January 30, 2015

Milwaukee Democrat hopes to work with Republicans on inner city poverty

Wisconsin Capitol Building (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Wisconsin Capitol (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Democrats in southeastern Wisconsin say suburban Republicans should have consulted with those who represent the city of Milwaukee before unveiling a plan to fight poverty in their neighborhood.

Representative David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) says he’s “still digesting” the 25-page document from Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) that they unveiled on Wednesday. “I think it’s very important that those who’ve been elected in those districts are a part of that conversation,” he says, “So, I’m willing to have that conversation with my colleagues but I’m very disappointed that they did not reach out.”

Bowen was born and raised in Milwaukee. The former Milwaukee County Supervisor would love to sit down with his colleagues across the aisle and talk about bipartisan solutions that were not included in the report.

Struggling public schools would become charter schools, under the GOP package of proposals. Also, there would be corporate tax breaks for new businesses, and a localized version of right-to-work.

“The biggest issue that I see is that I’m ready to move forward on proven strategies to reduce poverty, not experiments.”

Bowen says addressing living wages is a proven method to help families struggling to get by, but notes it’s not included in the GOP proposal.

Bowen is hopeful this report will be the beginning of discussions on the difficulties faced by Milwaukeeans.

Governor Scott Walker says he needs to review the package before passing judgment.

Icy project growing in Superior

Wall of Ice (from Iceman Roger website)

Wall of Ice (from Iceman Roger website)

A growing wall of ice on Barker’s Island in Superior is beginning to get some nationwide attention on social media – and a network television crew is due in next week. “Iceman” Roger Hanson, with the backing of the City of Superior, is creating the ice sculpture with financing from the city’s Tourist Development Fund. Despite the weather being warmer than normal the last several weeks, Hanson is hoping to create a wall of ice that will reach 75 feet high and 90 feet wide.

On a website devoted to his ice projects, Hanson explains that he did his first in 2007 for his own curiosity, using water expelled from his home’s geothermal heating system. The Minnesota native is scheduled to talk about his project and answer questions on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

Family nights are scheduled on the island, with special light shows on February 14th and 21st and will include fireworks on the 28th.


Driver sought in fatal NW Wisconsin hit-and-run

A 26-year-old man is dead after he was struck by a vehicle along U.S. Highway 8 in northwest Wisconsin. The Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a call about a person who appeared to have been struck by a vehicle near 3 3/4 Street, between Almena and Turtle Lake.

Deputies responded at 7:22 a.m. along with the Wisconsin State Patrol and Almena police, and found the body of Logan L. Paulson of Almena, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Initial investigation indicates Paulson was walking along the highway when struck by a vehicle sometime during the night.

Investigators are attempting to locate the vehicle, described as white and of unknown make and model. No other information about the vehicle is available. Anyone with information can contact the Barron County Sheriff’s Department at 715-537-3106 or provide information to the anonymous tip line by texting BCTIPS.

Menominee Tribe ‘exploring options’ on Kenosha casino

Members of the Menominee Tribe are joined by other Kenosha casino supporters (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

Members of the Menominee Tribe are joined by other Kenosha casino supporters (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

An official with the Menominee Indian Tribe says they are still considering their next move, following Governor Walker’s decision to reject their Kenosha casino proposal.

The tribe is joining with southeastern Wisconsin lawmakers in calling on the governor to reconsider the decision, which they argue there’s still time to do before a February 19th Bureau of Indian Affairs deadline. If he does not, Menominee Tribe Vice Chair Crystal Chapman-Chevalier says they are continuing to “look at any legal options we have available to us.”

Following a press conference at the Capitol Thursday, Chapman-Chevalier would not say if that could include a lawsuit or even submitting a new casino proposal. She said the tribe continues to work with their partners at Hard Rock International to evaluate the future of the over $800 million development and are “hoping that this will come to a positive resolution.”

The governor has insisted that his decision became final when he notified the Bureau of Indian Affairs last week that he was rejecting the proposal. Chapman-Chevalier argued that the federal government has the final word though, and they want Walker to take some extra time to reconsider.

Fitzgerald: right-to-work should be considered along with budget

The Republican leader of the Wisconsin state Senate is calling for debate on a right-to-work bill to take place as lawmakers in Madison consider the state budget plan Governor Scott Walker will release next week. Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), who had indicated as recently as last week that the earliest the bill would come up in the Senate would be after the April election to fill a vacant seat, said in a release on Thursday that the debate should happen sooner.

“As we enter into a budget process that we know will present some difficult financial challenges, we have an obligation to the taxpayers to make every effort to ensure that Wisconsin remains an attractive site for business and to foster economic growth. With broad support throughout the state, it would be a missed opportunity to leave the workplace freedom debate out of that equation.”

Communications Director Myranda Tanck said Fitzgerald anticipated that the right-to-work debate in the Senate would be “somewhat simultaneous” with the consideration of Walker’s budget, and that a bill could be ready once the vacant seat in the 20th District is filled.

Fitzgerald cited the results of a survey on the issue which was released Thursday by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. The findings of a poll conducted by The Tarrance Group claimed that 69 percent of Wisconsin voters – and 51 percent of union households – support right to work legislation.

Governor Scott Walker has continued to maintain that in his view, right-to-work legislation would only serve to distract lawmakers from what he’s identified as his core issues. “I’ve never said I was against it. When I was a legislator I was a co-sponsor. I’ve said it’s a distraction because I ran on a series of things,” Walker said Wednesday. “That’s my focal point. I didn’t want the legislature distracted from that.”