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012815fpbottom pix1Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke says that the NAACP was out of line for blaming police for shooting a black man in Oklahoma. The outspoken sheriff says that the problems facing our streets rest in homes with single mothers.

Sheriff Clarke was speaking of an incident where body camera recordings showed a Muskogee police officer in Oklahoma fatally shoot a fleeing suspect.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma NAACP chapter President told KTUL NEWS Station in Tulsa that the shooting was part of a “shoot first and ask questions later” mentality in the police.

“I think emphasis should be placed on trying to take those people alive,” said the NAACP president.

On a segment of Fox & Friends, Sheriff Clarke argued that the NAACP should be focusing on black men instead of the police.

“This once proud organization that was a force for good has relegated itself into irrelevancy, and I challenge anybody to name the last significant accomplishment that the NAACP has achieved in the United States for people of color,” Clarke opined. “This organization has become nothing more than a political propaganda entity for the left.”

The sheriff said that the NAACP should start a discussion in the black community about “the behavior of our young black men.”

“The discussion we need to be having and the NAACP can lead it — stay off the police — is why is the stuff happening, and what are we going to do about it,” he continued. “The number one cause of this is father-absent homes. So what are we going to do in terms of having more effective parenting, more role modeling, more engaged fathers in the lives of these young black men so that we don’t have this behavior.”

Brian Kilmeade, the host of Fox News  pointed out that the assailants mother said that officers did not have to shoot her son as he ran away.

“Well, what did his dad say?” Clarke laughed. “You know, we always hear what his mom says. You know, look, mom loves her son, we all get that. But shoot first and ask questions later — anytime a law enforcement officer is in a situation where a gun is introduced by a suspect, yeah, it’s shoot first, stop the threat, and then ask questions later.”

“And also, when you run from the police, I’ll tell you right now, you’re headed toward a very dark place where things are not going to go well for you,” he added. “That doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to be shot and you should die. But the fact is, that is one of the most dangerous situations an officer can be involved in.”

Clarke said the shooting was “unfortunate,” but he added that the NAACP needed to “focus on the behavior of our young black men, and not the police.”

012815fpmiddle pix1MILWAUKEE -Ruben Garcia (20) was charged with fatally stabbing his infant daughter and another man during an argument.

He was charged by the District Attorney’s office with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree attempted homicide.

The criminal complaint says that Garcia went in a rampage when he saw a video posted online showing one of the victims playing with his daughter.

Garcia and the mother of the daughter broke up because Garcia was abusive toward her during their relationship.

According to the complaint, Garcia wanted to get back together, when she refused, Garcia pulled out a knife and began stabbing her.

Police said Garcia stabbed two men who were also in the house. One of the men, Paul Kucharczyk, died as a result of the attack.  The medical examiner said Kucharczyk was stabbed 44 times.

Court documents say that Garcia then pleaded with the woman to come out of the bathroom. When she refused, police said Garcia entered a bedroom and stabbed his 5-month-old daughter six times.

The baby, Alexia Dailey, died at the scene.

Garcia faces life in prison for each of the homicide charges, and 60 years in prison on each of the attempted homicide charges.

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012815top pix1Editor’s Commentary

An article published in Urban Milwaukee entitled, “Streetcar Responses Shows Wide Support”, illustrates clearly the lost opportunity being ignored by Black elected officials to show the power they have as representatives of their community.

The number of responses that Black alderpersons received in a survey published in this article about the streetcar, clearly shows that if these black elected officials were truly dedicated to standing against the current conditions of hypersegregation, poverty and high rates of incarceration of Black people that exist in Milwaukee, now would be the time to make that statement.

In addition, a January 5, 2015 Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) memo showed that Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), Wisconsin’s largest public education system where the students attending are predominantly Black, will be on the hook for about $40 million tax dollars to help pay for the streetcar. However, the city took exception to the memo releasing their response to the LRB memo on January 8, 2015 arguing that the LRB misinterpreted the tax that will be taken.

Still, whatever tax formula or interpretation the city wishes to argue about what type of tax that will go towards paying for the streetcar, one thing is certain, tax dollars are being spent on building the streetcar, not going towards educating Black children.

So you see, while the mayor wants to bet on Milwaukee’s future, he is doing so using tax revenue once earmarked to educate Black children, risking their future as he places his bet.

And what are Black Alderpersons getting in return for their streetcar vote? What’s the pay off for the Black community to allow the mayor to syphon off education money from the city’s predominately Black public school system?

Nothing!

That’s why now would be the time to tell the mayor and all the developers supporting this streetcar that business as usual in Milwaukee cannot continue.

The time to strike would be now. Voting against this streetcar is the strongest possible message to send to the status quo covert segregationists that economic apartheid against Black people ends.

Now is the time to strike by voting against them for the years of incarcerating black people for minor drug charges and unchecked police brutality.

What other opportunity presents itself in the future than now?  Voting to end their profit from the construction of the streetcar unless they present a twenty year plan of prosperity for the Black community is fair trade for the Black vote.

Unless, Black elected officials are in it only for themselves, then doing the mayor’s bidding for a favor in return later makes sense. Shame.

KENOSHA – WISN 12 reports that a new compact with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin has been reached.  The compact carries the signature of tribal leaders, as well as Gov. Walker.

An understanding in the compact was reached in which that the Menominee Tribe would pay the state 7.5 percent of its net winnings from a Kenosha facility, according to a memo to the assistant secretary of the interior for Indian affairs.

Walker said, “The State of Wisconsin recently negotiated a compact amendment with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin in an effort to help define the potential economic and fiscal impact of the proposed Kenosha Casino.”

WISN 12 News first reported the news Monday that a tribal spokesperson told Kent Wainscott that an agreement had been reached in principle and that signatures were being gathered.  The compact also states that the tribe would make up any budget shortfall caused by a reduction in payments from compacts with the Forest County Potawatomi.

The Potawatomi tribe issued a statement, saying, “It’s clear that this compact amendment does not remove the risk that a Kenosha casino could put a substantial hole in Wisconsin’s budget.”

The Menominee believe the compact provides a clear path for the governor to approve the casino.  The amended compact now heads to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approval.  The Potawatomi are preparing a lawsuit.

Walker has until Feb. 19 to approve or reject the casino.

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Milwaukee – A crowd was on hand at Milwaukee City Hall to observe the Common Council ‘s vote on a downtown streetcar plan the mayor is trying to move forward.

The streetcar plan calls for four miles of track. It would loop the lower east side and the Third Ward, with stops downtown and at the Intermodal Station. The estimated cost of the project is $124 million. Federal money would cover 45 percent; special financing districts would provide the rest. The proposal has both supporters and detractors on the Council and in the business community.

Some Aldermen are opposed to the streetcar project, including Alderman Tony Zielinski. He says the project would not reach areas of the city in desperate need of development.

“The thing that especially causes concern for me as we have the highest, if not one of the highest African American unemployment rates in the entire country. And where do we stick this investment that according to our opponents is going to spur development not in the central city, instead downtown instead of providing it for the neediest people,” Zielinski says.

Zielinski adds, that downtown is already in the midst of a building boom.

Common Council voted to pass the streetcar measure however Zielinski sought and got a reconsideration.

Requiring three members of the Common Council, the reconsideration was a procedural move to delay a decision until February 10. This move was intended to help streetcar opposition to collect enough signatures to force a referendum.

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MILWAUKEE – Gov. Scott Walker will reject the plan for the Kenosha casino.  In a statement released Friday, Walker said “the risk to taxpayers is too great.”
“Due to the compacts negotiated by Governor Doyle, the current cost to taxpayers of approving the proposed casino project is up to $100 million and the long-term economic hit to the state budget would be a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars.,” the statement read.
Barca told News 3 he was informed of the decision by the Department of Administration on Friday. He called it “a decision of colossal proportions.” He said the rejection of the casino proposal comes over concern to taxpayers over a potential lawsuit.
The Menominee Indian Tribe is expressing disappointment. Tribal chairwoman Laurie Boivin said in a statement Friday that the project would have improved the lives of the nearly 9,000 tribal members. The chairwoman says that instead, one tribe — the Forest County Potawatomi — and Walker’s presumed presidential aspirations derailed the project.

Menomonie – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded a $500,000 grant to the City of Menomonie to help expand a downtown food market—a project expected to create new jobs and play a key role in the redevelopment of downtown.

The Community Development Investment Grant will fill the remaining gap in the $3.9 million expansion and relocation project that will more than quadruple the retail space at the Menomonie Market Food Co-op. The project will create 25 new jobs at the city’s only downtown grocery store.

“A strong downtown is vital to the overall economic health of a community, and the Community Development Investment Grant Program is helping communities all over the state revitalize their business districts,” said Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who announced the grant at the Dunn County Economic Development Corporation’s annual banquet. “Not only will this grant directly benefit those who live and work in the area, but a vibrant downtown will help other Dunn County businesses recruit and retain quality employees.”

“The City of Menomonie is pleased to have the support of the WEDC grant for the Menomonie Market Food Co-op and Farmer’s Market projects,” said Mayor Randy Knaack. “The impact this will have on our community is great by supporting a community need, creating jobs and improving our tax base. This improvement will initiate an economic development reaction that will affect multiple businesses within the area in a positive way, continuing the positive growth in our community.”

Crystal Halvorson, general manager of the Menomonie Market Food Co-op, added: “We are thrilled to learn that the City of Menomonie has been awarded this grant. For Menomonie Market, it means we can build the grocery store that our owners need, and be ready to do even more work to meet our goals of a thriving, healthy community as soon as we are open. Restoring the farmer’s market to our downtown and building a permanent structure that can accommodate all sorts of functions is a great way for the city to invest in our community.”

WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts—primarily in downtown areas—throughout the state. Since its inception in 2013, the program has provided more than $5.8 million in grants to 39 communities.

The City of Menomonie is one of seven communities awarded a grant out of 32 applications received from the throughout the state in this round of funding. Communities were selected based on the ability to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need, and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

WEDC will hold two additional competitions for funding this year with application deadlines ofJan. 30 and April 17.

“Since its inception, WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program has provided $6.7 million in funding to 38 communities in every part of the state,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development agency. “We are pleased to assist Menomonie with a project that will pay dividends for the entire community.”

Menomonie Market Food Co-op, which was established in 1973, has outgrown its current location and was having difficulty finding the space it needed to grow downtown. The state grant, along with $386,000 in funding provided by the city, will enable the co-op to demolish a building that is owned by Dunn County. A new 13,000-square-foot building will include a community classroom, expanded product lines, and a largely expanded deli serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. There will be more space for produce and meat, which will provide more opportunities for local food vendors to sell their product.

As part of the project, Menomonie Farmers Market, which had been located nine blocks east of downtown, will be relocated to a permanent plaza near the co-op and an underused city park.

The expanded Menomonie Market will be key to the redevelopment and continued economic development plan for downtown Menomonie and the surrounding area. The enhancements have already helped to initiate other developments, such as a $6 million mixed-use development, a $3 million drug store and a $2 million dental office complex. City and state officials say those developments will not only increase the tax base, but will make downtown more attractive to additional development.

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Milwaukee – A farmers’ market in the heart of winter — something many take advantage of every Saturday at the Milwaukee County’s Winter Farmers’ Market at Mitchell Park Domes. It is the spot where small farmers can sustain their business during the dead of winter. There’s a little something for everyone, including your dog and for cheese lovers too!

Come and enjoy the sights of the domes and tastes of locally grown goodness to share. The Milwaukee County Winter Farmers’ Market runs through April 11th. It’s located at the Mitchell Park Domes and is open every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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MILWAUKEE — For Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, January 21 will be a defining moment for his administration. Can the mayor hold off an onslaught of Milwaukee residents growing day by day opposed to his proposed streetcar project for downtown Milwaukee?

On January 21, the mayor will get his answer. The full Common Council is scheduled to vote on the mayor’s streetcar plan on that date, it is only then we will know whether the mayor has a solid block of supporters on the Common Council.

This week, one Common Council vote the mayor was likely depending on changed his mind, leading to speculation that the mayor’s influence on the common council appears to be weakening.

Talk radio has fueled speculation Alderman Robert Puente will not be voting against the streetcar in talk radio this past week. Puente was a supporter.

The news that he is switching his vote was reported on the web site: Stop the Milwaukee Streetcar.

Stop the Milwaukee Streetcar was able to confirm that via phone call to Alderman Robert W. Puente’s office that he  is switching his vote from supporting to opposing the Mayor’s streetcar plan.

According Stop the Milwaukee Streetcar, the assistant to the alderman “changed his position on the streetcar plan because when he listened to his constituents he understood them to be by and large against the plan…”

Meanwhile, ahead of the Common Council’s decision, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is trying to get folks on board with his plan.

The mayor held a public briefing regarding his plan at the Milwaukee Theatre on West Kilbourn Avenue this week.

Mayor Barrett outlined his $123 million project connecting downtown, the lakefront and the East Side. Barrett says the project will be paid for with grant money, an already approved TIF district and $54 million in federal dollars earmarked specifically for a streetcar project. He says it won’t involve a property tax increase.

The mayor said that eventually the streetcar will be extended to other parts of the city — like UW-Milwaukee’s campus and even the airport.

But not everyone is on board.

A group led by Alderman Bob Donovan and Alderman Joe Davis launched a petition drive to try to derail the project. They are looking to gather 31,000 signatures in the next two months to force the issue to a binding referendum.

Governor Scott Walker said Wisconsin is now more free and prosperous than it was when he delivered his first inaugural address four years ago. The Republican governor was sworn-in to his second term during a ceremony Monday in the State Capitol rotunda. Sons, Matt and Alex Walker, served as masters of ceremony. “Our children are leading this inauguration ceremony as a reminder of our big dreams for them and for the future of this great state” Walker said.
Governor Walker pledged to create more jobs by building a more skilled workforce through quality education and reducing the size and scope of government. Walker said, “State agencies will be merged to make them more effective, more efficient, and more accountable to the public. We will continue to weed out waste, fraud, and abuse. Budgets will be set based on the taxpayers’ ability to pay and not on the government’s ability to spend.”
The potential candidate for the 2016 race for the White House said the source of hope for the country comes from states like Wisconsin, not the federal government. “In contrast to the politicians along the Potomac, we get things done here in the Badger state. There is a clear contrast between Washington and Wisconsin.”
Governor Walker will offer specifics about what he called his “grand vision” for the future during his upcoming State of the State Address.

On January 5, 2015 the City of Milwaukee took ownership of the title of the 611 West National Avenue Building via foreclosure. The foreclosure allows for extinguishing toxic debt, asset disposal at a fair price, and supporting economic development in the Milwaukee South Side. Esperanza Unida has worked closely with the City of Milwaukee to ensure a smooth transition and the start of a new chapter.
In 2013, Esperanza Unida conducted numerous improvements to the 611 West National Building. These physical improvements increased the valuation of the building from an estimated $600,000 to the current asking price of $1.3 million. In 2013, Former Secretary Manny Perez was brought in to restructure the corporation. Addressing these issues involved many difficult decisions given the financial complexity and toxicity of the problems and the lack of economic development in the Milwaukee South Side.
Nevertheless, since 2013 Esperanza Unida has trained 140 workers in forklift operations, has provided transportation services to workers within 50 mile radius, and has helped 30 transitional workers with work experience aimed at empowering them to become self- sufficient.
At the root of the issues is inappropriate loans made against the 611 International Building approved by the 1994 Board of Directors and Executive Director, Richard Oulahan. These loans – in the amount of $790,000- were made in addition to the original loan of the project as revolving lines of credit after the initial renovation project was completed. According to BMO Harris, until at least 2002 then Executive Director Richard Oulahansigned for loans using the preexisting loan as line of credit and the 611 West National Building and the 1329 Building as collateral. From a compliance and sale standpoint, these issues were brought to the attention of the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Authority by Executive Director Manuel Perez.
The debt crippled the organization financially as it set it in a course of chronic indebtedness and lower revenues that became more complex as the organization fell behind in IRS taxes, UI, DOR, and many others and it caused serious disrepair due to lack of maintenance and repair budgets. This was worsened by the downturn in the economy.
A sale could not occur due to the restrictions imposed by the US Department of Commerce on the sale of the property. The foreclosure effectively prevents that the tax payers of the City of Milwaukee pay $712,000 to the US Department of Commerce given that the City of Milwaukee is a co-applicant of the 611 International Building. The lack of economic development in the Milwaukee South Side prevents attracting tenants that can sustain proper rental rates.
Those factors –together with the existence of accumulated toxic debt- justify the need for ownership to be transferred to a qualified investor that can infuse capital to the 611 Building, to conduct additional improvements that the building will need, and accelerate economic development along 6th and National Avenue. This should also contribute to creating additional jobs in a community that is in serious need of economic development and job creation.
As we move forward in the sanitization process at Esperanza Unida, we motivate the entire Milwaukee South Side community and government leaders to unite to stimulate needed economic development and job creation in the Milwaukee South Side. This involves sound urban planning and implementation, focus on results, needed street repairs, additional support to business development and entrepreneurship, crime prevention and ongoing security, as well as workforce development.

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MILWAUKEE — Two Milwaukee Aldermen are taking action to get a referendum in place so that Milwaukee voters can decide if the city should spend over $120 million for streetcar proposal presented by the mayor.
Milwaukee Aldermen Bob Donovan and Joe Davis, Sr. announced that they support a citywide petition drive designed to force a binding referendum on funding for the proposed downtown streetcar project.
The two Aldermen will be facing off against each other for mayor in 2016, but for now they are teaming up in opposition to Mayor Tom Barrett’s $123 million streetcar proposal.
Alderman Davis said the reason why he’s opposed to the streetcar proposal is because, “My constituents have made it very clear that they don’t see a return on investment in this particular initiative”.
Alderman Donovan stated that he’s simply trying to give the people of Milwaukee a voice on the matter.
To get the referendum on the ballot the aldermen have formed a committee they call “UNITED for Milwaukee.” They need 31,000 signatures in 60 days in order to get a referendum put on the April ballot. The referendum would be asking voters to decide whether they want the streetcar.
The official launch of the “UNITED for Milwaukee” campaign was held this week at Serb Hall in Milwaukee.
Citizens for Responsible Government is organizing the petition drive against the proposed Milwaukee streetcar. This group also wants the taxpayers to have a say through a referendum.
State law requires signatures equal to 15% of the number of city voters in the last gubernatorial election — that would be roughly 31,000 signatures the group would need to gather and submit for validation before the referendum is placed on the ballot.
Citizens for Responsible Government says Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett sidestepped the voice of the people.

MOUNT PLEASANT, WI A northwest suburban man pleaded not guilty and is still held without bond on charges of murdering his estranged wife who had been staying with a friend in Wisconsin to hide from him before he killed her with a hatchet.

Cristian Loga-Negru, 38, faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide, mayhem and kidnapping, according to the Racine County, Wis., District Attorney’s office.

Loga-Negru and his deceased 36-year-old wife, Roxane E. Abrudan, are both from Arlington Heights, according to the court complaint.

Officers responded just before 8:30 p.m. to a 911 call about a domestic violence incident in the 600 block of Calvin Lane, a statement from Mount Pleasant, Wis. Sheriff’s office.

The caller told police they “heard someone screaming and a body was observed being dragged across the front lawn to a vehicle,” police said. The man then drove off with the woman about two minutes before police arrived.

“They had been separated and the wife was trying to hide from her husband in Mount Pleasant at a friend’s residence. Prior to this assault the victim had filed a restraining order against the suspect in Arlington Heights,” police said.

The woman had been returning to her friend’s home when she was attacked with a “hatchet-type weapon,” police said.

About 10 minutes later, a second 911 caller reported a woman bleeding at the Super 8 Motel at 1150 Oakes Rd., police said.

The husband was arrested without incident moments after police arrived in the motel parking lot, the statement said. According to the court complaint, Loga-Negru told police that he “can stand a lot of smells, but not her blood on me.”

Officers also located multiple passports, including a Romanian passport and ID cards, from Loga-Negru, the complaint said.

2014 started with an ambitious State of The Union address by president Obama and then turned into year of tension and transition.

The year brought a historic climate agreement with China and a new dawn for U.S.- Cuba relations.

It was also a year of mysteries. One of those mysteries involved a huge airliner simply that vanished, and to this day nobody has any idea what happened to it, despite literally thousands of hours of intensive speculation on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News and other major world media networks.

Another mystery is the millions of Americans suddenly decided to make videos of themselves having ice water poured on their heads. Remember? There were rumors that this had something to do with charity, but for most of us, the connection was never clear. All we knew was that, for a while there, every time we turned on the TV, there was a local newscaster or Gwyneth Paltrow or Kermit the Frog or some random individual soaking wet and shivering. This mysterious phenomenon ended as suddenly as it started, but not before uncounted trillions of American brain cells died of frostbite.

And the mystery of an intruder who jumped the White House fence and, inexplicably, managed to run into the White House through the unlocked front door. Most of us had assumed that anybody attempting this would instantly be converted to a bullet-ridden pile of smoking carbon by snipers, lasers, drones, ninjas, etc., but it turned out that, for some mysterious reason, the White House had effectively the same level of anti-penetration security as a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Of course not everything that happened in 2014 was mysterious. Some developments — ISIS, Ebola, the song Happy — were simply bad. There was even some good news in 2014, mostly in the form of things that did not happen. A number of GM cars — the final total could be as high as four — were not recalled. There were several whole days during which no statements had to be issued by the U.S. Department of Explaining What The Vice President Meant To Say. And for the 30th consecutive year, the Brewers failed to play in the World Series.

But other than that, it was a miserable 12 months. In case you have forgotten why, let’s take one last look back, starting with…

JANUARY

Remember the Polar Vortex? Cold blasts of air from Canada, bringing with it heavy snows, record low temperatures and Justin Bieber. Weather is also the big story in drought-stricken California, where the state legislature passes a tough new water-conservation law requiring all noncelebrity residents to go to the bathroom in Oregon.

Read more here:http://www.miamiherald.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/dave-barry/article4940373.html#storylink=cpy

In Colorado, the new year begins on a “high” note as the sale of recreational marijuana becomes legal. Despite dire predictions from critics that this will lead to increases in crime and addiction, state law-enforcement officials report that if you stare for a while at the flashing lights on top of their cars, you can see some amazing colors.

In a major speech, President Barack Obama, responding to allegations that the National Security Agency has been electronically snooping on foreign leaders, announces that all federal agencies will henceforth follow strict new guidelines on the sale and distribution of naked photos.

Elsewhere, how about NBA weirdo and idiot Dennis Rodman making his fourth visit to North Korea to hang out with his misunderstood pal Kim Jong-Un, who defeats Rodman 168-0 in a friendly one-on-one game refereed by the North Korean army, then celebrates by firing a missile towards Japan.

FEBRUARY

In politics, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, responding to a radio interviewer’s questions about his alleged role in the 2013 “Bridgegate” lane-closure scandal, eats the interviewer. And in a historic policy shift, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announces that same-sex married couples will henceforth be subject to the same incomprehensible tax laws as everybody else.

Speaking of incomprehensible, in…

MARCH

The big story involves the Crimea, which until now many of us thought was a disease, as in “Bob has a bad case of the Crimea,” but which turns out to be a part of Ukraine that Russia wants to annex. As tension mounts in the region, the United States and the European Union issue Stern Warnings to Russia, such as “You better not annex the Crimea!” And: “Don’t make us turn this car around!” Nevertheless Russia goes ahead and annexes it, forcing the U.S. and Europe to escalate from Stern Warnings to Harsh Sanctions, including the suspension of Vladimir Putin’s Netflix account.

On a happier note, Colorado announces that it has already collected marijuana sales taxes totaling $2million, which the state plans to spend on “a subwoofer the size of Delaware, or a club sandwich as long as California.

Speaking of invasions, in…

APRIL

…Russia, ignoring both the Stern Warnings and the Harsh Sanctions, continues its military intervention in Ukraine, leaving the United States with no choice but to deploy the ultimate weapon: Joe Biden, who is sent to Kiev to deliver a Strong Rebuke, followed by dinner.

On a happier note, the Polar Vortex finally goes back to Canada.

Speaking of Canada, in…

MAY

…the United States, Canada and Europe, which are really starting to lose patience with Russia’s actions in Ukraine, announce that they intend to “seriously consider” taking steps that could ultimately result in the cancellation of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s American Express card.

In domestic news, the Department of Veterans Affairs is engulfed in scandal following revelations that some VA hospitals are just now getting around to treating veterans of the War of 1812. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki tells a Senate committee that he is “mad as hell” about this, but he ends up resigning after he is out-angered by President Obama, who according to a top aide is “madder than hell.” Numerous Republicans declare that they, too, are extremely mad. Basically everybody in Washington is hopping mad about this scandal, as of today, everyone is still mad and not a damn thing has been done to fix the problems at the VA.

Speaking of scandals in…

JUNE

…Washington scandal news, the Internal Revenue Service, responding to a subpoena, tells congressional investigators that it cannot produce 28 months of Lois Lerner’s emails because the hard drive they were stored on failed, and the hard drive was thrown away, and the backup tapes were erased, and no printed copies were saved — contrary to the IRS’s own record-keeping policy, which was eaten by the IRS’s dog. “It was just one crazy thing after another,” states the IRS, “and it got us to thinking: All these years we’ve been subjecting taxpayers to everything short of rectal probes if they can’t produce EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT WE WANT, and here we lose YEARS worth of official records! So from now on, if taxpayers tell us they lost something, or just plain forgot to make a tax payment, we’ll be like, ‘Hey, whatever! Stuff happens!’ Because who are we to judge?”

But all kidding aside, you can bet that before this thing is over there will be a strongly worded report. Oh boy.

Speaking of brutal, in…

JULY

…the Ukrainian crisis intensifies when a Malaysia Airlines plane is shot down over Ukraine by a missile apparently fired by separatists backed by Russia. This is the last straw for the U.S. and Europe, which retaliate swiftly with a stern statement warning that any Russians planning to dine in U.S. or European restaurants in the future can expect to receive “very slow service.”

In other news, Colorado calls up Mexico at 1:30 a.m. and attempts to place a takeout order for 65,000 beef chimichangas. They really have the munchies.

Speaking of seemingly endless, in…

AUGUST

Ferguson, Missouri, which is rocked by a wave of sometimes-violent protests following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. The shooting ignites a passionate national debate whose participants had basically as much solid information about what actually happened as they do about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Speaking of drama, in…

SEPTEMBER

…the FBI announces that it is investigating the distribution of hundreds of naked-celebrity photos that were helpfully uploaded from the celebrities’ iPhones to the “cloud,” which also has all of your personal information despite the fact that you have NO idea what it is. An outraged Miley Cyrus threatens to sue Apple when she discovers that none of the photos are of her.

But the mood turns less festive in…

OCTOBER

…when the Ebola virus takes center stage as a parade of medical authorities appear on cable news to assure the American public that there is absolutely no reason to panic about Ebola so we should just stay calm regarding Ebola because given what we know about Ebola there is probably no danger that you will get Ebola so just stop worrying about Ebola Ebola Ebola OMIGOD EBOLA! After a solid week of being reassured 24/7 about Ebola, the public has been soothed into a state of panic, which is not improved when the director of the Centers for Disease Control does an interview for CNN from inside a bubble.

President Obama, responding decisively to the mounting crisis, appoints as his “Ebola Czar” Ron Klain, an attorney who is never heard from again.

In politics, the big story is the looming midterm elections, which have President Obama crisscrossing the nation at a hectic pace in a last-ditch effort to find a Democratic candidate willing to appear in public with him.

The president is finally able to schedule an event with 94-year-old R. Nordstrom Fleemer, who is running for his 17th term as road commissioner of Carwankle County, Tennessee. Mr. Fleemer appears pleased by the endorsement, although he refers to the president repeatedly as “Mr. Truman.”

In baseball, the Giants defeat the Royals to win the World Series, with the Series MVP award going to Derek Jeter.

Speaking of defeat, in…

NOVEMBER

…the Democrats get creamed in the midterm elections, which means the Republicans will control both houses of Congress as well as the road commissionership of Carwankle County, which R. Nordstrom Fleemer, despite being unopposed, loses badly, although his wife elects not to tell him. With the federal government now facing total gridlock, Republican and Democratic leaders realize that the only way they can attack the many serious problems facing the nation is to stop their endless cheap-shot partisan bickering and work together in the spirit of … Wow, this is some STRONG stuff I am smoking here.

In other political news, the debate over U.S. immigration policy intensifies when President Obama, in a move that infuriates Republicans, signs an executive order giving Texas back to Mexico. In a close vote, the U.S. Senate defeats the Keystone Pipeline, which would, at peak capacity, have delivered 830,000 barrels of oil per day from the Canadian tar sands to Leonardo DiCaprio’s yacht.

As the month draws to a close, the healing begins, with the Thanksgiving holiday bringing Americans of all races and religions together to fight over discounted electronics.

Speaking of fighting, in…

DECEMBER

…President Obama, moving to fill the cabinet vacancy created by the resignation of Chuck Hagel, announces — in what is seen as a major shift in military policy — that his new Secretary of Defense will be Chuck Norris. The nomination is swiftly approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee after Norris, in lieu of making an opening statement at his confirmation hearing, reduces the witness table to kindling with his forehead.

But the biggest White House surprise comes later in the month, when the president announces he has reached an agreement under which Cuba will release two prisoners, in return for which the Castro brothers will receive $274 million worth of Viagra.

Maybe 2015 will be better. We can hope, right? It might help if we stand downwind of Denver.

Anyway, Happy New Year.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announces newly launched program aimed at providing security around schools in Anthem Arizona

Washington – A US federal judge handed a victory to President Barack Obama, throwing out a lawsuit over controversial actions he took last month shielding millions of undocumented migrants from deportation.

The suit brought by Joseph Arpaio, the conservative sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, challenging the constitutionality of the president’s actions, was dismissed by Judge Beryl Howell.

“The plaintiff’s case raises important questions regarding the impact of illegal immigration on this nation, but the questions amount to generalized grievances which are not proper for the judiciary to address,” Howell’s ruling in the case read.

The White House late Tuesday praised the court’s finding.

“Judge Howell’s decision today confirms what the Department of Justice and scholars throughout the country have been saying all along: the president’s executive actions on immigration are lawful,” said Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz in a statement.

“The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that federal officials can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws, and the actions announced by the president are consistent with those taken by administrations of both parties for the last half century,” Schultz said.

“The court correctly dismissed Sheriff Arpaio’s lawsuit.”

Pledging to fix America’s “broken” immigration system, Obama last month offered five million undocumented migrants protection from deportation, allowing families to emerge from the shadows and seek work permits.

In a move that infuriated legions of his Republican critics, Obama said nearly all undocumented people living in the country for more than five years, and who have a child who is a US citizen or legal permanent resident, can apply for three-year work authorization.

The president also broadened the program he launched in 2012 that provides temporary residency to young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States before the age of 16.

The order affects about 44 percent of the 11.3 million people — mostly from Mexico and Central America — living in the United States illegally.

Republicans insist that Obama has exceeded his presidential powers in easing up on the deportations.

Blasting the move as “illegal” and “unconstitutional,” they have vowed to find a way to block it in Congress and in the courts.

22 de diciembre de 1895 – nacimiento de la bandera puertorriqueña.

El sábado 21 de diciembre de 1895 se convocó en el periódico Martiano “Patria” a todos los puertorriqueños del exilio en Nueva York a una asamblea de la Sección Puerto Rico del Partido Revolucionario Cubano. La reunión se celebró el 22 de diciembre de 1895 en el numero 57, al oeste de la Calle ’5, esquina Sexta Avenida en el edificio ‘Chimney Hall’. Asistieron 59 puertorriqueños… La Junta

Revolucionaria quedó integrada por J. J. Henna, presidente- J. M. de Terreforte, vicepresidente; Manuel Besosa y Sotero Figueroa, vocales; Gumersindo Rivas, secretario de actas y Gerardo Forrest, secretario de correspondencia Se designó a Ramón Emeterio Betances, residente en París, como Delegado General. La Junta designó delegados en varios países, entre ellos a Eugenio María de Hostos, en Chile; Lorenzo Mercado, en Venezuela; José Ramón Paradis, en Haití; y Aurelio Méndez en Rep. Dominicana… Terreforte, veterano del Grito de Lares, presentó la nueva bandera de la misma forma de la cubana, con la diferencia de haber sido invertidos los colores: franjas blancas y triángulo azul en vez de rojo, con la misma estrella blanca solitaria en el centro. La asamblea acogió la nueva bandera puertorriqueña por unanimidad.

Existen varias versiones sobre el autor de la bandera, pero eso es aspecto secundario. Lo importante es que la nación puertorriqueña desde el 22 de diciembre de 1895 adoptó la bandera nacional, la bandera de TODOS los puertorriqueños.

RACINE — Racine officials say that children and students ages six and above paying cash for their bus fare in Racine will no longer be offered a reduced rate effective in January 2015. Children ages five and under ride free with an adult.

Using a pre-paid 10-ride pass which sells for $15 will still provide a $1.50 per ride identical to the existing “student fare” but kids age six and above paying cash will be required to pay the standard bus fare of $2.

“The Belle Urban System (BUS) has been forced to find new sources of revenue since a better than 10% reduction in state transit funding went into effect in 2012,” said Stanek. ”In 2012 the BUS had to raise the adult fare from $1.50 to $2 and earlier this year the cost of a ride on the demand-response DART (Dial-A-Ride-Transit) system went from $3 to $4.”

Also effective in 2015, bus tokens will no longer be honored.

The change comes in reaction to cuts in state transportation aid from the State of Wisconsin according to City of Racine Transit Systems Manager Al Stanek.

Individuals or organizations wishing to exchange tokens for cash or toward the purchase of a 10 ride pass, new daily pass or 30-day unlimited ride pass can do so at the Belle Urban System (BUS) offices at 1900 Kentucky Street. Call 619-2436for details on exchanging tokens.

“The City of Racine and its partnering communities of the Villages of Mount Pleasant, Caledonia, and Sturtevant and the Town of York were left with few options to replace state funding when restrictions on municipal spending were also imposed by the state,” according to Stanek.

Students issued special BUS passes by Racine Unified School District will not be effected by this change when appropriately using the RUSD issued pass.

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney was fired by police Chief Flynn after he fatally shot a mentally ill black man at Red Arrow  park in April. This week the DA decided that Manney won’t face criminal charges.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said in an emailed press release that Christopher Manney won’t be charged because he shot Dontre Hamilton in self-defense.

“This was a tragic incident for the Hamilton family and for the community,” Chisholm said in a statement. “But, based on all the evidence and analysis presented in this report, I come to the conclusion that Officer Manney’s use of force in this incident was justified self-defense and that defense cannot be reasonably overcome to establish a basis to charge Officer Manney with a crime.”

Manney is at least the third police officer to not be charged in the past month after a confrontation that led to a black man’s death.

Governor Walker says the National Guard had been “activated and deployed” and will be used at the discretion of the Milwaukee Police Department to manage expected protests against the decision.

Manney shot 31-year-old Hamilton on April 30 after responding to a call for a welfare check on a man sleeping in the park. Manney said Hamilton resisted when he tried to frisk him. The two exchanged punches before Hamilton got a hold of Manney’s baton and hit him on the neck with it, the former officer has said. Manney then opened fire, hitting Hamilton 14 times.

Hamilton’s family said he suffered from schizophrenia and had recently stopped taking his medication. The family’s attorney also released a statement expressing the disappointment of the family. The statement also said  the family has reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Milwaukee and is calling for a federal investigation.

Police Chief Edward Flynn fired Manney in October, saying Manney instigated the fight with an inappropriate pat-down. The chief said Manney correctly identified Hamilton as mentally ill but ignored his training and department policy, and treated him as a criminal.

“You don’t go hands-on and start frisking somebody only because they appear to be mentally ill,” Flynn said when he announced Manney had been dismissed.

Hamilton’s death preceded those of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, but the case hasn’t attracted as much attention despite frequent, mostly peaceful protests. Hamilton’s family has used the protests to try to raise awareness about mental illness. Others said his death underlined race concerns, chanting “people of color are people, too,” and carrying signs that read “black lives matter.”

In response to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s decision to not file charges in the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton, Congresswoman Gwen Moore said:

“I am deeply disappointed in District Attorney John Chisholm’s decision to not press charges against Officer Christopher Manney in the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton. This decision is just one of many in recent weeks that continue to perpetuate a disheartening notion that there is a significant lapse in accountability for reckless officers and the behavior they employ in our communities.

“For those who see this decision as a miscarriage of justice, I assure you that our efforts to pursue a fair and equitable outcome for the Hamilton family are far from over. In the coming days, I will be asking the Department of Justice to conduct their own investigation into this matter to ensure that Dontre’s death will not be in vain.”

“It is paramount that we channel our collective grief and frustration in a constructive manner. We must rigorously pursue justice, including changes to police procedure and training regarding the appropriate use of force. This, not violence, will honor Dontre’s memory. As a mother and grandmother, I can’t imagine the anguish and disappointment the Hamilton family must be feeling right now. My heart goes out to them during this painful time.”

The Milwaukee Police Association condemned Manney’s firing as a political move, and members voted no confidence in Flynn soon after the firing.

Manney has appealed his firing and applied for disability, saying the shootings in Milwaukee and Ferguson have cost him sleep and made it difficult for him to think clearly. He also has said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Milwaukee police announced in December they would accelerate training that equips officers for dealing with crises, including encounters with the mentally ill. Only about 20 percent of the force’s roughly 1,800 officers have had the training.