Everyday Politics


Sometimes I wish politics didn’t play such an important role in everyday life. But it does.

After a year of polarizing issues in Wisconsin, everyday politics means we carefully choose our words because we know after we take a stance on an issue we will be sitting in the bleachers, next to our friends and neighbors, for the rest of the game.

Thankfully, there are people like Erika Hotchkiss who decide now is the perfect time to take everyday politics a step further.  With a passion for social justice, she brings the first fair trade coffee shop to Verona, organizes community forums and mixes business with politics by letting recall petitioners meet and greet at a table inside her local shop.  As if this isn’t enough to help her community and bring working family issues to the forefront, Erika sets her sights on a position with the Dane County Board and trains for political leadership by enrolling in Emerge WI.

She’s ready to serve the community with more than just talk.

Her endorsement list is long, but it’s Erika’s authenticity that earns my support.  Her actions align with her beliefs.

Erika Hotchkiss is an inspiration. If she can make time for politics, it must be time for everyday people to take our politics beyond the bleachers. It’s time to vote.

I support Erika Hotchkiss for Dane County Board and encourage you to enter politics in your own way by examining her platform http://www.erikahotchkiss.com/ and casting your vote for Erika, either in person or by absentee ballot, on April 3rd.


Letter to the editor in support of Erika Hotchkiss for Dane County Board
Submitted to Verona Press on March 20th, 2012.

by A. Woz@ChildGrower Blog


Spirit of Wrestling Shines Through


Letter to the Editor

March 5, 2012

Kudos to the Verona Youth Wrestling Club (VYWC) coaches, officers and volunteers for their work hosting about 500wrestlers for the annual Warm Up to Regionals tourney in Verona last Saturday.

Volunteer coordination, set in motion weeks ago by dedicated youth club leaders, organized an enormous amount of volunteer hours from current and former K-12 wrestling families.  The community support from Miller & Sons, Cousins Subs, Colonial Bakery and Culvers is outstanding. The janitors at VAHS are top notch and the ordinary dads who do the heavy lifting of the concession supplies and all those mats are extraordinary in their service.  Volunteers feed about 1500 spectators during the day. Wrestling families navigate a packed gym with 5 full-size wrestling mats buzzing with back to back matches.

If you haven’t been to a youth tourney, it’s quite the sight and very noisy! Volunteer referees donate an entire day to keeping kids safe and scoring the fast-paced action of youth wrestling. Most refs are high schoolers doing a tremendous job teaching wrestling to young competitors as they call the points.

Facing pretzel-like pinning combinations, young wrestlers-some boys, some girls- shake hands, look into the faces of opponents and then wrestle hard.  Sometimes it kinda hurts.  That courage is mirrored in the brave faces of the moms and dads who send them out to the mats to face one on one competition. There truly is no other sport like this!

We’d also like to recognize Verona’s positive matside parents and coaches who enthusiastically support club wrestlers without acting like fanatics. These grown-ups demonstrate good sportsmanship when referees make mistakes and offer a solid handshake to both wrestlers when it is over.  If a young wrestler gets discouraged or bent out of shape, the parents shrug it off with a hug, send them to the coaches for a little pep talk, and then get a good grip on the life lessons of winning and losing at the grade school level.

Verona’s youth wrestling leadership promotes having fun, a positive environment, quality coaching and uses parent-driven decisions to determine competition readiness. Good approach. We feel confident that someday, these youth wrestlers will be able to repeat the words of Verona high school wrestler, Eric Schmid, a 2012 state wrestling place winner and graduate of VYWC, who proudly says after finishing his first season on the varsity mat, “I love my time here.”

This is exactly what Verona’s K-12 Verona wrestling program is all about. Well done VYWC.


ChildGrower, A. Woz.

A version of this post appeared in the Verona Press on Thursday 3/18/2012.

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