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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Labor Day 2008...

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, U.S., Wisconsin

Labor Day has arrived and signals the 'end of summer' as nights get chillier and children and grandchildren go back to their respective schools.  Ideally, we will enjoy a luxurious fall season with leaves ablaze and many beautiful days before snowflakes once again arrive.

Labor Day was formally decreed across the United States in 1894 by then President Grover Cleveland.  The new federal holiday was swiftly approved by Congress and has been with us since.

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Village Buzz - September 2nd...

Education, Germantown, Political, School Board, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

Special Board Meeting Follow-Up...

The special board meeting to be convened at 5:30PM tonight deals, in part, with the Waste Management strike and garbage pick-up delays.  I received an email from President Kempinski over the week-end discussing my Village Buzz piece of late last week.

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I Don't Know About You, But...

Political, U.S.

I will vote for John McCain for President with a clear conscience where, I must confess, I had been feeling a little remorse because I would, for the first time in a long time, be voting for the 'lesser of evils'.  I am no longer voting for the lesser of evils.  I am a solid supporter and I love his VP selection.

Sarah Palin is like you and me.  She is a real person; she went to high school with other real people; she played ball like other real people.  She owns a gun and loves to hunt and fish.  She is educated as a journalist...but, I'll still cast my ballot proudly.

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The Passing Of A Father...

Potpourri, Quality of Life

I wrote a year ago about my friend John and his battle with cancer.  John and I had shared many cigars and many thoughts during that time.  Another mutual friend was also very attuned to John's battle in that his father had similar issues and had appeared to have won at least the first round with surgical removal of a small tumor near the pancreas.

I have just learned that Joel's father is now fighting what is most likely the last battle he will have in this life with the progression of that 'small' tumor.  Joel is with his father, also Joel, in Arizona as this is written.  He says that his Dad has lost some 70 pounds since Joel last saw him and is heavily medicated.

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Village Buzz - September 3rd...

Education, Germantown, MATC, Police, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

Special Board Meeting Follow-Up...

The special meeting of the village board was convened at 5:35PM with Trustee Zabel absent but expected soon thereafter.

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Village Buzz - September 4th...

Germantown, Police, Political, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz


After 10:00AM today, we can shop at the new Sendik's Food Market!  I know I will be pleased with the store and I hope that the new traffic will cause the empty spots to fill quickly.  Those who saw it during the pre-Grand opening party were very impressed.

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At The Risk Of Being Labeled...

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

At the risk of being labeled a "Slanted Republican Extremist", I have to say that I have seldom seen the enthusiasm amongst conservatives that I am seeing today following the speech by Sarah Palin last evening.  To set the record straight, by the way, I belong to no political party and believe my self to be a fiscal and social conservative.

That having been said, I was very impressed with Ms. Palin last night.  She strikes me as the person next door.  I think she strikes many Americans as the person next door.  She isn't the super-sophisticate that we see in the Speaker of the House.  She isn't the elitist we see in the Senate Majority Leader.  Sarah Palin is the person next door...and I hope she never changes.

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Village Buzz - September 5th...

Fire Department, Germantown, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz


My first visit this morning was fantastic.  These folks know how to do markets!  Every employee had a ready smile, each was willing to be helpful and created a great experience.  Prices seemed to be very competitive.  Food appearance was superb; selection seemed wonderful; ambiance was excellent...who could ask for anything more (great title for a song, huh)?

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Judicial Appointments...

Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

Judicial appointments have lagged this year...even more than last year.  Harry Reid, Majority Leader in the Senate, had promised in a June letter that he would "treat President Bush's judicial nominees with more respect than President Clinton's received from a Republican Senate".

He has until the end of September when this Congress calls it quits to live up to that commitment and it isn't at all likely to happen.  President Clinton, in his last two years in office, had 15 circuit judges and 57 district court judges confirmed.  As of today, the Democrat Senate under Harry Reid would need to confirm 5 additional circuit court judges and 9 district court judges just to equal that Republican Senate he decried.

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Primary Elections Tomorrow...

Germantown, Political, Village Buzz, Wisconsin

Remember that we have several contested races in the Germantown area.

Election day is tomorrow, September 9th, in your normal polling places.

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Newspapers Struggle To Survive...

Economy, Germantown, Potpourri, Quality of Life

I opined a few weeks ago about the state of newspapers across our country.  Much has gone into causing the problems faced by most of the major newspapers in the United States.  Increased costs for much of what makes up a newspaper are largely the fault of this dilemma.

This morning the "new" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel debuted in its 'smaller' size.  The Business section has been reduced largely be eliminating the full financial report in favor of stocks of local interest.  The 'B' section that was formerly tailored to various locales has been changed to the "Local" section providing a little news about most of the outlying area.  Other changes have been made but these struck me as the most visible.

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Village Buzz - September 9th...

Education, Germantown, Political, Quality of Life, School Board, Taxes, Village Buzz

Vote Today...

There is still time to vote.  Polls are open until 8:00PM.  I voted at about 10:30AM and was number 112 in my district.  Two contested races will be decided by today's vote.

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Primary Races Decided...

County Board, Germantown, Political, Wisconsin

Congressional 5th District...

Congressman Sensenbrenner (R) easily defeated challenger Burkee (R) by a vote of 47,157 (78%) to 13,083 (22%).  This race appeared to be quite competitive if all the pundits were to be believed.  Burkee started with a very conservative message that seemed to fade into a somewhat conservative message.  That very probably is what turned the tide.  That and the support of the Journal Sentinel and Shepherd Express for Burkee spelled the end to this challenge.

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7 Years Ago...

Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

It seems like yesterday that I watched in horror as the airplane carrying an untold number of innocents slammed into the second tower in Manhattan.  Our daughter and husband were visiting us and we simply sat in silence as the magnitude of what we were witnessing began to be felt and understood.

As that fateful day continued to unfold, we were made aware that our lives had changed...and probably would never again be what they had been before.  We prayed for those who had lost their lives and for those who were tasked with defending us from more of the same.

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Village Buzz - September 11th...

Germantown, Police, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

Bridges To Somewhere...

I asked Dave Schornack, Village Administrator, where we stood on the bridge completion dates for both the Lilac Lane bridge and the Freistadt Road bridge near Hwy 145/Fond du Lac Avenue.

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Village Buzz - September 12th...

Germantown, Quality of Life, Village Board, Village Buzz

Flogging A Deceased Equine? 

The Village Board agenda for Monday, September 15th includes another discussion on the Waste Management agreement.   This is as the result of the Board's direction to staff during the special meeting of a week or so ago.

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Palin Vs Gibson...

Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

The title speaks volumes.  There is no point to an interview between a 'journalist' and a candidate for high office where the 'journalist' has the mission of attempting to embarrass the candidate.  There should have been no need for the "vs" abbreviation in my title.

That is what is now being aired by ABC News.  The first increment can be seen here if you've missed it so far.

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Village Buzz - September 13th...

Germantown, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

Guest Blog - Police Chief Pete Hoell...

I felt, that as Chief of Police, I should probably chime in on this PD building project blog; I owe it to my staff and our citizens.

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According to Webster's open dictionary, this word means "of sight, to look through, see clearly".  I marvel at the many differing perspectives represented in just this simple Blog when all the comments are factored in to the mix.

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Village Buzz - September 15th...

Education, Germantown, Political, School Board, Village Buzz

Special School Board Meeting...

Tom Kertscher's article in the Journal Sentinel indicates that the school board will convene at 5:30PM today to consider referendum questions.

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Van Hollen Election Lawsuit...

Political, Quality of Life, Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Attorney General finally brought legal action against the Government Accountability Board concerning the voter database and lack of action to verify that those included are legitimately registered to vote in the November election.

That, of course, brought the response that one might've expected.  Governor Doyle hired an attorney, Lester Pines, to challenge this action.

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Village Buzz - September 16th...

County Board, Germantown, Political, Quality of Life, School Board, Taxes, Village Buzz

School District Referenda...

District residents will have the opportunity to make their wishes known with the news that two referenda items will appear on the local ballots.  The votes were unanimous with one member, Bruce Warnimont, absent from the special meeting.

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Change Of Pace...

Potpourri, Quality of Life

I recently picked up the copy of one of my favorite little books and re-read it.  It is "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten"  written by Robert Fulghum.

Here is everything we need to know:

        • Share everything
        • Play fair
        • Don't hit people
        • Put things back where you found them
        • Clean up your own mess
        • Don't take things that aren't yours
        • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody
        • Wash your hands before you eat
        • Flush
        • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you
        • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some
        • Take a nap every afternoon
        • When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together
        • Be aware of wonder

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Government-Run Health Care...

Healthcare, Political, Quality of Life, U.S., Wisconsin

Much is being written and discussed during this Presidential election period about health care reform.  Barack Obama prefers a government-run version of reform.  John McCain prefers a private market reform that would use tax law changes to accomplish nearly-universal coverage...the stated goal of both approaches.

I saw a news report this morning that serves as a great reminder of one of the things we need to be mindful of if we are going to move to government-run health care.  Here is that article:

Medco CEO argues for federally mandated end of life care protocols for Medicare patients.

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Village Buzz - September 17th...

Education, Germantown, Quality of Life, School Board, Taxes, Village Buzz

New School Support Group Formed... 

Tom Kertscher has written on JSOnline that a new group has been formed in Germantown for purposes of supporting the school referenda.

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Village Buzz - September 19th...

Fire Department, Germantown, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

Public Fire Protection Charges...

I received information from a Germantown resident who has asked that I not use the person's name.  I will certainly honor that request.  Both name and telephone number were provided.  This is not a trustee, by the way.

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Not Sure I Can Afford To Be More Patriotic...

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S.

I listened to Senator Joe Biden telling me and the rest of the country that those of us who pay income taxes needed to pay more.  He went on to tell me how patriotic that would make me feel.

Given that some 48% of Americans do not pay any income tax today, I guess they are being deprived of the patriotic feeling.

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The Ending Of A Life...

Potpourri, Quality of Life

I am troubled as I have not been for some time.  I received word late this past week that a friend had chosen to end his life rather than to go on.  He was human, as are we all.  He had suffered some losses and enjoyed some victories in the course of his life, as have we all.  I had no idea that this news might ever be provided with his name attached to it.  Then, I suspect we seldom do have that thought until too late.

He was divorced, as are nearly half of the people in our country today.  He had four children.  He had engaged in faith-based initiatives to help others.  He played golf with a group of friends and acquaintances.  He traveled to visit other friends and acquaintances occasionally.  He seemed in good health having emerged from prostate surgery a few years earlier with no appearances of trouble, at least as we who knew him were aware.

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Village Buzz - September 22nd...

Germantown, Political, Quality of Life, Village Board, Village Buzz

Election Follow-Up...

Chris Micka, Deputy Clerk for Germantown sent along some facts concerning the past Presidential elections so far as turn-out relating to an earlier posting about turn-out vis a vis the referenda issues.

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Village Buzz - September 23rd...

Germantown, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

Last Night's Special Meeting...

The reason for and results of the Board's special meeting last evening remain a tightly-held secret.  In spite of my digging, I have been unable to gather anything more than hypotheses and that is not something I would speculate about in this forum.

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How Much Is A Penny Worth?

Political, Potpourri, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S.

Lincoln's 200th birthday will see new 2009 pennies issued.  That raises the question as to why we still have pennies.  Is it to weigh down a lady's purse or cause a man's pocket to bulge and jingle?  Is it to fill all those glass jars in which people collect their unused pennies?

A Cox News Service article by Chris Megerian discussed some of the facts regarding pennies.

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Bailout or Boondoggle?

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S.

Our news is dominated by talk about the "bailout" that has been prompted by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market.  Even at its current value, the bailout supposedly carries a cost of nearly $2,400 for every man, woman and child in the country.

This hits us in the last 45 days or so of the race for the presidency of our country.  It hits when we face the election of those who will represent us in the House of Representatives for another two years. It is, as so much has been, being used as the proverbial "political football".  It also threatens to become the largest single "pork-barrel" conveyance we've seen in recent history.

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Village Buzz - September 24th...

Germantown, Political, Village Board, Village Buzz

Sidewalk Construction Question...

I received a question from a reader concerning recent sidewalk construction that you may have observed.  He was asking about the new sidewalk on the east side of Pilgrim Road south of Mequon Road, and about the walking path along Division Road on the south end of the village.

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Village Buzz - September 25th...Chap. 1

Germantown, Police, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

There will be two versions of the Village Buzz posted today given two relatively lengthy subjects each of which deserve a more detailed review.


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Village Buzz - September 25th...Chap. 2

Germantown, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

The "sidewalk" item in yesterday's Village Buzz referenced that I was seeking further information on the "as directed by elected officials" portion of the explanation from Daniel Naze, Village Engineer.

I really need to be sure that I want that for which I ask.  Trustee Dean Wolter sent me a six page e-mail that details the evolution of the sidewalk that now appears on the east side of Pilgrim Road south of Mequon Road.  I will gladly send that information to anyone who wishes to send me an e-mail requesting this information.

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Village Buzz - September 26th...

Germantown, Political, Quality of Life, School Board, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

"Your mission, should you decide to accept..."

That lead-in to the old Mission Impossible television show came to mind as I pondered today's Village Buzz topic possibilities.

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Counterintuitive Argument...

Education, Germantown, Political, Quality of Life, School Board, Taxes

The Sunday Journal Sentinel contains a story by Tom Kertscher that discusses the school referenda with interviews of Bruce Warnimont, school board member, and others representing both sides of the debate over a new elementary school and the operating cap 'forgiveness' that would permit an additional $500,000 for operations of the new school.

Mr. Warnimont is quoted as pointing out the potential, based on presumed increases in full day kindergarten enrollment, for the increases in state aid to offset or exceed the cost of the referenda issues on the property tax bills in the district.  He is very knowledgeable on such things and I do not presume to espouse a position, either pro or con, in this Blog.

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Village Buzz - September 29th...

Bridge work is done!

Wow; how nice to be able to cross the bridges on both Lilac Lane and Freistadt Road again without the detour.

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At The Root Of The Problem...

Sub-prime mortgages that were caused by the adoption of subsequent revisions of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), first passed in 1977, and that were forced upon lenders if they wanted to attain a solid 'score' when graded by the Federal agencies lie at the base of the toppling house of cards we witness today.

Continual averting of the eyes in Congress caused the toppling house of cards we witness today.  No one in their right mind would make many of the loans that were being made unless there were a ready guarantor and re-packager of those loans.  Those were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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Village Buzz - September 30th...

Germantown, Police, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

Germantown Police Department Building Follow-Up...

Several readers requested a timeline concerning the Germantown Police Department building process.  Chief Hoell had done just such a timeline for the Trustees and was kind enough to provide that for this piece:

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Equal Treatment?

Political, U.S.

I’ve been waiting to see the press and the media begin to pay attention to the other candidate for Vice President with the level of scrutiny displayed in their coverage of Sarah Palin.  I’ve been seeing Joe Biden goof up regularly, but I must’ve missed the ridiculing stories in the press and the guffaws in the rest of the media. 

Is it just me, or is there an unequal playing field? 

I must be wrong; I can’t imagine that Sarah Palin would be treated any more critically than Joe Biden is treated.  Why, if that were the case, wouldn’t it suggest bias on the part of the press and the media?  Certainly, that can’t be the case. 

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