Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Heilmann hired as superintendent of Eau Claire school district

The Oshkosh Northwestern is reporting this afternoon that Oshkosh Area School District superintendent Ron Heilmann has been hired to head up the Eau Claire school district. Though he has come under a great deal of fire in recent months for what some have called a failure to lead the district, I think it is important to remember that the school board is ultimately responsible for district leadership. If the school board wanted the district to go in a direction other than where Heilmann was recommending it go, it should have taken the appropriate action to see that that happened.

It's also important to remember, that while Heilmann could have changed boundaries on his own without a single board vote, he assembled groups and committees to study the facilities plan and redistricting, and made recommendations to the board based on their research, etc. Whether people like the plans that were recommended or even eventually decided upon, one can only imagine that it has been difficult to do his job when every plan that came forward saw groups of parents screaming "not with my kid's school."

And while I, too, have not always agreed with everything the district, or Dr. Heilmann personally, has recommended, I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to him on his new position, wish him well in all his future endeavors and thank him for his 10 years of service to this community and its children. I hope the Eau Claire school district is not as fractured as this one is, because in the end, though it may be the adults squabbling, it's the children who end up paying the price for their posturing and oft-times petulance.

Governor Doyle Launches Clean Energy Wisconsin, a Plan for Energy Independence

APPLETON – Governor Jim Doyle launched Clean Energy Wisconsin, his strategy to strengthen Wisconsin’s energy future. This comprehensive plan moves Wisconsin forward by promoting renewable energy, creating new jobs, increasing energy security and efficiency, and improving the environment.

“From the supermarket to the gas pump, Wisconsin families are feeling the squeeze of high energy prices,” Governor Doyle said. “In Wisconsin, we are taking the lead to not only address these challenges – but to find opportunities for innovation and growth in them as well. Clean Energy Wisconsin is a plan that saves us money, creates jobs, helps secure our world and improves our air and water. These initiatives will provide a clear direction for the businesses, people and communities that will help Wisconsin become the leader of renewable fuels.”

Governor Doyle also announced today that the Department of Commerce will soon begin taking applications from businesses and researchers for financial assistance from the new Wisconsin Energy Independence Fund. The application period for the first round of funding will run from April 1 to June 2, 2008.

The department expects to award $15 million annually in grants and loans for research and development, commercialization or adoption of new technologies, and supply chain development. Eligible applicants include businesses and researchers. Through the development and deployment of new discoveries and innovations, Wisconsin will use its considerable natural resources and manufacturing expertise to develop new businesses focused on reducing our dependence on foreign oil. This effort will leverage nearly $1 billion in private investment and create new jobs for Wisconsin families on our farms, in our forests, in our research labs and for our manufacturers.

Since coming into office, Governor Doyle has worked to make Wisconsin a leader in renewable energy. In 2007, Governor Doyle created the Office of Energy Independence to promote efforts to reduce dependence on foreign oil and advance renewable energy initiatives.

Governor’s plan for energy independence includes: Generating 25 percent of our electricity and 25 percent of the fuels for our cars and trucks from renewable sources by the year 2025; capturing 10 percent of the market share for renewable energy and bioproducts; and utilizing Wisconsin’s tremendous capability for research to become the country’s leader in making alternative energies more affordable and available to all.

The next steps in reaching a clean energy future will require Wisconsin to make targeted investments, develop new energy supplies, and focus on climate stewardship.

Promote an Affordable, Renewable, and Diverse Energy Supply

In 2006, Wisconsin citizens spent $19.5 billion dollars on energy — and costs continue to rise. The cost of petroleum alone is increasing by more than a billion dollars a year. Currently, 3.5 percent of the motor fuel sold in Wisconsin is from renewable sources and an overwhelming 66 percent of the country’s petroleum is imported. There is tremendous potential for Wisconsin to keep energy spending in the state, and in doing so, drive new industry.

Wisconsin currently spends $5.7 billion a year on electricity and much of the fuel is purchased from other states. About 5 percent of Wisconsin electricity is generated from renewable sources, generating $184 million a year for the economy. Producing 25 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources in Wisconsin would generate nearly $1 billion for the Wisconsin economy.

Target Investments in Job Creation and New Business Opportunities

The renewable energy industry is estimated to become a multi-billion industry and Wisconsin has the farms, fields, forest and factories to be a leader in this market. Capturing 10 percent of this market would generate billions each year for our economy and create nearly 20,000 new jobs.

Improve Our Environment

By emphasizing efficiency and promoting cost-saving alternative fuels, Wisconsin citizens and businesses can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prevent water pollution, and reduce the state’s overall impact on the environment.

To read Governor Doyle’s plan for energy independence, Clean Energy Wisconsin, visit:

For application materials and more information about the Wisconsin Energy Independence Fund and a program fact sheet, visit

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monte sings the blues

If a contest were held in Oshkosh looking for new country singing talent, I think Kent Monte would surely have a good shot at winning it. I don’t know if he can actually sing, but it’s been some time since I’ve heard someone sing the blues like he does (except for maybe his wife or those they associate with). The latest “somebody done us wrong” song was posted by Kent “Crying in My Beer (or is it ‘whine’)” Monte on Monday and several comments have been made on both the Monte blogs since then in response.

Though I’m flattered by the attention once again raining on me (and I’m not even a candidate), I always chuckle at those who try playing gotcha politics, but clearly don’t know what they’re talking about.

As part of his “Sermon on the Monte” Kent referred to my recent editorial and followed it up with his usual nonsensical comments. First, as anyone can see, neither that editorial nor an earlier one said anything about my approving of the Labor Council’s endorsement process. Second, I did not take a formal position on his wife giving her blog readers the impression that endorsements don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of election success or failure. I merely questioned why she lists all her endorsements on her blog, if that’s how she feels. Hardly “lashing out,” as Crybaby Kent called it.

He and some anonymous ninnies on both his and his wife’s blogs have also referred to positions I took on endorsements three years ago. They’ve tried desperately to make a correlation between them and my most recent editorial. But, anyone with half a brain can see they have nothing to do with each other. Moreover, contrary to what Kent has said, my position now is consistent with my position then.

I realize it may be difficult for them to stay focused on what’s important, but Kent, Michelle and their anonymous supporter(s) really should stick with issues and the candidates who are running. To do so would serve them better than to continue with their usual muckraking, especially in the final stretch of a campaign.

While on the subject of whining, I watched about 10 minutes of the recent roundtable discussion with school board candidates. That was all I could stomach. After hearing from others who suffered through the whole hour, I am glad I watched something else. The one thing I did hear right at the outset was city councilman and a discussion moderator, Paul Esslinger, bellyaching about how “at least one” venue would not invite all the school board candidates and how they (Who? He and his friends, the Montes?) didn’t think that was “fair.” It was clear he was talking about Eye on Oshkosh because we invited all school board candidates except Mrs. Monte - and with good reason.

The spin Michelle Monte put on it on another blog was that she was not invited on because her husband had become an acquaintance of an adversary of mine and she was guilty by association. This is pure, unadulterated hogwash and Michelle knows it. If what she said was true, she and Kent would not have been invited on the show during the last two elections they ran, but they were. Additionally, Ben Schneider II wouldn’t have been invited to come on either, but he was. I wouldn’t have thought a candidate for public office would have their head buried that far in the sand or be that disingenuous, but I guess anything’s possible.

I’ve previously explained why candidate Monte was not invited, but for those who missed it or who need another reminder, here we go. During the last couple of years she has regularly made or allowed negative comments about the show or its hosts on her blog. Included in that, she (and Kent, too) has either made and/or allowed slanderous comments about my reporting and professional ability to appear on the Monte blogs. Yet, despite that, they and their friends apparently live in such a world of entitlement that they still believe she has the right to come on the show. Without a doubt that is the height of hypocrisy. Here's some advice for them: If I'm such a lousy journalist, so unfair, so biased and the show is so irrelevant, be grateful you don’t have to be associated with it and move on, people. Don't keep whining about it.

On the positive side of things, I find it flattering that despite everything, they continue to watch the show and read the blog. So much for “irrelevancy.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Roessler will not seek re-election

According to a news report this afternoon by WBAY-TV, longtime Oshkosh state senator Carol Roessler (R) has announced she does not plan to seek re-election this fall. Roessler, who has been in office since 1982, said in a letter to her constituents and supporters that, while service has been her passion, she wants to focus more time on her husband and family. This news will undoubtedly mean more challengers will be entering the race. One, Oshkosh Common Councilor Jess King (D) already announced her intention several weeks ago to seek the 18th Senate District seat currently held by Roessler.

Is there a need for online rules

As blogs and the ability to comment online about news stories become more popular, the debate over whether to allow anonymous postings continues. One viewpoint is that allowing anonymous comments spurs discussion; another says to make people identify themselves in some way holds them accountable and keeps the discussion civil.

In this piece from the Miami Herald, columnist Ed Wasserman has this to say: "On the Internet, public comment isn't kitchen table talk, it's saloon brawl. Postings are sharp and rough-and-tumble. Harsh and derisive exchanges are common. So are personal attacks. Chat rooms and message boards routinely allow people to post comments anonymously. That's the cyber pond that traditional news organizations are diving into." Check out his entire column for more on why he believes online rules are needed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Statement from John Lemberger, candidate for OASD Board of Education

Qualifications: I am the fifth generation of my family to live in Oshkosh. I have a background in education at the high school and university levels.
• 1969 graduate of Lourdes High School
• 1973 graduate of UWO
• Master’s degree and teaching license from UWO
• Several years experience as a high school science teacher
• Several more years experience as a substitute teacher at all grade levels
• A Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison that gives me a deep understanding of how children learn and how to teach effectively.
• Thirteen years experience as a faculty member in the College of Education and Human Services at UWO preparing students to be teachers and providing professional development opportunities for in-service teachers in the Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) and the surrounding area

Our neighborhood schools are one of Oshkosh's biggest assets. The October, 2006 PMP report rightly points out that Oshkosh has more schools than other communities of similar size around the state. Instead of thinking that's a bad thing and trying to conform to other communities by closing more schools, we should tout our greater number of schools as a commitment to our children and to our neighborhoods, and put that forward as the community asset it is.

Investing in our neighborhood schools is an investment in three important things. First it is an investment in our children. When children get a good education they get better jobs and can afford better houses. Their increased ability to better contribute to our tax base as adults is an important return on our initial investment in neighborhood schools. Second investing in our neighborhood schools is an investment in our neighborhoods. The presence of a school in a neighborhood increases home values and attracts young families. Increased home values returns our investment in the near term as property taxes. Finally, it is an investment in our community. A healthy neighborhood school system will attract young professionals and new businesses to Oshkosh. This will contribute not only to our tax base, but also to our general economy, and our quality of life. We must make Oshkosh an attractive place for people to want to live by investing in our city. I believe that investing in our neighborhood school system is one of the best ways to invest in Oshkosh.

There are two issues at the core of the OASD problems: a structural budget deficit and buildings in need of repair and remodeling. The solution has been difficult because I believe the current board has confounded these two issues, and because they have adopted a deficient definition of equity. The board has chosen to define equity largely in terms of building core space and square footage per student (as well as cost per student). I have never seen these criteria used as a measure of equity before. (A better definition of equity is provided by the Northwest Regional Equity Center and includes children’s access to learning facilities, quality teachers trained in equity issues like multicultural education, and how to confront bias and stereotypes in the classroom, etc.) Expanding buildings to bring equity to building core space will be extremely expensive and has inflated the cost of repairing our schools from $12-14 million to over $70 million. I would move this district forward by taking to referendum the $12-14 million to repair and remodel our neighborhood schools. Schools with real space issues that affect learning (like Oaklawn) would be given priority. The structural deficit problem I would solve by a separate referendum asking for $1.5 million per year (our approximate annual deficit). If we asked for enough to cover 5 years and added that to the approximately $13 million for building repairs, the total bill over the next 5 years would be $20.5 million. Approximately half of the money the board is asking for in phase one of their newest plan. Children should always go to the school they live closest to. My plan would minimize boundary shifts and allow children to go to their neighborhood school.

Make checks payable to John Lemberger for School Board.
Send checks to:
Paula Rouse,Treasurer
839 West 17th Avenue,
Oshkosh, WI 54902

[Editor's Note: This candidate incurred no cost for the publishing of his statement on this site, just as candidates appearing on "Eye on Oshkosh" to discuss their candidacy are not charged anything.]

Governor Doyle Statement on Assembly Republican Budget Repair Bill

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle released the following statement today regarding the budget repair bill passed early this morning by Assembly Republicans:

“Earlier this week, I announced a good, responsible budget repair plan that addresses a shortfall due to a slowdown in the national economy, while protecting education, health care, and vital services and not raising taxes. My plan cuts state government spending, slows budget increases in 2009, leverages more federal revenue through a hospital assessment, and finds ways to generate more revenues for the state. My plan also wisely builds in a $100 million reserve as a necessary safeguard in these uncertain economic times.

“Unfortunately, Assembly Republicans have passed a fiscally irresponsible bill that spends down our reserves to basically nothing and delays addressing our financial problems. We need to be committed to a responsible budget that addresses our shortfall and moves our state forward, and the Assembly Republican budget fails on both accounts.

“Instead of making broad, responsible cuts, the Assembly Republicans are proposing to cut hundreds of millions of dollars more, which fails to protect our basic priorities of education, health care, local services and job creation.”

Oshkosh Labor Chicks are back, and still blogging

Relatively silent for some time, the Oshkosh Labor Chicks want people to know they’re blogging more frequently these days and one of their most recent entries talks about the endorsement process of the Winnebago County Labor Council in the Oshkosh Area School District Board of Education race and the flap made about it by one of the candidates in that race.

Earlier this month, Michelle Monte posted on her blog her commentary as it related to the endorsements by the Labor Council and in which she “questioned” the process they used to make their endorsements. She then went on to say “Over the last few years, I have heard all kinds of rationales about endorsements. I am curious as to how much weight they really play in voters (sic) minds.”

One of the Oshkosh Labor Chicks, in her above-referenced post, responded to this “question” by saying “It constantly amazes me when someone running for political office says that endorsements don't mean anything. Yet, the discussions and hand wringing over the endorsements and the press release associated with them makes me think that is not true. If WCLC endorsements are baseless and meaningless, then why are you whining about not getting endorsed? Hmmmm??????”

Though Monte “cleverly” avoided giving her own personal position, she gives the impression – in a sour grapes sort of way – that she thinks endorsements don’t play that much of a role in elections. So I’ll follow up the Labor Chicks’ question with one of my own: If Mrs. Monte doesn’t think endorsements affect elections that much, why does she bother listing her supporters on her blog site? For that matter, why does any candidate publish their supporters’ names on their campaign materials? While it is certainly a way of thanking people, it’s obviously done for others to see and, I’m sure to a great degree, to influence votes. If it doesn’t actually mean anything in the grand scheme of elections, why not just send a simple thank-you note to your supporters? It’s more personal (you know, they say the art of sending letters and cards is dying in this techno age) and certainly less boastful. Nor does it have any of those annoying ulterior motives.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Local blogger/activist takes on school board candidate Schneider

In yet another insightful editorial, local blogger and activist Kay Springstroh has this week set her sights on candidate for the Oshkosh Area School District Board of Education, Ben Schneider II. In this piece entitled "School Board Candidates Answer PFLAG Questions," Springstroh specifically takes on Schneider for what she calls his "open homophobia and his obvious lack of language skills."

As you read her piece, keep in mind the question she refers to was not about whether the candidates approve of homosexuality. I don't know how one could miss it, but clearly, Schneider didn't understand that fact when he "answered" the question and, instead, seems to have made it about himself. Or was it simply not worth it to him to take the time to read the question and respond to it more carefully? And the grammar he exhibited, or lack thereof, speaks for itself, as Springstroh so aptly pointed out.

Unfortunately, the same kind of sloppiness or ill-training in basic English skills is something we see far too often in people today, Ben Schneider II notwithstanding. It's especially apparent, and unforgiving, in highly-paid business people who surely ought to know better and who can certainly afford to take the necessary classes to do better.

Statewide smoking ban going up in smoke

The Oshkosh Northwestern is reporting tonight that the statewide smoking ban appears to be dead, at least for now. But proponents of such a ban promise to continue their efforts to get a statewide ban passed – and they should.

With more and more states passing such legislation, including our own neighbors, a statewide smoking ban is legislation whose time has come. Sadly, some still don’t get it. One of those who either doesn’t o doesn’t want to is the state Tavern League’s chief executive officer, Pete Madland.

"I think legislators understand this is not just about employee health," the article quotes him as saying. "This is about people’s jobs, people’s businesses, people’s livelihood, and it’s not to be taken too lightly."

In the first place, this is about health – that should be first and foremost. Second, if he’s so concerned about jobs, people’s businesses and livelihoods, you’d think he’d be in favor of a ban that regulates all businesses, not just some. After all, if the ban is in place in all Wisconsin businesses it puts every business on a level playing field, rather than pitting one against the other.

Perhaps what he meant to say was “This is about our members’ businesses and their employees’ jobs and livelihoods.” At least that’s how it seems to me anyway.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Governor Doyle Announces Budget Repair Plan

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced his strategy to repair a budget imbalance in the state budget caused by revenues that declined with a slowing national economy. The plan provides for sufficient funding of essential state and local services – education, health care and creating jobs – without raising taxes while also ensuring that the state ends each fiscal year in the black with a balance of about $100 million on June 30, 2009.

“All across the country, states are grappling with budget shortfalls, and here in Wisconsin we are not immune,” Governor Doyle said. “The budget repair that I am announcing today is a good, responsible plan, and it is important to act on it as quickly as possible. At the heart of it, this plan is straightforward. Just like any real solution to a budget gap, this plan cuts spending and looks for good sources of revenue, and it does it by protecting priorities like education, health care, and job creation while not raising taxes. The earlier it can be enacted, the more good it will do.”

Last week, the Governor called a special session of the Wisconsin State Legislature to begin on Thursday, March 13th in response to a notification from the Department of Administration that state expenditures would exceed revenues by more than 0.5 percent this year. The situation requires legislation to repair the budget.

The Governor’s budget repair plan:

· Reduces spending at state agencies while maintaining essential services for Wisconsin’s hardworking families. Department of Administration Secretary Michael Morgan will lead efforts to reduce funding from executive branch agency appropriations by $330.4 million over the biennium. This includes $200 million in cuts that state agencies were required to make under the 2007-09 biennial budget signed in October.

· Leverages more federal revenue working through the Medicaid system, supporting hospitals and lowering health care costs for businesses and families. By implementing a 0.7 percent assessment on hospital revenues, the state will secure $700 million in new federal revenue over the biennium. The assessment, supported by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, will be used to provide a Medicaid rate increase for hospitals. $125 million will be used to reduce state taxpayer support for Medicaid. A rural hospital and mental health care supplement of $2.5 million GPR will also be provided. The provision sunsets at the end of the 2007-2009 biennium.

· Maintains the state’s critical road-building and infrastructure maintenance program and preserves state support for vital education, local government, health care and economic development programs funded from both the general and transportation funds. The Governor’s proposal fully funds the state highway program by authorizing $190 million in GPR-funded general obligation bonds for the transportation program. It also accounts for an additional $76.9 million in federal transportation funds and the issuance of $67 million of already authorized transportation revenue bonds.

The Governor’s budget repair plan also garners $6 million by preventing corporations from abusing captive rental real estate investment trusts as a means of avoiding taxes on profits generated in Wisconsin, saves $5 million in funding for implementing the federal REAL ID law because of delays at the federal Department of Homeland Security, and it secures $15 million more annually from the refinancing of tobacco bonds.

Poll: Over Half of Americans Say They Do Not Trust The Press

A new Harris Interactive poll finds that over half of Americans — 54 percent — say they tend not to trust the press, "with only 30 percent tending to trust the press." More Americans (41 percent) trust "Internet news and information sites" than they do the mainstream media. Radio tends to do best among Americans as 44 percent say they tend to trust it. You can read detailed results of the poll by checking out this Think Progress article. So what is it about mainstream media that YOU don’t like? What about it do you like? And what makes Internet news and information sites and radio more trustworthy in the eyes of Americans (keep in mind, however, much of it is owned and operated by mainstream media, especially radio)? What, if anything, can mainstream media do to restore the faith of the American people?

Rep. Hintz welcomes Oshkosh West Girls Basketball Players, Coaches, Families, and Fans to Madison

For Immediate Release

March 10, 2008

Dear Coaches, Players, Families and Oshkosh West fans,

I would like to congratulate the Oshkosh West High School Girls Basketball team on their victory this weekend! I look forward to watching you represent Oshkosh in the WIAA State Basketball Tournament as you go for a state title.

I was fortunate to play in the 1992 Boys State Basketball tournament for Oshkosh North and remember what an incredible experience playing in Madison was.

While I know it is a busy week for everyone involved, I would like to extend an invitation to players, coaches, and families to visit the State Capitol when you are in Madison. My office can help organize Capitol tours, group photos, and anything else that you may need to make your visit enjoyable.

You can also check out, which contains important information about places to stay, eat, and visit, as well as directions to downtown parking.

Congratulations again to Coach Niki Sutter and the West Wildcats on making it to the state tournament. I look forward to cheering you on in Madison. If I can be of assistance to you in any way, please feel free to contact me by phone toll-free at 888-534-0054 or by e-mail at


Gordon Hintz
State Representative-54th Assembly District

[Editor's note: Eye on Oshkosh would also like to congratulate the team and wish them the best of luck this weekend.]

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Governor Doyle Calls Special Session of Legislature for Budget Repair

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today called a special session of the Wisconsin State Legislature for March 13, 2008 at 10 a.m. to repair a budget imbalance caused by revenues that declined with a slowing national economy.

“I am working closely with and calling on legislative leaders to reach an agreement and quickly address the budget gap the state of Wisconsin is facing,” Governor Doyle said. “The budget imbalance has serious consequences if left unresolved. It is imperative that we find a responsible solution that protects our basic values, continues vital services, and maintains our financial integrity.”

Governor Doyle called the special session in response to a notification today from the Department of Administration that expenditures would exceed revenues by more than 0.5 percent this year. The situation requires legislation to repair the budget.

View the Governor’s Executive Order calling for the special session here:

Animal Shelter now accepting donations for Sit Up and Bid Charity Auction

Do you have items in your home that are collecting dust and going unused? Unclutter your space and help animals in need by donating those dusty treasures to the Sit Up and Bid Charity Auction.

The Oshkosh Area Humane Society is now accepting donations of items old and new for our upcoming Sit Up and Bid Charity Auction on July 23, 2008. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the animals of OAHS.

Items we are accepting include:

- Furniture in good condition
- Electronics in good working condition
- Artwork
- Jewelry
- Housewares - dish sets, silver, etc.
- Crystal
- Collectibles
- Sporting/Exercise Equipment
- Tools
- Luggage
- Memorabilia
- Antiques

Please bring all items to the Oshkosh Area Humane Society at 1925 Shelter Court, Oshkosh, WI. All donations are tax-deductible. Donations will be accepted until June 21, 2008.

Questions? Contact Pat Rock at (920) 303-3166 or email to

Thank you!

Local blogger sums up Carol Owens' career in Madison

For almost as long as she’s been in office it seems Rep. Carol Owens has been a lightning rod of controversy – mostly because of the ridiculousness of much of her proposed legislation, her failure to stay awake during meetings she’s being paid to attend (it is, after all, her job as a legislator), and by her mean-spirited attitude and comments during debates and when asked questions about her record as a public servant. Then, of course, we’ve heard many complaints over the years about her failure to return phone calls, answer written communications or otherwise be responsive when people call, particularly if they’re not in her district.

The “sleepy” representative is not seeking re-election (a very good thing, in my opinion) and several have already entered the race, expressing a desire to dust the cobwebs off her legislative chair and do some real work in Madison. Since announcing her decision, Owens has been the topic of several editorials and blog postings on the World Wide Web, most which have poked fun at her irrelevant legislative proposals, and which have simultaneously reflected on what most of us see as a less than stellar career.

One of the more recent was written by Kay Springstroh for Main Street Oshkosh. It accurately portrays Owens’ “faltering” career – at least in the last several years – as a legislator and sums up her faux pas and asinine proposals better than anything I’ve seen. She also chastises the Oshkosh Northwestern for not speaking up about Owens sooner than now – earlier this week they published an editorial criticizing her recent proposed legislation to stop the DOT’s reconstruction plans for U.S. Highway 41 near State Highway 21 in Oshkosh. The Northwestern actually has challenged Owens on various occasions in the past; their most recent editorial was not the first, and I doubt will be the last. So if Kay was saying they’ve never taken her to task in the past, that’s not really accurate. But overall, kudos to Kay; as far as Owens goes, she hit the nail on the head.

"Mystery" surrounding Labor Council's endorsements solved

On Monday we published a press release from the Winnebago County Labor Council announcing the group’s endorsements for various local and state offices in the April 1 general election. Shortly thereafter, rumors started circulating on local blogs and in the community claiming that the local school board candidates had not actually been contacted by the labor council during this election cycle.

After confirming with one candidate that he personally didn’t recall getting a questionnaire from them, we contacted council president Steven Dedow and asked for an explanation of what their process was. Late Tuesday evening we received a response from him and subsequent to that permission from him to publish his response (i.e., explanation) verbatim. It is as follows:


In regards to the questions surrounding the Winnebago County Labor Council’s endorsement process:

Questionnaires were sent out to the County Board candidates in Districts 14, 15 and 18. The questionnaires that were returned were discussed and our endorsements were based on that information. In the District 14 contest, the membership was evenly divided on endorsement so, as per past practice, no endorsement was made.

In the Court of Appeals District II Judge contest we based our decision on information received from the candidates and the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO political department. Only one candidate submitted information to further this process.

As to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race; we as a local chapter of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, reviewed information on the candidates via the media, campaign websites and past voting records to make a determination on which candidate best reflected the concerns of our affiliates.

The School Board endorsements were made upon the recommendations of our affiliates who are most closely connected to the educational environment. This type of recommendation has been used in the past. It is akin to municipal government’s use of an advisory committee. In the past we have used methods such as interviews, questionnaires and the recommendations of affiliates to enrich the endorsement process. Mr. (Ben) Schneider has been sent questionnaires in past election cycles and did not respond. Ms. (Michelle) Monte was interviewed in the past election cycle and her candidacy was not supported by the WCLC AFL-CIO due to fundamental differences.

The problem during this particular political cycle lies within the press release itself. For this I take complete responsibility. I ‘cut and pasted’ parts of an earlier version and did not edit properly. I personally apologize for this over sight. It certainly was not my intent, or that of the WCLC’s, to complicate the issue of democracy.

Currently there are 26 unions who are part of the Winnebago County Labor Council. At any given meeting the amalgam may be varied. In the past we have endorsed Republicans, Democrats and Greens. The candidates selected during the endorsement process are chosen by the delegates in attendance at that particular meeting. And so it was this time, my press release editing screw up not withstanding.

Stephen Dedow, President WCLC AFL-CIO

We would like to thank Steve for his timely and thorough response in explaining the council's endorsement process during this election cycle.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Rep. Gordon Hintz congratulates Oshkosh West boys basketball team

For Immediate Release

March 4, 2008

Dear Coaches, Players, Families and Oshkosh West fans,

I would like to congratulate the Oshkosh West High School Boys Basketball team on their victory this weekend! I look forward to watching you represent Oshkosh in the WIAA State Basketball Tournament as you go for a third straight state title.

I was fortunate to play in the 1992 Boys State Basketball tournament for Oshkosh North and remember what an incredible experience playing in Madison was.

While I know it is a busy week for everyone involved, I would like to extend an invitation to players, coaches, and families to visit the State Capitol when you are in Madison. My office can help organize Capitol tours, group photos, and anything else that you may need to make your visit enjoyable.

You can also check out, which contains important information about places to stay, eat, and visit, as well as directions to downtown parking.

Congratulations again to Coach Clark and the West Wildcats on making it to the state tournament. I look forward to cheering you on in Madison. If I can be of assistance to you in any way, please feel free to contact me by phone toll-free at 888-534-0054 or by e-mail at


Gordon Hintz
State Representative-54th Assembly District

[Editor's Note: We at Eye on Oshkosh would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations as well. And best of luck in the upcoming state tournament.]

Governor Doyle Unveils Wisconsin's New Brand Platform

LAKE GENEVA – Governor Jim Doyle tonight unveiled the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s new brand platform, which celebrates the state’s culture of original thinkers.

“The new brand platform captures the people of Wisconsin and their legacy of originality, innovation, pride and passion,” Governor Doyle said. “Whether it’s Georgia O’Keeffe or Aldo Leopold, the leaders of the state’s biotech industry, or our beloved Packer fans decked out in cheeseheads, Wisconsin is a place where imagination and creativity abound.”

The Governor’s remarks, which highlighted the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism, capped an extensive five-month branding research and evaluation initiative led by the Department of Tourism.

“This year’s conference marked an especially momentous occasion for the state’s tourism industry, as we believe we’ve unearthed, once and for all, the Wisconsin brand promise that will differentiate us from the competition,” said Tourism Secretary Kelli A. Trumble. “This brand platform has the potential to elevate the state regionally, nationally and even internationally, while showcasing Wisconsin’s famous hospitality.”

The brand platform is not a slogan or an ad headline, but a strategic framework from which a new theme line, advertising concepts and marketing materials will be developed. The brand promise, revealed to the audience of nearly 1,000 attending the Governor’s speech, reads: “Because of the passionate nature of the state’s people to create fun, express themselves in original ways and feel more comfortable doing it here than anywhere else, in Wisconsin originality rules.”

The branding platform will guide the crafting of a new Tourism slogan and marketing communications to inspire people to vacation in Wisconsin. It also has the potential to be applied to other industries, such as commerce, agriculture, natural resources, workforce development and education, providing the state with a unifying competitive strategy.

A brand committee, facilitated by a firm nationally known for brand marketing strategy – Lindsay Stone & Briggs – conducted the brand initiative process, which began in October 2007. The volunteer committee included representatives from Harley-Davidson, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Wisconsin’s Native American nations, the advertising/marketing sector and the arts community.

The 2008 Governor’s Conference on Tourism was held at The Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, March 2–4. The annual convention, which draws representatives from Wisconsin’s travel and hospitality industry, is the largest event of its kind in the nation. Tourism is Wisconsin’s third-largest industry (after agriculture and manufacturing), generating nearly $13 billion in traveler spending in 2006.

For more information about travel in Wisconsin, including free travel-planning guides, visit or call the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s toll-free number, 1-800-432-TRIP (8747). Travelers can also obtain free guides and information at the Wisconsin Welcome Centers, located in select state-border cities.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Governor Doyle Rolls out Growth Initiative for UW Colleges and Extension

MENASHA – Governor Jim Doyle has announced the next steps for the Adult Student Initiative, an important part of his overall University of Wisconsin Growth Agenda that will allow more adult students to receive UW degrees. Governor Doyle dedicated $2.5 million in his 2007-09 budget towards the initiative.

“By removing barriers and increasing opportunities for higher education, we are, together with the UW Colleges and UW-Extension, making it easier for adults across the state to pursue more education and acquire a bachelor’s degree,” Governor Doyle said. “We are creating more opportunities for people of all ages, no matter where they live and work, to get the University of Wisconsin education that can improve lives, communities and Wisconsin’s competitive advantage in the global economy.”

Governor Doyle was joined Thursday by UW System President Kevin Reilly and UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor David Wilson at UW-Fox Valley in Menasha to make the announcement. The goal of the Adult Student Initiative, which will receive $2.5 million in state funding on July 1, is to build upon the current work of the UW Colleges and UW-Extension to further connect adult learners to UW associate and baccalaureate degree programs.

The new funds for the Adult Student Initiative will enable UW Colleges and UW-Extension to make even more bachelor’s degrees available online, support giving credit for prior learning activities, create an accelerated online associate degree, and provide even more services to help students succeed.

UW Colleges and UW-Extension have a history of providing access and support to students of all ages and from all backgrounds. UW Colleges provides the foundation of the bachelor’s degree through its associate degree in arts and science. The associate degree is offered throughout Wisconsin on the Colleges 13 campuses and online. Select bachelor’s degrees can also be completed on the Colleges campuses. New this year at the UW-Fox Valley, Marathon County, Washington County, and Fond du Lac campuses, select courses are offered in accelerated formats to enable busy adult student to complete coursework and degrees more quickly.

The UW-Extension is increasing access to degrees by providing incentives for the UW four-year campuses to put upper-division courses online. This enables adults to continue or complete work on their bachelor’s degrees where they live and work. Extension has also developed a one-stop UWin website where anyone contact an advisor to find out the most convenient way to start, continue or complete a degree.

To learn more call toll free, (866) 505-UWIN, or visit the UWin Web site,

Winnebago County Labor Council Endorses Candidates for April Elections

The Winnebago County Labor Council, the local AFL-CIO chapter, held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 26th for the purpose of endorsing individuals running for local and State offices in the April 1st election.

Candidates for office were sent questionnaires to answer and the following candidates were endorsed by the WCLC:

Wisconsin State Supreme Court: Louis Butler
Court of Appeals District II Judge: Lisa Neubauer

Oshkosh School Board: Tom McDermott and John Lemberger.

Winnebago County Board District 15: Travis Swanson
Winnebago County Board District 18: Bill Wingren

The questionnaire included individual positions on the Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR), tax incentive accountability and economic development, new ideas for attracting and maintaining good paying jobs, the right to organize, shared revenue reductions, privatization, gender equity, and prevailing wage laws.

Council President Stephen Dedow stated that “All the candidates who returned the questionnaire gave thoughtful, honest and considerate answers to our questions. The individuals we ended up endorsing simply were closer philosophically to our overall position as organized labor and as such would represent our concerns effectively.”

"Community Access" launches new website

Oshkosh Community Media Services (formerly known as Oshkosh Community Access Television) launched its new website last Thursday. The name was changed a couple months ago to better reflect everything OCMS does, including the community radio station at 101.9 FM. The new website incorporates many of the things from the old site as well as offers new features, including videostreaming of live 24/7 feeds of CitiCable 10 and archives of CitiCable 10 meetings, series and public affairs. And if you'd like to subscribe to receive OCMS's weekly "E-Update" service with OCMS program schedules and news, there's a link just for that. The site can be found at Give it a look and let the OCMS staff know what you think. You can still get to the site by using the old website address of - at least for now. Congrats to the OCMS staff for its continued outstanding work and kudos to all those involved in the production of this new and exciting website.