My Blog

Carli Pope

What to Expect for the Upcoming Years in Jefferson County

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carli Pope at 4:25 pm on Monday, October 28, 2019

The Jefferson County Board had a meeting on Tuesday, October 22. The County Board meetings are taken place at the courthouse in Jefferson. One of the very important matters discussed was the 2020 budget. The budget is the total of $85 million. There is a lot to be done during 2020 and a few of the spending’s include road construction, paying off debts and remodeling the Jefferson County buildings including the main remodeling of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Renovations

            The main renovations for the Jefferson County Courthouse include maintenance and making sure everything is operating right. The courthouse has become very tech savvy and has updated most of their files to electronics. They board members want to not just update their files but also modernize the building. At the beginning of 2020, the members will decide what exact updates will be made to the building. There will not be much done on the exterior of the building but it will take 2-3 years to make the changes that need to be done inside the Jefferson County Courthouse.

            Talking about the renovation of the courthouse, Jim Schroeder, Chair of the Jefferson County Board, said

“If you have a car that’s nickel and diming you to death, that’s not really a good way to spend your money. You’re better of either putting a new engine in the car or buying a new car, because in the long run your money will be spent more wisely.”

            Explaining that the county board doesn’t want to just fix a couple things here and there, that they want to make sure it’s renovated to also new.

Property Taxes

            Continuing on with the 2020 budget for Jefferson County includes property taxes. Property taxes are one of the major sources of revenue. Even though property taxes are a one of the main sources of revenue, the taxes for Jefferson County have been dropping since 2017.

            There was one hearing from the public and that was Anita Martin from Lake Mills. Mills works for the Land and Water Department and she explained that they are down a person in the department and was wondering if that position will be filled during with the 2020 budget or will that position be terminated.

An answer will be given in a county board meeting at a later date.

Badger State Solar Project

            Ranger Power is working with area farmers and landowners to developBadger State Solar, a 149-megawatt photovoltaic solar facility in the Towns of Jefferson and Oakland in Jefferson County, Wisconsin.

            There is another location that has not been moved forward with by the Public Service Commission (PSC) is in the northeastern part of Jefferson County in Watertown, Ixonia, Farmington, and Concord.

The project will produce enough clean, low-cost energy to power tens of thousands of homes and will help Wisconsin meet its goals for in-state renewable energy. The Badger State site is located close to existing electrical infrastructure, which minimizes the project’s footprint and avoids the need for long transmission lines.

Badger State Solar will create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and 3-5 full-time jobs once operational. The project is a new private investment in Jefferson County and will be a major source of new revenue through the Wisconsin Shared Revenue Program.

            It was said at the meeting that the county and the developer states would use 15 hundred acres. It was discussed that access roads, landscaping and fencing will be happening.

            A couple negatives came out of having the solar project installed, such it is very modern and up to date and the public is worrying about losing the nature and rolling hills and worrying about the sound that will come from it.

            There is a meeting that will be open to the public and that will happen on November 6th at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Jefferson County Fair park grounds in the activity center.

            For more information on the Jefferson County Board, including meeting agendas and minutes, visit https://www.jeffersoncountywi.gov/.   

Common Council Meeting

Filed under: Feature Story — Carli Pope at 3:53 pm on Monday, October 7, 2019

What happened this week?

A Common Council meeting was held at the Municipal Building in downtown Whitewater last Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.  A lot was discussed Tuesday night about the upcoming 2020-city budget, the Palmyra-Eagle referendum and events that are happening around town.

Cameron Clapper, the City Manager introduced the audience to the 2020 city budget. Clapper spoke about the budget briefing for the next few months:

•          October 1: Budget Delivery to Common Council

•          October 10-24: Finance Committee Review

•          November 5: Final Presentation to common council

•          November 19: Public Hearing and Adoption

Clapper explained the Tax Bill Breakdown to help the people understand where the money is going. The Common Council wants a balanced 2020 budget. The money goes to the State of Wisconsin, Walworth County, technical college, the Whitewater school district and the City of Whitewater.

The 2020 budget has gone up by 2.5%, which means it is at $9.8 million. Clapper mentioned,

“Property Taxes and Intergovernmental Revenue is where we draw funds. Intergovernmental revenue is beginning to get smaller”

The top 3 general fund expenditures are general government, public safety and public works and this was equalized in 2019. It was said by Clapper that,

“We have experienced over that time period .68% growth.”

The major capital projects are:

•          Clay Street Reconstruction

•          PD Radio Console upgrades

•          Lake Draw Down Projects

•          Uninterruptable Power Supply Replacement

•          Industrial Drive Watermain

•          Amphitheater Installation

•          Public Works Facility Study

•          Walworth Avenue/Court Street Inlet

The 2020 Budget Review timeline will go through until mid December. The next meeting will be held on Thursday October 10th at 5:30 p.m. and that will be with the Special Finance Committee to go in-depth with the 2020 budget.

The Palmyra-Eagle Area school district sent out a 2019 referendum and it did not pass. The referendum was to continue educating students while the district remains open, appropriate staffing levels and programs are maintained, completed repairs and general maintenance to the districts building and board and administration continue to work in cost mindful manner.

The referendum asks to exceed the limits by $1.75 million in the 2019-20 school year, $2.5 million in the 2020-21 school year, $3.25 million in the 2021-22 school year and $4 million in the 2022-23 school year.

The residents of Palmyra-Eagle have got enough signatures to force an advisory referendum on the school district. The Palmyra-Eagle Area School Board has voted on whether the school district should dissolve and the residents did too.

One way or another, the School District of Whitewater would be affected if the neighboring Palmyra-Eagle Area School District dissolves. Palmyra-Eagle has 381 elementary school students in two buildings in Palmyra and Eagle, 133 middle school students, 255 high school students and 15 open-enrollment applicants for the 2019-20 school year.

Whitewater board members acknowledged that the situation is complicated, but they said they want to start looking at how they can help some of the families who might be looking for a new district.

With the possibility of adding more students, additional state funding could make its way to the district.

For Superintendent Mark Elworthy, communication with area districts on what happens with the Palmyra-Eagle students will be key moving forward.

There is a Board Meeting coming up on Tuesday October 8th at 7:00 p.m. at the Palmyra-Eagle High School.

Assessment Day 2019

Filed under: Feature Story — Carli Pope at 8:32 pm on Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Assessment day is an annual event hosted by UW-Whitewater. Assessment day is a day where people are brought together so they can share the work they have done on excessing student learning. People from individual programs, student affairs or even across campus come together to bring the information and data that they have gathered on what students have learned and what they experienced from their programs. It’s a day for people to share their work and their accomplishments.

Every year there is a keynote speaker presentation, a panel presentation and a poster session that are included in the exciting events of the day.

The keynote speaker for 2019 was Dr. Peter Felten. Felten is a professor of history, assistant provost for teaching and learning, and executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University. Felten talks about six factors that are learning, relationships, expectations, alignment, improvement and leadership.

Felton believes that improvement is at the top of these six factors.

“We can always do better in what we are doing. And we can always support our students in learning more.”

Assessment Day is a day to honor research on improving student assessment and performance. At the University Center in the Hamilton room, anyone is able to go in there and see the 44 posters that have been made for Assessment Day and are able to look at the research that has been discovered.

There is tables set up for the people that attend so they are able to look over brochures, talk and trade ideas to the people around them.

Joan Littlefield Cook is the Interim Associate Host and the Director of Academic Assessment.

Academic Assessment is the process of gathering and analyzing information about student learning and using it to improve the learning process. During Assessment day Joan stays very busy making sure everything is going right and everyone is enjoying their day.

Assessment Day has a tag line and that is “Celebrate and Contact.” Cook wants to make sure that the people at Assessment Day are sharing and celebrating their work.

“It is a fun day to relax a little bit and celebrate the great things that are happening.”

Cook looks forward to this day every year.

It takes a lot of work to prepare for this day. It takes the programs and the people working in the programs to gather and assess student learning.

Assessment Day is to celebrate and to make people across campus aware of all the good work that is going on throughout the University. 2019 is the largest Assessment Day that there has been and it will continue to grow. It is open to all student, staff and faculty.

“Come and enjoy” Cook encourages, “It would be great if we could get more students to get a sense of what is going on in terms of staff and faculty and the interests in what our students are learning and what students can do to become more successful.”

Assessment Day happens every year and if you did not make it this year, mark it on your calendar and check it out for 2020 and be part of Assessment Day!

Social Media

Filed under: Feature Story — Carli Pope at 1:09 am on Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hello everyone!

Can you remember using internet like you do now? The younger generation can’t think back to before internet but if you ask a parent or a grandparent, they know when the internet was invented, 1983. If it wasn’t for internet we wouldn’t have a whole other world behind the computer screen, cell phone or ipod. That brings use to, social media. What is life today with social media and how does it effect people everyday?

In the United States, an estimated 196 million people used social media in 2016, a number forecast to exceed 216 million by 2021.

 

I was able to interview a couple people from around Wisconsin about what they think about social media, what the positive and negative outcomes are, and what they think social media is doing to all generations.

The first people I was able to interview is Rebecca Morris from Clinton, WI. She is a business owner and said a few words about what she thinks about social media and how it is effecting people.

“They have lost social skills like how to talk in person to someone, it’s almost like they do not know what to say and it is easier to hide being a cell phone or a computer.” Said Morris.

Most people believe that social media has both positive and negative outcome in a persons life.

Social Media is defiantly for the younger generation.

Today around seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves.

I had the opportunity to interview Savannah Waller who graduated with a marketing major from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has used her major towards her career in marketing.

(There is more where this came from … )