Today Strauss Brands responds to concerns about proposed Franklin expansion

A constituent of Franklin Alderman Mike Barber sent an e-mail of concerns about the proposed expansion by Strauss Brands that the Common Council is scheduled to vote on tonight. The e-mail was forwarded to Strauss. Here’s the e-mail with questions followed by responses from Strauss in red that came out today.

It is my understanding you will not be able to come to the meeting tonight.  Due to this I wanted to answer a few of your concerns that were forwarded to me.

  1. Waste Water pollution potential- it is a well researched, documented fact that high nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as  other things, are greatly increased with slaughterhouse waste water. HAS MMSD been informed of the plans that Strauss has to dump into the system? Franklin citizens have begged for an environmental study to be completed prior to a vote! This must be done! Blanket “promises” of a state of the art system cannot be trusted. Lives of families, pets, wildlife,  plants, are all at stake.
    a) We started the process of working with MMSD over 12 months ago.  We have been designing a waste water pre-treatment based on their requirements.  The treated water feeds into a sanitary line that leads to a MMSD plant to receive final treatment.  We currently harvest upwards of 500 animals per day in our current facility in Franklin on 60th street.  This has been the case since 1971.  Please note our currently facility does not have a pre-treatment system.  Our new facility will have significantly lower levels when it comes to your concerns.
  1. Green gas emission excesses- Due to excesses  of electricity use in slaughterhouses, and again, NO ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY COMPLETED, it is impossible and unsafe to proceed with any vote based on conjecture of how these gases would be affecting Franklin residents. 
    a) The energy use will be less in the new facility when compared to our current facility in Franklin.  We hired a firm by the name  of McKinstry to complete an energy conservation study ensuring we mitigate our energy usage in the plant.
  1. Noise pollution excess – 20 to 30 diesel powered semi trucks powering through our community a DAY filled with animals will be loud and not anything like I envision when I moved my family here. 
    a) Again, our truck traffic will be very similar to our current facility.  There are 5-6 livestock deliveries at our facility on 60th street per day.  If we begin operations on Loomis we expect 6 livestock trucks per day to start.  The major difference will be utilizing Loomis vs. Ryan road to get to our facility.
  1. Odor – yes, something doesn’t smell right about this entire program… but it really won’t SMELL good  in the 2 mile radius around  the slaughterhouse if you read the literature! 
    a) Having to work at this facility and living within a few miles myself, I’m just as concerned in regards to odor.  We will be installing Ozone systems in the exhaust fans of any process area that has the potential to generate odor.  Ozone reacts with obnoxious odors neutralizing them.  Research shows the reduction is 99.99% or nearly zero.  Additionally, we have never had complaints or concerns about odor from anybody in the community, even as close as within the business park. Numerous people have toured our operation and driven by our plant, none of whom said that odor is a concern.  People are welcome to drive by our plant at any time and seek for themselves if this is a reasonable concern after doing so.   
  1. Property value losses –  because it is not common to build a slaughterhouse in this  proximity to a high end residential community such as Franklin and Muskego, it is impossible to use research to accurately estimate the impact this will due to our property value. Comparing it to the current Strauss facility is useless- that facility is not a slaughterhouse!! So a REAL ESTATE STUDY IS MANDATORY!! Has it been done- nope, but it must be,  prior to any vote (a referendum is the ONLY appropriate voting method so all citizen are able to share their input) 
    a) We currently operate a harvest plant that at its peak was doing 3,500 animals per week (more than the proposed build).  History is a good indicator or the future.  Our current facility has not had any impact on property values. 
  1. Fire Department issues – our Franklin department has shared very concerning issues related to storage of chemicals,  response times , questions related to need for an additional water tower (at whose cost? ) none of this has been worked out! How can it even be considered to move forward with a vote when our Fire Department has written safety concerns without resolution, all of which could be costly for resolution. 
    a) Impact fees are charged for new development for this reason.  Strauss and the developer we purchased the land from will have paid millions of dollars for infrastructure once the project is complete.  Our project is bringing main utilities, such as water closer to residents in the southwest corner of Franklin.  The water tower has been part of Franklin’s plan for a decade and is not related to this project.  Our water usage will decrease in the new facility vs. our current.
  1. Health and safety issues at slaughterhouse- it is well documented that the employee population in slaughterhouses partnered with the high speed work demands brings with high infection rates (COVID) , injuries and other safety issues. Other issues related to employees include transportation to work – will there now be a bus route going through Franklin? This is yet another issue Franklin citizens should have input into! Crime rates are high in most literature for employees of slaughterhouse jobs. This not a generalization- it is taken from research. So questions arise regarding safety, policing, social services. 
    a) Regarding COVID, our COVID rates are best in class for our industry:  While other meat plants have experienced very high infection rates we have stayed around 3-4% (very close to Milwaukee County’s average). Of the few cases we have had all returned to work healthy, most of whom continue to be hard-working dedicated employees today.  We take employee welfare and safety very serious.  This is why we took, what is just a sampling of, the following preventative steps for our employees:

    1) When we learned that our first employee who had minor symptoms tested for COVID we took the pre-emptive step giving all employees the option to take off with pay until we received the test result. Half stayed to work, and half went home.  When the test was, in fact, confirmed positive, we again gave all employees the option of staying home with pay the full week after or returning to work if not exposed.  Approximately half worked and half stayed home. 
    2) Strauss was one of the first companies in Franklin with a complete written, communicated, and executed program.  The Plan is on file, as requested by the City of Franklin Health Department, so other companies could benchmark from our Plan.  The low positive rates prove our proactive and thorough concern for employees first.
    3) Strauss slowed our production rates down by up to 50% to allow for additional separation. 
    4) Strauss purchased and installed significant production equipment during 2020 Q1 and Q2 supporting additional employee separation while adding efficiency and ergonomic improvements for employees.
    5) Staggered shifts were implemented to support separation.
    6) Tents were installed in the parking lot, with electricity for heaters and microwaves, for employee separation and comfort because the space in our current building for breaks is somewhat limited.
    b) Regarding safety and other injuries: Our safety programs are proactive and preventative.  We have a Safety Consultant working with Strauss to ensure we continue building a best in class safety program with our Union for all of our employees.  Our injury rates have significantly declined over the last few years because we take safety and protection of our employees seriously. 

    Our employees have ample transportation.  It’s unfortunate that you classify our group of employees as individuals who increase crime rates.  This is just not the case, we have highly motivated employees trying to make a living wage for themselves and their families.  We have, and will continue to, recognize our employees’ performance and development.  Our pay increases in each of the past few years have ranged much higher and faster than any jobs in the market at approximately 6% with many jobs increasing up to 10% and higher.  The opportunities offered to our current and future employees by our new facility will result in an approximate income range of $45,000 to $71,000 for Union plant employees. Additionally, Strauss has been in Franklin for decades with no impact on crime. In fact, we would support that the opportunities and training Strauss provides for our employees and their families supports the reduction of crime as any jobs would do for a community.
  1. Volume if water use in plant and need for another water tower – whose cost would this be to put up another water tower for this use? Again, this must be resolved PRIOR to a vote! 
    a) Again this is not related to our project.  Our water usage will decrease as a result of being in a new facility built in the 21st century.  This is a result of many water conservation projects that will be completed as part of the project.
  1. Lastly, Franklin is a small community. Green spaces flowers, families, skiing, ballparks and biking. So now we add trucks of animals headed to there demise on the list??? This is NOT what most people are looking for when driving to the library or school or supermarket. I don’t want to see this, I don’t want my kids to see this. It is that simple. These slaughterhouses DO NOT BELONG in a residential community!! It is a quality of life issue for ALL OF US!!
    a) Franklin’s original plan was intended to be multi use.  This includes residential and industrial.  I truly appreciate your concerns above and we will ensure that if we build in Franklin the concerns will never become an issue.  As stated above, we already have 6+ plus livestock trailers deliver to our facility on 60th Street.  This has been ongoing for 50 years with most residents, even people who share the business park with Strauss, never knowing we harvest here in Franklin.  We trust that reasonable people who acknowledge not knowing about Strauss’ facility and harvest operation for the past 50 years will also be reasonable about the opportunity that Strauss will, therefore, continue to be a good neighbor.   May I ask how many have you have seen since residing in Franklin?

Thanks, Jerald Bussen
Strauss Brands LLC

Democratic Senate Candidate in Franklin Admits Harboring Racist, Homophobic Thoughts

You might think this couldn’t possibly be true. But incredibly it is.

I and many others have understood for a long time that Adam Murphy is pompous, arrogant, narcissistic, and condescending, completely out of touch with district voters. Now stunningly we discover that he’s racist, sexist, and homophobic…by his own admission.

Here are the details.

Today’s highly interesting read (10/20/20): Judge Amy Coney Barrett an inspirational pick for U.S. Supreme Court

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text that says 'OF THE GOVER CE'
Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, sky and outdoor

Today’s read is from Governors Kay Ivey of Alabama, Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Kim Reynolds of Iowa (pictured above) who authored this column. Here’s a brief excerpt, followed by the full piece.

As governors who are either the first or second females to be elected in our respective states, we are rightfully proud to see diversity expand among the highest levels of government. Notably, however, our support for Judge Barrett hinges not on her being a female, but rather her superior intellect, unflappable composure and impeccable integrity, all which combine to make her eminently qualified in every way.

Read the entire column here.

Is it ever OK to hate?

Goodbye Milwaukee Braves Banner | Photograph | Wisconsin Historical Society

Milwaukee baseball fans were sucker punched in 1965. Their beloved Braves played their final season here and moved to Atlanta the following year.

My father was an usher at Milwaukee County Stadium every season the Braves played there. He’d work his regular job all day for the Post Office, wolf down dinner at home, and then rush to the ballpark to return home much later in the evening.

I rarely saw my father cry, maybe a handful of times, if not, even fewer. One of those times was when he and I drove to the stadium in September of 1965. Dad would occasionally sneak me under the turnstile to see a ballgame which wasn’t a problem because attendance wasn’t good at that time.

As we turned right on National Avenue onto the drive into County Stadium it was clear Dad was unhappy and I asked him what was wrong. Dad was succinct and to the point when he replied that the Braves wouldn’t be around anymore.

Henry Aaron of the Braves was a boyhood hero of mine. So even with the Braves now calling the South their home I still followed them. They still had ‘Hammerin’ Hank.” And Eddie Mathews. And Rico Carty who one year flirted with hitting .400. I cheered for players, not as much the Atlanta team.

Then we got the Brewers. What little allegiance I had with the Braves disappeared quickly, and I developed a disdain for the team that dumped our city, breaking the hearts of so many loyal and loving fans.

In the early to mid 1990’s when I worked in the news department at WTMJ Radio the station’s program director Steve Wexler  gave me an additional duty to go along with my news gathering obligations. Every day for WTMJ’s highly rated morning drive show I was to produce and voice a “radio column,” a radio equivalent of a newspaper op-ed piece.

During one of those on-air columns, and I don’t remember the context, I talked sports. And it might have been the Atlanta Braves. Or the Chicago Cubs. To me they’re interchangeable.

I mentioned that I hated the Braves. Or the Cubs. Didn’t matter. I said I hated one or both. Probably was the Braves and I included everything you’ve just read. Probably Ted Turner and that annoying tomahawk chop, too.

About a week later I got a handwritten letter from a listener. The woman disclosed that she had always listened to when I previously worked at WUWM Milwaukee Radio, and she found me to likable and admirable. That’s why she was so disappointed for me to express hatred…on the radio. The letter writer was a Catholic nun.

How did I respond? I sent off a letter of my own and discussed it in another “radio column.” When I said I hated the Braves, sorry Sister, I did mean it, but from a sports perspective. Certainly I wasn’t wishing their next plane trip would crash. However I’d root for the Russians before I’d ever stomach backing the Braves.

That’s why I couldn’t be happier that they will NOT be going to the World Series that begins tonight. The Los Angeles Dodgers took care of that.

Braves players (from left) Marcell Ozuna, Freddie Freeman and Travis d'Arnaud watch the final outs of Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The Dodgers won the game 4-3 and the series 4-3.  (Curtis Compton /

NFL Legend Larry Wilson was as tough as they come

If you watched Monday Night Football’s game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys you saw the Cardinal players each wearing the numeral “8” in a black circle on the front of their jerseys. The patch is in tribute to All-Pro safety Larry Wilson who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1960-1972. Wilson died last month at the age of 82.

Decades ago I read that Wilson once played with two broken hands. It’s true.

Unknown date 1965; St. Louis, MO, USA; FILE PHOTO; St. Louis Cardinals defensive back Larry Wilson in the locker room shown with casts on both hands at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Herb Weitman-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

In a 1965 game against Pittsburgh Wilson grabbed not one, but two interceptions.

“I just knew Larry Wilson was going to get an interception,” Steelers quarterback Bill Nelsen said back then. “Lying awake the night before the game, I was thinking there was no way he could catch one with his hands wrapped up to protect his fractures, but I knew he was going to get one.”

Earlier that season Wilson had broken the middle fingers on each hand.

“They put casts on up to my elbows and put this little wire thing over it,” Wilson said in 2015. “Back then, if you could run, you could play, and I wasn’t running on my hands.”

Wilson was named All Pro five times and was selected to eight Pro Bowls in his 13 NFL seasons, all in St. Louis. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978, a first-ballot inductee.

Wilson, who popularized the safety blitz, was selected for both the NFL’s 75th and 100th anniversary teams.

The latest pro-life news (10/19/20)


Don’t miss our closing heartwarming story every week!

During a recent town hall meeting, presidential candidate and fake Catholic Joe Biden was asked what he would do as president if Amy Coney Barrett were confirmed to the Supreme Court and voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. He stated that, if Roe were to be overturned, “the only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land.”

When Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, learned of Biden’s latest defense of aborting babies, he tweeted: “We must speak against the fallacy that abortion is about a woman’s health care. Interrupting the natural process of pregnancy is actually a threat to a woman’s health. And to speak of the murder of the child in her womb, death by dismemberment is evil.”

Facebook Censors Pro-Life Ads Exposing Joe Biden’s Support for Late Term Abortion, ‘Fact Checker’ Apologizes.

Are you pro-life but won’t vote for Trump? Here’s why you should vote for him anyway.

Feminists Scream at Pregnant Woman Playing Audio of Her Baby’s Heartbeat.

COLUMN: The Pro-Abortion Left Attacks Adoption.

“Patricia saw tiny fingerprints on those fingers. But what really broke her heart was the expression on the baby’s face. She could tell he was screaming because his little mouth was open. He had fought for his life, but there was nobody to defend him. It was then that Patricia realized that she had been lied to. She hadn’t aborted sacs of tissue. She had aborted three babies. Her children.”
Patricia Sandoval tells the rest of the story of her recovery and healing in her autobiography entitled Transfigured

Wisconsin Right to Life’s Political Action Committee has announced the following endorsements for the November 3rd, 2020, General Election.

Every year, Pro-Life Wisconsin partners with churches throughout the state and holds a Baby Bottle Campaign through our Helping Both: Pregnancy Support Program. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re moving the physical baby bottle campaign to a virtual baby bottle campaign. You can give online and help countless moms and their beautiful babies.

Crisis pregnancies happen all the time whether there is a pandemic or not but especially now, women need a supportive community to choose life for their preborn baby. The temptation of abortion is even greater in these difficult times. Sadly, many women are vulnerable in a crisis pregnancy to pursue an abortion.

We know that moms choose life because of the help that they receive from PLW’s Helping Both: Pregnancy Support Program. We work with local Pregnancy Resource Centers to save the life of the baby and heal the hearts of hurting moms. Helping Both fills the gap and changes lives.

We know that in this time, unemployment has affected families and limited their access to childcare, and education. It has stretched family resources and their ability to pay rent and/or their monthly bills. Our Helping Both Program fills the gap for families and gives the hope that moms in crisis pregnancies so desperately need. Your financial support means you are there for moms and their babies after birth too. Through the Helping Both Program, families have received food, gas, baby clothes, rent assistance, appliances, and financial assistance for their education. These are just a few of the ways this program has made a difference in the lives of pregnant moms in crisis.

Your generosity in this virtual baby bottle campaign provides the financial resources to continue supporting families in need. Please give generously today!


Marathoner limping in pain gets help from prisoner on work release to finish race.

Thanks for reading!

Today’s highly interesting read (10/19/20): 5 reasons why a sane person should vote – again – for Trump

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 3, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Today’s read is from Liz Peek of FOX News. Here’s an excerpt.

Today, backing the president is downright risky. People are losing their jobs, children are being kicked out of class and businesses are boycotted because their owners support President Trump. Imagine.

Hitting back at the Democrats’ assault on Candidate Trump in 2016, I wrote a piece for the Fiscal Times titled: “Five Reasons a Sane Person Might Still Vote for Trump.” The arguments I highlighted hold up well, and are perhaps even more persuasive today.

Read her entire column here.

My Most Popular Blogs (10/19/20)

Here are my most popular blogs from last week, Sunday – Saturday:

1) Backwards thinking Franklin alderwoman set to vote against Strauss expansion

2) About that recall of Evers…

3) My prediction on Franklin vote re: Strauss expansion

4) Savannah Guthrie is no Helen Thomas

5) Best Cartoons of the Week (10/17/20)

6) My alderwoman gets an “F” on constituent relations

7) Today’s highly interesting read (10/11/20): Fake-Poll Alert: Proof Biden Is Not Winning

8) Will you marry me?

9) BRAVO Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)

10) The latest pro-life news (10/12/20)

Culinary no-no #672


Culinary no-no #384

In the history of the Milwaukee Journal, now Journal Sentinel, I believe it’s fair to say that the paper had no columnist that was as popular as my friend, the late Dennis Getto (pictured above), the widely-read restaurant critic. Getto‘s columns were always interesting and highly anticipated.

I met Getto when I worked at WTMJ Radio. He was a regular guest on another friend’s program, Gordon Hinkley. Getto died in 2007.

His successor, Carol Deptolla has never done much for me. Not my cup of tea. I find her columns to be rather unexciting. The times I’ve heard her on the radio her delivery has been a snoozer as opposed to Getto who had a winning personality. No surprise. Most print people usually don’t transition well to broadcasting.

It’s undeniable the pandemic has taken its toll on the Deptollas of the world. Can’t review a restaurant when the government has shut it down.

Recently our family dined at The Packing House in Milwaukee where we had a chance to chat with owner Chris Wiken. I mentioned to Chris that I wish writers would do stories on the owners and workers whose lives have been torn apart by brutal restrictions. While there have been such features, in my view there haven’t been enough.

Daniel Vaughn is the Barbecue Editor for Texas Monthly. In an interview on, Vaughn said “Nowadays, I hardly find a use in writing about a restaurant if I’m not writing something about the story of the people who operate it. Without those stories, [the reviews are] just not as interesting. Honestly, how many adjectives can you give for a smoky brisket?”

Critics have had to adjust due to COVID-19 and it can’t be easy diverting from age old methodologies like rating numbers and stars. Then again some might be happy to dump antiquated systems. That’s a debate now going on.

When it comes to dining out I’d prefer not to be influenced by some subjective reviewer. I’ve been jaded over the years to the point I don’t find those folks to be trustworthy. I’d rather test a place by myself and make my own judgment call. Haven’t read too many old-fashioned restaurant reviews in the past seven months and quite frankly haven’t missed them. Would you?

Read more from InsideHook.


I’m a Bar Manager, and COVID-19 Has Permanently Altered My Sense of Taste

This Is a Server’s Worst Nightmare

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