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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hero of the Week: Kathy Smith

Plus Jerk and Event of the Week

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Stranded in a new city when a relative failed to pick her up at the bus station, Kathy Smith was directed to Milwaukee’s Repairers of the Breach Resource Center (1335 W. Vliet St.), a member-governed facility that offers more than 40 crucial services, including meals, counseling, vocational assistance and literacy training.

Repairers of the Breach Resource Center, open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and on all major holidays, also builds community awareness and emphasizes leadership and volunteerism. Smith was so impressed that she became an active volunteer and comes back every day. She now runs the kitchen at the center, making food for those in need six days a week. “I liked what I saw,” Smith says. “I’m happy to be working and serving the community.”

Readers who wish to donate their time or resources to help the center are encouraged to contact Repairers of the Breach at 414-934-9305 or www.repairers.org.

Jerk of the Week

Republican Candidate Scott Walker

Leave it to Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker to call a press conference just to muddy the waters of debate. In a shameless bid for attention, Walker thundered that convicted cop killer Ben Sanders should not be granted early release from prison, implying that Sanders is eligible for the newly enacted “early release” program. But that’s only for nonviolent offenders, not someone like Sanders, who murdered two police officers. In reality, Sanders was up for a standard parole review as required by law. Walker’s overstepping was so ridiculous that the secretary of the Department of Corrections, Rick Raemisch (formerly Republican Dane County sheriff), issued a statement saying that Sanders “will not be paroled as long as I run the Department of Corrections.” Raemisch also said he took “great offense” to Walker suggesting otherwise.

And don’t forget that the early release program for nonviolent offenders was enacted to undo some of the damage done by the “truth in sentencing” law Walker authored while in the state Legislature. Walker’s program has done nothing but make prison budgets balloon and take away a big incentive for inmates to change their behavior. But it’s allowed Walker and his fellow conservative Republicans to posture about “being tough on crime” without explaining how they’ll pay for it.

Events of the Week

Black Family Pride Day

On Saturday, July 24, the United Alliance of Day Care Providers is presenting Black Family Pride Day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on 16th Street between North Avenue and Lloyd Street. They’re sponsoring a second festival on Saturday, July 31, on 29th Street between Burleigh Street and Auer Avenue. The events, endorsed by the NAACP, will feature free food and will promote community businesses, clean neighborhoods, voter registration and stopping violence. All activities are free and open to the public.

Wally Lamb Benefit for the Benedict Center

On Thursday, July 22, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., best-selling author Wally Lamb will share his experiences helping incarcerated women during a benefit hosted by the Benedict Center. Lamb will sign copies of his books (bring your own or purchase them at the event) from 5 to 5:30 or at the end of the evening. The benefit will be held at the Wherehouse/Hot Water (818 S. Water St. at National Avenue) and will include hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and non-alcoholic punch. Individual tickets are $60 or multiples for $50 each. To register or for more information, contact Peggy at 347-1774 ext. 210 or pjmacarthur@benedictcenter.org.

Setting the Record Straight

Fact-Checking Ron Johnson’s Attacks on Russ Feingold

Ouch! Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Ron Johnson just can’t get his facts straight. First he told a reporter he was open to drilling for oil “where it is”—potentially, in the Great Lakes. When he got some backlash, Johnson—who owns hundreds of thousands of dollars of BP and Exxon stock—tried to take back that comment. Then he put out an ad blasting Russ Feingold for being the “only Great Lakes senator” to vote against a bill that “protected our lakes.” But the AP has blasted the ad as “misleading” and PolitiFact.com slammed it as “barely true.” Why? Because two other Great Lakes senators (from New York) opposed the bill, which, incidentally, was pushed by Bush and Cheney, and because Feingold had supported another ban on Great Lakes drilling. Johnson’s campaign replied that New York isn’t really a Great Lakes state, even though it borders Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and that the ad “never insinuates” that Feingold did not support a ban or whether he supports Great Lakes drilling. Sounds like Johnson is drowning in his own spin.

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