Wednesday, October 21, 2009

B-W Marching Blackhawks finished third in WSMA band championship

The B-W band won the best percussion trophy in their class. Accepting the trophy from Tim Wurgler was Drum Major Mallory Precht. She is pictured with Maggie Gadbois, left, Kristin Bauer, behind Wurgler and Tori Liston, right.

The Baldwin-Woodville Marching Blackhawks finished third with a score of 75.65 points in Class A in the Wisconsin School Music Association’s Marching Band Championships held Saturday at UW-Whitewater. The Blackhawks were less than a point behind second place Columbus High School, with a point total of 76.35. First place finisher Cumberland, which had in recent years competed a division “up”, finished in first place with 78.55 points.
“All three [of the top bands] were within three points of each other,” noted Baldwin-Woodville Band Director Adam Bassak. He said Class A was the most competitive of the four classes at the state competition.
The closeness of the competition “is great,” said Bassak. “It pushes all three bands.”
The B-W performance was “by far our best show of the year,” continued Mr. Bassak. “It’s the first time since I’ve been here that every kid came off the field knowing they had a good show.”
B-W won the trophy for the top percussion section. “Obviously, taking the top percussion trophy is a cool thing,” said Mr. Bassak. “Our senior percussionists have put in lots of extra time whicFont sizeh paid off for the third year in a row by winning a state drum line trophy.”
This year’s program “definitely took a step up as far as the difficulty of marching and music,” said Mr. Bassak. “We continue to go forward.”

School Board: bring pool up to code or close it down?

For the second month in a row the Baldwin-Woodville Board of Education postponed deciding the fate of the district’s swimming pool.
At issue is a proposal to budget an additional $25,000 for design and installation of new drain gates and sump pumps in order for the district to be in compliance with a new federal law. The law was enacted in response to the tragic death of a young girl who died after the suction from a spa drain entrapped her and she drowned. The district must be in compliance with the law in order to open the pool next summer.
At last month’s meeting, board members requested information about pool usage and history. “The pool was built in 1953 according to school records,” said Superintendent Rusty Helland. “In 1976 the district spent $183,347 on remodeling and renovation of the pool,” he continued, “and more remodeling was completed in 1982 at a cost of $9,345.”
“In 1995 a community-led fund drive raised $90,000 for pool repairs, which cost a total of $105,000,” said Helland, “and the community raised another $26,363 for more repairs in 2007. That project ended up costing a total of $101,229, and the district paid the balance.”
As for pool usage, the past three years have had over 400 students for swimming lessons, said Helland. In 2008 the pool was open 73 days with an average attendance of 123 and in 2009 the pool was open for 64 days with an average attendance of 103.
“Each year we budget $25,000 for the pool, which is mostly used for salaries,” said Helland, “and the district receives over $14,000 for state aid for swimming lessons,” He added.
“Is the value of the pool to the community a worthwhile service?” Helland asked board members. He said that the board needs to make a decision by December for the work to be completed in time for the pool to open next summer.
“We need to know if the community supports this and by how much,” commented board member John Hinz. “I think the community benefits, but I don’t think people realize the maintenance costs involved.”
Board member Jody Lindquist said that her child benefits from the pool and so does the extended community.
“I think it’s a dead horse,” stated board member Ann Hilmanowske “We just keep throwing money down the hole. If the community wants it, the community needs to do some big fund raising.”
Board member Mike Bondarenko said a new pool would be a tough sell. “I think it would be a disservice to the community to close the pool. We’re stuck with it, so I say we fix it, he said.”
High School Principal Eric Russell commented that as a parent, he believes the pool is an important asset to the community. “Where will all those kids go during the summer if the pool is closed?” he asked.
“There are a couple of ways to pay for this work on the pool,” said Helland. “The district can levy the additional $25,000 which would have a tax impact of $8.25 of $200,000 value, or we can pay for it at the end of the year with underexpended funds, if for example, fuel costs less than anticipated,” he said.
“The pool serves an educational purpose,” said board president Jeff Campbell. “We need to keep it going for now, and we also need to start a committee to plan for the future of the pool. The costs are not out of hand this time,” he added.
District bookkeeper Pam Rose pointed out that the pool account presently has $10,000 after the 2009 season.
“Keep in mind the impact of $25,000 on the entire budget,” said Helland. The budget for the 2009-2120 school year is $17,231,887 according to information presented at the meeting.
The board decided to put the fate of the pool on the November agenda.

Village board compromises on huge trees

After hearing of a conflict of opinion regarding large cottonwoods—perhaps the largest trees in the village—the village board accepted an alternative to removing all the trees along the boulevard at the Summers’ residence at 880 12th Avenue in the village.
The board had been alerted at an earlier meeting that the eight large cottonwoods along the sidewalk, on private property, were in danger of losing large limbs and posed a danger to the public. At the September village board meeting, Village Public Works Director John Traxler relayed the opinion of St. Croix Tree Service that the trees were a danger and should be taken down. The cost to remove the eight trees was pegged at approximately $9,000.
However, the owners of the trees, the Summers family, had a new opinion about the trees from Ackley Tree Service that one of the large trees was dangerous and should be taken down, another would possibly need to come down and a third should be further checked out. The others could be trimmed of dead limbs and were not a danger. They said they got the opinion before the issue of the trees was raised at the September meeting.
Orin Summers said that the trees mean a great deal to him and they have been there for 100 years and that with some trimming work could be there for another 100 years other than the one that should come down and possibly a second.
In support of Summers was Jim Mondor who said he has been in the landscape design field for years and recommended that two trees and maybe a third should come down and the others should be pruned.
“I’m for letting them take care of it,” said Village Trustee Duane Russett.
In the end, the board agreed that one tree should be removed this fall and another should be checked out and may need to come down, too. A third should be trimmed and if there is no new growth in the spring it, too, should come down. All the trees should be pruned and have the deadwood cut out.
In other action at the meeting:
-Mike O’Keefe, probation and parole agent for St. Croix County of the Department of Corrections, talked about the Impact Recovery program briefly. He said at first there was a minor problem because some individuals from other counties were referred there without notifying the Department of Corrections but that has been corrected.
O’Keefe also noted that he has worked with North Hudson in developing a sex offender ordinance and said he would help with that for Baldwin too.
Baldwin Police Chief Jim Widiker expressed concern that some people who have been through the Impact Recovery program are “landing here,” when they are finished with the program.
Pastor Steve Olson, director of the Impact Recovery noted that there are no sex offenders in his program. He said there are three individuals who have been through the Impact Recovery program and now live in the other side of the building on the east end of Main Street. He said those three people are from the area and came in looking for help and are not probation referrals. “We want to be a service to the community, not a hindrance,” he said.
“At this point there’s not much we can do except keep checking,” said Village President Don McGee. Pastor Olson invited board members to come in and visit and see how the program works.

Jet buzzed Woodville Tuesday

A low-flying business-type jet caused quite a stir, at least initially, when it buzzed Woodville at a low height perhaps three times last Tuesday, October 13.
According to many people, the small jet flew north, then south, seemingly along Main Street, then flew north, again seemingly along Main Street. Several witnesses reported that the jet had its flaps down and perhaps had its landing gear down. The time of the fly-overs was about 1:50 p.m.
Woodville Police Chief Lori Hetfeld was among those who saw the jet pass over Woodville. She said she informed St. Croix County Emergency Communications Center of the low-flying jet and the persons at the Center were able to see the jet on the radar they have there. The Emergency Communications Center also gave Chief Hetfeld the number of the Federal Aviation Administration’s “unsafe flying” tip line and she called that number to report the jet. However, as of Monday this week she had not received a return phone call from the FAA.

From the Exchanges
   Interesting News Items from
      Surrounding Communities

PIERCE COUNTY HEARLD (ELLSWORTH): After almost seven months a body of a missing Prescott man has been found. Robert More, 53, apparently drowned after slipping off his houseboat in March. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department was notified at 10:40 a.m. Sunday the human remains were found on an island south of Red Wing along the backwaters of the Mississippi River. Investigators traveled by boat about a mile down-stream from the Back Channel Bridge in the Town of Trenton to recover the remains. A Minnesota driver’s license and other identifying items were found on the body. Dental records later confirmed it was More. Pierce County Investigator Doug Ducklow said a search of the area revealed that More’s body had become lodged in debris on the island, Pierce County officers and medical examiners determined there was no foul play said Ducklow. More disappeared March 28 after apparently slipping off his houseboat, which was docked at Mr. Sippi’s in Hagar City. Ducklow said search efforts didn’t provide details into the man’s disappearance and searches throughout the months revealed no new clues. Funeral arrangements are pending. The Goodhue County Water Patrol was also on scene with Medical Examiner’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department.

HUDSON STAR OBSERVER: Hudson police are looking for a man who robbed the Associated Bank, 2200 Crest View Drive, at approximately 1 p.m. Friday (October 9). Police are looking for a lone white male who entered the bank, approached a teller and demanded money. He was armed with a handgun which appeared to be wrapped in a small towel. The robber is described as being 6 feet to 6 feet-2 inches, average build having short brown hair, wearing a brown baseball cap, blue sweatshirt blue jeans and a blue handkerchief across his face. He left the bank with an undisclosed about of money in his hand and was seen leaving the area on foot. He was last seen running toward Wal-Mart and Wendy’s. Hudson Police Department Detective Shawn Pettee said the area was searched extensively by members of the Hudson Police Department, St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol. “We shut down the entrances to Wal-Mart and kept people in the store for a short time while we checked all the vehicles,” Pettee said. “We did the same thing at Wendy’s.” Wal-Mart security cameras were also reviewed for any possible leads. The parking lot and camera searches, however, did not result in any arrests and the search for the robber continues.

BURNETT COUNTY SENTINEL: Confronted with a $28,000 operating loss from the 2009 swimming season and mandated safety changes that will add $11,000 to the 2010 swimming pool budget, the Grantsburg Village Board will ask the public for suggestions and, it hopes, donations. Before the swimming pool opens for the 2010 season, changes must be made to the pool’s gates and filtration system to bring the pool into compliance with the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act. The changes are intended to prevent severe or fatal injuries or drowning when swimmers become attached to a pool’s filtration system. ABC News estimates more than 30 children and several adults have died in suction-related swimming pool deaths since the 1980s including Abbey Taylor of Edina, Minn. in 2007. The facilities wading pool also needs repairs before it opens next year, as it has been losing water through leakage, which added expense last summer for additional water, heating and chemicals.

RIVER FALLS JOURNAL: Just a month after closing, cars and trucks are being sold and repaired again at the site of Roen Ford, 660 N. Main St. The difference? The business is being operated by Bernard’s of River Falls, which moved there over the weekend from its frontage-road location at 151 Hwy. 35 N. Bernard’s general manager, Pete Lubich said Bernard’s has inked a three-year lease with the local Roen family for the site. “We’ll definitely have a lot more room now, and yes, we were a little off the beaten path, so this location gives us more visibility,” Lubich said. After operating in River Falls for 42 years, Roen Ford closed Sept. 1 following a buyout by the Ford Motor company. Local sales were down and Ford, like other major auto dealers has struggled in the recession to produce popular, fuel efficient cars. Local Bernard’s is a branch of New Richmond-based Bernard’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership. Bernard’s opened a used-car/repair shop in River Falls in 2001 on North Main Street across from Burger King. Five years ago, when the property on that leased site was sold, Bernard’s relocated and has been leasing space at Jackelen Auto. That lease expires in January. “The point I’d like to make for our customers and for customers of Roen Ford is that we can handle both and plan to offer them the same great service,” Lubich said. Toward that end, four full-time Roen Ford employees have been retained.

NEW RICHMOND NEWS: A lawsuit by a former Somerset School District teacher against the district has been allowed to continue, following a ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals last week. Renae Ekstrand served as an elementary teacher in the Somerset School District from 2000-2005. Ekstrand’s grounds for the lawsuit is that she was forced to leave the school district because she suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder. She was teaching in a room without windows. When she asked to be transferred to a classroom with windows her request was refused on several occasions, she alleges. The Court of Appeals reversed an earlier judgment supporting the school district by District Court Judge Barbara Crabb. Ekstrand is suing the school district under the Americans with Disabilities Act.