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Sue Ogrocki 

Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun (8) stretches in the on deck circle during a spring training baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)


Government
Town of Beloit suspends incorporation effort for the rest of the year

BELOIT

Beloit Town Board members voted unanimously Monday night to halt incorporation efforts for the rest of 2019, ending speculation about the town’s incorporation plans for the time being.

The state Incorporation Review Board denied the town’s first petition to incorporate into the village of Riverside in December. The review board determined the town did not meet four of the six statutory requirements for incorporation.

In its decision, the board wrote that a $25,000 fee would be waived if the town submitted a revised petition by the end of the year.

Beloit Town Chairwoman Diane Greenlee said Monday night another incorporation bid is not financially feasible right now, but she left the door open to another petition in the future.

“We have gone probably as far as we can go at this point,” Greenlee said. “We need to regroup and reassess some of the pros and cons involved.”

Greenlee said the town board wanted to incorporate all of the town, but state statutes prohibit such a move. Part of the town had to be left out of the proposed village, and residents living in the excluded part frequently aired concerns about incorporation.

Greenlee said some residents—mostly living west of Afton Road—have expressed their “voices haven’t been heard.” She said it will be the town’s “ultimate goal” to include the entire town in a new petition if it pursues one.

Beloit Town Administrator Gene Wright said he will contact the state Department of Administration and let it know that the town intends to stop pursuing incorporation for now. Wright said after the meeting that the town board could revisit the issue later.

Wright said Monday pursuing another incorporation bid could cost the town between $50,000 and $100,000 in 2020.

Wright said there were several issues with the town’s first incorporation petition, including boundary agreements with the remnant town and the city of Beloit and the level of services a new village would have provided the town.

Relations between the city and town have been shaky since the town announced its incorporation plans. The city has said it would not discuss a sewer agreement with the town that the two signed in 2008 until the town drops its incorporation bid.

Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther said the the agreement is invalid. The agreement allows the town to construct sewage lines on properties that lie within the city’s 208 sewer district, and the lines would hook into the city’s sewage system.

The town completed the lines last year, but only two homes have connected to them, said Joe Rose, town public works director.

Rock County has also opposed the town’s incorporation bid largely because of Alliant Energy’s power plant in the town. One facility already exists there, but Alliant is building a new one. Alliant currently pays the town about $1 million a year for housing the plant, and Rock County gets about $1.7 million.

If the town had incorporated, the new village would have received about $2.9 million a year upon completion of the new plant. The county would have received $1.9 million. Those revenues will be swapped so long as the town does not incorporate.


Diane Greenlee


Angela Major 

Snowdrops are some of the first flowers to start blooming at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville.


Angela Major 

Yellow flowers called Winter Aconites have begun to bloom Monday, April 1, 2019, at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville.


Local
Janesville Town Board gives horse rescue until September to secure new facility

TOWN OF JANESVILLE

DeeDee Golberg’s plan for a new equine rescue facility was enough to persuade the Janesville Town Board to give her until September to get in compliance with town ordinance.

Golberg presented Spirit Horse Equine Rescue’s capital fund drive at Monday’s board meeting, hoping the board would give her more time to secure new property and relocate her horses—most of which have special needs, she said.

Monday was the deadline the board gave Golberg last December to find new homes for at least 23 horses.

Golberg asked board members Monday to give her until December to move the horses to another property. She promised that if they extended the deadline, she would not ask for another extension.

Town Supervisor David Rebout considered giving her only 90 days to move the horses, but he said he appreciated her willingness to work with the board to resolve the issue. He suggested the board’s September meeting as the new deadline.

In November, Golberg admitted she was violating town ordinance by having 38 horses on her property. Zoning laws allow for only one large farm animal per acre at her property, which is about 15 acres.

Golberg hopes to create a new horse facility on 50 to 80 acres.

To do so, the nonprofit needs to raise $1 million for land, equipment, facilities and infrastructure. It has raised $10,000 since the campaign launched last week, Golberg said Monday.

Finding new homes for the horses is nearly impossible because they need special medical attention and training, she said.

Offers for Golberg to lease or own land in Jefferson and Waukesha counties fell through, prompting her to kick off the capital fund drive for new land.

DJ Neuville of First Weber Realtors on Monday confirmed that Golberg has been looking for property and has identified two pieces of land in the town of Porter as possible locations.

Golberg said the nonprofit needs to raise about $125,000 to $150,000 to put a down payment on the land and move the horses not long after that.

About 50 people crammed into the Janesville Town Hall for the meeting. Multiple people said they supported Golberg and asked the board to give her more time. One resident said he believes Golberg has the best intentions but should go through proper processes with the planning commission to follow ordinances.

Golberg has said she believed for years the town board was OK with her having more than 15 horses on her property, based on a presentation she gave to the board in 2012. She remembers the board giving her the approval to continue on within reason.

Rebout said the recollection of the 2012 meeting is a matter of “he said, she said.” Meeting minutes are vague and do not indicate discussion or action.

During public comment, Porsche Kettelhut said the board should be held accountable for miscommunication and poor record-keeping that have frustrated Golberg and the Kettelhuts.

The town sued the Kettelhuts in December 2017 for having two horses more than allowed. The Kettelhuts operate A Right to Life Animal and Equine Sanctuary on their property.

A judge sided with the town and ordered the Kettelhuts to pay $11,792 in legal fees to the town and a $500 fine.

On Monday, Kettelhut called board members “selfish, cruel, mean” and also bullies, particularly Rebout.


Angela Major 

Snowdrops poke out of the ground Monday, April 1, 2019, at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville.


Obituaries and death notices for April 2, 2019

Wilma “Billie” Katherine Bumbard

John R. Brzezinski

Curtis M. Cornellier

Margaret “Conway” Disch

Patricia A. Gray

James E. Korleski Sr

Lane Kenneth Schweitzer

Sylvester “Sonny” Snyder


AP
Trump's threat to close border stirs fears of economic harm

EL PASO, Texas

President Donald Trump’s threat to shut down the southern border raised fears Monday of dire economic consequences in the U.S. and an upheaval of daily life in a stretch of the country that relies on the international flow of not just goods and services but also students, families and workers.

Politicians, business leaders and economists warned that such a move would block incoming shipments of fruits and vegetables, TVs, medical devices, and other products and cut off people who commute to their jobs or school or come across to go shopping.

“Let’s hope the threat is nothing but a bad April Fools’ joke,” said economist Dan Griswold at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia. He said Trump’s threat would be the “height of folly,” noting that an average of 15,000 trucks and $1.6 billion in goods cross the border every day.

“If trade were interrupted, U.S. producers would suffer crippling disruptions of their supply chains, American families would see prices spike for food and cars, and U.S. exporters would be cut off from their third-largest market,” he said.

Trump brought up the possibility of closing ports of entry along the southern border Friday and revisited it in tweets over the weekend because of a surge of Central American migrants who are seeking asylum. Trump administration officials have said the influx is straining the immigration system to the breaking point.

Elected leaders from border communities stretching from San Diego to cities across Texas warned that havoc would ensue on both sides of the international boundary if the ports were closed. They were joined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which said such a step would inflict “severe economic harm.”

In California’s Imperial Valley, across from Mexicali, Mexico, farmers rely on workers who come across every day from Mexico to harvest fields of lettuce, carrots, onions and other winter vegetables. Shopping mall parking lots in the region are filled with cars with Mexican plates.

More than 60 percent of all Mexican winter produce consumed in the U.S. crosses into the country at Nogales, Arizona. The winter produce season is especially heavy now, with the import of Mexican-grown watermelons, grapes and squash, said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

He said 11,000 to 12,000 commercial trucks cross the border at Nogales daily, laden with about 50 million pounds of produce such as eggplants, tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, cucumbers and berries.

He said a closing of the border would lead to immediate layoffs and result in shortages and price increases at grocery stores and restaurants.

“If this happens—and I certainly hope it doesn’t—I’d hate to go into a grocery store four or five days later and see what it looks like,” Jungmeyer said.

Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, chairman of the Texas Border Coalition, said a closure would be catastrophic.

“Closing the border would cause an immediate depression in border state communities and, depending on the duration, a recession in the rest of the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration said Monday as many as 2,000 U.S. inspectors who screen cargo and vehicles at ports of entry along the Mexican border might be reassigned to help handle the surge of migrants. Currently, about 750 inspectors are being reassigned.

That, too, could slow the movement of trucks and people across the border.

The effects were evident Monday: Sergio Amaya, a 24-year-old American citizen who lives in Juarez, Mexico, and attends UTEP, said it normally takes him 2 minutes to cross the bridge. It took an hour this time.

“The Border Patrol agent said it’s going to get worse,” Amaya said.

Instead of ensuring the flow of goods across the border, the inspectors are being put to work processing migrants, taking their applications for asylum and transporting them to holding centers.


AP
Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke battle for younger voters

WASHINGTON

Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke could hardly be more different, but UCLA senior Tim Hoffmann finds himself interested in both Democratic presidential candidates.

He attended a rally for Sanders—the blunt-spoken 77-year-old democratic socialist from Vermont—and found his passion riveting. But Hoffmann was so drawn to O’Rourke—the upbeat 46-year-old capitalist from Texas—that he bought a Beto T-shirt from the candidate’s unsuccessful 2018 Senate campaign.

Hoffmann is part of a younger generation of voters that is reshaping U.S. politics, and both Sanders and O’Rourke have been magnets for them. More liberal, more diverse and more digitally savvy than their elders, the under-30 crowd voted in droves for Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary and for O’Rourke in his 2018 Senate campaign in Texas against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

In 2020, young voters could hold great sway in the Democratic Party—if they defy their traditional indifference to politics and mobilize as they did in the 2018 midterm election, in which there was a big surge in under-30 voters.

“It’s a crazy time,” Hoffmann said of the large field of 2020 candidates. “For so long, no one had that excitement in politics except political science majors. Now you have to make a choice. It’s no longer cool to not vote.”

A Sanders-O’Rourke rivalry could reveal much about what concerns and motivates younger voters: Are they driven more by ideology or generational affinity? Whether Sanders can hold an advantage among young voters in 2020’s huge primary field will also test how much the appeal he demonstrated in 2016 reflected a true generational push to the left and how much was simply young voters’ lack of interest in his opponent Hillary Clinton.

The Bernie-Beto rivalry is already emerging. People close to Sanders have gone after O’Rourke for being insufficiently progressive on issues such as energy and health care. After O’Rourke topped Sanders’ record-breaking first-day fundraising total, a Facebook post by Students for Bernie warned: “HOT TAKE: Any attempt to downplay Beto’s fundraising haul is counter-productive” and directed students to a link to learn how to organize for Sanders via text.

Sanders, the oldest candidate in the 2020 field, begins with an enormous edge. He won younger voters by a landslide in the 2016 primaries. In Iowa, the first contest in the race, he won voters younger than 30 by 70 percentage points, entrance polls at the state’s caucus sites found. Overall, Sanders won more than 70 percent of voters aged 18 to 34, according to a CNN analysis of data from states where exit polls were conducted.

But O’Rourke is poised to make inroads with unconventional campaign tactics, social media savvy, skateboard skills and a punk-rock background. In his Texas Senate race in 2018, he won 71 percent of voters under 30, exit polls found.

“Bernie definitely does have a very strong base,” said Will Spain, a University of Virginia senior who is organizing students for O’Rourke. “A lot of them are people we’re going to try to sell to. I do think that Beto’s message of positivity and unity … can make a lot of impact on a lot of young voters.”

Other candidates are also making big plays for younger voters.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has reached out to college students in New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina, which each hold contests early in the primary season. So has Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who last week announced “Camp Kamala,” a mid-April training program for students on Iowa college campuses.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg—at 37 a millennial himself—is building his campaign around a call for generational change and sparking growing interest.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, a master of Instagram and other social media, talks often about issues such as marijuana legalization that appeal to the young. Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign has taken the senator from New York her to many college stops.

Supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden say that if he gets into the race, he will benefit from young voters’ nostalgia for the Obama administration.


Cory Morse 

President Donald Trump gestures at a campaign rally at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Cory Morse/MLive.com/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)