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Finger in a Box

If you are going to fool a child this April Fool’s Day, please remember a couple things. Children don’t get subtle jokes. They are more the slip-on-a-banana-peel or chicken/road type connoisseurs. It’s no fun fooling someone only after you’ve had to take ten minutes to explain why what you said or did was really funny. Children also aren’t fond of scary pranks, so no matter how funny it was when someone pulled it on you, think twice before sticking a fake horse head at the bottom of the bed or coming in the house limping, grabbing your throat gasping for air.

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"Mom, Can I Have a Purchase Requisition?"

If your house was a school district and it wanted to save money, here’s how you could do it. First of all, be sure you don’t tell any of your family members how much money they can spend or on what. Make them come and ask your permission before getting too attached to that shower nozzle they wanted or that machine that sucks air out of bags so they don’t have to get rid of old sweaters so often. No matter what the request, tell them they will have to put it in writing, attach an item number, quantity, fax number, phone number, total, and punctuate it with tax and shipping.

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Elections and representative government

Now that this year's election is over, we shall have 5 of the seven of the Village of Shorewood trustees who as incumbents have run with no opposition or only partial opposition (2 against only one challenger in one case). Am I wrong on this?

This means that these trustees do not have the affirmation of a constituency.  But as candidates elected at large,  they of course have responsibility to all of the citizens of Shorewood even those who would oppose them. Otherwise why are these people in office? But does this odd situation give us real and appropriate representation?

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Toward building community.

basis of community., Older adults

 At a recent meeting of influential people concerned with bringing gentleness, comfort and continued meaningfulness to the older adults of our community, everyone seemed to be agreed on the fact the elders “shall always be with us.”

Thank God for that. These are parents, grandparents and great grand parents. No one else would be on this earth had it not been for them.

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The swooping hawk.

The garden and longevity.

As spring grows near, the birds seem to become more sparse at the bird feeder. Of course, I've always been shocked when such a beautiful bird as the hawk swoops down and takes one of the birds that was busily crowding the feeder.

Neither am I pleased with the woodpecker who insists on drilling holes into the cedar trim. But although I'm just as pleased with Shorewood as I am with the nature that surrounds me, I also have similar annoyances with specific species of programs of our village as well I do with certain aspects of nature.

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Glorifying the mundane.

The art of architecture.

Architecture is a special art that only few manage to master.

Quite a few years ago after I came to Milwaukee, I became the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's first university planner.  I wanted the president of the university to name our institution the “University of Milwaukee.” Obviously that did not happen. Many universities in Europe are named after the city in which they're located. In some cases the city was named after the university.

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A PLUNK-IT-DOWN-BUILDING, not good enough for Shorewood. Let's take a new look.

Development & ecology

I don't know at what point in the redevelopment process where the impact of the architecture, its size form and style is considered, and how recommendations as to these and other features are made within the whole village's development process.

I would think that fairly early when the type of use and the manner in which it is to be situated on the site, which is at its early proposal stage, would be the time to consider architecture as well as its relationship to the site and surrounding features.

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Merit Pay For Everybody!

I like the idea of merit pay. Pay teachers according to the progress students make on a standardized test given once a year. This makes it so much easier and the pressure is off by winter break. I will know exactly what to teach and how to teach it and during which weeks of the year. There are plenty of practice tests out there. We could do one every day from the first day of school until the administration of the test. I wouldn’t have to worry about integrating math with art or music with science and I sure wouldn’t have to send kids to Spanish anymore. That’s not tested. P.E. time could be better used working on timed math tests anyway. It will give us teachers a clear picture of what we have push the kids to do well. Cram schools. How international.

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Environmental architecture.

The “design review board” is the last rampart, perhaps the only defense.

THIS BOARD is of course under political pressure to yield; yet it was designed and established to take this process out of politics.

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Faux Finish

Enough with the prizes already. I know I’ve written about this before but I see an ironic escalation of this in our schools. Eat pizza, get a toy. Eat your vegetables, how about a whistle? Buy school lunch and bring a cheap plastic thing back to the class to shove in a backpack or taken away by a teacher because you‘re playing with it during group time. Food and prizes don’t go together well. I understand that money needs to be made in food service, but kids don’t ask parents to buy lunch because they might get a soccer ball eraser. Do people really need a reward for eating? That just feels wrong, when on the other hand we have food drives, Trick or Treat for UNICEF and penny wars to provide people who would love the reward of eating to be that they can continue to live another day.

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Both Village and School District use the Same Money --- OURS --- Maybe Excess Capacity in School System can be Used For Village Needs

CDA, Duplexes, Police, Schools, Taxes

Whether it is the Village spending money or the School District --- it all comes from the same pocket --- Ours !

The Schools say they do not have enough students to use all the building capacity they have.  And unless we import even more students from Milwaukee, it does not look like our student population is going to grow anytime soon, if ever.  Especially as the Village Board is now entertaining thoughts of reducing the housing units in Shorewood, by subsidizing the transformation of duplexes into single family homes.   

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Want Some Marketing With Your Lunch?

Lots of kids across America come home with corporate advertising every day. For example, little toys that say Rony’s all over them. Maybe they were given to kids who bought spaghetti lunch at school. Guess where the spaghetti was from? The association begins. Spaghetti/toy/fun. To me, someone's spaghetti could be made of sun’s rays, vitamins and mother’s milk, and my opinion would still be that promoting it and then providing it as the only entrée item doesn’t pass the stink test.

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Nah Nah De Boo Boo

Politicians need to take a strategy used in many early childhood classrooms. They need to have a “Tattle Ear”. I think Earl is the name of the one across the hall. This has proven to be an effective response to the endless tattling that some children enjoy engaging in. The tattling that doesn’t lead to any important information about bleeding, shattered glass, or bone breakage. It’s little whiney stuff. Sometimes, apparently, the simplest solutions are the most effective. Just draw an ear on a piece of paper. It becomes a symbol of caring and patience. The ear never swivels and says "Talk to the hand."  It never hurries, judges or shushes the troubled. Children find weird solace in knowing that when Mrs. Busyteacher doesn’t have time to listen to their rantings, Earl will.

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Practice doesn't make perfect in Shorewood's Perpertual Construction --- BID District doesn't have a Clue on How to Help Merchants

BID, CDA, Local Merchants, Shorewood Businesses, Streetscape

Just about 10 years ago the merchants on North Oakland had to endure a disastarous summer of (non) business as Shorewood tore up the street and sidewalks and made North Oakland the "Jewel of Shorewood" !!

Now Shorewood is at it again (obviously they didn't get it right 10 years ago) as the street is a two lane mess, sidewalks and crosswalks are torn up --- and the business owners are Hurting .....

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Job Security & Belly Buttons

Summer. The pressure of its approach is already felt in schools. Teachers are looking at the stuff they’ve accumulated throughout the year or kept beyond their expiration dates. Like rangers marking diseased trees with red spray paint, we mentally mark the dumpster items long before the clean in June. We like to keep everything in the room in place until the children are gone. It gives the impression that although the rest of the school is preparing for summer vacation, our class just might be the one that keeps on going.

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How to offset $63,000 per year in Lost Tax Revenue ?

Police, Schools, Taxes, Village Administration

The Village is finally getting serious about providing the Shorewood Police Department with some decent facilities.  The present building they work out of is totally obsolescent for a police force their size in this day and age.

I had previously suggested that the Village talk to the School Board about the SIS building, as the school system has too much space for too few students.  The main drawback to that idea would be getting the School Board and the Village Board to come to a consensus within a reasonable amount of time. 

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Sorry --- I don't do Gossip --- but I will ask Legitimate Questions

Since the resignation of Michael Phinney from the Village Board, I have received quite a bit of information on the "personal" reasons that he resigned -- which alluded to illegal conduct -- which coincidentally happened during the election that both he and I were on the ballot along with Ellen Eckman.  They won, I lost.


I will not restate the allegations here that were relayed to me, and are public knowledge on other forums, as when I investigated them with Media and Police officials, I found that whatever happened, it was over a year ago, and NO charges have been filed --- and I have no independent confirmation of what did and did not occur.

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Without Them, Schools Would Come to a Grinding Halt

If whoever thought up Secretaries’ Week really wants to do a service to our secretaries, I have some ideas better than the ones Hallmark and have come up with. These are ideas that address the daily pains in the feet, hands, brains and butt. It’s funny with elementary school secretaries because this “holiday” is usually around Earth Day. The irony of 640 kids making cards out of folded paper from the copy room and tissue paper flowers may get lost in the love. Maybe next year we can save up all the memos they’ve had to type for the past 9 months and make bouquets out of them. They can be red taped around the top of the pencil stems we’ve all lifted from their desks throughout the year. I have to hand it to them, though, secretaries have tried everything to get us to not steal their pencils. The chain stuck to the counter and to the pencil trick, the big fake flowers on the top trick, they’ve had them made to read “from the desk of…“ , I even taught at one school where the secretaries suspended them from the ceiling so they couldn’t be stolen without them being snapped back and found theoretically guilty.

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Is the Media Slanting its Reporting to Keep Clinton and Obama Election Race in the News ?

Barack Obama, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Politicians & Politics, Presidential Primary

In the months and weeks preceding the Pennsylvania Primary, Hillary Clinton consistently showed a huge lead in polling data, predicting that Clinton would win the Keystone State with a healthy double digit lead.

With some early polls showing Clinton with a 20 plus point lead, closing in on the race, a March 10 poll showed her with a lead of 19 points, and a March 20 poll showed her with 16 points.

Before the Pennsylvania election, the CW (common wisdom) said that a “double digit” Clinton win would keep her in the race, while anything less would show a big slip in favor of Obama --- and perhaps time to Concede the Race !!

Now that the race is over, the Media is reporting that Clinton got her “double digit” win of 10% which is NOT true --- the actual results were Clinton with only a 9.6% win, which is of course Less than Double Digit.

The question I have is why the Media is putting a positive spin on Clinton’s results, when in fact she lost over 10% of her lead, and won with Less than Double Digits over Obama.
Shouldn’t the correct spin be that Obama, despite all the last minute controversies just before the Pennsylvania vote, still managed to cut Clinton’s lead in more than half !

A Cynical answer to this question could be that the Media is making too much money off this horserace to see it end too soon !!!

As long as it appears that Clinton still has a chance, the Media gets to run up its numbers on its News and Commentary shows, and gets to Sell a Lot More Advertising Time in the upcoming races.

It would be Financially Detrimental to the News Media to end the race now. There is a lot more money to be made, by spinning the results to make it seem like Clinton still has a chance.

Even O’Reilly’s so called “No Spin Zone” has joined in this distortion of the Election Analysis. I guess Bill likes the ratings his show gets from the continued controversy !

(please note --- although I try to limit my blogs on this site to Shorewood related matters -- this is one of those exceptions, that confirms the rule)

My Child Says He's Bored. So What Are You Going To Do About It?

“My Child Says He’s Bored.” Truth be told this is one line that makes me roll my eyes. There should be no way a child is bored. Pensive, maybe. Relaxed, sure. But bored, no. This is a case where parents have an assumed definition that they have created for themselves over time. Children learn that telling their parents they are bored gets a reaction, lots of questions and possibly a trip to the principal. They get attention. If children only knew the power of the “I’m bored at school” statement. After the dust dies down, the principal has been contacted, teachers have been put on notice that they’d better ratchet it up a notch; the child is left in his own soup. Now he has more math problems, an extra book, harder questions to answer in every subject, the expectation that he’ll work on independent long term projects and no time to just breathe. I’ve seen this so many times. Parents complain. Teachers do what they’ve been asked to. Child is miserable and resistant and then the once big deal is no deal within about 6 weeks. Hornets nest calm and quiet.

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