October 3, 2013
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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.
Location: South Milwaukee
Milwaukee Police Department is collecting medicine from South Milwaukee
residents. Citizens may bring unwanted or expired medicine to the South
Milwaukee Police Department, which now has a medicine collection box in
the lobby for citizens to utilize for this program. Contact the
Department's non-emergency phone number at (414) 768-8060 for more
information on hours and what medications are accepted.
South Milwaukee Police Department (MAP)
2424 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI
Milwaukee Film Festival
Date: Now through Thurs., October 10
Now in its fifth year, the Milwaukee Film Festival promises not to
disappoint. This 15-day event offers 241 feature and short films. With
such a wide variety, everyone should be able to find a film that speaks
to them. Also, the films shown this year are the cream of the crop, with
many having been voted audience favorites at other festivals.
Milwaukee's Downtown Thru The Eras Tours
Description: This unique tour of Milwaukee's most prestigious downtown buildings starts at the Plankinton Building and ends at the Milwaukee Art Museum to view its stunning new architecture. Meet in front of the T.J. Maxx entrance in the Plankinton Building (Shops of Grand Avenue). Cost is $10 for Non-Members, $2 for children ages 6-17, and free for children under six and Historic Milwaukee Incorporated Members. No reservations are necessary, except for groups of 10 or more. CLICK HERE for more information.
Plankinton Building (MAP)
161 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53226
Brady Street Pet
This year, the Brady Street Pet Parade party will be bigger than ever to
celebrate 12 furry years on Brady Street. Critters of all shapes and
sizes take to the streets for this annual pet parade and pet blessing.
In addition to a costume contest, there will also be a tail wagging
contest and a pet/owner look alike contest. In-person registration will
be available the day of the event. Spectacular sidewalk sales, great
raffles, prizes, canine agility demonstrations, vendors, and pet photo
ops await at this popular family-friendly event.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Milwaukee Foreclosure Prevention Event
Date: Thurs., October 10 from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Description: Mortgage Worries? Get free help at this foreclosure outreach event. Lenders and housing counselors will be on hand to meet with you and help you understand your options, provide information about payment plans and/or foreclosure mediation, and offer mortgage refinance or modification. The event will be held on Thursday, October 10 from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Washington Park Senior Center. CLICK HERE to view the fliers for this event (both in English and in Spanish).
Washington Park Senior Center (MAP)
4420 W. Vliet Street Milwaukee, WI 53208
Groups at the Oak Creek Library
Description: Two new book clubs are starting at the Oak Creek Public Library. BOOK CH@TS is open to 6th-8th graders, and TEEN RE@DS is open to 9th-12th graders. The book discussion groups will meet every other month to discuss a book that follows a particular theme. This year, BOOK CH@TS is reading books with multiple perspectives, and TEEN RE@DS is looking at books about World War II. The groups will meet on alternating months, on the second Thursday of the month at 4 p.m. CLICK HERE for more information.
Oak Creek Library (MAP)
8620 S. Howell Avenue
Oak Creek, WI 53154
Shrek: The Musical
"Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek..." And thus begins
the fairy tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing
journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey, a feisty princess who resists
her rescue, and a cast of banished fairy tale misfits. This musical
brings a story of adventure, friendship, and ogre love that is bringing
ugly back. This musical is best for children ages 6 and up.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Pioneer Farm Days
Stop by this Fall Harvest celebration and old-time farm show. See
antique tractors, engines, and machinery on display and at work. Watch a
sawmill cutting logs into lumber or a thresher separating wheat from its
straw. There will also be a flea market, farmers' market, farm toy show,
and events for the kids. Admission is $4 for adults and free for kids 12
CLICK HERE for more information.
American Legion Park (MAP)
9145 S. Shepard Avenue
Oak Creek, WI 53154
A lot of newsworthy events are currently happening at both the federal and state level. Therefore, this week's newsletter will discuss the beginning of open enrollment in the health care exchange, the federal government shutdown, Wisconsin's latest jobs numbers, and various proposed policy changes that could affect our neighborhood schools. Continue reading for more on these and other important topics.
Open Enrollment in Exchange Begins
The Health Insurance Marketplace or "exchange" began open enrollment on Tuesday, October 1. Through this Marketplace, families, individuals, and small business owners can shop for health insurance online. The federal government has launched a Web site, www.healthcare.gov, that will help individuals find and purchase the coverage that meets their needs and budget.
The exchange helps to simplify accessing affordable health care, as it compiles all of your options and allows you to compare them in one place. All of the information presented in the Marketplace is written simply so it is easy to understand, allowing you to make the best decisions about your health care. The process for enrolling in the exchanges has been streamlined into a four-step process, which is listed below:
The creation of the Health Insurance Marketplace and its corresponding Web site is just one aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA offers states the option of extending coverage of our health safety net programs for our family, friends, and neighbors. The federal government picks up 100% of the cost for the first three years and no less than 90% every year thereafter. Unfortunately, the governor and legislative Republicans decided to reject the ACA's recommended path to pursue their own Medicaid plan, which will cost the state more in taxpayer money to cover fewer Wisconsinites. It is shocking that Republicans would choose to reject the opportunity to expand health care coverage to nearly 85,000 more Wisconsinites, save the state $119 million over the biennium, and create approximately 10,500 new jobs. Why they made this decision is beyond comprehension and flies in the face of logic.
The Federal Government has Shut Down
As you may know, the Federal
Government shutdown on October 1, 2013, due to disagreement in the U.S.
Congress regarding governmental spending. When there is no Congressional decision on
spending allocations, no spending may be done. As a result, there are
some services that will be rendered unavailable or restricted until funds
are allocated. During this time, it is important to remember that
hundreds of thousands of workers will also be placed on indefinite
unpaid leave. Members of Congress, on the
other hand, will not miss any paychecks.
During the shutdown, federal
departments will only maintain services that are deemed "essential,"
others will be closed. Military will be mostly unaffected
due to legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado and
signed into effect by President Obama on Saturday, September 28, 2013,
although National Guard units across the nation have cancelled training.
As a self-funded entity, the U.S. Postal Service will also continue
normal operation. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA),
Coast Guard, and Customs and Border Protection will experience up to a
loss of 20% of staff, but will continue operation. Further, Passport and
Visa applications will use funds generated from fees to stay in
operation until the capital is depleted. There is also positive news for
our displaced workers as it has been announced that Unemployment
Insurance and worker compensation will be unaffected. Questions directed
towards some departments, as well as those regarding the allocation of
federal grants and funding, may be delayed as work is being continued
with limited staff.
In addition to some federal departments and agencies, there are other services that will also be rendered unavailable to the public. All units of the National Park Service will be closed and will be manned only by law enforcement personal and fire fighters. Barriers will block off sites such as Yosemite National park, the Statue of Liberty, and numerous monuments in Washington D.C. The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution will also be unavailable during this time. The Environmental Protection Agency will not be issuing permits for buildings or resource extraction operations during the furlough. The IRS will not provide assistance to taxpayers during the shutdown, and refunds will likely be delayed.
Some Wisconsin safety net programs may be affected by the government shutdown, as well, including food programs for low-income women, children, and the elderly. While these programs likely have enough funds to get by for the next few weeks, the Wisconsinites that rely on such programs may be shifted to food pantries, which are already stressed.
In the days leading up to the shutdown, the Republicans in Congress had been protesting the implementation of health care reform. A resolution that would delay any shutdown until December passed in the Senate, but was kept from a vote in the House by Speaker Boehner. Without this vote, Republican legislators could not cross the aisle and vote in favor of the continuation.
Poll after poll, including a recent CNN/ORC International poll, has shown that most Americans oppose the government shutdown. Six in 10 respondents rejected the approach of Congressional Republicans thinking it was more important to avoid a shutdown than to make major changes to the Affordable Care Act. Further, more respondents are also placing the blame for the shutdown with Congressional Republicans (46%) rather than President Obama (36%). Finally, 69% of respondents said that Congressional Republicans are acting like "spoiled children" in the budget fight, while 58% think that of Congressional Democrats and 49% think that of President Obama.
The government shutdown remains in place for now. However, I will be sure to keep you apprised of any changes should the federal government deviate from their current holding pattern.
Latest Jobs Numbers Show WI Stalled
Newly released federal figures show
Wisconsin is stalled when it comes to creating jobs. Last week, new jobs
numbers were announced and showed that over the past year, our state has
dropped to 34th in the nation in private sector job growth.
It also looks like our economy will not be improving anytime soon. This week, Forbes magazine placed Wisconsin at 41st in its 2013 "Best States for Business" rankings behind Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa, which rank 6th, 8th, and 12th respectively. Forbes also projects that Wisconsin will continue to fall and ranked it 45th in the nation in for job growth through 2016.
In November 2010, Walker sold Wisconsinites the promise of a vehicle for economic change. Unfortunately, it has become obvious after three years of job creation failure that we were sold a lemon. We have a job creation agency, WEDC, that has been more successful at creating scandals than jobs. We also have a Republican-controlled Legislature that refuses to invest in proven job creation methods, such as investing in education, supporting affordable health care, and expanding public transit infrastructure. Instead they have doubled down on divisive policies and political games, which have proven to be a losing job creation strategy in Wisconsin.
We cannot continue driving down this
same road. We owe it to Wisconsin families to try a different route.
|Battle Over Common Core Standards Looms|
Wisconsin adopted the Common Core Standards (CCSS) to measure state performance in mathematics and English language arts in 2010 to help create a focus for success as students transition into postsecondary education and careers. The new standards are being used to replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam. Teachers, parents, experts, and community leaders all weighed in to help create the Common Core State Standards for English language arts, mathematics, and literacy in all subjects. Wisconsin is also currently participating in a multi-state project to develop new common standards for science. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, Wisconsin's state assessments will be based on the CCSS.
Last week, legislative Republicans
announced the creation of Select Committees to discuss Wisconsin's use
of the Common Core State Standards. The chairs of the new committees
claim the standards are controversial, despite their adoption by 45
states and broad bipartisan support nationwide for more rigorous
standards to help students prepare for the demands of our 21st century
Thursday, October 3 from Noon to 8 p.m.
Room 417 North of the Wisconsin State Capitol
*Note: This event has already occurred
City/County Building in Fond du Lac
Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire
Northcentral Technical College in
Legislative Democrats, some Republican
legislators, and State Superintendent Tony Evers have raised concerns
about attempts to get rid of the Common Core State Standards. According
to Superintendent Evers, "We cannot go back to a time when our standards
were a mile wide and an inch deep, leaving too many kids ill prepared
for the demands of college and a career. We cannot pull the rug out from
under thousands of kids, parents and educators who have spent the past
three years working to reach these new, higher expectations that we have
set for them. To do so would have deep and far reaching consequences for
our kids, and for our state." I share these concerns and look forward to
hearing the thoughts of Wisconsinites at these upcoming public hearings.
GOP Seeks to Sell-Off MPS Buildings
Legislation is currently being
circulated for co-sponsorship that would compel the city of Milwaukee to
sell underutilized school buildings owned by MPS. According to LRB 0928
and its companion LRB 3194, MPS must submit an annual inventory of their
buildings. Any buildings deemed by the Legislature to be surplus,
vacant, or underutilized will then be available for sale by the city of
Milwaukee. This proposal has been introduced by Republican
legislators--many of whom likely receive political donations from voucher
school proponents--so that buildings can be sold to profit-driven
schools participating in the unaccountable voucher system.
New Survey Available on K-12 Education
A quality education is a shared Wisconsin value that many of us highly treasure. Our next generation of workers are in our Wisconsin schools right now, and their success or failure will likely dictate whether Wisconsin will succeed or fail in the years to come.
As a result, the statewide expansion of the private voucher program and the reduction of state aid to the majority of our local public schools for the 2013-2014 school year have become increasingly hot topics. Therefore, I would like to hear your thoughts on K-12 education in Wisconsin. I have created an online survey to learn more about you and your perspective. Please take the time to fill it out. I look forward to hearing back from you on the important issue of K-12 education in Wisconsin.
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.
Rep. Milroy's sporting heritage bill would also require:
For the past month, stories about the $500,000 sweetheart deal for a group with ties to Republican legislators and organizations have flooded Wisconsin newspapers. Below are some of the shocking facts that have come to light regarding the recently rescinded sporting grant:
Although after closer examination, it appears that even the sole qualifying sporting group, may not have qualified after all. In fact, here are some of the problems with the group awarded the grant that have since become public:
While Democrats have drafted legislation to move forward with a new grant program to ensure our hunting and angling tradition stays alive in Wisconsin, Republicans have yet to announce what they have in mind for the $500,000 in taxpayer dollars following the cancellation of the grant. It is my hope that Republicans will join us in our common sense efforts to reopen and modify the grant program in light of this scandal. I will continue updating you on this important issue as new details emerge.
|Did You Know...?|
You may know that the cranberry is
Wisconsin's State Fruit, but did you know that cranberries, which are
native to North America, were first harvested in our state around 1860
by Edward Sacket of Berlin, Wisconsin.
October is Cranberry Month
October is here, meaning that it is once again time to celebrate Cranberry Month. This holiday offers us a chance to appreciate the people that produce great quantities of cranberries and recognize the benefits this fruit offers our great state.
Cranberries are integral to
Wisconsin's economy. According to the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers
Association, there are currently 250 growers in Wisconsin that cover
21,000 acres of land. These cranberry farms also support approximately
3,400 jobs, although the Wisconsin cranberry industry supports
approximately 7,200 jobs in total.
The demand for cranberries has
increased as new health benefits have been discovered. As a result,
cranberry production in Wisconsin has experienced tremendous growth over
the last 10 years. In fact, Wisconsin produces almost 60% of the
nation's cranberry supply. So if you have cranberry sauce at your
Thanksgiving celebration, chances are the cranberries come from right
here in Wisconsin. This small red fruit is Wisconsin's number one fruit
crop in value and acreage, and makes up 85% of the state's fruit
production. It also accounts for nearly $300 million of Wisconsin's
annual economic output.
Disease and weeds can threaten the
overall production of cranberries, with the latter being a more
significant threat to the potential economic impact for cranberry
producers, and in-turn, our state. Cranberries are low-growing, and
weeds compete for water, nutrients, and light. Diseases among
cranberries are not as common as weed issues, but when they manifest
they can cause significant damage to cranberry crops. Cottonball Disease
can cause the most damage to cranberry crops, as it causes
the berries fill with a cotton-like fungus making them unmarketable.
The cranberry is Wisconsin's state
fruit and will be celebrated at various festivals throughout the state,
including the Stone Lake Cranberry Festival (October 4-5) and the Eagle
River Cranberry Festival (October 5-6). Please take the time to
appreciate this healthy and important fruit--the cranberry.
Take the 2013-2014 Neighborhood Survey
I created a survey for the 2013-2014
Legislative Session asking about various issues that are important to
our community and our state. The input of neighbors is greatly
appreciated. My staff and I will be working hard to deliver as many
surveys door to door as possible before winter arrives. In addition, I
have also made this survey available online.
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