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GAB wants your voting experience feedback


Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) that oversees elections has made improvements to its website. Particular upgrades are in the complaints and comments section. Online forms allow voters to provide and describe details of suspicious activity at or around polling places.

You can see the upgraded GAB website here.

Vote to make your heart healthy

News you can use

Earlier this year, I urged more people learn CPR, writing, “
Less than 1/3 of individuals that suffer cardiac arrest, whether it occurs in the home, at work, or in pubic receive immediate, life-saving CPR from someone nearby.” The American Heart Association (AHA) has embarked on another vital campaign. 

Remindful that 2010 is an election year, AHA wants you to vote for heart health. It’s easy. In just a few minutes, you can learn about the condition of your heart and the steps you can take to improve your health.

AHA has developed Life’s Simple 7, an easy, inexpensive seven-step listing of measures to help live healthier. Their advice is worth taking.
AHA reports, “Heart disease alone is the leading cause of death in Wisconsin, accounting for 5,488 female deaths in 2007.” Heart disease strikes regardless of age, race, gender, or political party.

I am pleased to promote healthy lifestyles and encourage you to cast your heart health ballot by reading about My Life Check/ Live Better With Life’s Simple 7.

Give(rs) and take(rs)


Once upon a time, a little girl was informed that relationships are give and take.  She was also told that there was a prince, white horse and castle on the horizon.  Just like all other "once upon a times", this relationship was just a fairy tale, which rarely, if ever, come true.
Givers are few and far between.  We are instructed that it is better to give than receive, yet the writer of that fable was, and probably will always be, an imaginary enemy.  
It feels wonderful to help others IN NEED.  Yet, when it comes to helping others NOT in need, it eventually causes us to become disgruntled and feeling used.
Givers are genuine, kind and compassionate.  Some have the financial means to assist others in their time of need.  Others give their time and talents to ensure others are gaining in the wealth of independence.  Whatever the cause, a giver will always do what it takes to ensure the well being of others.
Takers are very similar to givers.  They receive joy out of taking, not just little, but much.    It is second hand nature to put their hand out for little or nothing.  They have absolutely no qualms about doing so; it is just the way it is.
Taking is a learned behavior.  It is instilled by individuals who are raising a society of self-indulgent children.  When parents fail to say no, set boundaries and limit gifts, there will eventually be hell to pay.
Ever notice a 2 year old throwing a fit in a store?  What is the reaction of some parents?  I would say that 50% will stop the tantrum with discipline and the other half will attempt to bribe the child with a toy, candy bar or item of their choice to prevent the behavior from continuing.  This child is groomed at a very young age that there is a payoff for every outburst and scream.  These children become takers and will do whatever it takes to torture their parents into a “yes”.  
With that said, how would one know if he or she is a genuine giver or a genuine taker?  
Givers receive joy from assisting others.  They volunteer, listen and give of themselves regarding financial, mental or emotional.  They are do-gooders and feel completely comfortable doing so.  Givers have pride, the kind of pride that avoids them falling into the “woe is me” trap.  They feel uncomfortable asking for favors, assistance or freebies.  Most would rather fix it themselves or pay a contractor rather than pick up the phone to ask a friend or family member for help.  If and when they do ask for a favor, they are a-ok with hearing the word “no” because they understand that other’s lives are just as busy.  
Takers are similar yet opposite as well.  They are pleasant, kind and wonderful.  They befriend as many as individuals as possible “just in case”.  They listen, embrace and do whatever it takes to get in your good graces.  Once in, it’s an open door policy to your time, talents and money.  
Takers, on the other hand, will not take no for an answer.  They don’t understand when you don’t have time, energy or money.  The concept of you having a job, school, family or surgery is insufficient compared to the fact they need a ride, loan or bail-out.    They will jump from family member to friend knowing they will eventually receive a final answer of “yes”.  They will beg, plead and use grandchildren against their own parents.  They will pit mother against daughter, father against son and spread rumors like wildfire. 
If you are a giver, and want to figure out how to spot a taker, learn how to say the word NO (with authority).  If the response of the taker is, “Why not, just one more time, come on, you’ve said yes before”, you know that you’ve hit the jackpot.  The minute a giver says no to a taker or sets a boundary, chances are the taker will eventually move onto their next victim and forgo your relationship altogether.
Relationships should never include more than honesty, listening, embracing, time and love.  Each person should be completely independent from one another regarding finances, housing, vehicle use and cell phones.  There should never be an imbalance of one doing for another.  As an example, if your friend needs a ride, feel free to give her one.  If you call her up for one in the future and she says no, not just once, but over a period of time, you have scored yet another taker.   Take heed, learn from it and proceed with caution.
That said, pay attention to your friends and family members.  Surround yourself with others who are givers and you will never be alone.  They will prove themselves to be at your side in your time of need.  And that, my friend, is the greatest gift of all. 

Will 2010 be the wake-up call for serious election reform?

After you fill out your ballot and it goes into the machine that accepts your vote, you exit the polling place brimming with pride and confidence that you performed civic duty, assured your vote is tallied.

Ideally, that should be the case. However, during 2010, there are not guarantees.

This year’s elections are marred by reports of voting irregularities, again raising questions about voting integrity and shaking the confidence placed in the election system.

Our neighbor to the south, Illinois experimented for the first time with absentee balloting not requiring an excuse. WLS-TV Chicago reported that a county election official admitted hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters expecting to receive requested ballots in the mail could be disenfranchised.

The station says 404,000 registered Illinois voters received vote-by-mail requests that were sent by the Illinois Democratic Coordinated Campaign (IDCC). Some voters contacted the station after noticing the return address was a PO Box for the IDCC instead of their local electi
on officials. IDCC’s response was it was entering ballot request information into its database before sending the mailings on to election authorities that mail voters their ballots. The process leaves open the possibility of ballots not being counted on time. In many cases, the IDCC entered the wrong birthdates on the registered voter's form.

A headline called the Illinois problems a glitch.   Do you think that might be an understatement? 

Imagine Joyce Ferrara’s surprise upon attempting to vote early at Clark County, Nevada. According to the San Francisco Examiner, Ferrara wanted to vote for U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, a Republican. However, her touch-screen voting machine had the name of Angle’s opponent Democrat Harry Reid already checked. Ferrara's husband had the same experience. So did other voters casting ballots at the same time as the Ferrara’s.

Poll workers at a location in Harris County, Texas reportedly instructed voters they could only vote Democrat at that particular polling place.

Voting machines are imperfect.
During the past decade, millions of dollars have been spent nationwide on new electronic voting systems to improve accuracy and dependability with the intent of eliminating hanging chads and miscounts. Lawrence Norden, a senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University gave a less than reassuring assessment during an interview with National Public Radio.

“These machines run on tens of thousands of lines of code, so inevitably, there are going to be software bugs,” said Norden. “What we haven't done nearly as much as we should be doing is, frankly, keeping track of these problems, following up on them and making sure that they're thoroughly investigated and that word gets out to all election officials when there are real problems. We don't have a federal agency that keeps track of most of the problems on the systems and is empowered to investigate them.”

Norden confirms, “There are all kinds of problems. The most serious problems are problems where voters are disenfranchised, where votes are not totaled correctly, where votes are dropped, where what are called phantom votes show up on the tally service. Whenever something like this happens, I think it, unfortunately, can shake people's faith in their voting systems.”

Generally, Norden believes most voting systems across the country work well with votes being counted accurately. However, the odds are that with so many machines in place, some inevitably break down causing long lines and tense situations in polling places.

Some may downplay the issue of voter fraud, but arrests have been made, prosecutions successful, violators caught on tape, and evidence is mounting in the form of voter registration cards containing false, incorrect, or duplicate information. Add it all up, and voters are angry, skeptical, even scared, scared their votes are being stolen.

A lessening of faith in our coveted election system, the best in the world, is a huge chink in our democracy armor. Voting only works with the system error-proof and honest. Citizens that cast ballots with qualms their votes may not be part of a final count illustrate a process that is broken and in need of repair.

America realizes it has voting problems. Unfortunately,  the locations of the breakdowns are difficult to predict. States must take proper precautionary measures to prevent serious errors. The serious problems of 2010 should serve as more than a wake-up call to once and for all clean up our elections, and clean them up before 2012.

Blockwatch Meeting

            The Greenfield Police Department will have a Blockwatch meeting at the Greenfield Law Enforcement Center located at 5300 W. Layton Avenue on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 4:00pm. Any resident interested in Block Watch is welcomed to attend. Current Blockwatch Captains are encouraged to be present. Officer Hoppe will be discussing the benefits to having a Block Watch, how to start a Blockwatch, current neighborhood crimes, and safety tips for the upcoming holiday season.   The meeting will last less than 1 hour and will allow for any questions regarding Blockwatch you may have. If you are interested in helping your neighbor reduce crime in your neighborhood then you should attend this meeting. 

Back To The Dirt

garden, outdoor activity, yard, fun

Gardening of all types is a life-long passion of mine.  In my past I was a Master Gardener with the UW Extension office, have done extensive landscaping projects of my own, plus I draw an occasional landscape plan, and give tons of free advice.

Ever since I was a little girl helping my dad while we weeded and planted flowers and veggies, I’ve loved to get out there and play in the dirt.  Recently I lived in a condo for a few years where I had very small flower beds to play around in, and I’ve really been missing having a yard.  I’ve felt so disconnected from it during the time I was living in my condo.  So… I just purchased a home here and am so excited to have a yard again! 

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To My "On The South Side" Readers

garden, So. Milwaukee, St. Francis, Oak Creek, Cudahy

To the readers of my "On the South Side" blog - I haven't disappeared, I'm just moving to the Greenfield and West Allis NOW websites and changing my topic to gardening.  It has been a pleasure writing my blog for you these past four years!  I hope I have helped you all find fun things to do.  Now it's on to my next project - creating a beautiful yard.


Thanks and Happy reading!

To Whom This May Concern,

     According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 information posted on, the state of Wisconsin was granted $141,056,206 to be spent on 297 projects within seven congressional districts. Continually focus is on influencing areas of the budget, which will encourage partnerships / building alliances with people and resource centers to increase jobs in our state. Given the large price tags per district listed below, how will the balance of these funds be allocated and to what projects? Thus far, how have these funds been dispersed? Who has been overseeing them to make sure they are being used for the purposes intended? 

ARRA Project Funding by Congressional District

District # of Projects Investment Rank*
2nd 199 $96,564,110
$736,423 259
4th 23 $10,524,985 129
5th 67 $32,636,372
6th 2
$220,432 306
7th 2
$343,060 296
8th 1
$30,824 336
State Total 297 $141,056,206 17

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Balloon Theory...

Within my circle of friends, many are at the age of retirement.  I have been to a few parties as a way of saying, “Thanks for being there for me, hope I was there for you”.

Upon entering an office recently, I found a “Congrats” balloon in the corner.  It had been in the party room of a recent retiree and had been overlooked.  Someone asked if I wanted it, and I said, “Sure, I’ll put it up by my desk”.  Little did I know the impact one balloon would make.

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High Speed Rail

 I'd appreciate some feedback/discussion on the pros/cons of High Speed Rail.  Would it be good for our area?  Why/Why Not?  Do you think there would be enough people using it?  Do you think it will provide for more jobs over the long term?    I don't know if there are "hard facts" on what percentage of the population would use this train system.  I tend to think that the funds, if we are allowed to keep them, could be put to better use and still produce jobs.   Thanks.

Greenfield Fire Department Post Event Report from "Fill-the-Boot"


Just received the quarterly paper from the MDA-"MDA Matters".  They have a listing of departments throughout the state that participated in the 2010 "Fill-the-Boot" event.  I thought you might like to know that we are the second highest money raiser in the state of Wisconsin; behind the City of Milwaukee.  for a department our size that is phenomenal!  The Greenfield Fire Department puts a high priority on fundraising for such a great cause.

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3rd place is really 2nd, if you don't acknowledge 1st

D-Day finally approached on Sunday, November 14th.  After obsessing for five weeks, it was finally time to put my chili - which I really did name "(Sponsor's Name Here)'s Non-Internet Chili" - to the test in the Taylor & Dunn's 3rd Annual Cool Beans Chili Cook-off.

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A Fall Favorite - Ornamental Kale

garden, yard, Fall, annual

As Fall brings freezing temps at night, annuals have all but disappeared, but that doesn't mean that your garden has to stop showing off.  There are some cold temperature hardy plants that provide beautiful color and interesting shapes during this season.  Ornamental kale is one of my favorites. 

With a heart of pinks, purples, and whites surrounded by curley leaves, ornamental kale is just getting started.  It will survive these frosty nights just fine and looks great next to your mums and fall asters.

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Holiday Tree Lighting

P&R Office, Community Events

The Annual Holiday Tree Lighting will take place at City Hall on Saturday, December 11th 1:00-2:00pm.  The Greenfield High School Choir will treat everyone to Holiday Carols before and after the tree lighting.  Santa Claus will also be available to meet with children after he finishes lighting the Holiday Tree, DON'T forget your camera!!!  Coffee & Hot Coco will be available throughout the program.

Gift-more Holidays

What would your children do if there were no gifts under the tree this year?  Who would feel worse, you or them?  Would anyone cry, rebel or retreat to their rooms to sleep off the depression and shock?  Would there be a protest of sorts, children holding signs, marching in a circle, “Santa does not live here”?   How guilty would you feel if you could not afford a single present this year?

With the holidays fast approaching, Black Friday right around the corner, what’s a parent to do?  The same thing as the year prior or grow some and set a limit regarding gifts?  

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Holiday Shopping Reminders


 Time to rerun some holiday shopping tips.


Keep Your Purse!

By Sergeant Peter Regenfelder
Friday, Nov 23 2007, 02:30 PM

The holiday season is coming up and the purse snatchers are already hard at work. This is a group of people I would really like to see unemployed! They are ruthless and mean! With your help, we can minimize the damage they do.

If possible ladies, leave your purse at home. If it’s not with you it cannot be taken from you. When you leave the house take what you need with you and put it in your pockets. A driver’s license, credit card, cash, keys and cell phone will fit in pants or jacket pockets.

If you feel the need to carry a purse, minimize the valuables in it. Don’t carry large sums of cash and take only the credit cards you need. When thieves steal purses they are looking for these two items. Cash can be saved and spent at leisure but credit cards get used quickly and for large purchases. This creates a financial nightmare for the victim. Leave jewelry and other valuables at home. Do not rely on your shoulder strap to keep your purse near you. Use a purse with a short handle and keep your purse in your hand.

Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to who is near you and who is taking a particular interest in you and your purse. If someone is making you uncomfortable and seems too interested in what you are doing, move away from them and keep your purse close. If this persists, tell a security guard or police officer. When driving home, pay attention to vehicles behind you as well as in front of you. There are thieves that will follow a victim home and steal from them when they get into their garage. If you feel you are being followed call the police or drive to your local police station. If you are not sure where that is, drive to a gas station and use a phone there. Gas stations usually have video surveillance and usually have a teller paying attention to the pumps.

If you plan your shopping adventure and only take what you need, you will minimize the chances of becoming a victim of a purse snatching.

Shop til you Drop Safely

By Sergeant Peter Regenfelder
Saturday, Dec 2 2006, 09:20 AM
The holiday season is upon us! Tis the season to go shopping! I would like to offer a few shopping tips in order to make the shopping season more enjoyable.

1) Clean out your trunk before leaving for your shopping experience. This will give you space to put your holiday goodies where they cannot be observed from the exterior of the vehicle.

2) If possible, only take the credit card you will use and a driver's license with you. These items can be placed in your pocket so you do not have to bring your purse with you. Purses are targets for thieves. If possible, leave them at home.

3) Preplan your shopping. Know where you are going. There are a lot of drivers on the road this time of year that are browsing while they drive and not paying enough attention to the road. If you know where you are going, you can concentrate on driving.

4) If you will be shopping until it gets dark, try and park where there are street lights or parking lights so that you will be in a lighted area when you return to your car.

5) If you are going to leave valuables in the car, keep them out of sight. Put them in the trunk or out of view under the seat.

6) While you shop, if you had to take your purse with you, keep it with you. Do not leave it in the cart while you select items from the shelf or try on clothing. It may not be there when it is time to check out.

7) When returning to your car with your holiday cheer, have your keys in your hand so you can access your vehicle quickly without searching for your keys. Also, do not leave your newly purchased gems unattended while you get the kids situated, start the car, unlock the driver's door, etc. It does not take long before those items could be gone.

8) Return home for some holiday nog and a foot massage from your significant other!

If you do become a victim of theft during your shopping experience, have emergency credit card phone numbers available so that you can cancel your account before the criminals have a chance to use it and call the police .

I hope these hints are helpful and make your holiday shopping experience more cheerful!

Making Miracles

Children's Miracle Network, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Disney, Speedway, Thanksgiving, miracles

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Disney World. It wasn't necessarily a trip we would have selected for ourselves - we don't particularly enjoy crowds, buses, flying on airplanes, screaming children, or $15 hamburgers. But we wanted the experience of having seen what all the Disney fuss was about.

The perfect opportunity arose this year, courtesy of Children's Miracle Network. Hubby works for Speedway and the company has raised millions of dollars for the charity over the years. My husband's store raised so much themselves that he won a trip for two to Disney to celebrate with Children's Miracle Network and other corporate sponsors. This little charity that began with Marie Osmond and John Schneider (yep, Bo Duke) has grown into a network of support for 170 hospitals around the U.S. and the world. In the past 27 years, they have raised nearly $4 billion dollars for the network hospitals to provide life changing care for children.

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Christmas Past and Present

 I understand that all the sales and stores open on Thanksgiving Day and/or opening really early or really late may be a great opportunity for people to find great bargains.  If you enjoy it, the more power to you.  I do not.  I'd rather hit the sales after Christmas (a few days after).  To me, the stress of dealing with crowds and some not so nice shoppers defeats the purpose of finding a deal.  I shop for gifts all year round.  My husband and I have lived simply and frugally for quite a few years now and it helps keep the stress level down.  We give homemade gifts, meaningful gifts and our time to friends and family.  And, that's not saying we feel everyone should do as we do.  Each and everyone one of us deals with the holidays in their own way.  Hopefully, each of us, individually, can make the holiday time special for ourselves as well as those around us.

Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day for me and my family (in the old days) meant going by grandma and grandpa's house for a great German feast.  The children sat at the "kid's table" in the kitchen and the adults sat in the dining room at the "adult table".  As the number of grandchildren grew, so did the size of the tables.  After the big meal, the women cleaned off the dining room table and met in the kitchen to wash and dry the dishes (there were no "fancy" dishwashers back then).   When that was done, most of the adults would again sit down at the dining room table to play sheepshead.  By that time, the younger kids were ready for naps.  The older kids either went outside to play or played a board game.  

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Frosty Fable at the Domes

annual, arts, community, events, fun, garden, holiday, music, parks

Experience the Mitchell Horticultural Conservatory under a holiday transformation, replete with hundreds of glistening crimson poinsettias and a beautifully decorated tree. Relish five concerts in December as part of the “Music Under Glass” winter series.

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Very slow moving Lightning Round

If we get a snowstorm tomorrow, people will complain that it would be too early in the season for it.  But really, December 1st is a prime day for snow.

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