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Some old year thoughts going into the New Year

Some quick thoughts on Brookfield and Wauwatosa basketball going into the New Year.

One of the most surprising revelations this year is Brookfield Central coach Mark Adams playing variations of a 1-3-1 zone. Adams is a strict believer of man-to-man defense, but with six of his eighth-man base rotation 6-foot-2 or bigger, it seemed like a natural move with the height and length of his team.

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Ashley Furniture to open on Blue Mound Road

Ashley Furniture

Ashley Furniture will open a store in the 33,000-square-foot former Linens 'n Things space at 16300 W. Blue Mound Rd. in Brookfield.

Gary Stein and Peter Glazer of CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord, according to an announcement from the real estate firm.  

Ladies Night Event Raises ALL TIME High for Foundation Programs

The 7th Annual Ladies Night event sponsored by Pasternak & Zirgibel, S.C. was held on November 30, 2010 and raised an all time high of over $27,000 to help sustain and grow Foundation programs.  Nearly 300 guests filled the Westmoor which was beautifully decorated for the holidays. 

Guests had the opportunity to socialize with ladies from across the Elmbrook School District, enjoy delicious hors d'oeuvres and desserts, and take a chance to win one of the fabulous raffle/auction/mystery bag items donated by residents and members of our local business community. 

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Brookfield pays woman who brought gun to church $7,500

The woman who was arrested at gunpoint after she wore her gun to a church in Brookfield, and a gun rights group, have settled a lawsuit against the city and the officers who arrested her for $7,500.

An attorney for the city said police will still always respond in force to calls of a person with a gun, and if turns out to be an open carry situation, that's just the cost of doing business.

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Governor Scott Walker: Not "dawning of age of Aquarius" but a new direction

Elections, TAXES, THE ECONOMY, WISCONSIN

Yesterday, Scott Walker was sworn in as Wisconsin's 45th governor. For conservatives, this day was a long time coming. While I didn't watch the ceremony, I did hear some of it on the radio. As I tuned in, I heard a choir singing, of all things, The Age of Aquarius! It was such a bizarre choice that I scolded the car radio, who picked this? But it was indeed the Walker Inauguration, for soon the ceremony was under way.

If you didn't hear our new governor, do take a look at his speech. It seems pretty obvious that while this isn't the "dawning of the age of Aquarius" it is the beginning of an era of fiscal responsibility and limited government.

Walker quoted from our state Constitution a few times, going back to our roots. He said our Constitution "speaks to the source of our liberties: 'We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our Freedom, in order to secure its blessings, form a more perfect government, insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare, do establish this constitution.' Powerful words."

Then he added, "
Our rights as free people are given by our creator, not the government. Among these rights is the right to nurture our freedom and vitality through limited government." (My emphasis)

Knowing he faces an uphill battle to turn this state around hasn't quelled Walker's enthusiasm in the least. He seems energized and ready to tackle the projected $3 billion dollar budget deficit. Job creation, sizing our govenment to what we can afford, and the economy are his top priorities.

As he said in his speech, "It is through frugality and moderation in government that we will see freedom and prosperity for our people."

Walker concluded with, "'Justice… Moderation… Temperance… Frugality… Virtue.' [from Article I, Section 22 of our constitution] These are the values upon which our state was formed and the values that will drive us forward."

Will we always like this new direction? Probably not. Belt tightening and being responsible is seldom pleasant or easy.

Can we who are Conservatives just sit back and allow the Republican controlled Assembly and Senate to conduct business as usual? No. We must remain vigilant. A Democratic Republic doesn't run on autopilot.

So Godspeed, Governor Walker, in the journey set before you. It's an uphill climb!

Links: 

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Brr, it's cold. It's also skating season at Brookfield parks

Just for fun!, Musing, Brookfield

The temperatures have dropped and that means Brookfield's skating ponds are OPEN! I noticed the park department swept off a spot on Kinsey Park's pond and posted the sign for skating. For my neighborhood, this is a relatively new amenity.

When I was a child, Kinsey Park pond was a popular skating spot during the winter months. Our park system even provided gas heat in the warming house! (Warming house/picnic shelter is pictured at left. Open doorways were closed off during the winter months.) Those were the good ole days.

I don't recall the shelter being closed off since we moved here in the late 1980s, but they did still allow skating. At least until the fateful day when the snow sweeper machine fell through the ice!

Many of us in the neighborhood felt the weather had been a little too warm to be driving on the ice at that time, but alas, because of the accident, the pond was deemed unsafe for skating from then on.

But last February I noticed a parks department worker sweeping off the pond again and a new sign: Skating Pond OPEN. So I asked what changed their minds? He said they did some studies* and found the pond's ice was stable enough to support skating again. Great.

So this weekend, maybe you and your kids might want to grab the skates and hit the ice? Have fun.

*The City of Brookfield has done several storm water projects in our neighborhood and with Kinsey Pond. In years past, it was thought there was too much drainage water flowing into and out of the pond, under the ice. This is why they thought the ice was unstable. I believe there were some changes made since the sewer projects, and so that is no longer the case. Last winter was the first time I noticed the pond was OPEN for skating in a l-o-n-g time.
 

Links: 

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Florida breakfast chain coming to Brookfield

Brookfield

First Watch, a Bradenton, Fla.-based chain of daytime-only restaurants, will make its Wisconsin debut at the Brownstones Shopping Center in Brookfield this year.

The restaurants serve fresh breakfast items and sandwiches, made to order.

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BC Central leads the way for 4 local girls teams

My last blog touched on the four boy teams going into the New Year, here's a couple thoughts on the girls side in Brookfield and Wauwatosa.

Brookfield Central is the dominate team among the four. The Lady Lancers are 4-0 in Greater Metro Conference and 6-3 overall, with losses coming to Mukwonago (2-8) in the opener, Oak Creek (7-3) and Dominican (9-0).

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Elmbrook, what if Wisconsin defunds 4K?

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES, WISCONSIN

Wisconsin changed from a very blue state to very red one last November, with the election of Republican Governor Scott Walker and a Republican majority in the Assembly and State Senate. And from all appearances, it seems we will no longer continue business as usual (or more accurately spending as usual) on government programs that don't work.

Our state is in a serious fiscal crisis, being $3 billion in the red, in this budget cycle. We must look at how we spend our money and then eliminate those line items that do not show benefit. Just because we have had a program in the past is no longer reason enough to continue that program.

One such program is 4K. State Senator Glenn Grothman has talked about defunding 4K several times in recent weeks. His reason? It doesn't work, and it is EXPENSIVE!

Grothman states:
"Recent studies have confirmed that any academic benefits of government funded preschool disappear by the fourth grade... Studies in Oklahoma, the state which has the model four-year-old program, show a decline in their fourth grade reading scores over the past eleven years, after benefits of their 4K programs should have been realized."(My emphasis)

Since 4K is one of the remedies being considered for Elmbrook's budget woes, it is important we consider the What if Wisconsin defunds 4K? before we rely on its curative powers for our budget.

The number of 4-year-olds in kindergarten has tripled in the last 10 years, and more school districts in our state are proposing it for this year. Last year alone, Grothman stated, "four-year-old kindergarten programs cost this state $140 million in state tax collections and cost local property taxpayers another $82 million." That adds up to $222 Million for a program that doesn't show long term educational benefit. And that is not FREE money, that money comes out of the taxpayers' pockets!

The Madison School District is starting a 4K program this year for an additional $10 Million, and other districts are considering it too. At present, 85% of Wisconsin school districts have a 4K program.

So why are these districts so gung ho on a program that doesn't work? Money. It is a school district budget funding tool.

In Campbellsport, for example, "The district receives an additional $423,000 in state aid for the 70 students enrolled. Cost to employ two teachers and two aides for the program is approximately $164,000." This doesn't reflect all the hidden costs of the program, but it does give you an idea of why 4K is so seductive.

Grothman writes: "For the past 15 years, Wisconsin has encouraged adopting four-year-old kindergarten by allowing school districts as much revenue authority for a four-year-old as they have for their more costly to educate high school students. "

But if there were no state revenue authority or funding for 4K, would Elmbrook still be casting an eye toward starting the program? I sincerely doubt it.

Our board will be discussing 4K and other budget enhancing options such as school closings and increasing non-resident enrollment very soon. I have heard we have our own study of how our pilot program 4K-ers perform, compared to Elmbrook students who didn't attend 4K.

Many of our board members are not in favor of 4K, but the make up of the board will be changing in April with Gary Jones stepping down and Kathryn Wilson up for reelection.

Please contact your representatives about this. Wisconsin and Elmbrook cannot afford to spend precious tax dollars on programs that don't work.

Elmbrook School Board Members

State Assembly:
Representative Dale Kooyenga, 14th Assembly District,
(608) 266-9180, Rep.Kooyenga@legis.wi.gov
Representative Paul Farrow, 98th Assembly District, (608) 266-5120 Rep.Farrow@legis.wi.gov

State Senate:
Senator Leah Vukmir, 5th Senate District,
(608) 266-2512 Sen.Vukmir@legis.wisconsin.gov
Senator Rich Zipperer, 33rd Senate District, (608) 266-9174 Sen.Zipperer@legis.wisconsin.gov

Governor Scott Walker (608) 266-1212 govgeneral@wisconsin.gov

More Reading: Time to Stop the Expansion of Four-year-old Kindergarten
Reason Foundation: Assessing Proposals for Preschool and Kindergarten
 

Links: 

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A Purrrfect Birthday Celebration at Elmbrook Humane Society

A purrrfect Birthday Celebration! 

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Elmbrook Humane Society Shelter Name Game!!

Elmbrook Humane Society, animals, name game, schools, kids, children, names, pets, dogs, cats

Elmbrook Humane Society Shelter Name Game

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RIVALRY BETWEEN WISCONSIN AND ILLINOIS HAS GONE TO THE DOGSā€¦AND CATS!

The epic battle between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears has polarized our residents, and now our best friends are getting into the rivalry!  This Sunday, the Elmbrook Humane Society in Brookfield, WI. and The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, IL. are betting high humiliation stakes on their respective home teams!

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Call Wisconsin Legislature to move on Photo Voter I.D.

Elections, Legislation, Voter fraud, WISCONSIN

Last week, State Senator Joe Leibham and Rep. Jeff Stone introduced a Photo Voter I.D. bill, a measure that most Wisconsinites agree is long overdue. It would be great to have this in place for the spring election, when we select a new justice for the State Supreme Court. But to do that, the bill needs to be scheduled for joint hearings a.s.a.p. That's where your phone call comes in--contact numbers below.

While I am pleased to see Photo Voter I.D.'s introduction, I think we could do much more to protect the integrity of Wisconsin elections from voter fraud. But at this point, all the bill deals with is the requirement that voters present an approved photo I.D. when they go vote. At present, it does nothing to stop same day voter registration or allowing a 3rd party, such as ACORN, to conduct voter registration drives.

Considering the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly both have Republican majorities, can we please clean up these other two potential voter fraud provisions too?

Those critical of the Photo Voter I.D. requirement say that requiring a Driver's License or State Photo I.D. would discourage voting if the person didn't have an approved I.D. This is a stretch, since most people over 18 years of age drive have a driver's license. In the odd case where an 18 year old doesn't have a drivers license (as was the case with my own offspring) a State I.D. was obtained. The bill has a provision to provide the appropriate I.D. for those who cannot afford one.

Last November, I volunteered to be a poll watcher with We're Watching Wisconsin Elections and was assigned to 2 different inner city polling places. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of voters during my 2 shifts voluntarily showed their photo I.D.s to the poll workers checking them in. Though the driver's license was not asked for, the voter usually started getting it out of their wallet as they approached the table. Sadly, some other voters needed someone to vouch for them as for their change in address.

Since I voted absentee that election, I did wonder if there would be some designation on the voter roll at my own polling place. I checked later in the day and thankfully, there was a notation next to my name. But not all City Clerks are as efficient as our Kris Schmidt! This is an area where fraudulent votes could be cast that Photo Voter I.D. would eliminate.

We need to get this legislation moving through the Assembly and Senate pronto. If it is to be in place by April's election, it must be passed and signed into law by February 15th, according to W.W.W.E.

Call your State Representative and Senator:
 

  1. Ask them to co-sponsor the Photo I.D. Bill
  2. Urge leadership to schedule joint hearing of both the Senate and the Assembly to expedite the Photo Voter I.D. Bill
  3. Make it clear to your legislators that you want to have Photo Voter I.D. in place by April 5th, 2011
  4. Explain that other election reforms need to be proposed and passed as soon as possible, but it is important to implement Photo I.D. NOW!!!
     


I also caught a bit about this on Mark Belling today. He mentioned there will be public hearings on the measure next week. According to Belling, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (608) 266-2540, Rep.Fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov is in favor of expanding this bill beyond just Photo Voter I.D. The President of the Senate's position on expanding the scope of the bill wasn't known, but you could urge him to include banning same day registration and 3rd party registration. State Senate President Michael Ellis (608) 266-0718, Sen.Ellis@legis.wisconsin.gov


State Assembly:
Representative Dale Kooyenga, 14th Assembly District,
(608) 266-9180, Rep.Kooyenga@legis.wi.gov
Representative Paul Farrow, 98th Assembly District, (608) 266-5120 Rep.Farrow@legis.wi.gov

State Senate:
Senator Leah Vukmir, 5th Senate District,
(608) 266-2512 Sen.Vukmir@legis.wisconsin.gov
Senator Rich Zipperer, 33rd Senate District, (608) 266-9174 Sen.Zipperer@legis.wisconsin.gov

Governor Scott Walker (608) 266-1212 govgeneral@wisconsin.gov

We're Watching Wisconsin Elections Website
 

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Fur for the Soul

Elmbrook Humane Society

There are a lot of people who think I am nuts. I live with 2 dogs, one cat, and 3 humans. The cat is the perfect housemate unless he wants to eat. Then he gets rather testy. The dogs go on walks (with me, of course) twice daily. The younger dog is involved in competitive obedience so we go to training sessions twice weekly and we also visit with people at nursing homes, schools, and adult day cares once or twice a month. The 3 humans are a ton of work. Still, you can find me most weekday mornings walking a few dogs at EBHS. When I walk through the gate, the greeting I get is beyond belief. If the dogs know me from previous walks, they are barking or wagging their tails. New dogs often stand there, shivering with anticipation. If I speak to them, they get even more excited. I am happy when I can get them outside; the barking in the kennel area inside can be annoying. Dogs are such social animals. Walking up and down the street for any amount of time or playing in the back, you’d think they’d gone to heaven. They don’t care who you are or what you look like or what you feel like. Just being with you is enough for them. If the weather isn’t that conducive to walking, they are happy to be brushed, petted, and talked to. I can come to the shelter feeling tired or in a bad mood and I always leave refreshed. The time I spend there is truly fur for the soul. Monica

Student charged with putting eyedrops in roommate's water, cites 'Wedding Crashers' for idea

A Brookfield woman who told police she was inspired by a scene in the movie “Wedding Crashers” has been charged with putting eyedrops in her college roommate’s water bottle to make her sick.

Luciana Reichel, 22, faces a single count of placing foreign objects in edibles, a felony punishable by up to 3 ½ years in prison. Her initial appearance is set for March.

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Indoor Playdate to benefit Elmbrook Humane Society

Central Bark, Elmbrook Humane Society, pets, dogs, playdate, indoor, daycare

Too cold to play outside??

Come to the EBHS Indoor Play Date

Saturday, January 29
Saturday, February 19
Saturday, March 19

10am-12pm

Location: Central Bark - W227N6193 Sussex Road in Sussex

Playgroup for dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds. $3.00 to play, per dog (all money will be donated to EBHS). Socialization for dogs during these cold winter months. Have your dog burn off energy and help animals in need! Meet some of our adoptable dogs!

Please feel free to post and promote this event.

In memory of William (Bill) Earl Polley ..... Physics teacher, Elmbrook Nature Center, etc.

Elmbrook retiree, William (Bill) E. Polley, passed away December 29, 2010 at the age of 88.   Bill began his career within the Elmbrook School District as a physics teacher and Science Department Chair at Brookfield High School (later Brookfield Central High School) in 1955.  In 1972, Bill accepted the position of District Coordinator/Supervisor of Science, Mathematics and Health (grades 7-12) and served in this position until his retirement in 1983.  He was also the faculty advisor for the BCHS Photo Club.

Bill was the main person responsible for acquisition by the Board of Education of the 11 acre Nature Center site behind Brookfield East High School.  During 1980-1983 he wrote competitive grant projects to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for federal money to design, develop, and equip the Elmbrook Nature Center that is being used by every kindergarten through 6th grade student in the Elmbrook School district along with many biology students. Bill was proud of his work on this project, in particular, and he spoke fondly of the Nature Center up to the time of his death. 

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Abercrombie closed at Brookfield Square

Brookfield Square

Abercrombie has closed both its Abercrombie & Fitch and its abercrombie kids stores at Brookfield Square, as part of a nationwide pullback for the upscale teen clothing chain.

Abercrombie announced last year that it would close 65 stores by the end of January, and another 50 stores by January 2012. Abercrombie's sales have improved in recent months, after sliding during the two previous recession years.

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Age Gracefully. Live Longer.

It has been a big eye opener for me to experience first hand through my client's stories how aging is affecting the quality of their lives. The majority of middle age men and women as they age succumb to their age related symptoms: low energy, loss muscle tone, loss memory, loss concentration, difficulty losing weight and mood changes. They feel this is ' how it's supposed to be '. Most of us are concerned about growing older and having to depend on someone else to take care of us or have to live with a chronic debilitating disease that will affect the functioning and quality of our lives. Most of us wonder since we have lived with chronic degenerative disease if aging healthy is really a possibility.

The good news is that working with my clients and the scientific community is that, though it is normal to have some bodily function decline, your quality of life does not have to diminish. In fact you CAN remain healthy, with vitality, stamina and energy for a longer time by aging successfully.

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Packer "Pup" Rally

Join us for a pregame party that is going to the dogs!!

Packer "Pup" Rally

Thursday, February 3, 2011 from 4-6pm
Spa Paw and Tail
5055 S. Emmer Drive
New Berlin, WI.

Bring your best friend in for a "Packer Photo Shoot" by SMK Photography!  Photos are $15 each and all proceeds help the animals at Elmbrook Humane Society.  Commemorate the Green Bay Packer's trip to Superbowl XLV with your very own Packer puppy photo. GO PACK GO!

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