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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Saving forgotten Wauwatosa -- and the rest

Underwood Parkway, American Transmission Company, Transmission Lines. Community Development, Beauty

For those with short attention spans, I'll put the conclusion first.

Let's not be so fast to sacrifice what makes this community the place of trees and homes in favor of gray infrastructure--boxes and lines and towers--to meet future energy needs. Instead, let's find solutions that don't degrade the human and real estate values of our homes here.

I'm referring to the plans by American Transmission Company (ATC) to run new overhead high power electric transmission lines through two of several areas in our community. One is the Underwood Parkway between Bluemound and some point on the County Grounds. I'll concentrate on this area because it's my backyard.

But the larger argument for sustaining the beauty and walkability of our neighborhoods applies as well to our friends on Walnut Street and at St. Therese's, who don't want the lines there either.

Before I get too far, please remember that Wauwatosa has a south side, a west side, and a north side as well as the village and  the North Avenue east side. There are formal plans and investment in those two more central areas. But when it comes to my side of town, residential community is largely forgotten. The talk is all about Mayfair Road or the County Grounds. One is a roadway. The other is an important piece of land over which the city has only zoning clout that it is reluctant to use.

And yet ours is a key gateway area. Developers and planners usually pay attention to city gateways because people's first impressions about a place are formed there.  

Between important commercial areas and main transportation lines, there are some 900 homes in the Underwood Parkway area. Some have big yards, some have smaller ones. Most have wonderful big trees.

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Beauty doesn't count, except. . .

Underwood Parkway, American Transmission Company, Beauty, Transmission Lines, Public Service Commission

When it comes to making decisions about where to put soaring powerlines and other “gray infrastructure” in our community, aesthetics don’t really count for much. Ease, space, and cost – and convenience to the power company – do. So said the representatives of American Transmission Company (ATC) to the crowd packing Underwood School’s gym last night.

Apparently the Public Service Commission, the decider in these matters, has decreed that preservation of beauty can’t be the deciding factor where our private property, our houses and neighborhoods, and our parklands are concerned. Can't bury lines, which is much more expensive, just because they are wicked ugly.

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Is flipping the bird really illegal?

Sheriff Clarke, Flipping the bird, Wisconsin legislature, obscure laws

With the Wisconsin State Legislature busily creating more laws about things like school curricula and preventing the use of tech school IDs for voting, I worry about my ability to keep up with all the things that are forbidden to me.

Not that I spend a lot of time breaking laws, short of the occasional illegal U-turn. On the whole, I like to be a law abiding citizen.

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On doing the right thing

Penn State scandal, abuse, abdicating responsibility, mandated reporters

A few people are blessed with instantly knowing the right thing to do – and with having the courage to do it. I’m not one of them. Oh, I usually figure things out. But it can take time to sort and ponder.

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Why I didn't march at Scott Walker's house

Scott Walker, Recall, Demonstrations, Wauwatosa, Ethics, Dirty Tricks

Last night, coming home from work at about quarter to nine, curiosity got the best of me. I headed down 68th Street to see what was going on with the Recall Scott Walker event scheduled to be held in front of the governor’s family home. I had no intention of participating, but I wanted to see for myself what was going on.

Besides, it was on the way to Gillies, and a fish sandwich on rye was calling my name.

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Go forth and set the world on fire

Wauwatosa, Marquette University Call to Service, Thanksgiving, Underwood Parkway, American Transmission Company

This is a week of cleaning, cooking, eating; hunting, football watching, and family-and-friend gathering. It’s also time to feel gratitude, joy, and contentment. For some, it's a time of feeling sad or lonely for what is gone or has never been. For most of us, it's a time of busy-ness and happier contemplation.

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