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February 9, 2016

Hall of Fame means Favre’s journey is complete

Brett Favre is a 1st ballot Hall of Famer

Brett Favre is a 1st ballot Hall of Famer

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre became the 24th member of the organization to be voted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and just the fifth to do it in his first year of eligibility.

Favre became the 74th individual to be voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility overall.  He’s joined by former Packers assistant coach Kevin Greene who ranks third all-time in sacks while playing for the Rams, Steelers, Panthers and 49ers.

This class also includes receiver Marvin Harrison, quarterback Ken Stabler, tackle Orlando Pace, guard Dick Stanfel, coach Tony Dungy and owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr.

Unlike the other members of this class, Brett Favre is directly responsible for reviving an organization that had gone through a couple of decades of losing. [Read more…]

Favre should be an easy choice for first ballot induction

Brett Favre

Brett Favre

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2016 Class will be announced on Saturday night, on the eve of Super Bowl 50.

Former Green Bay Packers great Brett Favre should not only be a shoe-in first ballot Hall of Fame selection, but it should come via unanimous vote as well.

Favre was given the keys to the car as the Packers attempted to turn years of misery into winning.  He arrived in 1992 and in just a handful of seasons, won a Super Bowl in 1996.

During Favre’s 16 seasons in Green Bay, the Packers posted the best record (160-93) during that period.  He started an NFL-record 321 consecutive games (including playoffs).  Favre won three MVP awards and became the first player in league history to throw 500 touchdown passes.

Favre is one of three first-year eligible nominees, joining Alan Faneca and Terrell Owens.

The Hall of Fame selection committee will pick between four and eight finalists for induction.  Former Packers assistant coach Kevin Greene is a five-time finalist and this could finally be the year for the long time sack specialist who had playing stints with the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.

Lagging state finances could cap spending in spring session

Governor Scott Walker (WRN photo)

Governor Scott Walker (WRN photo)

A continued decline in state revenue projections could have an impact on what bills the Wisconsin legislature passes this spring.

A report from the state Legislative Fiscal Bureau last month showed the state is still expected to end the budget biennium next year with a surplus – although the size of the ending balance dropped by over $94 million from previous estimates. The end result is that lawmakers have less money to work with as they head into the finals days of the spring legislative session.

Governor Scott Walker said in Madison Wednesday that the drop could force them to make decisions about what bills come across his desk in the coming months. While he didn’t want to give an actual limit, the governor did say that spending anything over $20 million could be a “bit of a challenge.”

Walker has laid out his agenda for the spring, which includes efforts to improve college affordability and access to job training programs. Republicans in the Legislature have an agenda that includes expanding programs to help those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, along with tax changes related to the state’s managed forest program. When combined, those proposals carry price tags that could easily pass the $20 million mark.

Walker said his priority remains on education. “We can do the student loan, there’s probably a little room for some of the others, tweaking things here or there…but we want to keep it pretty conservative,” he said, also noting that he would like to start the next budget biennium with a good base.

The governor noted there are areas lawmakers can focus on to help find some savings, such as a plan mentioned in his State of the State address to move state employees to a self-insurance system. A report released in November said that could save the state $42 million a year, which Walker believes could be used to help boost public education funding and other priorities.

Gearing up for voter ID in Wisconsin, again

020116VoterIDcardsWith the first statewide election of the year just two weeks away, state officials are ramping up efforts to make sure the public is once again ready to comply with the state’s voter ID requirement.

The law passed by the legislature in 2011 was used in just a single spring primary, before a series of lawsuits put it on hold for much of the last four years. A court decision last spring cleared the way for it to finally take effect though, with the February 16 state Supreme Court primary the first time it will be back in place statewide.

Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy says most voters should be fine when they show up at the polls, because “most people already have the identification that they need – a Wisconsin driver’s license, a state-issued ID from the Department of Transportation, a military ID and a passport are probably the most common forms of ID.”

Some university and technical college ID cards may be acceptable as well, although you will also need documentation showing you are a currently enrolled student.

Those who lack the proper type of ID can also obtain a free card for voting purposes through the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

The GAB has set up a website where voters can go to find out more information about whether their ID is acceptable, along with how to obtain one that will work on election days.

Rodgers had knee surgery after playoff loss

Aaron Rodgers with tackle Bryan Bulaga

Aaron Rodgers with tackle Bryan Bulaga

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers underwent knee surgery shortly after the playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals.  An ESPN report said the injury is what prompted Rodgers to pull out of Sunday’s Pro Bowl game.

The report says the procedure was a “cleanup of an old injury.”  Rodgers confirmed the surgery to ESPN late Friday and told the outlet he is “doing well.”

Despite the surgery, Rodgers appeared on the team’s injury report only once this season and it was for an unspecified shoulder problem.

Rodgers did have reconstructive surgery on his left knee back in 2004 to repair a torn ACL.

Rodgers still rushed for 344 yards, but his passing production was down, throwing for the fewest yards (3,821) of his career.  His completion percentage of 60.7% was also his lowest.