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Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009

Event of the Week: Eat Local Challenge

Plus Heroes and Jerks of the Week

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A fun way to both try new foods and support small area businesses, Milwaukee’s “Eat Local Challenge” encourages participants to seek out food grown close to home as a step toward building a better food system. The goal is to support your local farmers and reduce your carbon footprint—and to strengthen the local economy. So commit to increasing the amount of locally produced food you eat during the first two weeks of September. “Eat-Ins” and other special events will be held all over town. For a good guide to eating locally, go to ExpressMilwaukee's Green Life blog, or to eatlocalmilwaukee.org.


Heroes of the Week: 4Hope Wisconsin Organizers

Adam Arn, Mike Graff, Alison Kriegel and Laura McKinnis

As the national debate over health care rages on, a group of concerned local citizens is taking direct action to help those without financial access to needed health services. 4Hope, an outreach ministry of Grafton’s Vineyard Community Church, will offer free health services and food from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at Grafton High School, 1950 Washington St., Grafton.

“4Hope demonstrates compassion through acts of care and advocacy,” says Clinic Coordinator Adam Arn. “Millions of Americans are either uninsured or underinsured and are without hope in getting the kind of health care and other essential services that they need. This event is designed to give them hope.”

Free basic physical, vision and dental screenings will be offered, with occupational and physical therapists also available. Additional services include help in applying for BadgerCare, debt relief counseling, haircuts, family photos and distribution of thrift store vouchers. On-site child care will be provided for individuals bringing their children.

The Shepherd Express thanks the Vineyard Community Church and the event organizers for their outstanding efforts, and encourages our readers, especially medical professionals who wish to volunteer their time and talents to the event, to contact Arn at adam@4hopewisconsin.com. More information can be found at 4Hope’s Web site, www.4hopewisconsin.com.


Jerk of the Week: Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen

Why bother having a state Supreme Court? Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a loyal Republican, will do their work for them.

On Friday, the state’s top lawyer announced that he wouldn’t defend the new domestic partnership registry in court. A right-wing group claims that the new domestic partnership registry is unconstitutional because the state bans same-sex marriages and civil unions, and has asked the state’s highest court to make a ruling.

Apparently Van Hollen has already decided the registry is unconstitutional— even though that is the issue the Supreme Court is supposed to decide, not the attorney general. The attorney general is the state’s lawyer who is to defend the laws passed by the Legislature. Only the Supreme Court decides if a law is constitutional. Because Van Hollen won’t do the job he is being paid to do, the state will have to hire private lawyers to do Van Hollen’s job—at taxpayers’ expense.

When the legislation was being drafted, the Wisconsin Legislative Council believed that the domestic partnership registry did not violate the constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. Never mind that the ban itself may be unconstitutional. Or that Van Hollen, as a candidate for office in 2006, said that domestic partnership benefits would still be legal under the ban.

Van Hollen is up for election in 2010, and he’s putting his partisan interests ahead of the best interests of the state. He’s courting the conservative vote instead of doing the job he was elected to do.

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