“News – April 17, 2011”

BDAAA Exhibit Opening: “The Horse In Art”


4/17/11 – The public has the opportunity to meet some of the artists contributing to Beaver Dam Area Arts Association spring exhibit during an opening reception this afternoon. “The Horse in Art” showcases the artwork of regionally and nationally recognized equine artists. Among those in attendance today, Waupun photographer Polly Knoll who will be signing copies of her new book. “Treasurers of a Lifetime” is a full-color retrospective of her decade’s long experiences photographing horses around the world, including a photo shoot with the late Patrick Swayze. The Beaver Dam Area Arts Association is located on North Spring Street and is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 1pm to 4pm. Admission is free though donations are welcome. “The Horse In Art” runs through June 5.


Palin Speaks In Madison


4/17/11 – Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin tells a Wisconsin crowd she’s proud to stand with Governor Scott Walker.  Palin told the crowd Walker’s polarizing union rights law is actually designed to save public jobs.  Madison police estimated there were about 65 hundred people attending yesterday’s rally on the Capitol grounds, but they said the Tea Party members and Palin protesters were mingled so closely together it would be hard to say which crowd was bigger.  Walker signed a bill into law last month calling for almost all public workers to contribute more to their health care coverage and pensions.  Those changes amount to an average pay cut of eight percent.  The plan also takes from them their right to collectively bargain on anything except the level of their pay.  Palin told the crowd Walker did the right thing and people still have their jobs.


Hanson Recall Offices Burglarized


4/17/11 – Green Bay police report they are investigating a break-in at the office of the group trying to recall state Senator Dave Hansen.  Investigators say petitions, a computer and some T-shirts were reported to be stolen.  The Democratic state senator is one of 16 lawmakers being targeted from both parties by recall efforts tied to Wisconsin’s ongoing budget battle.  The break-in was reported Friday and apparently happened Thursday night.  Burglars broke a window to enter the office.  The stolen items were worth an estimated one thousand dollars.


Rainy Day Fund Legislation Uncertain


4/17/11 – The future is cloudy for legislation that would establish a constitutionally-protected rainy day fund for the state.  It is on hold in the Assembly.  In good years, the plan would cap tax collections at six and a half percent of Wisconsin’s personal income, with anything left over going into the fund.  In bad years, the state would still have to set aside one half of one percent of its tax collections.  The sponsor calls it a chance to restore trust in government.  Opponents say it means 124 million dollars would have to be put into that fund in a year like this one, and balancing the budget already seems like an almost insurmountable task.  It won’t happen soon.  Such a proposal would have to pass two consecutive sessions of the legislature, then be approved by voters to go into effect.


Dems State Budget Meetings Begin Wednesday


4/17/11 – The first of a series of Democratic meetings on the state budget will be held next Wednesday.  Many Democrats say they are upset because the Republican-controlled Legislature only scheduled four public hearings to take input on the governor’s 2011-2013 state spending plan.  Hundreds attended the hearings, but many more were turned away or told they could submit their opinions on paper only.  the first unofficial Democratic budget meeting will be held April 20 at Blackwater Technical College.


Walkers Plan Would Raise Property Taxes


4/17/11 – You’ll pay a little more to your public schools and local governments under Governor Scott Walker’s proposed state budget. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau says that the local tax bills mailed in December would be an average of eight-tenths-of-one-percent higher if the Republican Walker has his way. And there would be a four-tenths-percent increase for 2012. The non-partisan Fiscal Bureau says these averages, and they’ll vary widely from place-to-place. But on average, the owner of a 158-thousand-dollar home would pay 23-dollars more in December and 13-dollars more the year after that under Walker’s plan. It prevents larger increases by limiting tax hikes for cities and counties to the rate of a community’s growth. School tax increases would be held in check by a reduction in the state’s revenue limits for those institutions.


School Districts Facing Loss of Experience


4/17/11 – As record numbers of Wisconsin teachers retire, at least some school districts are counting on their lower-paid replacements to save enough money to avert layoffs. The governor’s proposed budget dramatically cuts state aid to public schools. And as many higher-paid teachers leave, districts will try to make up for some of those funding losses with lower-paid replacements. Around 30 teachers in Beaver Dam are retiring due to the Governor’s proposed budget and school officials say it will be impossible to make up for the loss in experience.  While the government cannot touch their pensions, teachers do fear that politicians will take away benefits like pre-Medicare health insurance if they don’t claim it now. The deadline was April first to declare retirements, but some school districts have granted extensions.


Athletic Hall Of Fame Nominations


4/17/11 – The Beaver Dam High School Athletic Hall of Fame continues to seek nominations for this year’s induction ceremony.  Nominations can be made in the three categories: a student athlete at the high school who graduated at least 10-years ago; a coach at the high school who has been retired for at least five years; or someone who is a friend of athletics at the high school.  Nominations forms can be picked up at the high school or the Educational Service Center and must be returned to the co-curricular office at the high school by June 1.  This year’s ceremony will take place as part of Homecoming this fall.


Beaver Dam Mayor Continues Listening Sessions


4/17/11 – Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy has listening sessions scheduled for Tuesday. Kennedy says city residents are invited to meet with him, one-on-one, without appointment on the first and third Tuesday of every month.  He says it is important that constituents have the opportunity to speak with him the day after each regular meeting of the common council. The meetings are held in Room 109 on the first floor of City Hall from 10am until noon and again from 5pm to 6pm.  Kennedy also makes himself available for private meetings by appointment by contacting the mayor office.


Real Estate Value Drop Easing


4/17/11 – This is how bad the real estate market has been — a drop in real estate values is seen as a sign the recession may be easing because that drop is so small.  Values were down three-10ths of one percent in the first quarter of this year.  Data released by the city of Madison Friday shows single-family home values down slightly, commercial values up a little and new construction not doing much at all.  The newest values are based on 2010 sales and other data.  They don’t reflect changes since the start of this year.  New assessments went out Friday, with those values serving as the basis for tax collections by the city, school districts, Dane County and Madison Area Technical College.