Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vote Representative Joel Kitchens November 8th


The Oct 2015 article below tells you a lot about Lynn Utesch, a Democrat, who is running against Joel Kitchens for the 1st Assembly District.  

This is a person you do not want in the assembly!  Lynn Utesch is a typical Democrat that says “do as I say, not as I do”.  Lying, distorting the truth, obfuscating are daily activity for Mr. Utesch.  Oh, and by the way, Nancy Utesch, his wife is of the same caliber. They are deserving of each other.

Lynn and Nancy are the folks that migrated to Kewaunee County, Nancy from Illinois met Lynn on Washington Island where the couple was involved in environmental movements.  After coming to Kewaunee County, they initiated the Kewaunee Cares group.  Yes, these are the same folks that have been obfuscating the real facts about well contamination in our county.  And yes, the same folks that, as a result of their false reporting of well contamination through the last couple of years have driven down the price of our homes in the county.

As you read this article, you get a sense of how these two Democrats relay how they are entitled and above the law.  LYNN UTESCH IS NOT THE MAN YOU WANT IN MADISON REPRESENTING THIS AREA!  

Lynn & Nancy Utesch 



A Wisconsin farming couple that leads an anti-dairy farmer campaign and recently won a friend-of-the-environment award was investigated by the state for complaints that they allowed their cattle to contaminate a wetland.

The agency had received “multiple complaints” against Lynn and Nancy Utesch, according to state Department of Natural Resources records.

Nancy Utesch, who owns a beef farm with her husband in the Town of Pierce in Kewaunee County, initially refused to allow inspectors to check the full property, the documents show.

The most recent complaint, received by the county Land and Water Conservation Department on April 14, was “for cattle having full access to waters of the state, resulting in direct discharges to the waters...”
Investigators met heavy resistance when they suggested they would need to examine other parts of the 150-acre farm that might contribute to manure running into the wetland.

Nancy Utesch “was adamant that (the DNR) would not be able to inspect the farm” until she got more information about the complaint, according to an April 22 email from the DNR inspector.

The inspector told Utesch that “the purpose was to determine compliance with state runoff rules.”
Inspectors were able to examine the property nearly 10 days after the complaint and were unable to identify direct discharge.

Under the umbrella of the activist group Kewaunee Cares, the Utesches repeatedly have attacked farmers with large-scale dairies. They and fellow activists from outside the state point to complaints made against farms, even though some of the complaints are unfounded.

The couple also points to voluntary and limited well tests as evidence that 30 percent of the private drinking wells in the county are unsuitable for use.

In reality, only 620 of the county’s 4,600 wells (13 percent) have been tested during the past decade, according to county officials. Of those, 180 (4 percent) were found to have elevated levels of unsafe substances. How much of those substances come from septic systems, farms and other sources has not been fully determined.

Here is another story you may want to read that concerns the Uteschs.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Kewaunee County Sales Tax Meeting - Monday, August 29th 6:30 P.M. Luxemburg Fairgrounds Expo Bldg

As you are already aware, the Kewaunee County Board is attempting to pass a 1/2% Sales Tax in the county without having the public weighing in on the matter. At the August 16th board meeting a motion was made from the floor to refer the approval of a sales tax to a referendum, thus allowing the taxpayers of Kewaunee County the ability to weigh in on the issue.  The vote ended with five members of the board in favor of sending the issue to referendum with 14 of the board members voting against the motion.  Here is the way the vote ended. 

Those supervisors who believe the taxpayers should have a say:
Chris Rasmussen, Dennis Cravillion, Doug Doell, Scott Jahnke and Kaye Shillin

Those supervisors who believe they have the right to impose this tax without the taxpayers having a  voice:

Lee Luft, Bob Weidner, Pat Benes, Virginia Haske, Larry Kirchman, John Mastalir, Gerald Paape, John Pagel, Tom Romdenne, Ron Paider, Linda Sinkula, Linda Teske, Donna Thomas and Charles Wagner  (There are 20 board members, however Mary Dobbins was absent, not present for the vote)

Those supervisors that voted to bypass the taxpayers will tell you there are going to be meetings set up for taxpayer input, the first of those meetings will be on August 29th at 6:30 PM.  I have embedded the announcement of that meeting here, and attached the official notice as a PDF......Note, although this upcoming meeting allegedly set to solicit input from the taxpayers as to whether or not to go to referendum, there is no mention of referendum in the official release. 

According to a phone conversation I had with the Administrator Scott Feldt on Aug 23rd, Mr. Weidner, the County Board Chairman had been informed by Mr. Feldt that the County would not be in financial difficulty for FY 2017 without the 1/2% sales tax.  That tidbit of information was not revealed to the board by Chairman Weidner.  Why not?  Your guess is as good as mine.  So the question should then be why the rush to impose yet another tax on the taxpayers of the county?

Attend the 8/29 Monday 6:30 PM meeting in Luxemburg and let your voice be heard in this matter! 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Must Attend Meeting - Aug 9th 6:30 PM Northbrook CC

Chris Rasmussen is a friend and is working hard to try to hold the spending line in Kewaunee County.  He has asked for my assistance in distributing the letter that appears below.  Mr. Luft, Chairman of the Finance Committee is hell-bent on increasing taxes and fees.

You must get involved now, or it may be too late.  Attend the Aug 9th meeting to get the details and let your elected Supervisor know of your position on these taxes and fees.

August 3, 2016

Dear Kewaunee County Taxpayers:
My name is Chris Rasmussen and I’m a first year Kewaunee County Board Supervisor from the 5th district, and I need your help!  

On Tuesday, Aug 9rd, 6:30 PM at NorthBrook Country Club, I am hosting a meeting get your feedback on a variety of new taxes and fees currently being considered by the Finance Committee and ultimately Kewaunee County Board. 

I serve on the Finance Committee and have learned over the last few months that Kewaunee County is facing significant budget deficits this year and the foreseeable future.  Finance Committee Chairman Lee Luft and the other Finance Committee would like to address this issue by creating new taxes and fees.  In fact, they voted 4-1 last night to recommend a county-wide sales tax to the full board – specifically denying input from the public by intentionally refusing a referendum.  Furthermore, they have not formally proposed even one spending reduction on almost $29M of spending before passing this tax out of committee! 

I fundamentally disagree with this approach, but my appeals have fallen on deaf ears.  A sales tax should be the very last resort – but they’re not even giving spending reductions a chance.  Without your help, they will pass their new sales tax without going to referendum, and along with it a whole host of new fees!  I NEED YOUR HELP AND VOICE!!

Kewaunee County Financial Forecast
The financial issues facing the county are relatively complex and span multiple decades and countless poor decisions by our elected officials.  Prior to the May County Board meeting, the County Administrator at the direction of Mr. Luft presented a five year Kewaunee County Financial Forecast showing a 2017 budget deficit of $1.0M, growing each year of the forecast culminating in 2021 with a $3.5M budget deficit. 

During that five-year span, they forecast spending to increase on average by almost $800K annually.  $800K per year!  While over the same span, property tax and other income is only forecasted to only grow by $210K per year.  Left untouched, the average spending growth outpaces income growth by almost $600K per year!  THIS IS NOT A REVENUE PROBLEM – IT IS A SPENDING PROBLEM!

Their original forecast included 15% year over year health insurance increases, a clear overstatement of expenses in order to “sell” their wish-list of taxes and fees.  After facing continuous scrutiny by me in that and follow up meetings, Mr. Luft and Mr. Feldt revised their forecasts, backing off of the 15% to 10% and eventually 5% year to year health insurance increases.  Although slightly more palatable, these versions still forecast average annual spending increases to outpace income growth in the county by $400K and $250K, respectively.  There is no tax and/or fee that will continue to grow by $600K, $400K, or $250K annually.

Mr. Luft & the County Administrator’s forecast included the following wish-list of new taxes and fees along with the extra spending money they predict each would generate:
A.      Referendum to Increase Property Taxes beyond Legal Limit - $2,000,000
B.      Wheel Tax - $360,000 ($20 per vehicle under 8,000 pounds)
C.      ½ % County-Wide Sales Tax - $1,300,000 (county-wide sales tax)
D.      “Increased Fees” - $350,000, comprised of some combination of the following:
·         Overweight Vehicle Fee - no dollar amount assigned
·         ATV Park Fee - no dollar amount assigned
·         Animal Waste Storage Unit Inspection Fee (annual) - $360,700
·         Agricultural Land Inspection Fee (annual) - $271,030
·         Private Well Registration & Inspection Fee (annual) - $40,000
·         Manure Spill Response Fee - no dollar amount assigned
·         Increase Fine related to Winter Spreading Ordinance from $250 to $2500 - no total dollar amount assigned

Their own projections show the result is a 3-year Band-Aid that would leave us further in the hole!  Not including the Property Tax increase because they know it would face certain defeat at the polls, but, if they were to impose their new wheel tax of $360K, half percent sales tax of $1.3M, and increased/new fees of $350K, they still generate huge budget shortfalls again by 2020 ($600K), and 2021 ($1.4M). 

That’s right – according to their forecast they would raise taxes and fees by $2,010,000 and still be in the hole by 2020.  THIS IS NOT A REVENUE PROBLEM – IT IS A SPENDING PROBLEM!
When I asked the County Administrator if he thought this was a Band-Aid, he told me that it would buy some time and that our “wake up call” would be in three years.  I suggest to you that the wakeup call has been ringing for some time now and we’ve been hitting the snooze button for far too many years.
What Are Our Options
Those on the Finance Committee keep saying the answer has to come from both sides – some spending reductions and some “revenue enhancements.”  And although this sounds great, but the fact of the matter is that they have not considered a single spending reduction.  I have brought forth a dozen ideas or more of areas to reduce, but they are unwilling to listen.  Their forecast is a reflection of what they will do with more tax revenues – not one area is reduced.  Not a single one.

I NEED YOUR HELP AND VOICE! – On Tuesday, Aug 9rd, 6:30 PM at NorthBrook Country Club!   I hope to see you there.

Best regards,

Chris Rasmussen
County Board Supervisor, District 5, Kewaunee, WI

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Are You Ready for More Taxes in Kewaunee County?

Your Kewaunee County Finance Committee led by Lee Luft is on a path that will substantially increase taxes and impose new fees for Kewaunee County Taxpayers. According to projections produced by Luft, the County Administrator, Scott Feld and Finance Director, Paul Kunesh, - even with their proposed tax increases - the county would still experience an operating capital shortfall in five years.  There is one Supervisor on that committee, Chris Rasmussen, that is in opposition and is demanding all options to reduce spending are considered first.

Following is a list of Revenue Generation Items that are being considered by Lee Luft’s Finance Committee for implementation:
  • 1/2% Kewaunee County Sales Tax (without going to referendum)
  • Referendum to Exceed the Tax Levy Limit(supposedly off the table now)
  • Wheel Tax (up to $20 per vehicle) (supposedly off the table now)
  • Overweight Vehicle Fee
  • Other fees being considered;
    • All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Park Fees
    • Animal Waste Storage Unit Inspection Fees
    • Agriculture Land Inspection Fee
    • Private Well Registration & Inspection Fees
    •  Manure Spill Response Fee
    • Increased fines for Winter Spreading Ordinance
Lee Luft, along with County Administrator Mr. Feldt, have been out presenting expense-heavy financial forecasts to Town Boards overstating the case; educating them, and soliciting their support for these tax increases and new fees.  In those presentations, Luft is saying all spending cut opportunities at the county have been explored and completed; there is no room for additional reduction in spending.  That simply is not the case. At the same time, he is saying that the numbers he is projecting shows the county will still have a revenue problem in five years, even after implementing his new taxes. WE DO NOT HAVE A REVENUE PROBLEM, WE HAVE A SPENDING PROBLEM!  AS WE ALL KNOW, GIVE ANY GOVERNMENT ENTITY MONEY AND THEY WILL SPEND ALL OF IT AND MORE!

This is the way the process works. The finance committee under Luft’s leadership is charged with providing a resolution for the financial budgeting direction for the county.  That committee will pass a motion, or a series of motions, for the tax increase resolution(s) that would go to the full board for approval.  You, the individual taxpayers, must get involved in this process. The numbers are complex, but they are forecasting expenses to grow by $4.0M from 2016-2021, while revenues from taxes (without the newly added fees and taxes) only grow by $1.1M.  When expenses outpace income by almost $3M annually, the proceeds from all of their new fees and taxes get swallowed up quickly leaving us in the same boat we are in right now in five short years.  Then what? 

Kewaunee County has about 20,400 total people, and they aren’t all taxpayers! The County simply cannot afford some of the services other counties provide.  I have asked for a list of services the county must provide by law, but never received it.  Assuming the county puts that list together, one could then assess which services are being provided beyond those required, and complete an analysis upon which services could be eliminated that would reduce expenses.

A few short months ago, it appeared the shortfall for operation in budget year 2017 was approximately $700,000. Now according to new projections put together by Luft and the Administrator, that shortfall has grown to $1,047,408 - an additional $300K!  Really?  One can only conclude the numbers have been fudged a bit to bolster Luft’s position on the imposition of new taxes and fees.

Keep in mind, Luft’s ultimate goal is to have enough money in the budget so eventually he can add additional enforcement staff in the Soil Conservation Group.  That staff would monitor farm practices relating to manure application.  Luft has wanted to follow Door County and their implementation of Chapter 23.  Chapter 23 is an onerous, heavy handed, ordinance that provides the county a free hand in fining farmers for infractions whatever they might be regarding manure application.  In Door County, this ordinance has, driven many farmers out of business.

Kewaunee County Residents are already highly taxed. Not only does the county want to zap you with additional taxes, but keep in mind Luxemburg-Casco School District is considering a referendum for $25M in school improvements and updates of which $17M would need to go on referendum.  Kewaunee School District just passed a $6.8M referendum and Algoma a $3.6M referendum.  For the most part, this money is earmarked for updating the mechanical infrastructure of the schools and for improving the sports venues at the schools. At the same time, the school districts are competing for enrollment. Algoma even has a billboard along Hwy 42, touting the virtues of their school system. The reality is the population of the County is not growing, nor is student enrollment. Additionally, we have an aging population living on a fixed income and most cannot afford higher taxes.

Be cautious as to what you read in the Kewaunee Star News
Karen Yancey Ebert, the Kewaunee Star "Ace Reporter" gets most of her information on Kewaunee County business from Luft. Although Luft claims he is not a member of the Kewaunee Cares group, he attends their meetings, espouses their doctrine and follows their lead.  Karen Yancey is biased in her reporting.  She is an environmentalist and has a long history of affiliation with environmental groups as outlined below. 

Luft often misrepresents both financial projections as well as any information concerning the County water issues. He often spouts numbers that are not verified or are just outright incorrect.  For example, a week or so ago, Luft stood up at a meeting and said, “Kewaunee County has 100,000 dairy cows.”  The statement is not true, but he says it anyway. He also has reported over and over that 30% of wells in Kewaunee County are contaminated. This also is not true, but he knows if you report untruths repeatedly, they soon become fact.
So you can understand, if Reporter Yancey is getting her info from Luft, and she does not verify the information, the story you read in the Kewaunee Star is usually incorrect or so grossly slanted and biased that it is quite often not factual.

Ms Yancey is an environmentalist so being objective is a problem for her.  The following information has been copied from Ms. Yancey’s LinkedIn account:

Board member, Chairman of Washington Island Project Committee.

Door County Land Trust

June 2000 – Present (16 years 2 months) Environment
I initiated a committee on Washington Island, Wisconsin, to protect open space and was then asked to serve on the Door County Land Trust board. During my 14 years of volunteer work for the land trust, we have protected almost 1,000 acres on the island and I have organized and participated in many capital campaigns, fund-raising events and land stewardship projects. For a decade (from 2000-2010), I chaired a committee of 10 people on the island with the goal of protecting important natural areas. I also co-edited, and obtained a grant to publish a book with renowned regional writer Norbert Blei on 20 special places in Door County. In 2008, I received the land trust's highest volunteer award for my work, 2008 Door County Land Trust Distinguished Service Award.  (This is where Ms. Yancey made the acquaintance with Lynn and Nancy Utesch.  They lived on Washington Island and were part of the same organization.)

Board member
Citizens for Conservation
June 1993 – February 1999 (5 years 9 months) Environment
I served on the board of directors of this conservation organization from 1993-1999. I helped organize special events, co-chaired the educational committee and participated in stewardship projects. In conjunction with this role, I also served as a Nature Lady for Barrington schools and took third-grade classes on tours of native prairies. I continue to serve as a consultant for the organization on land protection projects.
Your Involvement is crucial
It will take courage for this board to face the spending problem head-on.  They need your encouragement and input.  Let them hear from you.  If you are not keen on the ideas of the additional taxes and fees, those folks on the Finance Committee need to hear from you right now.
BTW, something else that will be rearing its ugly head shortly is the Kewaunee County Jail project.  Sheriff Joski is prepping the Law Enforcement Committee now for the building of a new jail facility that will cost the County an estimated $15-$20 Million.  Do we really need a jail?  Perhaps we do, but the bigger question is can we afford it?  What about increased staffing and maintenance costs? Could we, or should we be working right now with Brown County on a partnership as they are completing their analysis on expanding their jail facility at this time?

Ron Heuer
Kewaunee County Taxpayer

Thursday, April 28, 2016


Your tax dollars are already allocated at the federal level to address the issue of treating water for small wells (private).  Kewaunee County, nor the State of Wisconsin need to re-invent this process.  Read on................

Over the past couple of months Mr. Lee Luft, Chairman of the Groundwater Task Force and Chairman of Finance Committee along with the "Kewaunee Cares" group have been bantering about, the idea that $10,000 of Kewaunee County Taxpayer money should be budgeted to provide "free water and delivery of that water" to county residences who may have a contaminated well.  

Since when is the county in the "grant" business?  And the next question I would ask is, "what is the next item(s) the county is going to be providing?"  Granted, clean water is essential for life, but knowing government it wouldn't be long before they would find another cause to fund!

As we have learned, drilling new wells in high risk areas where a well has gone bad (like the karst areas of Lincoln, Red River, Casco and Luxemburg Townships) is not the answer as in most instances a new well is very likely to go bad in a short period of time.
So, I have been working with Brian Deaner, Community Programs Director Rural Director, of the USDA in an attempt to find a way to provide small well water treatment systems at reasonable costs. 

Subsequent to our initial conversations, Brian set out to find a possible option for us in Kewaunee County.  Brian was able to make contact with a Debra Martin of Great Lakes RCAP (Rural Community Assistance Partnership) out of Ohio regarding our wells situation.  In collaborative conversations with WEP (Water Environmental Program) and RCAP, the consensus was to put forth a treatment solution for our contaminated wells rather than investing in drilling new wells which we have found often times are re-contaminated. 

WEP has determined that the purchase and installation of household well treatment equipment is eligible under the HWWG (Household Water Well Grant) program, and that a packaged membrane filtration system that includes a reverse osmosis filter and an Ultra Violet light (to be placed in the basement where the well water enters the hydro tank) would address the immediate well contamination problems we are experiencing in Kewaunee County.  

Great Lakes RCAP  have received approval to modify their existing HWWG work plan to include serving Kewaunee County. This modification now allows Great Lakes RCAP to offer loans at 1% for up to 11 years to individual homeowners to address the contamination.   The program can be available to Kewaunee County residents within weeks providing it is implemented now by the County.

These treatment packages are estimated at $500-$1,000 per well.  Assuming an average installation of a treatment system is $800, the cost per month to the homeowner with this program would be about $8.00 per month.  This doesn’t include any annual maintenance costs. This should eliminate any idea that local tax dollars would be used to pay for free water, paid for, and delivered with County taxpayer money.  The cost of gasoline to get to a free water location and/or the cost of purchasing bottled water would be more than the $8.00 per month cost. 

I have passed on the entire plan to County officials, so now it will be up to them to implement this program.  

Ironically, the folks at USDA also believe a longer term solution includes treating manure, reducing the amount of water that goes to the fields.  They may be a source of funding going forward to assist Kewaunee County in a Project Phoenix scenario if that proves to be both beneficial and practical.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Peninsula Pride Farms

Yesterday another major positive step in the overall effort to work towards protecting our water in Kewaunee County was taken with the establishment of Peninsula Pride Farms (PPF).  PPF was formed by a group of environmentally concerned farmers and others who will work to improve the watershed areas of our county. I have included their press release in this email.

It should be noted, the initial number of farmers who have joined is near 40 and totally they represent some 31,000 cattle and about 48,000 acres of tillable land. It is anticipated the number of farmer members will grow significantly going forward, as a conscious decision was made to keep the number of participants at a manageable number to start with.    

If you have been following the water issues in the County, you are aware the County Board has been working on this problem with the various agencies, DNR, NRCS, DATCP, etc.  Now with the added voluntary involvement from the stewards of the land, our farmers, taking this important step, I am more convinced than ever that Kewaunee County will produce positive solutions to the problem.

Ron Heuer
Kewaunee County Board Chairman

March 31, 2016

For more information, contact:
Don Niles
Peninsula Pride Farms
Phone: 920-621-3253

Farmers Launch Watershed Initiative in Kewaunee, Southern Door Counties
KEWAUNEE, Wis. (March 31, 2016) — Thirty-five farmers in northeastern Wisconsin, with a handful yet to be counted, announced today they have formed an environmental stewardship coalition.  The goal  of the organization, whose members range in size from 66 cows to 6,000 cows, is to leverage the ingenuity of the agricultural community, university research and scientists to meet water quality challenges.
The group, Peninsula Pride Farms, will focus on more innovative ways to protect and improve ground and surface water through conservation practices and technology in Kewaunee and southern Door counties.
This is the first local collaboration of its kind in an area dealing with decades-long water quality issues.
“Farmers, by nature, are innovative problem solvers,” said Don Niles, a dairy farmer in Casco, Wis., who led the planning for the group. “We can be most effective by working toward solutions in a collaborative manner.”
Peninsula Pride Farms, formed as a nonprofit, will focus on promoting farming methods that create measurable and sustainable improvements. A key to the initiative will be to create benchmarks to for continuous improvement for individual farms that take into account the unique characteristics of each farm’s systems and environmental characteristics.
The group also will provide education and outreach through things like on-farm demonstrations for both farmers and the public.
“We will empower farmers with knowledge, training and shared experiences,” Niles said. “And we will demonstrate how the agricultural community is committed to doing its fair share in making improvements.”
U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble endorsed the approach. The congressman from northeastern Wisconsin has led an intensive collaborative effort to reduce phosphorous runoff in the bay of Green Bay.
“It is vitally important that Kewaunee and southern Door counties work to improve water quality, and I commend local farmers for stepping up and working together to find solutions,” Ribble said.
Niles said Peninsula Pride Farms’ diversity will be a strength.  At the initial meeting, there were forty-six farmers, crop consultants and agri-business leaders participating.
“We are finding ways that dairy, beef, hog and crop farmers, on farms large and small, as well as non-farmers can combine their ideas and energy to shape common, effective solutions that are socially, economically and environmentally sound,” he said.
Dennis Frame, who designed the country’s first Discovery Farms Program while at the University of Wisconsin, is assisting Peninsula Pride Farms. He sees great potential in the initiative.
“This program can bring about dramatic positive changes to farming systems, and I believe that this has the potential, if given adequate time, to be a national model for farmer-led watershed projects,” Frame said.
The new organization also has the backing of one of the most respected and influential environmental groups.
The Nature Conservancy partners with individuals, businesses, governments and nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and 68 other countries to implement science-based conservation practices.
“We recognize agriculture is critical to healthy lives and a strong economy.  In Wisconsin and across the U.S. we are working with farmers and the industry to develop collaborative solutions that help increase productivity while minimizing environmental impacts,” said John Nelson, a project manager for the conservancy.
Nelson, who has been extensively involved in efforts to improve water quality in the Sheboygan River basin and Lake Michigan, was part of the Peninsula Pride Farms steering committee.
“We work with farmers to improve tillage practices, manage manure and other nutrients, utilize cover crops, and develop other innovative solutions to keep nutrients and soil on the land and out of our waters,” Nelson said.
A similar farmer-led alliance in the Yahara River watershed has kept thousands of pounds of phosphorous out of Madison area lakes in the past two years in an effort to reduce algae growth.

Frame, a professor at UW-Extension for the past 33 years, helped get that group off the ground.
“Farmer-led watershed programs have a significant potential to protect water quality because recommendations are coming from people who understand farming and the challenges of making changes to a farming system,” he said.

Mission statement: As farmers and caretakers of the environment, we are committed to protecting, nurturing and sustaining our precious soil, water and air. To foster environmental stewardship, we will promote practices with measurable outcomes that secure and enrich the future of our shared community. 
Philosophy: Our culture is one in which farmers are empowered to continuously improve on practices that affect the environment. Through peer-to-peer mentoring and other forms of support, we challenge ourselves to be models of sustainability. Goals and expectations are high and so, too, is our commitment to each other’s success and the well-being of our community.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 District 12 Election

2016 District 12 Election

County Board Accomplishments with Heuer Leadership

Difference between a "Town Hall Meeting" and "Listening Session"

Someone needs to explain the difference between a "Town Hall Meeting" and a "Listening Session to Karen Ebert Yancey, the reporter who writes for the Kewaunee Star, a Gannett Publication.

Karen Ebert Yancey was informed that the Governor's visit to Kewaunee on Thursday, Jan 14th was a listening session, not a Town Hall meeting.  Yet, when she reported this story, she put a negative slant on the report as she often does, that not only implied, but stated the meeting was a Town Hall meeting with these word directly from her Jan 20th article in the Star News -- "Approximately 40 Kewaunee County residents were invited to the "town hall" meeting with the governor, including five students from Kewaunee High School.  Walker said that one of the goals of the meeting was to talk to as diverse a group of citizens as possible."

You have to ask yourself, why would Ms. Yancey put this slant on the "Listening Session" that was set up by the Governor's office?  My only conclusion is that she was trying to stir the pot to get people worked up as to why a group of 40 people were invited to what she chose to describe as a Town Hall meeting.  That brings me to the definitions of those meeting types:

Listening Session - A meeting held with a defined number of invited participants to specifically discuss a topic or topics chosen by the facilitator.

Town Hall Meeting - is an American term given to an informal public meeting, function or event derived from the traditional town meetings of New England.  A Town Hall meeting is open to the public and those in attendance generally present ideas, voice opinions and ask questions of public officials.

Read my Jan 14th description of Governor Walker's listening session where I explain the questions the Governor asked the participants to comment upon.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thank You Governor Walker

Today Governor Walker held a listening session at the Kewaunee Administration Building from 9:45 AM until 11:15 AM.  At that listening session with 40-plus invited guests, the Governor invited the participants to first list "what do you like about Wisconsin".  The Governor listed all those contributed comments on a white board.

Following the listing of those items, the Governor then asked those attendees to think of the future, 7- 10 years out and to provide him with their vision of how the County and the State of Wisconsin should look at that time & what should be done now and in the subsequent years to ensure we can deliver that vision.

The attendees were included housewives, business owners, some city officials, retirees, High School Students and Educators, a very good cross-section of the County residents.  A lot of good ideas were expressed and the Governor did leave with a good picture of our county's current status.  I have reason to believe that all the participants were pleased with the session.

I have received calls from a couple of folks saying this was a closed townhall meeting.  First, it wasn't a townhall.  The Governor's office handled all the invitations.  His staff had reached out to several individuals in the County to submit names and they were clear with their instructions.  They did not want just business leaders, they did not want just community officials.  The Governor's office then selected those people they wanted to invite and invite them they did.

I had the honor or welcoming the Governor and I thanked him for the $4.2M grant we received for the Kewaunee Harbor restoration project, I also thanked him for his help in having the DOR help us with the utility tax issue.  I also thanked him for the unprecedented attention and cooperation our Kewaunee County is receiving from the DNR, DATCP and PSC with regard to our groundwater and surface water issues.

We thank the Governor for coming to Kewaunee County and listening to the concerns of our residents.