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Call before 9:45am! State election law reform AB 895 automatically registers voters & hampers poll watchers

Elections, Legislation, WISCONSIN

Bill AB 895 is whizzing through the State Legislature at an alarming speed, considering the negative impact to voters in our state. The bill is still in committee for another hour. They plan to vote on it at 9:45am, today, April 1st. (No, this is not an April Fools joke.) CALL COMMITTEE MEMBERS NOW!

Senate Committee on Labor, Elections and Urban Affairs

  • Sen. Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee), chairman and bill sponsor, (608) 266-2500
  • Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie), (608) 267-8979
  • Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine), (608) 266-1832
  • Sen. Alan Lasee (R-De Pere), (The number given is not working.)
  • Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), (608) 266-7513
  • Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville), (608) 266-7503
  • Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston), (608) 266-2502
  • Gov. Jim Doyle, (608) 266-1212

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A Good Friday, Saturday, and Easter Sunday to you

Brookfield, Holidays, Religion, Special events

Good Friday through Easter or Resurrection Sunday mark the most important 3 days for a Christian. It is during this time that Christians the world over remember the crucifixion, sacrificial death, and burial of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and celebrate His resurrection on Sunday.

If you do not have a church home, I would like to invite you to my church's services this weekend.

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Easter Greetings to all.

This is a special weekend set aside for religious reasons and for family gatherings.

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Election 2010

election 2010, Council, mayor

I have been mostly silent about the pending local elections because I think it's important for candidates to make their own case and voters to decide for themselves.  Also, unlike the 2006 election, I consider both of the mayoral candidates to be well qualified.  Thus, I will use this blog to make a few more or less neutral comments and have no intention to take a position for or against any candidate.  I just think there are a few issues to clear up.

There is an old saying about elections that I've found to be true most of the time:

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Lost it on the Bike Path



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Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 6, is the day residents of the City of Brookfield will elect their own CEO. The taxpayers are the final word on who will determine the future development, the future tax structure and the leader in charge of your money.

We all want the same thing, low taxes, a safe place to live , good judgment  and sound independent decisions.

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My Tuesday ballot picks: Gundrum, Reilly, Allgaier, Wilson, Ponto & Aldermen

City of Brookfield, Elmbrook, Elections

Tuesday, April 6th, is election day in Wisconsin. On our ballot in Brookfield, Wisconsin, we choose 2 judges, 3 Elmbrook School Board members, Mayor of Brookfield, and 7 Aldermen - 1 for each district.

These spring elections are said to be nonpartisan but for some races, maybe we should call them NINO -- nonpartisan in name only?

Going from the general to the specific, meaning from races that affect all of Waukesha County to all of the Elmbrook School District, to the City of Brookfield, to the specific Aldermanic Districts, here are my picks.

Mark Gundrum for Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge

Mark Gundrum is the clear choice here. He is a conservative and former Wisconsin State Assembly Representative. Gundrum has an impressive page of endorsements including Scott Walker, Waukesha County D.A. Brad Schimel, Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner and Paul Ryan, and other conservative state legislators such as Ted Kanavas, Leah Vukmir, Rich Zipperer, and Neil Kedzie. (The incumbent Gundrum is running against is a Doyle appointee--need I say more?)

Paul Reilly for Wisconsin District II Court of Appeals Judge
I wasn't sure which candidate I was going to vote for in this race; both are Republicans and pretty conservative. Sometimes a preference gets down to personality or some other factor. On this race, I am deferring to the opinion of some people I trust: Julianne Appling of Wisconsin Family Action, an attorney with a conservative freedoms group, State Senator Ted Kanavas, Former Wauk. D.A. Paul Bucher, Wauk. D.A. Brad Schimel, and blogger Randy Melchert, who moderated a forum with both candidates last week. Radio Talk Show Host Jay Weber mentioned this morning he is also supporting Paul Reilly.

Randy Melchert
includes some video clips of both candidates' closing remarks on his blog. I found Linda Van De Water's rather odd in that instead of telling the audience why they should vote for her, she spent the time talking against her opponent and bringing up some questionable incidents tied to her. Paul Reilly then clarified one of the incidents, though it seemed he would not have brought it up had Linda not mentioned it. He elaborated on his high 97% Qualified rating by the Waukesha County Bar Association and endorsements. Watch it for yourself.

3 positions on Elmbrook School District School Board. (All of Elmbrook School District residents vote for all 3 positions, regardless of Area.)

Glen Allgaier, Elmbrook School Board Area II
I am supporting Glen Allgaier for the Area II position. He is the more conservative choice and he has a proven record of making some tough decisions, which is why I wrote a letter to the editor in support of Allgaier for BrookfieldNOW's forum page. Board President Tom Gehl, had this to say about Glen, "I have come to know Glen very well over the course of the last three years and can say without reservation that in him, this community has an exemplary public servant. Not a good public servant – not a great public servant – an exemplary one."

Kathryn Wilson, Elmbrook School Board At-Large position

In addition to the Area II position, all Elmbrook residents vote for 2 At-Large spots on the board. Of the 4 people running, the one who receives the most votes will serve for 3 years. I hope this person will be Kathryn Wilson. Kathryn is very strong in the area of curriculum. She has been involved in Elmbrook curriculum planning and the Elmbrook Gifted and Talented Parent Advisory Board, to mention 2 areas of her school involvement.

I met with Kathryn Wilson; her approach is very analytical, which is what we need on the board. With the budgetary problems facing the district, we need someone who can clearly see a solution to our problems, rather than just react emotionally. Wilson is very familiar with the workings of the school district and board because she has been involved in Elmbrook schools for years. She will be able to "hit the ground running" to quote School Board Member Jean Lambert. Kathryn Wilson is also endorsed by my Alderman Lisa Mellone, who says, "I have always found Kathryn to be articulate, thorough, attentive to detail, and most importantly, one of the best listeners I have ever encountered. Her dedication and experience is evident..."

As for the other At-Large Board Position, I am at a loss; they are all for 4K, and I cannot support 4K at taxpayer expense. The candidate receiving the 2nd highest total will serve for 1 year as the At-Large representative. Bob Zeigler is the incumbent. Some might look at him as a "better the devil you know" candidate. Since the board has already heard all he has to say on the subject supporting 4K, for example, one might say he doesn't have much traction, and is more benign. Beth Horneffer has the support of some people, but she would still be a new voice in favor of 4K. Sandra Schultz is the 3rd pro 4K candidate. I have decided to NOT vote for any of them. We will end up with one of them; more than likely it will be Bob Zeigler.

Steve Ponto for City of Brookfield Mayor
When I met with Steve, one of the things he emphasized was his support for Brookfield's single family neighborhoods. He also told me how he was against light rail. On his campaign literature, he writes, "As a fiscal conservative, I oppose the federal and state governments wasting money they do not have on high-speed rail." If Steve Ponto wins, I hope to see more conservative stands protecting neighborhoods and against wasteful spending. He has been a member of the Republican Party for years--not just when he decided to run for mayor! Is Steve as conservative as I am? No, but I do believe he is the better choice.

City of Brookfield Aldermen - I live in District 7, one of 2 districts without a challenger. Here are my preferences if I lived in the other districts in Brookfield:

District 1 - Bill Carnell: Bill Carnell is the incumbent and has been doing a good job, I think. He is being challenged by an old time incumbent.

District 2 - Terry Halmstad: I believe Halmstad to be the more fiscally conservative candidate and more willing to protect his district from undesirable development. Terry would get my vote.

District 4 - Mark Nelson: Mark Nelson could be more bold in his opposition to the mayor's agenda but at least he seems kind in his remarks. His instincts are often good; I just wish he would follow through more. His opponent is far too new to Brookfield and doesn't seem to understand the city's role in school district business (which is NONE.)

District 5 - Sheila Buechel: I met Sheila Buechel at one of the mayor forums and was excited about her candidacy. She will be a breath of fresh air for District 5 and seems well prepared to take on the job of alderman. Another bonus, should Sheila win, think of how much shorter the council meetings will be! ;-)

District 6 - Jerry Mellone: Jerry Mellone has worked so hard for his district; they are fortunate that he is running again. Mellone fought valiantly to try to prevent Calhoun Road from being widened to the extent it was but was foiled by the likes of both District 2 aldermen, who pretty much disregarded the Master Plan. (Mellone's opponent has lived in Brookfield for only about a year.)

District 7 - Lisa Mellone: Lisa is unopposed here in the 7th District, but she deserves mention as an outstanding Alderman. What a pleasant change from our former Alderman often referred to as "Mr. Rolodex". Lisa Mellone works very hard for her district and follows through on resident concerns. Some day, I hope to draw that little connecting arrow next to her name for Mayor of Brookfield!

So, there you have it: My ballot picks for tomorrow. Be sure to look into the issues and candidates for yourself and vote.

BrookfieldNOW has devoted a lot of space to the school board, mayor and aldermen races. Check out their election coverage:
BrookfieldNOW Letters to the Editor
BrookfieldNOW Brookfield/Elm Grove Voters Guide

Other blogger's ballot picks
: Cindy Kilkenny How I'll Be Voting
Randy's Picks - April 6, 2010 Spring Election Guide for Wisconsin Tomorrow

Past Post: Tuesday's Primary Ballot Picks


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Obama on nuclear weapons: Speak softly and carry NO stick

History, President Obama, Terrorism, War, United States, Unintended consequences

Children born in the 1950s grew up during the height of the cold war. I was one of them. We were issued stainless steel I.D. bracelets--complete with religious preference...just in case? Besides fire drills, we had numerous duck and cover drills at our grade school, practice runs for evacuating the school, and once were told to go home during the school day and rehearse going into our basements or wherever we planned to hide out if we were nuked.

All of this weighed heavy on my young psyche. But at least we knew if we were attacked, we had President Kennedy who had the will and the means to retaliate. His will and means gave an enemy pause before pushing the button.

President Kennedy had the Minuteman Missile, the Ace in the Hole, technology that was begun under President Eisenhower in 1958 and completed just 8 days after the Cuban Missile Crisis began in 1962, as a deterrent. President Kennedy embraced the space race and developing weapon technology.

Nearly 50 years after those troubling years, is the United States still on top of their nuclear and counter anti-missile technology? Are we still developing more defensive Star Wars type anti missile shields and weaponry?

No. Instead we have a President who seems bent on destroying any lead we had in the space race by de-funding NASA's new Constellation moon project in favor of researching and monitoring climate change for now, and a "heavy-lift" rocket--10 years or more away. Unlike President Kennedy, Obama spurns our position of superiority and technical strength.

President Obama recently announced a US and Russia nuclear arms reduction treaty, which will limit both sides to 1,550 warheads, as if Russia is our only opponent that has nukes. (Countries with nuclear weapons, going from friendly to hostile to suspected, include the UK, France, India, Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, and Syria.) Remember that Russia is helping Iran build a nuclear power plant, a partnership that makes the "United States uncomfortable", and is also cozying up to Venezuela by selling $5B in other weapons.

Just last month an aide said "the administration [has] rejected proposals that the United States declare it would never be the first to use nuclear weapons."

But Obama announced yesterday that he "was revamping American nuclear strategy to substantially narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons, even in self-defense... ...For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack." (My emphasis)

I always thought the best strategy in warding off conflict was to speak from a position of power, not outline specifically what you would or wouldn't do. You know, Speak softly and carry a BIG stick.

Considering Obama's new direction of "...developing no new nuclear weapons, including the nuclear bunker-busters advocated by the Bush administration", we have a very weak president who likes to Speak softly, and carry NO stick. That position can only be called, "naïve and dangerous."

More Reading: The Cuban Missile Crisis
Heritage Foundation: The Road to a New Nuclear Arms Race, "Unfortunately for Americans, President Obama’s new strategy will have the exact opposite result of its intended effect. Instead of incentivizing countries to give up nuclear ambitions, it creates new incentives for them to maintain or develop their own nuclear programs. First look at the Russians, who clearly still see their nuclear weapons as the cornerstone of their defense, no matter how much President Obama wishes it were otherwise. Moscow has no interest in diminishing its own nuclear arsenal, but it is perfectly happy to allow the Obama administration to weaken the U.S. deterrent until it is on equal footing with Russia’s currently mediocre might. ...A country like Iran is equally unimpressed with President Obama’s unilateral disarmament strategy." (My emphasis)

Past Posts: Obama, JFK, technology, & the Cuban Missile Crisis...chilling
Dangerous month, dangerous world, dangerous ideas


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Closing Election Comments

election 2010, Council, mayor

The votes are in!  No need for elaborate analysis, the results speak for themselves.  I'll try to provide some election information that is always available but rarely asked for.

I attended both the Ponto and Speaker election night parties.  Jeff Speaker was the most poised and accepting person in the room.  He accepted the voter's decision with grace and dignity.  In my opinion, he was secure in believing he faced some tough choices and made the correct decision.  I don't think he'll do a lot of second guessing.  Steve Ponto's party was, not surprisingly, much more boisterous.  Steve was constantly getting phone calls from the press and well wishers.  Quite a few Waukesha County Republican Party leaders were there, even though mayor is supposed to be a non-partisan position.  Steve has had a lifelong dream of significant elected service and this was his night.

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Flighty Enough


Driven by innate desire,

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Puppy or Adult

adoptiong an adult rescue

Puppy vs. Older Dog

If you are contemplating adoption of a rescued dog for your family, you have already taken a great first step. Now there are a number of questions remaining- what type of dog should I adopt? Male or female? What age?

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Dog walking at Elmbrook Humane Society

shelter dog walking volunteer Elmbrook Humane Society

Thoughts that cross my mind while walking dogs:

If it's winter- How long will it take me to get past the river and back, am I wearing enough layers, and will I slip, fall, and look ridiculous doing it.

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Volunteering at Elmbrook Humane Society

Volunteering Elmbrook Humane Society

The comment/question that most people make when they first walk into an animal shelter has to be "I don't know how you can work/volunteer here. It must be so depressing. I would want to take them all home."  If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that I would be a very rich person indeed!  The fun part is, I get to spend the next few minutes as we walk down the hallway towards the viewing area for the cats and dogs telling them that at Elmbrook - nothing could be further from the truth. Elmbrook Humane Society is a happy place. Sure the animal's stories might have started off a bit sad, but the happy endings more than make up for it. Everybody has a perfect fit - that's the great thing about Elmbrook. We draw a diverse group of generous, kind-hearted people ready to bring a pet into their homes. We find homes for all sorts of animals, young and old, healthy and special needs. Somebody is always somebody's special soulmate.

And as shelter workers and volunteers, we CAN'T take them all home - that's called hoarding. There is nothing better than seeing the pleasure and excitement in someone's eyes when they've found just the right fit for their lifestyle. At Elmbrook, sure, we love animals, but we especially love people because it's people that make it all happen - adopt the animals, donate the money and supplies and energize us when they send their Happy Tales for our bulletin board.

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Dog training shelter dogs Elmbrook Humane Society who needs dog training classes


One of the questions often asked of adopters is “Will you be taking your dog to obedience classes?” The answer often surprises me as most potential adopters answer the question with a confident "only if the dog needs it". As someone who has adopted several dogs and fostered hundreds, I can tell you that most dogs “don't need it” at all because they are VERY good at being dogs! They dig, bark, jump on people, potty in the house and do all the other “doggie" behaviors that sometimes drive us crazy and they do it all without training! However, most IGs we see in rescue are here because they outsmarted their last owner, didn't listen, jumped on people, barked, came IN the house to potty vs. freezing outside like a silly big dog, etc. In other words, they were masters at doing what they do best, being a DOG!! They need no class or training. It comes naturally! Dogs will be dogs and are quite happy doing so, however it's we humans that have a problem with some of their so “inappropriate behavior”.  (Don't even get me started on poop eating, rolling in worms, humping and many other dogs behaviors we humans find intolerable)! So does your dog “NEED an obedience class?” Mostly likely if he could talk he would say "NO Way" but most humans I know do!  Because it is we humans who want the dog to not only live in our world, but to behave the way WE think they should in our world, so it's up to us to train them how! We, the humans, need an obedience class to teach them these things!     

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The World's Ugliest Dogs

ugliest dog, animal planet, Elmbrook Humane Society

They had me at "ugliest." I was compelled to watch the episode of Dogs 101 on Animal Planet in which they profiled the world's ugliest dogs. As the proud parent of a Neapolitan mastiff and English mastiff, my tastes in dog beauty definitely run to the large, wrinkly, slobbery ones! The Chinese crested and some other hairless dogs were discussed, and then they moved on to my favorite: the Neo! I heard once that the breed standard calls for the dog's appearance to create fear in the onlooker, but all it creates in me is the urge to rub behind the dog's ears and reach up under his lips to scratch his chin. The lips also make good handles for gently pulling the dog down for a kiss! When we adopted our Neo, Dozer, from Neo rescue, his foster mother told me that he gave gentle kisses, "although not everyone likes to be kissed by a Neo."

I've found that the dogs I think are the cutest at Elmbrook are ones that others may put on the ugly list. I love Staffordshire terriers and other pit bull mixes, dogs that get wrinkles on the top of their heads when they are confused or thinking hard, and dogs who need to have their water bowl rinsed out (due to slobber) rather than just refilled. Others may flock to the Labs or beagles or German shepherds, but these dogs are the ones that catch my fancy.

A few days later, when flipping through the channels, I saw there was a different show on Dogs 101. This time, they were focusing on the world's cutest dogs. I was about to change the channel when a new category of cutest dogs came up: so ugly they're cute. Now that's my kind of dog!


Come see us at Petsmart

Petsmart, Elmbrook Humane Society

One of my favorite things to do is take dogs from the Elmbrook Humane Society to PetSmart in Brookfield. Adoptable dogs are at the store from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturdays (new dogs come at 1 p.m.). It's a great field trip for the dogs, who welcome the chance for a car ride, attention from lots of people, and the opportunity to meet other friendly dogs in the store. It gives them a break from the kennel at the shelter and provides lots of time to practice good dog and people social skills with a friendly volunteer. The Elmbrook station and dogs are located at the front of the store, so there's usually plenty of action with people coming in, checking out, and browsing through the merchandise that's near us. Once the dogs figure out that we're not going out the door even though it keeps opening in front of us, we're ready to say hi to anyone who comes in! Some people are dog lovers who can't have a dog for various reasons -- not home enough, not allowed by a landlord, family member's allergies -- but need to get their "dog fix." Some are people who came to do their shopping but were captivated by the dogs we brought and just had to come over and say hi. Still others are people who are actively looking for a dog to adopt. The great news for these people is that if they see a dog that they want to adopt, they can fill out the application right there at PetSmart and have it faxed over to the shelter. Because applications are evaluated in the order they are received, this saves their spot in line if other people are also applying to adopt the dog. They have an hour to either call the shelter or stop by to follow up on their application and find out what the next steps are. I love this chance to chat with fellow dog lovers about the adoptable dog and learn about the dogs in their lives. We get caught up talking about the canines who've captured our hearts -- and the dog who's available for adoption loves the chance to soak up some petting, meet some new dogs, and show off any commands he or she knows. So come see us at PetSmart! We'll be waiting for you.

A Perfect Match

Elmbrook Humane Society, perfect match

It is always a happy time when a homeless pet finds their “forever home”. Sometimes, however, it seems the match was just meant to be.  Such was the match I witnessed this week.

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Volunteer Appreciation Month

National Volunteer Appreciation Month, Elmbrook Humane Society

April 26, 2010


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Elmbrook (past, present, and future) leaves a LEGACY for education!

In 2009, the EEF established a permanent endowment in honor of its 50th anniversary.  This endowment is currently held by the Waukesha County Community Foundation.  It is an integral component of the Elmbrook Education Foundation's long term funding strategy and provides yet another opportunity for the community to get involved in supporting our community's public schools and their students.

In addition to the endowed and restricted scholarship funds highlighted in a prior post, the following endowment sub-funds have been established by our community.

  • The EEF BOARD LEADERSHIP FUND was first established by Dr. Jeff Kalenak, an EEF Board Member from 2003-2009.  Past, currrent, and future EEF Board members will be developing this fund in support of the Foundation's long term endowment goals.  Community members may also make a donation to this fund in honor of someone that has provided leadership to the Foundation.
  • The ELMBROOK STAFF LEAD THE WAY FUND was developed by Elmbrook staff as part of their annual non-profit donation appeal.  This fund is now a permanent part of the annual staff appeal to provide staff the opportunity to be part of sustaining and growing Foundation programs to better support the District's needs in the future.  Community members are also invited to make donations to this fund in honor of a favorite teacher, coach, administrator, etc. (for memorials, retirements, etc.). 
  • The BROOKFIELD CENTRAL ALUMNI FUND and the BROOKFIELD EAST ALUMNI FUND have been developed on behalf of Elmbrook's alumni and the families of graduating seniors who may wish to make a gift on behalf of their student.  Donations can be made on behalf of a graduating class (i.e. as in the case of a reunion donation) and/or in honor of a teacher, coach, administrator, school, program, etc..

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Crossroads office building, in Brookfield, sells for $1.2 million

Brookfield, Office

A 20,000-square-foot office building at Crossroads Corporate Center, in the Town of Brookfield, has been sold for $1.2 million.

Told Development Co. sold the building, 21075 W. Swenson Drive, to Janesville-based Mid-America Bank, in a transaction brokered by Jeno Cataldo, Tim Brunow and Stephanie Krolikowski, all of NAI MLG Commercial.

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