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Water Park, Here We Come!

family, vacation

My family really enjoys a good water park. We've been to a few of them, some have been outstanding and some have been disappointing. For instance, Paradise Landing which is located in the Milwaukee Hilton was a complete waste of our time. The Kalahari was too large to keep track of everyone easily, and that toilet bowl slide? I didn't see how that was fun, I mean a girl could lose her swimming suit on that one. However, Moose Mountain Falls at the Timber Ridge in Lake Geneva is worth the trip.

My daughter attended a birthday party at the Country Springs Hotel's Waterpark and when I picked her up I thought it looked like the perfect afternoon getaway. The cost, $25 per person. Right, like I have an extra $75 just laying around to go the waterpark for the day. I don't. Good news though because they do offer special rates occasionally and I was able to get tickets today for only $15 per person. That's a pretty good price, and if it weren't a school day, and if three people at work weren't in Mexico right now leaving me in charge (my plane leaves on Feb. 7th!), I'd be willing to be at the water park at 9:59 a.m. with my swimming suit on!

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What Employers Need and Expect

While I am more than willing to hear about what educational pundits say the children of this country need to compete in the world market, I put far more weight on what employers tell me every day.

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The Nuclear Football

Presidential Politics

 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.

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I Am So Over Winter!

just because

I am so over winter. ENOUGH ALREADY!!! I'm looking at the forecast for today and as of right now they are expecting the snow to start falling around 5 p.m. and not stop until tomorrow afternoon. Are you kidding me?

I'm very thankful that I have a snow blower, as I can't imagine shoveling my driveway one more time.

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Math Programs Defined and Compared March 3rd

The Chair and Co-Chair of the Menomonee Falls School District Math Department will give a presentation to the public on March 3rd at 6:30. Save the date.

 

The highlight of the evening will be the contrast and comparison of the CMP and IMP Math programs offered in the district using actual test score data.

 

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Oops

We all make misteaks...

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.

 

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Playa Del Carmen Rodeo

vacation

I'm home from Mexico! Here's a photo from Playa Del Carmen, where we spent the day shopping on 5th Avenue.

The Most Divisive President in US History...

And probably the greatest.

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Frozen. Pickle. Juice. SuperGross.

I was going to write about my time in Riviera Maya but it's going to have to wait because I came across a small article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Pickle lovers get in their licks with novelty frozen pops by Karen Herzog.

I cannot think of anything that I would want to lick least. I hate pickles! I truly hate pickles. I don’t want to touch them, I don’t want them touching my food, and surely don’t want to eat my food after it has soaked in pickle juice. Blech! Do you know what I mean? Are there other pickle-haters out there, or am I the only one? I have my husband conditioned to take the pickle off of my plate the moment it arrives when we are out to dinner, and my most favorite restaurants are those that remember to not put a pickle on there in the first place.

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Early Morning Mexican Crab

vacation

I'm still trying to catch-up from my vacation, but here's a few photos from the beaches of Riviera Maya.

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Artistry

Something Different

 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!

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Citizens at Work-MFSD Finance Group

Many of you may not know it but a lot of your fellow citizens are involved in a group call the "Finance Study Group." The goal of the group is to identify andeliminate waste, as well as to make sure that as many dollars go toward the actual classroom education of all students in Menomonee Falls. Some of the functions have that have taken place: Survey to staff to identify cost savings. comparing our district to neighboring districts to compare cost and performance as well as many other productive items stated below in the agenda for the next meetng. Please attend, and join, if you have an interrest in this group.

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The Sheets were Short & the Paper was 430 Pesos

vacation

Okay, so I’m home from Riviera Maya. We stayed at the Grand Palladium which was very nice … if you like walking over a gazillion very tall bridges to get where ever you need to go. Yes, it was a workout, and it was confusing at times because all the bridges looked exactly the same as the others. I don’t know how in the world a drunk person would be able to find their way back to their room in the dark, in the daylight they might be okay, but in the dark no way, and since it was an all-inclusive place the drinks were flowing —  CONSTANTLY.

I couldn’t help but notice a few slightly weird things about Mexico. For instance, you know that big spoon that you get with your place settings? The one that your mother uses to serve mashed potatos to you at Thanksgiving? Well that spoon is the soup spoon down there in Mexico. Very confusing, especially when eating at a chinese restaurant, because you know when you are being served chinese they always give you a giant serving spoon. So the waiter handed me the serving spoon and I was all thinking: yum, dinner! but instead it meant: soup. And it felt very wrong to be eating what little soup I did with the big giant serving spoon. In fact, I had no choice but to the alert the waiter that it was not a soup spoon, but a serving spoon, and I kinda expected him to notice his error and take it back and bring me a real soup spoon, but instead he looked at me like he didn’t understand what I was saying.

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Don't Forget to Vote!

politics

I can't believe that I'm writing about politics as it's a topic that I purposely don't write about. However, being that it's Super Tuesday in Wisconsin, I feel the need to remind you to get out there and vote.

I've already been to the polls today, and I have to say that I'm pretty excited about my vote. Are you excited about yours? Regardless of who you voted for, who do you think will win both the Republican and the Democratic presidential primaries?

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Oscar Time

movies

I love the movies! I am a huge movie fan, but I am an even bigger fan of the movies that are nominated for an Academy Award. Each year I watch as many of those movies that I can from the time they are nominated right up to the awards ceremony, keeping careful track of each and every movie I see by highlighting them on my printable ballot. This year my deadline is this Sunday, February 24th, at 4:49 p.m. -- which is approaching fast, by the way. 

I admit that trying to see all the movies is somewhat crazy, but I do it each and every year. I'm thankful for Netflix and Blockbuster, and that I have a husband who goes along with me on this ridiculous quest each season. He's had to sit through a long list of movies that he might not have normally watched as a result.

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Whatever happened to the Limekiln Park conservancy?

Around Town

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.

  (Please refer to the separate page, Magnuson Proposal of July 2006 to Donate $10, 000 to FLKNA for Restoration in that Park. Did the Friends Accept the Magnuson Offer?
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 

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Public Hearing on MFSD Reconfiguration

The public is invited to attend a brief presentation and provide feedback on potential changes to the school district.

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Oscar Predictions

movies

My husband and I  spent yesterday in the movie theater at the Best Picture Showcase. We saw all of the 2008 Oscar Nominees. It was a long day, and the theater was a lot more crowded than I had expected. Were you there too?

My predictions are the following:

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Major Science Dignitary to Visit MFHS

The Science Department has landed James Gates from the University of Maryland, a big name in science.  He will be speaking to our HS students on February 28th.

 

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Invitation to "Math Wars":Peace Conference/Candidate Forum

If you have concerns about your child's Math program, which program your child should take, or what the heck are they teaching my kids now, please attend this Math presentation. Don't get your information from a web site promoting one method over another. Don't rely on a Yahoo group for information. Ask the professionals who are familiar with both methods, teach both methods, and measure the results.  This presentation will help you guide your child, or you, to make the right decision in selecting Math programs and pathways through High School.

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