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.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Poet Ken Nesbitt Will Be Visiting Maywood And Winnequah Schools February 10.

The Monona Elementary PTO has graciously arranged for superstar kid's poet Ken Nesbitt to visit both Monona elementary schools Thursday, February 10th. Ken is the poetic genius behind such books as More Bears!The Tighty Whitey Spider, The Aliens Have Landed at Our School, and my personal favorite, Revenge of the Lunch Ladies. (and no, that doesn't have anything to do with Chartwells food service) Elementary school librarian Stacey Pipson sent home a flyer last week for children to order books for Ken to autograph. Thanks Monona PTO!!

Gabby's Baby Beagle
Gabby bought a baby beagle

at the beagle baby store.
Gabby gave her beagle kibble,
but he begged for bagels more.

Gabby loved her baby beagle;
gladly Gabby gave him one,
but her beagle grabbed the bag and
gulped them down till there were none.

So she took her baby beagle
to the bagel baker's store,
where the beagle gobbled bagels,
bags of bagels by the score.

Gabby's beagle gorged on bagels,
bigger bagels than before,
till he'd gobbled every bagel
in the baker's bagel store.

Gulping bagels bulges baby
beagles' bellies really big.
Say goodbye to baby beagle;
Gabby's beagle's now a pig.

--Kenn Nesbitt

Check out Ken Nesbitt's website

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What's The Frequency, Kenneth? Cell Phone Towers As Revenue Sources?

Plans to build cell phone tower have been scrapped.

Updated from the Wisconsin State Journal:
“There’s been a lot of research into negative effects that can come from magnetic fields around cell towers,” Dougherty said. “The feeling is there’s not enough scientific evidence out there to make us, as parents, feel like they’re safe.”

Jenny Quinn, a Gompers parent who started Moms and Dads Against Cell Towers, said her group will continue to petition the district to keep cell towers off school property. “To subject our kids to these risks on a daily basis is insane,” Quinn said.

Read it here.


Cell Phone Tower Proposed For Elementary School, Community Meeting About Proposal Thursday

 North side residents are trying to learn more about a project that could soon be towering over their neighborhood.

“What I want to do is find out all the information, what the entire community thinks," said school board member Marj Passman. She wants feedback on a proposed cell phone tower on a local school’s property.

The tower is being proposed for the land near Gompers Elementary and Blackhawk Middle Schools.

U.S. Cellular wants to build a 75 foot-tall flagpole cell tower, surrounded by an 8-foot wall. The tower would be located behind the schools, off Wheeler Road.

The school district would get needed revenue from U.S. Cellular as part of the deal.

"Why are we even bothering with this, why would we put a tower up there? Ah money," said Passman. "It gives money to the school system and in desperately needy times, every penny that comes in helps."

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Second Annual Sawyer Crossen Memorial Triathlon Registration Is Now Open!

My boys weren't able to participate in this great event last year, so they're chomping at the bit now! Can't wait!

From Park and Recreation director, Jake Anderson:

Registration is now open for the 2nd annual Sawyer Crossen Memorial Triathlon. Registration is now open!

You can register online, just follow the links from .

The first 50 athletes that are registered will enter in a drawing for a free race admission! The first 100 athletes will receive a free one day pool pass at time of packet pickup.

There is also a $5 early bird discount by signing up by April 1st. Thank you for making the 1st event so successfull and we looking foward to seeing you on Saturday June 4th, 2011 for the 2nd annual event. There is also a dedicated website for the event at if you want to refer friends to learn about this great event.

Sue Carr is once again the fundraising chairperson for this event, so if anyone knows of a company that would like to help sponsor, please contact her.

Wednesday Night: A Couple Of Meetings.

This Wednesday evening, January 26, will be a busy one at the District Office. The Business Services committee will meet at 5pm in the district board room. Business Services Director Jerrud Rossing will provide updates on, among other things, our 2011-2012 budget reduction process and the Maywood and Winnequah consolidation. Rossing will also present his results from a food service survey he conducted with our middle school and MGHS students regarding their satisfaction with the food service program that the district is currently contracting with Chartwells. I suppose I should wait to pass judgement until hearing the presentation tomorrow evening, but after paging through the survey results, it sure doesn't sound like our students are enjoying the switch to Chartwells. When asked if the food looks appetizing, 64.1% of highschoolers surveyed responded it needed improvement. 57.3% indicated that the variety of food choices needed improvement, and an unbelievable 70.7% of students said that overall the food needs improvement, period. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Chartwells.
I've been thinking a lot about how good nutrition can have an amazing effect on student achievement. Does anyone remember the wonderful success story in Appleton many years ago when their Alt. School switched their food service to a partnership with Natural Ovens Bakery? Refresh your memory here and here. Still pretty exciting stuff over a decade later. I would love to be able to afford to have this same type of program here in the district.
The Board of Education will also meet Wednesday evening in closed session to discuss the current state of contract negotiations with the MGEA.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monona Elementary PTO Bingo Night This Friday!

The Monona Elementary PTO will host the ever-popular Bingo Night this Friday evening in the Winnequah School cafeteria from 6 to 8pm. This is a free family event with beverages and baked goodies for sale. Please remember Bingo Night is not a drop-off event- please plan on enjoying the evening with your children!

Event organizer Kim Haefner is still looking for a couple of extra volunteers to man the treat table for a half hour shift. Please consider lending a hand! You can contact Kim at 441-0870 or

Good News, Bad News: Wisconsin Students Top National Average On Science Test

 Wisconsin students have scored higher than the national average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a science achievement test. Unfortunately, once the scores were broken down by race, white students averaged scores in the mid-160s and black students had scores in the low 120s. The national average is 149. And while Wisconsin students top the nation on this assessment test, the findings further emphasize our large achievement gap in Wisconsin, which is also the highest in the nation.

Check out this report in the Journal Sentinel here.


The state Department of Public Instruction said Wisconsin fourth- and eighth-graders each scored 157 on a national test. The average for both grades was 149.
The DPI said Tuesday the scores were from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which was administered in 2009.
White Wisconsin students had scores in the mid-160s, just above the national average. But black students scored in the low 120s, and the gap between the two groups at the eighth-grade level was the highest in the nation.
Asian students scored in the low 150s while Hispanics were in the mid-130s.
State Superintendent Tony Evers said closing the achievement gap will require the cooperation of quality educators and supportive parents.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Looking For Something For Your Booooorrrrred Kids To Do?

MG POMS Basketball Dance Camp - Grades K-8
Saturday January 22nd   9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Taylor Prairie Elementary School
Cottage Grove
Cost: $35, $40 day of Camp
Junior pomers will join Monona Grove's varsity dance teams to learn poms, hip hop and jazz techniques that they will use in a fun, choreographed, age-appropriate dance. The dance routine they learn in the camp will be performed during half time at the MG varsity basketball game on Friday, January 28
MG Day with the Silver Eagles - Grades K-8
Wednesday January 26th  1:00 to 3:00 pm
MG High School
Cost: $20
Looking for something to do on your early release from school? Sign up and meet the members of the Monona Grove Silver Eagles boys and girls basketball teams. Coach Zweifel and Coach Nelson will run a camp covering phases of the game, from passing to shooting and dribbling. Cost of registration includes a t-shirt!

Construct a Critter Wednesday January 26th 1:00 to 2:00 pm
Monona Community Center
Ages 3-8
Cost: $20
Create your very own stuffed animal! Children will hand stuff their very own animal complete with a birth certificate and make a wish on a rainbow star during the special wish ceremony. A fun story and tasty treat will make the day complete.

Call the Recreation Department at 222-4167 to register or register online at site below.
City of Monona Parks and Recreation
1011 Nichols Road
Monona, WI

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monona Gardening Club: Organizational Meeting January 27th Monona Community Center

From Jake Anderson:
Hello All,
Thank you for your interest and excitement about getting together for education and socialization as it relates to the world of gardening. Per the responses it seems that Thursday January 27th at 6:00 pm meets the majority of people’s schedules for this first meeting.

I posted the following items that we can center our first discussion around, but I see this as an opportunity for people to get together in a group format and discuss gardening. Feel free to send this email to as many friends and neighbors as you would like and if Jessica and Doug can post on their blogs, I’ll post on the city website, facebook, and our e-newsletter.
As Parks & Recreation Director, I’m interested in tapping into the vast amount of talent we have in Monona to improve the aesthetics/sustainability of our parks and building grounds landscaping and future partnerships for programs that I’ll expand on at our kick-off meeting. If you can RSVP by Jan 25th so I know how much coffee to make, that would be great. Thanks again and I look forward to meeting you.

Starting perennials from seed – What type of equipment you need, what are easy to grow to start with, what type of soil/mix should you use?

Native Landscaping? - What is considered a native perennial plant to our area? Which natives have longest blooms (Bring photos of your gardens!)

Resources – What websites do you use for information for beginner gardeners, advanced, and sources to purchase plants/bulb/seed from both locally and online.

Plant Swap Meet Details – brainstorming session on if this idea is feasible for Monona and possible dates, location, etc.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Public Notice: Naming Request For The Ahuska Park Football/Soccer Field

From Park and Recreation Director, Jake Anderson:

This is a public notice of a request made by Monona Grove Youth Football to name the existing Football/Soccer Field at Ahuska Park Haukereid Field. This would be to honor Morrie Haukereid as one of the founders of the Monona Pee Wee Football program and current organizer over the past 42 years.

Attached is the request from the Monona Grove Youth Football group, current park/park facilities naming policies and an art rendering of what the football field entrance would look like. Per our policy, the public has time to comment on the naming request before the Parks & Recreation Board will make a recommendation at the February 8th meeting. Tentatively City Council would take the proposal up at the February 21st meeting. Individuals or groups that would like to comment on the naming process are welcome to email me or contact members of the city council or Parks & Recreation board by going to

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Sharpest Stack Of Knives

I overheard someone say the other night that they "weren't dealing with someone with the sharpest stack of knives". It reminded me of another bizarre conversation I recently had with a service rep for Airtran Airlines that went a little something like this:

Me: Hi, I need to reschedule my flight connecting through Atlanta today.

Rep: Ma'am, your flight has not been cancelled. If you can't make your flight, I'm sure any number of travellers would be happy to book it. There are thousands of people stranded at the Atlanta airport.

Me: So these people stranded at the airport, their flights have all been cancelled? Because the airport has been shut down for the day?

Rep: Correct.

Me: So the Atlanta airport is closed, has announced that all flights in and out of Atlanta are cancelled, and no one is getting anywhere today?

Rep: Correct ma'am. The weather is unbelieveable over there!

Me: But despite all these inconveniences, miraclously, my flight through Atlanta is still on?

Rep: Correct

Me: Really? I'm not sure I understand. You are telling me that all flights are cancelled, except mine, which is scheduled to fly out of an airport that is closed?

Rep: I can only go by what my computer tells me is so. Is there anything else I can help you with ma'am?

Me: I'm not sure how to answer that one.

Rep: Well, you can reschedule your flight for tomorrow, but if I were you, I don't think I would chance it.

I don't know if my flights were the only ones to arrive and depart the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport that day, but because perhaps some cosmic force was shining down on me, or maybe because I was travelling with a five-month-old and only two diapers, my flight did indeed leave. And I was on it. I have long since learned that when you're dealing with someone who doesn't have the sharpest stack of knives (or does!), you don't ask any questions but just keep moving through the terminal. (PS to the city of Atlanta: it's called global climate change; buy some more snowplows and a little street salt!)

Speaking of sharp knives, what in the world is going on in Cottage Grove? Doug beat me to a blogpost about the bizarre EMS meeting conspiracy. Really? And I thought serving on the school board could get bad...

The Monona Grove Board of Education met this past Wednesday evening at Glacial Drumlin. While the intrepid Adam Mella predicted that we would convene around 3am, the Board called it a wrap at the shocking hour of 8:30pm. The Herald-Independent had an article about our budget reduction process here.