September 26, 2013
Find Me on Facebook and Twitter:
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
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
Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum Grand Opening
Date: Sat., September 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Description: All are welcome to celebrate the grand opening of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum on Saturday, September 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Riverside Park. This new 40-acre area of plants, trees, and shrubs features a rare oak savannah habitat. Enjoy music, craft, exploration, and fun for the whole family. Tours start at 10 a.m. and the ceremony will be at 11 a.m. CLICK HERE for more information.
Riverside Park (MAP)
1500 E. Park Place
Black Hole Bash
Date: Thurs., October 3 and Fri., October 4 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Description: Black Hole Bash is a two-day extravaganza to celebrate the extreme gravity of black holes and how we investigate their intriguing nature. The event will include a hands-on exhibit, discussions with black hole experts, a special planetarium show, and stargazing (weather permitting). The party atmosphere will be complete with a cookout and music. General admission is $3. Guests will be able to enjoy various foods and beverages available for purchase. CLICK HERE for more information.
UWM Planetarium (MAP)
1900 East Kenwood
Blvd. Milwaukee, WI 53211
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
This week's newsletter focuses on the importance of respectable, trusted, nonpartisan organizations staying true to their mission statement on behalf of the people of Wisconsin. Continue reading for more on this and other relevant issues such as trying to close the Open Meetings Law loophole, the importance of looking at ground and surface waters before approving high- capacity wells, and providing notice that 92,000 Wisconsinites will be losing their BadgerCare shortly.
WisconsinEye Must Rescind Biased Press Release
For years, I have been an unwaivering supporter of WisconsinEye. I fully endorse their goal to provide the public with unfettered access to committee meetings, public hearings, session days, and other government activities, which allows the public to view legislative debate and policy-making without editing, commentary, or analysis. Therefore, I was surprised to see a press release by WisconsinEye on September 17, 2013, that gave commentary and analysis surrounding the events that transpired on the floor of the Wisconsin State Senate regarding Senate Bill 206--forced ultrasound legislation.
The comments in the press release in question were seemingly the result of what WisconsinEye felt was a violation of their user agreement with with a local organization that may have used WisconsinEye footage for a political ad. However, rather than simply admonishing the group for the potential user agreement violation--an action that would have been within reason--WisconsinEye took their press release one step further by providing an analysis of the events depicted in that footage.
As you may remember, all but one Democratic senator was shut down from speaking on passage of the forced ultrasound bill. The debate that took place the day prior was on amendments to the bill. In shutting down these 14 Democratic senators, Republicans also ignored the voices of the Wisconsinites represented by Senate Democrats. Therefore, not only is this WisconsinEye statement untrue--likely because it was written by an individual who was not present for the actual debate and only watched footage after the fact-- but it also clearly violates their mission statement.
Wisconsinites have always been able to trust the content provided by WisconsinEye, but this recently published, biased, partisan press release from the organization calls that trust into question. Therefore, after meeting with WisconsinEye about the concerning press release, I have also written them a letter requesting that they rescind their press release in order to restore the public's faith in their organization and mission. Below is the text of that letter:
The content of your press release absolutely contradicts the mission statement of WisconsinEye found on your Web site. The mission statement concludes with "WisconsinEye tells these stories of our public life, with an independent, nonpartisan perspective and without bias." The biased claims in your press release violate each of these tenants.
You state that an ad using WisconsinEye footage creates "the false impression that Senate debate was inappropriately shut down..." As someone that watched my colleagues get screamed at and gaveled down that day, I am stunned that your organization has decided to make statements about the appropriateness of that kind of out-of-control, bullying behavior that ended debate while senators waited to speak.
The press release goes further to claim that senators were "aligned" with [the group]. I was there and listened to the only speech allowed by a Senate Democrat on final passage of SB 206, the forced, invasive ultrasound bill. She spoke for Wisconsin women, not any one group. The shock, disbelief, and outrage expressed by senators was in response to the heavy-handed tactics that cut off debate and gutted Senate decorum on an issue that has a devastating impact on women across Wisconsin.
Perhaps most egregious is your proclamation that "No one was shut down. All voices were heard." This profoundly biased and erroneous statement shreds the promise of your mission statement. Many senators stood waiting to be recognized to speak on final passage of the bill, your declaration that they had nothing further to offer is absolutely inaccurate. Anyone watching the video can clearly see the senators were shut down and that our voices were not heard.
When I saw your press release, I was reminded of the horrible Badger-Sun Devil referee call. Like those referees, you have made an error that undermines the public confidence in your ability to be impartial and fair. That bad call ended in a loss for Wisconsin. Unlike those referees, you have the opportunity to rescind your erroneous, biased, judgmental statements and work to restore integrity to WisconsinEye's reputation.
I respectfully ask that you recognize that your statements violate the WisconsinEye mission statement and immediately and publicly rescind your statement.
I look forward to hearing back from WisconsinEye on their course of action for addressing this misstep. I will be sure to keep you apprised of this situation regarding WisconsinEye.
|Closing the Loophole in Wisconsin's Open Meetings Law|
My colleagues and I are circulating
legislation that would ensure Wisconsin's Open Meetings Law is applied
to legislative committee meetings. This will close the existing loophole
that enables the Legislature to circumvent the Open Meetings Law it
created to increase accountability and transparency within the
Legislature and other governmental bodies on behalf of the citizens of
Most people reasonably expect that the
Open Meetings Law applies to the Legislature. However, as a 2011 lawsuit
involving Act 10 highlighted, a loophole exists in the Open Meetings Law
that allows the Legislature to ignore the laws it created in order to
set its own rules for public meetings. Specifically, the Wisconsin
Supreme Court refused to decide whether legislative leaders violated the
state's Open Meetings Law when they rushed to pass a bill that
eliminated most collective bargaining rights for public workers. As a
result of that 2011 ruling, the Legislature is now legally free to follow its
own rules when it comes to open meetings--even if those rules violate
the law or provide no public notice of a meeting.
Given that amending the constitution
is a lengthy process, we have also introduced legislation that would
change the Legislature's rules to hold the Legislature accountable
immediately to the Open Meetings Law.
Rolling Back Water Quality Protections
This Wednesday, the Senate Committee
on Natural Resources took up Senate Bill 302, legislation that would
prohibit the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from considering the
cumulative impact of high-capacity wells in Wisconsin. This legislation
is concerning as it rolls back existing protections and undermines the
ability of the DNR to protect our ground and surface waters on behalf of
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.
If you are one of these 92,000 people,
click here to see potential alternatives though the exchange at healthcare.gov.
|Did You Know...?|
You may know that this is the last weekend to stop by Milwaukee's Oktoberfest. But did you know that German is still by far the most common ancestry in Wisconsin, with 35% of ancestries reported by state residents as fully or partly German?
The history of German immigrants coming into Wisconsin is quite evident, particularly in our very own Milwaukee. Milwaukee's first German settlers arrived in 1839, just four years after the region's first public land sale. By 1860, they formed a majority of the city's population, and Milwaukee became the most German large city west of Berlin. Although they lived in all sections of town, the immigrants� particular stronghold was the area west of the Milwaukee River, with North Third Street being their "downtown."
Open Enrollment Begins on October 1
The Health Insurance Marketplace or "exchange" begins open enrollment on October 1, 2013. Through this exchange families, individuals, and small business owners can shop for health insurance online. Therefore, the federal government has launched a Web site, www.healthcare.gov, that will help individuals get the coverage that meets their needs and budget once the exchange is up. Although actual costs and plans are not on the Web site yet, you can answer a set of questions on the site that will allow you to see what coverage you may be eligible for, links to content, and a checklist to help you apply. While this is not the actual application, it is a great way to get started and to see what you might be eligible for when the Marketplace is in full swing. People will be able to view and enroll in actual plans starting October 1, 2013.
Click here to view a handout I created
that provides information about the Affordable Care Act and the Health
September is National Baby Safety Month
Although ensuring the safety of
children is a priority year round, I especially want to bring awareness
this week to our community's staggeringly high infant mortality rate
given that September is National Baby Safety Month. Infant mortality,
which is defined as the number of infants who die during their first
year of life, is a huge public health concern, especially in
According to the city of Milwaukee
Health Department, Milwaukee had an infant mortality rate of 9.6 deaths
per 1,000 births in 2012, while the national average was far lower with
a rate of 5.9 deaths per 1,000 births. More alarming still is the
disparity between races, where in 2011 Milwaukee's black population
recorded a rate of 14.8 deaths per 1,000 births, which is almost three
times the national average. Among the infant fatalities in Milwaukee,
50% are due to premature birth, 20% are the result of congenital
abnormalities, 20% can be attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
(SIDS), and 10% are caused by avoidable accidents.
As the parent of a baby myself, these statistics are very concerning. However, you can play a part in reducing the infant mortality rate with these precautions provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services which include:
The infant mortality rate in Milwaukee has been improving. In fact, from 2011 to 2012, the city's overall infant mortality rate drop from 10.2 deaths per 1,000 live births to 9.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. As a result, Milwaukee is on pace to reduce the city's overall infant mortality rate by 10% by 2017. Although the future is promising, all parents in our community need to focus on increasing safety and awareness in their own homes. Infant mortality is a huge concern, but I am optimistic that together, we can reduce the number of infant deaths, and ultimately lead Wisconsin in the right direction with regards to infant safety.
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.
|To Unsubscribe from the weekly Larson Report Newsletter, please reply to this email with the word "Unsubscribe."|