January 13, 2013

Senate Considering Crackdown on Spectators


1/13/13 – Wisconsin Senate leaders say they’re considering a similar crackdown on the behavior of spectators that the Assembly adopted for the upcoming two-year session. Both houses had to deal with rowdy galleries in the last session, during and after the massive protests over the law that eliminated most public union bargaining. On Thursday, the Assembly told spectators they could not use cell-phones, eat, or wear hats in the galleries – or else they could be removed. And anyone removed three times will be barred for the rest of the session. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he’s considering similar rules for his chamber. The Republican from Juneau said his main concern is to protect his members. The full Senate will consider that change, plus other rules for the new session on Tuesday.


WI Officials Planning Trade Mission to South Africa


1/13/13 – State officials are planning a second trade mission this spring – this one to South Africa. The Council of Great Lakes Governors is organizing the trip, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is looking for businesses that want to take part. Business executives can use the trip to sell their products directly to South African firms. The trade mission will include stops in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town. Several types of businesses will be encouraged to buy Wisconsin products – including farm machinery – mining, medical, and construction equipment – power generators and supplies – and consulting and engineering services. South Africa is a growing customer of Wisconsin goods. They imported 226-million dollars’ worth of state products last year, up 44-percent from the year before. Those interested in the trade mission are asked to contact Stanley Pfrang at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in Madison. A second Wisconsin trade mission is planned for China in mid-April, and Governor Scott Walker will lead that trip.


Cornell High School Hosting Gun Show


1/13/13 – Despite the very loud national dialogue about school security and armed teachers, a gun show is scheduled to be held at the Cornell High School gymnasium today (Sunday).  Opponents are few and far between.  The mayor says she has heard no complaints and the district superintendent says he received five e-mails opposing the idea – all from outside the area.  Cornell officials say there is a zero-tolerance policy for guns and weapons of any kind on that school campus, but the show is on the weekend.  They say the high school gym is the largest venue in the small northwestern Wisconsin town and is often used for community events.  One reason for the limited opposition is the state’s long tradition of hunting deer, black bear, wild turkeys and most recently, wolves.


Drug Drop-off Program Not a Huge Success


1/13/13 – Programs that encourage Wisconsinites to turn in their unused prescription drugs are not working very well. State officials say only two-percent of Wisconsin’s unused medicines are taken to collection programs. The rest are either abused by somebody – tossed in the garbage – flushed down the toilet – or are still in medicine cabinets even though they’ve long been expired. For the last several years, many Wisconsin communities have had collection programs to make sure that old prescription pills do not get abused, or pollute local groundwater. But a study by the D-N-R, the U-W Extension, and Product Stewardship Institute says only a relatively few bother to drop their pills off. According to the study, 119 million medications were sold in Wisconsin in 2010, either by prescription or over-the-counter. A third of those pills, weighing four-point-four million pounds, went unused. And only two-percent of the unused pills were returned to collection programs. Steve Brachmann, the study’s author, says it costs more than twice as much as it does in Canada to dispose of drugs. The study suggests funding for a statewide program – explaining to people why drugs shouldn’t be trashed or flushed – and making it easier for people to drop off old medicines for free.


Paper Company Looking for Buyers


Wausau Paper Company says it will begin looking for buyers of three of its paper mills.  Two are located in Mosinee and Rhinelander, the third in Minnesota.  The mills make paper used for packaging, the food industry linings and masking tape.  The company may be focusing its efforts on making tissue and towels at mills in Kentucky and Ohio.  Last year, Wausau closed its oldest mill in Brokaw, eliminating 450 jobs.


Milwaukee Voters Might Be Able to Cut Supervisor Salaries by 35K


Legislation being fast-tracked at the Capitol would let Milwaukee County voters decide next April whether they want to cut county supervisors’ pay from 50 thousand dollars a year to 15 thousand.  It would also strip about five million dollars from the county budget, severely impacting the boards ability to function as the county’s legislative branch of government.  Opponents of the measure say it would hurt diversity on the board, leave low-income neighborhoods unrepresented and shift the governing power to County Executive Chris Abele.


Free Ice-Fishing Next Weekend


1/13/13 – For the first time, Wisconsin is offering a free ice-fishing weekend. The D-N-R says it will take place January 19th and 20th – and both residents and non-residents will not need licenses and trout stamps to take fish from Wisconsin’s inland waters during that time. For years, the state has offered a free fishing weekend in June. Last year, the governor and Legislature passed a bill to create the free ice-fishing weekend. It’s part of a larger effort to get more Wisconsinites to take part in outdoor recreation.


Dance to Benefit State Veterans Museum


1/13/13 – Wisconsin’s First Lady and the state veterans’ secretary will host a dance to benefit the state Veterans’ Museum. The event is called “Faces of Freedom,” and will be held on Saturday March 2nd at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The governor’s wife, Tonette Walker, is hosting the dance along with state Veterans’ Affairs’ Secretary John Scocos (sco’-cuss). There will also be a reception, a program recognizing veterans, and a performance by comedian Fred Klett. Museum employees will also be there to record veterans’ stories. The 50-dollar event is open to the public. Governor Scott Walker had declared 2012 as the “Year of the Veteran” in Wisconsin.


BDCH Foundation Accepting Grant Applications


1/13/13 – The Beaver Dam Community Hospitals Foundation is accepting applications for grant funding requests through Tuesday.  Grant requests must be consistent with the mission of the Beaver Dam Community Hospitals Foundation and are intended to support community projects and programs that promote the health and wellness within the geographic area served by the hospital.  Since January of 2006, the foundation has awarded more than $386,000 in restricted and unrestricted funds.  The deadline to submit applications again is this Tuesday, January 15. For more information, visit www.bdch.com.  Organizations interested in applying for a grant for local health care or community health programs, please contact Dawn O’Polka at (920) 887-4077, or at [email protected], for an application or additional information.


Open House at New CHS Location


1/13/13 – Church Health Services is opening the doors to part of their new facility for the public this afternoon. The offices for the non-profit health care provider are located in the former St. Katharine’s Drexel Parish Center on North Center Street and Maple Avenue in Beaver Dam. Church Health Services had spent the past 19 years in Beaver Dam’s Trinity United Methodist Church providing primary care services to the poor and uninsured in the Dodge County-area.  Community Relations Coordinator Bev Beal-Loeck says they held their first clinics this week at the new building. Beal-Loeck says there will be a “soft” open house today (Sunday) from noon to 2pm. The public will not be able to tour the second floor but can tour the first floor clinics. The Open House is also a retirement party for Church Health Services co-founder Lois Augustson.


Listening Sessions with BD Mayor Set for Tuesday


1/13/13 – Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy has listening sessions scheduled this Tuesday. Kennedy opens his door for city residents to meet with him, one-on-one, without appointment on the first and third Tuesday of every month. Kennedy says it is important that constituents have the opportunity to speak with him the day after each regular meeting of the common council, which are typically held on the first and third Monday of the month. There is no council meeting tomorrow though because it is a second Monday. The listening sessions are held in Room 158 on the first floor of City Hall from 10am until noon and again from 5pm to 6pm tomorrow.  Kennedy also makes himself available for private meetings by appointment by contacting the mayor office.