July 26, 2012
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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
Description: Attend South Milwaukee's annual week-long community festival that features fun events for the entire family. Neighbors can enjoy great food, outdoor activities, concerts and even a parade. Featured events during Heritage Days includes an ice cream social at St. Luke's, a spaghetti dinner at the firehouse, an evening on the avenue, and dinners with the local Lions Club. CLICK HERE for more information about these events.
Date: Thurs., July 26 through Sun., July 29
Description: GermanFest features an extensive variety of traditional music, authentic food, a cultural village, children's activities, wiener dog races, and much more. The festival even boasts nightly fireworks. GermanFest will be open for visitors from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, Noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, and Noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 in advance or $13 at the door for adults, $7 for seniors over 60 and students with a valid ID, and free for children 12 and under. CLICK HERE or call (414) 273-3378 for additional GermanFest information.
Garden District Family Festival
Date: Fri., July 27 through Sun., July 29
Description: Bring the family to the Garden District's Family Festival this weekend. The festival boasts food and drinks, live music, rides, a dunk tank, craft fair and raffle, farmer's market, and more. The festival is being held on 5th and Layton in Milwaukee and is open on Friday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from Noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m. CLICK HERE for more information.
Brady Street Festival
Date: Sat., July 28 from 11 Location: Milwaukee
Description: This annual street festival offers live entertainment featuring local bands, the Division BMX Stunt Team, and professional wrestling. Great food, drinks, shopping, and games will also be available. Do not forget to stop by the Cheesefest Tent to sample and purchase cheese and even watch a cheese curd eating contest. CLICK HERE for more information.
July 28 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Description: Remember to visit the 3rd Annual Milwaukee Brewfest this weekend. This year's event will feature unlimited sampling of more than 200 craft beers and micro brews from over 60 breweries from across the country. Back by popular demand, the 2012 Milwaukee Brewfest will also have a special German Row. In addition, there will be a number of on-site activities, music, and food for added entertainment. To highlight the importance of separating drinking from driving, Milwaukee Brewfest will be offering free shuttle rides providing attendees with a direct connection to neighboring Milwaukee communities from McKinley Park. CLICK HERE for more information.
1750 N. Lincoln
Description: Come celebrate this spirit week for downtown Milwaukee's 82,000 employees. The week features daily giveaways, office challenge games, exclusive discounts, and more. CLICK HERE for more information.
Urban Island Beach
Description: What do you get when you take the Gathering Waters Festival and add a dash of art, some music, a laser tag contest, 1,000 pounds of fish and a 200-pound pig? The 2012 Urban Island Beach Party. Nature lovers will be happy to know that all the same outdoor fun is included in the re-vamped festival. Laacke & Joys will sponsor canoeing and kayaking activities, and there will be rock climbing, boating, and bike rides. There will also be interactive and live art exhibits, drum circles and a luau-inspired photo booth, as well as live music throughout the day and night. Admission is free, and attendees who arrive at the island by boat, bus, or kayak will get a free beer. Also, if you are one of the 100 lucky neighbors first to arrive, you get a free inflatable flamingo. CLICK HERE for more information.
Lakeshore State Park (MAP)
500 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Bradford Beach Jam
Description: Mark your
calendar for the 8th Annual Bradford Beach Jam. This sports and music
festival runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
on Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Events include rugby,
volleyball, dodgeball, Wiffle ball, and soccer.
Celebrate the rich heritage of African nations and people at the African
World Festival. The festival returns with a cultural village and
marketplace, ethnic food, a children's village, and plenty of great
music and entertainment. Tickets are $12 in advance and $17 at the gate.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 273-3378 for more information.
August 11 and Sun., August 12
Description: Head down to Milwaukee's lakefront for this annual premier recreation show. Enjoy performances by the Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Teams, U.S. Air Force, and much more. General admission is free with reserved seating also available. CLICK HERE or call (414) 962-8809 for more information or to purchase tickets.
Date: Sat., August 11
Description: To honor the brave men and women who fought for our country in WWII, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight in partnership with Freethink Media, has produced Honor Flight. This feature- length film captures the stories, spirit, and wisdom of living WWII veterans and will be shown at Miller Park. All proceeds from Field of Honor will ensure that Stars and Stripes Honor Flight can continue to fly veterans to Washington D.C. to see the memorials that stand in their honor. Tickets are $11 per person (plus service fees). Tickets are on sale now through the Brewers' Ticket Office. CLICK HERE or call (262) 238-7741 for more information.
Miller Park (MAP)
1 Brewers Way
Milwaukee, WI 53214
With balance restored to Wisconsin's Legislature, it's time for committees to get to work on furthering bipartisan, job-creating initiatives. Continue reading for more information about the newly restructured committees.
I also encourage you to find me on Facebook and Twitter for timely updates on legislative activities.
As usual, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or opinions you may have about our community or our state.
Roadblocks to Work
The public has spoken loud and clear.
They want balance and integrity restored to Wisconsin. Just last week, I
joined my colleagues on the Senate Floor completing the transition of
power within Wisconsin’s Legislature. In order for us to get Wisconsin's
economy moving in the right direction, we needs leaders that are willing
to show up and do the work. I am proud to say we finally have those
Committees have been reorganized and were announced earlier this week. While it is possible that some adjustments will be made, the committees I have been appointed to are reasonably firm. Please continue reading for more information about the new committees to which I have been appointed and the goals we hope to accomplish through bipartisan efforts.
Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules
I have been appointed Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules, a committee comprised of five senators and five representatives. This committee is codified in Wisconsin's statutes and tasked with ensuring that our state agencies are correctly interpreting and implementing our laws to reflect the intent of the legislation.
Through this committee, we will also strive to increase accountability and transparency in our state, including more accurately tracking the effectiveness of job creation efforts. I have been reaching out to fellow committee members of both parties and am eager to work with them on these challenging endeavors.
Joint Committee on Finance
I am honored to be appointed to the Joint Committee on Finance, the most prominent committee in the Legislature. Comprised of eight senators and eight representatives, this committee was statutorily created to monitor the finances of the state and allocate funding to the various agencies.
Because of the continued financial crisis our state and the rest of the country has been experiencing, our tax dollars need to stretch further than ever. Therefore, the overarching goal of Joint Finance will be to make wise investments with state funds to ensure citizens are not being held responsible for failing programs or ineffective projects. Further, we need to promote greater accountability and transparency for the agencies, businesses, and individuals that continue to receive state funds. This committee can also be a vital catalyst for job creation to help rebuild and renew our currently stagnant economy.
Joint Legislative Audit Committee
Another committee I will be serving on is the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. As required by state statutes, this committee of five senators and five representatives is a strong instrument in making sure our taxpayer dollars are used appropriately. By requesting audits, this committee is able to take an up-close, thorough look at state program efficacy and determine whether they fail or succeed. The results of the audit then drive committee recommendations for timely changes of Wisconsin's state programs.
One of the priorities of this committee will be to examine the concerns recently raised about the potential mismanagement of the new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Additionally, the Audit Committee will want to examine best practices for increasing economic development in our state.
Senate Committee on Education and Corrections
After serving on the Senate Education Committee during the 2011-2012 Legislative Session, I have once again been appointed to the committee, which will focus on holding public hearings on legislation affecting K-12 students and schools, as well as correction-related issues.
Many neighbors have expressed great concerns over the state of our community schools. The harsh reality our children and schools are facing is a direct result of staggering budget cuts, a loss of one-time federal dollars, and the siphoning of funds away from our neighborhood schools and directed towards a growing number of unaccountable schools.
Unfortunately, things are not expected to get any easier during the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. According to a survey done by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA), most school district in Milwaukee County expect to make the same or deeper cuts to balance their budgets for the next school year, with only one of the 18 school districts in Milwaukee County reporting that they expect to make fewer cuts next year compared to this year.
To ensure we are making the most of limited financial resources and providing quality education to our children, I look forward to working on enhancing accountability and transparency measures for all schools that receive taxpayer dollars, including public, charter, and voucher schools.
Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Tourism
I have also been re-appointed to the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Tourism. During the most recent legislative session, I fought to protect our investment in Wisconsin's natural resources, as tourism dollars help keep our state's economy headed in the right direction.
Many concerns remain and were not adequately addressed during the most recent legislative session. I hope that we can work together to further examine these troubling issues:
The efforts of these committees to create immediate jobs, further economic development, and increase accountability and transparency can only succeed with bipartisan support in both the Senate and the Assembly. Therefore, I hope that we can all band together to produce truly bipartisan policies that gets the Wisconsin we all know and love moving forward.
Competition vs. Collaboration
Milwaukee and Chicago--two cities that have much in common, including lakeside geography, heavy industry, and a struggle for a role in the emerging global economy. Today, Chicago ranks among the top 10 global cities, and Milwaukee is rapidly becoming the freshwater capital of the world. This, however, has not always proven to be enough to set them apart from their global competition. China alone has 30 cities that are bigger than Chicago and 100 bigger than Milwaukee. In an economy that rewards collaboration, Milwaukee and Chicago remain in competition, risking irrelevance.
To try and get Milwaukee and Chicago
moving on a path towards symbiotic success, discussions have recently
begun to address a stronger regional approach and potential cooperative
partnership between these sister cities. On July 17, the Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel and the Marquette University Law School kicked-off the
conversation between the two cities by holding a conference called
"Milwaukee's Future in the Chicago Megacity."
The agenda of the conference was based on a recent territorial review published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. This review encompassed the Chicago tri-state area, a 21-county region that includes Milwaukee, Chicago, and northwestern Indiana. The organization condemned the current rivalry between the states arguing that it prevents any real cooperation to increase mutual economic prosperity. One economist even commented that he had never seen such "hostility" toward neighbors as displayed by these state governments.
Many agree that the quickest way to
bring these cities closer would be to connect them better physically
with a fast rail link. This infrastructure investment would allow
residents of one city to work in the other and also allow businesses to
work together more efficiently. Unfortunately, Milwaukee's attempts to
pursue such an endeavor have been repeatedly blocked, including when the
most recent budget dissolved the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority
along with three other authorized Regional Transit Authority groups.
This action effectively halted plans to build a commuter rail line
that would link Milwaukee to Kenosha, Racine, and surrounding suburbs. The planned Commuter Link would have offered 15
round trips each weekday, promoting commerce and development, attracting
future businesses to the area, raising property values, and providing
our workforce with a means to get to and from their jobs. Additionally,
federal aid would have covered most construction and operating costs.
In addition to connecting the two
cities by rail, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce also wants to create a
Tri-State Alliance for Regional Development. This group would gather
civic and business leaders from the region and begin the process toward
broader cooperation. Other suggestions include an initial project that
focuses on Milwaukee’s specialty--water. Linking researchers
specializing in water from universities in Milwaukee and Chicago could
create a standard of best practices. In an increasingly dry world,
anything the two cities do to establish themselves as a freshwater hub
would benefit both. Ideas like these could enable both cities to
leverage their combined strengths, so they can better thrive in this
increasingly global and competitive economy.
Drought Conditions Linger in Wisconsin
Neighbors everywhere have continued to
struggle in our prolonged drought. The heat plaguing our community, the
state of Wisconsin, and the rest of the country still shows no sign of
letting up. Temperatures remain in the mid-90s after our community was
hit by a stretch of triple-digit temperatures around the Fourth of July
holiday. While some areas have seen small amounts of rain, these brief
reprieves have not been enough to avoid severe consequences for our
state and neighbors.
Agriculture plays a vital role in our
economy. The industry makes up 10% of the Wisconsin workforce and
generates over $59 billion in economic activity each year. The economic
losses caused by this drought will undoubtedly be a huge blow to our
state and send our economy backwards.
Less predictable weather and more
significant weather events, like this drought, are definite symptoms of
climate change. As we do what we can to help our farmers recover, we
also need to tackle the root causes of such climate change. I will continue to update you on this
important and far-reaching topic as more information becomes available.
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.
Q: I heard that the Legislature is out of session until January 2013. So what can be done to create jobs and further economic development in our state now?
A: The Legislature concluded its 2011-2012 Legislative Session in mid-march of 2012. In years past, that means that the Legislature will not meet again as a body until session resumes. The Senate and Assembly will still be able to hold public hearings seeking input from neighbors, but cannot vote on legislative proposals until January 2013.
There are some exceptions to this rule:
1). The governor could call the Legislature to meet in a special session that focuses on bills needed immediately on such important issues as job creation and economic development.
2). Both houses of the Legislature could pass a resolution calling for an extraordinary session, allowing them to work on any legislative initiatives that they and their constituents deem important.
While it is atypical for the Legislature to go into a special or extraordinary session, our state continues to struggle with trying to get our family, friends, and neighbors back to work. During times of economic depression, we need leaders to acknowledge that we cannot simply continue to follow the status quo, and instead need to take extraordinary action. Republican legislators and the governor have already acknowledged that our state is failing compared to others in the nation, which is why they opted to hold two special sessions during the 2011-2012 Legislative Session. Unfortunately, these sessions did not do enough to create immediate jobs for Wisconsinites. Just last month, Wisconsin lost another estimated 11,700 private sector jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 7%, according to the state Department of Workforce Development. Clearly, we have more work in-store to get Wisconsin's economy moving in the right direction. My Democratic colleagues and I urge the governor and leaders of the Assembly to join our efforts and hold a special or extraordinary session to get Wisconsin working.
Did You Know...?
This weekend the Milwaukee community
will celebrate its annual GermanFest event. Did you know that German is
the largest ancestry group in Wisconsin totaling 42.6% of the
population? Although Germans settled throughout the state, the largest
concentration was in Milwaukee. Even the Wisconsin Constitution was
published in English and German when it was created to meet the needs of Wisconsin’s
immigrant population as German remained in common usage well into the
early 20th century.
Poll Workers Needed in Milwaukee
The City of Milwaukee Election commission is seeking the help of hardworking neighbors with a dedication to democracy who are interested in serving as chief inspectors and poll workers. Bilingual workers are especially in demand. Having more trained and experience workers at the polls will help ensure that our elections run smoothly.
Celebrating Wisconsin at the Fair
The annual Wisconsin State Fair is
slated to begin next week. The fair will be held August 2 through August
12 at State Fair Park in West Allis. The State Fair attracts over
800,000 fairgoers each year, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy
some of Wisconsin’s favorite traditions and valued past-times. Visitors
will be able to enjoy live entertainment and amusement park
games, pay tribute to Wisconsin’s famous agriculture industry through
barn tours and auctions, admire ribbon-winning fair items such as pies
and textiles, and savor plenty of food such as Wisconsin’s Official
Dessert--the cream puff.
Olympics Games Coming Soon
Every two years, the world comes together to for the Olympic Games where nation's compete to determine which athletes are the best of the best. The Games also aim to promote its three core values of friendship, excellence, and respect between nations. London, England is set to host the next Olympic Games which will boast 205 nations from all over the world taking part in 300 different athletic events. This highly-anticipated event will open on July 27 and run for two weeks.
This year, the Olympics have also adopted a new goal of hosting the world’s first truly sustainable Olympic Games. Working in partnership with BioRegional and the World Wildlife Fund, London has developed "Towards a One Planet 2012" a sustainable Games guided by the principle that the world should live within its means. All of the planning and building in preparation for the Games has taken place with this idea in mind. The venues, transportation, food, and waste disposal services have all been designed to maximize sustainability. With over 4 billion people watching and over 200 countries participating, the Olympic Games offer a tremendous opportunity to spread awareness and serve as a mechanism change.
Our country has sent athletes to every celebration of the modern Olympic Games, except the 1980 Summer Olympics, which it boycotted. Thomas Burke was the first athlete to represent the United States at the Olympics. He took first place in both the 100 meters and the 400 meters of the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. The United States has a historically strong showing at the Summer Olympics, having won more gold and overall medals than any other country in the Summer Games. Several athletes with Wisconsin ties are set to represent us in the 2012 Summer Games, so be sure to cheer on pay close attention to these individuals:
Despite the many physical, spiritual, and cultural differences of the participating nations, the Olympics bring all of us together through our shared appreciation of competition and sportsmanship. Further the excitement of the Olympic Games are seemingly able to capture the attention of the entire world. Hopefully, this year's London Games will be no different.
Summer Activities in Our Community
Our community offers a wide variety of summer activities for families, children, and adults alike. Below are just a few activities that you can take part in this summer.
Free Painting and Drawing Classes
Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.
Kelly Senior Center (MAP)
Cudahy, WI 53110
Milwaukee in Miniature
Update on IDs for Voters
March 2012, 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 was ruled unconstitutional and two
separate Circuit Court judges ordered government officials to halt
requiring voters to present a valid photo ID when casting their vote. It
was stated in the ruling that 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 carried a severe
risk of disenfranchising voters and was suspended based on the vital
public interest at stake in allowing full participation in elections.
Neighborhood Survey Available
I created a survey asking about various issues that are
important to our community and our state. The input of neighbors is
I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues!
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