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Contents

Dear Neighbor,

I am honored to represent you in the state capitol. Below, you will find updates from the capitol and around western Wisconsin. Please feel free to reach out to me with your legislative and state agency concerns. 

In addition to this newsletter, you may follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.

I ask that you help share this newsletter with your friends and family. An informed community is a strong community, and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss our communities' concerns. 

 

Sincerely, 
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- Sen. Patty Schachtner

Havenwood's Tenth Anniversary 

In early August, I had the honor to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Havenwood Assisted Living in Glenwood City. Havenwood provides senior citizens with limited incomes a place to call home along with supportive care and services. In our district, around 13.7 percent of residents are age 65 or older and Wisconsin’s elderly population is expected to increase significantly in the next two decades. Moving forward, we need to ensure our communities are prepared for current and future demand for health care and assisted living resources. That is one reason why I support increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates. A 2015 study found that Wisconsin has the lowest reimbursement rate for nursing homes in the nation. According to the study, the average skilled nursing home loses $53 per patient each day under the Medicaid reimbursement rates set by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. In the biennial budget, a Democratic motion to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates to nursing homes by five percent in 2017-18 was rejected by Republicans on the Joint Committee on Finance. Instead, a lower two percent increase was approved, which was less than half the increase requested by county officials and long-term care providers.

For me, Havenwood represents a community that invests in the human capacity of their senior citizens. I had the pleasure to meet many residents including Mrs. Mitch. It turns out she was my aunt and uncle's neighbor in the City of 57 Hills. We had a great conversation about them and my cousins.

 

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Workforce Training Partnership 

On August 3, I was introduced to an exciting workforce training collaboration between the school districts of Siren and Webster, SOFTEC Education, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC), county government, and local industries. The collaboration featured CAT and welding simulators. The simulators provided a virtual experience of what it is like to operate construction equipment. During the visit, I got to try out the simulators which mimicked even the closest details such as seat movement and intensity of equipment levers. I was amazed at how realistic they were. I am proud that our schools are engaged in these types of collaborations. It is so exciting to see our students have the opportunity to learn more about the trades and all of their career options.

  

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State Aid for K-12 Funding Down Relative to 2010  Funding Level

A recent memo from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported that general state aid to public schools is lower in 2018-19 than it was in 2010 – 11 when indexing for inflation. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau found that up to $3.78 billion in state funding has been cut from public schools since 2011.

The reduction in state aid may have contributed to more referendums across Wisconsin communities. These referendums have shifted the cost of supporting schools from the state to local property taxpayers. Since 2011, voters approved $5.4 billion through referendums to help fill in the state funding gap. In 2016, Wisconsin school districts received $1.35 billion in borrowing through referendums, the largest amount in at least 20 years. Communities that were unable to secure financing made tough decisions including consolidating schools, or - in extreme cases – closing schools altogether.

As a mother and former school board member, I will continue to stand up for our teachers and students because I know strong public schools are vital to our communities and students.

 

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New Kayak Landing Opens at New Richmond Nature Center  

A new kayak landing has opened at the New Richmond Nature Center. I had the honor to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony along with New Richmond Mayor Fred Horne, Public Works Director Jeremiah Wendt, New Richmond Area Community Foundation Director Margaret Swanson, and many others. The kayak landing is a great example of state, local, and private-sector collaboration at work. The project received donations from community members and a $10,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources. It was a real pleasure to celebrate this great addition to our community. I am excited for the positive things that residents and tourists will experience from this kayak landing.

 

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District Events 

Burnett

Siren Music in the Park

Thursdays, June 7 – August 23

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Relax and enjoy a summer concert at the Crooked Lake Park Band Shell (Siren School, if rain). A variety of performers are scheduled for your listening enjoyment - from patriotic, country, & gospel to blues, rock'n'roll, & Celtic! Refreshments are available by local non-profit organizations.

 

Burnett County Fair

Thursday, August 23 – Sunday, August 26

Exhibits galore including animals, crafts, flowers and crops. Lots of food vendors and carnival rides. Demo Derby, Tracker Pull, Horse Showdeo and fun & games.

 

Dunn

Cucumber Fest

Friday, August 17 – Sunday, August 19

Cucumber Festival also known as the Pickle Festival, is Boyceville's annual festival that brings visitors from both near and far. This festival is held the 3rd full weekend in August each year.

Activities include a horse parade, softball tournament, dance, grand parade, quilt show, games for young & old all weekend as well as a variety of food stands. 

 

Music Over Menomin

Thursdays

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Enjoy free live music performances every Thursday during the summer on the Menomonie Public Library’s lawn.

 

Pierce

Music in the Park

Saturday, August 18

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Come listen to various genres of live music at Music in the Park! Concerts in Veterans Park are organized by River Falls Community Arts Base and totally supported with local funding from Juniors Bar and Grill, the First National Bank of River Falls, the River Falls BID Board, River Falls State Bank, Bo's n Mine, Erin Tomlinson Financial, Family Fresh, and our weekly business sponsors. Veterans Park is located between Main Street to the east and the Kinnickinnic River to the west. Immediately to the west is an access to the Riverwalk and Heritage Park via the pedestrian bridge.

 

Awkward Family Photos: The Exhibition

Monday, August 6 – Wednesday, September 12

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTOS: THE EXHIBITION aims to explore the perfectly imperfect moments that come with the family experience-- take comfort in the fact that your family is not alone! See AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTOS: THE EXHIBITION in the River Falls Public Library Gallery August 6-Sept 12.  Exhibit, awkward family photo contest, and event details and registration online at www.riverfallspubliclibrary.org or @RFPLGallery on Facebook.

 

Polk

Cushing Fun Day

Saturday, August 18

8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Breakfast, crafts, kiddie parade, frog & turtle races, adult soapbox derby is on Main Street.

 

Art Exhibition at ArtZ Gallery

Wednesday, August 1 – Friday, August 31

ArtZ Gallery, an artist collective, believes that art is an essential part of a healthy community. It has power - to educate, advocate and inspire, to broaden perspectives, to challenge convictions, and to expand our understanding of the world around us. Art makes us not only better people, but more compassionate human beings.

 

St. Croix

Hudson Concerts in the Park

Tuesdays, Thursdays – August 23

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Located in downtown Hudson, Lakefront Park Bandshell.

 

Origami Bird Craft Class

Thursday, August 23

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

Join us at the library in room 219 for a craft class where we’ll be making origami birds and hanging them from small, ornamental trees.