This blog represents my opinions and my opinions alone, and certainly doesn't represent the collective thoughts of any of the Boards or organizations that I serve on. Unfortunately I make all sorts of miistakes, I'm a picky eater, I can't sing and I just recently found out I have been spelling certain words in my vocabulary wrong my entire life. That being said, I still continue to muddle ever onward. Welcome.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Second Week of the Month Time Again!

The Monona Park and Recreation Board will meet on Tuesday May 11th, 6pm in the Monona Community Center. We will continue our discussion of the Monona Parks and Open Spaces plan with reports on Oneida, Woodland, Three Meadows and Bridge Road Parks. The Board will also have discussion about the "Blue Park" Playground Equipment Replacement RFP. The Blue Park, as it is known by tons of Monona's kids, is slated to be removed and replaced this year. Jake Anderson is requesting $70K of capital improvement funds to cover new equipment that would be comparable to the existing structure, as well as the cost of replacing the sand ground covering with rubberized mulch. The rubberized mulch will cost an estimated $12K. I have been accused of being an old-fashioned old fogey before, mainly because I like to use what we already have. I'm not a Bigger!Brighter!Newer!=Better! type of person; there's a lot of value to using and improving what we have. I'm also not a fan of this cyclical replacement mentality; just because something has been around for 15 years doesn't mean that it's time to replace it with the latest and greatest trend. However, I have been grudgingly convinced that the Blue Park should be replaced, mainly because I have long since realized it will be replaced whether I like the idea or not. My last stronghold, though, is Director Anderson's plan to replace the sand around the play structure with that nasty rank rubberized mulch. It's a wonderment to me that I or any of my wild and woolly friends managed to survive our childhoods without the cushioning protection of chopped up used car tires. Is it just me, or does it strike anyone else as a little odd that we are now wholeheartedly convinced that our children will die on our playgrounds if they don't have a bunch of chemical-based synthetic junk to fall on? When did this idea take hold? I thought parents didn't even allow their children to fall down anymore.

From :

Research at Bucknell University has found that the leachate from ground tires can kill entire aquatic communities of algae, zooplankton, snails and fish. Even at low concentrations it can cause reproductive problems and precancerous lesions. Also, marine life from seaweeds to plankton is negatively affected.The toxic nature of the leachate from tire rubber is due at least in part to the chemicals usedin producing tires (cadmium, chromium, aluminum, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, sulfur, and zinc). Of these minerals, rubber tires may contain extremely high levels of zinc even up to 2% of the tire mass. Many plant species have been shown to accumulate zinc in their tissues to the point of death. USDA researchers who have studied the effects of metals in sewage sludge, biosolids and compost, have found that ground rubber should not be used on any agricultural or garden soil, potting media, or compost. Yes- some companies use tire chips and crumb rubber as a bulking agent for compost and we wonder why the compost does not work and is toxic to plants! Other rubber leachates have been found to cause problems from skin and eye irritation to major organ damage and even death. Long term exposure can lead to carcinogenesis and mutagenesis. For example, 2-mercaptobenzothiazole used in vulcanizing rubber is highly persistent in the environment and harmful to aquatic life. Ground rubber also contains a class of chemicals called Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that many studies have found extremely toxic to humans and the environment. Research has also found that the toxicity of leachate from the
rubber tire mulch increases over time as the rubber breaks down.

Read this article at http:// .

This is what we want to spend $12K on to dump right next to the Winnequah Lagoon? I would really like to see the Blue Park covered with adequate fall zone protection with whatever depth of sand is necessary. Not only is it cheaper, cleaner, less smelly and a whole lot more fun to play in, it won't leach into our ground water and kill off our aquatic wildlife. Call me an old fogey.

Also on tap for Park and Rec. Board: From Director Jake Anderson "Mayor Robb Kahl has requested that the existing soccer/football field at Ahuska Park be named Tom Metcalfe Field after former Mayor Tom Metcalfe. Kahl states that Tom Metcalfe was the Mayor of Monona at the time of the park being built and was instrumental in turning the site into a usable park. This would be the first step in any naming process. There would be a 30 day public input notice before the Park and Recreation Board could make a recommendation one way or another."

The Monona Grove Board of Education will meet this Wednesday evening at 7pm in the District Office Board Room in Nichols School. Unfinished business includes the discussion and possible approval of 2010-2011 Teacher Final Notices of Layoff and the possible approval of the location of the MG Alternative High School and general discussion of the Nichols Building. The two items of new business are the discussion and possible approval of district computer bids and the student fee schedule.

The Monona Family Attraction and Retention Committee will meet this Thursday in the Monona City Hall Conference Room at 6:30pm. Alderman Doud Wood will become our committee's new co-chair with Alderman Scott Munson serving as the new chairman. We plan on having a review of the Family Attraction Committee's charge and mission and a brainstorming session on future committee projects. We will also begin discussing this year's Fall Family Festival and hope to choose a date in the early fall. As always, we would welcome any volunteers to assist in the festival planning. The 2009 Festival was wonderful; we hope this year will bring another success!


  1. Re: The tire stuff. On hot days, I can barely breathe when we are at the parks that have the tires. (on cooler days, it doesn't seem to be that bad) I have a latex allergy/sensitivity and the tire smell actually makes me have difficulty breathing. I don't know if they are related but I am assuming it is. I would love to have the sand. My kiddos enjoy that just as much as the equipment above it.

    So, I would love it if you were to mention that to the rec board. I know we are catering to another allergy...and we can't do it but thought I would mention it.

  2. Will do, but it would be very helpful to have Jake Anderson hear for someone other than me. His phone number is 222-4167 or email I too have a latex allergy and the smell of that rubberized mulch makes me nauseous. I can't imagine being a baby plunked down in the middle of it.

  3. Yes-Ask Jake to go play on it on most semi-warm is dreadful for so many reasons.
    stinks and is hot on your feet.

  4. Not sure if this is true, but I heard that Zim and Zam and K-Strauss was coming to the 4th of July Festival-fact?

  5. I hear the teachers are "working the contract." What's up with that? My friend's high school kid is struggling in a class and the resource center for that subject is closed during his study hall and his teacher says he can't help during that study hall period either because it is his "planning time." Is the district going to communicate with the parents on this issue?

  6. I have heard rumors that the high school teachers began to work the contract this week in a response to contract negotiations. Because the Board of Education is currently in negotiations with the MGEA, I can't provide any details about the state of the contract. The Board has received no formal comment or declaration from the MGEA, nor has the Association contacted the district administration.

  7. For the K-Strauss poster, it took me a while, but I finally got it.

  8. Kids are being told by their teachers they can't help them because they are "working the contract" and no communication has taken place between the union and the district? How about the superintendent picks up the horn and calls the union president? This stance of "we don't have any information" is not serving the public. It is further ridiculous if there is no plan for comment from the district on this issue. Do not hide behind the contract negotiations. Where is the law that prevents the board and/or superintendent from commenting and providing guidance to parents who running up against this issue?

  9. That is correct, the union has not made any comment to the administration that they are working the contract. We are not hiding behind contract negotiations, it is AGAINST THE LAW to discuss closed session contract negotiations in public. I realize it is frustrating to parents and students alike; that is why the union goes to "working the contract" to put pressure on the Board and the negotiating team. I called Superintendent Gerlach before writing my first post on this to get his plan for informing the district's parents. He told me that until the administration hears from the union, they can't report anything. As ridiculous as that may seem to you, that is part of the negotiation process. Feel free to call him for clarification at the District Office 221-7660 or contact the MGEA for their response about their plans.

  10. Here's a good example of a district that is helping the public to understand the negotiation process(West Bend).

    For MG, I am wondering about the opening proposals from the district and the teacher's union that were made in open session. You might want to post those on this blog as they are a public record.

    I have been told the district filed the formal petition for arbitration in order to get a mediator? You can verify whether that is true or not without breaking the law. If it is true, then the preliminary offers as described should also be a public record. At any rate, this stuff from West Bend is a pretty good example of how a district can help the public understand the process.

    Last, if you do a google search, you will see many articles wherein superintendents, union negotiators and board members comment on ongoing negotiations, particularly their take on what the sticking points are. I hope the board does it's level best to shine a light on what is happening to the extent you legally are able.

  11. The union's initial offer was a 5% pay increase and no change on post-retirement benefits.

    The contract negotiation has not gone to arbitration.

  12. Tentative Date for the Monona Family Fall Festival is September 26th

  13. "The union's initial offer was a 5% pay increase and no change on post-retirement benefits."

    Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.
    This is just so funny it is laughable. Does the union not read the paper? What did the admin. at Madison just take?

    No One is getting raises-people are getting fired, laid-off...look in the paper for jobs.

    What do you see?

  14. Ok, here's the updated scoop: After speaking with Superintendent Gerlach and Board President Susan Fox, several times about the whole legality (or not) of talking about closed Board session discussions regarding contract negotiations, I have heard many conflicting pieces of information. We had been told that we cannot discuss negotiations publicly. President Fox contacted Barry Forbes, WASB legal counsel, today and was told that public comments depend on the mutually-agreed upon ground rules by both parties. No Board members serve on the negotiating team, therefore I don't know what those ground rules are. And it is plainly obvious to me that until I know exactly what I am allowed to say, I'm not going to say anything. Call Superintendent Gerlach for his official statement. 221-7660

  15. So what happened with the tires? Any ideas as to why there isn't any Park and Rec agenda/packets/minutes update on since December? Great post, btw--I hate those tires!

  16. No movement on the rubberized mulch issue. It would be helpful for our Parks Director to hear from others with the same concerns. He seems to think I have a screw loose. Hmmmm. Maybe I do.