gehring are expected to close on the purchase of the property on W. Washington Street in the coming weeks. The builder expects construction to get underway shortly with the restaurant open later this summer.

The Plan Commission also quickly approved a new oversized LED monument sign for Hawthorn Drive at Sixth Avenue. The LED sign is 40.7 square feet and one of the stipulations is the sign will have an automatic dimming effect to reduce glare at night.

Finally, traffic will be rerouted starting Monday, March 13 as underground utilities will be installed between Franklin Place and Rusco Drive; work will run until the beginning of April.  Rusco Drive will be closed to through traffic periodically during construction.

Memorial service for former WB Police Chief Jim Skidmore

A memorial service is Saturday, March 11 for former West Bend Police Chief Jim Skidmore. The service will be at 1 p.m. at Calvary Assembly of God on Decorah Road. Skidmore died Saturday, Feb. 25 in Florida. He was 79. Skidmore was hired as police chief in West Bend, Sept. 1, 1978 and retired Dec. 31, 1993. Skidmore retired to Florida with his wife and his family said he suffered a stroke a number of years ago and then his health declined recently before his death.

7 year old from McLane Elementary awarded Legislative Citation

A big day at McLane Elementary in West Bend as local lawmakers Rep. Bob Gannon and state Senator Duey Stroebel presented 7-year-old Serenity Sunde with a Legislative Citation for her work to help save a building from fire. Sunde’s story was first reported at WashingtonCountyInsider.com

She was in the car with her uncle when she spotted red flames atop Badger Car Wash on W. Washington Street. Sunde encouraged her uncle to check it out and he helped put out the fire. The entire second-grade class at McLane watched Friday afternoon as Sunde was presented with the citation.

“This just shows how important you are to everything that goes on in this world,” said Stroebel.

Rep. Gannon said because of encouraging actions like Serenity’s our future is in good hands. “It was a pleasure to visit Serenity’s class and award this commendation,” said Gannon. “The whole class was reminded that we all need to look out for others and to be helpful whenever possible.”

Padway’s on Big Cedar Lake is open for business

Padway’s on Big Cedar Lake is open for business. “We’re enjoying a booming business,” said owner Joe Weinshel.  During a Saturday afternoon conversation Weinshel stood at the end of the bar and looked out at the view over Big Cedar Lake. “In the last two and a half years we’ve come a long way,” he said. “I’m proud of our staff, the quality of our food and the enjoyment of our customer base that has grown with us.”

A couple weeks ago a real estate listing featured photos of Padway’s restaurant and the interior. Information was misinterpreted.

It’ll be three years this August when Weinshel closed on the purchase of the old Wegner’s Cedar Lake Inn. He was a young pup of 66. Weinshel changed the name of the business to Padway’s on Big Cedar Lake. “Padway was my mom’s maiden name,” he said. The goal at the time was to bring the restaurant back to an era of excellent food with a menu that screamed “American supper club.”

Mission accomplished, according to Weinshel. We’ve done an excellent job of balancing a true “American Style” supper club feel with unparalleled quality of food with a fun & lively atmosphere.  From the weekly live music, to patio dining over the lake to drinks at the tiki bar, our guests absolutely love it.

General Manager Amy Bellehumeur and Exec. Chef  Tomas Dodge are gearing up for the busy season with new menu items, Easter brunch, Mother’s Day brunch and Outdoor Patio Dining. The famous Tiki Bar will open in May.

Aiden Abbott testifies in Madison on Rare Disease Day

Aiden Abbott is 12 years old and a sixth grader at Slinger Middle School. Abbott suffers from a rare disease and recently went to the State Capitol in Madison to talk to lawmakers about dental care and health insurance coverage. Abbott penned this story for WashingtonCountyInsider.com

On Monday, Feb. 27 my family and I went to the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin to attend Rare Disease Day 2017.  We were there to advocate for the Ectodermal Dysplasia community and families with other rare diseases. Many families from the rare disease community, representatives and their aids came along too.

I was lucky enough to get a tour of the State Capitol from an aide serving in Senator Duey Stroebel’s office. He let us sit in the chairs on the senate floor and go up to the podium. We also went to Rep. Bob Gannon’s office and my family shared my story with his staff.

I spoke to a group of legislators, families who have rare diseases, and medical professionals about the difficulties of living with a rare disease, and the troubles getting my dad’s health insurance to pay for my teeth.

We also spent a lot of time talking with Senator Tammy Baldwin’s aide… describing my health problems. Me and my family suggested a federal law should be created mandating health coverage to include dental coverage for all health insurance plans when it is a result of a congenital anomaly. I am hoping that sharing my story will help all families that struggle with insurance coverage and that will change soon. Rare Disease Day 2017 was an adventure and fun and meaningful time I will never forget.

Updates & tidbits

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner has a series of town hall meetings coming up in Washington County. On Saturday, March 11 the Congressman will be at Germantown Village Hall at 9 a.m. Sensenbrenner will be at Hartford City Hall on Sunday, March 12 at 1 p.m.,  West Bend City Hall on Saturday, March 18 at 9 a.m. and Richfield Village Hall on Sunday, March 19 at 1 p.m.

The Kettle Moraine YMCA Dynamites Gymnastics team is hosting the state meet in West Bend this weekend, March 11 and 12. This is an annual event that rotates between all of the Wisconsin YMCAs that have a competitive gymnastics team.

Crimson Cowl Comics and Collectibles is opening today at1749 Barton Avenue next to Revive Salon Studios. David Gloyd, Curt Schoob and some of their muscular cohorts (friends… not superheroes – at least not that they know) helped heft boxes full of thousands of comics last Sunday. “We’re excited to be joining the Barton business community,” said Gloyd.

Paul Backhaus was presented the 2016 Slinger Firefighter of the Year Award at the Slinger Firefighter annual banquet. Backhaus joined the Slinger F.D. in March 2014. He is currently a firefighter with designations of motor pump operator, rapid intervention team.

-Groundbreaking is March 17 for the 911 memorial in Kewaskum.

– 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.

-Delta Defense/USCCA has moved into its new headquarters on Freedom Way off Corporate Center Drive in West Bend.

-Signs of a pending remodel can be seen at Pick n’ Save south on S. Main Street in West Bend. Shelves are being emptied and pallets of items are on sale. Watch for the floral department to be moved to the entryway by produce. The remodel is part of the intended restructuring Kroger had in mind following its $866 million acquisition of Roundy’s Supermarkets in Dec. 2015.

-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.

-The Kettle Moraine Geological Society (KMGS) is holding its 55th annual show March 11 and 12 at the Washington County Fair Park. The event features club speakers, demonstrators and a variety of displays. For schools, the KMGS is a valuable resource for earth-science curriculum.

-The Washington County Ice Squirt C team has won the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association Squirt 2C State Championship.

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 June 14, 1917 and July 1, 1917.

June 14, 1917

Our trip from England to France was very uneventful.  We all expected to be sick because the English Channel is very rough.  We were well convoyed by destroyers and also by two dirigibles floating about above us.

We were all taken to our hospital in large buses. Most of the nurses were assigned to huts for sleeping and living quarters.  A few had to go in tents because there were not enough huts.  I feel quite fortunate because I am in a hut. The rooms are absolutely bare with the exception of a board bunk but that has been replaced by very comfortable cots. We brought some material from London and now are busy covering boxes for tables and putting up shelves. I also brought two pillows and have our steamer rugs on our cots.  Now our room looks real homelike.

July 1, 1917

….  The hospital which we have charge of can take care of 2000 patients.  All patients are in tents with the exception of the most serious cases which we keep in huts.  We have three huts of 30 beds each.

It is the saddest place to go into these huts and see all these strong men wounded so seriously that they cannot get well, or crippled, but this is war.  At present we have a few American soldiers in our hospital but the majority are Scotch, Australian, New Zealanders, etc. I am not having the luxuries I had been having in Evanston but really I am happier and feel as though life were worth more.

Our unit is invited over to another American hospital (a Boston unit) for tea on the 4th of July.  There are four hospitals right around us so even though we are in the country, we are never alone. The Y.M.C.A. is quite popular here.  They give concerts of some kind or other almost every night.  We always go.  They are given mainly for officers and nurses.  Occasionally they give some out door concerts which are attended by everybody.

If you send any food, pack it in tin boxes and sew a piece of muslin around it.  Write address on the muslin and also on paper which is on the outside.   Thecla   No. 18 General Hospital British Expeditionary Force Francethelca-flag-nurse

Delevan-Darien School District Tells Kids How to Avoid Law Enforcement

That’s a heckuva value lesson for kids.

It was a clear and pointed message to the Delavan-Darien School community: If immigration agents knock, don’t open the door, don’t sign or say anything and fight back.

It caught a lot of parents by surprise.

“I was surprised to receive that and have the school district giving advice on how to deal with a non-academic situation,” parent Sara Deschner said.

But school leaders said it had to be done.

Illegal Aliens Fear Getting Caught

This is the problem with years and years of normalizing illegal behavior. People become acclimated and it makes it that much tougher on them when we decide to enforce the law. All of these sob stories just reinforce the notion that we should enforce our laws swiftly and consistently.

Tensions were high in the immigrant community even before Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke announced his deputies would act as ICE agents. Advisers to the undocumented said that decision has many going underground.

I always wonder about comments like this:

Schrank said he was at the jail meeting with an undocumented client Thursday to explain that the sheriff’s announcement means he’s likely to face deportation, leaving three little kids behind.

Why would he leave his kids behind?

MPS Continues Its Empty Building Hoard

smh.

March 10, 2017 – Milwaukee, WI – A new WILL report explains how the City of Milwaukee is failing to follow state law, preserving the never-ending vacant school building crisis.  In total, Milwaukee has at least 15 empty school buildings and taxpayers have spent over $10.2 million on maintenance for empty buildings in the last decade.

This problem was supposed to be solved.  In 2015, the state legislature, led by State Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Dale Kooyenga, passed a law to force the City to sell its empty school buildings to private and charter schools.  But, two years later, the City is ignoring state law and the vacant schools problem remains – even though seven different private and charter schools have attempted to purchase these buildings.

Project Labor Agreement Bill Heads to Walker’s Desk

Excellent!

A bill that would ban local governments from requiring that companies bidding on public projects enter into project labor agreements is heading to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk after a 64-35 vote in the Assembly.

Paying for Milwaukee

Simply put, all of Wisconsin is paying for Milwaukee.

Milwaukee’s 66-plus percentage return also exceeds most other cities in the state, which average even less, 51.03%. The statewide average for all municipalities, including towns and villages, is just 55.69%.

The DOR report lists only a handful of the state’s 190 or so cities as getting back more than 90% of what they pay out to the state. Milwaukee ranks in the top third among the state’s cities in the DOR report.

The real point Barrett was trying to make is that Milwaukee is an economic engine experiencing an economic turnaround that’s benefiting southeastern Wisconsin, the state and the region and that it deserves the support it receives and is necessary to a healthy Wisconsin economy and culture.

But many of the city’s problems continue to siphon millions of dollars from the rest of the state while for decades failing to produce desired results. An op-ed from Barrett and Hamilton laying out a plan to solve those problems would be worth reading.

Advertising By Any Other Name

The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance calls out this bit of tom foolery in the state budget.

One example from the new 2017-19 budget makes the point.  In the Department of Revenue section of the 632-page “Executive Budget” book is this request:

“The Governor recommends increasing the lottery general program operations appropriation by $3 million in each year to be spent on current and additional informational activities to maintain and increase overall ticket sales.  This will ensure continued property tax relief for Wisconsin homeowners through the lottery and gaming credit.”

At the same time, the Wisconsin state constitution, Art. IV, Sec. 24 (6)(a) reads:

“The expenditure of public funds or of revenues derived from lottery operations to engage in promotional advertising of the Wisconsin state lottery is prohibited.  Any advertising of the state lottery shall indicate the odds of a specific lottery ticket to be selected as the winning ticket for each prize amount offered.”

According to Merriam-Webster, advertising is “the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements”; the definition of promotion is “the act of furthering the growth or development of something.”

How do you reconcile the budget’s $6 million biennial spending request and Article IV, Section 24?

University Bans Group for Highlighting University’s “Very Intolerant” Ranking

Universities have become some of the least tolerant places in this nation.

A student union has banned a university Conservative society from using its social media accounts – because they challenged its position on free speech.

Lincoln University’s Conservative Society has been censored by its student union after it posted an image online showing that the university had been ranked “very intolerant” on free speech in a recent survey.

In response, the Students’ Union swiftly suspended the society’s social media accounts, on the grounds that highlighting the university’s ranking had brought it into disrepute.