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2 pages have the tag Elections

    /news/columns/2016/the-voting-window-is-quickly-closing/
    Summary: Spring elections are April 5th. Voters will choose, among others, all county board supervisors, a Supreme Court judge and their preference for President.
    Body: “We’ve got to go to the clerk and get your ballot sent to college,” I said to my son. “Aw Mom. Is this election really that important?” he asked. “YES!” I answered. Maybe I added a little too much emphasis. Spring elections are April 5th.  Voter...

    Go Vote…Even on Saturday

    Last edited: 10/27/2016

    /news/columns/2016/go-vote-even-on-saturday/
    Summary: On a beautiful October Saturday afternoon, my college-student son and I went to vote. Afterwards, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
    Body:   Go Vote…Even on Saturday On a beautiful October Saturday afternoon, my college-student son and I went to vote. Afterwards, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Just between you and me, I worried about my son voting. Would he come home before Ele...
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1 page has the tag Sand Mines

    /news/columns/2016/the-next-well-that-goes-bad-may-be-yours/
    Summary: “I feel like the state failed to protect the people,” Stacy told me. “Nobody really cares because it’s not affecting them.”
    Body: “I feel like the state failed to protect the people,” Stacy told me. “Nobody really cares because it’s not affecting them.” Stacy is one of several Lincoln Township residents in Trempealeau County who lived through two years of well problems. An...

3 pages have the tag Budget

    /news/press-releases/2017/citizens-invited-to-state-budget-town-hall-meeting-in-eau-claire/
    Summary: Senator Kathleen Vinehout and Representative Dana Wachs will host a Town Hall Meeting regarding the proposed 2017-19 State Budget in Eau Claire on May 20, 2017.
    Body:   Citizens Invited to State Budget Town Hall Meeting Senator Kathleen Vinehout and Representative Dana Wachs will host a Town Hall Meeting regarding the proposed 2017-19 State Budget in Eau Claire on May 20, 2017. “This state budget will have s...
    /news/press-releases/2017/citizens-invited-to-state-budget-town-hall-meeting-in-mondovi/
    Summary: Senator Kathleen Vinehout will host a Town Hall Meeting regarding the proposed 2017-19 State Budget in Mondovi on May 25, 2017.
    Body: May 12, 2017   Citizens Invited to State Budget Town Hall Meeting Senator Kathleen Vinehout will host a Town Hall Meeting regarding the proposed 2017-19 State Budget in Mondovi on May 25, 2017. “This state budget will have significant impact o...
    /news/columns/2016/how-to-make-heads-or-tails-of-wisconsins-finances/
    Summary: People want to know about the health of Wisconsin’s finances. As I began my research, I spoke with the State Auditor and the chief financial analyst, both of whom work for nonpartisan legislative support agencies.
    Body: “Is there any news on how the state is positioned for revenue growth?” Mr. Olsen inquired in his letter. “How do our finances compare to other states?” Mrs. Adams asked. People want to know about the health of Wisconsin’s finances. As I began my...
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2 pages have the tag Health Care

    Healthcare: What’s Next?

    Last edited: 04/19/2017

    /news/columns/2017/healthcare-what-s-next/
    Summary: “Obamacare is the law of the land,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told the nation. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
    Body:   Healthcare: What’s Next? “Obamacare is the law of the land,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told the nation. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” The much-maligned Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010 will stay i...
    /news/columns/2016/birth-life-and-death-of-a-bad-idea/
    Summary: “No one had any inkling this was happening,” Michael Blumenfeld told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?” Mr. Blumenfeld spoke for the Wisconsin Family Care Association in early spring of 2015.
    Body: “No one had any inkling this was happening,” Michael Blumenfeld told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?” Mr. Blumenfeld spoke for the Wisconsin Family Care Association in early spring of 2015....
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11 pages have the tag Education

    /news/columns/2017/youth-in-government-day-engages-teens/
    Summary: “Imagine you could make the laws. What would you change about how things are run?” My question to the students spurred a long discussion about change in our world.
    Body:   Youth in Government Day Engages Teens “Imagine you could make the laws. What would you change about how things are run?” My question to the students spurred a long discussion about change in our world. Almost 100 high school students recently...

    2016

    Last edited: 01/04/2017

    /news/columns/2016/
    /news/press-releases/2016/mr-humphries-long-on-blame-short-on-facts/
    Summary: Recent voucher-convert John Humphries has been busy spending his days writing pieces for Right Wisconsin, retweeting voucher leaders, and creating conspiracy theories that school report cards are rigged. But here is the problem: the report card c...
    Body:   Mr. Humphries - Long on Blame, Short on Facts Recent voucher-convert John Humphries has been busy spending his days writing pieces for Right Wisconsin, retweeting voucher leaders, and creating conspiracy theories that school report cards are r...
    /news/columns/2016/local-referenda-replace-the-lack-of-state-education-funds/
    Summary: From Arrowhead to West Salem, voters across the state are considering the future of their school districts when they go to the polls. Citizens in 46 districts will be asked to approve referenda.
    Body: Local Referenda Replace the Lack of State Education Funds From Arrowhead to West Salem, voters across the state are considering the future of their school districts when they go to the polls. Citizens in 46 districts will be asked to approve refe...
    /news/columns/2016/referenda-sustain-schools-during-time-of-decreasing-state-support/
    Summary: “School districts these days more or less live and die by these referendums in terms of their ability to sustain programs and staff,” Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) recently said.
    Body: “School districts these days more or less live and die by these referendums in terms of their ability to sustain programs and staff,” Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) recently said as reported by the Isthmus. So...

    School Funding Hits Home

    Last edited: 10/27/2016

    /news/columns/2016/school-funding-hits-home/
    Summary: What’s wrong with school funding? Explaining this to voters is difficult. Try explaining it to a ninth grader who is losing a favorite teacher. The teacher is not retiring. At 53 and after teaching for 29 years, he lost his job.
    Body: What’s wrong with school funding? Explaining this to voters is difficult. Try explaining it to a ninth grader who is losing a favorite teacher. The teacher is not retiring. At 53 and after teaching for 29 years, he lost his job. Recently I spent...
    /news/columns/2016/concerns-about-rising-property-taxes-support-more-state-aid-for-schools/
    Summary: “Is the strategy in the state to move all funding for schools to the local level?” a local school official asked me.
    Body: August 3, 2016   Concerns about Rising Property Taxes? Support More State Aid for Schools  “Is the strategy in the state to move all funding for schools to the local level?” a local school official asked me. I hesitated. No one in Madison – th...

    Who Will Be My Teacher?

    Last edited: 10/27/2016

    /news/columns/2016/who-will-be-my-teacher/
    Summary: “Who will be my teacher?” my son asked me years ago. For a brief point in time, the teacher was the most important person in his young life.
    Body:   Who Will Be My Teacher? “Who will be my teacher?” my son asked me years ago. For a brief point in time, the teacher was the most important person in his young life. As children head back to school and parents scramble with new schedules, scho...
    /news/columns/2016/residents-question-public-school-money-going-to-private-schools/
    Summary: “I am paying for private schools with my taxes?” the women from Pepin asked following my presentation at a recent Town Hall meeting. “Yes, you are,” I told her.
    Body:   Residents Question Public School Money Going to Private Schools “I am paying for private schools with my taxes?” the women from Pepin asked following my presentation at a recent Town Hall meeting. “Yes, you are,” I told her. Residents were su...
    /news/columns/2016/private-school-subsidy-for-special-education-raises-concerns-about-quality-and-cost/
    Summary: “When you write about tax money going to private schools, please tell people about special education vouchers,” a rural school board member told me. “Because of a change in state law, our school district is paying for special education students to...
    Body:   Private School Subsidy for Special Education Raises ConcernsAbout Quality and Cost “When you write about tax money going to private schools, please tell people about special education vouchers,” a rural school board member told me. “Because of...
    /news/columns/2016/budget-cuts-to-education-cost-all-of-us/
    Summary: Mike told me his department used to have 15 professors. They now have 11 – soon to be 10. They plan to replace the person leaving but it’s getting harder to recruit and retain faculty.
    Body: Budget Cuts to Education Cost All of Us “We hired a great inorganic chemistry professor last year,” Mike, a UW-River Falls chemistry professor, told me. “Unfortunately she’s leaving in May for St. Olaf.” I visited St. Olaf in Northfield, Minnes...
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1 page has the tag Alternative Energy

    Delight in the Sun!

    Last edited: 10/27/2016

    /news/columns/2016/delight-in-the-sun/
    Summary: “Don’t you want to sit in the shade?” my sister-in-law asked. “No” I replied. I love the sun. I understand why ancient civilizations worshiped the sun.
    Body: “Don’t you want to sit in the shade?” my sister-in-law asked. “No” I replied. I love the sun. I understand why ancient civilizations worshiped the sun. Somehow, I think my in-laws, Cindy and Norm, love the sun too. They just returned from the Mi...
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2 pages have the tag Government: State

    The State of Two States

    Last edited: 10/27/2016

    /news/columns/2016/the-state-of-two-states/
    Summary: “… For the third straight year, Politico ranked Minnesota one of the two strongest states in the nation,” touted the Office of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. Wisconsin ranked 11th moving up from 17th last year in Politico’s ranking.
    Body:  The State of Two States “Yesterday, ahead of President Obama’s final State of the Union Address, Politico released its third annual analysis on ‘The States of the Union.’ For the third straight year, Politico ranked Minnesota one of the two stro...
    /news/columns/2016/how-to-make-heads-or-tails-of-wisconsins-finances/
    Summary: People want to know about the health of Wisconsin’s finances. As I began my research, I spoke with the State Auditor and the chief financial analyst, both of whom work for nonpartisan legislative support agencies.
    Body: “Is there any news on how the state is positioned for revenue growth?” Mr. Olsen inquired in his letter. “How do our finances compare to other states?” Mrs. Adams asked. People want to know about the health of Wisconsin’s finances. As I began my...
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4 pages have the tag Democracy

    /news/columns/2017/protect-the-constitution-from-a-convention/
    Summary: What do the League of Women Voters, the American Civil Liberties Union and the John Birch Society have in common? They all think legislation calling for a federal constitutional convention is a bad idea. A very bad idea.
    Body:   Protect the Constitution from a Convention What do the League of Women Voters, the American Civil Liberties Union and the John Birch Society have in common? They all think legislation calling for a federal constitutional convention is a bad id...
    /news/columns/2016/people-make-a-difference-despite-haste-at-capitol/
    Summary: “What can we, as ordinary citizens, do to keep the legislature and the governor from passing/signing house bill 554? It scares the heck out of me,” wrote Claudia from Eau Claire.
    Body: ​People Make a Difference Despite Haste at Capitol “What can we, as ordinary citizens, do to keep the legislature and the governor from passing/signing house bill 554? It scares the heck out of me,” wrote Claudia from Eau Claire.   “I know that...
    /news/columns/2016/speed-and-secrecy-kill-democracy/
    Summary: “How can we digest all your work in this short amount of time?” Senator Bewley asked the Chair of the housing committee and author of the bill before her. An amendment replacing the bill was released just before the hearing on that bill.
    Body: Speed and Secrecy Kill Democracy “How can we digest all your work in this short amount of time?” Senator Bewley asked the Chair of the housing committee and author of the bill before her. An amendment replacing the bill was released just befo...
    /news/columns/2016/speed-and-secrecy-versus-deliberative-democracy/
    Summary: “All your work has made a real difference,” Linda, my staffer, told Mrs. Gifford. She and her husband traveled to Madison to personally deliver letters to every Senator.
    Body: Speed and Secrecy versus Deliberative Democracy “All your work has made a real difference,” Linda, my staffer, told Mrs. Gifford. She and her husband traveled to Madison to personally deliver letters to every Senator. “Well, aren’t you nice,...

5 pages have the tag School Funding

    2016

    Last edited: 01/04/2017

    /news/columns/2016/
    /news/columns/2016/local-referenda-replace-the-lack-of-state-education-funds/
    Summary: From Arrowhead to West Salem, voters across the state are considering the future of their school districts when they go to the polls. Citizens in 46 districts will be asked to approve referenda.
    Body: Local Referenda Replace the Lack of State Education Funds From Arrowhead to West Salem, voters across the state are considering the future of their school districts when they go to the polls. Citizens in 46 districts will be asked to approve refe...
    /news/columns/2016/referenda-sustain-schools-during-time-of-decreasing-state-support/
    Summary: “School districts these days more or less live and die by these referendums in terms of their ability to sustain programs and staff,” Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) recently said.
    Body: “School districts these days more or less live and die by these referendums in terms of their ability to sustain programs and staff,” Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) recently said as reported by the Isthmus. So...

    School Funding Hits Home

    Last edited: 10/27/2016

    /news/columns/2016/school-funding-hits-home/
    Summary: What’s wrong with school funding? Explaining this to voters is difficult. Try explaining it to a ninth grader who is losing a favorite teacher. The teacher is not retiring. At 53 and after teaching for 29 years, he lost his job.
    Body: What’s wrong with school funding? Explaining this to voters is difficult. Try explaining it to a ninth grader who is losing a favorite teacher. The teacher is not retiring. At 53 and after teaching for 29 years, he lost his job. Recently I spent...
    /news/columns/2016/concerns-about-rising-property-taxes-support-more-state-aid-for-schools/
    Summary: “Is the strategy in the state to move all funding for schools to the local level?” a local school official asked me.
    Body: August 3, 2016   Concerns about Rising Property Taxes? Support More State Aid for Schools  “Is the strategy in the state to move all funding for schools to the local level?” a local school official asked me. I hesitated. No one in Madison – th...

1 page has the tag Transportation

    /news/columns/2016/how-to-fund-roads-a-balancing-act/
    Summary: Funding roads is an important job for state leaders. Nine cents of every state budget dollar goes towards transportation. In the vagaries of Wisconsin state budgeting, this includes dollars the feds send Wisconsin (about forty cents of every road...
    Body: September 21, 2016   How to Fund Roads: A Balancing Act Funding roads is an important job for state leaders. Nine cents of every state budget dollar goes towards transportation. In the vagaries of Wisconsin state budgeting, this includes dollar...
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1 page has the tag Medicaid

    Looking for Answers

    Last edited: 10/27/2016

    /news/columns/2016/looking-for-answers/
    Summary: What’s going on with Medicaid spending? Where is the money going? Is health care really costing that much more?
    Body: Looking for Answers Medicaid is the joint federal-state program that pays hospitals, doctors, nursing homes and other health professionals to provide care for low-income families, including frail elderly persons and individuals with disabilities....
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2 pages have the tag Taxes

    /news/columns/2016/taking-credit-for-the-sun-coming-up/
    Summary: I explained to the reporter that economic growth depended on many factors. Business needs a skilled workforce. Companies need a functioning infrastructure, including broadband, an efficient transportation system, good schools, a university system...
    Body:   Taking Credit for the Sun Coming Up “Wisconsin lowered taxes and reduced regulation and that increased jobs in the state, right?” A journalist from a national newspaper asked about the state of our economy for a story he was writing. “The ass...
    /news/columns/2016/concerns-about-rising-property-taxes-support-more-state-aid-for-schools/
    Summary: “Is the strategy in the state to move all funding for schools to the local level?” a local school official asked me.
    Body: August 3, 2016   Concerns about Rising Property Taxes? Support More State Aid for Schools  “Is the strategy in the state to move all funding for schools to the local level?” a local school official asked me. I hesitated. No one in Madison – th...
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1 page has the tag Government Accountability Board

    /news/columns/2016/government-accountability-died-the-end-of-june/
    Summary: “It’s a great step backwards for the state,” Judge Barland said… the undoing the legislative majority’s changes to the GAB would be difficult and would need “the electorate as a whole to come to an understanding that what was done was wrong.”
    Body: Government Accountability passed in a quiet death the last day of June. There was no fanfare, no long speeches – just hard working employees packing up personal items.   I imagined the nonpartisan judges of the Government Accountability Board...

1 page has the tag Voter ID

    /news/columns/2016/the-voting-window-is-quickly-closing/
    Summary: Spring elections are April 5th. Voters will choose, among others, all county board supervisors, a Supreme Court judge and their preference for President.
    Body: “We’ve got to go to the clerk and get your ballot sent to college,” I said to my son. “Aw Mom. Is this election really that important?” he asked. “YES!” I answered. Maybe I added a little too much emphasis. Spring elections are April 5th.  Voter...
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1 page has the tag Veterans Issues

    /news/columns/2016/audit-to-investigate-king-veterans-home/
    Summary: “There used to be a real nice coffee shop. But they turned it into vending machines,” David Wedde told the Joint Committee on Audit. To many it might seem like an insignificant thing but it was not just a coffee shop. It was a symbol of comrader...
    Body:   Audit to Investigate King Veterans Home “There used to be a real nice coffee shop. But they turned it into vending machines,” David Wedde told the Joint Committee on Audit. To many it might seem like an insignificant thing but it was not just...
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1 page has the tag IRIS

    /news/columns/2016/birth-life-and-death-of-a-bad-idea/
    Summary: “No one had any inkling this was happening,” Michael Blumenfeld told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?” Mr. Blumenfeld spoke for the Wisconsin Family Care Association in early spring of 2015.
    Body: “No one had any inkling this was happening,” Michael Blumenfeld told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?” Mr. Blumenfeld spoke for the Wisconsin Family Care Association in early spring of 2015....
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2 pages have the tag Audit

    /news/columns/2016/spending-the-weekend-watching-game-film/
    Summary: Watching the film – or in this case reading the audit – I learned about computer problems so great that the details, according to the LAB, “were too sensitive to communicate publicly.”
    Body: When the game is over the coaches go into the film room to see where the breakdown was in play execution. The best game plan in the world is not any good if the team does not execute it. The “game film” for the State of Wisconsin was recently rel...
    /news/columns/2016/audit-raises-questions-about-clean-water-protection/
    Summary: We all drink water. We expect the water to be clean when it comes out of the facet. We also expect that someone is looking over the safety of our water.
    Body: We all drink water. We expect the water to be clean when it comes out of the facet. We also expect that someone is looking over the safety of our water. Residents in Kewaunee County wonder more than most if the water they drink is really safe. We...
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3 pages have the tag Privatization

    /news/columns/2016/keep-private-water-companies-out-of-wisconsin/
    Summary: Assembly Bill 554 would do away with the mandatory citizen referendum prior to the sale of public water and sewer utilities. It would also eliminate the ban on selling to out-of-state companies.
    Body: Keep Private Water Companies OUT of Wisconsin “Keep private water companies OUT of Wisconsin,” Glory Adams of Eau Claire wrote. She wants to stop a bill that would allow cities to sell water and sewer systems to out-of-state companies without e...
    /news/columns/2016/people-make-a-difference-despite-haste-at-capitol/
    Summary: “What can we, as ordinary citizens, do to keep the legislature and the governor from passing/signing house bill 554? It scares the heck out of me,” wrote Claudia from Eau Claire.
    Body: ​People Make a Difference Despite Haste at Capitol “What can we, as ordinary citizens, do to keep the legislature and the governor from passing/signing house bill 554? It scares the heck out of me,” wrote Claudia from Eau Claire.   “I know that...
    /news/columns/2016/the-latest-attempt-to-privatize-our-waters/
    Summary: ... Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and their legislative allies continue to threaten that resource, pitting one user against another, undermining Wisconsin’s constitution and threatening economic stability.
    Body: The Latest Attempt to Privatize Our Waters Senator Mark Miller and Senator Kathleen Vinehout Wisconsin is blessed with an abundance of water. Water provides the basis for our economy and way of life. Yet Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce...
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2 pages have the tag State Budget

    /news/columns/2017/state-budget-start-with-what-s-real/
    Summary: When it comes to paying the bills you’ve got to deal with what’s real. You can’t spend rhetoric.
    Body:   State Budget: Start with What’s Real When it comes to paying the bills you’ve got to deal with what’s real. You can’t spend rhetoric. Lawmakers are doubling down to deal with the state budget. Public hearings and town hall meetings are schedu...

    2017

    Last edited: 01/04/2017

    /news/columns/2017/
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3 pages have the tag Higher Education

    /news/columns/2016/a-flourishing-relationship-worthy-of-investment/
    Summary: ... The entire Chippewa Valley benefits from “the amazing culture of service in our Eau Claire businesses,” said University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt. “This is our culture at UWEC.”
    Body: “One hundred years ago the Chamber rented a rail car to go down to Madison,” President Bob McCoy of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce told the gathering of business leaders. A century ago, Chamber members traveled to Madison to advocate for a n...
    /news/columns/2016/budget-cuts-to-education-cost-all-of-us/
    Summary: Mike told me his department used to have 15 professors. They now have 11 – soon to be 10. They plan to replace the person leaving but it’s getting harder to recruit and retain faculty.
    Body: Budget Cuts to Education Cost All of Us “We hired a great inorganic chemistry professor last year,” Mike, a UW-River Falls chemistry professor, told me. “Unfortunately she’s leaving in May for St. Olaf.” I visited St. Olaf in Northfield, Minnes...
    /news/columns/2016/big-changes-coming-to-uw-extension/
    Summary: “We can’t do more with less,” UW Extension Regional Director Julie Keown-Bomar told people gathered at a recent Menomonie meeting. “We have to do less with less. We cannot be the same cooperative extension service that we used to be.”
    Body: “We can’t do more with less,” UW Extension Regional Director Julie Keown-Bomar told people gathered at a recent Menomonie meeting. “We have to do less with less. We cannot be the same cooperative extension service that we used to be.” The news hi...
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2 pages have the tag Voting

    /news/columns/2016/the-voting-window-is-quickly-closing/
    Summary: Spring elections are April 5th. Voters will choose, among others, all county board supervisors, a Supreme Court judge and their preference for President.
    Body: “We’ve got to go to the clerk and get your ballot sent to college,” I said to my son. “Aw Mom. Is this election really that important?” he asked. “YES!” I answered. Maybe I added a little too much emphasis. Spring elections are April 5th.  Voter...

    Go Vote…Even on Saturday

    Last edited: 10/27/2016

    /news/columns/2016/go-vote-even-on-saturday/
    Summary: On a beautiful October Saturday afternoon, my college-student son and I went to vote. Afterwards, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
    Body:   Go Vote…Even on Saturday On a beautiful October Saturday afternoon, my college-student son and I went to vote. Afterwards, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Just between you and me, I worried about my son voting. Would he come home before Ele...
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2 pages have the tag School Voucher Expansion

    /news/columns/2016/residents-question-public-school-money-going-to-private-schools/
    Summary: “I am paying for private schools with my taxes?” the women from Pepin asked following my presentation at a recent Town Hall meeting. “Yes, you are,” I told her.
    Body:   Residents Question Public School Money Going to Private Schools “I am paying for private schools with my taxes?” the women from Pepin asked following my presentation at a recent Town Hall meeting. “Yes, you are,” I told her. Residents were su...
    /news/columns/2016/private-school-subsidy-for-special-education-raises-concerns-about-quality-and-cost/
    Summary: “When you write about tax money going to private schools, please tell people about special education vouchers,” a rural school board member told me. “Because of a change in state law, our school district is paying for special education students to...
    Body:   Private School Subsidy for Special Education Raises ConcernsAbout Quality and Cost “When you write about tax money going to private schools, please tell people about special education vouchers,” a rural school board member told me. “Because of...
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1 page has the tag Broadband

    /news/columns/2017/broadband-expansion-rural-wisconsin-needs-the-real-deal/
    Summary: According to the federal government’s most recent information, Wisconsin ranks last in the Midwest in both rural and urban broadband access with only 44% of rural folks accessing download speeds of 25 Mbps.
    Body:     Broadband Expansion: Rural Wisconsin Needs the Real Deal “All we seek is help to get the basic broadband services that you all take for granted,” Justin Fortney from Clifton Township in Pierce County wrote to me.  “It has been frustrating f...
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1 page has the tag Flooding

    /news/columns/2016/finding-help-for-flooded-families-and-farms/
    Summary: “It gets overwhelming,” my neighbor told me. We were walking through her flooded barnyard. Floodwaters left silt everywhere: in the house, the garden, the barn, and the farmyard.
    Body: August 24, 2016 Finding Help for Flooded Families and Farms “It gets overwhelming,” my neighbor told me. We were walking through her flooded barnyard. Floodwaters left silt everywhere: in the house, the garden, the barn, and the farmyard. Famil...
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1 page has the tag Family Care

    /news/columns/2016/birth-life-and-death-of-a-bad-idea/
    Summary: “No one had any inkling this was happening,” Michael Blumenfeld told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?” Mr. Blumenfeld spoke for the Wisconsin Family Care Association in early spring of 2015.
    Body: “No one had any inkling this was happening,” Michael Blumenfeld told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?” Mr. Blumenfeld spoke for the Wisconsin Family Care Association in early spring of 2015....
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2 pages have the tag Budget Cuts

    /news/columns/2016/budget-cuts-to-education-cost-all-of-us/
    Summary: Mike told me his department used to have 15 professors. They now have 11 – soon to be 10. They plan to replace the person leaving but it’s getting harder to recruit and retain faculty.
    Body: Budget Cuts to Education Cost All of Us “We hired a great inorganic chemistry professor last year,” Mike, a UW-River Falls chemistry professor, told me. “Unfortunately she’s leaving in May for St. Olaf.” I visited St. Olaf in Northfield, Minnes...
    /news/columns/2016/big-changes-coming-to-uw-extension/
    Summary: “We can’t do more with less,” UW Extension Regional Director Julie Keown-Bomar told people gathered at a recent Menomonie meeting. “We have to do less with less. We cannot be the same cooperative extension service that we used to be.”
    Body: “We can’t do more with less,” UW Extension Regional Director Julie Keown-Bomar told people gathered at a recent Menomonie meeting. “We have to do less with less. We cannot be the same cooperative extension service that we used to be.” The news hi...
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1 page has the tag Civil Service

    /news/columns/2016/dismantling-civil-service-passes-senate-despite-disturbing-debate/
    Summary: One by one Senators… told of secret meetings held with state workers. Supervisors had forbid employees to talk with their elected representatives. Employees felt intimidated. They wanted to improve state services but were afraid of losing their jobs…
    Body: Dismantling Civil Service Passes Senate Despite Disturbing Debate LAB Hotline Valuable Option in Times of Intimidation One by one Senators stood on the Senate floor and told of secret meetings held with state workers. Supervisors had forbid...
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2 pages have the tag Mississippi River Access

    /news/columns/2016/locals-raise-questions-about-railroad-police/
    Summary: It was no wonder the Legislative committee chairperson did not want to hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 734, a bill that would return railroad trespassing law to pre-2006, which allowed crossing.
    Body: It was no wonder the Legislative committee chairperson did not want to hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 734, a bill that would return railroad trespassing law to pre-2006, which allowed crossing. Madison lobbyists lined up against the bill to...
    /news/columns/2016/this-land-is-our-land-or-it-used-to-be/
    Summary: One of the best spots to ice fish is south of Alma just down the dugway from Carrol Iberg’s rural home.
    Body: “This Land is Our Land” Or it used to be… Mississippi backwaters cut off to locals by railroad “police” One of the best spots to ice fish is south of Alma just down the dugway from Carrol Iberg’s rural home. Down there “ice fishing is reall...
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1 page has the tag Property Rights

    /news/columns/2016/whose-property-rights-are-most-important/
    Summary: “My neighbor likes to expand his lot,” Kelly told me. “First he put up a stone fence on our property and then he built a jungle gym for his kids on his other neighbor’s property.” The fence stayed but the jungle gym came down.
    Body: Whose Property Rights Are Most Important? “My neighbor likes to expand his lot,” Kelly told me. “First he put up a stone fence on our property and then he built a jungle gym for his kids on his other neighbor’s property.” The fence stayed but t...
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1 page has the tag UW Extension

    /news/columns/2016/big-changes-coming-to-uw-extension/
    Summary: “We can’t do more with less,” UW Extension Regional Director Julie Keown-Bomar told people gathered at a recent Menomonie meeting. “We have to do less with less. We cannot be the same cooperative extension service that we used to be.”
    Body: “We can’t do more with less,” UW Extension Regional Director Julie Keown-Bomar told people gathered at a recent Menomonie meeting. “We have to do less with less. We cannot be the same cooperative extension service that we used to be.” The news hi...
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1 page has the tag Mississippi River

    /news/columns/2016/mississippi-river-is-a-great-american-treasure/
    Summary: “A single drop of water falling into the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota would travel the river for 90 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico.” Gayle Harper, author/photographer, read this detail on the National Park Service website.
    Body: “A single drop of water falling into the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota would travel the river for 90 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico.” Gayle Harper, author/photographer, read this detail on the National Park Service website. “Every...

1 page has the tag Addiction

    /news/columns/2016/recovery-court-celebrates-ten-years-of-changing-lives/
    Summary: Addiction may begin in a very private way. But, healing from addiction can take a village and can be very public.
    Body: Addiction may begin in a very private way. But, healing from addiction can take a village and can be very public. “This is a big challenge,” Taavi McMahon, the Trempealeau County District Attorney told me. “People get up in front of everyone in o...
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1 page has the tag Recovery Court

    /news/columns/2016/recovery-court-celebrates-ten-years-of-changing-lives/
    Summary: Addiction may begin in a very private way. But, healing from addiction can take a village and can be very public.
    Body: Addiction may begin in a very private way. But, healing from addiction can take a village and can be very public. “This is a big challenge,” Taavi McMahon, the Trempealeau County District Attorney told me. “People get up in front of everyone in o...
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1 page has the tag Water Quality

    /news/columns/2016/the-latest-attempt-to-privatize-our-waters/
    Summary: ... Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and their legislative allies continue to threaten that resource, pitting one user against another, undermining Wisconsin’s constitution and threatening economic stability.
    Body: The Latest Attempt to Privatize Our Waters Senator Mark Miller and Senator Kathleen Vinehout Wisconsin is blessed with an abundance of water. Water provides the basis for our economy and way of life. Yet Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce...

1 page has the tag Government Accountability

    /news/columns/2016/government-accountability-died-the-end-of-june/
    Summary: “It’s a great step backwards for the state,” Judge Barland said… the undoing the legislative majority’s changes to the GAB would be difficult and would need “the electorate as a whole to come to an understanding that what was done was wrong.”
    Body: Government Accountability passed in a quiet death the last day of June. There was no fanfare, no long speeches – just hard working employees packing up personal items.   I imagined the nonpartisan judges of the Government Accountability Board...

1 page has the tag UW Eau Claire

    /news/columns/2016/a-flourishing-relationship-worthy-of-investment/
    Summary: ... The entire Chippewa Valley benefits from “the amazing culture of service in our Eau Claire businesses,” said University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt. “This is our culture at UWEC.”
    Body: “One hundred years ago the Chamber rented a rail car to go down to Madison,” President Bob McCoy of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce told the gathering of business leaders. A century ago, Chamber members traveled to Madison to advocate for a n...
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1 page has the tag Property Taxes

    /news/columns/2016/concerns-about-rising-property-taxes-support-more-state-aid-for-schools/
    Summary: “Is the strategy in the state to move all funding for schools to the local level?” a local school official asked me.
    Body: August 3, 2016   Concerns about Rising Property Taxes? Support More State Aid for Schools  “Is the strategy in the state to move all funding for schools to the local level?” a local school official asked me. I hesitated. No one in Madison – th...

1 page has the tag Business Tax Credit

    /news/columns/2016/where-did-all-that-money-go/
    Summary: Dennis is one of many constituents who ask where the money for schools and roads is as our state recovers from the recession. Economic recovery means more money and more money should equal more resources for the public. Instead, state funds are ve...
    Body: August 17, 2016 Where Did All that Money Go? Business Tax Credit Costs Pile Up “Where did all that money go?” Dennis asked me during a recent visit to the Jackson County Fair. Dennis is one of many constituents who ask where the money for schoo...
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1 page has the tag Special Education

    /news/columns/2016/private-school-subsidy-for-special-education-raises-concerns-about-quality-and-cost/
    Summary: “When you write about tax money going to private schools, please tell people about special education vouchers,” a rural school board member told me. “Because of a change in state law, our school district is paying for special education students to...
    Body:   Private School Subsidy for Special Education Raises ConcernsAbout Quality and Cost “When you write about tax money going to private schools, please tell people about special education vouchers,” a rural school board member told me. “Because of...

1 page has the tag King Veterans Home

    /news/columns/2016/audit-to-investigate-king-veterans-home/
    Summary: “There used to be a real nice coffee shop. But they turned it into vending machines,” David Wedde told the Joint Committee on Audit. To many it might seem like an insignificant thing but it was not just a coffee shop. It was a symbol of comrader...
    Body:   Audit to Investigate King Veterans Home “There used to be a real nice coffee shop. But they turned it into vending machines,” David Wedde told the Joint Committee on Audit. To many it might seem like an insignificant thing but it was not just...

1 page has the tag Rural School Districts

    Who Will Be My Teacher?

    Last edited: 10/27/2016

    /news/columns/2016/who-will-be-my-teacher/
    Summary: “Who will be my teacher?” my son asked me years ago. For a brief point in time, the teacher was the most important person in his young life.
    Body:   Who Will Be My Teacher? “Who will be my teacher?” my son asked me years ago. For a brief point in time, the teacher was the most important person in his young life. As children head back to school and parents scramble with new schedules, scho...

3 pages have the tag Rural Broadband

    /news/columns/2017/broadband-expansion-rural-wisconsin-needs-the-real-deal/
    Summary: According to the federal government’s most recent information, Wisconsin ranks last in the Midwest in both rural and urban broadband access with only 44% of rural folks accessing download speeds of 25 Mbps.
    Body:     Broadband Expansion: Rural Wisconsin Needs the Real Deal “All we seek is help to get the basic broadband services that you all take for granted,” Justin Fortney from Clifton Township in Pierce County wrote to me.  “It has been frustrating f...
    /news/columns/2016/have-an-opinion-about-your-internet-connection/
    Summary: Do you have a great Internet connection? Less than what you’d prefer? Makes it impossible for you to do your work or your children’s homework? No service at all? Make your opinion known!
    Body: August 10, 2016   Have an Opinion about Your Internet Connection?Let Your Voice be Heard! Do you have a great Internet connection? Less than what you’d prefer? Makes it impossible for you to do your work or your children’s homework? No service...
    /news/columns/2016/will-broadband-show-up-in-rural-neighborhoods/
    Summary: “I don’t want to promise you fiber where fiber is not going to come,” Kent Disch, AT&T Wisconsin External Affairs Director, told Ellsworth community leaders.
    Body: “I don’t want to promise you fiber where fiber is not going to come,” Kent Disch, AT&T Wisconsin External Affairs Director, told Ellsworth community leaders. Pierce County business leaders and elected officials gathered with telecommunication...

1 page has the tag Email Scams

    /news/columns/2016/do-not-click-on-that-email-from-the-irs/
    Summary: Even though tax season is over, scammers are still using official looking emails to lure unsuspecting, honest taxpayers into their evil web.
    Body: In my inbox was an official looking email from the “Internal Revenue Service”. The subject line was: “Tax return request submitted”. Without thinking, I clicked on the attachment to the email. “Did you file our taxes by email?” I asked my husban...

1 page has the tag Health Services

    /news/columns/2016/birth-life-and-death-of-a-bad-idea/
    Summary: “No one had any inkling this was happening,” Michael Blumenfeld told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?” Mr. Blumenfeld spoke for the Wisconsin Family Care Association in early spring of 2015.
    Body: “No one had any inkling this was happening,” Michael Blumenfeld told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?” Mr. Blumenfeld spoke for the Wisconsin Family Care Association in early spring of 2015....

4 pages have the tag Clean Water Protection

    /news/columns/2016/farmers-seek-action-and-answers-at-the-capitol/
    Summary: “Just get it done!” The farmer was referring to a bill to change rules on high capacity wells. I listened. The chances of passing the bill are dim. Solving groundwater problems in Wisconsin is complex.
    Body: “Just get it done!” The farmer was referring to a bill to change rules on high capacity wells. I listened. The chances of passing the bill are dim. Solving groundwater problems in Wisconsin is complex. Farmers from all over our Senate District re...
    /news/columns/2016/the-latest-attempt-to-privatize-our-waters/
    Summary: ... Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and their legislative allies continue to threaten that resource, pitting one user against another, undermining Wisconsin’s constitution and threatening economic stability.
    Body: The Latest Attempt to Privatize Our Waters Senator Mark Miller and Senator Kathleen Vinehout Wisconsin is blessed with an abundance of water. Water provides the basis for our economy and way of life. Yet Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce...
    /news/columns/2016/the-next-well-that-goes-bad-may-be-yours/
    Summary: “I feel like the state failed to protect the people,” Stacy told me. “Nobody really cares because it’s not affecting them.”
    Body: “I feel like the state failed to protect the people,” Stacy told me. “Nobody really cares because it’s not affecting them.” Stacy is one of several Lincoln Township residents in Trempealeau County who lived through two years of well problems. An...
    /news/columns/2016/audit-raises-questions-about-clean-water-protection/
    Summary: We all drink water. We expect the water to be clean when it comes out of the facet. We also expect that someone is looking over the safety of our water.
    Body: We all drink water. We expect the water to be clean when it comes out of the facet. We also expect that someone is looking over the safety of our water. Residents in Kewaunee County wonder more than most if the water they drink is really safe. We...

1 page has the tag State Finances

    /news/columns/2016/how-to-make-heads-or-tails-of-wisconsins-finances/
    Summary: People want to know about the health of Wisconsin’s finances. As I began my research, I spoke with the State Auditor and the chief financial analyst, both of whom work for nonpartisan legislative support agencies.
    Body: “Is there any news on how the state is positioned for revenue growth?” Mr. Olsen inquired in his letter. “How do our finances compare to other states?” Mrs. Adams asked. People want to know about the health of Wisconsin’s finances. As I began my...

1 page has the tag Black River

    /news/columns/2016/playing-nice-in-the-sandbox-and-the-river/
    Summary: Friends of the Black River gathered to talk with boat owners about river use. Some felt big boats had taken over the river.
    Body: “People are being driven off the river,” Sue told Black River area residents. “My kids can’t dive off the dock with the big boats. … It didn’t used to be this way. We could all get along - kayakers, canoers, and boaters. I wouldn’t dream of lettin...

1 page has the tag Recreational Use Issues

    /news/columns/2016/playing-nice-in-the-sandbox-and-the-river/
    Summary: Friends of the Black River gathered to talk with boat owners about river use. Some felt big boats had taken over the river.
    Body: “People are being driven off the river,” Sue told Black River area residents. “My kids can’t dive off the dock with the big boats. … It didn’t used to be this way. We could all get along - kayakers, canoers, and boaters. I wouldn’t dream of lettin...

2 pages have the tag Legislative Audit Bureau

    /news/columns/2016/dismantling-civil-service-passes-senate-despite-disturbing-debate/
    Summary: One by one Senators… told of secret meetings held with state workers. Supervisors had forbid employees to talk with their elected representatives. Employees felt intimidated. They wanted to improve state services but were afraid of losing their jobs…
    Body: Dismantling Civil Service Passes Senate Despite Disturbing Debate LAB Hotline Valuable Option in Times of Intimidation One by one Senators stood on the Senate floor and told of secret meetings held with state workers. Supervisors had forbid...
    /news/columns/2016/spending-the-weekend-watching-game-film/
    Summary: Watching the film – or in this case reading the audit – I learned about computer problems so great that the details, according to the LAB, “were too sensitive to communicate publicly.”
    Body: When the game is over the coaches go into the film room to see where the breakdown was in play execution. The best game plan in the world is not any good if the team does not execute it. The “game film” for the State of Wisconsin was recently rel...

1 page has the tag Railroad Issues

    /news/columns/2016/locals-raise-questions-about-railroad-police/
    Summary: It was no wonder the Legislative committee chairperson did not want to hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 734, a bill that would return railroad trespassing law to pre-2006, which allowed crossing.
    Body: It was no wonder the Legislative committee chairperson did not want to hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 734, a bill that would return railroad trespassing law to pre-2006, which allowed crossing. Madison lobbyists lined up against the bill to...

2 pages have the tag Circumventing Democracy

    /news/columns/2016/speed-and-secrecy-kill-democracy/
    Summary: “How can we digest all your work in this short amount of time?” Senator Bewley asked the Chair of the housing committee and author of the bill before her. An amendment replacing the bill was released just before the hearing on that bill.
    Body: Speed and Secrecy Kill Democracy “How can we digest all your work in this short amount of time?” Senator Bewley asked the Chair of the housing committee and author of the bill before her. An amendment replacing the bill was released just befo...
    /news/columns/2016/speed-and-secrecy-versus-deliberative-democracy/
    Summary: “All your work has made a real difference,” Linda, my staffer, told Mrs. Gifford. She and her husband traveled to Madison to personally deliver letters to every Senator.
    Body: Speed and Secrecy versus Deliberative Democracy “All your work has made a real difference,” Linda, my staffer, told Mrs. Gifford. She and her husband traveled to Madison to personally deliver letters to every Senator. “Well, aren’t you nice,...

4 pages have the tag High Capacity Wells

    /news/columns/2017/high-capacity-well-proposal-makes-water-problems-worse/
    Summary: What if you woke up one morning turned on the faucet to wash your face and saw brown water coming out of your tap?
    Body: High Capacity Well Proposal Makes Water Problems Worse What if you woke up one morning turned on the faucet to wash your face and saw brown water coming out of your tap? Stacy Sylla of rural Lincoln Township in Trempealeau County texted me just...
    /news/columns/2017/are-waters-in-wisconsin-meeting-water-quality-standards/
    Summary: “The bottom line is: Are waters meeting water quality standards?” George Meyer told the Audit Committee at a recent hearing.
    Body:     Are Waters in Wisconsin Meeting Water Quality Standards? “The bottom line is: Are waters meeting water quality standards?” George Meyer told the Audit Committee at a recent hearing. “[Wisconsin is] adding hundreds of impaired waters every...
    /news/columns/2016/farmers-seek-action-and-answers-at-the-capitol/
    Summary: “Just get it done!” The farmer was referring to a bill to change rules on high capacity wells. I listened. The chances of passing the bill are dim. Solving groundwater problems in Wisconsin is complex.
    Body: “Just get it done!” The farmer was referring to a bill to change rules on high capacity wells. I listened. The chances of passing the bill are dim. Solving groundwater problems in Wisconsin is complex. Farmers from all over our Senate District re...
    /news/columns/2016/speed-and-secrecy-versus-deliberative-democracy/
    Summary: “All your work has made a real difference,” Linda, my staffer, told Mrs. Gifford. She and her husband traveled to Madison to personally deliver letters to every Senator.
    Body: Speed and Secrecy versus Deliberative Democracy “All your work has made a real difference,” Linda, my staffer, told Mrs. Gifford. She and her husband traveled to Madison to personally deliver letters to every Senator. “Well, aren’t you nice,...

3 pages have the tag Public Water Systems

    /news/columns/2016/keep-private-water-companies-out-of-wisconsin/
    Summary: Assembly Bill 554 would do away with the mandatory citizen referendum prior to the sale of public water and sewer utilities. It would also eliminate the ban on selling to out-of-state companies.
    Body: Keep Private Water Companies OUT of Wisconsin “Keep private water companies OUT of Wisconsin,” Glory Adams of Eau Claire wrote. She wants to stop a bill that would allow cities to sell water and sewer systems to out-of-state companies without e...
    /news/columns/2016/people-make-a-difference-despite-haste-at-capitol/
    Summary: “What can we, as ordinary citizens, do to keep the legislature and the governor from passing/signing house bill 554? It scares the heck out of me,” wrote Claudia from Eau Claire.
    Body: ​People Make a Difference Despite Haste at Capitol “What can we, as ordinary citizens, do to keep the legislature and the governor from passing/signing house bill 554? It scares the heck out of me,” wrote Claudia from Eau Claire.   “I know that...
    /news/columns/2016/the-latest-attempt-to-privatize-our-waters/
    Summary: ... Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and their legislative allies continue to threaten that resource, pitting one user against another, undermining Wisconsin’s constitution and threatening economic stability.
    Body: The Latest Attempt to Privatize Our Waters Senator Mark Miller and Senator Kathleen Vinehout Wisconsin is blessed with an abundance of water. Water provides the basis for our economy and way of life. Yet Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce...

1 page has the tag Drug Addiction

    /news/columns/2017/meth-addiction-the-growing-epidemic-in-our-neighborhood/
    Summary: “We are up to our gills in meth,” the county worker told me. “Four years ago one quarter of our child-protection cases were related to meth. Now, 92% of these cases are related to meth.”
    Body: Meth Addiction: the Growing Epidemic in our Neighborhood “We are up to our gills in meth,” the county worker told me. “Four years ago one quarter of our child-protection cases were related to meth. Now, 92% of these cases are related to meth.” “...

1 page has the tag Meth

    /news/columns/2017/meth-addiction-the-growing-epidemic-in-our-neighborhood/
    Summary: “We are up to our gills in meth,” the county worker told me. “Four years ago one quarter of our child-protection cases were related to meth. Now, 92% of these cases are related to meth.”
    Body: Meth Addiction: the Growing Epidemic in our Neighborhood “We are up to our gills in meth,” the county worker told me. “Four years ago one quarter of our child-protection cases were related to meth. Now, 92% of these cases are related to meth.” “...

2 pages have the tag Town Hall Meeting

    /news/press-releases/2017/citizens-invited-to-state-budget-town-hall-meeting-in-eau-claire/
    Summary: Senator Kathleen Vinehout and Representative Dana Wachs will host a Town Hall Meeting regarding the proposed 2017-19 State Budget in Eau Claire on May 20, 2017.
    Body:   Citizens Invited to State Budget Town Hall Meeting Senator Kathleen Vinehout and Representative Dana Wachs will host a Town Hall Meeting regarding the proposed 2017-19 State Budget in Eau Claire on May 20, 2017. “This state budget will have s...
    /news/press-releases/2017/citizens-invited-to-state-budget-town-hall-meeting-in-mondovi/
    Summary: Senator Kathleen Vinehout will host a Town Hall Meeting regarding the proposed 2017-19 State Budget in Mondovi on May 25, 2017.
    Body: May 12, 2017   Citizens Invited to State Budget Town Hall Meeting Senator Kathleen Vinehout will host a Town Hall Meeting regarding the proposed 2017-19 State Budget in Mondovi on May 25, 2017. “This state budget will have significant impact o...