KATHLEEN VINEHOUT
PEOPLE FIRST

County Fairs: Competition, Critters and Community

“I haven’t seen you in at least 20 years,” the rural Ettrick women exclaimed as she shook the older man’s hand. “Catching up with friends is a great part of the county fair,” she leaned over and told me.
 
It’s county fair-time.

Walking through the fairgrounds I see the efforts of many volunteers. Thousands of hours go into preparing for the fair. Preparations for this year began shortly after last year’s fair concluded.
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Identity Theft: New Scam Targets Unemployment Insurance

A woman was the victim of an unemployment insurance scam. “What are you going to do to help me?” she challenged legislators and candidates at a recent forum in Eau Claire. “What are you going to do to prevent this from happening again?”

The scam she described was new to incumbent and want-to-be lawmakers.

A thief stole her identity and falsely filed an unemployment insurance claim. The scam happened the beginning of July, perhaps over the 4th of July holiday weekend. The scam may be part of a nationwide swindle targeting consumers, employers and state unemployment insurance programs.
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Why Art?

“Art has the power to fill spaces in our souls that nothing else can,” said Alan Nugent, owner of Abode Art Gallery in Stockholm. I recently had an opportunity to learn about art and its impact on Wisconsin.

“Art has the power to transport, transform, to call and excite. I see this every day when people come in my gallery. People talk about being revived and rejuvenated. They feel things they haven’t felt in a while,” Alan said. “The other day an 80-year-old farm woman came in and viewed a painting of the countryside. The painting took her back to memories decades old.”

Alan loves art. His passion is palpable. His drive is the matching of art created by someone he knows with a new owner moved by the creation.
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Wisconsin Leading the Way in State Cuts to Schools?

“Hard to believe we are in competition for last place!” said Pepin Superintendent Bruce Quinton. This is hard to believe indeed.

A recently released study of state budget cuts to local schools has Wisconsin ranked second only to Alabama in cuts per pupil.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities looked at state dollars spent per student. Wisconsin students receive $1,038 less per pupil in the 2013-14 school year than when the recession hit in 2008. North Dakota, which topped the list in new dollars per child, posted a $1,116 increase since 2008. Changes in spending were adjusted for inflation.

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