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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Photos of the Week (4/5/09)

Photos of the Week

A gunman invaded an immigration services center in downtown Binghamton, N.Y., during citizenship classes on Friday and shot 13 people to death and critically wounded 4 others before killing himself. The killing began around 10:30 a.m. and was over in minutes, witnesses said, but the ordeal lasted up to three hours for those trapped inside the building of the American Civic Association, which offers citizenship classes, immigration assistance, personal counseling, family reunification and interpreters. Left, New York State Police officers in an image from television.Photo: WBNG/CNN, via Agence France-Presse

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You're a better man than I am...

Ryan Moats.

The officer Moats had a confrontation with was one of my VILLAINS OF THE WEEK Saturday.

From Franklin alderman Kristin Wilhelm...

Dear 3rd District,

Many of you want to know what you can do to influence the outcome for 51st St.(specifically north of Rawson). I believe the issue begins with the City's outdated wide-road design standards. More than eight years ago the concept of "street calming" was introduced. This and several other concepts used elsewhere provide alternatives that allow for safer and better road design. If we want to maintain and improve the aesthetic appeal of our community, we need options beyond basic road plumbing. Below the meeting notice are some ideas to support re-thinking our present point A to point B, with nothing in-between, travel concept.


AGENDA in brief- (full agenda at, see information page for calendar and city contacts)

A. Presentation of the Mayor’s Veto regarding previous action to apply for Stimulus funds for 51st St. between Rawson and College (Possible -Veto stands or a Veto override).

B. Staff's road recommendations for the Stimulus application

Please travel 31st Street behind Northwestern Mutual to see the design purposed for 51st St. between Puetz and Drexel. This 48 ft. wide road with dual sidewalks (total 80 ft) is the theme being recommended by staff. While there is a strong desire to improve pedestrian access and traffic near the school, I am disappointed that this design is as creative as it gets. The design as purposed will increase traffic and speed and may result in the northerly continuation of this design beyond Drexel.  (The Mayor's letter mentions the fast-track design as one reason for his veto).

There is a growing emphasis for safe pedestrian movement along 51st and throughout Franklin proving the perfect opportunity to be creative and apply innovative planning efforts used elsewhere.

What we need is an interest in designing something different. A well-planned design could provide livable character; a design that could serve more than the basic need to get from point A to point B. FACT - Safety is less about how wide and more about slowing traffic. Multi-use lanes or a paved walkway versus dual sidewalks as well as many other measures add a more friendly and distinguished street (usually at less cost).

While it may be very difficult at this stage to influence the southern portion of 51st Street, there is time for an alternative design to the north. Before we take irreversible steps forward we MUST adequately define the problem, purpose, need, community desire, and finally the City’s marketability that will result from what gets built. There is much more to consider than projected traffic count and certainly much too lose.

Here are some ideas if you want to make a difference. Please attend Tuesday and ask that the Council take action to:
           Provide public interaction - not just posting meeting notices.
           Suggest using an outside consultant for a different design perspective
           Research the value of narrower roads - safety and appeal, build and long-term maintenance costs
           Develop a range of alternatives for the northern section of 51st St.

With your voice we can build a sense of community.

Kristen Wilhelm
3rd District Alderman
City of Franklin
9229 West Loomis Road
Franklin, WI 53132
Home phone 414.423.1606

MY TAKE: I don't want to suggest that my posting of my alderman's latest e-mail update means that I concur with everything she has written. I oppose expanding 51st Street. I oppose the use of stimulus money for such a project. Moreover, I totally oppose the stimulus concept. I especially oppose the notion that we should oppose widening 51st Street so that we can make the area more pedestrian friendly. That is the LAST reason to oppose widening. This is 2009, not 1959. South 51st Street, while used by pedestrians today, is not and can no longer be intended to be more pedestrian-friendly. If a bagel and coffee is that important to you, do what everyone else does. Get in your car, drive to Panera, park real close to the entrance, get out, go in, and buy whatever you want and join the 21st century like the rest of us.

Culinary no-no #105

Culinary no-no's

Regional cuisine is sacred.

In New York, pizza is nowhere near as thick as a pie in Chicago.

My wife, Jennifer and I had just arrived at the incredible Opryland Hotel in Music City, Nashville, Tennessee. The short flight from Milwaukee put us at our destination in the Volunteer State at about lunch time, so we meandered to the food court.

"Gotta have Corky's," I told Jennifer. Corky's at the Opryland was one of many locations based on the famed Memphis barbecue restaurant. This was strictly the stand in line and order variety of quick food stops.

We both ordered the barbecue sandwich, quite possibly the finest sandwich in the world. Yes, it's that good.

First, the perfect bun. Nice and soft.

Then, the young gal behind the counter piles on the luscious, picture perfect pulled pork. If Rembrandt did food, he would have painted Corky's pork.

And then, oh this isn't fair, out of nowhere appears a squeeze bottle with barbecue sauce, a tantalizing red hue, that cannot be duplicated anywhere else on this planet, and it is squirted lovingly in nice circles around and around on top of the mountain of pork.




We interrupt this blog to alert the author to

return to appropriate topic immediately.

Readers have been led to believe this entry

is about a culinary no-no. Thus far, the

post has been anything but. Please adhere

to the high quality standards of said blog

and return to the mission at hand.

The management of

I'm gettin' to that part!

I'm gettin' to it!

Now before we tell the Corky's employee what sides and drinks we wanted to order, we made it clear, as directed by the signage inside the establishment and our faint but adequate knowledge of Southern cuisine that she was NOT to go any further with that work of art.

Take a look at the Corky's menu under sandwiches. Read the description.

You're in the South, Yankee, where they're a might bit serious about BBQ. You don't open up your yap, and you're getting that beautiful barbecue pork sandiwch served like this:

With cole slaw, not on the side, but right smack dab in the middle of all that wonderful sauce and pig in between those nice, soft, chewy slices of bun.

I admit, I was inspired to write about this particular concoction by an LA Times review this week of a BBQ restaurant that serves authentic Southern barbecue, including this item:

Scottie's Smokehouse

When in Rome, do what the Romans do.

But may I also quote that great philosopher Arthur Fonzarelli who once said that ketchup and ice cream, when set apart are great, but put them together?  WHOA!  Thumbs down. Yuckimundo.

This is one of those culinary no-no's like ones I've wriiten about in the past like ketchup on a brat or green peppers on a pizza that are highly subjective.

At the risk of insulting anyone below the Mason-Dixon line, don't ruin that succulent sandwich with cabbage. Leave it on the side, thank you very much.

If you insist, can the cole slaw be the oily and not the creamy variety? But that's another blog.


Josh Kowalczyk, an intern with the West Michigan Whitecap... (Rex Larsen / AP)

You know, this burger might be ok if it only had some Stadium Secret Sauce.


No explanation necessary.

Photo radar will make you mad

Last weekend, I blogged that the installation of photo radar has nothing to do with making roads safer. It’s all about the cash.

Photo radar is catching on, big time despite its obvious disturbing Orwellian characteristics. Motorists, as you can imagine, aren’t doing cartwheels over a system that sends them a ticket in the mail after the fact, based on some photographs. They are understandably upset.

When I say upset, I don’t mean they dash to their computer to send a nasty-gram. I mean they’re UPSET.

Victims of photo radar, or plain, ordinary citizens who are not enamored with this new law enforcement tool have resorted to chicanery, not to mention violence and property damage.

Apparently even Santa Claus, who tends to have a heavy foot in the first place, hates photo radar.

Even though government yahoo’s and bureaucrats think they’ve outsmarted everyone, the press has figured out the true MO of photo radar: to make mucho dinero and screw you, the guys and gals behind the wheel.

The Wall Street Journal has more.

And while we’re on the subject, here’s more evidence to demonstrate that when some public sector pencil pusher, guy with a badge, or elected official denies that writing all those tickets is a money-making operation, he/she is lying.

The above-mentioned Wall Street Journal article makes mention of a recent study done by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis with conclusions that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Tickets are used to generate revenue. Not only that, the number of tickets doesn’t decline when revenues increase:

There is ample anecdotal evidence that local government use traffic tickets as a means of generating revenue, implying that traffic law enforcement may be motivated by political interests as well as public safety interests. Our paper provides the first empirical evidence to support this view by examining how changes in the number of traffic tickets issued in North Carolina counties are effected by changes in local fiscal conditions. The results indicate that, while changes in local government revenue are significantly correlated with the number of tickets issued, the response is asymmetric to positive and negative changes in local revenue. Positive changes in local revenue have no statistical effect on the changes in the tickets issued, but we find evidence that law enforcement officials issue significantly more tickets in the year following a decline in local government revenue. Specifically, a one percentage point decrease in last year’s local government revenue results in roughly a 0.32 percentage point increase in the number of traffic tickets in the following year. In terms of elasticity, we find that a ten percent decrease in negative revenue growth results in a 6.4 percent increase in the growth rate of traffic tickets.”

Here’s the shortened version of the study, and the actual study.

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