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Ides of March

This past weekend signals the countdown to spring.  Every year on the 4th Saturday of February, Capital brewery holds its annual Bockfest to launch their very popular Blonde Dopplebock.  The brewery in Middleton, WI sets up an outdoor event with music, food and of course beer.  This year I got to enjoy the festivities with 2500 other festivalgoers on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

As we enter the month of March it would be a great time to give you some great beers that are out for the Spring.  Spring beers signal (hopefully) the beginning of spring.  There are a number of great spring beers to try and here is a quick check list of beers that you may want to check out.

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Eyeglasses, Soap and a Toothbrush with Curves

Africa, children, Hearts in Unity, mission, orphan, Seela, Tanzania, Maring'a Juu

Gently used eyeglasses...  new toothbrushes...  those "free" travel size soaps from hotels...  Curves...

What do these items have in common? 

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Sorry! No Playoff Basketball on CH. 14

    Where do I start?   First of all, congratulations to the Menomonee Falls Boys Basketball team on their Conference Championship.  Although it is tough for the crew to actually watch a game when we are covering it, one thing was apparent, everyone on the team plays all-out all the time. It was most enjoyable.  Secondly, thanks to all the viewers on Channel 14 and on our Streaming Website that sent us emails and phone messages commenting on the game coverage.  And lastly, thanks to our volunteer announcers who took their job seriously and added not only in-depth information but exuberance and levity.  It was truly a team effort and the public was certainly entertained.

    Now for the bad news.  It's hard to be objective on this issue because I myself, along with other cable access volunteers and board members have always provided taped coverage of youth sports.  It is always special when a youngster gets to see himself performing his favorite sport on TV and his name is on the lower third of the screen.  I have been personally involved with hundreds of games over the years strictly as a service to the community. (sorry, there is no way to say that without sounding self-serving).  However, we will not be taping the Falls Playoff game at the high school this weekend because the WIAA signed an agreement with a company that gives them exclusive rights.  Even though they don't have a crew to cover the game, they are not allowing anyone to tape or rebroadcast unless you pay a fee totaling $300 and turn the DVD over to them for sale on their website.  Part of the charge for the DVD goes to the school but that is minimal.  Part goes to the WIAA as does 85% of the gate receipts for the game Saturday.  And based on my knowledge of duplication costs, the lions share goes to the company running the website selling the DVD's.

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St. Mary Parish School Observation Day

St. Mary Parish School Observation Day

Come see us in action!

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Air Travel Is Not Fun Anymore

A few months ago I wrote about an unfortunate experience that I had on Midwest Airlines.  It caused me to be more than 12 hours late arriving at my destination.  I vowed to never use that airline again.

But, in February we had a family reunion planned at a ski resort near Bozeman, MT.  It worked out that the best way to get there was via Frontier Airlines, the major carrier in that area.  Frontier is now part of the corporate combination encompassing Frontier, Republic and Midwest.

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Offering 2-Day K3 and 3-Day K4 Programs at St. Mary's!

Our 8th graders have been wondering if the new students in the school are getting smaller each year. Well, they are!

We are excited to announce St. Mary Parish School’s new class additions for the 2010/11 school year!

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Basic Employee Service Costs Reach Nearly $85,000 a Year Per Employee

$85, 000 employee costs

For full disclosure, permission has been granted to copy and paste this press release on the Vanguard blog from the Davis for Trustee Campaign that I received.
State Election Officials have also been made aware of this.
I am a guest to this blog and think matters such as these need to be looked at by the Village Board.
No wonder our taxes are so high when the same services could be done a lot cheaper.

Menomonee Falls Trustee Candidate Calls for More Privatization of Village Services as Costs for an Average Employee Reaches Nearly $85,000 a Year
Menomonee Falls - In documents recently released to the public by the Menomonee Falls Village Government through an open records request, it has been revealed that the average annual cost to employ individuals to provide services such as grass mowing, picking up Christmas trees, street sweeping, brush pick up, park shelter restroom cleaning, leaf pick up or trimming shrubs and trees has reached nearly $85,000 a year per employee on average.
In learning of the revelation, Village Trustee Candidate Jefferson E. Davis commented:
"This trend can not continue and it is unsustainable as has been witnessed with what has happened to GM and Chrysler over the last few years as they have been bailed out by the taxpayers for extremely high salary and benefit employee costs.
Residents expect and deserve good services for what they pay in high property taxes.
Every effort has to be made by the Village Board to provide good services at an affordable cost.
These high costs are not the reflection of individual employees, but a system that has gone on too long without a proper check and balance.
$85,000 a year per average employee to provide basic services is no longer affordable when much more efficient and less costly options are available.
Village employees currently pay a very small portion for their benefits.
It's my understanding from reviewing the Village documents that the average employee who provides these services can make a base salary of $52,000 with an additional $23,000 for health and dental along with pension and social security benefits at $9,698.
These costs do not include the unused sick leave lump sum cash payouts for employees when they retire that average an additional $30,000-$40,000 per employee at retirement.
Unused sick leave lump sum cash payouts totaled $434,000 in 2009 alone bringing the total from the early '90's to nearly $3 million with another $2 million on the books that is an unfunded liability.
The Village Board established a new policy in 2009 for Village retirees to get free health care for 2 years in retirement that will cost taxpayers an additional $200,000.
A recent statewide survey of 452 communities by 3 University of Wisconsin Extension professors  ( shows that many communities are making the transition to the private sector for providing municipal services.
Some private sector services in the study provided for municipalities include street sweeping, snow plowing, horticultural efforts, brush pick up, utilities, park maintenance, etc.
Menomonee Falls has been successful in transitioning to the private sector for Village services such as boulevard maintenance, assessor's office, home inspection, garbage pick up, etc.
More can and should be done with the private sector to provide good services to lower property taxes.
The City of Nashville has their streets swept by the private sector ( and Menomonee Falls should too.
Taxpayers are now being asked to build an $18 million (with interest) public works garage. 
I believe we should put that project on hold until more information can be gathered to see if it is feasible to move more Village services to the private sector before we ask taxpayers for $18 million more dollars for something that we may not need with money that we do not have to impress people who really don't care."
For more information visit



A Gift Within the Pages of a Book

Africa, Children, Hearts in Unity, Seela, Tanzania, books

I tried to pick up and move my daughters backpack the other day and I just about threw my back out from the effort! 

Have you tried lifting the backpack of a middle school or high school student lately?  The backpack seams were straining against the pressure of the stack of thick textbooks, spiral notebooks and a myriad of school supplies.  I couldn't remember ever carrying that much weight in my own backpack -- even as a college student. 

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Local Students Compete in Regional Free Throw Contest

Congratulations to all communities who participated in the 2010 Southeast Park & Recreation Council's (SEPRC) Free Throw Contest.  Representing Menomonee Falls on Saturday, March 6 at West Allis Central High School were Joshua Barczak, Kristina Barczak and Matthew Peerson.  After shooting two rounds of free throws, all placed very well in their respective age groups.

Joshua Barczak - 2nd place - 3rd grade boys

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Alice in Wonderland

Those of you who know me know that I am a technogeek.  Satellite dishes, communications devices, computers and the like consume nearly every moment of my day.

Yesterday something new happened to me that had me muttering to myself that technology was passing me by.

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Last September, Falls Cable Access in cooperation with the Menomonee Falls Scholarship Foundation hosted the first ever Incredible Trivia Contest.  It was meant as a trial run so that the foundation board could see how much fun it was and raise some money for the Scholarship Foundation.  Immediately afterward most of the teams wanted to know if and when we were going to do it again.  Then I started getting calls from people who said they didn't know anything about it and wished they had entered a team.  Well now is your chance.  The Incredible Trivia Contest is being held once again at the Channel 14 studio on March 27th from 4 till 9 pm.  It is our plan to make March the home of this annual event.

Teams are forming right now and rivalries and traditions are already taking on the spirit of the competition.  Having been involved in the Stevens Point Trivia contest for 25 years (Incredible Trivia is modeled after that event) I can tell you the fun is infectious and the competition is for everyone.  A good team needs the following...1.  Channel 14 on Time Warner   2. 1 if not 2 computers on the INTERNET   3.  A couple of cell phones and land lines  4.  Players of all ages   5.  At least 3 or 4 players  6.  A sense of humor.  There is no limit to the size of the team and the registration cost is per team not per player.  Kind of like loading up the car for the drive in on carload night.  Hhmmm...note to self...Drive in theater question.

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$658 Tax/Fee Savings Plan for Every Homeowner Starting in 2011 and March 10th Chamber Trustee Forum Broadcasts

For full disclosure purposes, I am a reader of the Vanguard and have asked permission to post the attached press release from the Jefferson Davis for Trustee Campaign.

Davis is challenging 20-year incumbent Mike McDonald for Trustee Seat 4.

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Solo and Ensemble Festival 2010

We are excited to announce the Menomonee Falls School Districts Solo and Ensemble Festival on Saturday, March 20th, 2010 at North Middle School from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

On this day there will be over 500 performances from seventh to twelfth grade Band, Orchestra, and Choir students. These students will perform selections that they have been preparing under the guidance of the music directors. The selections range in difficulty from class A, B, to C, with a class A piece being the most difficult. The performances are then critiqued by a judge. This year’s event will host 14 guest judges. The Festival is a great opportunity for students to perform for a judge and get helpful suggestions on how to improve their playing in a performance setting. After the student is done performing their piece for the judge, the judge will then offer a couple suggestions on how to improve the performance and fill out a score sheet with comments that the student will receive later. On this score sheet, the student will receive a rating on their performance ranging from a 1 to a 3. Students that perform a class A piece have the opportunity to earn a 1* rating, which also gives them the chance to attend a special performance night, Night of Stars, and perform their selection one last time.

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Vote Today! Voter Information for School Board Candidates


Greetings Citizens of Menomonee Falls. This came to me via email and it is great advice if you are going on vacation soon.

Election day in Menomonee Falls is April 6th.  Many people may be going out of town for Easter Break.  Please remind them to get an absentee Ballot from Village Hall.  Phone number is 262-532-4200.  I think you can even go to Village Hall and vote in the days before the election.  There is a contested Village Board seat and the outcome will have an effect on Menomonee Falls future.

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One in Five People You Know Will Need a Blood Transfusion - Donate Today!

Menomonee Falls Community Education & Recreation in partnership with the Blood Center of Wisconsin is hosting a Community Blood Drive Monday, March 29 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM in rooms 102A & 102B of the Community Center.  The Blood Center of Wisconsin needs donors to help with this worthy cause.  Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome.  Schedule an appointment online at or call (262) 255-8460.

The Blood Center of Wisconsin is the sole supplier of blood, blood products, research and diagnostic laboratory testing for 54 hospitals in our SE Wisconsin 28 counties.  The 4 Waukesha County hospitals alone use over 20,000 components annually to meet the needs of our friends and loved ones.   

When considering whether to donate blood or not, ask yourself the following question..."In the event my loved one/friend needs a life-saving transfusion, would I not expect a safe & adequate blood supply to be there for him or her?"  One in every five people each of us knows will need a blood transfusion in our lifetime!  Help us help them on March 29.  Schedule an appointment today!   

Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Bass Pro Shop Project's "Lure" Puts Taxpayers on the "Hook" for $20.3 Million Through 2019

The attached press release was received by me from the Davis for Trustee Campaign.

Jefferson E. Davis is running for Village Board Trustee Seat 4.

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The Census - Astonishing

The people taking the census are working as hard as they can.  They are working as hard as they can to make sure that thir budget is all spent leaving nothing left over.

Several weeks ago I received my first piece of mail from them telling me to watch for another piece of mail coming in a few days.

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Captain Bud Wins Excellence Award

      It's a very busy week at Falls Cable Access this week.  In addition to the Emergency Management Drill that was taped Tuesday at the high school, the crew is busy putting together all the finishing touches on the Incredible Trivia Contest. 

     The contest starts on Saturday night at 4:00 and all are welcome to tune in and play along.  If you haven't registered I am afraid you won't be able to partake in all the fun, but you can try to keep score yourself and find the answers to the questions.  The last round ends at 9:00 and the winners announced in the studio shortly after.  There is plenty of surprises and a lot of old music that you won't hear on the radio.  Next year we expect the number of teams to triple and the competition to be even tougher.  All proceeds from the contest go to the Menomonee Falls Scholarship Foundation.  

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Possible retail sites in Waukesha County get cleanup grants

Brookfield, Menomonee Falls

Two former industrial sites in Waukesha County that might be redeveloped into separate retail projects, including one anchored by a Target discount store, have received state environmental cleanup grants.

The grants will be used to help pay for environmental work at the former Quebecor World printing plant site, at 12821 W. Blue Mound Road, Brookfield, and the former Western Industries site, south of Highway 45 and west of Pilgrim Road, in Menomonee Falls.

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Culver's Teams up with The Band Bunch

This Wednesday, March 31st, Culver's of Menomonee Falls will donate 10% of sales to the Menomonee Falls Band Bunch. 

All you need to do is present the coupon at the time of purchase and 10% will go to the Band Bunch! 

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