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What a heartbreaker! Mayor breaks tie to move fire station #3

This is SO sad!

Tuesday night, 7, yes, 7 aldermen had the intelligence and independence of spirit to vote against moving fire station #3 to the worst possible location (my opinion), the north west corner of Calhoun and Greenfield. Trouble is, this split vote left the tie breaking vote to our mayor.

Since Mayor Speaker was the one who started this whole ball rolling, to cater to the night time residents (voters) rather than to the taxpayers, businesses and daytime population of our city, it was pretty predictable as to the way his vote would go. (It was a yes.)

I am glad there were 7 no votes though. This shows the council is breaking out of its former lock step mode and starting to think for themselves. Think of what just a few new faces on the council could do?

A big thank you to the 7 no votes: Sutton, Carnell, Reddin, Balzer, Jerry Mellone, Blackburn, and Lisa Mellone.

Sadly, my other district 7 alderman, Mike Franz, voted yes. Yes, to his own district 7 residents soon to have the longest EMS response times in the city. I sure hope someone is considering running for district 7 alderman next spring. We need another alderman who will represent US and our interests.

I was not able to attend the meeting, but Renee Lowerr was good enough to email out a short synopsis of the night's events. Thanks Renee.

She reported, "The meeting was well attended by mostly Greenfield Heights Residents.
Several residents spoke in opposition of Option #1. I believe that I was the only resident East of Calhoun that spoke about re-considering their FS move vote & rebuild at current location.

The meeting was very heated, very emotional, many ?s, comments...between the Council Members & staff."

She also added, "Four homes will be taken by eminent
domain. One on Greenfield Ave, one on Calhoun & two on Adelman Roads."

Why are we surprised? Voters got what they wanted.

Politically, the year 2006 was a hard one for me.  Both spring and fall elections went to candidates I did not support. (Exceptions: Lisa Mellone, Jerry Mellone, and Bill Carnell were the only bright spots that year.)

Think of what life would be like now if a different Brookfield Mayor had been elected and an incumbent Wisconsin State Senator was reelected.

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going GREENIt's not easy

 I tried to go green, but I cannot afford the gas mileage! No, I am not referring to my car. I am referring to my effort to replace 4 incandescent lamps in my kitchen light fixture with 4 florescent lamps (that is light bulb to the rest of us).

Your Weekend Plans

Dousman Stagecoach Inn, Elmbrook Historical Society

The Packers play Sunday night, so your family (and you) have a whole day to enjoy Fall activities.

One event you shouldn't miss is "Days Gone By" at the Dousman Stagecoach Inn in Brookfield. The 1843 Greek Revival Inn once stood on the corner of what is now Bluemound and Pilgrim Parkway.  It's on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Crime and Punishment

After the vandalism to the Brookfield East football field I wrote a brief piece entitled How Proud They Must Be, and ended it with the comment, “let’s let the retribution fit the crime if we are lucky enough to find who did it”.   Well Brookfield’s finest have arrested the responsible youth, and now the question of punishment is a real, rather than a rhetorical consideration. We don’t yet know the motivation behind this act, but for me, his motivation ceased to matter the moment the tires of his rented SUV began shredding Spartan field. 

The damage incurred consists of two parts.  Qualitatively - hundreds of people were denied the use of the field for several weeks.  Quantitatively - the repair of the field cost a lot of money.  So if justice is sought in this matter, what might it contain?

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The Grass is Always Greener

sidewalks

We've all heard this adage.  Someone I met recently was lamenting living in Elm Grove because there are no sidewalks.  She's lived there 17 years.

These were exactly the things that appealed to my family. We had lived in the city on a busy street and no longer liked all the traffic noises.  We chose Elm Grove forty years ago because there were no sidewalks, no streetlights and because of the spacious lawns.

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Animal Farm - 2007

In 1945 George Orwell published his classic novel Animal Farm, an allegorical and scathing look into the philosophical heart of socialism.  The smartest animals on the farm were the pigs, and by the end of his book they were walking upright on their hind legs, in order to imitate the humans.

I was reminded of this vivid imagery when I read an article about the work of a genetic research scientist.  Read carefully the words of Craig Venter:

“We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it.  I am creating artificial life.  This is a very important philosophical step in the history of our species”.

I don’t understand the science of what they are undertaking, but in lay terms as I best as I can fathom the article, Venter and his team are transplanting the DNA of a cell into the bacterial cell of a different organism.  That new cell then assumes the life-form of the gene code that has been transplanted into it.  In essence, a new specie is created. 

Mr. Venter further says that he is “100% confident that the same technique would work for the artificially created chromosome.  We are dealing in big ideas.  We are trying to create a new value system for life”.

 

 “WE ARE TRYING TO CREATE A NEW VALUE SYSTEM FOR LIFE”.

 

As Dorothy might have said, “Toto – we are not in Kansas anymore”.  

It wasn’t so long ago we learned that science could create existing species in a test tube.  Now it could be close to the creation of entire species that don’t currently exist.  We cannot possibly foresee the long term implications of this, and in taking such steps without thinking them through to their conclusion, we let some very large genies out of the bottle.  And there will be no putting them back.  

We are living very fast here in the 21st Century.  Our technological capabilities are moving faster than our willingness to grapple with their implications.  I am no Luddite, and I am not opposed to progress or exploration.  Science has and can continue to help us tremendously.  But I believe it is appropriate for our political and social institutions to debate these matters before such capabilities are merely unleashed upon an entire world by a small handful of people.      

Such unprecedented discoveries will rewrite our “social DNA”.  They call for vigorous consideration in many areas, not the least of which are social, anthropological, moral, and yes, spiritual dimensions.

This is much bigger than just the science of it all.

Waiting to Inhale

Children, Health and Well-Being

The week before school started, the teenager came down with a cold.  Despite feverish handwashing and use of hand sanitizer, the preschooler was sick by the third week of school.  By the next week, guess who had it?  All of this would not have been so bad if we hadn't had a trip to DisneyWorld scheduled the week after that.  So with much praying and ingesting of Vitamin C (and Claritin D on my part), we were all sufficiently recovered to enjoy our trip this past week.  However, on the plane, I swear every child seated in my family's vicinity was coughing.  The woman seated directly behind the preschooler was also coughing up a lung. So, now that we're back, the prayer and ingestion of Vitamin C have begun again.

So, the topic today is that season we all dread: the cold and flu season. 

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Child Poverty in Milwaukee

Brookfield Now blogger Kyle Prast posted an article this week entitled Whatever Happened to Truth?

I thought of her post when I read the Crossroads Section of Sunday's Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, which has a major article on the subject of child poverty in Milwaukee.  The article consists of comments from seven community leaders who represent a cross section of education, social work, health care, charity organizations, and the Church.

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Irreplaceable Historic Treasure

Dousman Stagecoach Inn, Elmbrook Historical Society

It’s a hidden treasure in Brookfield – the Dousman Stagecoach Inn.  It was built in 1843, five years before Wisconsin became a state.  It once stood on the wood plank road that extended from Milwaukee to Watertown. 

 

During the stagecoach days, hundreds of travelers stayed at the Inn when making the 58 mile journey between Milwaukee to Watertown.

 

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Music Teachers Band Together

Teachers

On Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 7:00 pm, the Saint John Vianney and St. Dominic's Strings and Band Orchestras will present the first annual Fall Fest. This concert will highlight Halloween songs and college fight songs. Recognizing the need for the advanced students to perform more often and, learning of other orchestras that give Halloween concerts, strings and band instructors Maria Gesiorek and Joan Lueneburg began considering a fall performance.  After learning St. John Vianney music teacher Jared Ziegler was teaching college fight songs to some of the same students, their idea of a Halloween-Football Fan themed concert resulted in the combined schools'  First Fall Fest. Students will perform in Halloween costumes.

While any performance carries a responsibility to be prepared, a Halloween themed concert will put students at ease as they show off their costumes before the big day and perform in a family friendly environment.  The Strings, as well as the combined Bands (5-8th), will be playing three Halloween songs, the Jazz band one.  Added to the mix will be Jared Ziegler performing on tuba, an instrument he played in high school in addition to saxophone.  He will be joining the students in the Star Spangled Banner song, along with the fight songs from Michigan, Ohio, Northwestern and Wisconsin universities. 

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The Coming Battle Over Missi-Ken

Oscar Wilde once remarked that, “we don’t appreciate a sunset because we don’t have to pay for it”.  He was right - it is in our nature to devalue that which is familiar to us.

I love Lake Michigan, and need to acknowledge that when I write about it with respect to policy, my objectivity is suspect.  Our Great Lake is a looming battle ground, as a water-wasting nation continues in its denial, and our politically driven rush to ethanol-ize gasoline strains our water tables to the breaking point.  But before we consider policy, let’s take a step back and consider what it may mean to us on a more personal level.   

The name “Michigan” derives from the Indian dialect; they called it Missi-Ken, a lyrical and appropriate name meaning “large lake”.  The best times of my life have been spent on her shores, in her waters, or gliding atop her surface.  I recall a golden evening with my son, sitting atop the towering Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes.  Perched hundreds of feet above the shore as we gazed out towards Wisconsin, Miss-Ken’s sheer vastness laid hold of his spirit, and quieted him.  As the sun slid down the horizon like the slow closing of an enormous, incandescent eye, it emblazoned the sky with scenes of such texture and hue as to shame the canvas of Raphael.  I watched him try to absorb it all, and matched him in his silence.

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Childhood Poverty in Milwaukee - Part Two

I had not planned to make this a two-part series, but an insighftul commentator on my first post asked, "so what should we do about childhood poverty", and "do those kids deserve their fate"?  These are fair questions, and if I am to raise this issue, then I need to accept the responsibility of answering them. 

I'll answer the second question first.  No, these children most certainly do NOT deserve their fate.  I assume that all who read BrookfieldNow would answer the same to this question, and that little time is needed for its debate.  So we move on to the larger and tougher matter - what are we to DO about it.  

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Haves and Have Nots

Calhoun

Years ago, there was a distinction between social classes (upper class, middle class and lower class) in the United States.  That emphasis seemed to dissipate.  Now a recent Time article contends the differences among people are economic.  It referred to the “haves” and the “have nots.”

Based on the demographics the city has published on its website, the people I know are probably among the “have nots” than the “haves.”  They have comfortable lives and lifestyles.  But, their incomes are less than the median income ($76,725 in 1999).  The word median refers a midpoint...that is, half the incomes are above and half are below that amount.

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Maybe It's Time to Unplug

We have been reading and hearing about the ever growing chorus of concern about childhood obesity, both in our community and our country.  Certainly it is a constant refrain in the world of education.  There seems to be no disputing the sobering data, nor arguing against its conclusions.  But I would like to throw something into the debate that is seldom heard: the matter of technology and the impact it is having on our kids.

I'll start with some disclosure.  I own and use most of the conveniences that our amazing technology has provided to us.  In particular, I am a bit of an audiophile, and use the gadgets that make listening to music easy and selective.  Furthermore, technology is morally neutral and cannot be considered either good or bad.  But I believe the question of how much we use it, and the place we allow it in our lives IS a moral issue.  And I believe it is an issue with respect to the matter of childhood obesity.

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Honesty or Comfort?

On Wednesday evening, I attended the visitation of the father of a friend.  He died suddenly last weekend of a pulmonary embolism while my friend and her husband were on vacation in Ireland.  When I got to the front of the line, without saying anything to each other, my friend and I hugged and then cried and then hugged some more.  She then pulled back until we were at arms length and, with both of her hands tightly clasping both of mine, she looked me in the eye and asked, "Does it get any better?"

This friend had attended my mother's visitation, and she wanted to know what I felt now, one year later.  But my mind was blank, and when something finally popped into my head, I said it out loud.

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Trick or Treat Safety

Safety

Every year we are reminded about Trick or Treat safety, and yes, this year I am going to remind you yet again. Please take a few moments to review the list and discuss the appropriate items with your children before venturing out in search of sugary treats.

* Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes
* Costumes should be loose fitting to allow for warmer clothes underneath.
* Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard
* Masks can obstruct a child's vision. Use facial make-up instead
* If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye hole
* Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or reflective
* Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision
* Walk; do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards
* Walk on sidewalks, not in the street
* Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic if there are no sidewalks
* Give your Trick or Treat bunch a meal or snack before going out
* Have at least one adult go with the children, more if the group is larger
* Trick or Treat in areas where there are a lot of people around
* Trick or Treat folks should avoid taking short-cuts through alleys and parking lots
* Always check your child¡¦s candy before allowing them to eat
* And of course, ensure that your Trick or Treat bunch is having fun!

Did I miss something? If so, contact me at dsemega@wauwatosa.net

Many thanks to Mark Maley...

End of Farmers' Market

walks

Brookfield's Saturday morning Farmers' Market ended yesterday.  A few weeks ago Mr. Speaker spoke of it as a important "destination" for residents.  I agree.  Many people gathered there for produce, fresh meat, eggs, bakery, flowers and plants.

It's great during the growing season. Now we need to find other activities for Saturday mornings.

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A Men's Health Announcement

When it comes to the issue of battling cancer, the two biggest weapons we have are avoiding certain behavior and early detection.

As far as early detection is concerned, Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin are currently offering free prostate cancer screenings to men who meet the following criteria:

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Live Long; Eat Noodles

Fluff

This blog is all fluff, but I have to recognize the milestone.

I gotta give a shout out to my dad who turned 80 yesterday!! 

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