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May 11, 2018
Wisconsin's 12th Senate District contains communities in Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Shawano, and Vilas Counties.

Committee Assignments:
  • Joint Committee on Finance
  • Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry Committee (Chair)
  • Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism Committee (Vice-Chair)
  • Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues Committee
  • Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions
Oconto Falls Broadband Listening Session

I was joined by representatives from Microsoft and Packerland Broadband in Oconto Falls this past week to announce their recent partnership that will roll out broadband access to nearly 80,000 homes over the next four years. The Microsoft/Packerland affiliation is a part of Microsoft’s Rural Airband Initiative that uses unused TV frequencies (also known as “white spaces”) and Wi-Fi hardware to connect existing wireless and fiber cable systems.

The initial roll out of this project will begin in communities in Marinette and Forest Counties. However, over the course of the next four years there are nearly twenty counties in Wisconsin that will be included in the initiative: Marinette, Forest, Florence, Oconto, Langlade, Oneida, Marathon, Clark, Wood, Portage, Eau Claire, Ashland, Iron, Douglas, Juneau, Vernon, Dodge, Outagamie, Chippewa and Price. By the end of 2019, it is estimated that nearly 34,000 people will receive the service. 
 
State Broadband Director Angie Dickison also attended the event to highlight the recent round of  broadband expansion grants that were awarded to projects in Oconto County:
  • NSight - Oconto Falls Business Park Fiber -  $49,230
    • Nsight Telservices and Oconto County Economic Development Corporation (OCEDC) are constructing a 2.2-mile fiber route through the Oconto Falls Business Park in the City of Oconto Falls. The route will serve 34 residential and business locations in the park.
  • Bertram Communications - Oconto County 7 Township Expansion - $600,000 (largest single grant awarded in the history of the Broadband Expansion Grant program)
    • Oconto County Economic Development Corporation and Bertram Communications are planning to extend “last mile” and “middle mile” broadband infrastructure and services into unserved and underserved areas within Oconto County. Existing Oconto County vertical structures, Bertram owned assets, and five additional greenfield constructed tower sites and two leased sites are to be used in order to reach 3,698 households and 107 businesses. 
Following the announcement of the Rural Airband Initiative and the Broadband Expansion Grants, I hosted a listening session on the topic of broadband access. Local officials, county economic development coordinators, internet providers and residents came prepared to ask questions regarding TV White Space, the application process for broadband expansion grants and how communities can work more closely with providers to gain better access to affordable broadband internet. 

We had a good discussion and I was pleased that we had participation from everyone who attended. It was important to talk about all available options for expanding broadband access in our communities. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for providing fast, affordable broadband access to all our communities. 

Thank you to Oconto Falls High School for hosting the event. I would like to also thank those who attended the event and participated in the listening session panel. Please let me know if you would like me to facilitate a similar discussion in your community. 
I was joined by Michelle Schuler of Microsoft, Cory Heigl of Packerland and State Broadband Director Angie Dickison in Oconto Falls for my listening session.
Legislative Awards

On Tuesday, I was pleased to be recognized by two legislative advocacy groups for my work this past session: the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council and the Wisconsin Builders Association.

The Wisconsin Civil Justice Council awarded three of my colleagues and me with the 2018 Outstanding Leadership Award for our work on groundbreaking civil litigation reforms that will reduce litigation costs for businesses of all sizes in Wisconsin.

2017 Wisconsin Act 235 creates uniformity between Wisconsin and the Federal Government on civil procedure. That uniformity between the state and federal rules will make it easier for both plaintiffs and defendants in civil proceedings. It will enhance predictability and provide judges with a larger body of case law on which to draw upon. 

I was also pleased to receive the 2018 Friend of Housing Award from the Wisconsin Builders Association. This past session, I was pleased to co-author the Homeowners' Bill of Rights with Representative Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) to affirm the rights of private property owners and lower the cost of housing for Wisconsin families.

2017 Wisconsin Acts 67 and 68  provide statutory clarification on substandard lots, conditional use permits, and the review process for property tax assessments. Additionally, there are provisions in the acts geared to mitigate the "up-front" costs of purchasing a new home.


Thank you for presenting me with these awards!
Left: The Wisconsin Civil Justice Council awarded me with the 2018 Outstanding Leadership Award.
Right: Brad Boycks, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Builders Assocation, presented me with the 2018 Friend of Housing Award. 
Fight the Bite

As you get ready to enjoy the warmer weather, it is important to remember some helpful tips to take care of yourself to prevent tick and mosquito bites. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services warns residents to be aware of diseases such as Lyme's Disease, which is spread by ticks, in addition to West Nile Virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. 

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows Wisconsin among the top 20% of states reporting cases of tick-borne disease in the country. Wisconsin reported 4,299 cases of Lyme disease in 2017, the highest number reported in our state to date.

There are a few simple steps that you can take before you enjoy the outdoors this season to protect yourselves from illnesses spread by mosquitoes or ticks:
  • Always use EPA-approved bug repellent and follow the proper instructions
  • Wear light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear, if available
  • Prevent the spread of ticks on your pets 
  • Take steps to control mosquitoes around your home
Many people consider ticks and mosquitoes to be an annoyance when they're enjoying the outdoors but both can also make you sick. By taking some simple precautions, you can enjoy the outdoors all season long by avoiding serious illness. 
Ray Szmanda

Ray Szmanda, the iconic longtime spokesman for Menards, sadly passed away earlier this week. Ray has been a longtime resident of Antigo and has been a regular presence on television since 1976. 

In 1969, Ray founded the Transamerican School of Broadcasting in downtown Wausau where his students would learn about the art of radio announcing. He sold his school in 1986 and it was shortly moved to Madison where it remains today under its new name: the Madison Media Institute. 

Ray will always be most remembered for his 20+ year career as the face of Menards. His signature blue shirt or sweater, white hair, big smile and rimmed-glasses made Ray one of the most recognizable faces on television in the Midwest. 

Szamanda was a loving husband and father of seven. He will truly be missed. My condolences to his entire family.

You can view a quick tribute to Ray's career at Menards here.
A New Addition to Team Tiffany
 
If you have called the office within the last week you may have noticed a new voice on the other end. Colette Shepherd-Bussan has joined our office recently. She has served the State of Wisconsin for five years, most recently for residents of the 42nd Assembly District.

A graduate of UW-Platteville in biology who now resides in Waunakee, Colette has experience as an administrative assistant with several private companies. Originally from Shullsburg, Colette brings a wealth of institutional knowledge that I believe will serve the 12th Senate District well.
District 12 Events
Start Date Upcoming Event Location
May 11-12 14th Annual Northwoods Birding Festival Manitowish Waters
May 11-12 Denim n' Dessert Theater present: "Harvey" Presque Isle
May 12 Bear 100 Bike Race Laona
May 12 Journey's Marathon Eagle River
May 18-20 Amoterra's Spring Wellness Fair Townsend
May 18-20 Spring Walleye Tournament Presque Isle
May 19 Fishing with the Stars St. Germain
May 19 Minocqua Home, Lifestyle and Recreation Show Minocqua
May 19 White Deer Triathalon Boulder Junction
May 25 Holiday Flea Market Antigo
May 25-27 Town Garage Sale Boulder Junction
May 26 Summer Launch Land O'Lakes
May 26 Red, White and Music Festival Crivitz
May 26-27 Main Street Memories Car Show Tomahawk
May 27 McCaslin Lioness Faire Lakewood
May 28 Memorial Day Parade Antigo
June 1-3 Fishing Has No Boundaries Eagle River
June 2 June Bloom Arts and Crafts Festival Minocqua
June 9 Art Fair on the Courthouse Lawn Rhinelander
June 9 Florence Historical Society Museum Open House Florence
June 16 Kickball Tournament Lena
June 23 Ride with Leinie Land O'Lakes
Contact Me:
Mail: Senator Tom Tiffany, PO Box 7882, Madison, WI, 53707
Phone: (608) 266-2509  Fax: (608) 282-3552
Email: sen.tiffany@legis.wisconsin.gov
As always, if you have any events for our calendar, comments or thoughts regarding the subjects of this newsletter, please feel free to contact me.
Copyright © 2018 Office of State Senator Tom Tiffany, All rights reserved.


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