Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring is lamb season

Jacob and Leanne Terpstra are pictured bottle feeding some of the 43 lambs that were born at their farm south of Baldwin this spring. Of the 21 ewes at the Terpstra farm, 17 lambed, including three sets of quadruplets.
The sheep at the Darryl and Julie Terpstra farm are a hobby that also produces some extra income, according to Darryl. The Terpstras have about 43 head of milk cows at the farm, also.
About eight of the lambs born this spring need to be bottle fed, said Darryl. One breed of sheep that the Terpstras have is polypay and many of the ewes have triplets. When the lambs are born they average weight is six to 13 pounds. They often double their body weight in the first week and are then fed to reach 130 to 140 pounds by August or September.
One of the Terpstras’ ewes that weighed between 200 and 250 pounds produced 42 pounds of lambs—quadruplets with two that weighed 11 pounds each and two more that weighed 10 pounds each.

Arbitrator’s award contested in Supreme Court

The principle that an arbitrator should apply the terms of a contract and not substitute his or her own idea of what’s fair or equitable was the issue that Baldwin-Woodville School District attorney Steve Weld of the firm of Weld, Riley, Prenn & Ricci, S.C. argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday in Madison.
Weld said the contract between the district and employees is clear, the arbitration process is created in the contract and the arbitrator’s job is to interpret and apply the language of the contract and not substitute his or her version of fairness.
In the case argued Thursday before the Supreme Court, a teacher in the Baldwin-Woodville District started full-time in the 2002-03 school year. At the time of her initial employment in August 2002 she was placed in the compensation schedule which reflected her graduate level education credits. After a new contract was negotiated her salary was reduced $660 per year because she was mistakenly placed in the wrong category. Through the next two years the teacher was unaware of the change and did not inquire about or challenge it.
In August of 2005 the teacher submitted a form titled “Request to Change Lanes for the 2005-06 School Year.” At that time the district verified the teacher’s graduate credits and her contract was placed in the higher pay lane for the upcoming school year, but she was not compensated for the past years’ pay mistakes. The teacher and the West Central Education - Baldwin-Woodville Unit’s association (WCEA-B-W) president met with the B-W District Superintendent and the matter was brought before the B-W Board of Education. In June of 2006 the B-W Board rejected the teacher’s request for back pay.
The WCEA filed a grievance with the Superintendent on the teacher’s behalf, alleging violations of the collective bargaining agreement. The grievance was denied in a letter from the B-W District’s counsel, which said in part that the grievance was untimely. A subsequent grievance was addressed to the B-W Board and was also denied. The dispute went to binding arbitration before a Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission arbitrator who rejected the district’s contention that the grievance was untimely because it was not filed within 15 days of when the teacher became aware of not being compensated in the appropriate category.
The B-W District moved to vacate the arbitrator’s award, arguing that the award exceeded the arbitrator’s powers and authority and manifestly disregarded the law. The circuit court denied the B-W District’s motion but on appeal the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, concluding the grievance was not timely and therefore under the terms of the contract should not be upheld.
Before the Supreme Court the WCEA said even if the Court of Appeals made the wrong determination Wisconsin law is clear that a court may not vacate an arbitration award for errors of law or fact.
Anthony Stitt, a teacher at B-W and the head negotiator for the B-W Unit of the WCEA said “contractually we have agreed to settle disputes through arbitration and our belief is that [the arbitrator] reached a decision and it should be binding. What good is our contract if the arbitration provision isn’t binding?”
The arbitrator “used equity to made a decision,” said Weld, determining whether the outcome was fair or not in his opinion. “He exceeded his authority.” The principles in the case are increasingly significant, Weld continued, as the arbitration process is used more often. “We need to have arbitrators do what the contract says,” he said, and not what they consider fair. He added that the Appeals Court agreed with the B-W District under the “plain and unambiguous language of the contract.”
Weld said he believes the principle is so important that he has taken the case with the provision that his firm will not charge the District if the District loses the case. “So it’s a kind of warranty,” he noted.

BAMC hosts rural resident with local ties

Baldwin Area Medical Center is hosting Heidi E. Helgeson, M. D. as the second resident physician in their Rural Residency Rotation for 2009. Dr. Marvin Klingler is acting as her supervising physician. Heidi will be here through the end of April. She is the daughter of Gary Helgeson from Woodville, She spent most of her youth in Plymouth, Minnesota, and has extensive family ties to the Baldwin / Woodville area including: Grandfather George Helgeson, Uncles Wayne, Warren and Paul Helgeson as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Dr. Helgeson is Chief Resident and will complete her Family Medicine specialty training in the Fort Collins Family Medicine Residency Program in June 2009. She is a graduate Magna Cum Laude from the University of Colorado Medical School and earned her undergraduate degree from Hamline University in Theology and Biology. She is a National Health Scholar and has achieved clinical honors in Neurology, Dermatology, Hospice and Palliative Care, Infectious Disease, Family Medicine and Human Behavior.
Dr. Helgeson has expressed an interest in rural medicine and has accepted a National Health Service Corps assignment in a health professional shortage area in Colorado. When she completes her residency training, she will begin her practice as a Family Physician in a Rural Health Clinic, located in Del Norte, Colorado.
Dr. Helgeson is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Medical Association. She was licensed in the state of Colorado in 2007. She enjoys hiking, skiing, reading, writing, cooking, dancing and ranching.
Alison Page, the Medical Center Chief Executive Officer, complemented Dr. Klingler who has been one of the primary motivating forces to create and maintain a rural residency program at the Medical Center. “Not many facilities our size can provide this kind of opportunity. Dr. Klingler loves to pass on what he has learned to new family doctors,” she noted.
Dr. Klingler responded that “It has been a real pleasure working with Dr Helgeson. I believe she will make an excellent Family Physician. She has that special spark it takes to be an exceptional Family Doctor in a rural setting. We certainly wish her our best.”

New board members take oath of office

Three board members took the oath of office during the regular meeting of the Baldwin-Woodville School Board Monday night. Jeff Campbell, who was re-elected, along with newcomers Ann Hilmanowske and Jody Lindquist, took the oath of office.
Prior to the swearing in, Superintendent Rusty Helland presented certificates of appreciation to out-going board members Tom Schumacher and Deb Rasmussen on behalf of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards. Helland recognized them for their years of service, 15 years and 14 years, respectively, on the Baldwin-Woodville board.
"You have both served the district for the most important reason: you were in it for what was best for kids. Thank you," said Helland.
Supt. Helland announced that a 14-member interview committee will interview five candidates for the Middle School Principal position next week. He said there were 49 applicants for the position, which is an excellent pool from which to choose. The position is available due the retirement of Principal Hank Dupuis at the end of this school year.
The third grade teaching team of Jackie Benson, Jeremy Nygaard, Matt Schommer and Lisa Skorseth gave a presentation on the Balanced Literacy program at Greenfield Elementary.
"This is a change in our reading program," Benson said. "We used to use a basal reader with an anthology of stories, read them one at a time and then work on reading skills by using the accompanying workbook."
"Now we have a variety of books at different levels in each classroom library," added Skorseth. Each child has his or her own book bin and chooses books from the class library at his or her "just right" level instead of all kids reading the same stories . The teacher then works with students in small groups, rather than the whole class at one time, she said.
The teachers assess each student to determine the "just right" level where the student starts, according to Nygaard. "The students read to the teacher one-on-one and then take comprehension tests," he said. "This determines where they start." The individual testing can take up to ten hours, but it makes teachers more aware of individual student needs, Nygaard said.
The program gradually releases students from the teacher modeling reading and thinking aloud with small groups, to guided practice, to independent reading.
"For independent reading, students will read for up to 30 minutes at a time and later take an assessment test," said Schommer. "We also have individual conferences with students," he said.
"How and why did this change come about?" asked board member Schumacher.
District reading specialist Randi Hoffman explained that the past 30 years of research has shown that students who spend the most time actually reading learn better. Too much time has been spent doing worksheets. The goal of Balanced Literacy is to have students reading at their level and comprehending more, she said.
"This has been our transition year," Hoffman said, "so some teachers are still using the basal readers. We've had a lot of teacher training this year, and next year the entire school will be involved in the program."
Board member John Hinz asked how the teachers keep students at different levels motivated to read.
"This program offers a lot of flexibilty for different levels of readers, which helps keep students motivated," said Skorseth, and the increased individual attention.
During the announcements, High School Principal Eric Russell noted that Athletic Director Wade Labecki was recently named District Athletic Director of the Year.
Viking Principal Dupuis announced that the results from the WKCE exams showed the eighth grade class improved in all five categories. He also said that 284 students slots have been filled for 17 summer school offerings. Two hundred ten summer band slots are filled as well, he said.
Director of Pupil Services Patti Phillipps reported that 95 students at Viking and 27 at the High School were vaccinated at school last week. She said school nurse Anita Justin and Tammi Hovde did a terrific job of contacting students in need of vaccinations and bringing the district into compliance with state regulations.

From the Exchanges
    Interesting News Items from
        Surrounding Communities

BURNETT COUNTY SENTINEL (GRANTSBURG): SIREN—Is it the route of last resort or isn't it? That was the question when Voyager Village property owners Merri Middleton and John Sweetnam attended last week's Burnett County natural resources committee. The couple purchased the property on Deer Path Road in October 2004 and, even though there is a steep driveway already in existence, requested and were granted a temporary land use agreement for one-year to access the site via a logging road, which has a gentler slope, on county forest land to build their cabin. Earlier this year, forestry administrator Jake Nichols discovered the couple was still using the logging road as a main access to their cabin and tried to address the issue. "I am asking that you access your property from the town road and stop using the county forest trail," Nichols wrote in a letter to the couple. Middleton and Sweetnam then requested permanent access via that logging road, even though the existing driveway is from a town road, specifically from a cul-de-sac on Deer Path Road. "I have a heart condition and we feel the road in (logging road) is the route of last resort," Sweetnam told the committee. The couple invited Town of Jackson Fire Chief Dave Formanek and North Ambulance to inspect the property. "He described it as a very hazardous route," Sweetnam said of the existing driveway. "The ambulance couldn't guarantee they could get out once they came down," Middleton added.
But the county's comprehensive land use plan says it (access request) needs to be a route of last resort to qualify for access. Clearly, that is not the case in this situation. "Is it Burnett County's responsibility to help them find a way into their property after they bought the land," Nichols asked rhetorically. "I don't think so." "I'm just not sure we have reached the last resort yet," Olson added. "I'm not sure all the possibilities have been looked at." "Have you exhausted all the ideas to improve their existing access to make it acceptable to emergency vehicles," assistant forestry administrator Mark Diesen queried. "Maybe we could give them a temporary use permit to check other possibilities," Olson suggested. In the end, that was the decision the committee reached.

OSCEOLA SUN: A nursing home is in Osceola’s future. That’s the statement put out by representatives of the Osceola Medical Center and Christian Community Homes and Services, Inc., last week, as they announced that the two organizations have come to an agreement to build a new $6.2 million, 56-bed nursing care facility on the hospital’s campus south of downtown Osceola. “We’re excited that Christian Community Homes will be coming to our health care campus,” said Jeff Meyer, the hospital’s CEO in a prepared statement. “This fantastic organization will help us reach our vision of providing excellent health and wellness opportunities to our senior community.” Though the two organizations have been working toward an agreement continuously since the closing of the L.O. Simenstad Nursing Care Unit last year, the announcement last week was predicated on the fact that Christian Community Homes’ board of directors voted to approve the project April 6, after a lengthy internal examination of its finances and other factors. The new facility will take advantage of the 40-bed nursing care license formerly used to operate L.O. Simenstad, which was essentially “parked” when that facility closed. The additional 16 beds will be for memory care patients. Dan C. Goodier, administrator of Christian Community Homes, said the organization needed about 50 beds to “provide us with the scale to be successful.”

AMERY FREE PRESS: A sign at the top of the Arlington Drive hill in Amery announces, "Beware of Bears" that come out to feed during midday hours. Bird feeders in that neighbor hood have been targeted by bruins emerging from their winter sleep and are hungry. And now residents of Pondhurst alongside of Amery Golf Course have bears knocking down bird feeders. "We'd recommend residents remove the food sources for the bears," Amery Police Chief Tom Marson said. He suggested taking down bird feeders and securing garbage cans to eliminate the easy source of food. "We don't have any reports of injury to pets," Marson said. Marson has been in contact with the DNR, Animal Damage Division and suggested people call that department. "You will get tips on avoiding more damage and if they get enough calls and deem the bear (bears) a nuisance they will be trapped and relocated," Marson said.

TRIBUNE PRESS REPORTER (GLENWOOD CITY): In a feat that's only been accomplished by one other school of Boyceville's comparatively small size, the Boyceville Science Olympiad Team A placed in the top three in the state competition held April 4 in Madison. Taking third and earning a trophy not only did the Boyceville A team beat out much larger schools, but they also medaled in 11 of their 20 events with medals given to first through sixth place finishers. In the last 20 years only ten schools have ever finished in the top three at the state tournament. Many larger schools with strong Science Olympiad programs like Marshfield and Madison Memorial have never finished in the top three, said Hamm. Boyceville was, by far the smallest school among the top ten teams at the state tournament. The Boyceville A team's top ten finish last year was considered a tremendous feat for a small school, but Hamm said his students decided to set the bar even higher this year. "We had a special group of students this year on the Science Olympiad team who set high expectations for themselves and their teammates, and our success is a direct by-product of their hard work and dedication to the team" said Hamm. Hamm took over as the Science Olympiad advisor when he came to the district two years ago and since that time the program has strengthened under his direction growing to 44 students and three teams.