LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER


 

 

May 16, 2013

     

 

CONTACT ME


Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might have.

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487

Email:
Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

 

Mailing Address:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707

 

Web Site:

SenatorChrisLarson.com

 

Find Me on Facebook and Twitter:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY EVENTS
 

Supporting our neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and your family are listed below. 
 

 

Swan Lake

Date: Now through Sun., May 19

Location: Milwaukee

Description: There is a reason Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake is the most popular ballet of all time. It is one of ballet's most powerful stories of love and deception. Milwaukee Ballet's dramatic production promises to showcase the company's strong classical dancers, while the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra performs this timeless classic with passion and grace. CLICK HERE or call (414) 273-7206 for more information or to purchase tickets.

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (MAP)
929 N. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202

 

 

Grant Park Weed-outs

Date: Sat., May 18 from 9 a.m. to Noon

Location: South Milwaukee

Description: Help neighbors pull invasive garlic mustard to protect plant diversity in Grant Park. Meet at the tennis court parking lot (Area 1). CLICK HERE or call (414) 764-0612 for more information.

 

Grant Park (MAP)

100 E. Hawthorne Avenue

South Milwaukee, WI 53172

 

 

BVNA Bloom & Groom Plant Sale
Date: Sat., May 18 from 9 a.m. to Noon

Location: Bay View

Description: Join the Bay View Neighborhood Association at the Humboldt Park Pavilion to get a head start on your garden planting. There will be great deals on annuals and perennials at this special event.

 

Humboldt Park Pavilion (MAP)

3000 S. Howell Avenue

Milwaukee, WI 53207

 

 

City of Cudahy Bike Auction & Rummage Sale

Date: Sat., May 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Location: Cudahy

Description: Partake in the auction of bicycles and rummage hosted by the Cudahy Historical Society and Cudahy Police Department. Paddle sales begin at 9 a.m. with the auction starting at 11 a.m. A city rummage sale will occur simultaneously in the Historical Society Annex. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Cudahy Historical Society (MAP)

4647 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue

Cudahy, WI 53110

 

 

Bay View Historical Society Yard Sale
Date: Sat., May 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: Bay View

Description: Stop by this annual yard sale to benefit the Society. Refreshments are available for purchase on the grounds of the historic Beulah Brinton House. The yard sale itself will be held on the grounds and inside the house. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Beulah Brinton House (MAP)

2590 S. Superior Street

Milwaukee, WI 53207

 


Bicycle Fiesta
Date: Sat., May 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Join the Wisconsin Bike Federation in enjoying the Hank Aaron State Trail. Bikes and food will be available for purchase. There will also be free trail biking and walking tours. This is a great opportunity to discover the trails in your own back yard. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Wisconsin Bike Federation (MAP)

3618 W. Pierce Street

Milwaukee, WI 53215

 

 

Memorial Day Parades and Ceremonies

Date: Monday, May 27

Location: Multiple locations in the Milwaukee area

Description: Join your fellow neighbors in celebrating Memorial Day, where we honor those that bravely fought for our country.
 

St. Francis, 8:30 a.m., ceremony at the St. Francis War Memorial located at 4230 S. Nicholson Avenue


Oak Creek, 9 a.m., ceremony at Forest Hill Memorial Park located at 3301 E. Forest Hill Avenue


South Milwaukee, 10 a.m., parade begins at 13th and Manitoba and concludes with a ceremony at the South Milwaukee War Memorial located on Chicago Avenue north of Rawson Avenue


Cudahy, 10:30 a.m., ceremony at the Cudahy War Memorial located on E. Layton Avenue and S. Lake Drive

 

Milwaukee, 2 p.m., parade begins at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, proceeds towards the War Memorial Center, and ends with a ceremony at Veterans Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

 

In light of all the problems at WEDC, Democrats have taken charge to introduce reforms while WEDC has failed to even acknowledge the problem. This report also discusses the passage of anti-local control legislation against Milwaukee County, supporting our local farmer's markets, and a bill banning FoodShare recipients from purchasing cheese. Continue reading for more information about these and other important community and state issues.


Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

 

Democrats Propose WEDC Reforms

Job creation is imperative as Wisconsin ranks 44th in the nation in job creation and dead last in short-term job growth. Yet Governor Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has made our state a running joke across the country in this area. The people of Wisconsin are at their breaking point with this agency Republicans hastily-created two years ago to replace the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

 

This public-private agency has had persistent problems since its inception in 2011. These include circumventing Wisconsin's fair and competitive bidding process and ignoring federal and state laws when giving out grants. The final straw was losing track of over $50 million in loans, including about $12 million that were overdue.

Unfortunately for taxpayers, it appears WEDC's problems have not been relegated to the past. In fact, the revelations made in four audits of the agency, particularly the newly released report, are nothing short of shocking. Below are some problems that were mentioned in the WEDC audit:

  • Provided awards to ineligible recipients, for ineligible projects, and for ineligible amounts

  • Disregarded the law by not requiring grant and loan recipients to disclose their financial statements

  • Ignored requests to put policies in place for handling delinquent loans

  • Failed to put policies in place or track use of agency credit cards resulting in purchases of iTunes gift cards, Badger football tickets, and alcohol with taxpayer dollars

  • Mismanaged record-keeping preventing WEDC from assessing its effectiveness in creating jobs

  • Lacked transparency on staff compensation, staff fringe benefits, and gifts from businesses and other organizations with a financial interest in WEDC

Click here to read more about WEDC's complete failure, which was detailed in a past Larson Report.

 

In fact, WEDC's reported problems are likely impeding much-needed job growth in Wisconsin. Their attempt at creating flexibilities within the agency have actually created a free-for-all that has left even prospective businesses confused about what programs are offered, the qualifications for each program, and how to apply. While Republicans have been failing to properly address this festering problem and WEDC's inability to track millions in taxpayer dollars, Democrats announced a plan this Wednesday to help put Wisconsin's job creation agency on the right track. Continue reading for more information about the two proposals announced by Democrats.

 

Allowing Proper Board Oversight  

Currently, WEDC's governing board is relatively ineffective as its authority is crippled by its chair, Governor Walker, and the autonomy of the agency. Therefore, my Democratic colleagues and I will be introducing a legislative proposal that aims to give the board the tools it needs to properly oversee the floundering WEDC. The major provisions related to WEDC's board included in this proposal are listed below:

  • Require the board chair be elected by the board.

  • Authorize the board to hire/fire all top WEDC positions (CEO, CFO, COO).

  • Ensure all policies are approved by a majority of the board.

  • Comply with state laws by reporting criteria regarding claw back provisions, loan forgiveness, and how out-of-compliance loans will be handled.

  • Include members with experience in financial management, municipal/regional economic development, and private sector business. Further, at least one board member must be an expert in corporate ethics.

  • Maintain a finance committee consisting of five elected board members with one serving as finance committee chair. The committee would review and approve proposed incentive deals created by the CFO.

  • Fill vacant board positions with individuals chosen from a qualified pool of candidates submitted by the board to the board chair.

  • Restructure WEDC's Audit Committee, which will be required to oversee WEDC's compliance with state law and board directives. This committee will be required to meet monthly.

  • Create the position of "Lead Director" on the board, similar to most publicly traded companies.

  • Require fixed, staggered terms for WEDC Board of Directors members.

  • Allow only board committee chairs to set their own agendas.

Accurate Facts and Honest Reports
There is already a law saying WEDC must report to the Legislature once each year. However, statutes say little about what must be included in this report. As a result, WEDC has been allowed to function without developing a budget for the past two years of its activity. This proposal would fully describe what must be included in that legally-required report. Below are the details:

  • Describe each program WEDC will pursue or plans to create.

  • List the amount of money WEDC intends to spend on each program.

  • Specify how many companies or other entities will participate in the program.

  • Provide benchmark indicators of success.

  • Establish clear goals for each program, including the number of jobs to be created.

  • Review every out-of-compliance contract since July 2011, the action taken, and the justification for it.

  • Offer a comprehensive report on all jobs created to date since the creation of WEDC.

This is WEDC's last chance. Change needs to happen, and it needs to happen now. Losing track of taxpayer dollars, especially during difficult economic times, is unacceptable. We cannot allow WEDC to continue this fraud, waste, and abuse at a time when neighborhood schools are not able to spend a single new dollar in the classrooms and 90,000 Wisconsinites are being cut from BadgerCare. Until accountability and transparency measures are enacted, no new taxpayer dollars should be wasted at WEDC. This is the least we owe taxpayers who have been paying the cost for WEDC's missteps from the beginning.
 

 

Anti-Local Control Bill Sent to Governor

Earlier this week, the Senate and Assembly passed legislation, Assembly Bill 85, that is an outright attack on local control. This is only the most recent in a series of Republican-sponsored legislative attacks on their political enemies. This time, the victim is local government in Milwaukee. This big government move mandates the micromanagement of local government in our community, and leaves us wondering: who is next?

 

Below are just some of the concerning provisions contained in this bill, which has now been sent to the governor for his signature:

  • Cut the county board budget to 0.4% of the property tax levy immediately upon passage of the bill, which equals an 85% budget reduction after paying existing commitments

  • Transfer authorities away from the county board and department heads to the county executive

  • Grant additional authorities to the county executive to prevent supervisors from working too closely with department personnel

  • Reduce term length from four years to two years

  • Change contract negotiation, signing of contracts, consolidation of service agreement processes, and administration and management of certain departments

  • Limit supervisors' salaries to median income and the prevent them from obtaining health care coverage and pension benefits

  • Reduce salary and benefits of supervisors in 2016 regardless of the outcome of the 2014 binding referendum

  • Limit the referendum in April 2014 to only asking about possible pay and benefit reduction of supervisors, not the other provisions of the bill

 

Click here or on the video above to watch the floor debate on AB 85 on WisconsinEye.

 

How the Milwaukee County Board Compares

The Milwaukee County Board is comprised of 18 supervisors, each representing between 50,000 and 55,000 neighbors, which is the same size as most State Assembly districts. Additionally, the County Board employs about 38 full-time staff members, including constituent service professionals, committee clerks, auditors, and budget analysts. Having a board and professional staff of that size allows supervisors to remain informed about county issues, be responsive to neighbors' concerns, and provide legislative oversight of the county executive and sheriff.

Furthermore, the proposed cut raises fundamental issues about maintaining a system of checks and balances in local government, and whether the Wisconsin State Legislature should have the authority to intervene in what is clearly an issue of local control. Although groups supporting the severe restrictions argue that no other Wisconsin county has a supervisory board comparable to Milwaukee, we must also remember that no other county in our state has such an economically and ethnically diverse population of nearly 1 million people, or more than one-sixth of the state's total population. Additionally, the Milwaukee Supervisory Board oversees a $1 billion dollar budget, and is responsible for oversight of a regional airport, county zoo, and county-funded mental health complex.

Critics of the current full-time board have compared the current structure of 18 supervisors and an annual salary of about $50,000 to the salary and structure of the Board in 1970. What critics have failed to mention, however, is that the Board in 1970 had 25 members, who were each paid a salary of $68,000 (when adjusted for inflation).


Watering Down Our Checks and Balances

While this bill makes enormous changes to the Milwaukee County Board, it leaves the County Executive Office completely untouched. With the long history of Milwaukee County Executives abusing their power, this proposal sets us on a dangerous course in the wrong direction. Milwaukee County has seen past executives, as recently as 2006, attempt to sell off our valued and profitable state assets, which include the Milwaukee County Airport, the Milwaukee County Zoo, and even our neighborhood parks.

 

By preventing the board from continuing its watchdog role of the county executive, he will now have the ability to continue where others left off with regards to selling our assets. Hopefully the people of Milwaukee county will see past the smoke and mirrors and realize that this bill is less about supervisor salaries and more about hampering oversight and removing the necessary checks and balances in local government to concentrate power in the County Executive Office.

 

Ignoring the People of Milwaukee County
In addition to circumventing Milwaukee County's local leaders, Assembly Bill 85 also ignores the wishes of the people residing in the county who are directly supporting the board. The Milwaukee County Board is an elected body and if Milwaukee County residents have a problem with their representation, it is their right to make their voice heard to promote change.

 

Further, while this bill allows Milwaukee County residents to vote in a referendum regarding the pay of county board supervisors, that is the only provision of the passed bill that residents will be able to vote on. They will not be able to vote on increasing the power of the county executive, decreasing the budget for the board overall, or reducing term lengths by two years.

Additionally, rather than putting the limited referendum to a vote during a major election, Republicans chose April 2014, an election where not all municipalities will even have major races and thus have significantly lower voter turnout. The main proponents of this legislation is an out-of-county special interest group, the county executive, and former supervisors that will not be affected by the changes. Clearly the residents of Milwaukee County were not the main consideration for furthering this bill.

 

Republicans Continue Their Attack on Milwaukee

This bill continues what we have already seen: a calculated attack on the city and county of Milwaukee. This attack has become so brazen that a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel headline even asked: "Is the GOP-run state Legislature at war with Milwaukee?" Considering the proposals introduced this session, the answer appears to be yes.

 

In addition to passing this anti-local control measure against Milwaukee County, while leaving other counties untouched, for now, legislative Republicans have also pursued legislation or proposals to:

  • Kill the Milwaukee street car project

  • Revoke residency requirements for local employees

  • Expand vouchers while refusing to give public school children a single additional dollar in the classrooms

What Republicans seem to be forgetting is that city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County play a pivotal role in the overall economic success of our state. In reality, as goes Milwaukee, so goes the rest of the state. Instead of continuing an unfair attack on our only world-class city, Republicans should be focusing on how to better support this economic engine.

 

 

Restore Public Schools Cuts

Last Thursday, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released adjusted budget projections, which show that Wisconsin will have an additional $500 million. Unfortunately, while my Democratic colleagues and I are calling for all of this money to be reinvested in public schools for our children, the governor has said that this money should be used for such things as tax breaks and building our rainy day fund.

 

Republicans seem to have forgotten that two years ago they passed a budget that implemented the largest cuts to education--$1.6 billion--in our state's history. While the additional $500 million only covers a portion of these cuts, it is a significant improvement over the $0 increase per student that Governor Walker's budget proposes.

 

These record-breaking cuts and the diversion of $92 million in additional education funding into voucher schools has put our children's future in a precarious position. Wisconsin's public schools are at their breaking point, having been forced to cut valued staff, vital programs including art and music, and educational opportunities. Further, these cuts have left some Wisconsin schools facing increased class sizes of 30, 35 and even 40 students.

 

It is imperative that we put this $500 million back into our neighborhood, public schools to provide future generations with the best education possible to compete in a 21st century economy. Remember, it is Wisconsin's future generations that will determine our state's economic success for years to come. Our children's success is our success.

 

Make Your Voice Heard
It is time for all of us to do something about this misguided, nonsensical education budget. Let the governor and Republican Legislature know that you oppose their misplaced education priorities. Tell them to support public education and stop spending public dollars on unaccountable private voucher schools by signing this petition being circulated on SignOn.org. The petition states the following:

In 2011, Governor Walker and the Republican Legislature passed a budget that contained the largest cuts to public education in Wisconsin history--$1.6 billion gone from our kids' schools. Class sizes went up drastically. Quality after-school programs were eliminated. Good teachers were laid off.

This year, the governor's proposed budget freezes public school spending, while increasing funding for unaccountable and unproven private voucher schools. Tell Governor Walker and the state Republicans to stand up for our kids and not special interests that want to profit on the backs of our future generations.


Petition signatures will then be shared with your state representative, state senator, and the governor. Additionally, once a neighbor has signed on to the petition, they will then have the option to send information about the petition to others by sharing it on Facebook, tweeting about it on Twitter, or emailing it to friends and family.

Join 3,315 of your fellow Wisconsinites by clicking here to sign the petition.

 

 

Farmer's Markets Almost Here!

Support our local economy this summer by frequenting one of Wisconsin's many farmer's markets. According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, there are many benefits to buying local for producers and consumers alike, including:

  • Strengthens Our Local Economy--Buying locally increases employment, attracts businesses to the area, and ensures more money stays within our own community.

  • Supports Family Farms--The number of family farms in Wisconsin are decreasing. We need to keep these local farmers in business so that we preserve Wisconsin's rural landscape and farming tradition.

  • Fresher Food--Local food is fresher than food shipped from other states and countries. Additionally, locally grown foods tend to contain fewer pesticides.

  • Decrease Farm to Table Distance--On average food travels 1,500 miles to reach a consumer's plate. Decreasing food miles lessens the impact on the environment and our dependence on oil.

  • Enhances Connection Between Producer and Consumer--Buying locally provides consumers the opportunity to connect with businesses and learn more about their growing and management practices.

Stop By a Local Farmer's Market

Wisconsin is home to plenty of farmer's markets that can be found all across the state. We are fortunate to have many of them located right here in our community. Please see the list below to find a farmer's market near you:


East Town Market
Date: June 1 through October 5
Time: Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Cathedral Square Park located at Kilbourn and N. Jefferson in Milwaukee

Click here or call (414) 271-1416 for more information.

East Side Green Market
Date: June 15 through October 12
Time: Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Beans & Barley parking lot located at 1901 East North Avenue in Milwaukee

Click here or call (414) 272-5823 for more information.

South Shore Farmers Market
Date: June 15 through October 12 (except July 14)
Time: Saturdays from 8 a.m. to Noon
Location: 2900 South Shore Drive in Milwaukee

Click here or for more information.

South Milwaukee Downtown Market
Date: May 23 through October 10
Time: Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee & 11th Avenue in South Milwaukee


Click here or call (414) 704-6622 for more information.

Riverwest Gardeners Market
Date: June 16 through October 27
Time: Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Garden Park located at the corner of Locust and Bremen Streets in Milwaukee

Click here or call (414) 367-9389 for more information.

 

Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Faces Chopping Block

Unfortunately, we have learned that Governor Walker is attempting to use his 2013-2015 budget to eliminate the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program, which would threaten the success of our local farmer's markets. Earlier this week, the Joint Committee on Finance voted to restore funding for the program in full. My colleagues and I hope this program will remain intact, however, it could still be altered or removed from the budget with an amendment on the floor or potentially by governor's veto.

 

This is not the first time he has tried to do away with this popular and successful program. He also cut the program completely in his 2011-2013 budget proposal, only to have 90% of the funding restored by the Joint Finance Committee, demonstrating that Democrats and Republicans alike recognize how crucial this program is to Wisconsin's workers and local businesses.

 

Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin is a $200,000 grant program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. This comprehensive economic development program was designed to increase the local sales of agricultural food products grown within the state by supporting efforts of farmers to develop additional markets for agricultural products. In the first two years of the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program, grants resulted in $2.7 million in new local food sales and $600,000 in new investment. Additionally, over 1,200 Wisconsin producers have benefited from the grants, and dozens of other jobs have been created and retained in the state.

Farmer's markets are the most prominent example of the development of local and regional food systems. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service, which annually catalogs all operating farmer's markets in the U.S., farmers markets increased nationally from about 2,900 in 2000 to approximately 6,100 in 2010. As of the 2010 survey, Wisconsin ranked 8th in the U.S. in the number of farmers markets it offers with 204.

Buying local is good for all of us, as it not only helps inject our economy with a much-needed financial boost, but it also increases job opportunities for our neighbors. In the end, buying local has benefits that greatly outweigh the costs. This commitment to buying local products and frequenting locally-owned businesses is exactly what Wisconsin needs during this time of economic uncertainty. Therefore, I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue to stand up to Governor Walker's attempts to eliminate the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program by ensuring there is funding to support it for future years.

 

Click here for more information on this program.

 

 

Ask Chris

I often have neighbors contact me looking for my perspective on various local and state issues. I very much appreciate our neighbors' questions and want to dedicate a portion of my newsletter to common questions that I hear to maintain an open dialogue. Please continue reading for this week's question.

Q: Is it true that Republicans have introduced legislation to ban FoodShare recipients from buying organic foods and even Wisconsin cheese?

A: Wisconsin's FoodShare program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is available to working and non-working Wisconsinites with a low income. The benefits are provided on an electronic swipe card to recipients by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and can be used to buy food. The funds cannot be used for hot foods cooked in the store, alcohol, tobacco, or pet food. Wisconsin's FoodShare program currently serves 850,000 adults and children in need.

 

Recently, a Republican representative introduced legislation he claimed would prevent FoodShare recipients from purchasing unhealthy foods, like soda and candy, with their swipe card. Unfortunately, this bill has instead become a prime example of what can happen when a legislator introduces legislation without fully considering the unintended consequences.

 

As a result, the Legislature must now consider a bill that flies in the face of our Wisconsin values. Not only does this bill ban certain types of milk and cheese, but it also limits organic foods, which are free of chemicals and pesticides making them widely considered to be healthier than their non-organic counterparts. For example, under this bill, FoodShare recipients would be prohibited from or limited in their ability to purchase Swiss cheese, organic milk, and white rice to feed themselves and their family. On the other hand, this same family would be allowed to buy mild cheddar and brown rice.

 

This relatively arbitrary classification of acceptable versus unacceptable foods has caused this bill to receive widespread disapproval from Wisconsin's farmers and businesses. In fact, while nearly 20 groups and businesses have registered on the bill, including Kraft Foods Group Inc., Wisconsin Agribusiness Council, Wisconsin Grocers Association, and Wisconsin Retail Merchants Association, there is still not a single group or business registered in support of this bill.

 

Grocery and convenience stores, for example, are largely in-charge of enforcing FoodShare restrictions. Should this bill go into effect, it would make it challenging for these businesses tasked with approving or rejecting foods for purchase with FoodShare swipe cards as there are thousands of food options, many of which are not on the "approved list" or "banned list." Additionally, this legislation may also negatively impact the bottom line of companies in Wisconsin, including family farms, and as a result, lose valuable Wisconsin jobs.

 

While I think we all can agree that more needs to be done to improve the health of all Wisconsinites, I think it is fair to say that this bill does not achieve the goal it set out to do.

 

 

Did You Know...?

You may have noticed that automobile races and car shows are now common place in Wisconsin and across the country. But did you know that Wisconsin hosted the nation's first automobile race in 1878?

 

The state offered $10,000 to the inventor of a machine that could move from Green Bay to Madison under its own power. With an average speed of 6 mph, it took Alexander Gallagher of Oshkosh approximately 22 hours to win the race and the money.

 

 

May is Stroke Awareness Month

May is Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is currently the number three killer in Wisconsin and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Stroke does not discriminate as it affects people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. About 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means, on average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds.

The most important factor in minimizing the effects of stroke is time. The longer someone suffering a stroke takes to get treatment, the more damage their brain endures. To help treat a stroke, a patient can be given a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). This drug may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. However, this medication can only be administered within three hours of stroke symptom onset. Therefore, it is important to know the symptoms and how to test for a stroke. Remember that a stroke is a medical emergency, so if you think you or someone else is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. Also, be sure to keep track of the time the symptoms started so physicians can determine if tPA can be administered.

Everyone should know the warning signs of a stroke to better help themselves, their friends, or their family should they experience a stroke. Unfortunately, 37% of Americans cannot identify even one stroke warning sign. Do not be another statistic and learn the warning signs today. Warning signs include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the arms, legs, or face especially on one side of the body

  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination

  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Another easy way to remember the signs of stroke, and what to do, is by the acronym "F.A.S.T." If you think you or someone else is having a stroke, follow the National Stroke Association's F.A.S.T. test:

(F)ACE. Ask the person to smile to see if one side of the face droops.
(A)RMS. Ask the person to raise both arms. See if one arm drifts downward.
(S)PEECH. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Check to see if words are slurred and if the sentence is repeated correctly.
(T)IME. If a person shows any of these symptoms, time is essential.

There are some easy things that you can do to reduce your risk of stroke. For example, the leading risk factor of stroke is high blood pressure, therefore it is important to get regular medical check-ups that include a blood pressure test. Reducing sodium in your diet and committing to regular physical activity can also help reduce your chance of having a stroke.

Click here to visit the American Stroke Association's Web site for more information about stroke and what you can do to prevent it.

 

 

To Unsubscribe from the weekly Larson Report Newsletter, please reply to this email with the word "Unsubscribe."