News – February 6, 2011

Walker Speaks At Columbus Dinner


3/6/11 – Governor Scott Walker was guest speaker at the Columbia County “Lincoln Day Dinner” at Kestrel Ridge in Columbus Saturday night. Police from four different County communities were on hand to keep chanting demonstrators on the west side of Highway 89 to allow GOP members access.  Governor Walker told fellow Republicans that the state’s fiscal crisis led to the party’s victories in the November elections. He said the voters were looking for strong “leadership” in getting the state back in sound fiscal order.


Walker Gives Two Weeks In Layoffs


3/6/11 – Governor Scott Walker sets a deadline of two weeks.  He has told unions he will start laying off up to 15 hundred state employees at that time if the budget repair bill hasn’t been passed.  A spokesman for the governor says state employee retirements could reduce that layoff number.  For the first time, Governor Walker reportedly indicated last Thursday that he would be willing to make at least a marginal change to his budget repair plan.  That legislation has been stopped cold since February 17, when those 14 Senate Democrats left the state.  Spending bills require 20 senators to be present for passage, but Republicans hold only 19 seats.


Talks Between Dem’s, GOP Remain Open


3/6/11 – Talks between Democrats and Republicans broke down last Thursday, but participants say lines of communication remain open.  State Senator Tim Cullen says it will be hard for either side to compromise because Democrats don’t want to lose the support of their base and Governor Scott Walker doesn’t want to appear to be weak by backing down.  Cullen is one of the 14 Democrats who left the state to block a vote on the governor’s budget bill.  Wisconsin Senators Lena Taylor and Chris Larson joined the Reverend Jesse Jackson in Chicago yesterday, asking Walker to negotiate with workers to resolve the differences.


Michael Moore Appears At Madison Protest


3/6/11 – Liberal documentary maker Michael Moore says Wisconsin residents should keep up their fight against the governor’s collective bargaining bill.  Moore talked to thousands of protesters outside the state Capitol yesterday.  He compared their struggle to the revolt in Egypt.  Moore said the wealthy are overreaching, first taking the workers’ money, then taking their souls – by shutting them up at the bargaining table.  The crowd roared its approval.  Protesters have rallied at the Capitol for the past three weeks, opposing the bill stripping them of most collective bargaining abilities.


Walkers Approval Rating Slip


3/6/11 – Four months after he was elected Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker’s approval ratings have slipped precipitously.  The controversy over Walker’s approach to the state budget may be driving numbers lower.  The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, released Friday, shows only 34 percent of respondents strongly approve of the job he’s doing.  Forty-eight percent strongly disapprove.  The governor’s positive review percentage is 43, while 57 percent of likely Wisconsin voters view him negatively.  He only gets job approval ratings of 19 percent from households containing a union member.  Outside of those households, Walker’s approval rating is about even – 49 percent favorable and 51 percent unfavorable.  Families with at least one child in the public school system strongly disapprove of his work 67 percent of the time.


Green Lake DA Seeks Fish Kill Payments


3/6/11 – The Green Lake County District Attorney says an Ohio man convicted of killing fish has failed to fulfill his part of the plea agreement.  Timothy Smith was convicted of three violations of DNR ordinances in a fish kill in November 2009.  Smith had been hired to kill carp, but his nets also killed three thousand walleye, northern pike and catfish.  The DA wants to revoke that agreement.  A hearing has reportedly been scheduled for next month to determine what the next step should be.  Smith was to pay 300 dollars per month to start covering more than 22 thousand dollars in fines, assessments and court costs.  The District Attorney filed his motion last Friday because Smith has missed making the required payments.


Mississippi River Flooding Guaranteed


3/6/11 – Flooding is almost guaranteed for the banks of the Mississippi River this year.  That’s what National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Welvaert tells the La Crosse Tribune.  He says western Minnesota has some of its highest snow and water content totals in history — and all that water is going to drain into the Mighty Mississippi.  Forecasters are saying the temperatures during the first two weeks of March will be below normal, with precipitation above normal.  Again, that means more water draining into the big river.  The weather service is predicting there is a good chance the Mississippi will reach at least moderate flood stage during April at La Crosse.  With record snow cover in eastern Minnesota, meteorologists say major flooding is a very real possibility.


Walker Considers Federal Disaster Aid


3/6/11 – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is considering a request for a federal disaster declaration connected to the January blizzard which swamped the southern part of the state.  The cost of the huge storm is estimated at something over 10-point-4 million dollars.  Walker wants the Federal Emergency Management Agency to investigate the snowfall totals and costs tied to it.  Authorities say a dozen counties had wind speeds of up to 60 miles an hour and snow on the ground between 12 and 26 inches.  The storm lasted from January 31 to February 2.


MPTC Presidential Forums This Week


3/6/11 – An open forum will be held this week featuring the three finalists under consideration to be the next president of Moraine Park Technical College. On Monday, the forum will include Dr. Kathleen Brock from Ridgewater College in Minnesota. On Tuesday, the forum will feature Dan Ensalaco of Moraine Park Technical College. On Wednesday, the forum will feature Dr. Shelia Ruhland with Rockingham Community College in Wentworth, North Carolina. Each forum begins at 2pm and will be broadcast live from Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus with interactive video conferencing at the West Bend at Beaver Dam campuses. Those who attend will be able to fill out a survey that will be used by the Presidential Search Committee in making a decision on the final candidate.


Kennedy Listening Sessions Tuesday


3/6/11 – 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 listening sessions 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.


Tree Deadline Extended


3/6/11 – The deadline has been extended for those seeking to order trees as part of the annual Small Packet Tree sales program in Dodge County. The Land Conservation Department is offering a wide variety of species of trees for sale, including American Cranberry Bush, White Cedar, White Pine, Cedar Maple, Colorado Blue Spruce, White Spruce and Norway Spruce. Some trees species have sold out including Red and White Oak, Frasier Fir and Tamarack. The trees are sold in bundles of 25 for $23 per bundle. The deadline has been extended for a final time to March 17. For more information or to get an order form, contact the Dodge County Land Conservation Department at 386-3660 or visit the county website at