DAILY TIMES ALUMNUS DOES WELL

In recent weeks we carried a couple short pieces on a couple Watertown Daily Times alumni that made it big in the field of journalism.

Today we have another one who cut his journalism teeth here in Watertown and has moved up the ladder steadily, and has been named to a top position with a major publication.

Joel Christopher joined the Daily Times staff back in 1996 after graduating from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a political science degree. When he came to our newspaper Joel became the assistant sports editor and also did some general assignment reporting.

About a year later he left the times to join the Wausau Daily Herald which was and is a Gannett newspaper. He quickly moved up the ranks and became managing editor of the paper. From there he went to work for USA Today and eventually became executive editor of the Courier Journal in Louisville. That newspaper is one of the best in the country, having garnered 10 Pulitzer Prizes. In his position he led that powerful news department.

His most recent opportunity was announced a couple weeks ago when he was named executive editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel. He will take over that top position on Feb. 4.

We give a tip of the hat to Joel for his successes in the journalism profession and for this latest opportunity.

Joel did an excellent job for us here at the Times and we knew he was destined for bigger things.

We're always happy to see Daily Times alumni do well in the world of journalism or a related field.

Congratulations are in order here!

AMERICANS AND FREEDOM

In recent days we read a piece which appeared in the Panama City News Herald, Panama City, Florida, and included some surprising statistics about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

We'll include some of that information here. The information is based on a survey of 1,000 adults by the Freedom Forum.

A survey shows that nearly one-half of Americans cannot name a single right which is protected by the First Amendment.

Forty percent could not name a single freedom protected by the First Amendment.

Thirty-six percent could name one freedom.

Twelve percent could name two freedoms.

Eight percent could name three freedoms.

Three percent could name four freedoms.

And, get this, only one of the 1,000 people surveyed could name all five of them.

For the record, the five freedoms are:

-- Freedom of the press.

-- Freedom of religion.

-- The right to petition government to redress grievances.

-- The right of peaceful assembly.

-- Freedom of speech.

The more frequent freedom respondents answered was freedom of speech, and one in 10 incorrectly said freedom to bear arms was one of the five freedoms, when that is actually the Second Amendment.

Interesting survey results to be sure. Still, asking for those five freedoms might be a bit more difficult than one might suspect if it's done with a question apart from a related discussion.

HOUSEHOLD INCOMES

We ran across some interesting statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau recently and will share just a few of them here.

One was a listing of the top household incomes in Wisconsin by municipality, and most of the names on the top 20 list are predictable.

The highest household income is found in Chenequa in Waukesha County where it is listed as being $294,231. Second is River Hills with $272,186, third is Maple Bluff in Dane County with $242,115, fourth is Oconomowoc Lake at $241,525, and rounding out the top five is Middleton with $224,289.

Watertown is only a short ride away from these upscale communities, but the difference in this category is significant. Watertown's household income is listed at $46,094.

Here are the next five: Lac La Belle, $206,587; Shorewood Hills, $193,992; Merton, $173,145; Mequon $172,120; and Elm Grove, $167,217.

Now, looking at another set of statistics, the municipalities with the top 20 home values, again there are few surprises.

Chenequa once again leads the pack with an average home value of $881,000. With an average home value that high you had better have a big income to cover the property taxes. Second highest was Lac La Belle at $861,100; third was Oconomowoc Lake, $855,000; fourth was Shorewood Hills, $643,700; and River Hills, came in fifth with $629,100.

Rounding out the top 10 were Maple Bluff, $493,000; Merton, $443,700; Chain O'Lakes, $417,500; Mequon, $388,100; and Okauchee Lake, $387,000. Again, for the most part these locations are pretty close to Watertown, but the difference is huge. Watertown's average home value is listed at $146,900. That's about one-sixth the value of an average home in Chenequa.

There's no question, Lake Country has some of the highest value residential real estate in Wisconsin, even outdistancing the ever popular Door County.

TLS

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