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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

A St. Nick morning surprise

History, Family, Just for fun!, Holidays

In my childhood days, I would have raced downstairs on this morning to check my St. Nick stocking. These days, I often remember the day with a little treat for my family, even though we are all adults.

Somehow, St. Nick always forgets ;-) my stocking, but this morning, I found a very pleasant surprise in my email in-box that put me in the Christmas spirit. Here it is:


"This flash mob was organized by http://www.AlphabetPhotography.com to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!" The clip information stated there were over 100 participants in the production. This would be one of the few times I wish I had been shopping!

Happy St. Nicholas Day and Merry Christmas

Do you celebrate St. Nick on Dec. 6th? It's very Milwaukee
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Brookfield's proposed Target Store PUBLIC HEARING: Dec. 7, 7:45pm, UPDATE & maps

City of Brookfield, Development, Transportation

Would you want to help non-resident drivers cut through your neighborhood, just so they could get to a new proposed shopping center without using your closest busy main streets? Of course not.

Yet the Plan Commission and our City is doing just that with the new Target store proposal for the former Quebecor site on Bluemound, at the Brookfield/Wauwatosa border.
Take a look.

The planners are promoting an additional, unnecessary, new street access point, running east/west from Columbia Blvd, (a purely residential street) to (and through) the new shopping center, when there is already adequate access from Bluemound Road!

And why are they pushing this? One reason is for people who might be playing baseball at Krueger Park, who MIGHT want to go to the new Target store after a game. They argue they need an easy way to get there from the park. (Rendering is from Ryan Co., the developer.)

So our planners, and some of the Aldermen on the Common Council, are willing to subject a quiet, single family, residential neighborhood to cut through traffic from the south, for all those who want to avoid the Bluemound and Elm Grove Road intersection. This would include Target Store bound traffic from Greenfield Ave to the south.

Who doesn't want this? Obviously, the neighborhood! But also the developer, Ryan Company.

It is my understanding that Ryan wants something that more closely resembles my cut-and-past efforts pictured here. Yellow indicates existing streets, orange would be new access with arterial lights on Bluemound. (Thanks to MapQuest satellite view and Ryan's rendering.)

Note that Columbia Blvd. does connect to Krueger Park. It would be very simple for those baseball players (who might want to shop after a game) to drive north on Columbia, turn right on Bluemound, travel 300 feet
east to the new Target entrance, turn right, drive in and park.

As for the neighborhood itself, there are Greenway Trail connections for walking and biking there and from my neighborhood south of I-94. This system would also connect to the Trails in Wauwatosa. So there is pedestrian and bike access without using Bluemound Road.

This Public Hearing is primarily to change the LAND USE from Mixed to Retail. Remember the original plan was for high density housing? Translate: apartments. Believe me, Brookfield and the neighborhood is far better off with this being purely retail / business such as the Target, a restaurant and a bank. Brookfield doesn't need more apartments or condos that do not contribute enough in tax revenue to support the schools or services they use.

I might remind our new Mayor Ponto that he told me he had a strong desire to protect the single family home's property values. I would like to see Mayor Ponto take a leadership role in this and protect this neighborhood from this unwanted and unnecessary intrusion.

Please help your fellow Brookfield residents preserve their neighborhood from unwanted non-neighborhood related traffic by commenting tonight at the Common Council Public Hearing or emailing your comments to Lisa@betterbrookfield.com (She will forward them.) The Council will vote on this December 21st.

My Aldermen Lisa Mellone and Renee' Lowerr sent the following information in an email: 

"Proposed Target Store update:

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Giving back the high-speed rail "free pony" anchor baby

Government / Bureaucracy, TAXES, Transportation, WISCONSIN, United States

Most people know there is no such thing as a free lunch or a free puppy. Someone always has to pay for the free lunch (which often has some strings attached for the diner), and the free puppy has all sorts of long term costs. But these two freebies pale in comparison to the entanglements involved in getting a free pony.

When my other half was a teen, he loved horses. (We both still do.) He rode any chance he got and helped at an area stable for riding privileges. Seeing this interest, his great uncle offered to buy him a horse of his own. Wow, that was quite a gift: a free horse!

But like the free lunch and free puppy, there isn't such a thing as a free horse either. Yes, the free horse would have been fun. It would have been nice to have. The son really wanted it. Yet his parents had to be the grownups and tell the generous uncle, no.

Why? Because they couldn't afford to board the free horse. The maintenance cost of a free horse for boarding and vet bills was just more than a family of seven's budget could support. Before you are too hard on the parents, in today's dollars, could your family afford a $500-$600 per month boarding fee? And what about the vet bills?

Sure, the boy could have worked off some of those costs by working at the stable, but that still has a cost associated with that work, since he wouldn't have the time to do chores at home or work for his spending money. The only fiscally responsible decision the parents could make was to give the free horse back.

And that was the only rational decision Wisconsin could make. Like the free horse, free high speed rail was not needed, it would benefit only a small percentage of the people, and it cost too much to maintain. Governor Elect Scott Walker had to be the grownup and say, no, to the uncle. However, unlike my husband's uncle, our Uncle Sam can't afford it.

Wisconsin isn't the only state with a grownup governor, Ohio's Governor Elect John Kasich also opposed high speed rail. So between Wisconsin and Ohio, $1.2 billion of free money was taken back by the Obama administration. The money should go back to pay down the US debt; instead it is going to 12 other states for their rail projects. And maybe that is why this take back occurred now, before legislation requiring the monies go back to the Federal Treasury could be passed next session.

"In a joint statement, U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri and Paul Ryan wrote: 'We support Governor-elect Walker's effort to put the brakes on the high-speed rail budget boondoggle, which is why we introduced legislation, today, that would give states the ability to return federal funds obligated to high-speed rail projects, and instead use this money to reduce our nation's $1.6 trillion deficit and $13.8 trillion debt. This high-speed rail project is a bad investment for taxpayers and our state simply cannot afford it.' "

And how is the Milwaukee to Madison rail line in effect an anchor baby? Because it was the foot in the door. Like illegal alien anchor babies, the short Milwaukee/Madison run would do the same. (Babies born in the US to illegal aliens often are rationale to bring in the whole family.) Take a look.
We dodged a big budget deficit bullet here in Wisconsin by giving back the free pony (anchor baby) high-speed rail. The short Milwaukee to Madison line was just the beginning when you consider the size and scope of the whole proposed rail projects in the works for Wisconsin. (Map from Vicki McKenna 11-30-2010 post.)

See how additional rail lines to Green Bay, La Crosse, Eau Claire/Minneapolis are outlined on the map?

If we are in doubt as to how we could afford the short 70 mile Milw./Madison run, how would we ever afford these?

We aren't out of the woods yet, the pro-trainers are not going to give up easily. Plus, Wisconsin's commuter line between Milwaukee and Chicago is still to get $2 million, but for now, at least we have one less thing to worry about.

More reading: Wis., Ohio high-speed rail money goes elsewhere
Use rail funds for deficit?

Past Posts: Email Aldermen & Mayor re: Brookfield train station, Walker rally in 3rd Ward
STOP the Obama & Doyle waste-of-money train.

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Rare total lunar eclipse tonight begins at 12:33am

Just for fun!, Special events, Weather

Tonight we have a rare occurrence: A Total Lunar Eclipse that Coincides with the Winter Solstice! The last one occurred in 1638. And we are fortunate enough to see the whole thing... that is if the clouds will part and you are a night owl.

In our area, it begins at 12:33am tonight, will swallow the moon at 1:41am, and have the deepest red color at 2:17am, according to weather.com.

I'll probably be up doing Christmas prep so I am going to set my kitchen timer as a reminder. I hope the clouds will cooperate.
 

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Just for fun: What if 1st Christmas were today?

Just for fun!, Holidays, Religion

Need to take a break from the pressures of preparing for Christmas? Take a look at this clever video of the events recorded in Luke 2:1-14 and Matthew 2:1-12, put into the context of today's technology. It sure made me smile.

Note that in the Bible, the Magi did NOT go to the stable in Bethlehem (after all, you have to account for travel time!), but they did go to Mary and Joseph's home in Bethlehem when Jesus was a toddler. The Bible says in Matthew 2: 11: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

This Christmas, you might want to use this convenient web-page of the Christmas story found in the Bible--its arranged by topic. They also have some ideas for making Christ the center of your Christmas.

OK, break-time is over. Back to work!

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Christmas celebrates Immanuel: The God with us

History, Holidays, Religion

About 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah the prophet of Israel wrote about the coming Savior of the world:
 

Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign:
Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us]
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Isaiah 7:14 Amplified Version

And it is not just that a god is with us, it is THE GOD--the one and only God--who is with us.

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If you can't legislate, mandate! (Is that legal?)

Aging / Elderly, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health care, Government / Bureaucracy, President Obama, United States, The Courts, Legislation

Last December, the Senate put coal in most American's Christmas stockings by voting for ObamaCare on Christmas Eve. At least the specter of the "Death Panel" seemed to be out of the picture and removed from that legislation.

If you have been paying attention to our Lame Duck Congress these past weeks, you know that thankfully, Cap and Trade, the carbon capping global warming legislation didn't pass in the Senate.

Yet starting on January 1, 2011, End of Life planning (the politically correct term for death panel) will go into effect, and on January 2, 2010, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions (which include water vapor) will be capped--limited.

Neither of these actions were approved of through legislation by our elected representatives in Congress, so how is this possible?

Regulation.

Regulation via Obama's Cabinet and Czar bureaucracy, "...regarding Obama's czar-mania, this White House has bypassed the Senate advise-and-consent role and unilaterally created a two-tiered government. It's fronted by cabinet secretaries able to withstand public scrutiny (some of them just barely) and then managed behind the scenes by shadow secretaries with broad powers beyond congressional reach. Bureaucratic chaos serves as a useful smokescreen to obscure the true source of policy decision-making." (My emphasis)

Beyond Congressional reach is the key to Obama's regulation without recourse, and it needs to stop.

As the New York Times reported on Christmas Day (the ultimate news dump day), "When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1. "

From 'Death Panels' Come Back to Life: "Yes, the "death panels" charge is somewhat crude, but combine cost-based rationing with end-of-life counseling and, well, here we are."

End of life decisions are important to think about, after all, the death rate is 100%--1 per person. Death is something we all have to consider.

Having gone through this process with both my parents and just this week witnessed with a close relative, these discussions should take place, and they do between the doctor, patient, and family--period. What I object to is the financial incentive--payment--for doctors who advise their Medicare patients about end-of-life care and forgoing "aggressive life-sustaining treatment". The government shouldn't be in the mix.

Since hospitals usually give out a power of attorney for health care form before surgery, the patient can decide what procedures should take place should things go wrong, and doctors already discuss different avenues of treatment and their outcomes, why do we need this change?

As for limiting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses (which includes water vapor), this is being enacted without legislation on January 2, 2010! "This move represents an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs—unless Congress steps in."

President Obama has taken advantage of a Supreme Court decision in 2007 that ruled the EPA was in effect the highest authority in the land. The Clean Air Act becomes the avenue for this regulation and trumps the legislative process.

If Obama can't legislate, he will just mandate, "...President Obama was asked about the voters' repudiation of cap and trade. He responded: 'Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end.' " So Obama will achieve his goal without the consent of the governed.

One of the things on the new Congress' to do list would be to "overturn the EPA's proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright". Wouldn't that be refreshing? Another would be to repeal ObamaCare.

Undoing the damage that has been done via mandates and unconstitutional legislation is a huge job in itself. They certainly have their work cut out for them. I wish them well.

More Reading: Obama's Czar Fetish
Obama Returns to End-of-Life Plan That Caused Stir
Wall Street Journal: 'Death Panels' Come Back to Life
WSJ: How Congress Can Stop the EPA's Power Grab.

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Last chance! See M&I Seiff toy Chrismas display, Today - Jan. 3rd

Just for fun!, Holidays, Special events

 



Looking for a delightful diversion this weekend? How about visiting The Enchanted Forest at the M&I Bank downtown Milwaukee? Best of all it is free!

Every year the M&I Bank creates a unique winter wonderland, right in its downtown lobby, with a special theme. The display features its extensive collection of Steiff stuffed animals, all sporting imaginative costumes against a backdrop of real Christmas trees and scenery. You are free to walk around and through the exhibit on the pathways provided, but don't touch the animals.

This year the theme is The Enchanted Forest. Each stuffed Steiff toy dons its colorful custom made costume to go along with the theme, complete with fairy wings. It really must be seen to be appreciated.

I stopped in today because sadly, this may be the last year for the Steiff Christmas display. The M&I is in the process of being sold to a Canadian bank, and so the future for the Steiffs is in doubt.

But there is still time to see these adorable animals. Hours are:
  • New Year's Day 9am - 4pm
  • Sunday, January 2nd 9am - 4pm
  • Monday, January 3rd 9am - 5pm
After Monday, it is all over, so do take the time to stop in if you can. I have seen a number of these in the past, but this one was my favorite.

Happy New Year!

M&I Bank Lobby
770 North Water Street (Corner of Water and Wells)

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