“News – April 15, 2011”

Fitzgerald Draws Hundreds For Spring Office Hours


4/15/11 – Over 200 people turned out last night as State Senator Scott Fitzgerald held office hours at the Dodge County Administration Building. The Juneau Republican fielded questions from his constituents for almost four hours on several topics but the majority centered around Republican efforts to restrict collective bargaining rights for public union employees. Retired educator Pat Lutz of Beaver Dam told Fitzgerald that the collective bargaining restrictions, or “tools,” being provided to school districts will only push the hard decisions down to the local level, giving school boards no other choice but to cut salary and benefits to the bare minimum and allow only the largest school districts to attract the best and brightest. Fitzgerald maintained his position that it is wrong for public sector unions to collectively organize against the taxpayer. Corrections worker Tom Schmidt told Fitzgerald that he doesn’t want to live in “Fitzwalkerstan.” Schmidt said Fitzgerald turned the State Patrol into a political organization by ordering his dad, State Patrol Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald, to harass the families of the 14 Senate Democrats who fled to Illinois to block the vote on collective bargaining restrictions. Fitzgerald denied the charge says he never spoke to his dad about having the State Patrol round up the democrats.



MPTC Names New President


4/15/11 – A new president of Moraine Park Technical College has been named. The school’s Board of Trustees has announced that Dr. Shelia Ruhland has accepted the position and will join the college in July. Moraine Park’s Board chair Jodine Deppisch says Ruhland’s “experience building and growing partnerships with business and industry, as well as schools and universities, will help her continue to forward Moraine Park’s mission of building and maintaining a competitive workforce.” Ruhland currently serves as Vice President of Instruction at Rockingham Community College in Wentworth, North Carolina, where she is responsible for all academic and continuing education programs and distance learning. Ruhland says she is honored to have been selected as Moraine Park’s next president and says she is “excited to become part of the team at Moraine Park and a member of the community.” As Moraine Park’s new president, she will earn $160,000. During her first year, Ruhland says she plans to listen, learn and develop relationships with the campus community and the many stakeholders Moraine Park serves. The board will take official action to approve the employment contract during their April 20 meeting. Ruhland succeeds Dr. Gayle Hytrek who will retire in June after serving as president since July 2004.


Appeals Court Rejects Repeal of Prayer Day


4/15/11 – A federal appeals court today threw out a lawsuit from a Madison group which claimed that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. District Judge Barbara Crabb of Madison had agreed with Madison’s Freedom-from-Religion Foundation that the prayer day be halted. But three members of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago disagreed, and dismissed the Foundation’s lawsuit. They said the group had no legal standing in the matter. Chief appeals judge Frank Easterbrook said the annual proclamation does not force anyone to pray. And he said neither the Freedom from Religion Foundation nor anybody else is hurt by rejecting the president’s request to pray. Foundation attorney Rebecca Markert said her group is troubled by the appellate court’s decision. She said they would seek a ruling from the full appellate court. Congress started the National Day of Prayer in the early 1950’s. In ’88, they scheduled it for the first Thursday in May.

Palin Coming To Madison

4/15/11 – Sarah Palin will visit Madison on Saturday to speak to conservatives at their Tax Day Rally. The event is planned from noon-to-two outside the State Capitol. A Tea Party official says members will be there in droves, and the Americans for Prosperity will send bus-loads of folks to the event.


Jobless Rate Holding Steady


4/15/11 – Wisconsin added 98-hundred private sector jobs in March – but the state’s unemployment rate has not changed in the last two months. Workforce development officials reported a seasonally-adjusted jobless rate of seven-point-four percent for last month. That’s the same as in February and January. But it’s down from nine-percent in the same month a year ago. Department Secretary Manny Perez said manufacturing – the state’s largest sector – added 28-hundred jobs last month. But the leisure and hospitality industry reported a decline of 26-hundred jobs. The transportation, warehousing, and utility sector cut a-thousand positions. And government had net reduction of 700 jobs. But as a whole, Perez says Wisconsin is seeing solid job growth – and over 28-thousand openings are now posted on the Job Center of Wisconsin’s Web site. Only statewide unemployment figures were released today. Local numbers will come out later this month.

Dems Call For 2006 A-G Election Investigation

4/15/11 – Wisconsin’s Democratic Party asked state election officials Thursday to expand its investigation into Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus. She’s under fire for not counting Brookfield’s votes in her Election Night tally for the State Supreme Court race last week. Now, Democratic Chairman Mike Tate wants to know if Nickolaus under-reported 17-thousand votes in the 2006 race for Wisconsin attorney general. The clerk’s Web site counted 174-thousand votes for the candidates – but it said only 156-thousand were cast. Tate said the discrepancy was enough to turn the election – meaning that Democrat Kathleen Falk would have won instead of Republican J-B Van Hollen. Tate said the discrepancy is a “serious concern” – and given the revelations of the past week, he asked state Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy to expand his inquiry. A blogger noticed discrepancies this week for that race and others. And Nickolaus then posted clarifications on her Web site. She said the candidates’ vote totals do not equal the “ballots cast” totals, because the candidate results include hand-counted ballots which are not included in the “ballots cast” section. Also today, Democrats on the Assembly and Senate elections’ committees asked their G-O-P chairs to hold hearings on what’s happening in Waukesha County. The Democrats said last week’s mistake has raised questions about the integrity and public trust of the election system.


Lake Days Line-Up Announced


4/15/11 – The musical lineup for Beaver Dam Lake Days has been announced.  Jeff Hall DJ Service will spin the tunes on Thursday for the Teen Dance.  Starting at 4pm on Friday, the local band Beaver Dam’s Most Wanted will perform classic rock hits during the fish boil.  Taking the stage at 8pm will be Chasin Mason and they’ll be playing a mix of Merle and Mellencamp with U2 and Keith Urban.  Saturday’s highlights will include a Beaverland Must-Skis show in the afternoon and fireworks at dusk.  During the afternoon RPM will take to the stage and perform a variety of music from country to rock.  Then at 8pm Cherry Pie will hit the stage to perform 80’s rock songs.  Sunday will see another Must-Ski’s show and performances by Don Peachy Band and Brian and the Mississippi Valley Dutchmen.  This year’s event will run July 7 through the 10 at Tahoe Park in Beaver Dam.  For more information visit beaverdamlakedays.com.