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Just git ‘er done that was not the case with the main highway facility bid process, the board apparently was spooked, and thus decided last week to enter into a contract with Barrientos for only the design services and necessary geo-technical work to complete the step, at a cost of $199,319. Supervisor Pam Rogers said she offered the amendment to downsize in order to get the ball rolling on the first step of the process and answer many of the supervisors’ questions. The amended resolution at a lower cost required a simple majority to approve instead of a full 20 votes, making it easier for the skeptical board to pass. And it worked, as the vote was 19-11. Now, a lot of remarks were made at that meeting, and we’ll let readers refer back to our article last Wednesday to sort them all out. We will share two, however: One member said she was “against spending all this money until we have our ducks in a row.” Another, though, stated, “I think it’s time to get off this amusement ride, because I’m not finding it any fun, and let’s do something about this project.” No, this has not been any fun, and since the first facility needs study was undertaken in 2000, county supervisors have lined up enough ducks that they could waddle, paddle and fly all the way to China and back. Micromanaging this project does nothing to save taxpayer dollars; why, it could even cost more. Barrientos’ initial bid probably took into account the fact that the company would be doing all the work at once. Sort of like bundling your phone, Internet and cable TV bill. Could separating the jobs change that? We don’t know how it will cost out in the end, but we do know that Barrientos’ $613,999 proposal for all the work leading up to and overseeing construction of the highway shop won the bidding process fair and square. So, enough with the stalling tactics, folks. Brush the chip off your shoulder and let’s get this highway shop built.

At least five reporters have come and gone since Jefferson County supervisors started talking about building a new highway shop. We’ve covered meetings about the need for a new facility, the potential cost, a myriad of possible sites, concerns over the bidding process and at least six studies for which taxpayers had to foot the bill. And now, just when we saw light at the end of the tunnel, the county board slowed the process once again. Last week, supervisors approved a contract for design development of the new facility only, postponing all further steps so each must return before the full board for approval. For readers who have not been following the issue, or those, like us, whose eyes have glazed over watching it snake through its circuitous route, here’s a brief primer: In light of growing space, environmental and safety concerns, the county board has been talking about improving its main Highway Department facility for more than a dozen years. After countless hours of discussion and debate, it finally agreed to build at a new site instead of updating its buildings at its current Jefferson location. Of course, picking a new venue took an eternity as well, but the board finally decided upon the former Countryside Home site that it had sold to a developer when the new nursing home was built. When all was said and done, the county was able to buy it back from the bank for less than it sold it to the developer. A nice turn of events. However, as things moved forward toward breaking ground, some supervisors voiced concerns about contracting with Barrientos Design of Milwaukee to complete the final building design, site plan and construction administration for the new facility. The full pricetag was $613,999. You see, a minor controversy erupted earlier when the Infrastructure and Highway committees proposed offering Barrientos contracts to design the Highway Departments’ satellite facilities in Lake Mills and Concord without soliciting other bids. While

After a decade, global AIDS program now looking ahead WASHINGTON (AP) — The decade-old law that transformed the battle against HIV and AIDS in developing countries is at a crossroads. The dream of future generations freed from epidemic is running up against an era of economic recovery and harsh budget cuts. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief grew out of an unlikely partnership between President George W. Bush and lawmakers led by the Congressional Black Caucus. It has come to represent what Washington can do when it puts politics aside — and what America can do to make the world a better place. President Barack Obama, speaking at the recent dedication of Bush’s presidential library, praised the compassion Bush showed in “helping to save millions of lives and reminding people in some of the poorest corners of the globe that America cares.” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said of Bush in a statement that “while many events may distinguish his presidency, his devotion to combatting the scourge of HIV/AIDS will certainly define his legacy.” The AIDS program’s future, however, is uncertain. Obama has upped the stakes, speaking in his State of the Union address this year of “realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation.” But funding for the relief plan’s bilateral efforts has dipped in recent years and it’s doubtful that Congress, in its current budget-cutting mood, will reverse that trend when the current fiveyear program expires later this year. The AIDS program is also trying to find a balance between its

goals of reaching more people with its prevention and treatment programs and turning over more responsibility to the host nations where it operates. “This has been an incredible achievement,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who played major roles both in passing the original 2003 act and its 2008 renewal that significantly increased funding for AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis treatment in Africa and other areas of the developing world. She spoke of the more than 5 million people now receiving life-saving antiretroviral treatment and 11 million pregnant women who received HIV testing and counseling last year. The 2008 act more than tripled funding from the 2003 measure, approving $48 billion over five years for bilateral and global AIDS programs, malaria and tuberculosis. It also ended U.S. policy making it almost impossible for HIV-positive people to get visas to enter the country. The AIDS program was the largest commitment ever by a nation to combat a single disease internationally. According to the U.N.’s UNAIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2011 the United States provided nearly 60 percent of all international AIDS assistance. A decade ago, almost no one in sub-Saharan Africa was receiving antiretroviral treatment. By 2008, the program had boosted that number to 1.7 million. As of last year it was 5.1 million. The State Department says the program last year also helped provide treatment to some 750,000 HIV-positive pregnant women, allowing about 230,000 infants to be born HIV-free, sup-

ported 2 million male circumcisions and directly supported HIV testing and counseling for 46.5 million. According to UNAIDS, the number of people living with HIV has leveled off, standing at about 34 million at the end of 2011. New infections that year reached 2.5 million, down 20 percent from 2001. AIDS-related deaths were 1.7 million, down from 2.3 million in 2005. Jennifer Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at Kaiser, said most countries where the program operates have yet to reach the “tipping point,” where new infections occurring in a year are less than the increase in people receiving treatment. Among the success stories were Ethiopia, where the 40,000 going on treatment in 2011 was almost four times the new infections. Still with a long way to go was Nigeria, which that year had 270,000 new HIV infections and a 57,000 increase in those getting treatment. Chris Collins, director of public policy at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, also warned of potential repercussions as the AIDS program shifts from being an emergency response to the AIDS epidemic to a more supportive role for countrybased health programs. “The countries themselves largely are avoiding the important role that key populations play in epidemics,” he said, referring to gay men, those injecting drugs and sex workers. These groups face discrimination and criminal charges in many cases, and 90 percent of the money to help them now comes from external sources.

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Memorial Day weekend usually marks the start of the summer season. Memorial Day itself is often filled with parades, parks, and picnics. For many, it is a day off from work and school and an opportunity to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Memorial Day, however, signifies so much more. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It differs from Veterans Day in that Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, living or dead. Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day became a United States federal holiday in 1888 in order to allow Civil War veterans to pay their respects to those who gave their lives in the Civil War, without losing a day’s pay. The Civil War ravaged America. From 1861-65, most sources agree that between 640,000700,000 men were killed in that war. It was a huge amount of casualties. So many, that the number of deaths averaged over 500 each day. To put this in perspective, about 2.5 percent of the American population died in the Civil War. Had that been today, with 2.5 percent of the population dying, that would equate to over 7 million American deaths. After the war, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

Memorial Day officially was proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans. General Logan established May 30 as a day for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers and as a day for nationwide remembrance. Memorial Day originally honored only those who died while fighting in the Civil War. However, after World War I, the holiday changed to commemorate American military personnel who died in all American wars. For about 100 years, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30. However, in 1968, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. Many people today celebrate Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen soldiers. Others visit memorials or hang an American flag outside their home. Many also participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. on that day. In honor of those who have died in combat, the state Legislature recently passed Assembly

Bill 166, creating an individual income tax exemption for military income received by active duty members of the U.S. armed forces who die in a combat zone. The bill also extends the income tax exemption to individuals who die outside of a combat zone as a result of wounds, disease or injury incurred while serving in a combat zone. This legislation is a way both to honor those who have died in combat and also to make the lives of the fallen soldier’s loved ones a little bit easier. Assembly Bill 166 passed both houses of the Legislature on unanimous votes and now heads to the Governor for his expected signature. We in America are grateful for all the heroes who have given their lives to protect our country and to preserve our nation’s freedom. Our country is great because of the sacrifices made by so many servicemen and women. This Memorial Day, I urge you to take some time to remember and honor those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. (Sen. Neal Kedzie can be reached in Madison at P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 or by calling toll-free 1-800-5781457.)

NEW YORK (AP) — Thomas Sohmers, 17, of Hudson, Mass., has been working at a research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since he was 13, developing projects ranging from augmented reality eyewear to laser communications systems. This spring, his mom, Penny Mills, let him drop out of 11th grade. She says she “could see how much of the work he was doing at school wasn’t relevant to what he wanted to learn.” On Monday, Thomas and his mom learned that he is in esteemed company as a high-school dropout with a knack for computers: David Karp, 26, sold Tumblr, the online blogging forum he created, to Yahoo for $1.1 billion. Examples of tech geniuses who lack college degrees are wellknown — Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg among them. But Karp left high school after his freshman year, with his mother’s blessing, at age 14. Critics say dropping out of school to pursue a dream is a terrible idea. Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Law School who teaches and advises startup companies, says it’s like “buying a lottery ticket — that’s how good your odds are here. More likely than not, you will become unemployed. For every success, there are 100,000 failures.” But what about kids who are so good at computer programming that schools can’t teach them what they need to know? “That’s what internships are for; that’s what extracurricular activities are for,” says Wadhwa, who has founded two companies. Karp said he hopes teenagers don’t look at his success as an excuse for leaving school. “That is not a path that I would haphazardly recommend to kids out

there,” he said. “I was in a very unique position of knowing exactly what I wanted to do at a time when computer science education certainly wasn’t that good in high school in New York City.” Karp was a student at the Bronx High School of Science, an elite New York City public school that only admits students who score well on a difficult entrance exam, when his mother gave him the option of home-schooling. He took Japanese classes and had a math tutor while continuing with an internship at an animation production company, but by age 16, he was working for a website and was on his way to become a tech entrepreneur. He never did get his diploma. That resonates with Thomas’ mom, who says her son “always wanted to learn more than what the schools wanted to teach him. At times it was very frustrating. I was fortunate to find people that were able to teach him more, but he has gone beyond what high school could ever give him.” Thomas just won a Thiel Fellowship, which gives $100,000 to 20 people under the age of 20 each year so they can skip college to focus on research or a dream, whether it’s a high-tech project, a business or a nonprofit. But his mom says she would have let him drop out even if he hadn’t won the award. “The part that really bothers me is that there are a lot of Thomases out there and their needs are not being met,” said Mills. Thomas says he’s sad to be leaving his teenage friends behind, but he’s excited about the future. And he has mixed feelings about his years in school. “I’ve had some amazing, great teachers that really have the passion to teach, but most of what is in

school now is teaching to a test,” he said. “It’s really sad. You’re not learning the skills for how to solve the problem — you are just learning the answer to this question that is going to be on the test.” Susan Bartell, a psychologist based in Port Washington, N.Y., who works with adolescents and their families, says she frequently encounters parents who are convinced that their kids are extraordinarily gifted. But she cautions that it’s “the very rare exception when this decision (to drop out) makes sense.” In the case of Karp, she said, “it worked out, but almost always it doesn’t — even if a kid is extremely gifted. School is about much more than just academics and in most cases, even the most gifted kids need the socializing.” And not all young moguls take Karp’s route. Earlier this year, a 17-year-old from London, Nick D’Aloisio, sold an app he created to Yahoo for $30 million — but he decided to stay in school. On the other hand, there are examples of successful individuals in many fields who lack a high school diploma, from top performers such as Jay-Z to billionaire businessmen such as Richard Branson. But the tech community may be different from other industries. Degrees are not necessarily seen as a hallmark of achievement and programmers are judged on their ability to type lines of code. What also sets the field apart is that computer programming is not taught at every high school, and even when it is, the most talented students often either “surpass the curriculum or feel it’s not relevant to them,” said Danielle Strachman, program director for the Thiel Fellowship.

Just git er donepdf