Maureen Connors Badding arrived in Wauwatosa 22 years ago via Buffalo and Phoenix. She's a freelance writer and habitual volunteer who enjoys book clubs, travel, entertaining and cheering for her daughter's swim team.
Wauwatosa's leaders aren't always elected officials or civil servants. Quite often, they are ordinary citizens and businesspeople with an extraordinary dedication to making Wauwatosa a better place to live and work.
It's in this spirit that the Wauwatosa Public Library Foundation honors Tosa's leaders each year at a Leadership Luncheon. Recent honorees have included Wauwatosa Savings Bank's Ray Perry and Tosa Kickers' Tim Winn.
This year's honorees are Dr. Craig Larson and Mrs. Ann Larson, both dedicated volunteers for two generations. Craig served on the Wauwatosa School Board for 25 years while Ann served as a parent supporter and fundraiser for the Wauwatosa East Marching Band, Orchestra and Theater Department. Craig provided emergency care during stadium and Summerfest concerts as part of the Underground Traveling Medicine Show. Ann has been an active volunteer for the Medical Society and with the Washington Highlands Homeowners Association. She has served as an election judge at Wauwatosa's polls for years.
The Library Foundation will also honor high school student leaders:
Mary Rose Gietl of DSHA, Timothy Lewis of Marquette University High School, Erin Skupien of Pius XI, Hailey Danisewicz of Wauwatosa East, Kelly LeDoux of Wauwatosa West and Madalyn Krueger of Wisconsin Lutheran. If you ever want to feel humbled about what you do with your spare time, come see what these high school juniors have accomplished.
The keynote speaker for the Leadership Luncheon is Dr. Bob Gleeson, a specialist in internal medicine and medical director of Northwestern Mutual. In his book What Healthy People Know: And the 7 Things They Do to Stay Healthy and Live Long, Dr. Bob talks about healthy choices that we can all make.
The Wauwatosa Public Library Foundation was established to raise funds to benefit the Wauwatosa Public Library. In previous years, Foundation donations have made it possible for the Library to create the spectacular new Children's Story Room, acquire special book collections, and purchase computers and other equipment that is not funded by the City of Wauwatosa.
To show your support for Wauwatosa's leaders and Library, mark your calendar for the Leadership Luncheon at noon, Thursday, April 17 at the Zoofari Center. Tickets are available at the Library or by calling 471-8485.
When replacing old, drafty windows last fall, my husband found a few brittle pages from the Wauwatosa News Times stuffed into the window jam. While this wasn't exactly a priceless archaeological find, it did provide for some interesting (and dusty) reading for an hour or so. The issue in question was from Thursday, November 13, 1975 - not exactly ancient history to some of us, but sadly nearly 33 years ago.
A few highlights:
o The Rib House on North Avenue advertised fish fries at $1.95 for adults and $.95 for kids.
o Citizens were asked to return bicentennial flags that had blown away in a strong wind.
o The mayor's name was F.D. Kuckuck (no kidding!) and the Common Council discussed a proposed increase in the water rate and legislation about property taxes.
o The Planning Commission approved the request to build a Pizza Hut near Highway 100 and Bluemound (and now already an empty lot again).
o The Common Council passed a number of ordinances regarding loitering for the purpose of and engaging in prostitution. It's hard to believe Tosa had a red light district, but apparently someone was worried enough about the possibility that the ordinances were changed.
o Six CB radios were stolen from cars over a one-week period.
o The Suburpia at 6818 West North Avenue was attempting to solve problems of littering, late-night noise and fights, profanity, public urination and vandalism that had neighbors up in arms.
o Burglars forced their way into a home and business, breaking glass and getting away with furniture and jewelry.
It's those last few stories that struck a chord with me, because crime in Tosa has been much discussed in my neighborhood lately. When there were two armed robberies a few streets away from us last month, a lot of neighbors were understandably upset. People wondered if Tosa was becoming unsafe and we'd have to give up our “carefree” lifestyles.
I'd have to say no and yes. No, I don't think Tosa is really becoming any less safe than it has been. There have been several times during the last 22 years when neighbors have been slightly panicked about a crime wave. There have been weeks or months at a time when I've had to force myself to stop reading the News Times' Police Blotter because of armed robberies on North Avenue, car jackings or bold burglaries.
But I have lived here long enough to realize that these crime sprees wax and wane. They have not affected our property values. They have not created white flight. They have not made Wauwatosa a less attractive place to raise a family.
But do we have to give up our carefree lifestyles? Well, having grown up on the East Coast and lived in Phoenix, I don't know that I've ever had a carefree lifestyle. I would never walk on the streets alone at night - 33 years ago or today - or leave a child unattended in the yard. It's ingrained in me to lock my car doors, my house, my windows. By the same token, I have learned to become shocked when an elderly woman has her purse snatched or a kid is harassed on the bus.
So, yes, maybe we do have to be a little less carefree. We have to watch out for ourselves and our neighbors. We have to hold Block Watch meetings and call the police when a stranger is lurking in the neighborhood. But what can't change is our sense of outrage when a serious crime occurs.