Thursday, April 27, 2006

Curing The Sick Health Care System

Wisconsin Health Care Solutions Forum in Oshkosh

As part of 2006 Cover the Uninsured Week (May 1-7), The Earth Charter Oshkosh and the League of Women Voters have teamed up to organize "Curing the Sick - Health Care Solutions for Wisconsin". The program will take place Thursday, May 4 from 7pm - 8:30pm at the Coughlin Center, 625 E County Rd Y, Oshkosh.

Presentations will cover 3 current Health Care proposals in Wisconsin:- Wisconsin Health Plan (2005 AB 114)- Wisconsin Health Security Act (2005 SB 388/AB 807)- Wisconsin Health Care Partnership Plan. In addition, there will be community perspectives offered from local business leaders and city government leaders. This event is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What? Could You Repeat That Please?

Aging Baby Boomers. Dr. Farrell of Affiliated Clinic told me that 'Baby Boomers' must have the moniker 'Aging' in front of it. That's right. Those of us born in those years following WWII are now slowly heading for the sunset. It was interesting circa 1968-70 to live in a country where half the population was under the age of 25 and don't trust anyone over 30 was the mantra.

Hearing loss affects many boomers including this one. I had one form since birth and general loss of overall hearing from age 20 to the present. A recent hearing test shows that I have a dismal 35% of normal hearing. If good hearing is 100%, 80% hearing is the low end of what is considered normal.

During the course of the hearing test my Word Comprehension was checked. I scored 20% on that one. That means that if I have my back to someone I can discern with regularity: TWO WORDS OUT OF TEN! That scares me.

The audiologist said: "Sit down and look at me. Gary, I find it quite amazing that you are able to carry on a conversation. Your ability to lip read and read gestures and facial nuances is indeed quite amazing."

I knew my hearing was bad but I didn't know to what extent. The good news is that I should have a pair of digital programmable hearing aids in about three weeks.

There is more...

Everyone, even those without hearing loss, lose the ability to comprehend words as they get older. I call it Hearing Dyslexia. That is when a person says one thing and I hear something that bears no resemblance to what they said.

Captain Beefheart in the Trout Mask Replica album:
-She was under duress,
-He was under her dress.

It is horrible to live on a daily basis where one tells me something and I hear something else.

There is a new online program which deals with this problem. It is for hearing aid and non-hearing aid persons. The program claims it can increase word comprehension in some cases by 30%! I would be beaming if I could increase mine by just 10%. Here is the address:

I was tipped to this by my audiologist Juliette Sterkens. Juliette is a remarkable person. She is half the partnership of Fox Valley Hearing Center just off Witzel near Hy41. A native of Holland, Juliette has just received her Doctor of Audiology Degree. She was in San Francisco recently where she attended a conference on 'ear-obics' and she wants me to do the online program. I'm excited. There will be a report on this when I'm finished.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

WRST Fortieth Birthday

Activities can be found here. Of note is the Saturday morning social, 9am to noon, at the New Moon Cafe on Main Street. Many involved in the past and present will be there including Joy Cardin from Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR).

What does a radio person look like? To enhance the Saturday morning coffee I suggest one of the following:
  • Nametags (tacky)
  • A Kiosk with a photo/name and short bio.
  • A program of some sort with the same info.

I haven't heard if Doc Schneider will be there, but I hope so.

Public radio in Oshkosh is good: WRST 90.3, classical music 89.3 WPNE Green Bay, and if a person wishes to listen to Ben Merens in the afternoon on WPR he can be heard on 88.1, also out of Green Bay.

My wish list for Oshkosh includes Air America Radio. The closest station to us is WXXM-FM 92.1 from Madison. It doesn't come in 'till just west of Waupun. Some of us like more variety in our day and I feel that the commercial stations in the Oshkosh area are missing a lot of advertiser dollars by not carrying this national feed in the Valley. You can find out who these owners are by going here. A direct link can be found on Tony Palmeri's home page.

For many years in the Madison area Jim Mader was an extremely popular radio personality on the old WIBA-AM. He even did national ads for Weber Grills. He died rather young and the obituary noted that he grew up in Oshkosh, joined the armed services, and then returned home and graduated from UWO. To date I have never met an Oshkosh resident who knew of him.

See you Saturday.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Five Rivers Open Records Request

The 'Five Rivers' project has been the subject of open records requests of late. Ann Frisch, citizen, made an initial request. During the process to set up convenient times to exercise the 'records' request and give the Planning Services Division of the Oshkosh Dept. of Community Development time to compile and have the records ready for inspection, Ann received a letter from the City of Oshkosh Attorney's office. It was signed by Lynn A. Lorenson, Assistant City Attorney.

The two page letter contained many things of note and with Ann Frisch's permission I am printing one paragraph verbatim.

Subject: The City has hired outside Attorneys and private Financial Consultants to help with the Five Rivers project. (This was news to me and it might be news to you.)

At any rate, read this paragraph, think about it, and feel free to comment on it...

The City of Oshkosh has retained outside counsel and financial consultants to work with the City in the process of redevelopment of the parcel contemplated for development by the Five Rivers Corporation. After reviewing the files, I am denying your request for correspondence as that request may relate to correspondence with the attorney representing the City of Oshkosh as the Correspondence is privileged under 905.03 of the Wisconsin Statutes. In addition I am denying your request for information for correspondence as that request may relate to correspondence with the attorneys representing the city and the Financial consultants representing the City because, after weighing the various competing interests, it is my conclusion that the public interests favoring disclosure of the requested items are outweighed by those public interests favoring non-disclosure.

(signed) Lynn A. Lorenson

Asst. City Attorney

I will put my own comments in the comment section of this blog but will leave you with this...

When we (four of us) met to look at the records we learned from the very pleasant clerk in the Planning Services Division that this was the first open records request ever made in the time she has worked there.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Death of a Friend

Sam Hronis, 92, long time Oshkosh resident, passed away late Wednesday evening. An unforgettable character, he brightened any day with his presence. His wit and his trademark smile could disarm anyone. He could compliment you and without changing his demeanor chastise you for some fault. His verbal barbs were dead-on, always true, and they made for a few enemies here and there. I understood him having known many Greeks where I used to live, and smiled even when he zinged me.

He was born into WWI and took part in WWII. Medicine was his forte in the service. He served as a medic in the area of Japan and knew war up close. He saved a lot of people and was proud of that. He performed many procedures that would have certainly had him arrested had he been in the U.S. - since he was not an MD. Sulfa drugs, forerunners to our modern antibiotics, were the answer to many maladies. He was treated as a 'god' by native women and children on islands south of Japan. They used the sulfa drugs freely and didn't know until years later that those drugs eventually caused more harm than good.

I told Sam that I once played for a wedding at the Greek Orthodox Church off East Washington Blvd. in Madison. That brought back memories to him and he later asked me if I had ever been to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee. I hadn't, and as short as a week ago he reminded me to make that trip. When I do, I will be thinking of him. In that same conversation (a week ago) we talked about a couple of Greek restaurants on State St. in Madison. He told me that his relatives owned one of those, retired recently and quit the business. I had eaten there many times. It is now a pizza place directly across from the Parthenon, the other Greek restaurant which serves a pretty mean Gyro & Fries.

Sam wrote many letters to the editor which the Northwestern printed. Last fall he wrote one critical of the city's leaf collection and suggested a cheaper way to do it. I was told that the Streets Dept. began doing things differently the day after the letter appeared! Good for Sam.

He had been married about SEVENTY YEARS! Incredible! To give you an idea how long that is: That's more than my age and both my marriages put together...and I'm no spring chicken. I never met Sam's wife. She wasn't well and he took care of her, doted on her. He would leave the house for an hour a couple of times a day but was always anxious to get back home. When he left he would more often than not eat at the Salvation Army. He enjoyed getting out of the house and enjoyed conversation.

Those conversations would sometimes become a rant about the Veteran's Administration and the rising costs of drugs, the thugs in power in Washington and how the Republicans would continually try to cut the V.A. budget - while at the same time tell people to 'support the troops'. Sam had no use for their two-faced B.S. and was at no loss for words if someone challenged him.

He supported any effort to stop the current war in Iraq. He told me once that he didn't know if the protests at the sundial did any good, but he had to hand it to anyone who would.

A week ago he retold a story, one from WWII that had haunted him for sixty years. A battle was over, he had tended to the injured American soldiers, and a Japanese soldier lay dying. Sam could see what was wrong, could've saved him, but wasn't allowed to help him. It was against U.S. rules to aid enemy injured. His commanders were nearby, he didn't dare help, and he watched the fellow die. He mentioned that the fellows pockets were probably checked later and more often that not a picture of a girlfriend / wife and kids would be found. That to Sam was the tragedy of war.

That's my salute to Sam.

A memorial service for Sam will be held at the Salvation Army. The date and time has not been announced. The general public is welcome to attend.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Project - Part Five

The DNR has evaluated the project in it's entirety, applauded saving the sturgeon, and now everything awaits the governor's signature. Tentative plans for the casino resort grand opening include a ribbon cutting ceremony by the governor, who will arrive at the new airport landing on the giant sturgeon's tail at 1,800ft in the 'pride of the Wisconsin Air Force' - the 'goober-natorial aeroplane' ,(named after the governor who bought it), the Tailspin Tommy.

The governor's signature is expected soon, right after he signs the bill allowing the newly expanded Crandon Mine, and also the series of 'canoe-up' Resort Hotels every eight miles on the Lower Wisconsin Riverway (which also bans all camping on sand bars).

The members of the Northeast Wisconsin United for Future Development Association (NEWUFFDA) worked hard to make 'The Project' a success and I'm sure there will be more to report next year on an even grander project.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Project - Part Four


Of course Oshkosh and all cities will need a source of water when Lake Winnebago becomes just another historical footnote. The planning for the 'Project' wasn't haphazard and juvenile. Water is important and we went to the nth degree to insure a safe and clean ongoing supply of water. We have contracted with a French multi-national corporation to supply the entire Fox Valley via pipeline, at a nominal fee of course. They attempted to bottle water from an obscure trout stream near Wisconsin Dells a few years ago, temporarily halted the project, but taking care of ecological concerns is our aim. We say: Forget the bottles - just 'pipe' it over!


All these fishermen yap-yap-yapping about the loss of sturgeon spearing, actually all fishing when the lake becomes The Winnebago Valley can quit their whining. We've addressed that! The Winnebagoland (World's Largest) Aquarium will take care of all that --- AND MORE. The Aquarium will be smack in the middle of the casino / resort complex and many restaurants and viewing areas will abut the glass walls on all four sides, underneath, and even on top. Come watch the sturgeon up close in their natural habitat.

Sturgeon spearing season sometimes just lasts a day or two but now YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SPEAR STURGEON 365-DAYS A YEAR. You will pay by the pound after you land it. Yes it will be expensive but think...No more ice shacks, no waiting for winter, and the domed fishing area will be climate controlled. Just think. Spearing in a short sleeved shirt!

Due to demand, spearing will be done by lottery and waiting list. Get your name in now. It will work a bit like getting season tickets for the Green Bay Packers. Put your name in now so your grandchildren can spear a sturgeon. Start putting a little money aside now and your grandchildren will be able to pay for the fish.

Next: DNR concerns.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Project - Part Three




As the water level on Lake Winnebago recedes pilings for the new 10-lane elevated freeway will be built. It will run from Appleton to Fond du Lac right through the center of the lake bed "tunneling" through the giant sturgeon landmark. The highway will eventually connect Green Bay to Milwaukee in a more direct route taking some of the load off Hy.41. An interesting note on this: It will be built so that traffic can be routed 'one-way' in all ten lanes on football Sundays when the Packers play the Bears. Who'd a thought such an improvement was possible?


The new mall will make that one in Minnesota seem like a corner convenience store. Say goodbye to the Mall of America and hello to the world's longest mall. Our new mall will rival and even top the Great Wall of China. Imagine this. The mall will run from Fond du Lac to Appleton under the elevated highway! It will even resemble the Great Wall of China and attract a lot more tourists to Wisconsin. It's like they say...Keep Wisconsin Green---Bring Money. The elevated freeway will have exits every 1/4-mile so you can shop 'til you drop all day long and then some.

That's all I have time for today. I have things to do, places to be, and legs to pull. Stay tuned. DNR concerns, the world's largest aquarium, Sturgeon spearing 365-days a year and more.