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Recently, I was on patrol and I stopped at a local restaurant to get a meal. As I was about to pay, the employee said "You know your meals are free right now, right?" I smiled and said, "I know, but I am getting a paycheck while so many others are not. I appreciate the gesture but I need to …

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The COVID-19 pandemic began causing traffic on Wisconsin’s roads to plummet even before the governor’s Safer at Home order was issued on March 24. Traffic counts were dropping in all parts of the state, not just hard-hit areas. The decline has potential implications for public health, the ec…

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Fifty days; as of today, Wisconsin will have been under the Safer at Home restrictions for that long. This doesn’t include the number of days prior to March 24 when social gatherings were limited in size, schools were first closed and people began to hoard toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

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It happened a bit more than a week ago when I received some very joyous news that area libraries, including my local book depository in Lake Mills, would be offering curbside pick-up. I admit I’ve adapted pretty well to Safer at Home, likely because I’m the type of person who enjoys staying …

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While revenues for Wisconsin municipalities will likely be hit hard by the COVID-19 economic shutdown, compared to other states local governments here may see at least some benefits from their heavy reliance on property taxes and state aids to fund public services.

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Halfway to the door of State Street Brats, a group of young men gathered in a semicircle. Slouching, heads buried in their devices, the only thing moving was their thumbs, furiously swiping, never long enough to read a word.

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Wisconsin has fresh hope for an eventual “return to normal” with the most-recently issued emergency order to combat the coronavirus pandemic, but the “new normal” may temporarily look a little different.

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People have been referring to life during the coronavirus as the new normal. While I understand the phrasing, I have to disagree. This isn’t the new normal; it’s the temporary normal.

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This spring has certainly brought a new normal to our lives that, in many ways, feels like anything but normal.

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Lucy is really good at weighing fourteen-and-a-half pounds. Give or take.

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A lot has changed in a month, hasn’t it? While it’s easy to focus on the negative that’s taking place around the globe, I find myself drawn to the stories of love, kindness, and generosity that are also being shared in the news. In the spirit of spreading good news, I thought I’d share some …

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My social media feeds are filled with pictures of sourdough starters and assorted lumps of dough that have through the wonders of science transformed into plump loaves of bread. The posts often express disbelief at how the food turned out not only edible, but actually delicious and why hadn’…

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As I have been keeping a close eye on the conversations, social media posts and reactions to media reports and various governmental orders across our state and country, I am beginning to see increased frustration with the drastic changes we have all been forced to make because of the coronav…

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For the last few weeks, I’ve been receiving notifications about cancellations – school events, alumni banquets, humane society clinics, church events, library programs, Easter egg hunts, and government meetings.

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Today's farmers are continually innovating when it comes to new methods of growing and raising our food supply. Aquaponics, a process which allows producers to raise and grow both a protein and vegetable crop simultaneously, has seen an increase in popularity.

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Last week, I attended a concert and played bar trivia. My friends and I are planning to see a movie as part of our Spooky Tuesday series (seeing a scary film one Tuesday a month). I’m even thinking about exploring a museum or animal sanctuary.

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With the outbreak of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, most of us are staying inside to keep ourselves and others healthy. As the kids get bored and your list of things to do dwindles, it might be tempting to visit the library to check out some books or movies, or attend a program or storytime. …

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The way we live our lives has rapidly changed in the last week. One day, we’re going about life as normal and the next, the store shelves are quickly being emptied of toilet paper and hand sanitizer is hoarded. Parents are scrambling to find childcare as schools close for an extended period …

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The world has been moving pretty fast lately; events are unfolding rapidly, and that can be unsettling.

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For generations, farmers have been caring for the land, the water, and their environmental resources. While many traditions run deep in the farming community, innovation and ingenuity are the keys to success in agriculture. Today, farmers across our state are leading the way when it comes to…

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My thoughts and prayers go out to those who tragically lost their lives at the Molson-Coors Brewery. It will take time for the healing process to begin and for family, friends, and co-workers to return to a somewhat normal life. Also, we are all wondering that one question, Why?

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When I go to my parent’s home to visit (or eat) they usually talk about how there is nothing on TV. Unless there’s a specific show they want to watch, they end up channel surfing for a movie, an episode of Law & Order: SVU they haven’t seen for a few months, or a house show on HGTV.

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My parents took a five-day trip to Las Vegas last week – they flew out of Milwaukee Feb. 15 and returned home Feb. 19. I’ve never been, but according to my dad, visiting Sin City involves a lot of walking in roundabout ways where a destination that seems only a short walk away actually requi…

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We walked up the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol under February blue skies and sunshine last week, excited to talk with state leaders about Wisconsin’s public libraries. Librarians, library directors, and library board trustees from across the state of Wisconsin, including several libra…

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When I was growing up, going to the mall always meant traveling to the east side of Madison. It was closer than West Towne, less upscale than Hilldale and at the time, the outlet mall in Johnson Creek wasn’t even a concept. Every shop was filled, there were water fountains where you could to…

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South Main Street in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, had deteriorated into a tree-lined cattle path. When the Prius’ and mini-vans started to bottom out and we lost a Smart Car in a sink hole, it was time to repave.

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As founder of We the Irrelevant, a website that tracks how well (or poorly) the actions of legislators match up with what the public has asked them to do, I have sent multiple open records requests to Wisconsin legislators on a variety of controversial initiatives. Each time, I’ve asked them for related citizen correspondence.

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It hasn’t been long since many Wisconsinites have had to vote on referendums to keep their public school doors open, and now in this new year, our schools continue to be underfunded. This spring 50 school districts will go to referendum, with 29 seeking $915 million in operating costs alone.

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I’ve been spending some time clearing out the remnants of my youth from my grandparents’ house. Thankfully, I’m not close to being a certified hoarder, I’m more of a “toss it in a box and figure out what to do with it later” person. Obviously, it saves times when putting things away but mean…

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The story is starting to become cliché. Wisconsinites overwhelmingly support a proposal that benefits our state, Republican leadership cries “partisanship”, and blocks action until an undetermined future date.

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Despite the short daylight hours and the chill in the weather, farmers throughout the state of Wisconsin are still hard at work. Livestock farmers are busy keeping their animals warm and dry, crop growers are replacing parts on their field equipment, and producers of all commodities are plan…

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Representative Barbara Dittrich (R-Oconomowoc) shared her reaction to the State of the State Address Jan. 22, detailing her pride in the progress being made in Wisconsin thanks to Republican leadership over the past nine years. While Rep. Dittrich doesn’t agree with many of the Governor’s (T…

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I have forgotten more interviews than I’d like to admit; when you’ve been working in newspapers for almost 14 years there’s no way to remember all the people you’ve talked to. Or at least, I can’t.

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There have been two consistent addresses during my life – my parents’ home and my grandparents’ house. I can recall the physical addresses of both without needing a moment to think. I kind of know what it’s like to undergo a big move when my parents’ bought a new mobile home but there was ne…

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Just shy of two years ago, this column explored the heightened importance of open government when public health is at risk. Multiple examples showed the government was not sharing timely information with the public, or even other branches of government, on issues such as clean drinking water…

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Anyway, as someone who is technically a millennial I expected to know every word on this list. Reader, I did not.

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Sweetie is the feline equivalent of that old lady who lost her filter. She’s a sixteen-year-old Persian with an unruly mane, who has to be sedated for her spa appointments. Sweetie doesn’t hold her liquor like she used to. The day after her most recent style and perm, she was still feeling a…

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I grew up during a time when Hanna-Barbera classic cartoons were still aired on TV. I can’t recall what networks they played on but I remember watching The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Where are You! (and all of its spin-offs), Wacky Races, The Yogi Bear Show, The Smurfs, Shirt Tales, Pound Pupp…

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For the past few years I have set new year goals; I like this word instead of resolution because a goal feels like a less rigid word to me. And some of these goals were completed while others were pushed to the wayside. Sure, I planned to read 40 books in one year and accomplished that, but …