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WAC meeting regarding Daniel Acker

Hello folks,

yes, I attended the meeting tonight at West Allis Central regarding Daniel Acker.  I was quite impressed regarding the turnout of city officials from the West Allis Recreation Department to the Superintendent of the West Allis/West Milwaukee school district.

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Need some puppy love?

Ariel, Bruno, Brownie and several other adorable, sweet puppies are looking for homes at the Wisconsin Humane Society! All dogs are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. All adopters also go home with an adoption handbook to help their companions make a smooth transition. Interested in adopting a puppy?  We also offer several excellent training classes and seminars based on positive reinforcement.

Not ready to keep up with the energy of a young pup?  Meet Bella, a sweet 4-year-old Beagle who has eyes that melt your heart, or Zoe, a 6-year-old Chihuahua who would love to curl up on the couch with you and a good movie.  There are also other wonderful adult dogs, cats and small animals looking for great homes.

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Teen Party Patrol

Have you all seen the article by Mark Schaaf about  WAPDs plan to bust underage drinking parties? The program was introduced Tuesday, April 2 at the Spring Into Action event. I missed the event, so my information comes soley from Schaaf's article. If any of you attended, I'd love to hear your opinions about the program.

While I applaud the effort to keep underage drinking parties under control, it saddens me that the police end up trying to control something that parents should be handling.  Maybe it was because I wasn't part of the cool crowd in high school, but my parents taught me right from wrong and put house rules in place that, if violated, at least cost us our freedom for a few weeks. I understand times were different 25 years ago when I was 15, but why does it have to be?  Why can't the values we were raised with be taught to our children? Were our parents' ways really that bad?  When you think about all the teens who die in car wrecks caused by alcohol, the school shootings, the gang crimes...I don't remember having near the problems with these things when we were kids.  Police didn't need to "have a presence" at our school and the worst school violence we saw was a fist fight. The "bad" kids were out smoking behind the building, not killing each other because they disagreed.

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Perspective. Get low

Just about any sports photo will look better the lower you, as the photographer, are to the ground. It's all about perspective. Any vertical movement by an athlete will be accentuated the lower your camera is to the ground. A good sprinter's feet will both be off the ground at the same time during his stride, but from eye height that's just not visible. The sprinter's feet are only a couple of inches off the running deck and from eye level that's just not readily visible, but with the camera on the ground/floor that little two inches of flight looks much more pronounced. Add in a determined and straining game face and it's makes for a dramatic photograph.

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Kids in Commercials

child actors, commercials, Oreos

 Usually I try to avoid watching commercials on TV but there are times that I get caught up in them. It amazes me how little kids are often presented. Kids are either very obnoxious or sweet, sometimes saccharine sweet. The only commercial that I've seen a few times that presents the kid as normal is the one showing the little boy talking to his bloodhound and telling the dog that he's not going to lie anymore for the dog's mishap.

There's a commercial showing now by a fish stick sponsor in which the little girl is sassy, demanding and obnoxious. It seems to me that a child watching it will get ideas in their head that its ok to talk to mom that way cause you get what you want that way. Not a good thought for a small child to have. Granted it's JUST a commercial, but small children do watch them. There is no way any of my kids would even think they could talk that way to me and get away with it. If they get away with it when young, imagine what they will try as teenagers?

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Weed Out! Rooted in You! Volunteer Opportunity!

Family, Group, Invasive, Milwaukee County Park, Volunteer, Weed Out, Youth

LogoThe Park People Spring Weed Out focuses on the removal of Garlic Mustard, an especially aggressive weed that is native to Europe. Since its introduction into our ecosystem, Garlic Mustard has spread at an alarming rate and has been displacing native woodland vegetation. It is imperative that Garlic Mustard is controlled in the Milwaukee County Parks before it causes long term degradation to our public green spaces.

Throughout May Garlic Mustard is an easy pull for volunteers of all ages. This is a great opportunity for families to volunteer together. This is much more than pulling weeds. The volunteers are surrounded by positive people that live and work in our community. Our volunteers truly care about our city, our environment and enjoy teaching and working with youth.

There are multiple Weed Out opportunities available throughout the county.

To learn more about Garlic Mustard here are a few links
Garlic Mustard Identification and Control A short, well produced video
Wisconsin DNR Fact sheet on Garlic Mustard

Below are the specific dates and locations.
The Weed-Outs do not take place at the Park People office located on N. Farwell.

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2nd quarter Lightning Round

Bowling, Brewers players, Craps, Gambling, James family, Las Vegas, Metallica, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Wave, MLB, My-Sugar-Na, Restaurants, Riviera Lanes, Television, Vacation, West Allis, Xtreme Soccer League

I am not going to Opening Day for the first time since 2004, been to 16 overall since 1985... Predictions are impossible this year.  Gallardo = 2008 Sheets, Parra = 2007 Gallardo.  The key is if there is the opportunity to get an ace before July... I had a 300 game at Riviera Lanes a few weeks ago, it was my 16th... Leaving for Vegas in two weeks to bowl the USBC Open Championships, aka Nationals... The bar has been set, and it won't be topped this year... Wisconsin bowlers tend to do well at Nationals... Not gonna eat my way through Las Vegas... Don't think I can eat steak for three meals a day for six daysTry me... Copper prices are going up, is the recession almost over?  Oil is going up, so it just may be... Maybe not for the captain, but the first thing I thought of when I read this was "Cool"... Still looking for bloggers in West Allis to write about issues... But don't look at me, I've got more important things to write about... Metallica is in the middle of a month-long marathon on XM42, it goes through Monday... (Sponsor's Name Here)'s Offical Son, Mitten, was the starting pitcher for his Rufus King High School JV team on April 8th.  He and another pitcher combined to no-hit Bay View High School 17-4 (side note; 17-4 and a no-hitter?  Yeah, it was JV)... Mitten's fastball was clocked as Thursday... It can't be that hard is it to make sure your van is empty first... Or to put your baby in a crib... Or keep your beer truck on its tires... Way cool... So is this... And this... My-Sugar-Na thinks I have too many blog links... Blame Mark the Editor, he showed me how... My-Sugar-Na's new shoes give her blisters... Hey, bbear, quarter craps (but only 10x odds kinda stink)... The Milwaukee Wave managed a 10-10 record with a bunch of guys you've never heard of.  Next year should be much better if they can retain their stars... In one of the other indoor soccer leagues, the PASL-Pro, the Stockton Cougars won the championship, were sold, then fired their head coach... In the third indoor soccer league, the Baltimore Blast will face the Rockford Rampage in Baltimore this weekend for the NISL title... Happy Easter, y'alls!

History made

I've read that photojournalists are witnesses to history, but I disagree. We are all witnesses to history, I just get paid to photograph it as it happens. 

This past week history was made in the field house of West Allis Central High School as Wauwatosa East's Hannah Weinberg-Kinsey cleared 5 feet 5 inches in the high jump event of her team's Greater Metro Conference track and field meet, breaking the old conference record of 5 feet 4 inches.

It was my second day in the Central field house after covering the boys GMC meet the day before and I was there to cover six schools, one of which was Tosa East.

Let me back up for a second and tell you my thoughts on covering track and field. I love to photograph track meets - period. There is just so much going on and so many different opportunities to make photos it's impossible to get bored, the access is great, and I don't have to worry about a sliced golf ball hitting me in the head.

That said, indoor track is a challenge from a technical point of view. The light, or lack there of, pushes my cameras ability to to both record the action and stop what ever motion there is to the stops. It's dark and people are moving fast, two things that never work together to make a good photo. 3200ASA f/2.8 at a 1/320th of a second dark. That's when the light is reflecting off faces, not the shadows.

To maximize my chances of making photos I tend to concentrate on the high jump and pole vault field events while covering indoor track. In the pole vault event the athletes are 9 feet closer to the lights and because of that I can raise my shutter speed to 1/500th of a second, thus upping my chances of stopping and motion. In the high jump event the competitors go over the bar with their faces facing right at the lights - lending me a hand as the light reflects off any exposed skin, again making my job easier.

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To your food!


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I didn't get a preview done in time, but I can offer a review

Brewers players, Milwaukee Brewers

(Bear with me. I am attempting a post with no links.  Wish me well.) 

You guys are asleep at the wheel.  Here we have the Cubs in town, and nobody offered me any money to stay away.  I was 0-4 in Cubs/Brewers games last season, and after the train wreck that was Sunday night's game, I am 0-1 this season.

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Our guest blogger: James Lentz Jr.

James Lentz is our director for our next production  "A Murder Is Announced" 

Director’s Notes Dear Friends,      A Murder is Announced is a classic murder mystery set in post World War II England.  In this story, the many motives for murder are included.  From greed, to jealousy, and of course passion, this story has it all.  The only question is which of the suspects have which motives, and which of these are enough to lead to murder.  Please join Inspector Craddock and the enigmatic Miss Marple as they match wits with the person or persons responsible in a tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat.     The above is, of course, a classic teaser for promotional use but is never the less accurate.  I was very excited by the prospect of directing a mystery play, since mysteries were among my favorite stories for as long as I can remember.  Staying up late on Sundays to see the mystery show on PBS was the perfect way to start the week, or end the weekend.  From Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, to Sherlock Holmes and Ellery Queen, this genre has been an important part of my life.  I am proud now to help bring to you this story, in which every character is important and every nuance relevant.  Whether the ending is a surprise, or the savvy among you get it right off, I hope you enjoy this performance as thoroughly as we have enjoyed bringing it to you. James Lentz Jr.Director

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Our Show Opens!!!

West Allis Players is proud to present our spring show, "A Murder is Announced." This Agatha Christie thriller runs at 7:30 p.m. April 17, 18, 24 and 25 at West Allis Central Auditorium, 85th and Lincoln Ave.
This final week -- tech week -- is when it all comes together. The acting, costumes, lighting, sound, set and props all appear through the efforts of a fantastic backstage crew. Our stage manager, Ruth Caves and props mistress, Beth Bland are busy coordinating all the unseen jobs that are so important to the show. (So far, my extra jobs -- in addition to my role -- involve striking the book and newspaper and setting the cigarette box. Got it.) We also have to be careful not to disrupt any drying paint and walk around any working tech people who may be on stage.
Don't forget to use your Entertainment Book coupon which will give you the buy-one-get-one bonus. In addition, any moneys realized from our intermission sales goes to our scholarship fund. This spring one student from Central and another from Nathan Hale will receive a stipend toward their college expenses.
We hope you come to see "A Murder is Announced." If you have been reading our blogs but have never seen one of our shows, this may be the perfect time to check us out. We also hope you patronize our advertisers. Their support is very important to us.
Now, on with the show!

Dave and Busters - Coming soon

amusement parks, Dave and Busters, Milwauke

I don't know how many of you have been to or heard of Dave and Busters. It's an indoor amusement park featuring video games that you actually participate in. There is a restaurant and a bar that serves both non-alcoholic beverages. There's a lot of pool tables too and party rooms. I was visiting some friends in Michigan and they took me for an evening of just plain fun.

 Now, a good friend here in the Milwaukee area, yes, I know this should be about West Allis, but anyone in the area can go check out Dave and Busters out when it opens up. From what I understand the location is on Hwy 100 just below where the freeway goes across Hwy 100. Ewald Motors closed and that's the area that Dave and Busters is taking over. I've no idea when the grand opening will be but I've no doubt there will be some kind of publicity on TV or in the local papers.

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Controlling the sun

This past week I had an assignment to make a portrait of an athlete for a story one of our sports reporters is doing. I really don't like these jobs because they involve making an interesting photograph of someone to illustrate a story about a very active person -- the best baseball player of the year is an annual example -- but in this case my subject was in injured athlete.

The idea is that my photograph will somehow match the reporters story in tone and flavor, so a very happy looking subject in a photograph that will run with a story about a young lady who suffered a concussion and had her athletic career cut short would make no sense. Thus I have to make a moody/somber looking portrait of my subject which usually involves deep shadows and a somber/serious facial expression. 

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WA-WM Superintendent Mr. Wachholz

My name is Karen and I am Laura's "Guest Blogger"!    I wrote her after seeing the article on regarding the pay increase of 11.7% for Mr. Wachholz, the West Allis-West Milwaukee School Superintendent.  I had asked Laura to write about it and see what the taxpayers of West Allis think.  That is when she invited me to do the blog, so here I am! 


This article ruffled a few of my feathers, as do a lot of these "great" ideas brought about by the school district.  However, this one is different.  The last time I checked people were losing jobs, companies putting freezes on pay raises, and people were getting laid-off.  Families are finding it harder and harder to provide for their families.  All of this due to the economy going downhill.  But Mr. Wachholz gets an extra $7,500 for July 1, 2007- June 30, 2008 and than another increase of $6,000 for July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010 bringing his pay to $147, 500 the first year of the contract.  Hold on, that is just the FIRST year.  The school board will raise his wage again for the second year of the contract because "wages cannot be less than the previous school year". 

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Feasting for Fido!

In celebration of our 130th Anniversary, the Wisconsin Humane Society is thrilled to announce Feasting for Fido. This fun evening on Thursday, July 16, 2009, will include restaurant tastings of creative cuisine, inspiring wines, locally-crafted beer, festive music and a silent auction. Learn more and get your tickets now !

I. Can't. Wait. 'Til. Sunday.

Bowling, Craps, Gambling, James family, Las Vegas, My-Sugar-Na, Nostalga, Reno, Restaurants, Vacation

Vegas, baby!

Not to bore you (I do that enough already) and not to rub it in (you still want me to try Peter Luger's?) but my go-round for bowling the USBC Open Championships (aka Nationals) is about a week away, and is it my fault that the tournament is in Las Vegas this year?  And Reno in each of the next two years?

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West Allis Western Days Parade...West Allis Western Days Festival...two community staples, which due to lack of sponsor support and festival attendance, were forced to be cancelled and never return. Did you know the yearly parade costs were an estimated $30,000, yet it was free to attend? Did you know the festival was the largest, annual FUNDRAISER for the West Allis Charities, Inc.? If more people would have harnessed the concept the West Allis Western Days Festival existed as a fundraiser for the West Allis community instead of grumbling about the $5.00 admission cost, maybe these two events would be in existence today.

Did you know 100% of the proceeds (after expenses) from the festival went back into the community for literacy programs, education scholarships, living needs assistance, replenishing food pantries, increasing resident safety, and providing medical / vision / dental funds for children and elderly? Yes, we do all this and more with the funds we raise. How much of our expenses are for employee salaries? ZERO...we are a 100% volunteer organization. The reality much do you care about your community and helping to better new / existing programs or the lives of others? We are an avenue for you to use to make your dollars work in and for your community.

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Lola's smile is contagious

Lola's smile is contagious and so is her enthusiasm for life!  This happy-go-lucky girl enjoys the outdoors, long walks on the beach and playing frisbee on a summer day.  Her unique pattern of markings is very distinctive, and she has the most gorgeous brown eyes.

Lola is a 1 year old St. Bernard/Australian Shepherd mix who is looking for an active family or guardian who would enjoy teaching Lola new tricks and skills. She LOVES to learn and is a very smart student. 

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To stay out of jail...



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