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Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010

Event of the Week: Our Milwaukee for Haiti

Plus Hero and Jerk of the Week

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Our Milwaukee, a business alliance of small, locally owned businesses, will host a fund-raiser to gather money for the ongoing relief and recovery efforts in the devastated nation of Haiti at Lakefront Brewery from 1 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31. The family-friendly event will feature food and drinks, live music and prizes and auction items from local merchants. All proceeds will benefit two charities with strong Milwaukee connections, Youthaiti and Friends of the Orphans.

Youthaiti (www.youthaiti.org) supports the work of Haitian youth in repairing their country, focusing on projects of ecological sanitation to break the cycle of contamination that leads to many illnesses among Haitian children.

Friends of the Orphans works in Haiti and throughout Latin America to help the many thousands of children abandoned or orphaned by upheaval or HIV/AIDS. They have been active in Haiti since 1987, and assist more than 30,000 children a year.

Both groups have been leading efforts to improve the living conditions of Haitian children for years, but this is a time when additional help is crucially needed. Please stop by Lakefront Brewery (1872 N. Commerce St.) to help locally owned businesses make a positive difference in Haiti.

Hero of the Week

Lucy Benka

There are many local organizations that create positive changes in our community without receiving any national attention. The exact opposite is true of Meta House, which is nationally recognized but locally unheralded for its work in helping women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction to reclaim their lives and rebuild their families.

That’s where Lucy Benka comes in. Originally from Nottingham, England, Benka is a full-time yoga instructor who volunteers her public relations knowledge for Meta House. Benka helps to raise the national profile of Meta House and educate members of the public who may be unaware of this valuable resource for women dealing with substance abuse issues. Located at 2625 N. Weil St., Meta House also helps recovering women cope with the mental and physical effects of addiction in a respectful, nonjudgmental environment.

For her volunteer work in promoting the mission of Meta House, the Shepherd makes Benka our “Hero of the Week” and urges readers who wish to get involved to contact Wendy Cozzens at 414-977-5807 or visit www.metahouse.org.

Jerk of the Week

U.S. Senate Candidate Terrence Wall

Terrence Wall, a Madison real estate developer who’s trying to unseat Sen. Russ Feingold this fall, may not be a household name in Milwaukee just yet. But the Republican candidate introduced himself to ultra-right-wing voters at a recent anti-tax tea party rally in Racine.

Say what?

Wall shouldn’t complain about high taxes—the multimillionaire developer didn’t pay income taxes in Wisconsin for nine of the last 10 years.

According to an analysis by Wispolitics.com, Wall is worth between $58 million and $100 million, largely due to real estate investments, and earned more than $2.6 million in 2008-2009. Wall has claimed that he hasn’t paid taxes thanks to investment tax credits and depreciation of real estate—deductions unavailable to most taxpayers. Not surprisingly, the candidate’s platform includes more tax cuts and tax credits for businesses and entrepreneurs. Even Charlie Sykes told Wall that his tax dodging was “a problem” and that “you live in a completely different fiscal environment than most of the working people of Wisconsin.”

We don’t think Wall has anything to complain about.