June 20, 2013
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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.
MIAD 2013 Juried Senior Exhibition
Date: Now through Sat., July 27
you missed the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design's renowned annual
senior exhibition, stop by to see faculty-juried works from all majors
in the 2013 Juried Senior Exhibition. This event is being held in MIAD's
Frederick Layton Gallery.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 291-8070 for more information.
The Milwaukee Art Museum Presents: 30 Americans
Date: Now through Sun., September 8
Americans is a dynamic exploration of contemporary American art.
Paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video, and more made
by African American artists since 1970 raise questions of what it means
to be a contemporary artist and an African American today. Whether
addressing issues of race, gender, sexuality, politics, or history--or
seemingly remaining silent about them--these works offer powerful
interpretations of cultural identity and artistic legacy.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 224-3200 for more information.
Lakefront Festival of Arts
Date: Fri., June 21 through Sun., June 23
The Lakefront Festival of Arts is celebrating the 51st event featuring
over 170 artists around the world. Painters, potters, sculptors,
glassblowers, photographers, and more are all selling art for purchase.
This festival has a wine and beer garden, as well as Lakeside dining
options. Admission to the Milwaukee Art Museum and festival grounds is
$15 and $8 for Milwaukee Art Museum members who provide a valid
membership card. Children 16 and under are free with a paid adult. Art
enthusiasts can also purchase a $20 three-day pass.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 224-3200 for more information.
Location: West Allis
Attend the annual Greek Fest event at the State Fairgrounds. This
festival will feature a variety of entertainment, including live Greek
music, games, authentic dance performances, and rides for the kids
throughout the weekend.
State Fair Park (MAP)
North Parking Lot
640 S. 84th Street
Description: Lunar Light focuses on our Moon, which has captivated our imagination enough to explore it with humans and machines. The live presentation will highlight Earth-Moon-Sun interactions that result in dramatic events such as lunar and solar eclipses, ocean tides, and different phases of the Moon. The presentation will include Greek myths associated with the Moon. As always, there is a portion of the program that focuses on stars and constellations projected on the dome to simulate both a city and country sky. Please note there is no show on July 5. CLICK HERE for more information.
Manfred Olson Planetarium
1900 East Kenwood Blvd.
Say Farewell to East Library
June 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
East Library (MAP)
1910 E. North Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Enjoy great music, entertainment, food, and family fun at the 12th
annual Summer Soulstice festival. Family fun entertainment includes
Bernie Brewer and the Racing Sausages, creating pottery to take home,
musicians, jugglers, balloon artists, and much more. Local restaurants
and vendors will have food available for purchase and area bands will be
performing throughout the day. This event will take place on E. North
Avenue between N. Oakland and N. Prospect.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Ignoring bipartisan objections, the Assembly passed the extreme Tea Party-sponsored budget this week that flies in the face of our shared Wisconsin values. The Senate is also poised to adopt this unbalanced, unpopular budget. Continue reading for more information about this and other important issues including Wisconsin's worsening water quality and the arrival of Summerfest and National Dairy Month.
Assembly Passes Extreme, Unbalanced Budget, Senate Next
The Legislature took up the controversial Republican budget this week. The Assembly met on Tuesday and again on Wednesday when they passed an amended version of the bill before handing it off to the Senate for passage today. Continue reading for more information about what occurred in each house during their debate of the budget.
Assembly Budget Debate
Republicans in the Assembly proved they are interested in a more politically divisive budget by introducing an 11th-hour amendment devised through backroom deals. In fact, this amendment, which contains 28 provisions only one of which is technical, is so extreme, that it can only be referred to as a Tea Party ransom note. Below is more information on just a couple of these alarming provisions.
After a heated statement by Assembly Democratic leadership against both the Tea Party ransom note amendment and the budget itself, the budget passed in the Assembly with a vote of 55-42, despite receiving bipartisan opposition.
Senate Budget Debate
Due to the fact that the Senate was still debating the budget at the time this report was sent out, a more detailed update on what occurred will be provided next week. However, Senate Democrats will be introducing a number of amendments to try and fix this extreme budget, which currently does not reflect Wisconsin's shared values. Instead, a true middle-class budget would:
The priorities in this budget are not the Wisconsin Way. We needed Legislative Republicans to help the middle class, rather than simply touting empty rhetoric. Republicans cannot claim they are for the middle class while budgeting against the middle class. Below is a list of the top 10 worst attacks on the middle class in the Republican budget.
As you can see, the Republican budget attacks many of the programs Wisconsinites hold most dear. It is time for real change and a real middle-class budget so that we can create real jobs. Stay tuned for an in-depth budget update next week.
Wisconsin Water Quality at Risk...Again
Despite Democratic objections, Republicans chose to repeal some of Wisconsin's water quality protection standards during last session. This included the removal of standards that required communities to reduce the total amount of suspended solids in local water supplies that had protected our water quality from sewerage waste, toxic chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides. Unfortunately, we are now seeing the effects of such policies first-hand.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), nearly 150 new bodies of water will be added to a list of lakes, rivers, and streams that do not meet state water quality standards. This drastic reclassification is due to excessive amounts of phosphorus, fertilizer, and waste from animals and humans. This is especially devastating for the Milwaukee area given that many of the bodies of water considered to be "impaired" by the DNR are in our Milwaukee community or other urban areas.
This is not the only hit our water ways have taken recently. Earlier this month, the Great Lakes Caucus met and overwhelmingly discussed the concerning water levels in our Great Lakes. Water levels usually cycle through periods of increased and decreased water supply. However, in recent years, the Great Lakes have seen a disturbing drop in water levels. In fact, the current water levels are at record lows for the 160 years that such measurements have been taken. Lake Michigan, for example, had its lowest recorded water supply in January 2013. While it has since risen about six inches due to spring rainfall, it is still well below average.
Low water levels are not only an indication of our environment in crisis, but it can also have a negative impact on our economy. In the commercial shipping industry, low water levels can result in losing about 15% of their cargo carrying capacity. Low water levels can also prevent people from accessing launching points for their boats. In our community, recreational boating creates an economic impact of about $1.1 billion and supports 8,500 jobs. Low water levels are a problem our family, friends, and neighbors cannot afford to have.
While I hoped Republicans would have learned from their mistakes in sacrificing the health of our treasured bodies of water, it appears they are continuing down the same road that led us here. The 2013-2015 Biennial Budget includes a provision that would be detrimental to our neighbors and businesses. The proposed Republican budget prevents citizens from challenging the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' approval of high-capacity wells based on the cumulative negative environmental impact the high volume water withdrawal would have on neighboring drinking water wells and area lakes and streams.
This move shows a complete disregard for the well-being of our highly valued ground and surface waters. First, implementation could result in environmental issues, such as wells running dry due to over pumping of aquifers. Further, it could also have a negative impact on the health of Wisconsinites as water for consumption could be increasingly contaminated. Finally, this proposal removes current accountability and transparency measures that are in place allowing citizens to hold their government in check. Anglers, farmers, families, and those living in our rural areas should be deeply concerned with the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of this proposal.
It is not always possible to turn back the clock after we damage the quality and levels of our water supplies. Therefore, I will be fighting to remove this provision from the budget to ensure that Wisconsin adequately protects the economic health of our businesses, physical health of our families, and environmental health of our state.
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.
They took up two bipartisan bills on Tuesday, one related to supporting venture capital endeavors and the other related to implementing some reforms in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
Both bills were a small step forward
in our fight to turn Wisconsin's economy around from 44th in the nation
in job growth. These bills are detailed below.
Investing in Start-ups (Assembly Bill 181)
This bill passed with a vote of 29-3 in the Senate. I joined my colleagues in supporting AB 181, which would put $25 million in venture capital funds towards five industries--agriculture, information technology, engineering, advanced manufacturing, and medical devices. I was disappointed that this bill excludes certain money making industries--such as stem cell research--and does not invest nearly enough in this economic development endeavor overall. However, it is a positive step in the right direction towards creating jobs.
Slight Improvements to WEDC
This public-private agency has had persistent problems since its inception in 2011. These include circumventing Wisconsin's fair and competitive bidding process, ignoring federal and state laws when giving out grants, and losing track of over $50 million in loans. Unfortunately for taxpayers, it appears WEDC's problems have not been relegated to the past. In fact, the revelations in a recent audit are nothing short of shocking showing that awards were handed out to ineligible recipients, for ineligible projects, and for ineligible amounts. Further, WEDC staff seemingly wildly disregarded their responsibility to taxpayers by spending tax dollars on controversial purchases including iTunes gift cards, Badger football tickets, alcohol, and items for family members.
Clearly a great deal of reform is need in this agency. While Senate Bill 205 make a couple of improvements in WEDC, such as subjecting WEDC to annual audits, establishing procurement policies for gifts, and requiring WEDC employees follow state ethics laws, Wisconsinites demand more. Therefore, this must be the first of many improvements we require of this floundering agency so that we can get them back on track to creating jobs.
Forward...Slowly but Surely
Did You Know...?
You may be aware that Wisconsin is known as the Dairy State. But did you know that much of the success in the dairy industry can be attributed to the invention of the silo?
Franklin King, a professor of agricultural physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, developed and published a design for the first round silo in 1891. The silo's round construction became popular with farmers because it reduced mold, which was common in silos that had corners. Solving this winter food storage problem helped the dairy industry become a major agricultural operation across Wisconsin.
It also helped our state create some of the most treasured dairy products, including cheese and ice cream. Each year, Wisconsin produces more than 2.5 billion pounds of cheese. Additionally, nearly 21 million gallons of ice cream are consumed by Wisconsinites each year. Top that, California!
June is Dairy Month
community is in the middle of National Dairy Month, which continues
until the end of June. This national month of recognition is designed to
celebrate farmers' commitment to producing nutritious, fresh, and
natural dairy foods to feed not only Wisconsin, but our nation.
Summerfest is Almost Here!
Starting next week, our community will host the celebrated Summerfest Music Festival from Noon to Midnight beginning Wednesday, June 26 through Sunday, June 30 and Tuesday, July 2 through Sunday, July 7.
Summerfest attracts 800,000 to 1
million festival-goers each year, rightfully earning the title of the
"World's Largest Music Festival." It gives people in our community an
opportunity to partake in a unique music and entertainment experience by
enjoying popular performers such as Luke Bryan, the Eagles, John Mayer,
and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and also provides emerging artists a
venue for displaying their talents.
Summerfest has proven to be an
extremely beneficial way to support our local economy, as well as
providing us with entertainment from both local and nationally-known
talent. Ticket sales, food and beverage commissions, and total revenue
all increased between 2011 and 2012 and are expected to continue to
increase this year. This exciting event helps to boost sales for
neighborhood restaurants and businesses while simultaneously supporting
local musicians and artists. It has been estimated that Summerfest has
generated between $150 to $200 million in direct and indirect economic
impact for our community each year.
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.
Become a Super Reader
These family-friendly events allows neighbors to watch movies outdoors in the community for free. Neighbors may bring blankets, lawn chairs, and refreshments. Food and beverages are also available for purchase at certain locations. Movies begin at dusk.
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