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Copyright (c) 2009 Ginny Maziarka. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Packer Fans - Unite! You can win tickets to opening game next season...


The Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau has been challenged by the Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau to prove we have more fans than they do. We know that Packers Fans are all over the country, and we need your help to reach out to them.

Both CVBs have put together a contest that not only counts the number of fans we have, but there's an awesome prize... (2 Packers tickets for next season's opening game, hotel and dinner). We'll draw a winner after the Super Bowl.

The Packers Nation contest is located at http://www.greenbay.com . 

Click on Packers Nation Ticket Giveaway and enter!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Portage, Wisconsin - Popcorn Heaven

Craig's Popcorn

It's kind of a "must do" stop if you travel to western Wisconsin, or thereabouts.  Just one block south of Hwy. 33. on Hwy. 51 (Wisconsin Street), this munchie heaven is only a 1 minute detour off the beaten path, and worth the experience!

If you thought theater popcorn was the bomb, wait till you encounter Craig's drive-thru popcorn.

What flavor would you like?

Blue Raspberry?  Jalapeno?  Ranch?

If you think buttered popcorn is ordinary, think again.  Craig's is so laden with delicious butter they have to double bag in plastic just before handing it out the window.  (Butter is only an extra 10 cents.  Yes, you read that right!) I personally like it just the way it is!   The popcorn is freshly made, not popped the day before, so it is super crunchy and flavorful.

The price is right, too!  Small medium and large run anywhere from just over $1 to barely $3 for a GINORMOUS bag for the family......

Craig's also sells hot dogs, ice cream (in a zillion flavors), and other treats.

Inexpensive, delicious, and just simply one of those places you can take the family for a mini adventure!

Craig's is open after 3 p.m. on weekdays, but opens earlier at 1 p.m. on weekends.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Vote at your convenience!

Not sure if you'll be home on February 15 for the SPRING PRIMARY? Afraid you may forget? Going on vacation? Unforeseen emergencies can arise and keep you from casting your important vote. Why take chances?


To download and print your application (simple - takes 2 min. to fill out), click HERE.

You'll receive your ballot in the mail.

COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT! Those students who list their permanent address within the WB School District may vote using absentee balloting.

Here is a list of municipalities in the school district of West Bend with complete contact information:

1) City of West Bend: West Bend City Hall, Attn: City Clerk, 1115 S Main St, West Bend 53095
Hours: M-F 8-4:30, Ph 262-335-5100
2) Town of Jackson: Town Hall, 3146 Division Rd, Jackson 53037
Ph 262-677-4048
3) Village of Jackson: Village Hall, N168W20733 Main St, Jackson 53037
Hours: M-F 8-4:30, or use drop box Ph 262-677-9001
4) Town of Addison: Addison Town Hall, 127 First St, PO Box 481, Allenton 53002
Hours: M 12:30-3, Th 9-11 Ph 262-629-5420
5) Town of Barton: Barton Town Hall, 3482 Town Hall Road, Kewaskum 53040
Ph 262-334-2765
6) Town of Polk: Polk Town Hall, 3680 WI-60, Slinger 53086
Hours: M-Th 7:30-12, Ph 262-677-2123
7) Town of Trenton: Trenton Town Hall, 1071 Hwy 33 East, West Bend
**Mailing address: Town of Trenton, PO Box 259, Newburg 53060
Hours: Fri 9:30-2 Ph 262-675-6009
8 ) Village of Newburg: Newburg Village Hall, 614 Main St, PO Box 50 West Bend 53060
Hours: M-F 9-5, Ph 262-675-2160
9) Town of West Bend: West Bend Town Hall, 6355 CTY Rd Z, West Bend 53095
Hours: M 10-3, W 12-6, Th 10-2 Ph 262-338-3417

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kids Can't Learn in Desks and Chairs - REALLY?

From the JS Online:

Hartland - Concentration broken only by the soft whispers of student questions, the fifth-graders in Hartland South Elementary School teacher Holly Albrecht's class lounge on bean bags, perch on fabric cubes or lightly bounce on stability balls.


"The idea has really been catching on to create these more flexible spaces, more comfortable spaces," said Jennifer Lamar, senior interior designer at Fielding Nair International, a school architecture firm that remodeled Yeshiva Elementary School in Milwaukee. "People are realizing sitting at a hard chair, at a hard desk all day long is not very conducive to learning."


In their place are leather couches and recliners, bar-height tables and chairs, giant bean bags, cubby-type office spaces and even a loft area for reading. Next to the couch is clustered a group of desks, where students sit on stability balls and tap on MacBooks.
Fifth-grader Mackenzie O'Connor thrives in this environment. In a traditional classroom, she said, she couldn't sit and listen and would squirm in her chair and talk to her friends.


I received this commentary from friend, Roger Bardoel.  I concur.

"As a nation we have a short collective memory.  Too many educators don't realize these "reforms" already have a history of failure.   Our schools don't need student led classes where the students decide what's best for them.  They don't need what used to be called "open classrooms."  They certainly don't need more so-called group learning (referred to as "collaboration" in this article) where one student does most of the work while the rest socialize and goof off.  Instead, our schools need dedicated teachers who are not afraid to teach hard core subjects while demanding discipline and hard work from their students.  Learning is mostly hard work, not leisure lounge time and fun.

Other countries realize this, which is why the U.S. is lagging behind most industrialized and many developing countries, not least of which is China."

Monday, January 24, 2011

WI TAXPAYERS ALLIANCE Lends Insight, Addresses Lack of Community Trust

The Doctor is IN

This was like getting a check-up with your primary care physician.....

Attended West Bend School Board work session tonight.  Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance WISTAX (Todd Berry and Dale Knapp) gave a full report on a study they did of the district.  Here's what they had to say:

The West Bend School District approached them last fall about doing a study of the district.

The study reflected -
The frugal values of the district.
Where the District's priorities are.
Higher share of spending is for instruction and "core" instruction (K5 and reading/writing/arithmetic)
The District spends a relatively small amount on building and grounds.
Largest expense is for salaries and benefits (82% of basic spending)
Teacher salaries against comparable districts show we are at the high end
The District is relatively debt free, especially compared to surrounding districts, in 2009/2010.

WISTAX stated that over the past 10 years there has been a 50% increase in revenue limits and spending.  Property taxes have gone way up.  The reason for the tax increase is a shift in policy at the state level.  

WISTAX projected that going into 2020, the District needs to:
1.  Gain cost flexibility OR
2.  Gain revenue flexibility

OPEN ENROLLMENT (This was a very interesting and very TELLING portion of the presentation)

WISTAX stated that the figures on Open Enrollment were a WARNING SIGN.  The number of students opting OUT of the District were far surpassing those who were opting in.  The number of students opting INTO the District is declining as well.  

I wish I had the slide that was shown with the stats on it, but the number of opted out students jumped dramatically over the past 5 years, from as low as 25, all the way up to 73 last year.  It is interesting to note that this large declination began when the current superintendent, Pat Herdrich, came to the District.  Not saying anything one way or the other here.  Draw your own conclusions.

WISTAX stated that this most likely had to do with people's perceptions of the school district and that something needs to change as perception is reality (this was said numerous times).


"The buck stops with you."  
Don't use the word "cut" as it is deceptive.  Instead, use the word "reallocating" to indicate real redistribution of funds, and state what was done.
The School Board cannot be disagreeing about data.  Promotes lack of trust in the community.
The School Board needs to go back to "square one."
Hammer out understanding of what the core values and priorities of the District are.
Get a rolling three-year budget.  Ask Administration to project budets to get an idea of where you are going.
Because of spending/property tax disconnect:
a) Should think of other ways to assure fiscal responsibility
b) Monitor three-year property tax.
West Bend is a frugal and fiscally responsible community; people expect that out of their government as well.
Facilities/maintenance costs are currently $1 million annually; need to work on deferred maintenance issues
Smooth out costs of deferred maintenance by assuming some debt.  If you borrow, you wont have to go to referendum; if you go to referendum, you'll gain public trust.

WISTAX Key Concepts:
Spending/tax disconnect
The District has not been able to manage cost.  Need State to change lw to give flexibility.
Seek that at State level in next 3-4 months. 
Take back local control and flexibility.
Speak to Legislature.
Rewrite state law to give Districts charter school flexibility.
Use Charter school concept as strategy to manage costs.
The West Bend community sees a board that is divided.  There is a general lack of trust and lack of communication.
Find ways to reach consensus.
School Board members could gain insight from college boards by sitting in on deliberations, committees and work sessions.
Should have a 9-member school board instead of 7.
Try committees of the whole to save time and work.
West Bend is a metaphor for what's going on in the economy, i.e., the economy is reflected here.
There are elements of the community who do not feel represented in Board decision-making.
Actions the Board has taken have affected public perception.
Work on communication.
The time has come for the WBSD to develop some kind of process to develop a vision.
Need to spend more time teaching community members.
Get broad range of shareholders involved.

School Board members had some time for questions with WISTAX....

Joe Carlson addressed the legislative issues.  WISTAX said that now is the time to speak to our two legislators.  The entire School Board should meet with our elected representatives collectively.

Kris Beaver interjected that the School Board has spoken to both Sen. Glenn Grothman and Rep. Pat Strachota (previous post said Panzer - it was late - my error), both of whom (he states) were not supportive and "lent a deaf ear" to them.

WISTAX:  West Bend was better off with money in the levy credit.  We should not fold levy credit into the aid formula. 

"The referendum process is communication." - WISTAX

"The public is pretty darn rational."  -WISTAX

WISTAX also suggested we consider extending our building life and cutting future utility and maintenance costs.

WISTAX "When the District "lays all their cards on the table," they are believable and gain public trust.  Be honest.
The District has an attitude of "you don't understand."
The District has come across as having an attitude.
Put things in clear, simple language that the average person can understand.

CFAC met directly following this presentation.  I stayed long enough to hear John Grundahl recommend TAXING TO THE LEVY MAX.

Doug Ziegler Sworn In to Fill Vacant School Board Seat in West Bend

Filling the vacancy left when former school board member, Bruce Koenig resigned, Doug Ziegler was sworn in tonight to finish off Koenig's remaining three months on the school board.

Left to right, school board members Randy Marquardt, Doug Ziegler and Dave Weigand.

West Bend School District Reviews Complaint & Ethics Policies

West Bend School District Policy Committee met at 5 p.m. today to discuss Complaint and Ethics policies.  

Committee consisted of Dave Weigand, Randy Marquardt, Joe Carlson, Jeff Nennig (and there were a few others present from the Finance dept. - didn't know everyone).

First policy discussed was Policy 872 "Complaints Concerning District Officials and School
Personnel (revised)

Dave Weigand made the point that the School Board has a code of self governance.  

Jeff Nennig explained the policy as one that directs incoming complaints to the School Board president.  From there it is forwarded to the District's legal counsel.

Weigand stated that the District's legal counsel does not represent the board member OR the citizens, and that we leave a lot to the discretion of the District's legal counsel, that there is a lot of latitude for the legal counsel in making recommendations to the board regarding what constitutes an ethics complaint.  Also stated that the legal counsel must be someone who is above standard quality and someone that we trust to be accurate.

Randy Marquardt noted there was nothing in the policy that he felt took away any power from the School Board.

Joe Carlson felt that complaints should also include remedies from the complainant and asked to have that step included in the policy.  We should be "looking for some way to keep it (the complaint) from being fired off to Mary (Hubacher)..."

It seemed that all agreed the policy should be rewritten to include the above and brought back for review.


Next was review of Policy 165 ETHICS (revised).

Dave Weigand said, "I think a lot of the items on here (the policy) wouldn't fall under the auspices of ethics."  "It's more like a job description."  and "This policy is not meant to be used to be thrown back in someone's face."

Joe Carlson noted it was more of a "code of conduct."

Weigand stated that he was not sure "if that's really ethical.  We already do that (policy) because that's the protocol."  Weigand also pointed out "This policy should not be construed to inhibit a board member from freedom of speech."  Weigand suggested an "umbrella" over the policy that stated the intentions of the policy itself.

When Randy Marquardt questioned Jeff Nennig as to other area school district policies, Nennig offered to get samples for review.

All committee members agreed to review the Complaint and Ethics policies at the next committee meeting.

Carlson suggested making the Ethics policy two-fold; one part could reflect board ethics that includes the state statutes, the other part could reflect the school board code of conduct, which would reflect the expectations of the District.


Third policy, Fiscal Management,  Policy 620 Purchasing Guides (revised)

Policy states that we purchase from the "most qualified supplier."  All agreed this needs to be defined.  

Bob Buchholz, Administrator of Finance, stated there could be a number of items that could be used to determine qualification, i.e., past provider experience, service, are they local.....

Marquardt did not want to be locked in to the lowest bid as the only deciding factor, and wanted to see some leeway...

Nennig said there is a district policy on vendor preference and that a local vendor would be a preferred choice.

Discussion went around the room concerning prequalification.  Marquardt suggested that prequalification take place for bids of certain dollar amounts, preferably larger bids.

Policy will be rewritten to reflect changes and brought back for review at the next committee meeting.
Taxpayers Alliance beginning presentation.
Doug ziegler now sworn in.
Sat in on policy meeting at the school district offices. Will update late. School board meeting about to begin. Dog Ziegler being sworn in to vacant seat.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Great STOMP on the Bears today! Way to go Pack!

Superbowl next.....


Friday, January 21, 2011

Zumba for a cause this Saturday!

This is great!

For two hours Saturday afternoon, community members will have a chance to improve their physical health and the fiscal health of a local nonprofit. 

    Zumbathon started as a fun way for Pleasant Valley Tennis and Fitness Club to mark the first anniversary of its renovated fitness area. It grew into a fundraiser for Citizen Advocacy. 

    “We just wanted to do something different to celebrate a year,” said owner Jacci Gambucci. “And we wanted it to be a benefit for somebody.” 

    Zumba was an easy choice, Gambucci said. Not only is it a current rage, you don’t need to be particularly good at it to do it. Zumba is a dance fitness program that combines Latin and international music, often in a class setting. While the Zumbathon will last two hours, participants can come for as little or as much of it as they like. 

    Finding a nonprofit came together quickly as well. 

    Fitness instructors Renny Mayer and Sheena Delong participate in Citizen Advocacy’s Dancing for a Difference fundraiser on May 6 at the Chandelier Ballroom in Hartford. In a preliminary discussion, they suggested it could dovetail well with the dancing event and offered to organize it as a Citizen Advocacy fundraiser. 

    Gambucci was hooked. So was Mark Brunner, Citizen Advocacy executive director. 

    Citizen Advocacy provides opportunities for supportive relationships between community members and people with developmental disabilities. 

    “It’s been tough for nonprofits, so we’re really greatful for these types of opportunities,” he said. 

    Last year, Citizen Advocacy saw a drop in program grants and donations, but growth in requests for service, Brunner said. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

West Bend School Board Members CLEARED of Ethics Complaints

Briefly, the room was packed.  Standing room only - probably 75-100 in room.

City West Bend School District Attorney Mary Hubacher stated reasons for bringing ethics charges to the board.  Said there were five charges all together, but she only felt two were worthy of being advanced.

Jason Pentermann, president of WB WEAC, spoke first to the charges against Tim Stepanski.  Stepanski allowed to speak and firmly defended his position as not guilty, though he said he could have used more restraint.

School board members asked a few questions.  Then city attorney moved to second accusation.

John Engstrom spoke to the accusation against Weigand.

Weigand spoke at length in his own defense, confirming he feels that board members should be able to use various avenues to communicate with the public.

Board members asked a few questions.  Kris Beaver seemed intent on making sure Weigand knew he did not agree with Weigand's choice to write the guest editorial.  He also made sure to address the concerns of the general public that "probably thought we were going to skewer Weigand or something, I don't know..."

Board voted on both accusations and both were cleared unanimously of any ethics charges.

Following this, the board interviewed and voted to fill the seat vacated by Bruce Koenig with Doug Ziegler, with Carlson and Miller voting against.  It should be duly noted that Carlson verbally addressed Zieglers age and physical limitations.  Is that legal?
Board is now meeting with 5 candidates to fill board vacancy. Will update later.
CORRECTION: Protocol did allow accused to speak to the accusations.
Stepanski and Weigand unanimously found not guilty of ethics violations.
It appears the protocol is that the city atty reads charges, complainants speak, and board members discuss and vote. Accused not allowed to speak.
Atty is reading complaints.
Atty stated there were initially 5 complants. Three were dismissed.
City Atty speaking to give her recommendations
West Bend School Board Special Mtg delayed 15 min

Conservative Board Members STAND TRIAL TONIGHT with WB School Board

The accusations have been levied by a former West Bend School District Superintendent, John Engstrom, and West Bend's WEAC president, Jason Pentermann.

What are Weigand and Stepanski being accused of?

According to Engstrom, Stepanski responded to Engstrom in an email exchange by affirming his Christianity and belief in Jesus Christ.  So he's being accused of being a...Christian?

Pentermann is upset that Weigand wrote an editorial piece that explained in more detail the reasons why board members should look into the charter school opportunity.  Pentermann called this closed minded and says Weigand cannot lend his opinion publicly as a school board member.  Whaaat?

What is this REALLY about?

Attempting to get the conservative school board members to SHUT UP.  Call it like you see it.

Education Service Center – Board Room 
735 S. Main Street 
West Bend WI 53095 
January 17, 2011 
 5:00 p.m. 

1. Call to order 
2. Consider complaints filed against 2 school board 
members (Tim Stepanski & Dave Weigand) and 
take any action, if necessary. 

6:30 p.m. 
1. Board Candidates Interview 
2. Board Vacancy Appointment 
3. Adjourn

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Accident involving school bus - West Bend

A school bus full of little ones (looked like K-3rd or so to me) made a sudden stop and backed up, totaling an SUV traveling behind it.  (Driven by owner of Pa's Clock Shop).  This was right in front of my house (Town of West Bend), so the noise was unmistakable...

It appears no-one was hurt.  The bus just left with the children, who will obviously be arriving home late.  Flatbed is here right now picking up SUV.  

Thankful no injuries appear to be evident, though I am sure the SUV driver will probably be sore tomorrow....