Issue of the Week: The Revised Smoking Ban
Plus Hero and Jerk of the Week
the bill was passed last year, smoking was banned in enclosed areas with a roof
and more than two “substantial walls,” defined as “a wall with an opening that
may be used to allow air in from the outside that is less than 25% of the
wall’s surface area.” Meaning, a solid wall couldn’t count as a “substantial
wall.” That part has been fixed.
more, the original bill allowed smoking in areas that had windows covering more
than 25% of the wall’s surface, even if they were closed. So, theoretically,
smokers could puff away in a room with lots of closed windows. Sort of defeats
the purpose of the ban, hey?
new amendment closes that closed-window loophole, but up to a point. The way we
read it, if there are two or more walls with windows that cover more than a
quarter of the wall’s surface, and those windows are open, then smokers are
free to light up.
like the Legislature just gave smokers a break.
Event of the Week
Freedom From Gun Violence Awards
Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) will honor Mayor Tom Barrett at its “Freedom From
Gun Violence” awards reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 6, at Artasia Gallery
(181 N. Broadway).
Barrett will receive the
“Creating a State of Peace, Leadership Award” at 7 p.m. in honor of his work as
mayor to reduce violent crime in Milwaukee and for an incident in which, as a
concerned citizen, he sustained serious injuries while defending a grandmother
from an attack by the father of her grandchild. Others being recognized include
Patti Seger of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Chief Doug
Pettit of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association.
The event will also
feature music by Paul Cebar following the awards presentation. Tickets are
available at the door, or by calling (414) 351-9283.
Retirement, for most
people, marks a well-earned opportunity to take it easy and focus on oneself.
Not so for John Byrne, a retired attorney who spends most of his free time
volunteering at the Milwaukee Center for Independence (2020 W. Wells St.),
which offers more than 50 programs assisting the community’s special-needs
Byrne volunteers daily
in the Pediatric Special Care unit, where children receive day nursing
services, educational and developmental programming and the chance to interact
with other children and adults. Byrne is reluctant to call what he does work,
referring to his time at the Milwaukee
Center for Independence
(MCFI) as “volunteer play.” In addition to assisting paid staff as needed,
Byrne reads books, takes children for walks and spends time “just goofing
around,” bringing smiles and laughs to program participants. Byrne notes that
regardless of disabilities, “kids just want to be kids.”
The Milwaukee Center
is always in need of volunteers, and can find something to accommodate the
comfort and skill level of anyone interested in helping out. For more
information, call the MCFI main line at (414) 937-2020 or visit www.mcfi.net.
The Journal Sentinel has seen another major drop in its circulation,
with an 8.3% fall in weekday newspaper sales and a 9.2% drop for the Sunday
edition. Perhaps part of that
decline comes from the paper’s choice of editorial columnists, which brings us
to our Jerk of the Week: JS columnist
Patrick McIlheran. In his usual
business-is-always-right-and-everyone-else-is-wrong approach, McIlheran attacks
the idea of alternative energy and promotes industry arguments that alternative
sources of energy would raise costs and kill jobs. McIlheran represents the
worst aspects of short-term thinking. Wisconsin
residents are currently spending a fortune on out-of-state (and often
out-of-country) imports of oil, natural gas and coal. Not only aren’t these
fossil fuels produced in Wisconsin,
but they are contributing to the effects of man-made climate change as well. We
would be better off building, purchasing and utilizing renewable sources of
energy like wind turbines to make our air cleaner and help prevent some of the
ravages of climate change for future generations. Of course, one of McIlheran’s
main supporters, the utility industry, is lukewarm (at best) to the idea of
renewables, since they forced us ratepayers to build big coal-fired power
plants for them.