Conservatives, can we talk?

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

My fellow conservatives, we need to have a talk. A serious talk. The kind of talk that might make your stomach twist up a little, but we have to have it. It’s important. Hey, you liberals who usually read the first few paragraphs of this column before rolling your eyes and checking your Instagram, you can go ahead and get started on the cat videos early. This column is not for you. We will see you next week.

Are the liberals gone yet? Good.

Conservatives, what the heck happened to all of you?

For most of this decade, we have been on top of our game. We were organized, energized, and focused. We had our internal squabbles, but we worked hard to elect conservatives time and time again. We elected a Republican Legislature and then continued to make it more conservative. We elected Scott Walker — three times. We turned the Supreme Court into one that actually respects the rule of law and the role of the court.

The results have been fantastic. Our votes have led to lower taxes, concealed carry, right-to-work, protecting life, the expansion of school choice, regulatory reform, and an economic boom like we have not seen in generations. All of the work, time, and money spent getting conservatives elected at all levels of government have made a real positive difference in the lives of millions of Wisconsinites.

Then, last year, many of you inexplicably stood down. Last April, conservatives failed to show up to support Michael Screnock for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, allowing a rabid liberal to win a precious seat on that court. In November, conservatives twiddled their thumbs while liberals won every statewide seat on the ballot. We managed to protect the Legislature, but just couldn’t get jazzed enough to beat some really terrible liberal Democrats.

Here we are on the eve of the April election again and conservatives are still slumbering. In my home town of West Bend, which is supposed to be in the heart of conservative Wisconsin, we have a ridiculous school referendum where the school district wants to throw $74 million at shiny buildings right after the School Board voted to close the only charter school, give the teachers a $1 million raise, and were outed for allowing their teachers to ram the liberal orthodoxy down the throats of kids.

Worse than that, every candidate for the West Bend School Board on the same ballot supports the referendum while professing to be fiscally conservative. Calling themselves “fiscal conservatives” while supporting this outlandish school referendum is like someone saying they are vegan but that they occasionally like a nice plate of ribs. Their actions refute their words. Sadly, in West Bend, after this April, there will no longer be a single conservative on the West Bend School Board. The conservatives in the West Bend School District gave up and gave their government schools to a liberal activist faction.

The most important race on the ballot is again for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Conservative Judge Brian Hagedorn is running against a doctrinaire liberal, Judge Lisa Neubauer. Every single gain made by conservatives this decade is on the line. Moreover, the next decade hangs in the balance. After the 2020 census, Wisconsin will redraw its district maps again. In a divided government, the redistricting fight will almost certainly end up in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Every election for the next decade will be impacted by redistricting and the liberals know it. As we saw in Pennsylvania, a liberal activist court will gerrymander their way to electoral majorities without scruples or regret.

Despite all that is at stake, conservatives are once again standing aside. Most of the purportedly conservative groups who weigh in on elections are sticking their hands in their pockets. Too many conservatives are sitting at home griping on social media while liberals are putting their energy and money into supporting their candidate. Even as the liberals make vile, bigoted, anti-Christian attacks on Judge Hagedorn, conservatives cluck and do nothing. Where are the Catholics, Lutherans, and evangelicals standing up to defend attacks on their faith?

You have to hand it to Wisconsin’s liberals. They are relentless. They are organized, well-funded, and passionate about their beliefs.Conservatives were able to match them for most of this century’s sophomore decade, but now we have decided to take a collective nap. The liberals are still wide awake and fighting.

Why did so many of us conservatives give up? Is it because of Trump? Is it lingering frustration over the last state budget? Are you still mad about Walker’s presidential run? I don’t care. Get over it. None of those things has anything to do with the future of our state and our communities. We have serious work to do.

I often receive comments along the lines of, “I agree. What can I do?” That’s easy. First, go vote. Second, get to work. Volunteer. Donate money. Talk to your friends and family. Take the future of your community and your state as seriously as you do your children’s future, because those futures are one and the same.

U.S. Leaves Venezuela

Smart move. In a collapsing country, their value as hostages increases by the day.

The U.S. is withdrawing its remaining diplomatic personnel from the embassy in Venezuela, citing the “deteriorating situation” given days of blackouts, increased water shortages and the threat of further protests.

The decision also comes amid growing concern that American diplomats could become a pawn in the battle with President Nicolas Maduro as the U.S. tries to push him from power.

Despite Maduro’s calls for their expulsion, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to keep American personnel there to support Juan Guaido, the president of the National Assembly who has been recognized as the country’s interim president by the U.S. and over 50 other countries.

But the sudden reversal was announced late Monday night in a statement where Pompeo called embassy staff’s presence a “constraint on U.S. policy.”

“Decisions you make are always encumbered by the fact that you know there’s real risk to your own people, people that you’ve sent into harm’s way,” Pompeo added Tuesday. “We wanted to get them out of the country so that we could move forward in a way that provided that opportunity.”

Brexit Broken

Divorces are always messy.

Theresa May’s planned Brexit deal has suffered a major defeat in the UK parliament, leaving the Brexit process in disarray.

Mrs May began the day with renewed hope after securing last-minute changes to her withdrawal deal with the EU.

But MPs roundly defeated her proposals, 391 votes to 242, weeks after her first attempt to pass the deal met the same fate.

Had the vote gone her way, the UK would be preparing to leave the EU on 29 March.

That exit date still looms large, but things could go a few different ways before then.

The next step is… another vote (this one on Wednesday). MPs will vote on a motion on whether to allow the UK to exit the EU on 29 March without a deal – a so-called “disorderly” or “no-deal” Brexit.

Leaving the EU without a deal – and therefore without the 21-month transition period provided for by the deal – carries significant risks for trade, immigration, health, and more, and parliament will almost certainly reject that possibility.

Rejection of a no-deal Brexit would then set up… yes, you guessed it: another vote.

This one would decide whether Mrs May will go back to the EU to request an extension to Article 50 – the formal name for the notification from the UK that it is leaving the union.

That would throw the Brexit ball into the EU’s court – potentially allowing the union to decide the terms of any extension period.

Kidnapping (Maybe) in Mexico


Mexico City (AFP) – Nineteen passengers who were kidnapped from a bus last week in northern Mexico were migrants, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday, as investigators worked through the murky details of the case.

The men were crossing the violent state of Tamaulipas, on the US-Mexican border, on Thursday when four vehicles blocked the road and forced their bus to stop, according to authorities.

Armed men then boarded the coach and kidnapped 19 passengers whose names they had on a list.

“I can confirm that they were migrants,” Lopez Obrador said, referring to the abducted men, without specifying their nationalities.

The bus was traveling from the port of Tampico to Reynosa, a border city across from McAllen, Texas.

Although the bus driver told authorities that 19 passengers were kidnapped, investigation sources have indicated the real number of victims could be as high as 25.

The president told a news conference that one line of investigation is the possibility the men could have staged their own kidnapping as a way to drop off the radar and then enter the United States undetected.

Massive College Bribery Scheme Exposed

Wow. 1% and whatnot.

Full House star Lori Loughlin and Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman are two of the 50 parents and coaches charged in a plot to get their children into schools including Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, University of San Diego, USC, University of Texas, Wake Forest, and Yale.

The scheme was uncovered by the FBI and federal prosecutors in Boston, and involved parents paying bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into these elite schools.

In many instances, the children were unaware that their parents had paid these tax-deductible bribes, according to federal documents.

Conservatives, can we talk?

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a bit:

My fellow conservatives, we need to have a talk. A serious talk. The kind of talk that might make your stomach twist up a little, but we have to have it. It’s important. Hey, you liberals who usually read the first few paragraphs of this column before rolling your eyes and checking your Instagram, you can go ahead and get started on the cat videos early. This column is not for you. We will see you next week.

Are the liberals gone yet? Good.

Conservatives, what the heck happened to all of you?


Despite all that is at stake, conservatives are once again standing aside. Most of the purportedly conservative groups who weigh in on elections are sticking their hands in their pockets. Too many conservatives are sitting at home griping on social media while liberals are putting their energy and money into supporting their candidate. Even as the liberals make vile, bigoted, anti-Christian attacks on Judge Hagedorn, conservatives cluck and do nothing. Where are the Catholics, Lutherans, and evangelicals standing up to defend attacks on their faith?

You have to hand it to Wisconsin’s liberals. They are relentless. They are organized, well-funded, and passionate about their beliefs. Conservatives were able to match them for most of this century’s sophomore decade, but now we have decided to take a collective nap. The liberals are still wide awake and fighting.

Why did so many of us conservatives give up? Is it because of Trump? Is it lingering frustration over the last state budget? Are you still mad about Walker’s presidential run? I don’t care. Get over it. None of those things has anything to do with the future of our state and our communities. We have serious work to do.

I often receive comments along the lines of, “I agree. What can I do?” That’s easy. First, go vote. Second, get to work. Volunteer. Donate money. Talk to your friends and family. Take the future of your community and your state as seriously as you do your children’s future, because those futures are one and the same.

Revisiting the Holocaust

Perhaps this would be a good time to revisit these masterpieces.

This year is the centenary of Levi’s birth, and a fine moment to revisit his three Holocaust memoirs. If This Is a Man, written almost as soon as he returned home after the war, describes his time in Auschwitz. The Truce, written over a decade later, describes the odyssey between leaving Auschwitz and returning to Turin. Three decades after that, and shortly before he died, Levi wrote The Drowned and the Saved, a polemic in which he took on the myths that had gathered around the Holocaust in his lifetime.

“It was my good fortune to be deported to Auschwitz only in 1944,” wrote Levi. At that point, late in the war, the Nazis had decided to extend the lifespan of valuable Jewish labourers and no longer executed them on a whim. That improved the odds. Still, of the 650 Italians that arrived on the same train as Levi, only 20 survived.

It took some time before Levi realised what the camps were. For the Jews, they were neither extermination camps, nor labour camps. They were designed for “the demolition of a man”. On arrival, the newcomers were herded into two groups – useful or not – and Levi, though not a formidable man, found himself in the first. They were stripped, shaved and tattooed: Levi became 174517. The language, by turns heroic, indignant and fearful on the opening pages, changes to the present tense.

From then on, Levi’s account is neither a philosophical nor historical treatment of his experience. It does not explore the roots of Nazism, nor the origins and nature of evil. Instead, it focuses on details of life in the camp. Levi liked to say, wryly, that he modelled his writing on a chemist’s lab report. Here, his telling is so matter of fact that there are even moments of bone-dry comedy. But mostly it is eerie and disturbing, and unmistakably real.

2020 Democratic Convention to be in Miwaukee


Milwaukee will host the Democratic National Convention in 2020, bringing hundreds of millions in tourism dollars to Wisconsin while showcasing its largest city and one of a few states likely to decide the presidency.

The Associated Press reported Monday morning on the plans by Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez. Perez was set to make a formal announcement Monday afternoon.

A centerpiece of Milwaukee’s DNC bid is the new Milwaukee Bucks arena, Fiserv Forum, which will host the convention.

I admit that I’m torn on it. On the one hand, it is fantastic news that Milwaukee and Wisconsin will benefit from the influx of activity. Plus, it will be fun, as a political blogger, to have the convention in my backyard.

On the other hand, the Democrats have a history of stiffing host cities with unpaid expenses that the taxpayers have to pick up. Plus, with what is likely to be a hotly contested primary, we can safely predict plenty of riotous behavior and destruction.

Now the die is cast. My strong advice to Milwaukee’s leaders would be to get their money – including money in escrow to pay for possible overtime and damages – up front.

Foxconn Complies With Wisconsin’s Environmental Regulations

There you go.

A top aide to Gov. Tony Evers said Thursday he believes all of the state permits issued to tech giant Foxconn have been reviewed by the state Department of Natural Resources and deemed appropriate.

But the damage to the relationship with Foxconn is done. Despite having gone through the process and received the appropriate permits, they were forced deal with regulators again and wait to see if they would pass the new administration’s test. Inconsistent treatment, uncertainty, and the arbitrary application of regulations kills businesses.

No More Conservatives in West Bend

At least, not on the West Bend School Board. Here’s a story this weekend from the Washington County Daily News.

WEST BEND — April 2 will bring an important question to West Bend residents, as well as an opportunity to decide what the West Bend Joint School District’s school board will look like for the foreseeable future. With Ken Schmidt and Tiffany Larson taking a step back, three candidates have begun their campaign to fill those seats on the Board of Education. Paul Fischer, Christopher Bach and Erin Dove will have their names on the April election ballot. They shared their thoughts on the $47 million referendum.

I’ll save you some reading… all of them support the referendum. Once Ken Schmidt leaves the board in a few weeks, there will no longer be any conservatives on the West Bend School Board. Some of the board members may be conservative in their personal lives, but that govern like liberals.

Let’s review… in the past year, the school board has decided to shut down the district’s only charter school. They have given teachers a million-dollar across-the-board pay increase. They abandoned merit pay for teachers. They used the liberal playbook to get a massive spending referendum on the ballot. They were exposed for allowing multiple teachers to use class time to ram liberal ideology down the throats of kids. Meanwhile, enrollment continues to decline and the educational outcomes continue to be mediocre.

Tell me how this behavior is different from what we see in Madison or Milwaukee?

Decline of Local Journalism

I’m not sure there is a solution to it, but it is a problem for local communities and their ability to keep tabs on local government.

Over the past 15 years, more than 1,400 towns and cities have lost a newspaper. Among them are the twin towns of Waynesville and St. Robert in central Missouri’s Ozark hills.

The newspaper that served them closed last September, leaving residents without a source of regular news about their community.

The reasons for the closures vary. But the result is that many Americans no longer have someone watching the city council for them, chronicling the soccer exploits of their children or reporting on the kindly neighbor who died.

Evers Proposes to Triple Capital Budget and Fund it with Debt

Because, of course he does.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has requested more than $2.5 billion in his two-year building projects capital budget, with close to half of the proposed money going to upgrades and renovations at University of Wisconsin System facilities.

The 2019-21 capital request is about three times larger than the $803 million requested by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker in his 2017-19 capital budget request.

About $2 billion of Evers’ request would come from state taxpayer-supported borrowing.

Venezuela In the Dark

This is how socialism works. Equality in misery.

When night falls on Venezuela’s ghostly capital, an unnerving hush grips the streets of this once-bustling South American metropolis.

“You feel a profound silence all around you,” said Alejandro Guzmán, a 26-year-old lawyer and one of millions of Venezuelans left in the dark after their country was hit by an unprecedented blackout some believe could have dramatic implications for its political future. “It’s like a city of shadows.”

Like many Venezuelans, Guzmán has spent most of the last three days without electricity after a crippling outage – that Nicolás Maduro’s beleaguered administration is blaming on foreign saboteurs – struck at about 5pm Thursday afternoon plunging virtually the entire country into the gloom.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

One more season at Carl M. Kuss Field before the remodel

After a big ‘last hurrah’ at the end of the 2018 baseball season at Carl M. Kuss Field in West Bend it appears there will actually be one more season before reconstruction starts.

It was during Monday night’s West Bend Common Council meeting when Dist. 6 alderman Steve Hoogester made the first announcement.

“And the baseball field with the redo of the Carl Kuss Field at Regner Park it’s looking more and more right now like they won’t start working on it probably ‘til August because of different things they’re still trying to work out.” said Hoogester.

It was Jan. 22, 2019 when the last update on construction was presented to the Council. It was announced the project would be completed in several phases.

According to West Bend Park and Rec director Craig Hoeppner the group, including WBBA, Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and the City, and Fields Inc. stated they are working on final designs and plans for the field, which includes surveying, geo-tech and storm water design work.

Hoeppner said another priority is refining the budget which is currently around $1.4 million. It appears there are still a number of questions on actual costs which the group stated were being worked out.

Phase I includes the synthetic field, fencing and dugouts. Phase II would include the lights, grandstand, concessions and restrooms. At this time, funding is around 60-percent complete for Phase I.

Hoeppner said all Phase I funding will need to be completed before any construction begins. Once construction begins, it will take about 100 days to complete. Early hopes, according to Hoeppner are that construction begins this Spring. Another meeting is slated for Feb. 1 for more updates.

Willie Mueller with the West Bend Baseball Association confirmed Tuesday afternoon that it looks like another season before construction. “The diamond will be status quo until August 15,” said Mueller. “It’s alright to play one more season here. According to the West Bend Baseball Association we could start March 8 but now the field is still playable and we’ll be able to do a little more fundraising this summer.”

The timetable from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation regarding its donation is normally 18 months to fund a project from the time it commits until construction is underway.

Even though Carl M. Kuss Field will be playable this summer, Mueller said there will be no way it’s ready for spring ball. Remember, all WIAA baseball teams now play spring ball which starts March 18.

“Even when the boys had summer ball, early May to late April, there would be water in right field,” said Mueller. “Criminy, I just talked to a guy up north and they still have 70 inches of snow on the ground up in Crivitz. Spring ball starts in 13 days… what do you think it looks like here… do you think we’re playing?”

Mayor Kraig Sadownikow confirmed Tuesday night construction would start at the end of summer in August 2019. “The hope is to have spring ball there … but according to Doug Gonring and Billy Albrecht and some of the guys I consider baseball experts, this is a foolish exercise in Wisconsin that to have some happy middle ground probably would have made some sense to start this April 15 or June 15,” he said.

Funeral set for Bob Zarling of Kewaskum

Funeral details for Bob Zarling of Kewaskum have been released. Zarling died Tuesday, March 5 while wintering with his wife Char in Texas. Zarling was a long-time senior vice president of sales and marketing for Regal Ware and a dedicated member of the Kiwanis Club in Kewaskum.

In an article published on on March 6, Kevin Schneumann paid tribute to Zarling and his mentorship.

“That’s a devastating loss for the Kiwanis Club in Kewaskum,” said Kiwanis Club vice president Kevin Scheunemann. “He was the bedrock of our club and I have to personally thank Bob Zarling for getting me involved in Kiwanis because he was persistent and finally after eight or 10 visits he got me to join the club.”

Scheunemann described Zarling as a “tenacious recruiter” for Kiwanis in Kewaskum. “I’m still the new guy with 25 years in the club but Bob had about a half century of service in to Kiwanis. It’s a momentous loss to the club and the community.”

“My deepest sympathies to his wife and family and we’re all really saddened by the loss,” Scheunemann said. “Tireless” was one of the words Scheunemann used to describe Zarling. “His commitment to the community was incredible from membership recruitment to fundraising, service time and the guy just made me tired by looking at him by how much he did for the club.”

“Bob Zarling was a big member of the American Legion and one of the great pillars of Kewaskum and it’s a sad day for the entire community,” said Scheunemann.

“It’s unfortunate but I have confidence in Bob’s faith that he’s home with The Savior,” said Scheunemann. “I have no doubt about Bob’s Christian faith. He worked because of his faith in Christ, he didn’t do it for himself.”

Aaron Laatsch wrote, “Bob was such a great supporter of everything Kewaskum! He was especially supportive of the development of Reigle Family Park and spoke passionately about how important that development is for Kewaskum.”

Visitation for Bob Zarling will be Saturday, March 16 starting at 10 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 809 S. Sixth Avenue, West Bend 53095. A memorial service will follow at 11 a.m.

New tenant for former Bank Mutual location in West Bend

It looks like it’ll be another bank moving into the former Bank Mutual location, 1526 S. Main Street in West Bend. The property on S. Main Street sold to ENDF3DK LLC on Sept. 27, 2018 for$1,065,420.

The parcel was last assessed at $1,563,000. A spokeswoman for Landmark Credit Union, based in New Berlin, said it did purchase the property and they are remodeling.

“It will match the look and feel of the other branches we have,” said Katie Monfre, communications manager for Landmark Credit Union.

“It offers our members a number of advantages including private offices, a drive-thru lane, a drive-up ATM and it will give us both an in-store presence in West Bend and one location as a stand-alone branch.”

Landmark Credit Union is currently located in the Kroger Pick ‘n Save stores in West Bend. A larger, standalone branch is located at 1400 Schauer Drive in Hartford. “We’re always looking for the right opportunity for our members,” said Monfre. “This happened to be an excellent opportunity so we took advantage of it.”

Monfre said they “don’t have an exact open date yet” but they are looking at late summer or early fall.

In September 2017 a story was posted about Bank Mutual consolidating with Associated Bank. Bank Mutual, 1526 S. Main Street in West Bend, was one of 28 branches that consolidated with Associated. The receiving branch is the Associated Bank, 715 W. Paradise Drive.

Fifteen veterans from Washington County on April 6 Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

There will be 15 veterans from Washington County on the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight on April 6. This will be the 50th mission as two planes leave Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport with 172 veterans on board.

Vietnam veterans include Army veteran Gerald Gramins Sr. of Hartford, Edward Patoka of Hartford, Judith Thorbahn Pierce of Hartford, Richard Langreck of Hubertus, Jerald Lowther of West Bend, James Mathia of West Bend, Robert Graff of West Bend, James Bokelman of West Bend, Gary Thetford of West Bend, and Allen Polachowski of West Bend.

Korean War veterans include Norvin Lehman of Slinger, Roland Nowak of West Bend, Erwin Wergin of West Bend, and Melvin Walters of West Bend.  WWII veteran is Lon Loebel of West Bend.

If you know any of these veterans and wish to pay tribute please feel free to submit their photo and watch for follow-up stories in the coming weeks.

Sharp shooters quietly trim herd in West Bend Parks

It’s been a while since anyone has been updated on the sharp shooters and their success at trimming the number of deer in Ridge Run Park and Lac Lawrann Conservancy.

It was December 2018 when Tommy Schwai walked us into the freezer area to seven deer turned in by sharp shooters. Schwai’s is processing the deer free of charge and donating the meat to the Full Shelf Food Pantry in West Bend.

The sharp shooters were contracted by the City of West Bend for a managed hunt at $9,002. The cooperative service agreement with the USDA Wildlife Service indicates the sharp shooters will target the removal of 30 deer per park.

The City applied for a $5,000 Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement and Control grant to help offset the expense. As of Monday night, March 4 the city confirmed 33 deer had been removed by the sharp shooters and the effort would continue through mid-March. The city is targeting a reduction in deer numbers in an effort to reduce deer damage to habitat, property and car/deer collisions.

“Our contracted sharp shooters have been making good progress toward the overall herd-reduction goal,” said Mayor Kraig Sadownikow. “We are happy with their efforts to date and are pleased thus far.”

This is the second year the City is attempting to reduce the deer population. During an archery hunt at the end of December 2017 three hunters managed to kill three deer in a span of five days. Thirty-five pounds of venison was donated to the Full Shelf Food Pantry.

The licensed sharp shooters are performing the hunt during the evening at Ridge Run Park and Lac Lawrann Conservancy. The hunt will be conducted while the parks are closed. Thanks to Tommy Schwai for processing the meat free of charge and donating it to the Full Shelf Food Pantry in West Bend.

West Bend Plan Commission approves additions to ALDI and Krimmer’s Restaurant  

The West Bend Plan Commission gave the green light to a number of developments ahead including an expansion at ALDI, a 1,213-square-foot addition and outside patio at Krimmer’s Restaurant, 114 N. Main Street, a reduction in parking spots at the new Morrie’s West Bend Honda on southwest corner of W. Washington Street and Scenic Drive W.  An original total of 581 vehicle stalls were provided on site.

The developer will be removing approximately 136 parking stalls.  Finally, Kevin Dittmar from Dittmar Realty will be building eight cold storage units and mini warehousing on the southwest corner Lang Street and N. River Road on the east side of West Bend.

S.A.M.B.A fundriser is March 23 at Slinger High School PAC                 By Ron Naab

The Slinger Area Music Booster Association (S.A.M.B.A.) will hold its annual fundraiser in the new Slinger Performing Arts Center. The event is March 23 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. There will be five-star entertainment including Slinger High School drum line, jazz band, the middle school select choir, and high school choirs.

There will also be a special performance by Slinger alum Hannah Mrozak who performed on The Voice. The featured performance will be the nationally touring Dueling Pianos show from Milwaukee, WI – TOP Dueling Pianos. Your ticket also includes a specialty nonalcoholic drink from Milwaukee’s Concoctions Drink Deliciously company, delectably delicious desserts, and light appetizers. The first 500 tickets sold will also receive a commemorative “Slinger Soiree” stem less wine glass.

There will be silent auctions, raffles, a wine pull, and live auction. Prizes include Billy Joel Tickets, Brewer tickets, Slinger Owl Fire pit, top of the line beverage and wine fridge, dinner for 8 and drinks at West Bend’s Tap and Tavern, and many more amazing prizes!

3 players from UWM at Washington County named to Wisconsin Collegiate Conference All Conference | By Deb Butschlick

Three players from the UWM at Washington County basketball team were named to the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference All-Conference team. Sammie Brown a Kewaskum graduate majoring in Business Communications was selected to Wisconsin Collegiate Conference Second Team All-Conference for the Wildcats this year. Brown is a player and athlete who affects the game in many ways. She led the team in points per game with 11.3, second on the team in rebounds per game with 7.5, and she led our team in assists per game with 2.7. Brown can also guard anywhere from the shooting guard position to the center position. She has played at every spot in our zone defense. Above all, Brown became a “player-coach” for us this year. With an inexperienced team, Brown took the time to teach and help her teammates learn and develop throughout the year. As team captain her patience and leadership helped the team improve every day.

Kayla Boehm a Slinger graduate majoring in Business was selected to Wisconsin Collegiate Conference Honorable Mention for the All-Conference team. Boehm never played basketball before this year; however, she still averaged 8.6 points per game, 13.7 rebounds per game and 1.4 blocks per game. Boehm had three games where she grabbed 22 rebounds, 19 rebounds, and 17 rebounds respectively. Also, she only had two games where she did not grab more than 5 offensive rebounds. Throughout the year, Boehm began to learn the defensive side of basketball, and she became one of the top shot blockers in conference. At semester break, Boehm only had two blocks total, but she finished with 15 blocks in the final four games alone; including one game with four blocks, and another game with six blocks.

Brianna Beilfuss a Port Washington graduate majoring in Nursing was selected to Wisconsin Collegiate Conference Honorable Mention for the All-Conference team. Despite joining the team at semester, Beilfuss averaged 10.8 PPG shooting 35% from 3PT territory including a 5 for 9 3PT performance in one game. She averaged 7.0 RPG and continuously brought energy and hustle to our team. If it was tracked as an official stat, Beilfuss would’ve led the conference in diving for loose ball. She always made the winning plays for the team, and those plays don’t always show up on a stat sheet.

Fatal accident on Hwy 33 in West Bend                    By Washington County Sheriff

 Washington County suffered its first and second fatal accidents within hours of each other on Friday night, March 8. At 8:28 p.m., the Washington County Sheriff’s Office was notified of, and dispatched Deputies to, a two vehicle crash with injuries in the area of Hwy 33 and Riesch Road in the township of West Bend. Additionally, Allenton Rescue and West Bend Rescue were called to the scene.

It was reported by one witness that the operator of the first vehicle was trapped inside and there were no signs of life. Upon arrival of West Bend Rescue, it was confirmed the operator was deceased. The operator of the second vehicle suffered no apparent injuries and was released on scene. The passenger of the second vehicle was transported to Froedtert Hospital by ambulance with leg and back injuries.

Preliminary investigation shows the first vehicle was operating eastbound in the westbound lanes of traffic on Highway 33 (opposite lane of travel). The second vehicle was westbound on Hwy 33 in the left lane. The vehicles then collided head-on.

Weather and road conditions were not a factor in the crash. The westbound lanes of Hwy 33 were closed to traffic for approximately three hours to facilitate the investigation and clean-up.

The deceased operator is a 43-year-old male from Jackson, Wisconsin. The operator of the second vehicle is a 38-year-old male from Eden, Wisconsin, and the injured passenger is a 31-year-old female from Eden, Wisconsin. This is Washington County’s first traffic fatality in 2019. No further information is being released at this time and the crash remains under investigation.

Fatal accident in Slinger                                                        By Washington County Sheriff

On Friday, March 8, 2019 at 9:28 p.m., the Washington County Sheriff’s Office was notified of an incident in which a Canadian National train struck a person in the Town of Polk, near Maple Ave South in the Village of Slinger.

Slinger Police Department Officers and Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies responded, along with Lifestar Rescue and Slinger Fire Department. Upon arrival to the area, a deceased woman was located near the tracks. Further identification is withheld pending notification to the family. Train traffic was held on the tracks for approximately six hours, and the incident remains under investigation.

Military tribute to veteran Robert Henschel

More than 100 people stood silently in the back parking lot of the V.F.W. on Sand Drive in West Bend to pay their respects to veteran Robert Henschel. The West Bend Color Guard fired a three-round volley and then sounded Taps. A folded U.S. flag rested on the same table as a simple wooden box holding Henschel’s ashes.

Two members of the military performed the ceremonial unfolding and refolding of the flag. The purpose is done as a lasting tribute to the family as the flag previously draped the casket of the deceased veteran.

According to Flag Protocol the flag is placed on a closed casket so the union blue field is at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased. After Taps is played, the flag is carefully folded into the symbolic tri-cornered shape. A properly proportioned flag will fold 13 times on the triangles, representing the 13 original colonies. The folded flag is emblematic of the tri-cornered hat worn by the Patriots of the American Revolution. When folded, no red or white stripe is to be evident, leaving only the blue field with stars.

It is then presented as a keepsake to the next of kin or an appropriate family member.

During the presentation of the flag to the family the following is said. ‘On behalf of the President of the United States, (the United States Army; the United States Marine Corps; the United States Navy; or the United States Air Force), and a grateful Nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.’

Henschel, 70, was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Feb. 21. Henschel had been vacationing in Florida when the accident occurred. The Florida Highway Patrol said Henschel had run out of gas and was talking to a woman on the side of the Beachline turnpike when he was struck by another vehicle.

Lenten fish fry at The Columbian

The Lenten fish fry season is underway at The Columbian, 3245 Lighthouse Lane, in West Bend.          Helping Hands Fish Fry Fundraiser is 4 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and includes 2 to 3 piece of baked or fried cod. Just a little history note on the season of Lent: “Lent is the six-week period leading up to Easter. Lent is frequently seen as a time of solemn observance and preparation for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter. From its start on Ash Wednesday until its conclusion on Easter Sunday, April 21, Lent has been a traditional time for fasting or giving something up or abstinence.”

Updates & tidbits

-The Hartford Fire Department was on scene Thursday afternoon at John’s Hobbies, 54 N. Main Street in Hartford. According to City Administrator Steve Volkert some people coming out of a neighboring business saw flames and smoke and called in the fire. That was around 4:10 p.m. Main Street was closed to traffic while firefighters extinguished the fire. The cause of the fire was outside the business and deemed electrical in nature. Nobody was injured.

– On March 15 the Kettle Moraine YMCA will hold its annual Party with a Purpose at Terrace 167.  The Annual Campaign is designed to make sure everyone has affordable access to the YMCA.

-The 2019 ArtWalk Sneak Peek Party at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Get an up-close look at the 2019 hand painted banners by local artists before they are displayed on light poles in downtown West Bend. These banners turn Main Street in West Bend into an outdoor gallery May through October.

Take a piece of the ArtWalk home with you as a silent auction of banners from 2017 will take place during this event. Come prepared to bid for your favorite banners. Enjoy music, food and a cash bar.

Admission to the event and galleries is free.

-Cafe Floriana, 611 Veterans Ave Suite 104, in West Bend is open. Sisters Sara and Kat feature fresh, homemade bakery, sandwiches, soups and hot Stone Creek Coffee. The business opened on the first level of the former West Bend Company building, currently Cast Iron Luxury Living.

– The Washington County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) will meet March 11 at 6 p.m. at Moraine Park Technical College. The CDAC will review data and form preliminary 2019 antlerless quota, permit and season structure recommendations. Following the March meetings, an online public comment period will take place from April 1-10, with a final council meeting being held in late April 15 to allow the council to review public feedback before making final recommendations on the antlerless quota, permit and season structure.

-Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School’s cheer team traveled to La Crosse on March 1 to compete in the Wisconsin State Cheerleading Championship. The team won first place.

 Jackson Police rescue owl                                                                        By Jackson Police

An interesting night at the Jackson Police Department as Officer Brinks was in charge of watching over a screech owl. The bird was hit by a Washington County Taxi and brought to the Jackson PD.

Officer Brinks kept watch over the owl overnight and made sure it was comfortable until they could contact Marty at Wanakia Wildlife. Marty picked up the owl Tuesday morning and said it suffered a concussion but should be ok. The owl spent the night in a holding cell in case it started to feel better and tried to fly the coop.

UW Marching Band performs at Slinger High School PAC

It was a sold-out show Friday night at the Slinger High School Performing Arts Center as the UW Marching Band performed a nearly two-hour show under the direction of Mike Leckrone.

It was a special performance that was three years in the making. The evening was sponsoring by the Slinger/Allenton Rotary and the event coincided with the 150th anniversary of the Village of Slinger.

The UW Marching Band warmed up the crowd as the seven tuba players ducked through the entryway and took their place in front of the stage. “How’s everybody doing tonight,” yelled the tuba player. “Ready for some fun.”

Then it was onto some classics including “When you say Wisconsin you’ve said it all” and “On Wisconsin.” Dressed in black pants and red sweaters emblazoned with the letter W the band followed some brief comments from the Rotary, Village President Russell Brandt and Slinger Superintendent Daren Sievers.

Some of the music included a medley from Lionel Richie, Neil Diamond, Frankie Valley, The Music Man, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Then the band jumped into the traditional Fifth Quarter with The Chicken Dance, Hey Baby, and the Beer Barrel Polka.

Leckrone was dressed in white pants and tennis shoes and a flashy red and white striped jacket. The 82 year old announced in 2018 that after 50 years at the helm this would be his last season with the Marching Band.

Time Investment family says ‘happy retirement’ to Gloria Fleischman

The Time Investment family, 100 N. Sixth Avenue in West Bend, rolled out the red carpet for long-time employee Gloria Fleischman.

“Gloria we love you,” said Tom Hafeman.  “We hired Gloria in 1999; Prince sang about her.”

Hafeman was the master of ceremonies during Fleischman’s retirement party where gifts were given. lunch was served and tears were shed as a 20-year employee wrapped up her career.

Ady Lennartz has worked at Time Investment since 2001.  “Gloria has always been one we can count on and she was always here in any type of weather; she was here no matter what. She was always happy, willing to help anybody else and a great person to know.”

Wendy Dubois has been with Time Investment for 20 years. “Gloria and I talk every day,” said Dubois. “I just love her. She’s so sweet, polite and helpful and always looking out for you. She will be missed.”

Tom Hafeman said Fleischman has been ‘the best employee.’  “I was there in 1999 when we hired Gloria and she came from a factory setting,” he said. “She was all nervous because she said she wasn’t that good of a typer but I gotta tell you it’s been a real pleasure the past 20 years because Gloria really has made a big difference in our company.”

Hafeman raved about Fleischman’s punctuality, especially when she would drive in from Campbellsport in winter. “She was always on time and she never miss work,” he said. “There could be 10 feet of snow and 30 degrees below zero and who would be here, Gloria!”

Hafeman said he even tried to spoil Fleischman on her last day by letting her clock out early… but she would have none of it. “We’d let her leave early, pay her until the end of the day…. and she wants to stay! I said Gloria… it’s your last day go enjoy your family. That’s just some dedication,” he said.

John Hafeman said Fleischman is a unique employee. “She has grown with us from when we were very small to where we are today,” he said. “She will be sorely missed; it has just been a real pleasure to work with her.”

Jayne Peplinski and Sara Struebing said Fleischman showed them the ropes. “She welcomed me like crazy and it was funny because she laughs about being a bad typer… and she was a fun lady and just super nice,” said Peplinski.

“I really thanked them for the opportunity to work here,” said Fleischman about the Hafeman family. “I hadn’t used a typewriter in 20 years so I took a typing course. It’s been a long road… but a good road.”

Fleischman said when she started the company was located in a pole building on River Road in West Bend. “When I started everything was done manually including deposits and data entry. We’ve come a long way, now it’s automated and there are so many new entities.”

“This started with a few of the Hafeman family in the basement of their home and now their kids work here.

“The Hafemans have been very good to me and I have nothing but good things to say,” she said.

Fleischman said during retirement she will work on things on the farm and straighten things out since her husband, Norman’s, passing. “One step at a time… that’s what life is all about,” she said.

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U.S. Becomes World’s Largest Petroleum Exporter

Huzzah, huzzah.

New York (CNN Business)Move over, Saudi Arabia. America is about to steal the kingdom’s energy exporting crown.

The United States will surpass Saudi Arabia later this year in exports of oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum products, like gasoline, according to energy research firm Rystad Energy.
That milestone, driven by the transformative shale boom, would make the United States the world’s leading exporter of oil and liquids. That has never happened since Saudi Arabia began selling oil overseas in the 1950s, Rystad said in a report Thursday.
“It’s nothing short of remarkable,” said Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank. “Ten years ago, no one thought it could happen.”

Referendum Meeting Recap

I attended the referendum informational meeting at Jackson Elementary last night. For the uninitiated, the West Bend School District is asking the voters to borrow $47 million with a $74 million payback to build a new Jackson Elementary building and do a bunch of renovations at the high school. I have already stated that I oppose the referendum for a myriad of reasons, but I’m always open to change my mind. I went to the meeting to see if I was missing something. For the record, I’m not, but it was an interesting meeting nonetheless.

I like the referendum process and am glad that we have it. While I disagree with this one and will vote against it, the process itself allows the community to have a robust discussion about spending, tax increases, and priorities. This little act of direct democracy in a republican form of government is healthy. Here are a few thoughts on what transpired last night:

  • The format of the meeting was manipulative. Normally, in a meeting like this, the superintendent or leader would present the facts and then take questions. I this case, the superintendent gave a short 15 minute presentation, but then instead of taking questions, the audience members were instructed to go to the back of the room and speak individually with the architects, finance people, or school district people to get their answered their questions. The stated reason for this format was to make sure that the “experts” could give more detailed answers. The practical effect was to prevent people from hearing what other people were asking, isolate them, and diffuse any appearance of opposition.
  • Joel Ongert, the President of the School Board, was there. He neither introduced himself to the audience nor answered any questions.
  • The superintendent’s presentation was fine. He stated multiple times that he was just there to give the facts and not advocate. He did not overtly advocate, but the bias is in the presentation of the facts. He presented the misleading view of the tax burden to support the referendum and a skewed version of the timeline leading up to the referendum. But he did also point out that many parts of the buildings were much newer than the original 100+ year-old parts.
  • Interestingly, the superintendent and a couple of other school officials repeatedly made the point that state law forbids them from using referendum money for anything not stated in the ballot question. True, as far as it goes, but the referendum question is very vague and leaves a LOT of room for interpretation. Methinks they protest too much.
  • I took the tour with the principal and about 25 other people. My overall impression was that the school is perfectly fine. The building has some quirky things because of the way it was appended over the years, but it was solid, functional, clean, and generally in good shape. It certainly did not appear to need to be demolished. There were a few maintenance items that needed to be done, like replace some ceiling tiles, but the building was in pretty great shape. Most of the complaints were about theoretical issues. For example, one hallway has a long ramp that might be difficult to navigate for a kid in a wheel chair. Might. Has it ever been an actual problem in the history of the school? Not that anyone could cite.
  • When I returned to the gym, I spoke with the principal and a couple of other people. I ended up in a rather lengthy discussion with a guy who lives in Slinger but sells real estate in Jackson. He was adamant that building the new school would attract people to Jackson and boost property values. When I brought up the projections for declining enrollment and the demographic shift driving it, he brushed it as “projections.” He did admit, however, that building a new building would not actually contribute anything to educating kids. Property values, population growth, etc. may all be good things, but the school district’s mission is supposed to be to educate kids.
  • At the end of the meeting, there was a lady standing at the door handing out pro-referendum yard signs and flyers. Yes, you read that right. On school grounds. After the informational meeting. The School District officials permitted a person to hand out pro-referendum materials. This way, the district can claim to not be “advocating,” but they are giving their support group the space to advocate and bringing the audience to them. It’s a sham end-around of the law. Maybe I’ll print out a bunch of opposition flyers and see if I can hand them out at the next meeting.

My overwhelming impression from the meeting was that there are a lot of people lining up to tell me what a great idea the referendum is who don’t live here and won’t be paying the bill. Bray, the architecture firm? Says it’s a great idea, but is based in Milwaukee. Baird, the finance folks? Says it’s the best time to borrow, but won’t be paying for it. The real estate guy? Lives in Slinger, but wants Jackson real estate prices to rise. Even the Superintendent… it did not escape my attention that he still has South Dakota plates on his car. He’s at the end of his career and I am certain that he will not be living in the West Bend School District for the next 19 years to pay off this referendum.

Many of the people pushing the referendum won’t have to pay for it, but they will receive financial benefit for it. Bray will make a fortune building the schools if it passes. Baird will make money off of the financing. Real estate guy will make money off of rising property values (assuming that happens). The superintendent will cash in his retirement benefits as he moves back to South Dakota. Everyone there seemed to have their hands in my pocket and not a single one of them even pretends that spending $74 million will make one kid smarter. It won’t improve test scores. It won’t improve educational outcomes. It won’t improve graduation rates.

What is more and more clear is that the West Bend referendum isn’t about education at all. It’s about the shakedown of taxpayers for the financial benefit of a few.

So I guess I did learn something new at the referendum informational meeting. I learned that it is worse than I thought.

Why Are Kids Fleeing MPS’ Conventional Schools?

Interesting point from Bruce Thompson at Urban Milwaukee.

For the past two decades, there has been an influential faction, including the Milwaukee teachers’ union (MTEA) and some school board members, that blames MPS’s problems on the availability of charter schools and vouchers for private schools. According to the MTEA and its close ally the Working Families Party, the solution to declining MPS enrollment is to prevent parents from choosing to send their children to charter schools or private schools.

Thus, instead of asking how MPS can better serve its customers, the children and their parents living in Milwaukee, the emphasis is on recreating a monopoly by getting rid of the competition. Ironically, charter schools chartered by MPS are among the most successful, if the state’s school report cards are used as a measure. This is particularly true if one looks at schools with a high percentage of students in poverty.

Partly this reflects the MPS competitive advantage, its ability to offer its empty space to a charter school. However, growing hostility towards charters on the board has made charter school administrators begin to wonder if they should consider switching to another charter authorizer.

Consider what happened to Wendell Harris, the only incumbent running for reelection in April election for school board. Four years ago, Harris ran and won with the support of the MTEA. This year the union is opposing his re-election. His crime? After visiting Carmen and deciding it was a very good school, he voted in favor of its sharing space in Pulaski High School. Essentially, his crime was putting the interest of the students ahead of that of MPS.

The next table lists the candidates for school board in the upcoming election. I think it is safe to say that those in the left-hand column have convinced the MTEA and the Working Families Party that they won’t make Harris’ heresy of approving a charter school application just because it does a good job of educating students.

2019 MTEA Endorsements

2019 MTEA Endorsements

To put this in perspective, conventional MPS schools currently serve around 56 percent of the Milwaukee children whose education is publicly supported, while 39 percent are in independent charter schools or private schools through the choice program. In order to get the Working Families/MTEA endorsement, the candidates in the left-hand column are committed to trying to disrupt the education of 39 percent of Milwaukee’s students.

House Democrats Embrace Anti-Semitism

You aren’t condemning anti-Semitism if you are not willing to condemn the actual anti-Semites.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi cleared Rep. Ilhan Omar of intentional anti-Semitism in her controversial remarks that sparked outrage among Democrats and said the resolution the House will vote on Thursday condemning hate speech is not about the freshman lawmaker.

‘It’s not about her, it’s about these forms of hatred,’ Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday.

‘I don’t think the congresswoman perhaps doesn’t appreciate how it was heard by other people although I don’t believe it was intended as anti-Semitic although that’s how it was interpreted,’ the speaker said.

The House will vote Thursday on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and white supremacy after internecine war developed among Democrats over comments from Omar.

Evers Preaches Patience on CWD Management

I agree with him on this.

Three wild deer tested positive for CWD in the Crescent Corner area near the Lincoln-Oneida County line, all since 2017.

Democrats criticized former Governor Scott Walker for not doing enough to stop the spread of CWD.
During a stop in Rhinelander on Tuesday, Evers said he wants the DNR to take its time studying the disease more.

“It wasn’t that we were dismissing the issue of CWD, it’s obviously a very important one,” Evers said. “It’s a very important one for our state, tourism, hunting, natural resources, but we believe the first place to start is around that.”

Scientists first found CWD in southern Wisconsin in 2002. Recently, the DNR has asked hunters to submit more deer for testing. The agency is also in the middle of a four-year study in southwestern Wisconsin that should offer a lot more information .

“We’re going to make sure that we’re very thoughtful,” DNR Secretary-Designee Preston Cole said. “When we roll something out in the future, we’re going to make sure that the science is there, we have our partners there.”

Scientist to Make Flu More Deadly

This is the beginning of a disaster movie.

Controversial research at UW-Madison to make a deadly flu virus more dangerous, halted by the government in 2014, has been approved to start again.

The work by campus scientist Yoshihiro Kawaoka involves modifying bird flu viruses such as H5N1 so they can spread among ferrets, an animal model for studying the flu in humans.

The research aims to identify changes that could cause the viruses to spread easily among people, “so that public health officials can monitor for these changes in nature and begin to stockpile vaccines and antivirals to combat it,” Rebecca Moritz, the university’s manager for select agents — or germs considered bioterrorism threats — said in a statement.

The flu still kills twice as many people in the U.S. than people with guns. I certainly support efforts to combat it, but let’s be careful, eh?