HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE ABOUT THE GREEN BAY PACKERS?



Maybe the only truly romantic thing left in American sports: The Green Bay Packers


Seriously, America , what's not to like about the Green Bay Packers?

What's not to like about a small-town team that is not only surviving, but thriving in the billion-dollar business of professional football?

There is nothing like them in professional sports. Think about what an oddity they are. Teams have come and gone in the NFL in a continuous game of musical chairs - the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis, the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, the Oakland Raiders to L.A. and back to Oakland, the Cardinals from Chicago to St. Louis to Phoenix, the Los Angeles Rams to St. Louis.

But the Packers have stayed in tiny Green Bay , Wis.. , since their birth in 1919. America 's second biggest city, Los Angeles , with a population of 4 million, doesn't even have a franchise, but Green Bay , with a population of 101,000, does. It's like plunking down a team in the middle of Sandy , Utah .

They are the smallest market in pro sports. Green Bay 's metro area - if you stretch the definition of "metro" - is 283,000. Buffalo , the next smallest in sports, has 1.1 million. New York City has 8.5 million in the city limits alone, 19 million in the metro area.

What's not to like about a team that was dreamed up during a street-corner conversation one day? Curly Lambeau, a former Green Bay prep star and Notre Dame football player, hatched the idea and convinced his employer, the Indian Packing Company, to buy uniforms and provide a practice field. In turn, the team called itself the Packers. Lambeau was the team's first star player (for 11 years) and its first coach (for 30 years) and - you've got to like this - he pioneered the forward pass in the NFL.

What's not to like about the last small-town survivor of the National Football League? In the early '20s, the fledgling NFL consisted almost entirely of small-town teams like Green Bay - the Decatur Staleys, Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Muncie Flyers, Rochester Jeffersons, Rock Island Independents. But as the league turned fully to professionalism, those teams either folded or moved to big cities for bigger profits. Green Bay found a way to keep the Packers - the community bought them.

What's not to like about a team that is owned by its fans? The Packers are the only publicly owned team in professional sports.. There's no Jerry Jones, George Steinbrenner or Daniel Snyder in Green Bay . The other teams have one very rich, often reviled, owner; the Packers have 112,000 shareholders - or 112,000 Monday-morning quarterbacks who are legally entitled to kibbitz. They've rescued the team from financial hardship four times - in 1923, '35, '50 and '97. Without them, the team simply would not exist.

What's not to like about this team? Apparently, not much. Despite their small-town roots - or perhaps because of it - they have courted a world-wide following. According to a 2010 Harris poll, the Packers are still the third most popular team in the country, 40 years after their glory years. Someone once asked the late former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle to name the best football city in America . " Green Bay ," he replied. "A small town. People owning their own football team. Rabid supporters."

The Packers have one of the longest waiting lists for season tickets in pro sports, some 80,000 deep (Lambeau Field seats only 78,000). The average wait for season tickets is estimated to be 30 years, but if you added your name to the list now you probably wouldn't get tickets in your lifetime. Packer fans are known to leave season tickets in their wills or to place newborn babies on the waiting list. Packer games have been sold out since 1960.

"I'm a 'green and gold' season ticket holder and have some voting stock in the team," explains Walt Mehr, a Utah resident who grew up in Eagle River , Wis. , just north of Green Bay . "It took me 23 years to get season tickets. We have a big shareholders meeting in July and vote. We were involved with remodeling of the stadium. As season-ticket holders we had to put up money for that - $5,000. My tickets are in my will."

It's every fan's dream - they get to help run the team.. You've got to like that.

What's not to like about a team that has been an almost mythical force since joining the NFL in 1921? They've won 13 championships - nine NFL titles in the pre-Super Bowl era, and four Super Bowls - and no one else is close to matching them.. They won the first two Super Bowls. They won five championships in seven years during the '60s. They're the only team that's ever won three in a row. The city's nickname is "Titletown." Their coach's name is on the Super Bowl Trophy. They have 21 Hall of Famers, second only to the Chicago Bears. They are a team of legends - Starr, Nitschke, Taylor, Lombardi, Davis, Hornung, Kramer, Gregg, Hutson, Lambeau, Favre.

What's not to like about a team that is so entrenched in the community in such a personal way? It's big-time football in a small-town way that has been lost as the NFL has grown. This is the town that spawned the Lambeau Leap - players leaping into the arms of fans behind the end zone after a touchdown, a routine that has since been adopted throughout the league. It symbolizes the close connection between the team and the fans, like so many other things. Green Bay 's stadium is bordered by the back yards of middle-class neighborhoods. The players live in regular neighborhoods, with the fans.

"Unlike the other NFL cities, where players can live in mansions away from the masses, Green Bay has no real 'affluent' suburbs," says Vai Sikahema, a former Packer and BYU player. "And because of the frigid weather, everyone had second homes in warmer places. So the players lived in modest homes in regular neighborhoods.

"Playing for the Packers and living in Green Bay is generally the way it was in the '60's when Vince Lombardi lived there. The house we rented was rented by a host of former Packers, dating back to the great running back Jim Taylor.

"Another player rented a home once lived in by Bart Starr. That creates this extra unique bond with the fan base. On Tuesdays, our day off, we'd walk our children to the bus stop and all the dads would go in late so they could walk their own kids and talk football with us at the bus stop. My wife had play dates with regular moms on our street, as opposed to the closed, elitist 'wives club' on other teams."

There is a tradition in Green Bay that has received considerable publicity over the years. Kids wait for Packer players outside the locker room and often use their bikes to ride to the practice field. The kids hold the players' helmets and jog alongside the players as they ride the kids' bikes to practice. Who couldn't like that?

"I was one of those kids who ran next to a player while he rode my bike to the practice field from the locker room," says Mark Stimpson, a Salt Lake resident who grew up in Green Bay . "We did it every day during the summer. I had a metallic green stingray bike. I'd wait by the locker room. The player would hand me his helmet. The players wouldn't pedal the bikes. They were too big. They'd just stick their legs out and coast because it's a down-hill walk to the field. We'd talk to them while we walked beside them. Then, during practice we'd watch the guy who rode our bike. It was a fun time. The players were great to us."

Sikahema remembers the bike routine, as well. "The bikes are one of those unique things in Green Bay that allow fans, especially kids, to get to know the players in a personal way," he says. "I stayed in touch with the kid whose bike I used through his college years and his wedding. He's now in his mid-30s. His name is Aaron Smet. When I was there, a bunch of poor kids didn't have bikes to lend to the players and (teammate) Sterling Sharpe had Wal-Mart deliver to the complex a tractor trailer full of bikes that he gave away to less fortunate kids."

Stimpson recalls seeing Willie Wood, Ray Nitschke, Elijah Pitts and Bart Starr around town when he was a kid. The Packers were one of them. His sister, Mary Nelson, babysat for reserve quarterback Zeke Bratkowski.

"Zeke lived around the corner from us," says Nelson. "After the games some of the players would come over to Zeke's house. I got to meet Bart Starr, Jerry Kramer and Max McGee and their wives. Every time I babysat Zeke's kids he would walk me home."

What's not to like about a town that is all about its team? Green Bay businesses are Packer themed. The streets are named after Packers - Lombardi, Ray Nitschke, Brett Favre, Mike Holmgren, Don Hutson, Reggie White, Bart Starr, Tony Canadeo. Even the official Green Bay website is all about the local football team.

The town shuts down during games; churches schedule around the Packers, then open their parking lots for Packer fans. "The streets are empty during the games," says Stimpson. "When I was a boy I could ride my bike down the middle of the street because there was no traffic."

What's not to like about a team that won the Ice Bowl, one of the greatest games ever played? It was the 1967 NFL Championship game in Green Bay , and the temperature was minus-13 degrees, with a windchill hovering around 50 below.

Rick Delacenserie, who grew up in the Green Bay area and now lives in Park City , watched the Packer practices as a boy and witnessed the Ice Bowl from the same end zone where Starr scored the game-winning touchdown.

"I spent most of the third quarter in the bathroom," he recalls. "It was packed in there. Everyone was trying to get warm. Someone brought a hacksaw and cut up the goal posts. All I got was some of the foam they wrapped around the post."

You've got to love a team that inspires fans to brave sub-zero weather.

After the Super Bowl victory that followed the Ice Bowl, the Packers went into decline for 25 years until the Favre years arrived in the early '90s, but the Packers still inspired fierce loyalty and love.

"The only thing you can see on the horizon is Lambeau Field," says Mehr, who pauses to choke back tears before continuing. "I get chills when I see it. On a beautiful clear day, omigosh."

For his part, Stimpson left home decades ago to attend BYU and settle in Utah . He doesn't follow sports as he once did, and the game has changed, and yet he still says this: "The Packers are so much a part of you. The Packers still have a certain pull. They always will."

You've got to like that.

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This is an article from The Salt Lake City Newspaper, The Desert News, which was forwarded to me by Sharon Lowry. Thank you, Sharon!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HAVE YOU VOTED FOR JOANNE KLOPPENBURG YET TODAY? THERE'S STILL TIME! GET OFF YOUR BUTT!

Today is the day. I am walking on eggs waiting for the polls to close and hoping and praying that JoAnne Kloppenburg can wrench the Wisconsin state judgeship away from Daddy Big Bucks chosen one, David Prosser.

If Prosser wins this election, the state is in deep shit with four more years of the kind of unmitigated arrogance Walker recently showed with this:

The comedy of errors, Part Umteen.

In his latest attempt to turn Wisconsin into Wississippi, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Gov. Scott Walker is once again relying on his "its not what you know, its who you know" rule and has hired the ridiculously unqualified son of a GOP lobbyist, Jerry Deschane:

Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions.

Yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker's administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.
How did Deschane score his plum assignment with the Walker team?

It's all in the family.

His father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association, which bet big on Walker during last year's governor's race.

The group's political action committee gave $29,000 to Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, last year, making it one of the top five PAC donors to the governor's successful campaign. Even more impressive, members of the trade group funneled more than $92,000 through its conduit to Walker's campaign over the past two years.

Total donations: $121,652.

This is, of course, the same governor that wants to remove qualification requirements for our teachers and, overall, wants to kill public unions, who fought for qualification requirements in the first place.

This just in: Gov. Walker has hired dim-witted Spaulding from Caddyshack fame and put him in charge of selling the state's power plants. Stay tuned!

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Just a little aside true story here. some years ago I was hired by the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association to provide after dinner entertainment for them at a hotel in LaCrosse.

Arriving early, as I usually do, to find the top brass milling about the stage discussing the after dinner line up, I thought I would have a little fun with them by pulling a line that every one of us has heard from a home-builder that we hired:

"Hi, I'm Larry Heagle, the after dinner entertainment. I'm going to set up my sound system here and then i will be gone for a little while as I have another gig acrosss town. But don't worry. I'll be back."

OOOH! That raised some hackles! "THAT'S NOT FUNNY!"

Well, not to you, maybe.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

DAPPER DOCTOR ARON'S WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY PARTY

It was a "last minute" booking. Liz got the call last monday that Tracy Adkins was in need of a comedian, singer, songwriter to perform at a surprise 40th birthday party and a wonderful woman, remembering having seen me do a show for her husband's business, recommended me highly.

So it was booked! But Liz, my crafty manager, always on the lookout to get me as much money as possible for a gig, suggested to Mrs. Adkins that for extra money, "Larry will write a song about the birthday boy, based on information you send him".

Two days later I had received e mails from Dr. Adkins secretary, his wife, and from one other associate. I then sat down and began writing. for some reason the melody to Carly Simon's "you're So Vain" kept nagging at me so I set the words to that song, re-worked the lyrics several times throughout the week, learned the chord structure in a key I could sing (Carly and I have a different range), put the lyrics into my word processor, found an appropriate font and some fancy stationery, then framed the piece for presentation as a gift for Dr. Aron.

Tracy, who loves April Fool's day, decided to hold the surprise party on April Fool's night - perfect because his actual birthday is not until May 5, so he was totally surprised.

The party was held in a back banquet room at Draganetti's so I arrived very early (5PM) to set up a small P.A. which I then hid behind one of those "accordion" doors. This made the set up perfect as the guest would not even know I was there until shortly after the dinner dishes had been removed at which time I pushed open the accordion door and rolled out the P.A., mic, and guitar and launched into a part roast, part celebration type show, the climax being the singing of the song made with the information I had been given.

Midway through the show, I stopped and took a picture of the group -- (Dr. Adkins is the one at the mirrored back wall, glasses and white shirt, and folded arms ( body language for self defense).

Unfortunately, his lovely wife Tracy is in the photo to the left (in red) and her face is mostly blocked!
Here's the song parody used:

Dapper Doctor Aron
(to the melody of “You’re So Vain” with apologies to Carly Simon)

He walks in to his office, straightening his tie again
He finishes off a double but his doubles are not made wth gin
His favorite is double latte with two Equal and a shot of protein
But he has to find a new cup, someone’s scratched his old one again

Aron - you’re not vain, we’re just here to share your birthday
You’re not vain, we’re just here to share your birthday, aren’t we? Aren’t we?

Aron’s so secure in his manhood that he can wear a dress shirt in pnk
He’s so secure in his manhood, This Eagle Scout doesn’t care what you think!
That’s because he’s smarter than everyone here and Apple Computers are his favorite tool
He loves Tracy and his daughters and everything but Aprl Fool

(chorus)

Aron was a great student, didn’t have to take the entrance exam
And he set a national record score on his final exam
Everyone who knows him knows he is neat and fair
Everyone who knows him knows he’s the harest workin’ doc in Eau Claire

(chorus)

Some might call Aron anal but that’s not a term that I’d use
I would call him thrifty - Here’s an example that you can use:
Scratches always upset him but he knows just what to do
He even dropped an “a” from his first name, it got scratched, there was nothing to lose

(chorus)

Now, Dr. Aron has reached forty, And he is the proudest father of four
And all his ladies love hm - wait! It looks like there may be one more!
Gone now is the Audi, a Buick in its stead
And the guests better eat all the cake here
He wants no crumbs in his car or his bed!

Aron’s not vain, This was just a birthday song about him
He’s not vain
This is a Happy Birthday song about you, about you, about you!

Happy Birthday, Aron!





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MORE GOOD NEWS? BE STILL MY HEART!

Just when I thought that I had gotten enough good news to carry me through another week, the following happens!

Madison, Wisconsin Radio Station Drops Glenn Beck
Posted on February 28, 2011, 1:29 pm ET by Charles M. Kozierok
Clearly it’s all because they are a bunch of commie-loving socialists:

WTDY can no longer carry the Glenn Beck program. Over the last 12 months, the show has devolved into plugs for Fox News (the radio version of which is aired by our direct competitor), his books, and other personal endorsements. The lack of actual content becomes more apparent daily. Monday’s program was the final straw; his unabashed deriding of Madison is unacceptable for broadcast in our community.

It took them how long to notice the “lack of content”? I mean, goodness, I’m as glad as anyone to see Beck get dropped for any reason, but if any of the above was a surprise, they should try actually listening to shows before putting them on the air.

No shit!

And then there's this!

Beck Dropped from Four Stations in CT
Posted on March 29, 2011, 7:07 pm ET by Charles M. Kozierok
Not “real America” of course, but still heartening:

“He bounces around pretty radically, I think he confuses people, they’re not sure where he is coming from,” said Rick Buckley, president of Buckley Radio of Greenwich, Conn., who spoke with Media Matters. “It can change day to day, hour to hour. Consistency is, I think, the path to success in broadcasting, in radio for sure, whether it be music or talk. Glenn is sort of all over the park from time to time.”

If by “time to time” he means “from the time the show starts until the time the show ends”, then he’s got it exactly right.

Again -- no shit!

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Friday, April 1, 2011

GOOD OLD FAIR AND UNBALANCED FAUX NEWS! PALM TREES? GIVE ME A BREAK!



Lately I have been reading. I bought two books by John NIchols, a very engaging speaker as well as writer, whose work I first encountered through the Rachel Maddow and Ed Shultz shows on MSNBC at the height of the Madison marches in February. The first of the books, the one he wrote entirely himself, is entitled: "Dick - The Man Who is President" which confirmed my suspicions that Cheney was indeed the president for the eight years that Dubbya pretended that he was.

The book I am currently delving into is "Tragedy and Farce" "How the American Media sells wars, spins elections, and destroys Democracy".

It wasn't surprising to me when I received an e mail forwarded to me by my friend Linda Gruen with these two photos , one of which was run on FOX news on thursday, March 31.

In case you missed Fox's fair and balanced reporting, they ran the first photograph as a "Tea Party Protest" in Washington D.C., dismissing the small size of the crowd with the excuse that "it was drizzling".


Tea party organizers had high hopes for their rally in Washington, DC—high enough hopes that they arranged for Fox to give it live coverage.

Then something sad happened. Just a few dozen people showed up. And Fox, naturally, blamed the weather! Yeah, in all fairness and "balanceness", it was drizzling rain!

Well, WAAAH!

Yeah, the weather really killed the rally. Just like the only reason the rallies were so big in Madison, Wisconsin, this past February, was its gorgeous mid-winter weather - a huge 85,000 plus crowd got little coverage at all on Fox except for the producers to hunt through some close up footage showing police handling the union slobs and thugs - (complete with sunny blue skies and palm trees!).

The only Americans who saw that on TV and knew that the Wisconsin marches were entirely peaceful were those who were actually in attendance. And those intelligent enough to see PALM TREES IN THE BACKGROUND!!

Or here's another thought: maybe the Tea Party fizzle has something to do with the fact that the Tea Party isn't popular anymore.

Still you can be certain that every time a Tea Partier farts, FOX will be there to cover it!

If you get a chance, pick up John Nichols "Tragedy and Farce". you will never watch television news the same way again.

Which brings me to more of the latest "fiction" being tossed off as truth in TV ads supporting David Prosser for Wisconsin Supreme Court. The big dollar backing of "Citizens For a Stronger America" and "Americans For Prosperity", both funded by guess who? (The Koch Brothers and the Tea Party) are running two ads of pure fiction to try to defeat JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsn State Supreme Court.

As I sat in the bar at Draganetti's awaiting my turn to perform at a private party last night, I saw two ads that really pissed me off!


Because they can’t win this campaign on the facts they resort to disrespectful and deceitful ad campaigns.

Let’s set the record straight on a couple of their most outrageous allegations:

Fiction: JoAnne put an 80-year-old farmer in jail for not planting native grasses on a field.

Fact: A farmer named Wayne Hensler in Jefferson County was ordered by the State of Wisconsin to take action to stop pollution from run-off from his farm going into Rock Lake. Mr. Hensler refused to do the work but finally agreed to pay to have others do the remediation work. Then he refused to pay the money he’d agreed to pay. Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick (who you may remember ran against Shirley Abrahamson) ordered Mr. Hensler to pay what he owed. He would not. Finally, another Judge in Jefferson County, John Ullsvik, found Hensler in contempt and put him in jail for a few days. Two facts are pertinent here: no attorney can put anyone in jail. Only a Judge can do that. Secondly, the farmer was jailed for contempt of court for refusing to pay money he had been repeatedly ordered to pay, not for “refusing to plant a field.”

Big money being used to try to mislead you: Our research shows that the “Citizens for a Stronger America” is spending about $526,000 on this TV ad.

Fiction: JoAnne is unqualified for the Court because she has never been a judge and because in the past she has applied for open judgeships for which others were chosen.

Fact: JoAnne is a graduate of Yale, Princeton and the UW Law School. She has been a prosecutor for 21 years. Her legal experience is broad and deep and she has tried numerous cases in Wisconsin Circuit Courts, the Court of Appeals and the Wisconsin Supreme Court. JoAnne has earned the endorsement of sitting Judges who know best what what it takes to do the job.

It is not unusual for attorneys who aren’t judges to be elected or appointed as a judge and many legal experts say it is healthy that judges come from a variety of backgrounds. David Prosser was not a judge when he was appointed to the Supreme Court. Nor was Shirley Abrahamson. One of the Supreme Court Justices David Prosser says he admires most, Justice Rehnquist was not a judge before being appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

It is also not unusual for attorneys to apply for open judgeships and JoAnne has applied for open seats. Those openings usually attract long lists of very qualified applicants and only one can be chosen. Some of those applicants end up not being selected for the judgeship and running for office. For example, Brian Blanchard applied to be an appeals court judge. He was not selected. He then ran for the Court and was elected handily.

Big money being used to try to mislead you: Our research shows that "Americans for Prosperity" and the Tea Party are spending about $45,000 on radio and TV ads with this fiction in it. It is also in the Citizens for a Stronger America ad.

So now it is up to us, average Wisconsin citizens, to help to get the facts out. With only five days before the election, quickly setting the record straight is crucial -- because spreading untrue statements about JoAnne is all that our opponents have left.

I have stated it before and here it is again: THIS ELECTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STATE ELECTION TO COME DOWN THE PIKE IN A LONG TIME!

With the following good news, JoAnne's election is even more important as she has campaigned on being entirely non-partisan and fair in her judgements of any and all suits bought before the high court. The same cannot be said for "rubber stamp" Prosser who lives in Scotty's back pocket.

MADISON, Wis. — A week ago, Wisconsin Republicans thought they'd won the fight over the state's polarizing union rights bill. They'd weathered massive protests, outfoxed Senate Democrats who fled the state and gotten around a restraining order blocking the law by having an obscure state agency publish it. They even started preparations to pull money from public workers' paychecks.

But the victory was short-lived. A judge ruled Friday that the restraining order will stay in place for at least two months she while considers whether Republicans passed the law illegally. It was the second blow to Republicans in as many days after the same judge declared Thursday that the law hadn't been properly published and wasn't in effect as they claimed.

Republicans now must either wait for the case to wind its way through the courts or pass the law again to get around complaints it wasn't done properly the first time. One GOP leader said Friday he didn't see much point in that.

"We passed the law correctly, legally the first time," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement. "Passing the law correctly and legally a second or third time wouldn't change anything. It certainly wouldn't stop another activist judge and (a) room full of lawyers from trying to start this merry-go-round all over again."

The law would force public employees to pay more for their health care and pension benefits, which amounts to an 8 percent pay cut. It also would eliminate their ability to collectively bargain anything except wage increases no higher than inflation.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has said the law is needed to help schools and local governments deal with cuts in state funding he expects to make to address an estimated $3.6 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget. His spokesman referred questions Friday to state Department of Administration officials, who declined to comment.

Democrats have said the bill is meant to weaken the public employee unions that have been some of their strongest campaign supporters. Its introduction in mid-February set off a month of protests that drew up to 85,000 people to the state Capitol and sent Senate Democrats scurrying to Illinois to block a vote in that chamber.

Republicans eventually got around the Democrats' boycott by removing fiscal provisions from the bill so it could be passed with fewer senators present.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi has been considering a lawsuit that claims Republican lawmakers violated the state's opening meetings law when they met to change the bill. The lawsuit filed by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne says the state's open meetings law requires 24 hours notice of a meeting but Republicans provided barely two. Republican legislative leaders say proper notice was given under Senate rules.

Sumi heard testimony Friday from people who said they heard about the meeting only minutes before it began. They said they arrived to find long lines at the Capitol's entrances and by the time they reached the room where the meeting was held, police wouldn't allow them in.

Rich Judge, chief of staff for Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca, testified that someone dropped off a petition at Barca's office the night of the meeting that was signed by nearly 3,000 people who claimed they had been denied access.

Brian Gleason of Madison testified he reached the Senate parlor, where the committee hearing was being held, about 20 minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin. He found a crowd of about 150 people and a line of police standing shoulder to shoulder denying access.

"Frankly, I was angry," he said. "At that point, the train going into the Senate parlor was already closed to me."

Sumi gave the attorneys until May 23 to make additional arguments, delaying a decision for nearly two months and possibly longer. Even when she does rule, one side or the other is likely to appeal in an attempt to get the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The state has already appealed her restraining order to the high court, but it has not said whether it will hear the case and is under no deadline to do so.

Two other, separate lawsuits also have been filed, which could further drag out the matter.

Anger over the bill also has prompted recall efforts against 16 state senators, including eight from each party. On Friday, Democrats announced they had collected enough signatures for a recall election against one of the Republicans.

It has been a week of good news and hope! The LaCrosse area has gathered well over enough recall signatures against Dan Kapanke. Let's hope that seven more will be filed before the deadline!

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