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"Hand"ling Things One-Pawed

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The top 15 things that I learned after hand surgery . . .

1. Flossing teeth is easier with two hands. I’m not a fan of those little plastic pick things with a small piece of string. 

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WFB Trustee Meeting 6/1

Trustees, Silver Spring

Here are some bullet points from the Whitefish Bay Trustee meeting last night:

  • The WFB Library Director has resigned. A search will commence to find a replacement.
  • The Shorewood/WFB Health Officer, Cindy Tomasello presented the "Community Health Plan" to the Board. Generally speaking, Whitefish Bay is doing pretty well with its health, but we need to exercise more and eat our vegetables. (I'll get right on that.)
  • We were given a presentation on the "CMOM" plan, which is required by law to describe our capacity/management/operation/maintenance of WFB's sewer system.
  • Finally, we approved the contract to hire Jennifer Heise to provide WFB with Retail Recruiting Services.
    The work includes recruiting merchants to WFB (Silver Spring,) maintaining an inventory of vacancies, creating materials for recruiting, contacting brokers, contacting businesses, etc.

    Heise will be providing roughly the same services as the Kilduff group, which the Village hired in 2008 for a "six month experiment." Mostly, the difference is that Heise is paid an hourly rate, up to 40 hours per month, and will be significantly less expensive.

    This is a good match, as Jennifer Heise is currently working as the marketing director for the Whitefish Bay BID. Personally, I'm very pleased to see this hiring. I realize this isn't a magic bullet for Silver Spring's woes -- none exist, but believe it is part of the solution. This is a relatively inexpensive way to coordinate and promote business in our Village.

    Here's another plug for the Silver Spring Drive website:

  • One final note .. we need you. Whitefish Bay still has two committee openings.

    One is for an alternate on the powerful Board of Appeals, the other opening is on the Library Board. Each of these committees meet just once per month.

    You can contact myself, or Village Hall for more information. Click here for an application.


As President Obama visits the Middle East, there is a heightened alarm for his safety.  True, militants in that area of the world call for special protection.  But extreme self-centered people or warped moralists exist worldwide, including the U.S. 

First, Barack Obama conducts his daily, regular life more as a normal guy than past presidents who took on inflated or imperial lifestyles.  This means a visit to a fast food or modest restaurant exposes him to great danger.  He will be protected more in the Middle East, but the nature of the man is out among the people.

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"Most" Historic WFB home to be Demolished?

Historic Preservation, Demolition

The Village Trustees received a letter this week serving as Notice of Intent to Demolish the home at 920-922 E. Sylvan Avenue from Dan & Lisa Hess, who own the property and live next door.

The Hesses plan to demolish the property and not re-build on the land, keeping it as an "undeveloped lot for now."

The house at 920-922 Sylvan (a duplex) just happens to be one of the most historic homes in Whitefish Bay. The WFB Historic Preservation Commission has lengthy documentation on the home, and has written about it in their "Preserving our Past" column, on the website. Click here to view the entire article.

The Frederick G. Isenring Residence

This stately, vernacular residence sits on a lot adjacent to the Whitefish Bay station of the North Shore Fire Department.

Built in 1892 for the first Village President, in the year he assumed office, it was originally located next to Village Hall on Fleetwood Place.

The house was relocated to its present location at 920-922 East Sylvan Avenue by Dr. Williams, the Village Health Officer, who acquired the house following Isenring's mysterious departure.

Isenring was one of the 35 individuals that joined together to incorporate the Village, severing ties from the Town of East Milwaukee. In addition to serving as the Village's first president, he also represented the Village on the Milwaukee County Board. Given his civic and real estate activities in Whitefish Bay, it could be argued that he did more than anyone else to develop the Village.

When I mentioned this to my wife, she retorted with "well, you're so big on homeowner rights, why do you care?"

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Another Sham of a State Budget

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes, climate change, climate change

The joint finance committee of the Wisconsin state legislature should be voted out of office. The kinds of items that be placed in the next budget for this state can only be considered as stupid, idiotic, and other adjectives like these. When battling with the 6 1/2 billion dollar deficit, they chose to only increase the spending by about 6 1/2%. With revenue falling because of the recession, because of Jim Doyle's mishandling of the business climate in this state, and the desire to be ahead of the curve on socialization of the economy, we are going to be headed to an even worse situation in two years. Be prepared.

Now the question becomes: will the rest of the assembly have enough common sense, courageous, and backbone to correct it? I'm not optimistic. The state sales tax is now becoming the only tax not raised by the Doyle administration. Since 2003 everything else has gone up. With the economic climate what it is, one would think that the state legislature would be looking for ways to responsibly cut spending. But it hasn't.

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WFB Vandalism

Crime, Police

Last Tuesday, June 2nd, Whitefish Bay (and Shorewood and Glendale) experienced a rash of vandalism incidents.

In Whitefish Bay, 11 vehicles had a window smashed, including the back window of my car, causing a whopping $3,500 in damage. It wasn't just a broken window, they poked a hole in the tailgate.

To be honest, my first thought was that the blog had pissed someone off, but after the police came to investigate, it was apparent that this was a random act by one or more juvenile delinquents who thought smashing windows, causing $10s of thousands of dollars in damage would be a whole lot of fun.

The officer who came to my house, explained that a rock had been thrown so hard through one window in a home, it penetrated the dry wall. Sounds like a sling-shot projectile.

The following WFB locations had a vehicle window shattered by a rock on Tuesday, 06/02/09:

4900 blk N. Woodruff St.
4700 block N. Newhall St.
5200 block N. Lydell Ave.
5100 block N. Marlborough Dr.
5000 block N. Lake Dr.
5400 block N. Kent.
4800 block N. Newhall St.
100 block E. Fairmount
4600 block N. Sheffield Ave.
1800 block E. Hampton Rd.
1500 E. Hampton Rd.

On the WFB PD Recent Crime page, they have the following clue:
- Dark blue import sedan (possibly a Honda Accord) mid 1990's body style. Young white male driver.

From Shorewood's website, they had 2 homes and 2 vehicles vandalized. Glendale's count is unknown.

So .. if you know anything, saw anything, know of kids playing with sling-shots, please contact the WFB police department.

I'd personally appreciate it.


And in 1991 Clarence Thomas was put forth by a Republican president as a minority Supreme Court judge   to garner black support by conservatives (never mind that Thomas sold his soul to the right-wing).

And Ginsberg and O'Connor were nominated, one by a Repubican and one by a Democrat President,  to have women on the Supreme Court who supposedly understood women's issues (and to hopefully gain female support for the respective party).

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America's Wrong Direction

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

When President Obama says he does not want to run the automobile industry, you can count on that-to be a lie. When President Obama says he does not want to run General Motors, his actions speak to the contrary. He began by forcing out General Motors Chairman Richard Waggoner. He then ordered a restructuring of the company to include ending half its brands and laying off about 20,000 people in the meantime. General Motors will now be forced to manufacture small, cheap, unsafe cars that America does not want. However, the liberal agenda will force them on the marketplace giving us no other choice than to buy these small, cheap, unsafe cars. It will be a political victory similar to what happened in Germany in the 1930s. The Germans were all happy with the Volkswagen beetle.

Just days after the Obama administration's promoters were going out telling how well the stimulus package has worked in America by slowing down the job losses, they will now adjust their plans to give us more of the same. More of the same deficit spending. They will be moving up the scheduling of the shovel ready projects. The administration will be rebuilding America's airports while the industry goes out of business. Because of the high fuel prices, no one will be able to fly. The administration will be re-building America's roads. But we will not be able to buy cars. All roads will lead to nowhere.

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WFB School Drug Search follow up

Crime, Police, Drugs, School

As a follow up to last Friday's lock-down/drug dog search of the WFB Middle & High Schools .. I received some interesting feedback from someone wiser in law enforcement matters.

While no drugs were found, no arrests were made, a search like this is still successful for other reasons:

  • The search has an effect on students and parents who now know the community is serious about the drug issue.
  • Drug dealers may be induced to move their operations away from the school. While they still may sell elsewhere, any reduction in drug transactions at school is a win-win, as the casual or new drug user will not necessarily have easy access.

    Instead of getting drugs in the hallway, they now may need to travel elsewhere. It can be done, of course, but having to go off-site may tip the scales on middle schooler or underclassmen who are so inclined. We are talking about young teens here.
  • While the drug searches on Friday took a great amount of resources from not only the WFB PD, but a score of other officers from surrounding communities, one benefit to the various PDs, is they earned experience in locking down two schools simultaneously.

    (Heaven forbid that skill is necessary in the future, but training like this is actually very valuable.)
  • It was mentioned that only lockers were searched. It is possible, of course, to do random classroom searches, or of parked cars, but that takes more resources, dogs, and officers alike. The only trouble with that is .. both the Middle School and HS were searched simultaneously. I'm not sure the what the rationale was for the dual search. I do wonder if they could have searched more ground had they chosen just one school to search.

Limbaugh-Cheney-Gingrich. 3 Blind Mice

Let's take the three hypocrites who now lead the Republican Pary one by one.  Sarah Palin is left out because the GOP decision-makers have decided to keep her out of the major spotlights because she tends to put her foot in her mouth regularly (not to mention the chauvanism of the Republican Pary).    So, let us review some things about each of the three acknowledged right-wing leaders...[remember, that the most damning thing about them is their phony high moral countenenance]...

Rush Limbaugh.  His criticism of the liberals and his so-called adherence to the law was certainly challenged when he tried to enter the United States from Mexico with illegal drugs in his possession.  Oops.  Of course his irresponsible statements hoping the President of the United States fails, no matter what the circumstances or consequences, should once and for all make a mockery of everything he says.  But it hasn't, and he remains a stalwart in Republican circles.  It is difficult for an old rake to turn over a new leaf.

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State Democrats are Torturing Us

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

Democrats generally think of themselves as being better than everybody else. This is because they blame all of their problems on the Bush administration and being anti-Bush than simply makes them better. In their opinions.

That attitude in some form has worked its way into the state assembly. Like Congress, they have a higher majority than they have had in years and although they campaigned on a promise of bipartisanship, compromise for them is only if Republicans surrender their ideas and ideals and begin to think like the Liberals. They spend money they haven't got, and raising taxes bring such glee to their lives they don't need an afterlife.

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Watching President Barack Obama give a speech and respond to questions from the audience in Green Bay, Wisconsin was electrifying.  His comfort zone with the office is truly amazing.  He has wit, insight, intellect, background, stats, style, and relates to people from all walks of life.  And his humor is always present.  He is very special.  I  hope enough people give him a chance to right the ship of state before judging him.  He has inherited a horrible legacy from the past several presidents.  There was a steep nosedive haunting the office of President when he took office just a short while ago. 

Tackling all these delayed issues head-on takes guts, folks.  It would be easier to do what recent past presidents have done and simply pass the ever-growing problems on to the next president.  He has chosen not to do that.  We shall all have to make sacrifices if we are going to get out of this abyss in domestic and foreign policy matters.

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Why isn't my TV working?

 This is really frustrating.  I went to sleep last night and the television was working fine.  Norm MacDonald had just come out to greet Conan O'Brien on the Tonight Show.  I vaguely recall my wife that floating state between awake and asleep...grab the remote.  I didn't think much of it at the time.

But when I woke up. nothing worked.  No Matt Lauer.  No Diane Sawyer.  Just snow.  In June.

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Wisconsin Budget - Just Appalling


(Note: The below does not pertain to Whitefish Bay. But it's a topic many of us care about. If you don't care to read my opinion on the State of Wisconsin's budget and how it will affect citizens in Whitefish Bay, stop reading now.)

On reading the Sunday paper, the MJS had 45 bullet points on the 2009-2011 Wisconsin State budget, passed by the Joint Finance Committee, now going to the Assembly and Senate for passage.

With this budget, the fiscal mis-management of Wisconsin has really reached epic heights. It is simply appalling.

7% spending increase over the last budget, that oh, by the way, was $6.6b in deficit because of the recession already?

I mean, they're kidding, right? If there were any year to reign in spending, this would be it, but instead, the Wisconsin Legislature is going to spend 7% more in this budget than the last budget. This despite the 9.4% unemployment rate, and 290,000 Wisconsinites out of work. Tax revenues way down, deficits way up. Let's spend more!

I realize the state is receiving $3.7B in Federal stimulus spending cash but that is OVER THREE YEARS. That accounts for a small portion of the total proposed increase.

So I read through the 45 bullet point list in the Journal Sentinel and wondered .. if each were put up to a referendum vote in Wisconsin, how many would fail? Here are my guesses:

  • Milwaukee County 1% sales tax increase, costing each household an average of $228 per year? - FAIL.
  • Phone-line charge - It seems small at 75 cents/month per line, but families with 2-3-4-5 phone lines, that's $18-45/year in extra tax that adds up to $100m more in cell phone bills. FAIL.
  • A new 7.75% tax rate might pass to "stick it to the rich" but the provision to tax Capital Gains more would fail, as the number of folks with investments is high. - FAIL
  • Stealing $205M from the gas-tax transportation fund to spend on non-transportation items: Gas taxes are for roads. Period. FAIL
  • Illegal Immigrants getting drivers' licenses? I believe that would fail a popular vote.
  • Abolish QEO - Most agree that teachers are wonderful. I'm married to one. But we all know the QEO is a brake on the compensation expense that consumes the largest portion of school dollars. With revenue caps in place, the school funding revenue pie does not increase. If the QEO is eliminated, all it means is teachers get more of the same size pie, forcing other programs to be shut (quicker) and in the long run, property taxes would go up. FAIL.
  • Taxing Oil Companies - It sounds like a good idea, sticking it to oil companies, but I've heard those oil guys have pretty smart lawyers and accountants who can figure out how, duh, to pass on expenses to the consumers. FAIL. (Although who knows, maybe enough people wouldn't think this through.)
  • Postpone bond payments, instead only pay interest : In hopes that people realize, if you never pay principle, you never pay back debt. This is just a way for today's politicians to push off today's problems to the future. FAIL.
  • Early release of "non violent" prisoners: Example .. Say Whitefish Bay has a couple of drug dealers who get sent to prison. Want to let them out early? Anyone? FAIL.
  • Reduce GPS Monitoring of sex-offenders so that their locations aren't monitored moment by moment, but instead, just once daily!? Are they kidding? What good does that do, to know where a sex offender is once per day, then hope they are in the right spot for the other 23 hours per day? FAIL.
  • Increase garbage tipping fee: Sure, we think charging Illinois extra dough for dumping their garbage in our state is a dandy idea. But that hits everyone in Wisconsin as well. Want the Village to pay more for your garbage collection, pass that to you? FAIL.
  • Change state law in civil-damage cases to allow someone found to be 20% at fault to be ordered to pay 100% of damages. This may sound arcane to most folks, but it will absolutely increase our insurance rates, and only benefits people and lawyers who want to sue those with deep pockets. Can you imagine being 20% at fault, but having to pay 100% of damages? Just not fair. FAIL. (As an example, read this article about how this could put all ski hills out of business.)
  • Earmarks: 29 projects, including 20 for $100,000 or more. You've got to be kidding. We're in a recession, scrapping for every dime. $13 million for the Wisconsin Rapids Armory? $4m for planning a museum in Madison? $500k for an opera house in Oshkosh? $100k for a Stone Barn in Oconto?

    Luxuries are always nice, but this is not the year: SUPER FAIL. Every one of those items should be stripped out.

I really find the above an amazing list of unpopular items. How do our legislators get away with this stuff?

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After oh, so many years of Tommy Thompson giving away the store to big corporate interests, what we have now is giving it away to a different set of interests.  Bringing a majority into the Wisconsin legislature, the Democrats have had a marvelous opportunity to save the state from the horrors of Tommy Thompson's giveaways, and to re-establish the stable, responsible government of past Democratic majorities.  Instead they dropped the ball badly, and sold out to special interests and parochial segments of the state.

Governor Doyle is worse than no help.  Wisconsin voters elected the wrong Democrat.

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It's Not All Greek To Me! (a review of Gyro Palace) ** updated: Does Roasted Nuts have a Greek Restaurant Muse?

 Growing up, greek meant Mel Brooks' History of the World Part I and Animal House (TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!).  Years later, settling in Glendale, I've often been asked if I thought anything was missing.  To that, I've replied, simply, yes:  a Greek restaurant.  Now that Glendale is complete, I have no reason ever to leave again. 

See I never lived on the east side, but I used to hang out there all the time.  I've been to Greek Town in Chicago numerous times, too.  Quite simply, I love Greek food.

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Pay as You Go Where?

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes, taxes

Six months after spending more money in that six months than other administrations have spent an entire term,(even adjusted for inflation,) President Barack Obama is now going to revert back to his campaign promise of pay-as-you-go. Extra in one area would be counterbalanced by cuts in other areas or by tax increases. Democrats are going to love that last part.

We have already reached the point where we are borrowing half of the federal budget. We have quadrupled the annual deficit. Democrats are not going to stop spending. They believe their over bloated bureaucracies are now paying for necessities of all Americans. It was easy to convince people that they should now be getting a handout for doing the exact same things they have done for years. Don't want to work? Here's money for staying home. Can't pay your mortgage? Here's money to reward you for not being able to budget. Got no skills or goals? Here's money for schooling. The list goes on...

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A bicycle is a legal vehicle whose operator is required to follow all traffic laws. This means stopping for stop signs and red lights if traveling in the street and riding on the same side of the road as other traffic that is going in the same direction. Bicyclists must be treated as equal users by all other vehicles.

Bicycles are particularly vulnerable among road vehicles. There are several simple things bicyclists can do to greatly reduce their risk of crash, death or injury.

The best way is to avoid common bicyclist errors or to be prepared to avoid common motorist errors committed around bicyclists.

Riding Tips:

Wear bright colors during the day and retro-reflective items at night along with headlight and taillight to increase your visibility to other road users.

Wear a bicycle helmet on every ride to reduce your chance of head injury in event of a fall or crash. Most serious injuries from a fall or crash are to the head and most frequently, the forehead, so wear helmet level with the ground, just above the eyebrows.

Be aware of changing road surfaces, new construction or unusual barriers on the roadway, distracters for both you and other vehicle operators.

Leaves can be slippery in the early morning and are a hazard even when slightly damp. Distractions such as dogs, wild animals and even humans can draw attention from the roadway and lead to a crash. Expect them.

Motorist Reminders:

Bicycles are vehicles. They belong on the road.

Cyclists need room to get around potholes, sewer grates and other obstructions.

Leave at least three feet when passing bicycles, more room at higher speeds.

Change lanes to pass any bicycle traveling in a narrow lane.

Train yourself to scan for fast moving (it's hard to tell speed) bicycles and motorcycles in the opposing lane to you when turning left, and scan sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians and bicyclists using the sidewalk and crosswalk as a pedestrian. Always scan to your right side sidewalk before you leave a stop light or stop sign and to the left and right side sidewalks when on a one-way street.

Speeding in Subdivisions - A Real Danger

With summer soon approaching and more people becoming active outdoors, it is imperative that drivers be more cognizant of their speed especially in subdivisions. Their will be more children outside, more people will be outdoors walking, jogging, riding bicycles, out with their pets, doing yard work or simply outside enjoying day Even traveling at the residential speed limit of 25 mph, a car covers 36.66 feet per second. Most people require one to three seconds to react. Under these circumstances, a car will travel between 37 and 110 feet before a driver reacts. This does not take into account the mechanical condition, brakes, tires, etc, of the vehicle driven or weather conditions. This means that when driving the speed limit, reacting within one second with a perfectly tuned vehicle on a dry sunny day your vehicle will travel up to 37 feet before stopping.

If you need to get somewhere, leave a little early to give yourself enough time to get to you location safely. Drive safe and have a pleasant summer.

Traffic Speed Monitoring - Speed Trailer

The Brown Deer Police Department has a speed trailer that has the ability to count traffic, detect speed and it maintains date and times of vehicle traffic so the police department can direct their enforcement actions consistent with vehicle traffic patterns. The speed trailer can also be used for traffic counts for other Village departments to determine if there is a need for street changes or possible sign changes. For more information or questions regarding the speed trailer or a request for the trailer to be temporarily placed on a road in your area (within the Village) call the Police Department at 371-2900

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