Madison Schools Enable Anti-Gun Protests

The West Bend School District can be proud that it is in solidarity with the Madison districts.

On March 14, high school students around the country plan to walk out of their classrooms to demand more restrictive gun laws.

In Madison, after walking out of school, many students plan to keep walking to the state Capitol for a rally. While the walkout is not sponsored or endorsed by any school districts, several officials are announcing their respect for the students’ right to protest and are allowing parents and guardians to excuse absences.

“We are incredibly proud of the young people, both nationally and here in Madison, who have raised their voices about gun control and their right to be safe at school. Our district stands with our students as they demand action,” said Jennifer Cheatham, superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Clearly, using kids as props to advance a leftist agenda takes priority over education.

Most “Wisconsiny” Rule Ever


Another Candidate Jumps into 59th Assembly Race

It’s getting crowded. Here’s the press release.

Today, Rachel Mixon made it official! She will be a candidate for District #59 of the Wisconsin State Assembly. The 59th includes Northern Washington, Eastern Fond du Lac, Western Sheboygan and Southern Calumet Counties.

She is looking to fill the very large shoes of retiring Representative, Jesse Kremer. Mixon, who is currently serving as an Alderperson on the Hartford’s Common Council representing District 3 since 2012, was asked to run by her peers. She will run as a Republican. A demonstrated and dedicated conservative, Mixon considers it a great honor to even be considered and encouraged by her peers to serve the people of the 59th.

Mixon comes from a long line of family members who have faithfully answered the call to give back to their local communities. After much consideration and soul searching, as well as receiving input from friends, neighbors and the Divine, the decision was made.

Since graduating from Cornerstone University (MI) in 1997, where she obtained her teaching degree, Rachel has been a professional educator at Brookfield Academy for 21 years and has been promoted to Department Chair. In her professional career, Mixon made her mark by demanding excellence from herself, her students, and those around her. In her six years on the Council of the largest population center in the district, Mixon has gotten to know how local government works. She was instrumental in planning the current police building without having to raise taxes. Mixon hopes to take her council experience to Madison.

Rachel Mixon will always make herself accessible to those in the District and plans to visit as many Village and Town meetings as possible before the primary so that she can meet those whom she would be serving, and more importantly, learn of their concerns and needs.

In addition to focusing on Education and Education Reform issue solutions, as a Representative, Mixon will work with the districts’ farming communities! Rachel has lived in the district for over 14 years with her supportive family which includes her husband, Dave and son, Luke, 17.  She will work tirelessly to ease the farm family’s transition from one generation to the next. “Farm families should not be burdened by excessive taxes when transferring farm ownership. The family farm has been and will always be the backbone of this country. I have great respect for farmers who are willing to sacrifice their time, talents, and long hours working the soil in order to feed their families as opposed to those of us who have chosen a much easier and lucrative career.”

The primary election is AUGUST 14, 2018!

Warren Defends Her “Truth”


Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., argued that her family’s claim to Native American ancestry is an indelible part of who she is — something that can never be taken away.

Warren defended herself on NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd” Sunday morning when asked what she thought about taking an easily accessible DNA test, such as those offered by 23andMe or Ancestry, to settle the ongoing controversy over her heritage.

Rather than address that question specifically, Warren told a story about how her mother and father, born and raised in Oklahoma, met as teenagers and fell head-over-heels in love. Her father’s family was bitterly opposed to their relationship, she said, because her mother was part Native American, but the couple eloped and persevered.

“That’s the story that my brothers and I all learned from our Mom and our Dad, from our grandparents and all of our aunts and uncles. It’s a part of me, and nobody is going to take that part of me away — not ever,” Warren said.

After hearing this story, Todd returned to his initial concern: Why not do genealogical research or take a DNA test to find out her actual heritage? What’s wrong with knowing whether her family’s story was the truth?

“I do know. I know who I am. And never used it for anything, never got any benefit out of it anywhere,” she said.

This is pure liberal. She would rather defend her fictional family lore as “truth” instead of getting to the real truth. The story is more important to her than truth. Meanwhile, she is appropriating someone else’s heritage without shame or apology.

China Confirms Dictatorship

They move from pretend non-dictatorship to unabashed totalism.

China has approved the removal of term limits for its leader, in a move that effectively allows Xi Jinping to remain as president for life.

The constitutional changes were passed by China’s annual sitting of the National People’s Congress on Sunday.

The vote was widely regarded as a rubber-stamping exercise. Two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes.

Scores of Witnesses of Attempted Murder

We haven’t seen this kind of bold public murder attempt in the West in a while. It’s a statement.

More than 240 witnesses have been identified as police investigate the Russian ex-spy poisoning “at speed”, the home secretary has said.

Amber Rudd praised the professionalism of the police who are now looking at more than 200 pieces of evidence.

The investigation into the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is now in its sixth day.

Meanwhile, Det Sergeant Nick Bailey, who fell ill attending the pair, has denied he is a “hero”.

Mr Bailey remains seriously ill but is awake and engaging with his family.

Ms Rudd said both Col Skripal, 66, and his daughter, 33, who are being treated at Salisbury District Hospital, remain in a “critical but stable condition” after being exposed to a nerve agent.

West Bend Columnist Takes Shot at Local Business

There’s a lot of hate in this man.

The NRA is not the only outfit promoting the absolute, god-given right to own and use firearms wherever and whenever we want. We have our own local Delta Defense proudly flying the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag joining that chorus.

For those who missed the Delta Defense signs all over West Bend as it sponsors events and charities to purchase some aura of respectability, the company provides the base for a number of connected entities promoting armed concealed carry and self defense, trading on fear and based on the idea that we need to be ready at a moment’s notice to use deadly force against those who might do us harm.

Tim Schmidt and his wife, Tonnie, who was elected to the West Bend school board last year, founded Delta Defense in 2003. They first opened in Jackson. Then, they purchased the former Museum of Wisconsin Art building across from the West Bend Library, bailing out the museum’s construction loan with a grant from local economic development funds. Next, they got more help from the city to build their new headquarters on the hill behind Boston Store. West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow, a proud “Three Percenter,” Second Amendment absolutist and staunch supporter helped engineer city support.

I’ll go on record in saying that Delta Defense has been a fantastic addition to West Bend and is a marvelous corporate citizen. They have expanded, provided jobs, and as Finke so disdainfully admits, has been a tireless contributor to dozens of local charities and community organizations. Delta Defense is the kind of company that people say they want a company to be.

I would also add that Finke is one of the local driving forces behind organizing the anti-gun protest that the students will be having next week. The same protest that the local school district decided to facilitate.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Thanks to Roger Kist for being a great community leader

There are few communities as lucky as Washington County to have a plethora of people dedicated to helping make it a better place. One of the notable community leaders is Roger Kist.

Kist, 81, was a young pup when he moved to Ridge Run Park in November 1967. Originally hired as caretaker of the park, Kist said it “reminded me a lot of when I worked on the farm.” A supervisor at the park, Kist sported a handlebar mustache and eventually became a fixture known as Ranger Roger.

Aside from the parks and Washington County Tourism, Kist has been a familiar face in politics on both the West Bend common council and as a supervisor, elected in April of 2016, to the Washington County Board.

“When I was on the council and I was also chairman of the local Republican Party,” said Kist. “I remember Mike Schlotfeldt was elected alderman and he chaired the Democratic Party. When he sat down he looked over at me like the devil had just shown up.”

Kist took his time and built a relationship with the representative from Dist. 6. “When Mike decided not to run again we had a little party and he said to me, ‘Roger you’re the only friend I’ve got.’”

Over the years Kist has made quite a few friends and below are some comments from friends and coworkers about the impact he’s made in this county and the community.

West Bend Police Chief Ken Meuler: I met Roger before he ever ran for alderperson as he has always been actively involved in the community. He donates his time to a number of community events, and supports almost every community function. Anyone out in the community will see him at Music on Main, Farmer’s Market, church festivals, parades, and numerous fundraisers in the community. During his time as an alderperson he has not been someone that pounds his fists or grandstands, but he always speaks up on issues that are important to him and his constituents. He has called me on a number of police issues to get a better understanding of our policies and practices. He has been a strong supporter of the police throughout his tenure as alderperson. I have always enjoyed working with Roger as an alderperson and appreciate all he has done for the community. More important, I value his friendship.

Washington County Supervisor Marilyn Merten: “Roger has always been a considerate and caring individual and he’s willing to do a good job at whatever he did.” Merten was county clerk and worked with Kist when he was at the Washington County Planning and Parks Department. “I’d contact Roger to help make the grounds look nice at the county building. Roger would always take care of it.”

Leah Baughman at Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County: “Roger Kist is very active and in touch with the West Bend community and knows what is needed to help support its citizens. When asked if he would like to be a part of the Interfaith/RSVP Advisory Council Roger very graciously accepted right away. Even though this venture has just begun he has been an important member that has contributed many great ideas and support.”

Todd Tennies remembered Kist when he worked and lived at Ridge Run Park.  “As a little boy I can remember going to Ridge Run Park and riding bikes past the log cabin as we headed to our favorite fishing spot. Roger would always stop and say ‘Hi’ and ask us how the fishing was. He was always friendly and willing to talk to us kids. After his retirement from the county he settled in and served the community through his involvement in city government. He did a great job and always had an interest in what was best for the community. His interest in our county also carried over into the Tourism Committee for Washington County. He did an extraordinary job promoting the Washington County Fair Park as well as all of our wonderful parks we have in this county.  Great job Roger.”

Dist. 5 alderman Rich Kasten said Kist is somebody he really admires. “The things he’s accomplished at the county and city and he can still walk down the street and people know him from Ridge Run Park. I wish I could be more like him with his ability to relate to people and between him and his wife the way they’re prepared for every meeting. I’m very lucky I’ve been able to spend time on the council with him.”

Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said serving the community is in Roger’s blood. “Whether it’s an elected position, or in his career or during his time off he’s always been committed to service and giving back to the community.

West Bend City Administrator Jay Shambeau said Kist’s name is relatively synonymous with park land and this community.  “To promote the development, use and preserving of parks and the fact he has not wavered in his opinion is really a tribute to him. He’s everywhere. He’s the longstanding West Bend member of the Mid-Moraine Municipal Association and he attends league conferences and the Alliance meetings.”

Former West Bend city clerk Amy Reuteman spent 15 years at City Hall and noted, “Roger Kist has been there forever. And he’s early; you can always count on Roger to be early.”

Thank you Roger Kist for your dedication and service to help make West Bend and Washington County a great community.

Plans scrapped to raze old West Bend Brewery building

City officials in West Bend have confirmed development plans have fallen through regarding razing the old West Bend Brewery on N. Main Street and building a 90-unit apartment complex.

City administrator Jay Shambeau said Robert Bach from P2 Development Company, LLC is no longer pursuing the development.

Since November 2017 Bach was moving forward with a proposed multi-family residential development which would have leveled the brewery building from Franklin Street and Main to the north and include retailers RT Speed Shop, Casa Guadalupe, Pruett’s Floor Covering, Ray’s Shoes, and Fuge Plumbing.

“Everything was progressing in a positive manner,” according to Shambeau. “And then just like that he (Bach) informed Chris Schmidt, the building owner, he was no longer interested.”

The project made an initial pass before the West Bend Plan Commission last November 2017 and a site survey was underway.

“We’re disappointed the development is not going forward but we’re hopeful that this idea has paved the way for someone else to take the ball and complete a project,” Shambeau said.

The old brewery building is owned by Chris Schmidt and Clifton Davis. Schmidt said, “I can’t speak for P2 Development, but I can tell you we are continuing to work with the City and discussing development options with a few different people.  There are a lot of good things happening in West Bend, and we believe the property can be improved and be a positive catalyst for the west side of the river, north of Washington Street.  I thought P2 Development’s plans would have been successful, but we are currently looking into various uses, in addition to a residential component.”

Building tenant, Ray Carlson owner of Ray’s Shoes, 459 N. Main Street, was pleased to hear the news. Carlson has run his cobbler shop out of the old brewery office building for nearly 20 years.

When the story about razing the brewery first broke in November neighbors were disappointed and heart sick at the loss of another piece of history in West Bend.

Shirley McDaniel Schwartz – My heart high has no skin or money in the game says “ no, no, no.” My brain, as simple as it is, sees the problems and the money needed to take an old building and make it doable in today’s codes. I hope whatever is done is tasteful for downtown and the history it holds and not the ultra modern, industrial look that says nothing to the history of downtown West Bend.

Russ Lange – There surely can be something that could go into the building to preserve it and not another multi-family building.

Richard Frank – Is the WB Company Apartments 100% occupied that more are needed? Sad to see bits and pieces of Historic West Bend removed bit by bit.

Adam Bunkelman West Bend can find more ways to destroy the history than saving it. Why can’t it be rehabbed in its current state? Leave the structure and history. They did it with the Enger Kress building and Amity building. Maybe think outside the box. It can’t be cheap to tear it down!!

Chris Weston That is sad that so much of West Bend’s history has become irrelevant.

Calls have been placed to Bach and building owner Chris Schmidt. Their comments will be posted when information becomes available.

Shambeau said the city is still moving forward with plans to vacate Franklin Street. That item will go before the council during its next meeting in March.

Former Barton State Bank and Barton TV sold

The building formerly home to Barton State Bank, Barton TV and currently Woodland Iron & Firearms, 1715 Barton Avenue in West Bend, has been sold. According to real estate records at City Hall the property sold Feb. 21, 2018 for $91,200.

Joseph and Mary Eisen of West Bend bought the parcel from Roger and Barbara Landvatter.

The 2017 assessed value was $77,000. The Landvatters purchased the property from the VFW in July 1983 for $22,000.

Records show an addition was put in the back in 1985.  The commercial lot is identified as “Old Bank Bld (building) – T.V. Showroom and Store.  An added note: Women’s toilet room – plumbing disconnected.

The Eisens are owners of Eisen Arms LLC, 409 Main Street, in Kewaskum. The store carries handguns, rifles, shotguns, and ladies lines of concealed-carry purses and Glock clothing.

The Eisens opened in Kewaskum in October 2016. “Barton will be our second location,” said Mary Eisen. “We were welcomed with open arms in Kewaskum and we’re just going to see if both stores will work out.”

The Eisens happened to be looking for a property. They said they made an offer on the Barton location because it basically “fell into our lap.”

“We’ll have the stores running simultaneously, but we’ll make the Barton location the hub,” she said.

The timeline includes an update on the Kewaskum store and, with a tenant in the Barton building, that opening will be this summer possibly in June. “We liked the Barton location because it’s closer to home, the property is larger and we’ll have more retail space and more space for classes,” Mary Eisen said.

On a history note: The building at 1715 Barton Avenue was built in 1915. According to the book A History the Village of Barton by Richard H. Driessel the bank “was a substantial brick building with a fireproof vault and a burglar alarm system.”

Also written by Richard H. Driessel: The stock market collapse of 1929 is well-remembered. Locally a rather large manufacturing plant, the Barton Axle Company, at first created much optimism and employment but did not survive.

Several housing developments, ambitious for the size of the village no doubt for the hurt the local economy. In 1930 the bank was strain to the point where it closed its doors and eventually declared bankruptcy, which was the fate of so many others soon afterward.

The assets and liabilities were assumed by a bank in West Bend and eventually the depositors recovered almost all of their funds, although several years elapsed.

At our time in history it’s hard to understand why a bank would fail during that so-called period of prosperity. The fact is that the prosperity was not on a solid foundation and they were basic flaws in the post-war economy.

To put the Barton State Bank situation in proper perspective it’s only fair to point out that between 1921 and 1928 the number of banks in the United States which close their doors was 5,214.

The bank was vacant for several years but later was used for other purposes. It was purchased by Joseph Kirsch in 1932 and used as a harness shop.  In 1941 Louis Kritz had as a tailoring and dry cleaning establishment.

In 1945 Baltus Rolfs bought it and started the Ivo Chapstick Company which manufactured a lip balm and applicators. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Adrian Neubauer Post 8658 but the building from Lip Ivo Inc. in 1954 to use it as their clubhouse. Later it was used as a commercial building.

Upgrades in store for the former Sears building

The old Sears building in downtown West Bend is going to get a face lift. This week the West Bend Plan Commission reviewed a site plan for exterior architectural building alterations the incoming Pearl of Canton restaurant, 102 S. Main Street and 515 Hickory Street.  The property is zoned B-2 Central Business District.

Architectural Building Elevations:

o       The north elevation of the building will be updated with an “Antique White” colored EFIS treatment that will be constructed over the main door entrance Hickory Street.  The Existing brick will be also repainted “Antique White”.

o       All of the existing windows have been or will be replaced during the renovations.

As a part of the improvements, a wall sign is proposed on the east and north sides of the building above the entrances.  The exact size of the sign is not shown and will have to conform to the zoning code size requirements.  Staff has no concerns with the sign location.

Gift of Giving fundraiser for Bo’s Heavenly Clubhouse

The Gift of Giving fundraiser is April 7 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at King Pin Bowl and Ale House, 1022 S. Main Street in West Bend. Bo’s Heavenly Clubhouse is a nonprofit charity organization that was formed when Amanda Hartwig’s family experienced the loss of their 10-month-old son, Bo. “We had nowhere to turn for grief support and aid for mental anguish,” she said.

West Bend School District notifies parents of student walkout

The West Bend School District sent a note to parents today notifying them about a potential student walkout next week.

According to School Board member Joel Ongert, “This is a national thing and we have not heard much chatter about it in our district with our middle or high school kids,” he said.

The letter was initiated by Laura Jackson Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning/ Lead District Administrator. “Laura felt we need to let parents know we are aware of this and here are our expectations of students,” Ongert said.

The district reportedly took its cue on the walkout from social media. “We’ve been in touch with West Bend P.D. to make sure kids are safe,” said Ongert.

When questioned who is in charge in the West Bend School District, Ongert said Laura Jackson is in charge.

“Laura has been asking principals, homeroom teachers and to see if kids are talking about this and if they want to participate and we want to be prepared,” he said. “If there’s a national campaign for a walkout we want to make sure if our kids participate they’re going to be safe.”

Questioned whether students are safer during the day in school or out of school Ongert said “in school, absolutely.”

Questioned whether this will disrupt education that day, Ongert said “we certainly hope it won’t disrupt.”

In Slinger Superintendent Daren Sievers said they too have heard about the day to bring national attention to school safety and the concerns following the school shooting in Florida.

“What we’re doing is we’re trying to channel the kids to do something positive,” he said.

At 10 a.m. on March 14 students in the Slinger School District will be participating in a school-wide moment of silence for 17 seconds.

“Mr. Ourada will go on the P.A. and announce the 17 students lost in the Florida shooting and then at lunch we’ll have banners where the kids can come write down a pledge in support of eliminating school violence,” said Sievers.

A couple of students at Slinger High School will also release 17 balloons following the moment of silence.

Note from West Bend School District: Administrators and teachers at West Bend Joint School District #1, West Bend East High School, West Bend West High School, and Badger Middle School are aware of the potential peaceful school walkout on March 14 at 10 a.m. by students to show their concerns about school safety.

The West Bend School District will not penalize students who choose to assemble peacefully for 17 minutes on March 14. After talking with students and staff, the school principals have developed plans to maintain the safety of the participating and non-participating students and to minimize interference with educational programming.

Those students who wish to participate in the walkout will be monitored and supervised by school staff to ensure that any walkout is safe and orderly. The West Bend Police Department will also help to ensure the safety of students to assemble in pre-designated areas.

Students who choose to participate will be expected to return to class in a timely manner and resume the school day. Students who fail to return to class will be considered truant in violation of school rules. For students who choose not to participate, school administrators and teachers are planning for classroom instruction to continue.

No media will be allowed on school grounds during this event to help maintain the safety of all involved.

Mike Christian is the new Dist. 2 alderman in West Bend

There’s a new District 2 alderman in West Bend. During Monday night’s meeting the Common Council reviewed two applications to fill the seat left vacant following the resignation of former alderman Steve Hutchins.

Two applicants submitted resumes by the Feb. 26 deadline including Mike Christian and Sonja Hanrahan. The pair made brief 3-minute presentations before the council and then Dist. 7 alderman Adam Williquette made the motion to select Christian.

“What I really like about Mike is that he’s been involved in the community with various boards and organizations and then he ran for city council,” said Williquette. “He’s going to be a good fit and he’s been following from the sidelines.”

Christian was then sworn into office by city clerk Stephanie Justman. “I feel like a lot of what I have done over the past years has led me to this point,” said Christian. “This is the next natural step for me and my dedication to the city of West Bend.”

Two UW-WC basketball players selected All Conference

Meghan MacFarlane and Marissa Kaul have been named to the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference 2nd team All-Conference team. MacFarlane averaged 12.3 points per game and made at least one 3-point shot in 10 straight games. She shot 48% from the field and 48% from behind the arc. MacFarlane led the team in blocked shots with 1.2 blocks per game, and she was tied for first on the team with 1.8 steals per game.

Kaul, the captain of the Wildcats, was voted All-Conference because of her all-around play.  She averaged 9.5 points per game and grabbed a team high 8.3 rebounds per game.  She also shot 51% from the field and 80% from the free throw line. Kaul was also tough on defense as she consistently guarded the opposing teams’ best player and often was undersized.  Kaul led the team with 33.1 minutes per game, and played in every single game this season.

Updates & tidbits

Dundee’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is tomorrow, Sunday, March 11.

-Former Washington County Clerk Arthur Degnitz has died. Degnitz was County Clerk from 1985 to 1994. He died Wednesday, March 7. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at the Myrhum Patten Miller & Kietzer Funeral Home in West Bend.

– March is Youth Art Month and the West Bend School District has its Mile of Art on display in downtown West Bend. This is the 16th year for the exhibit, according to Decorah Elementary School art teacher Mickiah Wolff. “This will be an exciting way to display the students’ work in a more public atmosphere,” said Wolff.

 – The earliest anyone in Washington County will be able to vote absentee for the upcoming general election is March 19. Election Day is Tuesday, April 3.

– The city of West Bend will spend $10,650 with a Brookfield firm to do a traffic count and signal-timing project on a stretch of Paradise Drive that runs from Seventh Avenue to 18th Avenue.

– The Washington County Fair Park will be celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day with an indoor concert featuring Irish and Scottish folk tunes and classic pub songs from bands Tallymoore and Ceol Carde. Headlining the event will be U2 Zoo.

– United Way of Washington County announced the approval of new board officers for the 2018-2019 term. Pete Rettler, dean of Moraine Park Technical College’s West Bend campus, has been selected board president. “Serving as Chair of the Community Impact Committee the last few years allowed me to learn about some incredible programs being provided in Washington County,” Rettler said. “It also showed me how our United Way dollars are tied directly to measurable outcomes that positively impact our communities. I am very humbled to lead a very influential group of community leaders and looking forward to working with Kristin and her team.” The other board officers are: vice president Josh Schoemann, Washington County; treasurer Tom Hopp, Commerce State Bank; and secretary Cory Neuy of Regal Ware.

– A nice sendoff Friday for Judy Steinert, 63, who has worked for Washington County the past 35 years. “I started in the old courthouse in Social Service and that was my first job for about eight years,” said Steinert. “Then I went to Planning and Parks Department for two years and then I worked in Economic Development with Marcia Theusch for eight years and then when they created administration I was here.”

Gordon Ellis was Steinert’s first boss and after that she worked for Doug Johnson and eventually Josh Schoemann.

Jamie Ludovic was one of several dozen county workers who came to show their appreciation for Steinert. “There’s nothing more important than the people who work for the county and who are committed and dedicated,” she said. “The most important thing we can do is recognize that.”

Steinert said in retirement she will spend more time camping and more time with her grandchildren. “Yes, I do have my Washington County Parks sticker,” she said.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs


The US economy added 313,000 jobs in February. That was much stronger than economists expected and the biggest gain since July 2016, according to Labor Department figures published Friday.

“The headline number is pretty outstanding,” says Cathy Barrera, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, a job recruitment site.

The unemployment rate stayed at 4.1%, the lowest in 17 years.

Wages grew 2.6% compared with a year earlier, a few notches below the pace in January. That delighted investors: The Dow opened up 150 points.

Progress in North Korea?


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited Donald Trump to meet him, an invitation the US leader has said he will accept.

The shock announcement was made by senior South Korean officials in Washington, who passed on a letter from the North Korean leader.

They said Mr Kim had also agreed to halt nuclear and missile tests and was “committed to denuclearisation”.

It appears to be a major breakthrough after months of threats and violence.

The South Korean delegation had held unprecedented talks with Mr Kim in Pyongyang earlier this week, part of a diplomatic thaw following the Winter Olympics in South Korea, then travelled to the US to pass on their message.

Mr Trump, who has previously said there is no point in talking to North Korea, said the development was “great progress”.

But he said sanctions will remain in place until a firm agreement is reached.

The problem with North Korea is that they are liar liars who lie. The emphasis must be on “verify.”

West Bend School District Facilitates Protest

This is stupid.

West Bend School District has released the following statement:

“Administrators and teachers at West Bend Joint School District #1, West Bend East High School, West Bend West High School, and Badger Middle School are aware of the potential peaceful school walkout on March 14 at 10:00 a.m. by students to show their concerns about school safety.

“The West Bend School District will not penalize students who choose to assemble peacefully for 17 minutes on March 14. After talking with students and staff, the school principals have developed plans to maintain the safety of the participating and non-participating students and to minimize interference with educational programming.

“Those students who wish to participate in the walkout will be monitored and supervised by school staff to ensure that any walkout is safe and orderly. The West Bend Police Department will also help to ensure the safety of students to assemble in predesignated areas.

“Students who choose to participate will be expected to return to class in a timely manner and resume the school day. Students who fail to return to class will be considered truant in violation of school rules. For students who choose not to participate, school administrators and teachers are planning for classroom instruction to continue.”

School is for school. The kids are there to get an education. Of the 168 hours in a week, the kids spend less than 40 in the classroom. They can protest on their own time.

The real problem is that now the school district has inserted itself into being an arbiter of political issues. Would they do this for a Black Lives Matter protest? Anti-abortion protest? Pro-2nd Amendment protest? Pro-illegal immigration protest? $15 minimum wage protest? Which ones does the school staff supervise and which ones do they prohibit?

What they should have done is reiterate to the kids the importance of education and enforced their normal policies for tardiness or unexcused absences. If the kids want to protest, then so be it. Who ever said that protesting is free of consequences?

Sloppy management practices in UW System invite abuse

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. I tried my best to make a very boring topic more interesting. You be the judge as to whether or not I succeeded. Here you go:

Last year the University of WisconsinOshkosh Foundation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after several suspicious and inappropriate transactions were discovered between the foundation, the university and its chancellor. The fallout from that mess is still being litigated in court. In response, the state’s Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) conducted a study of the relationships between UW institutions and 90 affiliated organizations. The results are disturbing.

First, let us recall what happened at UWO because it serves as an example of how bad things can get. The UW-O Foundation was purportedly dedicated to helping the university. Like many university foundations, it served as a booster club to raise money to help the university pay for things that were not covered in the budget.

Over several years, it was discovered UW-Oshkosh was funneling university money through the foundation for projects like a biodigester and a hotel. Meanwhile, the foundation bought the university’s chancellor’s house for about $120,000 more than the appraised value right before he retired to Florida. Even though millions of taxpayer dollars were involved, much of this happened with almost no oversight and little paperwork.

In response to these revelations, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee asked the LAB to evaluate the relationships between all UW institutions and their affiliated organizations. The scope of the evaluation included almost all UW universities and colleges and 90 affiliated organizations from fiscal year 2007-2008 through fiscal year 2016-2017.

What the study found is a mess of poor accounting, weak oversight, sloppy management and comingling of public and private finances.

The LAB couldn’t track all the finances because not every affiliated organization had a unique identification number in its accounting system, thus rendering a full accounting impractical. But what the LAB could count showed that $257.9 million flowed from UW institutions to the affiliated organizations over the period of the study. Remember that the money is usually supposed to flow the other direction.

In one relatively small example, UWMadison received$3.5 million in 2015 for media rights related to certain athletic programs and then immediately sent that entire amount to the UW Foundation. UWMadison said an unspecified portion of the $3.5 million was intended for coaches who had assigned their share of the funds to the UW Foundation, but did not provide any detail or accounting. UW-Madison is apparently so awash with money that a mere $3.5 million does not warrant scrutiny by university officials.

The LAB evaluation also found that there is very little separation between affiliated organizations and the universities they support. The various foundations and affiliated organizations are private organizations while the UW institutions are public entities subject to public scrutiny and oversight. They are supposed to be separate.

The LAB report showed that UW employees worked as the executive directors of most foundations for the four-year universities. Even though nine of the foundations reimbursed the taxpayers for some or all of the salary and benefits for the 50 employees who also worked for the foundations, it is impossible to determine if all expenses were reimbursed because those employees did not track the amount of time they spent working for the foundations. Meanwhile, four of the affiliated organizations that were not primary fundraising foundations had UW employees as voting members of the boards of directors.

Until December, the UW Board of Regents did not have a written policy governing the relationships between UW institutions and their primary fundraising foundations. The regents finally established that policy, but still do not have a policy to govern the relationships with all of the other affiliated organizations.

The citizens, taxpayers, students and staff who support the UW System deserve better than this. The lack of oversight, shady accounting, comingled governing structures and incomplete record keeping is intolerable in a system where hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are at stake. Such poor management practices allow abuses like what happened at UW-Oshkosh.

The UW Board of Regents has been slow and incomplete in their response to this growing problem. The Wisconsin Legislature may need to step in and demand action on behalf of their constituents.

Paul Allen’s Crew Finds the USS Lexington


The Lexington was critically damaged. Despite the best effort of its crew, it was reduced to a burning wreck. It had to be scuttled.

Now, 76 years after it settled to the bottom, it’s been found.

It’s the latest find by billionaire Paul Allen.

And it’s in a remarkably well preserved condition.

Soon-to-be US ambassador to Australia, US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris says he is elated at the find.

“As the son of a survivor of the USS Lexington, I offer my congratulations to Paul Allen and the expedition crew of Research Vessel Petrel for locating the ‘Lady Lex’,” he said in a tweet.

Firearm-related Crimes Are Way Down

So let’s ban guns?

“Firearm-related homicides dropped from 18,253 homicides in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011,” according to a report by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, “and nonfatal firearm crimes dropped from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011.

There were seven gun homicides per 100,000 people in 1993, the Pew Research Center study says, which dropped to 3.6 gun deaths in 2010. The study relied in part on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49 percent lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew,” according to the Pew study. “The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75 percent lower in 2011 than in 1993.”

All of that is good news — but many Americans don’t seem to be aware of it. In a survey, the Pew Research Center found that only 12 percent of Americans believe the gun crime rate is lower today than it was in 1993; 56 percent believe it’s higher.

In an effort to explain that finding, the Pew researchers noted that while mass shootings are rare, they capture public interest and are often viewed as touchstone events that help define they year in which the crimes occur. As examples, they cite three shootings in the past two years, in Tucson, Ariz.; Aurora, Colo.; and in Newtown, Conn.

The U.S. gun crime rate peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Pew study says, ending years of growth in gun violence that began in the 1960s. But the rate of suicides committed using a firearm hasn’t fallen as fast, they add, noting that 6 out of every 10 gun deaths in America stems from suicide.

To me, the more important number is the number of fire-arm related assaults – not murders. Sometimes the difference between an assault and a murder is the quality and access to quality emergency care and/or the bad guy’s aim.

Illegal Alien Steals Identity for 37 Years


SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Mexican man who was deported twice and had a history of arrests was able to assume the identity of an American citizen and receive more than $360,000 in government benefits for nearly four decades, California court records show.

Andres Avelino Anduaga used a fake birth certificate starting in 1980 to develop a seemingly legitimate persona by applying for a California driver’s license, Social Security number and U.S. passport, according to documents obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune . The official U.S. documents identified him as Abraham Riojos, born in Texas in 1958.

Anduaga, who’s actually 66 years old and a resident of Tijuana, Mexico, pleaded guilty last week in San Diego to theft of public property and being a previously removed unauthorized immigrant in the U.S., the newspaper reported Saturday.

Learning a Trade

This looks like a great partnership between the city and the school district.

A new apprenticeship with the city’s Fleet Service Division is giving three high school students a chance to learn automotive skills on a wide of array of vehicles.

At the same time, the department is grooming potential employees for the shop at a time when a large number of workers are retiring and technology is changing rapidly.

“I thought it sounded like it would be a really great opportunity to diversify my skills,” said Nathaniel Imrie, a Memorial High School junior. “There’s a lot of things here you wouldn’t see anywhere else.”

Massive School Tax Increase Hits Taxpayers

This is what criminal mismanagement looks like.

The New Berlin woman was expecting a bump. After all, her school district — West Allis-West Milwaukee — had been mired in financial problems and had just secured $15.8 million in new loans from the state.

But a $530 increase? Up 18.4%? Just for her school taxes?

“People are livid,” said Neuroth, whose school district taxes have risen nearly 30% over the last decade, though her assessed value has fallen.


The 2018 tax increase is the latest fallout from West Allis-West Milwaukee’s financial meltdown in which it blew through $17.5 million in reserves over a decade to post a $2.1 million deficit in 2016.

Voters, many angry over what they saw as fiscal mismanagement, rejected the district’s bid for $12.5 million in extra operating revenue last year. After that, the district turned to the state, which approved $15.8 million in loans for energy efficiency and capital projects.

RELATED: Wisconsin schools raised $217M above tax caps for green projects

That was supposed to raise taxes this year by about $16 for every $100,000 of home value, or about $50 for a house like Deb Neuroth’s that is assessed at $318,700. But tax rates surged instead because of a confluence of factors, including, paradoxically, the district’s efforts to slash spending and live within its means.

The combination of declining enrollment and reduced spending caused it to lose almost $6 million in state aid, which it then had to recoup from local taxpayers.

West Allis residents also took a hit. Their taxes rose about 12%. But New Berlin residents’ surged 18.4% because of an equalization formula that spreads the burden among communities based on property values.

Dallet Fails to Recuse Herself Despite Campaign Promises


Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet has presided over at least one case involving attorneys from her husband’s law firm despite a self-imposed rule not to do so that she has touted during her campaign for Supreme Court.

Dallet this week also recused herself from three recent cases on her docket involving attorneys from the Husch Blackwell law firm after being asked about them by the Wisconsin State Journal. In the last seven years, Dallet has been assigned to six cases involving attorneys from the firm that were resolved with little or no action, or were transferred to Dallet after a decision in the case had been entered by another judge.

Wisconsin’s Code of Judicial Conduct does not preclude Dallet from presiding over cases involving her husband’s law firm, but Dallet has repeatedly said on the campaign trail she made a point not to do so to ensure the public’s trust in the court.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Chooses New Director


The commission of three Republicans and three Democrats voted unanimously to appoint Assistant Director Meagan Wolfe as interim director and put her on a path to be permanent director. The commission is to discuss the issue further in closed session, when issues like her salary will be determined.


Republican Commissioner Dean Knudson wanted to make Wolfe the temporary director while the commission conducted a national search for a permanent director, but the commission on a 1-5 vote rejected that idea. Knudson then joined the other commissioners in voting to pursue making Wolfe the permanent director.

It just seems like a missed opportunity to not actually put the job out there and see who else might be interested. The commissioners are just taking the easy “next person up” approach, which is lazy management.

Impact of Assault Weapon Ban of 1994

Makes sense.

So, did the previous “assault weapons” ban work?

It turns out that various independent studies came to the same conclusion: the ban had no measurable impact on the number of shootings or the number of shooting deaths while it was in effect.

A 2005 report from the National Research Council, for example, noted that “A recent evaluation of the short-term effects of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence outcomes.”

A 2004 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice found that while the ban appeared to have reduced the number of crimes committed with “assault weapons,” any benefits were “likely to have been outweighed by steady or rising use of non-banned semiautomatics.

As a result, the Justice study found “there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury.”

The main reason the failure of the ban to make a difference: “assault weapons” account for a tiny share of gun crimes — less than 6%. Even among mass shootings, most didn’t involve an “assault weapon” in the decade before the ban went into effect.