Milwaukee Public Schools Abdicates Responsibility for Education

It is well documented that MPS’ “effort” at distance learning was a catastrophic failure. MPS is not willing or capable of doing it effectively. So what they are really saying here is that they want to enjoy a very long summer until they feel like going back to work. Why are all of us paying for this district if they aren’t going to provide an adequate education? I expect choice schools will see a boom in enrollment, and rightfully so.

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Public Schools leaders on Monday, July 13 released the district’s reopening plan and a phased-in reopening recommendation for the start of the 2020-21 school year that will be presented to the Milwaukee Board of School Directors — with a special board meeting set for Thursday, July 16 at 5:30 p.m. to further discuss the plan and vote on it. The plan, which applies to both early start and traditional students, calls for a virtual start to the school year — with no students in school buildings. Movement between phases would be based on COVID-19 spread.

[…]

The three-phase recommendation will be voted on during Thursday’s special board meeting:

– Phase 1: Full Remote Learning
– Phase 2: Hybrid Learning
– Phase 3: Face-to-Face Learning

The movement from one phase to the next will be dependent on monitoring the spread of COVID-19 as well as health and safety guidance.

Government ponders response as cases rise

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I’ll get to the point:

The goal of our public policy was never to stop the virus completely, nor should it be. Such a goal is impossible and has the fetor of a hubris only a politician could entertain. Our government’s response should be to do exactly what this column said months ago. Our government should pool resources to respond to outbreaks, provide the latest recommendations, and provide the legal protection to allow Wisconsinites to continue to work. Other than that, our government should stay out of the way and let Wisconsinites manage their own lives.

 

Federal Deficit Soars

While all of you were distracted by riots and the virus, we are bankrupting our nation for the next six generations.

The federal deficit set a new record in June, hitting a whopping $864 billion as coronavirus relief funds rolled out of the Treasury.

The government data released Monday showed the annual deficit had risen to $2.7 trillion in the first three quarters of the fiscal year, nearly double the largest full-year deficit on record.

Congress has approved more $3 trillion in emergency aid and support and is considering another round of relief before the end of the month, when a slew of benefits are set to expire.

Milwaukee Requires Masks

Nuts to that.

MILWAUKEE — The full Milwaukee Common Council voted 15-0 Monday, July 13 to approve Milwaukee’s proposed mask mandate ordinance — passed by the Milwaukee Common Council’s Public Safety and Health Committee Thursday, July 9. It now heads to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s desk for his signature.

Some major modifications were made to the proposal leading up to Thursday’s committee vote. More than 600 people submitted a comment to the Public Safety and Health Committee, and just 26 more people supported the proposal than opposed it, similar to what FOX6 News heard along Milwaukee’s lakefront Sunday, on the eve of the full council’s vote.

[…]

The MKE Cares ordinance can be viewed here and requires masks for everyone three and older when inside buildings open to the public, and outside when within six feet of someone who is not a family member or member of your household.

I’ll share my view on masks… generally speaking, masks are useful in preventing the spread of airborne diseases in some circumstances. If I was in a high risk group, or if I am around people in a high risk group, then I might wear a mask in conjunction with keeping my distance and practicing sanitary practices.

I absolutely oppose the government – any government – mandating that we wear masks. In the same vein, I oppose them requiring me to wash my hands, keep my distance, wipe my ass, brush my teeth, or most other things. All of those things are great ideas, but outside the realm of government authority. Government’s job is to protect my rights. It is my job to protect my health.

One thing that is shocking, or perhaps not, is that the vote was unanimous. Clearly the population is not unanimous on this, so what does say about their representation?

People Call for Shawano School Board to Resign After Joke

SMH.

The Shawano School Board is calling on a board member to resign after he posted what he said was “a joke” about the death of George Floyd.

Shawano School Board member Mart Grams wrote on Facebook on Saturday: “You know George Floyd is drug free for 2 months.”

[…]

Grams emailed Green Bay TV station WBAY a statement on Sunday, calling his Facebook post “A joke, period. Anyone can say it was insensitive, or poor taste, but, once the racist cards come out, the raw hatred, we have a very poorly trained generation who cannot deal with the slightest contradiction to what the (sic) are told.”

Crass? Yep. Racist? Nope. Who among you can claim that you have never told or laughed at a crass joke? Are we not allowed crude humor any more? The Outrage Mob has no sense of humor and they don’t want you to have one either.

BLM Astroturf in Wisconsin

All credit goes to commenter Mark for this one…

I wrote a post a couple of days ago about attending a BLM protest in Port Washington. In that post, I shared my observation that “most of the BLM organizers were young, white, and female.” It certainly didn’t seem like a local expression of outrage.

Mark pointed out in the comments that this was a group that had organized and the Washington County Daily News had a story on them. Here is that story:

WAUKESHA — A protest group called “Break the Silence in the Burbs” has scheduled protests into October in support of the Black Lives Matter movement throughout Washington County and southeastern Wisconsin. Organizer Brittany Vulich is inviting anyone that is interested in participating to request joining the group on Facebook, where more details on each of the protests will be posted and updated, including protest routes.

A request to join the Facebook group requires filling out answers to three questions.

The group has already organized three protests — in Grafton, Mequon, and, last Friday, in Menomonee Falls.

[…]

Upcoming protests include: Port Washington, July 10; Brookfield, July 17; Cedarburg, July 24; West Bend, July 31; Sheboygan, Aug. 7; Waukesha, Aug. 14; Lake Geneva, Aug. 21; Germantown, Aug. 28; New Berlin, Sept. 4; Fond du Lac, Sept. 11; Muskego, Sept. 18; Slinger/Hartford, Sept. 25; Wauwatosa, Oct. 2; Franklin, Oct. 9; Sussex, Oct. 16; Racine, Oct. 23; Fox Point, Oct. 30.

So it is clear that these protests in the burbs are being organized by this group. They are not organic to those communities. But who is organizing and why? Mark dug deeper regarding Ms. Vulich

According to her LinkedIn, she is a “field organizer” for “Organizing Together 2020”.  Also current experience as field organizer for “Emily Siegrest for Wisconsin State Assembly.”  Finance Director for “Jill for Justice for Wisconsin Supreme Court”. On the Board of “Environmental Caucus of Wisconsin Democrat Party”.

“Organizing for America 2020” booted up in January of this year.  Long before this BLM movement picked up the current momentum.

Looking at the video from the day, it looks like she is one of the two white girls leading the protest. It’s hard to tell with the mask. In any case, the whistle and bull horn are the tools of professional organizers.

So this particular BLM protest didn’t really have anything to do with black lives. It had everything to do with a well-funded effort by the Democrats to organize for the November election. Like usual, the Democrats are taking advantage of racial outrage to gain power for themselves. It’s an old playbook, but an effective one.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Fleet Farm to be razed this week

Contractors from Robinson Brothers Environmental will meet with City of West Bend officials on Monday, July 13 for a final walkthrough of the old Fleet Farm,1637 W. Washington Street, before demolition begins later this week.

The old Fleet Farm and the site of the former Tri-Par, 1613 W. Washington Street, were sold on May 8, 2020 to Kwik Trip Inc. Corp.

Records show Kwik Trip Inc. Corp. paid $3,100,000 for the former Fleet Farm site on the southeast corner of Highway 33 and 18th Avenue.  The parcel was last assessed in 2019 at $2,174,700.

The former Tri-Par parcel just to the east of the large former Fleet building sold for $190,000 to Kwik Trip Inc. Corp. That parcel was last assessed in 2019 at $250,000.

The old Fleet Farm closed Nov. 17, 2019 when the new Fleet opened at 3815 W. Washington Street.

Mike Robinson is vice president of Robinson Brothers Environmental. “The building will come down pretty quickly, in about two to three days, but the concrete below will take a bit more time,” he said.

The building is described as an open-span warehouse. According to Robinson the asbestos in the building was removed last week.

“Metal and concrete will be recycled,” Robinson said. “The gas station will also come down; another company will come in and take care of that.”

Robinson said they are set to start demolition this week. The area will be fenced off Wednesday, July 15 and then the building will come down.

The old Fleet Farm building was constructed in 1968.

Kwik Trip is not expected to start construction on its new store until 2021.

Washington Co. Exec asks Dept. of Revenue to request return of Stadium tax overpayment

It was 1996 when taxpayers in Washington County joined Milwaukee County, Ozaukee, Waukesha, and Racine counties in paying 0.1% sales tax to the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District.

The sales tax would help pay for the construction of Miller Park. That five-county sales tax was promised to end in 2019 or 2020.

This week the Associated Press reported:

“after 23 years, the five-county sales tax that paid for construction of Miller Park in Milwaukee will end March 31, 2020. Members of the board that oversees the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District decided unanimously Tuesday to end the tax. Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill last November to end the tax by Aug. 31. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the tax has collected about $605 million.”

One note however, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the “Wisconsin Department of Revenue overpaid the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District $4.3 million. The district executive director asked to return the money and the Department of Revenue told him not to.

Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann issued the following statement:

Last fall, the legislature finally ensured the baseball district would end this tax in 2020. Act 28 was intended to ensure the Department of Revenue could properly sunset the tax.

Washington County taxpayers have waited too long for this tax to sunset and now Madison bureaucrats cannot figure out how to end the tax. Mike Duckett and the park district board are trying to do the right thing by returning the money to the taxpayers.

If the Department of Revenue cannot figure out how to properly return the money, first thing next session, legislators should introduce a bill which would require the overpayment returned to the taxpayers of the five counties in the most efficient way possible.

In 2017 the Miller Park District put out a question-and-answer statement:

How much sales tax is collected each year? In 2016, the District received $30 million in sales tax revenues.

What does the Miller Park sales tax cost each resident of the five-county District each year? In 2016, it is estimated that each resident of the five counties, on average, contributed approximately $11.

Ozaukee County Fair cancelled

Officials with the Ozaukee County Fair have come out with an extended announcement canceling the 2020 fair.

A portion of the announcement reads:  “We will not be utilizing Firemen’s Park this year for any events, we will not have food vendors or any shows which the public can attend.

“The Fair Board met this week and decided to limit this year’s Fair to the judging of 4-H and Open Class exhibits and holding the traditional livestock and small animal auctions. Attendance will therefore be limited to those necessary events and will not be open to the public.”

The Ozaukee County Fair Board cited “recommendations from the health department” as its primary reason for canceling the 2020 fair. Vendors said they had been informed of the closure earlier this week.  The Ozaukee County Fair had been scheduled July 29 – August 2, 2020.

The full announcement from the Ozaukee County Fair Board is below.

Contrary to misinformation in the community and media, the Ozaukee County Fair Board has enjoyed a very collegial and productive relationship with the Washington and Ozaukee Health Department, Ozaukee County, the Cedarburg Fire Department and City of Cedarburg.

As we have stressed in prior announcements, we have been working closely with the health department for the past several months in monitoring the frequently changing situation as to what events could be held. To that end we relied on recommendations from the health department, including the Guidance for Fairs and Festivals that was released in mid-June, to formulate a safety plan that was shared with multiple organizations.

The planning and recommendations were influenced by positive trends in statistical information that led to changes in recommendations not only for fairs but restaurants and other businesses by the health department. Those positive statistics continued through most of June when the Fair Board was moving forward with its planning.

Unfortunately, the positive trends changed last week and have continued in a negative trend this week.

In keeping with the Fair Board’s stated intent to continue to monitor the situation and be responsive to changes in the situation, and as a result of close communications with the health department, the Fair Board met this week and decided to limit this year’s Fair to the judging of 4-H and Open Class exhibits and holding the traditional livestock and small animal auctions.

Attendance will therefore be limited to those necessary events and will not be open to the public. We will not be utilizing Firemen’s Park this year for any events, we will not have food vendors or any shows which the public can attend. It is with great frustration and regret that we will not be able to hold our traditional fair events, an event that we recognize would be of tremendous morale value to the Ozaukee County community, but prudence dictates otherwise

under the circumstances. While the nature of the Ozaukee County Fair allowed us greater flexibility and time in monitoring events in our planning process, the recent developments required this decision in fairness to our loyal vendors and the community in general.

Field of solar panels to be installed at Regal Ware in West Bend

Regal Ware, 1100 Schmidt Road, in West Bend will soon be home to a field of solar panels. The setup with We Energies is similar to the solar field just a couple blocks away on the corner of Creek Road and N. River Road.

Tyson Strankman from Sunvest Solar Inc. was on hand this week to answer questions as the West Bend Plan Commission reviewed putting solar panels on the grassy area to the east of the Regal Ware building and more panels on the roof of the building.

“It is about 6,186 solar modules,” said Strankman. “It is just a little smaller than the field on Creek Road.”

Half of the 40-inch x 60-inch panels will be installed on the ground and the other half on the roof of the Regal Ware building.

Strankman said the energy created will feed onto the grid and projections are it will generate enough to power 1,400 homes for a year.  “Since Regal Ware is the closest load it will physically go into their plant but they will have to buy it back,” he said. “Otherwise it is basically a power plant that’s feeding the grid.”

Regal Ware is leasing the equipment from We Energies, similar to the agreement Washington County has with its setup on Creek and River Road.

Strankman said there are currently no other plans on tap now for any other solar panel fields in Washington County.  The timeframe for construction is expected to be fall 2020.

Man who drowned on Big Cedar Lake identified

An autopsy is being conducted today on the 50-year-old Wausau man who, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, accidentally drowned Friday, July 3 on Big Cedar Lake.

According to WDEZ Radio in Wausau the man who drowned was Brett Lucht; he was Market Manager of Midwest Communications in Wausau.

According to the radio station web page:

Brett joined Midwest Communications in 1998. He became Market Manager for the company’s Central Wisconsin radio stations (WSAU, WRIG, WDEZ, WOZZ and WIFC) in 2004.

“For many of us, Brett is the only General Manager we’ve ever known,” said Chris Conley, Operations Manager. “Although you’d almost never hear him on-air, he shaped the sound of all five of our radio stations in Central Wisconsin. He either hired or approved the hiring of everyone you hear on-air. Brett was a great leader and a personal friend to so many of his co-workers. It is a devastating loss.”

Tom King said in his blog at wsau.com: “There are so many thoughts that swirl when someone you know passes suddenly. You think of potential unfulfilled. You think of what the person’s last thoughts were as the situation became reality. But mostly you think of the children. I didn’t know Brett that well outside of the office but I can say with some degree of certainty that his last thoughts were on his family. He doted on his wife and three daughters.”

Brett is survived by his wife, Stacy, and three daughters. His sister Lisa is a marketing consultant for Midwest Communications’ WIXX in Green Bay.

Below is the post from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

On July 3, 2020, at 7:58 pm, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a man who dove into Big Cedar Lake and had not surfaced.

Big Cedar Lake PRD boat patrol responded along with Sheriff’s Deputies, and Wisconsin State Patrol. Allenton Fire Dept. and West Bend Intercept were dispatched to the address in the 5700 block of West Lake Dr, in the Town of West Bend.

The 50-year-old Wausau man was brought out of the water and lifesaving efforts were attempted on scene.  Ultimately, the man did not recover, and was pronounced deceased.

The case remains under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Name released of Kewaskum woman, 68, killed in Ozaukee County

The Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the woman killed in a two-vehicle accident this week on State Highway 33 just east of Newburg was Jane Strobel of Kewaskum.

Strobel was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck head on around 11:49 a.m. Wednesday, July 8 just east of Singing Hill Road in the town of Saukville.

Authorities said the accident happened when Jane Strobel and her husband Michael, 67, were driving their SUV eastbound on Highway 33 when a westbound vehicle attempted to pass a semi in a no-passing zone.

The westbound vehicle was driven by a 34-year-old Milwaukee woman; she was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the SUV was also treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Jane Strobel was hospitalized and eventually died from her injuries on Thursday morning, July 9.

Strobel has strong ties to law enforcement in Washington County. She is the sister-in-law to James Schwartz who used to be the Chief of Police in West Bend. Schwartz retired in 2000 after spending 34 years with the West Bend PD. Schwartz’s brother Clarence Schwartz was Washington County Sheriff.

Jane and Mike graduated Kewaskum High School in 1970. Jane Strobel’s mother, Bonnie Theusch, of West Bend died recently at 101. The Ozaukee County Sheriff said the accident remains under investigation.

Slinger on Base U14 boys baseball team wins Field of Dreams tournament 

By Jenny Roemer

A hat tip to Slinger on Base U14 boys and coach Mark Leoni as the team won the “Field of Dreams” tournament in Iowa over the July 4 weekend.  The championship tournament was played on the actual field where the movie was filmed. Leoni has coached the boys since they were 10 years old.

 

 

Washington Co. Dist. 22 Supervisor resigns

There is an opening on the Washington County Board after Dist. 22 supervisor Rock Brandner resigned. Brandner served on the Washington County Board since April 2016. He was reelected in April 2020 and represented the Germantown and Richfield areas.

Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked closely with Rock on the Public Safety Committee. His years of dedicated service to our community has made Washington County a better place for all.”

Washington County is now looking for applications from District 22 to fill the unexpired Board term ending April of 2022.  Interested candidates must reside in District 22, attend County Board meetings including regular meetings held on the second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. and attend regular standing committee meetings.

The Washington County Board of Supervisors is vested with powers of local, legislative character to act upon matters of general government, public safety, transportation, health and human services, court services, land use, planning and the conservation of land resources as delegated to the counties of Wisconsin by State Legislature.

To apply:    Email applications to Don Kriefall, County Board Chairperson at don.kriefall@co.washington.wi.us Subject: District 22 Applicant – Last Name

Mail or drop off applications to P.O. Box 1986, 432 E. Washington Street, West Bend, WI 53095  Attn: Don Kriefall – District 22 Candidate

Applications may include a resume and statement of interest but at a minimum, must contain an address and brief biography.  The deadline for applications is Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at 4 p.m.

Memories of DQ in West Bend

Following the release of Saturday’s story about the possible return of Dairy Queen to West Bend the opportunity came about to share some of the personal memories of DQ.

One included a story about how CURLEY – the ice cream cone mascot at Dairy Queen fell over on Main Street and couldn’t get back up.

At the time the story ran – – we kept the identity of Curley secret – – but we will reveal that the gem making the best of the sweaty time in the cone was none other than Nancy Mehring.

Early reports read: Curly was outside the DQ on Main Street encouraging people to come to inside. Curly fell over and could not get up because of the cumbersome costume.

“It was really easy to fall….my top is bigger than my bottom,” bragged Curly.

The chicken-wire-mesh seam inside the plaster costume helped cushion Curly’s fall.  Cries for help were drowned out by a sudden increase in din as passing cars honked their horns.

“People mistook my flailing for waving and that damn Curly has a smile pasted on its face – so I guess everybody thought I was break dancing and having a gay old time,” said Curly.

D.j. Kleinke photo of curly

Karen MacFarlane – My first job at age 15 was at the DQ on Barton Hill- which has been gone for many years. Many fond Memories of making Dilly Bars-Peanut Buster Bars and those Delicious Chili Dogs. Many Thanks to Jerry and Nancy for Many Years of Hard Work-which brought Many families Fond Memories!

Bernie Nielsen  – Remember it well, great people and business.

Rita Schmitt  – With sincere appreciation and love, for all Nancy and Jerry have done for our community, and the families who have been employed with them, including ours. We thank them for their hard work, dedication, and friendship. God Bless you always…The Schmitt’s…

Jennifer Buchholz – I worked at DQ South for many years. Nancy and Jerry made everyone feel like a part of the DQ family. Thanks for the memories.

Janet Shirkey Sivula – I remember when there was only one Dairy Queen…at the base of Barton Hill. We used to walk there for dilly bars, hoping to get a “free dilly” stick. Thank You Nancy and Jerry for the memories and all your community support !!!

Samantha Danielson I remember the free dilly sticks. I grew up in Barton and I remember going there in the 80’s as a kid. Anyone remember the baseball helmet sundaes?

Ann Sippel Will greatly miss this place…as i still miss Mehrings Fishery downtown on the corner! :(

Joan Wichlacz Thank you to all the Dairy Queens for employing so many young people. Both of my sons worked there after school and on weekends along with many other area teenagers. I loved the bubble gum dilly bars and the buster bars!

Joy Kristine – I met my husband at DQ West in the early 90’s…Jerry and Nancy were always great to their employees. We had a “lock in” overnight at the West side DQ and they let us make/eat all the ice cream we wanted!

Terri Balistreri – I was about 9 or 10, and my parents took us for a ride on a summer day and we ate at DQ on Main. After dinner we went and got our dog Lucky! I will always think of DQ when I think of that special day!

Chelsea Swanson – For my 16th birthday my friends took me to that DQ and surprised me with a group of our out of town friends. We had blizzards before going out to a local concert. It’s one of my favorite memories, only a handful of my friends could drive at the time so it was amazing that they all came for my birthday :)  Oh to be 16 again!

Sarah Harrison – I remember walking there from St John’s school for a tour. And we got to make our own ice cream cones when we were done.

Therese Falter – My husband & I used to meet at this DQ for lunch once a week when we were dating.

Carolyn Rehm Inman – I rode my bike there often as a kid.

Dianne Laatsch Pesch – Such a treat to stop at the Dairy Queens when our kids were young!!

Dawn Weiss – Thank you to Mehrings for many great years. We really miss DQ in West Bend. Many fond memories of taking my family there and also taking my Girl Scout troops there when I was a Girl Scout leader.

United Way Of Washington County – The Mehrings have always been great supporters of United Way Of Washington County! We are grateful for all the years they hosted Blizzard Days for United Way.

Chris Burkart – I remember going in there with friends Steve and Carrie, dropping a few coins in the juke box, and rockin out to Elvis’ Teddy Bear and Jerry Lee Lewis’ Great Balls of Fire. Great memories!

Christy Gagan I can’t believe both of them are gone for good. DQ is my favorite ice cream place and I went there all the time. So sad when I found out they were closed. :(

Gloria Witt I decorated cakes there throughout college. I could make my own hours as long as the freezer was full, backups available, and orders filled! Best job ever! I seriously cried when I became a nurse and had to quit! lol

Gloria Witt – One day I came in for work in the back door… as I walked past the office a guy was in the safe in there…he saw I saw him and came and literally bowled me down and then ran out the back door!!!! I got up and ran to the manager and said, ” I think we were just robbed” the police came and I got to ride in a cop car and taken to the station and worked with a caricatures artist!!! I was like 18 years old….

Lost in the Mail

This is one of the many, many reasons that we must not rely on mail-in voting. It is a viable alternate method of voting for the incapacitated or infirm, but not for regular voting.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Hundreds of absentee ballots in Wisconsin’s April primary election never made it to voters or went uncounted because of postmark problems, the U.S. Postal Service has reported.

The Postal Service’s internal watchdog found hundreds of ballots went undelivered due to election officials atbtempting to send absentee ballots to voters at the last minute, inconsistent postmarking and one mail carrier erroneously delivering outgoing absentee ballots back to the election office, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

They Seem Nice

I think of all the images I captured today, this is my favorite. I have no idea what his sign means and she has blinded herself.

California to Release Violent Felons Because They Might Get Sick

This will not end well.

Prison officials have announced California will release up to 8,000 people from state prisons to curb the spread of Covid-19 throughout the institutions.

Officials on Friday announced three separate efforts, approved by the governor, Gavin Newsom, that they say will decrease the prison population by 8,ooo by the end of August. The measures mark the largest release efforts the state administration has taken since Covid-19 began to circulate among prison staff and incarcerated people.

The first initiative expands a previous effort to expedite the release of people with 180 or fewer days left on their sentences to include people serving time for serious felonies.

The second measure is an immediate review of cases of people with less than a year left to serve in eight prisons that have large populations at high risk of developing Covid-19 complications.

The state will also launch a one-time program under which those incarcerated in state prisons, including people serving time for violent felonies, will receive a credit shortening their sentences by three months. People with recent rule violations and those who are sentenced to death or life without parole are excluded from the program. Prison officials say the program will affect roughly 108,000 people, or about 95% of the state prison population. For 3,100 people, the credit will allow their release when the program begins on 1 August.

Court Reins In Governor’s Veto Power

Good.

A majority of justices could not agree on a rationale for why the three Evers vetoes were unconstitutional, finding generally that they created new law that the Legislature did not intend. The complex, 146-page ruling was limited to the four vetoes that were challenged and did not rein in the ability of future governors to make partial vetoes.

[…]
Two of the vetoes were overturned by the five-justice conservative majority, with two liberal justices dissenting. But a third veto that was overturned 4-3 saw conservative Chief Justice Pat Roggensack side with the two liberals on the losing side. And in upholding one Evers veto, three conservatives joined with two liberals in support.

BLM Protest in Port Washington

I found myself in Port Washington this evening to check out the scheduled BLM protest. Overall, it was a great display of Americans expressing themselves. It was peaceful and had some funny, some annoying, some touching, and some eye-rolling moments. There are a few pictures below, but here’s how it went down…

The BLM protest was scheduled from 6 PM to 9 PM. I was riding on my bike on the Interurban Trail and swung through downtown Port a little after 5 PM. There were several biker-looking guys getting American flags and a big banner out of their van. I asked about it and they said it was an All Lives Matter sign. They were planning to post somewhere along the route.

The plan for the BLM protest was to assemble at the Port Washington Veteran’s Memorial Park Bandshell at 6, then they would march through downtown for a while before returning to the Bandshell to wrap it up. When they started making speeches at about 6:20 (punctuality is clearly not a virtue to which they aspire), there were about 40 of them there. There were about 60 counter-protesters – some of whom were carrying firearms – assembled around. Some of the counter-protesters were standing close to the BLM folks and some were just standing back or sitting at picnic tables nearby. Additionally, there were several cars and motorcycles that kept driving by with American and/or Back the Blue flags flying.

Several of the BLM speakers then got up on stage and had their say. It was the normal stuff you would expect. Occasionally, some of the counter-protesters would shout out responses and the folks on stage jawed with them a bit. At one point, the counter-protesters broke out into the National Anthem. The BLM folks tried to shout them down by yelling “black lives matter” but gave up half way through.

After about 20 or 30 minutes of this, the BLM protesters set out on their march. They circled around the downtown a bit. Port Washington’s downtown is not very big. I sat and had an ice cream (caramel explosion in a waffle cone) and watched them go by a few times. Eventually they went back to the Bandshell. I walked over there and they were all kneeling, but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. There seemed to be a few more of them, but most of the counter-protesters were making their way to the local eating and drinking establishments. I went on my way home.

A couple of things stood out to me. First, most of the BLM organizers were young, white, and female. They seemed to be more professional agitators than local aggrieved people. Maybe not, but that was my impression. There was one politician in there who referred to her constituents, but I couldn’t tell who it was. Second, I was really impressed by the Port Washington police. They were polite and professional to everyone. They didn’t interfere with anyone having their say but were visible. They were chatting with people on all sides. Really good work.

It was refreshing to see Americans having a public discussion.

 

Experts Call to Reopen Schools

As usual, the greedy unions are taking advantage of the situation to push for more money.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said Thursday that the health risks of keeping schools closed are greater than those of opening them, amid a push by President Trump to have students in classrooms this fall.

“I’m of the point of view as a public health leader in this nation, that having the schools actually closed is a greater public health threat to the children than having the schools reopen,” Redfield told The Hill’s Steve Clemons.

[…]

“I think really people underestimate the public health consequences of having the schools closed on the kids,” Redfield said at an event hosted by The Hill and sponsored by the Biosimilars Forum. “I’m confident we can open these schools safely, work in partnership with the local jurisdictions.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics has also called for students to return to classrooms, citing the educational and social harms to children of being away from school for a prolonged period of time.

But education groups like the American Association of School Administrators and the American Federation of Teachers say much more funding is needed to safely reopen schools, and that districts are already facing severe budget shortfalls due to the economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus.

Thompson Pushes for Open Campuses

Excellent.

Thompson told reporters he is doing all he can to ensure that campuses are able to offer in-person instruction this fall, saying “we need” students in the classroom.

“I know a lot of students like me from small communities … really would like to come back to campus,” Thompson said. “I keep hearing from parents, I keep hearing from students, the importance of an in-person education.”

Thompson said he would detail his reopening plans at the Board of Regents meeting later Thursday.

Ozaukee County Cancels Fair

From the Washington County Insider.

A portion of the announcement reads:  “We will not be utilizing Firemen’s Park this year for any events, we will not have food vendors or any shows which the public can attend.

“The Fair Board met this week and decided to limit this year’s Fair to the judging of 4-H and Open Class exhibits and holding the traditional livestock and small animal auctions. Attendance will therefore be limited to those necessary events and will not be open to the public.”

The Ozaukee County Fair Board of Directors cited “recommendations from the health department” as its primary reason for canceling the 2020 fair.

Vendors said they had been informed of the closure earlier this week.

We are quickly learning which people are “can do” and which ones are “wont’t do.”

Court Upholds Law

I must say, AP reporter Scott Bauer has gotten worse and worse. He doesn’t even attempt to write an unbiased story. Check out the overtly loaded language. But as for the story itself, good.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Republican-authored lame-duck laws that stripped power from the incoming Democratic attorney general just before he took office in 2019.

The justices rejected arguments that the laws were unconstitutional, handing another win to Republicans who have scored multiple high-profile victories before the court in recent years.

The 5-2 ruling marks the second time that the court has upheld the lame-duck laws passed in December 2018, just weeks before Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats, took office. The actions in Wisconsin mirrored Republican moves after losing control of the governors’ offices in Michigan in November 2018 and in North Carolina in 2016. Democrats decried the tactics as brazen attempts to hold onto power after losing elections.

[…]

Thursday’s ruling involved a case filed by a coalition of labor unions led by the State Employees International Union. The coalition argued that the laws give the Legislature power over the attorney general’s office and that this violates the separation of powers doctrine in the state constitution.

The laws prohibit Evers from ordering Kaul to withdraw from lawsuits, let legislators intervene in lawsuits using their own attorneys rather than Kaul’s state Department of Justice lawyers, and force Kaul to get permission from the Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee before settling lawsuits.

Republicans designed the laws to prohibit Evers from pulling Wisconsin out of a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and to ensure that they have a say in court if Kaul chooses not to defend GOP-authored laws.

Washington County Reaffirms Oath

We’ll see how firm they are when the rubber hits the road, but it is good to see them on the right side of the Constitution.

WEST BEND — The Washington County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday unanimously approved 2020 Resolution 17 — Washington County Advocates the Constitutional Rights of its Citizens.

The resolution reaffirms the oath county supervisors took upon swearing in to uphold rights of Washington County residents under the U.S. Constitution.

According to the resolution, “We the People” affirms the U.S. government exists to serve the nation’s people and “We the People hold dear and sacred and challenge all those who would seek to infringe upon the rights of the people.”

[…]

“We want to make sure the oath you took on day one, that’s something you’re committed to despite what other government bodies try to do,” said Kelling. ”We are going to hold true to the Constitution. We are going to fight for it on every level at every opportunity. This is who we are. This is one of the most conservative counties in Wisconsin. Who would lead if not us?”

Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention

One wonders if they will be able to even fill this new agency with people. Who would want to work for it? Talk about a no win situation.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Members of the Minneapolis City Council are pledging a thoughtful approach to their proposal to dismantle the city’s police department following the killing of George Floyd.

Council members sought Wednesday to reassure the Minneapolis Charter Commission, with some commissioners expressing concerns that the council was rushing to push through the proposal so voters can decide it in the November election.

The proposal would eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new agency, the Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention. The commission needs to sign off on the question by Aug. 21 for it to be possible to make the November ballot.

Blue Flight

What a shame.

In the past week, the number of officers filing for retirement has more than quadrupled on this time last year, with the exodus reportedly causing such a backlog of applications that the department is struggling to meet the demand.

Many of the officers hanging up their badges have cited a ‘lack of respect’ from the public amid national protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, and a loss of overtime pay following Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $1 billion cut to the department as the reason, the NY Post reported.

The NYPD said Wednesday that 179 cops filed for unemployment between June 29 and July 6 – a staggering 411 percent increase on the 35 who retired during the same time period last year.

The apparent evacuation comes as an astonishing 503 cops have reportedly filed for retirement between May 25 – the day of Floyd’s police killing – and July 3, according to the department.

That figure represents a 75-percent increase on the 287 cops who retired from the force during the same time period in 2019.

According to the Post, a line of officers were spotted lined up outside of One Police Plaza on Tuesday, where retirement paper are filed and processed.

‘Apparently, the pension section is only taking a certain amount of people per day and I think they are backed up till late July, early August,’ one officer told the outlet. ‘That’s why you don’t see like 100 a day, because they are only doing like 35 to 40 a day, by appointment.’

Columbus Removes Columbus

I look forward to driving by Woke, Wisconsin, in the future.

MADISON – Leaders of a small Wisconsin city named after Christopher Columbus voted this week to remove a monument to its namesake, joining legions of government officials grappling with how to recognize American history while acknowledging its flaws.

The statue of Christopher Columbus has stood in a major thoroughfare at the intersection of two highways in Columbus — about 27 miles northeast of Madison — for three decades.

That’s changing after the Columbus Common Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to remove the statue from its prominent location and put it in storage until officials can find a new home for it.

The removal comes after a Columbus High School student, Abbi Adams, started a petition following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a white police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him.