Tag Archives: Rotary Club of Madison

Rural Broadband: The Economics and Relationships Needed for “The Fix”

  

Brittany Beyer, Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broad Band, presented The Economics and Relationships Needed for “The Fix”.

Today’s mashup of acronyms, mastered by Beyer to her credit, demonstrates widespread and as-yet relatively uncoordinated efforts to advance universal broad band access, but a growing awareness of their importance.

Embedded are fundamental elements of equity, diversity and inclusion, the divide between sparsely settled rural and densely settled urban environments, outdated mapping of coverage and profit disparities attendant to the commerce of coverage, and the profound need for universal collaboration and coordination.

Beyer framed the fundamentals as access, affordability, and adoption.

Access is best and almost universal in urban areas, but the rules of measurement—mapping population together with broad band coverage—tilts systemic access heavily to cost-efficient urban areas while omitting high-cost, less efficient access to rural areas.

The resulting dilemma is captured in the subject of affordability, which requires a collaborative and systemic mix of commercial, government, philanthropic, and personal funding that is moving slowly toward the need to address the growing acknowledgment that, like electricity and rural mail delivery, broad band access has become a universal necessity and equalizer.

Adoption, the third leg of the stool, highlights the need to educate and aid those yet unfamiliar with the technology and capability that can be available to them.

There are test models and examples of successful local or at best regional well-led initiatives that work—in Reedsburg, WI and surrounding towns, for example; in Iowa County, a leader in a systemic mapping of service needs and population density; and in Brown County, where a model expansion is underway.

Today’s program was but a piece of the story.  Two complementary Rotary programs will present other facets of the quest for a systemic approach to universal high speed broad band service, one in July and one in August.    

   Our thanks to Brittany Beyer for her presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/HiLfVKXGTLA.

TREK Thrives Even Under Adverse Conditions

Steve Malchow, Trek Bicycle’s Vice President of Operations, Engineering and Sourcing, had to move fast in the last three years to avoid hitting—or being hit—by three “black swans”:  Tariffs on Trek’s principal supplier of bicycles, from China; the pandemic, which shut down production facilities; and the combination of these two factors to create a third swan, the exploding demand for bicycles.

Trek is a billion dollar a year company with 4,000 employees, business in over 100 countries; race teams; comprehensive analysis of market share; and nimble, aggressive adjustment to the retail side of the business. 

Trek is also an enlightened company headquartered in Waterloo, Wisconsin, that is committed to healthy lifestyles for customers and employees.  Facing rising health insurance costs, it built its own clinic in 2014 and has not raised insurance costs since and serving 4,000 visits last year.  Trek’s chef serves its Waterloo employees healthy three meals a day.

600,000 bikes per year manufactured in China had to be relocated to non-tariff sources, including parts (about 300 in each bike), manufacturing supply chains, and delivery.  Trek used to back order 73,000 bikes, now 3.9 million as new orders jumped from 1.5 million to 3.8 million per year.  Even the ship that blocked the Suez Canal still contains a large order of undelivered bicycles.

And yet Trek thrives, aggressive on the elements of manufacturing and delivery, moving plants out of China to a total of 7 different countries world-wide including Taiwan and Cambodia, and expanding their BCycle city program to dozens of American cities.

Trek is also a leader in its largest market, E-bikes, a fleet of which are being tested in Madison now, even as the universal shortage of digital chips presents the latest delay.

Steve considers Trek successful and lucky under the circumstances.  Most of us would say “not lucky, just really good”.

Our thanks to Steve Malchow for his presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/PNS0-1ZSRjM.

Addressing Response to Sexual Assault on UW-Madison Campus

Curran Sattler Walsh June 2 2021 Rachel Sattler, Kim Curran, and Kate Walsh comprised a panel supplying a fast-moving presentation about the largely unaddressed scope of problems and possible solutions to sexual assault of UW-Madison women. Statistics are startling:  26% of UW-Madison undergraduate women have experienced unwanted contact, 20% have been assaulted, and 6.8% have suffered violent attacks.  The use of alcohol by men and women plays a large role in these abuses. The consequences are several and can have life-long symptoms:  rape victims often experience PTSD, depression, and substance abuse disorders. School dropouts occur. The panel agreed that responses to sexual assault are unsatisfactory because a highly functioning, systemic, coordinated, multi-agency source of physical and medical, psychological, and legal services does not exist. This problem is magnified by most victims’ lack of knowledge about these services, their sources and their unknown and disparate locations, the absence of transportation, and the lack of an advocate who could knit all of these together, provide a single point for reporting, and accompany a victim to the services. One result of the absence of coordinated services is that only 2% of the victims report an assault to the University, and very few are reported to police. The panel is deeply involved in ways to address the shortcomings described above.  A U.S. Department of Justice grant has been awarded to hire a campus advocate who can begin to connect services, provide continuous and establish an example that can encourage the hiring of more advocates. A multi-agency virtual portal is also being developed for reporting and coordination of services, to help with the connection not only between agencies but also among survivors. At the close of the presentation, President Jorge asked what we as Rotarians can do to help.  The answer:  contact foundations you know for financial support of advocates or mental health programs or make personal contributions to these initiatives. Our thanks to Kim Curran, Rachel Sattler and Kate Walsh for their presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/Fe53FRvN7R0.

Every Veteran is a Story

Every veteran is a story, Rotarians were told May 19 by Chris Kolakowski, Wisconsin Veterans Museum Director.  The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is an educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.  Kolakowski’s latest book is “Last Stand on Bataan.”   

Kolakowski told how military service ripples in families beyond an individual service member. Their research finds many children emulating their parent’s example over the past century. Sometimes this legacy of service extends into grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Just as some families run a commercial enterprise over generations, for others the “family business” is the U.S. military. 

Chris overviewed some facts about the museum:  There are over 26,000 artifacts in the collection; there are over 2,000 cubic feet of archives; there are over 2,600 interviews in the oral history collection; and they have over 150,000 photographs.  Many members may not be aware of so many events having a Wisconsin connection, so Chris encourages members to visit the museum to view these collections.  The museum typically has over 90,000 visitors each year.

The museum has been holding events virtually and in-person including Curators Conversations twice a month, movie night, and they also hold events for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Here is a link to the museum’s website stories:    https://wisvetsmuseum.pastperfectonline.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search_criteria=family&searchButton=Search  

Our thanks to Chris Kolakowski for his presentation this week and to Valerie Renk for preparing this review article. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/XjWRO5oYllk.

Cannabis Legalization: Should Wisconsin Do So?

Angela Janis 5 12 2021Dr. Angela Janis discussed the basics of medical cannabis at the May 12 Rotary meeting. Janis is a Psychiatrist at Mendota Mental Health Institute.

THC, the most active ingredient in cannabis, gets you high, but it also decreases pain, nausea, and helps you sleep. CBD doesn’t get you high, is not addictive, but probably decreases inflammation, anxiety and pain. CBD may counter the effect of THC.

Cannabis forms include flowers, edibles, concentrations such as vapes/oils, tinctures (to put under your tongue) topicals (for skin) and nasal spray. Onset of effect differs in these forms; for example effects from eating is slower than topicals.

Wisconsin is behind in legalizing cannabis; we are surrounded by states who have, led by California in 1996 (with medical use). Thirty-five states have fully legalized; many more allow medical marijuana. Several have decriminalized.

“We may be one of the last states to legalize” Janis said. “Nationally, we are behind on medical research; it’s the only drug where the national institute on drug abuse has to supply the material.” Janis said the institute gives research cannabis only to a small number of studies; 96% of studies receiving material are looking for harms.

“Their mission is about abuse, which may direct their research interest,” she said.

Most people use medical cannabis for pain, muscle spasms, nausea (especially for cancer), seizures, PTSD and end of life care. Since PTSD doesn’t have a proven treatment, anecdotal support for cannabis is accepted; there is good data for the other issues.

Janis reported cannabis does not take away pain like an opioid, but it has a much higher safety rate.

She added, “Don’t listen to someone who says, “Nobody is addicted to cannabis,” but the risk is much lower, similar to caffeine and lower than tobacco.” As with all drugs, the younger you begin using the drug, dependence is higher. Youth use is the biggest risk. Treatment includes behavioral therapy and possibly gabapentin.

When asked how legalizing cannabis would affect Wisconsin’s tavern industry, Janis reported alcohol sales dropped only slightly when cannabis was legalized in other states.

Our thanks to Dr. Angela Janis for her presentation this week and to Valerie Renk for preparing this review article. We also thank WisEye for streaming our meeting this week. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/IiibynhFL7w.

Patrick Lucey’s Lasting Legacy for Wisconsin

Dennis Dresang shared the legacy of former Governor Patrick Lucey May 5.

“Lucey professionalized state government from part-time citizen boards to professional civil service.  He reconceptualized taxes and spending to the system still with us. His term saw the most productive performance period, outdoing LaFollette,” Dresang said.

Growing up in rural Ferryville, shy Lucey wasn’t charismatic. He was described as analytical, professorial and demanding of staff.

Father Gregory Charles ran the family business, asking Lucy to join.  He now faced a crossroads: business or politics?  Faced with his fear of Joe McCarthy, Lucey chose politics.

In 1951, Lucey decided to marry, needing a career to support that. After turning to Jim Doyle, Sr, for advice, he became Dane County’s largest real estate dealer.  By 1969, when running for Governor, he’d embarked on $500 million Wexford Village.  

He was a progressive, with a reputation for bipartisanship, often reaching across the aisle. His first year in office, 50 years ago, his first initiatives were to create the UW System and to transform state taxing and spending systems. These were based on changes suggested by previous Governor Warren Knowles.

Local taxes at that time were rising 10% annually, because municipalities were responsible for schools and other taxes now elsewhere. Lucey was concerned about this burden on poorer communities. He created “equalization” formulas to give children the same education regardless of their community. He created a machinery and equipment tax exemption saying, “let’s tax income, not property.”  He also developed property tax levy limits. 

His ambitious agenda started as 24 items on one page; no-fault auto insurance was the only one not adopted during his term. He resigned to become Ambassador to Mexico when asked by President Carter.

His passion for social justice, opportunities for everyone to experience upward mobility, and problem solving are his legacy. 

Dresang is Professor Emeritus and founding director of La Follette School of Public Affairs.

Our thanks to Dennis Dresang for his presentation this week and to Valerie Renk for preparing this review article. Our thanks also to Mystery to Me Book Store for selling books at our club meeting as a convenience to our members. If you missed our meeting, you can visit Mystery to Me Book Store in person or click on this link to order it at their book store online:  https://www.mysterytomebooks.com/search/apachesolr_search/patrick%20lucey.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/wagy5bpFU7M.