Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thank You Aaron & Jason Baer

Thank you Aaron & Jason Baer, owners of the New Moon Cafe.

The Salvation Army thanks them too.

Aaron and Jason allowed me to come in anytime during the Salvation Army bellringing season and play piano, substituting a 'tip jar' with the Salvation Army Red Kettle.

Bellringing is common outside or in the entryway of a business, but rarely is the person allowed inside the business to solicit donations.

This is great that we have small business owners that care enough about our community to do this. They are outstanding citizens and this provides a great reason to shop downtown Oshkosh.

Remember that every coin in those red kettles stays in Oshkosh.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oshkosh Tidbits

You may see a news sheet around town called Oshkosh Tidbits. It's a friendly nice paper which features poetry and Oshkosh history and more. It is now published on the web and you can read it here.

I hope you enjoy it. I do and I hear many people comment on it. I will say more another day.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Babblemur Beat Me to It

I had this thought smoldering in my mind for weeks. Babs beat me to it but I'm still gonna talk about it.

Disclaimer: This is about national politics. I like to write local. Our well being on the local level depends a lot on what is happening nationwide. So be it.

Republicans have decided that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate. Media has also decided that Hillary Clinton will be the candidate for President.

When will someone ask the person on the street?

Tom Paine's 'Common Sense' is the basis for my thoughts today. I re-read that classic and can draw no other conclusion in applying Paine's thoughts on the American Revolution to modern day politics.

No more voting for 'THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS' ! No more holding my nose when I vote. I'm madder the Hell and won't take it anymore.

The only presidential candidate I've seen that has any basis in reality (thus far) is Dennis Kucinich.

I could care less if he gets 1 or 2% of the vote next November. I'm going to vote for the person who is going to cut past the Corporate Crap which has been heaped on us for decades and vote against Halliburton, the Military Industrial Complex, and all of the Ruling Corporations.

Time for a change.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gallery Walk December 2007

Art Walk - Gallery Walk continues to grow and evolve with the number of locations approaching the fifty mark this fall. Saturday December 1st 6-9pm be downtown, enjoy some brisk fresh winter air along with holiday lights and art of all kinds.

Did you know that the hat store on the corner of Main & High St is the largest retailer of hats in Wisconsin? Their wholesalers are the source of that statement. Curious? Click on the Gallery Walk link on this page to learn more.

I advocate buying NOTHING until at least February 2008 but if the 'Christmas Itch' makes it impossible for you to leave the checkbook and plastic at home, why not cure that itch downtown and try to keep as much of that $$$ right here in Oshkosh.

I will be wearing a Salvation Army smock and ringing a bell somewhere in the neighborhood of the New Moon Cafe Saturday evening. The Red Kettle Campaign is on track: Goal-$150,000 by Dec. 24. Stop by and say hi.

Needed... A few dedicated helpers who will take my smock and bell and give me a break Saturday so I can visit a few galleries. Ever tried ringing a bell for donations? Here's your chance. Leave me a note here:

Pray for peace.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Holiday Parade and More

The annual Christmas Parade is Saturday November 10. Be downtown at 10am for over an hour of fun.

I will be entertaining at the New Moon Cafe on piano before and after the parade. I encourage you to stop by so you can put a 'face' to this blog. Will I be playing for tips? The answer is NO..., but have your wallet out if you make a request.

I am very proud to announce that the New Moon is contributing the place and I am contributing my time to kick-off the Bell Ringing Season for the Oshkosh Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army has a goal of $150,000 this Christmas season. That's a lot of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in the Red Kettles in the next six weeks. Note that every cent collected in Oshkosh stays right here in Oshkosh!

Please stop by the New Moon and help us kick-start the Red Kettle campaign. Pocket change helps. Feel free to write a check. In fact feel free to match the amount collected this weekend at the New Moon. Call the Oshkosh Salvation Army at (920) 232-7660 and Kendall will assist you.

While I am making dares... I dare the 'Goat Pack' groups to get out and ring bells for the Salvation Army.

This will be the third year in a row that I have worked with the New Moon in doing this. One of the New Moon's owners used the phrase: "becoming a tradition".

I like that.

Ann Frisch to speak on Guatemala

Ann Frisch will be speaking on Wednesday November 14 about her experiences as peace keeper in Guatemala. She will be speaking at noon at the monthly meeting of the League of Women Voters (China King Restaurant on Koeller Road Oshkosh at noon) and the Feast and Fellowship meeting of the Unitarian Fellowship (2600 E. Philip Lane, Appleton – Calumet and 441 across from Family Video 6 p.m.).
Ann Frisch was a peace keeper for Nonviolent Peaceforce in Guatemala from April through June of this year. With three other team members, she provided protective accompaniment for La Unidád de Protección de Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos, the Unit of Protection for Human Rights Workers. This group of Guatemalans has braved break-ins to their office and death threats to interview witnesses and victims of human rights violations and to try to get the Guatemalan government to prosecute the violators. The idea behind the protective accompaniment is that would-be assassins are less likely to attack human rights workers if the eyes and conscience of the world are shining a light on them.
The idea for an unarmed nonpartisan peace keeping force first originated with Mahatma Gandhi. If nonviolence works within countries, why not between countries? Nonviolent Peaceforce's aim is to replace the armed peace keeping forces of the world with unarmed protective accompaniment. The NP website is at
Ann will speak about her experiences in Guatemala and the philosophy behind the peace keeping efforts. Her Guatemala blog is at

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm Back, Att. Warren Kraft is Gone

Welcome back folks. I had a great summer and fall has been even better. Worked hard and played even harder.

I was outed by Jody on Babblemur's space today and decided to clear it up for anyone who saw it. News has it that Google is now worth more than Mall-Wart. The editorial view: Ya can't find porn at Mall-Wart!

Eye on Oshkosh reports that the Fat Lady has Sung! Actually it was a guy. It was Warren Kraft. It's about time. I hope he enjoys his retirement.

You can read my previous rants on Warren Kraft here

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Death of Father Carr

I saw the headline about Fr. Carr in the Northwestern Monday morning. Through the first cup of coffee and long before the morning cobwebs disappeared from my head I knew I had a job to do. I had all day at work to think about it and develop a level even attitude regarding it.

I went to the evening meal at the Salvation Army Monday from 4:30 to 5:30. I posed a general question: "What's your thoughts on Father Carr?"

The first person I saw was Bones. He had heard nothing about it. I told him the headline. Bones sez: "You're s%*##in' me." Later. "This is the happiest day I've had in a long time."

Zbobzap sez: "I don't dare use the words I want, (since we're in the Salvation Army Building), but you can guess." Later. "He's going to get pretty hot where he's going."

Female, about age 40: "I could care less. He was nasty to everyone."

Another woman: "I've never heard anyone say a good word about him. Good riddance."

Middle aged man: "I was out there for lunch Sunday with J__. Neither of us were even told Father Carr passed away!" "Typical. Clients are NEVER told anything."

That was the general demeaner of about three dozen comments I received.

I did the same on Tuesday evening. The nicest comment received was from a woman named S__. She said: "It's sad when someone dies, but maybe it's for the better. Maybe things will be run better out there now."

My comment: Father Carr was vicious. He delighted in kicking people who were down. A person would have to speak to thousands of former clients or would be clients to come up with any other answer.

Someone else can write the accolades. I invite any writer (or would be writer) for the Northwestern to stop by the Salvation Army at the noon meal (11am-12:30pm) or evening meal (4:30-5:30pm) and pose questions about Father Carr. Note that citizens of Oshkosh are more than welcome to walk in and inspect the Salvation Army during the public meal times. A small red kettle is usually present and folks are more than welcome to have a bite and chat with people who use the Army facilities.

I implore anyone who is curious about the subject of Father Carr to take time to ask former clients about him.

Next: A public challenge to the Board and Transition Members of the Place 2B.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Butt Hunting in the City on the Water

But first...A way to make the poor homeless!

Dave Zweifel talked about it in The Capital Times on May 30. It goes like this. An elderly or disabled person has direct deposit for their Social Security check. They also have an unpaid bill which they find impossible to pay. (Note that government checks cannot be garnisheed. It's the law.) The creditor seizes the bank account on the 1st of the month.

The retired or disabled person writes their rent and utilities check which bounce when they reach the bank.

Quite a loophole there and it continues to happen.

Isn't life great in Amerika?

You can read the whole story here:

Now for the Butt Hunting business...

Butt Hunting has far surpassed Dumpster Diving in my opinion. Some people strip the remaining tobacco and smoke it in a pipe or re-roll it. Others smoke the butt. Some do both. Unsanitary? Yes. Uncommon? No.

Aaaahh. The power of addiction. Some have their favorite ashtrays which they guard during the day. Others have a regular daily route.

As a group the Butt Hunters bemoan the fact that ashtrays have changed. With the new cone design ashtrays the butt disappears who knows where. Butt Hunters are incensed every time another public ashtray changes to this design.

Workforce Development on Algoma put one in and it didn't last very long. It was a plastic affair and some irate Butt Hunter ripped the top off. They are back to using a galvanized pail.

UWO Polk Library installed them and more than one Butt Hunter expressed their distaste about those to me.

Now even the gendarmes are involved.

An elderly man was wandering about the downtown vicinity the other evening after the rains loooking for some dry tobacco. He was on the grounds of a government housing unit, sat down at a picnic table and began picking through the butts for the longest ones. A woman from the housing unit dialed 911 and waited. The gendarmes appeared a few minutes after 9pm. They gently talked to the man and explained to him that since he didn't live there he shouldn't really be on the property. He agreed. He already had what he wanted and got up and left. The police remained at the scene for over another hour and left at 10:14pm.

The police weren't writing reports. They did the park-in-opposite-directions bit so they could talk non-business. They both had their motors running the entire time.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Summer's Here

The June edition of the Greatest Gallery Walk in the Valley is Saturday night from 6-9pm. Their website continues to improve and can be found in the link list on this page. Be there! A good time is had by all and it's cheaper than driving anywhere.

Tony Palmeri wrote a piece on activism for the Scene Magazine and it is posted here. Doug Boone was the subject. The only item I can add is Doug was missed this week at Waterfest. To my knowledge Doug never missed the Waterfest Concert Series. He was a walking encyclopedia of Waterfest trivia going back to the early years.

Speaking of the Valley Scene Magazine, what happened to their website? Anyone have a clue?

I am looking for someone to post restaurant reviews at this site. Oshkosh needs restaurant reviews. The Northwestern does not do them. This is a void that can be filled by the blogosphere. Write about your favorite or your worst restaurant experience and send it to me at

I was invited for pizza at Ratch & Deb's the other evening. Cheese and Sausage. It was great! A friendly neighborhood place that I'd go back to anytime. They are located at the corner of Bowen and Merritt. Parking? Forget it. Ride your bicycle. You probably need the exercise. Oh yes. A big thank you to M.M.'s mother for picking up the tab.

Tony Palmeri was asked by Accordian Man to come to the monthly tenants meeting at Mainview Apartments. Mainview is part of the Oshkosh Housing Authority. Tony said that he would make it if he got done grading his students, and Accordian Man was pleasantly surprised to see him. Thanks for doing that Tony. Accordian Man is happy and I bet that the Housing Authority is surprised that a city council member stopped by. Also...Accordian Man has now been 'outed', at least in the partial sense. Tony knows who he is.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cedar Hills Campground

Ready for a road trip? If you have been thinking about traveling away from the midwest this summer you are thinking about the price at the pump. Why not look in your back yard?

A short drive from Milwaukee, Chicago, or the Twin Cities will bring you to a road less traveled, the road that leads to the top of Wisconsin Heights, between Sauk City and Mazomanie off Wisconsin Hy78. Turn on Dunlap Hollow Road and pull into Carl's place. Carl's place is Cedar Hills Campground. Keep the plastic in your pocket. Carl will laugh at you if you think you can pay that way. He is still holding at $16 a night and about $84 per week. Seasonal campsites are $700 and you can leave the camper there all winter.

Carl's got a website now. I don't think he knows about it or even cares! You can't email him but he does have a phone (which he rarely answers). Carl's been around since about 1927. About all he cares about is feeding his beef cattle, filling the ruts in his road with his Bobcat, and making sure his campers are having a good time. Priorities depend on what the clock says, and whether it has just rained. Sometimes he feeds the campers too. Be there in late July or the beginning of August. Carl will give you some sweet bi-color corn that was probably picked that morning. Sorry. I'm almost drooling over the keyboard as I type this.

Oh yes. The website is here.

Cedar Hills shares that hill know as Wisconsin Heights with the Wisconsin DNR Blackhawk Natural Area. It adjoins the campground and has hiking trails, Native American Mounds, and is great for horseback riding. The most famous battle of the infamous Blackhawk War occurred here on July 21, 1832. The view from virtually every campsite is nothing short of an epiphany.

On Monday holidays Carl charges a three day minumum. The campground has some sites with electric and water. It is basic with NO camp store. Carl has ice and firewood at the office which is about two miles from the campsites and you can't count on the office being open. Be prepared. Carl's girlfriend Betty is around on the weekends to help. They are wonderful people. Once you meet them you realize that you are not a customer. You are a friend that comes back again and again.

Much of his business is river rats Hell bent on getting an all-over tan at the nearby Mazo Beach but then again people stay there to visit Wis. Dells, American Players Theater, House on the Rock, and the multitude of wonderful places nearby. Did I mention Susie the Duck Days over in Lodi, Wisconsin?


Monday, May 21, 2007

Jerry Falwell, Sun Myung Moon, Blackwater and More

Doug Boone is on my mind. He was ornery, loud, arrogant and right! He will be missed. He was the guy with sign at the corner of 9th and Georgia all by himself. He would be at the sundial on Fridays protesting the Iraq morass. That's where I met him. It takes all kinds to work for social justice. Doug was the 'in your face' guy. I joked on this page that if the Iraq War went on any longer that fatalities and injuries to protesters would be tallied. Doug Boone is our first fatality. He died from a blood clot following a routine operation.

I know firsthand about blood clots having survived three bouts with them. I would venture that Doug would want all of us to continue to Fight the Good Fight. That's what I would want too.

Jerry Falwell died. Good riddance. He singlehandedly did more harm to our country than almost anyone I can think of. I put him in the same group with Adolph Hitler and Jeffrey Dalmer. Falwell was in bed with Sun Myung Moon. The Moonie's once divorced leader gave Falwell a $3.5 million kicker in the '90's when Liberty University was about to go belly up. Moon also gave Falwell a so-called award at a White House prayer breakfast. Oh yes. They are both in bed with Dubya Bush. Falwell did everything he could to get folks to vote Republican (and so has Moon).

In a totally unrelated matter, chalk one up to the Republicans and their mantra of less government and less corporate accountability. The Food and Drug Administration has suffered with less money each year of the last ten. That means less and less food coming from China is checked for toxicity. Food from China you say? Yes. Food additives are coming from the industrial cesspool known as China. Think pets are at risk? Think again. People are too. Falwell did a lot of damage by encouraging folks to vote Republican. Falwell may even be indirectly responsible for people dying from food poisoning in the future.

Last Saturday, May 19, was Armed Forces Day. Camp McCoy over in the western part of our great state held an open house for the occasion (only at one gate, have your ID ready). Many 'consumer-friendly' hands on events took place including free face painting for the kids. Yes. They were painting the kids faces camouflage-style. That's great! Of course you wouldn't want to lose your child at Camp McCoy or on the ride back home if you know what I'm getting at.

I studied Blackwater for Armed Forces Day. Blackwater is our newest branch of the armed services. The MSM (that's Main Stream Media) is beginning to call Blackwater by their proper name: Mercenaries. The 'M'-word is pretty nasty. I grew up hearing exploits of the French Foreign Legion. Mercenaries. Hired killers. They'd work work for anyone with the money to hire them. Blackwater is the largest mercenary firm doing so-called contracting work in Iraq. There are now at least 130,000 private-firm soldiers in Iraq. They carry guns and ammo and deliver and protect things. They kill anything in their way.

Capitalism has hit Blackwater. They have been hiring gun-toters from Chile. The Chileans work much cheaper than their U.S. counterparts which sometimes get $1,000 to $1,500 a day. One of the last groups from Chile arrived in Iraq and were presented contracts 4hrs. before they were to go on duty. It specified $34 a day. They had been promised $4,000 to $7,500 a month!
They were told to sign or find their own way back to Chile.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cranky Pats, the Baer Brothers and more

At a recent Gallery Walk chatter turned to the state of affairs downtown, as it always does. A fellow told me: "You know, Gary, the Baer brothers are almost singlehandedly changing, creating, and rebuilding the downtown area." I told him I didn't totally agree with that, but after more back-and-forth banter I understood what he was trying to get across. Jason and Aaron Baer have invested their lives on a day to day basis to make Main Street a viable destination. Multitudes of folks want the downtown to succeed and Jason and Aaron are key players.

They own the New Moon Cafe and Cranky Pats. Let's hope that Cranky Pats stays open regardless of any conflicts between the city and the tax bill owed by the owners of the 100 block. There has to be a common sense solution crafted that leaves the Baer brothers out of the equation. Common sense dictates that the Baer brothers not be punished for the actions of their landlord.

I don't want to create a rush downtown but...

Mother's Day is Sunday. Rather than getting dressed up and taking mother out to eat in some fancy gin mill, why not change from the nice clothes worn to church, get into something comfortable and spend some time at the New Moon. The food is excellent with a large variety of beverages. A cold bottle of craft rootbeer sounds good at the moment. If you have been there on a Saturday you know what I am about to say. A baby crying, little urchins underfoot (watch where you step), and the various games and amusements that seem to appear from out of nowhere when parents bring their children. The din of conversations with light jazz in the background. There was a recent letter to the editor in the Northwestern from an elderly lady who came to the New Moon and told how impressed she was with the atmosphere there. It's multi-generational and laid back.

'Nuff said.

Bumper sticker seen on Main: I Served, Bush Deserted


Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Demise of Deer Lodge Lake

A fish tale as seen through the eyes of a child circa 1959 on opening day.

Dad promised to take us fishing the first weekend of May. In the days leading up to Saturday we checked and re-checked tackle boxes and played with the new cane poles. The new ones were in two and three sections, a great improvement over the one piece ones that had to be strapped down to the car or the boat. We still had cork bobbers but preferred the new red and white plastic ones. Buds were on the trees and leaves were beginning to come out but the lilacs wouldn't be in bloom until Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as my parents would say. The smell of the fresh wet black dirt in the garden wafted through my nostrils as I dug for worms on Thursday and Friday. I did the same Saturday morning to make sure there was enough.

Dad readied the boat and the trailer. The boat had been built by him in the years before I was born. It was painted bright green and was never in use without the obligatory coffee can and a couple of soup cans. The trailer also was a home made affair with some bald used tires. He wouldn't tell us where we were going but we knew his favorites.

We headed down Hy. 13 toward Adams Friendship. Deer Lodge Lake was a large pond with bluegills and perch. We had been there many times. The access road presented quick thinking and good driving skills. The boat had to be backed in from the state highway which had two lanes and a 65mph limit. After a few nervous moments we were off the highway and slowly backing toward the landing. Moments later the car came to a stop and a couple of very anxious kids jumped out and were greeted by...

The lake had disappeared! Gone. Kaput, like someone pulled the plug. I was amazed. I had never seen a lake bed without a lake and had always wondered what a lake looked like without water. My dad took off his railroad engineer's hat, (he wasn't one but liked the hat), and scratched his head. I ran around the perimeter to where the small dam was. It didn't look right, rotted pieces of wood the size of railroad ties. The dam wasn't any more than a yard wide.

We enjoyed the sunshine and the warming morning weather for a few minutes but it was obvious we would have to go elsewhere to fish. We headed north on Hy.13. Dad calmly explained we were going home. We pleaded with him to go somewhere else, possibly Nepco Lake, but he was adamant about going home. He promised us other times of fishing in the next weeks. I didn't understand this until I was older but his reasoning was that Deer Lodge Lake offered tranquility, peace and quiet. No other lake would be like that on opening day.

That's the end of the story. One story usually leads to another. Here's the 'nother story...

Some years later my dad talked about some high falutin' engineer or group of engineers who figured that they could build a lake much much larger than Deer Lodge Lake. He figured this engineer had probably just graduated from UW Madison, had never gotten his feet wet in a lake, and was probably still wet behind the ears. Land was bought, permits were issued, earth moving equipment was brought in and my dad kept a skeptical wait and see attitude.

Land in the area went for about $100 an acre practically anywhere outside of city limits. That would include land where the casino now stands in Nekoosa.

The new lake was called Lake Sherwood and I remember the signs advertising lake front lots for $19,995 where the land used to sell for a hundred bucks an acre. My dad was right on one count. Lake Sherwood took much longer to fill than was originally anticipated.

Not only did Lake Sherwood become a reality, another lake was built right next to it: Lake Camelot. Later even another was added called Lake Arrowhead plus the golf courses and all the other amenities.

Part of this story can be seen here. Deer Lodge Lake is mentioned in the history section of the same website: "In 1965, successful development of Deer Lodge Lake gave birth to lake Sherwood."

'Successful development' might be an adequate term. Screaming loud powerboats, lawn mowers and snowmobiles might also be adequate terms.

I have retained a file in my mind that brings back the solitude and beauty, the absolute serenity of Deer Lodge Lake.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Now it is the 1st of May

As a young child I looked forward to the 1st of May every year. We did the Maypole thing at school and arts and crafts too. The real fun started after school. We would take the smaller of the wicker baskets we used at Easter, and with mother's help we filled them with homemade cookies, candy, and anything else that was appropriate. An old toy, a Cracker Jack prize, maybe a premium from a cereal box.

Each basket was put together with a particular person in mind. The last item was a tag indicating the person's name. We then would deliver the basket by placing it on the porch. The next step was to ring the doorbell (or knock), and run like hell.

The whole idea was to never acknowledge who the gift came from. I sometimes came back from delivering a basket and found one for me on the front steps.

Later, at about age 12, I learned this: Now it is the 1st of May, Outdoor necking starts today.

Then... If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? (Pilgrims.)

I was never aware until many years later that May Day had political implications. I like that. I was brought up in a house where the term 'by rights' was used on an almost daily basis. My dad would say: "By rights a feller should be able to..." or "by rights a person should be able...(to return a defective toaster) (refuse Sunday work to go to church). "By rights" is a catch-all union term, i.e. "by the rights allowed workers in the union contract."

May Day has been dumbed-down by corporate media for my entire lifetime. There are sparks of life here and there. The Wisconsin Green Party has events scheduled in Milwaukee and Madison concerning immigration and boycotts on May 1. That's great. I'll go along with that. Don't buy anything.

The Mayflower descendants (English Protestants mind you), decided around 1700 to allow Catholics, Germans, Danes, Norwegians and more, to settle in America since they couldn't bring slaves from Africa fast enough.

The same mentality exists today. While the Red Neck Republicans continue to hate new immigrants, the Corporate Republicans, the ones with the cash and power, continue to bring more immigrants into the country to have a source of cheap labor. Red Neck Republicans continue to vote for whoever the Corporate Republicans tell them to which perpetuates the curse. (Note that at least 70% of the Democrats in office are corporate controlled.)

In a complete reversal, the party of Abraham Lincoln rather than freeing the slaves, has decided to bring them back under the kinder and gentler name: Guest Workers.

Horseapples. We don't need no half-citizens! Full citizenship in a reasonable amount of time, say 5yrs, should be able to be obtained by anyone professing to be human that resides here.

America was this grand experiment to try attaining a caste-free society, at least in theory. I have more respect for folks who are bilingual than for those who only know English. My grandmother could speak and write in both English and Norwegian. I can't!

Support those Spanish speaking people from Mexico in their quest for citizenship.

A point to ponder...

One hundred years ago in Oshkosh a new church began. It was called "First English Lutheran Church." It began because many of the younger Lutherans of the time couldn't understand services conducted in German. Late June 1907 was the date. Note that Germans had been present in Oshkosh for well over half a century at that point!

Please allow immigrants time to adjust, generations of time.

Let us re-ignite May 1 as a workers holiday, an anti-corporate holiday, a holiday in which we spend no money and work on schemes to take back this country from the corporations.

Start now. Spread the word.

Adios mi Corazon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wages: Private vs. Public Sector

I received comments regarding public sector wages in the face of declining private sector income. A short history is in order.

After WWII (1945) the economy boomed. Unions asked for and received good wages and benefits. The public sector was slow to catch up. In the latter 1960's high school seniors would go to work in the paper mills in the weeks after graduation and immediately be making more than their high school teachers.

Teachers and municipal employees unionized but never did quite catch up.

Over the years private sector jobs began migrating overseas and wages began to drop.

True. In 2007 public sector jobs look good to many in the private sector.

Question: Should public sector jobs pay less with fewer benefits to more closely mirror the private sector?

Answer: No. We should be constantly working to bring private sector wages and benefits up to a living wage.

I don't have the answers to that riddle, but I refuse to dumb-down anyone who has managed to figure out how to pay their bills. I would want to be brought up to that level of pay, not bring them down to mine.

Also. Only nine states in these Untied Skates of America have lower corporate taxes than Wisconsin and still we have companies moving out.

Dick Cheney's buddies at Halliburton, which keep the war machine oiled, just moved their corporate headquarters to Dubai.

How soon will Oshkosh Truck become DUBAI TRUCK?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mayor Frank Tower visits Salvation Army

Hizzonerdamare Frank Tower, who officially became our new mayor yesterday, had lunch and toured the Salvation Army today. It was a cordial visit where the mayor ate lunch in the common dining room and visited and met with many clients who frequent the facility. Captain Johnny Harsh, possibly expecting someone a bit older, was happy to meet Mr. Tower. The Mayor listened carefully to the concerns of the people who wanted to speak to him.

The noise, confusion, and number of people who talked to him in rapid succession may have caused him to lose focus at times, but he was curious about what goes on, genuinely curious. He met quite a cross-section of clients while eating lunch and then was given a tour of the facility by Captain Johnny Harsh.

His visit lasted in excess of an hour and 1/2. I told him I might blog about his visit. He made it clear to me that his visit was not newsworthy. He wanted to learn more about the mission. I applaud him for doing that.

I am sure he learned something today and I thank him for taking the time to do it.

A note to Frank Tower: Rep. Gordon Hintz came to the Salvation Army last Friday and ladled out food at lunchtime. It wasn't a political or photo-op thing for him either.

The people who use the Salvation Army are not likely to vote. A thank you is in order for any elected official who wants to know what is going on with the less fortunate.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Leach Amphitheater, PMI, Waterfest Too

Tony Palmeri did a column on PMI today. You can find it here. He did a good job pointing out what the community isn't getting at the Leach.

I have a twenty year background in live performance. I've played far too many places to even begin mentioning. They include dives, or as my black musician friends say, the chitlin' clubs, small country bars, hotel show lounges, the Madison Club, Maple Bluff Country Club, free-standing supper clubs, and backed up a dancing Root Bear at an A&W, nude dancers at times, Bucky Badger and UW cheerleaders, and for Wisconsin Governors and more. I have worked for very responsible and caring bosses, and for some of the most stubborn drunk bar owners you can imagine. Sorting through those bar owners I have learned what works and what doesn't. Here are some pearls of wisdom. See if they apply to PMI, Waterfest, and to the Leach Amphitheater.

A place which sits dark or is rarely used is not a place where folks are comfortable. A place should hum with activity every possible moment (in season). Mondays and Tuesdays don't make money but are extremely important. That's the time to bring in customers who go elsewhere on the weekends. It is also the time to experiment with other types of entertainment such as fashion shows, juggling competitions, chess competitions, arm wrestling...the list is endless. The Leach can lose money every Monday and Tuesday of the summer, get folks used to and comfortable with the idea of the Leach being the destination, and in the process build up other nights. Careful work in building up allegiance to the Leach will result in people going to the Leach rather than going to the Country Fest, the County Fair, or Sawdust Days. (I am not trying to take away from those things, just trying to prove a point.) One group which is comfortable at the Leach is the age group which attends Waterfest. Waterfest has done a good job just being consistent over the years, consistent meaning Thursdays, saleability of acts, etc. Other age groups need consistent entertainment to bring them into the fold.

Waterfest rates high in my opinion. PMI doesn't and should be replaced. The new vendor should be issued general guidelines which instruct them to open the restrooms and turn on the electricity and lights early in the week for a very low fee, even lower for non-profits. Music events could end by 9-9:30pm and low volume events could run a bit later.

There is no reason why the Leach couldn't be used for daytime activities on Saturday and Sunday at a reasonable fee. Wedding ceremonies, receptions, picnics, even Sunday morning revival meetings. Large tarps would take care of the lack of shade.

I would like to see the day when I overhear this conversation: "Bored? Let's go to the Leach to see what's happening tonight." Or: "Let's run by the Leach for a while before we go where we planned to go."

Volume is a serious problem at the Leach. Musicians and sound engineers are to blame. Waterfest is much louder than it used to be. Musicians have been kicking themselves in the butt for decades by being too loud.

Years ago I had a musician question me on why I was continually being asked to come back to a club to perform. I told him that I was the only one smart enough to turn the P.A. speakers around and face them into the wall.

One night last summer I stood at the entrance of the Hooper Building across from the Leach. I didn't stay there long. The volume hurt my ears. A key sign that hearing is being lost is if your ears hurt. When your ears hurt, immediately begin to distance yourself from the origin of the sound.

Musicians and sound engineers are their own worst enemies. Here are some key points.

Speakers hung high in the air project much further than those at ground level. This should be taken into account in dealing with sound levels at nearby residences. Speakers on or near the ground will do damge to the ears of the people who are too close.

Children whose ears have not matured will suffer some level of permanent hearing loss if they are too close to the stage at the Leach. I highly suspect that pregnant women should stay clear of Waterfest, period! You don't get a second chance with ears.

All this from someone with 20% of normal hearing. My hearing is corrected at this point but you don't want to be where I am. It's no fun.

On lights...

PMI scores at the top on this. They hired Steven Dedow. He and his crew do a fantastic job.

Waterfest continues to hire non-union people for lights. Waterfest should hire Steven Dedow to do it. Steve does it right plus the fact that he lives here.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ann Frisch to Assist Guatemalan Human Rights Workers

Ann Frisch, who recently retired, is doing anything but. Within a week she should be arriving in Guatemala. She will be part of a small team which will give nonviolent support for local human rights workers. This is under the auspices of Nonviolent Peaceforce. Please take a moment to learn more by clicking on that link.

Will she be facing danger? I asked Ann that question. She replied that danger is always present and told me how we, meaning all of us here in Oshkosh and Wisconsin, can help. The answer is to get out the word about her mission. If large numbers of people know, that improves her level of safety. On a personal level, if more folks in Guatemala know that she is unarmed and nonviolent, the better off she is.

Ann will be blogging from Guatemala in real time and I will have it linked to your left. It is titled Ann Frisch's Journal and the address is Ann would like this link available to all. She hopes that all of the local blogs link her site for the next several months. She promised me that she would write a minumum of once a week and more if possible. She hopes to include photos too. Please take it from there Babblemur, Tony, Cheryl...heck I'm not going to list everyone, just link it.

It is my hope that the Northwestern would also link her blog too. It is my understanding that she will be writing some guest columns for them on this very subject.

It doesn't stop there. If you know of a national blog who might be interested, please pass it on. In addition to that please alert Spanish Instructors in the Valley. Some of Ann's columns will be in Spanish and would be great for classroom use.

Did I miss anybody?

If everyone does their job it can only add a bit more safety to her endeavor.

Pass it on. Peace.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Wedding of Note

Helen Lord Burr answered my question. She told me that she had been involved with the Oshkosh Salvation Army for 35 years and didn't recall any weddings being held there. A moment later she clarified that. She told me that when she first became involved, that there was a couple who had been married there, but she didn't know when.

Michele Bernard and Marvin Hildebrand were joined in holy matrimony by Captain Johnny Harsh on Friday March 30, becoming the first couple to do so in over 35 years.

Michele became a full-fledged Soldier in the Salvation Army a while back and also went to work for them as a Social Worker. She has lived in Oshkosh a long time. Marvin grew up about 30 miles from Tulsa, OK. He was living in Milwaukee and also was a Soldier in the Army. Michele and Marvin's life led them to a recent convention of sorts in Madison. They hit it off, Marvin decided to come to Oshkosh, and now they tied the knot.

Captain Johnny Harsh was delighted to do a wedding. He told me: "No more funerals please. Thank God! I'd rather do weddings." Captain Johnny explained to me that a wedding between two Salvation Army Soldiers is very special. It incorporates what is called "The Salvation Army Articles of Marriage." I couldn't put a direct link to it, but it is posted online. It encourages the bride and groom to go above and beyond the normal expectations of marriage.

As one person put: The entire affair was simple and elegant. Nothing more, nothing less. The church was nicely decorated and virtually full. Michele's hair was very very pretty. She was given away by George, long time driver of the Salvation Army truck you see about town. It was a serious affair with hints of humor. Marvin dropped the ring when the ring-bearer handed it to him. Captain Johnny remarked on 'jitters' and 'knees shaking' and when it came Michele's turn with the ring, Captain told her not to drop it.

Following the ceremony CJ's at the Wayside (Ripon) catered the meal. The dining room at the Salvation Army had been transformed for the occasion. The meal included Prime Rib cut to order and Chicken Breasts Cordon Bleu. There was lots of laughter and good natured kidding directed at Michele and Marvin.

The only sour note was that the Army's regular Friday hours ended at 2pm and no regular meal was served. This irritated people who normally come for that.

Captain Johnny Harsh told me that three more weddings are scheduled this year. That's quite a change from years past.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

First Tuesdays at First Congregational

First and foremost exercise your right to VOTE on Tuesday.

A community wide invite comes from First Congregational Church on Algoma. Be there Tuesday at noon for a mini-concert and lunch. The event is absolutely free of charge. Donations are encouraged and discreetly taken but don't let lack of funds stop you from being there.

This month's musical entree is an organ-harp combo. Joanne Peterson is playing the pipe organ and Sarah Thrush plays the harp. Sarah comes from the UWO Music Dept. and you can sneek a look at her background from this web article from seven years ago.

The music is the draw, but there is more! We're talking food today. I will print verbatim the menu from last month's First Tuesday affair...
Aunt Julie's Italian Wedding Soup
Hungarian Cream of Mushroom
Parisienne Flat Bread
Ciabatta Bread
Turkish Sesame Bread
Chocolate Brad
Curry Chicken Salad
Coffee, Punch, and Desserts
Now that's a menu for Soup and Sandwich! The Curry Chicken Salad was served on the side and you could choose from the fresh breads at the table. Desserts included at least seven flavors of cheescake.
The chefs were Susan Heft, Jack Talin, and Chris Laufer accompanied by dozens of volunteers.
When you get up from your computer now and head for the fridge mark Tuesday at noon on your calendar.

Wisconsin DNR Does a 180

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has announced a complete reversal on its 'no camping' policy on the Lower Wisconsin River south of Sauk City in the vicinity of the Mazomanie Bottoms and the Ferry Bluff natural units. Campers will again be welcome under a new program being introduced this year.

Turtle reproduction is the problem. They are not producing enough offspring. The DNR is working hard to find solutions concerning turtle sex.

Enter: Turtles In Transition Society.

The Turtles in Transition Society was formed to assist the DNR in making sure the turtles properly mate. Members of this group will be camping on the sandbars of Mazomanie Bottoms for weeks on end, braving all elements of weather and being away from their families and homes, just to prove a point. Turtles do it in the water. Then they come ashore and deposit their eggs in the sand. Taking a clue from other groups around the world, the paid volunteers will discreetly watch where the turtles deposit their eggs, marking the spot with caution tape. Each of the paid volunteers will be issued infrared night-vision goggles which along with Huber beer and cheap whiskey will keep them focused on the job.

I interviewed Barbara Wolf, who holds the prestigious title of State of Wisconsin, Department of Natural Resources, South Central Regional Warden, and when asked about turtle sex she replied: "Do bears s**t in the woods?"

Spiritual adviser to the group, the Rev. Ralph Ovadal, could not be reached regarding the issue of turtle sex. Ruth Bender remains clueless.


Although this blog originates in Oshkosh it has no ties to the Naturist Society which is headquartered here and never will.

The Turtles In Transition Society is the brainchild of the Friends of Gary (FOG). There are many Garys' and they will all tell you that they would refuse to become a member of any organization that would have them.

If you would like to take part in promoting turtle sex just email me (or any other Gary) and have your checkbook ready.


Saturday, March 31, 2007

Monster of a Story

B'gosh, it's dead in the water. Oshkosh 'on the water' is about as dead as WOSH on a March day. To paraphrase that guy from Lake Wobegon: "March exists so that people who don't drink know what a hangover is like." The 20th of April sometimes feels like it's still March.

I was force fed WOSH for about five minutes one morning. It was like all you can eat for $1.99, but a dollars' worth was all I could stand! Then came some public service type ad from the National Chamber of Commerce spreading vitriol about union bosses taking money. The union bosses are about the only reason the common person has ever had any money. There ain't many left and the C. of C. wants to do away with all of 'em. I'm glad though about being force-fed WOSH. It reminded me why I never have that station on.

I've got news for the Chamber of Commerce. Oshkosh is dead in the water. Look around you. Foreclosures are up, people can't afford to bring their old houses up to code, and the students from the Milwaukee vicinity refer to the downtown area as a (whispered) slum.

'On the water' brings about as many tourists to town...Well. Let me put it this way: The Women's Sumo Wrestling Championships might be a better draw.

It's never been about what's 'on the water', it's about what lies below. 747's full of tourists from Scotland renting watercraft and sonar looking for the elusive monster of Lake Winnebago, teaching the locals down at Oblios the finer points of single malt Scotch, spending incredible sums of money in the local restaurants. This has got legs, at least the story does, and don't expect it to go away anytime soon.

Expect to see artists renditions of this lake creature(s) sometime soon at the Gallery Walk and I wouldn't doubt that sculptures will follow at major intersections, and contests in the schools. Don't forget the naming contest. My hands down favorite is:

Winney the Lake Winnebago Monster.

Would someone kindly tell the Chamber of Commerce to lighten up, quit spending money on ads that demean our citizens, and realize that we have the ($$$) largest inland lake ($$$) in the country to draw upon. If ya can't use the lake ya might as well sell it to the Saudis.

Can't you see Geraldo in a wet suit preparing to get to the bottom of this monster thing?

I have spoken about this to a couple of our local politicians but I won't divulge a thing until Wednesday after the elections.

In the meantime please remind young children not to get too close to the water lest the monster might get 'em.

Fishy Fact: The DNR claims that living organisms in Lake Winnebago exceed 200lbs. You can take that one to the bank.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fr. Carr's Place 2B

Father Carr's Homeless Shelter: number of people using the facilities in the past month.

Note that these numbers are not exact. They are not pinned down to the exact date. This is to allow users of the shelter to remain anonymous. If they were found to have 'leaked' information to someone outside the property they would probably be on the street within the hour. I use the Watergate style of collecting information, i.e. three separate sources as a rule and two sources if they have been 100% reliable in the past.

Men's Shelter...
Population: 14. Shelter capacity: 75.

Women and Children's Shelter...
Population: 7. Shelter capacity: 75.

Note that the women's shelter also houses a dozen nuns. They are from another country and are attending school in Oshkosh. I have it on good authority that the relations between the nuns and the women staying in the shelter is very stressed of late.

Father Carr has not been well. He was in the hospital weeks ago. One leg was amputated below the knee.

What follows today should be taken with a grain of salt.

I use track-back software on this blog. I don't hide it. Scroll down to the bottom and click on the number in the box. Stat-Counter tells me a lot about the readers of my blog. Much of it is rather mundane. Then again it brings more questions than answers.

About two weeks ago someone Googled this: ["father carr's place" oshkosh].

I 'drilled down' to get more detailed info...
Host Name:
IP number: 149.101.?.???

This computer is located in Potomac, Maryland. It was someone from the United States Department of Justice. They spent exactly 20 minutes and 40 seconds reading previous columns I had written about Father Carr.

What does this tell me? Someone from the U.S. Dept. of Justice is investigating Father Carr? Someone with ties to the Oshkosh area who works for the Dept. of Justice put Father Carr's name in the search engine while eating lunch and doodling at the computer? The latter one sounds more likely to me. Let's hope it isn't the first. (I do not wish to get that employee in trouble. I have the exact IP-number but entered 'question marks' for the last four digits.)

Like I said. Take it with a grain of salt.

What happens now? Tomorrow someone from the U.S. Dept. of Justice will Google [ u.s. dept. of justice ]. They will find this blog-post at the top of the list.

They will 'click' on it and read it.

Tomorrow night my trackback software will tell me they did.

So what and who gives a rat's behind?


Living Healthy Clinic Loses Grant

The UWO Living Healthy Clinic, located at Doctor's Court (off Bowen St.) was to receive a $150,000 'earmark' from the Federal Government. An 'earmark' is an amendment tacked on to the end of a bill. Earmarks may or may not relate to the main bill, but may appease a lawmaker. In this case Sen. Herb Kohl (D) pushed for the money.

I attempted to follow through on the bill (Health and Human Services #109-HR5647) and found that the Republicans had stalled it for three months. That was September 2006. I do not understand the web site well enough to proceed further.

At any rate I needed to go to the clinic, (an off-shoot of the UWO Nursing Program), the other day. A new sign graced the door...shorter hours. Another new sign: No New Patients.

I asked if they had received the 'earmark' and was told that they "were not going to get it after all."

I was also told that a lot of questionable pork-barrel type 'earmarks' still went through.

Folks. This is a damn shame. A lot of low income folks depend on this clinic.

My primary source today was Leona Whitman who very capably runs the clinic. Got a few thousand lying around? Got an idea for a fundraiser? Call the clinic at (920) 424-1242.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Iraq War: A Town Hall Forum

on the
Monday March 26
7:00 P.M.
United Steelworkers Building
1244A Midway Road
Menasha, WI 54952
Citizen Action Wisconsin
Don Wadle

Wisconsin in the News

I sometimes wonder what impression people in the other 49 states have of Wisconsin. At times I have posted or been picked up on a national blog. It however did not happen this time. All Hat No Cattle, which is in my link list on this page, is my favorite place to send items. Lisa, who runs this popular national blog, did not publish my blurb (below), but did reply personally via email.

All Hat No Cattle has had in excess of 12 and 1/2 million views! Lisa is currently running her site from an island south of Florida and recently was threatened with a lawsuit by Scarborough of MSNBC.

No comment on this from me. Read on...

From: Lisa
To: Gary
Subject: Re: Deer Sex / Superior, Wisconsin
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 11:12:04 -0700 (PDT)


Maybe we can get Dick Cheney to go hunting with him!

Thanks for writing.

Gary wrote:
Dear Lisa,
Please don't judge Wisconsinites by the actions of that fellow in Superior who had sex with a deer. The rest of us are holding our own just fine, thank you.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

First Congregational to Remember War Dead

The 10:00am service at the First Congregational Church (UCC) on Algoma, Sunday March 25, will be musical in nature. Please click on the links to learn more.

A Service to Remember All Those
Who Die in War
A moving new Requiem composed just four years ago by Bradley Ellingboe will be presented here in our 10:00 worship service by our Chancel Choir, accompanied by organ Violin, and cello, with soloist Laurel Sanders.
The work includes the texts of John Donne's poem "Death Be Not Proud", "Psalm 22", the "Lord's Prayer", and George Herbert's poem "Evensong".
I am not a member of First Congregational. I believe this may be a very ambitious and provocative service, a service that other churches and musical groups might like to tackle. Visitors are always welcome at First Congregational.

Friday, March 16, 2007

On the Edge of Town

Spent some time west of town on the lake. Serene, calm, late winter provides a bleak landscape from which emerges signs of a brighter season. Went to feed the birds at sunup, but waited while three young healthy bambi's wandered through and foraged a bit. The deer were pretty against the backdrop of remaining snow, gentle and ever watchful. The bluejays were first, scaring away all others. Then the robins, cardinals, and yellow finches and more including gray squirrels working the ground under the feeder. All disappeared and when I looked to the sky I saw a red-tailed hawk and then a second.

My return around sunset brought with it a couple more deer who by straining their necks managed to eat what was left on the feeder.

Box-elder bugs are active in the house. I pick them up on paper and deposit them in the garage. They are so pretty with the orange-red markings on their wings. They resemble roaches but are inane and not scary at all. As a child I used to play with them and watch them for hours.

Spring is coming...sometime. An old jazz tune travels through my mind: "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most".


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Maybe a little crazy...

What's with the flags at half-staff again. They have been that way so much of the last four years that I don't bother to investigate. Speaking of that, another item I won't investigate is telescoping flagpoles. Every time flags are to be put at half staff it would be much easier to leave the flag right where it is and raise the pole twice as high. Think about how a car or boombox aerial works. Presto! Pole moves, flag doesn't.

Spring forward, Fall back. This will drop into obscurity. It's nowhere near Spring. How about: March ahead, Fall back? (A tip of the hat to Miles McGuire with March Forth i.e. March 4.) Here's an old Irish saying: March 17th, sleep 18th.

Daylight Savings Time is going to save energy? I think not. It will encourage more energy use before daylight and tease people who 'want to go buy something before it's dark out'. Yes. Burn more gas after work and buy more cheap plastic crap from Mall-Wart. My guess would be that if everyone stayed at home after work for the next three weeks and didn't spend any money, Daylight Savings Time would start later in the spring.

Heard on the streets...
  • Newcomer: You look familiar. Did you ever spend time in a mental institution?
  • Resident: ??? (shakes head while walking away)


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Dick Cheney, Back to Work?

It doesn't surprise me that Cheney has a blood clot. What does is that the wire services said he returned to the office for the rest of the afternoon after learning this. I find this virtually impossible, highly improbable.

The medical name is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots usually form in the upper calf behind the knee. They slow down or cut blood circulation to the lower leg. A person feels only minor discomfort. The ankle may swell. A trip to a clinic or emergency room usually results in going through an ultrasound type test to pinpoint the clot.

Since pain is minimal the presence of a clot is more likely to raise the blood pressure of the medical personnel than the patient. The medical people know that at any moment the clot may decide to move northward in the body. If the clot chooses to move to the lung or heart area you may have a good chance of survival if you are in the hospital. If the clot chooses to move to your brain (aneurysm) you will become roadkill in under eight minutes.

I have been through DVT three times and know the procedure well. If the ultrasound is positive you do not pass GO, you do not collect $200, and you can forget even leaving the hospital to go to your car, or going home to pack a bag. The next step after the ultrasound is to lay down on a gurney or hospital bed with your feet elevated higher than your heart or lungs. This tremendously lowers the likelihood that the clot will move. You will remain on your back for about four days and not be allowed to even bring your legs down to walk to a restroom! Clots are not operated on. Blood thinners are administered orally and by I.V. until the clot begins to disintegrate on its own.

That Cheney claimed to go back to his undisclosed location to finish the workday is preponderous! This is proof to me that reporters didn't even do basic investigation. They could've asked an M.D., a nurse, a relative, an uncle, their own parents, or me! Do your own investigation. Contact a relative or friend who has gone through this and you can confirm what you are reading here. Cheney went back to work: BOGUS! The Northwestern took the wire service item and printed it verbatim in their new 'all the news fitted to print' format.

I looked for outrage about this on the web and found nothing. It could be that no one even cares or bothers to challenge the MSM. It is one more time that reporters take the bait and publish without doing the simplest of fact-checking.

So now Dick Lon Cheney will be on Warfarin (brand name: Coumadin). Warfarin is rat poison. It was invented in Wisconsin. WARF stands for Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

In the 1930's farmers had cows bleed to death from eating spoiled clover silage. The UW Ag. Dept. in Madison figured this out, then put it to use. Warfarin was developed to kill rats and mice on farms. When the rats didn't die their blood became extremely thin. This info made it to the UW Medical School in Madison next. Soon they began using Warfarin in small dosages on humans. Warfarin is the most used blood thinner in the world and many buildings on the Madison campus have been paid for with residuals.

I would not be surprised if Cheney is kept on Warfarin the rest of his life. I am. I've been on it most of the time since 1994.

Warfarin has few side effects. One is use of alcohol. Alcohol thins blood and when combined with the blood thinner Warfarin you get a very quick and enhanced buzz. Someone who is on Warfarin should not drink their lunch and then go hunting quail with a friend. Warfarin, alcohol, and guns do not mix well. Ask Dick Cheney. You may have seen web chatter on this. I have personal knowledge of what happens when alcohol and Warfarin are used together. It's a fact.

A couple of Cheney's buddies from Halliburton are execs in the private company that has been running Walter Reed Hospital for two years. Yes! Walter Reed Army Hospital was outsourced to a private-for-profit corporation. Rats, mice, and mold greet our returning injured Vets. These two former Halliburton big-wigs are receiving $123 million in wages for basically gutting Walter Reed. They cut the number of employees there from 300 to 100 to SAVE THE TAXPAYERS SOME MONEY!

Oh, by the way: In an unrelated story...if the Bush Cheney REPUBLICAN bunch get their way and eliminate the death tax ONE FAMILY ALONE WILL RECEIVE A $32 BILLION TAX SAVING! That family is the one that owns Mall-Wart, the Waltons.

There you have it folks. Reporters who pass on Cheney lies as fact. Passive MSM. Former and present Halliburton employees who are hurtful to people in the armed services, the same Halliburton that Cheney ran for years. A Republican party which says 'support the troops' and has cut V.A. funds since 2000 in the name of 'saving the taxpayers some money'. Those taxpayers are some of the richest folks (Waltons) on the planet. Do you see your taxes being cut?

I find it hard to believe but there are still right-wing religious wacko redneck pickup truck loser wanna-be-Republicans who don't get it. Nothing is left-right. It's corporate / non-corporate.

The big question remains: Who will become President if Cheney dies?


(By the way...Why am I humming 'Werewolves of London'? Nevermind. It just dawned on me.)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Gallery Walk Recap

But first...

First Tuesdays at First Congregational. Tuesday at noon. 'Flute Salad' is the musical offering. The mini-concert is followed by a soup and sandwich lunch with yummy desserts. The entire event is free and open to the public. If you are inclined, a goodwill offering is taken. Chef Sue Heft will direct some thirty helpers. They will not be named here but they are the stars in that they make it possible to enjoy the concert, eat, and be back to work at 1pm! THANK YOU HELPERS!

Last Saturday took me to Guten Tag as my first stop. I had been meaning to go there for three months. It is a large gallery on the 2nd floor at 316 Court St. Start at the New Moon, go east on Washington St. past the library and turn right. Gracious Tracy Heckel runs the gallery which features several artists. The high ceiling gives it an airy feeling, a 'good inside' feeling which brings out the best in the artworks. I was awed by the building itself. It is well over 100yrs old. The wooden floors are beautiful. A stage graces one end. Tracy told me it used to be a Labor Hall. I could visualize wedding dances from years ago. I was curious, went to the Oshkosh Public Library tonight and one of the crack Reference Librarians was able to direct me in finding details. It is a brick building, brick being common after the great fires of the latter 1800's. It was built circa 1890-93 and the first tenant I found was the 'Sons of Hermann' Lodge. The Son's of Hermann group began 1850 in Oshkosh and dissolved 1913. It was re-dedicated the Oshkosh Moose Lodge January 9, 1914. Much later it became the Building Trades and Labor Hall. The librarian told me of her first visit to the Labor Hall circa 1967 when Hubert H. Humphrey(D), Senator from Minnesota (and later VP) spoke there. 'Fact sheets', derogatory ones printed on pink paper were being passed around to insinuate that he was a 'pinko'. Such was life in Oshkosh at that time. At any rate the building and gallery is beautiful and tasteful, a delight to the eye, and I will be back. You do the same.

Jambalaya on Main again had some members of the soon to be famous Oshkosh Drum Circle and at one point featured a belly dancer. The Drum Circle is damn good. They should routinely be asked to open and take part in community events. Anybody listening?

I ended the night at Jacinda's Spa & Salon, 440 N. Main. They offer all manner of Salon services and have taken to the Gallery Walk like a duck takes to water. Stop there during the next 'Walk' and get introduced. You may want to make your next hair appointment there. They had live entertainment par excellence! A thirty year old fellow named Todd Bergquist. Todd is a relative of one of the beauticians. He is somewhere between James Taylor, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Johnny Cash, and Boxcar Willie. Then again it's as if he is all of them at the same time. He has top notch sound re-enforcement and knows how to correctly use it: Bose. Martin is the name on his ax, a top notch acoustic-electric model. Intonation was perfect, a great voice, a sense of humor, a good ear for sound, and common sense in adjusting the volume to perfectly fit the room. Fine job Todd! Note: Every single person there was clapping their hands, singing along, yodeling, etc. with the exception of one young lady who sat in a barber chair, perfectly still, with a gloomy demeanor. What's up with her? She stuck out like a sore thumb.

Art is subjective. I don't often comment on artists and particular works of art. It's a very individual and 'point in time' feeling. I enjoy it. I am very comfortable writing about live music since I have a lifetime intense background in it.

Watch for upcoming columns on the Leach, Waterfest and more. I am not happy with PMI. Waterfest is good, but there is a lot of room for improvement. It will be offensive to some. I hope someone listens to this seasoned veteran.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Top o' the Mornin' Oshkosh

St. Patrick's Day will be here sooner than a leprechaun's twinkle o' the eye, March 17, which just happens to be on a Saturday this year. UWO recesses on Friday March 16 for spring break. Let your imagination take it from there.

Whoa! Wait a minute! Don't connect UWO with past disturbances in Oshkosh on St. Patrick's Day.

I have done my homework on this and can say up front that;
  • Arrests on this day in the past have been typically 1/2 -out of town non-students, 1/4 -city residents, and 1/4 -(or less) UWO students.
  • The university may have acted as a focal point (I hate the word magnet) for young adults seeking to be around other young adults.

The UWO students have a right to 'youthful exuberance'. That locals and out-of-towners joined them and at times took it beyond the legal limits of exuberance, surely can't be blamed on the university. Thanks. Now, where did I set that bottle of Guinness?

Oshkosh did have that reputation for imbibing on March 17 some years. There's no question about that. Wisconsin has that reputation. Other people come to Wisconsin to have an excuse to drink. (Ask someone from Iowa or Illinois and they will tell you that.) Wisconsinites drink so they have an excuse to do other things!

Back in the '60's Stevens Point had a corner on this. The students commandeered a beer truck one day. The driver's bosses told the gendarmes in short order to let the students have the beer in order to save the truck. At least that's the way I remember it. The end result was some very cheap advertising and lots of good will for the beer company. (Don't get any ideas kids!) Oshkosh stole that title from Stevens Point in the '70's. The early 1960's gave Lake Geneva notoriety due to the number of Chicagoans who came across to drink there. The lure: a lower drinking age. That peaked when the governor called out the National Guard to patrol Lake Geneva on a July 4th weekend. I remember it well. I watched the footage on the CBS evening news with Walter Cronkite and hoped it would still be as exciting a few years later after I had my driver's license and was out of high school. (It wasn't.) Sheboygan held the 'party' connotation for several years with it's Bratwurst Festival with beer stands every half a block and people passing out on blankets along the Lake Michigan shoreline. That party had no choice but to cool down. The Stoughton Syttende de Mai (May 17 Norwegian Independence Day) celebration reached the point of being an excuse to drink sometime in the '60's and early '70's. They toned down the emphasis on alcohol and it is a great family style festival to this day. The La Crosse Octoberfest continues to be a drinking party. How about Halloween on State St. in Madison, not to mention the springtime Miffland Block Party?

Highlights from the Past

Previous to 1700 the English Protestants who were murdering native Americans refused to allow Roman Catholics into New England and routinely murdered entire settlements of them, men, women, and children. No Catholic blood was to mix with the English, Irish or otherwise. After 1700 they eased up on this practice, realizing that the country was big enough for all, but more likely came to the conclusion that they couldn't bring in slaves fast enough and needed a cheap labor pool.

Large numbers of Irish were in cities such as Chicago circa 1900. They had a rough time. Newspaper Want Ads of the day routinely were tagged: Irish need not apply.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh) of Monday March 18, 1901 had this headline on page 1: "No Disorder Reported on St. Patrick's Day." It detailed that no drunken arrests occurred on Sunday the 17th implying that this behavior happened in other years.

A Century Ago

The Daily Northwestern of Monday March 18, 1907 had a headline: "Many Wear the Green." The sub-headline: "Patron Saint of Ireland is Honored in a Quiet Way." It noted that the 17th was a "rather cold, raw day", "Main Street was crowded with people during the afternoon and early evening." "Many wore rosettes or streamers of green ribbon, or else a tiny shamrock out of respect to the good saint of Ireland." It also noted that the wearin' of the green was not limited to folks of Irish descent.

"Sermon On St. Patrick" was another headline with "Work of Irish Saint Is Praised" as the sub-headline. Rev. J. W. Greenwood, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, "regarded the work of St. Patrick as fully as great as that of any other religious worker of the early Christian days." He described "the early life of the boy, his kidnapping by pirates, his studies for the priesthood in Paris, and his return to Ireland to preach the gospel to all." "St. Patrick, he said, although not dying a martyr's death, lived the martyr's life, enduring privation and persecution for the sake of the call."

Next to that article was a large block ad which proclaimed: "Drink BEER". "Doctor's declare that the great prevalence of typhoid fever in the city at present is due to impure water. We therefore recommend you to drink beer. Our beer is absolutely pure, healthful, and wholesome." Oshkosh Brewing Co., Office No. 31 Doty Street. Tel. No. 11.


Articles in The Northwestern and it's competitor The Paper told of Wisconsin St. being closed from about 4-7pm on March 17. Young people were throwing snowballs, cans, and bottles at motorists and broken glass was a threat to tires. Zero to four arrests were reported.


Saturday March 16, one arrest, four hurt. Police called to Tosh's, 122 Wisconsin, Mar's Restaurant, 150 Wisconsin, Mr. Lucky's, 539 Pearl, and Dino's Titan, 667 N. Main.

The Monday, March 18, Northwestern reported a litany of weekend antics: 19 arrests, 5 policemen injured, 4 squad cars damaged, and a Courthouse window broken. Arrests were made on Wisconsin Street, the crowd followed the squad carrying the arrestees' back to the courthouse and demanded they be released. Cops were heckled and pelted with firecrackers, bottles, cans, and snow and mud balls The taverns on Wisconsin St., with police assistance, closed around 10pm Saturday night. One tavern on Main St. closed for the weekend around 3pm Sunday afternoon citing 'diminishing returns' due to wear and tear. They had sold 10 cases of liquor, 100 cases cans, and 200 half barrels. Many tavern owners were afraid to open Sunday. One arrest was at The Dilemma, 25 N. Main - a nude man dancing on the bar. An ambulance was called to the dorms. They couldn't get to the patient and had to call police for backup. The police had to move partiers who had passed out in the hallway so the ambulance crew could get the stretcher through. That the floor was sticky and slippery with beer, paper cups and cans didn't help. Mercy Hospital Emergency Room recorded their busiest night ever!

1975... 27 arrests but split up around town. Much quieter than '74. A new law had been passed outlawing drinking off premises (on sidewalks).

1976... March 17th was a Wednesday, a yawner.

1977... The 17th was a Thursday, snow and ice balls and few arrests.

1978... March 17th was on a Friday. The weather was nice and there were 15 arrests.


"Wildest in Five Years" was The Northwestern's headline. The 17th was Saturday with a heavy concentration of revelers in the area of Irving and Main St. Out of the weekends' 38 arrests, 9 were students at the university.


March 17th fell on a Monday. The party began on Friday the 14th. The drinking age was still at age 18. 50 were arrested Friday night. By Monday morning that number had risen to 350 with one more night to go. Someone managed to break a window at Scott Hall. The crowd cheered. About thirty windows later the damage ceased.

On Tuesday March 18 The Northwestern reported that over 400 people had been arrested! City Manager Wm. Frueh suggested the city work with the university to allow for spring break over March 17th in the future.

The Milwaukee Journal of Monday March 17th had a page one story on Oshkosh which was a bit different than The Northwestern. They said that there were 343 arrests and counting. One witness told of a woman with two children being arrested for jaywalking when she stepped into the street to retrieve her child's toy. The woman pleaded with the police to wait to take her to the station until she could find someone to care for her kids. By the way, 93 of those 343 arrests were for jaywalking. The Oshkosh Chief of Police was quoted as saying he had no pity at all for anyone who was arrested.

The St. Pat's holiday quieted down after that year.

I welcome readers responses and stories about the various years. Most of the people I interviewed could remember events but couldn't associate them with a given year. Maybe it was the green beer?

The best way to end a St. Patrick's party is to hire a Bagpiper. Ever heard one of those indoors? Oshkosh has one. You can watch and listen to him at this link. Who is he? Where can he be found? This guy's got a future.

Circa 1975-77 around St. Patrick's day the Tonight Show's Johnny Carson said that there was only two places in the world to celebrate it: Dublin, Ireland and Oshkosh! Would anyone know the year and the date (or have a tape)?


Sources: Unless otherwise noted I used the Oshkosh Northwestern which can be found on microfilm at the Oshkosh Public Library.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

The party recipe goes like this...

Take a couple million of the poorest people on the planet. Spend 51 weeks planning the most outlandish all-out party. Let the drums begin. A week later, haggard, broke and lucky to be alive, go home and live in misery and poverty for another year. Repeat.

Why is it that the poorest of the poor own the recipe for the best party on earth?

Such color, such dancing, and the music pounds on for days.

Way back in 1975-76 I studied and absorbed what I could and put it to work for me. The Disco craze had begun to sweep the country and sound systems for DJ's began to sound respectable. My work in the gin mills demanded that I study it to stay viable in the live music tavern business.

Disco music (1976-79) virtually drowned out everything else on the air waves. It eventually led to the saying: Disco Sucks.

Disco is good and wonderful happy music and I love it. Yes I do. It died in 1979. It didn't so much die but took a break and peeks through here and there without the 'Disco' title attached.

What is Disco? It was a North American adaptation of Samba from Brazil. To a trained percussionist it is Samba reworked with Paso Doble. This is all time party music! Listened to for several hours with bright colors and certain liquid refreshments it sends you into another world which lasts until the head-throbbing headache the next day (or the next week). It is the happiest music I have ever heard in my life.

The bar owner would say: Keep 'em happy and keep 'em drinking. Disco was the perfect solution to this. 120 bpm (beats per minute) for the most part with a jump to 128 bpm the rest of the time. We never ran out of tunes to play. Any song can be rearranged to fit. The latter 70's saw a revival of standards which dated to the 1920's. Example: Baby Face.

Latin American music just keeps coming back again and again. Perez Prado did it in the 1950's with "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" and then with a tune called "Patricia". Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass did it in the '60's. Santana brought forth another twist with songs such as "Evil Ways" and "Oye Como Va". "Oye Como Va" was a remake first made popular by Tito Puente. Sergio Mendes and the Brazil '66 was another rebirth.

The death of Antonio Carlos Jobim was front page news for the Chicago Tribune in 1994. Jobim was to Brazil what John Denver was to the U.S. for many years, a national mainstream icon. Jobim's first U.S. hit (1962-63) was "The Girl from Ipanema". His music was exciting in its original format but was diluted for American easy listening formats and what is called 'elevator music'. Any dozen of Jobim's tunes would sound familiar to a U.S. citizen today.

At one point Frank Zappa saw fit to 'pimp' Disco and his "Sheik Yerbouti" (Shake Your Booty) album is still one of my all time favorites.

To take a trip to Rio tonight go to You Tube and type in: rio nesmith. See the guy who invented MTV (Michael Nesmith) in one of the first stereo-videos ever recorded. Very few of us saw it back in '80-'81 since no one had a stereo TV. No need to go to Rio. Just listen to this video.

I'm hearing the lights from the window,
I'm seeing the sound of the sea,
My feet have gone loose from their moorings,
I'm feeling quite wonderfully free.

It's only a whimsical fly down to Rio tonight...


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tuesday's Duty: VOTE!

Ya can't complain if you don't bother to vote.

Bryan Bain will get my vote Tuesday. He takes the time and effort to consider issues. In fact he takes too long. It is my hope that he takes a more authoritive stance in the council this time around, that of a seasoned veteran and not that of a newcomer. When contacted about city issues he responds in a timely manner and takes care of business.

Tony Palmeri will get my vote. To some Tony may appear a bit brash. Horseapples. Tony does not fit into the 1950's Lake Wobegon mode of gentle-mannered dry quips. He will argue passionately for what is right and is a willing listener to boot. Expect Tony to be confrontational at times but also expect him to make unexpected allies. He would be a positive force in any elected capacity and we are very lucky to have him in Oshkosh.

See you at the polls Tuesday.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Race to the Bottom Continues

We hear the term 'race to the bottom' on occasion. This story is local to the Fox Valley and echoed in various forms across the country. Background is important so that's where I start.

After WWII (1945) men came home and worked in paper mills, foundries, and all manner of manufacturing. Good union jobs with benefits were the order of the day. Other groups soon followed: teachers, city and county workers and more. Grocery workers also began to organize. Grocery workers never made much in terms of hourly wages but the union negotiated benefits to compensate for the low wages. Health insurance was always at the top in terms of importance.

Workers in the paper mills were happy to shop at unionized groceries. They knew the value of having their low wage counterparts with good health coverage. It meant that the grocery workers were not a burden on the community, i.e. their hospital stays and ambulance costs were covered and unlikely to raise rates for others.

Grocery stores grudgingly went along with the union demands. It was good for business and good for the communities.

Fleming Inc.

Fleming was at one point in the recent past the largest wholesaler of groceries in the country. They also did retail. In Oshkosh they delivered food to the BP convenience store at Bowen and Merritt. They also delivered to Festival Foods. They partnered with the Skogen family to build Festival here and other places. Fleming's largest account was with Kmart nationwide. Kmart was also their downfall.

Mall-Wart, Kmart, Fleming & Festival

Mall-Wart intensely hurt Kmart, which did not have good management. Kmart became a ghost town. Fleming Inc. continued to supply Kmart and extend them credit, multi-million dollar credit. One day a few years back Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A judge Ok'd slower repayments to Fleming. Fleming in turn was forced to file for Chapter 11 and a short time later filed Chapter 7 (total bankruptcy).

In short order the BP on Merritt and Bowen needed a new supplier. Festival's silent owner was in total bankruptcy and the Fleming warehouse closed. Festival was in big trouble. It needed a supplier and someone who could buy into the store.

Supervalu, Cub Foods, and Festival

Supervalu, which owns Cub Foods, was in the process of closing Cub on Witzel in 2003. When Fleming Inc. tanked that same year, Supervalu stepped in and became a silent owner of Festival and began supplying them with food too.

Let it be said that Cub Foods never left Oshkosh. Supervalu just closed up shop on Witzel and moved to the other side of Hy.41 (Festival Foods).

When Supervalu cherry-picked Fleming Inc. during the bankruptcy they also acquired something else. They now own exclusive use of the Festival Foods name.

Appleton: Cub Foods and Festival Foods

The Post Crescent and the Oshkosh Northwestern recently reported that Cub Foods in Appleton will close March 11 and Festival Foods will open in the same location in June. If the reporter would've taken a moment to check web sites they would've figured out that the Cub name would come down, the Festival name would go up, and the trucks parked in back would still say Super Valu!

There are many conclusions that can be drawn. I will dwell on the 'people' one. In Appleton, as in Oshkosh, a number of union jobs will be lost. People with a lot of years toiling for Supervalu will now be figuratively screwed by Supervalu.

Some 47 million Americans are without health insurance and the number increases every day due to corporate greed. The above story is being repeated all over the nation with different names and different players.

Do your part. Don't shop Mall-Wart. Tell Mall-Wart employees and grocery workers that they can have good health insurance. Tell them to call the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) for help. Grant Withers is the guy to talk to in Oshkosh.

Shop where you know the employees are taken care of. That would be Woodmans in Appleton. In Oshkosh shop the Pig on Murdock. The Pig has half-gallons of premium ice-cream for under $2 bucks this week. Try to find that cheaper somewhere else in Oshkosh.

Our nation needs more people with health insurance, and not the other way around.


Here are the links: Cub Foods, Festival Foods, SuperValu, and UFCW.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I am the Father of Anna Nicole's Baby

Just to set the record straight I am the father of that baby. To learn more please click on this link. That, of course, is the most important news I have for you today.

In other news my mechanic told me I had a screw loose. It was later determined that old loose belts were the culprit and I may soon be able to travel minus the jumper cables.

I have a whopper of a story to report. It will appear in full in several days after I have the links and the detail in place. The MSM, namely Gannett operating out of Appleton, the Post Crescent don't ya know, took the Corporate Hook Line & Sinker on this one, without an iota of investigation.

Here's the scoop without the nitty gritty detail...

Cub Foods is closing in Appleton. Big deal. They closed in Oshkosh in 2003.

Festival Foods opened in Oshkosh a few years back. Festival is now opening in Appleton in the old Cub Foods building.

Cub is owned by Super Valu.

The Festival name is owned by Super Valu.

Cub Foods, being union, had good HEALTH INSURANCE for all employees.

Non-union Festival does not!

Watch this space to learn more, and yes, I am the father!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

First Tuesday at First Congregational

Bring on the brass. But first...

The frigid February Gallery Walk is Saturday night 6-9pm. May the brave endure and be rewarded with a taste of wine to warm the soul. It will be remembered as the Art Walk Challenge. Check the link to your left to learn more.

Molly Ivins is gone. I read Molly over the years and never had the pleasure of meeting her. She became required reading in the latter '90's. She had covered the Bush League Regime after they made their move to Texas in an attempt to hide their eastern establishment Ivy League roots. She had the goods on them and nicknamed Dubya "schrub". Her writing inspired me due to her ability to present the most atrocious stories while keeping a smile on her face, and more than that, keeping our attention.

I met many folks who had the pleasure of meeting her. It wasn't all pleasure. She was a big woman (not fat just big) who wore cowboy boots, swore like a sailor, told off color stories, drank whiskey 'till the cows came home, had no inclination to marry, and would yell four letter words at friends across large gatherings of socialites. She also stood up for the poor and disenfranchised every time.

Of all the columns I read about her today I liked Tony Palmeri's take the best!

Thank you Molly.

To learn more about Molly Ivins fighting the good fight go here.

TUBA-RIFFIC is the program this month at First Congregational's First Tuesday Concert. For more go here and here.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Delusions or Disillusioned?

Winter can make one a bit delusional. Cabin fever enters into this, although lack of same can do it too. Having a cabin is the answer. Go there, pray for snow. Enough white stuff to force you to hole up for three days with no TV and internet. Food, firewood, a lantern and a few good books would do.

Delusion is the word that came to mind when I listened to Accordian Man detail his latest rant about society in front of the Oshkosh Public Library. He detailed his love for Hillary Clinton and his unwavering support for her. He told me of the MSM asking her if she had the wherewithal to deal with stubborn world leaders who might lie on occasion. She mentioned something to the effect of having some first-hand knowledge in this area. This cracks up Accordian Man. He wants more. Tells me Hillary should run the country for eight years followed by Obama for another eight. He sez that Hillary already ran the country for an eight year span in the '90's, at least every Republican he knows convinced him of this, and he doesn't remember anyone being out of work then!

People are asking me about this War thing with Iran. Back up and do the homework. Read the Project for the New American Century. John Lemberger told me two or three years ago that Iran was next. It's nothing new. The Bush League is merchandising it the same way they did Iraq.

But wait?

Isn't Iraq in a Civil War? Two sides fighting each other? Of course! Iran is financing one side. Faux Knews tells us this several times an hour. The Bush League Merchandising Team doesn't want you to know this but someone's financing the other side. That would be Saudi Arabia. MSM is not going to detail this until CITIZEN BLOGGERS force the issue.

Get it. The Sunnis and Shiites murder each other with U.S. soldiers standing inbetween. One side is financed by Iran, the other by Saudi Arabia. MSM (and others) are terrified over dealing with the Saudi Arabian end of this. It comes down to this: Free flow of oil to the U.S.

Anyone in Oshkosh who has attempted to keep their neighbors awake half the night around July 4 knows it takes hard cash (or plastic) to pay for those loud noises. Bombs Bursting over Bagdad costs big bucks. Iran and Saudi Arabia pay part of it and the U.S. is going in debt for the rest.

Do everyone a big favor the next time Iran is mentioned in conversation (or on the news). Demand that Saudi Arabia gets equal time.

Time to bring this home. A soldier from north of Oshkosh has died. His name: Jon St. John. Thus ends life for him, the dreams of his parents and all the things that might have been. A tragedy.

Another family in Oshkosh is facing a crisis. Mom and dad have two children, just lost their health insurance due to Oshkosh Public Library cutbacks, and mom just found out she is pregnant. A third child on the way along with a whopping medical bill. Another tragedy.

I know none of the above mentioned people. The stories are as different as life and death but a common thread weaves its way through them. The serviceman deserved to live. The library employee needed the insurance to keep a sense of calm in the family. That thread is a government which has an open wallet for war and a closed wallet at home.

It's time to close the wallet abroad and open it at home. Everyone will be a lot happier.

Accordian Man might be happier too, that is if his disability claim comes through before he's dead.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Emergency Food & Shelter (FEMA) Board Meeting

On Wednesday January 24, 2007 the Board meeting was held for the allotment of funds provided to Winnebago County by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The funds are distributed by the Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) Board. It was held at the Hooper Community Center, 36 Broad Street.

The 2007 award for Winnebago County is $86,833, a significant increase of 91.6% in funding from 2006.

A general review of emergency food and shelter needs preceded a review of funding requests by various agencies and then award amounts were determined and voted upon.

Requests came from seven agencies:
  • American Red Cross, East Central WI
  • American Red Cross, Neenah-Menasha
  • Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services
  • Ecumenical Food Pantry (located at Trinity Episcopal Church)
  • Emergency Shelter of Fox Valley
  • LEAVEN (Menasha)
  • Salvation Army-Oshkosh

Highlights include the Christine Ann Center which was awarded $15,900 for 2007. The Ecumenical Food Pantry was awarded $2,232. About seven area churches contribute and run the pantry which operates out of Trinity Episcopal. $6,675 was awarded to the Emergency Shelter of Fox Valley, located in Appleton, which assists in housing Oshkosh homeless. The Oshkosh Salvation Army received almost $6,000 in 2006 but scaled back their request for $1,000 this coming year. Captain Johnny Harsh remarked that the people of Oshkosh came through in great fashion this past year and not as much was needed. The Salv. Army served over 64,000 meals in 2006.

A new application was made by the Trinity Episcopal Church 'Loaves and Fishes' program. They serve about 70 meals twice a month on Saturdays. This is the first time they applied. Their meal program complements the Salvation Army program in that the Army is not open on Saturdays. Discussion followed the presentation which asked for $1,000. Further discussion centered around the possibility of them expanding their program to all Saturdays. Eventually a vote was taken and it was decided to award them $1,000, and possibly award them another $1,000 if the program expands. They served an estimated 1,118 meals in 2006.

The EFSP Board includes members of many social service organizations in the area and yes, I am on this board as an advocate for the homeless.

If anyone would like detailed reports on the EFSP Board and FEMA allotments, please use the email address on the top left and I will assist in directing you.