Monday, January 30, 2012

Here is what's playing this week on Eye on Oshkosh (be sure to vote in the poll to the right associated with this story and show)

Since not everyone always notices the sidebar which outlines our upcoming week's show, we're trying something a little different this week. The sidebar will remain because a lot of people are accustomed to it after so many years of it being there. But starting this week, we'll also be putting an actual blog posting that details the upcoming week's show, as well. In this manner we can hopefully reach everyone who is looking to find out about the upcoming program. That being said - Here is what's playing this week on Eye on Oshkosh...

Be sure to join us starting Monday, January 30 when Cheryl and Dan are joined in the first segment by Doug Gieryn, director/health officer for Winnebago County, who discusses in detail the recent changes with coordination and management of the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, as well as how it will impact women. During the second part of the show, Oshkosh Area School District’s Board of Education member Allison Garner joins Cheryl and Dan to discuss her shock over the recent and abrupt resignation of the school superintendent Don Viegut and the manner in which she learned about it. She also discusses her equal shock and disappointment to learn that school board president John Lemberger not only knew Viegut was looking at other positions, but, in fact, had written him a letter of recommendation only a few months prior to his resignation, and had kept all of this secret from his fellow school board members and the public.

In the Oshkosh area, "Eye on Oshkosh" can be seen Mondays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m. Check with your local cable company or its TV listings for replay times in other, more outlying areas. “Eye on Oshkosh” also may air at times other than just those listed. Check the guide on your cable access channel for other days and times, as well. Eye on Oshkosh is copyrighted and any unauthorized copying or use of any portion of the program is strictly prohibited by law.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Concerned Citizens & Responsible Leaders: Speak with a shared voice on matters of equity and fairness

Early in the morning on Christmas Day, a 20-year old man was savagely attacked and severely beaten by two men outside a tavern in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The assault occurred near PJ’s Bar, 1601 Oregon Street, Oshkosh. The victim suffered massive injuries to his face and jaw and injury to his brain requiring emergency surgery.

The criminal complaint alleges that the assault was due to the victim’s sexual orientation and that the assailants made statements pertaining to the victim’s status as a gay man. The two alleged assailants have been arrested and charged with causing great bodily harm and burglary, both as a party to the crime. The battery charge was enhanced by a hate crime modifier, which increased the penalties. If convicted of all charges, the defendants face 23 1/2 years in prison and fines that may total $40,000.

On Tuesday, January 10th, the Oshkosh Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) held an open public meeting to discuss this incident. Approximately 30 people were in attendance and included educators, clergy, parents, middle and high school students, gay and straight men and women, and concerned citizens of Oshkosh and the surrounding area. The discussion covered a range of topics from efforts taking place in the schools (both public and private) at all grade levels and the need for expanded community-based efforts to raise attention and awareness to harassment and mistreatment on the basis of a number of factors including sexual orientation and gender identity.

At the end of the meeting, everyone attending the meeting was invited to sign a statement that included the following sentiments:

1. The assault was a very distressing development. It provides a “wake up call” of sorts for the people of Oshkosh.
2. If a savage attack like this can occur here, in our community, there is a need to take actions to help prevent a reoccurrence of anything even remotely similar to this.
3. Based on information shared in the meeting from a representative from the Oshkosh Police Department and PJ's Tavern, it is clear that a number of individuals and offices deserve recognition, commendation and praise for the immediate efforts taken to deal with the life-threatening conditions and to apprehend the assailants.
4. Additionally, actions taken by the District Attorney in the charging decision included in the criminal complaint also provides a basis for optimism that this crime will be prosecuted to the full extent allowed under the law.
5. We have hope that the courts and the criminal justice system will find a measure of justice appropriate to the crime that occurred. A clear message needs to be sent to everyone in our community.

Those who signed also believe that additional actions and steps need to be taken by everyone from the typical Oshkosh resident to educators, social service providers, those who own local businesses, and those provide media coverage to the people of this community.

This crime was not only an assault on the victim – it represents an attack on everything that our community should stand for. For our part, PFLAG will continue to work toward educating and informing the public on LGBTQ issues along with supporting LGBTQ individuals and their families. Our meetings will remain open to the public and we welcome anyone willing to help make Oshkosh and our community a safer and more inclusive place to live, work and spend time.

As Harvey Milk said, "Hope is not silent." Thank you to all who participated in last nights meeting.



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

WHAT’S WRONG WITH OSHKOSH? - an op-ed from OASD board member Steve Dedow

            Another OASD Superintendent is leaving our community. Why?
            I have been on the OASD School Board for less than two years. In that relatively short period of time, I have seen our educational system’s foundation weakened again and again by the high turnover rate in quality administration personnel, in particular, two Superintendents in less than two years.  Is this an anomaly which only plagues our community?  The answer would seem to be yes.
            According to the National School Board Association’s website the average tenure of a school district Superintendent in a city over 100,000 people is five years. Other viewpoints indicate that the tenure range for a district the size of ours lay between four and seven years. In Oshkosh the average is ten months, a year, two years? We’re not talking term limits here, we are talking about why that the people we hire don’t even stick around long enough for us to consider firing them. A search for another Superintendent will commence shortly, great.
            According to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, out of the 424 school districts in Wisconsin, our district which is the tenth largest in the State has the least amount of Administrators given the size of our district. So, in other words, we have fewer people doing more work. I guess as a community we are alright with that. But is more work the only reason that they leave? I mean after all, we are a German community, a little more work – no big deal right? In my opinion it is not the work load that is causing the problem.
            Now let me try and place this within the context of the private sector. There are quite a few people out there who firmly believe that the public sector should embrace the mantra of the private sector.  If we just did that we could save all kinds of money and still deliver a competitive product, correct?
             I have a few very minor questions:
            Let’s just suppose that the place that you work at has a new CEO every other year. With every new CEO comes a new idea on how “we can be more efficient and save the shareholders more money etc.” You as a general grunt on the line just start to get the new protocol down when, yup you guessed it, in comes the new guy and all the stuff you have just learned is now irrelevant. Is this the path to high efficiency for your company? Is the morale good at where you work? I am not saying that the public sector cannot become more efficient, certainly it can. What I am saying is that private corporations dread high turnover in their administrative teams. But why is the CEO turnover rate so high here?
            Sticking with the private sector for just a moment, say that you have a former employee who sends hundreds of emails a month to your customer service department essentially saying nothing of substance but demanding a prompt reply. How would you respond? Politely explain that you no longer carry that product or hang up the telephone?
            Or say that you had a disgruntled current employee who created their own local media show which endlessly expounded on all the reasons they think that a customer should never buy your product. How would the private sector respond? Fire him? Promote him?
            What about a “union” of area businesses who liked to continually criticize your company and use their political muscle to make sure that all of the good things that you had to offer as a member of this community went unnoticed even as they held out their hand to you and said “Let’s be a partner.” How would you react? Shake their hand, find some different partners or go it alone?
             Say you had spent a great deal of capital (as a customer) on advertising only to have the firm, which you chose to advertise with, turn around and continually go out of their way to inform your consumer base on what they think is the best way to run your business. What would you do? Would you do your advertising through in house publications, find a different firm, or seek another connective medium?
                        Upon reflection I think that the questions above could have been easily answered if the school district would have only grasped the private sector concept with both hands years ago; we would have hung up the telephone, fired the malcontent, developed relationships with different partners, and hired a new advertising firm a long time ago. Then perhaps today we would have a solid foundation on which to retain high quality talent and to build a dynamic organization in the future.

Facts about the WEA Trust

[We have received the following information from the WEA Trust and are happy to publish it here in order to help clear up misconceptions about the WEA Trust.]

Good Morning-

There is a lot of misinformation about the WEA Trust circulating.  Below are several links to credible sources citing the accurate information.  We ask that you please share the facts if an opportunity arises:
  • The WEA Trust is NOT owned or operated by WEAC.  We are a separate, not-for-profit, Wisconsin-based insurance company that employees over 400 Wisconsinites. We are regulated by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (verify at
  • WEA Trust does not contribute, as an organization, to any political parties—Republican or Democratic.  This can be verified via the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s online database:
  • The school district market in Wisconsin is very competitive, and always has been.  Districts have the option to choose between us, our competitors, and several other state plan options.  Every day we compete to gain new business—sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose—but again, that is the nature of competition in Wisconsin.  For more information on districts saving with the Trust go to
  • More facts are available at:
Please contact me directly if you would like to learn more about the WEA Trust, or where to find facts about the insurance market for Wisconsin school districts.  

Thank you,
Michelle Berryman

Michelle Berryman
Manager of Public Relations, WEA Trust
(p) 800.279.4000  (c) 608.206.9204

Prescription drug abuse and information

There are an increasing number of people being prescribed prescription medications today.  Because of this increase, there are more pills accessible in more home medicine cabinets.  More accessibility places people at higher risk for misuse, abuse and addiction.  Unfortunately there is a thriving market for the illegal sale and use of many prescription drugs and over the counter (OTC) medications. 

Winnebago County has experienced an increased number of prescription drug-related deaths in 2011. Deaths have been associated with persons ages 18-90.  Taking prescription drugs that were not prescribed to you or in a non-prescribed way is drug abuse.  Prescription drug abuse can cause death, addiction, disability or disruptions in normal brain cell development.  Prescription drugs are the primary target in home invasions and thefts.  You don’t know who may be abusing prescription drugs. Family members, friends, service personnel – anyone who has access to the prescriptions in your home may be “tempted” to steal them for illegal use or sale. You want to safeguard your prescription and over the counter medications during the holiday season when we all have many visitors who  have casual access to our medicine cabinets and other places where we may normally keep these items.

Secure your medications.  Do not leave drugs on countertops or out in the open. Keep pill bottle caps on tightly.  Store drugs in a private area such as a bedroom or other secure place.  Know how many pills you have. Properly dispose of old or unneeded medicines and be award of anyone who enters your home.  Never flush old medications.  The Oshkosh (420 Jackson St.) and Neenah (2111 Marathon Ave.) Police Departments have installed permanent medication drop boxes for the proper disposal of these items. The drop boxes are open 24 hours a day - everyday and disposal is anonymous.  Medications can only be accepted in their original package or prescription bottle.  Cross out your name and address, but do not cover up the name of the medication.

The permanent medication drop boxes have been installed in partnership with re:TH!NK Winnebago’s Healthy Living Partnership. FMI contact your local law enforcement agency or

Christmas Tree Collections

(Oshkosh, WI.) The city of Oshkosh Sanitation Division would like to remind residents that curbside Christmas tree collections will take place during the week of January 2nd, 2012 and the week of January 16th, 2012.

A separate truck will collect the trees on your normal garbage collection day. Trees must not be buried by snow, must be removed from plastic bags, and must have all decorations and tree stands removed.

Residents may also bring their trees to the city’s drop-off site located on Idaho Street. Trees brought to the site must be removed from plastic bags and must have all decorations and tree stands removed. A permit is required.

Winter hours for the yard waste drop-off center are in effect from December 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012. The winter hours are 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The drop-off center is closed Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

If you would like more information please contact the Sanitation Division at (920)