public healt State Headlines From Wisconsin Public Radio, March

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca says they hope to prevail in legal challenges based on the open meetings law and another one relating to whether all spending items were taken out of the bill so it could be passed without Senate Democrats.

Retired Dells-area teacher Arlene Kanno came to protest outside the conference. She says not all schools will be able to absorb state cuts.

A U.S.-Canadian advisory panel wants more attention paid to near-shore pollution problems in the Great Lakes. The International Joint Commission (IJC) has released its latest two-year report on ways to improve the Great Lakes water quality agreements between the U.S. and Canada. Though many problems mentioned in the report have been discussed before, some IJC commissioners say some of the concerns are becoming more obvious and prominent. IJC Co-chair Lana Pollack says algae growth along great lakes shorelines needs greater attention.

Without this we will all end up in emergency rooms and we all will die and that will cost the state of the Wisconsin a whole lot more than what they&39;re paying for now," Kryssa said.

All right, that would be outstanding, responds Walker. Thanks for all the support in helping us move the cause forward, and we appreciate it, and we’re doing it the just and right thing for the right reasons and it’s all about getting our freedoms back.

The cuts will also increase co-pays and limit eligibility for some HIV and AIDS patients like Carl Kryssa of Milwaukee .He depends on Medicaid for the retroviral medications that keep him alive. Kryssa says hundreds of thousands of people live in Wisconsin with HIV and AIDS.

By Brian Bull, Wisconsin Public Radio

Wisconsin’s Democratic Party has filed an official complaint against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, alleging violations of state ethics and campaign laws. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has based much of its complaint on a prank call Walker took last month, with an east coast blogger impersonating conservative billionaire David Koch. During the call, Walker talks of holding off on planting troublemakers among the protesters because it could fire up calls for a settlement. He also asks if Koch can drum up more supporters for his legislation.

What this budget bill means for education is doubling class sizes. You wait and see– you will see 50 kids crowded into a classroom that is designed for 25, Kanno said.

The brand new program is open to any for-profit business in Brown County, as long as its owner is actively involved.

Shanda Hubertus of Wausau is a private duty nurse who cares for disabled people in their homes. All of her clients pay for her services through Medicaid. She says the $110 million dollar cut in the program in Gov. Walker&39;s budget repair bill will mean she may lose her job and many of the people she cares for won&39;t get the services they need.

Vernon County has 22 dams. Some are still under repairs after flooding in 2007 and 2008.

Shortly after the sudden Republican vote on part of the budget repair bill, Democrats said they were looking at the legality of the move. But they also said, part of the focus would turn to removing from office eight GOP Senators who are already the target of recall drives.

Governor Walker says support for the new law will build. It would save the state $30 million dollars by increasing health and pension contributions. Walker noted he, along with state legislators, will be paying more. The bill also requires annual union certification which some say could lessen union power.

At last night’s debate sponsored by the Waukesha Bar Association, Justice Prosser told the audience he does have 18 years of experience as a partisan Republican legislator, but he pointed to the past 12 years he&39;s served as an objective Supreme Court justice.

"I&39;m not aware of any municipalities desiring to come up with additional dollars so our assumption has been that we would have to discontinue operations," Seubert said.

Most of our training camps for the elite team and the junior development team and the masters team will be at Telemark Resort. So it will be our primary destination, Gusev said.

Walker acknowledged that some may question his move to put more dollars into tourism at a time while at the same time he’s cutting aid to local governments and schools. But the governor says local governments and schools will be able to replace less state aid with dollars saved on pensions and health care costs.

The governor’s budget for 2011-2013 includes $250 million in cuts to the UW-System. UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich says his campus&39; share of the cuts could be as high as $5 million. To make up for that he says the university may have to look at leaving vacant positions open or layoffs in a worst case scenario. But Levin-Stankevich says he&39;s not concerned that the budget also includes a provision that would split the UW’s flagship institution from the rest of the system.

If you’re left with this barebones reading, writing, math and testing, you’re not preparing kids for the future, Ravitch said. You’ll find yourself in ct, preparing them for the early 20th century. But the ctory jobs of the early 20th century don’t exist anymore.

By Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio

More relatives can make tax-deductible contributions towards a child’s college fund this year. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue says the state’s college savings fund programs, EdVest and Tomorrow&39;s Scholar, have been changed so other mily members besides the parents can give up to $3,000 to a student’s account.

Hatch says instead he&39;d like to see the government make testing for pathogens mandatory, which he says Uplands Cheese does for every batch.

One central Wisconsin community has decided to eliminate public bus service, in part because of cuts in state aid in Gov. Walker&39;s proposed budget. Cutting the bus line that serves the Village of Weston could save about $106,000 a year, less than half what the village will lose in state aid. Administrator Dean Zuleger says the village board chose to cut the service after a survey of local taxpayers.

Those major markets down in Chicago and the Twin Cities, those are folks…instead of going multiple states over, instead of going to the East or West coast or Orlando, they can have the time of their life right here in Wisconsin, Walker said.

Green Bay sewer district official John Kennedy says a state committee has been discussing a phosphorus trading program that would have districts funding reductions at rms. But he says inland sewer districts and those along the Wisconsin great lakes shorelines are waiting to see what happens with the governor&39;s budget proposal.

Frankly, you may have some apublic health careersfter this conference that say `How is that ir that the governor&39;s putting more dollars into tourism at the same time there are reductions in aid to local governments and schools?’" Walker said.

By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

"Our microbial population and the organisms that we&39;re dealing with aren&39;t the same and have continued to evolve since the regulation was put into place," says Ingham. "So now we&39;re dealing with a regulation which may not be sufficient to destroy some of these pathogens that we now have."

How to increase wind energy in Wisconsin now shifts political venues, and maybe moves out of the state. Republican state lawmakers recently put new Public Service Commission (PSC) wind turbine siting rules on hold, claiming concern for local property owners. PSC chairman Eric Callisto told a Milwaukee forum this week that he&39;s frustrated with the move.

Revenue officials also want taxpayers to know that instead of the usual April 15 tax filing deadline, returns are due April 18 this year, because of the Emancipation Day observance in Washington.

Andy Hatch is the Cheesemaker for Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville. He&39;s concerned because they make exclusively raw milk cheese.

UW Eau Claire’s Levin-Stankevich said they’ve dealt with fewer state dollars for the last 10 years including a $2 million cut in 2009. He says they can survive a new round.

A state association of firefighters says its members are willing to look at health and pension givebacks, if Gov. Walker drops his demand for more restrictions on collective bargaining for public sector unions. Milwaukee police and fire leaders say they&39;re willing to talk with Mayor Barrett.

State Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler says parents or other people who had custody of children could get a deduction for contributions, but now grandparents and others can get a deduction as well.

Wisconsin county officials say they’re concerned how the governor’s budget proposal would impact the care of their dams. Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget for the 2011-2013 biennium includes deep cuts in county aid. It also lays aside $4 million for dam repairs. Adams County Conservationist Chris Murphy says state money won&39;t be enough. Murphy says funding will likely have to be redirected from other sources at the county level, to make sure the nine dams are maintained.

Two multi-state outbreaks of e-coli have put cheeses made of unpasteurized milk under more federal scrutiny. And potential new food safety rules could have a dramatic impact on many Wisconsin raw milk cheesemakers.

Many organizations like Coulee Cap have a 10-year-plan aimed at ending homelessness in Wisconsin but Cable says they haven’t made much headway so r. She says, and we’re, in Wisconsin, three to four years into that plan and we aren’t seeing a decrease in our numbers and so that means that the homeless situation is not changing, it’s not going away.

Now she says most of that money is gone and the numbers are increasing. Cable says instead of us being able to keep people in their housing while they experience a job loss or loss of income in the household it’s likely now that folks in those situations may end up in shelters and actually homeless.

A tentative agreement has been reached to buy Telemark Lodge and Resort in northern Wisconsin, with an anchor tenant that says they would make it the Lillehammer of the United States.

Ridership was very low, says Zuleger. Compound that with the ct that the budget repair bill and the governor&39;s budget bill will take about $240,000 away from the Village of Weston."

By Kristen Durst, Wisconsin Public Radio

Gov. Walker says spending more on tourism marketing will grow the economy. He&39;s pledged to create 250,000 jobs over his four year term.

I get no paid vacation, no sick days, no workmen&39;s comp, no weekend holiday or night differential, no pay increase in ten years, health insurance or anything else, says Hubertus. I am an independent contractor, so the lack of benefits is part of the deal, but how do you recruit qualified nurses to work with our countries most vulnerable population if you can&39;t even get a ir wage."

By Brian Bull, Wisconsin Public Radio

By Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio

Ben Michiels fits the bill. He runs a small catering company and is expanding into mobile food service. Michiels is awaiting restoration of a vintage trailer he&39;ll take to area events and rmers&39; markets this summer.

The call then wraps up with the Koch impersonator giving the governor an invitation.

Ravitch is also critical of President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative, which she calls No Child Left Behind 2.0. She says both programs overemphasize testing and punishing low-performing schools, when the real emphasis needs to be on getting kids to love learning. Gov. Walker’s office did not respond in time for this story, but the governor has said his plan to restrict collective bargaining will help schools accommodate cuts by having teachers and others pay more towards their pension and health care benefits.

Cable says until Wisconsin’s economy improves and there are more living wage jobs available she doesn’t expect another dip in the homeless count numbers anytime soon.

Maurer says he spent nearly $200,000 on debit and credit card fees last year. Large banks argue against the proposed caps, and say they use the money for fraud prevention and security.

We will be taking some cuts in our office, cutting other services, in order to make up the dollar amounts to maintain the inspection and operation of our dams, Murphy said.

Following three weeks of massive protests surrounding his budget repair bill, Governor Scott Walker signed it into effect on Friday.

Pathogens like salmonella, toxic strains of e-coli, and listeria. Among possible options, the Food and Drug Administration may extend the aging period, they could outlaw certain kinds of raw milk cheeses, or they could potentially ban the product altogether.

By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

We have a governor who we believe violated the law, says Tate. And we believe this needs to be taken up by the authorities and examined thoroughly because this is a guy who’s not just out of step with his politics in Wisconsin, he may have violated the public trust.

The Wisconsin DNR says there are 3,800 dams in Wisconsin. Roughly one in five are run by municipalities. La Crosse County conservationist Gregg Stangl says removing one of their two dams would cost at least $7-million. He says money in the state budget wouldn’t be enough to help La Crosse County, let alone other counties in the state.

"The child does not have to be a dependent," explains Chandler. "There undoubtedly are some grandparents or others out there who would want to contribute and will now be able to take advantage of that deduction."

Some small Wisconsin businesses want Congress to keep proposed limits on what banks can charge for the use of credit and debit cards. Caps on those fees are poised to take effect this summer, but large banks are lobbying against them.

By Rich Kremer, Wisconsin Public Radio

In the meantime, a few already approved large scale projects are being built. The Appleton-based Boldt Construction Company is working the Glacier Hills wind rm in Columbia County. But CEO Thomas Boldt says the suspension of the PSC siting rules could affect future business in Wisconsin.

By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

Small business wants caps to move forward on credit card charges

By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio

By Patty Murray, Wisconsin Public Radio

By Gil Halsted, Wisconsin Public Radio

A new hiring forecast for Wisconsin continues to show a slow recovery from the recession. A survey done for the Milwaukee-based temporary services firm, Manpower, shows 22 percent of Wisconsin employers expect to add workers over the next three months. 8 percent expect layoffs. About two-thirds predict no change in employment.

So, that still leaves almost three-quarters of employers not hiring. But Manpower vice-president Melanie Holmes says the state picture is better than the national forecast, and looks brighter than it did three months ago. She says Madison should be one of the best hiring markets in the nation, and slightly better than the state projection. Holmes says nearly all of the industries surveyed in Wisconsin have a positive hiring outlook.

A statewide count of Wisconsin’s homeless population shows their numbers are back on the rise after a lull in 2010. The homeless Point in Time Count is done twice a year. It&39;s a tally of Wisconsin’s homeless living in emergency shelters, transitional living centers and on the streets. This year, nearly 5,200 people made the list, and nearly 900 have children. Kim Cable is the Homeless and Family Services Director for Coulee Cap in La Crosse and helped organize this first count of 2011. She says the numbers have been on the rise in the last six years she’s been involved. But in 2010 Cable says the numbers dipped mostly due to a $900,000 infusion for homeless prevention programs from the federal economic stimulus package.

An education policy expert who served under the first Bush Administration says Wisconsin’s schools are headed for very hard times under Gov. Scott Walker’s budget plan. Diana Ravitch was President George H. W. Bush&39;s assistant Secretary of Education, and also served on the National Assessment Governing Board. She’s been watching the budget battle in Wisconsin rage on, and agrees with the governor’s critics that education is in trouble should the legislature approve his roughly $1 billion cut to public schools.

Cable Chamber of Commerce Director James Bolen says CXC cross-country skiing Association will be the anchor tenant. He says CXC will build an Olympic grade training cility that holds monthly clinics.

You might as well save the money, and you go elsewhere. It’s not enough to deal with the problem. I feel for counties like Vernon that have 24-25 of these structures, Stangl said.

Absolutely, says the Koch impersonator. And you know, we have a bit of a vested interest as well.

At this point, Manpower predicts employment in government in Wisconsin to remain unchanged, but she says that may not hold true, depending on what happens with any layoffs of state or local employees.

If it’s good for Madison why isn’t it good for us? Why do they deserve flexibility and we don’t and that’s our primary emphasis. Flexibility for all, not flexibility for one, Cross said.

Well, I’ll tell you what, Scott, laughs the blogger, Once you crush these bastards, I’ll fly you out to Cali (California) and really show you a good time.

The plan is to have signatures in place by April 1. Mortgage holder Dick Short says he’s confident this deal will be sealed. He says Paul Eckerline and Telemark Partners will purchase and operate Telemark.

At the Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Wisconsin Dells, Walker explained how he wants to spend $11 million on tourism marketing in the first year of his budget. In 2012 and 2013 he&39;s proposing to spend $13.3 million.

A new "micro loan" program in Brown County wants to bridge the gap between small businesses that want to expand and banks that find it unprofitable to lend to them.

Democrats say this week&39;s Republican vote curtailing collective bargaining for public sector unions in Wisconsin will give an extra push to recall campaigns against GOP Senators.

Ravitch says the arts, foreign languages, and extracurricular activities like sports will likely be dropped. Class sizes would grow significantly, while the ranks of school nurses and librarians would dwindle. Ravitch says essentially, the governor’s budget plan would reduce schools to the basics.

By Glen Moberg, Wisconsin Public Radio

The PSC may have to come up with new rules. Michael Vickerman of the pro-wind group RENEW Wisconsin says he&39;s going to try to convince Gov. Walker to fill a new vacancy on the commission with someone who would be ir to the wind ipublic healt State Headlines From Wisconsin Public Radio, Marchndustry.

By Steve Roisum, Wisconsin Public Radio

"What&39;s at stake here isn&39;t just the cost of a pasteurizer but it&39;s the product itself this is going to change the flavor and for cheeses like ours made in small batches and sold in specialty stores our reason for being is that we can provide unique special flavors and a lot of that is the result of raw milk," Hatch said.

Every time consumers buy something with a credit or debit card the issuing bank charges the store a fee, including businesses like Fresh Madison Market, a downtown Madison grocery store owned by Jeff Maurer. He went to Washington DC with nine other small retailers and tavern owners. They want Congress to cap the fees at 7-12 cents per purchase, as called for in an amendment to a package of Wall Street reforms passed last summer.

Mike Tate, chairman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, says the Government Accountability Board needs to investigate Walker for coordinating illegal business with third parties, and doing so on state time and with state cilities. He also accuses Walker of conspiring to recklessly endanger public safety, referring to the troublemakers comment.

Home health workers, head start teachers and Medicaid recipients are calling on state legislators not to approve cuts in the state&39;s Medicaid and BadgerCare programs. About 50 people testified at a hearing in Madison this week sponsored by HealthWatch Wisconsin, a non-profit group that advocates for public health care access.

Gov. Scott Walker&39;s proposed budget includes more money to promote tourism, an industry which suffered during the recession. While the governor has repeatedly said the state&39;s broke, Walker says investing in tourism provides one of the state&39;s best returns.

By Laura Miller, Wisconsin Public Radio

I’m looking for a small injection from any type of bank and a couple banks I&39;ve been to they just kind of look at me and go, sorry we can&39;t. It&39;s just not something we&39;re into," Michiels said.

A micro loan ranges from $5,000 to $100,000. That&39;s at least the case in the Brown County micro loan program administered by Advance–an arm of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

IJC scientists say the eutrophication is widespread. They blame several ctors, including sewage overflows, rm runoff, animal waste at beaches, and the increase in zebra mussels. The IJC report comes as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is proposing to change a new state rule that would reduce phosphorus pollution from rms and sewage treatment plants. Phosphorus is often linked to algae growth.

By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

Our excellence, our distinctiveness in my view doesn’t depend on Madison being in or out of the system, he says. What is a ctor for me is that we need r more flexibility than we have to be able to take reductions and put the money where we most need it as a campus and make decisions about where we can put our resources, what’s left of them.

Kloppenburg and Prosser will debate again on March 28 at the State Bar headquarters in Madison. The election is April 5.

Right now, Maurer says banks like Visa and Mastercard are raising their fees and refusing to negotiate with merchants. He says his clientele–mostly University of Wisconsin-Madison students–rely on the cards.

Banks&39; loan departments spend just as much time and money doing credit checks on applicants for small loans as they do for very large ones. So Marianne Dickson – who directs Advance&39;s micro lending — says they often pass on small applicants.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he won&39;t be surprised if more Wisconsin mayors join him in asking local police and firefighters to chip in more for pensions and health insurance. Barrett just made that request to fire and police unions in his city, since Gov. Walker&39;s budget repair bill doesn&39;t include givebacks by local law enforcement.

By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

Governor Walker predicts the bill he signed — virtually ending collective bargaining for most public workers — will "be good for the middle class for years to come." However, protestors outside his office insisted that the bill, and the way in which it was passed, is not good for Wisconsin.

The Weston line is part of the Wausau Metro system, which links several central Wisconsin cities and villages. Transit Director Greg Seubert worries that other communities may follow Weston&39;s lead and cut service and funding. He also doesn&39;t think they can make up for a loss of $1.3 million in federal money if the governor&39;s budget repair bill passes in its current form, and takes away collective bargaining rights for transit workers.

State Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski says thousands of signatures have been collected on recall petitions. He says Wednesday night&39;s vote will help fuel the fire, and contends there&39;s money to fund the recall drives.

By Gil Halsted, Wisconsin Public Radio

But at another forum at UW-Madison, Raymond Cross, Chancellor for UW-Colleges and Extension took issue with Walker’s plan to single the Madison campus out.

Those clinics run about 70,000 participants a year, says Bolen. The intent is to have all of them housed at Telemark this year. So the boon for our area is going to be huge regionally. If each of those participants just brings one person with them, that’s 140,000 more people coming to the Cable area in northern Wisconsin.

But that rule was enacted in 1949, and U-W Extension Food Scientist Barbara Ingham says that times have changed.

Michael Vickerman of RENEW says some opportunities do remain in Wisconsin, but mainly for smaller turbines less than 200 feet tall, and producing about 100 kilowatts. Vickerman says the expansion of medium and large scale wind needs to get back on track.

So Dickson and other organizers got ten banks to chip in and create a $585,000 revolving loan fund that will issue the micro loans. Dickson says Advance will do the diligence and guide applicants through the application process.

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Organizers say the ad hoc hearings on Medicaid and BadgerCare were necessary because there was no opportunity for those affected to have their voices heard before the vote on the budget repair bill. The hearings continue today at a downtown hotel in Madison.

And here we&39;re much more understanding about a lack of collateral, that they haven&39;t been in business for five years. So we look at the whole picture, want to make sure the business is viable. We have to believe that the client is of reputable background and is credit worthy," Dickson said.

The DOR says great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles can also donate and mark it off as a deduction.

University of Wisconsin administrators are weighing the effects of Gov. Walker&39;s budget plan, as well as the UW-Madison&39;s potential split from the rest of the UW-System. Those issues were discussed at forums held this week at the UW-Madison and UW-Eau Claire.

The most recent e-coli outbreaks came late last year from raw milk cheese in California and Washington. Federal law requires that cheeses made from raw milk be aged for 60 days — that gives certain chemicals in cheese some time to destroy harmful bacteria.

By Rich Kremer, Wisconsin Public Radio

Seubert says if the entire bus system shuts down, it will strand low income people and elderly residents who don&39;t own cars and can&39;t afford cabs. Both Seubert and Zuleger agree that more cuts are coming.

It’s kind of bizarre to hear people who talk about reforming education cutting the heart out of the school budget, says Ravitch. And you’ll be left with an emphasis only on those things that can be tested, which is reading and math.

A Walker spokesman says the complaint lacks merit, and says it&39;s "sad" that Democrats are obsessed with playing politics rather than helping the governor and legislature in boosting job creation across the state.

Incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser says some of his opponents’ supporters want him off the court to prevent him from backing Republican plan for reapportioning legislative and congressional districts.

Prosser says he&39;s against having the court play any role in redrawing state&39;s voting districts. His challenger, Assistant Attorney General Joanne Kloppenburg, dismissed the charge that she would do anyone&39;s bidding should a reapportionment plan come before the court. She stressed her commitment to be a non-partisan and ir-minded judge who would bring civility to a court she says the public sees as polarized and unable to get along with each other.

Democrats have about 50 days left to collect enough signatures. State labor unions are urging their members to show up for work , but channel their off-hours energies into peaceful demonstrations, and the recall push. Conservatives do have recall drives going against eight of the 14 Senate Democrats who left the state, and one group is promising new energy and television ads aimed at defeating President Obama in 2012.

Governor Walker says he&39;s confident the new law will withstand legal challenges. There will also be political challenges, in the form of expected recall elections, for members of both parties.

Gusev says they needed a home and Telemark Resort’s trails make it perfect. He calls the resort a mecca of cross country skiing, and he hopes to make it like Lillehammer in Norway. Details of the sale are not available yet. But Bolen says the current staff of 40 employees at Telemark will more than double to 100 by next month. He says the potential is to have 200 or more employees working there in a year.

By Patty Murray, Wisconsin Public Radio

Dickson says Advance will make between 30 and 40 micro loans this year. As time goes by she says interest and re-paid principle will make more money available for a second generation of loans.

CXC Skiing Association spokesman Yuri Gusev says they’ll create a strength and conditioning cility for skiing, biking, and running, a sports science center to test athletic ability, and a spa.

"The majority of students don&39;t carry cash anymore, none of them write checks," says Maurer. "So they use plastic for almost every purchase. As a matter of ct for my business it&39;s 95-percent of my transactions are plastic so it&39;s a huge expense. For me it&39;s my third largest expense behind rent and payroll."

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