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Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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Wednesday - April 25, 2018 8:57 am

More help needed in fight against opioid epidemic

The numbers are staggering. La Crosse, like the rest of the nation, is seeing an increase in the number of overdose deaths. In 2017, there were 26 fatal overdose deaths in La Crosse County, five more than the year before. And increasingly, those deaths are the result of the use of opioids, including the powerful drug fentanyl. While the rise in overdoses is alarming, in Wisconsin it is not going unnoticed. Lawmakers, health educators and concerned citizens are fighting back. The state of Wisconsin has approved 30 new laws over the last six years in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Locally, members of the Heroin Task Force and a newly formed Overdose Death Review Team are working to come up with ways to prevent this scourge from claiming more lives. But this is a huge fight, and more needs to be done. Some help could come from the federal government. Congress is considering legislation that could make it easier for the elderly to get help. Opioid overdoses killed more than 1300 Americans age 65 and older each year. Yet Medicare doesn't cover the oldest proven treatment for opioid addition, methadone. There are now calls for Medicare to start paying for treatment in methadone clinics. It is tragic that so many people are dying from their addiction to these powerful drugs, but it is gratifying to see so many good people working hard to fight the epidemic.

Comment

Tuesday - April 24, 2018 9:18 am

Dems need to settle on candidate for Governor

It could be argued that it is good for our democracy that so many people want to run for Governor of Wisconsin. Clearly there is an enthusiasm about getting involved. But it may be too much of a good thing. There are so many democrats who have either declared to run for Governor, or at least are considering it, that frankly we have lost count. There are anywhere from 9 to 18 candidates in the running, and the list keeps growing. In recent weeks, we have heard that liberal radio host Mike Crute is entering the race, as is Kenosha attorney Josh Pade. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost the race for Governor in 2002, 2010 and in 2012, is considering running again. The fact is, this field of candidates needs to get smaller, not larger. With so many candidates it can be hard for any of them to get their message to stand out. At a recent forum for democratic candidates, 12 showed up, had to sit two deep on the stage, and each got to answer only three questions. Some will no doubt drop out before the election, but still there are likely to be many choices in the primary. And the general election against Scott Walker comes just three months later. Meanwhile, Walker has again amassed a massive campaign war chest and can sit back and watch the infighting. The state's democratic party needs to get behind one candidate, and soon, if their candidate is going to have a chance against Walker.

Comment

It may be a gimmick, but one candidate for a seat in the Wisconsin State Senate appears to be on to something. Alex Renard is a republican running for the open 1st District Senate seat in a special election to fill the remainder of a term vacated by a lawmaker who took a job in the Walker administration. He vows that if he is elected, he will not accept any payment, nor will he claim any per diem expenses in 2018. It is not right, he argues, to accept any pay if he is not going to actually be doing any work. The Senate finished its work for the year last month, and is not scheduled to reconvene until January. If he wins the June election, Renard would serve until the November general election when he could run again. Until then, he would have literally no duties, and is right that it is wrong to accept our tax dollars for doing nothing. But what about all the incumbent lawmakers? We continue to pay them, while expecting nothing in return. The Wisconsin Senate spent just four days in session in all of 2018, yet they continue to draw a full time salary, as well as reimbursement for food, lodging and travel for each day they spend in Madison. There is something wrong with this picture. We should either expect more of our lawmakers, or they should expect to receive less income. Otherwise it is the equivalent of legislative welfare.

Comment

There are some who say our system of justice is not tough enough. But, perhaps, for some criminals, it is too tough. Like most states, Wisconsin has a law that allows for the early release of criminals from our prisons who are elderly, or sick or dying. But the law is hardly being used. Even though doing so could save taxpayers millions of dollars per year. There are some 1200 prisoners in Wisconsin aged 60 or older. The cost of housing each of them is estimated $70,000 a year. But last year, under Wisconsin's early release program, only six prisoners were freed before they had served their full sentence. Even though it is generally agreed much of the state's elderly prison population is not much of a risk to commit new crimes. Early release programs were designed to address prison overcrowding, to save money, and to avoid costly litigation alleging inadequate medical care behind bars. One reason we aren't letting the sick and dying out early is because the law says only those who were convicted since the year 2000 can apply for early release. That means some of the oldest and sickest prisoners can't even be considered for early release. Wisconsin should revisit this law, and make it easier for the sickest and most elderly to apply for early release, regardless of how long ago the crime was committed. That could save taxpayers millions, while posing little danger to the public.

Comment

There is a way to make this work. But this isn't it. The city of La Crosse has declared a snow emergency, or as they call it, a snow disposal period, for the third time this month. Presumably that is because with alternate side parking season over, and Mother Nature still blanketing us with snow, cars need to be moved to make way for snow plows. But compliance has been poor, with many simply ignoring the orders. That isn't surprising, because this whole directive is a mess. The city should only declare a snow emergency if it is actually going to send out the plows, which it did not during the previous declarations. The city's order is also confusing. We are told to park only on the even side of the street on even numbered days for 24 hours, except for an exemption from 9pm to midnight when we are supposed to move our cars. In order for compliance to improve, the city needs to have people sign up to receive a text to alert them to the snow emergency. While compliance is poor, that may be ok with La Crosse police, seemingly eager to maintain current alternate side parking rules. The city will consider doing away with alternate side parking in favor of snow emergencies, meaning we would only have to move our cars when we are told rather than every night for months. But it also means less revenue for La Crosse police, who could point to the poor compliance during these April declarations as a reason to keep alternate side parking in place. Snow emergencies work in other cities, and it can work in La Crosse too. But first City hall needs to get on the same page, and deliver a consistent easy to understand message for that to happen.

Comment

Its time to go back to the drawing board. Reaction to a planned multi-million dollar expansion of the La Crosse Center has been mixed at best. The objections seem to be not the pricetag, but to the design of the building. Designers made the first priority of the expansion taking advantage of the adjacent Mississippi River, with not just windows, but a building which juts out into Riverside Park. But few seem thrilled with the architectural renderings. It looks to some like a giant spaceship has landed there. But more importantly, the design looks significantly out of place. Much work has been done to maintain the historical look of La Crosse's downtown. Downtown business owners have been hampered by City Hall in efforts to spruce up their businesses. Just look at the fight over Grounded Coffee simply wanting to change the entrance. Or those behind new downtown hotels who had to change their plans to make the new buildings better fit in with the historic feel of the downtown. Now they are willing to look past those requirements to redesign a building much bigger than that coffee shop or hotel. The city is right to ensure consistency in the look of downtown, and to highlight the historic old buildings which have maintained their old time look. The city needs to do the same with the La Crosse Center, and select a design that fits in, rather than looking like a big spaceship.

Comment

Usually when something doesn't work, you try another way. Not so with snow emergencies declared by the city of La Crosse. Earlier this month, perhaps for the first time, La Crosse declared a snow emergency. That means people have to move their cars to make way for snow plows. Unlike the typical alternate side parking, drivers need to move their cars not just overnight, but for 24 hours, parking on the even side of the street on even numbered says, and vice-versa. That didn't work, as few people complied with the order. Police wrote more than 300 warnings to people who didn't move their cars in just a four hour period, even though the snow plows were never sent out to clean up from that storm. The city promised to work on clarifying the snow emergency rules, perhaps even considering adopting snow emergency rules over the traditional alternate side parking next winter, meaning we would only have to move our cars when we are told. But before those rules could be rewritten, Mother Nature struck again. But even though clearly there is confusion about snow emergency rules, La Crosse again instituted a snow emergency, meaning drivers have to avoid one side of the street for a full 24 hours. That order is in place until this afternoon. You'd think city hall would have learned its lesson the first time. They need to go back to the drawing board to clarify just how to comply with snow emergency declarations before declaring another one.

Comment

Monday - April 16, 2018 9:03 am

Time for winter to give other seasons a turn

Dear Winter: Please go away. Leave us alone. You have outstayed your welcome. Perhaps, Old Man Winter has become forgetful, unaware the calendar says April. That he first showed up in November, some five and a half months ago. That isn’t fair to spring, or summer or fall. The other seasons want their turn to shine. We want to play golf, to wear shorts and sandals. We just want to be outside. To enjoy fresh air. Without winter. So please leave. Take a break. You have worked hard this season. You must be tired. We are certainly tired of you. You are making us cranky. So pack up your cold, your wind, your snow and your sleet. And don’t come back anytime soon. LEAVE US ALONE! On behalf of the entire upper MIdwest, thank you.

Comment

Normally when you spend money, you know what you are getting in return. Not so when it comes to settling sexual harassment claims against Wisconsin state employees. The State Department of Administration has finally, after open records requests from the media, tallied what taxpayers spent to settle sexual harassment claims. The numbers are staggering. Over the last decade, taxpayers in Wisconsin have spent at least $523,000 to settle sexual harassment complaints against state employees. The payments range from $65,000 to $100,000. That total number is no doubt higher, because state agencies are also able to settle claims on their own. But even in the era of the #metoo movement, Wisconsin state government is not being very open about the behavior of those whose salaries we pay. Our lawmakers in both parties prefer to refuse to release the full complaints and findings about discrimination. As taxpayers, we should be able to easily learn when any state employee behaves so badly it costs us money. They shouldn't be covering it up. But we also shouldn't be on the hook for someone else's bad behavior. If a state employee harasses a co-worker, they should be fired, any any financial penalty should come from their pockets, not ours.

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Thursday - April 12, 2018 9:00 am

Ryan likely tired of herding cats

Perhaps he couldn't take it anymore. Perhaps he is afraid of losing the House of Representatives to democrats in the November election. Either way, who can blame Paul Ryan for his decision not to seek re-election as a member of Wisconsin's Congressional delegation. Ryan has confirmed Washington's worst-kept secret that he would not run in November. Ryan has served in the United States Congress since 1998. He has had a stellar political career, serving as the top Republican in the house since 2015, after serving as Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 elections. Ryan's rise helped bring political prominence to Wisconsin. But ever since Donald Trump won the presidency, Ryan's job has gotten much more difficult. He has had to try to be the bridge between President Trump and leaders of his party. It has been the equivalent of herding cats. All while enduring personal insults hurled at him by the President. A thankless and difficult job for certain. In some ways, Ryan seems a throwback in politics. Willing to think for himself, and take on big issues facing this country, even if it meant taking on members of his own party. He was civil, even with those with whom he disagreed. I guess that doesn't cut it any more in today's politics.

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