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4A

The First Amendment

The Platteville Journal


MARCH 2, 2016

ETC.

Happy Madness

very year about this time, my


cellphone ringtone, which I
change often due to boredom,
goes between the previous CBSTV NCAA basketball theme and
the best thing John Tesh ever composed, Roundball Rock (which
younger readers may recognize as
Nellys Heart of a Champion).

The WIAA state boys basketball tourna- Steve Prestegard


plattevillejournaleditor@
ment, which starts on St. Patricks Day,
gmail.com
is the first non-Packers sporting event I
recall watching on TV. (Which means it
was the first sporting event I recall watching on TV, blanket
over the south-facing living room picture window, with my father not getting upset over the incompetence of the post-Super
Bowl II Packers, who were in the first stretch of the two-decades-long Gory Years.) Im not sure which state tournament
I watched first, and Im pretty sure there was no specific rooting interest, but if for no reason than the fact that state was on
instead of soap operas, I was transfixed. A high school friend
and I even remember the unnamed theme music on WKOWTV (channel 27) in Madison for Thursday 1 p.m. games, Friday
2 p.m. games, and, once Class C games were moved, Breakfast at the Fieldhouse, the Friday 9 a.m. small-school games,
which often are more worth watching than the Division I
games, certainly from this areas perspective.
Almost 45 years after I first started watching (and 35 years
after I attended my first state games my freshman year in
high school), postseason girls and boys basketball, even in
the early rounds, is an excellent example of what ABC-TVs
Jim McKay called the human drama of athletic competition
at the opening of every Wide World of Sports. That was the
part after Slovenian ski jumper Vinko Bogataj stopped his ski
jump the really hard way during the agony of defeat part.
The agony of defeat describes a senior whose high school
career ends at the final buzzer this month, often accompanied with tears. (Or, last week, when she fouls out of her
last game, as I saw twice. The ovation for Belmonts Brooke
Knebel after she fouled out in Shullsburg Friday proves the
contrary, in at least one instance, to claims of deteriorating sportsmanship.) The thrill of victory describes winners
who get to, to quote Fox Sports Gus Johnson, survive and
advance, but particularly unexpected (at least to others)
winners, like the Potosi girls after beating higher-seeded Six
Rivers West rivals in successive nights.
Other things you might not have expected to see include
the Platteville girls, having given up 80 points to Richland
Center in their first meeting, giving up 76 points to the Hornets in their next two meetings, including, most pertinently,
Saturdays 5239 regional final win. This years team has
done two things no Hillmen girls basketball team has ever
done together win a conference title (their second, the first
three years ago) and a regional title (their first since 1992).
The 1992 regional title came eight years after the 198384
Hillmen didnt win their conference title, but got not just a
regional title, but the really big trophy presented then at the
UW Fieldhouse, and now at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Another thing you might not expect to see, but did this
week, was a team traveling nearly three hours for a regional
quarterfinal game. And yet, Nekoosa High School, seeded
11th, was lined up against Platteville High School, seeded
sixth. (Similar to the Division 1 games Friday between Hudson and Oshkosh North, and between Eau Claire North and
Neenah.) That is the unintended (one assumes) result of
(1) expanding to five divisions a few years ago and (2) seeding by half-sectional. The former was to make the playoff
field more fair, by that years definition. (That is, the difference in enrollment between schools at opposite ends of what
then was Division 1, 20 years after the field expanded from
three classes to four divisions because of the difference in
enrollment between schools of opposite ends of what then
was Class C). Half-sectional (semisectional? hemisectional?)
seeding was to make the field within each sectional seeded
more fairly. I think the latter has been achieved, but win
or lose, writing this before the game I predict a group of 15
zombies, plus their coaches, at Nekoosa High School today.
(Think of it as like a UWPlatteville basketball game at Stevens Point on a Wednesday night.)
State is a sign of spring, which makes the regional and
sectional rounds a sign of a sign of spring. (Even though often accompanied by winter-like weather, like the thundersnowsleethail a couple of years ago in early March, or the
ice storm that hit while my high school was on the way to
ending Stevens Points undefeated number-one-ranked season not undefeated and not number-one-ranked.) For those
who think three days of two state tournaments is a long
time, consider that Iowas state tournaments last one week
each. Scheduling your life around a week-long state tournament must give new meaning to the term March Madness.

The Platteville

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M adison J ournal

The UW Systems surpluses


by Sen. Howard Marklein
(RSpring Green)

s a Certified Public Accountant, numbers paint


detailed and thorough pictures for me.

While others analyze state agencies


by anecdotal evidence, I turn to numbers to seek a deeper understanding of
their programs, processes and financial
health.
Numbers, especially financial reports, tell a story. We can see successes, failures, decisions and opportunities through numbers. We can also
tell a lot about priorities and strategy
when we consider the way an agency
or organization spends or saves money,
manages staff and invests in infrastructure. Financial reports offer an
opportunity to assess the financial
health of state agencies, how theyre
performing, and the direction we are
heading in the future.
Recently, the State of Wisconsin released its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. I have been spending
time reviewing its pages and analyzing
information on our state agencies.
One of the agencies that I follow
closely is the UW System. As a graduate of the UW System, its mission and
health are important to me. While
there have been many headlines about
the UW Systems finances recently, it
is important to look at the numbers to
see the full story.
One important chapter of this story
includes the UW Systems cash balances, which are a financial signal that
I have been watching for several years.
Cash balances, in any organization,
are a part of the financial picture. The

UW Systems cash balances accumulated for many years without much notice before a group of CPA-legislators
brought the numbers to the attention
of the public in 2013. At that time the
UW System had cash balances of $1.2
billion.
The most recent State of Wisconsin
CAFR indicates the University System was holding more than $1.5 billion in cash at the end of last year, an
increase of approximately $300 million
over the last three years. Despite a tuition freeze for the past four years the
UW System has more cash on hand
then last year, and the second highest
amount ever on record.
In 201415 the UW System spent
$6.1 billion, the highest spending in
the systems history. This represents
an increase of $1.4 billion in just five
years. The current average annual
cost for an undergraduate student is
$19,657. This represents an increase of
$2,177 per student in five years.
Importantly, spending and costs
matter because ultimately students,
families, and taxpayers pay the bill. To
lower the pressure of higher education
costs on families, spending needs to be
a focus.
Another area I monitor is outcomes
in higher education; this means putting a focus on ensuring that students
not only attend college, but successfully complete and earn degrees to propel them forward. In 201415, the system had a total enrollment of 180,979
students. Ten years ago, 168,504 students attended our system universities and colleges, demonstrating strong
enrollment growth as the importance
of a college education increases for students and families.

The UW System awarded 34,612 individual degrees in 201415. Tracking this number and comparing it to
how many students are enrolled is important. Graduation rates have been
slowly improving across the university system. As of this past academic
year, 32.6 percent of students graduate
within four years, 59 percent within
five years, and 66 percent within six
years. Sadly, this still means students
in Wisconsin are less likely to graduate
in four years than they are to graduate at all.
Higher education is important to our
state and the success of our communities. Our UW System is educating
many students, improving graduation
rates gradually, but we must continue
to improve. Meanwhile, spending and
cost-per-student continues to rise and
the system continues to hold large
amounts of cash. We must continue to
focus on offering quality education at
reasonable costs. I will keep working
and monitoring the progress on these
goals.
To access the most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
please visit: http://doa.wisconsin.gov/
Documents/DEBF/Financial%20Reporting/CAFR/2015_CAFR_Linked.pdf
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://
legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein
and subscribe to my weekly E-Update
by sending an email to Sen.Marklein@
legis.wisconsin.gov. Do not hesitate
to call 1-800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any
state-related matters.

LETTERS
The Platteville Journal, P.O. Box 266, Platteville, WI 53818-0266 plattevillejournaleditor@gmail.com

The CAFO spill


Liquid manure from a Concentrated
Animal Feeding Operation near Fennimore was found to be flowing across
the snow and ground for two miles to a
Class III trout stream. A malfunction
in a pumping system at the farm operation led to the spill. The potential for
harm to fish or other wildlife had not
been determined yet, but neighboring
residents had been told to drink bottled water and have their wells tested.
In March 2013, this particular
CAFO contacted the Wisconsin Department of Natural resiources for assistance when a spill was imminent from
their manure storage tank and due to
bankruptcy they were unable to hire
haulers to empty it. The DNR spent
$50,000 at that time to assist the farm
owner. Ten months later, following that
situation, the DNR granted a permit
in 2014 to the same farm to expand
and increase the number of cattle held
there to a projected number of 1,719.
Water has been in the news a great
deal lately between the terrible situation faced by residents of Flint, Mich.,
to our own state legislature considering a number of water related bills.
Fresh, clean, abundant water has been
taken for granted by most of us for a
long time, however, it isnt a limitless
resource. Ive been reading and taking note of similar manure spills in
other areas of the state or in neighboring states in recent years and wondering when one would occur closer to our
own home. I dont have to wonder any
longer.
We cant sit on our hands and wait
for our own water to be tainted and
made unsafe to drink, wash or bathe in
while we watch this happen to others.
Our current state government leaders
have shown their disregard for protecting our natural resources, including
and especially water, over the past several years. The mining bill and current

water bills have shown that they are


not interested in keeping Wisconsin a
state with a reputation for clean, clear
air and water and a place we can all
enjoy living and working.
Im going to send this letter to my legislative representatives and ask them
to make clean water for everyone a priority. The state DNR, like our schools,
have been gutted by Gov. Walker and
the Republicans legislature. Its time
for our leaders to once again allow the
DNR to do its job and protect our natural resources and environment. Please
do the same before your home is the
next one to be told to drink bottled water and test your tap water.
Donna Swanson
Platteville

More nuclear power

I wish to bring attention to the lifting of the nuclear moratorium in Wisconsin. On Feb. 16, the state Senate
approved bill Assembly Bill 384, which
had been passed by the Assembly in
January. When Gov. Walker signs the
bill into law, the ban (established in
1983) will be ended.
The law allows consideration only of
advanced reactor designs approved by
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after Dec. 31, 2010. And these reactors
may only be considered after efficiency
measures and renewable energy sources
(both noncombustible and combustible).
Nuclear power is our best hope to simultaneously lift the developing world
out of poverty and end global warming. Expanding use of nuclear power
in Wisconsin would keep more of our
money within the state, as we would
pay for less coal and natural gas to fire
our power plants and keep our industries and economy strong.
Advanced reactors will be both
safer and cheaper than current designs. Some will produce waste that
will remain highly radioactive for only

around 300 years, rather than 10,000


years. Some will run for 30 years on
a single load of fuel, rather than two
years. And some will be built on assembly lines by the thousands, rather than
unique plants taking years to build.
We can all look forward to this
bright, new future.
Brent Schwert
Platteville

UWP and Walker

It appears that UWPlatteville


will be in a period of retrenchment
for many years to come, after enduring cuts of $8.5 million, as reported by
Chancellor Dennis Shields Wednesday.
Will it still be appropriate to call UWP
a university after it can no longer offer
courses in foreign language or art?
As Kathy Kopp of the Platteville Regional Chamber pointed out at the forum
Wednesday evening, UWPlatteville is
a valuable component of the entire community. Gee, too bad we didnt think of
this before we elected Scott Walker as
governor. I suspect it will take a generation to recover from the damage he has
already done to the state of Wisconsin.
Fritz Domann
Platteville

The Platteville Journal will print


most letters to the editor, regardless of
the opinion presented. The Journal reserves the right to edit material that is
libelous or otherwise offensive to community standards and to shorten letters The Journal determines are excessively long. All letters must be signed
and the signature must appear on the
printed letter, along with a contact
number or email for verification. Some
submitted letters may not be published
due to space constraints. Thank you
letters will not be printed. All letters
and columns represent the views of the
writers and not necessarily the views of
The Platteville Journal.