3 Segments of a radio story (NPR Style) about the integration of Charter Schools into Traditional Education School Walls.

I wish I knew why I came to college. I cannot honestly say “I was eager to learn more after high school or that I wanted to continue my education so much I was willing to fork out thousands of dollars.” I honestly think the major reason I went to college (to start) was because it was the only option. I had never thought about not continuing my education, so in reality, I had never considered any other options.  When I came to college I had no idea what to expect. I guess I had a bit of an idealistic view of what it meant. I figured it was a lot of hard and crucial hours of school work, but somehow I was going to manage to have time to sit and laugh in my dorm room (much like you see in dorm supply catalog ads.) I also thought this was the time that I would figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Originally, I went to school with the idea that I would go into radio broadcasting. This is what helped me decide that I would attend UW-Whitewater.  I did learn that I really enjoyed radio and audio work, but within my career at UWW I learned that marketing and business were also strong suits of mine.  A continuation of this “self-discovery” would also relate to my interests. I had always thought my hobbies of art and tennis would occupy my time. I learned through experience that my hobbies were able to expand to things like community service and wheelchair basketball. I also was put in my first Student Manager position which I never expected to hold such a high leadership role.

I have learned that things aren’t always easy, nor do they always come easy. If you want something you have to work hard and continue to try your best. I have seen people do exceptionally well and some fail, just on the basis that some people simply do not try. I know I am not a standard “book smart” individual. I will often be found punching numbers into a calculator or looking up words. This used to deter me. While being at school and maintaining a part time job I have learned that “smarts” is only part of it. An individual who works hard can succeed just as much, if not more. With truly learning that, I put those skills to work and have been able to use that factor in interviews. I think that is the most important thing I have learned while at the University.  With the things I have learned I know I’ve grown. I have matured in the aspects of taking responsibility and stepping up to the plate. I really learned that you are the only one who can make yourself happy and you have to make the right choices to do so. Mom isn’t around any more to say, “do your homework”, you have to just do it. If you get a bad grade, you may not be able to make it up, so you better work your tukiss off until you bring that grade up. It’s been many situations similar to this that have really brought into perspective of the things I needed to do, and how I needed to grow up, to be able to succeed.

I think it’s these things that have made me smarter than when I started school. I have gained a lot of experience and have learned so much with working styles, how to go about difficult situations, as well as time management. I do think I am smarter in the fact that I can work and audio board and do some simple editing, but the work ethics I gained is the information that holds the real value. I look at the world differently because I can understand certain aspects more. I’ve also grown in my own opinions. Prior to this I tended to side with what my parents and friends said. While being on my own I have been able to figure out what I think for myself.

While being at school my initial thoughts of a “school dominated life” were pushed to the wayside as I learned that college really was more of, well, life. Even though I have decided to take another path from my journalism roots and thoughts of radio, I still firmly believe that my degree was a perfect fit for me. I think that my journalism major, with a marketing minor has well prepared me in many aspects. I am more versatile then I would have been if I had just been in a communications or business degree. I also feel that my degree makes me more malleable. The skills I learned in my Journalism degree will aid me in any position I hold. With this being so, I do not think I was misguided, just re-guided.

Out of everything I have been through and learned I have realized how blessed and thankful I am. The only thing I think I would have done differently would be to start off with the idea that I would study abroad. I considered it at a point but never did it. I wish I would have through of it early enough in my college years so I would have been able to get that experience and grow internationally to grow more in a maturity and independent standard earlier. Overall, I think my college experience was a positive transition from high school to the work force.

Photo Credit-Retrieval from Wikipedia.

Photo Credit-Retrieval from Wikipedia.

The Jefferson County Board met at the Jefferson County Courthouse at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 12, 2013. Many decisions were made on the current budget and as well as other factors that will affect the future tax levy. The current tax levy is estimated to be $27,004,367 in 2014. The Mil Rate will  be 4.2655 at this time. This will result county property taxes run at about $426.55. Other factors that the court deals with during these meetings are  hearing concerns of the public, whether an amendment does or does not pass, and other factors that effect the county. These amendments can concern things from whether or not tax money is spent on parks and recreation, or police vehicles and all the logistics in-between. The County government focuses on the health department, human services, highways, as well as parks and recreation.

The county has to be able to financially support these  functions of Parks and Recreation, Human Services, etc. The money for this comes  from the taxes that the county pays. Those numbers are then relayed in the county tax levy

Molinaro said the levy limit currently has a growth rate .6% and that the levy limit is a $150,000 budget . It is necessary to use the whole $150,000 because there is a “use it or lose it rule.”  Molinaro said, “The library and health department, voted on separately, we do not supply those services to Watertown, so we do not tax them for it.” This is going to impact the tax levy, which Molinaro says, is currently far too low.

During the meeting many amendments were proposed and only one was passed. The amendment that was  passed will now allow a “highway shop” to be built, this is because the bonding was approved.

“It is a done deal,”  said Milinaro.

By mid-January demolition will happen and the old building will be torn down and most of those materials will remain on site. TO employ a Contract Construction’s Manager will be the next step after this. An additional $1.1 Million was approved at the meeting to tear down and rebuild the correlating street. The unit  will be about 105 thousand square feet, large heated storage for 60% of county equipment (such as snow plows) along with other storage units. A power wash facility has also been approved to be built. The shop will include a welding shop, mechanic bay, and office space which will have a meeting room that is situated so the room can be used for the public. These are only a few of the facilities that will be in the highway shop.

The budget is specific that only the facilities that are allocated in the budget will be built.

Molinaro had the following comment, “One of my concerns was, that at least 4 other departments have come to us and want to be added to the bond issue…we decided early on, that in order to get the highway facility done that that should be a  standalone bond issue and not add on all the other things because it complicates the decision.”

The following amendments were proposed at the meeting, but were not passed.

  • Jim Schroedrer proposed adding a $3,000,000 in bonding author to only be used if and only if needed to complete the bike trail between Waterloo and Oconomowoc
  • George Jaeckel Proposed to amend eliminate the Parks capital equipment of $40,000 for the Groomer/Drag and $15,000 for the UTV. Utilize the $55,000 to purchase Sheriff Capital Items. (Replace 2 detective squads and/or other unmarked squads.
  • Gregory Torres Proposed to remove the entire $278,000 for Farmland Preservation and related expenditure from the County Board Budget. County portion would be $85,500.
  • Gregory Torres proposed that $10,000 be eliminated from the Parks Department budget for the capital item, “Install 9 hole disc golf course at Carlin Weld Park.
  • Gregory Torres proposed that $45,000 be eliminated from the Parks Department budget for the capital item, “recreational Equipment.”
  • Gregory Torres proposed that $13,000 be eliminated from the Parks Department budget for the capital item, “install well at Garman Nature Preserve.”

There were numerous reasons that the members of the board voiced that these amendments should not be passed. The reason the following amendments were not passed were to improve the overall environment to be welcoming and useful to the county residence as well as  to encourage visitors to come and boost the economy by utilizing local businesses during their travels.

Due to budget and the overall consensuses of the County board the highway shop will be build and a goal of trying to higher the tax levy is a main focus.


The walls are covered with artifacts for viewing

The walls are covered with artifacts for viewing

Roberta Avonn Fiskum Art Gallery is currently hosting “Inspiration and Solace–Band Music of the Civil War”

The Impacts it will have on the student population are plentiful. 

One is ultimately transported back in time to the civil war area when then enter the Roberta’s Art Gallery of the James R. Connor University Center. Visitors are instantly greeted by a display of numerous instruments such as:

  • drums
  • trumpets
  • cornets
  • a bugle
  • a teardrop horn
  • clarinets
  • various other horns

Many of the instruments are showcased with their original cases. An article in particular has an interesting story. When you look inside the case of the Over the Shoulder Tenor Horn you will see that the case is lined with a fabric. The fabric is actually from the pants which the solider wore, bullet hole and blood stains still visible to the eye.

It is stories like this that transport you into the time period of the civil war. Instruments are not the only things in this exhibition that do this though. There is a day dress and full blouse also on display along with a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln.  While touring the gallery space the visitor will also be graced with the music of the The First Brigade Band of Watertown Wisconsin. This band plays original instruments from the civil war. They play the traditional tunes and do their best to represent what the past of the civil war has to show the citizens of America today.

Deb Gilbert of the First Brigade Band said,  “Music is an intricate part of lives no matter what we’re doing, we just like to reflect a period in our nation’s history that was rich in music culture.”

There is no lack of culture in this exhibition. Guests are often memorized by the stories and overall feel of the exhibition. Part of this is because of the beautifully laid out plan of the instruments and artifacts. There really is history around every courner when one walks through the gallery.

The exhibition was actually curated with  many efforts of Deb as well as by the Roberta’s Art Gallery staff, Dan Woolpert of the Veterans Museum of Watertown Wisconsin (and member of The First Brigade Band), Elizabeth Watson of the Veterans Society,  Whitewater and Eagle Historical societies, and many others from veterans and  military societies around the area. Installation of the exhibition was pieced together by loyal friends of the James R. Connor University Center, Mark and Janice Furst.

The exhibition has already had quite a bit of foot traffic, already and numbers are planned to increase this Monday November 11 from Noon until 1:30pm when the gallery hosts a reception for the exhibit. The reception will be held directly outside of the gallery and will commence with the First Brigade Band preforming with a Circle of Players right outside the gallery walls. Some of the instruments currently in the exhibition will be taken off the walls and pedestals to be played for all those in attendance. The gallery will then host a brief program including numerous people involved in the creation and organization of the exhibition.

An important aspect for viewers to remember when they walk through the gallery space is to remember and commemorate what our country has been through in the past. Gilbert expressed the importance of learning of ones history.

“It is very important, to avoid catastrophic apocalypse of history,” said Gilbert,  “and the only way to avoid it is to know about it and be aware. The civil war is something you don’t ever want to repeat.”

“Inspiration and Solace–Band Music of the Civil War” showcases not only phenomenal music and an aesthetically appealing display, but it is also a lesson of what our country has been through, and that we need to be aware of the past so we can avoid mistakes of the past and successfully build a better future.



I hope that my website will find you all in great spirits. I am a born and raised farm kid (Dairy and Crops) who grew up feedings calves, riding my horse, and of course breaking water tanks in the Wisconsin Winter. With this childhood I believe it has made me the strong willed, determined, and hard working individual I am today.

Simply Ella
Simply Ella

My passions lie with in art, marketing, event planning, and public speaking. With my interested I decided to attend the University of Wisconsin Whitewater and gain my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (broadcast/web/print) and a minor in Marketing.  I will be graduating a semester early this December 2013 (throw the confetti!)

While at school I have held positions as Roberta’s Art Gallery Student Manager, Marketing Board member of James R. Connor University Center, Promotions Director at campus radio station 91.7  the Edge, and a 2013 summer marketing intern at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

I enjoy playing tennis, making ceramic art, yoga, and enjoying time with friends and family. I am a firm believer in the philosophy “work hard, play hard.”

Now I am on the common quest of figuring out where I am going after my December graduation date. I have learned my heart belongs in a city. The fast paced lifestyle, the events, and culture appeals to me on so many levels. I am excited to receive that diploma and see where my life will take me.

Please feel free to enjoy the numerous articles. They are vast and different, because I aim to keep things interesting! Also, my resume will be posted on my website, so please feel free to take a peek!

H20score is an effort, which allows home owners to monitor their water usage to keep track of the amount their using as well as the cost. With the efforts of those in the company and involvement of different universities the product has yielded positive results. Two years ago a group of students and Dr. McGee Young started work at Marquette University to create the technology. Currently, this group and others have been working to apply this technology in the city of Waukesha.

While they were working on introducing the product a few members of the Whitewater community reached out and wanted to participate in this act. Since the technology has been released there have been phone calls of happy customers. This technology has been effective for about a year now.

The company learned that by working with 5 different Universities that it was able to make their product even better. This led them to their next goal.

The current goal is to set up the next generation of dashboard for H2Oscore (H20score Squared Dashboard.)

The new program would involve updating the technology so the dashboard will allow the user to see their usage in real time. This means an ongoing updates so the user will be able to monitor more effectively and make changes right away.

The next hurdle that this new dashboard would fly over would be the issue of getting the community involved. With any product or service the initial buy in is never easy. H20score squared is hoping to help bring other local businesses profit while increasing usage of their services. The idea would be to allow a rewards point system, which would not cost the local businesses any money, but allow the service to get utilized. Taco Fresco and Hawkbowl have already expressed interest in this concept.

The question of, should the college students be the ones to reap the benefits and use the dashboard, or if it would be better for the landlord to do so, was raised. The response was that the landlord would most likely be the receiver and user of the dashboard based on that many of the rented properties have their water paid for by the landlord.

H20score squared would not be a mandatory program for all businesses or home owners of the city. It would be specifically a service agreement and completely voluntary.

After the city council board heard these statements the motion was approved.

Other topics which were acted on were the following:

  • A class B liquor license that was in debate for transfer to Day ‘n Night Inc. from Robert Sweet of the Downstairs Bar. A representative from the police department reviewed that there was no reason that the license shouldn’t be transferred. The motion was approved.
  • The Financial Trend Analysis relayed the following information.
    • Actual decrease in 4% less funds from 2011-2012, which is an issue because we are using more of those funds.
    • Positive trend is that Whitewater is spending less expendable per capita.
    • Net operating is positive, the city is spending less today than it was in 2003.
    •  Property values and market value trend of properties have been decreasing since 2008 to 2012. It was -2.71%
    • Research shows that both southeast and the state in general say a price increase.
    • Starting September 23 smoke testing of the sewers will begin. This could cause smoke to rise from certain yards; there is no need to be alarmed. More information on this topic is available at the cities website.
    • A request for a quote for a storm water migration study was made. The study would allow areas to be tested to find where there may be breaks in the system. The final decision will be made at a later date, but the quote was granted to move forward.

Photo Credit: Ella Hopkins

For those of you who don’t know we lost my Dad to suicide about 4 years ago. My family and others have created our team and will be walking in Madison at “Walk Out of Darkness” the 15th in his memory.

The money raised will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which is an organization that focuses on educating about mental health illnesses, helping those suffering, and helping those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Every little bit counts. There is not pressure, but if you feel so inclined please click the link and donate to the team or to a particular member.

“”I don’t think we’re going to stop until we get rid of the stigma for mental illness…It’s so bizarre that in this world if you have asthma you take asthma medicine. If you have diabetes you take diabetes medicine. But as soon as you have to take medication for your mind there’s such a stigma behind it.”” Jennifer Lawrence

To Stomping out the Stigma, Full ‘Bore Fore Life!


Link to Donate_ http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=47297