In addition to
E-Update, I also invite you to connect with me on local radio and TV. The
WEKZ - 93.7 FM
mornings during the Lafayette County News
WRJC - 92.1 FM
1st Friday, 7:30
WRCO - 100.9 FM
3rd Monday, 9
WRDB - 1400 AM
3rd Friday, 10
Commission Cable Channel 12
2015-16 Blue Books
2015-16 Blue Books are a useful summary of information
about our state. These books are printed every session and are
complimentary for every resident of Wisconsin.
If you would like one delivered or shipped to you (no
charge to you), please reply to this email and include your street and
The full content of the book is also available
As the weather improves, we turn our attention from blowing snow to
planning summer adventures. For many of us, our adventures take us to one of
the many state parks in Wisconsin where we enjoy camping at some of the best
campgrounds in the country. Wisconsin’s state park system, which is managed
by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is a tremendous product in very
Each summer, many of our most popular state parks are filled to capacity.
Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Peninsula State Park in Door County, Blue
Mound State Park in Blue Mounds, Governor Dodge State Park in Dodgeville and
Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan are among the most popular parks and it
is difficult to get a reservation for a campsite less than a year in advance
for weekends and the warmest months. Devil’s Lake State Park had over a 99%
occupancy for the summer months. It was at capacity, with a “waiting list.”
Every year my family camps in beautiful Peninsula State Park for a family
vacation and every year competition for the best spots in the park is
intense. As soon as we can reserve for the next summer, my family lines up at
computers and frantically tries to reserve spots at 9 a.m. exactly 11 months
ahead of our plans for the next year.
Until recently, the DNR charged one flat rate for campsites, regardless of
the location and regardless of the popularity of the park. It did not make
sense that we charge the same camping rate for our high demand parks as we do
for less popular parks. During the last budget cycle, I authored a resolution
to change the pricing of State Park reservations to allow the DNR to identify
which parks and campsites are the most popular and to adjust prices according
to demand. The changes I authored took affect for reservations for campsites
beginning this July. For example, we increased daily camping rates at Devil’s
Lake and Peninsula from $15 to $20 for residents, and from $17 to $25 for
non-residents. We also increased the rate for electric campsites, which are
in high demand.
It should be noted that under the old pricing structure, the parks were not
generating enough revenue to support themselves, and taxpayers were
subsidizing the State Parks. So my family, and campers from Illinois, were
being subsidized by about 25% for camping at our State Parks. I don’t think
that it was good pricing policy to give campers at our highest demand parks a
So what has been the impact on reservations of the price increases? Our
campsites at Devil’s Lake and Peninsula State park are full! All of the
electric sites are reserved.
Based on current reservations, revenue from campsites for the most popular
months of July and August are currently projected to be $2.3 million. This is
$1 million more than the previous year. Peninsula State Park alone has seen
an increase of more than $300,000 in reservation payments for this summer.
When the legislature changed the pricing options for the DNR, there were
concerns that adjusting the pricing would impact reservations negatively. So
far, this concern has not manifested. Families continue to make reservations
and are planning summer adventures in our state parks. Wisconsin is simply
capitalizing on one of our assets.
The increase in revenue will make the state park system self-sustaining. Past
budgets have required the legislature to allocate funding for maintenance,
improvements and staffing at our parks because while some of them are
extremely profitable, others are not. By increasing revenue on the popular
parks, we are able to make strides toward funding the operations at all of
the parks with park revenue.
In addition to price increases at popular parks, we also enabled the DNR to
lower prices at less popular parks to encourage campers to try other
locations and generate traffic for all of our parks. It will be interesting
to examine the results of these practices next fall after the camping season
closes for the year.
Introducing the private-sector concept of supply and demand into the park
system is allowing our state parks to take advantage of their popularity not
only with residents, but with out-of-state tourists. With these results
continuing, our park system is poised to be more independent of taxpayers and
better able to maintain its strong presence in our state.
To make a reservation at one of our state parks, please visit http://wisconsinstateparks.reserveamerica.com/
Mayoral Service In Our Communities
Sen. Marklein recently joined Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) and the
residents of Fennimore and Lancaster to recognize the service of their mayors
who are both retiring after many years of public service.
Mayor Jerome “Jerry” Werhle has led the City of Lancaster for 16 years.
He has shown an incredible commitment to Lancaster and Southwest Wisconsin.
He served as the President of the League of Municipalities and became one of
the strongest voices of support for Southwest Wisconsin.
Jerry has given much time to his community. He worked for 31 years for
John Deere and owned and operated a farm near Mount Hope for 19 years.
Jerry is the longest serving Mayor in Lancaster’s history. His
achievements include improvements to Klondyke Park, creation of Arrow Ridge
Business Park, revitalization of Lancaster Golf Course, a renovation to City
Hall, and a library expansion project.
"Chuck" Stenner served Fennimore for 26 years. Chuck was born and
raised in Fennimore where he graduated from Fennimore High School and later
Northeast Technical College in Green Bay. Chuck returned to Fennimore and
married Mary Ann Brechler and raised a family. He worked for a local
agribusiness before starting his own business, Stenner Jewelry Store on the
main street in Fennimore.
Chuck Stenner was the youngest person to serve as mayor in the State of
Wisconsin when he was first elected in 1972, serving until 1988. He ran
successfully again for mayor in 2006. He is actively involved in the
Fennimore Historical Railroad Society Museum and will enjoy spending time
riding his motorcycle exploring the Tri-State area in retirement.
Expansion Grant Workshop in Mauston
Prospective grant applicants encouraged are to attend.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) announced that it is now accepting
applications for Broadband Expansion Grants for Fiscal Year 2017. Applications
are due June 16, 2016. Application instructions and additional materials may
be found at http://psc.wi.gov/utilityinfo/tele/broadband/grants/bbGrantApplicationPage.htm
The State Broadband office is planning grant workshops around the state
beginning in April. Meetings are open to the public. To register, please RSVP
Workshops will help guide community participants toward a stronger
understanding of grant guidelines, grant-eligible areas, possible
public-private partnership models, previous grant awardee examples, and
timelines for grant applications.
in recent years, we have had no applications filed for the broadband
expansion grants. In Southwest Wisconsin, we certainly have a need for
expanded broadband. It is my hope that some of our communities will be in a
position to apply in this funding cycle.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
9 - 11:30 a.m.
Community Conference Center
211 S Hickory St.
Mauston, WI 53948
An additional and expanded online and call-in webinar version is also
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
10 -11:30 a.m.
meeting set for WIS 23 project in Darlington
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is announcing a public
involvement meeting to discuss an improvement project on WIS 23 between
County Shop Road and Minerva Street in Darlington. The meeting will be held
from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on May 3 at the Darlington Elementary & Middle
School, 11630 Center Hill Road. WisDOT representatives will give a brief
presentation starting at 6:00 p.m.
Preliminary design on the project is examining improvements to the existing
pavement and intersections, replacing an existing bridge deck over the
Pecatonica River, extending a box culvert and upgrading sanitary/water main
lines. Construction is currently scheduled for 2021. The public is encouraged
to attend the meeting, provide input and ask questions concerning the
project. Maps showing the proposed improvements and alternatives will be on
display. WisDOT representatives will be available to discuss the proposed
project and address questions or concerns.
If you are unable to attend the meetings, or would like more information,
contact Matt Dapp at (608) 246-5353; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written comments regarding the project can be mailed to Matthew Dapp, 2101
Wright St, Madison, WI 53704.
In The 17th Senate District
we shared last week, Sen. Marklein visited a number of locations in the
Reedsburg area on April 7, 2016 with Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch
and Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg). The trio visited a lot of different
locations and experienced tours and discussions at a wide variety of
locations. One of the tours included a visit to the Grede Foundry,
hosted by Fred Behn, the Manufacturing Services Manager at the Reedsburg
left: Rep. Ed Brooks, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and Sen. Marklein listen as Fred
Behn begins the tour.
Pictured below: Behn shows the
tour group the foundry floor and explains current operations.
Marklein visited Riverdale School District on Monday, April 18, 2016 and met
with Superintendent Bryce Bird. He also had the opportunity to visit
with the top Seniors who are all graduating with laude honors! Pictured
above: Emily Drone, Trevor Johnson, Senator Marklein, Amanda Meister, and
County Board Chairman, Robert Keeney and Sen. Marklein attended the Town Hall
hosted by Alliant Energy to discuss the future plans for the Nelson Dewey
site in Cassville.
In The Capitol
from Darlington High School visited the Capitol on April 20, 2016 to
demonstrate their projects for Project Lead the Way. Pictured above: Dylan
Perrin, Conrad Blosch, Sen. Howard Marklein, Lexie Zee and Mitchell Wagner.
students use the FAB Lab at Darlington Community Schools to study
engineering, math and science in innovative ways that test their critical
thinking skills, design abilities and hands-on capability.
from Argyle Elementary School visited the Capitol on Monday, April 18, 2016.
Students from Necedah Elementary School visited the Capitol on Tuesday, April
and visited with Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg).
Revenue Collections: March 2016 (Fiscal Year
The Wisconsin Department of
Revenue (DOR) recently released a report detailing general purpose revenue
(GPR) taxes collected by the agency for the month of March. This data
is for the first nine months of the fiscal year which ends on June 30, 2016.
of Revenue Collections
2016 (FY 2016)
General Sales & Use
Senator Howard Marklein is pleased to
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