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Jefferson County Board Meeting

Benjamin Wehmeier

Benjamin Wehmeier

By Alexander Calles

During the Jefferson County Board Meeting on March 10, there was new proposal for the satellite facilities to be built. In this new proposal, there was a change in the money that would spent and how bond would affect the purchase of the facilities.

There are currently four satellite facilities in or around the Jefferson county area that are being used or were used in the past. Those four sites include, Palmyra, Waterloo, Ixonia, and Lakes Mills.

With the proposal, the Palmyra site would be demolished, cleaned and turn the property over to a new owner. The Waterloo and Ixonia buildings would be sold along with the properties. The Lake Mills site can either be demolished and sold, or just sell it in its current state.

In the event of getting rid of these four sites, there would be another site built in a more convenient location. The new location would be in the southeast section of the county.

The new site would need to be able to have room for the purchase for a salt shed and future satellite shop.

The primary reason for the decision of the location is to reduce critical response time for winter maintenance and emergency response.

The initial response time will be reduced by 30 to 45 minutes. In the event of replacing the Lake Mills site, there would be 90 miles of overlapping reduced.

This is critical because the primary money saving tool in this proposal is the saving of gas. As one member pointed out, nobody knows what gas prices will be.

“The positive news is that it’s not as bad as it could be,” Benjamin Wehmeier, the Jefferson County Administrator, said about the four facilities.

Response time is affected by the how fast it takes the employees to get from their houses to the actual site.

In addition, another reason for the placement of the new facility would be to reduce overlapping from plows.

Amy Rinard, Jefferson County’s member from District 9, raised questions about reducing response with the fact that there is a possibility that four sites might be better than two new ones.

“The way they were placed any, many years ago, they are placed in inefficient spots,” the Highway Commissioner, Bill Kern said.

There was a unanimous vote from the 29 board members present to move the $590,000 of improvements for the facilities and replace it with the budget of $500,000.

The updated budget proposal will include:

  • Base improvements that will cost $440,000
  • Interior build with unisex bathroom that will cost $40,000
  • A private well that will cost $15,000-$20,000.

The overall cost of the proposal to build a new site and improving on the existing site that will continue to be used will be $17.22 million.

In addition, the Jefferson County members:

  • Approved that March 13 of each year is to be known as K-9 Veterans Day.
  • Approved that the month of April is to be known as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month
  • Approved that general obligation bonds do not exceed $3.98 million.
  • In her annual report, Medical Examiner, Nichol Wayd, would like to hire two more employees so current employees are not overworked or understaffed when employees take vacations.

Whitewater Common Council Meeting

By: Alexander Calles

It’s no secret that Gov. Scott Walker’s budget cut would be the main topic of discussion during the Common Council Meeting on Feb. 17. City Manager Cameron Clapper provided a power point presentation with possible details on how the cuts would affect Whitewater.

At the beginning of the meeting, there were some strong emotions coming from the council. Council member Brienne Diebolt-Brown spoke emotionally when saying, “This means professors won’t come and teach our children.”

The reduction of the budget would reach all areas of the city. The parks, trails and natural resources department would not be allowed to purchase any more land because of the cuts. The transportation funding would have a 4 percent increase in general transportation.

The reduction of $4 million in 2015-2016 would then be restored in 2016-2017 through new outlooks that the city would create.

Clapper left the status of the Whitewater in an unknown state, but he continued to say it is still unknown but “negative.”

To accommodate for the budget cuts there would be $290,000 decrease in 2015-2016 which is equal to $150 per pupil categorical aid. Council member at large, Ken Kidd stated that, “the university is a significant drive in the economy health.” In addition, there would be a revenue limit freeze on 2017 that is similar to the one in 2009.

In the UW-system, there would be a funding reduction of 13 percent. The University of Whitewater would have a 30 percent cut to their funding which would account for $6.4 million to cover this specific gap.

In order to cover this large gap, the university would likely have to raise out-of-state tuition by $5,000. Members of the council agreed that it is a quality of life issue.

Clapper and another member of the council indicated that they were going to insure the government, in their next meeting, of the affects the budget will bring to the city of Whitewater.

Other topics that were brought to the council’s attention:

  • The Police Chief requested the Approval of Memorandum of Understanding between City of Whitewater and UWW Police Services for use of the City’s Emergency Operations Center in the event of an emergency.

This was given a pass from the council members.

  • Proposal of granting approval of Strand Associates to replace the ramp and stairs of the Downtown Armory.

The Parks and Recreation Director requested the council discuss the possibility of getting the go-ahead to fix the ramps and stairs of the Downtown Armory. It was said that the cost of the repairs would cost $100,000, as a ball-park estimate.

One member agreed that the repairs were needed but there is a need to review all avenues before an agreement was to be made.

  • Adopting the League of Wisconsin Municipalities Partnership was also discussed by the council members, which was requested by Clapper.

The three major areas that Clapper identified that were in need of improvement or modification were: process of the levy, shared revenue and transportation aid.

According to Clapper, the shared revenue will be stable over the next two years. On the streets of Fremont and Main, he indicated that the fiber in the conduit needs to be removed.

The Common Council Meetings are held every other Tuesday. The affects that the budget cuts will bring to the city of acknowledged by the members and if citizens want their voice heard, please attend. If there any other resolutions that need a voice, please visit for contact information.