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Elm Grove library's loss will be Greenfield's gain

Feb. 14, 2007

In a column dated Aug. 14, 2003, I noted that then-Elm Grove Library Director Tim Dirks would be leaving that position to begin a new job as director of the Marinette County Consolidated Library Service.

Weeks later, in what I have personally come to regard as a brilliant move by the Library Board, Wauwatosa resident Sheila O'Brien was tapped to fill the local vacancy.

For the past three years, O'Brien's competency, leadership (especially with various changes and issues within the countywide library system) and decidedly friendly manner have well served a host of devoted bibliophiles in Elm Grove and beyond, this columnist (who considers the library "a second home") included.

Now, once again, I must reluctantly report that our community's loss will be another community's gain.

O'Brien, who submitted her letter of resignation from the Elm Grove Library last month, says she's looking forward to a new opportunity and new challenges in her soon-to-be-assumed role as director of the city of Greenfield Library.

"I'm happy for her, sad for us," said Library Board president Pat Ruttum. "We congratulate her. (I think that) our library is in a better place today (because of her) than it was three years ago."

The public is invited to attend a Friends of the Elm Grove Library-sponsored farewell gathering for O'Brien on Monday, Feb. 19, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. in the Parkview room at Village Hall. Cake and punch will be served.

Dr. Seuss honored

"A family event with stories appropriate for preschool and early elementary children" will be held at the Elm Grove Public Library from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, to mark the 103rd birthday of Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel.

Guest storytellers for the evening will be students from the Forensics Clubs at Pilgrim Park Middle School and Brookfield East High School who will present stories that they have used in forensics competitions.

For information, or to register, call the library at (262) 782-6717.

Wellness event

The past few decades have given rise to tremendous new developments in technology and our lives are undeniably better for much of it. Yet, during those same years, school physical education programs were radically trimmed due to a combination of budgetary concerns and the false belief by some that physical conditioning is somehow significantly less important that the pursuit of higher academic achievement.

When you add to the mix the unfortunate infiltration of soda and snack vending machines in our schools, a pervasive societal disregard for high standards of nutrition, plus the increased level of interest in computer games and other sedentary activities - reports about the rising levels of obesity and accompanying health issues affecting our youth (and adult population as well) should come as no shock.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, the School District of Elmbrook Wellness Committee will sponsor "Winning Wellness for Our Kids" at Burleigh Elementary School, 16185 West Burleigh Place, Brookfield.

It is a topic of immense importance, and I applaud the committee's efforts.

Featured will be a presentation by Dr. Joe Tzougras, a nationally recognized expert on pediatric wellness.

"Wellness does not just happen; it develops and continues through patterns of healthful living. Our children's generation faces great obstacles to this and we as educators and parents must be proactive in promoting and role modeling habits of healthy living," reads a statement from the committee.

The program is designed for parents of children who attend district schools in grades K4 to 12.

For information, call the Elmbrook School District at (262) 781-3030.

Lisabeth Passalis-Bain can be contacted at (262) 782-6193 or via e-mail at

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