State Capitol Report


December 15, 2016

Contact Me

State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

PH: (608) 266-0455
TF: (888) 534-0065
FAX: (608) 282-3665

On the Web:


Upcoming Events

**Please note my state capitol office will be closed on the following days: Friday, December 23rd; Monday, December 26th; Friday, December 30th; and Monday, January 2nd.**


Santa at the Rhode

When: Sunday, December 18th from 10am-2pm & Wednesday, December 21st from 5-8pm

Where: Rhode Center for the Arts, 514 56th Street, Kenosha

What: Santa will be at the historic Rhode Center for the Arts and invites you to stop by with your Christmas wish list! Personal cameras to capture those magical moments are welcome. Enjoy coloring and fun activities for the kids too!

Cost: FREE


Holiday Train Display
When: Now through January 8th from 10am-5pm
Where: Kenosha Public Museum lobby
What: Kids of all ages and adults alike can come view the model train running through a festive winter scene.
Cost: FREE


Kenosha County Christmas Bird Count

When: Wednesday, December 21

Where: Pringle Nature Center, 9800 160th Avenue, Bristol, WI

What: Join birders on foot and by vehicle for part of or the whole day as we count all birds we find in various habitats in eastern Kenosha county. Every effort will be made to pair new field observers with more experienced birders within designated count areas.

Cost: FREE

RSVP: Please RSVP by December 17 so areas can be assigned to participants. Contact information can be found HERE.


Not So Frosty Fest

When: December 28th & 29th from 1-4pm

Where: Kenosha Public Museum, 5500 First Avenue, Kenosha

What: The weather outside might be cold, but grab your Hawaiian shirts for a tropical heat wave at the Museum! Enjoy free family activities. Make a volcano erupt, dissect a real flower, create Polynesian stick maps, learn about coral reefs, and more.


New Year's Eve Family Celebration

When: December 31st from 7-10pm

Where: Kenosha YMCA, 7101 53rd Street, Kenosha

What: Join us for a fun, festive, family-friendly New Year’s Eve Party! Gaming In My Place, open rock climbing, build your own sundae bar, kids crafts, gym games and more. Simulated NYE countdown at 9:45pm.

Cost: Individual $10; Family $20


First Day Hike

When: January 1st from 3-4pm

Where: Richard Bong State Recreation Area

**Meet at visitor center**

What: State Parks across the nation host New Year’s Day hikes. Join in the celebration to start your year off right and learn a little about the park too.

Cost: State park admission sticker is required: $8 per day for vehicles with Wisconsin plates / $11 for vehicles with out-of-state plates. Annual sticker also available. Click HERE for more info.


Gateway MLK Jr. Celebration

When: January 16, 2017 @ noon (doors open @ 11:30am)

Where: Gateway Technical College, Madrigrano Auditorium - Kenosha Campus

Keynote Speaker: State Rep. David Bowen

Theme: "The King In You"


35th Annual UAW Local 72 MLK Event

When: Saturday, January 21st @ 5:30pm

Where: UAW Local 72, 3615 Washington Rd, Kenosha

Keynote Speaker: Congressman James E. Clyburn (6th District of South Carolina)

Cost: $20/adult, $10/children under 12

Contacts: Anthony Davis (262) 948-3381; Juanita Almond (262) 632-7082; Hettie Gibson (262) 554-8673; Betty Brown (262) 633-5622; Howard McBride Jr. (847) 872-0828


Free Fishing Weekend January 21-22

Winter has definitely arrived here in Wisconsin. And with winter comes ice fishing. Whether you have been ice fishing for many years or want to try it out for the first time, Wisconsin's winter Free Fishing Weekend is a perfect time for this favorite activity.


On January 21st and January 22nd, you can fish almost anywhere in Wisconsin without a license or trout stamp. Most waters of the state are open, except for spring trout ponds. All other inland waters and Wisconsin's side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River are open for you to test your skills and try your luck. Of course, all usual regulations and seasonal restrictions are in force


Click HERE for more information about Wisconsin's Free Fishing Weekend.


Staying Safe on
New Year's Eve


New Years Eve always comes with many opportunities for folks to enjoy themselves. I want to remind everyone to travel and celebrate safely this New Years Eve.

If you are out and about celebrating this year and find yourself in need of a safe ride home, be sure to ask about the Kenosha Safe Ride program which is being run again by the Kenosha County Tavern League. Simply ask your server if they have a safe ride voucher, which is free to patrons.


Kenosha Public Libraries To Serve As Warming Centers

As the temperatures drop there's growing concern about those without adequate heat. Do you know of anyone who may need a place to warm up out of the elements? All Kenosha Public Library branches will be open and functioning as warming centers this season.


Click HERE for a complete list of branch locations. Thank you, KPL!



Friends and Neighbors,


I hope you have been staying warm and safe during these bitterly cold days we've had this week. As the year comes to a close, I am thinking about everything that has gone on in our state over the last twelve months and everything that is coming up in 2017. I will be honored to be sworn in for another two year term on January 3rd at the Wisconsin State Capitol. I am eager to get to work offering legislation that addresses the issues you feel are most important. Our state is facing many challenges so there is a lot of work to do.


As always, if you would like something to be included in future e-newsletters, just let me know at (608) 266-0455 or


In solidarity,


Tod Ohnstad
State Representative
65th Assembly District


2016 Wisconsin State Capitol Christmas Tree

Photo credit: Greg Anderson


Sen. Bernie Sanders Visits Kenosha 

On Monday, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont visited Kenosha's own UAW Local 72 hall for a town hall taping of "All In With Chris Hayes" on MSNBC. I know some of you were able to attend the forum. I imagine many more of you were able to watch the program since it aired Monday evening. The discussion touched on many different issues such as trade policy, education, and civil liberties.


I was pleased to help facilitate Senator Sanders' visit and the taping of this important discussion. If you have not had a chance to view the episode, you can do so online HERE or via


New Artwork Hanging in Capitol Office

Every few months, Kenosha's own Lemon Street Gallery makes the trek up to the State Capitol building to share new artwork with our office and other Kenosha-area offices. It is a treat for me to be able to show off pieces by area artists with everyone who stops by my office. I am pleased to share with you some photos of the new pieces now on display in my office in Madison.


Steven Santamour, "Color Calls," Metal Print


Melanie Hovey, "Clover," Acrylic


Barbara Farrell, "Evening Shadows," Watercolor


Thank you, as always, to Lemon Street Gallery for sharing these beautiful pieces with us and for all of your work in our community. Also, be sure to check out Lemon Street Gallery's Artistree holiday gift show, happening now through December 24th.


Local Resource: Kenosha Literacy Council


Earlier this week, you may have seen an article in the Kenosha News about the Kenosha Literacy Council's 15th annual anthology release and winter celebration, showcasing nearly 60 stories written by adults enrolled in the literacy program. I want to congratulate the KLC students on their hard work and incredible accomplishment.


If you aren't familiar with the Kenosha Literacy Council, it offers a variety of programs including drop-in and one-on-one tutoring, small group classes, tutor training, plus classes in civics, citizenship preparation, literacy computer work and related job search skills.

The council is located at Uptown Library, 2419 63rd St., 262-654-7323.


Most of KLC’s students (79%) are learning English as another language but others (21%) are American-born, English speaking students who need to improve basic skills in reading and math so that they can get their G.E.D. Many programs are on-going throughout the year and new students are welcome to begin at anytime. I encourage anyone interested, or who might know someone interested, to learn more about becoming a student.


Thank you to the Kenosha Literacy Council for the important work you do in our community and the difference you make in your students' lives. And congratulations again to KLC's students for all of your hard work.


Reminder from the DNR: No ice is safe ice

Ask locals for conditions

As temperatures drop and ice begins to form in many Wisconsin waterbodies, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds everyone ice should never be considered safe and early season ice conditions varies from waterbody to waterbody. The DNR does not monitor ice conditions, so it is each person's responsibility to learn those conditions.


Good sources of local ice conditions include bait store operators, fishing clubs around lakes, ice fishers and snowmobile clubs. These are the places locally most likely to have the most current information about the lakes and areas. The ice conditions on any lake can vary from location to location. Remember, even though it may look thick on the surface, moving water from streams, rivers and springs can cause ice to form unevenly.


For more information, tips, and resources, check out the DNR's Ice Safety webpage.



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