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October 4, 2012



Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might have.

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487



Mailing Address:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707


Web Site:


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Supporting our 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. 

Medusa and More Monsters

Date: Now through Fri., October 19 at 7 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

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



Milwaukee Film Festival
Date: Thurs., September 27 through Thurs., October 11
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Now in its fourth year, the Milwaukee Film Festival takes place over 15 days, showing nearly 200 award-quality films at the Landmark Downer Theatre, Landmark Oriental Theatre, and Fox-Bay Cinema Grill. Alongside the best fiction features, documentaries, and shorts on the festival circuit, this year’s screenings include expanded cult classics and music documentary series, the Milwaukee Children’s Film Festival, the always-popular "The Milwaukee Show," and a focus on the films of China for its Passport Program. CLICK HERE for information, including a listing of screenings.

Film On the Hill- The Goonies
Date: Sat., October 6
Location: Bay View
Description: Come support the Bay view Community and the Milwaukee County Parks by enjoying a relaxing evening at the Humboldt Park Band Shell where the Goonies will be playing. The movie will begin at dusk and popcorn and local vendors will be available. This is a free event and everyone is welcome to attend. CLICK HERE for more information.

Humboldt Park (MAP)

3000 S. Howell Avenue

Milwaukee, WI 53207


Weed-Out at Grant Park

Date: Sat., October 6 from 9 a.m. to Noon & 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location: South Milwaukee

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


Weed-Out at Sheridan Park
Date: Sat., October 6 at 10:30 a.m.
Location: Cudahy
Description: Gather at Sheridan Pavilion (Area 1) at 10:30am, following the autumn meeting. Volunteers will treat invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle. Supplies will be provided. CLICK HERE for more information.


Sheridan Park (MAP)

4800 S. Lake Drive

Cudahy, WI 53110



Pet Parade
Date: Sun., October 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee
Description: Brady Street will host its 11th Annual Pet Parade. Bring your furry friend to participate in a parade, pet blessing, and owner/pet look-a-like contest. CLICK HERE for more information, including a detailed event schedule.



Resource Fair With Flu Shots
Date: Wed., October 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Cudahy
Description: Enjoy a variety of wellness, education, entertainment, and home and living booths. You can also receive a flu shot for a fee or with your Medicare card. CLICK HERE or call (414) 481-9611 for more information.

Kelly Senior Center (MAP)
6100 S. Lake Drive
Cudahy, WI 53110



Wine Tasting at South Milwaukee Library
Date: Thurs., October 11 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: Support the South Milwaukee Public Library while sampling wine and enjoying music by Dan Nimphius. Tickets can be purchased at the South Milwaukee Public Library. CLICK HERE or call (414) 277-0183 for more information.

South Milwaukee Public Library (MAP)
1907 10th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53712


Clean-up in Oak Creek Watercourse
Date: Sat., October 13 from 8 a.m. to Noon
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: This cleanup will target the Oak Creek from North Chicago Avenue to Rawson Avenue. The Friends of Mill Pond will provide vests, gloves, bags, water, and lunch to volunteers. Meet at the South Milwaukee High School northeast parking lot (between the football stadium and the school). CLICK HERE for more information.

South Milwaukee High School (MAP)
801 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53712


South Milwaukee Goes Pink
Date: Sat., October 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Day with the City of South Milwaukee. The event begins with a chicken dinner at South Milwaukee High School with additional events going on later in the week. CLICK HERE for more information.

South Milwaukee High School (MAP)
801 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53712


Harvest Tasting
Date: Fri., October 19 from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Location: Cudahy
Description: Help raise funds for the Cudahy Family Library and partake in a novel evening of distinguished wines, craft beers, specialty soft drinks, and delicious hors d’oeuvres. You will also be entertained with live entertainment played by Four Guyz in Dinner Jackets, and have the opportunity to participate in a raffle and silent auction. Tickets are on sale at the library. CLICK HERE or call (414) 769-2244 for more information.

Cudahy Family Library(MAP)
3500 Library Drive
Cudahy, WI 53110































































































































































































Dear Friend,


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.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7




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. 


Click here to view a map detailing where each state is at in the health exchange implementation process.


Click here for more information about the timeline for provisions in the Affordable Care Act.


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:

  • Eliminating lifetime caps on health insurance benefits and preventing denials of coverage for a pre-existing condition

  • Limiting insurance companies from charging higher rates due to heath status, gender, or other factors

  • Allowing children to remain on a parent's health plan until age 26

  • Guaranteeing that health insurers clearly explain a health plan's benefit to consumers

  • Discounting branded medications for seniors who hit a donut hole in coverage for their Medicare prescription drug benefits

  • Providing yearly wellness exams with no co-pays or deductibles for neighbors with Medicare

  • Putting greater emphasis on primary care

  • Giving states the opportunity to offer more affordable home and community based services to individuals with disabilities through Medicaid rather than institutional care in nursing homes

  • Requiring members of Congress get their healthcare from the same plans as millions of Americans

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.


Click here for a list of signs of abuse provided by the federal government's Office on Women's Health.


If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please consider using the following resources:

  • Impact 211--The Milwaukee area has a central assistance hotline, where a Community Resource Specialist can be reached 24 hours each day by dialing 211. If calling from a cell or pay phone, please dial 1-866-211-3380 (toll free) instead. The 211 service can help with escaping a violent situation, finding alternative housing, dealing with legal proceedings, or finding counseling to help you and your family heal. Click here for more information.

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline--Hotline advocates are available for victims and anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information, and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services. You can reach the hotline by dialing 1-800-799-SAFE. Click here for more information.

  • Sojournor Family Peace Center--Offers a wide-range of services for domestic violence victims and their families including support groups, advocates to help understand legal proceedings, a restraining order clinic to start the process of obtaining this legal document, an emergency line, and a 37-bed emergency shelter for women and children. Call (414) 276-1911 to reach their main office or (414) 933-2722 to reach their Domestic Violence Hotline. Click here for more information.

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

October 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, 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 disease.

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.

While breast cancer mortality rates in the state are declining, it is still the most common newly diagnosed form of cancer in Wisconsin women making it crucial for women to educate themselves about prevention, screening, and treatment options.


Click here for more information on Breast Cancer Awareness Month from the Center for Disease Control.




Ask Chris

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?


A: 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.

Both blazes changed the way that firefighters and public officials thought about fire safety, and it was decided that the anniversary of these fires should aim to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. According to the National Archives and Records Administration's Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.

Below are just a few tips recommended by the National Fire Prevention Association to help keep our families safe in case of a house fire:

  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan. Only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. This includes mapping out two exits for every room in case one is blocked by fire. This tip is so important that this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Have 2 Ways Out.”

  • Make sure you have working smoke detectors and also take their warning seriously. Nearly 62% of reported home fire deaths were in homes with no working smoke detector or even no smoke detector at all. Additionally, hardwired alarms tend to operate more effectively than battery-powered alarms.

  • Be extra attentive when in the kitchen. Cooking has been the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries since 1990, causing approximately two of every five reported home fires.

  • Be mindful of where and how you use heating equipment. This includes regularly cleaning chimneys and keeping heating equipment, such as space heaters and stoves, away from things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.

  • Smoking can kill in more ways than one. In 2010, smoking materials, including cigarettes, started an estimated 17,500 home structure fires, resulting in 540 deaths, 1,320 injuries, and $535 million in direct property damages, making it the leading cause of home fire deaths.

  • Do not overcrowd outlets and be sure your house’s electrical work is up-to-code. Half of home electrical fires involve electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while other leading types of equipment include washers or dryers, fans, air conditioning units, or water heaters.

  • Do not leave candles unattended. More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.

  • Sprinkler systems are not just for businesses. Homeowners can also install sprinkler systems, which cut the risk of dying in a home fire by about 83%, and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene.

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:


Click here to take the quiz.

Their Web site is also a great resource for any other information you may need regarding Fire Prevention Week and safeguarding your family against house fires.


Click here to visit the National Fire Prevention Organization'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.


Click here for more information about these apple orchards.

Fall Colors in Wisconsin
Autumn in Wisconsin is all about the warm colors on the leaves of our mature trees. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism has compiled a list of 11 fall color driving tours guaranteed to put you in a front row seat for Mother Nature’s annual show. These scenic drives are filled with colorful spots to stop at during the autumn season.


Click here for more information about these scenic drives.


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.


Click here for more information about potential routes.


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.


Click here to utilize the Fall Color Report 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.


Click here for more information about great Milwaukee-area farms to enjoy.




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.


Click here to view a copy of this PDF, which will also be available on my Web site next week.


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.


Click here to visit the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board's Web site.



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 greatly appreciated.

Click here to download and print a copy of this survey, which you can return to my office via mail, email, or fax upon completion.


Click here to save a stamp and take the survey online.


I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues!




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