Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cold enuff for ya?

Yeppers! It was cold. Not record setting cold, but we really haven't been used to such cold for the past few years, at least.
According to Ron Phernetton of the Baldwin Water Department, the coldest temperature recorded at the Baldwin wastewater treatment plant was -32° on Friday morning, January 15. The morning before the low was a balmy -28°. Schools in the area, and the region, were called off both days.
We don't have the -32° reading, but a car thermometer early Friday morning registered -31°, and the First Bank of Baldwin time/temperature sign that same morning displayed -30°.
As of Monday, January 19, there have been fifteen days in January where the low temperature was below zero, said Phernetton, including three days when the high temperature didn't make it above zero. He added that there were 14 days in December when the low was below zero.
"We're starting to get used to it," quipped Phernetton.

B-W administrators presented "State of the District"

Baldwin-Woodville school board members listened to the "State of the District" presentation given by district administrators during Monday night's regular monthly meeting. While much of the information and many of the initiatives have been presented to the board before, this was the first comprehensive overview.
"Our goal as a school district is to create a safe, productive and respectful learning environment," said Superintendent Rusty Helland in opening remarks. "It's all about student achievement. We're preparing students to be life-long learners and exposing students to as many opportunities as possible," he said.
High School Principal Eric Russell explained the skills students need for the 21st century are for many jobs that don't even exist yet. Russell said district administrators have worked in collaboration with local business and industry leaders to develop a list of skills necessary for students, including critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and leadership, adaptability, effective communication, analyzing information, imagination and creativity, social skills, and civic responsibility.
District-wide initiatives include professional development; "rigor and relevance," which refers to developing students' higher level thinking skills and applying those skills to real situations; emergency/crisis plans; Link 4 Learning, which tracks curriculum progression and student achievement; and technology.
Baldwin-Woodville is a technology leader among school districts, according to Supt. Helland. All three buildings have Smart boards, LCD projectors, internet, and all teachers have laptops. In addition there is now a wireless computer lab at the high school.
"Baldwin-Woodville was the first district in the state to have internet in every classroom," commented Athletic Director/Transportation Director Wade Labecki.
All buildings now use Edline, which is a great way to communicate with families, according to Pupil Services Director Patti Phillipps. And teachers now have started developing individual web pages which parents and students can access through the district web site.
Individual building initiatives include Balanced Literacy at Greenfield Elementary, which is a multi-level reading program; and focusing on reading comprehension, according to Greenfield Principal Gary Hoffman. "We've done well teaching word recognition and phonics," said Hoffman, "now we need to work more on comprehension." Also at the elementary school, an intervention team has been developed, according to Phillipps, to work with students in need before a special education referral is made.
Viking Middle School Principal Hank Dupuis said initiatives at that school include focusing on writing skills, and surveying students three times a year about their perception of the school and how connected they feel to the school community.
At the High School initiatives include exploring alternative scheduling, rigor and relevance (problem solving), reading and writing in content areas, and final exams.
"This is the direction we're going," concluded Supt. Helland. He asked board members to review the information and give feedback to the administrative team.
During the open forum portion of the meeting district resident Megan Frye invited board members to the re-activation meeting of the Baldwin-Woodville FFA Alumni Chapter. The meeting will be Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 115 at the High School. "The meeting is open to all," Frye said. The group supports kids, technology, leadership training, and agricultural education according to Frye.
The annual District Audit Report was presented by Tom Kortas, of LarsonAllen LLP.
"As in the past, the condition of the records is excellent," Kortas said. "Pam (Rose) and the staff do an excellent job."
Kortas said the fund balance is $2,070,000, which is an increase of $7300 over last year and equals fifteen percent of the budget. Carrying a fund balance aids the district's cash flow and reduces the need to short-term borrow.
The district carries $20 million in long-term debt, according to the audit report, which is well under the debt limit of ten percent of the district's equalized valuation of $676,541,272.
On the revenue side, Kortas said the district received $596,000 in federal funds which accounts for 2.2 percent of district revenues. Approximately nine million dollars in state aid was received, which accounts for 54 percent of total district revenues. The balance of revenues comes from local property taxes.
The cost of programs for the district is 15 million dollars, said Kortas.

Village Board repeals flood plain

A relatively low key meeting of the Baldwin Village Board took place last Wednesday, January 14, perhaps reflecting the decreased economic activity locally and nationally.
The Village Board did act to repeal the village's flood plain ordinance, which will be replaced with a new Department of Natural Resources ordinance after a public hearing. The public hearing is set for February 11. The new ordinance, which will include a map now being prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which was initially approved in 1992, but has never been completed, will remove most of the single family residences from the flood plain, according to Village Engineer Mike Stoffel of Ayres Associates.
The Board also took action, after a public hearing, to change the village's impact fee ordinance. The proposed change relates to how long the village can spend impact fees and how the money collected as impact fees must be held. The changes reflect changes in state law governing impact fee ordinances.
In other action at the meeting:
-The Board approved a payment to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for the USH 63 project in the amount of $46,566. The sum represents a portion of the village's share of the project, which was negotiated in advance. Village Engineer Stoffel told the board that the amount "is less than we thought it would be," although there may be another bill from the DOT. The initial charge was thought to be $95,000.
-The Board also approved a couple of payments for the flashing pedestrian beacons at the Oak and Curtis Street intersections with USH 63. The payment was for $7,527 as opposed to an expected amount of about $15,000 said Stoffel.
-The board okayed an assessment resolution for street improvements for 2009 on Cedar Street and Park Street. An assessment hearing will be held at the February meeting.
-The board agreed with a proposal by Police Chief Jim Widiker that the parking ticket fee for parking overnight on village streets during winter should be raised to $20 from $5. "I think we're about $15 behind everybody else," he said. He explained that if the object is to get vehicles off the street to facilitate snow plowing, then $5 is not enough to do the job.

Alison Page hired as interim CEO at BAMC

The BAMC Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the arrival of Alison Page as interim CEO from January 15 to July 15, 2009. Alison will begin her role as interim CEO immediately and will lead the organization in all decision making.
Page's career in direct patient care, governance, operational and community leadership brings her to the position of CEO.
She has been the vice president of operations of Fairview Red Wing Health Services, in essence, the Chief Operating Officer leading all operational aspects of the Red Wing facility. In this position she oversaw the design of the new facility including the selection of all major clinical equipment and systems.
Page has also been Chief Safety Officer of Fairview Health Services, reporting directly to the Fairview CEO in system-wide leadership of quality and safety of patient care.
The Board of Trustees is happy to have Page lead the Baldwin Area Medical Center and hopes to secure a long term relationship with her.

From the Exchanges
Interesting News Items from
Surrounding Communities

THE SUN (OSCEOLA): After essentially being caught in the act of burglary, a 27-year-old Osceola man has admitted to his involvement in a handful of similar burglaries around the area. The Polk County Sheriff’s Department arrested James M. Doty last Wednesday after an area resident allegedly found Doty in his home. According to an arrest report, the man confronted Doty, who fled the scene then subsequently put his car into a ditch. The man provided police with both a description of Doty and Doty’s car. When later questioned by police, Doty admitted that he had entered the home to look for items to steal, but hadn’t taken anything before the man returned home. Doty also admitted to thefts at a nearby home on two or three other occasions in the last two months, where he had taken a jar full of coins, among other items. “He’s kind of famous for this stuff,” said Polk County Sheriff Tim Moore. Moore said the department is investigating whether Doty is connected to a number of other burglaries in the area that “kind of seemed to fit his (modus operandi).” In 2000, Doty pleaded no contest to a felony burglary count, an incident in which he was suspected of entering unlocked homes and stealing women’s shoes. Doty is registered as a sex offender.

RIVER FALLS JOURNAL: River Falls police say a 15-year-old local runaway girl missing since June 27 has been brought back home and reunited with her mother. Stephanie P. Sims, 313 N. Eighth St., was returned from St. Paul Friday morning. She was located at 725 South Robert St. in that city. Local police investigator Chuck Golden was working the case. He was tipped off recently about where Sims was and contacted St. Paul Police Department’s Missing Person’s Unit at 8 a.m. Friday. By 10:30 a.m., St. Paul police detectives had Sims in custody. They met Golden in Hudson and turned her over to him. The two then returned to River Falls. “Stephanie is safe and uninjured,” Police Chief Roger Leque said. “Our thanks go out to the St. Paul Police Department for their assistance in finding Stephanie.”
Leque said the case is still under review. While there are no charges pending in Wisconsin, he said there could be in Minnesota for those responsible where Sims was staying. While she was missing Sims would occasionally call her mother by phone. She is tall and was known to tell people she was 18.

NEW RICHMOND NEWS: Sound escaping the New Richmond Sports Center continues to be an issue for neighbors. So the New Richmond City Council voted Monday to spend up to $7,000 on a noise control study in an effort to put the ongoing controversy to rest. Alderman Jim Zajkowski balked at the price tag for the proposed report from sound engineers. “It seems a little bit steep,” he said. But Alderman Fred Horne said it might be a good idea to have an outside, independent organization complete the study so that no one could claim the results are biased. “There’s a lot of finger pointing,” Horne said. “The way I look at it is we should have an outside party come in.” Horne said he hoped to see the eventual bid winner establish a reading for an “acceptable level” of noise for a sports arena. When the topic was discussed at a meeting of the finance committee earlier in the evening, emotions ran high. Zajkowski said he didn’t appreciate it that Alderperson Jane Hansen’s husband called him early on a Saturday morning to lodge a complaint about noise at the Sports Center. He called the intrusiveness “harassment.” “It’s OK for me to be woken up and not you,” Alderperson Hansen responded. When the committee wondered about how to proceed, New Richmond Youth Hockey Association President Mary Jo Hansen urged the city to move the controversy to some resolution. “Enough’s enough,” she said. “This has dragged on long enough. We’re frustrated by having police at our building every day.” Mary Jo Hansen said the sound system is currently set at half its original volume. She said she doesn’t understand how the noise level could have been fine three years ago, but now it isn’t.

HUDSON STAR OBSERVER: Many local organizations and individuals received funds last week from the estate of Willis H. Miller, former Star-Observer publisher who died November 16, 2008. He was 89. The Education Foundation of Hudson (Raider Pride Alumni Partners) received $50,000 from the estate. The funds will be used per Miller's instructions, for scholarships to deserving graduating seniors who wish to continue their education beyond high school at a university, college or technical institute. "This is a very gracious gesture by Willis," said Foundation President Douglas Stohlberg. "Many Hudson-area students will benefit from his generosity for many, many years to come." Other benefactors from the Miller estate included: $10,000 each to the Hudson Area Library Foundation, St. Olaf College and the Wisconsin Historical Society; $5,000 each to St. Croix County Historical Society, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Hudson Hospital Health Foundation, Christian Community Home and the Phipps Center for the Arts; $1,000 each to Willow River Cemetery Association, St. Croix Genealogical Society, Goodwill Industries, the American Red Cross and the Hudson Women's Club. On the Women's Club gift he noted that it was "in appreciation for assistance which they provided to me while attending St. Olaf College."

PIERCE COUNTY HERALD: They were supposed to get married in Las Vegas on New Year's Eve, but the groom-to-be is now thought to be on the island of Maui in Hawaii...maybe with another woman. According to Investigator Doug Ducklow of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Raymond Jackson, 40, of Eagan, Minn., met the Diamond Bluff woman at Prescott Days in September. He then moved into her home a couple of days before Thanksgiving. The two then set their Las Vegas wedding date. But on Dec. 23, Ducklow said, Jackson told the woman he had a business meeting in Grand Forks, N.D., and left. Instead of buying a ticket to Grand Forks, Jackson allegedly used the woman's credit card to buy a one-way ticket to Maui. The same day, the woman discovered the charge on her credit card and contacted Frontier Airlines, who informed her of the one-way ticket. She then contacted the Sheriff's Department. Jackson allegedly continued to use the credit card and is believed to be in the Lahina area. "He went to a time-share presentation there on January 6," said Ducklow. He added Jackson doesn't have any friends or family there. "I believe he went over there to meet another woman," Ducklow said. Along with the credit card information and racking up approximately $1,700 in charges, Jackson also allegedly took the woman's laptop computer, her cell phone, a pearl necklace and other items totaling approximately $7,600. He also allegedly took the woman's diamond engagement ring. Ducklow said Jackson is six feet, two inches tall and weighs 225 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information about Jackson is asked to contact Ducklow at 715-273-6807.