Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tanis Klingler crowned "Miss Baldwin"

New Miss Baldwin Tanis Klingler, seated above, was crowned at the Queen's Pageant Saturday evening. Standing behind her, from left to right, are Third Princess Jennah Ackley, Second Princess and Miss Congeniality Mallory Precht, First Princess Morgan Benoy, and Fourth Princess Jessica

At right is Klingler being crowned by former Miss Baldwin Rachelle Veenstra at the conclusion of the Queen's Pageant.

Panthers eliminated in semi

Members of the St. Croix Central baseball team included, front row, left to right, bat boy Jared Tilton, Mark Shaver, Luke Brown, Caleb Peterson, Noah Bollom, Nick Nygaard, Tony Juen, Jared Fern and Michael Tilton. In the back row are manager Joe Thompson, Ben Brooks, Brian Poulin, Stefan Wood, Andrew Erickson, Mike Winkler, Brady Hartung, David Butler, Cody Olson, Jeff Fern and Brian Aldworth.

Coach Mike Fern (5) had a conference with his infield in last Wednesday's state semi-final game with Marathon. From left are Michael Tilton, Luke Brown (hidden), Mike Winkler, Fern, Brady Hartung, Mark Shaver and Nick Nygaard.

The St. Croix Central baseball team was stopped on their run for the state championship in WIAA Division 3 by Marathon in the semi-final game last Wednesday.

The Red Raiders scored three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to oust the Panthers 7-2. Marathon went on to beat Aquinas 3-2 to win the 2008 Division 3 state baseball championship.

"It was a great experience to the kids to play in the state tournament in a beautiful stadium," said Coach Mike Fern. "It was a great accomplishment and will be a life-long memory for them."

The Panthers had eight seniors in the starting line-up, Fern noted.

"It's disappointing to end with a loss, but unless you win it all that's the way it goes," Fern said. "When they look back, they'll remember they had a lot of fun."

The Panthers were held to four hits in the game, but still had opportunities.

"We left 13 on base. We just didn't have the key hits," Fern said.

"We didn't put the ball in play enough. We were not aggressive at the plate."

Fern said the 13 strike outs were one reason for leaving so many runners stranded. "I do give Marathon credit. They made some defensive plays that really hurt us," he said.

"We had our chances with runners at third or second with no outs or one out and didn't score," Fern continued. "If we could have gotten some runs early and put the pressure on them, it would have been a whole different game."

The Panthers had a chance in the first inning when Michael Tilton reached on an error and stole second. Tilton moved to third on an throwing error in a pick off attempt, but was stranded there.

In the second inning Nick Nygaard led off with a walk and Jared Fern followed with single. But the next three batters went down via the strike out.

Marathon scored the first run of the game in the top of the third inning. In the bottom of the inning Jeff Fern singled with one out and took second on a wild pitch. Noah Bollom walked with two outs and Fern went to third on a wild pitch. But again Marathon got out of the inning with a
strike out.

The fourth inning provided the Panthers with another opportunity when Jared Fern and Brady Hartung walked and Luke Brown was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. But two strike outs and a fielder's choice ended the inning with the Panthers getting a runner across the plate.

The Red Raiders scored three runs in the fifth inning on three hits and two errors by the Panthers. The Panthers again left two runners on base in the bottom of the inning.

Marathon collected four hits in the sixth inning enroute to scoring three runs before the Panthers came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Brown and Andrew Erickson both walked to start the inning. Cody Olson came in to pinch run for Erickson. Both runners advanced on a passed ball. Tilton drove in the first run with a sacrifice. Bollom drove in the second run with a single to center.

"Mark (Shaver) pitched a good game-well enough to win," Fern said.

"We made a few mistakes, which cost us, but we were two evenly matched teams. On a different day, I think it could have been a totally different outcome."

Shaver pitched all seven innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits and four walks. He struck out seven batters. Bollom accounted to two of the Panthers four hits in three at-bats.

"It's something the kids have been working toward for a long time," said Fern. "Making it to the state tournament is a good way to go out."

Anthony LaFavor in serious condition after accident

A 2008 Baldwin-Woodville High School graduate who was involved in a car crash on Friday, June 6 remains in Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul with serious injuries.

According to the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department, vehicles driven by Anthony (Tony) J. LaFavor of Baldwin and Roger A. Bengtson of Woodville, collided at the intersection of CTH BB and 60th Avenue.

The Sheriff's Report said LaFavor's vehicle suffered severe damage and the Bengtson vehicle suffered moderate damage.

LaFavor was transported to Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul with serious injuries.

A CaringBridge site has been set up for friends to monitor Tony's condition. According to the site Tony suffered from swelling of the brain and pressure. The pressure, however, is fluctuating. He was in a drug-induced coma but has been able to wiggle a toe and lift his leg and squeeze his hands.

Tony had a staph infection in his lungs, which apparently is common for people on ventilators. He is taking an antibiotic for that.

Village Board approves "Street Festival"

The Baldwin Village Board at their regular monthly meeting Wednesday, June 11 approved closing a block of Main Street between Eight and Ninth Streets for a "Street Festival."

According to Rob Dull of Pearlygate Network, who made a presentation about the request, the festival, pegged for Saturday, August 23, would be primarily a music festival and would be a promotion for BBQ University. The festival will be called "Jim Daddies Harvest Festival 2008," and would feature a stage for bands with live music performances. Street closure was requested from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. with music from noon until 6:00 p.m.

Dull said a multi-year run is anticipated. He added that the event would raise funds for charities and children's causes.

The board agreed that the event would be beneficial to the village and gave approval. Village President Don McGee asked that Dull talk to the businesses and other neighbors which would be impacted by the street closure.

What now? School board discusses failed referendum; Repairs completed on leaks at Viking

The Baldwin-Woodville Board of Education pondered their next move following the failed building referendum of June 3. The referendum, which was for a new intermediate school and swimming pool, was defeated by a three to one margin.

Superintendent Rusty Helland said the need for more space is still here and he doesn't see it going away. "We need to step back and think about where we go from here," he said.

Board member Deb Rasmussen started the discussion, complimenting the advisory committee on its work, suggesting that next time, progress reports from the committee every now and then might make the public more aware of the situation before a vote is taken.

"The committee did a great job," commented board member Tom Schumacher. "When we formed the committee we asked for volunteers, and maybe that inhibited a mix of all constituencies," he said. Schumacher said we need to have representation from the whole community. "Get the nay sayers on board and deal with those opinions.

"I wish people would take a longer view of things," Schumacher continued. "I'm willing to bet two steak dinners that when this thing does pass, we will get a lot less for more money."

"Just like the auditorium," commented board member Mike Bondarenko, referring to the substantial cost increase after a referendum including the auditorium passed on a second try.

"What I heard from people was, 'What's wrong with 30 kids in a classroom? We survived.'and 'What if lots of people move back to the cities?'" said board member Todd Graf.

Schumacher asked other board members if there was any interest in temporary classrooms.

"We should find out all the costs involved," said board president Jeff Campbell, "including electrical, plumbing, etc. to show people what it would cost."

"I think they (temporary classrooms) are a money pit," said Graf.

Supt. Helland said he would not recommend temporary classrooms to the board, since they are paid for up front and are worthless in the end. "But we can get the figures."

Helland said that until something is done, class sizes will continue to rise.

Bondarenko suggested the board schedule a special meeting, possibly with the advisory committee, devoted to the district's long range facility needs. The board agreed to wait until after the school year begins in September to have such a meeting.

Title I teacher Randi Hoffman gave the board a presentation on Balanced Literacy. She explained that this past year a committee was formed to study Balanced Literacy, before new textbooks were adopted. Seventeen staff members visited other schools' reading programs including guided reading programs.

Balanced Literacy has eight components, including modeled reading and writing in which the teacher reads and writes in front of the class; shared reading and writing in which teacher and students read aloud together and the teacher records students' ideas; independent reading and
writing; and guided reading and writing in which the teacher works with small groups of similar abilities.

"Research has shown that higher level readers read three times the minutes during the school day compared to lower level readers," Hoffman said. The guided reading approach allows for teachers to differentiate students' abilities and provide appropriate materials so all level readers
will read more she said.

Currently, each grade level has a basal reader, or textbook, in which all students in the classroom read the same story, have the same spelling words, and do the same worksheets. Many lower level readers spend so much time decoding words that their comprehension suffers, said Hoffman. With guided reading, students read books they can comprehend and will spend more time reading.

"Less worksheets, more reading, better comprehension," said Hoffman.

Hoffman said after reviewing the committee's information and experience and some soul searching, she decided not to order a new basal reading series and instead pursue Balanced Literacy throughout the district. She has developed a budget to purchase more guided reading books for the library and for classroom libraries. She figures it will take five years to implement the program for K-12. The first year will be devoted to staff development, benchmark assessments and purchase of books.

"Our goal is to have a large mixture of different leveled books to get kids to read," Hoffman said.

"Already, 18 teachers have voluntarily taken a two-credit course on comprehension improvement through guided reading," said Hoffman. "There is a lot of support from staff, even though change can be hard."

District bookkeeper Pam Rose presented the tentative budget for the 2008-09 school year. She stressed the point that the numbers are preliminary and show a 9.53% increase in the levy.
"That's a worst case scenario," she said.

"We are conservative on our preliminary budget figures because of what we don't know," Rose said. "We don't know our per pupil aid, our equalized aid, or our equalized valuation figures yet."

Final numbers will be available in October she said.

Greenfield Elementary Principal Gary Hoffman reported over 400 students are enrolled in summer school. He also said the new playground equipment is being installed this week. Viking Middle School Principal Hank Dupuis reported the good news that with all the rain we've been experiencing, there have been no leaks since the flashing and blocks were repaired.

Transportation Director Wade Labecki reported he recently attended a accident planning workshop. He informed participants that B-W already has an accident plan and shared it with them.

At the end of the meeting, district IT (Information Technician) Bryan Jones delivered laptop computers to each board member and gave a brief lesson in operating the machines.

"You will now receive all district correspondence electronically," said Supt. Helland. "We will use them at meetings as well," he said.