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On November 1, 2011, Wisconsin became the 49th states to pass some form of a concealed carry law. Illinois recently followed in suit with a concealed carry law of their own. With the passing of the law in the Illinois Legislature, all 50 states have an active concealed carry law in effect, only excluding the district of Columbia, which is located on the Northeast side of the Potomac River in Maryland.
There are currently 5 installments or variations of the concealed carry law.  The 5 variations are: Issued to residents only, Issued to residents and non residents, shall issue (state has to issue to anyone that passes tests), may issue (state can withhold license from anyone they want to), and may issue to residents and non residents.

Concealed Carry Map

According to the Brady Foundation, shootings take place on American soil almost daily. As many as 350 shootings have already been recorded as of Thanksgiving, 2013.
Investigative reporter Bob McCarty proposed a different perspective when he reported in 2008 that there had been more murders in Chicago than deaths in Iraq over the course of that year.
The debate over firearms will go on, in the meantime, local officials will have to adapt to the new rules and make update protocol to make sure that gun related incidents are avoided on local levels all across the country. The UW-Whitewater campus has never been the victim of gun violence on campus thanks to the hard working campus police force that takes safety seriously.

Kiederlen Video

Gun control effects everyone, and although it may seem to make sense in cities and on campuses, it could negatively effect others.
Local hunter, trapper, and sportsman Tom Windham says guns are a part of his daily life. “I carry a handgun on my trapping line to use on varmints like skunks and other animals that are pesky,” Windham said. “Carrying firearms does, however, come with a level of responsibility.” Windham took a local hunters safety course when he was a kid, and currently has a concealed carry license. “I always keep a few guns around the house for personal safety,” Windham said. “I hardly ever conceal my gun, because around here I don’t really find it necessary. However, it is good to have the license just in case I ever decided that I wanted to carry.” Windham has a small collection of firearms that include handguns, rifles, shotguns, and a few semi-automatic weapons. All which are registered and legal according to the laws of gun ownership in Wisconsin.
Gun shops are one business that is benefitting from the new laws. Thunder Shooting in Milton is taking advantage of their rights by offering concealed carry courses that teach safe weapon handling and proper technique.

Thunder Shooting video

Regardless of training and safety, or rules and regulations, there is always a chance of a weapons threat or incident.
According to a random poll conducted on the UW-Whitewater campus, 80% said that they didn’t feel comfortable with the thought of people concealing on campus. The same people were polled on concealed carry off-campus and only 60% said that they disagreed.
The poll was conducted of:

  • 9 males and 11 females
  • 18 of the students were traditional and 2 were non traditional
  • 12 opposed general concealed carry laws, and 8 supported the concealed carry laws
  • 1 person was licensed by the state of Wisconsin to conceal.

The questions that the students were polled on were on a scale of agree/yes, disagree/no, or indifferent.  The Questions were:

  1. Are you a traditional student or a non traditional student?
  2. Are you a male or a female?
  3. People should have the right to conceal weapons on campus?
  4. Are you comfortable with concealed carry in general? (off-campus)
  5. Do you believe that gun violence is directly connected to concealed carry?
  6. Are you or any of your family members registered by a state to conceal carry?
  7. What is your familiarity of concealed carry laws? (scale of 1-10, 1 being low and 10 being high)

The aggregate approach of polling the public is just one way that represents public opinion.  This study made use of elite opinion, aggregate approach, and the reflection of majority beliefs.  Between these 3 public opinion approaches, a well rounded view was displayed.  Overall, the public that was informed on the issue seemed to be more comfortable with the right to conceal when done under the state implemented rules and regulations.  However, there was a level of discomfort that came with unfamiliarity of the issue and peoples rights.

According to Chief Kiederlen, “you don’t  have to worry about law abiding citizens concealing, and thats pretty much what the law supports.”

Firearms present risk when in the wrong hands or improperly handled.  It is the governments job to inform of the danger of firearms and offer training and safety procedure that will inform the public and create smarter, more aware firearm owners.  Although the local Whitewater community has a clean slate when it comes to gun violence, they are not immune, and authorities are aware of this.  Local officials are continuously training and preparing for a threat to public safety, however, encourage the public to not live in fear.







My College Career

Luke Steffen

Journalism is so much more than writing words on a page; it is recording the evidence of a journey.  Journalists have the power to decide how an event is portrayed, or how a life is remembered.  Their job is a huge responsibility.  Not just anyone can be a journalist, it takes passion and commitment to the facts; you must recognize the potential of the story and highlight its qualities.  I am a journalist, not because my diploma is going to say that in glossy print on a stiff piece of expensive paper; I chose this path.  I have a passion for storytelling, and one way or another, I will integrate this passion into whatever I do for the rest of my life.

I took a slightly different road to college than the traditional student.  After high school, I was most interested in traveling.  I spent time in Colorado, New Zealand, and about 6 countries throughout Europe.  Through meeting people, having wild experiences, and learning about culture, I developed a passion for journalism and telling stories through different mediums.  I decided to go to the University of Wisconsin Whitewater because it was close to home, inexpensive, and quite simply, had a journalism program.

Throughout my college career, I struggled a lot with the educational side of schooling.  I will admit that I despise sitting through lectures, and taking tests.  I somehow managed to learn quite a bit throughout the last four years, but one lesson seemed to be a reoccurring theme: Chase your dreams.  I may live my whole life a poor man, but I refuse to fall into the trap of a mundane lifestyle.  I have a skill set that has endless possibilities and enables me to travel the world, meet people, and have unique experiences, therefore I will settle for nothing less.

School confined me.  It placed parameters on my dreams.  In some ways it was a reality check, other ways a hindrance.  Standing at the finish line, I cannot say that the last four years was a waste, however, throughout that time, that is how I felt.  I have never been one to wait in line or enter a commitment that endured more than a few weeks.  This concept was new to me and my impatient spirit was challenged countless times by thoughts of dropping out, running away, and finding a shack on the beach somewhere where I could retire.  Though this sounds like a great plan, reality tends to go a little differently.  With the wisdom of those whom have gone before me, along with a small amount of common sense, I somehow mustered up enough discipline to push through temporary feelings and pursuit of my long term goal.

The last 4 years have changed who I am, and modified my life course.  My eyes have been opened to a world of possibilities.  I have matured as an individual as increasingly difficult educational tasks forced me to exceed my comfort zone.  I repeatedly stepped into the unknown and every time I took that step of faith, I learned more about my craft and developed my writing skills.  The unknown also changed my personality, it taught me to think quickly on my feet and developed a wit of confidence that makes me more marketable as a person.

It is a common human condition to wonder if life could be better.  What if you could do it all over again, would it be different?  There are many situations over the last 4 years that found me in unfortunate circumstances; times when life didn’t go the way that I had planned.  These were the moments where I learned more about myself than I ever thought possible.  Sometimes what I learned, frustrated me, or scared me; the man in the mirror didn’t always smile back.  I never stayed down for long, I always got back up, and I always learned from my mistakes.  I could never wish a different life, or a better life than the one I live.  It is so far from perfect by anyones standards, but it suits me.  My faith in Jesus has been a driving force my whole life and I want my future to be representative of His plans for me.  In my brokenness, all I could ever hope for is to be embraced by my Savior and given a mission beyond anything a perfect man could ever achieve.  That is exactly what I have been given.

I majored in Journalism because I love telling stories.  I’m not sure where my life will take me or what I will end up doing, but I  know that wherever I go, there will always be a story to be told.  I could not be more happy with my decision and I am very proud to be on the cusp of graduating with a journalism degree.


court findings

J486 / Kates Name:  Luke Steffen

Assignment 6: Courts and public records (50 points)

Visit the county courthouse in Jefferson, Walworth, Waukesha, Rock, Dane, or any other Wisconsin county of your choice. Allow a couple of hours at the courthouse to complete this assignment.

Part I (30 points)

Ask to see the record of a felony case that was heard by a jury, in which the jury rendered a verdict. (This is opposed to a plea bargain, where a suspect agrees to plead guilty before the trial is over.) A good felony case might be homicide or armed robbery. Find a case that has been completed, so you’ll have the record of the whole thing. A case from any time in the last several years is fine.

The documents should be filed in more or less chronological order. First, find the criminal complaint and use it to answer these questions:

Docket number (file number) of case: 2012JE002567

Date of criminal complaint:  11.15.2012

Suspect’s name:  Charles Dehnert S.

Name(s) of victim(s):  N/A

Prosecutor’s name:  Susan Happ

Crime(s) alleged to have been committed, including the specific Wisconsin statute number that is said to have been violated:

1: Possession of Narcotic Drugs (961.41) (3g) (am)

2: Resisting or Obstructing an Officer (946.41) (1)

A brief description (a few sentences) of what is alleged to have happened:

Suspect was pulled over for speeding on a Wisconsin State Highway.  Officer discovered narcotic drugs in the vehicle and took suspect into custody.

Look through the case file and answer these questions:

Who was the defendant’s lawyer?  Michael C. Witt

What judge heard the case?  Randy Koschnick

What was the jury’s verdict? (If there is more than one count against the suspect, the verdict might be mixed, that is, guilty on some counts but not others. Also, the jury may have convicted the suspect of a lesser charge than the prosecutor asked for. Be specific as to the outcome.)  Suspect was found guilty due to a guilty plea.  Suspect was found guilty on 4.22.2013 of a felony 1 for possession of narcotic drugs and a misdemeanor for obstructing an officer.

If the defendant was convicted, was there a presentence hearing? Did anyone provide letters supporting either the suspect or the victim?  There was no evidence in the document of a pre-sentence hearing or letters on the behalf of the suspect.

What sentence did the prosecutor ask for? What sentence did the defense attorney ask for?  Prosecutor recommended prison time and the defense attorney pushed for more probationary time as an alternative.  Since there was 2 charges, the suspect was sentenced with prison time for the felony and probation for the misdemeanor.

What was the judge’s sentence? (Be specific: Probation, prison time, extended supervision, etc.)

18 months in a state prison

2 years extended probation

-no contact with people related to past offenses

-no illegal activity

-must remain in the state of Wisconsin

-50 Hours Community Service

Was the verdict appealed to a higher court (probably the Wisconsin Court of Appeals)? What was the result?  N/A

Part II (20 points)

Go to the register of deeds office and locate the tax records of a single-family home in the county. It can be the home of your parents or other family member, a friend, or someone you do not know. Use the records to answer these questions:

What is the address of the property? N633 McIntyre Rd. Fort Atkinson WI. 53538 (Jefferson Co.)

Who is the owner?  JoAnn Brushaber

What was the assessed value (land plus improvements) of the home for 2011? $372,400

What was the assessed value (land plus improvements) of the home for 2012? $375,200

What was the home’s property-tax bill for 2011? $6,012

What was the home’s property-tax bill for 2012? $6,156



The Jefferson County Board met Tuesday night at 7 p.m. to discuss where and how to allocate money towards different programs that fall under the Jefferson county tax levy and the yearly budget.

The purpose of the County Board is to decide the importance of different proposals and come to agreement on how to allocate money from the counties budget to different programs throughout the county.  The total budget for the year came out right around $83 million, this is $19 million more than the previous years budget.

The top 5 services that the county offers and puts money towards are:

  • Human Services
  • Health Department
  • Sheriff Department
  • Highway Department
  • Parks Department

The county grew by .6% over the last year which created $150,000 in extra money that the county can spend, however, this is shadowed by a huge deficit in the budget that the county must account for.

The main reason for the $19 million increase from last years budget is the new highway department that is to be build at the site of the old countryside building.  The old countryside building is scheduled to be demolished by mid January to make space for the new highway shop.

The new shop will be between 85 and 100 thousand square feet and it will include heated storage for plows and other winter equipment, a welding shop, mechanic bay, salt and sand sheds, a power wash facility, as well as office and meeting spaces.  The highway shop is needed to properly maintain vehicles in order to extend the life of the vehicles and safe money over time.  It is also valuable as the county seeks to invest in the road systems throughout the county.

The overall tax levy for the county is about $27 million, and since most of that money is allocated towards different programs throughout the county already, the money for the highway department will have to be borrowed and slowly paid back over time.

The county is one of the lead employers in the county, employing around 500 people.  One of the major concerns is that the county can’t maintain a zero levy cap indefinitely.  John Molinaro, district 16 supervisor, explains the effects of inflation.

“We are at the mercy of inflation just like everyone else,” Moliaro said.  “For example, we have 257 miles of county highway, if we put miles on a 20-year cycle, we are suppose to resurface 12-15 miles of highway every year.  Next year we are doing 8 miles of resurfacing.”

Another concern of the county is the 17% increase in health insurance.  According to Molinaro that number has peaked and is suppose to level out in the next couple years.  Employees have two options, either pay more for their insurance or change to a high deductable program where they would pay more out-of-pocket before the insurance took effect.

Most of the amendments to the budget that were proposed during the meeting were voted out.  This is mainly because of the high costs of the highway shop as well as the thinly stretched budget that the county is currently dealing with.

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Two Fort Atkinson brothers are embarking on a trip of a lifetime this summer as they travel from Madison, WI to Miami, FL on skateboards.

Nathaniel Muench, 19, and his brother, Zac Muench, 18, started an organization of skaters who’s mission was to travel the world and teach kids about the bible and also raise support in an effort to help impoverished countries.

Nathaniel recently returned from a trip to India where he saw the poverty first hand.  “We were in an orphanage where these kids only had a small cup of rice with a piece of bread,” Nathaniel said.  “We look at starvation and we don’t really get a grasp on it.  Statistically thousands kids die from it every day.”

The brothers mission in riding their boards across the country is to raise awareness to world hunger.  Their goal is to raise $30,000 through donations and sponsorships.  The money that is raised will be used to provide as many as 100,000 meals in impoverished countries like India.

According to Zac, the original plan was to skateboard to the West Coast.  The plan was modified after taking into consideration the mountains and extra 500 miles that the trip would take.  The modified plan was to end up in Miami.

Although Zac Muench is still in high school, he believes his impact on the local skate culture is huge and that he has an amazing opportunity to help others.  “We use skateboarding as a platform to reach people with the love of Christ.” Zac said, “there are a lot of people who are in a dark place and if a preacher tried to share the love of Christ with them, they would probably punch him in the face, however, if someone who they can relate to shared with them, they might be more receptive.”

The brothers are planning the trip from the beginning of May until the end of July.  they are predicting that the journey will take about 70 days.  They are currently seeking support from about a dozen different organizations including Chick-Fil-A, and several skateboarding companies.

The brothers hope is that they can get individuals and organizations alike to partner with them in meeting their goal in providing starving children with food, and raising awareness of the starvation that takes place worldwide.

The organization was formed back in 2008.  Throughout the past 5 years, the brothers have been all over the world and as a result, 2 other chapters have started up, one in England and the other in Peru.

Each chapter of the skate ministry is made up of a group of local skaters that share the same common goal from Mark 16:15, a passage in the Bible that says, “And he said unto them ‘go into all the world and preach the good news to all of creation.'”

The brothers need a lot of support in order to make this trip a reality, the top five things that they request are:

  • food
  • places to stay
  • financial support
  • skateboard parts
  • prayer

The brothers ask that if anyone is interested in supporting them or getting involved in any way to visit their website.







The Whitewater City Council approved a $500/year budget for H2Oscore during the monthly common council meeting at the Community Room in the Municipal building located at 312 W. Whitewater St. on Tuesday.

H2Oscore is a water conservation project designed for homes and businesses and was founded by Dr. McGee Young, a professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee WI.  Young’s project was fueled by his desire to create a sustainable solution for monitoring water usage, he realized that there was a lot of ways water was being wasted and just being aware could make a big difference in helping to conserve water.  Young teamed up with several other professors from different schools along with some students to create this program so that the public could be aware of their water usage and be smarter consumers.

In June of 2012, residents of Whitewater and surrounding communities became the first people in the country to utilized the H2Oscore realtime water usage software as they took park in a pilot study to track water usage through an online program.  Initially the system didn’t work very well, however, it was eye opening and showed a lot of potential for future growth and development for the software.

The system was improved and is now being used in Waukesha, Milwaukee, and other surrounding communities.  The purpose of the program is to help communities to be aware of their water usage so they can better manage and conserve water.  H2O score has partnered with businesses in Whitewater that see the value in conserving water and want to help by rewarding citizens who take part in the program.

The idea of the program is that you earn points for conserving water on a monthly basis.  The points can then be spent at participating businesses.  This incentive has already proven successful in bigger cities like Milwaukee.  Young will be bringing the program to Whitewater and it will be available to residents as well as landlords that are renting properties to students.

The City Councils covered a variety of other issues during the monthly meeting as they try to make Whitewater a better place for both residents and visitors.  Some of the main topics discussed were:

  • Liquor license for Day and Night Inc. At 204 W. Main st.
  • Library system planning update
  • The Discover Whitewater half marathon
  • City sewer line smoke testing
  • City financial trend analysis
  • Request for expansion of hours from Brown Cab
  • Preliminary overview for 2014 expenditures

Whitewater is always looking for ways to encourage people to visit the city.  There most recent effort takes place this coming weekend.  A half marathon is bringing hundreds of people from all over the United States to Whitewater this weekend.  The Discover Whitewater race will take place on Sunday as the 479 registered runners set course through beautiful Whitewater.  The event has drawn support from 63 sponsors as well as over 400 volunteers.  Sponsors include DLK Enterprise, University of Wisconsin Whitewater, Chartwells, and many more.

Though the events purpose is to draw tourism to the Whitewater area, all the money raised will go to five local organizations: The Bethel House, UW-Whitewater Field and Cross Country, W3 (Working for Whitewater’s Wellness), Whitewater Unified School District, and the Whitewater Aquatic Center.  Even though the half marathon is the main attraction there are other events available that are suitable for all ages.  A half marathon relay is a great team building option as well as the 5K option for people looking for a shorter run.  The race will be followed by an awards ceremony, music, food, and other family activities.

For more information regarding the race, sponsors, volunteer opportunities, or any other details about the Discover Whitewater event please visit www.runwhitewater.com.

The Fish Fry

Sometimes getting down to basics is the perfect way to reboot and re-energize your life. This August my family went camping in Canada. No cell phones, internet, TV, or radio. Every night I walked down to the pier and overlooked the vast lake scattered with little islands, absolutely void of any human population. The silence was sometimes deafening accept when shattered by the crying loons as their calls echoed across the water. It was there that I was visited by the recurring thought that creation is so precise, intricate, and divinely inspired that even with all the sin and brokenness in the word throwing a shadow over its beauty, it still screams and mourns to it’s Creator, begging him to return and restore and make all things new.
One of my favorite thing about going to this place is that I can catch my meal and eat it in the same day. So until He does return, and indeed He will, get out and enjoy what He has given us.
Here is to getting away, find someone you care about and get lost, have an adventure, after all, life is meant to be shared.



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