September 19, 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.
Fridays now through September 27 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Description: "Shooting Stars" will reveal the mystery behind the dazzling light streaks that shoot across the night sky. This show will explain what shooting stars or meteors really are and talk about the fireball that crashed into Russian soil last February. Guests will be able to learn how and when to see shooting stars. CLICK HERE for more information.
UWM Planetarium (MAP)
1900 East Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
Description: The party lasts all month at Old Heidelberg Park. Grab your stein and head over for music, dancing, and great food. There is a big selection of German beers, games for the kids, and parking is free. Do not miss Milwaukee's original and most authentic Oktoberfest. In fact it is one of the best in the country. This event is open on Fridays from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. and Saturdays from 3 p.m. until Midnight. CLICK HERE for more information.
Heidelberg Park (MAP)
700 W. Lexington Blvd. Glendale, Wisconsin 53217
Description: The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and Saz's Hospitality Group will be hosting a two-day Oktoberfest celebration on Marcus Center grounds. This event is free and open to the public. It features authentic German beer, food, live music, and the Glockenspiel, a life-size replica of a cuckoo clock. Delectable food and drink will be available for purchase from Saz's Hospitality Group, which will feature a full bar and a concessions menu, including Saz's Friday night Fish Fry and a Saturday Spanferkel (pig roast). The grounds will be open on Friday, September 20 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, September 21 from Noon to 10 p.m. CLICK HERE for more information, including the line-up of performers.
Marcus Center for the
Performing Arts (MAP)
Public Education is a Civil Right March and Rally
Date: Sat., September 21
Description: Students, parents, educators, and friends of public schools from around Milwaukee and across Wisconsin will assemble at Milwaukee High School of the Arts at 10:30 a.m., then march across the 16th Street Bridge to Forest Home Avenue School, where a rally will commence at 1 p.m. to proclaim the civil right of every child to a world-class public education. March participants and rally speakers will showcase aspects of quality public education that students have lost or risk losing from massive cuts to public school funding since 2011. Organizers are demanding that officials fully fund public schools to provide a world-class education for every Wisconsin student, keep a strong local taxpayer voice in school governance, stop privatization of public education, hold voucher schools accountable, and require quality physical infrastructure for schools. CLICK HERE for more information.
Milwaukee High School of the Arts (MAP)
2300 W. Highland
Forest Home Avenue School (MAP)
1516 W. Forest Home
10th Annual Bay
Date: Sat., September 21 from Noon to 6 p.m.
Location: Bay View
Description: In only eight short years, Global Union has become Milwaukee's go-to big-beautiful-dance-party-slash-farewell-to-summer. It helps that it is in one of the city's best parks. This one-day event is free and open to the public. Global Union 2013 features bands from Pakistan, Argentina, Haiti, Quebec, and Algeria, with some surprise guests from our own hometown. After all, Milwaukee is a part of the world, right? There will also be great international food, crafts, and community organizations operating during the festival. CLICK HERE for more information.
Humboldt Park (MAP)
3000 S. Howell Avenue
Food Network's Restaurant Impossible visiting Oak Creek
Date: Tues., September 24 and Wed., September 25
Location: Oak Creek
Description: The TV show Restaurant Impossible will tape an episode at Mike La Susa's Italian Restaurant in Oak Creek next week, and the show is looking for volunteers to help with the renovation of the restaurant. The host, chef Robert Irvine, overhauls the menus and dining rooms of struggling restaurants in two days on a budget of $10,000, hence the need for volunteers. This is a great way to help a local business succeed in our community. At the restaurant, volunteers will help with everything from cleaning and painting to decorating and construction, including possible plumbing and electrical work, depending on their skills. Volunteers would work from 1 to 8 p.m. or 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on September 24 or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on September 25, and have to agree to possibly being on camera. All clothing and shoes worn have to be logo-free. Email email@example.com with your preferred shift or shifts, full name, email address, and cell phone number. Make sure to put "FN Oak Creek Volunteers" in the subject line of your email. The show airs on Wednesdays and this episode would air sometime in the fall or winter.
Mike La Susa's Italian Restaurant (MAP)
8955 S. 5th Avenue
Oak Creek, WI 53154
This week we take time to mourn those we lost in D.C. in yet another senseless act of violence. Continue reading for more about this and other current issues, including Republicans jeopardizing $28 million in taxpayer dollars, an update on this week's session events, and a change to the Make College Affordable Tour.
Thoughts and Prayers with Those Devastated by Violence
Like many others across the country, I
was devastated by the news coverage of the tragic shooting that occurred
at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. My thoughts and prayers go out to
those whose lives were torn apart by this tragic act of violence.
In the days to come, we must step beyond partisan roadblocks to seek real solutions to prevent such tragic and senseless acts of violence. It is also important that we do not simply wait for terrible acts of mass violence to occur before we work to create safer communities. Many of our neighborhoods have started holding town halls to seriously discuss how to make Milwaukee and the surrounding areas safer from violence on a daily basis. Earlier this week, for example, I joined Milwaukee community members in discussing how gun violence has negatively impacted the lives of neighbors across the city and how we can work together to address the issue. I encourage you to join me and attend these local meetings in the future.
|Worse Details Emerge on Sporting Grant|
Last week we mentioned a $500,000 sweetheart deal for a group with ties to Republican legislators and organizations, which was rescinded at the last minute. As if the details about this political payback were not shocking enough, even more information has come to light recently showing that this grant was created and awarded despite the fact that Republican legislators knew that it could cost Wisconsin up to $28 million in federal dollars.
During the Wisconsin budget debate,
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent two sharply worded letters to
the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) after getting word of
the $500,000 grant. The letters said adopting the grant would cost the
state $28 million in annual federal money because the DNR would have
inadequate control of how the grant funds were used. Despite the warning
from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, lawmakers spent the next two
weeks working on the budget, but did not fix the provision to safeguard
millions in federal funds. Taxpayers
could have ultimately been on the hook for both the $500,000 grant and
the loss of $28 million in federal funding. Sacrificing taxpayers for
political allies is not the Wisconsin way.
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:
Fortunately, the concerns of taxpayers, legislators, and other sporting groups were heeded when the governor surrendered to public pressure and canceled the controversial grant to United Sportsmen. We have yet to hear what will happen to the $500,000 in taxpayer dollars following the cancellation. It is my hope that the grant process will be reopened and modified in light of recent events. This week, Democratic members of the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) called on committee co-chairs to commit to funding a legislative solution that will allow the grant process to move forward. I will be sure to keep you updated on this important issue.
Session Day Update
This week, the Senate took up a number of legislative proposals. One proposal was noticeably absent from the Senate session calendar on Tuesday, while another controversial proposal was passed despite strong objections.
Managed Forest Law on Hold
One proposal that was noticeably absent was the fast-tracked legislation to change Wisconsin's managed forest laws. These laws were created in 1985 to encourage timber production and provide more recreation space for outdoor enthusiasts. Under the program, land owners receive a tax break if they agree to follow a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approved forest management plan and keep the property open to the public.
Recently, Republican senators introduced legislation that would allow the open-pit iron mining company drilling in Northern Wisconsin to be exempted from some requirements of this program. Under the bill, property owners would be allowed to close public access to up to 4,000 acres of managed forest land indefinitely. This sweetheart deal would allow the company to avoid $900,000 in back taxes and fees. This proposal is excessive, unjustified, and unfair not only to taxpayers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, but also to the other 30,000 Wisconsin landowners participating in the managed forest program. It also treads on our stewardship tradition and shared Wisconsin values. Apparently, this bill is so extreme, the Republican authors are still gathering votes. I will be sure to keep you updated on the status of this proposal.
Repeal of Tenant Rights
After passing regressive legislation related to jobs, education, and health care earlier this session, Senate Republicans are now attacking the rights and basic protections of renters in Wisconsin. The legislation, Senate Bill 179, passed this week will strongly benefit powerful landlords at the expense of tenants. Further, this bill supersedes local ordinances, getting in the way of local control.
Here are just some of the concerning provisions that were included in this regressive legislation:
Most abhorrently, this law would have provided landlords with the tools to evict victims of domestic violence or rape if that crime occurred at their residence. It is sad to see that those in charge were more than willing to treat victims like criminals by throwing them out on the street after reporting a crime. Fortunately, this heartless provision was removed at the last minute thanks to the efforts of Senate Democrats and an amendment authored by Senator Jon Erpenbach of Middleton.
Despite concerns expressed by Senate Democrats, Republican legislators refused to adopt many of the amendments we created to solve the problems found in Senate Bill 179. In both the Milwaukee and Madison communities, nearly half of the population rents. This anti-consumer protection bill will have a negative impact on many of our neighbors. The Supreme Court has set the precedent that landlords are inherently more powerful and thus tenants need certain protections from potential bad actors. Having a place to call "home" is part of the American dream. This law will take us backwards, not forwards on realizing this dream for all Wisconsinites, including renters.
Change to Make College Affordable Tour
Due to unforeseen changes related to legislative obligations, my colleagues and I have been forced to cancel some of the college tour stops. While we have already visited the UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, and UW-Marathon County campuses, we have to cancel the stops at UW-Green Bay, Lawrence University, UW-Eau Claire, and UW-Platteville. The stop at UW-La Crosse will still continue as planned. Information for this event is provided below:
September 26 at Noon
UW-La Crosse Cartwright Center, Port O' Call Room
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
A big thank you to the students, parents, recent graduates, and educators that came out to participate in the Make College Affordable Tour, which addressed important issues, such as the cost of higher education, access to affordable health care, and Wisconsin's prospects for economic recovery.
I apologize for those who had been
planning to stop by and share their thoughts at the cancelled tour
stops. I would still like to hear your opinion and perspective on how
to make college more affordable and accessible to current students and
future Wisconsin workers. Please do not hesitate to share your
thoughts by emailing me your story or taking my brief online survey about higher education
affordability. I created this 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.
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.
Wisconsin is home to plenty of
farmers' markets that can be found all across the state. We are
fortunate to have many of them located right here in our community.
Although, keep in mind that while many of these markets are currently
open, they are seasonal and we are now nearing the end of the 2013
season. Please see the list below to find a farmers' market near you.
In recent years, organizations that
promote the idea of buying local have begun to emerge throughout the
country, benefiting local communities tremendously. One such example can
be found in our very own Milwaukee. Local First Milwaukee is an
independently- owned organization comprised of Milwaukee-based
businesses that works to make Milwaukee a more sustainable community,
enable it to compete with other cities, and build a market share for
local businesses. The Web site even offers deals to local residents to
encourage them to keep their money in Milwaukee. Statistics show our
communities will benefit from buying local. In fact, for every $1 you
spend at a locally owned business, more than 68 cents, versus 43 cents
at a national chain, remains in that community.
Want even more incentive to buy locally? I encourage you to learn more about the organization Small Shops United, which offers its members rewards for purchases made at locally owned shops. Simply register, track your purchases with a handy rewards card, then hand your card to participating neighborhood merchants to claim your rewards.
|Did You Know...?|
While you may know that Wisconsin is one of the top honey producers in the nation, did you know that the honey bee is also our state insect?
In 1977, Wisconsin designated the honey bee as our official state insect. We are not alone, however, in our love of honey bees. In fact, the honey bee is an official state symbol in 17 states.
Honey bees play an integral role in pollination, which is critical to plant and human survival. Honey bees live in hives comprised of up to 80,000 individual bees. A hive consists of one queen bee, a small group of male drones, and a vast majority of worker bees.
One problem that has started to plague bee colonies is Colony Collapse Disorder. This disorder describes the very serious die-off of honey bee colonies across the country, which can have a detrimental impact on local businesses, our economy, and Wisconsin's ecosystem.
September is National Honey Month
Every September since 1989, the United
States has celebrated National Honey Month. During this month, we
appreciate the many uses of honey--sweetener, energy source, cough
suppressant, skin moisturizer--and recognize the hardworking beekeepers
that produce it. In Wisconsin, we take great pride in our honey
industry. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wisconsin
gathered an impressive 4.5 million pounds of honey in 2012, which makes
it the 8th highest state in honey production. The National Honey Board
reports that the average wholesale price for honey in 2012 was $4.09 per
pound. At that price, honey generated roughly $18.4 million for our
state's economy that year, making it a valuable, job creation industry
The honey production process begins
with worker bees collecting nectar from flowers. The type of flower
affects the taste and color of the honey. Clover, for example, produces
a light amber color, while buckwheat makes a dark brown honey with a
bold flavor. After the bees fly back to their hive, they refine the
nectar through a repetitious process of digestion and regurgitation--a
little gross to imagine, but an essential step. The bees then deposit
this watery syrup into empty cells of the hive's honeycombs. To preserve
it for long-term storage, thousands of bees fan their wings in unison,
generating enough airflow to evaporate the excess water in the syrup.
Once it reaches the right concentration, the bees seal the finished
honey by capping the cells with wax. Harvesting the honey is much more
straightforward. Beekeepers simply scrape away the wax caps and spin the
honeycombs in centrifuges, draining the honey into receptacles. After
straining the collected honey for impurities, it is ready to be bottled
and sold to consumers.
The Wisconsin Honey Producers
Association (WHPA) is the top promoter of our state's fine honey and
beeswax products. Formed in 1864 by local beekeepers, the WHPA strives
to advertise its industry to consumers, as well as educate its members
and the general public on the latest advancements in honey production.
Its chief ambassador is the Honey Queen, a young woman elected to the
post at the annual WHPA convention. She travels across the state
speaking to student, civic, and economic groups, and also attends
farmers markets, festivals, and fairs on behalf of the association.
If we want our beekeeping industry to remain one of the best in the country, we need to support it by buying local. When purchasing honey at a grocery store, check the bottle to see if it bears the official "Wisconsin Certified Honey" logo. Only products which have been approved by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) can use the logo, and DATCP will not certify honey unless it is produced entirely from hives in Wisconsin. Another great choice is to buy quality honey directly from local beekeepers at farmers' markets. Wherever you get your honey, buying it from local producers guarantees great taste and helps our state's economy thrive.
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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