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.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

School Board Race Welcomes Dean Bowles.

Dean Bowles, longtime Monona resident, has taken out nomination papers for the Monona Grove Board of Education.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Special Board of Education Meeting Tonight 7pm

The Monona Grove Board of Education will meet tonight at 7pm in the Winnequah School cafeteria to vote on the consolidation of Maywood Elementary and Winnequah School. The Board will first convene at 6pm in closed session to revisit the matter of the payroll over-payment of about 45 teachers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Couple Of Evelyns and Their Grandpas

My grandmother Evelyn and her grandfather Adolph.

And my little Evelyn and her grandfather Darrell.

A Whole Bunch Of Information.

In Monona Park and Recreation News:

This Tuesday evening the Monona Park and Rec. Board conditionally approved a two year probationary agreement with the Monona Warriors semi-pro adult tackle football team to use Ahuska Park as their home field. You can learn more about the league at The Warriors' information should be available on-line soon. Park and Rec. Director Jake Anderson hopes to develop a joint partnership with the team and MG Youth Football to act as stewards of the field and to work on and fund site projects, such as bleachers, sound and storage systems and a press box. Speaking of the MG Youth Football program, the Board also heard their first formal request to name the Ahuska Park football/soccer field Haukried Field after longtime founder and director Morrie Haukried. There will be thirty days of public input before any recommendation will be made to the Council by the Park and Rec. Board.

From the Snowshoe Department:

From the Monona PTO:

 Kelly Bethke, Maywood PE teacher, needs some help this week! She sent out this request: "I am looking for parent volunteers to help the Maywood students put on and take off snowshoes during our snowshoe unit in PE. We have adult sizes, so the volunteers could join us. We will be going out Thursday and Friday morning between 8:30-11 am. Classes start at the beginning of each half hour." Please reply to Ms. Bethke if you are able to help for any portion of those times. Her email address is

In the "Local Boy Does Good" category:

From an email from Jeff Otto, tech and engineering at MGHS, regarding Board member Jill List's son, Connor Stevens:

Connor Stevens recently produced a video that he has entered into Fox 47's MSG 2 Teens contest. He is currently one of the five finalists. The video is well done, and he has a chance of winning a laptop computer along with a $2500 grant for the school. The school with the most votes will be the winner, and their video will be aired on Fox47. If Connor wins, he will choose where the grant money will be directed. Voting is very quick and easy. You can vote by CLICKING HERE!

There will be an email link on the district's website shortly.
Here is the direct URL for voting:

Good luck Connor!

In the "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" category:

This morning I attended what is likely to be the last Maywood Elementary Holiday Concert. Always one of my favorites, the concert was lovely and bittersweet. Music teacher Paul Backstrom does an amazing job with our little ones and it is so wonderful to watch them perform. I sat in front of second grade teacher Barb Trapp's parents, who have been attending the Maywood Holiday program for the past twenty-four years. Barb's class always does a presentation of A Flea on Santa's Tree and her father gave us a run-down of her room's successes over the years.

In the "Gee, Things Could Be A Lot Worse" category:


Investigators search for motive in Florida school board shooting

A lot of people still talking about a frightening shooting caught on camera in Panama City, Florida.
No one was hurt in the shooting, but the gunman later shot and killed himself.
All of the moments were caught on tape (warning- it's pretty disturbing), as school board members in Florida were staring down the barrel of a gun as the shooter, 56-year-old Clay Duke, opened fire on them before killing himself.
Investigators believe Duke may have been planning the incident for quite some time. They say they found a calendar in his home with the date of the shooting circled.
The suspect first spray-painted a "V" in a circle on the wall, and then told the women in the room to leave, including a board member who returned and tried to knock the gun out of the suspect's hand with her pocketbook.
School board members said they were fortunate to be alive after seeing the bullet holes in the room where the shooting took place.

And finally, in the "Who's Crazy Enough To Run Now" category:

After that video, who knows? Susan Fox is the only (that I know of) candidate running for the Board of Education this year. Jill List didn't have plans to run for re-election this last time I spoke with her. With two open seats this period, this election season could turn out to be rather boring, maybe not such a bad thing...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Shooting Reported At Monona Branch Of The UW Credit Union

From the Wisconsin State Journal's online site:
A robbery and kidnapping suspect was shot at the UW Credit Union in Monona after the person rammed an approaching police car head on, police said.

The suspect had earlier in the day taken another person hostage and was believed to be withdrawing money from that person’s account while in the drive-through lane, Monona Police Lt. Sara Deuman said.
Deuman would not say if the suspect was shot by a police officer.
The suspect was transported by helicopter to a local hospital, she said. Deuman said the suspect was the only person injured during the incident at the credit union, 200 E. Broadway, Monona.
The alleged kidnapping occurred somewhere in the Madison area, and a gun was found in the suspect’s car, Deuman said.

 Police are on the scene of a reported shooting at the drive-up of the UW Credit Union at 200 E. Broadway, Monona.
Monona Police Lt. Sara Deuman said she could not yet confirm whether anyone was injured, but a Med Flight helicopter landed on the scene at about 2:30 p.m.
Police shut down streets in the area around Broadway and the Pier 37 shopping complex, Deuman said.
Don Kelleher said he and his wife were leaving a nearby store about 10 minutes after 2 p.m. when more than a dozen police vehicles swarmed the scene and stopped several vehicles from leaving the parking lot.
“We saw the cops run up to the drive-up windows with their rifles, and they were pointing at something with their rifles,” he said.

Kelleher said he and his wife did not hear any shots fired. They saw police officers escorting another officer who looked like he had been injured away from the credit union, he said.
At about 2:30 p.m. police had yellow warning tape around the scene, and cars were allowed to leave, he said.
The credit union issued a statement about the incident just before 3 p.m. It reads:
“The Monona Police Department is at our Monona UW Credit Union branch responding to an incident that occurred at our drive-up. The Monona branch location has been closed for the day and is expected to reopen tomorrow at regular business hours. We have no additional comments to share at this time.”

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Board of Education Meeting This Wednesday, December 8th.

The Monona Grove Board of Education will meet this Wednesday evening at 7pm in the District Office Board room. The complete agenda for the evening can be found here.

Some highlights:
The Board will hear our district's PMA five-year budget forecast from Bob Borch, as well as an update on our continuous school improvement data and goals.
We anticipate lengthy discussion of the Maywood and Winnequah consolidation and the possible future sale of Nichols School property.
We will also hear more details of and possibly take action on the 2008 district payroll errors resulting in overpayment to staff.
Again, I would like to say thanks for the many generous donations to our schools and students. These gift donations are up for approval in the meeting's consent agenda:

E. Approval of Gift Donations

Fourteen winter coats donated by Cottage Grove Optimist Club to Cottage Grove School

$229.84 donated by Monona Elementary PTO to Winnequah School

$500.00 donated by Sara Steele, to Cottage Grove School for curriculum materials and
student assistance

$1,700.00 donated by Cottage Grove PTO to Glacial Drumlin for 5th Grade

$3,000.00 donated by Cottage Grover PTO to Glacial Drumlin for special requests

$500.00 donated by Bradley & Susan Manning to MGHS Athletic Department to offset attendance costs at the National Athletic Director Conference for John Klements induction into the National Federation of High School’s Hall of Fame.

Monday, December 6, 2010

An Update From Those Fun-Loving Charter School Folks.

Dear Board Members:

I am a member of the citizen group that is drafting an MG charter middle school planning grant application for submission to DPI. It has been suggested that we provide the Board with brief updates on our activities. Hence, this email. If any of you do not wish to receive this email, let me know, and I will not bother you further.

The Monona Grove School for Health and Environmental Sciences (MG Science for short) will be a public charter school located in vacant space within an MG building. Although the location is ultimately the Board’s decision, our group does have a preference for the Winnequah building. That preference is based on (1) availability of space, (2) no need for renovation, and (3) proximity to outdoor environmental studies locations. However, if the Board decides that some other building makes more sense in the grand scheme of things, we will work with what is available.

MG Science can be attended by any middle school student in our district. It is our belief that the school will neither increase nor decrease total state student aid paid within the district; the school receives the state aid amount per capital for each child who enrolls in the school. The school will provide hands-on science instruction in a small school setting. Science programming can be performed with more flexibility (e.g., a 4-hour lab on a specific day) than is available in the necessarily more regimented big school program at Glacial Drumlin.

The group is currently drafting a planning grant application that must be submitted to DPI. If the grant application is approved, grant funds can be used to, among other things, reimburse a teacher(s) for drafting a detailed curriculum for the school. Drafting leader assignments for portions for the lengthy application are as follows:

BUDGETING/FUNDRAISING: Harvey Potter/Stephanie Ramer, CURRICULUM: Larry Miller/Patti McGinnis, GOVERNANCE/LEGAL: Nancy Gagnon, OUTREACH; Kathy Thomas/Heidi Sigmund, PLANNING: Stephanie Ramer/Mike Meulemans. The draft sections will be done by January, and a submission of the entire draft will be made to the MG School Board in February, 2010.

Of particular interest this week: Nancy Gagnon and Patti McGinnis are meeting with a UW Medical School grant coordinator to discuss possible grant money to supplement the school’s operating budget. UW Medical School has an interest in promoting more in-depth health education. This meeting was arranged by Dr. Jim Shropshire, for which we are grateful.
Nancy Gagnon


who's running for school board?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Journal Sentinel Piece On The Milton School District


How Milton schools saved a bundle - of your money

Patrick McIlheran
Dec. 1, 2010

Bernie Nikolay should be happy. His school district - he's the superintendent in Milton - had a good November. The girls swim team won the state title, a first for Milton girls athletics. And an arbitrator said the district could switch health coverage away from the insurer owned by the teachers union. That'll save the district as much as a million bucks a year.

For a district with a $33 million budget, that's cheery. For the rest of the state, it means a tide may have turned.

It could mean the end to the costly market dominance of WEA Trust, the health insurer owned by the Wisconsin Education Association Council. Just under two-thirds of Wisconsin districts use WEA Trust, a puzzling preference since its coverage is so costly.

Districts that buy WEA Trust plans average $1,665 a month for family premiums, according to their state association, while those choosing other carriers average $1,466. The difference is greatest where taxpayers cover the whole premium.

Milton was paying $48,301 more in premiums for every month that it couldn't switch from WEA Trust to a pair of plans from Madison-based Dean Health and Janesville-based MercyCare that it said were comparable. The district already had switched its administrative staff, said Nikolay, and while the union objected that the new plans would restrict choices, most teachers already used doctors at Dean or MercyCare clinics, Nikolay noted. "That made it less problematic for a lot of our families."

And it saved a bundle for a district saddled with "bleak local economic conditions," as its arbitration case put it. It is losing students and, thus, state aid. The area is losing population. The district needed to control premiums, and the arbitrator agreed.

Read the rest of the article here.

Stuff Yourself Silly On Pancakes With Santa

Pancake Breakfast with Santa

Date: Sat - 12/11/2010

Time: 8:00 AM

Location: Monona Community Center - Senior Center

Join the Monona Grove Optimist Club for the 3rd Annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa on Saturday December 11, 2010 from 8 am - 10 am at the Monona Community Center. All you can eat pancakes! There will also be sausages, apple sauce, milk, orange juice, and coffee.

There will be a coloring contest for the kids and an opportunity to get your picture taken with Santa!

Cost is $5 per person, $2.50 for children ages 3-10, 2 & under are free