Here's a web site that allows you to compare Wisconsin hospital procedure costs. PricePoint.com.
PricePoint provides the average per hospital prices for most of the hospitals in Wisconsin. This includes the prices for child birth and maternity, pneumonia, appendectomy, rehabilitation, hip and knee procedures, gall bladder surgery, heart care, and many, many more.
What's the key to revitalizing South Milwaukee's downtown?
That's a question I've often asked myself as I've driven up Milwaukee Avenue, the heart of South Milwaukee, and noticed all the vacant storefronts and buildings in need of a little TLC, For as long as I've lived in South Milwaukee, our downtown has suffered from what I see as a lack of a long-term development plan on the part of city officials. Businesses have come and gone, often opening and closing in the blink of an eye (anyone remember Chevy's Diner?), and it's disappointing to see South Milwaukee's downtown continue to languish. When I look at South Milwaukee's downtown, I see tremendous room for improvement, but I see little resolve from South Milwaukee's elected officials to really focus on developing what could be a great main street for our community.
Every Saturday I will be posting a music video of music you might not have heard before as a way to introduce new music that like recipes are true and tried. Music might be older songs or newer ones that are mainly off the normal mainstream path. Give them a shot and maybe you might find something of value. Where possible I will include where you can buy it from.
I've written a lot about the 2008 state assembly race over at my other blog, and I've often wondered if anyone will step up to run against incumbent State Representative Mark Honadel in 2010. Rep. Honadel ran unopposed twice before Glen Brower stepped up and gave him a challenger in 2008, and with Brower uncommitted to another run for the State Assembly, I'm wondering if any brave soul will step up and give Rep. Honadel a challenger in 2010. I've heard rumblings Rep. Chris Sinicki and Sen. Jeff Plale may very well have challengers from within their party in 2010 (more on that in another blog entry), but I've not heard anything about a possible challenger to Rep. Honadel, either from within his party or from a Democrat.
Despite Glen Brower's loss in 2008, I firmly believe the 21st Assembly District is a district that's winnable for a smart, pragmatic, moderate Democrat, provided there's a Democrat out there who fits that description and is willing to run. What I'm wondering is if that Democrat is Glen Brower, or if it's someone else. Brower came darn close to winning in 2008, proving that the 21st AD is more competitive than some might think, but I think money will end up being the deciding factor for anyone who even considers challenging Rep. Honadel. Running a respectable Assembly campaign is going to cost somewhere between thirty to fourty thousand dollars, and raising that kind of money would be no small feat, especially given the current state of the economy.
For those of you that are wondering when your favorite TV show will be renewed or dumped, the major broadcast networks announce their 2009-2010 primetime schedules on these dates:
Kids, parents and grandparents, mark May 12 on your calendars for an evening of great stories and fantastical pictures. That's when South Milwaukee children's author Janet Halfmann along with fellow author Gibbs Davis and children's book illustrators Carol Schwartz and Jeff Miracola will entertain young and others with tales and art at the South Milwaukee Library from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. If that isn't incentive enough, the evening will include games, prizes and cookies.
The authors and illustrators will also have their books available for sale and signing. Among those treasures are:
Every year my sister and I pose this question to each other. That is because we have to figure out what to do for our mother. I'd rather take what I thought was the easy route, take her out to brunch, try to get everyone in the family to show up too, and call it a day. That way I don't have to cook! But it gets less easy each year because then there is a big deal about where to go, the cost, and reservations. Not so easy anymore.
This year my sister made it easy for me - she said she'd do a cookout at her house and that all I have to do is bring a salad. Sounds easy to me. She volunteered without any prompting, naming the time, and planning what they are cooking. Great! I'm off the hook on the planning part. We'll have to wait to see how it goes on Sunday. Watch it rain! Sorry sis!
As first reported by Julie Ann Marra of South Milwaukee NOW, the South Milwaukee school district wants to spend $30,000 in federal stimulus money for an early childhood curriculum consultant to assist in better aligning the 4-year-old curriculum with the rest of the grades. At face value, that sounds like a reasonable way to spend $30,000, but what I'm wondering is why the South Milwaukee school district would spend tens of thousands of dollars to hire a curriculum consultant when the district currently pays $102,459 for a full-time Director of Instruction, Rita Olson, who if I recall also possesses a PhD. So here's the question: why does the South Milwaukee school district need to spend $30,000 on a curriculum consultant if they've got a full-time staff member (and a well-paid one at that) whose job responsibilities include all issues related to the curriculum used throughout the district? Is Rita Olson incapable of aligning the 4-year-old curriculum with the rest of the grades on her own? If so, then why is she being paid over one hundred thousand dollars a year to handle the district's curriculum?
It's a shame the school district wants to spend $30,000 in federal stimulus money - money that could have been spent in any number of ways to better benefit the school district - to hire a curriculum consultant to do a job that the district's Director of Instruction should be able to handle on her own. Seems like money not well spent to me...
There is lots of bicycle- and music-related news to report this week.
First, the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) Miller Lite Ride for the Arts will once again be held on Sunday, June 7th. This ride offers bicyclists a 15, 25, 50 or 75 mile course. I have done the 25, 50 and 75 mile rides in past years. I always look forward to this ride. The weather always seems to be nice this weekend and everyone seems to enjoy the ride. For more info visit www.millerliteride.com .
Great news for South Milwaukee's own children's author Janet Halfmann. She learned recently that her nonfiction book, Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story, made the Bank Street College list of Best Children's Books of the Year. She's thrilled, to say the least, and needless say all of her friends and family -- and perhaps even those who don't know her -- are thrilled for her.
The following from South Milwaukee's own Garlic Mustard Pickers' Don Lawson:
The Garlic Mustard Pickers have two gigs in May.
Sunday, May 17th
Lakefront Brewery (2nd floor)
1872 Commerce Street, Milwaukee
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about an open records request I made to get a full and accurate accounting of all the pay raises received by administrators within the South Milwaukee School District over the past four years. Shortly after that blog entry, I finally received the information I requested, and after reviewing the pay raises administrators for the school district of South Milwaukee have received over the past four years, all I can say is I'm thinking I'd like to get the kinds of raises administrators are getting in South Milwaukee. Here's a list of the raises administrators have received over the past four years:
There are plenty of Italian restaurants around here, and Barbiere's opened up a new location in downtown South Milwaukee just recently. Out of curiosity, I took my mom there Saturday for dinner. I've eaten at their other location before, and their food has always been very good.
Their storefront used to be a small lunchtime deli type place that was only open during the noon hour to serve the Bucyrus Erie lunch crowd. I had asked the store owner once why they didn't stay open for dinner and he said that they only wanted to concentrate on the lunch crowd. South Milwaukee is a tough place to have a restaurant it seems, as many don't stay very long. My thought is, if you want customers, you need to be open at the times that people want to eat - which means dinner time and beyond.
OK, so it wasn't first place, but the honorable mention "Anatomy of a Trial" received on Saturday from the Council for Wisconsin Writers was certainly gratifying. Turns out, I was in pretty rarified company for the awards luncheon held at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee.
Bunnies and turtles and deer, on my! Lots of animals -- or at least their tails -- paraded around South Milwaukee Library's second floor children's section last night as Janet Halfmann invited kids to help enact her award-winning book, "Little Skink's Tail."
Janet very cleverly tied homemade tails of, not just rabbits, turtles and whitetail deer, but owls, skunks, porcupines and squirrels, onto youngsters and grownups, then had them hoot, scamper, hop, crawl and wag their way through her story as she read aloud to a crowd of about 50 children, parents and grandparents.
Recently I was at a friend's house, visiting her family, and chatting. While we were talking, I saw her 16 year old son doing his homework. He was at his computer, finishing his homework, and typing away at his 10 page paper. He was using the Windows free word processor Word Pad because his computer did not have a licensed version of Microsoft Word and he didn't know how else to write his paper. Eventually, panic came across his face when realized that he could not format his paper to the requirements that his teacher wanted - that Word Pad would not work with this paper. He needed to think of something else. Panic. His head hit the desk.
That's when two things happened: I showed him the Google Docs application. I asked him why he did not know about this already!
Though I didn't blog about it at the time, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued an advisory memorandum a few weeks ago that opined that the open carrying of firearms by citizens in Wisconsin is in fact perfectly legal, so long as those pistol-packing individuals don't bark at a passerby or brandish a handgun in public. As the Illusory Tenant pointed out, AG Van Hollen's advisory memorandum did little to clarify the debate about the legality of open carry in Wisconsin; in fact, iT opines, the AG he may have succeeded only in further unclarifying it. Shortly after the Attorney General shared his thoughts in his advisory memo, Governor Doyle issued a statement indicating Wisconsin communities should again have the right to ban the open carrying of guns. Here in the South Shore suburbs, Alderman Ted Jarosh of St. Francis seems to agree with Governor Doyle, as Jarosh has indicated he plans to seek an ordinance to limit the open carrying of firearms in St. Francis:
Ted Jarosh, who describes himself as a strong defender of the right to own and legally carry guns, said last week he will ask the city attorney Tuesday whether the city could classify certain acts of so-called open carry as disturbing the peace. Jarosh cited a case from earlier this year in which a West Allis man was ticketed for carrying a gun in a holster while working in his yard. Police issued a ticket, but a judge dismissed it. "I think that if you carry a firearm to mow your lawn - unless you fear polar bears or pterodactyls are going to attack you - you're disturbing the peace," Jarosh said.
The South Shore Community Group will hold its May potluck on Sunday, May 17th, from 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Community Room of the Oak Creek Public Library, 8620 S Howell Avenue.
The main program will be presented by Bryce Ruddock who will sharing information about the Transition Towns program. This is part of a state and regional initiative that examinies the relocalization of an area's economy and infrastructure in light of escalating transportation and other costs and attendant economic collapse.
According to information forwarded by South Shore Community Group coordinator Kathleen Slamka, Transition Wisconsin is the overall umbrella group. Transition Southeast Wisconsin meets once a month at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee. With other areas such as Riverwest, East Side and Shorewood having established groups, the thinking is that perhaps South Shore should do the same with a focus on its specific needs. A Transition South Shore would include St. Francis , Cudahy, South Milwaukee, and Oak Creek and could engage in Transition Towns initiatives along the common link between those cities and the Hwy 32 corridor.