I have lived in the Falls since 1968. My great-great grandfather was one of the village founders. I have served the community in multiple ways: Firefighter, various boards and commissions and for many years was president of the Falls Cable Access Corp. Currently I own, and am active in, a restaurant equipment manufacturing company.
Our President has, in possession at all times, a device known as the "nuclear football". This piece of hardware, if activated, could bring global widespread destruction that would bring civilization as we know it to an end. The football is the key to activate missiles with nuclear warheads aimed at targets which the President considers to be our country's enemy.
We have many enemies, and they have similar devices.
These men have just finished placing solid steel pillars in concrete to stop vehicles from parking on the pavement outside a sports bar downtown. They are cleaning up at the end of the day.
Art is most often thought of as the creation of a painting, a sculpture, or the like. One rarely takes notice of a myriad of other artistic endeavors that swirl around our busy lives every day. For example, a carpenter building a new chest of drawers. He takes the rough lumber and, if he's not me, creates a thing of beauty. Or a plumber - designing and building a system that has to not only fit into a constrained area, but look good as well.
This morning I experienced an artist at work. I awoke early and notice a village snow plow in our cul-de-sac dealing with yesterday's snowall. Recent snows have more than filled available areas for storage but alas there was still more. Watching the driver maneuver his rig around the court kept my attention. Where was he going to go with it all? Would it end up in front of my driveway?
I shouldn't have worried. With the finesse learned from experience he operated his rig as gracefully as a ballet dancer on a stage. Move the snow a foot here, a foot there, adjust the wing blades while on the go, and then the job is done. The final result was clean pavement with no driveways obstructed. Beautiful, a true artist!
Today I received a letter from friends of mine who have moved out of town. Below I'll share the content of that letter:Dear Friends of Lime Kiln Natural Area,Greeting from our new home. It’s cold up here! We miss the Falls and the unique treasure that is the Lime Kiln Natural Area. We want to share with you our continuing concerns for the future of this Park. Please bear with us while we tell the story of recent events. You recall the events of July 2003, when our community rallied to the defense of Lime Kiln Park, calling for its restoration and preservation. The Friends organization was born and they were amazing! With persistence and courage they called for the Village Board to adopt a Management Plan for Lime Kiln Park. The Friends urged Village officials to draft this plan under the supervision of environmental resource professionals. From July 2003 to December 2006, many Friends were in attendance at every event, and every meeting which pertained to LKNA. Week after week, month after month the Friends advocated their mission: the restoration and preservation of this natural and historic place. The Management & Maintenance Plan
At last, on December 4, 2006, the Village Board approved funds for an aggressive, five-year Management andMaintenance Plan for LKNA. Cedarburg Science, an ecological project management firm, had been hired by theVillage to draft this plan. Village officials earned well-deserved praise for their foresight in supporting this excellent plan. However, due to budget limitations, much of the Cedarburg Science focus had to be on invasive species removal and control, and on-going management issues. Only limited funds could be earmarked for re-introduction of native species, restoration of badly eroded river banks, interpretive signs, trail management, etc. The Friends’ Original Vision
The original vision the Friends worked so hard to achieve was to be able to provide help where it was most needed: to generate funds and advocate support for the accomplishment of goals not budgeted in the management plan. Friends would develop their own “master plan.” Potential donors would need clear incentives and choices. Most important, the Friends would recognize that today, environmental conservation is too complex to allow for the well-meaning but misguided efforts of volunteers alone. The Friends would direct initial donations to engage the services of natural resource professionals to establish an enduring organization. Fast Forward to July 2007
What was the Friends’ vision now? Membership was down, many Friends who shared the original vision had drifted away; there was no progress toward formal organization or membership recruitment which supposedly began at the April Earth Day Event. Frankly, meetings were “all talk and no action.” An effective organization must have enough members to allow for a lively exchange of ideas. Volunteers need peer support to “speak up” and to act. Dwindling Membership Leads to Alarming Focus Shift...
away from Management Plan recommendations to:
1. Talk of cuffing down trees in the quarry to expose walls,
2. Build trails through quarry wetlands.
3. To gain quarry access, build a footbridge across the river just below the natural falls.
What Did Jack and Mary Louise Do?
We tried to encourage the Friends group to focus on protection of the entire park and its green spaces as recommended in the Management Plan. We offered to donate $10,000 to the Friends for the purpose of rstoration in LKNA. There were conditions.
No. After endless discussions, the Friends simply failed to act in a timely way. Some believed they could organize “better and cheaper” on their own and that is what they did. Then What Happened?
Frankly, we were heartsick. Five years had gone by. How many more years must it take before people in our community could demonstrate their stewardship in a truly meaningful way, to protect and cherish this precious resource? The Management Plan clearly spelled out areas to help and ways to accomplish these goals. End of Story?
The Magnuson’s then donated the $10,000 to Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers, a distinguished environmental organization, whose scope reaches to all the rivers that flow into Lake Michigan, including the Menomonee River. YES, our gift was graciously accepted by the Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers. This gift will support the restoration in LKNA, and in no way replace any of the work in progress under the current Management and Maintenance Plan, as drafted by Cedarburg Science. Today, February 11, 2008
Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers report that no contact or initiative has come from FLKNA or the Village of MenomoneeFalls to make use of this $10,000 gift. Some Thoughts
The Management and Maintenance Plan is excellent, but budget constraints limit restoration possibilities. The originalvision of FLKNA was to generate funds and advocate support to accomplish goals beyond the basic plan. TheCedarburg Science report provides just such guidance and direction in such areas as:
1. Additional enhancement plantings.
2. Trail improvement and management.
3. Interpretive signs.
4. Outdoor classroom. So much valuable time has been lost. Cedarburg Science has at their fingertips the necessary information to obtain grants and matching funds and the expertise necessary to carry out the task. Presently, the Friends of Lime Kiln Park Natural Area are in the process of moving this project forward. Won’t you help? Please contact Dave Voelz (below) to get involved in this organization. Dave Voelz
Friends of Lime Kiln Park Natural Area
N88 WI 5779 Park Blvd.
Phone: (262) 255-5712
Email: dvoelzl @wi.rr.com