By Thomas W. Bahr, Executive Director
As we enter the New Year, we all look forward to many different things: some of us to the serene snowy fields of winter, others to the comforting knowledge that it is not long until the warm weather will return.
Then there is the “unique” group of people who participate in the Special Olympics Wisconsin Polar Plunge™: nothing like a little mid-winter swimming to help you break out of the winter doldrums, get your heart pumping, and support a great cause. The WPPA has long supported the efforts of Special Olympics Wisconsin, and in February and March there will be several opportunities across the state for you to participate in the Polar Plunge™. Specific information about dates, times and locations of these events can be found on page 17, or you can visit the Special Olympics Wisconsin web site at http://www.specialolympicswisconsin.org. There are many different ways that our members can support this great organization and its athletes. I would urge you to explore all the possibilities of volunteering your time and to assist where you may be able.
There has been a renewed interest in the WPPA and the broad spectrum of support it provides to its members. We continue to receive many requests for information about how to join our ranks from various groups of employees across the state and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. To those new members who have recently joined our ranks – Welcome! To those who are thinking about joining us, consider the extraordinary benefits of a long-standing statewide organization that aggressively advocates for the betterment of its members. Please call me to explore how WPPA can serve the needs of your local organization.
Our legislative season will again be a challenge as we see efforts to control taxes and state spending and as we anticipate changes to the shared revenue program. There is already information being put forth by our legislators about these matters – some good, some not so much. Jim Palmer, as well as other staff members, have been preparing and planning diligently to prevent changes that might adversely affect our members.
Final arrangements are being made for our 2005 Annual Convention which will be held at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells on May 14 through May 16, 2005. Larger locals of the WPPA will again be sponsoring fellow WPPA members who are part of smaller locals. We anticipate that this year’s convention will be even better than last and hope to see members from every WPPA local attend. The Kalahari’s facilities are extraordinary, and I am sure that our members and their families will have a great time.
In the last magazine, I wrote that I would provide an update regarding the status of the former WPPA employee who is alleged to have engaged in misconduct, which led to the termination of his employment. As of the deadline for this issue of the magazine, the investigation into his conduct by prosecuting authorities continues. No conclusions have been reached but we do anticipate some significant developments near the end of 2004, or early in 2005. I regret that there is not more to report to you, but as most of you know, the wheels of justice grind slow.
Let me close by saying that I hope this New Year brings good fortune and good luck to you and your family.