Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Former Perkins Restaurant & Bakery for sale

The old Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, 2400 W. Washington Street, in West Bend is for sale.

Emmer Real Estate has the listing.

Perkins closed January 8, 2018. According to a story published on WashingtonCountyInsider.com on Jan. 12, 2018 franchise owner Pat Correll of CBT said corporate Perkins posted a remodel mandate that had to be completed by December 2018.

“That means franchisees like myself have to remodel all of our stores to their specifications by 2018 and that probably contributed to our decision at this time that it was not economically feasible at that location to move forward,” Correll said.

CBT leased the location since Rocky Rococo closed in late 1990. “I’ve been in there about 28 years as a Perkins,” Correll said. CBT has eight other Perkins locations in the Greater Milwaukee area. “Those locations will be in the process of remodeling however the West Bend location did not make the cut,” he said.

Emmer has the property listed at $995,000. The West Bend City Assessor said the 2017 assessed value is $1,011,000.

The property is described: For Lease / Sale Superior dine in or fast food restaurant, location on State Hwy 33, just West of US Hwy 45 in city of West Bend. All tables, equipment & fixtures included allowing for a quick start up for your new business. Large parking lot & signage on heavily traveled state highway 33. Easy ingress & egress w/controlled intersection & access boulevard thru Westwood association. Call for private showing & purchasing details.

On a history note: Perkins restaurant was built in 1990 and prior to that, according to the city assessor’s office, the location used to be home to Pizza Slices Inc., which did business as Rocky Rococo in May 1985. In June 1988 Pizza Slices Inc. sold to RAL West Bend Inc. and it sold again in 1991 to Julia E. Schloemer.

The property on W. Washington Street is currently owned by Mizpah Beach Properties LP out of San Diego, California. The property was purchased Aug. 1, 2006 for $1,807,024.

Jackson Police Chief retires

Jackson Police Chief Jed Dolnick has retired. Dolnick penned the note that follows: I’ve had the privilege of being Jackson’s Chief of Police since 2001. It’s now time for me to retire. Ryan Vossekuil, formerly Mayville’s police chief, will assume command on Monday, July 23.

I appreciate the support from the Village Board, Police & Fire Commission, and the residents of this fine community. Above all, I’m grateful for the professionalism and dedication of the officers and staff of the Jackson Police Department.

I’ve lost count of the number of times they’ve made me proud to be their chief.

Chief Dolnick

Groundbreaking at Bob’s Main Street Auto

An official groundbreaking this week as Keller Inc. started work to expand Bob’s Main Street Auto, 115 W. Decorah Road in West Bend. The plan includes approximately 3,300-square-foot building addition. Work should be finished by December 2018.

Keller, Planners, Architects, Builders, a Design/Build General Contractor, will build an addition and remodel current facilities for Bob’s Auto Main Street – Decorah Road under the direction of Keller Project Manager, Scott Lausten and Architect, Chris Manske.

Located at 115 W. Decorah Road in West Bend, construction will begin in June and is expected to be completed in December, 2018.

Parking update at West Bend Health Center and trolley details

Neighbors in West Bend want to know “what’s up with the trolley behind Kohl’s Department Store?” The simple answer is it’s part of the transportation plan for staff at the West Bend Health Center.

Earlier this week cyclone fencing was put up around the south end of the Health Center as contractors prepare to start work on the new facility at 1700 Paradise Drive.

With all the parking cordoned off there’s not enough space for staff and patients so staff is now parking behind Kohl’s and being shuttled back and forth to work.

Neighbors who visit the clinic are able to park on site. Signs direct patients to the north lot.

In October 2017 a story was posted on WashingtonCountyInsider.com about a new facility replacing the West Bend Health Center, 1700 W. Paradise Drive in West Bend.

The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin felt a new facility would “meet long-term community needs for health services.”

At the time Tim Olsen, manager of public relations at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, said “The new building will enable more efficiencies and better support care processes and technology that have developed since the West Bend Health Center was built in 1990. The current health center will remain open to serve patients while the construction work is underway.”

The existing facility will remain open and operational while the new health center is under construction on the southeast end of the West Bend Health Center campus.

The new building is slated to open in early 2020. The existing building will be removed after the new facility opens.

Opening day for Kwik Trip

A bit of greenery was added to the corner of Decorah and Main in West Bend on Tuesday as landscapers planted brush and trees to add some color to the new Kwik Trip. The gas station / convenience store, 806 S. Main Street, is slated to open August 2. This is the second Kwik Trip in West Bend. The first opened Oct. 27, 2016 at 1750 S. Silverbrook Drive. The ribbon cutting for the new store is Wednesday, Aug. 8.

Slinger teen works toward Eagle Scout badge

Alex Lange of Slinger is undertaking a rather massive project as he works to earn his Eagle Scout badge. Lange is remodeling the patio area of the VFW / Jim’s Place in Slinger.

“This is an extensive project,” said VFW Commander Jim Lorch.

Lange said to date he has “raised a little over $1,000 and started demolishing the old flower bed.” Stay tuned as Lange provides updates on his progress as the Slinger High School student works to earn his Eagle Scout badge.

Update on Riverwalk construction in West Bend

Expect to see quite a bit more movement on the east side redevelopment of the downtown West Bend Riverwalk in the coming weeks as contractors step up the project.

During a public meeting Wednesday morning, July 18 at West Bend City Hall, Mitchell Leisses with Kunkel Engineering fielded questions and walked through some of the work ahead.

A couple of the primary concerns focused on the removal of the south bridge which will affect deliveries to some downtown businesses. Parking on Veterans Avenue was also a concern as several spaces on the west side of Veterans Avenue will be lost with

-The focus of the update is on the east side of West Bend Riverwalk.

-The City did removals for the project in June including the brick pavers and some trees and shrubs. Contractors have started dredging underneath the bridge.

-Storm sewer included in project and that will then move to redi-rock wall.

-The south pedestrian bridge will be pulled Monday, July 23 and businesses that use that for deliveries have been notified.

-Modifications will be made to the bridge abutments and it will take about two months to get another bridge in place.

-Trying to replicate the bridge to the north but the south bridge will be on a smaller scale.

-New river wall, decorative plaza areas and new walkway will run parallel with Veterans Avenue.

-Decorative lighting and railings.

-Placement of tight sheeting and installation of redi-rock wall will last a couple months.

-Concrete walkway along Veterans Avenue will be in September.

-The roundabout on the south end of Veterans Avenue will remain open during construction.

-Bridge is being taken by Jahnke Construction.

-Project should almost be finished by mid to late October. Ask for public to be patient and this can be time consuming

-There won’t be a lot of street parking on Veterans Avenue and contractors hope people can park on the east side of the road especially when 20-foot sheets of piling are being moved in. The traffic will not affect the Museum of Wisconsin Art

-The old bridge, also known as ‘Kevin’s Bridge’ had steel that’s rotted and only pedestrian traffic and dollies were allowed to cross at this time. That bridge is being replaced.

-Parking spots on the west side of Veterans Avenue are being removed just south of the driveway for the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Waiting confirmation on how many spots are eliminated.

-All permits have been passed by the DNR. Ready to go.

-Construction should be finished in late October/early November.

Washington County Sheriffs are following up on a single-vehicle motorcycle accident that happened Sunday at 6:14 p.m. on County Highway D just west of I-41.

Motorcyclist found injured in ditch following high-speed accident

According to report from Washington County Sheriff: Motorcycle in the ditch on County Hwy D west of I-41 on Sunday, July 15. Caller does not see the operator. Caller states motorcycle passed at high rate of speed; no helmet. Operator of motorcycle located in field. Man bleeding from head, conscious and talking. Man advised he was not driving but actually walking along the roadway when he was struck by someone else driving his motorcycle. Mayville man, 47, was arrested for his sixth offense OWI. Authorities are not looking for anyone else involved in the accident.

 

85th annual Seidemann Family Reunion

There were sunny skies and warm temps for the 85th annual Seidemann Friedrich Family Reunion.

Friends and family celebrated their 165th year in the U.S.  There were over 320 people at this year’s reunion at the Seidemann Farm in Newburg. As always there were games and contests and food and family and more food and family.

Some of the contests included:

Oldest male – Floyd Cook at 95.

Oldest female – Edna Steinert at 92 and Edna also won with the most grandchildren at 45

Longest married couple – Frank and Bernice Janke Haupt at 62 years

Youngest child – Leo Bohlman at 7 weeks

The person who traveled the farthest was Naomi and April Halpern who came in from Alaska.

Some of the events included: Face painting, a silent auction, Bingo, kuchen/dessert judging.

Updates & tidbits

Have you ever wanted to drive a tractor?  The opportunity awaits at this year’s 25th Annual Wisconsin Antique Power Reunion. The event will be July 21 and 22 at the Ozaukee County Pioneer Village, 4880 County Rd I, Saukville, WI. Come out and drive.

– Rally Time Sports Bar and Grill in West Bend is looking for a part-time line cook position. Rally Time has a family-friendly team atmosphere. The position is primarily day shift and coverage as needed. Call Dan at 262-389-1142 or Cindy at 262-389-0839 or stop at the bar for an application.

-Relay for Life of West Bend will host its annual fundraiser Saturday, July 21 at Regner Park.

-Full time and part-time bartenders wanted at the V.F.W. Post 1393, 260 Sand Drive, West Bend. Call Jerry Faber for details 262-388-7006.

– Circle August 2 on the calendar for the 2018 “Not Just A Walk In The Park 5k” managed by Horicon Bank. A fun run/walk through Riverside Park in West Bend with proceeds going to West Bend High School scholarships.    

Sign up today for the 8th Annual Swinging for Seniors Golf Outing at West Bend Lakes Golf Club. All proceeds benefit Senior Citizens Activities, Inc. Stick around after golf and take part in the Classics for a Cause Raffle and a chance to win a 1968 Ford Mustang.

– Kettle Moraine Lutheran High secured $21,248 in grants through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Grant program, administered by DOJ’s Office of School Safety.  “The nearly $4 million grants being awarded to large and small schools across the state, incentivizes school officials and law enforcement to make meaningful improvements to Wisconsin school safety through physical improvements and a focus on mental health training for school faculty,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel.

Legendary Whitetails presents 9th annual DeerFest

The 9th Annual DeerFest, presented by Legendary Whitetails, will take place on August 3 – 5 in West Bend, WI. Located at the Washington County Fairgrounds, DeerFest is the Nation’s Largest All Deer Festival, and this year is shaping up to be even bigger than before.

“Since Legendary Whitetails moved to Washington County in 2009, we have dedicated ourselves to building a national apparel brand that Celebrates the Hunt every day of the year,” explained Greg Huffman, President of Legendary Whitetails.  “It was an easy decision to partner with DeerFest and continue building this outstanding regional event to celebrate the tradition of deer hunting in Wisconsin.”

To show their appreciation to the passionate deer hunting enthusiasts, Legendary Whitetails will be giving away a $12 Promo Card (to match the cost of admission) and a free Legendary® bag to the first 2,000 attendees through the gate each day of DeerFest.

With leading industry professionals and manufacturers, tons of attractions, and hunting celebrity appearances, DeerFest is the perfect event for the whole family. Learn from DeerFest exclusive expert seminars, test all the hot new bows, watch industry-leading celebrities and pros compete in daily pop-up archery tournaments, and so much more. This year’s list of special attendees includes The Hunting Public, Taylor Drury, The Holder Family of Raised Hunting, and former Wisconsin Badger and Green Bay Packer wideout, Jared Abbrederis.

One new addition to this year’s festivities will be the inaugural Hunter’s Runway presented by Legendary Whitetails. This special one-night only event, occurring on Saturday night following the conclusion of DeerFest, will treat attendees to a taste of the newest fall hunting apparel, gear, and products from companies like Legendary Whitetails, DSG Outerwear, and other notable outdoor brands. The event will include a BBQ-style catered dinner, drinks, sneak peeks, and celebrity appearances. Everyone in attendance will leave with a value-packed door prize.

Tickets to all events are on sale now. For more information, including a complete list of attractions, visit deerfestwi.com

Bush Doctor Murdered in Bicycle Drive By

Wha?

(CNN)A cardiologist who treated former President George H.W. Bush was killed Friday morning in a bicycle-to-bicycle drive-by shooting near Texas Medical Center in Houston, authorities said.

Dr. Mark Hausknecht and the shooter were both riding bikes on South Main Street, near Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, shortly before 9 a.m. local time, Executive Assistant Police Chief Troy Finner said at a news conference.
Hausknecht, 65, was biking north when he passed the shooter going in the other direction, Finner said. The shooter turned, fired two shots at Hausknecht and rode away on his bike, Finner said.
Hausknecht was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Finner said.

Peggy West to be Charged with Felony Election Fraud

Wow

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office is expected to charge former county supervisor Peggy West with felony election fraud.

Milwaukee Police investigated a complaint referred from the Milwaukee County Ethics Board regarding West’s nomination papers, police said late Thursday.

[…]

Ortiz-Velez had filed an election complaint against West in January, alleging that West had improperly collected a number of her ballot signatures. It’s unclear if that complaint is what led to the criminal charge.

If it is about the signatures, that would be a strong message. There’s been shady things going on with this for a long time, but nobody is every investigated and charged. Until now…

Mahlon Mitchell and the “N” Word

Heh.

Democrat Mahlon Mitchell denies he nearly used a racial slur while joking with brewery owners on a tour as part of his run for governor.

Mitchell, who is black and leads the statewide firefighters union, made the comment while visiting Hop & Barrel Brewing Co. in Hudson earlier this month. The videotaped visit appeared on Mitchell’s Facebook page and was noticed by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Daniel Bice.

“I thought I was saying head man in charge,” Mitchell said Wednesday during a sit-down interview with WISN 12 NEWS. ‘I do not use the word.”

In the July 6 exchange, Mitchell was chatting with owners Justin Terbeest and Brian Priefer when he asked if they had a competitor. Mitchell said, “You’re the cumma sum laude, I’d say. You’re the head …” and then stopped himself just as it appears he began to use the N-word.

He then laughed and wrapped up the video.

I don’t believe his denial for a second. Go watch the video. The exchange comes with about 9 seconds left in the video. It is perfectly clear what he was saying/not saying and the joke he was making. What is more telling is that he apparently thought that the joke was so innocuous that he published the video himself. This is part of a trend of Mitchell using crude and offensive humor in public settings. I do know that if Scott Walker, or any Republican for that matter, had even approached the language that Mitchell used, he would have been forced to resign by now.

Go Pack Go Act

It must be an election year. Senator Baldwin has shaken off her characteristic lethargy to address this terribly important issue with a mandate from the federal government on media providers. Because… you know… the fact that some Wisconsinites are inconvenienced when they try to watch the Packers requires a federal regulation /sarcasm.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today introduced the Go Pack Go Act to make sure all Wisconsinites, no matter where they live across the state, can watch Green Bay Packers game broadcasts.

Currently, Green Bay Packers fans in 13 Wisconsin counties are assigned to an out-of-state local TV market, in either Minnesota or Michigan, which means these Wisconsin households get Minnesota Vikings or Detroit Lions games, not Packers games, when those teams are playing at the same time.

“Every Packers fan across our state should be able to watch Packers games,” said Senator Baldwin. “My Go Pack Go Act would give Packers fans in every Wisconsin county the opportunity to watch Packers games and cheer on our beloved green and gold.”

[…]

Senator Baldwin’s Go Pack Go Act would require cable, satellite and other video providers to provide their Wisconsin subscribers with access to programming from the broadcast television stations in a Wisconsin media market.

Survey Says!

Back in June, I wrote:

The West Bend School District has sent out the survey asking about the appetite for a referendum. As explained when it was announced, this is the survey created by the propaganda group School Perceptions. You can see the whole survey here: school-referendum-survey-2018. As expected, it is more of a propaganda piece than a survey. Given that the survey is designed to elicit a specific, pro-referendum, response and I have almost no faith in the accurate tabulation of the results, I hesitate to even go through it.

As predicted, the survey returned the results that the School Board paid to get.

More than 2,800 community members and staff of the West Bend School District responded to the survey. Non-parent, non-staff community members were least supportive of a referendum, with 22 percent in favor of doing nothing for the aging Jackson Elementary and high schools.

I would note that there are about 40,000 residents of the district, so that’s about a 7% return rate. And the controls on submitting multiple surveys were pretty loose.

Among all taxpayers surveyed, which excludes some staff and parents, 50 percent of taxpayers supported a new elementary or a remodel. The town of Jackson supported a new building at a rate of 62 percent, and the village of Jackson supported a new school at a rate of 67 percent.

[…]

At the high school, the highest support was for increased safety and the lowest support was for a renovation of both the weight room and locker room.

The cost of building a new Jackson Elementary and doing every update for the high schools would be about $80 million. If all projects suggested by the survey were completed at the high school, that alone would cost more than $50 million.

I look forward to seeing the actual results with the detail behind it. All we have right now is a news story, which is just relaying what the district mouthpiece said.

Here comes your referendum, West Bend.

Illegal Immigration. Neat.

Here’s my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

In an effort to whip up emotions for the midterm elections and drive racial divisions in America, the Democrats have allied themselves with the radical open borders fringe groups to call for the abolition of the Immigration and Customer Enforcement agency. While such a movement has very serious implications, it resulted in a comical exposition of hypocrisy and rank opportunism for a Wisconsin politician.

ICE is a massive federal agency with two central charters. The first is to enforce the nation’s immigration laws in the interior of the country. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for enforcing the nation’s borders, but once immigrants, illegal or otherwise, are inside, it is the responsibility of ICE to identify, apprehend and deport people who are illegally residing in the United States.

The second mission for ICE is to investigate activities that occur as a result of people illegally moving people and goods across America’s borders. This includes human trafficking, terrorism, drug smuggling, gang activities, cybercrimes, child exploitation, money laundering, the theft of intellectual property and the like.

When the Democrats talk about abolishing ICE, they are not talking about replacing it with another agency. They are talking about abandoning the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws and just allowing anyone who makes it past the gauntlet of the border to just stay in America. Unable to muster the political power to change our immigration laws, some Democrats are seeking to negate the law by abolishing the agency tasked with enforcing that law.

When one considers how much ICE does for our nation, one realizes that abolishing the agency and abandoning its missions would unleash a wave of mayhem. According to ICE’s 2017 figures, the agency arrested 4,818 gang members including 796 from the evil MS-13 gang, rescued 904 children from exploitation, rescued 518 human trafficking victims, seized 6,967 pounds of heroin and 2,370 pounds of fentanyl, made 32,958 criminal arrests, and so much more.

When it comes to deportations, ICE, on orders from President Donald Trump, focused its resources heavily on deporting illegal aliens who had committed crimes. More than 89 percent of all illegal aliens deported by ICE in 2017 had either been convicted of a crime or had criminal charges pending. The largest percentage of crimes committed by deportees included drunk driving, drugs and assault. If ICE had not enforced our laws, all of those criminals would still be in America and if there is one thing we know about criminals, it is that they rarely stop committing crimes of their own accord.

All of this brings us to the hilarious theatrics of Wisconsin’s Congressman Mark Pocan. Hailing from the comfortably safe liberal District centered on Dane County, Pocan authored a bill to fulfill the fantasies of the radicals and abolish ICE. Under Pocan’s plan, the criminal functions of ICE would move to other agencies, but the enforcement of immigration laws would cease. Pocan apparently forgot he could write bills to change the immigration laws and instead opted for the anarchy of laws without an enforcement arm instead.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, from the neighboring Wisconsin Congressional District, obliged Congressman Pocan’s effort and announced he would bring Pocan’s bill to abolish ICE to the floor. Despite the fact that Pocan is a member of the minority party, Ryan and the Republican leadership decided to call the vote and let the chips fall where they may.

As a member of the minority party in the Congress, Congressman Pocan intended his bill to be political posturing to feed the anger of the radical Left for the election. He never actually intended for it to be voted upon. Stoking the fires of hatred before an election is far more important to Pocan than serious immigration reform. With his bluff called and his shameless charade on display for the world to see, Pocan immediately called “foul” and said that he would vote against his own bill.

When people complain about the divisive state of political discourse in our nation, it is politicians like Congressman Pocan who is responsible. Instead of using the office entrusted to him by his constituents to work for rational immigration reforms, he chose to author a bill that even he would not support for the purpose of fueling rage before an election. Wisconsin, and the dedicated public servants of ICE, deserve better.

NRA Endorses Leah Vukmir

This is big.

State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) picked up a key endorsement in her race for the U.S. Senate. Vukmir announced on the Jay Weber show on WISN-AM that she received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“I’m proud to announce today that I’m being endorsed by the National Rifle Association,” Vukmir told Weber. “I’m incredibly proud of this. It is a big deal. The NRA doesn’t always get involved in senate primaries but clearly they see a distinction between me and my primary opponent and today they are announcing they’re endorsing me in this race giving me an A+ rating for my work on the 2nd Amendment.”

Weber noted that it’s rare for the NRA to get involved in Republican primaries and asked Vukmir why she thinks she received the organization’s endorsement.

“They clearly see the distinction and I believe it’s because I have a proven track record,” Vukmir said. “They know my track record as standing up for the 2nd Amendment, standing up for the issues that matter to them. And people know they can count on me to take on the tough battles in D.C. because I’ve done it here in Wisconsin.”

In particular, in places outside of SE Wisconsin where Vukmir is lagging, this will carry a lot of weight.

Illegal Immigration. Neat.

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. You can find the entire thing by picking up a paper or buying an online subscription. Here’s a snippet.

When the Democrats talk about abolishing ICE, they are not talking about replacing it with another agency. They are talking about abandoning the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws and just allowing anyone who makes it past the gauntlet of the border to just stay in America. Unable to muster the political power to change our immigration laws, some Democrats are seeking to negate the law by abolishing the agency tasked with enforcing that law.

Trump Swings and Misses

This was not a good day for American foreign policy.

After face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote.

Mr Putin reiterated that Russia had never interfered in US affairs.

The two men held nearly two hours of closed-door talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday.

At a news conference after the summit, President Trump was asked if he believed his own intelligence agencies or the Russian president when it came to the allegations of meddling in the elections.

“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” he replied.

US intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia was behind an effort to tip the scale of the US election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media.

In a strongly-worded statement, US House Speaker Paul Ryan said Mr Trump “must appreciate that Russia is not our ally”.

Of course, we don’t know what was accomplished in private yet, but the public outcome of Trump’s meeting with Putin left a lot to be desired.

Democratic Candidates Support Drivers Licenses for Illegal Aliens

Of course they do.

The participants were former state Rep. Kelda Roys; Mahlon Mitchell, head of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin; political activist Mike McCabe and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout.

 […]

A question from Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant rights organization based in Milwaukee, asked if candidates would support a law that would allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s’ licenses “no matter what their status or income.” All four candidates said yes, and pointed to a larger need to support immigrants.

But they do not support the kids of those illegal aliens having access to better schools through School Choice. Democrats are big on keeping people staying in their assigned place in society.

 

Foxconn Will Only Benefit Southeast Wisconsin

Oh, wait

Foxconn Technology Group is buying a historic downtown Eau Claire building and space in the Haymarket Landing building as part of an expansion that will create 150 jobs.

The company announced it is expanding its Wisconn Valley Innovation Network to west-central Wisconsin as part of its initiative to spur innovation, attract talent and connect with supply chain partners, according to a statement. Foxconn plans to close on these properties later this year and open new operations in early 2019.

The new centers, to be named Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley, will create at least 150 high-tech jobs in Eau Claire. Employees will work with companies that will become part of Foxconn’s extensive supply chain and contribute to the development of the AI 8K+5G ecosystem that Foxconn is building in Wisconsin.

“We are excited to expand our Wisconn Valley footprint to the Chippewa Valley and west-central Wisconsin. Our goal in establishing Foxconn Place here is to help inspire innovative ideas, attract talent and catalyze cutting-edge solutions in this part of the state,” said Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives and President of FEWI Development Corporation. “Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley will play a key role in building a vibrant AI 8K+5G ecosystem in the U.S., with Wisconsin at the center of this vision.”

I will remind the gentle reader that every single Democrat running for governor has spoken against the Foxconn deal. I actually think that if one of them would break with the pack and champion Foxconn, they would stand a better chance of winning the general election, but it would kill them in the primary.

Deaths by Scorpions on Rise

In Brazil.

Specialists in Brazil have warned of the rising danger of deadly scorpions amid a spiraling number of reported deaths and stings by the hardy arachnids which are proliferating in the country’s urban centres.

The number of deaths from scorpion stings reported to the country’s public health system has more than doubled in the past four years, from 70 in 2013 to 184 in 2017, while cases of scorpion stings rose from 37,000 in 2007 to 126,000 last year.

Meanwhile, the death last week of a four-year old girl in São Paulo state has reinforced concerns that many small towns lack anti-venom to treat stings.

Feinstein Not Liberal Enough for Californian Dems

Who thought we would see the day that Feinstein would anchor the right wing of her party.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The California Democratic Party snubbed U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Saturday by handing its official endorsement and a badly needed boost to state Sen. Kevin de Leon, her longshot Democratic challenger.

In backing de Leon, a majority of the party’s 360-member executive board ignored Feinstein’s calls to stay neutral in the race. Her allies had warned an endorsement would create an intraparty squabble that could detract from important down-ballot races.

De Leon has long been courting party activists and appealed to those seeking a fresh face and a more progressive senator to fight against President Donald Trump.

“Today’s vote is a clear-eyed rejection of politics as usual in Washington, D.C.,” de Leon said in a statement after the vote. “We have presented Californians with the first real alternative to the worn-out Washington playbook in a quarter-century.”

US Rejects Bid From EU to Go Soft on Iran

Good.

The US has rebuffed high-level pleas from the European Union to grant exemptions to European companies from its sanctions against Iran.

In a letter to European nations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US rejected the appeal because it wants to exert maximum pressure on Iran.

It said exemptions would only be made if they benefited US national security.

The EU fears that billions of dollars’ worth of trade could be jeopardised as a result of Washington’s new sanctions.

Astroturfing the Supreme Court

This time they got sloppy. Usually they at least change a few words to make it more believable. It’s hard to blame the papers. How are they supposed to check that until the letters run elsewhere?

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is going into the Supreme Court confirmation process with a hail of rhetorical arrows zinging by him, including a phony letter-writing campaign aimed at unsuspecting American newspaper editors

At least 21 papers were duped last week, including big-market brands like the Dallas Morning News and The Washington Times. They ran identical letters over a four-day period, each signed by a different person.

The effort is an example of public-relations ‘astroturfing,’ a technique meant to simulate genuine grassroots support for an idea or cause.

The form letter is one small piece of the message minefield erupting around Kavanaugh as he prepares for a brutal confirmation process that will end with scant support from Democrats.

Man Tries to Pull Gun on Police. Gets Shot.

Yet again, people react to a police shooting with outrage and, upon review, we see that the police were reacting to a very real threat. One might begin to think that the people reacting to police shootings aren’t entirely sincere or informed.

Saturday’s fatal police involved shooting that sparked violent protests in Chicago was captured on police body camera which shows the man who was killed was armed with a handgun.

Harith Augustus, 37, was identified as the man who was shot by police by the Medical Examiner’s office, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The video, released much earlier than expected by the Chicago Police Department, shows Augustus clearly had a gun holstered, as well as an additional magazine.

In the video, he appears to be reaching for his weapon during the confrontation with the police.

The father to a five-year-old, Augustus, also known as Snoop the Barber, worked in a barbershop nearby where he was shot.

Strzok Should Take a Page from Page

I don’t know how much of this praise is legitimate and how much is crafted to put pressure on the FBI and Strzok, but it sure is different from the Strzok testimony. Although Strzok kept trying to hide behind advice from the FBI to keep quiet, it appears that Page did not receive, or is not adhering to, the same advice.

“Lisa Page is a very credible witness and she’s doing her best to help us find the truth,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said following Friday’s hearing. “I can tell you, in ways I think she’s been falsely accused about not being willing to cooperate. We’ve learned some evidence today that would suggest she’s been willing to help, in the spirit of transparency. … The last thing anyone wants is to be falsely accused. Her willingness to cooperate today speaks well for her.

“I think there’s significant information that is new, that she has provided,” he added. “Obviously you know I am in favor of getting transcripts out for the American people, so that they can judge for themselves, but certainly I’m not going to share those today until those become public.”

Meadows tweeted following the hearing, “Remarkably, we learned new information today suggesting the DOJ had not notified Lisa Page of Congress’ outstanding interview requests for over 7 months now. The DOJ/FBI appear to be continuing their efforts to keep material facts, and perhaps even witnesses, from Congress.”

After she did not appear on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that “congressional subpoenas for testimony are not optional,” warning Page that the House could move to hold her in contempt if she did not comply.

“She was a part of the mess that we’ve uncovered over at DOJ. She has an obligation to come and testify,” Ryan, R-Wis., emphasized Wednesday during a news conference at the Capitol. “If she wants to come and plead the Fifth, that’s her choice, but a subpoena to testify before Congress is not optional. It’s mandatory.”

Last Sears in Chicago to Close

Speaking of disruption

The Six Corners store, on the edge of Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood, will shut its doors for the last time Sunday, two months shy of its 80th anniversary. The closure is part of Sears effort to turn around its business after years of losses and declining sales, but when the store rings up its final sale, the city will lose one more link to a hometown company that used to be the world’s largest retailer.

Down to One Blockbuster

As a former employee of Blockbuster, this makes me sad. Blockbuster is the perfect example of the technological disruption of an industry and a company that was too slow to adapt. There was a small window of opportunity where Blockbuster could have leveraged its brand to dominate the fledgling streaming media business, but they were too fat, happy, and slow to do it. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. This disruption continues unabated. I’ve seen projections that as much as half of the Fortune 500 won’t be on the list in 10 years. I believe it.

This week, there are three stores remaining, but by next week there will only be one store open for business — in Bend, Oregon.
Alaska’s last two Blockbuster stores — one in Anchorage and another in Fairbanks — announced they would officially close on Sunday.
Sandi Harding, the Bend store’s general manager, told CNN she was surprised her store was the last one open.
“It’s pretty exciting that we are the last holdout,” she said.

A bit of nostalgia

Bend’s Blockbuster looks just like stores from years ago — yellow on the inside and employees sporting blue shirts. They even have floppy disks and old computer systems, Harding told CNN.
After Sunday, this video store in Bend, Oregon, will be the last remaining Blockbuster in the US.

“It’s very nostalgic,” she said. “We have a bunch of 19-year-olds working here — it’s fun explaining to them what a floppy disk is.”