Thursday, October 28, 2010

Political season in Wisconsin

U.S. Senate Candidate Ron Johnson, an Oshkosh manufacturer and accountant, joined Representative John Murtha at a rally at Murtha’s business with supporters last Saturday. He is pictured above at right listening to local resident Hugh Lockerby, left. John Murtha is at center in the background.

Johnson is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Russ Feingold. Murtha is up for re-election for the 29th State Assembly seat and is challenged by Liz Jones.

This past weekend, manufacturer and U.S. Senate Candidate Ron Johnson campaigned throughout Western Wisconsin to meet with voters. While in Baldwin, Ron attended a rally hosted by local State Representative and small businessman John Murtha.

“Throughout Wisconsin, the message from voters is clear – we have to reduce the size of government to spur job growth,” Ron Johnson said. “Unfortunately, career politicians like Russ Feingold have voted for budgets that exploded our debt, a health care bill that increased taxes and hurts seniors, and a failed stimulus bill. We need leadership with a new perspective, and that is what I hope to offer Wisconsin voters on November 2nd.”

As a 31-year manufacturer, not a career politician, Ron is working hard to meet as many people in Wisconsin and communicate his message of smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and an economic growth agenda.

Ron Kind stopped in Baldwin last Friday to congratulate Baldwin Telecom on the award of ARRA funds for a project to bring high speed internet to the resident of the Town of Troy. Kind is being challenged for the seat in the U.S. Congress by Dan Karpanke. Pictured with Kind, left, are BTI General Manager Larry Knegendorf and BTI Operations Manager Matt Sparks.

Village board grants Baldwin Care Center independence

The Baldwin Village Board has agreed to give the Baldwin Care Center independence as a 501(c)(3) corporation separate from village ownership.

The action came Wednesday, October 20 at a special meeting of the village board. It is a prelude to an addition and remodeling peroject at the Care Center intended to make the facility competitive into the future by changing it from the “medical” model to a “residential” model. That means more private rooms and bathrooms and carpeted floors rather than tile.

Care Center Administrator Eileen LaFavor indicated she is excited about operating independently of the village but noted that the operating structure of the facility won’t change that much. “I don’t see a lot changing,” she said.

The motion to turn over the real estate of the Baldwin Care Center, Inc. to the existing Board of Trustees for $1.50 was made by Trustee Claire Stein. The motion passed with Village President Don McGee and Trustee Kevin Brathol voting no. The Care Center assumes the existing $600,000 of debt that will no longer be guaranteed by the village.

The addition/remodeling project will hopefully be started sometime next year.

In other action at the board meeting: the Board agreed to spend up to $900 on trees for adjoining land in lieu of not postponing the impact fee payment for a four-plex planned by Scott Plourde. He said the interest cost of paying the impact fee at the building permit time rather than at completion of the building was about $900.

Additionally, President McGee noted that the village went through the step of getting a bond rating and was rated AA with a stable outlook. Part of the reason for the good rating is a healthy, strong fund balance. The good rating means lower interest rates for the village which can generate substantial savings over time. For example, at the regular monthly board meeting of October 13 financial consultant Sean Lentz of Ehlers and Associates said the re-financing of the bonds approved at that meeting combined with the bond rating, generated savings of $11,000 to $15,000 a year over the seven years remaining on the life of the bond issue.

“Living Green: From Trash to Treasure”

Joan Sprain, Family Living Agent

On Thursday, November 4 from 1:00 -3:00 p.m. at the Ag Center in Baldwin, Joan Sprain, UW-Extension Family Living Agent and the St. Croix County Association for Home and Community Education will present “Living Green: From Trash to Treasure” at the UW-Extension Office. This free presentation is open to the public. Ms. Sprain will share repurposing and recycling ideas along with items and tips she’s discovered. Please bring any items you have created from recycled/repurposed materials.

Hawks roll to 45-6 win against Amery;

Top Spooner in Level 1 Playoffs

Play at Somerset Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

Panthers fall to Somerset in Level 1 38-14.

Johnson sectional winner

St. Croix Central senior Brett Johnson qualified for the WIAA state cross country meet last Friday with a first place finish at the Amery Sectional.

Johnson finished the 5000m course with a time of 16:48.61, nearly a half minute in front of the second place finisher, Josh Smith of Ashland.

This will be the third trip to the state meet for Johnson. Last year he finished in 11th place when the Central boys team qualified.

“Brett will try the same strategy as last, but hopefully this year he’ll be more relaxed and accomplish his goal,” said Coach Bill Emery. The strategy is to stay with the the top ten runners and be in striking distance at the finish.

“Last year he was just too uptight,” Emery said.

Overall, the Central boys team finished in third place with 126 points behind Northwestern (66) and Ashland (71).

“I was very pleased with the third place finish, especially with Stephen (Brunshidle) going down,” Emery said. Brunshidle has been experiencing ankle problems the last few weeks and finished nearly a minute off his usual pace at the sectional, Emery explained.

“Even with Stephen running his usual race, we weren’t going to move to second place, but we could have gotten down to around 100 points,” Emery said.

Alex Halvorson was the second finisher for the Panthers, 19th overall at 18:49, while Brunshidle was 21st in 18:50. Also scoring for the Panthers were Brett Briggs (35, 19:32) and Jonathan Mielke (50, 20:05).

The Panther girls finished in 13th place with 337 points, led by Courtney Kramer with a 17th place finish in 17:18 over the 3000m course. Also scoring for the girls were Hope Hoolihan (46, 18:20), Abbie Webb (83, 20:55), Jenna Ganther (88, 21:17) and Hayley Ray (103, 24:49).

Northwestern won the girls’ sectional title with 47 points, followed by Rice Lake with 112.

Emery said the entire team will accompany Johnson to the state meet. “I look at this as another training exercise,” he said. “The boys’ team has a legitimate chance to make it to state next year.”

From the Exchanges

Interesting items from

surrounding communities

AMERY FREE PRESS: A resolution to hold a public hearing on the proposed 2010 Budget for Polk county was finally approved by the Polk County Board of Supervisors after extended discussion Tuesday, October 12. Sup. Neil Johnson moved to have the board instruct Administrator Dana Frey to rework the proposed budget and come back with a zero percent increase for 2011. Johnson began by suggesting that cuts will have to come and suggested that the county “get rid of some personnel” and other cuts. Corporation Counsel Jeff Fuge ruled the motion out of order. Eventually, Johnson withdrew the motion to offer it later in the meeting. At that later point, the effort to require the administrator to submit a zero percent increase proposed budget was again floated this time by Sup. Brian Masters and seconded by Johnson. The argument in favor led by Johnson, who told the supervisors the county has “too many people…get rid of them.” Johnson also admitted that there were some positions on his list of too many people that had yet to be filled. “Don’t get cold feet,” he urged the supervisors, “We gotta do it in 2011…I need your support.” The final vote on a zero percent increase proposed budget failed with nine supervisors voting in favor and 14 voting against it.

RIVER FALLS JOURNAL: In early 2009, the local affiliate of Habitat For Humanity announced plans for the development of an “eco-village.” The goal was to provide a self-sustained, energy efficient and environmentally friendly neighborhood of homes for area low-income families. Today, plans are still being made to build this first-of-its-kind neighborhood on the southern portion of Appollo Road, just off West Maple Street. Major components of the eco-village center around the construction of the 20 to 25 houses, according to Jim Farr, recently hired director of St. Croix Valley Habitat For Humanity. He’s pleased with the progress and distinctive nature of the project. “The most unique aspect of this project is the strong alignment and commitment of the core partners - St. Croix Valley Habitat For Humanity, the city of River Falls, the UW-River Falls/St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development, and the design team at Frisbie Architects - toward the key objectives,” says Farr. “One of the outcomes of (those core partners) was the donation of the five-acre parcel of land from the city of River Falls to SCVHFH,” he began. “This provided the opportunity to vision the village concept.”

THE SUN (OSCEOLA): After the Osceola Village Board met in closed session last week, The Sun learned it gave Village Administrator Neil Soltis a letter of reprimand titled “Notice of Expectations.” The reprimand was the culmination of a three and a half month investigation conducted by the Board after Soltis and Mike Mallin, a public works department employee of the Village had terse words outside the Village Hall in early July. The confrontation resulted in Mallin filing a union grievance against Soltis on or about July 23. Mallin filed the grievance under the Village’s Internal Complaint Procedure. Mallin alleged Soltis used the f-word numerous times, spit in his face and poked his finger in Mallin's chest in a threatening manner. Soltis later admitted to his use of the f-word, but denied the spitting and poking. In his grievance, Mallin asked the Board to direct Soltis to issue him a written letter of apology. Mallin also alleged that Soltis, in an act of retaliation, assumed most of Jim “Abe” Schmidt’s duties as public works director shortly after the grievance was filed. Schmidt, who was not a member of the union, is Mallin’s direct supervisor. Mallin asked that Schmidt have his full authority restored to insure there was a buffer between Soltis and the union members.

THE COURIER-WEDGE (DURAND): An Eau Claire, Wis., man was sentenced October 5 for his role in a gun theft in Durand, according to the U.S. Department of Justice press release. Alan Xiong, 24, received a seven-year sentence with three years of supervised release following imprisonment for the 2007 burglary of Ryan’s Sport Shop. According to the press release, Xiong and other members of the street gang, Menace of Destruction, stole 34 guns from the store. Five of the guns have been recovered, the release said. Of the 34 guns, whose total value was about $35,000, about ten were handguns according to a June 28, 2007 Courier-Wedge report.