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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Tuesday - February 20, 2018 6:30 am

All elections are important, including today's

Today is an important day. It may not seem so to most people. They will choose to sit out this opportunity to participate in our democratic process by casting a ballot. It is election day today in Wisconsin, where voters are asked to make only a handful of choices. But the choices are important nonetheless. On the ballot statewide is just one race, a primary election for a seat on Wisconsin’s highest court. Three candidates are running in today’s primary to succeed Michael Gableman on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The top two vote getters will meet in the general election. In La Crosse county, voters are being asked to determine which of two democratic candidates should run for the position of county treasurer. You may think these races aren’t important, or that you don’t know enough about the candidates, or that your vote doesn’t matter. But the races are important. There is still time to research the positions of the candidates. And your vote does matter. More so today than in most elections, with turnout likely to be only around 10 percent. Today’s primary is important, as are all elections. Be sure to make your voice heard today.

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Sunday - February 18, 2018 1:45 pm

PRAT DOA in Madison

PRAT goes splat. An idea to allow La Crosse county to levy a special tax known as a Premier Resort Area Tax, or PRAT, looks to be DOA in the Wisconsin Legislature. And that is a good thing. La Crosse County voters said yes to the idea of creating the additional half cent sales tax, but that was just an advisory referendum. In order for the plan to advance, the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate would have had to agree. And while there are still a few days remaining in the current legislative session, it appears this bill won’t get so much as a hearing. The idea was to use the money raised by the increased sales tax to raise money to pay for repairing our roads, since the state hasn’t. But the plan was flawed. It wouldn’t just be a tax on tourists. It would have been a tax on many common items people in La Crosse buy. And while the money would go to fix county roads, most of the money raised by the tax would come from people living in the city of La Crosse. It is clear something needs to be done to fix our crumbling roads, but establishing this new tax was not the right way to do it.

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We should all try to eat healthy. It is easier for some than others. We have seen the growth in organic foods, and many makers of prepackaged foods have removed fillers and dyes in favor of whole grains and natural flavors. But those who receive food stamps in Wisconsin are being told they may have to eat healthy. The Wisconsin Assembly is again considering forcing those who receive food stamps to purchase only healthy foods. There are many problems with this idea. Just who is to determine what constitutes a healthy food? We can agree that bananas are healthy, but what about red meat? Do we want the politicians to decide what foods are healthy? And often, so-called healthy foods are more expensive than junk food, so food stamps wouldn't go as far. And what is the point of all this? It isn't to save money, because the federal government funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The state only helps with administrative costs. And if the goal is to encourage people to eat healthy, then shouldn't food stamps be able to be used to purchase organic foods? Under the current proposal, purchases of organic foods would be limited. If the goal is to ensure those receiving public benefits don't waste our money on chips and sodas, then shouldn't that apply to our state lawmakers as well? They take more of our tax dollars than those on food stamps. And most of them could stand to lose a few pounds anyway.

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Thursday - February 15, 2018 9:19 am

Even bigger bucks for Supreme Court candidates

We knew this day would come, and it has. Wisconsin state lawmakers rewrote the state's campaign finance laws in 2015, essentially removing limits on campaign donations and making it harder to learn where the money comes from. The result is more money than ever is being spent by special interests to determine who wins Wisconsin's elections. Look no further than the news that one candidate for next week's Wisconsin Supreme Court primary has been given a big check by the Republican Party of Wisconsin. They gave $111,000 to Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock's campaign, despite the fact that the race for a seat on Wisconsin's highest court is non-partisan. And they could give more. The limits on how much Supreme Court candidates can raise for an election are out the window. Also gone are limits on how much an individual can donate. It is no suprise then that we are seeing these big checks being written, even by political parties in races which are non-partisan. This creates at least the appearance of impropriety by judges beholden after cashing those checks. Supreme Court justices could diffuse that by tightening rules on judicial recusal, but current members of the high court have refused to do that. It appears that thanks to changes to campaign finance laws, justice is suddenly for sale in Wisconsin.

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Wisconsin lawmakers are doing some good. Even for others than themselves. Members of the Wisconsin Assembly have approved legislation to waive tuition and fees for foster children who want to attend University of Wisconsin schools as well as state technical colleges. It isn't often our elected representatives take action to help those who need it most. After all, it is not like foster kids have some powerful lobbyist group or political action committee. It is not like they are donating money to those in office. But this bill has bipartisan support and is expected to become law. If so, Wisconsin would join 28 other states which already offer some form of post-secondary tuition for foster children. They would be eligible for free tuition for those foster children who meet certain criteria. Even their fees would be waived. These kids deserve our help. By no fault of their own, they have been kicked to the curb, swallowed up by the system. Few have been willing to give them a helping hand. It is estimated 4600 foster children in Wisconsin could qualify for free schooling, and that won't come cheap. But think of the payback. By attending college or tech school these kids will gain employment skills and increase the likelihood they will end up with a job instead of taking a less stable path that could lead them to jail. Our lawmakers deserve praise for doing what is right and helping those who have experienced such hardships at a young age.

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Tuesday - February 13, 2018 9:00 am

A better way for the state to fund roads

The answer was swift and short. No. That is the response from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to the city of La Crosse. Mayor Tim Kabat has proposed that the city of La Crosse repave La Crosse Street, one of the city's worst roads, and then send the bill to the DOT. That won't be happening. In fact, according to the DOT, state statute forbids it. That is because La Crosse Street is also part of Highway 16, a state roadway. While the city can patch up the road, it is the state's job to reconstruct it. But the state doesn't plan to redo La Crosse Street until 2025, seven years from now. Mayor Kabat is right, we can't wait that long to fix that crumbling stretch of road. There is something wrong with the system if a road that threatens to swallow cars doesn't get on the DOT's radar until years after it has already fallen apart. Perhaps a better system would allow Wisconsin cities to decide how state road money should be spent. That would be the local control they often give lip service to. The people who drive our roads everyday should be the ones to determine when a road is no longer drivable. Just add up the miles of roads in La Crosse and every other Wisconsin city and give them each so much per mile to fix them. It wouldn't cost more than we're spending now, but would allow local governments to decide how that money would be spent. That way we, not Madison, would decide when our roads need a facelift.

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Monday - February 12, 2018 9:27 am

Budget deal hardly "real governing"

Their hands must be sore, they have been so busy patting themselves on the back in Washington. Congress is giddy after finally passing a government spending bill that allowed the federal government to reopen after yet another brief shutdown. You’d think they had won the Super Bowl. But in fact, all they did was spend our money, a lot of it, to buy votes. There was a lot of mutual back scratching in this pricey deal. A $400 billion spending bill. More money for both the military and domestic programs. Senator Chuck Schumer hailed the deal, calling it real governing. How is barely being able to keep the government open then throwing our money around real governimg? The bill contains an $80 billion increase in spending for defense. Nondefense programs will get another $60 billion, on top of existing spending. And those numbers will rise yet again the following year. Why is spending more of our money the best answer they can come up with? Why is the answer never to reduce spending? To take a critical look at what we are spending, and what we are getting in return. That would be real governing.

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Friday - February 9, 2018 9:21 am

Don't wait for state to fix La Crosse Street

Mayor Tim Kabat is right. La Crosse Street needs to be fixed now. Kabat is proposing fixing the pothole filled road and having local taxpayers pay for it, then sending the bill to the state. Because La Crosse Street is also a state highway, it is the state Department of Transportation's responsibility to fix it, and to pay for it. But the DOT doesn't have any plans to fix La Crosse Street until 2025. Can you imagine what kind of shape that road would be in by then? Kabat is taking a chance that the DOT would ever reimburse the city for the millions in repairs needed for La Crosse Street, and its possible local taxpayers could end up footing the bill. But local taxpayers are already paying to fix that road with city crews doing occasional patching work on that road, but those patches are no longer holding. We are simply throwing money into the potholes but seeing those potholes return the next day. At least if the city pays to totally redo the road, it would be a much more permanent fix, and a better use of our tax dollars. That is a better idea than another temporary fix, or waiting another seven years for the state to finally fix the road. It may end up costing us, but given the condition of the road, that would be money well spent.

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Thursday - February 8, 2018 8:57 am

Governor finally willing to consider higher gas tax

What is the solution for fixing Wisconsin's crumbling roads? Lawmakers in Madison have struggled with that for years, and so far the only answer is to borrow more and more money to pay for road work. Clearly, that is not a sustainable solution, as debt payments take up more and more of the money we allocate for roads. The best answer appears to be raising the state's gas tax. Governor Walker has been steadfast in his opposition to raising the gas tax as a way to pay for road repairs, but now seems to be coming around. Walker has indicated a willingness to consider raising the gas tax, as long as that hike is offset by tax cuts elsewhere. It's about time. While Walker has continued to crow about cutting taxes, our roads continue to deteriorate. Wisconsin's roads and highways are ranked the worst in the Midwest, and among the worst in the nation. The state's gas tax has not been raised since 2006, even as road construction costs rise. The state's other major source of revenue for roads, the vehicle registration fee, hasn't been raised in ten years. Nobody likes paying more taxes, but we also don't like driving on roads that threaten to swallow us up as we drive. Raising the gas tax is a sustainable solution for paying for road work and makes much more sense than continuing to put it on a credit card.

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Wednesday - February 7, 2018 8:57 am

Foxconn deal opens Pandora's box

Sounds like we have opened a Pandora's box. As we discussed yesterday, Foxconn is getting a sweetheart deal from Wisconsin taxpayers, collecting $200,000 in taxpayer subsidies for each job it creates at its new plant. That is about eight times as much in subsidies as the state provided other companies which got taxpayer money to create jobs. Some suggested the state should help existing Wisconsin companies with long traditions in Wisconsin. So in light of the news that Kimberly Clark is closing two plants and laying off 600 workers in Wisconsin's Fox Valley, Governor Walker is ready to give “Foxconn terms” to keep them in the state. Walker tweeted he is willing to give the paper company the same deal the state gave Foxconn. Some say the governor's offer is too little too late. Kimberly Clark never asked for an incentive package in order to retain jobs and its not at all clear it will influence the company's decision. Are we going to give every Wisconsin company threatening to kill jobs our tax dollars? Walker sounds a bit like Oprah. You get a car! You get a car! And if we don't give all Wisconsin companies planning to cut jobs “Foxconn terms” what does that say about how we value their contributions to our economy. Yes, it appears we have opened Pandora's box, and its not clear we will ever be able to close the lid.

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SCHOOL CLOSINGS
2-20-2018
Arcadia
Bangor
Blair-Taylor
Boscobel
Caledonia - flexible learning day, SAC open, all other events cancelled including school board
Cochrane-Fountain City
DeSoto
Eastern Allamakee
Emmanuel Lutheran La Crosse
Fillmore Central
G.E.T.
Hillsboro
Holmen
Houston
Independence
Ithaca
Kickapoo
La Crescent & Hokah - Montessori and STEM also closed
La Crosse - Aquinas
La Crosse - Public
Lanesboro
Mabel/Canton
Melrose/Mindoro
NICC Calmar Campus
Norwalk Ontario Wilton
Onalaska Public
Partners In Excellence Autism Therapy Center - La Crosse and Winona
Prairie du Chien
Sparta
Spring Grove
St. Charles
Tomah - including Queen of the Apostles School
Viroqua
Viterbo University
West Salem
Westby
Western Technical College - ALL CAMPUSES CLOSED
Winona Cotter
Winona Parochial
Winona Public

SCHOOL DELAYS
2-20-2018
St. Marys University-Winona until 1030