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Virtually there: church, geysers, and classroom

Education, Elections, Elmbrook, High Schools, National Parks, TAXES

Technology can be a wonderful thing. Two weeks ago, we had that snowstorm warning on Sunday and the weatherman cautioned people to stay home. We were rather torn as to what to do, but since we just had 2 weather related fender benders that week, we chickened out and stayed home. The great thing was though, we did not need to miss our church service.

Thanks to the internet and some tech. minded members, we sat around the computer screen and watched the live sermon  from the comfort of our home! Not quite as good as being there, but we did virtually see and hear the LIVE service. I can also go back to the church website and review a sermon if I want to.

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Who is John James Preston?

Pop Culture

If you read my blog about the new television show Cashmere Mafia, you know that I was a fan of the HBO television series Sex and the City.  While on the net a couple of days ago, I caught a trailer of the movie version of Sex and the City, which is set for release on May 30. I posted the clip below.

If Carrie is dumped by Mr. Big at the altar, I will have to beat on the HBO movie writers with a pair of stiletto Manolos, after downing a Cosmo.

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Breaking News: Brett Favre Retires!

I turned on Channel 12 News and did a spit take with my coffee when I saw the Breaking News Alert.  According to the news spot, Fox News has announced that Brett Favre has announced his retirement.  Supposedly he announced his retirement to Mike McCarthy last night.  Some speculation that the news that Randy Moss signed elsewhere may have prompted Favre's decision to retire.

Channel 12 has been running the story as of 8:35 this morning.

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As If Favre's Retiring Wasn't Bad Enough...

Packers

Now that ol' Number 4 is hanging it up, Favre memorabilia is a hot commodity, but be careful that you don't get fleeced by Favre fakes. 

Here are some consumer tips from the Public Investigator Blog.

Time To Say Good Bye

Time To Say Good Bye is an operatic duet performed by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli.  It is music of such soul-piercing beauty that I don't want to meet the person who can listen to it and remain unmoved.  I remember it playing in Madison Square Garden as Wayne Gretzky took his final laps around the rink, the greatest performer in the history of team sports humbly acknowledging the tidal wave of tribute pouring down upon him.  I remember The Great One gazing up at his lovely wife, Janet Jones-Gretzky, as she sobbed uncontrollably in the stands.

And now it is time for Packer fans to say good bye.

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Sunday afternoon

Friends of Elm Grove Library, HUGE USED BOOK SALE

Sunday is the last day of the Friends of Elm Grove Library's used book sale.  All purchases (except for the "Collector's Table" and auction items) are included in the $4-A-Bag sale.  Fill an entire grocery bag full of hard cover or paperback books for just $4. A good selection of fiction, biographies, history, business, religion, self-help, children's and cook books are available.  And add CDs, DVDs or audiobooks to the bag.  There is no limit on the number of bags you can take - for just $4-A-Bag.

The sale runs from Noon to 4 pm in the lower level of the Elm Grove Library at 13600 W. Juneau.  All proceeds raised by the non-profit Friends' group are used to expand the public library's collections.

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Good Things in Brookfield & Elm Grove

Friends of Elm Grove Library

There have been two pleasant events in Brookfield and Elm Grove in the last few days.

In Brookfield:  Burleigh Elementary staged its production of "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" at the Wilson Center.  230 energetic fourth and fifth graders were on stage for a play written and directed by Mrs. Bart. Creative costuming, props and scenery accented the young student's talents.  Parents, other students and teachers, and volunteers helped create a delightful and inspiring event.

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Hiatus

I have been blogging for a year and a half and have addressed matters of history, culture, policy, and sports, with columns ranging from the deadly serious (a three-part series on the Virginia Tech. Massacre), to the political (two-part series on Separation of Church and State), to the adventurous (back-packing through Glacier National Park). 

Right now I need to pull back a bit.  I don't plan to stop, and if Brookfield Now will still have me, I will continue as matters of interest present themselves.  At some point I may return to a weekly schedule, but in the interim there will be fewer columns.  Given that, I would like to devote some of them to matters of interest to you.  So let me know what those topics might be.  

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An Enchanting Talk

city, Elm Grove, Elmbrook Historical Society, Town

On Monday, March 17, you have a chance to hear Tom Ramstack, the author of Brookfield: A Fine and Fertile Land, speak about the rich history of the Brookfield and Elm Grove areas.  Our area began as a farming community in 1839.

Tom grew up in Elm Grove and heard his father's stories about the people in the Brookfield Township.  His quest to learn more - and a desire to write a book - resulted in a twenty year search of historic records and a two-volume book.

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Hang Tough

Four of SJV students, Steve Yoss, Nick Veling, Jack Sandstrom, Alex Dorff, were recently chosen as finalists in the Time Warner Cable's Hang Tough video contest.  As the four boys were writing their script titled "Bullying Stinks" and discussing some of their ideas, SJV students Mallory O'Halloran and Kirsten Siladi commented on how inspired they felt by the theme and how they thought it was great that the boys were writing their script.  When "Bullying Stinks" was chosen as a finalist and the SJV scriptwriters realized that didn't have any girls to fill the two girl roles, the boys asked Mallory and Kirsten to join them in filming their public safety announcement!  It's great to see SJV students involved in enouraging other students to lead productive and healthy lives.  Watch the "Bullying Stinks" video -- along with the nineteen other video finalists any time on your schedule on WIsconsin on Demand (WIoD) Digital Channel 1111.   

Restaurant Review: Umami Moto

restaurants

In response to my Asian Invasion blog, Mr. Al Krueger, whose company, Comet Branding, handles public relations and branding matters for the new Brookfield restaurant Umami Moto, invited me to dine there.  After clearing it with the NOW editor, I accepted Mr. Krueger's invitation.  Because Mr. Krueger kindly offered to pick up the tab for appetizers, I was obliged to tell him beforehand that I would have to disclose that to my readers and that I could not let the free items influence my opinion about the restaurant, should I choose to blog about our experience there.  That was fine by him.  So, with The Spouse in tow, I visited Umami Moto on a recent weeknight.

Umami Moto occupies the same space as the former Monsoon restaurant.  As I stated in my prior blog, I was not impressed by the "fusion" cuisine that Monsoon offered.  I dined only once at Monsoon and found the food to be so-so.  I never went back.  So, when I heard that Umami Moto was being billed as an asian fusion restaurant, I had my doubts, but I was willing to try it.

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Journal Sentinel Selects New Restaurant Critic

restaurants

Just yesterday, I posted a review of the restaurant Umami Moto.  As a reader noted, they did know I was coming, so read my "review" with that in mind. 

The reader's comment about anonymity reminded me of a blurb I read about the new Journal Sentinel restaurant critic, Carol Deptolla.

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Planning for the Future

Bluemound, Town

The Town of Brookfield announced plans for development of the "Bluemound Road Corridor."  The area is bounded by Barker Road, I 94 and Bluemound Road and extends east of Poplar Creek.  The development covers about 80 acres. It includes the properties owned by Marcus Corporation and Menards. 

The Corridor plans include 4-8 story commercial buildings and 2-4 story multi-family units.  Since the plans were announced, the town has sought public comment and met with property owners. Town officials believe it's important to work with the business owners - to meld the visions of the town and business owners together.  There is a strong desire to achieve positive acceptance about the development. Indeed, suggestions about roadway placement and project flexibility have already been integrated into the consultant's plans.

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Holy Week

On Wednesday, March 19 at 2 p.m. the students of St. John Vianney School, led by CHAMPS (the student council) prayed The Stations of the Cross while dramatizing each station. Seventh and Eighth grade students took on the role of Jesus, Mary, Veronica, Simon, Judas and Roman soldiers in dress and demeanor. Each station was acted, then the actors froze in place while the prayer of each station was meditated. This was a unique opportunity for our students to experience and learn the significance and meaning of each station. 

Throughout the week, the SJV students have been involved throughout the church's observance of Holy Week as altar servers, instrumentalists, ushers and choir members.

Here's a schedule of the remaining Holy Week masses: 

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Unde Malum - Unde Bene? A Happy Easter to You and Yours

I took Thursday off to make a long Easter weekend, and since I always try and have a good book in progress, I went to the library in search of same.  I came away with a copy of Unspeakable - Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror, by Os Guinness. 

Guinness is a graduate of Oxford and has an intellect that can only be described as superior.  Raised in China by his medical missionary parents, they fled the genocide of Mao's Cultural Revolution, to which Guinness lost two beloved brothers.  When he writes of terror and genocide, he does so from personal experience.  This book was written in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, and its premise is a wholistic look at what proper views of and reactions to evil might be.  

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When the Easter Bunny Gets Lost in a Snowstorm

For Laughs, Holidays, Weather

"And since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

Wait a minute... it's March right? This is supposed to be Spring?! 

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Take This Test!

Fluff, For Laughs

You have to take this test.  The Spouse and I both failed.

Do The Test

Referendum Vote April 1

city, school board, Town

Taxpayers in the Elmbrook School District (SDE) have a second chance at approving a referendum for SDE high schools on April 1.  Two groups independently developed recommendations for the 2008 referendum.  One group (sponsored by SDE) included district/board representatives.  The second group did not.

Let's compare the 2007 and 2008 referendums.

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SJV Teacher Wins Radio Award

Jill Fischer, one of our fourth grade teachers, was recently awarded prizes for being B93.3's February "Teacher of the Month"  Air personality Julie Davidson read two award nominations from the Greco and Reuteman school families.   Every month B93.3 awards a local teacher with great prizes including a Target gift card for school supplies from Layton State Bank, a certificate from BBC Lighting, a certificate for fine desserts from Suzy's Cream Cheesecakes and a plaque from RCB Awards in Wauwatosa. 

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Tomorrow

I spent Saturday morning attending the final tours of our High Schools and did my best to answer whatever questions people had about the referendum.  I did not offer advice or direction; I wanted to make myself available for questions.  I enjoyed speaking with one gentleman who, while acknowleding the schools needed a lot, told me why he was not going to support this plan.   

Based on all I have heard and seen, I believe that is one issue upon which there is near unanimity - that the high schools are in need of some significant investment.  How much and what kind is obviously the question.  I have maintained for the last several years that the question of "what to do" is one on which reasonable people can, should, and obviously do disagree.  I have also remarked that this question of "what to do" is like Alexander the Great's Gordian Knot - a complex and seemingly unsolvable puzzle, with no single solution being attractive to a significant majority of our community.  

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