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McFarland Political Cafe March 14, 2015, report

Jerry Collins



Dear Friends,

Here is the report for the March 14 Active McFarland Political Café. We look forward to seeing you at the next café at the McFarland House Café on March 21. We will not be holding a café on March 28. That is the day of the Wisconsin Grassroots Festival, which we encourage everyone to attend.

Also, on Thurs, March 19, Active McFarland will host a talk by Dane County Supervisor Patrick Miles and Lakes & Watershed Commission on Community Engagement coordinator Nick Simonson. The meeting will begin at 7:00 PM and be held in the community room of the E.D. Locke Public Library in McFarland.

Attendees at the March 14 café:  Nate Altfeather, Ron Berger, Holly Ceelen, Denny & Jean Blackmore, Jerry Collins, Bob & Julie Crego, Brad Czebotar, Ann Kleinhaus, Ana Mengibar, Jessie Naze, Sharon Payne, Dawn Shegonee, Clair Utter

1) Today’s café opened with a discussion of the tension between local and non-local activities, and between partisan and non-partisan activities, of Active McFarland. As an example, our Saturday morning café and sign brigade are more partisan than our Thursday night talks, which are more informational or educational. Also, some members are more interested in activities that directly affect the Village, while others are more interested in broader statewide, national, or even global issues. It was agreed that Active McFarland should embrace the diverse interests of its members, as long as those interests are consistent with the general principles or values of the group, such as a desire to protect the commons and promote citizens’ involvement in our democracy.

 2) Jerry raised the idea of hosting a gathering to view a documentary about Val Phillips, which is an example of a non-partisan active that could be sponsored by the group.

 Jean and Denny will explore the possibility of doing this with the United Church of Christ in McFarland.


3) Dave, Ana, Bob, and Dawn are working on the development of a better way to network online communications between the various grassroots and progressive groups in the state.


4) Clair passed out a schedule of local community meetings and encouraged everyone to get involved in upcoming deliberations about important decisions that will be made about the Village. The following meetings will be held at the McFarland Municipal Center, 5915 Milwaukee St.:


Mon, March 16, 7:00 PM:  Plan Commission

Wed, March 18, 6:30 PM:  Ad Hoc Transportation Committee

Thurs, March 19, 9:00 AM:  Senior Outreach Services Committee

Thurs March 19, 7:00 PM:  Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Committee


 submitted by Ron Berger-- 

Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy

Website: or 
A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government


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DeForest Area Progressives Meeting March 2, 2015

DeForest Area Progressives

Meeting notes for March 2, 2015


Next meeting: Monday, March 9, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hills neighborhood.  Draft agenda to follow.


We had six people at the March 2nd meeting.  Pre-meeting discussion dwelt much on the school referendum on the April 7th ballot and the teachers’ situation and John and Marcia’s testimony on behalf of the teachers at the DeForest Area School Board meeting.


Karen has set up the DAP web page reference to the April llth event, “What’s in YOUR Water?”   People can pre-register there by “RSVP-ing” at the bottom of the page.  JohnSki is going to put two ads in the DeForest Times-Tribune (pending funding from the village grant).  Using the flyer produced by Karen, JohnSki will also inform the churches and the organizations on the list provided by the village such as service organizations.  Ginny will place flyers in the library, stores, etc.  Janet volunteered to help Ginny.  Bill has been talking up the event with other organizations.  It might be a good idea for someone to contact the news media in Sun Prairie and Waunakee.


Marcia talked about Plant Dane!, a rain garden plant cost-share program offered by the Madison Area Municipal Storm Water Partnership.  You can order inexpensive plants (only $1.80 per plant) at  Marcia explained that these are plants that attract pollinators, feed birds, and do other things beneficial for the environment.  Marcia is going to the Windsor Garden Club meeting Wednesday to get acquainted and find out what they are all about.  She will report back.


General discussion about the “right to work” law being passed now and the demonstrations and testimony on it: other terms for “right to work” are “wage theft” and “right to mooch.”  Right wingers sometimes call it “worker freedom” and “workplace freedom of conscience.”


Ginny has asked Shawn Haney, Vienna town clerk, to come and talk to us sometime about the manure digester in the Town of Vienna.


Marcia discussed the bird city project for the Town of Windsor.  I should be a whole community project, involving a lot of organizations such as garden clubs, FFA, DAP, the waterway and lakes associations, etc.  The town needs to meet at least seven out of 21 criteria and must add one new criterion each year.  Bird city can be seen as a habitat project related to climate change.


Karen reported that Gogebic is packing up and leaving northern Wisconsin.  It is abandoning its Penokee Hills mining project.  Karen’s cousin in Ashland says that people are celebrating all over town.  This is a victory for protest!  However, Enbridge still has its pipeline – Enbridge  Pipeline 5 – running under the Bad River Reservation.  It must renegotiate its right of way with the Bad River Band.  See .


Janet reported on the Ann Walsh Bradley campaign to re-elect Bradely to the Supreme Court.  The campaign organization has their headquarters in the Gateway Mall at the Capitol Square end of Williamson Street.  There are many volunteer opportunities available right now until the election on April 7th.  (John sent out a call-for-volunteers announcement to the DAP email list with details.)  The campaign is targeting left wing voters right now who do not usually turn out to vote in off year elections.  Should we – DAP -- put on something for the Bradley campaign at the DeForest area library?  Should we do something with GROW  or  SPARC?  Signs?  Phone bank?


There was discussion of formalizing our DAP election efforts in some sort of an election action team (DAP-EAT J ) that can mobilize months before each election for canvassing, placing signs, phone calling, lit drops, etc., much as Janet and Marcia do now and have done in the past for OFA.

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Active McFarland March 7, 2015, Political Cafe



 Active McFarland ( Jerry Collins  



Sun 3/08/15 4:36 PM




Dear Friends,

Here is the report of the March 7 Active McFarland political café. We look forward to seeing you at the next café on March 14 at the McFarland House Café.  

Announcements:  Mark your calendars for the following events.

           Thursday, Mar. 19, 7:00 PM:  Active McFarland will host Dane County Supervisor Patrick Miles for its monthly evening talk. Patrick will provide an overview of county government and the services it provides. Also speaking will be Nick Simonson, coordinator for the Lakes and Watershed Commission Community Engagement project. Nick will discuss ways for residents to get involved in protecting our local lakes. The meeting will be held in the community room of the McFarland Library.

           The 7th Annual Wisconsin Grassroots Festival will take place on Saturday, March 28. It will be held at Wisconsin Heights High School, 10173 US Highway 14, Mazomanie, WI. Speakers will include US Congressman Mark Pocan, State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, and Mike McCabe, author of Blue Jeans in High Places. Break-up sessions on a number of specific topics will also be available. Further information is available at:

1)  Phyllis Hasbrouck of the West Waubesa Prevention Coalition discussed issues of housing development and degradation of lake waters in the city of Fitchburg that will affect the entire Lake Waubesa region. She encouraged people to get involved in the mayoral campaign of Alder Steve Arnold, who is being endorsement by the group. The election will be held on April 7. Information on how to get involved in the campaign is available at:

2)  Nikki Mandell, professor of history at UW-Whitewater, provided an overview of the likely effects of the budget cuts and proposal to restructure the UW System into a public authority. The effects will include massive layoffs of personnel, inability to recruit qualified faculty, privatization of university functions, use of the sales tax to fund higher education, and eventual tuition hikes for students. Nikki distributed postcards that concerned citizens can mail to legislators to ask for a moratorium on these cuts and restructuring proposal until the consequences can be further studied and the public better informed about them. Those interested in becoming involved in this and related efforts can contact Ron Berger, also a UW-W professor, at or 608-838-7127.

3)  A general discussion of ways to connect particular issues—whether they are budget cuts, right-to-work legislation, farming or environmental issues—into a broader, integrated grassroots movement ensued. Jerry is particularly interested in exploring ways to connect the union movement with the grassroots movement. Dawn encouraged us to get the word out about how our neighboring state of Minnesota is doing so much better than Wisconsin by pursuing more progressive politics.

4)  Ann provided an update on her project that involves middle-school students producing short video podcasts on environmental issues. Her current plan is to develop a pilot project of five podcasts, which will include interviews with Amber Meyer Smith and other staff of Clean Wisconsin, with the hopes of producing more podcasts in the future.

Related to the environment, Brad suggested that Active McFarland should have a presence at the McFarland Bird Festival that will be held at Lewis Park on Saturday April. 11. More generally, Brad is concerned that Active McFarland is ignoring opportunities to get more involved in local activities that would appeal to a broader audience. He wonders whether our focus on non-local issues will discourage more politically neutral residents from participating in our group. This will be a topic of discussion at next week’s café.

5)  Lastly, Sharon has begun work on making signs for Active McFarland’s Hwy 51 sign brigade in support of Judge Ann Walsh Bradley’s campaign for reelection to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The sign brigade will be held late afternoons on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for two weeks before the April 7 election: Mar. 24, 26, 28, 31; Apr. 2, 4. In about a week, we will post a sign-genius that we will send out via email for people to sign up for the brigade.

 Submitted by Ron Berger


Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy

Website: or 
A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government


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Active McFarland February 28, 2015, meeting

Report on Feb. 28 Political Cafe

Jerry Collins


Dear Friends,

Here is the report of Active McFarland’s Feb. 28 Saturday morning political café. We look forward to seeing you at the next political cafe at the McFarland House Cafe, Saturday March 7, 9:30-11:00 AM.

Attendees: Kay Altfeather, Ron Berger, Denny & Jean Blackmore, Julie & Bob Crego, Rita Hampton, Dave Jenneke, Sandy Martinelli, Sharon Payne, Dawn Shegonee, Clair Utter

Today, Active McFarland welcomed three new people to our café, in addition to some of our regulars.

1)  Denny recommended the following book about the Koch family called “Sons of Wichita.”

2) Clair raised several issues about national and local matters. For one, he thinks Democrats and progressives have not addressed voters’ concerns about the need for fiscal responsibility. He recalls how Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire, a Democrat, used to do this quite effectively. This issue suggests the need to think about messaging in ways that represent the progressive view about government waste and inefficiency, most notably in military spending. Bob said he would look into suggestions from the grassroot network about this.

Clar also expressed his concerns about local issues in McFarland related to housing development and renovation of parks for which people in Active McFarland may be divided. The group agreed that Active McFarland should be a venue that allows for a diversity of opinion while also committing ourselves to a common cause.

3) The discussion also turned to a few other topics: how the budget cuts (and the expansion of subsidies to private schools) are adversely affecting public schools; the need for messaging to persuade people that politics matters; and so-called “right to work” legislation, including the fact that a lot of workers don’t like unions.

4) Dawn recommended a Huffington Post article that compares the economies of Minnesota and Wisconsin:

Denny suggested a theme: “The laboratory of success is our next-door neighbor.”

4)  Regarding the environment, Dawn shared her concerns about mining in Wisconsin and the need for more visual messaging to address environmental issues; and Ron shared his interest in thorium as an alternative to conventional nuclear power:

 Submitted by,

Ron Berger 

Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy

Website: or 
A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government



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Mary Burke Painting/Picnic/Painting/Party

Picnic, Party& Painting In The Park


What: Painting and Picnic

Where: Firemen’s Park DeForest Wisconsin

When: September 6th and 20th 9:00 A.M.- 5:00 P.M.

Why: To give voice where there is silence!

WHO: You and anyone you wish to bring with you!~

Please join us on September 6th and/or September 20th for a day of sign painting for Mary Burke.

We have received a gift of $5000 dollars, to make “Mary Burke for Governor” signs to cover northern Wisconsin! We will be using this generous gift to make sure that Mary Burke's name is seen, as her opponent has many signs up and has many deep pockets.

Picnic at noon, on both days, so bring a dish to pass, and friends and family to help us paint as many signs as possible!!!

We will have a lot of materials, but donated materials are still appreciated and are needed, so if you will, please bring one or more of the Following:

 A Dish to Pass, Containers for Paint, Paint Brushes, Paint sprayers, Paper towels, Posts, Rags, Saw horses, Screws, Screw drivers,   Tarps, You, Your Friends, Zip ties.


Please Join Us!~

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August 2014 meeting/picnic in Sun Prairie!

You're invited to the Progressive Partners Picnic!

Please click this link for details, and to RSVP:

Then, forward this invitation to your progressive friends 
and members of your groups.  

Friends and families welcome!

SPARC is excited to host this event  - we've got some great surprises
planned and look forward to seeing you there!
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Encouraging memo from DPW

John --

The latest national poll numbers out yesterday from the conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports show that support for Scott Walker is slipping: Walker is now tied with Democratic challenger Mary Burke at 45%.
This is the biggest signal yet that the work we’re doing across the state is breaking through and reaching Wisconsin voters.
With eight months to go, and momentum clearly on our side, we can really swing this election in favor of progressive values.
It’s anyone’s guess whether Walker’s numbers have slipped based solely on his abysmal track record on jobs and the economy or if what little is known about his involvement in criminal activity that sent four of his top aides to jail has moved the dial for Wisconsin voters.
In any case, the Republican Governors Association (Walker’s fellow targets in a second, ongoing criminal corruption probe) is all in with millions of dollars in TV ads attacking Mary Burke’s record in an attempt to change the conversation.
We’ll never match that kind of cash, but the poll numbers prove that when we all pitch in what we can when we can, we can make a big difference. Keep the momentum going by chipping in today:
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Progressive Partners January 2014 Quarterly Meeting

 December 18, 2013


To:                   Progressive Partners


From:               DeForest Area Progressives (John Scepanski)


Subject:            PP January 2014 Quarterly Meeting




The next quarterly meeting of Progressive Partners will be January 25, 2014:


Place:               DMBWindsorCommunity Center

                        4438 Windsor Road

                        Windsor, Wisconsin

                        (This is the same place of the April 2013 PP quarterly meeting.)

Time:                10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.


From 10:00 to 12:00 a.m. we will have a round table discussion like the one we had at the last PP quarterly meeting in Oregon.  Each group should come prepared with a spokesperson to discuss their activities, answer questions, request assistance, etc.  Time allotments will depend on how many groups are present.


Lunch will be from 12:00 to 1:00.  It will be either brown bag or a pot luck.  We will let you know for sure later.


The time period from 1:00 to 2:00 is reserved for a program presentation.  The subject has not been firmed up yet.  It will be something like a presentation on a PP priority like Move-to-Amend.  If you have a particular program you would like to present, please let us know.




John Scepanski

732 DeForest St.

DeForest, WI 53532


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Bob Fest Table

From Beth Whittemore:

Hello, so we met tonight and we are going to make a display board of the Progressive Partners. So we will need a picture (jpeg) or any other thing that you want to display representing your group.
2. We most likely won't need people to staff the table for more than an hour or an hour so please let us know what your preference is for time, AM or PM. Bobfest goes from 8:30- 5:00 pm.
3. Bring the materials you would like to have available along with a contact person's name and when you meet, if you hold regular meetings, so that others will be able to join your meetings if they are interested.
Call or email me if you have questions.
Take care.

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July 2013 Quarterly Meeting & Picnic

Hello Partners!
We now have a date and location for our meeting and picnic.
It will be July 20 from 9:30 to 3:00 in Fitchburg at Swan Creek Park shelter, 5175 E. Cheryl Pkwy.
This link gives you a map to orient yourself for directions:
It is not as secluded as McGaw Park but is newer, has cleaner tables, more space in the shelter, and has an additional picnic table. Parking is along Crinkle Root Drive which is right by the shelter.
The agenda will be out by the beginning of July.
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