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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mailbag:Vinehout: Invest in Career and Technical Education

Invest in Career and Technical Education "I wish I had taken a shop class,” I told the high school student, “As a farmer, it would have helped me a lot more than the sewing class I took instead.” Back when I was in school, before the Age of the Dinosaurs, young women didn’t take ‘shop class’. Today, schools don’t even call it ‘shop’. And women cannot only take the classes, they teach them. February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. In honor of this month, I will be joining the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers as he visits local schools to learn how career and technical education can show students their path in life. What many remember as “vocational education” took on a new name and an expanded role in 2006. Career and Technical Education now prepares students for the 21st century workforce. Students pursuing Career and Technical Education can choose between 16 different “clusters” or career paths. From architecture, agriculture or the arts and communication to transportation, distribution and logistics, the 21st century workplace comes alive in the classroom. The jobs of the 21st century are varied. The breadth of choices available to students reflects the growing diversity of skills needed in our workforce. The jobs of tomorrow will still include agriculture and manufacturing, but new jobs include the chemistry of food processing and the engineering of alternative energy. Information technology and health care are two of the fastest growing clusters. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in health care are expected to make up 7 of the 20 fastest growing occupations. Health care and information technology can meld into one job as more hospitals and clinics become increasingly accountable. In every job, strong work habits pave the path to a productive career. CTE Programs provide opportunities to master life skills needed to succeed: punctuality, interviewing skills, teamwork, problem solving and communication. Students see the direct relationship between the skills they learn and the career they want to pursue. This helps troubled students stay in school. According to the National Association of Career and Technical Education Directors, students in Career and Technical Education are eight to ten times less likely to drop out of high school. Students can gain industry certifications and sometimes even a job offer. Partnerships between the high school, technical colleges and local businesses are part of successful Career and Technical Education programs. “The programs I visited for last year’s CTE Month Observance overwhelmingly had strong connections with the local technical college and nearby employers,” wrote State Superintendent Tony Evers in announcing February’s proclamation of Career and Technical Education month. Funding is critical to these programs. “Because CTE programs must be at the forefront of innovation and industry standards they can be expensive and have been hard hit by education funding cuts,” said Evers. “CTE needs a financial investment, which I’ve requested in my 2013-15 education budget.” Last year, when schools experienced a nearly 10 percent drop in state funds, cuts fell disproportionally on Career and Technical Education. Twenty percent of the Career and Technical Education workforce has been eliminated since 2004. Half of those cuts were made in the past year. I remember meeting a young dynamic educator in Black River Falls High School. I was so impressed to see the work of this young teacher and her very enthusiastic students. She was one of many that lost her job. I recently spoke at the statewide School Board Association’s annual meeting in Milwaukee. Local board members approached me after the speech and wanted to share the struggles they faced in preserving CTE programs. “We are trying to get through,” one board member told me. “We’ve restored some positions. But we need more help.” Superintendent Evers is working to provide that help in his budget request. It’s now up to the Governor and the Legislature to support CTE. Growing jobs means educating our workforce. This is a public private partnership. Employers need skilled workers. Graduates need jobs. Investing in Career and Technical Education is investing in jobs for the future. If you know someone who would like to be added to this distribution list, please let us know. If you wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter, reply with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line Sen.Vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 316 South - P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 Toll Free: (877) 763-6636 or (608) 267-2871

Mailbag:Wireman: The Myths about Guns

CAPITOL TIMES, MADISON, WISCONSIN January 17, 2013 Peggy Wireman: Don’t buy into myths about guns Dear Editor: Here are some myths about guns: 1. Having a gun in my home protects me. Possibly, in some cases. But the person most likely to be killed if there is a gun in the home is a family member. 2. With a gun, it’s easy to protect myself. All I have to do is pull the trigger. When I said this to four police officers, they burst out laughing. “Then you jerk and hit a stranger.” They receive 20 hours of training on each new weapon yet you can receive a concealed weapon permit in Wisconsin without ever having fired a gun. 3. Shooters don’t miss. Even police officers shoot bystanders. 4. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. But pulling a trigger is easier and more deadly than fists or a knife. Over 80 percent of all murders and suicides of those under aged 35 are committed with a gun. 5. Nothing we can do will stop all violence. Right. But a series of government actions significantly reduced the number of people killed by drunken drivers. For a decade Australia had one mass murder a year. Since enacting gun control measures in 1996, they have had none, markedly reduced firearm homicides with no increase in non-firearm homicides, and reduced suicides. 6. It’s a slippery slope; take any action and all guns will be confiscated. No one is talking about confiscating all guns. The Supreme Court ruled that the free speech amendment did not give anyone the right to yell fire in a crowed theater. The logic for sensible requirements on gun ownership and use is the same. Peggy Wireman Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/mailbag/peggy-wireman-don-t-buy-into-myths-about-guns/article_01628ec1-1c57-5169-98f2-8cb925f2a482.html#ixzz2IO3Om6jz -or http://bit.ly/10HtLsz For Dr. Wireman’s other material on guns search her blog at Connectingdots.us

"Walker presses case for expanding school choice " by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Walker presses case for expanding school choice " by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"MINING in WISCONSIN update - Sen. Cullen on WCLO this morning." by We the People -- GazetteXtra

"MINING in WISCONSIN update - Sen. Cullen on WCLO this morning." by We the People -- GazetteXtra

Wind chill advisory through noon Friday with 30 below possible : Madisondotcom

Wind chill advisory through noon Friday with 30 below possible : Madisondotcom

Mailbag Chasin the news::Monday, January 28th 2013. School board meeting.


 
Evansville School Board Meeting, January 28th, 2013
 
I will start by admitting it had been quite a while since I had been to a board meeting.   I had not been to one since all this business with Act 10 started.  
Monday night's meeting was very interesting.   They covered a lot of business and yes it was a long meeting.  
 
There was a presentation on Bullying.   A representative from each of the four schools was present and gave a brief explanation of what they do to help keep bullying out of their schools.
Ms. Kansteiner ( Levi Leonard) talked about how they only had one substantiated report of bullying in the entire 2011-2012 school year.   Interesting as that is where bullying starts.
Ms.Kansteiner talked about how she goes into each class room at Levi Leonard teaches Life Skills classes and how at Levi Leonard they have a Positive Behavioral support program.
Mrs. Arnold from J.C. McKenna reported they had only 4 proven cases of bullying for the 2011-2012 school year.  These were reported by students and were substantiated.  They were incident reports and not on going cases of bullying.
Mrs.Arnold also goes into the class rooms weekly and teaches different lessons regarding bullying.  She works with kids on problem solving, decision making and friendship.  All of which support the anti-bullying efforts.    At T.R.I.S.  They also have a program called Character Ed.   It helps to teach, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion and Honesty.   This also helps to decrease bullying at the schools.
J.C. McKenna-  Mr.Czerwonka was the representative from J.C. McKenna.   He reported that they did a Youth Risk Behavior Survey.   This survey showed that 3.8% of males at J.C. Mckenna do not feel safe coming to school because of bullying.
8.7 % of females do not feel safe coming to school because of bullying.   
The suggestion was made that sometimes it's because of something these individual students may have done to create these feelings of not feeling safe at school.  Like posting something on Face Book the night before about someone.     I was glad when Dennis Hatfield asked the question "How much bullying goes unreported. "   That is an excellent question because I know for a fact.  Quite a bit.   Mr. Czerwonka , Mrs. Hannibal and I had just had a conversation on Monday about that very issue.   About a student that had been bullied for some time and never reported it.  
In the 2011-2012 school year at J.C. McKenna there were 29 students (42 instances) that were referred for bullying, harassment or a threat to someone's safety. ( 6 sixth graders. 17 seventh graders, and 6 eighth graders)  For the 2012-2013 year so far there are 6 students (five instances) to date 1 or the 6 was a repeat offender from 2011-2012.
What do they do about bullying at J.C.McKenna?  
 
  6th grade they have a health unit on bullying.
 7th grade harassment and bullying unit with school counselor
8th grade- "Refuse to Bruise"
All grades
Character education, staff supervision in class and hallways and relationship building.
AT the HIGH SCHOOL
I found the totals that Randy Keister gave questionable.   He stated they only had 23 incidents of of bullying dealt with by administration in the 2011-2012 school year.  I think that very low total goes to show how they do not take it seriously at all.  Because I know for a fact they spend a good part of their week dealing with bullying.  Am I suggesting they played with these numbers?   Yes.  I am.   They are trying to get people to think it's not that bad.  But anyone who has a student who goes there knows better.   The school has a bulling Bully Alert on the school website.  They evidently take very few of these reports seriously either.   I understand it's anonymous it does not make these reports untrue.  
What do they do at the high school to prevent bullying?
Freshman Orientation, freshman advisory, staff in the halls at passing time, Refuse to bruise campaign. 
Mr Keister also did mention how social media is a huge part of bullying.     I absolutely agree.  It is a night mare.  Students posting things on Facebook about each other, texting each other nasty things. Mr.Keister even suggested some are setting up anonymous accounts to harass and bully each other.   Everyone needs to remember you are never anonymous on the internet.
 
There was updates on the budget and a "State of the Budget" presentation.  Please go to these links for more information on the budget.  The links to the budget information is at the bottom of the page in a bluish color.   Ms.Treuden pointed out they are losing revenue in the area of the lunch program.  She feels it has to do with the National food lunch program. She said she is not really worried, but is concerned.  Take from that what you will.   The link to budget information and the "State Of The Budget "information.
  http://www.ecsdnet.org/subsites/Doreen%2DTreuden/
The board also approved contracts of its administrators.  I found it interesting how some got one year and some got two year contracts. 
Mr. Robert Flaherty and Ms. Lou Havlik are both resigning as of the summer of 2014.    The board thanked both for giving such a generous amount of notice.
The most interesting part of the meeting to me was the reading of policies for the employee handbook.  The hand book will replace the working contract.   So it is very important and a lot of time is being put into developing this handbook.
I was glad to hear Nancy Hurley point out it needed to be consistent language in the employee handbook. 
Kim Katzenmeyer and Dee Jay  Redders were in attendance and raised concerns about a couple of the policies.  The first being cutting teacher prep time from 250 minutes a week to 225 minutes a week.  Administration was pushing very hard for this saying they may need to cut prep time due to scheduling issues.  
Dennis Hatfield was very clear he did not like the idea of cutting any prep time, he wished he could give them more.   The board talked quite a while about this.   The discussion was going to continue the next day at the Handbook committee meeting.  The majority of the board seemed to feel there was not a lot of reason for cutting prep time at this time. 
The other policy reading was requiring staff to work 3 extra/co-curricular activities a year without being paid.  It was stated the district would save 12,000+ a year by having staff cover these without pay.  There was a lot of discussion on this as well.   This discussion was also to continue at the Employee handbook committee, the next day.    It should be very interesting to see what they decided at the next school board meeting.   This handbook is very important so I appreciated the time and thought the school board is putting into this, and how they listened to the teacher's concerns who were at the meeting.
 
Over all a very interesting meeting.  
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cash-strapped Wisconsin school districts brace for Walker's second budget proposal : Wsj

Cash-strapped Wisconsin school districts brace for Walker's second budget proposal : Wsj

"Sunday's weather likely to make travel treacherous " by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Sunday's weather likely to make travel treacherous " by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Rep. Ryan warns of unpopular budget cuts" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Rep. Ryan warns of unpopular budget cuts" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Mailbag:Wireman: Upcoming meetings

MON NOON RADIO ROE John Quinlan invited you to his event: 40th Anniversary of Roe on WORT's A Public Affair Monday, January 28 at 12:00pm at A Public Affair, WORT 89.9 FM Madison THURS POTLUCK 1/31 Thurs 6 pm Solidarity Singalong Potluck and Celebration of Hope - Madison. At the Madison Friends Meeting House, 1704 Roberts Court. Bring a dish to pass and your own tableware. Soda, coffee and tea provided. There is a parking lot for 20 cars and after 6 p.m. you can park in the lot at the Associated Bank on Monroe St. It is down stairs. It is handicapped accessible around the back of the building. Contact: Sue Nelson snelson habiba.org - If you're able to come, then "join" at the Facebook event site: SAVE the DATE HEAR NUNS ON BUS ON GUNS FEB 13 Come and meet Sr. Simone Campbell on Wednesday, February 13, at 5:30 to 8:00 pm. at the home of Hans and Mary Lang Sollinger, 1206 Sherman Avenue. Jean Feraca, former public radio host, will engage Sister Simone in a conversation about "Who we are as a Nation" and take your questions. This is an event for Holy Wisdom Monastery, the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin and the Network (Sr. Simone's non-profit organization). Your donations will be split equally in three parts for each non-profit. The sponsorship levels: the Good Samaritan $510, the Alms Giver $240, Deborah $120 and Ruth $90 (suggested donation at the door) The Good Samaritan and the Alms Giver levels are for two guests and Deborah and Ruth are for per guest. If you want to sign up: http://benedictinewomen.org/support-our-work/sister-simone-campbell-sss/conversation-with-jean-feraca-on-who-we-are-as-a-nation/ Hope you are able to join us. Hans and Mary Lang Sollinger 608-212-6889

Friday, January 25, 2013

Milwaukee County sheriff says 911 no longer best option, urges residents to learn to use guns : Wsj

Milwaukee County sheriff says 911 no longer best option, urges residents to learn to use guns : Wsj

Former chief says Madison police shooting is testing credibility of department : Ct

Former chief says Madison police shooting is testing credibility of department : Ct

"Janesville and Madison police seek help finding homeless man" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Janesville and Madison police seek help finding homeless man" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Walker to speak at state education convention" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Walker to speak at state education convention" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Evansville School Board Meets Monday---Jan 28,2013

EVANSVILLE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT Board of Education Regular Meeting Agenda Monday, January 28, 2013 6:30 p.m. District Board and Training Center 340 Fair Street Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard Elementary School Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Office, J.C. McKenna Middle School Office, High School Office, Evansville School District Web Site: www.evansville.k12.wi.us, and by forwarding the agenda to the Evansville Review, Union Bank & Trust and Eager Free Public Library. TIME I. Roll Call: Dennis Hatfield Kathi Swanson Eric Busse John Rasmussen Tina Rossmiller Sharon Skinner Nancy Hurley 2 min II. Approve Agenda. 1 min III. Presentation – Bullying. 15 min IV. Business (Action Items) – A. Approval of Employee Handbook Written Draft, Part II, Sec. 3 (Certified Staff-Certified Staff Supervision and Evaluation) and Part III, Sec. 2 (Support Staff-Employee Evaluation). B. Approval of Policy: #548 – Support Staff Evaluation. C. Approval of Administrative Contracts. D. Approval of Staff Changes: Administrators’ Resignations, Co-Curricular Resignation, PM Custodian Hire, and New Educational Assistant Position. E. Approval of 2013-14 Budget Process. F. Approval of January 21 Special Meeting Minutes. 10 min V. Budget Finance – Chair, Tina Rossmiller – A. Discussion Items: 1) 2012-13 Budget Update. 2) State of the Budget. 3) Update on Evansville Education Foundation. 4) Insurance Committee Update. 5) Extra/Co-Curricular Committee Update. B. Develop Budget Finance Agenda Items for February 25 Meeting. 30 min VI. Policy – Chair, Nancy Hurley – A. First Reading of Policy: #222.1-Compensation and Benefits for Non-Represented Employees. B. Second Reading of Policies: #527.2 Form–Grievance Form; #527.3-Employee Grievance Procedures; #534-Substitute Teacher Employment; #535-Assignments and Transfers; and #722.1-Staff Accident Reports. C. Develop Policy Agenda Items for February 25 Meeting. 15 min VII. Handbook Committee – Chair, Kathi Swanson/Jerry Roth – A. Employee Handbook Written Draft Part II, Sec. 4-6 (Certified Staff-Discipline and Discharge, Certified Staff Assignments, Vacancies and Transfers, and Reduction in Force, Positions and Hours) and Part III, Sec. 3-6 (Support Staff-Discipline and Discharge, Job Vacancies, Reduction in Force, Positions and Hours, and Resignations From Employment). B. Employee Handbook Outline, Part II, Sec. 7-8 (Certified Staff- Insurance and Leave, Retirement Benefits) and Part III, Sec. 7-11 (Support Staff-Paid Vacation, Holidays, Leave Benefits, Insurance Benefits, and Retirement Benefits). 30 min VIII. Board Development – Chair, Kathi Swanson – A. Wisconsin Association of School Board Convention Debriefing. B. Discussion of Book, Becoming a Better Board Member. C. Develop Board Development Agenda Items for February 28 Meeting. 30 min IX. Future Agenda – Chair, Kathi Swanson - A. Develop February 11 Regular Board Meeting Agenda. 5 min X. Adjourn. 1 min Mission Statement: The Evansville Community School District, in active partnership with families and the community, will provide a positive learning environment that challenges all students to achieve personal excellence and become contributing citizens of the world community. Vision Statement: Creating a culture of excellence in: • Academic achievement • Character development • Pursuit of arts, athletics, and other activities • Community engagement • Highly effective staff This notice may be supplemented with additions to the agenda that come to the attention of the Board prior to the meeting. A final agenda will be posted and provided to the media no later than 24 hours prior to the meeting or no later than 2 hours prior to the meeting in the event of an emergency. Persons needing special accommodations or more specific information about agenda items should call 882-5224, ext. 3387 at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. Posted: 1/24/13

Evansville potter provides handmade bowls for chili cook-off -- GazetteXtra

Evansville potter provides handmade bowls for chili cook-off -- GazetteXtra

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Grassroots: Save Our Waters Rally

Save Our Waters Rally

Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 12:00 PM

State Capitol, State Street Steps in Madison, WI

Saturday, January 26, 2013
12:00pm until 1:30pm

Join a peaceful, legal protest to demand the state legislature and governor not throw away Wisconsin's local control and environmental protec (show all)


 

 

Bob

Home (608) 514-8131

    Cell  (608) 279-4864

 

Chili Cook Off is Coming----March 9th

Sue Wilbur is orchestrating another spectacular Silent Auction for the Chili Cook-Off on March 9. If you or your business has an item for the auction, either on its own or as part of a basket, please contact Sue. The Cook-Off is a special event because so many of you help to make it special. Thank you for all your gifts. Jim

Abandoned no more: Schools become housing

Abandoned no more: Schools become housing

Publication ranks Madison as 2nd-best-run city in U.S. : Wsj

Publication ranks Madison as 2nd-best-run city in U.S. : Wsj

"Bus routes expanded in Beloit, Whitewater, Janesville and Milton" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Bus routes expanded in Beloit, Whitewater, Janesville and Milton" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Beer Study Nights Coming to Creekside in February

Beer Study on Monday night, February 11 at 7 pm. Beer Study has been created as a follow up to Oktoberfest and Beer School. We are meeting twice a month at Creekside Place to learn more about some specific breweries and the beers they create. The breweries we will study are not only local and regional micro-breweries, but also some larger national and international breweries. We will target 4 – 5 breweries at each study, learn about their history, their unique characteristics, their beer, and of course sample some of the product they create. Beer Study is a less intense approach to beer than Beer School, but a more in depth approach than the Oktoberfest beer tasting event. The studies will start at 7:00 each evening with some preliminary tasting, followed with a 15 – 20 minute ‘study session’ on the featured breweries for the evening. We will conclude each Beer Study with more sampling and informal discussion. Creekside Place has a wonderful selection of beer, so plan to join us for some fun, educational, and relaxing evenings of beer education. Creekside Place has also started a Beer Club. For $35 you get your own personalized 15 oz clear tasting vessel. The ‘mug’ then entitles you to a free featured bottle of great beer at each of the remaining 5 Beer Studies. See you there! Tom Calley The Remaining Beer Study Dates: February 11th August Schell Brewing Co. Boston Beer Co., Inc Lake Louie Brewing Three Floyds Brewing Co. February 21st Blue Moon Brewing Co. Central Waters Brewing Co. Lakefront Brewing Capital Brewery Stevens Point Brewery March 7th Furthermore Beer Hofbrau Beer Oso’s Brewing Co. Summit Brewing Co. March 18th Great Lakes Brewing Co. Potosi Brewing Co. Milwaukee Brewing Co. Sprecher Brewing Co.

Wizard of OZ coming to Creekside Friday

The Wizard of Oz Friday January 25 at 1:30 Join us for the story of Dorothy and her friends presented on the big screen. Relax in our comfy chairs and couches and enjoy. Matinees are still just $1 for members and $3 for non-members

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mailbag: Hammann writes: Why I am running for School Board

Hello! Thanks to The Observer for this opportunity to introduce myself to the voters of the Evansville Community School District (ECSD). If you are regular readers of The Review, many of you may be familiar with my byline. Today I’d like to give you “The Brief History of Melissa.” My name is Melissa Hammann and I’m running for a seat on the ECSD Board of Education. I have been actively involved with the School District since our oldest child began Kindergarten in 1999. Beginning with learning stations in 1999 and continuing with K-5 PTO publicity co-chair from 2005-2009, I became familiar with what the district does well and areas that could be improved. With the help of the ECSD voters, I was privileged to serve on the ECSD Board of Education from 2007-2010. I served as Board Clerk and was a key contributor to a number of committees including Finance, Long-Term Strategic Planning, Co-curricular contract evaluation and Policy. My background as an industrial Analytical Chemist for over fifteen years served me well in these roles, particularly in the areas of finance and student achievement analysis. We have three children who have attended or are attending ECSD. Sarah graduated last year and is attending UW-Madison. Holly is a sophomore at EHS and Will is a seventh grader at JC McKenna Middle School. My husband Bill has been Plant Manager at D&K Coatings in Janesville since he sited and built the plant in 1997-1998. He has also been actively involved with the city as both a council member and now as a citizen member of the planning commission. We have embraced Evansville as our hometown and appreciate the many ways available to give back to the community. In addition to being involved with civic matters, our family has actively supported the Eager Free Public Library for many years. When we first moved here, the library was instrumental in providing opportunities for our kids to explore their world with the pre-school activities they sponsor weekly. As a way to repay this wonderful foundation for our kids, each year we have helped out with the EFPL Friends summer fund raising activities. The kids bake cakes, set up tables and scoop ice cream while Bill and I do our best to win bids at the auctions during the ice cream socials. We provide early morning muscle to organize and display about a ton of books (OK, maybe it only feels that way) for the annual City Sidewalk Days book sale. We love our library! You have probably surmised that my hobbies lean heavily toward reading of any kind. The scientist in me is also challenged by many different daily puzzles, including crossword, Cryptoquote, Sudoku and Kenken. I work on maintaining my fitness with a daily walk and Yoga at Creekside Place. When the pool is open, I swim laps whenever I can. I’m running for school board because, while I believe ECSD has many good attributes, I envision its excellence. Every child deserves a public school education that prepares them to successfully pursue their dreams, whether those dreams are to attend Harvard Medical School, to become the most outstanding carpenter in the tri-state area, to sing on Broadway or to enlist in a branch of the Armed Services. A vendor who was once trying to sell me a million dollar instrument asked me if I was from Missouri “because you don’t believe anything I tell you without me showing you.” That effectively summarizes my approach to everything: Trust but verify. School board members that provide an independent analysis of educational initiatives are valuable assets to their districts. I believe my data analysis skills were valuable when I was on the board previously and would provide a unique asset for the current board. The coming years of increased expectations in student achievement through Wisconsin’s new Agenda 2017 combined with unrelenting budgetary challenges will require board members who are capable of evaluating enormous quantities of data and drawing conclusions from that data that will help their district. I come before the voters ready to undertake that challenge. As an added bonus, I am fully informed as to the inner workings of School Finance, which has complex components not commonly seen in business models and is frequently counterintuitive. One common predicament that new school board members often face is the relatively long learning curve required to become an effective board member, particularly in the area of how School Finance. Some board members have noted that they were finally becoming comfortable in their role just as their seat was up for re-election. I have been continuously monitoring or involved in ECSD board business since 2006, first as a citizen activist, then as a board member and finally as a free-lance journalist. Those seven years of scrutinizing ECSD business is more than some current board members’ tenures. This experience will enable me to hit the ground running while preserving an essential eagle’s eye view of where ECSD has been and, more importantly, where it is going and how it can achieve its vision of excellence in all aspects of education.

Melissa Hammann for School Board

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mailbag: Grassroots

5th Annual Wisconsin Progressive Grassroots Festival

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 08:00 AM · 40 rsvps

Wisconsin Hights High School in mazomanie, WI

Fifth Annual Grassroots Festival

Winter, 2013:

Strengthening Our Democracy

 Key Note Speakers

Mike McCabe 

Executive Director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

& Lisa Graves

Executive Director of Center for Media and Democracy

Presentations

Defending against the Sand Mine Attack

Move to Amend (Money in Politics)

Justice for Sale / Supreme Court Elections

Being Heard: A Key to Finding Common Ground and Reconnecting

Continuing the Conversation With Mike, Lisa & Mark

Organizing in the Electronic Age: The Use of Databases, Websites, and Social Media

Demythologizing Economic Policy

Fighting for Retirement Security

The Dangers of Metallic Mining

Messaging through Signage

Making Voting Easy / Elections Fair & Accurate

The Iroquois Contribution to American Democracy

Capitalism and Freedom Revisited

WGN 72 County/Rural Strategy

Defending Against The TIF Attack

The Grassroots Message Handbook

A Fairer Redistricting Plan

Protecting Public Education

The Basics of Running for Office

 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mining Bill Hearing Info

HEARING ON MINING BILL WEDNESDAY JAN. 23 9 A.M. YOU PROBABLY HAVE TO PRE-REGISTER CHECK THE CONTACTS BELOW Public Hearing on The Open-Pit Mining Bill SB 1 State Capitol Building Room 411 South The new Open-Pit Mining Bill (SB 1) is a flawed, extreme, one-sided bill that will subject our air and water to contamination from toxins like arsenic, lead and mercury. Citizens will have the opportunity to register your opposition to this devastating legislation and to testify on how these proposals will impact our clean air and clean water. Your RSVP will help us keep you informed in these important few days before the hearing. Please contact us with your questions: 608-661-0845 or info@conservationvoters.org. Register to Attend Where State Capitol 2 East Main Street Room 411 South Madison, WI 53703

Mailbag; Re: The Mining Bill Hearing: SB1

Dave Blouin, Mining Committee Chair Sierra Club - John Muir Chapter 608-233-8455 608-220-4040 Anyone can attend the hearing and register in opposition to SB1, the Strip Mine Giveaway bill starting at 9 am on Wed., Jan. 23. The hearing is in room 411 South in the Capitol Building. You may also register to speak if you wish though there is often a long wait. There is no waiting if you stop by and fill out a registration form. You may also register your opposition by emailing the chairs of the respective Assembly and Senate Committees and asking them to share your comment with all their committee members: Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining and Revenue, Sen. Tom Tiffany: Sen.Tiffany@legis.wi.gov Assembly Committee on Jobs, Mining and Economy, Rep. Mary Williams: Rep.WilliamsM@legis.wi.gov Of if you wish to put a little extra effort in, you could email everyone on each committee by cutting and pasting these addresses in to your email: Sen.Tiffany@legis.wi.gov, Rep.WilliamsM@legis.wi.gov, Sen.Darling@legis.wi.gov, Sen.Grothman@legis.wi.gov, Sen.Jauch@legis.wi.gov, Sen.Lehman@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Knodl@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Larson@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Sanfelippo@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Kapenga@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Kuglitsch@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Petryk@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Petersen@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Stone@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Jacque@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Clark@legis.wi.gov, Rep.BernardSchaber@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Hulsey@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Zamarippa@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Hintz@legis.wi.gov, Rep.Ohnstad@legis.wi.gov ©2013 Wireman & Associates | 4001 Monona Dr, Madison WI 53717

Mailbag; Wireman: Some Myths About Guns

Capitol Times, Madison, WI Wireman: Don’t buy into myths about guns January 17, 2013 5:00 am Dear Editor: Here are some myths about guns: Having a gun in my home protects me. Possibly, in some cases. But the person most likely to be killed if there is a gun in the home is a family member. With a gun, it’s easy to protect myself. All I have to do is pull the trigger. When I said this to four police officers, they burst out laughing. “Then you jerk and hit a stranger.” They receive 20 hours of training on each new weapon yet you can receive a concealed weapon permit in Wisconsin without ever having fired a gun. Shooters don’t miss. Even police officers shoot bystanders. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. But pulling a trigger is easier and more deadly than fists or a knife. Over 80 percent of all murders and suicides of those under aged 35 are committed with a gun. Nothing we can do will stop all violence. Right. But a series of government actions significantly reduced the number of people killed by drunken drivers. For a decade Australia had one mass murder a year. Since enacting gun control measures in 1996, they have had none, markedly reduced firearm homicides with no increase in non-firearm homicides, and reduced suicides. It’s a slippery slope; take any action and all guns will be confiscated. No one is talking about confiscating all guns. The Supreme Court ruled that the free speech amendment did not give anyone the right to yell fire in a crowed theater. The logic for sensible requirements on gun ownership and use is the same. Peggy Wireman Monona http://bit.ly/10HtLsz http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/mailbag/peggy-wireman-don-t-buy-into-m

Janesville - Rock County: Sly Finds A Mic At WEKZ-FM In Monroe

Janesville - Rock County: Sly Finds A Mic At WEKZ-FM In Monroe: Well THIS is good news. Uppity Wisconsin Excerpt: Starting February 4, Sly will be back on the air at WEKZ from 3:00-6:30 PM every...

Mailbag: Vinehout: Computer Errors are Human Errors

Technology: Computer Errors are Human Errors “Output is only as good as your input,” said a state worker about computer systems. I asked the worker to help me understand how the University of Wisconsin’s personnel computer system continued to pay for the health insurance of 924 former employees for months after they terminated employment. The Legislative Audit Bureau recently released their review of the financial audit of the state of Wisconsin. In the review, auditors reported problems with state computer systems. Several findings were related to the Human Resource System used by the UW. Employee related costs make up two-thirds of the UW system budget – almost $3 billion in the past fiscal year. UW employees account for almost half of all state employees. The auditors found problems with the system that tracks and pays UW employees. In addition to $15.4 million paid for health insurance of terminated employees, auditors found the UW overpaid employee retirement costs by $17.5 million in 2011. After the errors were reported the state retirement system credited the UW for the retirement overpayment. But the UW failed to recoup most of the health insurance overpayment. Auditors also expressed concerns that some programmers could change portions of the payroll system without adequate oversight. Similar problems were found in the Departments of Transportation and Health Services. Both agencies reported progress on correcting problems but they were again cited in this year’s financial audit’s findings. Since the state has had technology systems, auditors have expressed concerns about system security. Past security concerns included problems with the state’s high-risk insurance program, the state’s employee benefits program and Educational Communications Board. In all these cases, employees or former employees had too much access to computer systems creating possible security problems. Once auditors directed attention to these situations, agencies corrected the problems. The initial response of the UW system to their mistakes, however, seemed less than conciliatory. The UW system answered auditors repeated concerns with something like, “we’ll get to it sometime in 2013”; not exactly what Legislators want to hear. Problems with the UW human resources computer systems go back to 1999 when the UW decided to revamp an antiquated personnel system. Over the course of seven years, the new system was delayed and suffered serious cost overruns. Ultimately the UW cancelled the contract with the company hired to create the system. The entire fiasco cost the state at least $28 million – not counting significant staff costs. Given the history, the seriousness of the findings and the reaction of the UW, it is likely the Joint Committee on Audit will hold a public hearing on the results of this audit soon. One area that might be explored by committee members is the effect of Act 10 on the ability of managers to adequately supervise programming staff. In talking with state employees, I learned that having a union contract made work performance much more consistent than it is now. “If you are talking about system controls, you are talking about a management issue as much as a programming issue,” one IT employee told me. “Union contracts gave employers clear rules and consequences,” the IT employee continued. “You knew the consequences of indiscretion and those consequences were carried out every time an infraction occurred. Now if you have a ‘good boss’ you may get away with more than if you have a ‘bad boss’.” “Human input is what creates software programming,” the worker reminded me. The more difficult work environment creates a more “us against them” atmosphere that makes it harder to solve complex programming and computer security problems. When there is a good relationship between management and employees the flexibility exists to correct problems when they first appear. But in the more rigid “us against them” environment, problems sometimes persist and old problems become institutionalized. “There is a real tendency [in state government] to think ‘here’s how we do things and we are not going to do it differently’. This attitude is a problem,” the IT employee explained. I’m learning that if we want the output of state government to serve the people well, and keep the system secure, we must ensure the human input is well managed. If you know someone who would like to be added to this distribution list, please let us know. If you wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter, reply with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line Sen.Vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 316 South - P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 Toll Free: (877) 763-6636 or (608) 267-2871

Ruling leads to call for right to work in Wis. : Madisondotcom

Ruling leads to call for right to work in Wis. : Madisondotcom

Brodhead School Board to seek $2.4 million -- GazetteXtra

Brodhead School Board to seek $2.4 million -- GazetteXtra

Friday, January 18, 2013

Appeals court reverses federal judge's decision, upholds collective bargaining law in its entirety : Wsj

Appeals court reverses federal judge's decision, upholds collective bargaining law in its entirety : Wsj

"Blackhawk Tech considers a referendum" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Blackhawk Tech considers a referendum" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Prosecutor recommends prison for former Walker aide : Wsj

Prosecutor recommends prison for former Walker aide : Wsj

Suspect: Fulton home invasion was 'for fun' -- GazetteXtra

Suspect: Fulton home invasion was 'for fun' -- GazetteXtra

Mailbag: Wisconsin Wave: The Protest Begins

We want to be sure you saw the news from last Thursday's rally. On that day the first day of the new state legislative session, over 100 Wisconsinites gathered outside the State Capitol building for a rally organized by the Wisconsin Wave. At the rally speakers made clear that the "majority party" in the legislature has no democratic authority to govern because the fall general election was rigged via unprecedented, hyper-partisan gerrymandering. Said rally MC Sarah Manski, “The Republicans lost the statewide popular vote in the Assembly by over 167,000 votes, yet they retain a 60-39 majority." “They also lost the statewide popular vote in the Senate by more than 100,000, yet now enjoy an 18-15 majority there” she added.“This is the most egregious level of gerrymandering in Wisconsin history, yet the majority party is planning on again forcing through an anti-worker, anti-child, anti-environment agenda that Wisconsin did not vote for. That's not democracy in any sense of the word, that's tyranny!” Andy Heidt, President of AFSCME Local 1871, addressed the next steps the people of Wisconsin need to take to restore democracy to their state, saying that, “We must join together and rise up with even greater strength than we did two years ago. The stakes are just as high, and only a mass movement targeting the power behind this anti-democratic agenda will stop it.” Madison Teachers Inc (MTI) President Kerry Motoviloff spoke next about the ongoing assault on K-12 education. “It is the moral responsibility of every leader to ensure that our educational system is adequately funded. Until that happens we will continue to be here at the Capitol representing the majority of Wisconsinites who voted to fully fund our public schools” she said. Environmental activist Carl Sack with the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice spoke out against the mining rules changes currently being considered by the legislature. “We all need clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and living wage jobs to support our families” Sack said. “The proposed iron mine in the Penokee hills would give us none of those things, desecrating northern Wisconsin's environment while funneling the wealth of our communities to out-of-state interests.” Eleni Schirmer of the Teaching Assistants' Association called for unity among individuals and organizations across the state in fighting back against the ongoing attacks on the Wisconsin way of life. “We're only going to win this fight by moving forward together” she said. The rally was covered by the Wisconsin Gazette, WORT 89.9FM, CBS News, and few other media outlets. This was the first of a series of pro-democracy protests planned by the Wave in the coming weeks. We will keep you informed with as much advance notice as possible so that you can effectively plan ahead. On Wisconsin!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Alderman Suggests Requiring GPS Devices On All Guns « CBS Chicago

Alderman Suggests Requiring GPS Devices On All Guns « CBS Chicago

Wis adds 4,500 private sector jobs in December : Madisondotcom

Wis adds 4,500 private sector jobs in December : Madisondotcom

"Republican to push for voucher vote" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Republican to push for voucher vote" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Janesville City Manager Holds Coffeehouse Community Engagement on January 23rd

City Manager Hosts Coffeehouse Community Engagement Event on January 23 Posted Date: 12/19/2012 On January 23 from 8AM-9:30AM, Janesville City Manager Eric Levitt will host an opportunity for individuals to discuss matters concerning the City of Janesville. This event will take place at Mocha Moment, 1121 Center Avenue. During this event, Janesville residents from throughout the community are encouraged to stop by the coffee shop to ask questions, share comments or concerns or provide feedback to the City Manager and other city representatives in an informal and fun environment. "The City of Janesville is always looking for ways to connect with residents. We hope this setting will provide a friendly environment in which to interact. I welcome all interested individuals to attend this event to share their thoughts about Janesville or to ask questions." explains City Manager Eric Levitt. The city would like to thank Mocha Moment for providing complimentary space for this event. For questions about the coffeehouse community engagement event, please contact the City Manager's Office at 755-3177.

"Report to recommend gas tax, other fee increases" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Report to recommend gas tax, other fee increases" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Creekside TONIGHT: Speaker on Homelessness in Rock County

Do you ever wonder how many people in Rock County are dealing with homelessness this winter? Erin Loveland, the Operations Coordinator at The House of Mercy, a 25-bed homeless center located in Janesville, WI will be at Creekside Place on January 17 at 7 pm to discuss the issue and how it affects us all. The House of Mercy accepts homeless single women and families for stays of up to 30 days with a goal for each household to achieve stable housing on their own. Erin has been employed there for almost 8 years and was a volunteer for 5 years before that. She is an experienced speaker and a member of Toastmasters International. She will discuss the House of Mercy program, admission criteria and the services they offer. She will also talk about the Rock County Homeless Intervention Task Force and the effort it makes to end homelessness. Please join us for this discussion. The Creekside Place Speakers Series is made possible in part by a grant from The Evansville Fund. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Warmer weather on tap before Arctic blast hits area : Madisondotcom

Warmer weather on tap before Arctic blast hits area : Madisondotcom

Dr. Zorba Paster: Be careful with caffeine consumption : Wsj

Dr. Zorba Paster: Be careful with caffeine consumption : Wsj

Delavan seeking cure for ambulance service -- GazetteXtra

Delavan seeking cure for ambulance service -- GazetteXtra

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mailbag: Jim: What's Coming Up at Creekside

January 17 at 6:30 pm Living Lively!, Living Lively!, a Breast Cancer Survivor Group will begin meeting on the third Thursday of every month beginning January 17th. The one-hour meetings will be free and open to all and will begin at 6:30pm. This is an organizational meeting to determine the needs of the group. Friends, and family will join survivors of breast cancer and organizer Bonalyn Barker, who is a survivor herself.. Another meeting is planned for February 21st. January 17 at 7 pm Homelessness In Rock County: Erin Loveland Do you ever wonder how many people in Rock County are dealing with homelessness this winter? Erin Loveland, the Operations Coordinator at The House of Mercy, a 25-bed homeless center located in Janesville, WI will be at Creekside Place on January 17 at 7 pm to discuss the issue and how it affects us all. The House of Mercy accepts homeless single women and families for stays of up to 30 days with a goal for each household to achieve stable housing on their own. Erin has been employed there for almost 8 years and was a volunteer for 5 years before that. She is an experienced speaker and a member of Toastmasters International. She will discuss the House of Mercy program, admission criteria and the services they offer. She will also talk about the Rock County Homeless Intervention Task Force and the effort it makes to end homelessness. Please join us for this discussion. The Creekside Place Speaker Series is free and open to all. It is made possible in part by a grant from the Evansville Fund. Winter Market and Artisan Craft Fair January 19 9am-1pm Join your favorite vendors from the Evansville Farmers Market and local crafters as they display their wares in the Grand Room at Creekside Place. The Winter market will be held on the third Saturday of the month until April before moving back outside. Kid’s Stuff Saturday January 19 10-11am Kids that attend this workshop will get a head-start on Valentine’s day. This craft activity will make a gift pillow and card to be given on Valentine’s. All materials and adult supervision will be provided for a cost of $8 for members and $10 for non-members. Participants must register by Jan 16th and sign-ups are limited to the first ten. Activity Fair January 19 9am-1pm Join Evansville organizations at Creekside Place and see what activities are available for your family. Whether you are looking to participate, to volunteer, or just to see the variety of fun things to do in Evansville, you'll have a good time at the Fair Beer Study Returns January 21 7 pm Join Tom Calley and learn the story behind some of your favorite brews and some you may not have met yet. This week’s featured brewers are: New Glarus Brewing, Pangaea Beer Co., Hacker-Pschorr Brewery, Chameleon Brewing Co., and Horney Goat Brewing. There’s still time to sign up for the Creekside Place Mug Club, too. Thirty-five dollars gets you and etched 15 oz beer mug and discounts on some great beers at Beer Study. The Wizard of Oz Friday January 25 at 1:30 Join us for the story of Dorothy and her friends presented on the big screen. Relax in our comfy chairs and couches and enjoy. Matinees are still just $1 for members and $3 for non-members. Jim Brooks Program Coordinator Creekside Place, Inc 608-882-0407 Jim Brooks Program Coordinator Creekside Place, Inc 608-882-0407

"Wisconsin GOP reintroduces mining changes" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Wisconsin GOP reintroduces mining changes" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Apple bounces back---

Apple stock is up 16 dollars this morn on Wall Street....is this the turnaround time?

Janesville City Council decides to work with revenue it has in 2014 budget -- GazetteXtra

Janesville City Council decides to work with revenue it has in 2014 budget -- GazetteXtra