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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.

BIG NEWS! Elmbrook tells me they will be LISTENING!

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES

It must be big news, Elmbrook sent out a special LINK* publication to tell me all about their two LISTENING SESSIONS coming up. 

The LINK listed the High School Facilities sessions first, starting at 7pm on November 26th at Brookfield East's library and November 29th at Central's.  

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Better to SAVE than to be LOST

Illegal immigration, U.S. Sovereignty

The SAVE Act and LOST Treaty are perfect examples of how it does not matter which party affiliation promotes the policy, what matters is the policy!

The SAVE Act,  Secure America with Verification and Enforcement, "Requires every employer to use electronic verification system on every employee", says NumbersUSA. That sounds good to me. The irony of this bill is that it is being introduced by a Democrat, Heath Shuler.

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United way plea

 Have you heard the latest United Way radio commercial? It has a soft, sympathetic voiced woman who says imagine if you were poor, then there is a older crumugeon male voice saying pull yourself up by your bootstraps, she interjects, now imagine if you lost your job, did not finish high school, and started drinking something like that.

 The jist of the ad is that being poor is not your choice or fault.

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Remembering our young and older vetereans

My Favorite Marine -- Thank you Veterans!


Tomorrow is Veterans Day and I hope you will take the time to thank the veterans you know for serving our country.

We would not be enjoying the freedoms we have without their sacrifices. Maybe that is what makes me so frustrated when I see many in our government today TAKING away our personal liberties and GIVING away that hard fought freedom to world governing bodies. But that is a subject for another day.

Tomorrow is the day for honoring the Vets you know.
On the left is my favorite Vet, my dad.
Dad could have had a deferment for WW2, because he was needed on the family farm and his older brother was already in the military. But never one to shirk his duty, he enlisted in the Marines anyway.
Dad's Marine Corp experience impacted him in a positive way for the rest of his life. We always enjoyed hearing his stories about Guadalcanal. The Marine Corp put Dad's natural mechanical ability to work and trained him to be an aircraft mechanic. That training helped him find a job after the war as an auto mechanic and later a service manager for Sorerens Ford.
Like most people in my age group, our fathers and uncles served in WW2. My dad's brothers served too, both as Army medics. His younger brother served in Africa and his big brother won the Silver Star in France. My father-in-law ran communication lines (wires) behind enemy lines in the Battle of the Bulge. No wonder Tom Brokaw refers to these men and women as The Greatest Generation!
But Veterans, both male and female, range from young to old. After 9/11, I was very impressed with the number of young people stepping forward to fight the terrorists. One such young man is my neighbor's son. I have known that boy since he was 3 years old. He enlisted in the Marines and just finished his tour in Iraq. Now his younger brother, recently enlisted in the Marines, will be shipping out later this month.
Our country owes these men and women a debt of gratitude, so don't forget to say, Thank You!
If you are fortunate enough to know a WW2 Vet, ask them about their experiences while you still can. We won't have them around forever, and their stories are fascinating.
I pray for those in service now, daily. If you are a person of faith, I encourage you to do the same

Does 4K deserve tax dollars?

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES

On November 27th,  Elmbrook's school board will decide the very important question of should we continue or discontinue 4K. We do not get to vote for or against it; our only opportunity to influence that decision is to contact the board members.


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Lowes family trees

  Robert A. Niblock, President
1000 Lowe�s Boulevard
Mooresville, NC  28117
Primary Phone: 1-800-445-6937
Secondary Phone: 704-758-1000
Fax: 336-658-4766
E-Mail: Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's

put picture of my tree and a genealogy family tree 

Uncle Matt wants you--if you are 4 years old

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES

If this picture and title seem a bit familiar, it is because I used it last April to discuss the district's desire to pull in every possible student--even if they were non-resident students. See: Uncle Matt wants you, even if it means we have to build bigger schools

The defeat of the spring referendum and the groups that formed as a result of that defeat, at least brought attention to the fact that the non-resident student population was driving the space needs at the high school level.

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Can Elmbrook do that?

City of Brookfield, Elmbrook, Free

Someone brought to my attention that Wauwatosa Schools puts their school board meetings on Google video.

What a great idea!

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Yikes, I almost had a Chernobyl

Good food / recipes, Technology gone awry

Almost had a meltdown yesterday after I turned on my oven to start dinner. I threw in 3 sweet potatoes, set the temperature and did some other kitchen-y things. I thank God I did not set it to auto-start and leave as is sometimes my habit.

As I was cutting up some salad, I smelled something burning in the oven. Hmm, that's odd, I thought. Guess it is time to clean the oven? But the smell got stronger. I peeked inside and found my sweet potatoes rather blackened on the tops.

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Kyle’s Fresh Cranberry Relish: a happy accident

Good food / recipes

I was first introduced to raw cranberry relish at my mother-in-law's table, before I was married. It was a Prast family favorite. When it was time for me to host my first turkey dinner, I made what I thought was like my husband's mother's recipe. It wasn't. As it turned out, everyone liked my variation better!

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Thanksgiving favorites: Kyle’s stuffing

Good food / recipes

One year when a family member had to avoid bread (wheat allergy), I improvised on my mom’s traditional stuffing recipe by replacing the bread with brown rice, wild rice and chopped rye crisp crackers. It was good!

We all liked the rice and rye flavor so much that when bread no longer needed to be avoided, I kept the rice and rye bread ingredients and incorporated them in this new stuffing recipe. I have been using it ever since. 

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Easy as pie--really!

Good food / recipes

I cannot remember when I made my first pie; maybe I was 7 years old? Mom always let my sister and I help in the kitchen and taught us to cook and bake at an early age. The great thing about it was that she did not mind that it looked like a disaster area when we finished. It is a fond memory that I hold in my heart.

Many people are very afraid of making a pie. I think it might be because they don't have a good pie crust recipe to start with. I think Mom's recipe came from the Settlement Cookbook. It is a good, simple, basic recipe. I've never had a flop and never heard a complaint. 

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As American as Mom and Apple Pie

Good food / recipes

What would Thanksgiving be without apple pie? I have the traditional recipe from my mother here and also a pretty variation: Kyle's Apple Cranberry Pie. (I can't leave a recipe alone!)

Mom's Apple Pie

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I love my repairman --Thanksgiving is saved!

Good food / recipes, Technology gone awry

My oven is back in business, thanks to my resident repairman. (My son)

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Speak up now: 4K vote next Tuesday

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES

If you don't want the Elmbrook School District to implement a permanent 4K program, you better contact the board soon, or forever hold your peace. The board will vote on this next week Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Be sure to mention that adopting a 5 year Sunset Clause (the program would be discontinued after 5 years) is not a solution either.  For one thing, rarely does the sun ever set on any government program--the only two I can think of are the CCC and WPA. The vast majority of government programs expand in scope: think Social Security, Income Tax, Medicare, and for a more local flavor, Badger Care.

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4K--It's about the money

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES

There are a couple things to note in yesterday's Brookfieldnow article. The first is the subtitle: Few academic gains, tax costs are concerns

Bringing the tax cost in is misleading because it implies that the (our) tax cost would be less if we adopted a 4K program. Even though academically it does not improve children's lives, it does improve our tax situation, says those pro-4K.

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"A Day of Publick Thanksgiving"

History, Holidays

Thanksgiving, like many other holidays and historical events these days, is losing its original significance. Christmas has de-evolved into a holiday gift getting frenzy--totally ignoring the birth of Christ, the original reason for the holiday. Easter no longer celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ but instead is a time of Easter egg hunts, bunnies and ham dinners.

Thanksgiving lately is either skipped over entirely as the world of retail moves immediately from Halloween to Christmas Holiday decorations and catalog ads. If the November holiday is mentioned, it is now a time set aside for "Turkey Day" and thanking those around us. My son was given a children's music tape by Steve Chapin that had a whole song about Thanksgiving being a time to have a family dinner and thanking the earth for food! This is not what Thanksgiving was ever intended to be.

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Public schools: safety net or drift net?

4-K, Education, Elmbrook, History, TAXES

Recently at a neighborhood party, a few of the moms were talking about school and the high cost of private school tuition. Two of them had their children enrolled in parochial elementary and high schools.

I believe it is the right of every parent to choose the type of school their child attends.Sending children to private school or homeschooling them is a financial sacrifice many parents are willing to make, but as our property taxes increase it is a choice that is becoming increasingly difficult. (The major portion of your bill is the school tax).

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4K solving budget woes=Lucy Ricardo math

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES

I know I pick on Lucy Ricardo of I Love Lucy fame from time to time, but no other character so easily embodies ridiculous thinking when it comes to money. Lucy Ricard math is: the reasoning process by which Lucy justifies a faulty fiscal policy in order to finagle what she wants out of Rickey.

Currently, some Elmbrook administrators and board members are engaging in what I call, Lucy Ricardo math by thinking that by boosting enrollment, we can ease our budget woes.

Tomorrow the board votes on keeping or discontinuing 4K. The board and administration admit there is not much real academic gain to a 4K program but tout it as a way to boost revenue.

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The Turkey's last stand

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

This is not a political commentary posting! It is about soup.

I grew up in a home that was not very enthused about turkey, but I married a turkey-a-holic!

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Bet room will be packed with pro 4K tonight

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES

I hope you are planning to attend the school board meeting tonight. I am planning on being there. It will probably be a very late evening.

The meeting starts at 7pm at the administration offices at 13780 Hope Street. If you are approaching from Capitol Drive, just turn right on 138th Street. Then take the fork to the right, which is 137th. Hope is the first cross street. Turn right and you will see the building set back a bit from that corner.

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 Allgaier, Murphy, Wartman, and Gehl vote NO


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4K yellow hands and green trees

City of Brookfield, Elmbrook

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4K discontinued despite emotions & irregularities

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES

The room was packed; emotions ran high. Maybe 80 residents were in attendance? Judging from the Pro 4K-ers holding up little yellow "4K Yes" paper hands, they outnumbered those against maybe 5 to 1.  I thought to myself, Oh, this is going to be an emotion filled night. I was right. (My aside comments will be in parenthesis.)

Superintendent Matt Gibson opened the topic at 7:55pm stating that 4K was 1 of 25 ideas discussed as ways to ease Elmbrook's financial problems. 4K was the only one that had an educational and revenue benefit to it. He gave the statistic of 70% of districts in Wisconsin have 4K and touted that our 4K brought in more dollars than it spends: Cost $800,000 Brings in $2 million. (We can debate that at another time.)

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Tell law of the sea to get lost petition 


export jobs but not upset about exporting dollars.

Citi 5% buy by arabs time to start drilling--imagine what it could do for economy koreans uspset at trade imbalance 

sad facts of 4K Parents whose children have enrolled enthused about the program and its teachers, saying it has stimulated their children more than they could do at home and advanced their development.

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