Friday, September 13, 2013
The Evansville Observer blog, one of the largest and longest running blogs in the USA, has moved to "Archive" status and will continue to be available to viewers worldwide for searching the history of Evansville, Wisconsin as seen in the actions of it's citizens in public meetings addressing the issues the city has faced between 2005 and 2013.
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 3:26 PM
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Forum Explores Challenges Facing Public Schools Public education started down the statewide voucher path with the start of the school year across Wisconsin. While things might not look different on the outside, big changes are happening in the state’s public education system. One of the biggest changes is the expenditure this state budget makes in taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools. At the same time, over half of public schools will see no increase in state aid. Many of our rural schools will see the maximum cut – a bit above 15%. But private school parents around the state are looking forward to two infusions of public money into private schools. For the first time in state history, private schools statewide are eligible for public dollars through vouchers. The program starts small: 500 students statewide in the first year and 1,000 students in the second year. But people on both sides of this debate predict the cap will be temporary. In addition, private school tuition will be a tax deduction for parents, costing Wisconsin taxpayers an estimated $30 million over the state’s two year budget. I recently spoke at a community forum aimed at stimulating conversation about the future of public schools. Participants learned Wisconsin’s public schools are doing a good job in the face of many challenges. Nearly 9 out of 10 public schools meet or exceed state expectations while only 4% are failing. But statewide, student poverty has substantially increased. I shared with participants the story of my school district of Alma. Twelve years ago less than 2 out of 10 students were poor (as defined by eligibility for free and reduced lunch). Last year 4 out of 10 students’ families fell into this category. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported 42% of Eau Claire district students are from economically disadvantaged homes – a 10% increase in five years. Often, teachers use their own money to supply children with healthy snacks, school supplies, and warm clothing. A school social worker confided that 15 of her Middle School students are from homeless families who have exhausted all options for shelter. The effects of poverty undermine children’s ability to learn. It takes more resources, financial and staff, to help economically-disadvantaged students keep pace with their peers. Yet such aid to assist schools has steadily declined. Jeff Pertl of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) explained to forum attendees how poverty impacts student performance. High poverty schools are often low performing schools. Students simply do not have resources to learn. Minority students are more likely to attend a poor performing school. This exacerbates the state’s achievement gap. To address this issue, 20 years ago the state embarked on an experiment with voucher schools in Milwaukee. Questions still swirl around the success of this experiment. While Milwaukee’s voucher program gave students more educational options, DPI data on 2011-12 Wisconsin Student Assessment Scores show Milwaukee voucher students are less proficient in both reading and mathematics than students in Milwaukee public schools. The forum audience wanted to know the cost to public schools of the expansion of the private school vouchers. Mr. Pertl explained on average the state funds 61% of the cost for public school students and 100% of the cost of statewide voucher and independent charter students. Although the voucher system was touted as a way to help poor students in failing public schools, two-thirds of the students who signed up for the statewide voucher program were already in private schools. UW Madison School of Education Dean Julie Underwood added key facts to our discussion. The most profound statement came from my colleague Senator Dale Schultz whose comment should give us all pause: “Look, I voted for charter schools at different times and choice schools. And why did I do it? Because I want our kids to have the best and I know that sometimes you gotta look outside the box for a new solution and it’s worth trying.” “But I don’t quite understand – when the facts are in, when we know that our public schools are doing a superior job – we put the money in the other pot.” “To me it looks like the largest middle class entitlement ever and how’s that conservative?” (A tape recording of the forum is available on Wisconsin Eye at the link below: http://www.wiseye.org/Programming/VideoArchive/EventDetail.aspx?evhdid=7960 )
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 7:42 PM
Tales From Normal, Mn.----FICTION: They just love education: They are studying Beer brewing every Wednesday: Forever till they get it right: Tales From Normal, Mn.: FICTION
Tales From Normal, Mn.----FICTION: They just love education: They are studying Beer brewing every Wednesday: Forever till they get it right: Tales From Normal, Mn.: FICTION
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 1:04 PM
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 9:15 PM
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Posted by Richard Woulfe at 6:35 PM
School Scoop: I'm not the only one who wondered about the CAC vs...: The first question asked at the Citizen Advisory Committee information sharing meeting tonight was not asked by me, but was the same questio...
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 4:03 AM
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Hi everyone Something’s brewing at I&E Club! Page Buchanan of House of Brews will talk about his adventures and lessons in starting his microbrewery in Madison. If you ever wondered what it might be like to have a microbrewery, now’s your chance to hear from someone who’s doing it. We’re meeting, as usual, at Creekside Place, 102 Maple Street, Evansville. And while you’re at the meeting, enjoy refreshment sponsored by another entrepreneur who created Cloud Knocker, a unique web-venture that compiles all your preferred vendors, coupons, specials and similar information in one handy place. See you Wednesday!
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 12:14 PM
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 10:04 AM
Monday, September 09, 2013
Friday, September 06, 2013
Evansville Observer: Mailbag: Vinehout Writes: Re: Health Care Changes...: Health Insurance: Big Changes Happening "What am I going to do about health insurance?” the woman at the picnic recently asked me. She ...
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 6:44 PM
Evansville Observer: OpEd: NFL Settles Concussion Suit with 4500 playe...: The settlement announcement yesterday by the NFL with 4500 players gives one pause and suggests that if taxpayers would like to avoid a huge...
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 6:39 PM
Time to get some perspective....maybe comedy club might help....there are other ways to create excitement.
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 6:34 PM
Evansville Observer: Nostalgia: November 2006: 4K: Jamie Fellows Speaks...: Current Daycare providers serve 142 childrens of possible 150 in Evansville. 4K proposal is duplication of services. Download File
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 6:31 PM
Evansville Observer: School Scoop: District Investigates 4K for the Fou...: School Scoop: District Investigates 4K for the Fourth Time in Si... : Click on the link below to see that the district is again investigatin...
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 6:30 PM
Getting more flexibility in scheduling is not rocket science---it is fully covered in 7th grade algebra under probability: the number of combinations in a four period day is 4x3x2x1==24 and the number of combinations in an 8 period day: 8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1=? Every child knows this math---and the terrible result for current students is harmful because of the lack of flexibility of curriculum and the the scheduling difficulties that result--and the bottom line is lack of attractiveness for residents coming to our community. Bottom line...Change or face the consequences.
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 6:13 PM
School Scoop: Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) to Convene Septem...: I got an email from Jerry Roth, district administrator, inviting me to attend the first meeting to establish the CAC. I presume every parent...
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 6:09 PM
Evansville Observer: Evansville Observer celebrates the End of the Four...: The End of the Four Period Day will be the event that indicates a seriousness about educational achievement that has been lacking for a deca...
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 6:02 PM
Common Council Regular Meeting Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 6:30 p.m. City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI Agenda 1. Call to order 2. Roll Call 3. Approval of Agenda 4. Motion to waive the reading of the minutes of the August 13, 2013, regular meeting and to approve them as presented. 5. Civility reminder. 6. Citizen appearances 7. Reports of Committees A. Library Board Report B. Youth Center Advisory Board Report C. Finance and Labor Relations Committee Report (1). Motion to accept the City and Water & Light bills as presented. (2). Motion to approve Exclusive Solid Waste and Recyclables Collection and Disposal Contract with Advanced Disposal Services Solid Waste Midwest, LLC, from 2014- through 2020. (3). Financial Audit of year ending December 31, 2012. D. Plan Commission Report E. Public Safety Committee Report F. Public Works Committee Report G. Water & Light Committee Report H. Economic Development Committee Report I. Redevelopment Authority Report J. Parks and Recreation Board Report K. Historic Preservation Commission Report L. Fire District Report M. Police Commission Report N. Energy Independence Team Report O. Board of Appeals Report 8. Unfinished Business. 9. Communications and Recommendations from the Mayor A. Mayoral Proclamation In Recognition of Exceptional Evansville Volunteerism 10. Communications from the City Administrator 11. New Business A. League of Wisconsin Municipalities Annual Conference in Green Bay, October 16-18. Earlybird registration deadline Monday, September 16. 12. Introduction of New Ordinances A. First Reading of Ordinance 2013-06, Amending Chapter 46 of the City Code regarding Safe and Sanitary Maintenance of Property. [Sponsors: Alderpersons Fuchs and Montgomery]. 13. Meeting Reminders: A. Budget Presentations Meeting: Thursday, Sept 26, 5:45 pm, City Hall. B. Committee of the Whole Meeting: Saturday, Sept 28, 8:00 am, Creekside Place. C. Regular Meeting: Tuesday, Oct 8, 6:30 pm, City Hall 14. Adjournment Sandra J. Decker, Mayor Requests for persons with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this meeting should be made to the Clerk’s office by calling 882-2266 with as much advance notice as possible. Please turn off all cell phones while the meeting is in session. Thank you.
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 6:01 PM
Thursday, September 05, 2013
NOTICE: The regular meeting of the Finance and Labor Relations Committee for the City of Evansville will be held on the date, time and place stated below. Notice is further given that members of the City Council might be in attendance. Finance and Labor Relations Committee Regular Meeting Thursday, September 5, 2013, 5:30 p.m. City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI AGENDA 1. Call to order and roll call. 2. Approval of Agenda. 3. Motion to waive the reading of the minutes of the August 8, 2013, regular meeting and to approve as printed. 4. Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed. 5. Presentation: Financial audit of year ended December 31, 2012. 6. Motion to accept the City and Water & Light bills as presented. 7. Unfinished Business: A. Discussion: Personnel Policy. B. Discussion: 2014 Budget. 8. New Business: A. Motion to recommend to Common Council approval of Exclusive Solid Waste and Recyclables Collection and Disposal Contract with Advanced Disposal Services Solid Waste Midwest, LLC from 2014 through 2020. B. Motion to approve application to Evansville Fund to support Montana Leggett Eagle Scout project. 9. Adjournment. Mason Braunschweig, Chair Requests for persons with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this meeting should be made to the City Clerk’s office by calling 882-2266 with as much advance notice as possible. Please turn off all cell phones while the meeting is in session. Thank you.
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 11:38 AM
Health Insurance: Big Changes Happening "What am I going to do about health insurance?” the woman at the picnic recently asked me. She had no health insurance and had several health problems. In the next several weeks big changes are happening related to health insurance. Open enrollment will begin October 1st for a new competitive Health Insurance Marketplace for small businesses and those who buy insurance on their own. Health plans will go into effect in January 2014. Those who have insurance through HIRSP, the state’s high risk pool, will be required to transition to private coverage through the Marketplace. The recently passed state budget made changes to the state’s BadgerCare program. Under those changes parents, currently covered by BadgerCare that make over $15,500 for a couple, will receive a letter soon telling them they will lose coverage through the state and must sign up for a private plan through the Marketplace. About 90,000 people are expected to lose BadgerCare coverage by the end of this year. In the counties that make up the 31st Senate District over 4000 people are affected by this change. But, for the woman I met at the picnic, the news is good. Beginning in January people making less than $11,500 a year will be eligible for the state’s BadgerCare program. These folks should contact their local county health department to receive instructions on how to sign up. Local consortiums (counties working together) are staffing up to prepare for over 80,000 people who will be eligible for BadgerCare beginning next year. All other individuals who will be purchasing insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace can go to HealthCare.gov for information. There is also a toll-free call center available to help answer questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The toll-free number is 1-800-318-2596. I’ve spoken with many local agents and brokers who are preparing for the expected influx of new customers in October. “We’ve hired new agents,” one firm told me. “We are also planning many information meetings to help answer questions.” He shared that folks really like the personal service they receive from an agent. In addition, those without internet access find it much easier to work with a local agent. In addition to insurance agents and brokers, there will be specially trained and certified individuals who to help people apply for health insurance through the Marketplace. These Certified Application Counselors and licensed Navigators will not only help individuals but can assist small business people find health insurance plans that fit their needs. I recently spoke with a former business owner in Trempealeau County. He always provided health insurance to his employees but found premiums very expensive. “I was at a competitive disadvantage because my big box competitors did not provide coverage for their employees,” he said. The Small Business Heath Option Program (SHOP) will give small employers some of the advantages large employers have today. Small businesses may be able to qualify for health insurance tax credits. If a business has fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees with an average salary of $50,000 or less the business can qualify for up to 50% of the premium paid for employees’ insurance. In addition, these businesses are now able to buy less expensive insurance through the new competitive Marketplace. Small employers can go to Healthcare.gov or call the special SHOP phone number 1-800-706-7893. To find out if they qualify for the Small business Health Care Tax credit, employers can visit IRS.gov for more information and resources. As October 1st approaches, people will see more education and outreach efforts in their counties and communities. I will have updated information in my Senate Office. People can reach my office by calling 877-763-6636. I will also be putting updated information on my Senate website at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/vinehout The Affordable Care Act is already making it easier for people to get, keep and afford health care benefits. It helps protect consumers from discriminatory insurance practices, allows children up at age 26 stay on their parents’ health insurance, provides free wellness and prevention care, and strengthens coverage for those on Medicare. And the new Marketplace will give Wisconsinites answers to their questions about affordable coverage. 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
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 11:35 AM
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Monday, September 02, 2013
School Scoop: Let's Form Evansville's Academic Warriors!: Calling all folks who are passionate about academic excellence! I have an idea I have been noodling about in my brain for a few years. Every...
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 5:07 PM
The End of the Four Period Day will be the event that indicates a seriousness about educational achievement that has been lacking for a decade. Call your school leaders and let them know that academic achievement matters, and that continued obsession with nonsense is not a substitute for change.
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 5:04 PM
School Scoop: Evansville School District Fails Students: My daughter, a Junior this year, has been waiting for her schedule to be posted for a month. On Thursday, my friend informed me that the sch...
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 4:55 PM
Meet Jon Carson, the National Executive Director of Organizing for Action. We are thrilled that he will be here on Wednesday, September 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Hans & Mary Lou Sollinger, 1206 Sherman Ave. lakefront home. suggested contribution $75 Here is a brief bio of Jon: Jon grew up on a farm in Western Wisconsin before attending UW-Platteville and graduating with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He worked on campaigns for more than a decade, including Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, and serving as manager for Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth's congressional campaign in 2006. Jon served as the National Field Director for Obama for America in 2008. Later he joined President Obama's administration as Chief of Staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. He went on to serve as the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. After the 2012 election, Jon was appointed as the Executive Director.
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 4:53 PM
Sunday, September 01, 2013
Laura, our Assistant Director extraordinaire, has another exciting program starting this fall. Any questions and/or volunteers interested can contact her directly. Emoji This fall we are starting a new program series for school-age kids (K-5) called the STEAMpunks Club. The programs will be held at the library on Evansville School District early-release days, and each month will have a different theme based on STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. The programs run from 1:15-3:15 and will follow this [loose] schedule: Open with picture book based on that month's theme Hands-on activities and experiments Break for snack and another picture book Group games Quieter activities like a craft project or storytelling Ideally I'd like to have one or two volunteers at each "day" to help set up/clean up, hand out supplies, help with activities as needed, and generally be "around" as a grown-up presence. I have no idea what to expect for turnout during these activities, since this is our first time running something like this, but I'm excited to find out! Our first STEAMpunks Club day is Wednesday, September 18 (theme is SCIENCE!) from 1:15-3:15. Interested parties can send me a note! Thanks as always! Laura Damon-Moore Assistant Director Eager Free Public Library (Evansville) 39 W. Main Street 608-882-2260 firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Richard Woulfe at 8:07 PM