December 5, 2014

WBEV/WXRO Holiday Food Drive


12/5/14 – A huge thank you to all of the generous listeners of WBEV and WXRO who donated to the annual Holiday Food Drive this morning.  The parking lot event raised $1,336 along with a truck load of food.  All of the proceeds of this morning’s food drive will be going straight to the Dodge County Food Bank.


Representative Born Speaks at Heroin Forum


12/5/14 – Mayville became the latest Dodge County city to host a seminar in Dodge County’s opioid drug series last night.  One of the members of the panel was 39th District Representative Mark Born who spoke about the political side of tackling the issue.  Born says that the heroin epidemic has affected both the state as a whole and the area that he represents. He mentioned the Hope Legislation, which is a series of seven bills that passed unanimously in Madison, as one action the state government has taken regarding the issue.  They not only deal with crime fighting pertaining to the drug market but also on how treatment can be offered to those facing an addiction.  He says that continuing to build on treatment programs, especially those that have been deemed successful, will likely be the plan going forward.  Due to there being many areas that are competing for funds, Born notes that it is important for constituents to reach out to him stating that they want the opioid drug issue addressed.  He says that the more people reach out about it, the more likely it is that action will be taken on the matter.


BDACT Christmas Play Kicks-Off Tonight


12/5/14- The Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre’s annual Christmas play kicks off tonight.  This year, the selection is ‘A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol.’  Show director Heidi Freeby says that the comedic play is a twist on the classic Christmas Carol story as it incorporates a variety of other fairy tale characters into the cast.  Showings will be held at the theatre both this weekend and next weekend.  Show times are 7:30 pm on both of the Fridays and Saturdays and at 2:00 pm on the two Sundays.  Price of admission to the show is thirteen dollars, and tickets can be purchased at Rechek’s Food Pride in Beaver Dam.  BDACT’s is located at 219 North Spring Street.


PAVE Creates New ‘Teen Text Hotline’


12/5/14 – The Dodge County organization that is in place to aide people facing violent life situations has a new way for persons to reach them.  People Against a Violent Environment, or PAVE, has established a ‘teen text hotline’ that allows people to seek refuge by texting the shelter.  PAVE’s Executive Director Teresa Nienow says that texting can be a safer way for young people to seek assistance as a text message is more private than a phone conversation that can be overheard by others.  Nienow says that there could potentially be one shortcoming to the program that was just established earlier this week as she notes that it does take quite longer to type out a long message than to state it in a person-to-person phone conversation.  Nienow encourages the usage of emoticons in messages sent to the hotline as she says it will better aide those working for the organization in understanding the tone that the person is trying to get across.  The hotline number is 920-344-0123.


Update on Kenosha Casino Project Released


12/5/14 – The Menominee tribe says it could still run its proposed Kenosha casino, even if the federal government rejects a state guarantee that Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Casino would not lose money in the process.  A Walker attorney for the project told the U-S Interior Department earlier this week that such a guarantee could be unconstitutional.  Lance Boldrey said the governor does not have the power to have the state pay for potential Potawatomi losses, without the Legislature’s blessing.  Walker has the final call on the Kenosha project, and he’s still not saying if he’ll approve it.  He has until February 19th to decide.  Meanwhile, the Assembly Republican whose district includes the Kenosha project — Samantha Kerkman — said there’s not much time for lawmakers to act, but it’s a project that’s “extremely important” to her area. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is from neighboring Racine County.  He said he supports the Kenosha casino, but he’s concerned about taxpayers being on the hook for the Potawatomi’s losses.  He wants advice from legislative attorneys before doing anything.  The Potawatomi has refused to pay 25-million dollars it owes the state under its gaming pact. The tribe contends that the state will have to pay about 100-million in fees the tribe paid in 2004-and-’05 if the Kenosha casino opens. However, the guarantee signed earlier this week only deals with the tribe’s future losses.


Wisconsin November Fatal Crash Stats Released


12/5/14 – Forty-eight people died in Wisconsin traffic crashes last month.  That’s the same as the average for the past five years — but five fewer people were killed in November than in the same month of 2013.  Early snow-and-ice storms boosted the death toll near the end of the month.  Six people died in crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period from last Wednesday through Sunday.  For the first eleven months of the year, 455 people have died in Wisconsin traffic crashes — down about eight-percent from a year ago at this point.  Still, David Pabst of the state D-O-T says too many people are dying by being drunk behind the wheel and not wearing their safety belts.  He says the annual holiday “Booze-and-Belts” crackdown will take place December 12th-through-20th.


Al-Qaida Threatens to Kill Beloit College Grad


12/5/14 – A branch of al-Qaida released a video yesterday which ordered the U-S to meet unspecified demands within three days — or else they’ll kill a Beloit College graduate they’ve held for over a year.  A private intelligence group that monitors militant Web sites first reported the plight of 33-year-old Luke Somers. Media reports said he was born in England, but he’s an American citizen.  Beloit College confirmed that Somers completed a creative writing program in 2007, and graduated from Beloit in ’08.  Reports said Somers was kidnapped in September of last year from a street in Yemen’s capital of Sanaa. He worked there as a free-lance photo-journalist for the Yemen Times.  In a three-minute video, Somers said he’s certain his life is in danger — and he was looking for any help he could get to escape his situation.  The video also featured a local al-Qaida commander which spoke of alleged U-S crimes against the Muslim world.  He did not spell out al-Qaida’s demands, but he said Washington was “aware” of them. The commander criticized U-S air-strikes against the Islamic State, and claimed that an elite group of holy warriors was killed in the attack.


Fitzgerald, Politicians Considering Right-to-Work Bill


12/5/14 – Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he generally agrees with his Senate counterpart on the need to pass a right-to-work bill.  But while Republican Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald wants to get the ball rolling in January, Vos says his house does not plan to take it up that quickly.  He says it doesn’t serve any purpose to rush into it.  Yesterday, Fitzgerald surprised political observers by telling a Milwaukee radio talk show he wants to get a debate going as soon as possible on right-to-work — the concept of banning union membership or union dues as conditions of employment in the private sector.  Governor Scott Walker has repeatedly said he’d rather not take up the contentious issue, while refusing to say whether he’d sign a bill if lawmakers pass it.  Senate Republican Luther Olsen of Ripon said his colleagues want to find out if employers could still deduct union dues on a voluntary basis, while not mandating that they be paid.  Fitzgerald also mentioned the possibility of exempting certain trade unions, citing their importance in training workers.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says campaign contributions from unions have hampered lawmakers from passing right-to-work.  One union that could be exempt is the Operating Engineers Local 139, whose members handle things like road-building.  That group has given almost 58-thousand dollars to Walker’s campaign since 2010.  Business manager Terry McGowan told the Journal Sentinel he did not strike a deal with Fitzgerald — and granting exemptions would be a “slippery slope that nobody wants to go down.”  McGowan said he still opposes any right-to-work law.


Petri Part of Proposition for Federal Gas Tax Hike


12/5/14 – As gas prices fall, a Wisconsin House Republican says some of the savings should go to new pavement instead of your pocketbook.  Fond du Lac Republican Tom Petri and Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer have proposed a federal gas tax hike of 15-cents a gallon — almost a doubling of the current 18-point-four cent tax which has not been changed since 1993.  Petri is retiring in a month after 36 years in office.  He has not always followed the party line — and critics may see this as one final dig at conservatives like Glenn Grothman, who replaces Petri in January.  But at a recent news conference, Petri put up a photo of the late tax-cutting President Ronald Reagan to back his position.  Petri said the Gipper supported a gas tax hike in 1982 as a responsible way to maintain the nation’s infra-structure.  The federal gas tax is bringing in about 34-billion dollars a year, 16-billion short of what’s needed to cover federal road projects. Wisconsin uses it for a quarter of its transportation spending.  Craig Thompson of the state’s Transportation Development Association says he’d love to see a gas tax hike.  But he doesn’t believe it has the political fuel to pass in Congress.  Thompson tells the Wisconsin Radio Network that states will most likely have to come up with their own answers.  The D-O-T has proposed millions in state tax-and-fee hikes, more borrowing, and more general tax dollars now spent on other things.  Governor Scott Walker has said his budget will include something different — but he’s not saying what it is.