JEFFERSON — Amy Rinard is a familiar face in many areas of Jefferson County living, but she is perhaps best known for her leadership role on the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors, where she has served since 2010.
Rinard, originally from Milwaukee, came to Ixonia to live in 1988, when she married fellow newspaper journalist, Russ Maki, who grew up in the Town of Farmington.
She is retired from her work with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has turned a considerable portion of her life over to public service, something she addresses — among other pursuits and interests — in the following segment of the Watertown Daily Times’ weekly “10 Questions.”
1. What music in your life has moved you and why? I’m an opera fan and have been since high school. A live performance of “La Boheme” has it all — soaring music, tragic story, big stage sets, lavish costumes. I’ve seen it a dozen times and it always gets to me.
2. What literature? I read a lot of American history and biographies/autobiographies of prominent change-making Americans from George Washington to Michelle Obama. It’s inspiring to me, especially now, to see how throughout our history, people who stood up and worked to make a positive difference have persevered in the face of personal attacks, lies and unfair criticism.
3. Visual art? With all the world’s great art that has moved and inspired me, this is going to sound pretty narcissistic. I paint a little myself and have taken many painting classes. About five years ago, my then-watercolor teacher, the greatly talented local artist Lori Grabske, and I painted banners for Watertown’s Main Street Program. I designed a close-up bicycling scene using my late-brother’s mountain bike and on the other side of the banner, a scene of a man and dog walking, using my husband and our dog as models. Lori and I worked on our banners at her home studio and it was fun to feel a bit like a real artist and get to know her better. When they’re hung on light poles on Main Street they don’t look it, but those banners are big. I ran out of time to finish the background of the dog-walking scene, so, after she finished her banner, Lori graciously bailed me out by painting a fantastic nature scene around the walking figures on mine. After it was hung up on Main St., each time driving past my banner brought up a lot of emotions: grief over my brother’s recent death, joy at seeing a picture of my husband and our dog on Main Street, gratitude for Lori and the experience of painting with her and just total wonderment that I’d actually done that.
4. Who are your friends — not by name necessarily — but what are their attributes that make them friends? My best friends I’ve known for more than 40 years. They have qualities that, I hope, also make me a good friend: empathy, honesty, loyalty, a keen eye for the absurd and a tendency to laugh until falling down.
5. Why do you care about community service so much? I truly care about people. There’s the concept in the Bible which says that from those who have been given much, much will be required. I’ve always been involved in community organizations and volunteer work wherever I’ve lived because I’m able to and feel I ought to, and want to, give back. When I retired, I was able to take that to the next level by running for public office. A few years ago, I went to my high school reunion and told my classmates that I’d been elected to the Jefferson County Board. I thought they’d be shocked, but, they all said, “Oh, we knew you’d do something like that.”
6. What, perhaps more frivolous TV shows, do you spend time on? Only recently were we able to get Internet service at our house fast enough for streaming, so I’ve been exploring what’s out there and it’s a whole new world for me. I’ve watched “Deadliest Catch” because I love Alaska and have been to Dutch Harbor, Alaska. I’ve also been to Japan and studied Japanese, so I’ve been watching, with subtitles, (hey, learning Japanese is hard) Japanese TV series “Ramen Girl” and “Samurai Cat.” My new favorite show is “Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet.”
7. What is your favorite childhood cartoon and why? “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” It just seemed natural for a moose and a flying squirrel to be best friends and have adventures. My favorite part of the show, though, was “Peabody’s Improbable History” where the genius beagle, Mr. Peabody, and his boy Sherman would enter the Wayback Machine and be transported back in time to historical events. Silly and educational!
8. If you could meet three people from history who would they be? My Irish immigrant great-great grandparents, Susan B. Anthony and Nelson Mandela. I guess that’s actually four people.
9. Who was your favorite Muppet and why? Miss Piggy. She’s smart, glamorous, confident, determined ... and she knows karate.
10. If I wanted to find you at Summerfest — which is now set for September — where would I look? You could look, but you probably wouldn’t find me at Summerfest. I enjoy the ethnic festivals more, like Irish Fest and Mexican Fiesta, where you’d find me right at the water’s edge resting my feet, enjoying a beverage and gazing out at Lake Michigan after an afternoon of walking the grounds and listening to music.