Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oshkosh Streets Update - 7-22-10, 5:38 pm

(Oshkosh, WI.) As a result of light rain all day and a heavier storm this afternoon the city of Oshkosh has experienced localized street flooding. Although, it appears additional heavy rain is not anticipated today and flooded streets are receding, barricades have been placed on several roads for the safety of the
traveling public. These areas include Ohio Street from 9th Avenue to 11th Avenue, Josslyn Street, Guenther Street/4th Avenue, and Smith Avenue. The city of Oshkosh police, public works, and emergency personnel are monitoring the situation and anticipate removing these barricades by 6:00 p.m.

New Report Shows Impact of Health Care Reform Law on Wisconsin Small Businesses

Over 86,000 Wisconsin small businesses will be eligible for major tax break to make health care more affordable

Appleton & Milwaukee : On a media call Wednesday afternoon, Citizen Action of Wisconsin co-released a new report by Families USA and Small Business Majority on the benefits of the new health care reform law for Wisconsin small businesses. Congressman Steve Kagen, MD, (D-Appleton) was on the call to comment on the benefits to Wisconsin small businesses in the new health care law.

The report, “A Helping Hand for Small Businesses: Health Insurance Tax Credits,” found that more than 81,600 Wisconsin small businesses are eligible for the credit, which is 86.8% of Wisconsin small businesses with less than 25 workers. Of those small Wisconsin small businesses, 25,800 are eligible for the maximum tax credit.

The full report can be downloaded at from the reports section on the front page.

Wisconsin will especially benefit from the small business provisions of the new health care law. According to Kaiser Health Facts, only 36.8% of Wisconsin employers with less than 50 workers provide coverage, down from 58% a decade ago. (The national average is 41%). There is very strong research which shows that the reason small businesses are dropping health coverage is cost, and that most want to provide coverage for themselves and their employees.

“There’s money on the table for small businesses, the real economic engines of our economy,” said Congressman Steve Kagen, MD (D-Appleton)

“The new health care tax credit has been under the radar for many small businesses, but it could be the real tipping point for them to afford health coverage for themselves and their employees,” said JeanMarie Hinds, the owner of TaxxDog, a tax and accounting service in Appleton Wisconsin that advises small businesses throughout the Fox Valley .

“The new health care reform law provides immediate and vital relief to Wisconsin ’s small businesses who have been forced to drop coverage by skyrocketing health insurance costs,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Based on this report and other national research, we estimate that over 21,000 Wisconsin small businesses have been forced to drop health coverage over the last decade. The new health care reform immediately addresses this devastating trend by providing unprecedented access to affordable health insurance for Wisconsin ’s hard strapped small businesses,” Kraig concluded.

Pack your suitcase with good books at Friends of the Library Used Book Sale

July 22, 2010 – One of the simple pleasures of any vacation is the time spent getting lost in a good book. So leave plenty of room in that suitcase and make a stop at the Friends of the Library Used Book Sale on Tuesday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., in the lower level of the Oshkosh Public Library.

The Friends’ extensive fiction collection is flush with mysteries and thrillers this time around – enough to keep even the most avid reader steeped in suspense and intrigue. The selection of large print books continues to grow and there are videos and DVDs, music CDs, how-to titles and selections for children and teens.

Anyone facing a long car ride to reach their vacation destination – or even a daunting daily commute – should check out the variety of audio books available at the Friends’ sale. Getting caught up in a good story can make any car ride more enjoyable for all involved. For those who need to travel light, paperbacks fit nicely into everything from suitcase to beach bag.

The Friends stock their book sales in part with generous donations from community members. Donations can be brought to the Oshkosh Public Library anytime during library hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday. The library is closed on Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

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.

The reconstruction of Main Street is progressing and it is easy to get to the library. The Main Street bridge remains open and most of the intersections that cross Main Street are open. In addition to the library parking lot, parking is available in several other city lots near the library.

Mark your calendars for these 2010 used book sales: 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 were used again this year to support reading activities, events and prizes for more than 2,800 children, teens and adults participating in the library’s summer reading program. The Friends also purchased a movie license this summer, allowing the library to present free movie events for the public.

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.

Once Again, Walker Violating Campaign Finance Laws; This Time Over $120,000 in Improperly Reported Contributions

Could Face $500 Civil Forfeiture for Each Illegal Contribution -- In Excess of $168,000 in Walker's Case

Madison -- Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign failed to report the required employer information of donors giving him over $120,000 -- the second time in a year he has filed a report with this level of inaccuracy. Under chapter 11.60(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes, each violation can result in a $500 civil forfeiture, which could top well over $168,000 in Walker's case.

"When Scott Walker did this in 2009, we were led to believe it would be the last time," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "It took Scott Walker less than a year to break his promise and become a repeat offender."

According to Walker's finance report for the January to June 30, 2010 filing period, Walker has 300 contributions in excess of $100 which do not include the proper employer information for these high-dollar donors under the state's campaign finance law.

Walker's widespread reporting negligence this period includes:
- Twenty-nine contributions of $1,000 or more, totaling $34,000;
- 200 contributions of $250 but less than $1,000, totaling $70,440
- 107 contributions over $100 but less than $250 totaling more than $19,245.

A similar One Wisconsin Now review of the most recent reports filed by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett finds no violations and 41 suspect contributions for former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann totaling $18,826.

This is not the first time Walker's campaign finances have been the subject of controversy. In addition to his 2009 original report infractions, Walker said he would return $43,800 in contributions after it was revealed the individuals who made the contributions had a business reimburse them for these donations.

"Scott Walker has built his political career by denying public services to those in need and demanding prison time for repeat offenders," said Ross. "Scott Walker needs to apologize to the people of Wisconsin and immediately return every dime of these contributions as a self-inflicted penalty for his recidivism."

One Wisconsin Now said it would be filing a formal complaint with the state's Government Accountability Board if Walker does not immediately bring its report into compliance with the law.

# # #

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


Pat Pederson – 6:00

Road Trip – 7:30

.38 Special – 9:00

WILL perform as scheduled INSIDE the Oshkosh Convention Center

Admission is $6 before 6:00; $10 before 7:00 and $15 after 7:00.

Doors will open at 5:30, passes and season passes will be honored.

Re-entry privileges will be allowed, though will not be guaranteed due to capacity limitations.

Please tell your friends.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Governor Doyle Seeks Applicants for Winnebago County Judicial Vacancy

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced that he is seeking applicants for appointment as circuit court judge in Winnebago County . The new appointment will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schmidt.

An applicant must be a member in good standing of the Bar of the State of Wisconsin and must reside in Winnebago County at the time the appointment becomes effective.

Those interested may obtain an application form electronically from:

Office of the Governor
Attention: Libby Gerds, Appointments Director
608-267-7888 (fax)

Completed applications should be returned to Libby Gerds no later than Wednesday, August 4, 2010. Potential applicants with questions about the appointment process may call Libby Gerds at 608-266-1212.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Former Winnebago County Judge Robert Haase passes away

It has just come to my attention that former Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Robert Haase passed away last evening after a battle with cancer. During my time as a reporter and before he retired, I had the pleasure and honor of covering several court cases Judge Haase presided over, and following his retirement I was privileged to have him as a guest on the show to talk about his many years on the bench. I always found him to be thoughtful, reasonable and always concerned with seeing that the interests and rights of all parties were fairly represented. I think he set a standard for judicial excellence during his many years of service and was admired by both prosectors and defense attorneys for setting the bar as high as he did. He will surely be missed.

A service in celebration of his life will be held this Friday, July 23rd, at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church at the southwest corner of Algoma Boulevard and Division Street (311 Division or 203 Algoma) in Oshkosh. Judge Haase was a member of First Congregational Church, but because FCC's sanctuary is currently undergoing repairs and renovation, it is unavailable for use. So Trinity, being right across the street, is graciously allowing the service to be held there.

Visitation will be Thursday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Fiss & Bills-Poklasny Funeral Home, 865 South Westhaven Drive (across from St. Raphael’s). There will also be a short visitation held one hour before Friday morning's service at the church.

Please keep Judge Haase's family, loved ones and friends in your prayers this week, and in the weeks to come, that they might find comfort, strength, and hope in one another, their many friends, and their faith in a God who shares their sorrow.

Rest in peace, Judge Haase.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Viewer asks question about pond at Menominee Park Zoo

[I received this question from a viewer earlier today and promised him I would post it now and follow up with the parks director, posting a response when I got one.]

Would you please ask the parks director about the slimy, stinking pond that is inside the fence at the zoo.It is ugly unsanitary and a breeding ground for bugs. If it were in someone's yard the health dept. would make you fill it in.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Governor Doyle Announces Health Insurance Option Available for People with Pre-existing Conditions

MADISON - Governor Jim Doyle yesterday announced a new health insurance option is now available for people with pre-existing conditions. Wisconsin ’s Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan (HIRSP) will begin taking applications tomorrow, July 15, 2010 and coverage under the plan will begin on August 1, 2010.

“Denying access to health insurance to the people who might need it the most simply does not make any sense,” Governor Doyle said. “This new benefit will provide relief to thousands of Wisconsinites who have struggled to find affordable health insurance.”

The Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama established a program for states to establish high risk pools to serve adults with pre-existing medical conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. Wisconsin HIRSP is providing a bridge for those with pre-existing conditions until 2014, when such exclusions will become a thing of the past and individuals will be able to buy coverage through health insurance exchanges.

The new HIRSP option is a statewide program that will provide comprehensive health care to people that have been denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition. The program is funded though individual premiums and a federal financial subsidy. Wisconsin expects to receive $73 million out of $5 billion allocated nationwide over three years. People who may be eligible are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible because applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis until the subsidy runs out. It is expected that about 8,000 individuals will be covered. Wisconsin has developed its program and negotiated rates with providers so that we will be able to cover more people, dollar for dollar, than many other states.

Under Governor Doyle’s leadership, Wisconsin has built one of the best systems of health care access through BadgerCare Plus, BadgerCare Plus Core, SeniorCare and FamilyCare. Wisconsin is now America ’s health care leader, ranking first for health care quality, second in access to coverage, and providing health care access to every child. Governor Doyle has also positioned Wisconsin as a leader in e-health and quality initiatives. National health reform builds on Wisconsin ’s health care successes and will bring $750-980 million in additional federal funding to the state, providing real relief to Wisconsin taxpayers.

Governor Doyle created the Office of Health Care Reform to be led by the Secretary of the Department of Health Services and the Commissioner of Insurance. Governor Doyle directed the Office to develop a plan that uses national health care reform to build on Wisconsin’s successful efforts and existing programs; directed that the Office ensure that Wisconsin’s residents and businesses realize the benefits of national health care reform; and directed the Office to pursue federal grants to assist in developing a health insurance exchange and implementing any other aspects of health care reform.

For general information about HIRSP and the new HIRSP Federal Plan please visit or call HIRSP Customer Service at 1-888-253-2698. For more information on the benefits of national health care reform and Wisconsin ’s implementation efforts, visit:


Subject: Street Flooding
Date: July 15, 2010
Time: 12:33 a.m.
Contact: Jon Urben, Public Information Officer (920) 236-5169

While storms have dissipated this evening, the City of Oshkosh’s Emergency Operations Center urges citizens to carefully monitor runoff water that may still be draining to the City of Oshkosh from other areas outside the city. Residents should be aware of the impact of this runoff in the following categories:

Street Safety:

Motorists are urged to use caution when driving as various streets still have flooding or standing water. City crews are aware of these streets and will be working throughout the evening to address these issues.

Water Safety:

Residents are reminded that flooded creeks, streams, ditches and rivers are very dangerous. Children should avoid these areas. Residents should not boat or canoe in swollen bodies of water. In addition, manhole covers can be displaced by rising storm sewer waters and as such, residents must be very careful when walking in flooded streets.

Home Safety:

Wisconsin Public Service notes if residents have water in their basements they should call 911 should the water level reach their circuit breaker box, their gas meter is underwater or they smell natural gas. Residents should not attempt to enter a flooded basement to retrieve property until the water recedes.

Food Safety:

When in doubt, residents are reminded to not eat suspicious food and do not eat any food that may have come in contact with flood water.

Emergency Reminders:

Residents should not call 911 if their vehicles become stranded due to high water. Residents should contact a towing service. Residents should avoid high water areas due to unpredictable currents and quickly changing water levels.

The City of Oshkosh, Winnebago County Emergency Management and Wisconsin Public Service are working cooperatively on this situation and will continue to monitor and address the flooding problems into the evening. For any other questions or concerns residents can contact the City of Oshkosh Police Department at 236-5700.

Thank you for your understanding and patience throughout this incident.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Red Cross Teams on Stand-by Ready for Fires, Floods and Winds

Red Cross Editor’s Note: Dependant on the extent of tonight’s damage, an opportunity may exist to follow a Disaster Assessment Team through their process. Clean-up kits also provide a great photo opportunity. Please call Barbara Behling at 920-642-0404 to coordinate an interview or photo place and time.

Oshkosh, WI…(July 14, 2010) Across the 22-county Northeast Wisconsin Region of the American Red Cross, disaster action teams have been activated and several more are on stand-by. Evening storms have created a series of actions from responding to a local fire, placing a shelter on stand-by and teams are being readied for action once the storms pass.

Earlier this evening, more than 70 fire-fighters, and first responders, were given hydration and nutrition at a Fish Creek home which was engulfed in flames after being struck by lightning. Keeping the first responders bodies cool, under such immense heat was the goal as they fought the blaze. The family was also assisted with emergency basic needs.

With the heavy rains, trained disaster action team members were in a ready position to support local flood relief efforts. This included having the Oshkosh Convention Center on stand-by as an emergency overnight shelter. Emergency Response Vehicles and trained volunteers were also ready to respond. Nick Cluppert, with the East Central WI Chapter, was also in the Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center .

Early tomorrow morning, Disaster Assessment Teams will gather before heading into damaged areas. This is the first step for client assistance. Clean-up kits with basic cleaning supplies will also be available at Red Cross offices and via mobile units. If people are in need of assistance, they are encouraged to call their local Red Cross.

All disaster assistance is free as a gift to the American people, from the American people. To financially support local disaster relief efforts, please call 1-800-RED-CROSS or by visiting

The Northeast Wisconsin American Red Cross is a regional grouping of six chapters serving 22 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters throughout the East Central Wisconsin, Fond du Lac County , Lakeland , Outagamie and Scenic Shores Chapters. To learn more about Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the Northeast region at 920-231-3590 or visit

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.


Subject: Street Flooding
Date: July 14, 2010
Time: 8:15 p.m.
Contact: Jon Urben, Public Information Officer (920) 236-5169

Due to heavy rains the City of Oshkosh has activated the Emergency Operations Center to monitor and address standing water and flooding on various city streets. Motorists are urged to avoid the following streets and areas due to problems created by standing water and downed electrical lines:

 9th Avenue between Ohio Street and Dakota Street;
 9th Avenue between Knapp Street and Sawyer Street;
 Intersection of Adams and Josslyn;
 County Road A near Shadow Lane;
 Ohio Street from 9th Avenue to 12th Avenue;
 Intersection of Westhaven Drive and Westhaven Circle;
 Westfield Street north of Witzel Avenue;
 Witzel Avenue east and west of Westhaven Drive;
 200 block of Bowen Street;
 Maricopa Drive from Dickinson Avenue to Covington Drive;
 Intersection of Melvin Avenue and Evans Street;
 Intersection of Jackson Street and Melvin Avenue;
 Intersection of 4th Avenue and Sawyer Street;
 Intersection of Grand Street and Nevada Avenue.
 Intersection of 6th Avenue and Minnesota Street;
 Intersection of Main Street and Lincoln Avenue.
 20th Avenue from Knapp Street to Ohio Street.
 20th Avenue from Westhaven Drive to Universal Street.
 20th Avenue west of Oakwood Road

The City of Oshkosh, Winnebago County Emergency Management and Wisconsin Public Service are working cooperatively on this situation and will continue to monitor and address the flooding problems into the evening.

For residents with water in their basements Wisconsin Public Service notes there should not be any safety concerns unless the water level reaches their circuit breaker box, their gas meter is underwater or they smell natural gas. If this is the case residents are urged to call 911 and follow the directions of the dispatcher.

For any other questions or concerns residents can contact the Police Department’s Non-Emergency number at 236-5700.

Thank you for your understanding and patience throughout this incident.

OASD supt. recommends school board approve two candidates for principal

The Oshkosh Area School District is pleased to announce that Dr. Donald Viegut, Superintendent of Schools is recommending the following for Board of Education approval on July 14th.

Scott Johanknecht is being recommended as Principal/Instructional Support for Lakeside Elementary School. Mr. Johanknecht comes to Lakeside Elementary having recently served as a physical education specialist in the district for eight years. He has also served the district in a leadership role with adaptive physical education staff. Mr. Johanknecht brings a wealth of knowledge about elementary students and families and collaborative expertise in working with other educators. “This past year Scott’s educational expertise and volunteerism in the community was recognized by UW-Oshkosh in their Professor for A Day Award Program. We are excited to have such an involved leader who advocates for the learning needs of all students on board as part of the district’s administrative team.”

Sarah Poquette is being recommended as Principal for Merrill Elementary/ALPS Charter School. Mrs. Poquette comes to Merrill Elementary with a variety of experiences in the Oshkosh Area School District. Recently she served as instructional support for math intervention, gifted & talented and professional development as well as facilitated collaboration for the K-12 art department. Mrs. Poquette has also served the district for three years as a peer coach for new teachers. At Webster Stanley Elementary, she was the director of the Lighted School House program for two years after having taught fifth grade for five years. “Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge about elementary students, their diverse instructional needs, and collaborative expertise in working with staff in professional learning communities. Her proven ability to develop strong home-school-community partnerships to support the education of students will be a great addition to the district’s administrative team.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Governor Doyle Announces Transitional Jobs Project

$34 Million Pilot Program will Help Thousands of Residents Re-Enter the Workforce

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle yesterday announced a $34 million Transitional Jobs project to help thousands of people across the state gain skills and re-enter the workforce. The pilot program is funded by Recovery Act funding provided to the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

“The Transitional Jobs Project will help us work toward my number one priority this year – helping our businesses create jobs and giving our workers the opportunities to get those jobs,” Governor Doyle said. “This innovative program will work closely with communities throughout the state to help workers gain important job skills to re-enter the workforce and find good, family-supporting jobs.”

In his latest state budget, Governor Doyle directed the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to create the Transitional Jobs program. The Transitional Jobs Demonstration Project provides new opportunities to equip workers with the skills they need to enter the workforce.

Transitional Jobs targets Wisconsin residents who are not eligible for working family assistance through the state’s W-2 program, including fathers without custody of their children or young adults exiting the foster care system. The program focuses on building partnerships with local organizations to help individuals acquire new skills and work experience.

The Department of Children and Families will work closely with 17 local organizations to carry out the pilot project in 38 counties, with the possibility of future expansion throughout the state. The Transitional Jobs program builds on the success of similar programs throughout the nation.

The transitional jobs program continues Governor Doyle’s record of supporting hardworking Wisconsin families and investing in worker training. To support strong Wisconsin children and families, Governor Doyle created the Department of Children and Families in 2008 – Wisconsin ’s first cabinet agency devoted exclusively to helping and protecting kids and families of the state. The agency unified more than 30 services, including W-2, to provide seamless services and ensure all Wisconsin children grow up safe, healthy and with the support of strong families.

Under Governor Doyle’s leadership, Wisconsin has ensured every child has access to health care, doubled the number of parents with access to four-year-old kindergarten, expanded school breakfast programs, strengthened the foster care system, and invested nearly $40 million to better ensure the safety of children receiving care from the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare.

Since taking office, Governor Doyle has worked hard to build Wisconsin ’s economy and create new jobs, including signing the Wisconsin CORE Jobs Act earlier this year, which builds on successful manufacturing and worker training programs. The budget the Governor signed last year enacted the most powerful economic development tools in the country to help manufacturers create and retain jobs. The Governor’s Administration has also helped workers struggling because of the national recession by providing unemployment assistance and training, health care and food assistance.

Recipients of Transitional Jobs Demonstration Project Grants (format is as follows):

Preliminary Award
Counties Served

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern WI, Inc.
Milwaukee, Kenosha

Policy Studies, Inc.

Milwaukee Careers Cooperative


Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board

Silver Spring Neighborhood Center

Step Industries
Milwaukee, Outagamie

Racine County Human Services Department

Forward Service Corporation

Workforce Development Board of South Central WI
Dane, Columbia , Dodge, Jefferson, Marquette , Sauk

Community Action Inc.

Workforce Connections, Inc.
La Crosse

Workforce Resource, Inc.
Barron, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire , Pepin, Pierce, Polk, St. Croix , Rusk

Sheboygan County Health and Human Services
Sheboygan, Manitowoc

WOW Workforce Development Board
Waukesha, Ozaukee , Washington

Northwest WI Concentrated Employment Program
Douglas, Washburn, Sawyer, Ashland , Bayfield, Iron, Price, Taylor , Rusk, Burnett

Indianhead Community Action Agency
Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer, Rusk, Taylor, Clark

Monday, July 12, 2010

What is with those gates to the entrance of U.S. 41 from Hwy 76 (Jackson Street)

Since the Hwy 41/76 interchange opened up a couple weeks ago, I've had a few people ask me if I knew what the gates were for just before getting on the Hwy 41 approaches. I had to take a drive to see for myself what they were talking about and must confes, while I had a few suspicions about their purpose, wasn't entirely sure. I sent an email to the DOT and asked them. Following is their response...

"These are ramp gates. They are used to close an on-ramp and thus the highway quickly in case of a weather event like flooding or a blizzard or a serious crash. They are far more efficient than placing law enforcement or highway department crews to put up a barricade and monitor the ramp. They free up resources – mainly personnel – that can be used more effectively elsewhere. The gates are locked in an upright position and cranked down manually. They are being placed on major routes statewide. In NE, they are being place on US 41, WIS 441, WIS 172 and I-43. We began putting them up last year and when we have a project in the vicinity or at a particular ramp, we add this to the project. So this effort will continue for the next few years. They cost approximately $14,000 per gate. Because some urban interchanges have two lanes for the on ramp – that takes two gates for that ramp and subsequently, there would be two gates for each of the two on ramps for a total of 4 gates at an interchange.

"They are a result of our ETO or Emergency Transportation Operation efforts. State Patrol took the lead in advocating for these gates."

I thank the DOT for their response, but I'm still not sure these gates make the best sense. I don't entirely understand the reference to "monitoring" a ramp. What I've most often seen is gates/barricades or barrels being put across a lane and that's it. I don't recall seeing personnel sitting there for any length of time. And since personnel have to manually crank these gates to lower them, and I presume to raise them when the event has ended, it seems like they could just as easily put down some removable barricades at the start of an event, then remove them later. Next, since these gates are only at this one entrance to the highway in our county I don't understand how they'll keep drivers off the highway at other interchanges. Finally, as rarely as we see a highway shut down, I wonder how often these gates will actually get used and therefore, if the expense will be justified. I guess time will tell.

Friday, July 09, 2010

“Interesting” way to run a campaign

Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson officially announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate running as a Republican against incumbent Russ Feingold back in May. “Eye on Oshkosh” has reached out to this candidate four times since that announcement – three times directly to his campaign office, always with the promise of a return phone call from people like “his press person,” “his scheduler,” or “his field operations person.” But the professionalism and/or courtesy of a return phone call has never been given. I even called his office at Pacur and left a voice mail for him directly, explaining that I’d called his campaign people with no luck, but again, I haven’t heard a single word from the candidate himself.

Since announcing his candidacy, Johnson’s put out press releases and bought time on TV, but what has he really said? Not much it seems. In fact, his own web site hasn’t thus far said much about what he intends to do if elected. Some have suggested to me that the strategy might be to offer little to nothing so that he can’t be pinned down to much of anything. To any candidate who would employ such a tactic I would say it is interesting, but not bold; somewhat unique, but certainly not suggestive of a candidate who has the courage of his convictions – whatever they may be. It’s very easy to take potshots at what you view is wrong, dish out one-liners, issue a bunch of press releases saying only what you want people to know and do ads that say “just the right things” politically – basically doing everything but put yourself in a position where you actually have to answer questions, defend your positions and talk about what you’d do instead of what everyone else is doing that you disagree with.

At this point I am completely unimpressed by a candidate who says a lot without saying much of anything that voters who try to be informed can really sink their teeth into, question, or challenge. I am even less impressed by a candidate who between himself and his campaign people can’t or won’t extend the common courtesy to return phone calls during a time when he’s asking voters to send him to Washington. It makes me wonder if he’d be even more responsive if he actually were to be elected. Or could we expect more (or less) of the same?

I don’t know yet for certain who I’ll vote for this fall, but I can say I won’t be voting for Johnson. Be that as it may, if he ever does decide he wants to come on the show and discuss his candidacy and positions, he’s welcome to contact us and if we have time available we’ll try to accommodate him. But certainly no more time is going to be wasted chasing after a candidate, especially one in a high profile race, who apparently has no time for someone in the media (especially in his own backyard) and, more importantly, someone who would be helping pay his salary if he’s elected.

Incidentally, one person who has been following Johnson and has challenged much of what his campaign is saying is local blogger, The Chief. You can check out the blog here. S/He does an excellent job and I think it would certainly be worth your time to check out the various postings. They shed some interesting light on things Johnson has been saying – as well as the things he isn’t saying.

Bottom line: If the Johnson campaign approach is to just complain like the TEA party folks about what’s wrong, but offer up no solutions of their own – viable or otherwise – it may get a lot of people stirred up and on his side, but sooner or later that approach is going to get old. I suspect smart voters will see through the political ploy and at the end of the day they’ll give their votes to deserving candidates who’ve been accessible and provided them with real answers, not just a bunch of age old complaints with no ideas of one’s own on how to “fix things.”

Thursday, July 08, 2010

One Wisconsin Now Statement on Walker State Jobs Cut Plan

Walker Would Need to Slash 36,000 State Workers to Finance $5 Billion Tax Cut, Loophole and Shift Scheme

Madison -- One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross issued the following statement in response to Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's plan to fill a $5 billion budget hole by cutting public sector jobs:

"Scott Walker has failed to address the real issue, which is the impossible $5 billion budget deficit he would create through his promise to cut taxes for the richest 1% and big business.

"To pay this $5 billion tab, Walker would need to cut worker benefits by at least 50 percent, or slash more than 36,000 state jobs, far from the mere 4,000 he proposed today.

"Worse, Walker's worker cuts will mean the loss of thousands of school teachers, professors and researchers from the University of Wisconsin, and health care workers who assist the elderly and people with disabilities.

"Scott Walker needs to dump his job-killing, tax cut plan for the rich and come up with a plan that will create jobs for working people."

Earlier this week, One Wisconsin Now released the following information about Walker's failure to effectively manage the county payroll throughout his tenure, costing taxpayers an estimated $100 million in overtime costs and costly deficits from privatization efforts.

The Walker record is clear: failed employee management, failed privatization schemes and failed stewardship of Milwaukee County's tax dollars:

Walker has repeatedly bragged about cutting the Milwaukee payroll, but taxpayers foot the bill for record overtime costs to make up for lost jobs. According to county records, Walker has averaged approximately $15 million in overtime each year since he has been county executive, topping $70 million at the end of 2008. This would put the total tab at nearly $100 million by the end of 2010. [Milwaukee County Department of Administrative Services]

Despite Walker's claims that he has done so without compromising public safety, he has proposed cutting 10 percent of safety officers in Milwaukee County -- nearly 160 fewer positions. [Milwaukee County Executive Recommended Budgets: 2003-2010]

Walker's privatization efforts have produced costly deficits, while reduced public accountability. For instance, the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division ran a more-than half a million dollar deficit for "security fees" in 2008 alone. Worse, a private contract employee sexually assaulted a vulnerable patient, and a private security official with a history of improper sexual conduct with employees was hired to oversee security. [Milwaukee County DHHS 2008 Fiscal Report; WISN-TV, 5/18/10; WMTJ-TV, 4/15/10]

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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.

Judicial Commission Discontinuation of Gableman Prosecution

Citizen Action of Wisconsin , which filed original complaint against unethical campaign ad, reacts to dismissal of case

Milwaukee: This afternoon the Wisconsin Judicial Commission ended its prosecution of Judge Michael Gableman for the controversial campaign ad he ran against Justice Louis Butler in 2008. Citizen Action of Wisconsin, the group that filed the original complaint, made the following statement:

“This is a dark day for the integrity of Wisconsin ’s judicial system,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “In yet another remarkable turn of events in this case, the Judicial Commission stated that its prosecution was valid, and that Judge Gableman should have been punished, but that they have no further authority to act given the division on the Supreme Court.”

“We understand that the Supreme Court deadlock placed the Judicial Commission in an extraordinarily difficult position, but believe that it should have followed the advice of Chief Justice Abrahamson, Justice Bradley, and Justice Crooks to hold a jury trial,’ Kraig continued. “The deeply disturbing message that is sent by the conclusion of this case is that Supreme Court judge’s are above the law, and that the institution does not have the capacity to police itself.”

The complaint, which was originally filed by Citizen Action of Wisconsin in March 2008, maintains that Justice Gableman made false and deliberately misleading statements in a campaign ad directed at Justice Louis Butler, violating the Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct. The ad, which sparked outrage from the legal community, editorial boards, and the public at large, was compared by many to the infamous “Willy Horton” ads. It falsely charged that Justice Butler’s actions had led to the release of a felon who committed another crime. In October 2008 the Wisconsin Judicial Commission agreed with the Citizen Action complaint, ruling that an attack ad by Michael Gableman showed “reckless disregard for the truth” and constitutes “judicial misconduct.” The Judicial Commission found the ad to be willfully false, and a clear violation of the Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct. The affirmed that opinion in their press release today announcing the dismissal of the case.

Last week the Supreme Court deadlocked 3-3 on the case, leaving the case in legal limbo. In a well reasoned opinion, Chief Justice Abrahamson, Justice Bradley, and Justice Crooks found that the ad was willfully misleading and thus violated the Judicial Code of Conduct. "False statements knowingly made or false statements made in reckless disregard of their truth or falsity are not protected by the First Amendment," the justices concluded.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

LGBT groups join together to make endorsements for 2010 fall elections

Fair Wisconsin PAC and Human Rights League PAC are excited to announce our joint 2010 fall election endorsements. Fair Wisconsin PAC and Human Rights League PAC (HRL-PAC) are committed to advancing and achieving equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Wisconsinites through strategic electoral activity.

"We are excited to support so many pro-fairness candidates from across Wisconsin as we celebrate the one year anniversary of the passage of domestic partnership protections. These candidates have shown a commitment to advancing equality in Wisconsin and we look forward to working with them in the next legislative session," said Katie Belanger, Fair Wisconsin Executive Director.

HRL-PAC Co-Chairs, Dennis Kohler and Laurie Guilbault agree that maintaining and expanding pro-fairness majorities in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate will allow us to continue taking important steps towards equality.

See the full list of candidates receiving a Fair Wisconsin PAC and HRL-PAC endorsement.

These endorsements follow Fair Wisconsin PAC and HRL-PAC's endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett this spring. We believe that Mayor Barrett will be the strong leader we need to continue advancing equality. He has shown a true commitment to equality with his vocal opposition to the discriminatory 2006 constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and civil unions in Wisconsin and with his opposition in Congress to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy banning gays and lesbians from serving in the military. We are thrilled to call him a true partner in the quest for fairness.

We will unveil more pro-fairness endorsements as we get closer to the election, so if you don't see your legislator on the list, check back soon or send us an email at

In Fairness,
Katie Belanger

The Fair Wisconsin PAC seeks to support and elect pro-fairness candidates in both state and local election in order to continue taking important steps towards equality. For more information about Fair Wisconsin PAC, please visit us online at

Authorized and paid for by Fair Wisconsin PAC, Nancy Nusbaum, Treasurer. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

County's Massive Overtime, Costly Privatization Gives Walker Zero Management Credibility

Walker Would Need to Slash Half the State Workforce to Finance Multi-Billion-Dollar Tax Cut, Loophole and Shift Scheme

Madison -- Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has promised to reveal his plans in the coming days to reduce the state government payroll, but if his Milwaukee County record is any indication of his plans, taxpayers will be socked with higher costs and compromised safety.

Walker's failed leadership has caused Milwaukee County taxpayers an estimated $100 million in overtime costs and his privatization schemes have caused higher costs and compromised public safety. Walker has indicated slashing the state workforce will pay for the $5 billion budget hole caused by both the state's projected $2.3 budget deficit, and Walker's $3 billion unpaid-plan for tax cuts, tax loopholes and tax shifts which would primarily help the rich and big business.

"If Scott Walker effectively managed the workforce in Milwaukee County, he wouldn't have had to shell out $100 million in overtime since he's been in office," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "The Walker record is clear: failed employee management, failed privatization schemes and failed stewardship of Milwaukee County's tax dollars."

Walker's failed record on controlling county costs and failed leadership:

According to county records, Walker has averaged approximately $15 million in overtime each year since he has been county executive, topping $70 million at the end of 2008. This would put the total tab at nearly $100 million by the end of 2010. Walker has repeatedly bragged about cutting the Milwaukee payroll, but taxpayers foot the bill for record overtime costs to make up for lost jobs. [Milwaukee County Department of Administrative Services]

Despite Walker's claims that he has done so without compromising public safety, he has proposed cutting 10 percent of safety officers in Milwaukee County -- nearly 160 fewer positions. [Milwaukee County Executive Recommended Budgets: 2003-2010]

Walker's privatization efforts have produced costly deficits, while reduced public accountability. For instance, the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division ran a more-than half a million dollar deficit for "security fees" in 2008 alone. Worse, a private contract employee sexually assaulted a vulnerable patient, and a private security official with a history of improper sexual conduct with employees was hired to oversee security. [Milwaukee County DHHS 2008 Fiscal Report; WISN-TV, 5/18/10; WMTJ-TV, 4/15/10]
The non-partisan legislative fiscal bureau predicts a $2.3 billion state deficit in 2011. Walker has proposed an additional $3 billion in tax cuts and tax shifts that would also need to be paid for through cutting education, health care, police officers and fire fighters.

To pay this $5 billion tab, Walker would need to cut worker benefits by at least 50 percent, or slash more than 36,000 state jobs. Walker's worker cuts could mean the loss of thousands of teachers and researchers from the University of Wisconsin, prison guards and state troopers who provide public safety and health care workers who assist the elderly and people with disabilities.

"We need job creation and responsible budgeting, not more of Scott Walker's failed leadership, his job cuts and his tax breaks for the rich and big business," said Ross. "Scott Walker has zero credibility when it comes to managing employees and responsible budgeting."

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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.

Friday, July 02, 2010

No City Bus Service on July 5th

The Oshkosh Transit System’s bus service will not be operating on Monday, July 5, 2010 because of the city’s observance of the Independence Day holiday. Oshkosh Transit’s office at 926 Dempsey Trail will also be closed on July 5th.

Regular operations will resume on July 6th.

For more information on the Oshkosh Transit System please visit, or call (920) 232-5340.

No Garbage or Recycling Collection on July 5th

The city of Oshkosh Sanitation Division would like to remind residents that because of the Independence Day holiday there will be no garbage or recycling collection on Monday, July 5, 2010.

Collections for the remainder of the week will be one day late. Garbage and recycling collection scheduled for Friday, July 9th moves to Saturday, July 10th.

Additionally, the city’s yard waste drop-off center located on Idaho Street (off Witzel Avenue) will be closed on Sunday, July 4th.

The July brush collection week will start on July 12th, 2010, because of the holiday.

If you would like more information please contact the Sanitation Division at (920) 232-5383.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Governor Doyle Celebrates a Smokefree Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE, GREEN BAY , WAUSAU – Governor Jim Doyle visited communities across the state this past Tuesday to celebrate a state law that goes into effect on July 5, making public places, including restaurants, taverns, and other indoor workplaces, smokefree.

“On July 5th, Wisconsin residents – some who haven’t been able to go out for years – will finally be able to breathe freely at restaurants, taverns and workplaces across the state,” Governor Doyle said. “A Smoke Free Wisconsin will help save lives, it will help save over $400 million a year in health care costs, and it will help prevent our kids from picking up the deadly habit in the first place.”

Governor Doyle has fought the scourge of tobacco his entire career. In 2007, he launched a statewide anti-smoking initiative which included a proposal to make all public workplaces smokefree. In addition, he has taken a number of steps to reduce smoking in Wisconsin , including raising the cigarette tax by $1, providing free quit-smoking medications through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line, and increasing youth tobacco prevention efforts. In 1999, as Attorney General, he negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for the state with Big Tobacco.

Last May, Governor Doyle signed into law a comprehensive smoking ban that prohibits smoking in workplaces in Wisconsin after July 5, 2010. Wisconsin joins 27 other states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico in making all workplaces including restaurants and bars smokefree. A smokefree Wisconsin will lower health care costs, save lives, and help make residents healthier.

Each year, nearly 8,000 people die from smoking-related illnesses in Wisconsin . Since 2000, Wisconsin has made significant progress on decreasing smoking rates with a 65 percent decrease in the middle school smoking rate, a 38 percent decrease in high school smoking rate, and a 17 percent decrease in the adult smoking rate.

The Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line offers free, confidential, non-judgmental coaching and information about how to quit. Research shows smokers who use the Quit Line are four times more likely to quit than if they try to quit on their own. For information on the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW), visit

Rep. Hintz to be recognized as a “Conservation Champion”

Oshkosh – The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters (WLCV) held its 2009-2010 Scorecard Party in Oshkosh at Becket’s Restaurant Tuesday night to recognize Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh). Hintz was named a Conservation Champion for supporting 100% of the pro-conservation bills this legislative session.

The Conservation Scorecard grades state legislators on their pro-conservation votes during the 2009-10 legislative session. The legislation WCLV weighed included renewable energy legislation, legislation protecting children from the toxins (BPA), and legislation that increased hunting and recreation opportunities.

“I am proud of my voting record on conservation issues”, said Rep. Gordon Hintz. “I hear from my constituents constantly on the importance of protecting our environment and recognize the necessity to protect our natural resources and the direct economic impact this has on Oshkosh . We must continue to protect the health of the Lake Winnebago system. I look forward to doing my part as a legislator in future sessions to continue this important work.”