October 4, 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.
Date: Now through Fri., October 19 at 7 p.m.
Description: Learn more about Medusa and other monsters in Greek mythology by stopping the the UW-Milwaukee Planetarium. General admission is $2. CLICK HERE or call (414) 229-4961 for more information.
Manfred Olson Planetarium in the
Physics Building (MAP)
1900 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
Humboldt Park (MAP)
3000 S. Howell Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53207
October 6 from 9 a.m. to Noon & 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Description: Help beautify our community by participating in the eradication of buckthorn. Meet at the tennis court parking lots in Grant Park. Tools and gloves will be provided. This event is not suitable for children. CLICK HERE or call (414) 764-0612 for more information.
Grant Park (MAP)
100 E. Hawthorne Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53712
Sheridan Park (MAP)
4800 S. Lake Drive
Cudahy, WI 53110
Resource Fair With
Wine Tasting at
South Milwaukee Library
This week we will focus on building healthier families in Wisconsin. Therefore, this newsletter will provide an update on the Affordable Care Act, bring awareness to breast cancer and domestic violence, offer fire safety tips, and list family-friendly outings for fall. Continue reading for more information.
Update on the Affordable Care Act
With the Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act on June 28, 2012, our country is one step closer to ensuring all Americans have access to basic, affordable health care coverage. Implementing the new changes outlined in the Affordable Care Act requires states to either create their own state-based health care exchange--a competitive health care market place--or opt to follow the standards and guidelines set forth by the federal government. According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, all but eight states are currently moving forward with health care exchanges by either studying their options, opting to follow the federal guidelines, planning for a partnership exchange, or establishing their own state exchange. Unfortunately, Wisconsin is not one of these states and instead is one of eight states that is listed as having "no significant activity" regarding creating a health care exchange.
The health care exchange will allow individuals to choose a personal or family health care plan that is easy to understand, offers a robust benefits package, and allows them to check their eligibility for other services, such as tax subsidies, to help pay for their premiums. Initially, Governor Walker said that he would make a decision regarding Wisconsin creating its own exchange following the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. However, he has since changed his tune and is now saying that Wisconsin will not consider building a state-based exchange until after the November election, in hopes that a new President will overturn the health care reform law. Wisconsin is unique with its own health care needs, and we must find a way to set politics aside and get to work on creating an exchange that will be tailored to meet the needs of Wisconsinites. If we choose not to pursue our own health care exchange program before the New Year, then Wisconsin will be legally required to implement the exchange program crafted by the federal government.
In addition to allowing states the opportunity to create their own tailor-made health care exchange, there are also a number of other benefits neighbors should expect under the Affordable Care Act. Below is a list of just some of the changes our family, friends, and neighbors will see as this legislation is implemented:
Health care is a major economic issue as it affects all Wisconsinites and businesses statewide. A healthy workforce means less sick days, catching health issues before they become chronic conditions, and increased productivity. I believe a working Wisconsin needs to be a healthy Wisconsin. As we approach the upcoming legislative session, economic issues, including health care, will be a top priority of mine.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Since 1981, the Violence Intervention
Program has recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The
initial purpose was to help end violence against
women and their children, but has since grown to encompass
domestic violence of all kinds.
According to the National Coalition
Against Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in 13 men will
experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Further, approximately
1.3 million women and 835,000 men in the United States are physically assaulted by an
intimate partner every year. Studies have shown
that children who witness or are victims of such violence are more
likely to grow up and continue to experience the cycle of violence with
their partners. They also are more likely to suffer emotional
disorders and substance abuse, and have a higher dropout rate in school.
The City of Milwaukee Common Council
created the Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
in 1979. Its establishment has provided Milwaukee with a group of
experts and community leaders who come together to address the issues of
family violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. The members work
together with organizations, the media, and government in order to
properly educate the community and assist with policy and legislation.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or even denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please consider using the following resources:
While awareness is growing, we still have a lot of work before us to put an end to domestic violence. I look forward to working on policies to further this aim of ending domestic violence across Wisconsin when the Legislature resumes session in January.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so don't forget to wear pink. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an
annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer
advocacy groups every October with the objective of raising awareness
about the disease. According to Breastcancer.org, about one in eight
U.S. women, which is just under 12%, will develop invasive breast cancer
over the course of her lifetime. Further, about 85% of those breast
cancer cases will occur in women who have no family history of the
The causes of breast cancer are not
clear and thus there is no precise way to prevent it. However, we do
know that age and gender directly correlate to the development of the
cancer. Therefore, it is important to do what you can to reduce your risk.
These steps include maintaining a healthy weight and diet, exercising, and limiting your consumption of alcohol and intake
of postmenopausal hormones.
According to the American Cancer
Society, the 5-year survival rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer
is 90%. The key to increasing one's survival rate is to detect the
cancer while it is still in its early stages and before it has the
chance to spread to other parts of the body. For this reason, women
should have a clinical breast exam at least once every three years between
the ages of 20 and 39 and every year starting at age 40. Women should
also have a mammogram screening, which involves x-ray images of each
breast, done annually once they reach 40. Mammograms can be used to
check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the
disease and can also find microcalcifications, or tiny deposits of
calcium, that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer.
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: National Fire Prevention week begins this Sunday. What are steps Wisconsinites can take to keep themselves and their family safe in the event of a house fire?
Fire Prevention Week was established in 1922 to commemorate the Great
Chicago and Peshtigo Fires, both of which occurred on October 8, 1871.
The former killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed
over 17,400 structures, and burned about 2,000 acres, while the latter
burned down 16 towns, including the small town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin,
killing 1,152 people and scorching 1.2 million acres.
Want to know if you and your family make the grade when it comes to being prepared in case of a house fire? Take a free quiz to test your fire knowledge at the National Fire Protection Association’s Web site:
Did You Know...?
Trees play an important role in our everyday lives, but are often underappreciated until fall when their leaves change to gorgeous reds, oranges, and yellows.
While you may know that trees serve as a vital sources of oxygen, did you know that trees assist us by shading our homes and office buildings, reducing our air conditioning usage by up to 30%? Fortunately for Wisconsinites, our state has an estimated 2,300 species of vascular plants, 78% of which are native to our state.
Autumn Family Outings
Wisconsinites often take advantage of the natural beauty our state has to offer. In the summer, we can be seen fishing, boating, or swimming in our state's many lakes and rivers, biking on trails, or enjoying a cookout at our local parks. Wisconsin also boasts a wide variety of winter activities, including skating, sledding, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. While the options for summer and winter seem endless, what family-friendly activities are available to us during the other in-between seasons?
Below is list of great family-friendly activities our state offers during the fall season. While some are located right in our own backyard, others are hosted by communities around the state. Continue reading for more information about these activities, including hayrides, pumpkin-picking, and scenic, colorful drives.
Apple-Picking at a Wisconsin Orchard
If you are looking for an outing to a Wisconsin apple orchard this fall, there are a bushel of great options throughout the state. Whether you want to go apple picking, enjoy a scenic autumn hayride, sip warm apple cider, or even decorate caramel apples, Wisconsin's apple orchards have something for everyone. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism recommends five orchards in particular, located in Burlington, Fitchburg, Bayfield, Mukwonago, and Gays Mills.
Fall Colors in Wisconsin
Like the idea of a fall drive, but do not have the time to stray too far from home? Take advantage of the Department of Tourism's listing of the best fall color road trips in Southern Wisconsin.
You can also create your own fall drive by utilizing the Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report Web page. This tool shows the colors featured in each area of Wisconsin via an interactive state map.
Pumpkins, Hayrides, Corn Mazes, and More
With Halloween just around the corner, it's a great time to take the family pumpkin-picking. While there are not any pumpkin farms in the City of Milwaukee, with just a short drive you can find plenty of these farms. Many even offer other entertainment options, including hayrides and corn mazes.
Requirements for Voting This Fall
I have been getting a lot of questions about what the requirements are for voting this fall. Here is some information that should help.
Last session, the Legislature enacted 2011 Wisconsin Act 23. This changed many of Wisconsin's requirements for voters, including those related to photo identification, residency, and absentee voting. While the ID restriction 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, all other provisions of this law remain in effect.
To clarify what is and is not required of voters, I have created a PDF detailing some of the most important aspects of this law that may affect you or your family.
More information about requirements for voters can also be found at the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board's Web site. This organization is tasked with ensuring Wisconsin's elections are administered through open, fair, and impartial procedures that guarantee that the vote of each individual counts, and the will of the electorate prevails. Their Web site contains a host of information for voters, including but not limited to how to register and where, the process for voting absentee, and procedures military and overseas personnel should follow.
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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