“Braun to start All-Star game”

Congratulations to Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun on being named a starter for the All-Star game.

Ryan Braun

Ryan Braun (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones is replacing Dodgers third baseman Matt Kemp on the NL All-Star roster, meaning Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun will now start in the outfield in Kemp’s place.

Braun will be named the starter for the fifth year in a row. Braun had finished fourth in the voting among outfielders, but was selected as a reserve.

Jones had been a candidate to be voted onto the team by fans in baseball’s Final Vote campaign. Instead, the 40-year-old Jones is replacing Kemp, who is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury but plans to participate in the All-Star home run derby.

via Braun to start All-Star game.

R.I.P Jim Irwin

Long-time Packers play-by-play announcer Jim Irwin has died.

Family, friends, co-workers and sports fans across Wisconsin are grieving the reported loss of a voice who brought the excitement of world champions and favorite athletes into our homes for decades.

Hall of Fame announcer Jim Irwin, Newsradio 620 WTMJ’s longtime play-by-play voice of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks and Wisconsin Badgers, has passed away.

Irwin’s daughter confirmed the information to TODAY’S TMJ4′s Mike Jacobs.

Irwin faced a battle with kidney cancer and had recently received hospice care in Southern California.

Jim became “the voice” of the Green Bay Packers on 620 WTMJ in 1975.

When Bender left in 1975, Irwin slid over to the play-by-play microphone, initially working with color commentator Lionel Aldridge, a former Packers defensive end, TODAY’S TMJ4 sports anchor and NBC Sports commentator.

Irwin wouldn’t give up that job for 24 years, working with former Packers wide receiver Max McGee for the final 20 of those seasons.

When he retired Jim Irwin had called more Packers games than other announcer.  While he is best remembered for being the Packers’ play-by-play man, he also called Bucks and Badgers games in addition to being a fill-in for Brewers games.

In his illustrious career, Irwin earned Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year 10 times, while being named to the Packers Hall of Fame and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

Irwin had a number of other roles as well at 620WTMJ and TODAY’S TMJ4.

He called Milwaukee Bucks basketball games on Newsradio 620 WTMJ from 1979-1993, teaming with analyst Jon McGlocklin during many of those years.

Irwin was present for 12 consecutive playoff appearances and three runs to the Eastern Conference Finals from 1980-91.

He also worked with Bender and former Badgers quarterback Ron Vanderkelen on Wisconsin football from 1969-90, while doing play-by-play on Badgers basketball during that time as well.

“Jim Irwin, he was one of the best play-by-play people that I’ve ever heard,” said Vanderkelen in a 2011 interview with Sorgi.

“He and I got along very well.  He said, ‘this is what your role is,’ and we just jelled very, very easily…It was just a pleasure.”

Irwin also called Milwaukee Brewers games during the 1970′s and 1980′s on Newsradio 620 WTMJ as a fill-in voice for Bob Uecker when the longtime Voice of the Brewers had national television responsibilities.

Condolences to the Irwin family on their loss.

 

 

 

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School Choice Grows Amid Controvery

The details of success show why school choice needs to expand in Wisconsin.

As Messmer President and CEO the Rev. Bob Smith often puts it, education isn’t a function of test scores and homework — it’s about making better human beings.
Still Messmer boasts some pretty impressive academic achievements by Milwaukee and national education standard, arguably making the nation’s oldest voucher program a shining example of school choice.
The voucher system, allocating public money to send students — generally poor, minority students  —  to private, often faith-based, schools, opened in Milwaukee in 1990 when the state, led by then Gov. Tommy Thompson, cleared the way for the Catholic school to accept voucher students.
Robb said the early years were a struggle, a time of anxiety, when faculty, parents and students wondered whether the whims of politics would change its voucher status.
The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decided the constitutionality of the question early last decade, just as school choice programs continued to expand.
No doubt some have been controversial, and some have failed during the past two decades, but there is no questioning the growth of school choice initiatives in Wisconsin and nationwide.
Parent interest in school choice has soared since the voucher program was implemented in Milwaukee.
In Milwaukee, 47 percent of students in the district attend a choice program outside traditional public programs, said Terry Brown, vice president of School Choice Wisconsin, which advocates for choice in education.
Some 6,400 students last year attended independent charter schools, funded by state education dollars but not affiliated with the public school system.
Another 23,198 attended Milwaukee Parental Choice Program schools, like Messmer.
The Catholic school itself has seen its voucher enrollment, which comprises about 90 percent of its student count, climb from dozens of students in 1990 to just under 1,700 students on three campuses, with waiting lists each of the past seven years, Robb said.
Despite this success, there are the usual suspects who are critical of the program.
“If people want to operate private schools they should operate private schools. People are not paying property taxes to go to the private sector,” said John Matthews, executive director of Madison Teacher’s Inc., the teachers union in the Madison Metropolitan School District.
For Matthews and other critics of school choice programs, the broader problem with independent charters is that they are not organized by the same organizational structures as public school systems, and that leads to a question of accountability.
There also have been concerns that privately run schools on the public dime have been allowed to “cherry pick” their students, selecting the best achievers, leaving behind special needs populations.
The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, along with groups like Disability Rights Wisconsin, last year filed a discrimination lawsuit against Messmer and other voucher schools, as well as DPI and the state, arguing the system “discriminated against students with disabilities”.
Ultimately it’s baseless criticism based on misconceptions.
Messmer’s enrollment includes about 150 students classified under special needs criteria, Robb said.
And, charter schools are bound to take in black and Hispanic students, among the poorest of the poor in Milwaukee. Messmer’s free-and-reduced lunch population has approached 90 percent.
In the end school choice continues to see success because it ends the “monopoly” known as public education.
The success of school choice programs, Brown said, boils down to consumer confidence.
“I think parents vote with their feet, not only when it comes to the academics of the school but the safety of the school and the character of the school,” he said.
Groups like School Choice Wisconsin say competition in America’s bruised education system is not only good for students and families, it’s good for public education. The more choice — the more success outside the traditional public school system — the greater the education success at large, they argue.
Brown and other choice proponents assert education unions have stymied success in a public school system that is stuck in 19th century state of mind. He said too many in public education want to “protect a monopoly.”
But why not fix the existing public education system, at the very least devoting the public money from choice programs into public schools? That’s a question choice critics have long asked.
“As a state we need to remind ourselves that while parents obviously support the roll of governmental funding in education, that doesn’t equal parental support of the government to run everything in schools,” Brown said.
Understanding the success of school choice has seen in Milwaukee and recognizing the misconceptions pushed by critics are the key to getting strong public support for expanding the program to cities like Green Bay.
Discover the benefits of private education during School Choice Week which runs through January 28.
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Charges In Investigation Requested by Walker Administration

Charges announced today as part of an ongoing John Doe investigation.

Three individuals – including a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker – were charged Thursday with felonies as part of the ongoing John Doe investigation into Walker staffers.

Tim Russell, a longtime Walker campaign and county staffer, was charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor count of embezzlement. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said the charges are tied to Operation Freedom, an annual military appreciation day held at the zoo.

Also charged Thursday was Brian Pierick, Russell’s longtime partner and a staffer at the state Department of Public Instruction, and Kevin Kavanaugh, Walker’s appointee to the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission.

The ongoing investigation was initiated by the Walker administration.

Chisholm said some of the stolen money was intended for the families of Wisconsin soldiers who were killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. Funds also were used for wounded veterans of the war in Iraq. In 2010, Walker’s county administration had asked prosecutors to investigate what had happened to $11,000 raised in 2007 for the event.

Chisholm announced the charges at a noon news conference, but said he could not take questions because of the ongoing investigation. He noted that Walker’s administration had asked for the investigation and said his office was following the evidence without regard to politics.

“We go where the evidence leads and partisan politics plays no role in any decision by this office,” Chisholm said.

Guess that won’t make liberals happy, who were likely hoping that it was Governor Walker who was being investigated.

Head over to the source for more details.

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