Sunday, February 28, 2010

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Main Street Reconstruction

(Oshkosh, WI.) The Downtown Oshkosh Business Improvement District (BID) along with the city of Oshkosh would like to invite the public to a Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Main Street reconstruction project on Monday, March 15th at 5:30 p.m.

The ceremony will take place at the corner of Main Street and Ceape Avenue next to the Oshkosh Convention Center. There will be an opportunity to ask city representatives and Wisconsin Department of Transportation representatives questions following the ceremony inside the Convention Center. The public is then invited to stay at the Convention Center for the State of the City program, which starts at 6:00 p.m.

The Main Street reconstruction project will run from the Fox River to Irving Avenue. Access will be maintained over the Main Street Bridge and at various cross streets during the construction project and downtown businesses will remain open. Updates on street closures will be available on the city website,

Construction is scheduled to start on March 15th and be completed in the late fall. The cost of this project is estimated at six million dollars.

For questions about the event please contact Downtown BID Manager Maureen Lasky at (920) 303-2266 or

For questions about the Main Street reconstruction project please contact Assistant Director of Public Works Steve Gohde at (920) 236-5065 or

State of the City Address Scheduled for March 15th

(Oshkosh, WI.) The public is invited to attend the 2010 State of the City Address on Monday, March 15th at the Oshkosh Convention Center (2 North Main Street). The event will start at 6:00 p.m. with a “Meet and Greet” opportunity for citizens to interact with elected officials and city staff. City Manager Mark Rohloff will deliver the State of the City Address at 6:30 p.m.

The annual Citizen Service Awards will immediately follow the address. The Citizen Service Awards recognize citizens that have achieved individual five-year milestones in 2009 while serving as volunteers on city of Oshkosh boards or commissions.

The evening will conclude with a City Exhibit Expo. City departments and various other city partners will display educational material on current and future projects and programs.

The following is a list of some of the organizations and projects that will be profiled at the City Exhibit Expo:

• Wisconsin DOT Winnebago County highway 41 roundabout model;

• Wisconsin DOT interactive roundabout education materials;

• Public Works Department’s display about the city’s storm water management plan;

• Oshkosh Public Museum’s artistic renderings of Highway 41 Lake Butte des Morts Bridge retaining wall, virtual fly-through of the proposed museum expansion, and more;

• Grand Opera House renovation update;

• City Clerk's Office voter registration and election information;

• Community Development Department’s 2010 census information;

• Community Development Department’s south shore redevelopment display;

• Parks Department and Oshkosh Area Community Foundation’s “Taking Root” beautification campaign information;

• Downtown Business Improvement District’s plans during the Main Street reconstruction;

• Oshkosh Fire Department’s smoke detector program and chest pain/cardiac response partnership display with local hospitals;

• Oshkosh Police Department’s team policing display;

• Transportation Department’s Transit Development Plan (TDP) information;

• Health Division’s display on car seat safety, home safety, and more;

• Various other department displays.

For questions about the event please contact Communications Coordinator Dean Leisgang at (920) 236-5269.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Governor Doyle Announces Winners of the Governor's Worksite Wellness Award

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced new winners of the Governor’s Worksite Wellness Award. The award, designed by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health, recognizes employers that promote a work environment that encourages and enables their employees to improve their health and well-being.

“Across the state, health care costs are straining family budgets and hurting businesses both small and large,” Governor Doyle said. “I congratulate these employers that work with their employees to lower costs and improve their overall health and well-being.”

In addition to the benefits to employees that improved health and well-being provides, a healthier worksite results in numerous benefits to the employer as well. Studies show that worksites that employ an evidence-based wellness program experience decreased health care costs, increased employee productivity and increased morale.

Applications are evaluated on criteria that include:
· Program infrastructure;
· Health education;
· Health screening and disease prevention and management;
· Physical activity and nutrition components;
· Tobacco use policies; and
· Alcohol and other drug policies.

A listing of award winners follows:

Award Level     Worksite                                           Location

Gold                  Black River Memorial Hospital         Black River

Gold                  PMI Entertainment Group                 Green Bay

Silver                 Grant Regional Health Center            Lancaster

Silver                 City of Fond du Lac                          Fond du Lac

Silver                 Northeast Wisconsin Technical College      Green Bay

Silver                 Werner Electric Supply Company      Neenah

Silver                 Wisconsin Department of Transportation   Madison

For more information and to apply, please visit the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Heath website at:

For more information on worksite wellness please visit:

While Economy Collapsed, Health Industry Insider Thompson Thrived Financially

[The following is a press release from One Wisconsin Now and is published here on their behalf.]

Madison -- Unlike the millions of Americans whose incomes were adversely affected by the collapsing economy due to the failed policies of George W. Bush, former Gov. Tommy Thompson appears to have earned more in 2008 than any previous year, according to figures obtained by One Wisconsin Now from the state Department of Revenue.

"Congratulations to Gov. Thompson for not only weathering the economic collapse but also having his most profitable income year ever," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "Those who said the economic collapse was only good for Wall Street bankers owe Tommy Thompson and his benefactors in the health industry an immediate apology."

Thompson, who served as Governor from 1987 to 2001 and as U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary from 2001 to early 2005, appears to have dramatically increased his income immediately after leaving the government, according to his net tax records filed with the state Department of Revenue.

Thompson's federal financial disclosure statement from his last year as a Bush cabinet secretary put his net worth at between $1 million and $2.5 million. Documents filed in conjunction with his abbreviated presidential run showed Thompson's income in 2006 was $4.6 million. In both of these years, Thompson's reported net tax was proportionately much lower what he reported for 2008. The dramatic rise in Thompson's net tax is shown in the following table:

2008: $123,497
2007: $77,303
2006: $106,138
2005: $79,098
2004: $9,231
2003: $15,444
2002: $13,058
2001: $15,505
2000: $18,315
1999: $13,273

As the data shows, Thompson's net tax from 1999 to 2004 ranged between $9,231 and $18,315, the lowest year of net tax being in 2004. For the years immediately following his service in the Bush Administration, Thompson's net tax went up exponentially.

A 2007 review by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, showed nearly two dozen enterprises in which Thompson had become involved since leaving the Bush administration. Thompson has cashed in on his public service and has been involved in a numerous of health industry-related operations and other enterprises.

He has served as the president of Logistic Health Incorporated, chair of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and senior partner at the Akin Gump mega-law firm. Thompson has been a board member at Applied Digital Solutions, home of the controversial epidermal micro-tracking chip, as well as on the board of Pure Bioscience Incorporated and as a senior advisor of Capital Partners of McKinley Reserve.

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

Walker Claim Check: '250,000 New Jobs' Would End Wisconsin Unemployment, Cut Rate to 0.03 Percent

[The following is a press release from One Wisconsin Now, which we are pleased to publish on their behalf.]

Madison -- Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is claiming he will create "250,000 jobs" in Wisconsin, which if done would essentially reduce the unemployment rate to zero. The lowest recorded unemployment rate in recent Wisconsin history is 2.4 percent in 1999.

"This is just another ridiculous claim by Scott Walker that cannot be backed up with any facts," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "First, he says he'll give $2 billion in tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy in the middle of a $2 billion deficit, now he says he will reduce the unemployment rate to zero in Wisconsin -- which is laughable."

According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, there are 250,900 unemployed Wisconsinites, meaning Walker's claim would require him to find a job for nearly every single unemployed man and woman in the state of Wisconsin.

"Instead of coming up with a detailed economic recovery plan," said Ross. "Walker simply pulled a number out of a hat and his choice of a number reveals how little he knows about the Wisconsin economy."

Walker has previous called for tax breaks totaling nearly $2 billion without providing any list of the drastic cuts he would need to make in order to fulfill this promise to the wealthy and corporations which would overwhelmingly benefit from Walker's Bush-style tax cuts. Walker's "plan":
  • Slash income taxes for the top one percent of income earners who make more than $225,000 a year -- two-year budget cost: $287 million.
  • Reopen the "Las Vegas Loophole," which allows Wisconsin businesses to shelter their tax obligations to Wisconsin families through phantom "offices" in states without corporate income tax -- two-year budget cost: $375 million.
  • Repeal changes made to the capital gains tax deduction, despite the fact 70 percent of capital gains filings are from those earning more than $200,000 a year -- two-year budget cost: $243 million.
  • Shelter the assets of the wealthiest Wisconsinites even more by a radical end to tax paid on retirement income, regardless of income -- two-year budget cost: $920 million.
[Legislative Fiscal Bureau , 2/23/09, 7/8/09, 1/25/10; "Upfront," WISN-TV, 11/8/09; Appleton Post Crescent, 11/25/09]

"Even for Walker, who has built a career on making promises he breaks, this is staggering," said Ross. "He owes an explanation to the both the media and the people of Wisconsin how he will end all Wisconsin unemployment -- or admit the central part of his economic development plan is big, fat lie."

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

Terrence Wall's Business: $25-50 Million in Assets Ten-Year State Income Tax Bill: $0

[Following is a press release from One Wisconsin Now, which we are pleased to publish on their behalf.]

Madison -- The "T Wall Properties Master Limited Partnership" business listed on Madison developer Terrence Wall's Senate candidate financial disclosure report has paid no net state income taxes in the last 10 years, according to records from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue obtained by One Wisconsin Now.

"We already know multi-millionaire Terrence Wall paid personal state income taxes just once in the past ten years on his massive wealth," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "Now we see a business he owns, worth as much as $50 million, hasn't paid state income taxes in ten years."

The figures obtained by One Wisconsin Now show that "T Wall Properties Master Limited Partnership" had net state income taxes of $0 in the years 2000-01 and 2003-2008. It had no record of a tax filing in 1999 and 2002.

According to Wall's financial disclosure form, the trusts and businesses he owns control 59 percent of "T Wall Properties Master Limited Partnership," which has assets between $25 million and $50 million -- meaning Wall controls between $14.7 million and $29.5 million in wealth in just this one enterprise.

T Wall Properties Master Corporation, which owns 20 percent of "T Wall Properties Master Limited Partnership," is registered as a foreign entity based in Delaware. The lack of state income tax in Delaware has allowed companies in the past to use so-called Las Vegas Loophole to avoid paying Wisconsin income taxes.

Calculations performed by One Wisconsin Now using information from the disclosure form, Wall had income of between $798,429 and $3,555,722 just through the four entities related to "T Wall Properties Master Limited Partnership."

"It might be legal for Terrence Wall to use complicated and confusing tax shelters, structures and loopholes to avoid owing taxes on his tens of millions of dollars in personal and business income," said Ross. "But he should thank the rest of us who have to pay more because he and his business pay nothing."

In addition to the wealth disclosed on his financial form, Wall's primary residence is a mansion with a market value of $2.3 million, according to the Dane County Assessor. The house is located on Lake Mendota in Maple Bluff, perhaps Dane County's most expensive neighborhood.

One Wisconsin Now has previously raised a series of issues related to Wall and tax avoidance. For more information, go to:

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

OTS Starts Transit Development Plan

For Immediate Release: February 25, 2010

Contact: Dean Leisgang, Communications Coordinator
(920) 236-5269
City of Oshkosh

City Hall
215 Church Avenue
Oshkosh, WI 54901

(Oshkosh, WI.) The Oshkosh Transit System (OTS) and the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission recently kicked off an 18-month planning process to complete a Transit Development Plan (TDP) for the Oshkosh Transit System. This planning process will include a comprehensive examination of Oshkosh Transit and identify recommendations for improving the system and its services over the next five years.

“Public involvement and planning are essential to improving transit service,” said Chris Strong, Transportation Director and Manager of the Oshkosh Transit System. “We are excited to begin this transit development plan process and encourage the entire community to participate.”

A steering committee of local officials and transit stakeholders has been established to assist throughout the planning process and will meet quarterly over the next 18 months. Public input opportunities will be made available throughout the planning process and methods for public involvement will be identified in a Public Participation Plan (PPP). The participation plan will be drafted and released by the steering committee in early March of 2010. A public hearing will also be held prior to the formal adoption of the plan which is anticipated for the summer of 2011.

To provide input on OTS for the TDP, the public is encouraged to complete a brief online survey at:

OTS’s website,, will announce upcoming TDP events and other opportunities for public input. The public can also call OTS’s office at (920) 232-5340 for more information. The previous TDP for OTS was completed in July of 2005.

For more information, please contact Transportation Director and Manager of the Oshkosh Transit System Chris Strong at (920) 232-5342 or


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Governor Doyle Signs Healthy Youth Act

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today signed into law the Healthy Youth Act. The Governor was joined by supporters of the bill for the ceremony at the State Capitol.

“Throughout my career, I’ve worked really hard to make sure every single kid in Wisconsin can reach their highest potential,” Governor Doyle said. “Today I am pleased to sign the Healthy Youth Act, which gives every Wisconsin teen the tools they need to make healthy and responsible life decisions.”

Assembly Bill 458, the Healthy Youth Act, updates Wisconsin ’s education standards to provide comprehensive, medically accurate, un-biased and age-appropriate information to students in classrooms that choose to teach human growth and development courses. The bill ensures teens are taught about the potential negative consequences of their choices and how to identify abuse, and it helps prevent teen pregnancy in Wisconsin .

The bill also preserves the ability of school boards to opt out of human growth and development curricula and preserves the ability of parents to review the curricula and exempt their children from the curricula.

Governor Doyle thanked Representatives Grigsby and Roys and Senators Taylor and Lehman for their work on the bill.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Viegut named next superintendent of Oshkosh Area School District

[Following is a press release received just minutes ago from OASD regarding the selection of the next superintendent of the Oshkosh Area School District.]

For more information contact:

Ben Schneider II
President of the Board of Education
Oshkosh Area School District
(920) 235-9262

February 23, 2010


The Board of Education is pleased to announce that Dr. Donald J. Viegut, current Deputy Superintendent of the Wausau Area School District has been offered the position of Superintendent of Schools. The Board has reached a tentative agreement with Dr. Viegut and will vote on his appointment during Wednesday’s board meeting.

Dr. Viegut brings over 25 years of experience to the position, having served as superintendent, director of curriculum and instruction and elementary principal and teacher in the Merrill, Marathon and D.C. Everest School Districts. He has extensive experience in strategic planning, community engagement, and leading organizational assessments. The appointment is pending board action and final contract approval.

His contract with the Oshkosh Area School District is expected to commence on July 1, 2010.

The Board of Education would like to welcome Dr. Viegut and his family to the Oshkosh community.

The Board would also like to extend a big thank you to the EAA Aviation Center and the Oshkosh Public Library for allowing the district to utilize their facilities during the superintendent search process.

Letter to Oshkosh Common Council members regarding the Melvin Avenue watershed

[Following is a letter we have received from Justin Mitchell that was sent to the Oshkosh Common Council members in advance of their consideration this evening of the Melvin Avenue Watershed storm water management practices and the proposed pump station in the area. It is published here on his behalf.]

To: Oshkosh Common Council Members

From: Justin Mitchell, 652 Monroe Street, Oshkosh
Concerning: Melvin Avenue Watershed Storm Water Management Practices

I apologize for not being able to be present in person at your meeting tonight, as I have UW Oshkosh class commitments the evening of Tuesday, February 23. Please accept this written statement in place of my public comments:

I believe the Melvin Avenue pump station proposal should not be approved. However, I recognize this body’s past support of the project, as well as the hesitant approval of the Plan commission, and I understand the desire to eliminate flooding in the homes of area.

I am therefore writing to encourage you to substantially improve this project through incorporating the water quality measures identified below while using the language of the city’s comprehensive plan as the guide for direction and action concerning this matter.

1. The current plan fails to acknowledge water pollution caused by storm water runoff. According to the Comprehensive Plan (pg 139): “The ultimate goal of storm water management and of the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program is to prevent the transportation of pollutants to water resources via storm water.”

a. According the US EPA, approximately 70% of all water pollution occurs as a result of storm water runoff.

b. Pollutants identified on the UW Oshkosh Storm Water Pollution Prevention website include: motor oil, antifreeze, pesticides, pet waste, paint, household chemicals, trash, and construction debris.

2. This project is without question related to water quality. City staff suggested to the Plan Commission that this isn’t a water quality issue because the water currently runs into the lake and the pump will do the same only bypassing basements. According to the Comprehensive Plan (pg 139): “Storm water management has not only a role in the city’s infrastructure system, but also a role in the protection of our natural resources.”

3. This project needs to incorporate principals that improve water quality. According to the Comprehensive Plan (pg 161): The city will develop facilities and systems that implement “stormwater management techniques that address improving water quality and lessening the quantity of runoff.”

4. The city has committed to improving water quality. Comprehensive Plan goals on page 182 indicate that the city will participate in local Water Quality initiatives, while goals on page 183 state that the city will monitor the water quality of the lake “and implement recommendations to improve the quality of the water.”

5. The city has agreed to implement alternative water quality measures, including addressing the following (Comprehensive Plan pg 161, 182, 183): Water conservation, Impervious surfaces, Non-point source pollution, Tree retention and replacement, and revise ordinances to address alternative methods to storm water management

After assessing the project, listening to staff presentations and feedback, and consulting with DNR and USGS storm water officials, I am suggesting the following provisions be incorporated into this plan for the Melvin Avenue Watershed:

A. Reduced street sizes with increased terraces. This reduces impervious surfaces. The expanded terrace space can absorb approximately ½ inch depth of rainwater per hour – more if the soil is reconstructed to improve drainage or if trees are present. A 1-foot by 1-foot plot could threefold infiltrate 72 inches of water in an hour (considering the ½ inch per hour average).

B. Require terrace trees throughout watershed. UW Extension research has demonstrated that every 5% increase in tree canopy reduces storm water flow by at least 2%. This number increases if the canopy is covering an impervious surface. According to the US Forest Service:

“Trees reduce water runoff and flooding by capturing and storing rainfall in the canopy and releasing water into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. In addition, tree roots and leaf litter create soil conditions that promote the infiltration of rainwater into the soil. The presence of trees also helps to slow down and temporarily store runoff, which further promotes infiltration, and decreases flooding and erosion downstream. Trees reduce pollutants by taking up nutrients and other pollutants from soils and water through their roots, and by transforming pollutants into less harmful substances.”

C. Implement a Rain Barrel Rebate program for all buildings in this watershed. Rain barrels can store 50-100 gallons of water. If in one storm, just 100 homes in this area used two rain barrels each storing an average of 75 gallons, this would reduce 15000 gallons of storm water flow. Rain Barrels are becoming a regular water management tool in communities through Wisconsin and the midwest, and can be incorporated into storm water utility cost structures.

D. Implement a Rain Gardens program that provides rebates on native rain garden plants as well as technical support on creating and managing rain gardens. According to UW Extension, effectively designed rain gardens can improve water infiltration by up to 35% while removing pollutants and improving water quality.

By implementing these water quality improvement provisions, you as the Oshkosh Common Council can reduce water flow through the pump by potentially as much as 30% - even more as the trees mature. This leadership would also advance the goals of the comprehensive plan, while helping Oshkosh become sustainable water stewards.

Thank you for your time,

Justin Mitchell
652 Monroe Street

Governor Doyle Announces $11.5 Million for Low-Income Heating Assistance

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced the release to Wisconsin of over $11.5 million in federal funds for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). These funds are in addition to $130 million the state has received in basic funding to help low-income families pay a portion of their utility bills.

“No family should have to choose between buying groceries and paying their heating bill,” Governor Doyle said. “During these times of economic hardship, I am pleased to provide this additional relief to working families across the state.”

The $11.5 million will be used for the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) to provide a supplemental benefit to households who have already received a heating assistance benefit in the 2009-2010 heating season. Heating assistance benefits will be calculated at a higher benefit for households applying for the first time this heating season. Additionally, $2 million will be provided to local energy assistance agencies to help eligible households with emergency energy needs.

WHEAP provides financial assistance to eligible low-income residents who may struggle to pay utility bills this winter. WHEAP is part of the state’s comprehensive Home Energy Plus program, which provides assistance with emergency energy needs, emergency furnace repairs, conservation service and assistance weatherizing low-income homes.

Due to recent changes in program eligibility, many more households across the state may be eligible for heating assistance this winter. Effective with the beginning of the 2009-2010 heating season, the income eligibility limit for WHEAP and Weatherization has increased from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 60 percent of the state’s median income. Payments under these programs depend upon household size, income level, and home energy costs. A family of four, with an annual income of $45,067 or less, may be eligible for energy assistance.

To receive more information about how to apply for the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, please call the Home Energy Plus hotline at 866-432-8947 or visit

Oshkosh Public Library celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday

Feb. 23, 2010 – Celebrate one of the world’s most beloved children’s authors when the Oshkosh Public Library hosts a party for Dr. Seuss’s Birthday on Tuesday, March 2, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Families can play Dr. Seuss Bingo and other games, eat birthday cake and decorate a birthday card for Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known to millions as Dr. Seuss. Popular storyteller Karen Kersting returns to entertain the crowd.

Dr. Seuss, whose many familiar titles include The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is regarded as one of the most influential children’s writers of all time. His sing-song rhymes and seemingly silly creatures draw young readers into engaging stories that teach basic reading skills in a way that is fun.

The Oshkosh Public Library’s Dr. Seuss party is part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America observance. “This is a day that groups all across the country join together to celebrate reading,” said Nancy Jackisch, OPL children’s librarian. “Getting children excited about reading is important. Research shows that children who are motivated and spend more time reading perform better in school.”

Student volunteers from UWO’s Clemans Hall will be on hand to help with the festivities, with cake and refreshments provided by the Friends of the Oshkosh Public Library.

Children who come to the Oshkosh Public Library from Feb. 23 to March 2 can enter a drawing for great Dr. Seuss prizes. Registration is not required for this event. For more information about library programs and services for families, visit or call the Children’s Desk at 236-5208.

Will $2 Billion Buy Walker a Standing Ovation from WMC

[The following is a press release from One Wisconsin Now and published here for our readers' consideration.]

Madison -- At Tuesday's Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce lobbying luncheon Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker will likely find support from the corporate lobby for his $2-billion, budget-busting, deficit-doubling plan for tax breaks that mostly benefit corporations and the wealthiest Wisconsinites. What is less likely, is that Walker will explain which drastic cuts he would make to pay for this failed fiscal strategy, according to One Wisconsin Now.

"Scott Walker needs to tell us how he would pay for this nearly $2-billion in handouts to big business and the rich," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "The media and the people of Wisconsin deserve the list of the $2 billion in state services Walker will slash to afford this handout to win WMC's support."

Walker would double the Legislative Fiscal Bureau-projected $2-billion 2011-13 deficit to $4 billion through a four specific budget-busting schemes that anchor his economic plan for Wisconsin:

Slash income taxes for the top one percent of income earners who make more than $225,000 a year -- two-year budget cost: $287 million.

Reopen the "Las Vegas Loophole," which allows Wisconsin businesses to shelter their tax obligations to Wisconsin families through phantom "offices" in states without corporate income tax -- two-year budget cost: $375 million.

Repeal changes made to the capital gains tax deduction, despite the fact 70 percent of capital gains filings are from those earning more than $200,000 a year -- two-year budget cost: $243 million.

Shelter the assets of the wealthiest Wisconsinites even more by a radical end to tax paid on retirement income, regardless of income -- two-year budget cost: $920 million.

[Legislative Fiscal Bureau , 2/23/09, 7/8/09, 1/25/10; "Upfront," WISN-TV, 11/8/09; Appleton Post Crescent, 11/25/09]

In order to enact the $2 billion scheme, Walker would need to slash critical programs such as BadgerCare for children, shared revenue that finances police, firefighters and public services, public school teachers and University of Wisconsin funding.

Walker not only has made impossible-to-keep tax promises, but also called for Wisconsin to reject federal Recovery Act funds. Wisconsin has appropriated $2.76 billion in Recovery Act funds for job creation, schools, transportation, health care, energy and public safety among other critical needs. Over 44,000 Wisconsin jobs have been created, retained and funded through the Recovery Act funds Walker wanted the state to reject.

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Governor Doyle, U.S. Commerce Official Announce Nearly $29 Million for Broadband Investments

[The following is a press release from Gov. Jim Doyle's office. It is published here in its entirety as received  and as an information and/or news piece.]

GREEN BAY – Governor Jim Doyle and U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Dennis Hightower today announced Wisconsin will invest $28.7 million to expand broadband Internet access, including $22.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The grant will provide high-speed Internet access to 467 sites in over 380 communities in all the state’s 72 counties.

“High-speed Internet access is critical to the success of our state’s entrepreneurs, businesses, students and families,” Governor Doyle said. “This project will create jobs to lay and install fiber cable, for telecommunications contractors and technicians, and in fields like construction, manufacturing, masonry and electrical wiring. Through the Recovery Act, the Obama Administration is making major investments in Wisconsin ’s broadband infrastructure to help our schools and libraries access high-speed Internet.”

Wisconsin is receiving one of several national Recovery Act grants for broadband development. The state’s project will expand broadband Internet access to 74 schools, eight post-secondary schools including two tribal colleges, and 385 libraries. 84 percent of the school districts and colleges receiving the grant are in rural areas. Over 200 miles of fiber optic cable will be installed and more than $10 million will be spent on American-made telecommunications equipment and materials.

Extending fiber to the 467 sites will allow for future expansion of broadband throughout the state.

90 percent of sites are within five miles of a police station and 88 percent of sites are within five miles of a fire station, which has the potential to improve communication and coordination during disaster situations;

Over 90 percent of the sites are within 20 miles of the nearest hospital, which may be useful in improving the integration and sharing of electronic medical records; and

Over 125,000 households are within the market area of these sites, helping families gain access to broadband.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration will administer the grant, which will provide fiber connections to all schools and libraries on the BadgerNet Converged Network served by the BadgerNet Alliance. Over 90 percent of the libraries in the state and over 80 percent of the state’s school districts will be served by the BadgerNet Converged Network, which partners with independent telecommunication companies across the state. To view a list of schools and libraries that will benefit from this grant, please visit

The state will invest $5.7 million in matching funds from the Technology for Education Achievement (TEACH) program for $28.7 million in total investment.

Governor Doyle and Deputy Secretary Hightower were joined by Congressman Steve Kagen for the announcement at the Brown County Library in Green Bay . Governor Doyle thanked the Obama Administration, Congressman Dave Obey, and Wisconsin ’s Congressional Delegation for making the major investment in Wisconsin ’s infrastructure.

Governor Doyle has led efforts to expand broadband infrastructure to all people in Wisconsin . In 2004, the Governor launched a major effort to increase broadband access in his Grow Wisconsin plan. To help businesses and families in the Northwoods and throughout the state, in 2007 Governor Doyle provided $7.5 million in sales tax exemptions and tax credits for the purchase of Internet equipment used in the broadband market. As a result of those efforts, in its first year, nine companies invested more than $13 million to expand broadband to 186 communities. In November 2009, Wisconsin received $1.7 million in Recovery Act funding to map broadband access and identify areas of need.

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of President Obama signing legislation to create the Recovery Act, which has helped states deal with the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression by creating and retaining jobs and investing in long-term economic growth. In Wisconsin , the Recovery Act has been credited with creating or retaining more than 44,000 jobs. Wisconsin has overseen nearly $982 million in Recovery Act expenditures, including major road construction and water infrastructure projects and a new high speed rail line that will create thousands of jobs and benefit the state’s economy for generations.

The time for a facility use fee at the Leach is now, and long overdue

Several past discussions have been held about creating a facility use fee for the Leach Amphitheater. And several times in the past, that idea has been shot down – usually by promoters of the Waterfest concert series and other business leaders in the community, and ultimately by a majority of members of the Oshkosh Common Council. Not having adequate support of certain city staff and administration has also not helped this cause.

Now, the idea has been brought up again – twice in the last several months – and each time another excuse has been offered by the city and/or certain council members. When the idea was brought up at budget time last year, the excuse was “this is not the right time.” Deputy Mayor Tony Palmeri recently brought it up again, this time as the council considered a request from the promoters of Waterfest to use the Leach facility for its upcoming 2010 series. Again it was shot down, with councilmen Burk Tower and Dennis McHugh voicing the biggest opposition to it. This time the arguments included “This is a big topic and needs to be thoroughly looked at – maybe even in a workshop” and “This is the same as spot zoning and we can’t just target Waterfest.”

Both these arguments are ridiculous, of course, but when such silliness isn’t challenged, it makes it seem like they have legitimacy.

First, DM Palmeri wasn’t targeting Waterfest. Perhaps it seemed like it because theirs was the specific resolution before the council. And, perhaps it seemed like it because they are one of the biggest users of the Leach. But he merely wanted to have the discussion, so something could possibly be put in place before any events, by anyone, start being held at the Leach for the upcoming season. He even wanted to lay over the request for two weeks so people from Waterfest – or any other group that intends to use the Leach – and citizens alike could be there. That would also give staff the time it needs to prepare something and to have the new parks director on hand.

Second, the topic really isn’t as complicated as Burk Tower is suggesting. He has served on the council long enough to have been party to the various discussions over the years about this issue so he should be well-versed in the aspects of it, including what the arguments for and against have been. There’s also been plenty of time over the years for someone to have gotten it clear in their mind the best way for such a facility charge to work, should one be instituted.

The final somewhat insulting and confusing piece to this is that since the last council meeting, city manager Mark Rohloff has sent the council a memo saying, among other things, he was taken aback by the suggestion at last week’s meeting, apparently because there wasn’t time for him or staff to prepare. Two things come to mind there: (1) He should have known the subject would come up again, as it was only at budget time that the issue was last discussed; and the layover request would have given him his needed time; and, (2) The council has been asked to make decisions on far greater issues with little time to prepare, research, or hear from constituents. (For example, the council will be asked at next week’s meeting to make a decision on a $5 million TIF for Oshkosh Corp. and I’m told councilors have received no formal information to this point, despite what others, like members of the plan commission, have received.)

Everyone is over-thinking this idea, I believe. A facility use charge is by no means an uncommon thing. Nor is it unfair. Look at any community that has a venue where performances are held and you’ll find the better majority of them charge a fee of some kind – in many cases it’s $2 or $3, or more per ticket. Palmeri proposed a mere 50-cents per ticket. Additionally, there’s a simple way to ensure that the process is fair and handled across the board. Simply write an ordinance or resolution that says there will be a 50-cents per person (or whatever amount is established) facility charge for any Leach function where admission is charged. And as part of that ordinance, stipulate that the money will go into a special fund earmarked specifically for paying down debt and doing capital improvements at the Leach. If someone has an issue with using the funds or a portion thereof to pay down the debt, then stipulate that the money can only be used for capital improvements. Setting up a special fund for this shouldn’t been too complicated. After all, the city did it for fire truck donations, so why not for a facility it actually owns and needs to maintain?

But the danger of not instituting some kind of fee is that eventually there are going to be things that need repair and if the city does not have the money – and we all know money is in short supply for the city right now to do that which is necessary – then we run the risk of having happen to the Leach what happened with Pollock Pool before the water park was constructed, and other facilities the city has had over the years. The Leach family gave the city a large part of this project and the city spent millions thereafter to beautify and enhance the venue and its surrounding area. Why would people be so opposed to ensuring it is there for years and years to come?

And this recent argument of Dennis McHugh’s, and the Waterfest people in the past, that a facility charge will end up costing the Leach activities some of their attendance is preposterous. Fifty cents per person, or even a dollar, is not going to stop anyone from attending an event at the Leach (or anywhere else for that matter) and if it is going to be a deal-breaker for someone, they probably should be spending their money more wisely than on an event at the Leach. I might also add that where admission is charged at other venues, you usually don’t even know you’re paying a facility charge when you first buy your ticket, as it’s built right into the price - though it is usually noted separately on the ticket when you receive it. But I doubt anyone has ever asked for a refund or refused to go as a form of protest just because when they got their ticket they saw there was a facility charge being assessed. Again, if someone wants to see a performance badly enough, they’re going to go and it would take a lot more than a buck or less to keep them from going.

If memory serves me correctly, even a member of the Leach family when making their donation to the city, said they would support a facility use charge. The Oshkosh Northwestern suggested that perhaps instead of doing a special facility charge, the daily rental fee for the facility could be increased. That is certainly another possibility, and is just another way of ensuring we have the funds necessary to make repairs, etc. - provided the additional monies are earmarked for things at the Leach and not used elsewhere in the city like we’ve seen done at the state level by Gov. Doyle.

But the Leach is now five or six years old, I believe, and things will eventually start needing repair. So this is an idea whose time has come. Maybe it should have been done right from the start, but for certain, it should be approved and put in place now, before any more time passes. That way when organizations start planning their 2011 activities they will have had plenty of notice and can’t say otherwise.

Rep. Hintz on passage of the Responsible Lending Act

[We have received the following press release from Rep. Gordon Hintz and are pleased to publish it on his behalf in its entirety as received.]

Madison – Late Tuesday night, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 447, the Responsible Lending Act, on a bipartisan vote of 59-38. The bill regulates the payday loan industry by prohibiting the most abusive predatory lending operations to protect Wisconsin consumers. The bill also bans the indefensible auto title loans.

“After years of ignoring the problem, and pandering towards lobbyists protecting the status quo, the Assembly passed the most significant payday lending reform package in the history of our state’s legislature”, said Rep. Hintz.

“Now it is time for the Senate to do their part to protect Wisconsin’s consumers by passing this in the Senate”.

Rep. Hintz previously introduced a bill that included a restrictive 36% APR cap, but it became clear that there was not enough support to pass this measure through the Assembly, Senate and get it signed into law. The amended AB 447 is the product of months of work by Assembly members including Rep. Hintz, Assistant Majority Leader Donna Seidel, Rep. Jason Fields, Rep. Josh Zepnick, Rep. Andy Jorgensen, and Rep. Jeff Smith following a nine-hour hearing in October on short term credit and payday lending in Wisconsin.

“If I wanted to get headlines, I could keep fighting for the rate cap as families suffered throughout the state for the next few years. But it is clear that my original bill just did not have the support to pass both the Assembly and Senate.”

“My goal is and has always been to get meaningful payday reform passed into law this session that will prevent people from getting caught in the debt trap”, said Rep. Hintz. “And the Responsible Lending Act does just that.”

Consumer advocates, credit counselors, and reform advocates have made clear that any meaningful reform must include consideration of a borrower’s income when making a loan; affordable repayment terms; and an end to the total debt cycle. AB 447 has an income test that includes the loan and any interest and fees. Provides a 0% repayment plan option if a borrower is unable to pay on time and bans rollovers, the process when loans are extended by paying just the interest. The bill also bans auto title loans, seen by consumer advocates as the most egregious practice where an individual is left risking their only means of transportation for work in exchange for high cost credit.

“Wisconsin has gone too long allowing these indefensible practices. Lending people more money then they can reasonably pay back and setting them up to fail impacts all of us. Tens of millions of dollars are tied up in high cost debt that would otherwise be spent in out communities, hurting our economy.”

“The only people defending rollovers and auto title loans are the industry and their lobbyists.”

“We are elected to serve the public and protect people from abusive practices that target the most vulnerable.”

“The Senate has a chance to stand with families in Wisconsin or the special interests spending millions of dollars trying to stop us. The public will have to wait and see which side they choose.”

Responsible Lending Act’s (AB 447) strong reform measures:
• Strict Income Test: Limits loans to a maximum of $600 or 35% of biweekly income, whichever is less (this is inclusive of all fees)
• Bans Auto Title Loans
• Bans Rollovers which account for around 90% of all payday lending profits. (A rollover is when the customer comes in at the end of the typical 2-week loan, pays a fee, and extends the loan for another 2 weeks
• One Loan at a time - Bars people from taking out more than one payday loan at a time
• Strict Penalties: Lenders who violate are subject to fines of $500 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail
• Private Cause of Action: borrowers can sue a lender for violation of any provision
• Installment repayment provisions: If a borrower fails to repay their loan then they have the option to repay the outstanding balance in 4 equal payments with no fees
• Other provisions:
o Requires lenders to disclose all costs and fees attached to the loan
o Lenders are limited to charging a one-time fee of $15 for a returned check
o Includes a 24 hour cooling off period for loans repaid on time
o Borrowers have the right to rescind a loan until close of business on the next day

Join Us for Humane Lobby Day 2010

Think only professional lobbyists can lobby? Think again! Join The Humane Society of the United States for the Wisconsin Humane Lobby Day at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison Thursday, February 25, where you'll make a tremendous difference for animals.

This is one of the most important events all year -- and an exciting opportunity to meet directly with your elected officials or their staff about legislation that will impact animals.

Don't worry; we'll prep you beforehand with tips for lobbying and an overview of the priority bills that we'll focus on during the meetings.

RSVP today to lend your voice for animals and make a difference in Wisconsin. Thanks for all you do for animals.

Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One Wisconsin Now Statements on the Success, Anniversary of the Recovery Act

[We have received the following press release from One Wisconsin Now and are publishing it on their behalf, in its entirety and as received, not as an endorsement or editorial piece of our own, but rather as something for visitors to this site to read and form their own opinions.]

Madison -- One Wisconsin Now released the following statements from Executive Director Scot Ross on the one-year anniversary of the successful America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ARRA has provided $2.76 billion to Wisconsin for job creation, schools, transportation, health care, energy and public safety among other critical needs. Over 44,000 Wisconsin jobs have been created, retained and funded through the Recovery Act funds, which some elected officials, most prominently Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, called for Wisconsin to reject.

"The success of the Recovery Act speaks for itself. From the 44,000 Wisconsin jobs created, saved and funded, to the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal tax cuts, to the endless support to those so in need due to the economic collapse, caused by the failed policies of the Republican Congress and George W. Bush.

"What's most impressive is the historic effort to catalog how federal dollars are creating jobs. The state of Wisconsin has been lauded nationally for its transparency. It's too bad that similar accounting for jobs created wasn't provided when it came to the endless tax breaks for the rich and corporations, underfunding of public infrastructure and bank deregulation, which has dominated policy since 1981.

"To those who criticize the job creation numbers of the Recovery Act, One Wisconsin Now encourages you to provide numbers showing how many jobs were created because of the Las Vegas corporate loophole, or the end of the estate tax for the heirs of billionaires, or the lack of increase in the income tax in Wisconsin for the top one percent for the past 40-plus years.

"This need for real accounting, such as shown through the Recovery Act, is particularly important in Wisconsin. Despite the state facing a $2-billion budget deficit, there are some, such as Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker who have called for a return to these budget-busting tax breaks and corporate loopholes that helped the wealthy avoid paying their fair share to Wisconsin taxpayers.

"The current tab of Walker's tax breaks, which unfairly benefit the wealthy, stands at nearly $2 billion over two years alone. As he continues to echo the sentiments of the laughable Sarah Palin and oppose Recovery Act funds, Walker owes the people of Wisconsin and the media an answer as to how he'll pay for his $2 billion in tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthy -- that select few who already hit the jackpot under George W. Bush."

Governor Doyle Highlights Success of Recovery Act in Wisconsin on 1st Anniversary

[We have received the following press release from Gov. Jim Doyle's office and are happy to publish it in its entirety, as received.]

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today recognized successes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in Wisconsin on the first anniversary of President Obama signing the legislation. The Recovery Act has been credited with creating or retaining more than 44,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

“In the past year, the Recovery Act has helped every state, including Wisconsin, deal with the most difficult national economic times since the Great Depression, while paving the way for future economic growth,” Governor Doyle said. “Because of the Recovery Act, we have created and retained thousands of jobs in communities throughout Wisconsin from police officers, firefighters and teachers to construction workers. The Recovery Act also helped us avoid major cuts in state funding for education and health care. I would like to thank President Obama and our Congressional Delegation, particularly Congressman Dave Obey, for their leadership on this important issue.”

Since the program was created, Wisconsin has overseen nearly $982 million in Recovery Act expenditures. Major projects in Wisconsin have included road construction projects, major water infrastructure, and a new high speed rail line that will create thousands of jobs and benefit the state’s economy for generations. Under Governor Doyle’s leadership, Wisconsin is also the only state to direct 100 percent of the Recovery Act’s state energy funds to help the state’s largest manufacturers find savings through energy efficiency and create jobs.

Since taking office in 2003, Governor Doyle has worked aggressively to create and retain jobs in Wisconsin . Governor Doyle’s budget last year created some of the strongest economic development tools in the nation to help businesses create jobs and get people back to work. Wisconsin now has powerful new tax credits to help manufacturers create and retain jobs, new tools to help investors create start-ups, and new incentives to spur research and development.

“Because of these new economic development tools, we have seen business success stories like Mercury Marine, Republic Airways, ULINE and many more, but there is more work to be done,” Governor Doyle said. “I will do everything I can to help our businesses create jobs and give our workers the opportunities to get those jobs. Nothing is more important.”

Governor Doyle has laid out plans to continue building the state economy and creating jobs, including passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act to create 15,000 jobs in the emerging clean energy economy; creating the Wisconsin Green to Gold Fund to help manufacturers reduce energy costs and create and retain jobs; and passing the CORE Jobs Act to strengthen successful programs for manufacturing, research and development, and worker training.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Candidacy statement from Oshkosh Common Council candidate, Steve Herman

I recently retired from the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office after a thirty plus career. I feel I can bring a fresh perspective to the council. During my career I was President of the Wisconsin Crime Prevention Association, President of TRIAD of Wisconsin, appointed to the Wisconsin Citizen Corp Council, I was a peer to peer consultant with the National Crime Prevention Council and have chaired numerous crime prevention programs and community events. This experience will help me on the City Council to look outside the box for fresh ideas, common sense and problem solving to move Oshkosh forward.

I think the city and the council needs to take even a more proactive approach in creating economic development in the city. Good paying jobs leads to growth in the city and the community. We need to use the tools that the city has available, TIF's, Development-Related Grants, Revenue Bonds, Financing & Incentives. We need to follow the lead the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation announced with the planting of the trees and signage for the city, We have a vision plan that was put together by city government and the community, let's move forward and not stay stuck in the mud.

In tough economic times we need to also look inside the city first. Are there duplications of services. can services be streamlined to cut spending? Are there collaborations that could be developed in a public private partnership that can reduce city spending? Work with local, state and federal representatives to bring dollars to the city.

When I am elected to the council, I will have a Face book page, designated Email and cell phone that I can be reached on. I will attempt to attend as many open events and activities that are planned in the community so that citizens can contact me about concerns or problems that we can address.

It is time for change on the Oshkosh City Council. If you are ready than vote for Steve Herman 4 Council. It's time for common sense, fresh ideas and to limit wasteful spending! Vote Steve Herman for Oshkosh City Council on February 16th.

Steve Herman
4 Oshkosh City Council

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oshkosh Polar Plunge details

Oshkosh Polar Plunge

10th Anniversary - Dippin' for a Decade!

February 19-20, 2010

Menominee Park, Miller's Bay - Hazel Ave & Merritt St, Oshkosh

Come join in the fun at the 10th Anniversary of the Polar Plunge. You do not need to jump in the water to celebrate this event. Support your local police officers as they participate in this event in support of Special Olympics. There will be a celebrity pre-plunge at 6 pm Friday, February 19, 2010. You can pre-register on February 19, from 11:00 AM TO 7:00 PM.

On Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 11:00 AM, registration continues and the plunges begin at Noon.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Will New WMC Head Thank Democrats for $2.6 Million in Funds, Decade-Best Earnings

[The following is a press release from One Wisconsin Now and is published unedited and in its entirety as received.]

Madison -- Newly-minted Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce chair Thomas Howatt, Chief Executive Officer of Wausau Paper Corporation, has yet to issue public thanks to Democrats controlling the state legislature and the U.S. Congress who enacted policies to both provide his company with $2.6 million in Recovery Act funds and coinciding with the company's best fourth-quarter earnings in a decade.

"Will Thomas Howatt put his thank you to Democratic legislators, the governor and the president on WMC letterhead, or just on Wausau Paper's?" said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "Perhaps it's just an oversight by WMC Chair Howatt to make that public thank you to the progressives who helped his company."

According to Wednesday's Wausau Daily Herald, Wausau Paper reported $9.2 million in fourth-quarter earnings, compared with a $1.8 million net loss a year ago -- the final months of the failed Bush administration. [Wausau Daily Herald, 2/10/10]

In December, two of Wausau Paper's mills received Recovery Act funds, including $1.97 million for its Rhinelander plant and $700,000 for its Mosinee operation. The announcement by Governor Doyle was part of a $14.5 million grant provided to nine Wisconsin businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy under the Recovery Act. [, 12/10/09]

Federal and state efforts by Democrats to pass the Recovery Act legislation, as well as its administration in Wisconsin, were successful despite unanimous opposition by Wisconsin's state and federal Republican legislators.

"Howatt's actions in the next 48 hours will say a lot about his credibility and the credibility of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce," said Ross. "Is WMC representing businesses, or as many argue, is it nothing but a well-funded shill for the Republican Party?"

WMC has criticized a number of state legislative actions in the past year, including the closing of the Las Vegas corporate loophole and the first income tax increase for those earning more than $225,000 in over 40 years.

Howatt, who according to figures compiled for One Wisconsin Now's WMC Watch has made 95.5 percent of his political donations to Republicans, pledged WMC would take a bipartisan approach to its efforts when he assumed leadership of the state's most powerful corporate lobby this year. Howatt has already contributed $1,250 to the gubernatorial campaign of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker -- a fierce opponent of the Recovery Act.

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

More information on Internet scams

[The following is some more infromation we've received from the Oshkosh Police Department concerning Internet scams. We are happy to publish it on their behalf.]

If you receive a message similar to the one depicted below (in italics), beware that it is NOT legitimate. Neither Windows Live, nor any other online service, will EVER ask you for your username and password via e-mail. These type of e-mails are an attempt to illegally access your account, to pose as you. Once they have accessed your account the individual will use your identity to fraudulently scam anyone in your contacts/friends list/etc....

This is becoming a growing problem with Windows Live and Facebook. Never give out your password to anyone, as this will prevent you from becoming a victim.

Pass this information on, as education will help prevent and deter future fraudulent activity.

Dear Account User,

We encountered a problem with our database and a lot of records were lost, we are restoring our database to enable us serve you better. Your Windows Live! Account details are required so as to store in our database to keep your account active. Failure to do this will lose his or her account permanently.

To update and enable us restore your account details in our data base to keep your account active, you are required to provide us the details below urgently. Click the reply button to enter details below.

Name: ……………………..

Username: ……………………..

Password: …………………….

Date of Birth: …………………

Country or Territory: …………


Windows Live Alert Team
Microsoft Corporation

Statement from Oshkosh Common Council candidate Allan Siiman

[We have received the following statement by email from Oshkosh Common Council candidate Allan Siiman and are pleased to publish it on his behalf.]

I grew up in Davie, FL, and went to school at the University of Florida. My wife and I moved to Oshkosh in February 2005 when I accepted a position with Crown Cork & Seal here in town. We lived in Hometown Apartments until we bought our house on East Irving Ave in the summer of 2006. I was a member of the Oshkosh Citizens Local Government Academy in the fall of 2005, have been on the Fox Valley APICS Chapter Board of Directors since July 2006(APICS is non-profit business organization for operations management professionals) and I am currently a member of the Oshkosh Parks Advisory Board to which I was appointed in December 2008.

Some friends of mine in town really wanted to see me run for council after hearing me be a strong advocate for allowing dogs in our city parks. I started to do a lot of homework on the issues facing Oshkosh and felt confident enough discussing them with anyone in town so I decided to throw my hat in the ring. In reality, it’s not all about the dogs. The people of Oshkosh deserve better from their city and I hope to keep the momentum going on the good things happening in Oshkosh and look for ways to improve it even more.

My priorities if elected to the council will include a commitment to improve the infrastructure of Oshkosh, a pledge to follow through on the completion of the riverfront walkway within the next 5 years, redeveloping and implementing the Pedestrian and Bicycle Circulation Plan and continuing the tree planting program throughout town. If elected I will promise to seek citizen input on issues that are important to you and I will thoroughly review items that will be on the council agenda as evidenced by my time on the parks board.

Walker Takes $120,000 from Health Industry, Opposes End to Health Insurance Stranglehold

Madison -- Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has strongly opposed measures to provide more Wisconsin children, pregnant mothers and uninsured adults have affordable health care, at the same time taking more than $120,000 in campaign contributions from the health care industry in just the last six months alone.

"The health insurance industry knows they have a loyal ally in Scott Walker to keep health insurance profits skyrocketing at the expense of Wisconsin families," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "Given Scott Walker's record, big health's overwhelming support for him is hardly surprising."

A review of Walker's most recent campaign finance report shows his campaign took over 250 contributions in amounts over $200 from individuals in the health industry for a total of more than $120,000. The analysis does not include contributions $200 and under, meaning the total amount of health industry contributions would likely rise even higher.

Walker's efforts to prevent affordable health care access for all has taken numerous forms, including:

  • Walker wants high-deductible private health savings accounts, which would do nothing to increase access to health care, nor reduce costs to Wisconsinites. Instead they would provide a steady stream of profit to health insurance companies. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/10/09]
  • Walker inherited the successful Milwaukee County General Assistance Medical Program, which helped approximately 30,000 county residents not qualifying for Medicaid or who could not afford private health insurance. GAMP was under threat from Walker and he proposed in 2005 to wipe out funding for it entirely. GAMP has been folded into the BadgerCare Core Plus program, where it is currently protected from Walker cuts. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/25/05]
  • Walker sided with the big health insurance companies over patients by voting in the state legislature to allow insurance companies to deny coverage to women for mammograms, pap smears, and breast reconstruction surgery, as well as coverage for maternity care. [AB 63, Seq. No. 253, 10/6/99]
  • Walker voiced repeated opposition to two consecutive state budget plans, which improved BadgerCare access and put Wisconsin on the path to having health care coverage for 98 percent of all Wisconsinites. Over 54,000 more Wisconsinites have health care access due to the most recent budget alone. In an October 20o9 interview on Madison television, Walker "said he thinks BadgerCare has become an entitlement program, rather than temporary assistance." [WISC-TV, 10/09/09]
  • Walker joined Sarah Palin in the outrageous call for states to reject federal Recovery Act funds. To date, Wisconsin has received a $1.2 billion increase in Medicaid funding through the Recovery Act, allowing 160,000 more children and adults access to BadgerCare health services. BadgerCare programs will ensure 98 percent of Wisconsinites have access to health care.
Walker's opposition to BadgerCare is particularly troubling, given that BadgerCare programs aid children, pregnant mothers and childless adults, many of whom have jobs, but who do not receive employer-provided health insurance. BadgerCare Plus Core, which began in 2009, allows low-income, childless adults earning less than 200% of the federal poverty line ($21,660 single, $29,140 for married couple) to be eligible for health care. Over 1 million Wisconsinites currently access Medicaid services in the state.

With Wisconsin already facing a $2-billion budget deficit for 2011-13, Walker has called for a series of irresponsible tax breaks that overwhelmingly benefit the rich and corporations, which would both dig another $2-billion deficit hole, but require drastic cuts in programs such as BadgerCare.

"Scott Walker opposes current BadgerCare programs and needs to find $2 billion for his reckless tax cuts for the rich and $2 billion for the deficit," said Ross. "You don't have to be a math major to calculate Scott Walker thinks BadgerCare should be on the chopping block."

Walker's tax plan would take $2 billion out of the state treasury over two years to slash taxes for solely the top one percent income earners; reopen the Las Vegas Loophole corporate tax shelter; restore capital gains tax cuts and end tax on all retirement income, regardless of income. According to figures from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the combined state cost over two years would be at least $1.85 billion.

# # #
One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

Governor Doyle Announces $7.9 Million for Major Expansion of Early Head Start Programs

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle announced Wednesday that nine Wisconsin Early Head Start Programs will receive $7.9 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to enroll hundreds of Wisconsin children in Early Head Start programs.

"I am very excited about the opportunities these new resources will create. Early Head Start programs are central to our efforts to support families and help children thrive,” Governor Doyle said in making the announcement. "These programs unlock the potential in young children, giving them the opportunity to grow and shine at an early age."

Early Head Start programs provide comprehensive early childhood education services to promote healthy prenatal outcomes, enhance the development of infants and toddlers, and promote healthy families across the state. The increased funding will improve the health and development of hundreds of Wisconsin 's youngest children. Studies show that a child's earliest years are extremely important to how they will grow and develop throughout their childhood.

The grants cover funding from December 2009 until September 29, 2011, and include funding to launch new Early Head Start Programs in Waukesha , Milwaukee , Wood County and Stevens Point , and to expand existing Early Head Start programs elsewhere.

Governor Doyle has been a strong supporter of early childhood development. In addition to supporting Wisconsin ’s expansion in Early Head Start, the Governor has expanded 4-year-old kindergarten statewide, increased funding to lower class sizes in the early grades, and expanded school breakfast programs. Through BadgerCare Plus, the Governor has also worked to provide health care coverage to every child in Wisconsin.

Announcing WISTAX Watch

[We have received the following from One Wisconsin Now and are pleased to publish it on their behalf.]

Gotta quiz for you...Which supposedly "independent" and "unbiased" organization in Wisconsin fits the following?

Its president and leading voice is a former Republican administration official and local Republican Party executive committee member.

Members of its board of directors since 1994 have donated nearly $1.3 million to Republicans and conservative political candidates.

Fifteen of these same 33 board members have served on the board of the state's most influential pro-corporate outfit, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

Its tax research is constantly used by conservatives and Republicans to push for lower taxes for the rich and corporations and less public investment.

So which group is it? You guessed it...the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

There's more. One Wisconsin Now has uncovered, evaluated and cataloged this information at our newest watchdog website:  WISTAX Watch.

Check out the new WISTAX Watch site at

Modeled after One Wisconsin Now's successful site, the goal of is to provide you, the media and elected officials with information about the conservative, pro-corporate agenda of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, as well as debunk its allegedly unbiased research.

Most importantly, WISTAX Watch wants to expand the debate on budgeting and taxation issues in Wisconsin and ensure the progressive values you and I share are reflected fully in the public policy debate.

When it comes to taxation, budgeting and public investment, you will almost exclusively arrive at the conservative argument from WISTAX research.

And while you and I may laugh when WISTAX asserts that the WMC corporate masters that have saturated its board for the last 20 years are doing it out of the kindness of their hearts, One Wisconsin Now takes both the research and the conclusions we have accumulated at WISTAX Watch deadly serious.

WISTAX research and talking points drive much of the state tax debate and at WISTAX Watch, we not only exhaustively show you the conservatism of its arguments, but also we give you the ability to be a WISTAX Watcher yourself.

The site has a full array of social networking tools, information and a guide to analyzing WISTAX reports for conservative bias.

WISTAX Watch. Check it out.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Information Available on New Credit Card Rules

The Federal Reserve's new rules for credit card companies mean new credit card protections for you. It can also mean some significantly higher minimum payments, non-activity fees, or even card cancellations if you don't agree to accept certain changes. Here are some sites to go to where you can learn about key changes you should expect from your credit card company beginning on February 22, 2010.

A message from school board candidate Steve Dedow on the proposed closing of Tipler Middle School

[We have received the following from Steve Dedow, candidate for the Oshkosh Area School District Board of Education, and are pleased to publish it on his behalf.]

The Board of Education will be voting on Wednesday, February 10th to close Tipler Middle School. The misconceptions given by administration on how this will positively affect our community are that this move will allow: OASD to repurpose the building into an elementary school for consolidation, to provide special education at all remaining middle schools and increase the electives offered.

If the School Board believes all that it is being sold to them by the administration they will once again be forging ahead with the flawed “10 Year Facility Plan”. Currently a minority of board members are strong adherents to the plan as the answer to our community’s educational needs.

One huge question remains unanswered: Where is the new elementary facility that is needed to house these displaced children? The referendum to build a new school failed last year. A referendum to renovate existing facilities which would allow for extra capacity has yet to be placed before our community. Our interim Superintendent Bette Lang has stated that the north side elementary schools are already above capacity, in particular Read Elementary.

Where is the logic in closing schools on the south or west side of Oshkosh when the north side is above capacity?

Closing schools will not solve our budget problems. Let’s use round numbers: 85% of our $100,000,000 budget ($85,000,000) goes to salaries and benefits; the other 15% ($15,000,000) goes to operating costs for the schools (books, heat, fuel, maintenance, etc.). Increases in health costs, which are beyond our control as we are at the mercy of the health insurance industry are approximately 10% per year on $20,000,000 of that $85,000,000. Educator’s salaries, approximately 3% on the remaining $65,000,000 means that our annual budget increase is approximately $3,000,000 per year. This represents an additional $3,000,000 of new money we must find each year.

If we look to that 15% of school operating costs and try to make up for the annual increase in salaries and benefits by cutting from the $15,000,000 of operating costs, simple math tells you that we will run out of schools to close in 5 years. We are once again applying a short term solution to a long term problem.

Of course we can try and conserve energy, we can cut paper usage, we can solicit corporations for athletic sponsorships, we can sell obsolete equipment, we can defer maintenance once again (not a good idea), we can attempt debt restructuring, and we can raise fees on enrollment and programs, etc. And We Should. But the additional savings will not make up the difference that we need to achieve solvency.

Those in our community who scream of equilibrium between taxpayer and student need to stand up now and make it equal. Oshkosh has the LOWEST tax millage rate of any of our neighbors or districts of comparable size. The districts of Sheboygan, Neenah, Menasha, Appleton, Berlin, Winneconne, Ripon, North Fond du Lac and Fond du Lac all have higher millage rates. Wausau, Eau Claire and ROSENDALE all have higher millage rates. An example of our community’s preoccupation with the lowest taxes possible: if we were to close one elementary school (say Lakeside) we would save (according to OASD administration) $100,000 dollars. This represents 3.4% of our current deficit (3 million). If we were to increase taxes to the levy this would represent 20 cents more a month to the taxpayers of Oshkosh to keep this school open. If we were to close 3 schools this year, how much would we save in taxes? Seventy-five cents - a dollar more a month? CLOSING SCHOOLS - CLOSES OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FUTURE and does NOTHING to prevent the inevitable collapse of this system.

If our community is to survive as something other than a footnote in history as a logging town, then we as a community need to step up to the plate.

The administration of OASD is selling us short.

The reality is somewhat different.

Closing Tipler Middle School will:

• NOT save money. The savings from reducing staffing is $336,000 and the cost for dispersing these children to other schools and instituting five 50 minute periods is $385,000, which will result in a LOSS of $49,000 for the district.

• NOT create a new consolidated elementary school. In addition to the hefty $3 million price tag to convert the closed Tipler building into an elementary school in the future (estimate comes from the “plan”), the classrooms are too small for elementary students as Tipler was architecturally designed to be a middle school housing older students. There are only two bathrooms on the first and second floor, (any of you out there got little kids?), there is a large retention pond very nearby (to be read as litigation), and the current playground is not big enough for an entire population of elementary school aged children.

• NOT affect just Tipler. Instead, it affects over 900 students and their families and will result in overcrowding at the remaining 4 middle schools, specifically Traeger and South Park.

• NOT address the current special education issues. With overcrowding at the remaining 4 middle schools, where are the special education programs to be conducted?

• NOT provide equity. Only two of the remaining four middle schools will be able to offer more electives.

• NOT address any future increase in student population. Since 1997 when Traeger was built to accommodate the middle school population, there has been no significant population change. Why are we closing schools now? I guess I have a question – If Oshkosh Truck actually is able to provide 2,000 jobs (as per the current tax incremental financing negotiations with the city)…do you think that enrollment will be up or down?

The public is invited to attend the meeting. It will be at 6:00pm on Wednesday, February 10th in the OASD central building located at 215 S. Eagle St. Oshkosh.


Steve Dedow

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Oshkosh Area School District Announces Three Final Candidates for the Superintendent Position

For more information contact:

Ben Schneider
President of the Board of Education
Oshkosh Area School District
(920) 235-9262


The Oshkosh Area School District Announces Three Final Candidates for the Superintendent Position

Finalist #1: Steven Price
Phone #: 513-727-9942 or 513-594-3013

Finalist #2: Don Viegut
Phone#: 715-261-0528 or 715-581-1865

Finalist #: Kathleen Williams
Phone#: 630-795-9994

The interview schedule is as follows:
Monday, February 15; Tuesday, February 16; and Wednesday, February 17

9:00-10:00 a.m. - Meet with Elementary Principals
10:00-11:00 a.m. - Meet with Secondary Principals
11:00-12:30 p.m. – Lunch and meeting with the OASD Executive Team
12:45 – 1:45 p.m. - Tour Carl Traeger K-8 School
2:00-3:00 p.m. – Tour Oshkosh West High School
3:15-3:45 p.m. – Tour Oaklawn Elementary School
4:00-5:00 p.m. - Candidate Reception @ the Oshkosh Public Library - Open to all staff, parents, & community members
6:30 pm - Dinner with Board of Education at Becket’s
7:00 pm - Interview of Candidates

Finalist #1 will meet with the district, community and Board of Education on Monday, Feb.15th.
Finalist #2 will meet with the district, community and Board of Education on Tuesday, Feb. 16th.
Finalist #3 will meet with the district, community and Board of Education on Wednesday, Feb. 17th.

The Board will be meeting Friday, February 19th to deliberate and select the final candidate.

Community, staff, and parents are encouraged to attend the candidate receptions to meet the candidates from 4:00-5:00 at the Oshkosh Public Library under the dome on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Monday, February 01, 2010

H1N1 Immunization Clinic at Senior Center

(Oshkosh, WI.) The city of Oshkosh Health Services Division is holding another H1N1 vaccination clinic. The clinic is by appointment only on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at the Senior Center South building, 200 N. Campbell Road.

The H1N1 vaccine is available to everyone and the vaccinations are free of charge. The nasal mist and injectable vaccine are both available.

The Health Services Division is also continuing to take appointments for H1N1 vaccinations at City Hall.

Please call the Health Services Division at (920) 236-5030 to schedule an appointment.