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In-person absentee voting starts Tuesday for Aug. 9 primary

Because of a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, unmanned ballot drop boxes won’t be available for absentee voting this year, but many state residents will still vote absentee in the Aug. 9 primary either in person at their local clerk’s office or by mail.

Wisconsin voters can request an absentee ballot for the Aug. 9 primary by visiting their local municipal clerk’s office through Friday, Aug. 5. Voters can also request absentee ballots online at myvote.wi.gov.

Before requesting an absentee ballot, however, residents must first be registered to vote. The deadline to register online or by mail has passed, but people can still request absentee ballots by visiting their local municipal clerks’ offices in person through 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5. Prospective voters may also register at their polling places on election day.

In-person absentee voting starts Tuesday, July 26 and ends Friday, Aug. 5.

Other deadlines, such as for hospitalized voters and those serving overseas in the military, are at myvote.wi.gov.

Wisconsin primaries are partisan, meaning voters must first select their party preference on the ballot and then vote for individual candidates only in their selected party.

A case out of Waukesha County—Richard Teigen and Richard Thom v. the Wisconsin Elections Commission—led to the end of unmanned ballot drop boxes in the state when the state’s Supreme Court ruled against their use July 8 in a 4-3 opinion. The majority said the Wisconsin Elections Commission exceeded ts authority when it recommended the use of unmanned ballot drop boxes.

Voters may return completed absentee ballots in person, but the court’s ruling also means they won’t be allowed to have another person deliver them as they could in 2020 when drop boxes were still allowed. Many more voters than usual opted for absentee ballots for elections held that year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin joined the Wisconsin Elections Commission in advocating for the secure ballot drop boxes for absentee ballots. Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren heard Teigen and Thom’s case and considered whether drop-box recommendations elections commission issued in 2020 were in compliance with state law. He ruled “An absentee ballot must be returned by mail or the voter must personally deliver it,” and the state Supreme Court upheld that ruling.

Proof of residency

To register to vote in Wisconsin, voters need to show proof of residency, such as a Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID with the voter’s current address.

If a prospective voter doesn’t have a current Wisconsin driver’s license or state identification card but lives in the state and wants to register to vote, that person needs to show proof of residence.

According to myvote.wis.gov, acceptable documents include a real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the election date, a university or college photo ID and receipt from within the past nine months showing housing, a utility bill statement from within 90 days of election day, a bank or credit card statement, a paycheck, a government check, a social service agency letter describing the voter’s residence, a residential lease, or an intake document from a residential care facility.

What’s on the ballot

On Aug. 9, there are both local and state primary races on the ballot. Included are races for county sheriff, state Assembly, governor, lieutenant governor, state and U.S. Senate seats, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Local ballots

  • Running for Rock County sheriff are Troy Egger of Edgerton and Curtis Fell of Beloit, both Democrats.
  • In an uncontested bid for Rock County Circuit Court clerk, Democrat Jacki Gackstatter of Janesville will be on the ballot.
  • In Walworth County, Republican Sheriff Kurt Picknell is not seeking reelection. Craig Konopski and Dave Gerber, both Republicans, will be on the primary ballot.
  • In Jefferson County, Republican Sheriff Paul Milbrath is running unopposed.
  • In Dodge County, incumbent Sheriff Dale Schmidt, R-Beaver Dam, is being challenged in the primary by Mark J. Colker of Waupun. Also on the Dodge County primary ballot, incumbent Clerk of Circuit Court Lynn M. Hron, R-Beaver Dam, will be challenged by Kelly Enright, Beaver Dam.
  • In the Walworth County Circuit Court clerk race, Kristina Secord is unopposed on the Republican ticket. There are no other candidates at this time.

Governor

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch of Sullivan, a Republican, will face Tim Michels of Hartland, Timothy Ramthun of Campbellsport and Adam Fischer of Oak Creek in the primary. Kevin Nicholson will also appear on the ballot, but he suspended his campaign in early July. One of them will face incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is running unopposed in the primary.

Lieutenant governor

With Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes running for U.S. Senate, his current office is up for grabs. Democrat Peng Her of Madison will face Sara Rodriguez of Brookfield in the primary. In the Republican primary, Patrick Testin of Stevens Point will face Will Martin of Racine, Kyle Yudes of Eau Claire, Roger Roth of Appleton, David Varnam of Lancaster, Cindy Werner of Milwaukee, David D. King of Milwaukee and Jonathan Wichman of Franklin.

State Assembly

  • In Assembly District 44, which covers most of the city of Janesville, incumbent Democrat Sue Conley is running unopposed.
  • In the 31st Assembly District, Ellen Schutt of Clinton will face Maryann Zimmerman and Jason Dean of Whitewater, all Republicans. The winner will run against Brienne Brown of Whitewater in November. Assembly District 31 serves southeastern Rock County, seven Walworth County townships and the city of Elkhorn.
  • Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva, will face Bart Williams, who has homes in both Delavan and West Bend, in the 32nd Assembly District. August is the incumbent. Adam Jaramillo of Williams Bay is the only Democrat in the race. The district serves mostly southern Walworth County, but also the town of Wheatland in Kenosha County
  • In the 33rd Assembly District, Rep. Don Vruwink, D-Milton, will run after redistricting placed him outside of the 43rd District where he had been serving. He will face one of two Republicans who are on the primary ballot—Scott Johnson and Dale Opperman, both of Jefferson. Opperman is the mayor of that city.
  • In the 38th Assembly District, Barbara Dittrich will run unopposed.
  • For the 43rd Assembly District seat that Vruwink is vacating, Jenna Jacobson of Oregon and Matt McIntyre of Edgerton are running as Democrats. The only Republican in the race is Maria Voelkel, who resides in the town of Janesville.
  • In the 45th Assembly District, Democrats Clinton Anderson of Beloit and Ben Dorscheid of Belleville will be on the ballot. Anderson is a member of the Beloit City Council and Dorscheid is a high school teacher. Current 45th Assembly Rep. Mark Spreitzer is seeking election in the 15th State Senate District to succeed Sen. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville. Jeff Klett, Beloit, is the only Republican running for the 45th Assembly seat. The district covers southern and western Rock County and eight townships in Green County.
  • In the 63rd Assembly District, Robin Vos, Rochester and Adam Steen, Burlington, will be on the primary ballot. There are no other candidates at this time.

State Senate

  • Dylan Kurtz, R-Janesville, will challenge District 11 incumbent Sen. Steve Nass, R-La Grange. Steven Doelder, Genoa City, is the only Democrat in the race. The district encompasses nearly all of Walworth County, parts of southern Jefferson County, parts of eastern Rock County, and portions of the cities of Janesville and Beloit.
  • Senate District 15 will not have a contested race on the primary ballot. Sen. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville, announced she is not running for reelection. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, and Mark Trofimchuck, R-Brodhead, will square off in the November general election. The district covers much of Rock County and parts of Dane and Green counties.
  • In the 21st State Senate District, Republicans Jay Stone and Van H. Wanggard will face off in the primary.
  • Republican John Jagler of Watertown will run unopposed in the 13th District State Senate primary.

U.S. Senate

Ten candidates will be on the primary ballot for the U.S. Senate. Incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson will face Dan Schroeder. On the Democratic side, there are eight candidates. Five of those candidates are from Milwaukee, including Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Alex Lasry, Peter Peckarsky, Steven Olikara and Darrell Williams. They will face Kou C. Lee of Hobart, Sarah Godlewski of Madison and Tom Nelson of Appleton.

U.S. House

Two candidates hailing from Janesville are running unopposed in their parties’ primaries in the First Congressional District: incumbent Republican Rep. Bryan Steil and Democratic challenger Ann Roe. In the Second District, incumbent Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan will face the winner of the Republican primary contest between Charity Barry and Erik Olsen, both of Madison.

Secretary of state

Incumbent Doug LaFollette, D-Madison, will face Alexia Sabor, also of Madison, in the Democratic primary for secretary of state. Three Republicans—Amy Loudenbeck of Clinton, Jay Schroeder of Neenah and Justin D. Schmidtka of Green Bay—will face off in the Republican primary. The race will also have Neil Harmon of West Bend, the only Libertarian candidate in the race.

Attorney general

In the attorney general race, incumbent Democrat Josh Kaul of Madison will be unopposed in the primary. He will face either Eric Toney of Fond du Lac, Karen Mueller of Chippewa Falls or Adam Jarchow of Balsam Lake, the three Republicans who will appear on the Aug. 9 primary ballot.

State treasurer

With Godlewski running for U.S. Senate, three Democrats have declared their candidacy for this office. They are Aaron Richardson of Fitchburg, Angelito Tenorio of West Allis and Gillian Battino of Wausau. Two Republicans will face each other in the primary, John S. Leiber of Cottage Grove and Orlando Owens of Milwaukee. Constitution candidate Andrew Zuelke of Ripon is running unopposed in the primary.


Visitors to the Brodhead Airport make their way to an empty hangar Saturday to avoid intermittent rain while viewing antique and classic airplanes on display during the 2022 Pietenpol and Hatz Reunion. In the background is a German World War I biplane fighter aircraft known as a Fokker D.VII. Many antique and classic airplane owners stopped for the weekend before continuing onto EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, which runs today through Sunday.


Visitors to the Brodhead Airport check out the antique and classic airplanes on display during the 2022 Pietenpol and Hatz Reunion.


AP
Yellen downplays US recession risk as economic reports loom
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the U.S. economy is slowing but pointed to healthy hiring as proof that it is not yet in recession

WASHINGTON

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Sunday said the U.S. economy is slowing but pointed to healthy hiring as proof that it is not yet in recession.

Yellen spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press” just before a slew of economic reports will be released this week that will shed light on an economy currently besieged by rampant inflation and threatened by higher interest rates. The data will cover sales of new homes, consumer confidence, incomes, spending, inflation, and overall output.

The highest-profile report will likely be Thursday, when the Commerce Department will release its first estimate of the economy’s output in the April-June quarter. Some economists forecast it might show a contraction for the second quarter in a row. The economy shrank 1.6% in the January-March quarter. Two straight negative readings is considered an informal definition of a recession, though in this case economists think that’s misleading.

Instead, the National Bureau of Economic Research—a nonprofit group of economists—defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and lasts more than a few months.”

Yellen argued that much of the economy remains healthy: Consumer spending is growing, Americans’ finances, on average, are solid, and the economy has added more than 400,000 jobs a month this year, a robust figure. The unemployment rate is 3.6%, near a half-century low.

“We’ve got a very strong labor market,” Yellen said. “This is not an economy that’s in recession.”

Still, Yellen acknowledged the economy is “in a period of transition in which growth is slowing,” from a historically rapid pace in 2021.

She said that slowdown is “necessary and appropriate,” because “we need to be growing at a steady and sustainable pace.”

Slower growth could help bring down inflation, which at 9.1% is the highest in two generations.

Still, many economists think a recession is on the horizon, with inflation eating away at Americans’ ability to spend and the Federal Reserve rapidly pushing up borrowing costs. Last week, Bank of America’s economists became the latest to forecast a “mild recession” later this year.

And Larry Summers, the treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton, said on CNN’s “GPS” Sunday that “there’s a very high likelihood of recession,” as the Fed lifts interest rates to combat inflation. Those higher borrowing costs are intended to reduce consumer spending on homes and cars and slow business borrowing, which can lead to a downturn.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is likely to announce its second 0.75% point increase in its short-term rate in a row, a hefty increase that it hasn’t otherwise implemented since 1994. That will put the Fed’s benchmark rate in a range of 2.25% to 2.5%, the highest level since 2018. Fed policymakers are expected to keep hiking until its rate reaches about 3.5%, which would be the highest since 2008.

The Fed’s hikes have torpedoed the housing market, as mortgage rates have doubled in the past year to 5.5%. Sales of existing homes have fallen for five straight months. On Tuesday, the government is expected to report that sales of new homes dropped in June.

Fewer home sales also means less spending on items that typically come with purchasing a new house, such as furniture, appliances, curtains, and kitchenware.

Many other countries are also grappling with higher inflation, and slower growth overseas could weaken the U.S. economy. Europe is facing the threat of recession, with soaring inflation and a central bank that just last week raised interest rates for the first time in 11 years.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde also sought to minimize recession concerns in an news conference last Thursday.

“Under the baseline scenario, there is no recession, neither this year nor next year,” Lagarde said. “Is the horizon clouded? Of course it is.”


Death_list
Obituaries and death notices for July 25, 2022

Sherry Lee Barham

Colleen L. Birkholz

Jewel A. Hunt

Henry Kicmol

Steve John Larson

Daniel F. Miller

Daniel J. Rucks


Milwaukee Brewers' Hoby Milner pitches during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Sunday, July 24, 2022, in Milwaukee.


Fall_2022_general_election
Election 2022
Rock County Sheriff’s Office veterans Troy Egger, Curtis Fell vie for county's top law enforcement post

JANESVILLE

Two Democratic candidates who have years of experience  with the Rock County Sheriff’s Office, Troy Egger and Curt Fell, are squaring off in the party’s Aug. 9 primary for sheriff.

The winner will face independent candidate Craig C. Keller in November. Current Sheriff Troy Knudson sis not seeking reelection.

Fell

Fell, 52, is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and currently a captain and law enforcement administrator with the Rock County Sheriff’s Office. He leads the Support Services Bureau where he is responsible for purchasing, vendor contract negotiations, information technology, fleet management, records, and oversight of the Emergency Management Bureau. He also serves as range master and SWAT Team commander.

According to his campaign website, Fell started his career at the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office  as a deputy. He became a correctional officer at the Rock County Sheriff’s Office in January 1994 and was later a deputy before being promoted to sergeant and then captain in 2011. He has also been a training commander in Rock County.

On his website, Fell wrote that in each of the roles he has held at the sheriff’s office, he has “been tasked with developing and managing complex operations centered on efficient and fiscally conservative methods.”

Fell additionally works at Blackhawk Technical College as an adjunct law enforcement instructor, a position he has held since 2000, teaching accident investigation, radar operations, traffic enforcement and SWAT operations, as well as firearms, defense and arrest tactics. He also teaches traffic safety to the public, according to his website.

On his campaign website, Fell said he's a second-generation law officer who has a “deep understanding of corrections, the criminal justice system and policing” and that he uses that understanding “to seek innovative solutions and improve outcomes.”

Fell was a recipient of the Rock County Sheriff’s Office Community Service Award in 2012 and has focused on building community relationships, coaching football, basketball and baseball in Beloit for many years.

Fell has a master’s degree in management from Cardinal Stritch University and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. He graduated from the FBI National Academy and the Northwestern University Executive Management Program. He and his wife, Amy, have three sons, one daughter-in-law and one granddaughter.

In a response to a candidates’ questionnaire sent out by the Beloit Daily News, Fell said he sees challenges facing both the law enforcement and corrections divisions of the sheriff’s department, as well as challenges in the community.

In law enforcement services, he said a big challenge is acquiring patrol vehicles. The availability of vehicles has been reduced because of supply chain interruptions and prices have increased, he said. The department has ordered nine Tahoe SUVs instead of the normal Dodge Charger vehicles with hopes they will be more available. Fell said he is looking to emphasize maintenance and repairs for the existing vehicles to keep them running as the department waits for new vehicles.

In corrections, Fell said the biggest challenge is staffing, with 81 corrections officer positions in Rock County and presently nine vacancies. He said he plans to work with human resources staff to make sure the county offers competitive wages, and he will work with community groups to spark interest in job opportunities at the sheriff’s office.

If elected, Fell said he would review staffing levels and make sure vacancies are filled in a timely manner.  “I believe it is important to create a workplace culture where employees feel valued and are encouraged to actively participate in establishing agency priorities,” Fell said.

In the community, substance abuse is a problem that can negatively impact families and the community. He said he would work to make sure offenders are held accountable, and would work to ensure there are treatment alternatives available.

He also said he would work to be visible in the community and maintain close contact with municipal police chiefs.

Egger

Egger, 40, left the sheriff’s office in December 2019 after 14 years. He now works as the criminal justice program administrator and director of law enforcement academies at Blackhawk Technical College.

“At Blackhawk, we opened up a new public safety and training center,” Egger said. “Training has been my passion for a long time. That’s a big part of this. I took on a whole lot more responsibility with this at Blackhawk."

He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a master’s degree in criminal justice management from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and a master’s degree in training and human resource development from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He also is a graduate of the Northwestern Center for Public Safety’s School of Police Staff and Command. He and his wife, Danielle,  have three children.

Egger said he went into law enforcement to “do the best I could do for the community” and “drive the change of law enforcement at the sheriff’s office into the future.”

Egger also said a priority is building relationships and "understanding recruiting is so important, and realize we have that employee-first culture. If you go to a restaurant and the employees don’t feel like they are valued, are you going to get good service? Probably not.”

He said with better relationships, the department will be able to better address drugs and violent crime by working together, and sharing resources and information, which are all essential to criminal investigations.

He said the budget is always going to be a challenge because the department always will be asked to do more with less. He said he will be transparent and open about the budget process.

He said recruiting and hiring is going to be the biggest challenge in the next several years. Research shows that approximately 40% of those working in law enforcement will reach retirement age in the next five to seven years, which means the department will be replacing a large number of experienced workers at every level.

To address this, Egger said he would start working internally to ensure that current employees feel valued, supported, and respected. 

'The other side of recruitment and retention is understanding what motivates people. Law enforcement is traditionally paramilitary, with rank and seniority many times meaning more than knowledge and experience," Egger wrote in answer to a questionnaire sent out by the Beloit Daily News. "This is contrary to an effective working environment and a safer community. We have seen the paramilitary mindset have detrimental effects firsthand in the George Floyd murder case when a rookie officer expressed concern and the senior officer overruling him simply based on years of service."

"We need to create an organizational culture where employees are valued on their knowledge and own expertise, where employees are given autonomy and purpose, and where even the newest employee’s opinion and insight are a part of the discussion," Egger wrote.

Egger said his priorities if elected also would include “strengthening the relationships of the sheriff’s office with the community, our criminal justice partners, and the employees of the sheriff’s office, as well as ensuring the sheriff’s office has a mission, vision and values that will drive the actions of the employee to best serve the community."

He said in speaking with area police chiefs, he has learned that the sheriff’s office has not done a great job in supporting and working with other agencies in the county. He said he hopes to forge better partnerships. He also said he wants to partner with nonprofits to make sure people have access to their services, which will also have an impact on crime.


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