Crossman Gallery Art Event: “Ignition”

A communicative and collaborative exhibition of Eddee Daniel’s fine art photography was developed in the Crossman Gallery at the UW-Whitewater Greenhill Center of the Arts building on Thursday, Feb. 25. The exhibition named “Ignition”, organized by director Dale Kaminski, is admitting up to 20 visiting artists to use the gallery space as a studio to produce their work before display.

Michael Flanagan, curator of the gallery, reports, “We turned the gallery into an interactive studio”. Digital prints, photography, and even 3D prints are made. Flanagan states,“Guest artists come in to spend the day to create art in the gallery. It’s fun to do work that students can see”. The space is set with a scanner and computer for the artist to work on their project. Once the image is finalized, it is submitted to print in the gallery.

Daniel’s current project documents the process of the Kinnickinnic River Parkway at Pulaski Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has been removing the concrete from this poorly used channel since 2012. “This is a long term project that will take several years,” says Daniel while discussing his photography project. “This channel has been abused the most.” The channel extends up to four miles long. “MMSD plans to have it done by 2022,” Daniel added.

While Daniel works on his image in Photoshop, Flanagan does a demonstration on preserving old images. “Taking apart a poorly framed image from the nineteenth century is tricky”, Flanagan lectures to students as he removes the nails from the back of the frame. “Old cardboard can contain highly acidic content,” he describes while carefully removing the image. Printing assistant and student Nikki Maggiori was intrigued by the work being done in the studio. “It’s an amazing opportunity for students to interact with these working artists,” she remarks.

Daniel’s project has been only part of his most accomplished works. He wrote a book titled “Urban Wilderness: Exploring a Metropolitan Watershed”, published in 2008. Daniel describes how his documented photographs express changes in the environment, exploring the intersection of urban life and nature juxtapose. He works primarily in Milwaukee.

Quoting from his book, Daniel clarifies, “this book is a record of exploration and testimony to the discovery of an unfamiliar truth: not only is nature present in the city, but also the city is inseparable from nature”. Daniel elicits that his book shows how “geographical elements have gotten lost. I hope people become more appreciative of the natural world.” The natural versus architectural tension motivates Daniel to show what people don’t realize. “We live in nature, we should pay attention to it.” In addition to Daniel’s natural images, he enjoys experimenting with the distortion effect on images to make them more abstract. “I’m not a purist. I like to play with photography,” he added.

Displayed works from previous artists in the studio during “Ignition” include Professor Bethann Moran, Carissa Heinrich, Hal Rammel, Nathaniel Stern, Steve Burnham, and many others. “Ignition” will continue with new artists until Friday, March 18.

2016 Budget Story: Kittatinny, Pennsylvania

Tragedy struck the city of Kittatinny, Pennsylvania due to the downsizing at Susquehanna Steel Corporation. After shutting down the second blast furnace at Susquehanna Steel Corp., 600 jobs were lost, including a 10.2 percent decrease in the city’s total tax base. The press conference was held today to dicuss Kittatinny’s upcoming budget for 2016. Gustavus G. Petykiewicz, mayor of Kittatinny, opens up the trial by stating; “I come to you with a heavy heart… these are not actions I take lightly.” The changes that must be made for the citizens of Kittatinny will be drastic, but “we must respond to it”. Accompanied by Mayor Petykiewicz for the trial included Roman Hruska, chief of police, City of Kittatinny; Denelda Penoyer, president of Kittatinny City Council; Martha Mittengrabben, president of American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 644; and Bjarne Westhoff, president of Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34.

For the budget of 2016, Petykiewicz proposed the following changes to be put into action. Due to the closing of the blast furnace, the city of Kittatinny has lost $100 million. Petykiewicz plans to raise the city tax rate to 4.3 mills, remove garbage pickup from the tax levy, and reduce the police force from 10 to eight officers, removing all shifts between 4 a.m. and noon, leaving sheriff deputies on call for emergencies. Minor changes addressed in the budget include a 15 percent increase for parking meters, a car replacement for the Police Department, and an investment on a new weed removal vehicle and a combination dump truck/snow plow for the Parks Department. The weed removal vehicle is good investment for the city, but it may be an investment that “could wait a year”, replies Petykiewicz.

Kittatinny’s tax rate is suggested to take a slight increase in the proposed budget. Suggestions were brought to the trial that the tax rate rises 25 percent for all residents in 2016. Many members were in favor of the tax rate to increase up to 5 mills to prevent even more job cuts. Garbage pickup will be added to every household bill. In contrast to bigger issues from this budget, many members favor that an average 30 dollars per month for garbage pickup will be manageable.

In reaction to the proposed budget for the police force, Hruska replies to changes. “I cannot stand idly by and watch a city of this size be deprived…” Hruska adds that this proposed budget is a “hare-brained idea”. President Westhoff replies, “I think we’ll get past this and find a better solution.” All members stay determined in proposing a new idea to keep the full police force in order to prevent a dangerous situation from happening.

City council president Penoyer responds to the proposed budget. “We will have public hearings about the budget… days, nights, even Saturdays… we’re gonna be really busy.” Penoyer is determined to find a way to save the additional jobs that could be lost in this proposal. Job cuts are proposed to take affect at Kittatinny Police Department and AFSCME. Penoyer is reaching out to Trade Readjustment Allowance to help aid the workers whose jobs were taken.

If all are in agreement, the proposed budget may be changing to include a ten percent cut for all non-unionized salaries and look into reopening union contracts expiring in 2017. Mayor Petykiewicz’s response was “we must move forward… we’re gonna work together on this.” Mittengrabben also agreed to the shared cut in salary. The 25 members of the city council will meet tomorrow to finalize on this decision. “There must be a spirit of shared sacrifice… unless we make Kittatinny a good place to live, no one will live here,” replies Mittengrabben. Final changes to the budget will be addressed accordingly, which will be finalized March 31.

Happy Birthday, Meghan!

Today is my sister’s birthday. She turned 23 years old, and honestly, it only makes me feel older (she is almost three years younger). I have two other siblings, my brother, Jason, is 27, and my other sister, Courtney, is a couple months shy of 21.

Birthdays are special in our family. We have special birthday dinners of choice (for the birthday girl or boy), and when it’s our birthday we get to use the “birthday plate”. It reads “Today is your day… let’s celebrate!” Even though years have passed so quickly, I definitely feel like all four of us have become much closer than when we were growing up. Closer than I could’ve ever hoped for.

Cheers to my sister turning 23, and cheers to my siblings to being the closest friends I’ve ever had.

Interview Story: The Disease Doesn’t Control You.

Jill Paulsen, age 63, recalls a part of her life that has affected her everyday routine. “My first symptom occurred when I was 25… my wrists felt like they were broken. I couldn’t put my socks or shoes on. I couldn’t hold my 6-month-old baby.” At the time, Paulsen had no idea what was going on. Constant swelling pain surged through her body throughout the day, and finally she decided to see the doctor. After the tests were completed, they couldn’t pinpoint what her diagnosis was. Her doctor told her she had an “underlying arthritic condition”, and all that could be done at the time was a mild medication.

Almost 20 years passed with this reoccurring “condition”. Paulsen explains that there would be nothing wrong one day and the next day she would have trouble walking or doing anything with her hands. “My feet hurt a lot, mainly my ankles”, she added. In 1995, she finally got some answers. “I was 43 years old when I was finally diagnosed… that’s a long time to wait for an answer. Not knowing what was wrong with me made me think, is this in my head? Once I found out, there was relief knowing there was something”, says Paulsen after asking what it was like to not really know what her condition was for almost two decades.

The day she was diagnosed was the day she woke up and physically could not get out of bed. Her doctor ordered blood work and tests. The tests confirmed she had more than one autoimmune disease. She has a mixed connective tissue disorder, including Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Sjogren’s disease. Sjogren’s is known as a dry-eye or dry-mouth disease, and mainly affects mucus membranes. Paulsen has a mild case of Lupus that only affects her joints. As for Rheumatoid Arthritis, this disease is the main source to her pain. Her symptoms with Rheumatoid Arthritis are severe, where her immune system attacks healthy joints and cells. It has affected her joints causing swelling and pain. The symptoms also jump from joint-to-joint, affecting multiple areas at once in some cases.

Her first assigned rheumatologist confirmed the positive results for her diagnosis, and had given stronger pain medication. Paulsen went almost 20 years taking Tylenol with this condition. Stronger medication helped immensely, yet Paulsen recalls that it did not help any flare-ups, swelling or redness. When her family insurance changed, she had to switch doctors. Her new rheumatologist decided that they had to approach it more aggressively, putting her on other medication and requiring her to live a more active lifestyle. “Being active helps, working through the pain and keeping myself busy makes this condition easier to work through”. Paulsen then adds, “pain kicks in when I’m not active. I focus on pain when I’m not working, and it feels worse”.

The downside to the strong medication is that it can affect other things, like the liver or kidneys. On the positive note, Paulsen replies, “I’m lucky. I’m lucky because every month when I go in for my IV infusion, I’m sitting right by someone going through chemo. This disease is something I can live with.” She states that no internal organs have been affected. “I rarely get sick, which amazes me,” says Paulsen. Since working with her new rheumatologist, she has joined a support group online.

When asked what she would tell someone who was diagnosed the same as her, she replied, “find out as much as you can about it, don’t shy away from it. You also must be comfortable with your physician. I’ve been lucky having good rheumatologists. Lastly, don’t feel like the disease controls you.” Paulsen has been living with her disease for over 20 years and is living a happy and healthy lifestyle, mainly including her trips to Florida to visit two of her kids and four of her six grandchildren.

The PROS to creative writing.

Last semester I took my writing course requirement, Creative Writing. I never knew how much the class would have influenced me, but it did. I never wrote anything down unless it was just a note of things to do or remember, or doodling. In the class I had to keep a journal, add as many entries a week as possible was considered homework. I actually enjoyed it! If you are one of those people who tend to have so many ideas cluttered in your mind about things going on in your life or things to do in your life, I suggest to start writing in a journal. It’s like a blog but old school, plus you have the option to hide it away from everyone and keep it just for you. Fun things to write in a journal could be the following: trips you plan to go on (where and why), predictions of what will happen in the next two to five years (where will you be?), and influences and traditions you have/had growing up. Now if there are things that happen that I may not want to forget, I will jot it down in my journal and years from now I can look back and see how my writing has grown and how my ideas made me become the person I want to be.