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Trade beyond the pale
If The New York Times is right, 2009 could go down as the year that America’s leaders took a knowing step toward economic suicide. That’s because a recent Times analysis piece declared that among Democratic presidential candidates, free trade had become a “third rail” issue. Support for trade deals is now considered beyond the pale. The maligning of the North American Free Trade Agreement is a perfect example. Its adoption in 1993 helped kick off one of the great periods of sustained economic health in U.S. history. The resulting explosion in trade with Canada and Mexico was crucial to creation of more than 17 million new jobs, resulting in a five-year stretch in which the jobless rate was under 5 percent every year for only the second time since World War II. Yet, to hear Democrats tell the story, NAFTA has actually been catastrophic – especially for those with manufacturing jobs. In fact, economist Daniel Ikensen reports that in 2006, “the manufacturing sector achieved record output, record sales, record profits, record profit rates and record return on investment.” What’s particularly perverse about America’s lurch toward economic know-nothingism is that it comes even as the rest of the world comes around to the wisdom of the free-market U.S. approach. After watching the United States create 10 times as many private-sector jobs in the 1980s and 1990s – 40 million vs. 4 million – Europe now has similar job-creation numbers, thanks to its moves away from statism. So much for rational policy-making.


One year ago
For 28 years, George Langohr has served the City of Oconomowoc in two high-profile offices with his quiet, effective leadership. Co-workers say his retirement Thursday leaves a void that goes much deeper than just filling his position as Public Works director. The department, which seems more like an ad hoc family, is a tight-knit group of people who have worked together for decades. Published Sept. 5, 2006

Thanks for all the fish
Today is my last Monday at Lake Country Publications. Wow! I started here with little more than a vague idea of what a community paper was in October of 1999, fresh on the heels of a fun but shortlived gig penning for an online videogame magazine. What lessons I’ve learned! It’s overwhelming to even really think about. If the people of Oconomowoc take only one thing from me in my tenure here, I hope that it’s this: Stop taking yourself so seriously! There is not as fine a line between work and play as you might think. And the best and easiest work is play. I’ll be the first to admit here that, over the years, I’ve done a lot of playing. But we’ve had serious times, too. I was part of the team that covered Oconomowoc’s place in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. I am a storied veteran of the “Hospital Wars.” I enjoyed seven Festival Weeks, three Harry Potter release parties, four local elections, three mayors and one curmudgeonly administrator of Oconomowoc Lake. Some shoutouts: Here’s to Chris, Donna, Matt, Jonna, Joe, Carla, Jim, Erin, Peter, Kristi, Kelly, Val, Debi, Heather, Chuck, Chris, Tiff, LMB, Linda, Andrea, Scott, Steve, Joyce, Crystal, Maury, Gary, Tom, Bob, Denny, and most of all, Beth. I hope that the good people of Oconomowoc are as good to my successor as they’ve been to me. Keep sharing your stories, Oconomowoc. The Oconomowoc Focus is your newspaper, the madman foolhardy enough to sit at her helm is but her steward. The editor can’t hope to control Oconomowoc, he can only hold fast and try to enjoy the ride. Heaven knows I have.


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Publisher/General Manager ........Steve Lyles Editor in Chief.......................Scott Peterson News Editor ...........Gabriel D. W. Wollenburg Production Manager ....................Jim Weber Sales Manager...........................Steve Lyles Sales Consultants.............Michele Flanders, Laura Groonwald, Paddy Kieckhefer, Andrew Topp

Five years ago
With 10 years experience on the job, lifelong Oconomowoc resident Steve Foti is seeking reelection to the 38th Assembly District. For the incumbent, a twist to this race comes with a change in the boundaries of the district he has served, a result of the census information compiled every ten years. A recent redistricting process left Foti’s residence outside the district. Published Sept. 4, 2002


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THE OCONOMOWOC FOCUS is published every Tuesday and Thursday by Lake Country Publications, 440 Cardinal Lane, Hartland, WI 53029. Subscription: $27.65 Waukesha County; $34.95 Colgate addresses and outside Waukesha County; $82.85 out of state. Periodicals’ postage paid at Hartland, WI and additional mailing office.

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