Thumbs down to approving Schigur's $10,500 bonus. The Milton School Board is like a car wreck on the Interstate. You couldn't help but gawk at its decision last week to approve a $10,500 bonus payment for Superintendent Tim Schigur, even as it launched an inquiry into his administration's handling of this type of payment. Essentially, the board rewarded Schigur for the mess his leadership has dropped on the district. The district's former business manager had raised concerns about the administration circumventing the school board to give out bonuses, but apparently padding Schigur's pocketbook takes priority. Kudos, however, to the three members who voted against rewarding this incompetence: Brian Kvapil, Michael Pierce and Karen Hall.
Thumbs up to "hot zone" training. We know paramedics take risks in saving people, but they're typically not facing gunfire. That could change under new policies to equip these first responders with ballistic helmets and bullet-proof vests. For more than a year, Janesville police and paramedics have been training to work alongside each other at dangerous crime scenes, or "hot zones." It makes sense to try to get paramedics as close as possible to the people who need medical assistance. Police officers can deliver first aid, but serious injuries require more expertise. Paramedics have always had our admiration, but now even more so.
Thumbs up to another sign of SHINE progress. SHINE Medical Technologies continues to pleasantly surprise us with the progress it's making at its south-side site. After years of delays and false starts, the company says it's poised to break ground on a production facility after acquiring from the city of Janesville a 91-acre site to produce Molybdenum-99, the highly prized medical isotope. The land transfer is significant because it hinged on SHINE obtaining both local and federal approvals and demonstrating its operation would be commercially viable. The company expects to start building this year and completing the plant by 2021 with commercial production ramping up in 2022. SHINE's recent actions give us faith in the company's timeline.
Thumbs down to mounting opposition to gas tax hike. Perhaps many Wisconsinites have become so used to driving over potholes, they've forgotten what good roads look like. A new poll reveals public support is declining for Gov. Tony Evers' proposal to raise the gas tax to 40.9 cents per gallon, with 57 percent saying they oppose increasing the tax to pay for road projects. Some state Assembly leaders, to their credit, are keeping an open mind toward Evers' proposal. Unfortunately, their colleagues in the state Senate continue to oppose it, while clinging to the Scott Walker road-fixing strategy, which is to say he didn't have one.