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American Rescue Plan funds provide a historic chance to address lead in MKE

Photo via Wisconsin Health News

The American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress and signed by President Biden earlier this year will provide Milwaukee with hundreds of millions of dollars. Public discussions held by the Mayor and City Council members have identified lead abatement, as well as eviction prevention, internet access, and early childhood education as priorities for how to make use of the funds.

However, money alone will not remove the lead from pipes and paint. The city faces a shortage of contract workers such as plumbers, and risk assessors who identify project sites, both of which are crucial to turning plans to remove lead from our city into action.

The questions left for city government leaders are, where and how to invest this money in order to make the most progress towards removing lead, and whether there will be any additional funding from an infrastructure bill that is currently being crafted in Washington.

Regardless, the lead issue has risen up towards the top of priorities for federal funds coming to Milwaukee.

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Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Only 1 in 24 elder abuse cases is estimated to be reported. Often, older people are hesitant to report cases of abuse to family, friends or the authorities.

Since 2001, elder abuse incidents in Wisconsin have more than tripled with over 10,000 cases reported this past year. Abuse can take many forms, including physical, emotional, and financial.

In 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Justice partnered with the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources to create the Wisconsin Elder Abuse Hotline. If you or someone you know may be the victim of elder abuse, visit ReportElderAbuseWI.org or call 1-833-586-0107

Information about the Expanded Child Tax Credit

Parents and guardians will be eligible for extra financial help this year via the Child Tax Credit with extra funding from the American Rescue Plan.

Normally the Child Tax Credit gives $2,000 per year per child on a tax return, but this year the credit will yield $3,600 for children 5 and under, and $3,000 for children from 6 to 17.

These benefits are awarded based on information on your 2020 tax returns and the IRS will automatically determine who receives the extra funds and provide the funding similar to the stimulus checks issued in 2020 and 2021.

If you haven't filed your taxes yet, it is not too late!

A special portal will be available on the IRS website which will allow people to file their taxes so that they may receive the credit. This portal is expected to be available by the end of June.

Some grandparents and guardians may also be eligible if they are the primary caretaker of children.

Read more.

The Lyons Park Creek Bank Stabilization Project

Part of the Kinnickinnic River watershed, the Lyons Park Creek is approximately 1.5 miles long, extending from Forest Home Avenue to the the Kinnickinnic River north of Cleveland Avenue.

Channel and bluff erosion has started in multiple areas, caused by the speed of water flowing through the creek. This erosion has already degraded a concrete alley and storm sewer, and so the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is working to stabilize the erosion. 

Read more.

To learn more about the flood stabilization in the Kinnickinnic River Watershed, check out the Kinnickinnic River Watershed Flood Management Story Map.

Wisconsin GOP Legislators travel to Arizona to witness the illegitimate audit in Maricopa County

Six Republican Wisconsin State Legislators were granted permission from Speaker Robin Vos to use state resources to travel to Phoenix to observe a recount of ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona.

The Maricopa County "audit," conducted by cybersecurity firm, Cyber Ninjas, has been described by Maricopa County's Republican-led board of supervisors as a "sham." A project official has explained that they're using microscopes and ultraviolet lights to search for traces of bamboo in the ballots which they believe supports their theory that thousands of fraudulent ballots were transported from Asia, among other alleged irregularities.

One of the legislators on the trip, Representative Janel Brandtjen, is the chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections.

Read more.

This trip precedes Speaker Vos' planned "investigation" of the November Election in Wisconsin, for which he plans to use taxpayer resources to hire retired police officers to investigate the events six months after they took place. These officers will be working with Rep. Brandtjen's committee, which has been granted investigatory powers to review the presidential election and potentially subpoena witnesses for review.

Read more.

The origins of the American Flag

Although most of us are familiar with the story that Betsy Ross crafted the first American Flag commissioned by George Washington, sources backing up that version of history are hard to find.

At the beginning of the American Revolution, there was no flag recognized to unite the different colonies, but instead regiments would fight under different regimental flags such as the famous Gadsden Flag.

It wasn't until 1912 that President Taft signed an executive order specifying exactly how an American Flag should be designed, up until then flags could be produced with different proportions, or with six- or eight-pointed stars.

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