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GOP Water Privatization Bill Could Bring Flint, Michigan Problem Here PDF Print E-mail
News - Articles for State & Local
Written by League of Conservation Voters, Jonah Hermann   
Friday, 29 January 2016 11:06

franklin-watertowerIn response to the Senate committee vote Thursday on Assembly Bill 554, the Water Privatization Bill, the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters warns that tens of thousands of Wisconsinites are at risk from drinking water contaminated with nitrates, lead, pesticides, e coli, and other contaminants as the bill moves forward.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 January 2016 11:44
USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Improve Rural Housing PDF Print E-mail
News - Articles for State & Local
Written by USDA   
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 10:28

single-family-homeSTEVENS POINT, WI - U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Wisconsin State Director, Stan Gruszynski, announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants to help low and very low income rural residents repair their homes.

"For some in rural communities, needed home maintenance and repair is simply unaffordable,” Gruszynski said. “This program provides support, in partnership with local non-profit organizations, for essential needs including remediation of housing health and safety hazards for rural families and residents with extremely limited incomes. In addition to preserving housing, this program helps lower housing costs through energy conservation and weatherization improvements."

Grants are provided to qualified intermediaries such as town or county governments, public agencies, community organizations, federally recognized Indian Tribes, non-profit and faith-based organizations. The grants are then distributed to qualified homeowners or owners of multi-family rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents.

Grant funds can be used to weatherize and repair existing structures, install or improve plumbing or provide access to people with disabilities. In addition, the program assists rental property owners and cooperative housing complexes in repairing and rehabilitating their units if they agree to make such units available to low- and very low-income persons.

Last year, Couleecap, Inc. received a $22,881 grant to assist five families eliminate health and safety hazards in their homes and make needed repairs such replacing faulty furnaces, installing accessibility ramps, insulation and/or new roofs. Western Dairyland Economic Development Council, Inc. was also awarded a $22,881 grant to help five families with rehabilitation, safety or repair needs.

For additional information on eligibility for Housing Preservation Grants, please see the December 29, 2015 Federal Register.  Pre-applications must be received by 4 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST) on March 15, 2016. Assistance for filing a pre-application can be obtained from the USDA Rural Development Wisconsin State Office by calling 715-345-7620.

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As the lead federal agency for rural development needs, USDA Rural Development can help rural communities and regions grow and prosper by offering a variety of financial and technical assistance programs that encourage the development of strong community and economic development strategies.

During this past year, USDA Rural Development’s nearly $577 million investment in Wisconsin helped create or retain more than 1,560 jobs, aided 3,034 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 45 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services, and infrastructure.

Further information on USDA Rural Development is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting the web site at www.rd.usda.gov/wi.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

WEB LINK: www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/news-release/usda-seeks-applications-grants-improve-quality-rural-housing-0

Mark Harris Opposes Proposed Changes to Local Veterans Services PDF Print E-mail
News - Articles for State & Local
Written by Harris for Wisconsin   
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 10:16

mark-harrisOSHKOSH, WI – Winnebago County Executive and State Senate Candidate Mark L. Harris made the following statement regarding a recently proposed bill (LRB4524/1) that would allow for a regionalization of County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO) and eliminate the requirement that each county maintain its own Veteran Service Officer. It also appears to eliminate the requirement that the CVSO be a veteran.

“I strongly oppose any change that would reduce veteran’s access to their CVSO and I would urge legislators not to cosponsor this bill,” said Harris. “County Veterans Service Officers play an essential role in helping veterans become informed of the benefits to which they are entitled. They also help veterans navigate the application process for these benefits. CVSOs serve as an advocate for the veterans and their spouses through the difficult process of documentation. Most veteran claims in Wisconsin originate from County Veteran Service offices.”

Mark L. Harris is a Democratic candidate for the open 18th Senate District that includes parts of Fond du Lac, Winnebago, and Dodge Counties.

Harris currently serves as Winnebago County Executive and lives in Oshkosh with his wife Susan. To learn more please visit www.harrisforwisconsin.com.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 January 2016 10:24
Rhinelander Families Struggling with Cuts to Local Schools PDF Print E-mail
News - Articles for State & Local
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin   
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 09:59

teaching-studentsRepublican budget cuts in Madison cause local schools to face tough decisions and stiff budget shortfalls.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 January 2016 11:07
Proposal to Transform Delivery of Local Veterans Services a Bad Idea PDF Print E-mail
News - Articles for State & Local
Written by State Senate Democrats   
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 09:23

vaGOP backed legislation eliminates the remaining duties of the Wisconsin Veterans Board, gives those jobs to the WDVA, and makes significant changes to the duties of local County Veterans Service Officers.

MADISON - Two Democratic state legislators called on the authors of a bill to significantly change delivery of Veterans services in every county of Wisconsin to withdraw the effort.

Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) and Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) say LRB 4524 circulated by Representative Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin) and Senator Van Wanggard (R-Racine) eliminates all of the remaining duties of the Wisconsin Veterans Board, gives those jobs to WDVA Secretary Scocos, and makes significant changes to County Veterans Service Officer(CVSO) and their duties.

jon-erpenbach“I am not sure why Secretary Scocos and the Department of Veterans Affairs are pushing a plan that could sacrifice the local connection points to Veterans services the CVSO officers provide. This is careless. We should be expanding the role of CVSO’s and expanding Veterans services in every county in Wisconsin not cutting them,” said Senator Jon Erpenbach. “If the authors are genuine they should bring everyone involved to the table and work for positive change, which clearly was not done here.”

gordon_hintz“No one knows better what the Veterans in my community are struggling with than our local CVSO. Political appointees in Madison are not working with Veterans trying to navigate post service lives hands on, maybe that is why they did not anticipate how this proposal would frustrate local Veterans. Well this proposal is activating local Veterans, and for good cause. Our CVSO officers serve as our boots on the ground in Wisconsin’s counties, we should be enhancing their role in our communities,” said Representative Gordon Hintz.

WDVA Secretary Scocos has stated CVSO participation in the bill development. CVSO representatives strongly disagree and were not even shared a draft of the bill for feedback. The proposal would make the appointment of a CVSO in a county optional and would allow for the one officer to serve multiple counties. The proposal also allows for the hiring of a non-Veteran for this position, which is now required to be a Veteran. Additionally, the bill eliminates the remaining role of the Wisconsin Veteran Board and gives more authority to Secretary Scocos. Once a thriving and active board, the Wisconsin Veterans Board no longer sets policy for Veterans in Wisconsin.

“We have a strong proposal to meet mental health needs we know Veterans have through an existing Veterans program SB 370/AB 510 introduced in October that has not even had a public hearing. Secretary Scocos and WDVA have been actively worked to stall those bills; now this, it is disappointing,” said Senator Erpenbach.

“I know that the authors of this proposal believed they were putting forward a proposal built through consensus which is simply not true. Now is their opportunity to check back in with their local active Veterans and CVSO Officer and affect positive change for our Veterans. I hope they take that opportunity,” said Representative Gordon Hintz.

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