Migrant Mob Breaks into Mexico

The United States is under no moral obligation to allow this mob into our country.

Tapachula, Mexico (CNN)A chaotic scene unfolded as a massive caravan of Honduran migrants reached the Guatemala-Mexico border Friday.

A surge of migrants broke through a steel fence that had been padlocked shut. Mexican police in riot gear pushed them back, setting off smoke canisters.
Hundreds of Mexican Federal Police sealed the border as drones and helicopters hovered above the crowd, which waited on a bridge in sweltering heat.
Thousands of migrants are waiting to cross, according to CNN teams at the scene.

Tony Evers Heavily Plagiarized in Official Budget Request

Way to set an example for the school kids, Tony.

MADISON – State schools Superintendent Tony Evers submitted a budget request as his bid for governor heated up in September that included sections plagiarized from Wikipedia, a blog by an intern at a think tank and two other sources.

[…]

Evers’ budget request includes a 15-paragraph section on the benefits of summer school programs that is nearly verbatim to a blog post written by a Thomas B. Fordham Institute intern.

A section on the benefits of having students work matches nearly word for word a publication by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability. That section includes two paragraphs and a list of four benefits of having students work.

Two other paragraphs appear to be taken verbatim from other sources — one from the Afterschool Alliance and one from Wikipedia.

And this is telling…

A spokesman for Evers’ Department of Public Instruction acknowledged that “proper citation use was missed in certain places” of the budget request. Staff will be retrained but Evers does not plan to discipline anyone, according to the department.

Clearly there isn’t a culture of accountability in Evers’ DPI.

Getting Better Educational Outcomes

Maybe it’s not all about “finding yourself” and class size.

Today Singapore’s education system is considered the best in the world. The country consistently ranks at the top of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a triennial test of 15-year-olds in dozens of countries, in the main three categories of maths, reading and science. Singaporean pupils are roughly three years ahead of their American peers in maths. Singapore does similarly well in exams of younger children, and the graduates of its best schools can be found scattered around the world’s finest universities.

The island-state has much to teach the world. But other countries are reluctant pupils. One reason is that Singapore favours traditional pedagogy, with teachers leading the class. That contrasts with many reformers’ preference for looser, more “progressive” teaching intended to encourage children to learn for themselves. Although international studies suggest that direct instruction is indeed a good way of conveying knowledge, critics contend that Singapore has a “drill and kill” model that produces uncreative, miserable maths whizzes. Parents worry about the stress the system puts on their children (and on them, even as they ferry kids to extra classes).

Yet Singapore shows that academic brilliance need not come at the expense of personal skills. In 2015 Singaporean students also came first in a new PISA ranking designed to look at collaborative problem-solving, scoring even better than they did in reading and science. They also reported themselves to be happy—more so than children in Finland, for instance, a country that educationalists regard as an example of how to achieve exceptional results with cuddlier methods of teaching. Not content with its achievements, Singapore is now introducing reforms to improve creativity and reduce stress (see article). This is not a sign of failure, but rather of a gradual, evidence-led approach to education reform—the first of three lessons that Singapore offers the rest of the world.

[…]

The third and most important lesson is to focus on developing excellent teachers. In Singapore, they get 100 hours of training a year to keep up to date with the latest techniques. The government pays them well, too. It accepts the need for larger classes (the average is 36 pupils, compared with 24 across the OECD). Better, so the thinking goes, to have big classes taught by excellent teachers than smaller ones taught by mediocre ones.

I’d like to hear more ideas like this out of Evers and Walker instead of “we’re going to spend more on the same thing.”

I’d note that Singapore spends about $10k/year for high schoolers and about $7,700 per kid for elementary schoolers. Wisconsin spends about $11,500 per student. So Singapore is spending a good amount, but less than Wisconsin on education and getting far better results for their kids. Could it be that the answer to better education in Wisconsin isn’t about spending more money? The answer is changing the way we educate kids.

Cedarburg’s Pro-Referendum Propaganda at Taxpayers’ Expense

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about the sham referendum process in Cedarburg. Part of that process was the survey sent out by School Perceptions that was designed as propaganda – not an honest query of the community. MacIver took a closer look and has revealed just how shady that survey was.

Staff and parents of CSD students were emailed links to an online version of the survey, and then emailed multiple reminders to complete it.

Meanwhile, most local residents got a paper version via the U.S. Postal Service. The district mailed out 8,400 of the surveys—which many discarded as junk mail, according to the local newspaper.

While staff and parents got multiple emails linking directly to the survey and were encouraged to give their paper copy to another adult, everyone else had to go out of their way to request copies using snail mail.

To some, the heads-up to stakeholders more likely to support the ballot question feels more like a statistics trick than an unbiased effort to gauge public opinion. A MacIver News Service investigation in August raised concerns about bias in the district’s information-gathering effort.

“If there is a strategy behind the survey, then it isn’t really a survey and we shouldn’t call it one,” Cedarburg School Board member David Krier wrote in an April 22 email to Superintendent Todd Bugnacki.

Despite Krier’s protest, in two email blasts in the closing weeks of the survey, CSD officials urged parents and staff to fill out the survey online.

The May 22 and 29 emails signed by Bugnacki and the Cedarburg School Board encouraged staff to complete the survey electronically—and give their paper copies to another adult and have them complete that.

“If you reside in the District, you will receive a mailed survey as well and should encourage another adult (eligible to vote) in your home to take the Mail survey,” the email states.

“The involvement of our staff is critical in this process.”

Krier was concerned staff and parents, more likely to green light the referendum, would be able to skew the survey’s findings. Sending them links to the survey would boost their response rate compared with others in the community, like senior citizens.

But that was always the plan, Bugnacki said in a reply to Krier.

“The plan all along was to email the survey to parents, teachers, and staff. All residents within our school district boundaries have or will receive the survey via the mail. Additional surveys are available for families if needed,” Bugnacki wrote in a May 9 email.

Remember that the West Bend School District also used School Perceptions for their propaganda survey.

School Districts Fight to Avoid Tax Cut

From MacIver

[Madison, Wisc…] Homeowners in 148 school districts across Wisconsin will be getting an unexpected tax cut next year, but many of those districts would prefer to keep that a secret – and backfill those savings with new spending.

The reason for the tax cut is the termination of the Energy Efficiency Exemption (EEE). This loophole allowed school districts to raise taxes for supposed energy efficiency projects without going to referendum.

The energy savings on many of these projects is negligible. It will be decades before the savings justify the expense – which was considerable. Last year alone, districts collected an additional $92.3 million through the EEE. With the program eliminated, property taxes in those 148 school districts will automatically drop $92.3 million.

However, 21 of those districts see this as an opportunity to downplay the true tax impact of their referendums on next month’s ballot. For example, the Hartford J1 School District has a referendum for $5.5 million. According to the district’s website, “If the referendum is approved, there would be no impact on current school tax rates over the life of the 15-year borrowing term.”

Southern Door County Schools has a $6,270,000 building referendum that “would not increase your taxes over current levels.”

The Edgerton School District has been more transparent about this tactic than most. It’s trying to convince local residents that a $40.6 million building referendum plus a $1.25 million recurring annual operating referendum will only raise their tax rate by less than a dollar. The finance director, Todd Wehner, openly describes this tactic as a “levy opportunity or a levy shelf.”

Treasury Official Arrested for Leaking Confidential Documents

Deep state.

Edwards was found with a flash drive containing the confidential reports when she was arrested Tuesday, the Justice Department said, along with a cellphone containing messages to the reporter.

Investigators say that on a single day in August she ‘exchanged approximately 541 messages’ with the reporter via an encrypted app, and that she used the same app to send the documents during the past year.

Suspicious Activity Reports are documents that banks file with the government when they spot potentially illegal transactions.

They ‘are not public documents, and it is an independent federal crime to disclose them outside of one’s official duties,’ U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said.

Edwards is charged with one count of ‘unauthorized disclosures of suspicious activity reports’ and one count of ‘conspiracy to make unauthorized disclosures of suspicious activity reports.’

Wisconsin Politician Invited Folks to “Vicky’s Secret Party” with Prizes for “girl goin’ the hardest”

Oh wait… it’s Mandela Barnes? Never mind. The Democrats are making it clear this election that power is more important than respect for women *cough Keith Ellison*

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Mandela Barnes was tagged as the co-host of a lingerie party in 2009 when he was 22, extending an online invitation that joked about “stimulus packages” and used derogatory slang to refer to people who would be turned away.

Barnes, now 31, is Tony Evers’ running mate after winning his primary in August. He served in the state Assembly from 2013 to 2017.

[…]

But the 2009 invitation to the “Pretty in Pink a Vicky Secret Affair” took a different tone. The invitation is unsigned, but Barnes is listed at the top as one of nine hosts. He also commented on the invitation, which was still publicly available on Facebook as of Tuesday afternoon but was deleted after the AP inquired about it.

The invitation refers to past parties, promising that the one scheduled for Sept. 11, 2009, in Whitewater would be “even bigger and better than the last time!!!” The invitation said that 203 people went to the party and 381 were interested.

Cash prizes and a Victoria’s Secret gift basket were being offered “for the girl goin’ the hardest in her Vicky’s!!!” The post also said, “Somebody said its a recession, so if you the baddest, it may be a stimulus package for you!!!”

Referencing men who planned to attend, the invitation told men that security would be there “handin’ out free choke slams and sleeper holds!!!” But it goes on to say, “Its a Vicky’s Secret party, why would you wanna roll on the ground wit a dud anyway???”

Recruitment Issues

Here’s a stunning, if not surprising, bit of data in the Washington County Daily News:

According to a news release, 71 percent of the nation’s youth are ineligible for military service. The most common reasons for exclusion are obesity, drug use, low aptitude and physical and/or mental health issues. Muth said obesity is the “largest disqualifier” at about 31 percent.

On the other hand, I would question the need for physical fitness for many jobs. In an era where many military jobs – even combat roles -involve sitting at a computer, who cares how many sit-ups the person can do? Cyberwarfare is probably fought best by the Cheetos-eating basement-dwellers.

Democrats Accuse Republican of Being Drunk

Is this a door they really want to open?

Shilling’s comments coincide with campaign literature being mailed to voters in Kooyenga’s suburban Milwaukee district by a Democratic group that highlights a $30,000 settlement Kooyenga paid after taking a protester’s sign in the Capitol.

The mailer also accuses Kooyenga of being “drunk at work,” referring to floor speeches Kooyenga made in July 2015 after a bomb threat at the Capitol prompted some lawmakers to have beers across the street before the threat was cleared.

The Wisconsin Leadership Committee is behind the postcard.

The group recently reported to Wisconsin election officials it was spending $84,000 in online ads against Kooyenga and three other Republicans running for the state Senate. For contact information, the group listed an address and phone number belonging to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C.

I don’t know if Kooyenga was a bit tipsy or not. But Wisconsin legislators of both parties have been taking to the floor after drinking for decades – especially when they are doing those 30-hour budget sessions. I imagine a drunk Kooyenga still makes more sense than half the Democrats when they are sober!

Close the dark store loophole

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

If you are voting in West Bend, be sure to turn over your ballot. Like many municipalities in Wisconsin, West Bend’s voters are being asked to weigh in on whether or not the state Legislature should close the so-called “dark store loophole” in the property tax laws. The question is: “Should the state Legislature enact proposed legislation that closes the Dark Store loopholes, which currently allow commercial retail properties to significantly reduce the assessed valuation and property tax of such properties, resulting in a substantial shift in taxes levied against other tax paying entities, such as residential home owners, and/or cuts in essential services provided by an affected municipality?”

At issue is how commercial properties are valued for the purposes of property taxes. In a pure sense, the value of anything is the price that a willing buyer is willing to pay to a willing seller. For tax purposes, the government must assess what that price might be.

Residential properties are relatively easy to assess. Based on the condition, size and location of a house, the assessor can compare it to similar houses that have recently sold and come up with a reasonable price. Assessing the value of commercial properties is far more difficult and much more subjective than residential properties. There are at least five common, but different, ways to calculate the value of commercial property for tax and accounting purposes.

In Wisconsin, government assessors have generally set the value of commercial real estate based on how much the property is worth based on the property being occupied and generating revenue for the owners. For example, a retail store in a great location that generates millions of dollars for the owners is worth quite a bit to the owner — even if the property would not be worth as much to a different owner.

In recent years, several of Wisconsin’s largest commercial property owners like Walmart, Menards, Walgreens, etc. have been suing municipalities to have the value of their properties lowered based on the “dark store” method of valuation. Under this method, the value of the property is calculated based on what it would be if the store were empty. In other words, the companies want the value of the property to be set at what that they think they could sell it for if they closed up shop and left. Commercial property owners have been winning appeals of their property assessments under this theory across Wisconsin and drastically lowering their property tax bills.

Both valuation methods are equally valid, in an economic sense, but have vastly different outcomes for Wisconsin. As more commercial properties are valued under the dark store valuation method, they are paying far less in property taxes. The result is that local governments must either reduce spending to account for the reduction in taxes being collected, or shift the property tax burden to residential propertyowners.

Let’s look at one small example. In West Bend, Walgreens’ two stores were once valued at $14 million. Last year, Walgreens appealed under the dark store theory and won, thus reducing the combined assessed value of the two properties to $4.8 million. That change in value reduced Walgreens property tax obligation by a whopping $180,000 per year. Each of the local governments that rely on property taxes for funding now have to find a way to fill that hole. Multiply this equation by dozens or hundreds of commercial properties in each municipality in Wisconsin and the hole becomes impossible to fill.

While there are several perfectly rational and valid ways to determine the value of commercial properties, Wisconsin needs to determine a uniform and fair way that will be used for the purpose of property taxes. Closing the dark store loophole is a good step toward that goal.

Big Fitz Backs Walker on Pre-Existing Conditions

Unpopular opinion: the government mandating that private companies cover pre-existing conditions is still horrible public policy that inflates prices, distorts the market, hurts consumers, and undermines the entire concept of insurance. The whole point of insurance is to cover something that might happen… not something that already has happened. It’s a shame that Republicans have adopted this as part of their platform. Obama moved the line closer to socialism with Obamacare and the Republicans followed.

Speaking with reporters after a WisPolitics.com Q&A luncheon, Fitzgerald raised doubts about whether there would be enough votes in the Senate’s Republican majority to pass legislation requiring insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. But several hours later, after media reports on his comments, he released a statement saying the Senate would, in fact, pass such a bill if needed.

“Pre-existing conditions are covered right now, and I support that policy. If it becomes necessary to cover them in the future, the senate would pass a bill to do so,” Fitzgerald said in a statement released early Tuesday evening.

Walker has promised throughout his re-election campaign that he will preserve insurance coverage for Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions, even if the federal requirement to do so under the Affordable Care Act is struck down. With Walker’s approval, Wisconsin is part of a multi-state lawsuit seeking to overturn the Obama-era health care law.

Close the dark store loophole

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here’s a taste:

At issue is how commercial properties are valued for the purposes of property taxes. In a pure sense, the value of anything is the price that a willing buyer is willing to pay to a willing seller. For tax purposes, the government must assess what that price might be.

Curry’s Bait and Switch

Heh.

The foundation representing basketball player Stephen Curry and his wife, author and television personality Ayesha Curry, recently donated between $10,000 to $100,000 to the Obama Foundation, the updated contributors report reveals.

[…]

The Curry family’s donation was the result of auctioning off customized, hand-painted Under Armour sneakers to benefit the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

Here’s the story from when Curry held the auction.

WASHINGTON (AP) — You can own a pair of shoes worn in a game by Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry — and support a cause, to boot.

Curry posted on Instagram that he’ll be auctioning off the sneakers he wore in Golden State’s game at the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night to raise money for My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

He says the effort “was created to reduce barriers and expand opportunity” in support of “young men and boys of color in their pursuit of achievement and higher success in life.”

So Curry auctioned off the shoes saying that the proceeds would go to benefit “young men and boys of color” and instead gives the money to Obama. Cool.

Walker Proposes Increased Spending on Roads

Again… sigh… Walker is vowing to spend more money. I already voted for Walker and he is a far better choice than Evers, but it’s hard to get excited about his platform of trying to outspend the Democrats. Perhaps he should focus on energizing his Republican base instead of trying to appeal to the 3% of undecideds. How about eliminating the income tax or something… bold.

STEVENS POINT— State support for town roads would jump from 42 percent to 58 percent in the next state budget, Governor Walker announced this morning at the Wisconsin Towns Association Annual Convention in Stevens Point.

“We provided the largest amount in state history for town road aids in this state budget, and our proposal for the next budget adds even more support for Wisconsin’s towns,” said Governor Walker. “Maintaining our transportation system is a top priority, and our plan will help ensure we have a safe and reliable system for families and businesses across the state.”

General Transportation Aids (GTAs) are largely disbursed on a per mile basis for towns. The proposed increase would amount to more than $900 per mile in state funding for a total per mile disbursement of more than $3,300. This represents a 58 percent state funding level for town roads. If approved, this investment would represent the largest level of funding for town GTAs in state history. Governor Walker set the previous state record for GTAs disbursed to towns last year with the state covering $2,389 per mile which represents 42 percent of covered costs.

Walker Vows to Return to Two-Thirds Funding of K-12

Sigh… once again, a Republican plays into the Democrat paradigm. It’s not about hitting some arbitrary funding amount or percentage. That is not accomplishing anything. It’s about improving educational outcomes for our kids. Unless Walker can articulate how this will improve outcomes, it’s just wasting more of the taxpayers’ money to get the same results.

[Madison, Wis.] – On Monday, Scott Walker announced that he is restoring the two-thirds funding of education by the state of Wisconsin that was instituted under Governor Tommy Thompson – and discarded by Democrats – while continuing to cut taxes for hard-working Wisconsin families. The governor released the following statement:

“We will fund two-thirds of school costs in our next state budget. Our good fiscal management and positive reforms, plus a strong economy, allowed us to make the largest actual-dollar investment in schools in our state budget while still lowering property taxes. Looking ahead, we will fully restore the two-thirds commitment made by former Governor Tommy Thompson. Tony Evers wants to undo our reforms. That would take money out of the classroom and away from students and he would allow property taxes to go up to pay for it.”

Progressive Income Taxes

Oh, so progressive.

Americans who earned in the top 1 per cent paid more individual income tax than the bottom 90 per cent combined in 2016, according to new figures released by the Internal Revenue Service.

That year, the United States government collected a total of $1.44trillion from 140.9 million income taxpayers, according to the IRS.

These filers reported a total of $10.2trillion in adjusted gross income.

The statistics show that the top 50 per cent of all taxpayers paid 97 per cent of total individual income taxes.

The bottom 50 per cent paid the same amount of income tax as the top 0.001 per cent, according to the IRS figures compiled by Bloomberg.

That means approximately 1,400 taxpayers – who make up the top .001 per cent – paid 3.25 per cent of all income taxes.

Interestingly, the tax reform last year that was supposed to be, according to the lefties, be a giveaway to the rich, actually resulted in the rich paying a higher percentage.

In 2018, the top 20 per cent of income earners – those earning at least $150,000 a year – will pay 87 percent of income tax, according to the Tax Policy Center.

That is an increase from about 84 per cent of income tax that the top 20 per cent paid in 2017.

The figures show that 1,400 taxpayers paid about the same amount of taxes as 70 million taxpayers who earn incomes that are in the bottom 50 per cent

The highest earners – those making $3.2million a year – who account for the top 0.1 per cent will pay 22 per cent of all income tax in 2018.

That is an increase from 18.9 per cent in 2017.

US Threatens Saudi Arabia over Alleged Killing

We are at a new place in our nation’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia warned on Sunday that it will respond to threats and political pressure with tough measures of its own after President Donald Trump said the oil-rich kingdom deserves “severe punishment” if responsible for the disappearance and suspected murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

The apparent threat of economic retaliation from the world’s top oil exporter came after a turbulent day on the Saudi stock exchange, which plunged as much as 7 percent at one point.

The statement was issued as international concern grew over the writer who vanished on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul over a week ago. American lawmakers have threated sanctions against the Saudis, and Germany, France and Britain jointly called on Sunday for a “credible investigation” into Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Khashoggi, who wrote critically of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom has called such allegations “baseless” but has not offered any evidence Khashoggi ever left the consulate.

For generations, the United States and Europe would look past Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses because we needed their oil to fuel the economy. Those days are over. Thanks to American innovation and fracking, the US is now the largest producer of oil in the world and the world’s largest exporter of oil. Saudi Arabia’s importance in world affairs has diminished.

There is still risk to isolating Saudi Arabia. They have been a force of stability in an unstable region. And they are still a major oil producer whose behavior can impact the world economy. But it isn’t like it used to be.

UWO Staff Frets about Cuts Despite Decline in Enrollment

This is funny. A professor whines about staff cuts.

OSHKOSH (WLUK) –Concerns among UW-Oshkosh faculty are rising as the school plans to reduce positions.

“The impact is going to be on the students, and that’s unfortunate,” said political science professor, David Siemers.

Siemers said faculty work load would go up; he blames the significant reduction in state support.

“This is an intentional financial crisis of the states choosing, we didn’t create that problem,” said Siemers.

Siemers said more classes for each faculty member means less attention for each student, and a less quality education.

In the SAME STORY…

“We’re down about 1,800 students undergraduate students in the last five years. So as a result we simply cannot support the same size faculty and staff,” said Leavitt.

Looking at the 6 fall semesters prior to the current one, there was a 15% decline in enrollment. The university said that’s essentially a loss of nearly $10 million.

It seems to me that the UWO staff has been enjoying a reduced workload for years without nary a peep. Now that the school is finally (way too slow) taking a tiny bit of action to rightsize the staffing level to the number of students, Professor Siemers is fretting. Whatever.

Jared Kushner Obeyed the Law

This is really trashy journalism.

Over the past decade, Jared Kushner’s family company has spent billions of dollars buying real estate. His personal stock investments have soared. His net worth has quintupled to almost $324 million.

And yet, for several years running, Mr. Kushner — President Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser — appears to have paid almost no federal income taxes, according to confidential financial documents reviewed by The New York Times.

His low tax bills are the result of a common tax-minimizing maneuver that, year after year, generated millions of dollars in losses for Mr. Kushner, according to the documents. But the losses were only on paper — Mr. Kushner and his company did not appear to actually lose any money. The losses were driven by depreciation, a tax benefit that lets real estate investors deduct a portion of the cost of their buildings from their taxable income every year.

[…]

Nothing in the documents suggests Mr. Kushner or his company broke the law. A spokesman for Mr. Kushner’s lawyer said that Mr. Kushner “paid all taxes due.”

So the story is that Jared Kushner followed the law to grow his business and pay his taxes. That’s it.

So why did the New York Times feel the need to write the story? Why did they write the headline as, “Kushner Paid No Federal Income Tax for Years, Documents Suggest”? Because they are intentionally stoking one of the basest emotions – jealousy. This isn’t journalism. It’s voyeurism. 

Jared Kushner is a man who followed the law to minimize his taxes. Don’t we all do that?

 

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

New baseball coach for West Bend West Spartans

West Bend West has a new head baseball coach as Dan D’Amico has been hired to fill the post following the end-of-season retirement of Billy Albrecht. D’Amico, 31, is currently a teacher at Waukesha North High School.

“An opportunity to coach a team like West Bend West doesn’t come up every day,” said D’Amico. “Having coached a summer team for the last six years and playing high school summer baseball myself the tradition of West Bend West is hard to miss. I was well aware going in of what success coach Albrecht had in the past.”

D’Amico mentioned the strong tradition of baseball in the community of West Bend overall.

The WIAA spring baseball season starts in March 2019.  D’Amico said he realizes baseball fans are not familiar with starting a season in the snow but it should be an enjoyable experience.

“This will be a good situation for West Bend West because it will allow the kids to play more baseball,” he said. “They’ll get a chance to play for their high school in the spring and they’ll get a chance to play club or with some travel team in the summer.”

D’Amico was more than familiar that he was coming into a new stadium situation as Carl Kuss Memorial Field is undergoing an extensive upgrade. “Fortunately I was able to play in the last regular season game at Regner,” he said. “We played West Bend East in the last game before the playoffs.

“I’m well aware of the history of the stadium and it’s a beautiful stadium and I think the upgrade is going to be a wonderful opportunity for both schools and the community and I’m excited to see what it looks like,” he said.

D’Amico was coach of the Waukesha North boys varsity baseball team for the past five seasons. He started as an Assistant Varsity/JV Head Coach in 2013 and became head coach the last four years. D’Amico attended UW-Stevens Point where he majored in Physical Education. He is currently a Phy Ed teacher as well as a football and track assistant coach at Waukesha North.

Questioned whether he will be changing jobs and teaching in the West Bend School District, D’Amico said, “My students ask me that 15 times a day and right now there’s no teaching job that’s been offered to me and I plan on staying in Waukesha as long as they’ll have me.”

Albrecht coached WB West baseball team for 13 years. He retired the end of the 2018 season.

Soft opening for Culaccino Bar + Italian Kitchen

The opening of Culaccino Bar + Italian Kitchen, 110 Wisconsin Street, is so close…. you can almost taste it. The new outdoor sign went up Friday afternoon just in time for a soft, soft opening this weekend. It’s an invite-only sort of event, which will run the next couple of days as the staff gets its footing. Pronounced cool-lah-chino, the modern Italian restaurant is the homegrown concept of Bibinger’s owner Travis Dowden. Designed to deliver Italian-inspired, honest cooking, with an emphasis on using the highest quality ingredients, locally-sourced whenever possible. The new sign for Culaccino was produced by Odd Job Shop in West Bend.

New sign in place at Washington County Fair Park

The folks at Washington County Fair Park took the new sign on Highway 45 for a test drive on Thursday afternoon and lit up the LED board. The new digital sign is about twice the size of the old and it’s in color; staff said the goal was an easier read for motorists along the highway. Also new: the lettering across the top, a larger banner for the Fair Park & Conference Center and a larger banner for the Washington County 4H. The project was completed by SignEffectz.Inc.

Ground breaking Monday, Oct. 15 for new West Bend Medical

Construction is underway for the new West Bend Medical at 140 E. Water Street in West Bend.

The 13,125-square-foot building will be located on the northeast corner of Water Street just east of Wisconsin Street (across from the old Dublin’s Restaurant). The groundbreaking will be held on Monday, Oct. 15 at 6:15 p.m. “We are excited for the opportunity to bring our brand of healthcare back to the heart of West Bend,” said Dr. Chad Tamez.

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

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

Development in Germantown

Although construction is already underway on 140 acres in Germantown, a ceremonial groundbreaking was held Tuesday afternoon to acknowledge the new Briggs & Stratton facility and Germantown’s future Gateway Corporate Park.

Stats on development include:

-706,000-square-foot industrial distribution facility for Briggs & Stratton Corporation.

-Gateway Corporate Park will be home to future build-to-suit projects up to 1.4 million square feet.

-To put the project into perspective, the Amazon development in Kenosha is 1 million square feet and the Germantown development is 700,000+ square feet.

-Thirty jobs will be created at the distribution facility.

Christian Tscheschlok, Executive Director of Economic Development Washington County, said the county EDWC got involved in April 2018 and made quick work of helping secure the project.

“This is exciting on so many levels because really what it’s showing is the opportunity in front of us right now as it relates to some of the spillover from the Foxconn effect,” said Tscheschlok.

“You’re seeing the market heat up so substantially in southeast Wisconsin and some of the effect for Washington County will be to leverage the position we have to be able to tap into multiple labor sheds, available space and land that is still cost effective for development and new opportunity and a workforce that’s highly skilled and you put all that together and we represent a significant place for economic development that’s going to come off of some of the challenges they’re already facing already in the Kenosha/Racine area.”

-Guest speakers included Chad Navis, Director of Industrial Investments – Zilber Property Group, Dean Wolter, Village Board President in Germantown, John Kersey, Executive Vice President with Zilber Property Group and Bill Harlow, Director of Global Distribution and Warehousing Briggs & Stratton.

-Target completion date for Briggs distribution facility is April 1, 2019.

West Bend School Board votes 6-1 on 2018-19 teacher contract

The 2018-19 teacher collective bargaining agreement was approved on a 6-1 vote during Monday night’s West Bend School Board meeting. Ken Schmidt was the only dissenting vote.

Dave Hammelmann with the West Bend School District said, “We did complete the WBEA teachers union and we had two negotiation meetings in September.

“The negotiations did end in at impasse for both 2017-18 and 2018-19 so in general where we ended up is within the preliminary budget you all approved and authorization was given to that.

“In general it’s a 2 percent across-the-board increase for teachers which includes the teachers making over $70,000 who in the past had been at a cap. So they received in the past a cash-in-lieu-of payment instead of a natural base increase. So this plan does include that so I’m pleased to say that’s where we are.”

Ken Schmidt said he would be voting ‘no’ on the proposed contract.

“I have no problem with the amount of dollars that will be disseminated however the way they are disseminated is a challenge for me. Across-the-board base wages makes us as a district locked into that increase and that can have repercussions for the future, especially if we get into tight budget years.

“This economy is on steroids, we’ve got a great economy and because of that property values are up. There’s a high demand for housing and so on and that means there will be more taxes coming into the coffers but that’s not always going to be the case. Property values can go down and have a bad economy and then what do we do?

“Maybe give a partial across-the-board increase that would be ok with a maybe a bonus but … 2 percent lock it in across the board I think that locks us in as a district to maybe some obligations we may have problems with in the future and have to cut this or that to fund this increase, we could even be facing an operational referendum and I don’t want to see that in the West Bend School District.

“I think there’s a more reasonable way of providing this increase to our faculty and support staff.”

Board members voting in favor of the contract include Tiffany Larson, Nancy Justman, Joel Ongert, Tonnie Schmidt, Chris Zwygart, and Kurt Rebholz.

Details on the compensation package regarding health insurance and benefits included in the contract were not provided.

Superintendent Don Kirkegaard said after the meeting all teachers were treated the same. “Everybody got a flat 2 percent and that was true for all the support staff as well,” he said.

Questioned how teachers will be encouraged to excel if they’re all treated the same, Kirkegaard said, “At this time we do not have a quality process in place that addresses performance, all of the different things. That’s not there and that’s one of the things we’re going to work on for this year is to try to put something back in place so for future years you potentially have a flat amount but you also provide additional incentives based on certain criteria and that’s what we’ll work on this year.”

Paying tribute to Jeff Klotz

Funeral services were held Friday for Jeffrey Steven Klotz who was called to be with the Lord and his older brother, Daniel, on Oct. 5, 2018 at age 61.

Since the news broke about Jeff’s death many have written memories and tributes. A collection of thoughts and comments are below:

Jenny Kruse-Zaskowski – Our thoughts and prayers to Jeff’s family. As a very frequent shopper he is a testimonial to true leadership. He was always working side by side with all of his youth employees. He instilled great work ethic in his entire staff and showed customer and community service like no other. What a loss to our community.

Valery Brussat  – A great loss to our community. Sending prayers to his family.

Debra Jurcek  – What a great loss and shock. Just recently I asked him to stock something for me and a week or so later it was at the store. He really cared for his customers. Prayers to his family.

Grant Baehmann – What a wonderful man and boss he was. He will be deeply missed.

Sharon Grammel (Duckett)  – Jeff was a great boss and mentor when I worked for him and Carole back in the early 80’s at Benidts Red Owl. I am just shocked and saddened. He will truly be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Klotz family.

Anna Marie – My first summer job. I remember for lunch he’d always ask me to make him a hot ham sandwich on a Kaiser roll with plenty of horseradish sauce. He was a good man to work for and always with a smile on his face.

Barb Datka Redman – So sad. Jeff gave my son his first job. He was/is a very good man and his will be felt by the entire community.

Lisa Ryan – What a huge loss. I will forever remember a tall blonde haired man, always saying hello to me. Jeff? You were a man who cared about his customers and treated those customers as friends. RIP dear man. I wish your family peace and comfort in your memory.

Pattie Coffelt Philipps – So sad to hear this. We’re regular customers and always saw Jeff working at the store. Always a smile and hello. Heartfelt sympathy for his family, friends, and employees.

AnnMarie Corbett- Prayers to the family! He always greeted everyone with a smile and a Hello…The store won’t be the same without him!

Tom Jensen -He will be terribly missed. Jeff was a natural leader who taught by doing and not by intimidation. From him, I learned to importance of hard work, friendliness, and never giving up until the job was done. These examples were important for this snot-nosed kid in 1980 at the old Red Owl on Washington Street. God Bless you Jeff.

Jenny Schulteis – He was absolutely a quiet community leader. He helped D11SC, Inc. With our Thanksgiving and Christmas meal initiatives to provide meals for local families in need. He was happy to so this with a joyful heart.

Larry Last-  I was shocked. Jeff as so many say will be missed. A pillar in the community, always supporting events and teams and more. Gave so many jobs to teens. My most favorite grocer ever. Always ready to great customers with that kind and caring spirit. You have been a great example to me and so so many more. Prayers to all your loved ones Sir. Rest in Peace and we all shall meet again on the other side.

Josh Wiedmeyer – He is going to be truly missed. My daughters and I shop every Saturday morning at the Pig. Jeff always said hi and would go out his way to help. How many grocery store owners today are still on the floor stocking, shelf facing or just being completely approachable? He was one of the very last of those guys and the very reason I would shop a grocery store. He was awesome!

Mark Hoefert – I remember when Jeff started working at the Red Owl store in West Bend, as the Assistant Manager to Gregg Benidt who had purchased the store. The Benidt family owned numerous grocery stores in Waukesha at the time – as I recall, Jeff had worked for them before they bought the West Bend store. Gregg himself died at a young age in a tragic car accident near his home on east Paradise Road in the Town of Trenton. I used to tell Jeff that someday he would own the Red Owl store and he would laugh at me. I was 1/2 right – he may not have become the owner of the Red Owl store, but he did become owner of his own Piggly Wiggly. I don’t think I ever knew a more positive, upbeat guy. Always smiling.

Lisa Lange I can’t wrap my head around this news. I just saw you last week. Jeff I have known you for many years. You always had a smile on your face when I ran into you at the Pig. I watched your kids and even worked for you and Carole in High School. Sending many thoughts and prayers. R.I.P Jeff.

Jeff never met a golf course he wouldn’t play, a mountain he wouldn’t hike, or a person he wouldn’t help. A masterful and hilarious storyteller. A good man, a great man, and a great loss.

Halloween Trick or Treat in Washington County                By Samantha Sali

Halloween is almost here. Here are some of the trick-or-treat times for Washington, Ozaukee, and Dodge Counties.

Thursday, October 25, 2018  – Mayville (Downtown), 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 27, 2018  – Cedarburg, 5 – 8 p.m., Grafton, 5 – 8 p.m., Farmington, 4 – 7 p.m., Hartford (Downtown), 1:00 – 2:30 p.m., Kewaskum, 5 – 7 p.m., Port Washington, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Downtown Trick or Treat (Participating businesses will have a pumpkin in the window.) 4 – 7 p.m. city-wide trick or treat, Richfield, 3 – 6 p.m., Slinger, 5 – 7 p.m. (Afterward families are welcome to a free event as Spooky Slinger will be held from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Slinger Community Park with music, pumpkin carving contest, costume contest, food and beverages.), Trenton, 4 – 6 p.m., West Bend, 4 – 6 p.m.

Sunday, October 28, 2018 – Addison, 3:00 – 6 p.m., Belgium, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Jackson, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Mayville (City), 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Mequon, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Saukville, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Thiensville, 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018  Halloween – Germantown, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Hartford (City), 6 – 8 p.m.

Updates & tidbits

– The doors at Good Shepherd Lutheran and Little Lambs Child Care will be open to the community this Sunday, Oct. 14, from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Tours of Good Shepherd and Little Lambs Child Care, treats, door prizes and more. Bring your friends and relatives to see the blessings showered on Good Shepherd and the vision to connect to Christ, each other and our community. Join in the activities and the fun.

– There’s a complimentary session on Monday, Oct. 15 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in West Bend on how to plan to finance a college education. RSVP at 262-224-5058 or email peter.kapler@thrivent.com

– Keller Inc. carried out its 4th annual Police Dedication and presented about a dozen checks for $2,500 each to area police departments including Germantown Police Department.

In-person absentee voting is underway in Washington County for the Nov. 6 General Election.

– The VFW Post #1393 in West Bend, 260 Sand Drive, is gearing up to host its annual spaghetti dinner on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.. All money raised goes to the organizations general fund. Bring the family and come join us.

– The Allenton Volunteer Fire Department and St. Lawrence Fire Company have announced plans for their annual Pancake Breakfast and Open House in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week. This year’s event will be Sunday, Oct. 14 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the Allenton Fire Department.

-American Legion Post 36 will host a brat fry on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 and 27 at Highway 33 and 15th Avenue in West Bend. Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Proceeds go to local veterans programs.

– The annual Interfaith Tea is just around the corner and you’re invited. This year’s theme is Tailgating. Celebrity waiters will serve you and your guests and there will be an amazing silent auction, a fun purse auction, 50-50 raffle and a beer and wine pull. Lots of fun on tap and all for a good cause. Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County is a local organization that matches volunteers with senior citizens to help with doctor appointments, shopping, cleaning and just paying it forward. Reserve your seat today and contact Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County.  See you Oct. 14 at the West Bend Mutual Prairie Center.

– Hartford’s H.e.l.p. Corner at Redeemer Church is slated to open mid-September.

– 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.

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