August 23, 2012
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Supporting our neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and your family are listed below.
through Sun., September 9
Come check out the Milwaukee Art Museum's latest exhibition. The museum
will transport visitors to 19th century Paris, when larger-than-life,
brightly hued artistic posters with bold typography and playful imagery
once covered the boulevards. Experience more than one hundred of the
finest French posters.
CLICK HERE or call 414-224-3200 for more information.
Mexican Fiesta began as a neighborhood South Side street festival in
1974 and has grown to Wisconsin's largest paid entrance Mexican
festival. Live music will be offered throughout the festival and will
feature Pablo Montero, Tejano Boys, Belanova, and other internationally-known artists.
Friday brings the Salarengue contest, while Saturday offers a dance
contest. Those interested in the cultural
costume contest, followed by the jalapeno eating contest, should stop by
the festival on Sunday.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 273-3378.
Eat Local Resource Fair
Date: Sat., August 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Get ready for the two-week Eat Local Challenge that runs during the
first two weeks of September by stopping by the Eat Local Resource Fair.
Learn some new tips to help you eat locally all year--even during winter
months. The Eat Local Resource Fair will also provide you with the
opportunity to buy food directly from local food producers, see cooking
demos, and pick up menu and recipe ideas.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 964-8505 for more information about the Eat
Local Resource Fair and the Eat Local Challenge.
The Milwaukee Masterpiece car show will return to the lakefront at
Veterans Park, bringing with it a display of hundreds of rare and
classic vehicles. Tickets are $15 per day and $20 for a two-day pass
during the presale period. Day-of ticket prices are $20 for one day and
$25 for a two-day pass. All proceeds from the two-day event and will
benefit Jewish Family Services, a 145-year-old organization that
provides meals, counseling, development, and support to those in need.
CLICK HERE for more information
Location: St. Francis
This annual four-day music festival is free and open to the public.
Visitors should expect to see live musical entertainment,
pony rides and a
petting zoo, skydiving shows, helicopter rides, and movies.
CLICK HERE for more information.
St. Francis Memorial Park (MAP)
3620 E. Lunham Avenue
There is fun to be had by all at Senior Celebration at the Milwaukee
County Zoo. Enjoy entertainment by numerous bands, singers, and
performers. Visitors can also expect to see Bingo, a wealth of
information at the health and wellness expo, and all the wonders the Zoo
has to offer. This event costs $7. Participants can also request an
optional bag lunch for an additional $3. Meet at the Washington Park
CLICK HERE or call (414) 933-2332 for more information.
4420 W Vliet Street Milwaukee, WI 53208
Third Ward Art Festival
Date: Sat., September 1 and Sun., September 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Description: Stop by this nearby art festival located in the heart of Milwaukeeís thriving arts and fashion district. Exquisite artwork of all mediums including ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, sculpture, mixed media, paintings, drawings, photography, printmaking, wood, and furniture will be represented at the festival. With a wide range of price points and an ample selection of artwork available for $100 or less, the festival offers something for everyone. The festival will be located at the intersection of Broadway and Chicago in the Historic Third Ward. Admission is free and open to the public. CLICK HERE for more information, including a list of vendors.
Given that the first day of class is just around the corner, this week's newsletter will focus on the reality our children, their parents, and neighborhood teachers will face this school year.
Back to School
Our neighborhood schools are gearing up for the 2012-2013 school year. For students, teachers, and parents this means buying new school supplies, planning the upcoming classroom curriculum, or ensuring parent-teacher conferences are on the family calendar. But with the release of state aid numbers for our local schools, we have also been given a stark reminder of just how different this school year may be compared to years past.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 10 of Milwaukee County's 18 school districts are bracing themselves for additional cuts to their state aid funding. These cuts have been estimated to total $7,415,941 for the 2012-2013 school year. Included in the schools that are expecting cuts are two school districts in our community--Milwaukee Public Schools and the St. Francis School District. The cuts for these two school districts alone are expected to reach $3,740,377.
This trend is not limited to our schools here in Milwaukee County, but can also been seen across Wisconsin. The Department of Public Instruction has released state aid statistics for all of Wisconsin's public schools, which show that 267 of the state's 424 school districts, or 63% of Wisconsin school districts, will face cuts to their education aid. This will amount to cuts of $79,443,087 for our children's schools.
Support for our children's education was put on the back burner during this legislative session as funding from our neighborhood schools was slashed in order to give away these taxpayer dollars to special interests and corporations. Under the Republican budget approximately $1.6 billion was stripped from education statewide. These decimating cuts hit some communities harder than others and have been especially detrimental to children in Milwaukee and the surrounding area. Below are results from the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrator's annual survey:
Similar results can also be seen right here in our own community. Here is how Milwaukee County's 18 school districts have been negatively impacted by sweeping education cuts:
Click here to view this annual Wisconsin Association of School District
Administrator's survey and analysis by the Department of Public
Education & Audit Committees to Meet
The Senate Committee on Education and Corrections, of which I am a member, has scheduled an informational hearing to address how 2011 Wisconsin Act 32, or the biennial budget, has impacted public education in Wisconsin. Some of the speakers who have been invited to testify include the Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, the National Education Association, and school district representatives. The hearing will be held on Wednesday, August 29 at 10 a.m. in room 411 South of the Wisconsin State Capitol.
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee, of which I am also a member, has likewise scheduled a public hearing to further discuss audits done during the 2011-2012 Legislative Session examining our FoodShare and Medicaid safety net programs. This public hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 28 at 10 a.m. in room 411 South of the Wisconsin State Capitol.
|Visiting Our Neighborhood Schools|
To get a better idea of how our community schools have been affected by radical cuts made to education in the 2011-2013 Biennial Budget, I will again be making visits to various neighborhood schools. I hope to not only sit-in on classes, but also to talk to students, teachers, administrators, and parents to get a better understanding of the education our children are receiving and the challenges our schools may be facing.
If you are a teacher and would like me to stop by to visit your classroom, please do not hesitate to contact me to set up a tour.
Montessori Schools Expand in Bay View
Much to the delight of neighborhood parents, a new Montessori school is set to open for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) has converted the former Tippecanoe school building located on East Howard, which became available after being vacated by Wings Academy--a charter school.
The conversion of Tippecanoe into the
Howard Avenue Montessori School was approved unanimously by the full
Milwaukee Board of School Directors committee on June 28, following a
public hearing. Howard Avenue Montessori School will enroll 120 three-
and four-year-old children in a half-day kindergarten program that will
gradually add more student grade levels, and will be led by new
principal Phil Dosmann, long-time leader of Craig Montessori School.
Bay View is fortunate to be the home
of two other Montessori schools--Downtown Montessori Academy and
Fernwood--these schools are in such demand that there is currently a
wait-list of 139 three- and four-year-olds, according to the district.
This is likely because many Montessori schools, including Fernwood, are
MPS' top-performing schools. State test results show that in the last
school year, Fernwood had more students scoring proficient or advanced
in reading and math than the state average, let alone the average for
I often have neighbors contact me looking for my perspective on various local and state issues. I very much appreciate our neighbors' questions and want to dedicate a portion of my newsletter to common questions that I hear to maintain an open dialogue. Please continue reading for this week's question.
Q: What can I, as a parent, do at home to prepare my children for being more successful in school?
A: As a new parent, this is I question I have as well. Below are just some of the recommendations I have heard from teachers that we, as parents, can try at home to help get our kids prepared for school:
Did You Know...?
Labor Day is fast-approaching and
while many of us are familiar with Wisconsin's deep roots in the labor
movement, there are a couple of facts you probably do not know about
Labor Day. For example, did you know that 99.44% of the time, the NFL
plays its first official season game the Thursday after Labor Day?
Additionally, Labor Day weekend is also the time when Prairie du Sac
hosts the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throwing Contest.
Celebrating Wisconsin's Workers
As we celebrate Labor Day on Monday, September 3, we should take time to remember Wisconsinís deep labor history and the generations of workers and reformers who have made significant contributions to building a middle class across our state.
Oak Creek Lions Labor Day Festival
August is Water Quality Month
is National Water Quality Month. Water quality is especially important
here in Wisconsin where we have tremendous water resources, and this
month is dedicated to reminding our citizens how crucial it is to
protect these vital bodies of water. The level of quality for our water
supplies and sources varies based on its intended purpose. For example,
there is a big difference between water suitable for drinking as
compared to water used for boating, swimming, planting, and so on.
We increasingly hear about alarming
situations in which the quality of water is no longer suitable as a
result of increased bacteria and micro-organism activity, sewage and oil
spills, and pollutants channeling their way into streams, lakes, and
rivers. Such growing problems are not without consequences, which can
include causing illness to our family, friends, and neighbors,
endangering plant and animal life, and causing excessive aquatic plant
or invasive species growth.
Wisconsin boasts over 15,000 lakes,
32,000 miles of streams, 5.3 million wetland acres, and 1.2 quadrillion
gallons of groundwater. It is our job, as stewards of this state, to help
maintain and protect these resources. To accomplish this goal, we have
developed Wisconsinís Clean Water Act Programs. The Federal Clean Water
Act identifies water quality goals for the nation and outlines processes
and legislation for monitoring and managing water protection. Using
these guidelines, Wisconsinís Water Quality Standards define specific
goals for each water body in the state by designating its uses,
establishing criteria to protect its uses, and setting provisions to
protect its water quality from pollutants.
Every two years, Wisconsin provides a Water Quality Report to Congress. This report summarizes the condition of our stateís vast water resources and describes our programs that manage and protect these vital resources. The 2012 report has not come out yet. The 2010 report, however, indicated that water quantity issues were amongst our bigger problems. Excessive groundwater pumping, for example, has has negatively impacted surface water bodies and springs by reducing the availability of good quality drinking water.
There are several steps everyone can take at home to help with Wisconsinís water quality preservation effort, including:
Help Support Neighbor Brian Murphy
Lieutenant Brian Murphy was the Oak
Creek Officer critically injured during the shooting at the Sikh Temple
of Wisconsin in Oak Creek on August 5, 2012. Lieutenant Murphy's health
status was recently upgraded to satisfactory and he was released from a
Milwaukee-area hospital yesterday.
Summer Activities in Our Community
Our community offers a wide variety of summer activities for families, children, and adults alike. Below are just a few activities that you can take part in this summer.
Point Fish Fry and a Flick
Update on IDs for Voters
March 2012, 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 was ruled unconstitutional and two
separate Circuit Court judges ordered government officials to halt
requiring voters to present a valid photo ID when casting their vote. It
was stated in the ruling that 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 carried a severe
risk of disenfranchising voters and was suspended based on the vital
public interest at stake in allowing full participation in elections.
Neighborhood Survey Available
I created a survey asking about various issues that are
important to our community and our state. The input of neighbors is
I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues!
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