KATHLEEN VINEHOUT
PEOPLE FIRST

Birth, Life and Death of a Bad Idea

“No one had any inkling this was happening,” Michael Blumenfeld told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?” Mr. Blumenfeld spoke for the Wisconsin Family Care Association in early spring of 2015.

The frail elderly, disabled, and their families learned the governor sought to privatize the successful Family Care and IRIS programs, handing them over to a few large insurance companies.

The birth of this idea happened in secret.
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Audit Raises Questions About Clean Water Protection

We all drink water. We expect the water to be clean when it comes out of the facet. We also expect that someone is looking over the safety of our water.

Residents in Kewaunee County wonder more than most if the water they drink is really safe. Well water tested in a random sample last November found a third of Kewaunee wells were contaminated with bacteria or unsafe levels of nitrates.

The likely culprits of well contamination are large livestock farms known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Kewaunee County has more CAFOs permitted by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) than any other county except Brown.
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How to Make Heads or Tails of Wisconsin's Finances

“Is there any news on how the state is positioned for revenue growth?” Mr. Olsen inquired in his letter.

“How do our finances compare to other states?” Mrs. Adams asked.

People want to know about the health of Wisconsin’s finances. As I began my research, I spoke with the State Auditor and the chief financial analyst, both of whom work for nonpartisan legislative support agencies.
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School Funding Hits Home

What’s wrong with school funding? Explaining this to voters is difficult. Try explaining it to a ninth grader who is losing a favorite teacher. The teacher is not retiring. At 53 and after teaching for 29 years, he lost his job.

Recently I spent a day teaching high school students about school funding and the state budget. Later that day I presented similar material to staff and school board members. I learned much more than the students did during my day as teacher.

Prescott considers itself a suburb of Saint Paul. Only 20 minutes away, folks go to church, shop, and read the newspaper from the Twin Cities. Few hear news from Madison.
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