Wisconsinites Will Continue to Leave State for Legal Sports Betting

This isn’t a surprise.

MADISON, Wis – On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that prohibited all states except Nevada from allowing sports betting.

New Jersey led the lawsuit, with the support of 18 other states that want to use sports gambling for college and professional teams to bring in more tourism and tax revenue.

A representative with the Wisconsin Department of Administration said “sports gaming is prohibited by the Wisconsin Constitution, state law, and is not allowed under the state tribal compacts.”

“Between the constitution and the compacts that are in place already in the state of Wisconsin, it really won’t have a bearing one way or the other,” said Gov. Scott Walker.

First, Walker is morally opposed to the expansion of gambling, so he’s not going to try to move mountains to get it in Wisconsin. Second, the state compact with the Tribes that protect their gambling monopolies can’t be reopened without the Tribes agreeing. There isn’t much incentive for them to do so with a Republican administration.

Liberal West Bend School Board targets November for $80 million referendum

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

As the West Bend School Board continues to search for a new superintendent after the unfortunate departure of the previous one, it is also aggressively following the liberal playbook to bamboozle the taxpayers into approving a new, massive, $80 million (plus interest) spending referendum. While every one of the school board members ran for office on a platform of conservatism and transparency, their governing is indistinguishable from the arrogant liberal school boards in Milwaukee or Madison.

Since Act 10, the liberals in Wisconsin have fought for more spending and stumbled upon a process to get school spending referendums passed that plays on the fears and best intentions of goodhearted people. The West Bend School Board is following that process and looking to take advantage of the projected “Blue Wave” in November to get more money from district taxpayers.

First, the School Board created the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee last year with a strong majority of members who were already convinced of the need to spend more money. The only questions were “on what” and “how much?” The board hired a company based in Milwaukee called Bray Architects to run the CFAC meetings. Bray brags on its website about the expensive building projects funded by referendums it helped get passed.

Bray did its job for the board and ran a rigid CFAC process that would only lead to the outcome that the board had predetermined. In one unguarded moment, the Bray facilitator admitted that “the decision to build a new Jackson school was made in the prior efforts.” The taxpayers of West Bend would be surprised to know the decision to build a new school was already made. When the facilitator was asked by a CFAC member about why they were even bothering with the committee, he answered, “because we need to help the community understand why a new Jackson is being considered.” In other words, CFAC was a sham propaganda tool from the beginning — not an actual advisory committee. Recent events confirm that conclusion.

After the bogus CFAC process, the School Board is taking the next step of spending $35,000 of our money to conduct a sham survey. The board pretends that the survey is going to be used to gauge public support for areferendum. The survey is a propaganda tool used to build support and, like CFAC, has a predetermined outcome.

The West Bend School Board has hired SchoolPerceptions to conduct the survey. A recent column

by Mark Belling exposed School Perceptions for the propaganda machine it is. Instead of conducting an objective survey that is honestly seeking answers, “the whole point of School Perceptions is to influence opinion through framing questions,” Belling writes.

The upcoming survey in West Bend will not be any different. It is telling that while asking respondents about a list of projects, there will not be an option to just say “no.” The West Bend School Board has decided to intentionally spend taxpayer money to conduct a propaganda effort under the guise of a survey with the intent to sell a spending referendum. It is a shameless act of liberal activism at taxpayers’ expense.

It is worth noting that while the West Bend School Board members are intent on jacking up spending and taxes, the transparency that constituents have enjoyed with previous boards has muddied. Many meetings are no longer recorded, meeting minutes are missing from the district’s website, the use of special and closed sessions has become the norm and many agenda items appeared to have been already discussed and decided before the public meetings. This School Board has made a practice of obscuring their actions from public view.

Furthermore, when I have repeatedly asked the elected school board members to comment on issues for more than a year, the only member of the School Board who has ever responded was Ken Schmidt. Every other Board member has refused to respond — including the two who were just elected. This is a sharp departure from previous years where even the most liberal School Board members were willing to chat with me over a cup of coffee. Elected officials have a duty to speak with their constituents. It is part of the job. Sadly, most of the members of the West Bend School Board lack the sense of duty or humility that good public service requires.

West Bend is proud of our conservatism and proud of our public schools. The School Board is failing our public schools by failing to govern as the conservatives they professed to be. Before they come hat in hand for another $80 million to spend, they need to get their house in order and rebuild the public trust that they have squandered.

 

Madison School Board Denies President

Only in Madison

Madison School Board members quashed a proposal Monday that could have allowed the board president to block other members from requesting information about the school district they are elected to govern.

During an Operations Work Group meeting, board members agreed not to pursue a proposed change to board policy that would have given the board president the ability to deny or alter requests for district information made by other board members.

District spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson said the policy change is part of a routine update of policies and is meant to “codify the board’s current ways of working.”

“We work very hard to fulfill all requests in a timely way,” she said. “In the very rare instance that a request is very difficult to fulfill, we run that request past the board president so they can decide the best way to move forward.”

Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said the intent of having the president deny a request would be to make it clear that a district employee does not have to tell a board member a request is too difficult to fulfill.

SCOTUS Strikes Down Ban on Sports Betting

I agree with the ruling on constitutional grounds. It will be interesting to watch what states do with it.

The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting, striking down a 1992 federal law that limited such gambling and likely touching off a nationwide battle to dominate what is sure to be a multi-billion-dollar industry.

The justices ruled in favor of New Jersey, which had long argued that the federal law unconstitutionally intruded on state affairs, telling state legislators what they can and — more importantly — can’t do with their time.

“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own.”

The ruling will open the floodgates to an industry long the domain of barroom bookies and Las Vegas gambling parlors. In New Jersey and Delaware, the first bets could be placed within days or weeks, and Mississippi could follow within a month or two. In total, about 20 states have either enacted laws or introduced bill to legalize sports betting, all an anticipation of this moment.

Islamist Uprising in Israel as US Moves Embassy

Remember that Hamas is still a terrorist organization. They appear to be leveraging their normal process of violence to stoke international outrage against Israel.

At least 52 Palestinians have been killed and 2,400 wounded by Israeli troops, Palestinian officials say, on the deadliest day of violence since the 2014 Gaza war.

Palestinians have been protesting for weeks but deaths soared on the day the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem.

Palestinians see this as clear US backing for Israeli rule over the whole city, whose eastern part they claim.

[…]

There have been six weeks of protests at the Gaza border, dubbed the “Great March of Return” and led by Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

Hamas had always said it would step up the protests before Tuesday, when Palestinians hold their annual commemoration of what they call the Nakba or Catastrophe. Hundreds of thousands fled their homes or were displaced following the foundation of the Israeli state on 14 May 1948.

On Monday, the Israeli military said 40,000 Palestinians had taken part in “violent riots” at 13 locations along the Gaza Strip security fence.

Palestinians hurled stones and incendiary devices while the Israeli military used snipers, as black smoke poured from burning tyres.

The health ministry, run by Hamas, said children were among those killed.

Callous Emergency Services Operator Blames Overwork

Wow. The utter lack of compassion for the dead woman is breathtaking.

An emergency services operator has said she is not to blame after she mocked a young mother who died hours after calling the service in acute distress.

Naomi Musenga, 22, called Strasbourg’s ambulance service with severe stomach pain and said: “I’m going to die”.

“You’ll definitely die one day, like everyone else,” the operator replied.

The woman – who wishes to remain anonymous – told French TV on Sunday night that she was under pressure and the emergency services were overworked.

Asked if she regretted what she had said, the operator replied: “In the conditions… let’s say it was inappropriate.

“We are constantly under pressure… I can be two or three hours hanging on my phone, I have no time to get up there’s so much [demand] everywhere,” she said. “We hang up and we pick up.”

[…]

The operator’s lawyer told BFMTV last week said that she would normally field on average 2,000 calls a day.

I hope that last stat was a typo. If not, I call BS.

Black Panthers Protest After Viral Video Shows Officer Punching Teen

It does appear that the teen was already fighting before the officer engaged.

Amateur video which went viral on social media over the weekend shows a police officer in suburban Milwaukee punch a black teenager in the face while he and another security guard violently subdue him.

The Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee have called for a boycott of Mayfair mall and the firing of the police officer who was filmed beating a 17-year-old boy during an arrest.

The violent incident took place on Friday, when security at the Mayfair mall called police to report a group of young men who were allegedly causing a disturbance.

Amateur video filmed on a cell phone shows two officers trying to subdue one of the teens.

At one point, an officer working for the Wauwatosa Police Department throws a punch at the boy while he is being held back by a mall security guard, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This looks like a close call on whether or not excessive force was used. Would have it been better for the officer to step back and tase him? Is that less violent than a punch? The kids sure has a lot of fight in him even after the punch. What do y’all think?

Trump Promises to Help ZTE

Wha?

US President Donald Trump has said he wants to help save ZTE, one of China’s biggest telecoms companies.

The firm has suspended operations after the commerce department last month banned US companies from selling it components for seven years.

[…]

ZTE pleaded guilty to making illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea.

US commentators say the tone of the tweet is a dramatic shift for Mr Trump, who has consistently accused China of stealing US jobs.

The concession to Beijing comes ahead of high-level trade talks later this week in Washington aimed at resolving an escalating trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

[…]

In March 2017 ZTE admitted to violating US sanctions by illegally shipping American technology to Iran and Korea and was fined $1.1bn (£800m).

The current export ban was imposed last month after the company allegedly failed to comply with its agreement, lying about the punishment of employees involved in skirting the sanctions.

While the story cites the upcoming trade talks as a possible explanation for Trump’s actions, I have to think that the upcoming summit with North Korea is also in play. While ZTE is clearly breaking the rules, there are bigger issues at play.

Trump is one of the few presidents we have seen who works with everything on the table all the time. He’s willing to move things around that are seemingly unrelated in order to find a way to move his agenda forward.

Senator Leah Vukmir Wins GOP Endorsment

Excellent!

MILWAUKEE — State Sen. Leah Vukmir has won the official endorsement of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, a key stamp of approval from the party’s grassroots heading into a primary battle with businessman Kevin Nicholson.

The vote came at the state GOP’s annual convention Saturday in Milwaukee. Vukmir, R-Brookfield, and Nicholson, of Delafield, were seeking their party’s nod to face Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in November.

Vukmir won the support of about 73 percent of delegates. The threshold to secure the endorsement was 60 percent.

“Let’s tell Tammy Baldwin it’s time for her to go home,” Vukmir told cheering GOP delegates after securing the endorsement.

Vukmir’s speech was really, really good. You can watch it at this link.

Nobody expected Kevin Nicholson to win, but it was uncertain whether or not Vukmir could get the super majority necessary to win the endorsement. Vukmir got an overwhelming number of votes. I’m happy to report that Washington County was the county that took her over the top.

The party endorsement tells us a couple of things. First, as expected, Vukmir is the overwhelming favorite of the party stalwarts. This makes sense because Vukmir has been working in Wisconsin for years and has built a lot of trust a loyalty within the party. Nicholson will use this to affirm his spin that “Vukmir is the establishment candidate.” The basic messaging of the candidates is well established (pardon the pun) at this point.

Second, the party endorsement actually means something in Wisconsin. This gives Vukmir access to the party apparatus, donor lists, victory centers, etc. for the primary campaign. So while Nicholson is going to run a very strong, very well financed air campaign, Vukmir will have the grassroots activists working to her benefit. Given that we are talking about a primary election, turnout of the party faithful is critical. This endorsement will have a tangible benefit for Vukmir.

Wisconsin GOP Convention Drama

The Wisconsin GOP convention is going on this weekend. The big drama is who, if anyone, the delegates will support for their U.S. Senate candidate. I just listened to Senator Leah Vukmir’s speech on Facebook. WOW. I have never heard her sound so good (no offense). I’ll post it when the video goes up somewhere.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Charming Paws moving forward following accident

The owners of Charming Paws, 1410 Lang Street, in West Bend have issued a statement regarding an accident this week between two animals in its care.

Doctor of veterinary medicine Brian Rollmann is with Little Animal Hospital in Port Washington. He said it’s not necessarily the temperament of the animal or the breed, but it’s the strength.

From Ashley Skinkis                                                                             May 10, 2018

The owners of Charming Paws Doggie Daycare in West Bend are acknowledging an unfortunate incident Monday afternoon at the business on Lang Street.

While three employees were working with the dog participants, a pit bull broke through a chain link fence that was bolted to a wall and entered a different room. The 90-pound dog attacked and killed a goldendoodle puppy.

The incident happened in a matter of seconds. Staff immediately put the larger dog in an enclosed area, protected all other dogs, triaged the victim and called the owners.

The goldendoodle was immediately taken to the nearest local vet.

Ashley Skinkis, owner of Charming Paws, contacted police.

“There were never any problems with either dog,” said Skinkis. “They were in separate, fenced-off areas of the daycare. Each area is separated by size of dog and temperament. Neither dog had a history of aggressive behavior.”

The owners of the adult dog confirmed they raised their dog from a puppy and never had any aggression issues. The owners did put the dog down immediately after the attack.

Within hours of the incident Skinkis said the fencing in the playground of the daycare had been fixed and reinforced with a 4-inch thick wall between the large and small animal areas.

Skinkis said staff was in the same area of the daycare when the incident happened. She said “all staff followed appropriate procedures.”

Skinkis asks that people respect the families whose animals were involved and respect the staff affected by this horrible incident. Charming Paws will continue to provide a high-standard of care for all of our clients and their pets.

“Ninety-percent of pit bulls are the most loving, wonderful, down-to-earth dogs but if you have one that’s dog aggressive, the mass of the dog is a big factor,” he said. “They’re so strong that if they are aggressive they can do a lot more damage.”

Charming Paws gives a temperament test prior to accepting a dog as a client. Rollmann said dogs act different in different situations. “Some dogs act different around puppies then they do around adult dogs,” he said. “Some dogs will have a prey response and if an animal has a prey response then they treat that dog as prey.”

As far as a pit bull raised in a family setting with children, Rollmann said “that’s not an uncommon story.”

“I worked with another vet who had a pit bull who peacefully lived with his blind cat for 10 years and then he came home one day and no cat,” he said. “Ten years and no problems but if something triggers the prey drive they go into autopilot.”

Moving forward Skinkis said they added a 4-inch-thick wood-frame wall as a barrier between the two rooms.

“That’s in addition to the chain link fence bolted to the wall,” Skinkis said.  “We’re also going to be extra diligent on personality assessment and reviewing the core personalities of each dog.”

Eileen Hanrahan of West Bend has two Dobermans she drops off at Charming Paws. She said she knows accidents happen and it could have happened anywhere.

“You run the risk if you take them there or walk your dog on the street or take them to the dog park, something can always happen,” said Hanrahan. “The staff at Charming Paws is always so caring and they treat these dogs like their own kids. I feel very comfortable keeping my dog there.”

Huge award for Museum of Wisconsin Art

Some well-deserved recognition for the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend as it has been named ‘Best Gallery Or Museum In Wisconsin’ by American Art Awards.

“This 32,000-square-foot museum houses five permanent collection galleries, three temporary exhibition spaces, classrooms, a large atrium and more. Over 5,000 works of contemporary and historic art by more than 350 artists,” is how American Art Awards describes MOWA.

An article in medium.com by reporter Thom Bierdz read, “The Museum Of Wisconsin Art won the distinction of Best Gallery Or Museum In Wisconsin, 2018, and one of American Art Awards 25 Best American Galleries / Museums, 2018.”

Jessica Wildes is director of communications and marketing at MOWA. “We are truly honored to be named one of the top 25 museums in America and the top museum in Wisconsin by the American Art Awards,” said Wildes.  “Our selection was based on our innovative philosophy where everyone’s a member.”

One of the other keys to success, according to Wildes, is MOWA’s ability to wrap its arms around all its guests.

“Instead of repeat admission fees, every visitor becomes a member to the museum for a full year upon their first visit to MOWA,” she said. “Membership includes unlimited gallery viewing, 175+ free-for-member programs, and access to special events and classes for a full year.”

Click HERE to learn more about the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

Don’t forget the Banner Artwalk, brought to you by the Downtown West Bend Association, is Saturday, May 12 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.  There is free admission into the museum and the galleries. Enjoy live music by the Kal Bergendahl Project. A silent auction of 2016 banners will take place. There will also be snacks and a cash bar.

Big restaurant announcement from Jodi Janisse-Kanzenbach

Huge news for Jodi Janisse-Kanzenbach and her husband Cory as the pair just became business partners with Don and Deb Reinbold at Barley Pop Pub, N116 W16137 Main Street, in Germantown.

Many recognize Janisse-Kanzenbach as the owner and head chef at Café Soeurette, 111 N. Main Street, in downtown West Bend.

“This was just a great opportunity to grow as a restaurateur,” said Janisse-Kanzenbach. “What I liked about the Barley Pop is its rich history, the building is from 1870s and they’ve been in business a long time.”

The Reinbolds are also cheering the partnership.  “My husband Don and I are excited Jodi and Cory have decided to partner with us at the Barley Pop,” said co-owner Deb Reinbold. “They bring a passion for food and beverage and a focus on the dining experience, which is something we have always strived for.”

Janisse-Kanzenbach said she’s excited about the upcoming development in Germantown, noting the up-scale apartments to the south, the new Gehl Foods Performing Arts Pavilion in Firemen’s Park, and the Village’s investment in the downtown.

As far as the future is concerned, Janisse-Kanzenbach said “it’ll be status quo at both the Barley Pop and Café Soeurette.

“We are not looking to change the concept of the Barley Pop,” she said. “What they’re doing is good; we want to keep it for what it is.”

Café Soeurette will also stay open and carry on its 11-year farm-to-table tradition.

In the short term there will be some scheduling changes so Janisse-Kanzenbach can hit the ground running and wrap her arms around both restaurants.

Starting the week of May 6, Café Soeurette will close Tuesdays and Barley Pop will not serve lunch on Monday and Tuesday. “Once the merge is completed and we get our staff up to speed we’ll fall back into the old schedules,” Janisse-Kanzenbach said.

Barley Pop is open seven days a week and features pub food, burgers and appetizers. “We might do a few changes to the menu but I will put it in the hands of our chef Jorge Villasenor who does a phenomenal job,” said Janisse-Kanzenbach.

Also note, Barley Pop Pub and Café Soeurette will accept gift cards for either place at both places as well. With the partnership comes job opportunity. The Barley Pop is looking for bartenders and servers. Applications can be filled out at the restaurant.

Military signing day at Slinger High School

It was military signing day this week at Slinger High School. Eight students signed letters committing to serve in the Army, Navy, Marines, and National Guard.

Extra chairs had to be brought in as family, friends and military recruiters were all in attendance.

All of the recruits were given red, white, and royal blue lanyards donated by the Allenton American Legion Post. The seniors were instructed to wear the lanyards at graduation.

Jay Gindt – Army, Nate Shirley – Navy, Keegan Berger – Navy, Jack Cairns – Marines, Rebekah Seidel – Marines, Brooke Rahlf – Army Reserves, August Beyer – Navy ROTC, and

Morgynn Michel – Army National Guard.

Doctors at West Bend Medical agree to property purchase in West Bend

West Bend Medical has entered in to an agreement with the City of West Bend to purchase the former Cooley’s site in downtown West Bend. This site is on Water Street and Wisconsin Avenue and is currently made up of a parking lot and one acre of open land.

West Bend Medical in Menomonee Falls has a desire to return home to the City of West Bend by second quarter of 2019. Dr. Carey Cameron, Dr. Chad Tamez and Dr. Brian Wolter of West Bend Medical believe their practice is best served downtown and the City of West Bend is pleased to assist in the process.

This process will include an agreement with city and the sale of the lands owned by the Redevelopment Authority (RDA) and the City of West Bend. Clinic Administrator, Brett Cameron worked closely with city staff to get to this point.

“We are excited for the opportunity to bring our brand of healthcare back to the heart of West Bend,” said Dr. Chad Tamez.

“We (the physicians and staff of West Bend Medical) have dedicated our careers to helping our community be healthier both inside and outside the office,” said Dr. Cameron.

Doctor Wolter said, “Redeveloping an unused site in the downtown area is simply an extension of our commitment to making West Bend a better place to live.”

RDA Chairman, Kirk Emerich said, “As our downtown continues to grow West Bend Medical will be an excellent addition and great community partner.”

Former Gehl property in downtown West Bend sold

The City of West Bend and Van Horn Development, LLC have entered in to an agreement for the purchase of the former Gehl site in downtown West Bend, specifically 8 acres on the southwest corner of Water Street and Forest Avenue. The site is being acquired for development of a mix of commercial and multi-family residential buildings.

Chris Merklein, Director of Development with Van Horn Real Estate, contacted the City of West Bend to discuss the 8-acre former Gehl site.

All plans must still be finalized however Merklein is optimistic about the possibilities. “Everything about this site and community feels right,” Merklein said. “Not only does the Gehl site itself have tremendous potential, but the community behind it is a true force. The positive energy in this area is undeniable and we are proud to be part of it.”

Merklein was encouraged by the downtown Riverwalk renovation and the development of the nearby cultural campus at the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

Merklein made it clear he is not strictly looking for an investment but to become a community partner. The City of West Bend is supportive and thankful for the next major development in the downtown.

“Congratulations to the Van Horn Real Estate team on taking the first step toward something that should prove to be truly special for West Bend,” said Mayor Kraig Sadownikow.

Hartford’s Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center set to open in 2 weeks      By Samantha Sali

Mother Nature is not making it easy on the Park and Rec crew in Hartford as it works to prep Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center for opening day.

“The late snowstorms have pushed off our crews from getting into the facility this year which is giving them less time to prep the pool for its second full year of service,” said City Administrator Steve Volkert. “As of April 19, snow was still surrounding the facility. With the warmer temps in late April, all the snow has now melted and work on the pool surface is now in full swing.”

The staff hope to fill the pool next week, getting ready for the scheduled May 26 opening. Last year, the pool opened May 28.

For the most part, the hours are the same as last year, though they shortened weekend hours. Last year, open swim was from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. and this season it’s 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Those interested in lap swim can rejoice in better hours, as last year you could only squeeze in laps from 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. and this year the hours have been extended to, 6 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

As the swim season starts, don’t forget to bring your season passes or cash (they don’t take credit cards, but there is an ATM onsite), your own towels, coast guard approved life jackets, water bottles, extra cash for snacks (you cannot bring in food), and 50 cents if you want a locker to keep your valuables safe.

Season passes are already available for purchase, which you can pick up at the Recreation Center during office hours (Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. and Fridays, 7 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.)

Final numbers released for 2018 Tailgate Tour benefiting The Threshold, Inc.

The final numbers are in from the 2018 Tailgate Tour in West Bend benefiting The Threshold, Inc.

According to Executive Director Laura Eggert the Threshold raised $82,766.51.

“We exceeded our goal of $65,000,” said Eggert.  “Everyone involved is thrilled about the outcome and extremely complimentary of our work in making this a successful event.”

Eggert credits the support from V.I.P. Sponsors and others who donated their time, talent and treasure. “Of course, the Packer fans came out in droves to support our cause as well.  We were very pleased with the turnout, despite the not-so-nice weather,” she said.

Money from the event will be used to enhance current and new programming at The Threshold, Inc.

As of March 1, The Threshold, Inc. took over operation of the 1022 Club in Hartford, which offers respite for families caring for loved ones who may be frail elderly, have Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

“We also started an after-hours social program for adults with disabilities, which takes place within our community as well as throughout our state,” said Eggert.  “Currently, we are working on launching an after-hours Youth Mentor program, which provides young people time for socialization with their peers and offers many educational activities.”

Reviews for the Tailgate Tour were fabulous.  “Everyone we spoke with said they had a great time, things ran very smoothly, they thoroughly enjoyed the activities and were very excited to meet the Packer players and President/CEO Mark Murphy up-close,” Eggert said.

“The Threshold and the people with disabilities whom we serve are grateful for the support of this wonderful community.  Thanks to everyone who contributed to our mission of, ‘Creating Opportunities for People with Disabilities.’”

UW-WC tennis teams capture titles at WCC State Tennis Tournament     By Sue Bausch

UW-Washington County Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams captured the 2018 Wisconsin Collegiate Conference State Tennis Tournament at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison in a two-day competition.

The men’s team won 19 out of 22 possible team points and the women’s team won 9 out of 14 possible team points.  This is the first time in the WCC history of men’s tennis that the team was able to win the championship outright on the first day of competition. This is the first time in campus history both teams won the WCC State Tournament in the same year.

The men’s team: Matt Melsheimer – Runner – Up #1 Doubles, Jordan Buchacher – State Champion #2 Singles & #2 Doubles, Chrlie Mundinger –  State Champion #3 Singles & Runner Up #1 Doubles, Lucas Gough – State Champion #4 Singles & #2 Doubles, Brody Jossart – State Champion #5 Singles & #3 Doubles, Alex Schmidt – State Champion #6 Singles & #3 Doubles

The women’s team: Meghan MacFarlane – won the quarter finals match at #1 Singles, Kaytie Lighthizer – State Champion #2 Doubles – won the quarter finals match at #2 Singles, Sammie Brown – State Champion #3 Singles, Audra Brandenburg – State Champion #4 Singles and #2 Doubles.

Unveiling Phase 1 construction at Good Shepherd Ev. Lutheran Church in West Bend

On Sunday, May 6 parishioners at Good Shepherd Ev. Lutheran Church, 777 S. Indiana Ave., in West Bend had their first meeting in their new fellowship room which has a capacity of 150 people. The $3.2 million Phase 1 construction project is fast approaching the completion stage.

Updates were presented including construction of the new fireside room, elevator, library, classrooms, heating and air conditioning system, security system, storage areas, and offices. Over $50,000 has been saved by volunteers doing painting and staining and helping with other construction needs.

Members were also given the opportunity to donate money on items not in the Phase 1 budget including appliances, furniture, window dressings, etc. The church’s theme is “Connected to Christ,” “Connected to One Another,” and “Connected to our Community.”

West Bend School Board approves survey for $80 million referendum

This week the West Bend School Board approved part of a $35,000 package for a community-wide survey regarding Jackson Elementary School and the West Bend High Schools.

The survey would be created by Slinger-based School Perceptions. Bill Foster is president of that company. During an April 30 meeting when Foster then went through some slides of what the survey would say he indicated the options for a response would be four choices: High, medium, low or not sure.

One note, there is no selection to decline a specific project or vote ‘no’ on an answer.

In March when the board hired and met with consulting firm McPherson & Jacobson the board asked whether it should move forward with a referendum while it was looking for a new superintendent at the same time.

McPherson & Jacobson said “it would be wise to wait and do it right.” Board member Nancy Justman said “we’re in a really unique situation … and I think we should play it out.”

Below are notes from an April 30, 2018 meeting that put numbers over $80 million on a proposed referendum.

Funding Support: The cost to address all the projects identified in the survey is estimated at nearly $80 million. (again – discussion about adding taxes and interest to that number). Given the cost it may not be realistic to complete all of these projects at one time. Therefore, the work may need to be completed in phases, based on the priorities of the community and its willingness to financially support the projects.

Jackson Elementary:  Build a new school          $23 million (2-story school,  82,000 square feet significantly larger than current Jackson)

High School Projects:

Classrooms, Libraries and Science Labs                   $10.5 million

Cafeteria             $2.2 million (CFAC members said this was never discussed in their meetings)

Technical Education (Shop) and Engineering Labs   $7.6 million

Weight Room/ Locker rooms                                    $4.0 million

Safety and security     $1.5 million (WBSD applied for a state grant to cover this cost or a portion)

Building infrastructure                                              $31.3 million

There was a note about being a good steward of taxpayer money and paying off a portion of the debt. “This drop in loan payments gives the community an opportunity to borrow up to $35 million in facility upgrades with no tax increase over the current level.”

A CFAC member indicated the tax may not go up but the lifetime of payments would be extended 10 to 20 more years.

Board member Kurt Rebholz also campaigned on being able to save taxpayer money with energy grants and upgrades. So far no figures have been released on any energy program or potential savings.

On a history note:

Taking a look at the current referendums the West Bend School District is currently paying off….

In April 2009, voters in West Bend approved a $29.3 million plan to renovate, as well as build an addition to Badger Middle School.

In November 2012 the West Bend School District passed a $22.8 million referendum to close Barton Elementary School, expand Silverbrook School and add classrooms and a gym at Green Tree Elementary School. The actual total cost of the referendum with taxes and interest was $31.975 million with a 15-year payback on borrowing.

After the Nov. 2012 referendum passed the $31.9 million total was added on top of the $29.3 million payment for the 2009 Badger referendum. The target date to completely pay off the debt on both referendums, totaling about $61 million*, is 2029.

The final segment of discussion provided a table showing the tax impact for various referendum amounts. The tax impact on a 20-year bond with an estimated interest of 4.5% was not calculated into the total.

For example: If the referendum was $40 million the estimated increase on a home valued at $100,000 would be $5 per year.

For an $80 million referendum the tax impact on a $100,000 home would be $48 per year.  This would be over the span of 20 years, again without taxes and interest calculated into the total.

A clarification was made asking that in the spirit of transparency the board make it clear on the survey the tax impact would only be for the school referendum. Taxpayers would be made aware their bill would also include an annual tax impact from the state, county, city, MPTC, and the school district which annual has voted to tax to the max. The referendum amount would be on top of those other annual charges.

The work session concluded with an attempt to sign off on the survey questions by May 7 so the survey could be mailed before the end of the month.

The district indicated it is aiming for a November referendum. CG Schmidt has been hired as the contractor for the project. (*request is being made to confirm current referendum debt)

Also the board moved into closed session to get an update on the superintendent search, the contract – which is reportedly up to $175,000 per year. The last superintendent was signed at $155,000 a year and in 2016 the superintendent received a 2-year contract extension. In December 2017 the school board released the superintendent.

The amount of benefits received in the agreement were not disclosed and are part of a second open records request in January. Details from that second request were never received.  According to a story posted Jan. 18, 2018 The agreement also indicates Olson would receive full salary “less applicable withholdings” for the remainder of his contract. He will also receive moving expenses of $10,000 and unused vacation of $10,432.63.

During the executive session the board also lookrf into purchasing more property. That purchase site has not been disclosed.

Updates & tidbits

The Downtown West Bend Association’s 6th annual Banner ArtWalk 2018 is today, Saturday, May 12 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Fifty hand-painted banners will be on display at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend.

-West Bend tennis standout Lexi Keberle has made it big in the Big 10. As a freshman at UW-Madison Keberle was a unanimous First Team selection All-Big 10. Keberle played No. 1 singles for UW- Madison through the fall and spring. As a freshman Keberle “earned the most wins of anyone on her team with a 25–10 record including tour matches with a 13–5 record from the first slot in dual play.” In high school Keberle was a 2-time State Champion her Freshman and Sophomore years.

-The Bürgermeister of Germantown invites you to Mai Fest at Friedenfeld Park on May 18, 19, and 20. There will be fantastic beers, fabulous music and dancing and good old-fashioned fun.

-The weather was perfect for the 16th annual Scotty Schoen Youth Fish Derby on Hasmer Lake in Jackson. Hundreds of kids and their parents took advantage of the warm weather. Kids came armed with pole and bait and tested their casting skills. Winners included: Micah Harris registered a 19-inch sucker, Liam Gambino landed an 11.25-inch bass, Lily Shaw hauled in a 21 1/2-inch northern, and Landon Hatch reeled in a 24-inch northern.Fishing licenses were not needed by participants 15 and under. The event was sponsored by Jackson Park and Rec.

-The Survivor Celebration Lunch for Relay for Life in West Bend is Saturday, May 19 from noon – 2 p.m. at Holy Angels. On behalf of the American Cancer Society and the Relay for Life of West Bend, you and your caregiver are invited to join us to spend time with fellow survivors, see your Relay For Life friends, and enjoy a wonderful {free} meal just for you.

-The FREE Adult Swim Lesson week is coming up at the Kettle Moraine YMCA. Whether you are a seasoned swimmer or just starting out, there is a class for everyone. If you haven’t had a chance to register for any classes yet, there is still time.

-On May 5, 2018, with A Great Gatsby theme, students from Slinger High School danced away the night at the Chandelier Ballroom in Hartford. Prom court: Ben Hoitink escorting Sidney Selness; Bennett Connolly escorting Charmaine Dee; Thomas Boden escorting Riley Alton; King Evan Sievers escorting Queen Anna Richardson; Charlie Covert escorting Samantha Carloni; Jake Bernarde escorting Hannah Brown; Alex Drifka escorting Jane Schaub; Trevor Ulesich escorting Paige Fassbender.

-Youth Frontiers, the leading character education organization in the Upper Midwest, will present its 2018 Character Award to Destiny Kudelko, a senior at Kewaskum High School in Kewaskum, Wis., for her exceptional character and leadership skills. To further recognize her accomplishments Kudelko received a $2,500 college scholarship.

-Cedar Community in West Bend is proud to announce its marketing team recently won the Gold award for its Live More magazine and Live More brand video from the Aster Awards.

– Students in Marcia Milam’s first-grade class at St. John’s Lutheran in West Bend got an up-close look at their lesson this week as the students gathered on the lawn along Fifth Avenue to watch work crews lift trusses into place at the new Kwik Trip. “We’re learning about pulleys and simple machines,” said Milam. “I told them we’d go and see the real thing.” With pads of white drawing paper in their laps 16 students carefully watch the crane-and-pulley system at work and their No. 2 pencils documented what they saw.  Some of their impressions are below. This will be the second Kwik Trip in West Bend. It’s expected to open in June.

-The Kettle Moraine Monday Night Bass Tournament kicked off its 16 week season on Monday, May 7 on Pike Lake. 1st Place-Tom Faucher and Jody Dent who bagged an impressive 5-fish limit weighing in at 12.71 pounds. They also had big bass honors with a 3.61 pound largemouth.

2nd Place-Doug Duernburger and Mason Koerber, brought in a 5-fish limit at 11.96 pounds.

3rd Place-Marv Thiesen and Roger Kutz took the spot with a 5-fish limit coming in at 11.62 pounds. Marv had the hot stick of the night registering 5-fish for Angler-of-the-Year points.

4th Place- Caleb Niedfeldt and Adam Zinda with a 5-fish limit at 10.53 pounds. The league is headed to Kettle Moraine Lake next Monday night, May 14. Story courtesy Bryan Miller.

New owner for Aiden O’Reilly’s

It’s still a couple weeks away yet but watch for Mark Merten, 56, to take over Aiden O’ Reilly’s in Allenton.

Merten, a native of Slinger and 1980 graduate of Slinger High School, said he was looking for something new and found it in the bar/restaurant, 402 Main Street, in Allenton.

“I like the woodwork in the place and the back bar reminds me of an old soda bar from the 1800s,” said Merten.

While O’Reilly’s has the atmosphere of an Irish-pub, Merten said that can easily be changed.

“We’re going to call it Slippery Rail,” said Merten. “We were thinking about The Whistle Stop but we were looking at the LLC list and there is already a campground with dib’s on that. My wife started looking at old railroad terms and the Slippery Rail seemed to stick; the names got a nice kick.”

Merten grew up in the food business. He spoke fondly about his memories of working alongside Joe and LuAnne Schwai when they ran Schwai’s in Cedar Creek.

“I’d help them butcher deer and run the restaurant,” he said. “When the County Fair was still in Slinger I’d work with them at their booth. I know Tommy and Mike well and I worked with LuAnne and Joe and the sunshine thing and all that.”

Merten’s mind raced with memories of Schwai’s and the old country store with cases of beer, people coming in on the weekends, the meat counter, and the old terrazzo floor.

“I really missed all that and that’s what I liked about this restaurant/bar is the big back bar, the décor, the changes made since the fire, the upstairs hall is nice; there’s a lot of quality in this old building it’s nice to see it maintained,” he said.

Along with the name change Merten said he will be adding real broasted chicken by Trademark and once he’s situated he’ll explore adding take out to the menu.

“The big thing is I want to maintain the current customer base and keep everybody happy,” he said.  Merten expects to close on the deal with owner Mike Duchelle on May 29.

On a history note: The brick building that sits to the east of the Canadian National Railway dates to 1912. It used to be the old Central Hotel. Over the years the name changed to Side Track and later Grand Central Station.

Taylor’s Tantrums

This senator

Sen. Lena Taylor is decrying what she called a “political lynching,” insisting she had done nothing that warranted her removal from the Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee.

Flanked by supporters at a Milwaukee news conference yesterday, Taylor defended her actions at a Milwaukee bank last month that resulted in a disorderly conduct citation. She also disputed she bullied staff, which is what Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling cited in replacing Taylor with fellow Milwaukee Dem La Tonya Johnson on JFC.

Shilling announced the move Tuesday after an investigation into a human resources complaint determined the Milwaukee Democrat had violated: the Senate Policy Manual’s anti-bullying provisions; and the anti-retaliation section related to an employee’s Family Medical Leave Act leave.

“I don’t think I did anything that warrants me being taken off of Finance, since in the midst of all that was going on, I don’t think anybody was able to stop me from dealing with 9,000 constituent cases,” Taylor said.

Taylor criticized the process in the HR case and said she disputes the findings.

“That report, I disagree with it,” Taylor said “And those findings are not accurate. And that the process alone, being a kangaroo process, where they failed to follow their own rules, is not even one that I want to give credence to.”

I admit that I have a soft spot for Taylor because she supported concealed carry when so much of her caucus didn’t. But man… she’s a piece of work.

Brennan Confirmed For Appeals Court

Finally.

WASHINGTON – Milwaukee lawyer Michael Brennan was confirmed for a key federal judgeship Thursday, filling the oldest appellate vacancy in the country but deepening a partisan schism in the U.S. Senate over judges.

Brennan will take a seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that has stood open since 2010 amid a bitter political standoff.

He was confirmed 49-46 with only Republican votes, over the objections of Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin’s junior senator.

That has typically been enough to sink a nomination in recent years, because senators from both parties have enjoyed an effective veto over the selection of federal judges from their home states, a tradition known as the “blue slip.”

Outside of party loyalty, there was no rational reason for Baldwin’s intransigence.

Five IS Leaders Captures with App

Good!

A jubilant President Trump tweeted on Thursday to announce that five of the ‘Most Wanted leaders of ISIS’ have been captured after they were lured from Syria to Iraq with fake Telegram messages.

Iraqi officials used the cell phone of already captured ISIS lieutenant Ismail al-Eithawi to send instructions via the app for the four other leaders to come to Iraq, where they were seized.

The encrypted app was officially named by ISIS as one of its favored mobile messaging services in 2015 and has been regularly used by the terror group for private communication and to spread propaganda.

Summit set with North Korea

Progress.

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore, the US president announced Thursday on Twitter.

“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th,” Trump tweeted. “We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”
The summit, which has been in the works since Trump accepted Kim’s invitation to meet in March, will be the first ever meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean leader.
US officials had also considered holding the summit at the Korean demilitarized zone or in Mongolia, but ultimately settled on the city-state of Singapore as the location.

Unions are Killing Air France

For those of us who remember Midwest Express, this is a somewhat familiar tale.

Air France’s trade unions are demanding an immediate pay rise of 5.1%. That looks bearable set against profits of €1.5bn ($1.8bn) last year. But a decent-looking performance in 2017 owed much to low oil prices. Its finances are weakening fast. Mr Janaillac had warned of a big drop in profits this year. A series of 14 one-day strikes has already cost Air France at least €300m in recent weeks.

The threat of Air France’s inflated cost base swelling further scares investors, says Daniel Roeska of Bernstein, a research firm. Some Air France pilots may earn two to three times as much as those at Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier, Ryanair. Since 2012 Air France has made much less money than its rivals (see chart). Rising fuel costs, only half of which are hedged, and a squeeze on fares caused by airline overcapacity in Europe threaten to plunge Air France into the red sooner than its peers. A huge debt pile also leaves the group looking vulnerable. Ross Harvey of Davy, an investment firm, says its net debt last year (including leases) was 2.4 times gross operating profits, compared with 0.4 for Ryanair and 0.7 for easyJet and Lufthansa.

Other flag-carriers across Europe have also been squeezed, on short-haul routes by the rise of low-cost outfits and on long-haul routes by carriers from the Middle East and China. But their answer has been to slash costs to return to the black. IAG has forced through big cuts to jobs and pay at British Airways and Iberia of Spain, as has Lufthansa in Germany. Facing intransigent unions, Alan Joyce of Qantas in Australia even grounded his airline until they caved in. All have launched their own low-cost carriers to take the fight to their new rivals.

Unable to make much headway against the unions, Air France’s management chose another track. After cancelling Mr de Juniac’s proposed restructuring, Mr Janaillac launched a plan to cover the airline’s costs by improving service and by lobbying in Brussels against low-cost and Middle Eastern competitors.

The problem is that the market is shifting/has shifted. Most consumers are not willing to pay more for the “extras” in air travel. As a frequent flier, I miss the days of bigger seats, better food, and more room. But the market has spoken. And, frankly, I’m willing to pay a little more for the extras, but not a lot.

The the case of Air France, the market won’t allow them to increase their prices to a level to keep up with the costs that the unions are demanding. Fuel prices will continue to fluctuate, but the labor costs are relatively fixed. Air France is attempting to fight their competitors by asking the government to protect Air France, but that’s not working. Air France’s management have limited options and the unions aren’t willing to recognize that the market won’t allow what they are asking for.

Absent a government bailout, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Air France go bankrupt by the end of next year. Their union issues make them unattractive for acquisition or merger, so their competitors will just wait for them to fold and then pick up the pieces.

Nah, It’s Not a Mental Illness Problem

The BBC appears to be upset that more and more people are reacting to mass killings by wanting to improve our public mental health care policies instead of with more gun control.

In fact, few mass killers actually suffer from a diagnosable, serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychotic spectrum disorders. A 2004 analysis of more than 60 mass murders in North America, for example, found that just 6% were psychotic at the time of the killings. And when it comes to mass shootings, those with mental illness account for “less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides”, a 2016 study found. Other studies indicate that people with mental disorders account for just 3-5% of overall violence in the US, (much lower than the prevalence of mental illness in the general population – up to 18%) which “still leaves you with around 96% of violence, even if you’re able to eliminate all people with mental disorders”, Appelbaum points out.

[…]

Moreover, much of the violence that people with serious mental illnesses commit are minor infractions, such as verbal assault or hitting, not homicide (suicide, however, is a significant problem), and such infractions tend to be directed at those the perpetrator lives with, not at strangers and not at a mass scale. Large attacks also require a level of planning and organisation that often defies many with serious mental illness. A 2014 study, for example, found that just 2% percent of 951 patients discharged from a psychiatric hospital committed a violent act involving a gun, and just 6% committed a violent act involving a stranger.

That knee-jerk conclusion is problematic, he continues, because it encourages even more stigmatisation of people who have a mental illness, many of whom already have extremely difficult lives and already face discrimination in several areas, namely housing, jobs, and relationships. Individuals suffering from mental illnesses are actually three times more likely than the average person to be victims of violence, as they are more vulnerable.

 […]

Making this inaccurate link can also shift the focus of policy debates in the US. In debates over limiting access to firearms, some people start talking about fixing the mental healthcare system instead. “Suddenly you hear the gun lobby – which is very powerful in this country and has a vested interest in not having guns be regulated – become an advocate for better mental health care in America,” Swanson says. “It’s a distraction so we don’t talk about guns.” (Read more: “What if all guns disappeared?”)

It’s difficult to psychologically profile mass shooters because they often commit suicide or are killed during their attack. But what doctors and scientists do know is that the perpetrators of such events are frequently angry young men, who feel they have been mistreated by society and therefore seek to extract revenge.

9/11 Terrorist Wants to Testify Against CIA Chief Nominee

What the hell?

The self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks has asked for permission to share information about Gina Haspel, nominee for CIA director, at her confirmation hearing.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is held at Guantanamo Bay, has asked a judge if he can share six paragraphs of information, the New York Times says.

Mr Mohammed was tortured by the CIA following his capture in 2003.

Ms Haspel is facing a grilling from senators at the hearing.

Her nomination has faced opposition over her role at a secret CIA prison in Thailand where detainees were waterboarded in 2002.

From a political perspective, the Republicans should allow his testimony. The campaign ads in October about Democratic Senators agreeing with a 9/11 terrorist’s opinion about a nominee would be gold.

Iran Throws Tantrum

This reaction just has me even more confident that Trump made the correct choice.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader chastised President Donald Trump on Wednesday over his decision to pull America out of the 2015 nuclear deal, while lawmakers lit a paper U.S. flag on fire inside parliament, shouting, “Death to America!”

The government backlash reflected broad public anger in Iran over Trump’s decision, which threatens to destroy the landmark agreement. While Iranian officials, including the parliament speaker, say they hope Europe will work with them to preserve the deal, many are pessimistic.

In comments before school teachers, Khamenei told Trump: “You cannot do a damn thing!” The exhortation from Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, follows a pattern of Iranian leaders declaring their nation’s ability to resist foreign pressure or interference.

Khamenei described Trump’s speech as having “over 10 lies,” without elaborating on them. He also said Trump’s remarks threatened both Iran’s people and its theocratic government.

Earlier Wednesday, the lawmakers, including a Shiite cleric, held the flaming flag alight as their colleagues joined their chants. They also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal and stomped on the papers’ ashes.

Pompeo Returning with American Hostages

Great news!

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that three American prisoners released from North Korea were headed home, a sign of potential good will ahead of Trump’s planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In a tweet, Trump said “the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting” were accompanying Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his way back from a visit to North Korea.