This week’s headline came to me because I got a document signed by a notary public last month. Notarized? Noterized? Get it? Hello?
A self-correction: Last week’s story on The Journal’s Wisconsin Newspaper Association awards should have noted that the first-place Best Use of Color ad for the 2014 Hometown Hog Roast was created by account representative Ann Rupp and graphic designer Carol Tyson. To use a current term, that is a foul on the writer, who is the writer of this part of your favorite weekly newspaper too. They, sports editor Jason Nihles, Shirley Thalmann (currently on injured reserve) and others also deserve credit for our second-place General Excellence award as well.
25 years and five days ago: The juxtaposition isn’t ironic (an often misused word), but it is an interesting coincidence to have the 25th anniversary of the death of Grant County Deputy Sheriff Tom Reuter March 19 two weeks after the shooting death of a 19-year-old man by a Madison police officer Friday night.
I may have more to say about this next week, but it seems to me that police–community relations have gotten simultaneously better and worse after one precipitating event, 9/11. The 71 police officers and 343 firefighters and paramedics who died that day maybe made people think harder about public safety, one of the few lines of work in which an officer may go to work and never go home at the end of his or her shift.
In contrast, a lot of armchair quarterbacks argue, without any experience-based knowledge on which to base their opinion, that the officer should have Tasered him, or shot him to wound and not kill. (The deceased, according to media reports, was convicted of armed robbery when he was 19, and police reportedly were looking for him in connection with a battery.)
Our advantage here is that, living in small towns, we can (and should) get to know the police, who are “them” only if you have too many, shall we say, negative interactions with the police. We all have the same interest in not being victimized by criminals, after all.
The city’s next bad idea: On the Platteville Common Council agenda for this week, in the Information and Discussion session, is a ban on pit bull dogs proposed by at-large Ald. Mike Denn. I write this having heard nothing of why Denn proposes this ordinance, but I can unequivocally say that the part of the ordinance that would ban pit bulls (there is no such thing as a pit bull breed, by the way), the American Staffordshire bull terrier or “pit” bull mixes is a terrible idea. Any dog can be vicious based on how it’s raised, not merely pit bulls, Rottweilers, German shepherds, chihuahuas or any other breed that scares some people. Bad dogs are “bad” because of their owners.
4 points divided by 40% of … The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association annual meeting April 22 might be the most interesting in a long time, given that WIAA members will be voting on two separate ways to handle the issue of small public high schools competing against private schools that can draw from bigger geographic areas.
The WIAA committee assigned to this task created the “success factor” formula giving schools in team sports not named football or wrestling one to four points for getting to state; get six points over three years, and the school goes up one division. Two district administrators who brought this up to the WIAA, finding the success factor an unsatisfactory answer, have gotten enough signatures on their petition to bring up their alternative, reducing school enrollment by 40 percent of the percentage of a school’s students on free or reduced lunch.
Given that both proposals will be on the ballot, it is theoretically possible that both will pass. The WIAA’s high schools don’t merely have a choice of deciding to punish success — that’s the reaction I’ve heard from a lot of people — or helping poorer school districts — as measured by how many of their students are on free or reduced lunch — April 22; they could vote for or against both. Imagine the mess that could cause, with teams having their enrollment inflated by their past success, and then deflated by how many students get free or reduced lunch.
The Division 4 and Division 5 field of this week’s state girls basketball tournament might prove, or disprove, the dueling arguments. Cuba City defeated one parochial school, La Crosse Aquinas, to get to state, where another parochial school, Fond du Lac Springs, awaits Thursday at 6:35 p.m. Before that, Barneveld plays against Fall River Thursday at 1:35 p.m., with the winner playing South Shore or Wisconsin Rapids Assumption. Cuba City and Barneveld are both defending state champions, Springs played at state last year, and Barneveld beat Assumption in the D5 championship a year ago.
Of the 20 state girls teams this year, six are private schools. Of the 20 state girls teams this year, five, including three state champions, are back from last year. I guess those facts can support either side of the argument the WIAA gets to decide April 22.