Deadly Easter Explosions Rip Across Sri Lanka

Prayers for our Christian family who are suffering this Easter Day.

The first reports of explosions came at about 08:45 (03:15 GMT) local time – with six blasts reported within a small space of time.

Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district were targeted during Easter services and blasts also rocked the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the country’s capital.

As police hunted those responsible, two further explosions were reported.

One blast hit near the zoo in Dehiwala, southern Colombo, and an eighth was reported near the Colombo district of Dematagoda during a police raid, killing three officers.

It remains unclear who was behind the attacks, but 13 arrests were made by police on Sunday.

The government has said they believe suicide bombs were used at some of the sites.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Rumor resolved regarding possible Denny’s restaurant at Kwik Trip in Richfield

 There’s been quite a bit of scuttlebutt regarding the future Kwik Trip at the old Richfield Truck Stop, 2900 State Road 167 in Richfield. Yes, it’s true the old Richfield Truck Stop has been leveled. It’s true a new Kwik Trip is moving in. It will include a new gas station, convenience store and car wash and is expected to employ up to 80 people.

But no, it is NOT true a Denny’s restaurant will be included in the plan.

Troy Mleziva is the head of real estate for Kwik Trip. “Richfield… no Denny’s at the Kwik Trip there. That’s just somebody’s rumor.” One of the thoughts that may have sparked the rumor is Denny’s and Kwik Trip have teamed up in the past. In 2015 cspdailynews.com posted a story in its food service column about four new Kwik Trip stores carrying Denny’s restaurants.

Kwik Trip Inc. has forged a deal with Denny’s to open full-service restaurants at four of the convenience-store and travel center retailer’s locations, Denny’s CEO John Miller said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. The Kwik Trip in Richfield is expected to open in November/December 2019.

Erin Hills to host 2025 U.S. Women’s Open and 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships

Erin Hills has been selected as the host site for the 2025 U.S. Women’s Open and 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships.

The U.S. Women’s Open, the ultimate test in women’s golf, will be contested May 29-June 1. The 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur will be played Sept. 10-15, with Blue Mound Golf and Country Club, in Wauwatosa, Wis., serving as the stroke-play co-host course.

“We are thrilled to return to Erin Hills, and to bring the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Mid-Amateur to such a memorable and deserving course,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “To bring these championships to a public facility all golfers can enjoy is especially exciting for us. The USGA has a great relationship with the facility, and Erin Hills has proven to be one of the premier golf venues in the nation as well as an excellent test.”

The championships will be the fourth and fifth USGA championships conducted at Erin Hills.

Tree dedication in Hartford on Saturday, April 20 for Logan Johnson

There will be a tree dedication for Logan Johnson at noon on April 20. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Logan Johnson was a healthy 8-year-old boy when he was diagnosed with an illness called Myocarditis (Inflammation of the heart) which doctors believe was caused by Parvovirus B-19 (known as 5th disease).

The nightmare began May 6, 2017. Logan played a soccer game that morning. He had been sick with a low-grade fever the day before and seemed to be feeling better, but the game wore him out and the fever returned. Later that day, he complained of pain in his chest and abdomen. He collapsed at home and was taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital. After many hours and extensive tests, ultrasounds, and lab work – he was diagnosed with Myocarditis. He was placed on life support to try to save him.

After three excruciating weeks in the hospital, Logan went to heaven and is now safe in the arms of Jesus. Two days prior to becoming ill Logan asked his mom what his purpose was and why God made him. Little did this 8-year-old know that his story and journey would touch so many lives and bring people closer to their faith in God.

On April 20 there will also be free lunch from 12:30 to 2:30 at the concession stand consisting of a hot dog and chips. Everyone is invited to get together to remember Logan.

Additionally, there will be “A Love for Logan” fundraising jar out on April 20 at the concession stand, all proceeds for “Love for Logan” go to Children’s Hospital.

The Hartford Soccer club has planted several trees at Independence Park to honor the memory of our players whose lives have ended too young, as an outward remembrance for those missed and to remind everyone to enjoy life and “get out there and play.”

This most recent tree planted and to be dedicated on April 20 at noon is in honor of Logan Johnson, a Hartford Soccer Club player who passed from heart disease in 2017. We look forward to everyone coming to celebrate Logan’s life with us!

The rainbow eggers are selling like hot cakes at West Bend Elevator

The chicks are in at West Bend Elevator and they’re selling like hot cakes. The chicks are a day or two old.  “We’d name our chicks Peach and Fuzz,” said Dana. The chicks are yellow, black, and orange and if you get the ones with the colorful heads then the eggs will be multicolored (true fact those are called rainbow eggers). The weather is still a bit cool and West Bend Elevator recommends a heat lamp. The chicks are all about a day or two old and they’re going for $4.50 apiece. If these sell out, he next shipment is expecting May.

Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School Succeeds at State Forensics | By Megan Himm

Students from Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School (KML) participated in the state forensics meet on April 13. The event took place on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Students only did their piece once and immediately received score sheets after all performances in the room were completed.  After they took their score sheets back to their coach who would later get their medals.

A perfect score of 25 earned a gold medal, a score of 23-24 earned a silver medal, a score of 20-22 earned a bronze medal, and a score of 5-19 earned a small bronze medal.

A total of six students from KML earned gold medals. After everything in Madison wrapped up, KML followed tradition and stopped for food and ice cream on the way home. As the forensics season ends, students look forward to the end of the year party, with more ice cream and awards.

Gold winners include Amy Deibert (senior), Maria Zimmerman (senior), Emily Gliniecki (senior), Megan Himm (junior), Madelyn Lechmaier (junior), Amelia Pfund (freshman).

Silver medalists include Megan Parbs (senior), Megan Moeller (junior), Amelia Neuwirth (junior), Abigail Kesting (junior), Elizabeth Farley (junior), Claire & Emma Semenske (junior and freshman), Kayla Nommensen (junior), Libby Markgraf (junior), Josie Jacklin & Brayden Smith (freshmen), and Emilia Lechmaier (freshman). Rebekah White and Jenna Young (junior)- bronze, Logan Hennen (freshman)- bronze

Kettle Moraine Symphony and Choruses performs at Holy Hill May 5    By Connie Schulist

Kettle Moraine Symphony and Moraine Chorus along with members of Bel Canto Chorus return to the Basilica at Holy Hill Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. to perform Lauridsen’s “Lux Aeterna”, along with Mozart’s “Vesperae solennes de Confessore” and “Exsultate Jubilate”, conducted by Dr. Richard Hynson. The Moraine Chorus is directed and rehearsed by Dr. Peter Gibeau, UW-Washington County professor of music and KMS principal contrabassist.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, $5 for students. Due to its length, this concert is not recommended for children under 12. Tickets may be purchased online by going to the KMS website at www.kmsymphony.org, or by check made out to the Kettle Moraine Symphony, PO Box 52, West Bend, WI 53095. Tickets are also available at the following outlets: Horicon Bank in West Bend. More information is available on the website or by calling 262-334-3469.

Operation Avery’s Playroom | By Crystal Zurn

Justin Handrow grew up in Hartford and graduated Hartford High School.  Justin, Liz, and their children now live in Grafton. The couple have three children including a daughter Avery who is suffering cancer. Below is a story by Crystal Zurn from Slinger who is hoping to help the Handrow family with a remodeling project for their children.

“It’s cancer,” — two words that no one ever wants to hear, and if you do, one can’t imagine the painful way that it irreversibly flips your world upside down.

Those are the words the Handrow family heard on February 23, 2018 regarding their 1-1/2-year-old daughter, Avery. They later found out Avery has rhabdomyosarcoma, cancer in her face muscle. Despite several chemo and radiation treatments, in September 2018 they got more heartbreaking news that her cancer had spread to her lungs and lymph nodes.

This family has gone through an insurmountable amount of pain and heartbreak, and they need a beacon of hope in their lives. As Avery continues her treatments and care, it is imperative she stay as healthy as possible. Her immune system is very weak, so she often must be quarantined at her home and is unable to go outside. Spending this much time indoors has become a challenge for the Handrows, as they need more room for their kids to play, run, imagine, and grow (and for all of the toys that allow them to do this!)

We have spoken with the family and decided we are going to help them by finishing off their basement and creating a large playroom for Avery and her siblings! We have dubbed this project

We have volunteers and contractors who are willing to donate their time and efforts towards seeing this project through, but we need your help! We are looking for the following to be donated to successfully complete this project:

– Building materials such as lumber, drywall, etc.

– Monetary gift towards Operation Avery’s Playroom, which will go towards purchasing supplies, paint, decorations, and furnishings.

Our goal is to raise $7,500 for this project. Any amount, no matter how small, will go towards making a significant improvement to the lives of Avery and her family.

If you can’t give, but still want to support our cause, please share our page with your friends, family members, and coworkers. With more people aware of our cause, we will be one step closer to reaching our goal.

West Bend woman runs the U.S. to raise awareness for MS             By Tabetha Wolfe

Tabetha Wolfe of Germantown is helping bring awareness to multiple sclerosis (MS) via the MS Run the US. “The run is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to support multiple sclerosis (MS) research, while also supporting those living with disability due to MS,” said Wolfe.

The running events focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle while inspiring individuals to maximize their capabilities and become more active to help those in need.

The MS Run the US- Relay is an annual 3,260-mile relay run across America for multiple sclerosis. On Monday, April 15, Wolfe started Segment 2 of the MS Run the US relay across America. She will be running a marathon a day for eight days (204 miles) from Barstow, CA to Las Vegas, NV. Below is a story from Wolfe about her fourth day on the road.

Day 4✔ 28.06 miles with 112.6 miles covered over the last four days. Over half-way done.

Our first night camping in the desert started out with a bang as we were getting ready to turn in for the evening the generator for the RV went out. The crew tried to get it going but were unsuccessful. So, we spent the night without the generator…not a big deal. But this will propose some interesting camping tonight.

Today started out rough, I went up hill covering over 2,000 feet in elevation. The first three miles I was not mentally in the right place but kept repeating a quote from the letter my daughter wrote me… “Everything you need is already within.”

I also reflected on why I am out in the middle of the Mojave Desert. I am here from my mother-in-law Betty and my cousin Kelly Witte along with all the others that suffer with MS and to make this invisible disease VISIBLE! And that got me through.

Although it was rough, I kept plugging away. At mile 9 Peter told me it flattens out over the next three miles then it’s all down. Well the next three miles were all up, and big up. But after mile 12 I finally hit the down. It was great to open and pick the pace a bit.

I finished at an old train station that has been changed into the visitor center. This was an awesome place to end since the generator is broken, we can’t shower so I was able to use the bathroom to clean up and then sit in air conditioning. Now we are eating then enjoying the desert night sky. Until tomorrow. Which will bring another 2,000 feet in elevation…. again.

West Bend’s Memorial Day observance will be Monday, May 27, 2019

Line up for the parade will be on S. Main Street between Oak Street and Decorah Road between 8:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. with the parade stepping off at 9:30 a.m. sharp. The parade will end on Sixth Avenue and Poplar Street at the Memorial Plaza just north of the old Washington County Courthouse. The program is scheduled to begin at approximately 10:30 a.m. In case of inclement weather, the program will be held inside the Old Courthouse Museum. Boy Scout troop 780 will again be selling brats, hot dogs and soda at the Plaza.

Updates & tidbits

-On Saturday, April 20, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., the West Bend Police Department will be selling approximately 70 abandoned bicycles. The bike sale will occur at the West Bend Police Department at 350 Vine Street.

-The West Bend Moose Lodge is hosting its annual free Easter dinner. This year the meal will be served promptly at noon on Easter Sunday, April 21.

– Tickets go on sale April 21 for the 32nd annual Washington County Breakfast on the Farm. It will be held June 21 at Highland Dairy, LLC this year in Kewaskum. Mike, Linda and Corey Enright are set to roll out the red carpet and invite guests to tour the robotic farm, listen to live music and share in some eggs, ham, pancakes and applesauce.

Miss Wisconsin USA Danika Tramburg of Richfield to compete in Miss USA

Miss Wisconsin USA 2019 Danika Tramburg of Richfield will be leaving Sunday to compete for the Miss USA crown on May 2 in Reno Tahoe.

Tramburg, 22, is a graduate of Living Word Lutheran High School in Jackson and she completed college at Concordia University Wisconsin in three and a half years earning a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Entertainment Business. She won the title of Miss USA Wisconsin in September 2018. Tramburg will be one of 51 women competing in the pageant in Reno Tahoe.  She sat down at the Museum of Wisconsin Art to talk a bit about the upcoming pageant and what will be required should she win.

“The difference between my title and Miss America is that Miss America has a talent portion of competition and they recently got rid of the swimsuit portion. Miss USA, we compete in interview, swimsuit, evening gown and then there’s an on-stage question and Miss USA then continues to Miss Universe so there’s that international component.”

“Aside from the title of Miss Wisconsin USA, and my sash and crown it’s really a year of service,” she said. “When you go into this and win you have to understand this is a platform and you have the opportunity to share your voice about something you’re passionate about and that’s what Miss Wisconsin USA means to me and it gives me the opportunity to spread awareness about human trafficking  platform and it gives me a greater voice to do so that’s what this whole title embodies.”

Behind the scenes, Tramburg said she’s pretty much the girl next door.

“I work a full-time job, I have two planners, I’m super close to my family and there are always things that are being thrown at you including a lot of requests that come out of nowhere so you just have to be on your toes,” Tramburg said. “It takes a strong individual and a well-organized individual to handle everything that comes at you and I’ve been really fortunate growing up playing sports and it’s given me a sense of time-management, dedication and determination to handle all those things.”

Tramburg currently works as a full-time marketing associate at Kapco in Grafton. She uses her profile to bring awareness to the cause of fighting human trafficking. She volunteers with Wisconsin organizations including Washington County Anti-Trafficking Advocates, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Hunger Task Force, Juvenile Diabetes Association, and Special Olympics.

Tramburg recently sat down for a one-on-one interview at the Museum of Wisconsin Art where she spoke about her pageant titles, how she’s preparing for Miss USA and she talked passionately about her faith.

“Honestly faith…  that’s the glue to everything,” said Tramburg.“There’s always things life is throwing at you and my faith is everything and I don’t think I would honestly be where I am right now in this position where I can be a voice for the community and I believe God put me here for a reason.”

Tramburg said her faith has kept her “grounded and humble.”

“My strong faith has carried me through this journey we call life. From working the Super Bowl to engaging in philanthropic initiatives with the National Basketball Wives Association, playing college basketball to being Miss Wisconsin United States 2017, continuing to place in the top 10 at Miss United States and now holding the title of Miss Wisconsin USA 2019…I am always amazed to see what God has in store for me. Volunteerism is a passion of mine. Giving back is the start of creating a loving world. A topic that is truly moving to me is human trafficking and I strive to spread awareness of this horrific crime against humanity using my voice for those who are voiceless.

I believe we are all placed on this earth for a unique purpose. Although we may get caught up in the day to day struggles, there are so many great things to keep our focus on. I find comfort in the words of John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” My mission is to help others discover their unique purpose through recognizing their gifts and talents and utilizing them to be the best they can be and help others in the process.

See Danika’s social media pages on Facebook and Instagram for details on her Miss USA journey and her lifestyle blog PerfectYourPurpose.

Women reminisce about tradition to show off Easter dresses

Easter Sunday is a day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That day also represents the advent of spring fashion with sweaters instead of heavy coats, anklets instead of knee socks and lighter colors with jubilant patterns. Since the 1870s women and girls have followed tradition using that Sunday to show off their Easter dresses and neighbors in West Bend have done the same.

Joan Hoff, 79, of Cedar Ridge grew up in Milwaukee and later the Campbellsport area. Years ago, she too kept an eye on the forecast as Easter approached.

“I especially remember two weeks before Easter I hoped it would be warm enough, so we didn’t have to wear a coat over our new dress,” said Hoff. “It was a big deal if it was going to be raining.”

Hoff remembered her dress was “something fluffy with a full skirt.”

“And we always wore hats to church; kind of a bonnet and as an adult it was a pillbox.

Hoff attended St. Aloysius in West Allis and when she had daughters of her own, she got them “spiffed up, especially for Easter Mass.”

“I sewed tons,” said Hoff noting her daughters were far enough apart in age that she never dressed them alike. “I used whites or pastels; you would never have a red plaid or navy blue.”

Hoff remembered sleeves on the dresses often with a button on the back and a little zipper on the side to pull it over their head. And her girls always “had white shoes, even though it wasn’t Memorial Day”

“My younger daughter had a purse passed down from her cousin and it was shaped like a little parasol with a curved handle. That was her purse going to church and she loved it,” said Hoff.

Mary ‘Sis’ Eberhart, 64, grew up in Milwaukee and we got her Easter dress at Schuster’s Department Store on 12th and Vliet.

“It’s where we always went shopping,” said Eberhart. “I was 12 at the time and had an Easter hat with little flowers and my dad always bought me good shoes.”

Mary Radovich, 86, from Cedar Ridge remembered the financial woes of the Great Depression and how “when you got something new for Easter you always managed to get a dress.”

“You bought it a Goldman’s where the price was the cheapest,” said Radovich recalling the $1.98 spent on the dress.

At the time Radovich attended church at St. John’s on Ninth and Mineral. “The dress was pink with satiny material; I can just see myself,” she sighed. “You normally bought the dress two sizes bigger than what you really needed because it had to last that long for Sunday church. “I didn’t have a hat or purse – I was just lucky to get a dress,” she said.

While growing up, Radovich and her family struggled financially and were resigned to living on the county dole.

“At that time, we had only one choice of style shoe and it was made in Waupun – always at the prison,” said Radovich of the black Oxford county-issued shoes.

“Once a friend of mine gave me a pair of sandals; she had worn them out and there was a hole in the sole but she gave them to me and I put cardboard in and then nobody knew I had county shoes,” she laughed recalling how sly she felt in her cobbled shoes.

Barb Justman from BJ & Company recalled wearing a pastel yellow dress with lots of ruffles.

“I also had a flowery hat, white gloves, and of course those dandy white leotards,” said Justman whose mom would lay everything out the night before Easter so they would be ready to go for 6 a.m. church service.

“My dress would hang from the living room chandelier so as not to wrinkle,” said Justman. “And I even got to wear the dress ALL day!”

Lori Lynn Radloff remembered the Easter hats with the elastic under the chin. “My brother would pull and snap it. I think everyone goes thru that,” said Lynn Radloff.

Cathy Majkowski of West Bend grew up with four sisters and each had a homemade Easter dress. “I always worried about getting chocolate from the big candy bunny on my dress,” she said.

One year the Easter Bunny brought the Majkowski family a pair of white albino bunnies which they promptly determined were girls and named them Melanie and Tina. Another year Majkowski insisted on a new pair of shoes to go with her dress.

“I did not want hand me downs for Easter; my mom said ‘no’and I threw a hissy fit in the store, only to find the shoes in my Easter basket in the morning,” she said.

Jill Clare, 80, from Cedar Ridge grew up in West Bend and had five girls. “We were members of Holy Angels and I made all their dresses,” said Clare confirming five handmade dresses each year.

“I only used pastels and one year I made them all in a purple gingham check, lavender and white and by the time that passed down I didn’t want to see lavender anymore – nor did the girls,” said Clare.

The style of Clare’s handmade dresses featured little puffed sleeves, Peter Pan collars, with a button by the opening in the back, a full skirt and always a small bow.

For accessories, Clare relied on the five and dime Ben Franklin discount stores.

“They all had little caps with a bow under their chin, white gloves, and patent leather shoes with anklets and tiny drawstring purses,” she said.

“I always made my husband wear a suit because Easter Sunday was a dress up day,” said Clare.

This article was originally published in 2012.

Find local news 7 days a week at WashingtonCountyInsider.com

Knowing Christ through Prayer

Scott Walker has a beautiful column in the Washington Times today. Go read the whole thing.

During the first presidential debate in Cleveland in August 2015, I was asked what kind of impact God had on my life. First, I mentioned that I am a sinner and that it is only by the blood of Jesus Christ that I am saved. I try to do His will every day but it’s not like God sends us an email with instructions on what we are supposed to do (it would be much easier if He did). No, instead God asks us to have a personal relationship with Him. Prayer is a way to help understand God’s will.

Which brings me back to that sermon in Iowa. After describing the wonderful image of prayer, the visiting professor told us of how he received a call from the staff at the nursing home a few days after his visit. They thanked him for coming by to see their patient as he passed away during the previous night.

Amazingly, the man who had been confined to a bed for some time had found the strength to get out of that bed and crawl across the room. When they found him in the morning, he was laying with his head on the seat of the chair — he had found his final comfort resting his head in the lap of Jesus.

As we observe Good Friday today and celebrate Easter on Sunday, I pray that each of us can find that comfort — here on earth and in heaven.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker.

Armed Robber and Victim Kill Each Other

At least the bad guy didn’t get away to hurt anyone else.

Police believe Miller, 64, was outside the residence when the gunman pulled a handgun and attempted to rob the older man, Chicago police said. But Miller, a licensed concealed carry permit holder, pulled his own handgun, said Officer Michelle Tannehill, a police spokeswoman.

Both men were found dead at the scene, along with firearms, Tannehill said.

Miller had been at the property to check the plumbing for his son, who owns the building, according to the son, Mark Miller Jr., 32.

Miller Jr., a trucker, was on the phone talking to his dad, rescheduling movie plans, as his father, who was “walking and talking at the same time,’’ was outside the property, locking up the basement door. Suddenly, Miller Jr. heard gunshots, then his father saying: “Mark, I’ve been shot.’’

Mexico to Try to Restrict Central American Illegals to South

Well, it’s something… maybe.

Mexico City (AFP) – Mexico said Wednesday that central American migrants will be given “regional visitor cards” near the Guatemalan border that restrict their movement to the south of the country, impeding their ability to reach the United States.

The restriction will be a blow to tens of thousands of migrants, fleeing the poverty and violence at home, who enter southern Mexico and travel across the country in so-called “caravans” in an attempt to seek asylum in the US.

The cards will be given out in the southeastern city of Tapachula, where Mexican media report there are around 5,000 would-be migrants planning to head to the US.

[…]

US President Donald Trump has warned of a raft of sanctions — including closing official border crossings — unless Mexico cracks down on migrants.

[…]

It is not clear what effect issuing regional visitor cards will have on the caravans given many of the migrants have entered Mexico illegally anyway.

Critics Say Notre Dame Donations Should be Used for the Poor

Oh, fer cryin’ out loud.

Paris (AFP) – France’s culture minister pleaded Thursday for an end to the controversy over the 850 million euros (950 million dollars) pledged to restore Notre-Dame cathedral, which critics have suggested would be better spent on the poor.

Some of France’s biggest companies and billionaires, including luxury goods tycoons Francois-Henri Pinault and Bernard Arnault, have pledged amounts of 100 million euros or more to rebuild the landmark after it was gutted by fire on Monday evening.

The vast sums have drawn fire in a country where wealth inequality and the plight of the low-income households have been highlighted during five months of demonstrations by “yellow vest” protesters.

“This pointless debate consists of saying ‘it’s too much money for Notre-Dame even though there are needs elsewhere’ — of course there’s a need for money for the social system, for health, the fight against climate change,” Culture Minister Franck Riester told RMC radio.

“But let’s leave this extraordinary show of generosity to run its course,” he pleaded.

He said Notre-Dame was “not only old stones. It’s a part of our identity, it’s our nation, European culture.”

Swastika Acres Changes Name

Well, that’s an unfortunate name.

(CNN)The Swastika Acres neighborhood of Cherry Hills Village, a town just outside Denver, will get a new name after a unanimous city council vote.

The new name will be Old Cherry Hills, CNN affiliate KDVR reported.
The area had once been home to the Denver Land Swastika Company, a company that chose its name before Nazis adopted the swastika symbol.
Though the name doesn’t appear on any visible signs in the community, City Councilman Dan Sheldon told KDVR the name still appears in real estate documents.

Republican Governor Removes Statues of Democrats

In honor of the overblown and misleading headlines today, I went with the above.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) this month signed a law calling for the statues of Arkansas attorney Uriah Milton Rose and former Arkansas Gov. James Paul Clarke to be replaced in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.

Facebook “Unintentionally” Uploads Millions of Email Contacts

Uh huh

Social networking giant Facebook said on Wednesday evening it may have “unintentionally uploaded” the email contacts of up to 1.5 million users on its site, without their permission or knowledge, when they signed up for new accounts since May 2016.

Users affected by that incident were not just limited to the United States, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Those contacts were not shared with anyone and Facebook is deleting them, a company spokesperson told CNBC.

“We’ve fixed the underlying issue and are notifying people whose contacts were imported. People can also review and manage contacts they share with Facebook in their settings,” the spokesperson said.

No French Trees Big Enough for Notre Dame Roof Replacement

Maybe Wisconsin can help.

The cathedral’s roof was built using a lattice of giant beams cut from trees in primeval forests in the 12th and 13th centuries. Experts say France no longer has trees big enough to replace the ancient wooden beams that burned in the Notre Dame fire. Feydeau told France Info radio that the cathedral’s roof cannot be rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire because “we don’t, at the moment, have trees on our territory of the size that were cut in the 13th century.” He said the restoration work will have to use new technology to rebuild the roof.

Registrar Accused of Taking Bribes

It’s becoming clear that the college admissions process is riddled with corruption.

A former Delaware State University (DSU) official pleaded guilty to taking over $70,000 in bribes in a scheme to help give out-of-state students in-state tuition, federal prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday.

Crystal Martin, a former registrar at the school, pleaded guilty to one felony count of bribery and could face as many as 10 years behind bars for her part in the scheme that cost the university an estimated $3 million.

“The defendant abused her position at a public university to personally profit and to defraud her employer,’’ U.S. Attorney David Weiss said in a statement. “Individuals who accept bribes while serving in a public capacity risk undermining trust in those institutions.’’

This is partially a consequence of the inflated cost of higher education coupled with the societal conception that a college degree is vital for a successful career. If you make a college degree the only ticket to financial security (or perceived that way) and then jack up the cost of getting it, people are going to do whatever they think is necessary to get it.

U.S. Fights Terrorism in Africa

May God keep our special forces safe and effective in their efforts.

Juniper Shield and Obsidian Nomad II were not isolated efforts but part of a panoply of named military operations and activities U.S. forces have been conducting from dozens of bases across the northern tier of Africa. Many of these operations are taking place in countries that the U.S. government does not recognize as combat zones, but in which U.S. troops are nonetheless fighting and, in several cases, taking casualties.

Between 2013 and 2017, U.S. special operations forces saw combat in at least 13 African countries, according to retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who served at U.S. Africa Command from 2013 to 2015 and then headed Special Operations Command Africa until 2017. Those countries, according to Bolduc, are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Tunisia. He added that U.S. troops have been killed or wounded in action in at least six of them: Kenya, Libya, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Tunisia.

Yahoo News has put together a list of three dozen such operations across the continent.

The code-named operations cover a variety of different military missions, ranging from psychological operations to counterterrorism. Eight of the named activities, including Obsidian Nomad, are so-called 127e programs, named for the budgetary authority that allows U.S. special operations forces to use certain host-nation military units as surrogates in counterterrorism missions.

Used extensively across Africa, 127e programs can be run either by Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the secretive organization that controls the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, the Army’s Delta Force and other special mission units, or by “theater special operations forces.” These programs are “specifically designed for us to work with our host nation partners to develop small — anywhere between 80 and 120 personnel — counterterrorism forces that we’re partnered with,” said Bolduc. “They are specially selected partner-nation forces that go through extensive training, with the same equipment we have, to specifically go after counterterrorism targets, especially high-value targets.”

Using documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, interviews, published reports and a Defense Department list of named U.S. military operations that leaked online, Yahoo News put together the following list of 36 operations and activities that are (or were until recently) ongoing in Africa.

Where possible, Yahoo News has also listed the bases that support these operations, relying mostly on information sheets about those locations obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. Yahoo News does not claim that this list is comprehensive.

While the Defense Department has acknowledged the names, locations and purposes of some of these operations, others are far lower-profile. Almost all are unknown to the general public:

School Board Members Charged with Felonies

This looks like a case of outright theft and a cover up in Mercer, but I hope that all members of elected government take note of the charges stemming from the destruction of public records.

Criminal complaints filed Friday in Iron County Circuit Court say the Mercer School Board sent a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction last May to explain questions that came up from an audit by DPI.

DPI clawed back around $175,000 from the district last year for inappropriately spending money from its “Fund 80” account that reserves money for community programs and services, according to a DPI letter dated June 26, posted on the blog Mercer School Facts. The agency found the fund was used without proper documentation to increase wages and benefits for a few district employees, including district administrator Erik Torkelson.

Deanna PierpontDenise ThompsonMichele “Micki” HolmstromColleen “Kelly” Kohegyi, and Noel Brandt all signed a May 1 letter providing details on how money was spent from the fund, according to the complaints.

[…]

“The other three that were school board members, held a meeting, submitting this letter, knowing that it wasn’t the school board — that there were two individuals on there that weren’t part of the school board,” Tingstad said.

Pierpont, Holmstrom and Brandt are charged with felony misconduct in office, and Thompson and Kohegyi are charged with felony falsely exercising a role of public office.

Tingstad said the five are facing felony charges that could bring up to a $10,000 fine or three years in prison.

In addition, former school board president Deanna Pierpont is facing an additional misconduct charge after telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she erased a video of a school board meeting.

Evers Threatens to Renege on Foxconn Deal

Don’t screw up our state, governor.

Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday that electronics maker Foxconn Technology Group is unlikely to employ 13,000 workers in Wisconsin as it has said it could and that the state’s deal with the company may need to be “downsized” as a result.

The structure of the deal already accounts for Foxconn missing their jobs obligation and protects the taxpayers. If Evers reopens the contract, he is dealing from a position of weakness. Foxconn doesn’t have to agree to anything else and could just walk away. While I’m sure that Evers and his lefty cohorts would be pleased with their self-fulfilling prophecy, it would be terrible for Wisconsin for a generation or more. It would mark Wisconsin as a state that won’t stick to their contracts for businesses around the world.

Feeling the weight of government

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

April 15. A date that lives in infamy. As the date by which all Americans must submit their income tax forms to make sure the government has extracted enough hard-earned money to fund the bureaucracy, April 15 also serves as a good date to contemplate the cost of government. Given that this April 15 is on the cusp of Wisconsin’s biennial budget debate, it is also a good date to look at how much more costly our new governor wants to make our government.

According to the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day in 2019 is April 16. That means that every dollar that every single American earned up until April 16 is needed to pay the nation’s total tax bill of $5.29 trillion. The nation’s total tax bill is more than the nation’s total combined bill for housing, clothing, and food. Big government isn’t cheap. In Wisconsin, Tax Freedom Day comes even later on April 19. The cost of Wisconsin’s government is still more than most states.

If Governor Tony Evers has his way, Wisconsin’s Tax Freedom Day will push later into the year like Illinois or New York. The governor’s budget proposal includes over a billion dollars in tax increases and would increase taxpayer disparity.

When the Supreme Court ruled last year that states can collect sales and use taxes on internet purchases, Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans neutralized the tax burden for Wisconsinites by offsetting the new sales tax collections with an equal across-theboard income tax cut. Governor Evers would reverse that decision and give the entire tax savings to only those in the lowest tax bracket.

At the same time, Evers’ budget proposes increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit, a welfare scheme paid through the income tax system, and lower taxes in the lower tax brackets. All of these ideas would lower income taxes for those at the lower end of the income scale.

In order to make up for tax decreases to the lower brackets, Governor Evers would increase taxes on the higher brackets by forcing single people who earn more than $100,000 and couples who earn more than $150,000 to pay regular income taxes on their capital gains. This is estimated to increase taxes by $505 million on Wisconsin’s higher earners.

For some perspective, figures calculated by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance show that income filers earning over $100,000 comprise about 12% of all income tax payers, but they pay over 61% of all income taxes in the state. Evers’ budget proposal would continue the effort to foist more and more of the cost of government on an ever smaller group of income earners.

Not content to only hammer individual taxpayers with higher taxes, Evers would also cap the Manufacturers and Agriculture Credit to a mere $300,000 of income for manufacturers. This is projected to result in a whopping $516.6 million in higher taxes on Wisconsin’s manufacturers.

Just in case anyone thought they might escape Evers’ tax increases, he also proposed to increase gas taxes by eight cents a gallon and then index the tax increases to inflation. That way taxes would automatically increase without politicians having to bother going on record to do it with a vote. This would raise taxes another $485 million through the budget term.

Governor Evers has made it perfectly clear how much he would raise taxes if he had the power to do so on his own. As the legislative Republicans formulate their budget proposals, they should begin with the mirror image of Governor Evers’ proposal. The Republicans should start with a billion dollar tax cut for all Wisconsinites and let the Governor try to negotiate from that starting position.

Wisconsin’s tax burden is not good, but it has been improving for the last eight years. Republicans should fight hard to maintain that trajectory for the benefit of all Wisconsinites.

Supreme Court Takes Up Challenges to Legislation

Good. And for the last time, there was nothing “lame-duck” about those laws.

MADISON – The state Supreme Court agreed Monday to quickly take up a lawsuit challenging lame-duck laws aimed at curbing the power of the state’s top Democrats.

The high court unanimously accepted the case before an appeals court finishes its work on the lawsuit, speeding up its final resolution.

The justices put the case on a fast track, agreeing to hear arguments May 15.

Other lawsuits are pending — one in state court and one in federal court — so the Supreme Court’s ruling in this case likely won’t be the last word on whether the lame-duck laws are valid.

Feeling the weight of government

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. It seemed appropriate on tax day to take another look at all of the tax increases that Governor Evers wants to impose on us. Here’s a taste:

Governor Evers has made it perfectly clear how much he would raise taxes if he had the power to do so on his own. As the legislative Republicans formulate their budget proposals, they should begin with the mirror image of Governor Evers’ proposal. The Republicans should start with a billion dollar tax cut for all Wisconsinites and let the Governor try to negotiate from that starting position.

Wisconsin’s tax burden is not good, but it has been improving for the last eight years. Republicans should fight hard to maintain that trajectory for the benefit of all Wisconsinites.

 

West Bend School Board Considers Extending School Year to Allow More Days Off

I heard some scuttlebutt on social media about the School Board meeting a couple of weeks ago where they discussed the proposed new school calendar, so I decided to watch the meeting. I do these things so that you can enjoy time with your families…

Here’s what went down… there is an ad hoc committee that forms every year to recommend the school calendar. They do it a bit in advance, so the one they are looking at now is for the 2020-2021 school year. The committee brought their recommendation to the school board and the school board was supposed to vote on the schedule.

What they recommended is that the school board extend the school year to June 9th so that the teachers can have a paid day off each month in addition to the already scheduled teacher work days and holidays. The committee said that there was a strong desire to have the extra day off each month so that they can be refreshed and at their best. Yes, that was actually the driving force behind the extra days off during the year.

Here’s the video of the exchange. They schedule stuff starts at minute 12:40.

Hats off to board member Nancy Justman for challenging the schedule and saying she would vote against it (as did Ken Schmidt). Justman correctly pointed out that the extra day off during the school year creates a hardship for families who have to arrange for child care. She also pointed out that in the private sector, bosses don’t just give the staff a paid day off every month for the heck of it. Finally, Justman wondered why there was only one parent representative on the committee – a great point. The superintendent and presenter confirmed that this was actually unusual… there wasn’t ANY parent representative the previous two years.

In the end, they tabled the vote for the schedule and gave the committee instructions to come back with two options – the current option and one that takes out the extra days off and ends the school year a week earlier. I believe they were presented those options tonight, but I didn’t make the meeting. We’ll see how it went shortly.

Again, kudos to Nancy Justman for ensuring that the voices of other stakeholders were heard before approving the schedule.

Notre-Dame Burns

So, so, tragic. This architectural gem has been a significant part of western civilization for centuries.

A fire has broken out at the famous Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris and has spread rapidly across the building.

The cause is not yet clear, but officials say that it could be linked to renovation work.

A major operation to tackle the blaze is under way at the 850-year-old Gothic building, but the cathedral’s spire and roof have collapsed.

You can see the images here. The damage is extensive.

New Jersey Legalizes Euthanasia

I think everyone has a right to die, but we walk a very dangerous path when we allow one person to kill another.
Gov. Phil Murphy has signed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act. And the law goes into effect August 1.
It will allow adults with a prognosis of six months or less to live to get a prescription for life-ending medication.
This make New Jersey the ninth jurisdiction to allow physician-assisted suicide. The others are: California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Hawaii, Montana and the District of Columbia.