January 2021

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Willa Mae Faust

CROSS PLAINS–Willa Mae Faust, age 93, of Cross Plains, passed away on Jan. 9, 2021, at Milestone Senior Living. She was born on Oct. 22, 1927, in Custer County, NE, the daughter of John and Margert (Leonard) Brainard.

Willa graduated from Sargent High School, Sargent, NE., in 1945 and accounting school in 1950. She was united in marriage to Roman Rosen in 1952, raising five children, being married 39 years. She married Keith Faust of Cross Plains, in 1995, united for 25 years. 

Willa worked for several businesses as a bookkeeper, including Ballweg Chevrolet in Sauk City, making the leap from ledger paper to computer, retiring in 1990. She volunteered to teach religion classes, was on the prayer chain of her local congregation, enjoyed studying scripture, and embraced her faith in Jesus.

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Charlotte Ann “Char” Flottmeyer

MADISON–Charlotte Ann “Char” Flottmeyer, age 84, of Madison, passed away on Jan. 12, 2021. She was born on Nov. 1, 1936, right after her twin brother, Charles, to Joseph and Esther (Howard) Horihan. 

Char attended St. Peter's Grade School and graduated from St. Peter's High School in 1954. She attended the La Crosse School of Beauty and worked with her sister at Rita's Beauty Salon as a hairdresser. Char married Donald Flottmeyer in La Crosse, on Dec. 26, 1964. He died in August 2007.

Char had been employed by Attic Angels Madison as a Nurse’s Aide and Food Service assistant for over 30 years. She enjoyed playing Rummy 500 with her grandkids, long weekend getaways with her family, and playing piano. She thinks she could have won an Olympic Medal in Word Search or WordCrush on her iPad.

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Love is Like Plastic

Late last night, ensconced in the synthetic beige sarcophagus of an MRI tube, it occurred to me that love is like plastic. 

They were scanning my brain, looking for a tumor, like some foul X in the neon green sea of a space pirate’s map.  

It had begun on Christmas Eve, when I felt tipsy. Within two days, I was unable to walk without using a cane and the walls of my home for support. The world spun and spun, and it felt like the hand of some invisible god was actively holding me down as I lay in my bed, trying to smother me where I sprawled next to teacups and cracker crumbs that were making a new life for themselves among the sheets. Soon, I could only crawl. 

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Honoring Dr. King

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we honor King, and likely hindered the normal amount of volunteer hours people put in on Monday. Often the remembrance of his birthday, which was actually Jan. 15, is marked by volunteering within the community. 

Volunteerism is something that was important to King, and also something that was instilled in me early on. Helping others is something that anyone can do, and often only involves your time.

I was surprised to learn from a recent Middleton survey that volunteerism is low. Maybe it’s partly due to the pandemic because people are less inclined to leave their homes, or maybe people don’t know how to connect with volunteer organizations. 

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Plan Commission Holds Public Hearing on Comprehensive Plan, Defers Twin Sunset Duplex Proposal

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Plan Commission held its final public hearing for the city’s revised comprehensive plan which has been working through various public hearings and committees since 2019 when the plan commission approved a complete overhaul.

More than a dozen people spoke or submitted comments regarding various aspects of the comprehensive plan. 

Resident Robert Owen said the transportation section should address electric vehicle infrastructure and that the airport should not be exempt from reducing carbon emissions as the city moves toward its sustainability goals. Owen suggested the city create a low interest loan program for low-income residents to weatherize and make their homes more energy efficient. He added he would also like to see a plan to move away from burning natural gas for energy. 

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Assembly Off to Rough Start

MIDDLETON–The Wisconsin State Assembly seemed to get off to a rough start last week after Representative Treig Pronschinske (R-Mondovi), chair of the Assembly Committee on Sporting Heritage, Small Business and Rural Issues called for in person hearings offering no remote option and Assembly Speaker Robyn Vos refused to pass a state COVID-19 bill after Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin State Senate reached a compromise.

Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), who represent the 79th Assembly District said she saw no reason that she should have to appear in person during the pandemic when the Senate is allowing a call in option. She said this inhibited assembly members’ ability to ask questions and added that those that appear in person were not wearing masks, further endangering their colleagues. 

“I had to watch the hearing on Wisconsin Eye,” Hesselbein stated.

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Equity Team Discusses Wealth Redistribution

MIDDLETON–Conversation at the Middleton Equity Team (MET) meeting last week centered mostly around the redistribution of wealth within the community and how that could be achieved. 

After watching a short video about redlining, the practice of rating neighborhoods and drawing red lines around those deemed least desirable, the committee broke into small groups to discuss the practice and what it means in regard to wealth, how racist neighborhood covenants have affected the city and the impact of redistribution of wealth. The members returned to as a whole and discussed the factors that affected wealth distribution. 

One concern was some of the neighborhoods with infill housing lack green space and transportation options. One idea was to include green space when planning infill projects in existing neighborhoods. 

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Middleton’s girls basketball team starts new journey

Jeff Kind wasn’t sure if this moment would ever arrive.

His Middleton girls basketball team certainly had their doubts, too.

After a season of uncertainty, Middleton superintendent Dana Monogue and athletic director Jamie Sims approved the return of winter sports on Jan. 11, with all games to be played outside of Dane County.

Now, Kind and the Cardinals will begin their extremely truncated season Friday with a game at Mosinee.

“The first time we play will be the first time we see live competition,” Kind said. “Gotta love a challenge.”

There’s no doubt, whatever games the Cardinals can get before the postseason arrives on Feb. 9 will be a challenge.

Due to pandemic restrictions imposed by Dane County health officials, in addition to not being able to play games in their home gym or anywhere in the county, the Cardinals must maintain six feet of social distancing during practices and can only have 10 players in the gym at the same time. 

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Boys hoops team happy to have a season

There were times in the past few weeks when Middleton boys basketball coach Kevin Bavery thought it might be easiest to punt on the 2020-21 season.

The Cardinals didn't have an offseason. Most of the state was playing games, while schools throughout Dane County were in a state of limbo.

“There were times … I thought maybe it was just best for us to officially be done and let everyone move forward emotionally,” Bavery said.

Last week, all it took was a few “thumps” of the ball for Bavery to know he was wrong.

“Once you hear that sound of the ball hitting the floor and you see the 'masked smiles' and see the body language of being around the game again it's pretty invigorating,” Bavery said.

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