Time Will Tell
What will happen to Jenson, how will Leinenkugel fare and can Madison be more bike-friendly than Münster?
Cue the Concert
Concerts on the Square gets under way later this month and lest we forget, State Capitol Police have some basic ground rules: Keep quiet during the show, no candles and don’t dump your leftover wine on the lawn (it kills the grass). Concertgoers are also forbidden to place blankets on the lawn to stake out a spot prior to 3 p.m. So what happens to those who try to mark their territory too early? According to the event website, renegade blankets will be “folded and placed at the base of the nearest tree.” That’ll show ’em!
A Two-Wheel Deal
What do we have in common with Münster, Germany (aside from beer and cheese, that is)? Like Madison, Münster is a university town with 50,000 students and a total population of around 200,000. Madison ranks seventh on Bicycling Magazine’s list of America’s bike-friendly cities, but the Germans leave us in the dust in that category. More than one-third of daily trips in Münster are made by bicycle, compared to less than four percent here. In April, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and other local leaders visited bicycle planning, engineering and design experts in Germany and the Netherlands to learn how those places have integrated bicycling into daily life. Jump on your bike when Ride the Drive closes John Nolen Drive to vehicle traffic on June 6 as well as on August 29, when Lance Armstrong leads the ride, to get a glimpse of what that could be like. If that doesn’t get some of us motivated to leave our cars in the garage for a day, I don’t know what will.
The Kid’s Got the Blues
Tallan Noble Latz has played blues guitar on television and with the late, great Les Paul, but the ten-year-old prodigy from Elkhorn can’t play most Wisconsin venues due to state child labor laws. State Senator Neal Kedzie proposed a bill that would allow children to perform—with a parent present—in a dance hall, night club, tavern (or other places where booze is served) before 9 p.m. on school nights or before 10 p.m. other nights. But the bill didn’t get out of committee, which means music fans in other states will get more chances to see Latz in action than those of us back home. It’s a reasonable proposal that deserves another chance, given most ten-year-olds won’t be booking club dates and a statewide smoking ban takes effect in July.
New Meaning to Leinie’s Red?
I imagine no one enjoyed the confusion and drama surrounding who will challenge Russ Feingold in November more than Russ Feingold. Wisconsin Republicans have long declared the Middleton Democrat too liberal to represent the Badger State, but for a while the party struggled to produce a viable candidate who could pose a serious threat. After months of hoping Tommy Thompson would come to the rescue, things got infinitely more interesting with former state Commerce Secretary Dick Leinenkugel entering the race. He already has what most candidates spend a lot of money to get: name recognition. Now Leinenkugel—whose family founded Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co.—has to find a way to justify time spent as Commerce Secretary for Governor Jim Doyle to conservative Republican primary voters. I’d be shocked if his primary opponents—Ron Johnson, Terrence Wall and Dave Westlake—don't make an issue of it.
Time Will Tell
Will the legal odyssey of former state legislator Scott Jensen ever come to an end? When Jensen was first charged in 2002 with misconduct in office, George W. Bush was president and Facebook and the iPhone didn’t exist. Jensen’s 2006 felony convictions for using taxpayer resources to run campaigns were overturned, and now the Wisconsin Supreme Court has granted his request to move the retrial from Dane County to Waukesha County, where he lives. Further complicating matters, Dane Country District Attorney Brian Blanchard is leaving office later this year after being elected to the state court of appeals, and his counterpart in Waukesha County has expressed concern the case would be too much work. Will anyone want to pick up the baton? At this point, it seems Jensen could somehow win this battle in the end.
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