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Menomonee Falls losing experienced leaders

April 15, 2014

A combined 24 years of experience will be lost as three people depart their roles as trustees on the Menomonee Falls Village Board.

Sharon Ellis reflected on her dozen years of service fondly, highlighting community development as a main focus throughout.

"The true meaning of trusteeship is when we begin to plant the seeds for shade trees we ourselves may never enjoy," she said, referencing a Quaker belief. "That really is our role as trustees."

Upon her departure, she challenged current and new trustees alike to remember the past when planning for the future.

"Please do not relinquish your vote to an association," she said, referring to the Menomonee Falls Taxpayer's Association. Incoming trustees Katie Kress and Chris Rolenc were endorsed by the association, which has said it "was formed to recruit and support local conservative candidates for local office."

"It's always important to look back and see what came before us, why the decisions were made, and (know) they weren't made quickly," said Ellis, who was originally elected in 2002.

Also elected in 2002, Dennis Farrell pointed to his work with the local Neighborhood Watch program as the legacy he was passionate about and hopes will remain a priority in the village.

"It's been an honor and privilege to serve," he said.

Village Board President Randy Newman said both Ellis and Farrell will be missed, adding that the community is a better place for their activity.

In addition to Ellis and Farrell, Newman said the board already misses longtime trustee Jim Jeskewitz, who passed away last year.

"We are seeing the impact of Jes more and more as we go throughout the months and everybody goes 'well, who used to do that?'" Newman said. "Well, that was Jes. There's a lot of that was Jes we have to fill a whole in this community." In recognition of his years of service to the village, the board will be planting a tree in his honor.

The Menomonee Falls School Board is also bidding farewell to Gina Palazarri, who opted not to run for a third term in the election held earlier this month.

She was recognized at the April 7 board meeting, where the board presented her with a Friend of Education award.

"While she has decided not to seek another term on the school board, the fruits of Gina's hard work will be a benefit to the district and community for years to come," said Superintendent Pat Greco. "Gina Palazzari, you are, without a doubt, a Friend of Education."

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Tree planting ceremony in honor of Jim Jeskewitz

WHEN: 4 p.m. Friday, May 2

WHERE: Old Falls Village, W15791 County Line Road

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