The West Side with host Rich Kremer airs Thursdays at 5pm on Ideas 88.3 WHWC in western Wisconsin. It is also recorded by Eau Claire Community Television where it airs weekly and is simulcast on CTV's low power radio station.
Topics for this interview/call-in program include the state budget, the effects of proposed legislation on local residents, sustainability, university issues, racial diversity, school funding, health care, economics, agriculture,
and other topics from a western Wisconsin perspective. During election seasons, candidates for State Assembly and State Senate share time on the air with their opponents. Listeners are also encouraged to call in at 800-228-5615
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The West Side discussed the latest news on the Germann Road Fire in Douglas County that claimed some 50 structures and burned more than 8,000 acres. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Reporters Danielle Kaeding and Mike Simonson, who covered the fire since it erupted May 13th. Also joining the program were DNR Incident Commander Larry Gladoski and Douglas County Emergency Management Director Keith Kessler who were in charge of the fire suppression and evacuation measures. And to discuss the fire danger in western Wisconsin DNR Forestry official Steve Edge joined the program as well.
The West Side kicked of a multi-part series about immigrant populations in western Wisconsin with a look into the rapidly growing Latino community. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Edgar Bernal, a Panamanian immigrant who serves on the board of Hispanic advocacy group El Centro de Connexion de Chippewa Valley, Father Tim Oudenhoven, a Hispanic Chaplin serving Arcadia and Alma Center and Drs. Sue Peck and Lisa Schiller of the College of Nursing at UW-Eau Claire who run a clinical program where nursing students offer medical assistance to migrant farm workers.
Though our spring has been much snowier than usual in western Wisconsin it still is, officially speaking, spring and proof of that is the impending state fishing opener May 4th. So, to get our listeners primed before they wet their lines we brought the "Outdoor Guys" on for a Somewhat Spring Edition of The West Side Outside. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Outdoor Editor for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram Joe Knight and Dave Calrson, Host of Northland Adventures. During the first half of the program we were also joined by Lac du Flambeau Tribal Chair Tom Maulson to talk about the tribal walleye spearing season. Then during the second half we were joined by retired DNR Communications Specialist Jim Bishop and owner of the We-Tie-It Fly Shop Bill Scherer.
The West Side looked into the growing world of online public education with a discussion about virtual schools and blended learning in western Wisconsin. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Maleda Mullin, Middle School Instructor for the virtual Wisconsin Advanced Learning Academy located in Barron and Assistant Superintended of the Eau Claire School District Tim Leibham.
The West Side discussed how local governments are preparing for the 2014 roll out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Host Rich Kremer was joined by attorney Cathy Conway of von Briesen and Roper who counsels clients on health insurance law and implementation, City of Eau Claire Human Resources Director Dale Peters and Chippewa County Administrator Frank Pascarella.
The West Side discussed what Governor Walker's Biennial State Budget will mean for local school districts in western Wisconsin. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Karen Dahl, Business Manager for the School District of Altoona and Rice Lake Area School District Superintendent Larry Brown.
The West Side began the first of a series of programs examining Governor Walker's Biennial Budget for 2013-2015 beginning with a discussion about how the budget will affect higher education in western Wisconsin. Host Rich Kremer was joined by
UW-Stout Chancellor Chuck Sorensen and President of the Chippewa Valley Technical College Bruce Barker.
The West Side looked into the different approaches Minnesota and Wisconsin are taking towards the fast growing frac sand mining industry. Also, the pros and cons of state vs. local control were discussed and a special news story produced by WPR's Maureen McCollum highlighted what one local government in Minnesota is doing to address citizen concerns about mining. Guests included Minnesota State Senator Matt Schmit, who has introduced legislation to create a statewide frac sand mining moratorium, Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, the only lawmaker in Wisconsin to introduce frac sand mining legislation. Also joining the program were Rick Stadelman of the Wisconsin Towns Association and Kirsten Pauly of the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council.
The West Side looked into poverty in public education and how it affects learning and school strategy. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Associate Dean of Teacher Education for UW-Eau Claire Dr. Marvin Lynn, Director of Food and Nutrition at the Eau Claire Area School District Sue Brown and Principal at River Heights Elementary School in Menomonie Peg Kolden.
The West Side discussed a multi-year study aimed at reducing excess phosphorus levels in the Red Cedar River, which cause massive blooms of noxious and unhealthy algae in Tainter Lake and Lake Menomin in Dunn County. Host Rich Kremer was joined by DNR Wastewater Field Supervisor Paul La Liberte, watershed council coordinator Julia Olmstead of UW Extension and Regional Natural Resources educator for UW Extension Dan Zerr.
The West Side delved into Governor Walker's 2013-2015 budget proposal with Republican State Representative Scott Suder of Abbotsford and Democrat State Representative Chris Danou of Trempealeau. Guests discussed the governor's proposed across the board tax cut, a request for additional staff to monitor air quality at frac sand mines and his decision to reject federal funding to expand the state's medicaid program.
The West Side checked up on the health of three free clinics in western Wisconsin. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Maribeth Woodford, Executive Director of the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic in Eau Claire, Mary Meyers, Clinic Coordinator for the Open Door Free Clinic in Chippewa Falls, Sandy Krautkramer, Director of the the Rice Lake Free Clinic and Lisa Jante, Board Member with the Rice Lake Free Clinic. Guests spoke about topics including the increasing need for free clinic services, false assumptions about who uses free clinics, funding and how political decisions may impact their operations.
Members from Wisconsin's major farming organizations gave their opinions on the 2013 agricultural outlook on The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Kara Slaughter, government relations director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union, Joe Bragger, district director for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Dr. Brenda Boetel, professor of Agricultural Economics at UW-River Falls.
The West Side discussed a collaboration between Stanley, Wisconsin based Ace Ethanol and New York Biotech Firm Sweetwater Energy to produce sugars from cellulosic feed stocks like corn plant waste and wood waste that will be used to supplement the corn based ethanol brewing process. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Jack Baron, Chief Operating Officer for Sweetwater Energy and Bob Sather, Government Relations Director for Ace Ethanol.
The West Side discussed the renewed call among lawmakers for more job specific higher education in western Wisconsin and whether that takes away from the emphasis on traditional four year liberal arts education. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Bob Knight, Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Studies at UW-Eau Claire, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UW-Eau Claire Linda Young and President of the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Bob Meyer.
The West Side Outside welcomed outdoor guys Joe Knight and Dave Carlson to the program to discuss the free ice fishing weekend in the state and the Silver Mine Ski Jump Invitational. But first the group was joined by three women pushing to get more women into fly fishing. They include Wendy Williamson, President of the Hayward Fly Fishing Company, fly fishing instructor Sara Sanford and Margaret Labin.
The West Side delved into the issue of whether older drivers are safe drivers and whether they should be tested for competency more often than their younger counterparts. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Wisconsin State Patrol Captain Jeff Frenette, Psychologist Dr. Brian Stress and Occupational Therapist with Sacred Heart Hospital Barb Haag.
The West Side welcomed Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson) and Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) to look ahead to Wisconsin's 2013 legislative session, with a special look at the upcoming biennial budget and possible legislation. Dean Kallenbach guest hosted.
The West Side focused on the massive investment railroads are making into rail lines in Barron County and Wisconsin as a whole in order to haul frac sand. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Wisconsin Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale and Barron County Administrator and former secretary of the Western Wisconsin Rail Transit Authority. Vice President of Community and Member Relations of Dairyland Power Cooperative Brian Rude also joined the program.
The plan for a new arts and entertainment facility known as the Eau Claire Confluence Project was discussed on The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by two of the top players in the project including UW-Eau Claire Vice Chancellor of Facilities Mike Rindo and Commonweal Development Partner Dan Clumpner. The two gave updates on the planning, funding and lobbying efforts for the Confluence Project and answered questions from callers. Then Eau Claire Historical Preservation Foundation Board Member Patrick Kurtenbach joined the program to discuss his groups opposition to the planned demolition of historic buildings downtown to make room for the project.
The West Side discussed the 13% unemployment rate among people with disabilities, which is nearly double the rate among those without a disability. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Maralene Strom, Supported Self Employment Program Coordinator for Regional Enterprises for Adults and Children, Tim Sheehan, Executive Director of the Center for Independent Living for Western Wisconsin and Kyle Kleist, Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Program Director for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program at UW-Stout. Guests discussed some of the challenges those with disabilities face when looking for work in a tough economy and the need for a change in how society perceives those with disability.
Host Rich Kremer was joined by the Outdoor Guys for The West Side Outside. Joe Knight, Outdoor Editor for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and Dave Carlson, host of syndicated TV Shot Northland Adventures and Communications Specialist for the DNR Ed Culhane discussed regulation changes for the 2012 Wisconsin gun deer hunt and updates on Wisconsin's first wolf hunt.
Western Wisconsin's election results were discussed and two new state legislators were introduced during the West Side 2012 Election Postmortem. Host Rich Kremer was joined by UW-Eau Claire Political Science Department Chair Geoff Peterson and Emeritus Political Science Professor Mort Sipress. Adding to the analysis was former Republican assemblyman Rob Kreibich. Newly elected state representatives Stephen Smith of the 75th Assembly District and Dana Wachs of the 91st Assembly District joined the program and added their thoughts as well.
Rounding out a nine week series of state legislative candidate forums the West Side highlighted the 93rd State Assembly Race with a live broadcast at the Durand High School. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Republican incumbent State Representative Warren Petryk and Democratic challenger Jeff Smith. The candidates discussed their stances on transparency in government, health care, frac sand mining and much more.
The West Sidefeatured candidates running to represent the 75th State Assembly District, incumbent Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake) and Stephen Smith(D-Rice Lake). Candidates discussed their platforms on issues like frac sand mining, education spending and the constitutionality of Act 10.
Candidates running to represent western Wisconsin in the state senate were featured on the West Side 10th State Senate Candidate Forum. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Republican incumbent Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls and Democratic challenger Dan Olson of Clayton. Kremer asked the candidates about their stances on frac sand mining, campaign finance reform, health care and education spending.
The West Side welcomed the candidates running to represent the 87th State Assembly District, Republican incumbent Mary Williams and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Riley. Host Rich Kremer asked the guests about their stances on education funding, health care, mining and jobs.
The West Side featured candidates from the 68th State Assembly District, incumbent Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) and Judy Smriga (D-Thorp). Candidates fielded a range of questions on issues like education spending, frac sand mining, partisan redistricting and transportation funding.
The West Side featured candidates from the 67th State Assembly District, incumbent Tom Larson (R-Colfax) and Deb Bieging (D-Chippewa Falls), during a live candidate forum. Guests talked about their stances on things like job creation, state funding levels for education, health care and frac sand mining.
The West Side hosted a candidate forum featuring candidates from the 30th State Assembly District, incumbent Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson) and challenger Diane Odeen (D-River Falls), live from the UW-River Falls University Center. Host Rich Kremer moderated the forum, taking questions from audience members and callers. The forum, was held in the Kinnickinnic River Theater on the campus of UW-River Falls.
The West Side hosted a candidate forum featuring candidates from the 29th State Assembly District, incumbent John Murtha (R-Baldwin) and Jim Swanson (D-Menomonie). Host Rich Kremer moderated the forum live and listeners called in with questions and comments during the program.
The West Side kicked off the first of nine state legislative candidate forums with the 28th State Assembly District race between Republican incumbent Erik Severson and Democratic challenger Adam Bever. Host Rich Kremer moderated the forum asking questions about jobs, collective bargaining for public workers and frac sand mining. Listeners from within the 28th Assembly District also called in with questions of their own relating to taconite mining and medical marijuana.
In this program we delved into the issue of prescription drug abuse in Wisconsin and highlighted a report of recommendations created by a panel of experts from the fields of law enforcement, medicine and addiction treatment. Our guests were Twila Johnson, Pharmacy Services Director for Security Health Plan in Wausau and Dr. Mike Miller, Addiction Psychiatrist Medical Director of the Herrington Recovery Center.
Host Rich Kremer is joined by Executive Administrator for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Jim Zorn, Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Council Member Mic Isham and the Outdoor Guys - Joe Knight of the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and Dave Carlson of Northland Adventures. Guests discuss why the wolf is sacred among tribal people and about a disagreement between tribes and the state in how the wolf should be regulated. Then DNR Wildlife Biologist John Dunn joins the show for a preview of the numerous fall hunting seasons.
Host Rich Kremer was joined by Economist Toby Madden of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, Barron County Administrator Jeff French and investigative reporter Dee Hall of the State Journal and Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Guests discussed job creation related to the numerous frac sand mining and processing facilities being built across the state, the impact those operations are having on local and county property taxes, and the spillover effects rippling through local businesses. Also highlighted was a detailed report from the Center for Investigative Journalism on how big an impact the frac sand industry is having on our state and local economies.
Host Rich Kremer discusses the issue of limited access to justice among people in poverty. Guests include Mike Waterman, a Hudson Attorney; Kimberly Haas, Deputy Director of free legal services provider Wisconsin Judicare; and Beverly Wickstrom, Eau Claire attorney and coordinator of the Eau Claire Free Legal Clinic. The panel discussed the difficulty faced by people of low income in finding free or reduced legal assistance in civil court cases. Guests also talked about a state commission tasked with improving access to justice.
Host Rich Kremer discusses the increase of people seeking shelter in the region and why people are seeking more services. Guests include Kim Wojcik, Executive Director of Turning Point for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Abuse, and Jerry Wilke, Executive Director of the Boulton Refuge House. Also discussed was the decreased funding from state and federal sources are making it more difficult for shelters to serve victims in their communities.
Rich Kremer discussed the double digit youth unemployment rate in Wisconsin. Scott Hodek, labor economist, joined Kremer, and provided insight to the 14.9% youth unemployment rate last year in Wisconsin and why it was nearly double that of adult unemployment.
Scott Morfitt, media coordinator, and Jodi Conner, Clark County Coordinator, discussed the Clark County manufacturing academy, which gives youths hands on training in manufacturing and industrial arts.
Rich Kremer discusses the impact of 5.5% increase in tuition costs for students, and the nearly $300 million in cuts to University of Wisconsin campuses. Guests include David Gessner, UW-Eau Claire Assistant Chancellor for Business and Finance, and Fernando Delgado, Provost and vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs at UW-River Falls.
The West Side studied up on Wisconsin's school funding formula and asked why this year's estimates have given some districts aid boosts while cutting others. The Spooner Area School District and the neighboring Shell Lake District served as examples with Spooner estimated to get a 15% cut in state aid while Shell Lake could get 21% more than last year. Kremer was joined by Spooner Area District Don Haack, Spooner Area District Business Manager Mike Markgren, Shell Lake Superintendent Jim Connell and Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance Research Director Dale Knapp.
The West Side looks at the recently passed 2012 U.S. Farm Bill. Representatives from two of the state's largest farm advocacy groups join Rich Kremer to discuss the proposed end of direct payment of subsidies to farmers, cuts to conservation programs and the controversial Dairy Security act.
An effort by the United Way to mobilize community members in the Chippewa Valley to improve their neighborhoods and their lives was discussed on The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley Executive Director Jan Porath, UWGCV Officer of Community Mobilization Dave Gordon and Chair of the UWGCV Education Advisory Council Arlene Wright.
Rich Kremer discusses the DNR's proposed structure and quota system for wolf hunting in Wisconsin. Guests include Dave Clausen, Chair of the Natural Resources Board; Joe Knight, Outdoor Editor for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram; and Dave Carlson, Host of syndicated TV show Northland Adventures.
Guests also discussed an effort to ban lead in bullets, the effects of Frac sand mining on local streams and Joe Carlson's new book A Fish Gift: and Sketches From Northland Adventures.
Rich Kremer discusses Western Wisconsin's increase demand of ground water. Guests include Larry Lynch, Department of Natural Resources Hydrogeologist; Dan Masterpole, Chippewa County Conservationist; and Jerry Clark, UW-Extension Crops and Soils Educator.
Guests identified the different aquifers present in the region. Issues including increasing population, heavy agricultural use and the increasing demand for water by frac sand mining and processing operations.
The West Side looked at local election results from the June 5 recall and looks at the fall election cycle. Guests include Mort Sipress, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at UW-Eau Claire, and Alec Kirby, Associate Professor of Social Science at UW-Stout.
The West Side looks at the unlikely collaboration between utility company Xcel Energy and local conservation groups to clean up and restore the Tyrone property along the lower Chippewa River. The Tyrone Property, which is owned by Xcel, is located about five miles south of Durand and is considered by many to be a world class ecological area. In the 1970's Northern States Power-Wisconsin proposed a nuclear power plant to be located at the Tyrone Property, which led to vigorous debate and protest.