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Oak Wilt

Oak wilt is a lethal fungal disease that plugs the water conducting system in an oak tree. It can occur in all species of oak, but will very quickly kill red oaks.

Prompt diagnosis is crucial. The primary symptom is wilting of the leaves and early defoliation. In the red oak group wilting generally progresses from the top of the canopy downward. In white & bur oaks, wilting may occur on branches scattered throughout the tree. These symptoms may also be cause by anthracnose, bur oak blight or two-lined chestnut borer. Laboratory testing may be needed to confirm oak wilt.

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What Can I Plant Under Pine Trees?

flower, garden, perennial, plant, plants, planting bed, tree, water, wisconsin, yard, dry, pine, acidic

I've been asked this several times and last week I responded off the top of my head azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, and some types of berries.  But then I got to thinking.... it would be nice to be able to plant a bigger variety of things under pines, since that understory of empty space seems like such a wasteland.  I did some online research and came up with many choices and some that I will definitely try! 

But first I need to warn anyone that is considering this - you need to commit to doing a lot of watering.  If you have one of these stately trees in your yard go take a look at the ground under them.  It's probably very very dry.  Pine trees tend to have roots that grow just under the soil in order to soak up as much moisture as they can.  This means that anything you plant under them will compete for the water the tree needs.  You really need to water a lot, in fact leaving a soaker hose out there and turning it on frequently is the best option.  Leave the pine needles there as they make great mulch and contribute to the acid that these plants thrive in.

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Independence Life

Hi everyone!

I could pretend I know something about history.  To be honest, and this is between you and me, I barely squeaked through my Senior Year of High School.  I was told approximately a month prior to Graduation that if I didn't pass my History class, I wouldn't graduate.  Low and behold, my final grade was a D-.  Let's just say I've had dreams of being in High School as a 20-something woman carrying two babies on my hips through the hallways since.  

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Remembering a Great Friend, Father, and Husband

fundraiser, Waterman, Jon, Julie, Jill, college

I find myself struggling sometimes with the loss of family and friends at such young ages. It hardly makes sense when there is so much more life to live, adventures to experience, and roads not traveled. I try to be optimistic, yet it is difficult, when the past three years, I have been to more funerals than birthday parties.

There are greater goods, which have resulted from these funerals, though at the time of attending, the vision or thoughts were not there. It is a coming together of people, some known, some not known, and some whom we now call our friends. Through these events, I have grown to know the impact I and others had on the lives of the friends and family passed, yet when they were living they were unspoken words...you just knew you were always there for each other.

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Are You Among the Thousands Who Could Lose Internet Access Next Week?

Hundreds of thousands of Internet users may lose their online access on July 9, 2012, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is urging all consumers and businesses to run a quick and easy diagnostic test to see if their computers are infected. The FBI’s DNS Changer Working Group can detect the malware and explain how to fix infected machines.

“Everyone should check to see if their computer is infected,” urged Randall Hoth, Wisconsin BBB president/CEO. “It takes less than a minute to check and, if your equipment is clean, there is nothing more you need to do. If your computer is infected, the DNS Changer Working Group recommends the necessary steps to save your computer. But this must be done by July 9th or you could lose internet access.”

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The Ongoing VW Jetta Diesel Story

 In a past blog, I wrote about issues we had with our 2004 VW Jetta Diesel and the dealership we purchased it from.  The car continued to give us lots of problems even after the extended warranty ran out and so much work was done on it by the dealership.  We started taking the car to a reputable smaller shop near our home.  The shop informed us that the dealer did not complete a major job that was done by the dealership under the warranty and that we should take the car to the dealership.  We took the car back to the dealership and they agreed they did not complete the job as it should have been and fixed it - no apology or explanation.  We contacted VW Corporate and they "really" didn't have an answer either.  In addition, we also noted that a piece of our radio cover had been replaced with a sticky, lighter colored piece - don't know why - did they ruin the original piece?  Why were we not told.

The car only had 60K miles on it and we took very good care of it, inside and out.  I loved the way it drove and the looks of it but the extensive service record and continuing problems were just a hassle.  We had a lemon -.  The AM stereo was all static and dealership said it would cost around $500 to see if they could fix it with no guarantees.  The small shop near our home said it was a common issue with Jettas from that year.

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This week at the movies

Bowling, Gambling, MLB, Nostalga, Patriotism, Soccer, Television, Movies


Being a gentleman of ample carriage, I am not a big fan of 90+ degree days.  That said, we really didn't do a lot the past week while temperatures exceeded 100 degrees (Side note; this was a bad time for excessive temperatures, as I love the patriotic activities of Independence Day).  Couch potatoing gave me ample time to attend and/or watch a bunch of movies from home.

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Say Cheese!!!

More than once in a while, I head through a check-out lane. I have to admit, at certain establishments, I will wait for my favorite Customer Service Rep or Cashier. I play favorites; I will be the first to fess up. Yet, aren’t we all draw back to people, places and things which make us feel good, all giggly inside?

I have had my fair share of positive and negative. Fortunately, the good outweigh the bad. Once in a while, for some unknown reason, I’ve had the unfortunate encounter of dealing with the not-so-nice, the one person who is having a bad century. Why is this person serving me, I wonder. Why were they hired for this particular position? For some odd reason, they were chosen, and not just out of the blue. That’s right, the employer didn’t pick their name out of a hat similar to that in the beloved Harry Potter movie. Nope, that’s not how it happened. For some reason, and yes, it’s a good one, you and this particular individual are crossing paths. 

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Time Warner Versus WISN/WISN Versus Time Warner

 We can no longer watch our favorite news Channel - WISN, Channel 12 and ABC television shows....because we have Time Warner Cable.  We only have Basic Cable because we don't watch a lot of cable channels.  We have had Time Warner Cable for a long, long time.  I don't quite understand why WISN and Time Warner cannot work something out - since, we the customers, are the ones losing out.  I guess customers aren't important!!!???  Between what we pay AT & T for our internet service and what we pay Time Warner for a minimal amount of channels, we can say that the prices continue to increase at no additional benefit to us.  So what else is new?

In a perfect world, I'd like to cancel cable and our AT & T internet and say "take a hike".  I don't know of any other alternatives to fast internet service other than these two "customer oriented companies".  We could go to a satellite dish for TV but our condo complex doesn't allow them; the building antenna that was on our building is gone since they replaced the roofs and decided that the antenna was no longer necessary.  Not sure what other alternatives are available for us.  We could try an indoor antenna and hope that we could pull in all of the local stations with as good of reception.  

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21 restaurants coming to fundraiser for animals - tickets on sale now!

Feasting for Felix tickets now on sale

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My Dad

One week will bring about the 3 year anniversary of my Dad's passing. To honor him, I have chosen to tell his story. The one he shared with many.

My Dad was outspoken, in your face and one of the funniest, wittiest individuals I've ever known. I believe he could have beat Ken Jennings on Jeopardy many times over. He was my best friend and had my back. He was my "person", my confidante and the first person I called for good times and bad. He never judged, was never shocked nor did he ever tell me I was wrong. No matter what, he always said, "Laurie, as long as you're happy, go for it! I support you 100% and will always have your back." And that he did.

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Pit Bull Puppy Amputee Recovers at WHS

 Puppy’s Deformities Result in Amputation Surgery

Wisconsin Humane Society seeks donations for “Thumbelina”
 
MILWAUKEE – A very special puppy has stolen the hearts of staff members at the Wisconsin Humane Society and indeed, it’s fairly impossible to resist her sweet puppy face. WHS is hoping a special appeal this weekend will help them raise the funds necessary to cover her recent amputation surgery.
 
Thumbelina is an 8-week-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix puppy who arrived at the shelter because of a congenital deformity in her left front leg. It wasn't growing properly and her family was unable to care for her any longer. 
 
“Thumbelina underwent the specialized surgery like a champ,” says Dr. Rebecca Jackson at WHS, who performed the amputation.  “She is currently recovering in our Intensive Care Unit, and her prognosis looks great. We were glad to be able to help her.”
 
The cost of her surgery and medical care is expected to reach about $2,000 and WHS is asking for help with her special medical expenses. To make a contribution, visit wihumane.org or call 414-431-6121.
 
The Wisconsin Humane Society receives no government funding and relies entirely on the support of the community to annually care for 20,000 animals. The organization is recognized by Charity Navigator, the nation’s leading charity watchdog group, as a 4-star charity, its highest rating.

To Be Green Again

Certified Arborist MN-0324A

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Early Intervention is the Key to Success

Autism, disability services, Early Intervention, Easter Seals, Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin, nonprofit

We are very proud to announce that this June we celebrated the graduation of one of our autism services participants, Kai.

Kai was adopted from an orphanage in China when he was 28 months old. Upon return home with his parents Kai did not walk, speak, or interact with others. After seeing a specialist, Kai’s parents were told their son would be non-verbal and require long-term care. They looked to Easter Seals for help. “Of course I was devastated by the long-term prognosis and relieved when our son was accepted into the autism program at Easter Seals. His therapists were all caring, insightful and astute, and worked fantastically with our kiddo! On lead therapists and staff were flexible with our changing schedule and coordinated well with teachers at my son’s school.”

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Don't Get Steered into Paying Extra for a Car Rental

BBB, Better_Business_Bureau, car_rental

Gasoline prices have dropped for more than 10 weeks in a row and are now averaging about $3.50 a gallon in Wisconsin, according to AAA. This just may be the perfect time for a road trip! The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends tips for renting a car without breaking the bank.

In 2011, BBB received 3,773 complaints nationally against the auto renting and leasing industry. Many of the complaints were a result of billing and contracting issues. When it comes to navigating the rental car process, there are many little details that often times leave consumers confused as they eagerly wait to get on the road.

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Took the plunge!

Within the last couple of months, I wrote a blog on weight. My weight to be exact. I had put on 10 pounds and was in a place of compliance. That was then, this is now and I will let you know what has happened since. 

Something resonated within. I read and re-read the comments under the blog. I thought about their words, briefly, to be honest. I continued my slippery slope. I gained another 5 or so pounds (notice I said or so) and avoided the subject at hand. The couch became my best friend. I began to eat, not fruits and veggies, but Oreos, chips, snacks, added an additional 1 to 3 Mountain Dews (notice to 3) and began to feel lazy. I had absolutely no motivation, nor did I really have an excuse. 

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Prescribed Fertilization Can Help Your Trees Now!

by Anthony C. Arnoldi, Board-Certified Master Arborist WI-0102B
Trees have had their share of problems:  necessary elements for growth, defense, replacement
• They have suffered from thinning root systems during leaves or roots and compensating for environmental
the last five years of the accumulating drought stresses.
• Boring insects have risen to extremely high levels and • Root biostimulant and humates option for tree fertil-
are attacking various species. ization. This more “green” approach enables the roots
• Chlorosis has begun or intensified on susceptible trees to be targeted. This is often necessary to compensate
• Needle diseases and needle drop of evergreens are for drought, construction damage or root rot. It is
commonly visible. invaluable in assisting trees without stimulating root
• Fungal leaf diseases of deciduous trees are causing rot, shoot blight or other diseases. It is indispensable
defoliation. in encouraging newly planted trees to become estab-
• Root rots have affected many root systems. lished, especially in our difficult, clay-based soils.
• Dieback and decline has started on many trees • Mixing root biostimulant combinations with varying
All of these are working in varying combinations to leave levels of complete fertilizer. This provides for special
our trees stressed and vulnerable to further insect and disease applications and requirements based on the tree con-
attack. Some are not ready to endure another long winter. dition and insects and/or diseases present.
Fertilization is one of the most powerful tools arborists • Chelated iron, or manganese alone, or as an inclusion
have at their disposal to help trees recover from stress to fertilization, can help to fight or prevent chlorosis or
and damage. It is often necessary to help trees by controlling micronutrient deficiency.
insect or disease attack but as far as providing aid that actu- Your Certified Arborist is best qualified to choose the
ally improves tree health; fertilization is the cornerstone. right options and combinations to design the program tai-
Several options in fertilizer formulation enhance our abil- lored for your specific situation. Fall is the perfect time to
ity to help your trees recover and avoid potential problems: fertilize because roots naturally peak their growth as the
• Polymer-based nitrogen in a specially balanced com- leaves shut down for the year. Fall fertilization can enhance
plete fertilizer. This allows us unmatched control with this peak and promote greater pick up of the soil-injected
slow release for an entire year without “pushing” the materials. This will better prepare your tree for a long winter
tree or stimulating unwanted growth. It provides the and help it to be able to successfully “wake up” next spring!

Students: Steer Clear of Financial Aid Scams

financial_aid, BBB, Better_Business_Bureau, college_students, scams, scholarships

If you are (or have a child who is) a senior in high school, chances are you know about the college application deadline looming. It's also likely that you've been approached (or will soon be approached) by companies promising to help you find college financial aid or scholarships. Beware!

With the cost of college outpacing inflation and crimping family budgets, students and their families are anxious to find scholarships and other awards that can help them pay for higher education. The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises students and their parents to be wary of websites, seminars or other schemes that promise to find scholarships, grants or financial aid packages for a fee.

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