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Friday, March 15, 2013

Views clash over future of Circus World

from:  wiscnews.com
By Ben Bromley, News Republic
March 14, 2012
In a tense meeting marked by pointed accusations and contradictory claims, the Circus World Museum Foundation board voted Thursday to take its fight for the historic site’s future to the state Capitol.
By a 17-2 vote, the board authorized Steve Freese, the Baraboo museum’s executive director and a former legislator, to lobby lawmakers that preserving the attraction’s long-standing public-private partnership — rather than rolling Circus World into the Wisconsin Historical Society — would best ensure its long-term viability.
“I think the Legislature is entitled to all the information,” said state Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison. “I don’t think we should in any way tie Steve’s hands.”
Circus World representatives typically would be required to rely upon the Historical Society to serve as emissary to the Legislature. But relations between the organizations frayed last month after Gov. Scott Walker unveiled a budget proposal that included providing state aid, absorbing Circus World and ending the state’s lease and management agreement with the Circus World Foundation, which has run the museum privately since its inception.
Thursday’s vote to mobilize Freese hardly marked a sea change, as he and foundation representatives already have been lobbying state officials against the proposed takeover. The meeting served primarily to give both organizations a chance to promote their visions for Circus World’s future, a testy exchange that belied the cheery circus calliope music piping in from the visitor center lobby.
Foundation leaders accused the Historical Society of distorting Circus World’s financial standing and orchestrating a clandestine takeover. Freese said they have presented “a completely different picture than what really exists.”
read more at:
http://www.wiscnews.com/baraboonewsrepublic/news/local/article_9fbda324-8d23-11e2-a8eb-0019bb2963f4.html

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