Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Listening session will highlight updated goals for Oshkosh Public Library

For information:

Lisa Voss
(920) 236-5211

Listening session will highlight updated goals for Oshkosh Public Library

March 29, 2010 – A library that is easy to use, that embraces the digital revolution, that collaborates in the pursuit of excellence and innovation and that finds creative ways to make a difference in people’s lives – that is what the Oshkosh Public Library aspires to be. The library will introduce proposed strategic plan updates that will focus efforts to achieve these goals during a public meeting, 6 to 7:30 p.m., on Monday, April 5. The session will be held in the library’s Lower Level Meeting Room.

Community members are invited to attend the meeting to learn more about proposed goals that the library will pursue during the period from July 2010 to December 2011. These goals represent continued progress on the library’s strategic plan, which underwent a major overhaul in 2007.

“A strategic plan should not be a static document that sits on a shelf once it is drafted,” explains Library Director Jeff Gilderson-Duwe. “Planning is an evolving process so we need to always be moving forward with initiatives that bring us closer to achieving our mission.”

Gilderson-Duwe will do a brief presentation explaining the proposed plan goals and then take questions and comments from the public. “We brought together some community leaders and library customers to help us develop these draft goals,” he says. “Now we want to hear from the general public; to listen to their views about the direction that their library should be taking to serve the needs of the Oshkosh community.”

The draft plan contains four broad strategies:

• The library will work to make a difference in the lives of all who use library services and to find ways to touch the lives of more area residents.

• The library will embrace sweeping changes that are moving ever more information into digital forms; we will offer services of value to digital natives and digital migrants.

• The library will offer collections, programs, services and facilities that are easy and enjoyable to use.

• The library will mobilize financial and human resources required for excellence and innovation.

Within each of these strategies, the draft plan outlines general goals to direct the development and enhancement of library collections, services and programs. “Public input helps library leadership to determine if we are focusing our efforts in areas that are valued by library users and the Oshkosh community as a whole,” Gilderson-Duwe says.

The public is encouraged to review the draft plan at www.oshkoshpubliclibrary.org or to pick up a copy at the library. Individuals who cannot attend the listening session may e-mail suggestions via e-mail to director@oshkoshpubliclibrary.org or by calling 236-5212.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Governor Doyle Announces $13.6 Million to Assist Over 2,800 Dislocated Workers Statewide

[We have received the following press release and area pleased to publish it on behalf of Governor Doye's office.]

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle announced today more than $13.6 million in additional assistance for over 2,800 dislocated workers statewide as part of the National Emergency Grant (NEG) program. The award, which includes over $5 million in immediate funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is the largest grant of its kind ever awarded to Wisconsin .

“Thanks to our partners in Congress and President Obama’s Administration, Wisconsin will invest these funds in additional employment and training services to help prepare dislocated workers for job opportunities as the economy steadily improves,” Governor Doyle said. “My top priority is to do everything I can to help create jobs and give our workers opportunities to get those jobs.”

“Last year’s economic collapse has hurt a lot of workers who are now caught in a crunch through no fault of their own. I’m pleased that funds we provided in the Recovery Act will be used to help them re-enter the job market with new skills as the economy begins to recover,” Congressman Dave Obey said.

“Too many Americans have lost jobs through no fault of their own,” Senator Herb Kohl said. “Helping them get back to work is the best thing we can do for Wisconsin and the nation.”

“I am pleased Wisconsin will receive more than $13 million in stimulus funding that will help provide critical assistance to thousands of Wisconsin workers who have lost their jobs,” Senator Russ Feingold said. “I sent a letter to Labor Secretary Solis last month urging the department to award this funding to Wisconsin . The funding will help to make up for the shortfall in dislocated worker funds that the state has experienced and will help to ensure that many unemployed workers no longer have to remain on waiting lists for retraining services.”

"Putting Wisconsinites back to work is our number one priority," Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin said. "This federal-state partnership is a critical investment in our workers and, ultimately, in the success of the state's economic growth.”

The federal grant will serve 2,817 workers displaced by multiple layoffs and plant closings at 68 companies, nearly 80 percent of them manufacturing firms. In awarding the grant, the U.S. Department of Labor authorized more than $5 million in Recovery Act funding for immediate use.

The NEG program helps states respond when significant events create a sudden need for assistance. Services are being coordinated by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and provided through 10 regional Workforce Development Boards. NEG funding is being coordinated with resources available through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. The program commits significant resources to occupational retraining.

Support services include travel payments, child care and other training related expenses. Workers with skills in demand are being assisted in job search activities including workshops on resumes, interviewing and analysis of transferable skills. Those who are determined to need skill development to find suitable employment will have a variety of training options to select from.

The additional assistance will be provided by DWD and its regional partners in 62 counties. The remaining counties are benefiting from an earlier NEG grant of $3.4 million that is funding additional assistance to displaced workers in the Green Bay area.

The NEG grant dollars are applicable to workers dislocated from specific companies. Dislocated workers interested in learning more about the program and potential eligibility may contact their local Job Center to inquire about services by visiting www.wisconsinjobcenter.org/directory or toll free at 888-258-9966.

Governor Doyle, First Lady Doyle Announce New Organ Donor Registry

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle and First Lady Jessica Doyle announced today the state’s new Organ Donor Registry. The web-based registry will make it even easier for Wisconsin residents to list themselves as a donor through a secure online database.

“Our ongoing efforts to improve Wisconsin ’s nation-leading organ donation rates are having a dramatic life-saving effect,” Governor Doyle said. “The new Donor Registry will raise awareness for the critical need for organ donation and ensure even more Wisconsin residents can give the gift of life.”

"This is an enormous step toward helping the 1,500 people in this state now on the national waiting list for a transplant,'' First Lady Doyle said. " Wisconsin people are already among the most generous organ donors in the nation. This Registry will allow us to do even more to save or improve the lives of our families, friends and neighbors."

The new online Donor Registry will allow Wisconsin citizens to legally authorize organ, tissue and eye donation with a click of a button. This simple but highly effective tool is expected to help save or enhance thousands of lives over the next decade.

"We're encouraging everyone who wants to be an organ, tissue and eye donor to register using the online Registry," said Martha Mallon, President of Donate Life Wisconsin and Organ & Tissue Donor Promotion Director for the state Department of Health Services.

The online Registry will make it easier and more efficient for Wisconsin residents to sign up and support donation. Anyone over the age of 15 ½ years with a driver's license or state ID can grant legal authorization to donate their organs, tissue and corneas upon their death.

The Registry is secure and confidential and people can remove their names at any time. All interested residents, including those who already have an orange dot on their drivers' license, should register on the website. Donation professionals will be able to access a person's donation decision, share that information with the donor's family, and work with them to honor that choice.

For more than 20 years, Wisconsin residents have been able to choose to be recorded as potential donors for the purposes of transplantation, therapy, research and education when they received or renewed their drivers' licenses. Beginning today, however, a person who applies for or renews their license and decides to register as a donor is now legally authorizing organ, tissue and eye donation upon death.

To learn more about organ, tissue and eye donation, to register as a donor, and to learn more about the Transplant Games being hosted in Madison in July 2010, please visit: http://www.yesiwillwisconsin.com/.

Seasonal Curbside Brush Collection Starts April 5th

(Oshkosh, WI.) The city of Oshkosh Sanitation Division would like to remind residents that regular monthly curbside brush collection begins the week of April 5th through April 9th. Collection will continue for the first full week of each month through December.

Materials must be out for collection by 7:00 a.m. on your regular solid waste collection day. Brush that has a diameter of less than three (3) inches should be tied in bundles not to exceed four (4) feet in length or fifty (50) pounds in weight.

Material can also be placed in PAPER BIODEGRADABLE BAGS. Plastics bags, other containers, or loose leaves will not be collected.

The annual Spring Clean Up is scheduled for April 19th through May 7th. The Spring Clean Up is an extended collection schedule to help residents dispose of larger volumes of yard waste. The Sanitation Division will allow grass/thatch or garden material to be placed in bags during this time.

For more information, please contact the Sanitation Division at (920) 232-5383.

Common Councilor Poeschl Invites the Public to Forum

Oshkosh Common Council member Bob Poeschl invites the public to discuss issues important to the Oshkosh community. The forum will be held March 30 at 6:00pm at Player's Pizza, 556 W. 5th Avenue. All invited. If there are any questions, please call Bob at 312-0529 or email bpoeschl@ci.oshkosh.wi.us.

Fraudulent calls info

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is helping to spread the word about an unusually high number of complaints to the Social Security Administration from Wisconsin residents about "phishing" phone calls.

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), Wisconsinites have been reporting phone calls from persons claiming to work for the SSA. The caller asks for private information, such as the person's social security number (SSN), in order to "re-issue a Medicare Card" or some other similar excuse.

"The Social Security Administration does not need to ask you for your social security number," says Janet Jenkins, Administrator of the Division of Trade and Consumer Protection's Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection. "Alarms should go off in your mind anytime someone contacts you out of the blue and asks for personal or financial information. Governmental agencies and legitimate businesses simply don't do that."

Do not trust what your Caller ID says either. It can be made to give whatever name and number the caller wants.

The SSA reminds consumers that except for employers and financial institutions that need your social security number for tax reporting purposes, you are not required to give out your SSN.

"Before giving any confidential information, at least make sure that the organization or business asking for it is who it claims to be," Jenkins advises. One way to check is to look up an organization or business in the phone book or online, and then call directly to verify any requests.

If you suspect someone is phishing for your private information or if you inadvertently gave out confidential information, the Office of Privacy Protection can help. Contact it at: Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection
Toll-free Hotline - 1-800-422-7128

National Night Out 2010 Organizational Meeting

To: Area 4 Community Members

From: Dorry Wilner, Oshkosh Police Department Community Programs Coordinator
Re: National Night Out 2010 Organizational Meeting

At the March city-wide Neighborhood Watch Block Captains’ meeting, citizens were invited to be part of the planning team for the 4th annual Oshkosh National Night Out event scheduled for Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at South Park. I am extending a special invitation to citizens living in the South Park area to be part of the planning team.

So we can review past events, plans to date and move forward with the planning for the 2010 event, an organizational meeting has been scheduled for:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 6:00pm
Oshkosh Police Department Erickson Community Room
420 Jackson Street

Please RSVP to me at 236 5714 or dwilner@ci.oshkosh.wi.us

Oshkosh will join over 14,000 other communities around North America in hosting a National Night Out even on August 3. The goals of National Night Out are:

• To involve citizens in building a safe community by providing an opportunity to learn more about local fire and law enforcement;

• To increase crime prevention awareness;

• To celebrate neighborhoods and community, and

• To provide a safe, alcohol-free event to the community

Last year the event attracted over 1,200 community members of all ages. You can view the video from last year’s event at our website http://www.oshkoshpd.com/ I look forward to working with you and hope you can join us on April 13 to kick-off our planning.

Update on Recent Deaths of Oshkosh Teens

(Oshkosh, WI.) In an effort to prevent speculation, the Winnebago County Coroner’s office and city of Oshkosh Health Services Division would like to provide the public with some information concerning the recent deaths of two high school students in Oshkosh.

These teenagers succumbed to two different, distinct, unusual presentations of illness that do not appear to be related and do not appear to be a risk to others. Each death occurred as a result of different kinds of common bacteria that in very rare cases invade the body and can lead to death.

“The final determination as to the specific cause of each death is still pending but we hope to have a final answer soon,” said Winnebago County Coroner Barry Busby. “The pathologist is working with national, state, and local laboratories where testing is still being done. We know that neither of these deaths was caused by H1N1 influenza or other common respiratory viruses.”

“These losses have been devastating to the friends, families, and the community of Oshkosh,” said Oshkosh Public Health Nurse Denise Krueger. “We understand the concerns of parents and want to ease their fears.”

As parents, basic public health messages still apply. Please remember to wash hands, cover cough, stay home when sick, and call your doctor when you are concerned about your child’s health or your own health.

For more information, please call the Health Services Division at (920) 236-5030.

Seasonal Hours Start on April 1st for Yard Waste Drop-off Site

(Oshkosh, WI.) The city of Oshkosh Sanitation Division would like to notify residents that the hours of operation for the city’s yard waste drop-off site will be from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends. These hours of operation will go into effect on April 1, 2010.

The yard waste drop-off site is located on Idaho Street south of Witzel Avenue.

Permits are required to use the drop-off facility. The cost of a permit for a resident of Oshkosh is $15 (permit only valid for one vehicle). The cost of a permit for a non-resident is $80 (permit only valid for one vehicle). Permits are valid from January 1st to December 31st of the year issued. Please note that commercial operations are not able to use the yard waste drop-off site per requirements of the Municipal Code.

Permits can be purchased at City Hall at Collections or at Kitz and Pfeil True Value Hardware Store, 427 North Main Street.

All yard waste being transported in trucks or trailers to the drop-off facility must be properly secured with a tarp.

Please note the yard waste drop-off facility is closed on holidays.

For more information, please contact the Sanitation Division at (920) 232-5383.

H1N1 Immunization Clinic Today at City Hall

The city of Oshkosh Health Services Division is holding another H1N1 vaccination clinic. The clinic will be held on Monday, March 29, 2010 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at City Hall, 215 Church Avenue in room 206.

This clinic is open to everyone. Hmong interpreters will be available onsite. Appointments are encouraged, but are not required.

The nasal mist and injectable vaccine are both available and are free of charge.

The Health Services Division is also continuing to take appointments for H1N1 vaccinations at City Hall during business hours Monday – Friday.

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

New Website Provides Business Tools for Smoke-Free Law

[Winnebago County]--Business owners looking to prepare for Wisconsin’s smoke-free workplace law have a new resource to help them make the switch. Health advocates launched the new website,  http://www.wibettersmokefree.com/ on March 19. The site offers signs, employee handouts, and quit smoking resources to help employers plan for the law’s implementation on July 5th.

“We want to get the word out on this valuable tool,” said Emily Dieringer with re:TH!NK, Winnebago’s Healthy Living Partnership. “The resources available at the site can help businesses insure a smooth transition once the law goes into effect.”

Dieringer added that more business resources will be added to the site as July 5th draws nearer, including a printable brochure.

The site also features videos, a map of recently smoke-free establishments, secondhand smoke information, and other materials. Advocates say that in addition to helping businesses, the site is designed to capture the public’s excitement for the law’s implementation.

“Starting July 5th, Wisconsin workers will no longer have to choose between their health and a paycheck, and customers will be able to enjoy a night out without worrying about secondhand smoke,” continued Dieringer. “We think that’s an achievement worth celebrating.”

re:TH!NK, Winnebago’s Healthy Living Partnership is based out of the Winnebago County Health Department and covers the counties of Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Winnebago for tobacco prevention and control.
The goal of re:TH!NK, Winnebago’s Healthy Living Partnership, is to prevent and reduce the use of and exposure to tobacco, alcohol and other drugs through effective community collaboration. This partnership would not exist without support from the Winnebago County Health Department and other local agencies, organizations and community members.

P. O. Box 68
725 Butler Avenue
Winnebago, WI 54985

Spring brings new treasures to Friends of the Library Used Book Sale

The Friends of the Library Used Book Sale is like a breath of fresh air this month, thanks to a wave of items donated for the first sale of spring. Make time to shop the sale on Tuesday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., in the lower level of the Oshkosh Public Library.

Several recent donations have the shelves packed with items added since the January sale:

• A selection of nearly 600 videos, including Disney and other popular titles

• Nearly 450 large print books

• A large collection of romances, some of them packaged in $1 bargain book bags

The selection of fiction continues to grow, including an influx of bestsellers by popular authors – some of them still on the bestseller lists. Parents and grandparents will want to check out the expanded collection of books for children and young adults, featuring picture and chapter books, I Spy favorites, and graphic novels.

The collection of popular DVDs has grown and there are plenty of audio books and music CDs.

In the interest of going green, the Friends ask that shoppers bring a reusable bag to carry their purchases. Canvas tote bags also are available for purchase at the Friends Store at the library.

Mark your calendars for more 2010 sales: May 25; July 27; Sept. 28 and Nov. 30.

The Friends of the Oshkosh Public Library provide support for the library through volunteer service, fundraising, and advocacy. Proceeds from the book sales are used to support summer reading programs, Baby Book Bags for babies born in Oshkosh, events and other initiatives of the Oshkosh Public Library throughout the year.

The book sale is organized by Friends volunteers, who sort materials, get them ready for sale and staff the sales. For additional information about the book sale or to join the Friends of the Library, contact Dana Stolley, Coordinator of Volunteers, at 236-5206.

Walker's Record of Massive Spending Hikes Is in the Bag

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

Madison -- Contrary to calls for fiscal restraint in his latest television advertisement, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker voted to increase state spending 84 percent as a member of the state Assembly and has proposed 35 percent in increases to county spending since 2002. Walker voted for $200 billion in total state budget spending, which led to a then-record $3 billion state budget deficit.

"Scott Walker voted to pass the biggest rate of state government expansion in recent history -- 84 percent in five state budgets," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "Scott Walker's encore was to propose a 35 percent hike in spending for Milwaukee County, while at the same time dismantling the services that protect children, seniors and those impacted by the economic collapse."

Walker's five separate budget votes in the state Assembly grew spending from $26.6 billion in biennial spending in 1993-95 to $48.9 billion by 2001-03. Each biennium, Walker helped grow the state budget by between $2.7 billion to $5.8 billion. [1992 WI Act 269; 2001 WI Act 16; WI Legislative Fiscal Bureau]

Likewise, as county executive, Walker proposed 35 percent in increases that would have increased spending from $1.1 billion to $1.5 billion. In addition, it was under Walker's tenure that Milwaukee County experienced its first deficits in over a decade.

Walker has recently come under fire for claiming that as governor, he would magically create enough jobs to essentially reduce the unemployment rate to zero -- an impossible promise. Conversely, Walker's latest television ad says government cannot create jobs.

"Scott Walker's record on fiscal management is clear: huge spending hikes, huge deficits," said Ross. "Walker appears to be packing a ham sandwich in his latest ad, but his claims are nothing but baloney."

Walker has already made news with his "brown bag" gimmick, when it was revealed the tactic had been used 12 years ago in an Ohio U.S. Senate race. Walker shares the same consultant as that candidate, SCM Associates, and has paid the group firm over $335,000.

"Looks like when Walker was spending all that money for this campaign gimmick," Ross said, "he neglected to mention to them all the spending he had already done."

In addition to these promises, Walker has also proposed nearly $2 billion in tax cuts that would overwhelmingly benefit the rich and corporations, including an income tax cut exclusively for those people making more than $225,000 a year and reopening of the Las Vegas loophole to allow big corporations, like banks, to avoid Wisconsin tax obligations by opening a phony post "office" box in a state without corporate income taxes.

# # #

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


Friday, March 26, 2010

'Candidate' Van Hollen Repeatedly Attacked Federal Lawsuits

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

Madison -- Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen's failing attempt to block health insurance reform through a partisan Republican lawsuit is in direct contrast to repeated criticisms Van Hollen made against former-Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager during his 2006 campaign. Van Hollen went so far as to file open records requests in 2006 about several federal actions to detail the cost of the suits and document his opposition on a now-defunct website LeaveNoSpecialInterestBehind.com.

"Candidate Van Hollen said lawsuits like this threatened our safety, but now that he's up for re-election Van Hollen has to please his corporate donors, his Republican masters and the tea party extremists," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "Van Hollen is a partisan hack, but don't take our word for it, his words speak for themselves."

During his 2006 campaign, Van Hollen criticized federal lawsuits undertaken by the Wisconsin Department of Justice from Plan B contraception, No Child Left Behind and clean air regulation. Specific quotes from Van Hollen criticizing federal lawsuits included:

Van Hollen said Lautenschlager is trying to grab headlines with lawsuits [about the federal No Child Left Behind] that have nothing to do with her job...Lautenschlager's opponents - Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher and former U.S. attorney J.B. Van Hollen - attacked the brief as another example of a frivolous action Lautenschlager has launched. [Associated Press, 4/14/06]

Peg Lautenschlager continues to engage in politically-motivated lawsuits across the country intended only to curry favor with liberal special interest groups. She wastes precious state resources to advance her outlandish set of priorities. The people of Wisconsin will be better served when we have an attorney general who is focused on fighting real crime here in Wisconsin." [Van Hollen Release, 4/27/06]

"Furthermore, I can't believe that our Attorney General is using the state's resources to fight something like this, when we should be focusing our attention on fighting the spread of methamphetamine, heroin and violent crime."[Van Hollen Press Release, 3/15/06]

Apparently, Peg Lautenschlager is too busy suing law abiding farmers in northern Wisconsin and fighting the EPA, Department of Education and FDA to actually focus on fighting crime in the highest crime area of the state. [Van Hollen Press Release, 3/31/06]

Lautenschlager Wrong on Plan B Suit...I can't believe that our Attorney General is using the state's resources to fight something like this, when there are areas of the state dealing with drug and crime problems that more dearly deserve her attention. This is a horrible use of our tax dollars. ...As Attorney General, I would not join such a suit. [JB for AG website, 3/15/06, http://tinyurl.com/yg3da79]

Ross noted one particularly interesting quote from Van Hollen, announcing the filing of an open records request against the former Attorney General:

Van Hollen said Lautenschlager's recent public support for the Open Records Law should ensure her prompt response to his request. Just this week, Lautenschlager filed suit against a Republican legislator alleging he took too long to respond to one of her requests. "I would expect to receive the requested information within ten business days," Van Hollen said. "That is if her office isn't too busy filing more frivolous, partisan nuisance lawsuits." [Van Hollen Press Release, 5/9/06]

One Wisconsin Now filed two open records requests Wednesday with Van Hollen's office to obtain records showing how much Van Hollen was pressured by Republicans inside and outside of Wisconsin to try and join the federal lawsuit against the Affordable Health Care for America Act signed into law Tuesday by President Obama.

"Even before we find out how many Republicans in and out of Wisconsin were conspiring with Van Hollen to file this lawsuit, he has no credibility given this precedent," said Ross. "If there was such thing as 'hypocrisy police,' Van Hollen would already have been frog-marched out of the DOJ."

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Governor Doyle's Response to the Attorney General's Request to File Lawsuit on Health Care Reform Bill

In response to the Attorney General’s request on national health insurance reform, Governor Doyle today sent the following letter:

March 25, 2010

Dear Attorney General Van Hollen:

I have received your request for permission to file an action to contest national health insurance reform. I am denying that request.

This law is an act of Congress, signed by the President of the United States. The lawsuit you suggest is a frivolous and political attempt to thwart the actions of Congress and the law of the country.

National health insurance reform will extend coverage to more than 172,000 Wisconsin residents and will benefit families and small businesses throughout the state.

This year, small business owners will receive tax credits to buy health insurance. Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to American children because of a pre-existing condition; nor will they be able to drop someone's coverage when they get sick and need it the most.

This law enhances the actions taken by my Administration to make Wisconsin America’s health care leader.

The State of Wisconsin will not enter into litigation intended to deny health care for tens of thousands of residents.


Jim Doyle

One Wisconsin Now Requests Van Hollen-DOJ Communications on Partisan GOP Health Reform Lawsuit

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

Madison -- One Wisconsin Now has filed two open records requests with the Wisconsin Department of Justice seeking copies of all correspondence to and from Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen and DOJ staff with individuals inside and outside of Wisconsin urging Van Hollen to file a Republican-orchestrated frivolous lawsuit brought by attorneys general from 13 states around the country to block the federal Affordable Health Care for America Act signed into law Tuesday by President Obama.

"This is pure partisan politics and the people of Wisconsin have a right to these records," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "Taxpayers have a right to know who inside and outside of the state is conspiring to get Van Hollen to join this bogus lawsuit."

In comments to the media Tuesday, a DOJ spokesperson said Van Hollen did not support the health reform act. Republicans like Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann called for Van Hollen to file suit. In addition, 34 Republican state Senators and Representatives sent Van Hollen a letter calling for intervention.

Were Van Hollen able to take action, it would not be the first time he has used the taxpayer-financed resources of the Department of Justice to intervene in serving partisan Republican interests.

In 2008 while serving as state co-chair of GOP nominee John McCain's campaign, Van Hollen filed a lawsuit which could have disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of legal Wisconsin voters after pressuring from GOP leaders. Open records requests in 2008 showed a top Van Hollen aide had "multiple conversations" with Republican Party of Wisconsin Chair Reince Preibus preceding Van Hollen's intervention in that case.

"Wisconsin taxpayers have already seen their tax dollars wasted by JB Van Hollen for partisan political interests," said Ross. "First, it was to deny hundreds of thousands of eligible Wisconsinites access to the voting booth and his next victim may be those Wisconsinites and small business owners and employees who will benefit from the historic health reform package passed this week."

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Governor Doyle Announces State Recovery Website with Enhanced Accountability, Transparency

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle announced today that the states’ American Recovery and Reinvestment web site has been significantly upgraded to be more user-friendly and flexible, increasing accountability and transparency. The site’s improvements provide nation-leading Web technologies to help citizens track Recovery Act funding and its impact.

“We are working very hard to make sure every community in Wisconsin can take advantage of the jobs and opportunities the Recovery Act is bringing to our state,” Governor Doyle said. “This new and improved website is one way the people of Wisconsin can see for themselves that these dollars are going to good projects in their areas.”

One of the new features of the website is the improvement of the interactive map that is designed to show Recovery Act allocations. Each county on the interactive map has been updated to plot awards. When a user clicks on a specific plot point, detailed information tracking every expense to contract recipients and vendors related to the award appears, tracking every dollar spent down to a very localized level.

The website also provides improved county-by-county information. When a user clicks on a county, detailed information regarding wages, unemployment rates, Recovery funds awarded by population, and Recovery funds awarded by county appear. This information allows people to see the distribution of spending across economic indicators.

In addition, the new website:

· Is more flexible and has an improved search capability;
· Gives the user new features to sort and download data to their desktop; and
· Has a more visually appealing interface to navigate through award detail more intuitively.

The improvements complete changes suggested by Good Jobs First, a national policy resource center that promotes government accountability that had ranked Wisconsin’s Recovery web site 4th in the nation. With the improvements to the site, Wisconsin’s website now leads the nation in transparency and accountability.

The Wisconsin Office of Recovery and Reinvestment website is http://www.recovery.wisconsin.gov/.

Monday, March 22, 2010

One Wisconsin Now Statements on Passage of Historic Health Insurance Reform Bill

Madison -- One Wisconsin Now released the following statements following the passage of the historic health insurance reform bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"This was a historic vote for progress over politics and people over profits. History will smile on Sunday's action to pass this reform. Despite the limitless corporate resources, the partisan obstructionism by the Republicans and the incendiary paranoia of the so-called Tea Party and its leaders like Glenn Beck, the will of the American people prevailed. This plan for health insurance reform is a critical step towards not only ending the stranglehold of insurance companies on our health care, but also to taking America back from the corporations, bankers and speculators who have demeaned the American worker and defiled the American Dream."

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

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Governor Doyle Statement on Passage of National Health Insurance Reform

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today issued the following statement after the United States House of Representatives voted to pass historic health insurance reform that will benefit families and small businesses throughout the state:

“In the past seven years, we have worked hard to expand health care coverage and make Wisconsin America's health care leader. Through our efforts, Wisconsin now ranks first for health care quality, second in access to coverage, and every single child has access to health care.

“In addition to our successful state efforts, national health insurance reform will extend coverage to more than 172,000 Wisconsin residents and will benefit families and small businesses throughout the state.

“This health insurance reform plan puts American families and small businesses in charge of their own health care and makes health insurance more affordable.

“While some of the reforms will take time to fully implement, many benefits will begin this year. Small business owners will receive tax credits to buy health insurance, insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition, nor will they be able to drop someone's coverage when they get sick and need it the most."

Teaching school board members the real meaning of the word "rejection"

I’m glad to see the Oshkosh Northwestern understands that had the Oshkosh Area School District’s Board of Education actually increased taxes to the level voters approved last April, recent budget cuts it voted for would not have needed to be so severe or deep. Regular viewers of “Eye on Oshkosh” know that I have been complaining about this refusal to exercise the referendum-approved item for several months already, even while some articles about “referendum-funded” maintenance projects appeared in the Northwestern. One even talked about those “referendum-funded” maintenance projects being cheaper than expected. I don't know if they never made the connection before or just didn't write about it, but, better late than never and I’m glad the dots are finally being connected by the Northwestern (not to mention, others in the community).

Another point that needs to be made, and one with which I agree with the Northwestern, is this: “The board's overt repudiation of the voters is an embarrassment and insult. Do not be surprised if in the long run the voters prevail at the polls when these board members seek re-election.” The first of those board members seeking re-election who should I believe should be rejected by voters next month is Dan Becker. But I think he should be rejected for more than just rejecting and voting against the will of the people with regard to the referendum-funded maintenance.

Mr. Becker has preached his fiscal conservativeness to us on many occasions. Yet there are times he has cost the taxpayers in this district money. Here are just a couple from recent history.

The first came when he asked for a recount after he was defeated by Amy Weinsheim in 2006. That recount, while within Becker’s right to ask for, cost the district's taxpayers about three times more than first expected – a number that Becker contributed to by making so many ridiculous and outrageous challenges during the recount. For Becker it seemed to be more about having votes throwing out because of nitpicky, technical issues, than about ensuring that every vote was counted. You can read about that recount here and here. Despite his many efforts, Becker still lost in that race. Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, voters sent him back to the school board the following year.

Then we have the fact that in 2008, Dan Becker created a stink over his perceived conflict of interest with the board’s choice for school superintendent, after which candidate Dr. Gundlach withdrew from the job he’d already accepted. That set the board back about 18 months and required it start over with a superintendant search – again at more cost than would have been necessary. There was no conflict of interest with Dr. Gundlach’s wife teaching in a district where he would have been superintendant and even the state ethics board told Becker so. And while Becker still maintains he had a justifiable reason for his actions, he cannot deny that those actions likely cost the taxpayers more money. You can read more about that by going here.

There is more hypocrisy surrounding Dan Becker than just these two things. He did not attend two recent public forums the district held on the 2010-11 budget. On Eye on Oshkosh recently, he cited work reasons for his not attending. Yet, despite his absence, Becker later charged that the meetings were stacked with teachers and that the people present who said they wanted their taxes raised instead of staff or programs cut were biased. It’s funny he should scream bias over this issue when the very referendum question that was passed last April also indicated the taxpayers wanted taxes raised in order for certain things to be done in the district. It is also funny how when parents spoke out en masse some years back against the school calendar being changed – whose position Becker happened to support – he didn’t claim there was any bias. It seems like either Dan Becker doesn’t have a good grasp on what bias really means or he only sees bias when the opinion is one with which he disagrees.

As far as those forums being attended by teachers, Becker should be reminded there were also a lot of people who spoke at a recent school board meeting held at the Alberta Kimball auditorium who said programs or classes should not be cut. Granted, many of those who spoke were students who don’t vote or pay taxes, but the sentiment has been echoed by people who do, and the board still ended up rejecting the will of the people.

Dan Becker also has a history of complaining about teacher salaries and benefits. We see more evidence of that in this article in this morning’s Oshkosh Northwestern. This is really more hypocrisy from Becker and his sidekick, school board president Ben Schneider II. Both these men are married to employees in other school districts. Becker’s wife’s salary as a middle school English teacher in the Omro school district for the 2008-09 school year was $41,113 with a fringe package worth $26,683 for a total of $67,796, while Schneider’s wife’s salary as a speech/language pathologist in the Neenah school district for the 2008-09 school year was $57,135 with a fringe package worth $29,476 for a total of $86,611. Becker admitted on Eye on Oshkosh recently that his family’s health care benefits are derived from his wife’s employment and I’ll bet the same is true for the Schneider household. So while these men complain about reining in salaries and benefits in the Oshkosh school district, they have no trouble whatsoever feeding from a taxpayer-funded trough in another district.

I’m sure I could find more examples of hypocrisy on the part of school board candidate Dan Becker or money that he has cost us. But in my book, despite his words to the contrary, I believe Becker only respects the voters in this district who agree with him on issues and I think that’s something that all voters need to look closely at when they go to the polls on Tuesday, April 6.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Warning from Facebook Security

We want to pass along this warning from Facebook Security: "There's another spoofed email going around that claims to be from Facebook and asks you to open an attachment to receive a new password. This email is fake. Delete it from your inbox, and warn your friends. Remember that Facebook will never send you a new password in an attachment."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Governor Doyle Awards $3.5 Million in Agriculture Development Grants

APPLETON – Governor Jim Doyle today awarded $3.5 million in agricultural development grants to expand and diversify cheese making and to develop farm-based clean energy technology. Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen announced the grants during a visit to Foremost Farms USA in Appleton today.

“Agriculture is central to our economy and our way of life, generating more than $59 billion for the state annually and representing one out of 10 jobs in Wisconsin,” Governor Doyle said. “These investments will create jobs by strengthening and diversifying our cheese making industry and moving forward with homegrown, renewable energy.”

The competitive Special Agricultural Facility Grant funding, allocated in the 2009-2011 budget, will support:

· $3.1 million in support for a $47.2 million expansion in Appleton that would increase milk processing capacity by 1.5 million pounds per day at Foremost Farms USA – a dairy cooperative headquartered in Wisconsin . Construction is expected to employ 60 to 70 workers for over a year, and the expanded capacity is expected to create 35 additional full-time jobs at the plant, which currently employs 91.

· A $200,000 project conducted by USEMCO in Sparta to develop and demonstrate an anaerobic digester that is cost effective for small farms. Wisconsin has nearly 13,000 dairy farms, with an average herd size of fewer than 100 cows. By bringing the economy of scale down for manure digesters, many more farms will have the ability to take a potential disposal cost and turn it into a source of homegrown, renewable energy.

· A $163,000 energy efficient upgrade at Maple Leaf Cheese Co-op in Monroe to diversify operations and make more lines of specialty cheeses. Wisconsin has been a leader in expanding its specialty cheeses and now accounts for 46 percent of the U.S. market. This project would increase energy efficiency at the plant and create 11 additional employees.

"Foremost Farms is strategically located in the middle of the best place to dairy; we're fortunate that Governor Doyle and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection support cheese processors through infrastructure reinvestment,” said Dave Fuhrmann, president of Foremost Farms USA. "This grant helps position our farmer-owners for long-term market access and provides value to customers who need a consistent source of quality Wisconsin cheese. These grants help our industry stay on course so we can seize new economic opportunities in an international marketplace."

Under Governor Doyle’s leadership, Wisconsin has invested and promoted its diverse farm economy. Incentives to help modernize the dairy industry have helped increase milk production to record levels and have strengthened the state's status as the number one producer of cheese in the country.

At the same time, efforts to strengthen diversity in agriculture have made Wisconsin a leading producer of cranberries, specialty cheeses, organic vegetables and many other products. To enable successful farming for future generations, the state's best farmland is protected under the Working Lands Initiative that Governor Doyle signed into law in 2009.

Governor Doyle has called on the Legislature to extend the Dairy Modernization Tax Credit to help hard-pressed dairy farmers invest in their operations. The Governor has also called for the development of a Food Processing Modernization Tax Credit to help companies invest in modern agriculture, expand operations, and create jobs.

Since taking office, Governor Doyle has advanced an aggressive agenda to position Wisconsin as a leader in a growing clean energy economy. Wisconsin has adopted renewable portfolio standards, invested in green job creation, led the advancement of research in cellulosic ethanol and biomass, and made great strides to increase energy efficiency in homes, businesses and government buildings. To build on these efforts, the Governor has called on the Legislature to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act, a landmark legislative package to accelerate the state’s green economy, create more than 16,000 jobs in Wisconsin , and boost gross state product by nearly $5 billion over the next 15 years.

By the Numbers: Health Care Reform Will Benefit Northeastern Wisconsin

[We have received the following press release from Citizen Action of Wisconsin and are pleased to publish it on their behalf.]

As the health care reform bill approaches the historic vote which may occur as early as Sunday, new numbers released by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce quantify the benefits of the bill for
the 6th Congressional District. The district is represented by Congressman Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac).

"All of the focus on the legislative horse race has obscured the tremendous benefits of this bill to the people of Northeastern Wisconsin who are suffering from skyrocketing health care costs," said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. "Support is increasing steadily for the bill as more and more people understand that it will make health coverage more affordable and more secure for families and small businesses, virtually eliminate medical bankruptcies, and assure people cannot be denied coverage just because they have been sick."

The bill that Congress is about to vote on will have the following benefits for residents in the 6th Congressional District:

* Premium subsidies and tax credits for up to 171,000 families and 13,500 small businesses in Northeastern Wisconsin to help them afford coverage. The average family of four making $50,000 per year will be eligible for a tax credit of $5,800 per year, and small businesses will receive a 50% tax credit provide health insurance. Everyone will have access to group health insurance, and there will be new limits on insurance industry profits and overhead.

* Prevent 1,100 medical cost related bankruptcies per year in Northeastern Wisconsin. The bill eliminates annual and life time limits on coverage. The bill also caps annual out-of-pocket costs at $6,200 for individuals and $12,400 for families who purchase insurance on the new health insurance exchanges, or through a small business.

* Guarantee that 6,200 residents of Northeastern Wisconsin in the 6th Congressional District with preexisting conditions can buy coverage.

* Improve Medicare for 117,000 people in Northeastern Wisconsin by closing the prescription drug donut hole, and providing free primary and preventative care.

* Provide health care coverage to 28,500 uninsured residents of Northeastern Wisconsin who live in the 6th Congressional District.

* Improve health coverage for 486,000 residents of Northeastern Wisconsin who are covered by private insurance (70% of Northeastern Wisconsin residents in the 6th Congressional District). People with private insurance will be able to keep their current coverage, and will be protected by insurance reforms such as the elimination of annual and lifetime limits, the elimination of recessions for people who become ill when insured, and a ban on coverage denials for preexisting conditions. The bill also limits insurance industry profits and overhead, which will assure that more premium dollars go to medical care.

* Give 56,000 young adults in Northeastern Wisconsin the opportunity to obtain health coverage through their parent's policies.

* Provides millions in new funding to 3 community health centers in Northeastern Wisconsin in the 6th Congressional District.


Robert Kraig
Executive Director
Citizen Action of Wisconsin
221 S. 2nd St. Suite 400
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Walker Voted for Train Bidding Statute He's Railing Against

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

Madison -- Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's hollow criticism of the Talgo bidding process, which was not awarded to the company of his $13,000 donor and 2006 gubernatorial co-chair, is even more hypocritical given that Walker voted to create the no-bid statute in the 1997 state budget, according to One Wisconsin Now

"If there is a hypocrisy train running out of Milwaukee County, Scott Walker is its conductor," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "He manufactured baseless charges when his top donor came up short against another Milwaukee company, and he criticized the exact process he voted to create."

The bidding law Walker is criticizing was created in the 1997 biennial budget, Act 27, which passed with the support and vote of then-Rep. Scott Walker and was signed into law by then-Gov. Tommy Thompson. Throughout his legislative career, Walker voted consistently with the Republican majority in passing budget measures and opposing Democratic-offered amendments. In five budgets, Walker approved an 84 percent increase in spending, voting in favor of a total of $200 billion in state spending.

"Scott Walker's blame game needs to begin with one person, Scott Walker," said Ross. "Scott Walker doesn't want his campaign donors to have to play by the same rules Scott Walker and Tommy Thompson created for everyone else."

The statutes allowing the no-bid contracting begin with number 85.06 and are available here: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0085.pdf.

The details of Act 27, including the creation of the no-bid process on page 446, are available here: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/1997/data/acts/97Act27.pdf.

# # #

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

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Walker's Talgo 'Outrage' Paved with $150,000 in GOP Contributions from Super Steel Owner

[We have received the following press release and are pleased to publish it on behalf of One Wisconsin Now.]

Madison -- Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's criticism related to the Talgo company comes just two weeks after the company owned by a top Walker campaign donor and finance co-chair of his failed 2006 gubernatorial campaign did not receive a contract from the Spanish train maker.

Walker's criticism, in which he also leveled charges at Gov. Jim Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, comes immediately after Super Steel, owned by mega-Republican donor Fred Luber, was told it would not receive a Talgo contract. Luber and his wife have given more than $150,000 to Republican campaigns in the last 20 years, including over $13,000 to Walker alone. [Federal Election Commission; Wisconsin Campaign Finance Information System; Wisconsin Democracy Campaign]

"For Scott Walker, it's not about creating jobs in Milwaukee, but looking out for his biggest campaign donors," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "First, Walker wants to bankrupt the state's treasury for tax cuts for corporations and the richest households, and now he's trashing potential job creation in Milwaukee because his former campaign co-chair didn't get a contract."

Super Steel's owner Fred Luber, is also the Chair of the pro-laissez faire capitalism outfit, the MacIver Institute. Both Walker and Luber's MacIver Institute have been staunch opponents of the federal Recovery Act, which provided the $810 million in funding that in part helped the Talgo train-making in Milwaukee to become a reality.

Walker opposed the Recovery Act, going so far as to pen an op-ed for the ultra-conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page defending his opposition in February 2009. Wisconsin has already had nearly $3 billion allocated by the Recovery Act for job creation, health care, education, infrastructure and budget support. Over 44,000 Wisconsin jobs have been funded, saved and created by the Recovery Act.

"This is the worst in politics by Scott Walker," said Ross. "That Scott Walker is willing to pause his gubernatorial campaign to argue for a longtime donor shows the premium Walker places on campaign cash."

Walker's most recent contribution from Luber and his spouse, as part of the more than $13,000 donated to Walker, was a $2,500 contribution in September 2009.

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

Sunday, March 14, 2010

One Wisconsin Now Statements on Latest Teabagger 'Republican Rally for Failure'

One Wisconsin Now Statements on Latest Teabagger 'Republican Rally for Failure'

Likely Menu: Tax Cuts for the Rich, Corporate Deregulation, Health Insurance Profits

Madison -- One Wisconsin Now released the following statements from Executive Director Scot Ross regarding the weekend's upcoming Americans for Prosperity's Teabagger "Republican Rally for Failure" in the Wisconsin Dells.

"I'm sure families across Wisconsin are waiting breathlessly to hear a group of Republicans offer more failed Republican policies which already collapsed our economy and cost millions their piece of the American Dream. Look for these partisans to call for more calls for tax cuts for the rich, more corporate deregulation, more money for the bankers and more health insurance company profits -- and all of it paid for by middle class families."

# # #

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

One Wisconsin Now Statements on Latest WPRI Right Wing Propaganda Polling Project Results

One Wisconsin Now Statements on Latest WPRI Right Wing Propaganda Polling Project Results

Discredited Poll 'Magically' Reinforces Conservative Policies, Promotes Republican Candidates

Madison -- One Wisconsin Now released the following statements from Executive Director Scot Ross regarding the latest Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Right Wing Propaganda Polling Project results.

"This polling project is garbage. There is a reason the project was dumped by the University of Wisconsin -- it has no credibility. WPRI's goal is to get news headlines that help its right wing agenda and it will do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal."

# # #

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

Friday, March 12, 2010

Governor Doyle approves $2,778,875 for projects at Wittman Regional Airport

Governor Jim Doyle has approved $2,778,875.48 for three airport improvement projects at the Wittman Regional Airport, in Oshkosh. The Governor’s action releases $101,479.74 in state funds for the project and Winnebago County is contributing $76,699.74. The Federal Aviation Administration is providing the remaining $2,600,696. U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl and U.S. Rep. Thomas Petri were instrumental in securing the FAA funding needed for these projects.

According to Terry Ripp, airport engineering specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the projects will: 1) prepare for the Phase II reconstruction of Runway 18/36; 2) design airport perimeter fencing; and 3) design the replacement of Taxiway D ramp at the airport. The current taxiway ramp is aged and severely cracked. The perimeter fence will enclose the airport for security and safety. The runway reconstruction will replace the concrete runway that was originally constructed in 1967.

The first phase of the runway reconstruction project is scheduled to begin in April and will be complete and open to air traffic in time for the EAA AirVenture in July. The second phase will start in August and is expected to be completed by the end of November 2010. The two design projects began in February, and construction will begin in August 2010.

Facilities at Wittman Regional Airport include four paved runways that accommodate over 103,000 aircraft take-offs and landings each year. The airport also hosts the annual AirVenture event (formerly called the EAA Fly-In), which attracts more than 10,000 aircraft and over half a million people each year.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oshkosh Public Library hosts Teen Tech Week event

Games, video, pizza – what more could a teen ask for on a Saturday afternoon? Come to the Oshkosh Public Library at noon on March 13 for a Teen Tech Week event that will give kids in grades 6-12 plenty of opportunities to learn, create and share.

Teen readers who have a favorite book that they just HAVE to tell someone about will get the chance to film a video book review during the event. Reviews will be posted on the library’s web site. Check out an example by our teen librarian on the library’s new YouTube Channel at www.oshkoshpubliclibrary.org. There are just a few rules to participate in this activity:

• The book being reviewed must be owned by the Oshkosh Public Library
• Participants must read the entire book
• Participants need a signed permission slip (pick one up at the library on Saturday or print one from the OurSpace page at http://www.oshkoshpubliclibrary.org/.)

Video book reviewers are encouraged to use props and costumes to make this fun! Prizes will be awarded for the most creative videos.

In addition to the video book reviews, teens can play board games and eat pizza.

Anyone with questions about the event should call 236-5205.

Governor Doyle Awards $1.7 Million to Six Manufacturers to Invest in Energy Efficiency

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today awarded $1.7 million in competitive grants to improve energy efficiency at six of the state’s leading manufacturers. The state’s Focus on Energy industrial grant program will provide grants to complete energy efficiency projects at BPM Incorporated, Briggs & Stratton Corporation, Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products, Mercury Marine, Procter & Gamble and Thilmany Papers.

"Wisconsin is working hard to help our manufacturers invest in energy efficiency technologies that reduce energy costs, improve their bottom line, and create and retain jobs,” Governor Doyle said. “Through these investments, we’ll help some of our biggest manufacturers invest in energy efficiency that will help them compete.”

These grants will help companies that are lacking access to capital in the current economic climate. Each grant will fund up to $500,000 or 50 percent of project costs for large energy efficiency projects that have been stalled due to lack of available internal capital. Projects must be completed by December 15, 2010 and were awarded to companies that scored the highest on several criteria, with an emphasis on energy cost-effectiveness.

Together, the grant recipients will save an estimated 12.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 1.1 million therms of natural gas annually – enough energy to power nearly 2,500 homes for a year and eliminate more than 35 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) from being released into the atmosphere.

Last week, Governor Doyle announced the release of an independent evaluation that shows Wisconsin ’s clean energy programs through Focus on Energy have added more than 5,000 jobs and more than $1.4 billion to Wisconsin ’s economy since the program began in 2001.

Governor Doyle has led major efforts to help Wisconsin manufacturers improve energy efficiency and invest in clean energy technologies. Wisconsin is the only state directing 100 percent of its state energy funds from the Recovery Act – more than $55 million – to help state manufacturers bring down their costs through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Through the state energy program, companies like Helios USA, Nature Tech, ZBB Energy Corporation, Renewegy and Cardinal Glass are already creating hundreds of jobs through these investments.

Governor Doyle has also laid out plans to continue building the state’s economy and create jobs, including establishing the Wisconsin Green to Gold Fund to help manufacturers reduce energy costs and create and retain jobs. The Governor has also called for passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act to create 16,000 jobs in the emerging clean energy economy and called for passing the CORE Jobs Act to build on successful economic development tax credit programs and strengthen programs for manufacturing, research and development, and worker training. Governor Doyle has worked hard to improve Wisconsin ’s tax ranking and business climate. Today, Wisconsin ranks 30th in business taxes – well below the national average.

Grant recipients include:

· BPM Inc of Peshtigo: will receive $227,700 to increase energy efficiency at its operation by replacing a fan pump on a paper machine; installing a double doctor system designed to remove water from the couch roll and decrease drying requirements; adding an innovative technology for freeness control across its main refiner; and installing an energy-efficient rotor on the main mill pulper for the facility. Overall, the project will save more than 1.4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 39,000 therms of natural gas annually – enough energy to power 191 homes for a year and save the manufacturer more than $189,000 on its annual energy costs.

· Briggs & Stratton Corporation of Wauwatosa : will receive $203,800 to install an innovative power regenerating system that would recapture some of the lost power generated during engine and generator endurance testing. By recovering this “waste” energy, the project will save more than 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually – enough energy to power 128 homes for a year and save the small engine and outdoor power equipment manufacturer more than $104,000 on its annual energy costs.

· Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products L.P. of Green Bay: will receive $125,000 to fund an aeration optimization project that will save more than 3.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually – enough energy to power 352 homes for a year and save the company more than $210,000 in annual energy costs.

· Mercury Marine of Fond du Lac: will receive $270,000 to install three centralized air collection systems for its machining centers. These systems will allow clean, filtered air to be recycled inside the facility rather than treating the contaminated air and exhausting the treated air outside. The project will save more than 600,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 236,000 therms of natural gas each year – enough energy to power more than 300 homes for a year and save Mercury Marine more than $200,000 in annual energy costs.

· Procter & Gamble of Green Bay: will receive $441,204 to install medium voltage variable-frequency drives in two of its fans and modify a fan impeller in a third fan which together will increase fan efficiencies and reduce annual site power consumption by over 5.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This saves enough energy to power 571 homes for a year and save the manufacturer more than $327,000 on its annual energy costs. These measures will also slow down the fans and reduce noise in the fan room areas – contributing to a quieter workplace.

· Thilmany Papers of Kaukauna: will receive $500,000 to improve the thermal efficiency and water usage on its paper machines by upgrading several pieces of equipment, including replacing rotary siphons with stationary siphons on dryers; installing a high-efficiency separator; and adding a thermo-compressor to capture blow-through steam and flash steam from dryer cans. Overall, the project will save 740,000 therms of natural gas annually – enough to power 760 homes for a year. The project will also help the mill reduce water usage by up to 1,300 gallons per minute.

Focus on Energy builds on the Governor’s energy efficiency and clean energy efforts through energy-saving programs for homes and businesses. In January, Governor Doyle announced that Focus on Energy has helped Wisconsin residents and businesses save more than $268 million in annual energy costs. For more information on Focus on Energy, please visit http://www.focusonenergy.com/.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE from the Oshkosh Police Department

Contact: Officer Joseph Nichols
(920) 236-5742

Subject: Telephone Scam

The Oshkosh Police Department is alerting citizens of a telephone scam occurring in Oshkosh.

An Oshkosh citizen reported that she received a phone call from a person stating that the citizen could receive $7,000 from the U.S. government and that a bank account number would have to be given in order to receive this money. The citizen was told that when her account information was given, a police officer would deliver the money to her in person. The officer would ask for $99 from the citizen and this money would be given to charity.

A number was given to the Oshkosh citizen of (202) 657-5313 to call.

When this number was called by an Oshkosh officer, the person on the other end of the phone answered, but would not identify what government agency he was with and hung up the phone. Upon calling the number back, an answering machine message in a middle eastern accent said - You have reached the Interfederal Grant Dept (not sure of what company is said, muffled voice) and that a voice message may be left.

Citizens are reminded not to give any personal information out when receiving this type of message. No government agency will ask for bank account information and no police officer will deliver a check to you. If citizens would like to report this type of phone call to the Oshkosh Police, they may do so by calling (920) 236-5700.

Joseph Nichols
Crime Prevention Officer
Oshkosh Police Department
(920) 236-5742
(920) 379-3572

State of the City Address set for March

You are invited to the Oshkosh State of the City Annual Address

Please join us on Monday, March 15, 2010 at the Oshkosh Convention Center, 2 North Main Street

6:00 p.m. Meet & Greet

6:30 p.m. Address & Awards

7:00 p.m. City Exhibit Expo

This event is free, open to the public and is an opportunity to visit with your elected officials, city staff and those who serve on our Boards and Commissions.

RSVP no later than March 10, 2010 to the City Manager’s office at 236-5000 or email jchallis@ci.oshkosh.wi.us.

State Clean Energy Programs Have Created Thousands of Jobs in Wisconsin

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle has today the release of an independent evaluation that shows Wisconsin’s clean energy programs through Focus on Energy have added more than 5,000 jobs and more than $1 billion to Wisconsin’s economy since the program began in 2001.

“This independent report is yet further confirmation that our existing energy efficiency and renewable energy programs are proven job creators,” Governor Doyle said. “Because of good government policy and our renewable energy standards, we now have hundreds of companies in Wisconsin creating thousands of jobs in the emerging clean energy sector. By increasing our efforts in these areas, we can make businesses more competitive, add to individuals’ disposable income, and create jobs here in Wisconsin.”

The independent evaluation of economic development benefits was completed by PA Consulting Group, Inc. and Economic Development Research Group, Inc. – both leading, independent consulting firms serving public and private sector clients throughout the world. State law requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to contract for periodic independent evaluations of the Focus on Energy programs. This is the second such report evaluating economic development benefits.

The evaluation of economic development benefits used actual program data and sophisticated economic models to estimate the past, present and future value of Focus on Energy programs. Over the first 10 years, Focus on Energy programs added $1.428 billion cumulatively to Wisconsin’s gross state product. Today, 5,194 full time employees work in jobs supported by the programs that would not otherwise exist, including 1,220 jobs in the construction trades and 366 manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing output is $137 million greater than it otherwise would be, and virtually every sector of the economy has higher employment than it would in the absence of the Focus on Energy programs.

The evaluation report also considered the likely economic impacts that will result if Focus on Energy funding is increased to levels proposed in the Clean Energy Jobs Act that is currently being debated in the Wisconsin Legislature. According to the report, investment at that increased level of funding could increase gross state product by more than $2 billion per year and support more than 20,000 jobs.

“These are eye-opening results,” said PSC Chairperson Eric Callisto. “They point to an economic opportunity that Wisconsin cannot afford to miss. It’s easy to see why the Governor’s Task Force unanimously recommended enhancing Wisconsin’s energy efficiency programs.”

Since taking office, Governor Doyle has advanced an aggressive agenda to position Wisconsin as a leader in a growing clean energy economy. Wisconsin has adopted renewable portfolio standards, invested in green job creation, led the advancement of research in cellulosic ethanol and biomass, and made great strides to increase energy efficiency in homes, businesses and government buildings.

The results of these efforts have driven a rapid expansion in alternative energy production and real growth in clean energy jobs. Wisconsin’s original renewable portfolio standards have helped spur development in the wind, solar and biomass industries in Wisconsin – with more than 300 companies and thousands of jobs now in the state’s wind industry. Through energy conservation efforts, numerous Wisconsin companies, including some of the biggest manufacturers, have also reduced energy costs.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act is a landmark legislative package to accelerate the state’s green economy and create jobs. The package calls for updating renewable portfolio standards to generate 25 percent of Wisconsin’s fuel from renewable sources by 2025 and sets a realistic goal of a 2 percent annual reduction in energy consumption by 2015. A recent independent report shows the proposed legislation would create more than 16,000 jobs in Wisconsin and boost gross state product by nearly $5 billion over the next 15 years.

The newly-released report, Focus on Energy Evaluation – Economic Development Benefits: CY09 Economic Impacts, can be found by visiting: http://www.focusonenergy.com/files/Document_Management_System/Evaluation/cy09economicimpactsreport_evaluationreport.pdf.

The analysis of the Clean Energy Jobs Act can be found by visiting: http://www.climatestrategies.us/ewebeditpro/items/O25F22680.pdf.

Focus on Energy builds on the Governor’s energy efficiency and clean energy efforts through energy-saving programs for homes and businesses. In January, Governor Doyle announced that Focus on Energy has helped Wisconsin residents and businesses save more than $268 million in annual energy costs. For more information on Focus on Energy, please visit http://www.focusonenergy.com/.

Governor Doyle Announces Expanded Health Insurance Coverage will Benefit Families with Autism

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle this past week announced that mental health disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, will now be covered by health insurance providers at the same level as all other health conditions. Implementation of the federal mental health parity law in Wisconsin will help people access mental health treatment they need, and families pursue all available treatments for children with autism. The new federal requirement builds on the state’s requirement that all health insurance companies cover mental health and new requirement for coverage of autism treatment, which Governor Doyle signed into law in the 2009-2011 state budget.

“This is great news for the thousands of families in Wisconsin who have children with autism,” Governor Doyle said. “I am proud that Wisconsin is finally helping provide the care and support that children across our state living with autism need and deserve. These new federal guidelines will help ensure that many of our families who are facing the squeeze of paying for autism treatment will be fully covered by their insurance.”

Governor Doyle has fought hard to help families and children affected by autism by requiring health insurance companies to cover early and appropriate treatment that has seen children improve dramatically. In the last state budget, the Governor signed into law requirements that health insurance companies cover at least $50,000 a year for intensive services, or at least $25,000 a year for non-intensive services for children with autism and related disorders.

The federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) requirements will require equal treatment coverage of mental health conditions including autism. Wisconsin families enrolled in large group health plans will be affected by these changes. Individual, small employer, and self-funded insurance plans will still have to comply with state autism coverage requirements.

Overall, the state and federal laws will help take the weight off the thousands of Wisconsin families living with autism. Not only will these requirements provide real relief for families feeling squeezed by the high costs of autism treatment, they will also help ensure more children living with this disease receive the care they need to lead healthy lives. Until recently, autism was considered a life-long disability with poor prognosis. Now with early and appropriate treatment, children can see dramatic improvements.

Community Conversation set for Oshkosh Special Needs Parent Coalition

The Oshkosh Special Needs Parent Coalition invites you to a Community Conversation.

Join us as we discuss possibilities of inclusion for all children in our Community.

We invite you to an evening of conversation where you will have the opportunity to share ideas on how to expand community involvement.

We look forward to an informal and open discussion that will explore ways to create a vision in our community. We will also enjoy some wonderful treats!

We want to hear from you! Come and join us

When: Thursday, March 11th, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: Hooper Community Center at 36 Broad St.
RSVP: by Friday, March 5th to Shannon Walter at osnpc1@gmail.com or 920.233-1345

Friday, March 05, 2010

FOS (Friends of Steve) Fundraiser

You are cordially invited to a fund raiser for Steve Herman 4 Council. Please see the attached invitation for details. Please pass this along to anybody who you feel would support me for City Council in the April election. If you are unable to attend but would like to help by donating to my campaign, you can send donations to my home address at 900 Monroe Street, Oshkosh, WI 54901. Or my treasurer Mark Miller 188 Moon Circle Oshkosh, WI 54904 I hope to see you there.

Steve Herman
Vote Steve Herman 4 Council

OPD Neighborhood Watch Meeting

Oshkosh Police Department
Crime Prevention Unit
420 Jackson St.
Oshkosh, WI 54903
(920) 236-5742

March 5, 2010

Dear Community Leaders,

The Oshkosh Neighborhood Watch Program is taking important steps to expand priorities and community involvement and is seeking new partnerships throughout the city. We're building strong ties between residents and we're hoping businesses and civic organizations will also sign on.

Officers for the executive board will be elected for the first time on March 18, 2010, 6PM at the Webster Stanley Elementary School, 915 Hazel Street. Please consider bringing your experience as a leader and community member to that meeting, and please consider joining the executive board yourself. Business and civic leaders who represent larger organizations could contribute in ways that individual homeowners cannot. Your involvement would link Neighborhood Watch into existing networks that will take us years to build alone.

Please help us spread awareness of this meeting and of our program so we can benefit from maximum community participation. We meet as a city program at least every two months and local block captains periodically hold their own regular meetings.

Neighborhood Watch has already proven invaluable in promoting public safety and we're beginning to build a stronger sense of community and responsibility that will generate goodwill for years to come. Besides discussing local crime and beautification, Neighborhood Watch is facilitating neighborhood garage sales and planning block parties.

We're working with the Juvenile Restitution Program to put teens on a path away from future incarceration by compiling a list of restoration and improvement projects. They are sometimes paid minimum wage through this county’s program so they can reimburse crime victims.

There are direct and indirect ways to build and keep a stronger community and this invitation is shared with you in hopes of keeping in touch over the coming years. We exist as common ground for all neighbors to share ideas and concerns.


Joe Nichols
Crime Prevention Officer
City of Oshkosh Police Department

MEDIA RELEASE - Construction Traffic

Date: March 3, 2010

Time: 10:00 A.M.
Contact: Officer Joseph Nichols, Oshkosh Police Department
(920) 236-5742

Subject: Construction Traffic


The Oshkosh Police Department is monitoring the traffic around the area of USH 41 project as the W 20th Ave and Witzel Ave overpasses have been closed.

At this time, traffic delays are running about 10-15 minutes. Drivers are, for the most part, being patient and going with the flow of traffic. West 9th Ave is seeing the most traffic influx. STH 44 is being under utilized and may be considered as an option when exiting USH 41 or when on S. Koeller St and S. Washburn St. and using an overpass over USH 41.

Special attention should be used by drivers as some of the affected areas have now been posted with no left turns and no parking. An area where there is no left turn is at westbound Oshkosh Ave at Omro Road there is no left turn onto southbound N. Koeller St. This area is also seeing congestion because drivers are not paying attention to the left turn restriction. There is temporarily no parking on the east side of Knapp St. from Witzel Ave. to W. 9th Ave.

Residents and visitors of Oshkosh may go to the City of Oshkosh website at www.ci.oshkosh.wi.us and go to the right side of the screen and click on Traffic Restrictions or the map to guide themselves through construction.

The Oshkosh Police Department will continue to monitor the areas of construction and updates will continue throughout the construction process.

If you have any questions in regards to the traffic in and around the construction area, please contact me at (920) 236-5742 or (920) 379-3572.

Joseph Nichols
Crime Prevention Officer
Oshkosh Police Department

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Chancellor Wells emails colleagues on recent "racist and sexist behavior"

[Following is an email sent out by UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells regarding the recent distribution of racist flyers around campuses in Northeast Wisconsin]

March 3, 2010


The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is committed to inclusive excellence, and we simply do not tolerate any form of hate speech or illegal activity. We will continue to respond strongly to racist and sexist behavior and to enforce the law when the instances are violations of the law. We are doing everything we can to assist law enforcement authorities to apprehend the perpetuator(s), and we will continue to do whatever we can within the law to protect members of our community from further exposure to acts of a sexist or racist nature.

For example, we are considering the pros and cons of installing cameras in our parking lots to create greater security in our lots. We also are collaborating with law enforcement officials throughout the region and with our sister institutions to respond very strongly to these types of racist and sexist acts. Furthermore, I will be approaching our faculty to organize panels and information sessions on effective ways to counter hate speech while upholding everyone’s first amendment rights.

I am concerned with what appears to be an increase in the frequency of these types of racist and sexist occurrences in Wisconsin and around the nation. I believe this pattern is likely to continue if we don’t take all necessary measures to discourage further expressions of hate speech. I am calling on educational, business, media, elected and other community leaders throughout the New North region to stand up and speak out forcefully against what appears to be an increase in hate speech and other racist and sexist behaviors. I believe we, as leaders, are morally obligated to speak out.

Richard H. Wells

Candidate Forums Scheduled for March 18th

(Oshkosh, WI.) The Winnebago County League of Women Voters and Oshkosh Community Media Services (OCMS) will present four candidate forums on Thursday, March 18th. The candidate forums are open to the public and will be held at City Hall in room 404.

The candidate forums are scheduled as follows.

• Oshkosh Common Council 6:30 p.m. – 7:25 p.m.

• Oshkosh Area School Board 7:30 p.m. – 8:25 p.m.

• Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Branch V 8:30 p.m. – 9:10 p.m.

• Winnebago County Board 9:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

All debates will be carried live on OCMS CitiCable 10, live on WOCT 101.9 FM, and video streamed live on the internet at www.OshkoshCommunityMedia.org. Replay times for the debates will be posted on http://www.oshkoshcommunitymedia.org/.

If you would like more information, please contact OCMS Communications Coordinator Dean Leisgang at (920) 236-5269.