All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Newt? He dishes it back. Why not Newt? Because....

Newt Gingrich shocked many 2012 election watchers by winning South Carolina's primary on Saturday. South Carolina. Newt won conservative South Carolina, big time!

Despite very negative allegations by X-wife #2 the very week leading up to the primary, Newt still managed to surge ahead to capture 41% of the vote to Romney's 27%, Santorum's 17% and Paul's 13%. In exit polls, Newt even won over the Evangelical and Tea Party voters. How was that possible?

Now, I am no Romney fan (because of RomneyCare and my preference for a mainstream Christian), but at least I felt Romney was a somewhat acceptable default candidate for Republicans--he may not be a conservative with passion, but he would go along with a conservative led Congress. Hands down, Ron Paul is my most undesirable choice. But next to Paul, Newt would be my least desirable candidate of the roster--even when there were still 9 in the running!*

That said, I do love the way Newt dishes it back to the media, and I think that is why Newt manages to evoke a positive response--even with conservatives. He really nailed it on the head at the CNN debate, " 'I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans,' he said."

And he is right about the media keeping good candidates out of the mix when he fumed, "The destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office..." Just look at how they have gone after Rick Santorum with questions about his wife and even his stillborn son. Or the relentless attacks on Sarah Palin and her family. Is it any wonder good people like Gov. Bobby Jindal or Rep. Paul Ryan shy away from running?

Dishing it back is the same reason people responded to Donald Trump. While I don't believe for a minute that he is a conservative, and I think he and Newt have similar problems with the women in their lives, I did enjoy his boldly responding to reporters questions and tying it back to Obama, who has been abysmal as a president.

Sarah Palin should have been a natural for running in 2012. After all, it was McCain's selection of her that brought some spark into his campaign. But the media so mercilessly attacked her and her family, they pretty much guaranteed her staying out this time.

Since I started writing this post, the 4 remaining candidates had their first debate in Florida. This time, Newt didn't knock it out of the park. While I can appreciate Newt's bold rhetoric, he is NO conservative. He has been all over the map on the issues--even in recent years--supporting the individual mandate for health insurance, supporting Cap and Tax with Nancy Pelosi, and supporting pathways to citizenship for illegals.

So as Newt and Mitt continue to bloody each other and Ron Paul is just, well, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum stands firm. They all have their flaws, but Rick Santorum to me has the least baggage and will protect American's Right to Rise. (If you agree, Santorum could use your help:

We aren't just hiring someone who can throw a punch at the press or be good at debating. We are selecting a President, and the contrasts are clear. Look at the man and his record. The goal is defeating President Obama and his oppressive socialist agenda in 2012, not trading jabs at a debate.

*Any one of those 9 Republicans would be a far better choice than what we have now. To loosely quote conservative talk show host Mark Levin, I would vote for an orange juice can over Obama. I agree.

Wall Street Journal 2012 Election Delegate Tracker
Romney, Gingrich trade barbs in Tampa debate
Oops, Nancy Pelosi On A Gingrich Presidency: "That Will Never Happen"
Krauthammer: Santorum Can Hang Around If He Keeps Finishing Third

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, RandyMelchert, Betterbrookfield, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, WisPolitics Quorum Call, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Hope things go well for Target / Trader Joes: Public Hearing Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012

On a snowy winter's night last Thursday, a group of neighbors, District 7 Aldermen Lisa Mellone and Renee' Lowerr, Mayor Ponto, Community Development Director Dan Ertl, and some representatives from the Ryan Company gathered to discuss the changes the developer is requesting for the Underwood Crossing project.

Ryan Company's retail development director, Tony Barranco, explained the 4 changes to the approved plan and gave the reasons for the requests. All 4 seem very reasonable.

Though I have been in favor of the Target anchor store, at the Underwood Crossing Retail Center on Bluemound Road, I was wary when I heard they were requesting higher density.

But my fears were quickly alleviated. The request for the increased density from 35% to 40% is for the Jr. Anchor store adjacent to the Target only, not for the entire project. If you look at the drawing, you see the yellow is the original sizing, the red the requested size.

In fact, the density or Floor Area Ratio--F.A.R. (proportion of building structure to overall area) is well below the 30% standard. Underwood Crossing was approved at 16. If the increase in density for the Jr. Anchor is approved, it would be 17.2. If you notice the out buildings to the north, the Trader Joe's in right corner is now larger, but the center building is about half its original size. The bank to the west is smaller. (My adjustments in red are NOT to scale, and not yet approved, it is just so you get an idea of what they are asking for.)

The Jr. Anchor (still undisclosed but is some sort of home product store), is asking for an additional 5,900 square feet to be used mostly for merchandise storage, not retail floor. The additional space would be added to the east side of the building, with the majority to the back (loading area).

The other major issue is the request to increase the overall height of the light poles from 20' to 25'. Brookfield's standard is 20 feet. Here a 5' increase in pole height would result in 11 fewer light poles and less energy consumption. From what I could tell from the renderings Tony Barracano showed, the light pool would remain the same--in other words, here, they can do more with less. Because of the topography, the neighborhood is at a higher elevation than the retail center; the 5 foot increase shouldn't create a problem for the neighbors.

A 3rd request is to add Trader Joe's name to the monument sign on Bluemound. To me, Trader Joe's is the MAJOR attraction here. Target may be the largest anchor store, but Trader Joe's is the real star. Motorists should be able to see at a glance where the Trader Joe's entrance is. Trader Joe's logo is just their name in big red letters. It should go nicely with the Target. Ryan Company is not asking for a larger sign, just that Trader Joe's name be added.

I don't know if people realize what a feather in Brookfield's cap a Trader Joe's is for us. I know I have been wishing for one for some time. Evidently, Dan Ertl has been wooing them since they entered the Milwaukee market at Bay Shore.

Currently, that is the only Trader Joe's, and it is in a congested parking lot that is an accident waiting to happen. Still, people travel from more than 25 miles away just to shop at Bay Shore's Trader Joe's. I think we can safely conclude Brookfield's Trader Joe's will increase the success of every retailer located at Underwood Crossing. The least we can do is put their name on the sign!

The last item needing approval regards the berm. Initially, the berm's vegetation was not to be touched by the developer, but a section had to be cleared to connect to water. When the neighborhood saw how much better the berm looked after Ryan Co. restored the plantings with mixed evergreens, they wanted to see additional evergreen plantings incorporated into the berm. The neighbors are asking that undesirable trees such as Buckthorn and Box Alder be removed, and that Ryan replace with a variety of evergreens. They are willing to do this if they are granted the 25' light pole height variance. Ryan figures the money saved by using 11 fewer but taller poles would help pay for the $40,000+ additional evergreens to the original plan.

Bottom line: It is a case of give and take. From what I hear, Ryan Co. has been very receptive to the requests of the neighborhood. They helped clean up the former Quebecor site. They created a development that comes in well under the zoning FAR.

Their requests do not seem out of line to me for what we are getting. I hope it goes well for them with the Plan Commission and Common Council. Share your opinions at Brookfield City Hall Common Council Chambers Tuesday, January 17th at 7:45pm.

Submit your comments before the next Plan Commission meeting on Monday, January 23, 2012: I asked Alderman Mellone if comments could be emailed in, as we have in the past. She said yes. Send your comments to Alderman Lisa Mellone: , Alderman Renee' Lowerr: , Dan Ertl: and/or Mayor Steve Ponto: . After the Jan. 23rd Plan Commission meeting (if all goes well), Underwood Crossing Retail Center PDD goes before the Common Council for approval on February 7th. We are almost finished, but Dan Ertl informs me there would still be a "modest amendment to the project development agreement at a subsequent meeting".

Brookfield considers changes to development plan in advance of Trader Joe's Dec. 14, 2011
Public Hearing Notice

Past Posts: A Whole Lotta Diggin' Goin' On in SE Brookfield Aug. 24, 2011
Brookfield's proposed Target Store Public Hearing: Dec. 7, 7:45pm, UPDATE and maps Dec. 7, 2010
Can it be? A Target in Brookfield? How about a Trader Joe's too? March 12, 2010
In Praise of Aldi's AND Trader Joe's: Wish We Had Both! June 4, 2008

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, RandyMelchert, Betterbrookfield, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, WisPolitics Quorum Call, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Medical College of Wisconsin Dr. Bolender presents The Miracle of Human Development, Jan. 24, 2012

UPDATE: Since the presentation is now past, check out this YouTube of Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth for a taste of what you missed. The photography is amazing! Dr. Tsiaras concludes regarding the complexity of this process "it's a mystery, it's magic, it's divinity".

The Creation Science Society of Milwaukee is pleased to present Dr. David Bolender, Ph.D as their speaker on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 6:45pm. He will be discussing "The Miracle of Human Development from Conception to Birth".

Dr. Bolender is very familiar with this subject as he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy and Director of the Human Development Course at the Medical College of Wisconsin. "He also teaches Clinical Human Anatomy and Cell and Tissue Biology as well as advanced anatomy electives. ...he has participated in research on the role of growth factors in the development of the heart, limbs, and blood vessels."

Medical science has come a long way since the display of preserved human fetuses, so many of us remember, at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. As I recall, there was at least one real specimen at each stage of development. The display dated back to the 1930s. Back then, and even in my lifetime, "details of prenatal development were unclear for many years and the subject of much speculation and misinterpretation". But thanks to improved technology we get a glimpse into this once hidden realm. Advances in medical imaging has given us this "window into human development in the womb." "Dr. Bolender will share many of their most amazing new insights in this presentation."

This meeting is not to be missed! Bring your family and friends to Brookfield Lutheran Church, located at 18500 W. Burleigh Road, in Brookfield, Wisconsin on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 6:45pm. (The church is just east of Brookfield Road on Burleigh Road)

No wonder the Psalmist David wrote in Psalm 139:14:
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Did you know? Humans at about 2 months have webbed fingers, but our DNA also carries the instructions for those webs to die, once the fingers develop from the buds. This is called PCD or Programmed Cell Death. These webs "serve as scaffolds, supporting the emergence of more permanent and specialized cells". (Don't feel badly if you didn't know this; I only learned about it at the last CSSM meeting with Biologist Paul Frank.)

Creation Science Links: Creation Science Society of Milwaukee
Answers In Genesis
Institute for Creation Research
Creation Minute
4th Day Alliance

Future Speakers:
Dr. Gary Locklair PhD., Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 6:45pm, at Concordia University, Wisconsin
Jerry Frye, Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 7:15pm, at Brookside Baptist Church, Brookfield, Wisconsin

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, RandyMelchert, Betterbrookfield, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, WisPolitics Quorum Call, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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