Monday, February 10, 2014

NEWS: The Broadway! Weather, Smoke Detectors, Subway,

Ummmmmm - best not to forget you are wearing nothing underneath , even when you win the Gold.

She quickly realized her "wardrobe malfunction" and zippered up!
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But the big news is of  course . . . Subway.

Subway will start phasing out a chemical used to make yoga mats and synthetic leather from their bread.  Even though in Europe if it is used you will get 15 years in prison and a $450,000 fine.  But . . really, how else can you make you bread white.

I guess Europeans have issues with azodicarbonamide . . . they are so so picky!  It probably effects woman more then men.

Did you know that?  When the FDA tests a new drug they test it on mice first . . . but ONLY male mice.  Then if it passes the mouse test they try it on humans, male AND female.  But then they take all the results and combine them into one score thinking that men and woman are created equal.

WELL - it seems men and woman are not created equal and in MANY drugs they have found that they are overdosing woman by as much as 50%.  All of a sudden Doctors are getting warnings about certain drugs and the FDA says NOW, all NEW drugs will be tested differently.   YEA  YA THINK??

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Weather - this is exciting

 
This is the Jet Streak 10 days out.  Notice that it is ABOVE Wisconsin for the 1st time in a month.

This is big news!!  It's a break in the pattern.  Looking at the next 10 days by next week we will be in the middle to upper 30s  WOW!!   All we have to do is get past tonight (one of the coldest nights of the year) and by Wednesday we will start to warm up!   By next Sunday we will be in an extended stretch of middle upper 30s.  ABOVE average (which is 30).

I think we made it!!
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For the last 5 days I have been battling a smoke detector. One started chirping 5 nights ago about 2:00 in the morning.  I got up and figured out which one.  The one 14 feet up.  sigh.  But then it stopped.

So I went to bed and forgot about it.  The next night CHIRP  CHIRP.  Damn it.  Then it stopped.

The next day I got the BIG ladder out and  replaced the battery and was done with it.

Next night,  CHIRP CHIRP.  COME ON!!!  They are all hardwired anyway.  WTF!!

Next day went up.  Tried to take out the batterycompletely but the door does not close with no battery.  So I cleaned the contacts and really stuck it in hard.

3:00 in the morning   CHIRP CHIRP  about for 8 CHIRPS, stop.  sigh

Yesterday I was standing under the detector about noon.  CHIRP  CHIRP.    Wait . . . . . it's not that one is it.  IT'S THE ONE IN MY ROOM FIVE FEET AWAY!!!!   arg!!

Slept like a log last night!
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The Broadway Theater.

This comes from The Portage Daily Register and is written by

SECOND ACT: 80 years later, a forgotten theater in Columbus is finding new life above City Hall




The brass on the bottom of the ticket window still has some shine, although no one has slid money across it in some time.

Walking down a handful of stairs, the realization comes that the balcony is the best view in the house. The stage is front and center, wide enough for a large cast, but intimate enough to hear every word.
Under each seat is even a place to put your hat.

As light cascades over hundreds of wooden seats below, there is something missing from this place.
On the outside, everyone knows this as City Hall in downtown Columbus. It has been home to everything in this town – from a fire station to a library.

But few who pass by this yellow brick building with a clock tower may realize what has been upstairs since the structure was built in 1892.

The old auditorium, with more than 400 seats, is exactly the way it was in the 1930s when the community built a new school and no longer needed the space. They locked the doors and kept everything exactly where it was – from old wooden ladders heading to the catwalks to a ticket holder for each seat.

There are no voices or laughter echoing off the walls. No cars can be heard passing by outside. There is only quiet in a place once filled with laughter and applause.

“We had seen pictures of the space, but even pictures don’t speak to how big and grand it is,” said J.T. Cestkowski, who no longer sees decades of dust, but endless possibilities.

Cestkowski, along with Gail Bostian, her daughter Anna, and Abram Glasbrenner, have come together to create a non-profit group to revitalize this old theater that once held everything from high school plays to elections.

The Broadway Theater group they created is setting out to raise money to restore this once bustling theater – with hopes to bring plays, music, movies and more to town.

“Our downtown has seen a bit of a revival,” Cestkowski said. “In the last few years we’ve had some very successful businesses like Cardinal Embroidery and Hydro Street Brewery move in, proving that this downtown still has life in it. And we thought a theater would be a great next step.”

Norsky, Legs and Les Miller
The walls in the dressing room are covered with names scribbled there so long ago — teens who once called the Roaring 20s their time, etching their mark alongside the year and name of a play.

“You can see some of the most famous graffiti here,” said Glasbrenner, the public relations person in the group.

He was pointing to “Norsky, Legs and Les Miller” — three names on the back of the stage wall that they thought might be people, but an old yearbook revealed they were the names of plays back then.
Everywhere you look in this theater, nothing has changed. It’s as if time did not pass when the doors were locked. Wooden plank flooring is still in good shape, and the tray ceilings still show stencil work. All the chairs are as they were when the last production hit the stage.

But the place has seen some cleaning by this group, and no longer looks like “80 years of dust and generations of spiders,” Gail Bostian said.

But getting to this point has been a long process of more than a year.

Coming across an Internet posting (also known as THIS blog) about the space, Cestkowski decided to show his girlfriend, Anna, who in turn showed her mother Bostian.

“A couple of days later I was sitting at the library (across the street) and I was looking, and I said, ‘There could be something up there’,” Bostian said.

After getting a tour of the place, everyone was thinking the same thing.

“I said, ‘You guys realize what this place could be,’” she said. “We struck a deal.”

With Bostian’s business background, and Cestkowski’s theater background, each person in the group has taken on different tasks, from researching every aspect of the building to approaching city groups.
“The first thing we did, I talked to some people who were involved in a local theater group, and the director had been involved in restoration efforts,” Cestkowski said.

They reached out to the Columbus Auditorium Corporation and acquired a sublease.

All politics
The city of Columbus needed a new school, and a new auditorium would be the next logical step. That was the message the school board in the 1930s wanted Columbus residents to believe.

“So the school board spread a rumor the space (above City Hall) should be condemned,” said Cestkowski, who has been studying the history of the theater. “Before that time there was nothing wrong with it. The place was never officially condemned, but people heard this rumor and went with it. And over time (the theater) was less and less used. By the mid-to-late ‘30s (the space) fell out of use.”

The Broadway Theater group is not the first one to try restoring this space, which holds about 450 seats. Back in the 1970s there was a major effort for renovation, ironically enough, by the niece of the school board president who helped get the new school built.

“One, if not the most, impressive efforts to date,” Cestkowski said.

The group was able to get thousands of labor hours donated, and its work is still visible, from sanded wood stairs to stencil work.

But the effort fell apart. About a decade ago, there was another effort by the Columbus Auditorium Corp. that also fell short. There was even talk of trying to get the movie company that filmed the 2009 Johnny Depp film “Public Enemies” to refurbish part of the space for shooting.

Elevator access also was added to the second floor of the building in recent years.

Columbus business owners are following the current restoration project with hopes it will bring more people downtown.

Bostian said the idea they took was not only restoring the space, but figuring out what could be done in the future so the facility could support itself.

“We spent two months doing that and the ideas were just screaming out,” she said.

Cestkowski said they also needed to figure out what had been done in the past, and what hadn’t.
The daunting project is something they have gone to great lengths to research — from getting bids on the cost of refurbishing the space, to determining how they will go about raising money. They even know what the seats will look like, and the design for an upper bar area.

“There are moments when it definitely seems real. But when we started it was just talking,” said Cestkowski. “But when we got our lease for the space, we became an LLC, you feel, ‘Hey, this is going to happen.’ You wake up the next day and you are so inspired having made that progress. You feel you can do anything.”

Show me the money
Walking up the stairs to the stage, Cestkowski pointed out a fuse box on the left.

“This stage was the first in the state of Wisconsin to have electricity,” he said.

While the old seats are in good shape, they are made of wood and metal, and the rows are tight. If someone wanted to get up, the whole row would have to move.

“One of the big issues was should you refurbish the existing seats or replace them,” Cestkowski said. “Cost is about the same.”

They have chosen to go with chairs with padding, and a historic look, keeping the same style.

“We want to make it look like it was (original) or as close as it can be,” Cestkowski said.

But they want all the materials in the building to stay in the community, Glasbrenner said.

“We’re going to do everything we can to preserve all the old material. There are some materials you can reuse. But the radiators, we are going to make sure they stay in the community,” he said.

There will be 400 seats in their layout of the auditorium, allowing more legroom.

They also want to widen the stage 3 feet on each side to create more room for shows.

“We have the whole curtain style all picked out,” Cestkowski said.

Some things like the ticket window will remain untouched. But one area of debate has been the roof, which Cestkowski said was rated to hold snow in the winter, but not much else.

So they have plans to fix that issue, as well.

Their next step is announcing to the public their plans to renovate the theater, and what the space can become. They also will be working on getting grants and fundraising.

“We have a long list of high-profile donors who give a lot to the arts. Abandoned theaters like this are a huge problem across the country. There was a time, especially during the Great Depression, that these things weren’t being used,” Cestkowski said.

“There are a lot of efforts like ours to restore these. There are a lot of people looking to invest in them because if you look at the Stoughton Opera House, they are proven successes.”

Before they put out construction bids, the group was sizing up what they wanted. After finding out what bids were in 2004 from the CAC, they thought the project would cost about $2.5 million with their additional project needs.

The bids came back around $1.6 to $1.8 million with a six-month timeline once construction starts.
Bostian said they decided to be a nonprofit, private entity because it’s hard to get a city and taxpayers to fund a project like this.

“Unfortunately the efforts that came before us either stalled out because they ran out of steam or they were always public efforts,” Cestkowski said.

“If there is anybody on the fence if they should support us or not, get them in the space. You just have to walk in … that’s our biggest tool.”

Opening night
Looking at a map, the group drew a circle around Columbus, realizing they would only draw people to the theater within 40 minutes.

“And there is a population the size of Milwaukee,” Cestkowski said. “And it’s about drawing all those groups of people to support the theater.”

When the election was held and voters headed to City Hall in 2012, Hydro Street Brewing Company was booming, Cestkowski said. And the theater is looking to bring that foot traffic back.

“I think this city is hungry for the type of cultural hub that the auditorium could be” Glasbrenner said.
While some in the group are in college, they Skype each week with Bostian, who has lived in the community more than a decade.

“I don’t think we are doing any less work, I think we’re doing more at college,” Cestkowski said. “We dole out tasks for the week and we all take on a giant workload.

“It has been a very smooth and functioning group,” Bostian said.

And people have been taking notice of their project. “I was asked when we are going to open,” Bostian said.

While that may be a while off, some of their work now is getting people to know the theater on the second floor of City Hall even exists.

Through this long process, what’s not lost on this group is what this theater once meant to this town — the names that still exist, if only on walls. Names that date back to the 1890s.

And they all can envision the day when the doors open again, more than 80 years after the last ticket was handed out.

“I think it’s going to be a very surreal feeling,” Bostian said, “while bringing some of us to tears.”    
The Broadway Theater - Rod Melotte

And THAT is why I'm excited about downtown Columbus and think it is so important to have someone on City Council that understands that the Downtown of Columbus is the key to creating a vibrant Community.

If you want lower property taxes and raise property values you begin to fix what you have.  Not constantly create new!  Not that creating new is a bad thing but I would rather have 50 businesses hire 1 person then one business hire 50.


Alice Schmidt - Treasurer