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Archive for July, 2014

31 July
Comments Off on Nygren: Why we’re looking at tech college funding

Nygren: Why we’re looking at tech college funding

Recently, I had the honor of being named chair of a Joint Council Legislative Study Committee that will examine Wisconsin Technical College System funding and governance responsibilities.

Before we have even convened for the first meeting, concerns have been raised with exploring the current technical college system and its funding sources. There are a few reasons why this topic should be explored.

First, since the mid 1990s, the tech college property tax levy has increased by 156.5 percent, which exceeds any other levy. That is an average annual growth of 5.08 percent, which has contributed to Wisconsins high property tax burden relative to other states.

This is not only a burden on families and senior citizens living on fixed incomes, but it also negatively affects economic growth and home ownership.

Second, a number of taxpayers I have spoken with are concerned that unelected boards are charged with setting the technical college property tax levy and this taxation without representation has led to a lack of accountability to taxpayers. This issue warrants discussion and it is important taxpayers voices are heard. I feel it is critical that the system be as transparent as possible and accountable to taxpayers and employers.

Third, we need to look at the balance that exists between the tech college system and the University of Wisconsin System. There may be opportunities for increased cooperation and efficiencies. To that end, we need to ensure there is not a duplication of services and that the mission of the technical college system complements the UW System.

I believe any viable option to lower property taxes should be seriously explored. We already are transitioning towards greater reliance on state funding, as the Legislature voted earlier this year to provide tax relief by replacing $406 million per year in local property tax college funding with state funding. Combined with recent actions by the Legislature, any further reduction in the tech colleges reliance on the property tax levy could result in a total 8.3 percent property tax decrease, which equates to roughly $260 in annual savings for the average homeowner.

The goal of the study committee should be to further explore ways to reduce the tech college tax levy while protecting and possibly strengthening, the critical link between tech colleges and communities, employers, economic development associations and K-12 schools. I am confident we can look at ways to protect local control and reduce property taxes — things that should be welcomed by the majority of business owners and residents of our state.

In recent years, the Legislature has demonstrated our commitment to improving Wisconsins business climate. The technical college system plays an irreplaceable role in preparing citizens for the workforce and has led to the betterment of countless lives. I assure you, the committee will be focused on improving, not diminishing, the critical role the Wisconsin technical colleges play.

As chairman of the committee, I am open to all viewpoints. Opposing any and all reform efforts and refusing to deviate from the status quo would be a missed opportunity to improve the system. I understand the arguments for and the importance of local control and district autonomy. I look forward to engaging in some lively debate.

Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, represents the 89th Assembly District and is co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Finance.

31 July
Comments Off on America’s Newest Citizen – John Q. Corporation

America’s Newest Citizen – John Q. Corporation

On the Fourth of July the old red, white and blue looked a little more tattered compared to the past.

Thanks in great part to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), John Q. Citizen, the human being citizen who is the bedrock of our unique experiment in self-governance, is being replaced by John Q. Corporation.

We anointed our citizens with many rights and protections: free speech and the right to assemble; freedom from unreasonable governmental search and seizure; the right of self-governance anchored by the right to vote.

31 July
Comments Off on Donald Sterling not out of legal options

Donald Sterling not out of legal options

Shelly Sterling, left, greets Max Blecher, attorney for her estranged husband Donald Sterling, after a judge ruled in her favor and against her husband in his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the Clippers on Monday in Los Angeles.

31 July
Comments Off on Shopping Local for a Great Space

Shopping Local for a Great Space

Shopping local is a great way to make sure that you end up with a great space.

Mockingbird Domestics designs and creates locally made home accessories. The store has everything from pottery and vases to bird feeders and candle holders.

Kris and Kelley Denby, a husband-and-wife team that own Hemlock Heather, sell their goods at Mockingbird Domestics. Some of their most popular pieces are their reclaimed state wall hangings.

These pieces are made from 100 percent reclaimed wood that we find. We scour all over mostly the city, but sometimes all over the state, Kris Denby said.

To find out more about Mockingbird Domestics and Hemlock Heather, watch the House Proud segment above.

31 July
Comments Off on 16-y-o dies in motor vehicle crash

16-y-o dies in motor vehicle crash

ST ANN, Jamaica — Sixteen-year-old Damion Walker of Salem, Runaway Bay, St Ann died as a result of injuries he received in a motor vehicle collision in the vicinity of Flavours Beach, Runaway Bay in the parish on Sunday, July 20.

Reports received from the St Anns Bay Police are that about 12:30 pm Walker was a pillion passenger on a motorcycle heading towards St. Anns Bay when it collided with a motor car. He received multiple injuries and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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30 July
Comments Off on Madison to hold rezoning hearing on proposed shopping center at Wall Triana …

Madison to hold rezoning hearing on proposed shopping center at Wall Triana …

MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) Madison City residents will get one last chance to influence a controversial rezoning plan on Monday evening.

The Madison City Council will hold a public hearing on a proposal that could enable the development of a shopping center at the corner of Wall Triana Highway and Browns Ferry Road.

The planning commission has already voted 6 to 3 to approve the rezoning.  However, the Madison City Council is required to hold a public hearing.

The piece of property that will be discussed it currently a wheat field that is zoned residential. The proposal would make it commercial.  This would open the land up for a possible new high-end shopping center and possibly a school.

Residents in the Park Meadow Neighborhood, which is across the street, worry that rezoning the land at Wall Triana and Browns Ferry will lower their property values and increase traffic.  They are encouraging the City Council to concentrate on fixing up already established shopping centers around Madison.

The public comment period of the meeting comes at the beginning.  Comments will be limited to five minutes for those who have signed up ahead of time.  Those who do not sign up will have three minutes.

More than 150 people signed a petition opposing the zoning changes.

The council meeting is Monday, July 28 at 6:00 pm at Madison’s Municipal Complex.

30 July
Comments Off on A Delaware legal giant, Vincent Bifferato, has died

A Delaware legal giant, Vincent Bifferato, has died

The Delaware legal community is mourning the loss of former Superior Court Judge Vincent A. Bifferato Sr., whose long legal career and outsized personality cast a long shadow on the courts and members of the bench and bar.

Bifferato, 77, died Friday following a long battle with esophageal cancer. He served on the Superior Court from 1968 until 2000, acting as New Castle County

resident judge during his final eight years on the court. After leaving the courts, Bifferato, a former member of the Delaware Legislature, returned to private practice with his sons.

Judge Bifferato was a giant in our legal community, said Delaware public defender Brendan ONeill, who appeared many times before Bifferato as a trial attorney. He was very smart, very direct, fair to all sides … and he left a great legacy in our courthouse. And he was a great guy.

Everyone respected and admired him, said Superior Court Judge Ferris Wharton, who also appeared before Bifferato – or Judge Biff as many called him – many times as an attorney.

Part of that, said longtime Wilmington attorney Joe Hurley, was Bifferatos voice. He had a very attention-grabbing voice. It had that ring of authority in it without being dictatorial, he said, adding Bifferato rarely raised that authoritative voice and was almost always cool and calm on the bench.

Wharton praised the way Bifferato cut pomp and ceremony to attack problems in a direct and practical way without putting on airs.

30 July
Comments Off on Parenting: Wish me luck shopping the holiday

Parenting: Wish me luck shopping the holiday

On your marks. Get set. Go!

I feel like Im about to run a race. My back-to-school shopping dates with my kids are coming up. Were planning to take advantage of the tax-free holiday this weekend. Its three days long, Aug. 1-3, so I imagine the stores are going to be packed.

Retailers say the back-to-school shopping season rivals Christmas.

The average family plans to spend $669 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, according to the National Retail Federations 2014 Back-to-School Survey. A Gallup poll last Christmas had families predicting theyd spend about $740 on gifts.

Will parents try to smash a monthlong season of shopping into three days? Ill soon find out.

When the kids and I first planned these shopping days, I pictured a laid-back day of casually browsing racks of clothes and chatting over lunch. Now, Im getting an image of elbow-throwing old women hitting each other for Elmo dolls. Only I know Elmo isnt on the school supply list. So theres that, at least. But will I have to jockey for notebooks and glue sticks?

Perhaps the kids and I should start our day with a warm-up and stretching routine.

At the very least, we should probably have a plan: Map out the stores we want to go to and in what order, peruse the advertisements and make sure Mom is stocked up on coffee.

My daughter and I took step one last week. We pulled all her clothes out of her closet and drawers. Those that didnt fit or that she just wouldnt wear, we put in a pile to give away or sell on consignment. The exercise helped us see exactly what she needs, like leggings to replace the ones she wore out or outgrew.

I found a helpful list of what to buy on 10 pairs of underwear, 10 to 14 pairs of socks, six to 10 T-shirts, three or more pants (at least five for preschoolers), two pairs of shoes and at least one nice skirt outfit for girls.

Over the years, Ive also found a lot of great tips for saving money. One that I love is shopping the clearance sales after school is back in session. You can find supplies half off or more. I bought two lunchboxes at 75 percent off last year and by spring, we put them into service. Several bloggers recommend clipping coupons and shopping thrift stores and dollar stores.

Im feeling better already.


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30 July
Comments Off on ‘First Look’: Reporter Rachel Cook talks about Dental Dangers series

‘First Look’: Reporter Rachel Cook talks about Dental Dangers series

The Dental Board of California, one of 20 healing arts boards within the California Department of Consumer Affairs, regulates dentists. The Dental Board polices practitioners, issues licenses and, in instances of alleged malpractice, investigates and ultimately, in some cases, files formal accusations.

Californian reporter Rachel Cook, in an appearance Monday on First Look with Scott Cox, described the process, focusing on one dentist in particular. Cook has followed the case of Dr. Robert Tupac, a Bakersfield dentist, for a year and a half, culminating in her exhaustive report, published over two days, this past Sunday and Monday, in The Californian.

30 July
Comments Off on A rare sale in Kitsap County as shopping center trades hands

A rare sale in Kitsap County as shopping center trades hands

Theres something about shopping centers with Safeway grocery stores that appeals to a San Diego real estate investment company called Gerrity Group.

The privately held company on Thursday paid $20.8 million for the Bethel Junction shopping center at 3331 Bethel Road SE, Port Orchard, according to Capital Pacific, the real estate company that brokered the sale. It was the first time in more than 10 years that a large Kitsap County shopping center anchored by a grocery store has sold, according to Sean Tufts of Capital Pacifics Seattle office.

In May, Gerrity paid $24.9 million for a similar shopping center called Redondo Square in Des Moines. Like Redondo Square, Safeway is the major tenant at Bethel Junction.

Bethel Junction is a 157,500-square-foot shopping center on 13 acres. The seller is a limited liability company that online data show is affiliated with Tivatac Corp. of Los Angeles and Bothell.

Marc Stiles covers commercial real estate and government for the Puget Sound Business Journal.