Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
A veteran tours the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 1. Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Despite the U.S. government shutdown, WWII vets managed to get inside what was supposed to be a closed memorial. Some reports said a barricade was removed to give veterans access. Other reports said veterans and supporters "stormed" the memorial and broke down barricades.
I prefer and like the latter explanation, and if true, I say...
GOOD FOR THEM!
The Federal Government partially shut down today.
I repeat, finally.
If we are to believe the latest report from FranklinNOW’s Rick Romano, city of Franklin property taxpayers will get a much-needed break this December. Romano is reporting that outgoing mayor Tom Taylor has introduced a city budget that calls for no increase in the city property tax levy. Forget the city tax rate, it’s meaningless. The levy is what counts. The levy is what must be raised to account for city spending.
Of course, members of the Common Council have questions. They should. After all, one of the oldest cliché’s in government budgeting or policy is that the devil is in the details.
“Though not in the budget, the council asked Director of Administration Mark Luberda to provide information regarding what it would take to hire an economic development director on a half-time or full-time basis. Council members said the position also should be cost-neutral with funds drawn from other budget sources. Luberda said he would confirm the details. He estimated that a full-time director annual salary range could be $70,000 to more than $100,000 depending on whether the individual has a skill set of marketing and public relations or direct sales.”
I agree with Luberda’s assessment. The right economic development director with the right skills could bring in millions, and thus, should be compensated accordingly.
FranklinNOW also reports:
As the authors of the weekly feature, "The Barking Lot," Jennifer and I are happy to share this news release about a local business:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A LEG UP: MILWAUKEE PET SERVICES TAKES INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO PET SITTING
Local Company’s New Unique Services Provide Pet Owners with an Even Greater Peace of Mind
The government shutdown almost prevented them from entering the memorial built in their honor.
Baseball is no longer America’s pastime. It’s football, with incredible popularity.
Football is like a religion, entrenched in the fabric of American society, from Pee Wee level all the way up the professional ranks.
And yet there are those who want to kill the sport. Daniel Flynn writes about the attack on the beloved game in The War on Football: Saving America’s Game .
Flynn spoke to Tom Hawkins who runs the blog, Right Wing News. Here are excerpts from the interview:
“There was a widespread belief in the popular press in reading columns by people like George Will that football players die decades before the average American men. Because of the suspicion the NFL Players Association petitioned the federal government to do a mortality study on NFL players. So the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health did a study on every player who played between 1959 and 1988, every player who played five or more seasons, pension vested players.
“What they found was really shocking to some of the folks at the Players Association. They expected to find an 18 percent death rate and instead they found a 10 percent death rate. So the players are living longer than their peers in society. Their rates of heart disease, their rates of cancer and respiratory illness are dramatically reduced and I think what shocked people the most is that the rate of suicide is 2 1/2 times greater amongst the players’ peers in society than it is amongst the players themselves.
“Last year one academic article claimed that there were 300,000 sports related concussions every year. Another one that I read said that there were up to 3.8 million sports related concussions a year. So, if the doctors can’t get concussion counts right within a factor of 12, if their counts are all over the place, it gives you an indication of how little we know about not only concussions, but chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerate brain condition that just within the last decade has been found within some football players.
“Football hasn’t grown especially hard, society has grown really, really soft and football clashes with our culture that is obese and passive/aggressive. It’s an indoor, antiseptic culture and football goes against all of that. Football is a muddy, rough game where the primary activity is physical violence and because it’s so different from our culture, that’s why we love football. But it’s a double-edged sword. It’s also the reason why there are so many people that have it in for football.
“We constantly hear that the players are bigger and they’re faster and they’re stronger and intuitively we think, ‘Well, that means the game is deadlier,’ but the reality is the game isn’t deadlier. It’s much safer. You know more kids died last year on American football fields getting struck by lightning than getting struck by other players. I think that puts things really into perspective for people that are fans of the game.
“There’s a crisis among American boys now where they’re placed in front of screens and they play video games, they do Facebook, but you rarely see them outdoors playing stickball, touch football, hide-n-go seek, any of the type of games that we would play with neighborhood kids when we were young. That’s something that has gone missing in American culture.”
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.”
The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…Written by my lovely wife, Jennifer and me. It opens with the weekend dog walking forecast followed by the main blog from dog lover, Jennifer. Then it’s DOGS IN THE NEWS and our close. Enjoy!
THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.
TODAY: UPDATE: After the dense fog advisory expires at 9:00, cloudy with thunderstroms developing around 3:00. Some could be severe. High of 72. "C" throughout the day, "F" when the rain comes.
SUNDAY: Sunny. Don't let it fool you. Temps below normal. High of 59. "D"
Here’s my lovely wife, Jennifer with this week’s main blog:
Each week during this year’s high school football season, I’m giving out a weekly POO Award to the Wisconsin high school football team that committed the most egregious act of poor sportsmanship by trying to humiliate its opponent.
POO stands for Piling On Offensively (Or if you prefer, Pouring it On Offensively).
We have a tie.
Glenwood City 72, Ladysmith 0
Elkhart Lake/Glenbeulah 70, Madison Abundant Life 6
Siren 78, Sevastopol 24
NOTE: Gibraltar scored 80 against Luck, but actually trailed early in the game. The contest was close near the end of the second half, but Gibraltar won it, 80-44.
What's next? 90 points?
Prairie Farm 86, Northwood 12
Gibraltar 80, Sevastopol 14
Getting closer to 90.
Cedar Grove-Belgium 78, Sheboygan Lutheran/Kohler/Sheboygan Christian 22
Freedom 76, Clintonville 0
Bruce 76, Birchwood 8
Prairie Farm 72, New Auburn 8
Darlington 71, Boscobel 0
And the extremely rare case where piling on isn’t piling on.
Auburndale 67, Phillips 0
Here are interesting articles from the past week I’d like to share.
We are shutting down 13% of the government (at most)
"I would not count reducing federal government spending by 13 percent a 'shutdown.' A more appropriate term would be a 'reduction in non-essential discretionary spending,' or 'government slim down' for short. I invite the Republican members of Congress to use this term instead of 'shutdown.' In politics, he who controls the rhetoric of political discourse wins. 'Shut down' is a loser. 'Slim down' is a winner, and it captures the reality of what is going on right now in Washington."
Gov love was fading long before the shutdown
"In the gray dawn of shutdown, Americans don't need fancy research to confirm faith is waning in the government. By how much? A study, released Tuesday, finds historic slippage in the trust many U.S. citizens hold in their elected leaders to fix the biggest problems."
10 things ObamaCare won't tell you
"The health exchanges, central to the law, are also its biggest mystery."
Needed blue-collar horse sense
"One 29-year-old fellow in Washington, D.C. — he has a degree from Notre Dame — considered going to law school, like many others in the lawyer-saturated town.
"After watching his friends work long hours as paralegals — and watching his lawyer pals sign their lives over to their firms — he did something sensible.
"He became an electrician’s apprentice."
Too many casinos
“Even as more casinos open around the country, there are indications that gambling revenues are leveling off—that we're reaching a saturation point, with too many casinos for everybody to win.”
Help Wanted: Successful candidate must be nice
"Most companies don't explicitly say they're looking to hire people who aren't that nice, but let's face it: In today's tight job market, many companies seem to favor aggressive workers, a win-at-all-costs attitude and a cutthroat mentality. A handful of companies are bucking that trend by specifically recruiting workers that aren't, well, jerks."
10 rules for digital happiness
"I'm the Luddite professor: My students are not allowed to use cell phones or laptops in my classes. During the break, they can power up and engage in a text and email frenzy for ten minutes -- then it's time to unplug again. Not all professors are this stringent with technology in the classroom.
"And certainly an argument can be made for the value of typing one's notes or looking up discussion-related topics in realtime. But whatever value those things hold, I believe that being tech-free during that brief period of time is even more precious."
Greeting card tycoon tries hand at newspapers
“Kushner believes in newspapers. Physical newspapers. The kind made with ink and news print. And apparently, he's making his beliefs work. ‘A physical newspaper can do things a digital paper cannot,’ he told CNBC. ‘It conveys and builds a sense of community that you don't get online.’ He admits this is his own observation, not the result of research. Still, ‘You're never going to tape your iPad to the refrigerator’."
It's true: You talk too much
"Because it's more fun to talk than to listen. Talking is like drinking a great Cabernet. Listening is like doing squats."
1) Louis Peters fills out papers at the Henry J. Austin Health Center, in Trenton, N.J., Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, to sign-up for new plans through a health insurance exchange. The exchanges were launched in every state Tuesday as a key part of President Barack Obama's health insurance overhaul. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
2) Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) tweeted out a photo at 12:09 AM EST on October 1 showing the Obamcare exchanges website was down, nine minutes after various federal government offices shut down and the Affordable Care Act exchanges went into effect.
3) Government workers protest the possibility of a federal shutdown Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Chicago. Nearly 100 employees from federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development rallied in a downtown plaza on Monday. Thousands of workers could be furloughed if the shutdown materializes. Protesters held signs reading "Jobs Not Furloughs." (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
4) A US Park Police officer watches at left as a National Park Service employee posts a sign on a barricade closing access to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama's health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800, 000 federal workers off the job and suspending most non-essential federal programs and services. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
5) A National Park Service park ranger stands behind the barricades at the World War II Memorial on Oct. 1 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images
6) World War II veteran Russell Tucker (C) of Meridian, Mississippi, stands outside the barricade as he visits the World War II Memorial during a government shutdown October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. The memorial was temporary opened to veteran groups arrived on Honor Flights on a day trip to visit the nation's capital. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
7) A veteran tours the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 1. Veterans, their family and supporters knocked down barricades in order to see the memorial. Photo: Kevin Lemarque, Reuters.
8) A U.S. Park Police Officer and National Park Service employees close the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall on Oct. 1 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images
9) Tourist Tomoko Ida, right, of Tokyo, covers her mouth when she hears that the Statue of Liberty is closed, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, in New York. Traveling with her are Jin Onuki, left, and Tomoya Osada. The shutdown, the first since the winter of 1995-96, closed national parks across the nation. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
10) "We're really pissed off," says Narelle Ledwell, shown here taking a picture of her children, Brittany, 15, Jordan, 11, and her husband Jeff on Oct 1. "We came halfway around the world to see this." The Ledwells were on holiday from Sydney, Australia and had tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty but it was closed due to the government shutdown. So the Ledwells instead boarded the privately-run M/V Countess for a one hour harbor tour. "It's really dumb that they can do this, it would never happen in Australia. It's a joke," Narelle said. Photo: Jim Seida/ NBC News
11) A US Park Police officer ties police tape to a hand rail closing access to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama's health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800,000 federal workers off the job and suspending most non-essential federal programs and services. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
12) Visitors to Independence National Historical Park are reflected in the window of the closed building housing the Liberty Bell, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, in Philadelphia. Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama's health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800, 000 federal workers off the job and suspending most non-essential federal programs and services. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
13) A tourist takes a picture of Mount Rushmore National Memorial from outside the park on October 1, 2013 in Keystone, South Dakota. Mount Rushmore and all other national parks were closed today after congress failed to pass a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800,000 federal workers off the job. A bulletin issued by the Department of Interior states, "Effective immediately upon a lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service will take all necessary steps to close and secure national park facilities and grounds in order to suspend all activities ...Day use visitors will be instructed to leave the park immediately..." (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
14) Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., leads a tour in the Rotunda on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Congressional staffers and interns usually lead constituent tours, but due to the federal government shutdown members of Congress have begun to lead tour groups from their home states. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
15) A U.S. Capitol Police Officer walks past a statue of Gerald Ford, who was president during the 1976 shutdown of the federal government, in the Rotunda of the Capitol while the building was closed to tours, Oct. 1, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images
16) OAM supervisor Chris Riccardi (2nd left) explains to fellow pilots how the federal shutdown affects them at the beginning of their shift. Photo: John Moore/ Getty Images
17) Maj. Ryan Burke scans the nearly empty shelves in the meat section at the Fort Carson Commissary in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 1. The commissary was busier than normal with news that it will close until further notice because of the government shutdown. Photo: Mark Reis / The Colorado Springs Gazette via AP
18) Furloughed federal workers protest outside the U.S. Capitol to demand an end to the lockout of federal workers caused by the government shutdown on Oct. 4 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images
19) Beech Grove, Indiana resident Joseph Lohman, 25, who served as a corporal in the U.S. Marines from 2008-2012, shows his concern over the government shutdown by holding an American flag upside down, a signal of distress, just north of I-465, where he has been since midnight. Lohman is totally disabled from a fall in training and is concerned about veterans not getting their disability checks. "I'm not protesting," says Lohman, "I'm just standing for what is right." (AP Photo/The Star,Charlie Nye)
20) Police close in on the U.S. Capitol as people run for cover after reports of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The US Capitol and the White House were placed on lockdown after an "active shooter" situation was reported. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
21) Authorities inspect the wreckage of two Chicago Transit Authority trains that crashed Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Forest Park, Ill. The crash happened when a westbound train stopped at the CTA Blue Line Harlem station, and was struck by an eastbound train on the same track. The CTA is investigating the cause of the crash, including why the trains were on the same track. A CTA official said 33 people suffered non-life threatening injuries. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
22) Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, right, listens to U.S. Army Col. James Minnich, center, as North Korean soldiers photograph them through a window at a UN truce village building that sits on the border of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the military border separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea, on Sept. 30, 2013. Photo:Jacquelyn Martin / Pool via AP
23) Injured men lay on the ground waiting for help moments after a car bomb attack in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. A deadly car bomb exploded on a crowded street in northwestern Pakistan Sunday, in the third blast to hit the troubled city of Peshawar in a week, officials said. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
24) In this Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 photo, a displaced Syrian girl makes her bed after waking up near Kafer Rouma, in ancient ruins used as temporary shelter by those families who have fled from the heavy fighting and shelling in the Idlib province countryside of Syria.(AP Photo)
25) Pope Francis blesses a child during his visit at the Serafico Institute Friday in Assisi. Photo: Gregorio Borgia / AFP - Getty Images
26) Brenda Nolting rolls her cart through heavy slush and snow after stocking up on necessities Friday at a supermarket in Rapid City, S.D. Winter Storm Atlas dumped up to three and a half feet of wet, heavy snow on parts of South Dakota. Photo: Steve McEnroe / AP
27) As the mating season for deer begins, a stag roars in its enclosure at Wildpark Eekholt in Grossenaspe, Germany, on Sept. 27. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
28) A baby red panda looks around at the Cerza Zoo in France on Sept. 30. Photo: Charly Triballeau / AFP - Getty Images
29) A butterfly sits on a red spider lily in full bloom at the Kinchakuda park in Japan on Sept. 27. Photo: Franck Robichon / EPA
30) A pigeon sits on a girl's head as she poses for a picture in the center of Kiev, Ukraine, on Sept. 26. Photo: Sergei Supinsky / AFP-Getty Images
31) Two dogs wait for their owners at the American Kennel Club's Sept. 26 preview of the "Meet the Breeds" showcase at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. Photo: Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images
32) Louie, an olde English bulldogge, rides a wave at the Fifth Annual Surf City Surf Dog competition in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Sept. 29. Photo: Michael Nelson/EPA
33) Finnish photographer Thomas Kast took this picture of the aurora on Oct. 2.
34) Australian photographer Mark Gee won top honors in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year context with this picture, which shows off the Milky Way and two of its satellite galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Can you spot them?
35) A Minnesota Vikings fan cheers on his team during the NFL International Series game between Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium on September 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
36) An Oakland Raiders fan poses for photographs before an NFL football game between the Oakland Raiders and the Washington Redskins in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
37) A Houston Texans fan watches warmups before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
38) New York Jets fans Ana Hall and Rick Martin kiss as they watch players warm up before an NFL football game between the Jets and the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski
39) BASE jumpers from around the world leaped from the 300-meter (984 feet) high deck of Malaysia's landmark Kuala Lumpur Tower on Friday, Sept. 27. Some 103 professional BASE jumpers from 20 countries are taking part in the annual event, including Kristian Moxnes of Norway. Photo: Vincent Thian / AP
40) Jung Ha-yoon, 2, appears to be stuck inside a ceramic container while playing with other children at the traditional sports square during the "Taste Korea! Korean Royal Cuisine Festival" held at Unhyeon Palace, also known as Unhyeongung Royal Residence, in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Oct. 1 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
41) A model presents a creation as part of Chanel's ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2014 fashion collection, presented Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF
FOOD BLOGS, BUT ONLY ONE CULINARY NO-
Here are my most popular blogs from last week, Sunday - Saturday:
1) Finally, some promising property tax news from Franklin
2) Photos of the Week (09/29/13)
3) A local business takes an innovative approach to pet sitting
4) Culinary no-no #348
5) Yep, that would be my wife
6) Are you ready for some football? Not if you're waging war against the sport
7) UPDATE: You say you don't like this September heat wave?
8) 3RD UPDATE: Previvors: Courageous, heroic women
9) The Barking Lot-America's Finest Dog Blog (10/05/13)
10) Week-ends (10/05/13)
From Pro-Life Wisconsin and Wisconsin Right To Life:
Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) is a Wisconsin company at the epicenter of stem cell research. CDI’s founder and chief scientific officer, James Thomson, is well-known internationally for isolating the first embryonic stem cell and for co-discovering ethical iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells). CDI was recently awarded a patent for its new method of creating ethical iPS cells.
I’ve blogged about the city’s plans to enact a budget that won’t increase property taxes. The latest city newsletter re-emphasizes the good news:
“The highlight of the budget is that property taxes remain frozen at the 2013 level. State law would allow total property tax collections to increase nearly $300,000, but the Mayor has proposed no additional property taxes for 2014.”
What’s it mean?
“The average homeowner should see a reduction in the City’s share of their total property tax bill by nearly 2.5 percent.”
Again, what does that mean?
“A home assessed last year at $250,000 with a reassessment this year to $227,500 would see a
reduction in their property tax bill of approximately $36.11 for municipal purposes.”
That’s significant because in recent years, many WI municipalities saw the explainable but unacceptable trend of property values decreasing while property taxes were increasing.
Also of note, Franklin is adding personnel.
“All of this will be done with no new tax levy…”
Interesting. We’re always told that adding positions costs money, meaning an automatic tax increase. Not this year, however.
See. Freezing the levy without affecting services can be done.