Thursday, March 30, 2017

Eye on Oshkosh - Oshkosh Renter's Coalition - taped 3-30-17

The latest edition of Eye on Oshkosh is now online. In this edition, host Cheryl Hentz talks with Tim Ernst, the founder of the Oshkosh Renter's Coalition about the formation of this coalition, what its mission is, and why the recently-enacted Rental Inspection Ordinance in the city of Oshkosh is a much-needed ordinance, and the responsible thing to do in order to help protect tenants, and ultimately landlords, as well. The show can be seen here, but you can also share the following link with others:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Remaining candidates for Oshkosh Common Council interviewed by Eye on Oshkosh

The latest edition of Eye on Oshkosh is now online. In this edition, host Cheryl Hentz discusses issues with the three remaining candidates for Oshkosh Common Council: Incumbent Tom Pech, Jr., Matt Mugerauer and Mark Showers. Some of the issues included allegations against the current council and mayor of hiding money; special events fees; economic development through the use of TIFs; possible tax increases; the budget process; diversity; and service on city boards and commissions. See the show here:

Need an ID for voting - Several DMV service centers offer Saturday hours

With Wisconsin’s spring election weeks away, voters needing an ID are reminded that several Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) service centers in larger cities offer Saturday hours. To obtain an ID card, people can begin the process online using the official DMV webpage ( where they can locate or check wait times at their nearest DMV service center and get a checklist of documents to bring. DMV service centers open Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. include Milwaukee Northwest, Milwaukee Southwest, Madison East, Madison Odana, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Wausau and Appleton.

To obtain an official photo ID card, some documentation is required, such as a birth certificate. If all documentation is not readily available, the ID Petition Process can be used to obtain a receipt valid for voting while the remaining documents or verifications are obtained. DMV offers this service and card free of charge for voting purposes. The DMV’s voter ID hotline, (844) 588-1069, is available for questions on obtaining an ID to vote.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission website, Bring It To The Ballot, lists other forms of ID acceptable for voting purposes and has information regarding voter eligibility, poll locations and other election information.

Most people have a driver license or ID and therefore already have a form of identification to vote. A person may not have more than one valid driver license or ID at any time. For customers who need to replace a lost card (obtain a duplicate) or simply want to update their address on their records, offers convenient online tools and a visit to a DMV may not be necessary.

Only the website with .gov is the official state website. Others with .org and .com are not official and may list information that is dated or incorrect or have extra charges for forms. In addition to the expanding services on its website, WisDOT connects with customers on Facebook and Twitter @WisconsinDOT.

Media note: Photo of a Wisconsin ID card is available in the Newsroom photo gallery.

Oshkosh State of the City set for Monday, March 21

OSHKOSH, Wis. March 16, 2017 – The annual Oshkosh State of the City Address and City Exhibit Expo will be held at the Oshkosh Convention Center, 1 North Main Street, on Monday, March 20.

The event, which will also include the presentation of Community Partnership Awards and Citizen Service Awards, will begin at 6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., City Manager Mark Rohloff will deliver the State of the City Address.

This year’s speech draws from input received from the community about city projects and initiatives. The presentation will feature updates on exciting things happening in Oshkosh, and celebrate the hard work put in by the entire community to bring success to the many projects that are completed each year. Attendees will also get the latest information about upcoming projects happening in 2017.

Immediately following the address, the Citizen Service Awards and Community Partnership Awards will be presented by the Oshkosh Common Council. The Citizen Service Awards honor individuals who have achieved various five‐year milestones serving on city boards and commissions, and the Community Partnership Awards recognize organizations that have played a role in enriching the city of Oshkosh through initiatives, programs, and support.

The evening will conclude with the City Exhibit Expo following the Address and Awards presentation, which provides the public an opportunity to learn more about city departments and services and connect with elected officials and city staff.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Communications Coordinator Emily Springstroh at (920) 236‐5269. 

Mears Art Contest celebrates 90 years with exhibit at Oshkosh Public Library

The 90th anniversary of the Wisconsin GFWC-Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Contest is marked by Oshkosh middle school students’ artwork now on display at the Oshkosh Public Library. The exhibit in the library's lower level features winning entries in the annual Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Contest sponsored by the GFWC-Oshkosh Women's Arts Club. The art will be on exhibit through March 31.

This contest honors Mears, a sculptor (1871-1916) who was born in Oshkosh, educated in Oshkosh public schools, and attended Oshkosh Normal School. Her sculptures are in the U.S. Capitol, the Smithsonian, Wisconsin Capitol, museums, and public spaces. The GFWC-Oshkosh Women's Arts Club is a chapter of the WI-General Federation of Women's Clubs, which inaugurated this annual memorial state contest in 1927.

The statewide annual art competition encourages and recognizes artistic development and achievement among 7th and 8th grade students in public, private and home schools. Nine schools in Oshkosh submitted artworks in painting and sculpture categories. Oshkosh place-winners continue on to district competition in Princeton, where three winners in each category are selected to move on to state competition in Eau Claire.

This year's winners from Oshkosh middle schools are:
Class A (schools with an art teacher)
Two-dimensional art (painting and drawing):
•1st place – Rebekah Schaalme, South Park
•2nd place – William Vu, Carl Traeger
•3rd place – Hailey Weickert, South Park
Three-dimensional art: sculpture
•1st place – Haley Laber, Perry Tipler
•2nd place – Pahuacua Lor, Merrill
•3rd place – Kathryn Smith, Perry Tipler

Class B: (schools without a full-time art teacher)
•1st place – Max Yanacek, Grace Lutheran
•2nd place – Carly Groskeutz, Grace Lutheran
•3rd place – Kate Isom, Grace Lutheran

Honorable Mention was awarded to Madelyn Lebron, Madeline Frey – Webster Stanley; Mason Dutscheck - South Park; Bayden Conrey, Skye Wanner – Perry Tipler; Joseph Sarnowski – ALPS Charter, Tipler; Pahuacua Lor, Parker Blau – Merrill; Elijah Wade, Isaias Gutierrez-Kuhaupt – Valley Christian; George Yanacek – Grace Lutheran.  Judges for the contest were David Eichhorn, retired art teacher at Carl Traeger Middle School, and Karen VanderWerff, an artist who recently moved here from Madison. Shirley Brabender Mattox of Oshkosh is the chairman for the Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Contest.

Three students will receive the Legislator Award from Oshkosh area legislators who have chosen the student’s artwork for their offices at the Capitol in Madison. Rep. Gordon Hintz chose the watercolor, “Illustration” by Madelynn Lebron, grade 8, Webster Stanley Middle School; Rep. Michael Schraa chose the sculpture “Joker” by Skye Wanner, grade 8, Perry Tipler Middle School; Sen. Dan Feyen chose the painting “Sky is the Limit” by Hailey Weickert, grade 8, South Park Middle School.

An Awards Reception will be held in the library's lower level from 1:30 - 3 p.m. on Sunday,
March 19, with an awards presentation at 2 p.m. Students and their families, art teachers and principals, artists, and supporters of the arts are welcome to attend.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

News release: Wisconsin DMV tips for selling a car--avoid problems when selling privately, know the law

Spring and fall are popular times for owners to sell their vehicles privately. Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recommends sellers know what the law requires to avoid problems between parties. DMV’s online resources show the proper way to sell a vehicle and include links to required DMV forms.

“Online postings and word of mouth are common, convenient ways people sell their vehicles, but there are risks to buyers who don’t purchase from licensed dealers,” says Michael Domke, DMV Dealer and Agent section chief. “Dealers perform safety checks, disclose problems and ensure the title is clear for each vehicle they offer for sale. Buying from a private party may not give you the same protections.”

Selling a vehicle privately is not complicated but the seller should be aware of a number of laws to follow. For example, the vehicle must be titled in the sellers name and all loans should be paid off before the sale.

Once the vehicle is sold, Wisconsin and federal law requires the following:
·         Record the sale. A recent state law (January 2016) says anyone who sells a vehicle from one individual to another individual must register the transfer of ownership within 30 days of the sale. DMV added Seller Notify to its online resources so sellers can conveniently record the sale. Sellers may also print, email or save the confirmation for their records.
·         Fill in the vehicle odometer mileage statement on the title.
·         Complete the brand disclosure area on the title (if applicable).
·         If there is a lien listed on the title, provide the buyer with a lien release document from your lien holder; the buyer will need both documents to get a title.
·         Remove the license plates from the vehicle.

Upon completion of a private sale, DMV’s expanding online services enable the vehicle buyer to title and register the new vehicle, in most cases without having to visit a local DMV customer service center. If applying for new license plates online, the buyer can print the temporary license plate at home and display it until the metal license plates arrive in the mail. The online instruction page, Frequently Asked Questions, glossary and email support are also available at the website.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

City posts video of mock rental unit inspection

In an attempt to diffuse some of the false and misleading rhetoric being tossed about in the community, and to more accurately depict what a typical inspection involves, the City of Oshkosh has developed a video which shows a mock rental unit inspection, as part of the Rental Property Inspections program in the city. It can be seen here:

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Speaker focuses on researching African American genealogy

A genealogist who faced the special challenges of tracing his African American ancestry will share his story and the research lessons he learned, during a program at the Oshkosh Public Library on Thurs., March 9.

The Challenges of African American Genealogical Research: A Personal Journey into the Unknown begins at 7 p.m. in the library’s lower level meeting room and is sponsored by the  Winnebagoland Genealogical Society.

In his presentation, Jim Walker will share his personal journey from the vastness of West Africa to the small Wisconsin village of Nelsonville. He’ll talk about the difficulties associated with African American genealogy, the growing number of resources now available to researchers and the approaches that ultimately led him to clear the hurdles he encountered.

Jim Walker is a retired probation officer who spent his career in California and now lives in Nelsonville. He started doing genealogical research in 1981.

The Winnebagoland Genealogical Society meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Oshkosh Public Library. Meetings are open to the public. For more information visit  or

Eye on Oshkosh begins Common Council candidate interviews

The most recent episode of Eye on Oshkosh is now online.

In this edition, host Cheryl Hentz talks with three of the candidates in this spring's election: Mayor Steve Cummings, Deputy Mayor and Councilwoman Deb Allison-Aasby and first-time candidate Jake Krause. The candidates discuss their positions on the city’s new Rental Registry and Rental Property Inspection program, the issue of fees being charged to Sawdust Days organizers, economic development, road repairs, etc.

You'll want to watch this show, especially before voting in the general election on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Be an informed voter. The show can be seen here

OP-ED: Did Oshkosh Northwestern reporter "intentionally" give incomplete info about rental inspection program?

Last week I contacted Oshkosh Northwestern reporter Nate Beck about what I strongly feel was an inaccurate representation of the city's rental registry and inspection program in his article on the Common Council primary election results.

Mr. Beck wrote that the rental registry program "requires landlords to allow city inspectors to survey damage in rental units once every five years." The program is so much more than that, and Mr. Beck knows it.

The intent of the rental registry and inspection program is "to encourage Oshkosh rental property owners to exercise their responsibility to meet code requirements to provide safe and sanitary living conditions for their tenants. Program guidelines were drafted in keeping with current Wisconsin state law that requires rental inspection programs to be regularly scheduled, uniform, and city‐wide. Health and safety concerns could include: inoperable/broken smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, broken/missing guardrails, water leaks, lack of heat or hot water, improper electrical connections, broken windows, improper vent connections and more."

The above is taken directly from a press release issued by the city, something I know the Northwestern gets. But instead of thanking me for bringing a concern to his attention, Mr. Beck wrote me back a one-sentence reply saying that his reporting was accurate "because damage can constitute a code violation."

The operative word there is "CAN." Can some damage cause health or safety concerns, or could it be a code violation? Of course. But plenty of other damage does not, such as a hole in the wall, or carpeting that is damaged, etc. Moreover, lack of running water or adequate heat, electrical issues, are not likely caused by "damage." No, Mr. Beck, the City is not just looking at damage, and shame on you for suggesting in your article that it is.

Mr. Beck's reply to me almost seemed egotistical in nature, like how dare I have the temerity to question him. (Plus, he didn't even bother to thank me for being a any print publication should be grateful for these days). I say in my headline that it was intentional. That is my opinion because the reporter had an opportunity to give a broader explanation or description of the rental registry program and its intent, etc., but chose not to, for whatever reason.

For interested parties, you can find a very in-depth presentation of material on this rental registry and inspection program on the city's website at I also did an hour-long episode of Eye on Oshkosh about the program and it can be viewed at the following link: 

Finally, folks in City Hall have said that the wrong impression is being given about this new program and that there are misunderstandings. With reporting and an attitude like this reporter had, I can understand what they mean and why they're concerned.