Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020 & 2021 Award Winners

Waukesha County Primary: 10 of 11 GOP-Backed Candidates Get Through Primary

Update: 10 of the 11 candidates backed by the Waukesha County Republican made it through the primary, many the top vote getters.

Here is a partial list of Feb. 15 primary candidates throughout Waukesha County that the Republican Party of Waukesha County supported through the WisRED Local Elections Initiative.

The results:

Brian Meier: Top vote-getter for County Board supervisor
Kathy Lim: Second vote-getter in Elmbrook School Board Race
Ted Zess and Adam Witkiewicz: Top and third vote-getter in the East Troy Community primary
Nina Christensen, Chris Stueland, and Shelley Holzman, top three vote-getters in the Menomonee Falls School Board race
Karrie A. Kozlowski, Mark Borowski, and Marquell Moorer, top three vote-getters in the Waukesha School Board race.

Check out our article on the Menomonee Falls School Board candidates.

Here is the list:

Waukesha county primary election
Waukesha county primary election guide
Senate Fire Tate

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Gas Prices Hit New Record High in U.S.

(The Center Square) – Gasoline prices hit a new high in the U.S. on Monday, with the average cost of a gallon of regular gas at $4.48.

That's an increase of 15 cents a gallon in the past week and 40 cents over this time last month. A year ago, gas prices on average were $3.04 a gallon, $1.44 cheaper.

The average price for a gallon of diesel fuel is at $5.57 a gallon, also a record high. Diesel fuel is used by truckers who transport goods across the country, contributing to 40-year-high inflation that's sending the prices of groceries and other commodities significantly higher.

In California, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is $5.98, highest in the U.S.

President Joe Biden has attempted to blame the rising cost of gasoline on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but prices began elevating shortly after he took office, when he canceled new oil and gas leases on federal lands and placed new restrictions on the industry.

Just last week, Biden canceled three pending oil and gas drilling leases in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

Deer District Shootings Water Street Shooting

Republican Candidates Promise Tough On Crime Approach After Deer District Shootings

(The Center Square) – The Republicans running for governor in Wisconsin are promising more cops, more prisons, and say they'll fire prosecutors who don’t get tough on crime after a violent weekend in Milwaukee that saw more than two dozen people shot.

Milwaukee Police say Friday night’s shootings near the Deer District wounded 21 people. Another of those shootings saw 17 people shot. A string of shootings on Sunday saw another five people shot, including two people who died.

Monday saw the Republicans running for governor promising to get tougher on crime if elected.

“The simple points are to put 1,000 more cops on the street. Bail and sentencing reform to stop these bad D.A.’s and these bad judges. Fire [Milwaukee County] District Attorney John Chisholm on day one. And use the Wisconsin State Patrol to surge where violent crime is surging,” frontrunner Rebecca Kleefisch told News Talk 1130 WISN’s Jay Weber Monday morning.

Kleefisch said under Democratic leadership the Deer District has become the “fear district.”

Republican Tim Michels is also promising to fire Milwaukee County’s district attorney. But he is also promising to fire other prosecutors across the state who don’t get tougher on crime.

“I will review all the D.A.s, and the ones who have an awful pattern of catch-and-release, dropping charges quickly, and letting guys out on the street, I will remove them from office,” Michels told Weber.

Michels also said he wants to build more prisons in the state, starting with a replacement for the maximum security prison in Green Bay.

Candidate Kevin Nicholson took to Twitter on Sunday to blast Chisholm and the leadership in Milwaukee.

“Twenty one shot on Friday; 3 murdered last night. Out of control car thefts. Record-breaking homicides,” Nicholson Tweeted. “We’re sick of it. Time to turn the page. We need new leaders who are serious about getting this back on track.”

Crime and public safety have been issues in the race for governor since day one. Republicans have blamed Gov. Tony Evers for the spike in violent crime during his time in office, including record years for both shootings and homicides in Milwaukee for the past two years.

The governor on Saturday offered thoughts and prayers, but didn’t offer any plans after Milwaukee’s violent weekend.

“Kathy and I are heartbroken by last night’s horrific acts of gun violence in Milwaukee. We are thinking of all the people who were injured and are praying for their full recovery, and we are thinking of the many people affected by this senseless tragedy,” the governor Tweeted.

Baby Formula Crisis Illegal Immigrants Getting Baby Formula

FDA Launches Investigation Into Baby Formula Crisis

(The Center Square) – The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday the agency will investigate the national shortage of baby formula that has left American parents concerned and frustrated.

The shortage began last year but was exacerbated after problems at a baby formula plant in Sturgis, Michigan, leading the company Abbott to issue a recall on formula and shut down production in February. FDA Commissioner Robert Califf told NBC in an interview Monday that there will be a “full investigation” after a whistleblower report said there were problems at that factory in October, but an FDA inspector did not look into the issue until January.

“We always want to be as fast as we can possibly be while also being diligent, remembering, as shown by this example, that if we didn’t close the plant, then we have a supply shortage so we have to get this right,” Califf said in the interview. "There will be a full investigation of the timeline, and we'll do everything possible to correct any errors in timing that we had so that we don't repeat any mistakes that may have been made."

Also Monday, Abbott said it has reached a federal consent decree with the FDA that could allow its Sturgis plant to resume production in two weeks. It would take about six to eight weeks after that for the baby formula to be available to consumers.

The data company Datasembly reported that as of the week ending May 8, the national out of stock rate for baby formula hit 43%. The company said the product was already experiencing supply issues last year before the larger issues arose.

“This issue has been compounded by supply chain challenges, product recalls and historic inflation," Datasembly CEO Ben Reich said. "The category started to see stocking challenges beginning in July 2021, and the situation has continued to worsen into 2022."

Critics have blasted the Biden administration for its response to the shortage, which has left many parents scrambling to find formula. Biden came under fire for his response to a question from a reporter asking if he should have acted more quickly to address the baby formula shortage.

“If we’d been better mind readers, I guess we could have, but we moved as quickly as the problem became apparent to us and we have to move with caution as well as fear,” Biden said.

Those comments sparked controversy and led critics to point out the recall was issued in February, giving several months to anticipate the shortage.

“I’ve been calling on the Biden admin to address America’s baby formula shortage since February,” U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., wrote on Twitter. “They did nothing.”

The Biden administration said it is working with suppliers to help solve the shortage.

"We're very close to having a path forward to safely reopening the facility," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Republicans blasted Biden for the shortage, saying his efforts have been too little too late.

“In typical fashion, the Biden administration downplayed the baby formula shortage for months,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said. “Now that it's a crisis, they're pointing the finger at anyone but themselves.”

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Baby Formula Crisis Illegal Immigrants Getting Baby Formula

U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack: Illegal Immigrants Getting Baby Formula While Americans Left With Empty Shelves

(The Center Square) – U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack and other Republican lawmakers are calling on the FDA and the Biden administration to take immediate action to solve a months-long baby formula shortage that's left parents scrambling to find healthy food for their infant children.

Cammack, R-Florida, called on Americans to “demand that the administration take action putting the baby formula back on the shelves for American kids,” prioritizing them over illegal immigrants.

Cammack posted photos of stocked shelves of baby formula at a Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Texas alongside a photo of empty shelves in an American store. Describing them, she said, “The first photo is from this morning at the Ursula Processing Center at the U.S. border. Shelves and pallets packed with baby formula. The second is from a shelf right here at home. Formula is scarce."

The Florida congresswoman was referring to the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, which is the largest detention facility at the southern border where illegal immigrants are held during processing. By law, federal agents are required to provide food and water to illegal immigrants held in detention facilities. CBP officers are also required to determine admissibility of baby formula for personal and commercial use that is brought into the country.

“We literally are struggling to find baby formula around the country,” Cammack said during a Facebook Live stream. “Moms are struggling, going from store to store to store and then the stores are actually capping the amount of baby formula that they will sell them but, and this got sent to me by a Border Patrol agent this morning, and said, ‘This is disgusting. You will not believe this. They’re receiving pallets, and more pallets of baby formula at the border.'”

She added, “He has been a border patrol agent for 30 years and he has never seen anything quite like this. He is a grandfather and he is saying that his own children can’t get baby formula.”

In response, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a joint statement with National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd saying, "President Biden has turned a blind eye to parents across America who are facing the nightmare of a nationwide baby formula shortage.

“While mothers and fathers stare at empty grocery store shelves in a panic, the Biden Administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across our southern border.

As of April 24, 40% of the top-selling baby formula products were out of stock nationwide, according to an analysis by Datasembly, which tracked baby formula stock at more than 11,000 stores, CBS News reported.

“This is yet another one in a long line of reckless, out-of-touch priorities from the Biden Administration when it comes to securing our border and protecting Americans," the joint statement from Abbott and Judd said. "Our children deserve a president who puts their needs and survival first – not one who gives critical supplies to illegal immigrants before the very people he took an oath to serve."

On Tuesday, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf requesting answers on the shortage. Stefanik has been contacting the FDA about the shortage since February.

Also on Tuesday, Califf issued a statement providing an update on the FDA’s failure to increase the availability of infant and specialty formula products. In February, it warned consumers not to use certain products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan, facility, which had issued a voluntary recall of certain products. Since then, increasing shortages, coupled with supply chain and other issues, have led to what is now a crisis for many.

“We recognize that many consumers have been unable to access infant formula and critical medical foods they are accustomed to using and are frustrated by their inability to do so. We are doing everything in our power to ensure there is adequate product available where and when they need it,” Califf said. “Ensuring the availability of safe, sole-source nutrition products like infant formula is of the utmost importance to the FDA. Our teams have been working tirelessly to address and alleviate supply issues and will continue doing everything within our authority to ensure the production of safe infant formula products.”

Stefanik led a coalition on Thursday calling on the FDA and the Biden administration to take immediate action.

“Joe Biden simply has no plan. In fact, when Joe Biden's White House was asked about the shortage, they laughed. Shameful," Stefanik said. "Make no mistake, there is nothing laughable or funny about this crisis."

The administration “should have had a plan for this shortage months ago," she added. "Instead, bare shelves Biden has continued to pass the buck. … This is not a Third World country. This should never happen in the United States of America. We're unified in demanding action to address this crisis."

More than 100 House Republicans wrote a letter to Biden Wednesday demanding that he address the shortage “with the appropriate urgency it deserves.”

Karine Jean-Pierre, White House principal deputy press secretary, addressed the issue during a press briefing on Wednesday. She told reporters, "Ensuring that infant formula is safe and available for families across the country is a top priority to the White House and this administration. This is an urgent issue that the FDA, as you all know, and the White House is working 24/7 to address."

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University Diversity

Study Shows University Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Programs Ineffective, Overstaffed

(The Center Square) – The promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, on college campuses has become a big focus in academia, but a study says many of the programs are bloated and have a high taxpayer cost.

The Heritage Foundation found that colleges’ vast DEI bureaucracy has little to do with students’ satisfaction with their college.

The study showed the average university has 45.1 people tasked with promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, but some schools have many more.

At the University of Illinois alone, there are 71 DEI personnel, which is four out of every 100 faculty members. At Northwestern University, there are 52 DEI faculty members.

Many DEI employees earn six-figure salaries for leading initiatives that the authors found to be ineffective and instead enforce a “political orthodoxy.”

Sean Garrick, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at the U of I, earns nearly $330,000 a year, the study found.

Heritage Foundation researcher Jay Greene said university officials could be adding DEI staff in an effort to avoid trouble on campus.

“Whenever there is some incident on or off campus where students might agitate and make trouble, they try to buy off that trouble by creating more and larger DEI staff,” Greene said.

Taxpayers of Illinois aren’t sending their dollars to the U of I to provide patronage to campus radicals, he added.

“They are providing money to the University of Illinois to educate their kids, and not to indoctrinate their kids in radical ideology,” Greene said.

The authors of the report note that it is troubling that much of the programming that DEI personnel offer tends to lack diversity of viewpoints and may have the effect of dividing rather than including.

The authors said legislators should consider reducing and restructuring DEI staffs to achieve legitimate goals at substantially lower costs.

“The university’s access to the public treasury is dependent on the university sensibly using those resources,” Greene said.

The U of I received $628.5 million from state taxpayers in fiscal year 2021. The budget that begins July 1 sends the university nearly $650.2 million. All state universities combined get $1.15 billion from the budget that starts this summer.

Madison Police Oversight Board

Racial Quota Eliminated For Madison Police Oversight Board

(The Center Square) – More seats are open to more people on the Police Civilian Oversight Board in Madison, Wis.

The city’s common council on Tuesday night eliminated a racial quota from the board.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said it looks forward to settling its lawsuit against Madison now that the Oversight Board ordinance has changed.

“The City of Madison has not identified a compelling government interest that would justify racial quotas. The Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection requires governments – at all levels – to treat citizens as individuals, not members of a group or racial class,” WILL wrote in a statement about the reversal.

WILL initially objected to the Police Civilian Oversight Board’s quotas back in January 2021, the group sued Madison over the Oversight Board in June of last year.

Gableman’s 2020 Election Investigation Election Investigation

Gableman’s 2020 Election Investigation Paused

(The Center Square) – The investigation into Wisconsin’s last vote for president is on hold.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Wednesday said he is pausing the investigation from former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman.

“We are pausing the investigation because it's not like we're going to keep looking into things we've already discovered," Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Vos said he is placing the investigation on hold until a series of lawsuits are settled.

Judges in both Madison and Waukesha have yet to rule on the power that Gableman has, specifically whether he can subpoena witnesses and compel testimony. There are three other lawsuits dealing with open records requests in the case.

Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol have called the investigation a partisan fishing expedition and a waste of taxpayer money.

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