Category Archives: Uncategorized

Support the USM Alumni Association

I love fundraisers that are about the money on the table.  You know, the kind that capture profits from things you’d spend money on anyway.

Turns out, the University School Milwaukee Alumni Association gets a piece of your magazine or newspaper subscription if you order through this site.  So, I’m off to order some magazines!


Nawabdin the Electrician?

I’m reading a collection of short stories for a Facebook Book Group called In Other Rooms, Other Wonder by Daniyal Mueenuddin.

The first short story is Nawabdin the Electrician and is set in Mundal, a rural community in Punjab, Pakistan.

Might this be what he looked like when planning how to ask his patron Harouni about getting a motorcycle?

Tim the Tool Man moving sale–and furniture too!

Man using a chainsaw with all recommended safe...
Image via Wikipedia

From Laura W.–

Friends from the USM family are getting ready to move to their new place. They are having a moving sale this Saturday, August 1st from 9am – 4pm at 2602 E. Newberry Blvd. They have a lot of great items: furniture, household items, sporting equipment, patio furniture, clothing, power tools, etc. including:

Homelite 24″ Gas Chain Saw (w/ extra chain)
Craftsman Scroll Saw
Black and Decker Finishing Sander
WorkForce 7″ Wet Tile Saw (never opened)
Makita Router 24K-RPM
6.5 HP Craftsman Chipper/Shredder
4 HP Craftsman Edger
Ariens Snow Blower ST524
Large Ladder
Large Wheel Barrow

If you know of anyone who would be interested in any of these items, please pass this information along to them.

Thank you!

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Try chocolate peanut butter cookies

Photo of Peanut Butter Cookie Balls
Image by foodistablog via Flickr

Our daughter has decided this summer that she likes to “experiment.” So she’s decided that making up her own cookie recipes is a great way to explore science!

Last week she and I, with inspiration from a church cookbook from Rockdale Lutheran Church near Madison, made chocolate peanut butter cookies.  Here’s the recipe:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 cups flour

1 t baking soda

1 t salt

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs.  Add vanilla. Mix in melted chocolate.  Add peanut butter and mix.  Add flour, one cup at a time, and salt and baking soda.  Drop cookies on greased cookie sheet and bake for 13-14 minutes.

Tonight, we added chocolate frosting.  We used 1/4 cup butter, melted.  1 T cocoa power.  About 2 cups powered sugar.  1-2 t milk.

They are pretty and you only need one!

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Citizen Journalist: Adopt-a-Stimulus-Project

Road Construction
Image by ahhyeah via Flickr

Last week, I signed up to participate in ProPublica’s Adopt-a-Stimulus-Project.

I adopted a portion of State Street from 17th to 27th Street.  My first task was to find out when the project is supposed to start.

Turns out that the project is still out for bid so we don’t know yet who is going to do the work and when they’ll start.

Turns out that’s also the case for another nine projects approved for the city of Milwaukee.  Two of them are in the bidding phase; the other seven don’t yet have the specs done yet so can’t yet go out for bid.

So while there are some people working as a result of this “Surface Transportation Allocation” from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, they are mostly people who are working anyway (city engineers, regional and state legislative staff, web masters trying to keep the information available to the public).

Still none of the $15.2 million allocated from Wisconsin‘s stimulus funds to pay for resurfacing and repairing roads in the city of Milwaukee have been spent.  So no jobs created there.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has provided some coverage of the decision-making process.  A look at what might be characterized as a “tortuous” process and you begin to understand why money allocated in January for the express purpose of putting people to work ASAP has still not been spent.

However, when I talked to the city engineer, Jeff Polenske, he made a reference to the process going through “quickly.”  And perhaps it has.

I haven’t looked long enough at this (I’m volunteering after all) to come to any conclusions about whether or not stimulus funds meant for other road projects in Wisconsin are moving ahead. Northern Milwaukee, southern Ozaukee, and southern Washington County residents are seeing some projects moving ahead.  There, the decision-making process was accelerated by DOT:

The state Department of Transportation, by contrast, focused on another stimulus priority: selecting projects that could start quickly and put people to work right away. As a result, state officials started pushing to spend $7.5 million immediately on two highways in Germantown and a bridge in River Hills. They later broadened their list to cover $8.8 million in Milwaukee projects and $17.7 million in suburban projects, including those in Germantown and River Hills.

The ProPublica project is trying to answer, on a national scale, what’s happening with the stimulus funds.  Stay tuned.

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Lead a school. Change the future.

Many of you know of my work in Milwaukee’s education reform community and my involvement as a board member of Milwaukee Renaissance Academy, a public charter middle school in the City of Milwaukee. Volunteering with MRA has been a great experience because I know the school is making a difference for our students. Our website is “under construction” but provides a glimpse of who we are as a school community. 

We are seeking a new school leader who wants to join us to close the achievement gap and who has the requisite skills and leadership to accomplish that goal. If you know of any highly qualified candidates, please forward this blog post which contains much more detail on my Milwaukee Renaissance Academy page. The deadline to apply is June 19th.

Milwaukee Renaissance Academy (MRA) is a public charter school completing its second year of operation. MRA will serve approximately 125-150 students in grades 6 – 8 during the 2009-2010 school year, with anticipated growth to 250 students in successive years. The school was founded on evidence-based best practices and the trustees are committed to the continuation of best practices, a standards-based curriculum and data-informed decision-making. Parents and students come to MRA with the expectation that they will be challenged and supported in academic and social progress. Thanks so much for your assistance.

Support your “new” locally owned bookstores

Image by lanier67 via Flickr

As you may already know (okay, most of you know), Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops will close their doors at the end of March.

But two of the stores will live on under new ownership.  So here’s your chance to take that first step to support the new bookstores that are opening in Schwartz locations:  sign up for their email newsletters.

To sign up for Lanora Hurley’s mailing list at the new Next Chapter Bookshop in Mequon, write to  If you would like to be added to a print mailing list, please include your street address.

If you want to be added to Daniel Goldin’s email distribution for Boswell Book Company on Milwaukee’s Downer Avenue, contact and put newsletter in the subject line.  Include your street address if you’d like to be included in future print mailings.

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