West Bend School Board Members Can’t Imagine Not Increasing Taxes

Wow. Some quality reporting from the Washington County Insider.

A discussion about the mill rate was initiated toward the end of Monday night’s budget discussion.

Board member Ongert: “So are you suggesting the mill rate could go down even more during the 2019-2020 budget?”

Andy Sarnow: “I don’t know yet, so I don’t want to say because I haven’t made that calculation.”

Board member Nancy Justman: “Well considering some of the criticism we endured during the referendum that we need to ‘live within our means’ I would say dropping the levy or not taxing to the max would be detrimental to us. I’m not sure why we would even think about doing that personally.”

Ongert: “Plus I heard loud and clear people think we have too much debt in the West Bend School District and if that’s what’s preventing people from voting ‘yes’ on the referendum then let’s maintain the mill rate and pay down even more debt, if that’s what our community wants. Dropping the mill rate just to see how low we can go, um… I think is detrimental to our facilities to our staff, to our students. I don’t want to tax the crap out of the community but we need to be able to pay down the debt.”

Justman: “Obviously we have a lot of capital things we have put off. The fact we have carpeting in that building we can assume is at least 40 years old* (statement not confirmed) is frightening. Correction, 48 years*(statement not confirmed).. even more frightening. The idea we have put off items but we also need to make sure we have this balance with our students, we still want to be a destination district. I’m just not in favor at all or decreasing the mill rate at all. I guess you’d have to really come up with some amazing plan to sell me on a plan to do that. I think we should look at increasing it and look at some of these projects that we haven’t been able to get done. I see Dave Ross is happy dancing in the background… as I go on with my rant here. But we really need to prioritize some of these things. We can’t have carpeting that’s 48 years old*(statement not confirmed) and we can’t have projects that Dave is holding together with binder twine to try and get things done. I mean we really need to look at some of these things and if that requires us to raise the mill rate than so be it.”

Ongert: “And our taxpayers are telling us we can’t have any debt.”

Justman: “Well the word was ‘live within your means’ but we don’t sell anything so we have no means but apparently some people don’t understand, so I just want to point out I’m not in favor of decreasing the mill rate.”

So the message that these board members took out of a failed referendum was “increase taxes as much as possible.” How about they keep taxes flat – even as enrollment declines – and prioritize better?

Bernie Leads!

Will they never learn?

Washington (AFP) – A nationwide Fox News poll released Sunday shows President Donald Trump trailing former vice president Joe Biden and no fewer than four other Democratic contenders as early campaigning for the 2020 election begins to gain steam.

A separate survey of battleground states, by CBS, shows Democrats strongly favor Biden as the candidate most likely to beat Trump in next year’s elections.

The Fox poll showed Biden leading Trump by 49 percent to 39 percent among all registered voters nationwide, while Senator Bernie Sanders held nearly the same advantage over the president, at 49 percent to 40 percent.

Holding edges of 1 or 2 points over Trump — albeit within the poll’s 3-point margin of error — were Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

The media loves to report on the polls and treat them like reality. I suspect they do it because many of them are too stupid or lazy to dig into the candidates’ policy proposals. It’s easier to just blather on about the latest poll. Do any of them remember how wrong the polls were in 2015? 2016? How many polls had Trump winning? Hoe many of those same polls are now saying that Bernie is in the lead? In other words, do these polls matter 0 at all?

No.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Future of St. Joseph’s statue determined as hospital in Town of Polk changes name

On June 6 a story was posted on WashingtonCountyInsider.com about the pending name change for St. Joseph’s Hospital in the Town of Polk.

Tom Duncan, vice present and COO of Froedtert South said the new name would be Froedtert West Bend Hospital. “By emphasizing community location and the Froedtert name, we will identify to local residents that they have access across the region to the high-quality service for which Froedtert Hospital is known,” said Duncan in an article published at the Journal Times.

After the announcement neighbors had a couple questions regarding the extent of the name change and what would happen to the St. Joseph’s statue. The answers were provided by the hospital’s Rita Schuetz.

The only health center changing names will be the current St. Joseph’s Health Center, 3200 Pleasant Valley Road, West Bend, located in a building adjacent to St. Joseph’s Hospital. It will be Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Pleasant Valley Health Center.

The public will begin seeing the name changes go into effect in fall 2019.

The St. Joseph’s statue on the hospital campus will remain to honor the legacy of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

On a history note: The small nameplate at the base of the statue reads, ‘Original statue from St. Joseph’s Hospital Chapel West Bend, Wi – Circa 1930.’

The name of St. Joseph’s Hospital dates to the late 1920’s when the cornerstone of the original hospital was ‘laid in November 1929 and in spite of a rigorous winter, building progressed rapidly, and the dedication ceremony took place July 2, 1930.’

At the time St. Joe’s was located on the corner of Silverbrook and Oak Street in West Bend.

The Olla family of Kewaskum makes strides as it continues to mend | By Fay Olla

The Olla family of Kewaskum has been posting updates following an accident at the end of May involving five of their boys.

Three of the brothers in the accident have been released from the hospital and Luciano is making strides toward recovery. Below is an update from mother Fay Olla.

Every day with Luc is an adventure full of unexpected turns and terrain. Tony and I never quite know what to expect. On Monday he was still very sleepy… and when he would wake up—there wasn’t too much of Luc yet. He has a large wound on his left side and on his ankle— the stitches were taken out and the wounds are healing nicely.

As he continues to be weaned from his meds, he is awake longer and there are little bits of speaking. He knows Tony and I and his siblings.

He has several sessions of therapy a day— occupational, physical, and speech. Wednesday was a big day— he ate pancakes for breakfast and as long as he continues to eat well and drink enough fluids he will not need to have the NG tube in any longer. (Nasogastric intubation involves the insertion of a plastic tube or NG tube through the nose, past the throat, and down into the stomach).

Thursday we also saw a huge change as he was awake and rearing to go. He now wants to stand, walk, eat— do everything on his own.

The challenge now is that he is very confused and frustrated. He doesn’t understand why he is in the hospital— or why people come to visit and then have to leave.

He is very aggressive and has no filter on what comes out of his mouth. This phase of recovery is very challenging, and Tony and I are doing our best to trust that our Luc is going to emerge from this still. Thank you for always thinking of us an sending your love and prayer.

Help spread the word!

On Saturday, June 1 the Olla family announced the passing of their 15-year-old son Valentin. The family said his organs were donated so others may live.

Debate about traffic signals or roundabout at Kwik Trip on E. Washington Street

The proposed Kwik Trip at 1610 E. Washington Street in West Bend was a hot topic at Tuesday night’s Plan Commission meeting. Aside from public hearings on zoning and conditional use permits there was a lengthy discussion on whether traffic signals were necessary at the intersection of Schoenhaar Drive.

Motorists in West Bend realize there is already a traffic signal at E. Washington Street and River Road. Installing another traffic signal at Schoenhaar Drive could create a lot of stop-and-go within a one-block radius. Right now, River Road is the last signal for motorists headed east out of town. Those headed west would hit another signal about a half mile up the road at Highway 33 and Indiana Avenue.

Plan Commission member Jed Dolnick said he would have a difficult time voting in favor of the Kwik Trip development without first seeing a traffic impact analysis and what would happen to businesses on the south side of E. Washington Street.

City engineer Max Marechal said they did review a traffic impact study and a signalized intersection at Schoenhaar Drive was one of the first things discussed.

“All of the improvements will go through a plan review and we will make sure those improvements match our standards and then my office will oversee those improvements,” said Marechal.

Dolnick questioned how the signals would be synchronized within a one-block radius and then he opened the door on roundabouts.

“I hate to blaspheme but I wonder if a roundabout would be appropriate at Schoenhaar instead of a signal so close to River Road,” he said. “I’m sure if you’re Kwik Trip their heads are exploding now because a roundabout is really expensive.”

Marechal basically said a roundabout is more expensive and requires more property.

“It’s more expensive than a traditional intersection because it requires substantially more real estate and then I would anticipate the need to purchase private property in order to install a roundabout at this location,” Marechal said. “At this point without substantial actions a signalized intersection is the best option at this time.”

Plan Commission member Rich Kasten asked of there was a way to modify traffic flow so the city could avoid a signal at Schoenhaar Drive.

“We don’t like to have signal intersections close to each other,” said Marechal. “Look at the distance between Main and Paradise and then a signal by Meijer. Sometimes we don’t have a choice, but we do regularly have traffic counts done and look at if we can refine signal coordination.”

Plan Commission member Chris Schmidt questioned which entrance/exit to the Kwik Trip would be used the least. Early indications were it would be the entrance/exit off Schoenhaar Drive.

“If you put a traffic light at Schoenhaar Drive and it’s the least used of the three entrances then I don’t see the need for it (the traffic signal),” he said.

The Plan Commission ended up voting to move forward with development of a Kwik Trip on E. Washington Street.

The approval came with four contingencies: 1. Approval of a site plan for all required improvements prior to the issuance of the conditional use permit. 2. Approval of a traffic impact analysis.  3. Approval of a certified survey map combining the three lots.  4. Approval of the zoning amendment and 2020 Comprehensive Plan for the development.

New restaurant opening in former Wa Wa building in Hartford | By Samantha Sali

A new restaurant is coming to Downtown Hartford at 48 N. Main Street. The two-story building, originally constructed in 1884, is located between Creative License and Faith and Giggles. The last business that occupied the building was the ‘Wa Wa’ Chinese restaurant.

“The Wa Wa building has been vacant for around a decade,” said Scott Henke, executive director of Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce.

Two sales are disclosed for the parcel in the Washington County property tax database. The first sale in 1999 with Tommy Lin listed as the previous owner. The second sale was recorded in January 2019, listing the current owner as Vicente Flores-Martinez.

The 2018 assessed value for the property was $233,000. The new owner of the property, Flores-Martinez, currently owns and operates Main Street Café in Evansville (south of Madison).

The Cafe serves American Mexican food, carries a medium-priced menu and is open daily from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.  Flores-Martinez indicated the new Hartford restaurant will have the same name, menu, and hours as the Evansville location. He said the reason he was drawn to Hartford was because the city has a “reasonably priced business district.”

He also said the Evansville location will remain open and this will be his second location. The grand opening of the Hartford restaurant will be sometime in July or August. Real estate company Berkshire Hathaway posted the property sold January 22, 2019 for $130,000.

Washington Co. Board votes on creating office of elected County Executive

Earlier this week after several long hours of discussion the Washington County Board voted 13-13 on a resolution to change the form of government to an elected county executive, rather than an appointed county administrator. A tie vote resulted in failure of the motion.

However, the issue could come back for another vote.

According to Washington County Public Affairs Coordinator Ethan Hollenberger, “A person on the prevailing side (no vote) would have to request reconsideration be placed on the agenda and move reconsideration at the July board meeting.  At that time, the resolution is live and can be voted on again, amended, sent to committee, or tabled.”

Hollenberger said a “citizen petition for referendum would be out of the board’s control.”

However, the board could put a non-binding advisory referendum on any regularly scheduled ballot.

Below is how votes were cast Wednesday, June 12 by the 26 members of the Washington County Board. The question involved a resolution changing Washington County’s form of government to create the office of the County Executive of Washington County.

Aye votes included:  Roger Kist, Chris Bossert, Mike Bassill, Denis Kelling, William Symicek, Tim Michalak, James Burg, John Bulawa, Mark McCune, Don Kriefall, Rock Brandner, Jeffrey Schleif, Carroll Merry

No votes included: Kris Deiss, Chris Jenkins, Frank Carr, Brian Krebs, Richard Bertram, Keith Stephen, Joseph Gonnering, Robert Hartwig, Marcella Bishop, Marilyn Merten, Russell Brandt, Brian Gallitz, Peter Source

 

9/11 Memorial groundbreaking in Kewaskum

Over 200 people turned out Thursday afternoon for the groundbreaking ceremony for the 9/11 Memorial in Kewaskum. The event was held at the future home of the Memorial on Fond du Lac Avenue and First Street. Guest speakers included Kewaskum Village Administrator Matt Heiser, 9/11 Memorial founder Gordon Haberman, and Washington County Administrator Josh Schoemann.

“Primary in our goals is that this memorial will for generations to come, stand as a historical touchstone linking the past event of 9/11/2001 to the present,” said Haberman. “The memorial will be a physical structure which respectfully honors the memory of those lost that day and in the resulting conflicts afterwards. It will stand as an important source of information for young people in understanding the sacrifices of 9/11, yet also portray the strength, spirit and resolve of America.”

According to the 9/11 Memorial website: The Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial is being built to serve as a space of reflection and remembrance for those lost on that fateful day. It will serve as a place of education for students and citizens from our local community, our county, our state, and our nation. ​Some will visit seeking knowledge. Others will come to honor the memories of those lost. All will be able to reflect on a day that challenged and changed America. It will be a symbol of the resolve, strength, resilience and compassion of her people. As time passes from the events of 9/11/2001, the Memorial will forever give meaning to the words, “NEVER FORGET.”

Community group to review facilities in West Bend School District

There will be a presentation Monday, June 17 at the West Bend School Board meeting as a community group steps up to complete a facilities study in the West Bend School District.

6:42 Facilities Study by Community Group

Presentation: Facility Study by Community Group – Kevin Steiner and Tim Schmidt

Topic and Background: In May I had a discussion with three individuals from the community: Mayor Kraig Sadownikow, Kevin Steiner/West Bend Mutual Insurance, and Tim Schmidt/Delta Defense that are forming a committee to look at our facilities. They have asked to have access to our facilities and have an opportunity to visit with Mr. Ross to discuss projects that have been completed, as well as projects that are being planned.

There is no district involvement with the committee. They will submit a report to the Board in September and/or October. The Board can use all or part of the information as the Board determines future facilities’ improvements.

The committee is not authorized by the Board or the Superintendent. The report will be informational only with the Board being responsible to make any and all decisions.

Kevin Steiner and Tim Schmidt are scheduled to attend the June 17 meeting to summarize the committee’s intent. Monday’s meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the district office. The meeting is open to the public.

Cedar Communities eyes rezoning for two-family residential land use

There will be a request for a public hearing at the Tuesday, June 11 West Bend Plan Commission meeting as Cedar Communities is asking for a change in 9.8 acres of land located at 113 Cedar Ridge Drive, Cedar Ridge Campus.

The recommendation is to change the land use from multi-family residential to two-family residential. Below are details from James Reinke, Business & Development Planner for the City of West Bend.

Cedar Communities has submitted a request to consider a comprehensive land use plan change and a zoning change for approximately 9.8 acres located at 113 Cedar Ridge Drive. The request is for the northern portion of the 49-acre parcel.

The request is to consider a change in land use from the existing multi-family residential to two family residential land use for the northern portion of the Cedar Ridge Campus.

The surrounding existing land uses are; residential and agricultural town uses to the west and south, single family and two-family residential uses to the north, and park, recreation and open space to the east. Given the surrounding existing uses the size of the parcel and the overall density, staff finds the proposed request to be an acceptable alternative for land use. The two-family residential use would be used as a transition from the existing multi-family use to the single-family use. The possible resulting residential density is less than that permitted under the current land use and zoning designation.

If the Comprehensive Plan change is endorsed by the Plan Commission, a zoning amendment to rezone that portion of the parcel will be requested to change the zoning from RM-4 Multi-Family Residential District to RD-2 Two-Family Residential and to add a Planned Unit Development Overlay (PUD) District.

If the Plan Commission finds the proposal to be acceptable, staff would recommend that a public hearing be set for August 6, 2019 at 6 p.m. to hear any concerns pertaining to the land use change for the 2020 Comprehensive Plan for the City of West Bend.

At the same meeting, a second public hearing would be held for the rezoning of that portion of the property from RM-4 Multi-Family Residential district to RD-2 Two-Family Residential District and a PUD overlay district.

pc: Adam Hertel, American Construction Services

Cedar Community said the expansion is necessary considering the demand in the house market for active seniors.

“Cedar Community has a years-long waiting list for active seniors who are looking for larger apartments and homes,” said Julie Gabelmann, Cedar Community Vice President of Resident Experience. “The twin homes we hope to build will help meet that growing demand, while providing the natural beauty of the 50-acre Cedar Ridge Campus, and the access to all of Cedar Community’s services and amenities.”

Modern Woodmen of America donates to Kettle Moraine Lutheran | By Daniel Frey

Financial Representative Sarah Grotelueschen presented a check to Jody Hansen the Business Manager of Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School.

This check was a matching fund Grotelueschen donated to KML’s recent Mad Science Charity Auction.

Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial is a Not for Profit Financial Services organization that provides full holistic financial planning while putting back 100 percent of its profits into the local communities it serves.

West Bend resident recognized with St. Joseph’s Hospital Award | By Tim Olsen

Brittnie Dohl, West Bend, critical care tech on the Modified Care Unit, has been recognized with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin St. Joseph’s Hospital’s semi-annual Sunflower Award for being a “rock star” and positive influence.

“Brittnie is certainly a “rock star” at her job,” said one of her nominators. “She made sure she went out of her way to make me comfortable during my 18-day stay. Brittnie always gave me positive vibes when I was feeling down. Brittnie is a great asset to your team and deserves to be recognized!”

The Sunflower Award honors extraordinary nursing support staff who demonstrate devotion, strength and compassion to ensure the well-being of patients, family and staff. St. Joseph’s Hospital recognizes one nursing support staff member twice a year. Each Sunflower honoree is recognized at a public ceremony in his/her unit with a certificate, a Sunflower Award pin and a hand-carved stone sculpture titled “Supporting Heart.” The sunflower was chosen as the award theme because the sun symbolizes warmth and strength, and the flower represents devotion, compassion and enthusiasm.

Patients, visitors, nurses, physicians and staff may nominate a support staff member by filling out the form available in CHD hospital lobbies and nursing stations and following the instructions or through Excellence in Action.

Hike to Mary Mother of the Church

About a dozen people from the Washington County area took part in a Hike to Mary this week. The group gathered outside St. Peter Church in Slinger and following a prayer set off on a 12-mile walk to Holy Hill in the Town of Erin. Steve Tennies said the inspiration came from a new feast day following Pentecost. The event was sponsored by John Paul II Men’s Group.

The annual pilgrimage hike celebrated the newly-proclaimed Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, on Monday June 10, 2019.

This new Marian Memorial is always celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday.

O.J. Simspn got a “little gettin’ even to do.”

Goodness. Someone get him a PR man.

O.J. Simpson launched a Twitter account with a video post in which the former football star said he’s got a “little gettin’ even to do.”

Simpson confirmed the new account to The Associated Press on Saturday, saying in a phone interview while on a Las Vegas golf course that it “will be a lot of fun.”

“Taxes are for little people,” says Lt. Governor Barnes

Well, with his actions.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is delinquent on property taxes for Milwaukee condo
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Daniel Bice
June 14, 2019

Even as Gov. Tony Evers is proposing to raise taxes in his state budget plan, records show his top deputy isn’t even paying the taxes he already owes.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is listed as failing to pay at least $2,225 in property taxes, interest and penalties on his Milwaukee condo.

“There is no installment plan, and the taxes are delinquent,” Jesicca Zwaga of the city Treasurer’s Office said Friday.

Barnes disputed the information earlier this week, sending the Journal Sentinel a screenshot of a portion of a 2018 tax bill that he said was proof that he was paying his property taxes in installments.

But Zwaga said the record from Barnes was just the original tax bill that included the monthly amounts he would owe if he opted to pay in installments instead of a lump sum. She said he failed to make the first payment in the agreement by Jan. 31.

“It is delinquent,” Zwaga said.

Newburg Can’t Pay the Bills

Emphasis mine.

NEWBURG — Government leaders here this week said the village still hasn’t been able to pay some of its bills after a pair of administrative employees abruptly resigned nearly a month ago.

The village has been able to fill out payroll checks for Newburg employees, Trustee Dave De Luka told fellow Village Board members Thursday evening. But nobody at Village Hall can run the accounting software needed to process and code the checks Newburg writes to pay other costs, including bills from vendors that provide phone and utilities services.

“We’re just like everybody else. We have WisconsinElectric, we have the phone company, we have just our normal vendors that we do business with every month,” De Luka told a reporter Thursday.

Those bills are coming due, De Luka told board members Thursday night. “We, at this point,” he said, “are unable to pay them.”

The problem hasn’t affected all of Newburg’s payments. Besides completing payroll, De Luka told other trustees Thursday that village loan payments were being automatically deducted. Still, he said, “We have not paid a bill since the middle of May.”

JFC Passes Budget

This is a dog of a budget and yet another missed opportunity by Republicans.

Republicans on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted along party lines Thursday to pass a two-year state budget that rejected many of Gov. Tony Evers’ top priorities, saying their plan lives within the state’s means while increasing funds for schools and roads.

Republicans also voted Thursday for plans that would cut taxes on the average taxpayer by about $75 in the 2019 tax year and $136 in 2020, which would amount to a $457.6 million income tax cut overall.

[…]

Speaking shortly after the vote, Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Senate Republicans would meet to discuss the budget on Tuesday. Some GOP senators, like Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, have said they’re unhappy with how much the bill would borrow and spend, not to mention increased fees on vehicle titles and registration.

The news outlets are horrible about reporting the budget. They spend a lot of time comparing it to Evers’ budget and talking about the politics of it without actually telling us what’s in the blasted budget. You can go to the JFC website to get details, but you have to dig.

In the last budget, the Republicans missed the opportunity to pass a real conservative budget and it was a substantial reason why a lot of Republicans sat home last year. Here they go again. I get that we have a liberal governor with a powerful veto pen, but the Republicans barely even phoned in a fight over spending. The budget just passed by the JFC increases spending by $4 billion dollars, lavishly rewards money pits like Transportation and UW without even a hint of reform, and jacks up fees. The legislative Republicans on the JFC and in leadership gave in to the pressures of Madison and ignored the people who elected them.

Then, perhaps realizing that this budget is bad, they throw in a tax cut as a separate bill to distract us from how awful the budget is – knowing full well that as a separate bill, Governor Evers will veto it. Imagine what kind of tax cut we could have if they actually cut spending and put the tax cut into the budget. Imagine if Republicans fought for their constituents like Democrats do.

Speaker Vos, Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald, and the Republicans on JFC should be ashamed of themselves.

Washington County Will Not Have an Executive

That’s a shame. I suspect that parochial interests prevailed here.

WEST BEND — Elected leaders here on Wednesday shot down a proposed government reform effort that would have replaced an appointed administrator with an executive leader who would have been elected from across Washington County.

But the decision was close.

Thirteen of the county’s 26 board members voted against a measure they said felt rushed and ill-timed — and that they worried would have had monumental impacts on the county’s government.

The board’s remaining 13 members supported a move they’d argued would have enabled Washington County to absorb expected population and commercial growth.

But the measure required a majority, and the 13-to-13 tie defeated the resolution.

It’s Still the Spending, Stupid

At the federal level too.

(CNSNews.com) – For the first time in the history of the United States, the federal government has spent more than $3 trillion in the first eight months of the fiscal year, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

The record $3,013,541,000,000 that the federal government spent in October through May of fiscal 2019 was $181,157,920,000 more than the previous record of $2,832,383,080,000 (in constant May 2019 dollars) that the federal government spent in October through May of fiscal 2009.

It’s the Spending, Stupid

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

Wisconsin has long been a tax hell where it is more expensive to live, work, and play than in most other states. Gov. Scott Walker and the legislative Republicans made some progress over the last eight years in making the state more affordable, but now many of those same legislative Republicans are allowing the state to slide back.

One of the myths perpetuated by Wisconsin’s liberals is that Governor Walker and the Republicans cut spending and starved government when Walker was in office. We have all heard the claims of cutting “to the bone” and draconian austerity measures. All of those claims are wrong. The truth is that every state budget that Walker signed spent more than the previous one.

What Walker and his Republican partners in the Legislature did was keep the spending increases smaller than normal while cutting taxes, deregulating, and aggressively working to improve the business climate. The result was a sustained period of improving in the national tax burden rankings (primarily because other states were jacking up taxes while Wisconsin held steady), higher employment, private-sector growth, and increasing tax revenues that resulted in budget surpluses.

It is a formula that works for a while, but it does not fix the root cause of the issue. Wisconsin is a tax hell because the government spends too much. Politicians can feed the spending beast without tax increases for a while by borrowing, juicing the economy with tax cuts and deregulation, and financial gimmickry, but eventually the bill must be paid. State government does not have the ability to print money like the federal government.

Now that Governor Walker has been replaced by a doctrinaire, tax-and-spend Gov. Tony Evers, the legislative Republicans who worked so well with Walker are regressing.

The state budget is being crafted by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. Once the JFC is finished with the budget, it will be sent for votes and possible amendments in the Assembly and the Senate. Since the Republicans still command sizable majorities in both houses of the Legislature, the Republicans are in complete control of what goes into, and what gets left out of, the budget.

Over the past few weeks, the Republicans on the JFC have been on a spending spree. They decided to spend an additional $500 million on K-12 education despite no correlation between spending and educational

outcomes. The Republicans increased spending on UW by $58 million even though the UW System has refused to consolidate and economize in the face of declining enrollment.

Last week, the JFC cranked up spending on transportation to the tune of $484 million. Perhaps remembering the 2017 audit completed by the Legislative Audit Bureau that found billions of dollars of waste and overruns in the Department of Transportation, Republican leaders have promised a series of reform bills are in the works, but it is worth noting that they are willing to spend the money before any reforms are even introduced — much less in place.

On those three items alone, Republican leaders in the Legislature are already committing increasing spending by over a billion dollars — and there are dozens of state departments to go.

Republicans are also already acknowledging that the days of increasing spending without tax increases are over. Their desire to spend more is outstripping their ability to keep taxes in check. In order to support the spending increases for transportation, the Republicans voted to increase vehicle title fees by $95 and annual registration fees by $10. They expect these to extract an additional $393 million from hardworking Wisconsinites to support their gross spending habit.

Even during the Walker era, Wisconsin’s Republicans have never been able to shake their spending addiction. They spend a little less than Democrats, but never actually cut spending. And if we never cut spending, we can never sustain cutting taxes. Now that Governor Evers has moved the spending goal even higher, the Republicans in the Legislature seem to be reveling in exploding spending without any pressure from the governor’s office to restrain themselves.

The Republicans lost every statewide election in Wisconsin last year largely because they gave up on the conservative revolution and failed to give the Republican grass roots anything to be excited about. Their behavior in this budget is evidence that they have not learned the lesson.

Bakery Wins Libel Suit

It’s nice to see a win over the hate mob. Hopefully this will be a lesson to others, but I doubt it.

(CNN)An Ohio jury has ordered Oberlin College to pay $11 million to a bakery which said it was libeled and wrongfully accused of racially profiling students.

The case stems from the November 2016 arrests of three black Oberlin students at Gibson’s Bakery and market near the college’s campus in Oberlin, Ohio.
One student, Jonathan Aladin, was accused of attempted robbery for allegedly trying to “steal wine or otherwise illegally obtain wine” from the bakery, according to a defamation lawsuit. He would eventually confess in a written statement to buying alcohol illegally.
Two other suspects, Cecelia Whettston and Endia J. Lawrence, were arrested and accused of misdemeanor assault, court documents state.
After that, Oberlin staff members tried to discredit the family-owned bakery, the lawsuit says.
Oberlin College staff — including deans and professors — and students engaged in demonstrations in front of Gibson’s Bakery following the arrests of the three students, the lawsuit stated.
The suit also said Oberlin Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo and other college staff members “handed out hundreds of copies” of a flier to the community and the media stating that Gibson’s Bakery and its owners racially profiled and discriminated against the three students.
The court documents include a copy of the flier, which included the words “DON’T BUY.”
“This is a RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION,” the flier read, according to the lawsuit.
The flier also listed 10 of the bakery’s competitors and urged customers to shop there instead.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

West Bend Plan Commission to consider Kwik Trip No. 4

The West Bend Plan Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday, June 11 to consider a rezoning and a request for a conditional use permit for a gas station on 5.9 acres of land.

The parcel involves 1610 E. Washington Street, the vacant land adjacent to the west of that property and the vacant lot on S. River Road north of 411 E. Washington Street.

The request is being made by Kwik Trip. If approved this would be the fourth Kwik Trip in West Bend. Early plans show two entrances off Schoenhaar Drive, an entrance off River Road and another off E. Washington Street, a convenience store and a car wash.

The public hearing is being held for a request to amend the 2020 Comprehensive Plan for a change in recommended land use from industrial land use to commercial land use for approximately 0.77 acres of land located on the east side of N. River Road, approximately 300’ north of E. Washington Street, by Kwik Trip, Inc.

On May 7, 2019 the Plan Commission reviewed the request for a change in land use from industrial to commercial and zoning from M-2 Heavy Industrial to B-1 Community Business District for an approximately 0.77 acre outlot located approximately 300’ north of E. Washington Street on the east side of N. River Road. As a part of the review, the Plan Commission set a public hearing date for June 11, 2019 at 6:00 pm to hear any comments or concerns regarding the proposed land use change and zoning request.

In 2014, the then owner of the property obtained a land use and zoning change for the outlot. The outlot was going to be combined with the industrial lands to the north for a building expansion. Kwik Trip is now requesting a change to return the land use and zoning for the outlot to a commercial use to allow this outlot to be combined with adjacent commercially zoned lands for development.

The surrounding existing land uses are; industrial to the north, commercial to the west, south and east of the outlot. Given the surrounding existing uses, staff finds the proposed use would be an acceptable alternative since the lands would be combined with other commercial lands to the east for development.

Prior to revising the zoning from M-2 Heavy Industrial District to B-1 Community Business District, as requested, the City’s 2020 Comprehensive Plan would need to be amended to be consistent with the proposed zoning. The Plan Commission meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11 in the council chambers at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

Longbranch for sale in Barton    

The former Long Branch Saloon in Barton is for sale…. again. Adam Williquette, Broker and Owner of American Commercial Real Estate, listed the property this week for $425,000.

The parcel, 1800 Barton Avenue, last sold Feb. 9, 2018 to Boro Buzdum for $100,000.

In 2018 the property was listed through Re/Max United and Paula Becker. It was initially priced at $184,500 and eventually dropped to $139,000.

The property was last assessed at $242,200. The local restaurant at the corner of Barton Avenue and Commerce Street closed in early 2016.  Over the years the building went to a Sheriff’s sale and then got hung up in the system.

Scharschmidt Chiropractic building has been sold

The former Schaarschmidt Chiropractic building, also known as the castle building, 235 N. 18th Avenue in West Bend has sold.

Kurt and Janine Schaarschmidt built the 5,385-square-foot office space.  “This used to be an apple orchard owned by the Barth sisters,” said Kurt Schaarschmidt. “We opened Dec. 20, 1991 and Larry Bunkelman from Bunkelman Builders was our builder.”

Schaarschmidt said he was going for an English Tudor look. “Originally it was a house plan that came out of Arizona and we adapted it to a clinic,” said Janine Schaarschmidt.

Daniel Hess from Glendale closed on the purchase of the building March 23, 2016 for $625,000. It has been vacant and for lease since February 2017.

The 2019 assessment on the property was $720,900. Dr. Krysti Wick from River Shores Chiropractic in West Bend purchased the property.  The sale price was $560,000.

“This is going to be our forever home in West Bend,” said Wick.

A couple of things that attracted Wick to the property were that it was a chiropractic clinic before so “there’s not a ton of setup needed inside.” Wick expects to relocate her practice within the next year. “It has a homey, family feel,” she said. “My hope is we’ll move into the building sometime next year at this time.”

Adam Williquette, Broker and Owner of American Commercial Real Estate oversaw the transaction.

Washington Co. Board to vote Wed., June 12 on county executive form of government

There will be a meeting Wednesday, June 12 when the Washington County Board Executive Committee is expected to vote to convert Washington County to a county executive form of government.

Washington County currently operates with an appointed county administrator. The proposal is to make that a non-partisan elected position.

There was a public discussion held May 22. County Supervisors and members of the community who favored the change mentioned things like “managing development” and needing “new ideas and new people.”

Those against electing a county executive noted things like having “less representation from less populated areas” and “giving too much power to one man.”

Diane Petersen of Richfield brought up a number of points at the public discussion including the fact the county administrator could be removed by the county board but an elected county executive could only be removed by the governor.

After the public meeting some neighbors in attendance expressed concern about losing farmland to development, having little representation from smaller towns and villages in the county and concerns about a comment made by a county supervisor to reduce the size of the county board again, which would mean more power held by a few.

County attorney Brad Stern said once the resolution is approved there’s no going back. “The only way to undo it is for the community to file a petition and ask for a referendum,” he said. “The county board just can’t change it’s mind and go back to the old way of doing thing.”

Stern said according to statute the decision on changing the county’s form of government could be done by a petition referendum or the decision could be made by the county board.

Also note, in the resolution language, the termination of the contract with the current county administrator would cost “approximately $130,000 and does not include wages and benefits due under the contract terms through the date of transition. Additional fiscal impact is indeterminate at this time including possible additional election costs.”

Restoring the interior art at the Historic West Bend Theatre   | By John Torinus

Historic West Bend Theatre, Inc. (HWBT) has selected Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc., of New Berlin, along with renowned local artist Chuck Dwyer, as its contractor for replication of the artwork that decorated the original 1929 interior of the “house.”

A historic paint analysis revealed elaborate artwork throughout the movie house. Much of it was stenciled art that covers the pilasters, spaces below eight well-preserved urns, beams and ceiling.

The artwork was painted over sometime during its 90-year history with maroon paint.

Tracings and digital photos of the stencil patterns will guide the artists in replicating the bright and colorful artwork throughout the historic building.

Eileen Grogan of Conrad Schmitt said a process similar to the original stencil process would be used in the restoration.

“All the history is there,” she said. “We are going to restore it by the book.”

Conservator Brian Fick with Evergreene Architectural Arts was the one who uncovered the five-color stencil pattern on a shield shape with two birds. “It looks a bit Germanic which, in an art-deco context is a little odd but it kind of suits the area,” he said.

Fick uncovered the mural using solvents and gels. A large breathing apparatus is on the floor next to the dusty theatre seats.

“I knew there was something there because I could see a bit of shadow,” he said.

Pointing to the ceiling Fick highlights some of the black lines of another pattern of work.

“This piece will be documented and I’m taking samples,” Fick said. “We take the paint from the plaster it’s painted on all the way through to the top layer. We then cut that so you see the paint layers in cross section and that can give a better, more accurate representation of what the color was.” The cost of the artwork reparation will be about $100,000.

“We had not expected to discover that added historical element for the building,” said Nic Novaczyk, HWBT president. “We did not budget for this unforeseen expense, so we are asking our broad base of supporters in the community to help raise this added amount.”

There will be a community event July 18 to help with that ask.

Conrad Schmitt president Gunar Gruenke said the firm has retained Dwyer, a well-known regional artist in the intricate project. Dwyer was Valedictorian from the Milwaukee School of Art and Design (now MIAD) and studied in Europe. His restoration assignments include the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the murals at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Dwyer said he didn’t much notice the artwork in the theatre when he was a kid at movies. “I was more worried about whether I could hold the girl’s hand,” he said.  “I’ll do the best job I can. It will be a lot of fun.”

Saying goodbye to the legacy of St. Joe’s Hospital as name changed to Froedtert West Bend

Froedtert hospitals including St. Joseph’s Hospital Campus in the Town of Polk is going to have a name change. Community names, according to Tom Duncan, vice present and COO of Froedtert South, is the goal.

According to an article in The Journal Times Duncan was quoted saying, “By emphasizing community location and the Froedtert name, we will identify to local residents that they have access across the region to the high-quality service for which Froedtert Hospital is known.”

The name of St. Joseph’s Hospital dates to the late 1920’s when the cornerstone of the original hospital was ‘laid in November 1929 and in spite of a rigorous winter, building progressed rapidly, and the dedication ceremony took place July 2, 1930.’

At the time St. Joe’s was located on the corner of Silverbrook and Oak Street in West Bend.

Former nurses and doctors recalled a community hospital where staff was family.

The news of a name change felt like the next shoe to drop according to former St. Joe’s staff including Carol Daniels.

“I knew that would happen; there’s no way they would not advertise their business,” said Daniels of West Bend.

Shirley Laufer, 80, has been retired from St. Joe’s for 13 years.

“It’s a sign of the times,” said Laufer. “To anybody that’s new in the area they consider it Froedtert but you think St. Joe’s you think West Bend. I still think the name St. Joe’s kinda gives you an idea of where it’s at and to people who live in the area will always know it as St. Joe’s.”

New active senior living apartment complex in downtown West Bend

A proposed five to six-story active senior living apartment-style complex is being proposed near downtown West Bend. The site is a 4.45-acre parcel on the south end of the former Gehl property just to the west of S. Forest Avenue.

RTN Development, LLC, based in Minnesota, stepped forward with the proposal and in closed session at Monday night’s, June 3, Common Council meeting entered into an with the City. The purchase of the property is still being negotiated.

Todd Novaczyk, is CEO with RTN Development.  “This will be a market-rate rental,” said Novaczyk. “There will be about 130 to 150 units with underground parking.”

The new development is proposed to be for active seniors who will then have the luxury of enjoying our vibrant downtown while living in a facility with outstanding amenities provided by company with a proven track record of success.

Novaczyk said the timeline on the development hinges on several factors. “If we can get through City Council and get our plans done and get approvals, we could conceivably break ground this fall,” he said. That former Gehl Company property had been under remediation for the past 7+ years.

MOWA | DTN opens Tuesday, June 4 in Milwaukee

The Museum of Wisconsin Art is expanding as a satellite gallery opens in the new Saint Kate Arts Hotel today in Downtown Milwaukee.

“I’m really excited for this extended space,” said MOWA Executive Director Laurie Winters.

The new hotel is the former InterContinental Hotel, 139 E. Kilbourn Ave; it’s part of the Marcus Hotels & Resorts Inc. One of the first pieces of art at MOWA | DTN features a poet phone by Mark Claussen. “If that takes you back a couple of decades, it should,” said Winters. “It’s a revitalized booth from the late ’70s and if you pick up the receiver you hear poems by seven of the greatest poets in Wisconsin all about downtown in keeping with the theme of the exhibition.”

Listen in as Winters explains part of the inspiration toward expanding MOWA’s reach. “The river will carry your mission throughout the state,” said artist Truman Lowe.

Winters said Greg and Linda Marcus invited MOWA to be part of the Saint Kate Art Hotel and the “answer was a resounding yes, absolutely.”

“It took us about two seconds to make the decision because Greg and Linda have the highest standards and they have an incredible vision for art.

The first exhibition for MOWA | DTN is called ‘Downtown.’

“We asked 10 artists to reflect on what downtown means to them,” said Winters. Each room at the Saint Kate Arts Hotel comes with a red phonograph and a ukulele. MOWA | DTN at Saint Kate The Arts Hotel is free and open to the public.

RSVP Interfaith of Washington County Senior Corps Program of the Year  

The Interfaith RSVP program through Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County began in 2017. Based in West Bend, their mission is “to connect seniors with caring volunteers” with a vision that “all seniors in Washington County will have access to the resources necessary to                maintain safe, healthy independence and age in place.”

RSVP Interfaith of Washington County provides volunteer transportation and other assistance services for anyone in the county who is over the age of 60 and is of limited means and                mobility. In 2018, RSVP Interfaith of Washington County volunteers served over 1,000 elderly citizens in Washington County with 11,708 rides in a volunteer’s personal vehicle or in one of Interfaith’s fleet of 8 wheelchair accessible minivans.

In 2018, RSVP volunteers drove over 220,000 miles to 290 unique service destinations, with over 2,000 of these rides serving wheelchair-bound seniors and over 3,500 to out of county destinations where public transportation does not serve.

Interfaith RSVP volunteers also provided over 5,000 “other” assistance services, including spring and fall yard clean-up, friendly visits, therapy dog visits, reassurance calls, light housekeeping, home repair, snow shoveling, stock box and meals on wheels delivery, and other services as requested

Additionally, RSVP volunteers operate a durable health equipment lending program at two sites in Washington County and a community resource referral program, making it possible to loan out over 1,000 pieces of equipment. Through the transportation services that allow seniors to continue to live independently, the socialization and companionship provided to home bound seniors through friendly visits, and to seniors as a whole through other services, Washington County is a better place for its aging population because of the service of RSVP Interfaith of Washington County volunteers.

Updates & tidbits

– St. John’s Lutheran in West Bend raised $1,950 with the Eaton’s Fresh Pizza fundraiser program.  They were able to put the money towards getting a new drinking fountain/ bubbler with a water bottle dispenser.

– Richfield Village Administrator James Healy was elected President of Washington County Convention and Visitor Bureau Board.

– West Bend City Clerk Stephanie Justmann swore in Matthew Casey during this week’s Common Council meeting. Fire Chief Gerald Kudek said Casey worked at County Rescue Services in Green Bay and served the Village of Howard Fire/Rescue as a part-time employee. Casey received his paramedic associate degree from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Casey also served in the military and was deployed overseas. He was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for mission success in Guantanamo Bay.

– The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring Dad’s Day 2019.  The event is June 15 at St. Mary’s Parish in Barton from noon – 4 p.m.  There will be activities including a Bounce House with slide, food and games including a Wiffle Ball tournament.   

Letter to the Editor | No need for elected Washington County executive | By Jed Dolnick

Since Washington County was established in 1853, its county boards made it through the Second Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, and the Information Age.

Two courthouses, a modern jail, highway system, and a fair park were built.  Neither the boards nor their chairmen were intimidated by the challenges of those times.

A board that had vision and courage now has members who want a county executive to, as Vice-Chairman Mark McCune told a newspaper reporter, “make the tough decisions.”

To listen to Chairman Don Kriefall, you would think a county executive is the single, essential person necessary for the county’s economic development. It’s as if the combined talent and resources of county staff, each municipality’s development office, and the public-private partnership of Economic Development Washington County don’t exist.

Or perhaps this is the opening gambit to “consolidate” (i.e. take over) those functions. To just perform his current duties, the existing county administrator is assisted by a “deputy county administrator” and a “public affairs coordinator.”

How many additional positions would this potential Development Czar need? Promises of “none” are often forgotten. Currently, supervisors representing their districts’ residents pass ordinances and resolutions, and decide how tax money is used. All of those decisions can be vetoed by a county executive. It’s difficult to believe that a board that can’t make tough decisions could summon the strength to overturn such a veto.

Mr. Kriefall asserts that an elected executive will assure our “quality of life.”

The cities and villages see their parks as valuable assets; the county officially ranks its parks as a low priority. Our municipalities have successfully pursued commercial, industrial, and residential development appropriate for their communities. It’s not the county executive’s job to, as he wrote, “work with developers to construct housing.”

Mr. Kriefall’s vision of county government insinuating itself into the operations of our cities, towns, and villages with “one voice, one leader” is unnecessary and unwelcomed.

An elected county executive will look to interest groups for their endorsements and money and will need the voting blocs in West Bend and Hartford to stay in office. We don’t need a county executive. We need 26 county supervisors willing to make tough decisions.

Jed Dolnick  West Bend

Disclaimer: Opinions and letters published in http://www.washingtoncountyinsider.com are not necessarily the views of the Editor, or Publisher.

Newburg Hires Milwaukee County Board Member Deanna Alexander

Interesting.

NEWBURG — Village Board members agreed this week to hire an interim clerk after a pair of high-profile resignations last month temporarily hobbled Newburg’s administration.

Deanna Alexander will fill the key local government role for at least a few months after her predecessor, Rick Goeckner, abruptly stepped down in mid-May.

The Milwaukee County Board member with other past government finance experience beat out Chris Jenkins for a job that’s expected to include helping Newburg begin writing its next budget.

Board members met for about two hours in closed session Thursday night to interview both candidates. Discussions in open session to fill the position were brief.

Alexander said one of her first tasks will involve familiarizing herself with what’s gone on in Newburg the past few months.

[…]

Goeckner had been Newburg’s clerk and administrator for several years before resigning on May 16 — the same day that Chrissie Brynwood, Newburg’s deputy clerk and treasurer, also handed in her own resignation.

The resignations followed shortly after a local ethics commission in April agreed to censure Rena Chesak, who was then Newburg’s newly elected president, after a former village trustee accused her of violating an ethics policy when she’d served as a board member in 2018.

The ethics accusations, which centered around board discussions last year to renew a service contract with the local fire department where Chesak’s husband is chief, led to some occasionally tense exchanges at meetings this year. A former village president verbally confronted Chesak’s husband during a meeting in May, and a former police official publicly urged board members to sanction the new president as much as the law allowed. The board later declined to levy sanctions against Chesak.

West Bend School Board Evaluates Facilities Priorities

Wait… what?

Decorah, roofing projects top maintenance list

WEST BEND — The West Bend School Board recently toured district facilities to determine maintenance priorities following the failed April referendum, and for some members, it was the first time in a particular building.

[…]

Since the money that would have been allocated by the referendum is not available, funding is the big question attached to each of these district projects.

One item at the top of the long list is Decorah Elementary School.

“A front office remodel project will start as soon as school gets out for a new secure office entrance at Decorah Elementary,” Ongert said.

Another focuses on structural integrity of multiple buildings.

“Although not glamorous work, several buildings around the district will have sections of roofs replaced this summer,” he said. “Of our $1.4M annual capital budget, nearly $800,000 of that is spent on replacing roofs each and every year.”

Some of you might remember that we just went through a referendum process in West Bend. The District was asking to borrow $48 million ($84 million payback with interest) to build a new Jackson Elementary and do some major remodeling of the High School. The argument was made that these projects were absolutely critical for the safety and education of the kids. Presumably, these were projects that were so imperative that they required getting more money from the taxpayers – way above the already existing tax burden – to pay for it now. These projects were imperative… so we were told.

Fast forward a few weeks. The referendum was rejected. Some members of the school board (not all of them) toured all of the buildings in the district for the first time. And now we hear that Decorah Elementary and roofing projects are the highest priority? Setting aside the obvious point that the board members should have actually toured the buildings and determined priorities before going to referendum, why wouldn’t repairs on Jackson Elementary be a higher priority? Or refurbishing some of the allegedly ancient classrooms in the High School? So now the priority is remodeling the front office of Decorah Elementary?

I guess the issues at Jackson Elementary and the High School weren’t as critical, after all.

GOP Votes to Increase Spending

Argh.

Republicans on the Legislature’s budget committee voted Thursday night to increase vehicle title fees by $95 and registration fees by $10 to generate hundreds of millions for Wisconsin road projects in the next state budget.

Altogether, the moves would generate $393 million in new revenue for transportation, a total about $200 million less than Gov. Tony Evers wanted, but more than in any budget signed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Republicans would also use another $90 million from the state’s general fund to pay for road projects, bringing the total new funding to $484 million.

What are we up to now? $1 billion in additional spending? $2 billion? I lost count.

The Walker years were great for a lot of reasons, but one of the areas where he failed was to restrain government spending. Despite the wails to the contrary, government spending went up in every budget in Walker’s terms. Now that we have a Democrat governor, the spending is going to go up even further. The difference is that now the tax and fee increases are going with the spending.

Wisconsin is a tax hell because it’s government spends too much dang money. And nobody plans to change that.

Washington County Board Chairman Advocates for County Executive

Don Kriefall takes on the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” argument. Here’s a part:

We are in a good situation, both fiscally and operationally. The fact of the matter is that we are in the middle of an economic boom, and our geographic location makes us part of metro Milwaukee and like it or not, the economic development has already begun.

There is good reason that people have decided to live in Washington County, the No. 1 county in Wisconsin for quality of life. We want to preserve the values and unique characteristics that make Washington County so special. We want to be in a position to manage growth and thereby maintain and continue to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Washington County. In order to effectively manage the growth, all stakeholders, countywide, need to be brought to the table. An appropriate plan of action, beyond our current smart growth plans, must be developed and agreed upon by all the municipalities in Washington County in order for each community to benefit from those opportunities. One voice, one leader with the mandate of the citizens, should lead Washington County into the bright future that awaits us.

We need a leader that can leverage our industry and technical schools to train the workers needed to provide the goods and services necessary for our citizens and beyond. We need a leader that can create partnerships outside of Washington County to recruit the workers necessary to fill employment opportunities currently open and those that will be created in the future. We need a leader that can work with developers to construct housing for that workforce that is appropriate to the communities in which they will be built. We need a leader that can work with other counties to explore avenues of cooperation in shared services, equipment and infrastructure.

A system with 26 diverse supervisors cannot negotiate as one voice. A system with a part-time county chairperson is inadequate to lead as the CEO of Washington County. Yes, our current system “ain’t broke,” but it is insufficient to accomplish the ever evolving tasks necessary to manage growth now and into the future. That one voice needs to be a county executive that is accountable to the electorate and the time to elect that leader is now.

Mexico Makes Show of Stopping Migrants

Progress

Chaos erupted along a highway in southern Mexico when a caravan with some 1,000 Central American migrants on their way north was intercepted by a special law enforcement unit as the Mexican government escalates efforts to block asylum seekers from reaching the US in response to President Donald Trump’s tariff threats.

The group of migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, including many women and children, departed from Ciudad Hidalgo at the Mexico-Guatemala border early Wednesday morning and was bound for Tapachula, the principal city in the region.

The special unit of 200 military police, immigration agents and federal officers formed a blockade about 11 miles outside of Tapachula near the town of Metapa to confront the caravan, which was accompanied by state and local police.

While the vast majority of the migrants complied with law enforcement directives and boarded buses and immigration agency vehicles, some resisted and were wrestled to the ground by unarmed agents.

Public Records Must Be Provided in their Original Digital Format

Hurrah, hurrah.

A Wisconsin appeals court has affirmed that officials must provide copies of electronic records in their original format.

The decision, released Wednesday, upholds a lower court’s order requiring state Rep. Scott Krug, R-Wisconsin Rapids, to turn over electronic copies of emails requested by The Progressive magazine editor Bill Lueders.

Lueders, who is president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said the decision represents “a major win for requesters in Wisconsin.”

You might remember that I have been pushing for this for years. I file open records requests from time to time and it frustrates the heck out of me when governments insist on printing emails to give to me. It’s wasteful and imposes undue expenses on the requester for no good reason. I’m glad to see the courts insisting that government abide by the state’s Open Record Laws.

Hintz Goes All Hintz on a Former Friend

Stay classy, Oshkosh.

“You are a (expletive) loser,” Hintz wrote in a May 28 private message to Carver Siewert, a conservative business owner and onetime friend from Oshkosh. Hintz finished by calling Siewert an “(expletive).”

Siewert responded by dropping his own f-bombs and ordering Hintz to call his cell phone. Siewert wrote that he had already been in touch with an attorney about the incident.

[…]

Unfortunately, the Facebook thread that sparked the exchange has apparently been deleted by Hintz, who has declined to discuss the matter.

According to Siewert, the whole thing started when Hintz posted an item about the impact of not expanding Medicaid funding in the state. Siewert, a frequent Hintz critic, blasted the post, prompting someone else to call Siewert “sleazy.”

Siewert then pointed the finger at Hintz, saying he was the sleazy one for being ticketed for sexual misconduct at Heavenly Touch Massage Parlor in Appleton in 2011. Siewert also called out Hintz for shouting at a fellow legislator, “You’re (expletive) dead,” during the Act 10 controversy years ago.

That appeared to set off Hintz, who attacked Siewert, owner of Siewert Painting & Specialty Finishes, on Facebook and in private.

“He was just trying to smear my name,” Siewert said.

And there’s plenty of material there. Siewert has a spotty police record, including a misdemeanor bail-jumping and three drunken-driving convictions. He said he and Hintz used to be friends but now are simply acquaintances. The two went to high school together.

Pro-Child Bills Pass Legislature

My State Senator was on the right side of history.

Madison, WI – Today, the Wisconsin Senate passed a package of bills aimed at protecting human life and ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not subsidize abortion clinics. Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) authored Assembly Bill 183, which directs the state Department of Health Services to exclude abortion clinics from the state’s Medicaid program, better known as BadgerCare.

State and federal law prohibit taxpayer funds from directly paying for abortions, but under Medicaid, abortion clinics may be reimbursed for non-abortion services provided to consumers.

After the vote, Stroebel made the following statement:

“This bill ensures that taxpayer funds do not subsidize the operations of any abortion clinic, it does not reduce funding for women’s care by a single penny. The killing of unborn children is wrong, and no taxpayer dollars should go to clinics that engage in this practice. Unfortunately, Wisconsin taxpayers gave the state’s largest abortion provider $94 million between 2011 and 2018. This bill ends that subsidy while preserving the funds for use by other women’s care providers.

“Pro-life legislative majorities have previously redirected state and federal family planning dollars away from abortion clinics, and this bill continues that theme. Additionally, a number of other states, including Iowa, Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Missouri have enacted legislation to this effect.

“It is important to note that there are more federally qualified health centers in Wisconsin than there are abortion clinics, and the $94 million previously sent to abortion clinics will now be able to flow to these other providers to provide true women’s healthcare.”

Stroebel also voted in favor of legislation requiring physicians to provide care to children who survive an abortion attempt, prohibit abortions based on the sex or genetic condition of a child, and enhance informed consent and reporting requirements related to abortion procedures.

Yes, Evers will veto these bills in his quest to kill more babies, but at least he will have to act on it.