Home away from home

“You sure you want to be this far from home. Basketball will take up a lot of your time. I just want you to have the best college experience out there.”

This is what my dad would always tell me when I was making my decision on what college I wanted to attend. I had a lot of options and knew that I wanted to play basketball no matter where I went.

Screen shot 2014-05-01 at 10.59.26 AMI knew I wanted to be away from home, whether it was down south or up north, I wanted to get out of my hometown. And that is exactly what I did.

I chose UW-Whitewater for many reasons, but the main one was because of my passion for basketball. I knew I wanted to continue playing once high school was over and my dad told me that going to Whitewater, I would be playing for a winning coach in a winning program.

There were challenges day in and day out of basketball practices and games. For the four years I was able to be a part of another family, my basketball family, I knew I made the right choice to come to Whitewater.

As basketball went on, I had other choices to make though, like what was I going to do after basketball, after college, was over? What was I going to major in? Do I get a job on campus? How am I going to make this all fit into my schedule?

Needless to say, stress became the best friend I didn’t want. That is when I found journalism, specifically broadcast journalism.

I met a professor in my time at Whitewater, Jim Mead, and he thought UWWTV would be a great fit for my bubbly, outgoing personality. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to hear something so encouraging from a professor.

I wanted to be the next Erin Andrews. All things sports and being sideline of the games was my dream job.

So I started to spend time, when I could in the T.V. station. I floor directed, I was a cameraperson, I was even in front of the camera doing the news. I had the greatest time in the T.V. station and I also got to meet some great people in the process.

Broadcast journalism was great, but I felt I wanted some other knowledge base, might as well while I’m in college now. I picked up a marketing minor and learned a new side to business I felt would be necessary for me to know as I move on in my life.

Now, a broadcast basketball playing marketer, I am a senior and my time in Whitewater is coming to an end. I tend to take these last couple weeks of my college career to reflect back to all the fun times, hard challenges, amazing friends that I got to experience in my time here.

My experiences at Whitewater were 100 times more amazing than I expected them to be. I Screen shot 2014-05-01 at 10.58.58 AMhave not only basketball to talk about for the rest of my life, but I have a whole new family of friends too. No one can take back any of the great times I spent at Whitewater. From two final four experiences, being on UWWTV news team, and all the relationships I made with so many people at UW-Whitewater, this has been the time of my life.

Screen shot 2014-05-01 at 10.59.42 AMI have done a lot of growing as a person in my time at UW-Whitewater as well. I have learned, specifically, great time management and organizational skills. From all my classes I have learned many different marketing and communications characteristics that are going to carry me into my career.

My career will, hopefully, be working for an admissions office at a university or college. With that there are many important skills I have learned that will help me on my path to success.

Even though there are very important skills that I have learned in the classroom, I think the most important lesson I have learned overall at UW-Whitewater is to never give up.

I went through a lot of ups and downs being on the basketball team. I’ve been through a lot of changes when finding a job on campus and seeing whom I could and couldn’t work with. Even studying for classes seemed impossible some days, but I knew that I couldn’t give up if I wanted to be successful.

So there are many lessons I have learned at Whitewater, but never giving up is one that will stick with me forever and throughout any other adverse situations I go through.

If I were to go back to when I was a senior in high school and choosing the path I wanted to take for my education, I would pick UW-Whitewater every time. This has become my home away from home and I want everyone who chooses Whitewater to have the same feeling I did.



Rolling with the Stones

Everyone has a favorite music artist or group and most only dream about going to a concert or following them on tours, some only actually get a chance to do that. Most journalists dream about getting the chance to talk to musicians after a big concert or life event, some have done that a handful of time. For journalists, Bill German, his life was changed in an instant.

It is 1978 and 16 year old, Bill German was in love with music, but, unlike most of his friends, German’s favorite band was The Rolling Stones. He tried to get as much information about his concerts as we could and then write stories about them.

“I was instantly intrigued when my sister showed me their album. These guys were tough, but I was totally fascinated by them,” said German when he first heard a live album of theirs that German’s sister introduced to him when he was just 10 years old.

On his 16th birthday day, he decided to take his journalistic talents to a new level. German started his very own Rolling Stones fanzine called “Beggars Banquet.”

“I went with this name not only because it was the name of a Stones album that I liked, but also because it is was banquet of the Stones information a beggar could afford,” said German.

The “Beggars Banquet” was a small outlet that German used to reach a small audience that people didn’t pay for, at first. What German did not know was that a life changing moment was about to happen to him.

After one press party of The Rolling Stones, in 1979, German was waiting for the guys to all come out, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, and Ronnie Wood. German got the attention of drummer, Ronnie Wood, and he took one of the copies of German’s fanzine. Wood immediately fell in love with the writing of this 17-year-old boy’s work.

“Opposed to taking something from them, I was giving them something, my fanzine,” German said when Wood took a copy of “Beggars Banquet” and it was caught on camera.

From this point on in German’s life, he was going to be a part of the Stones, going on tours, being back stage, being in the studio when they recorded music, going to parties, even being at their houses to “hang out.”

German told stories about spending late hours at Wood and Richard’s houses singing songs and drinking. “Here I am leaning more and more about my favorite rock band. More than I ever thought or needed to know, but I loved it.”

German loved all the time he got to spend with the Stones and knew there were never be an experience like this ever again. Even though this meant that he did not get to complete college, spent a lot of time with druggies and alcoholics, he got to live his dream doing what he loved.

German said that his perseverance got him to where he is today.

“I did not want to be a bother to the Stones ever. I never asked for autographs or any of their things. I simply loved being with them and appreciated every moment I was,” German said.

German left the Stones in 1996. For 17 years, he was the “official journalist” of The Rolling Stones. His fanzine, “Beggars Banquet,” made it big for the time German was following the Stones. After he left he wrote his first book about many of the adventures I’ve talked about and more. The book is called “Under Their Thumb.” This book can be bought online at Amazon.

It was hard to leave the Stones, German said, but he knew it was time when he did because he grew more and more distant as they got more popular. Better to leave the way German did, rather than the way Richards said most people leave the Stones, “in a casket or handcuffs.”

Because of German’s “super autobiographical memory,” he was able to share all of his 17 years of jam sessions, concerts and parties with Jagger, Richards, and Wood. Those memories can never be taken away from him, and even though he is not with the Stones still today, he is thankful for the opportunity he was given and will forever be a Rolling Stones fan.

From the courtroom to the highway


Last week, Tuesday, March 11, Jefferson County had a board meeting and this meeting raised a lot of questions, but a lot of the same questions.

In a heated discussion about a highway shop, brought up by council member Donald Reese, many other members had raised questions to what utility elements were going to be put into constructing this shop.

What was written in the resolution was the shop was going to be based on a geothermal system, energy created from Earth’s core, and the overall cost would be about $345,000. Many members turned heads when this was read, especially one member, Greg David.

David spoke a lot about the use of the geothermal system and thought this was the cheap route that was being taken. He suggested that a biomass substance, using organisms in a given area, be used instead or other sources of natural gas and not just the cheapest.

“Biomass could be useful as a potential energy source. It would keep those energy expenditures right here in Jefferson County and give us local sovereignty. To just slap some money down and take natural gas is a huge mistake, David said.

Several other members spoke after David and, finally, the council decided to wait a while for more decisions and discussions to be made on what utility elements will be used for the highway shop. The board wanted to talk more about possibilities for energy efficiency and any other options to better the construction and maintenance of the highway shop.

On a good note though, the council did award the concrete bid for the project. This is the first bid awarded on the project for the highway shop. Now that the shop will continued to get discussed, the concrete bid will have to wait for any more progress on construction.

The other big news of the night was the approval of the contract with the sheriff’s deputies. This was exciting news for the night. There was not a lot of discussion around the matter, but much agreement in the room.

Since Act 10 in the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill protects the deputies, the deputies will have to make some changes in their own financial spending in order to receive these contracts.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice totaled a little of $2.5 million. This money is available to “support existing and newly developed treatment alternative and diversion projects. Jefferson deputies, since the county has been stepping in, are asked to make some sacrifices other than protecting the people. Such sacrifices as paying more for health insurance and pensions.

Also, a special award was achieved and presented during the meeting. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) was awarded for achievement for excellence in financial reporting.

Much more conversations took place at the meeting, such as:

  • County Clerk Barb Frank’s remarks about the new voting machines, which will be used starting with the April 1 elections.
  • Approval for the county to buy the property on East Washington Street to make way for parking.
  • Resolutions of appreciation for the three board members who won’t be seeking re-election: Bregant, Torres and Rogers.

The next county board meeting will be held April 15 at 5 p.m. in accordance with the resolution passed Tuesday. There will be more discussion on the further development of the highway shop. Another topic that will have further discussion next meeting is the adjustment of compensation for law enforcement management.

For agenda schedules, council members information, or more of Jefferson County, please visit http://www.jeffersoncountywi.gov/.

Whitewater police department reaches financial goal for K-9 unit

The Whitewater Common Council met Tuesday, February 4 to confirm the go ahead for the K-9 unit in the city of Whitewater. Because of a generous final donation from one Stan Kass, owner of Skylark Automatic Vending Inc. of Milwaukee, the rest of the funding for the K-9 unit was met.

Kass donated a generous amount of $12,000 to help the police department achieve their financial goal for the unit to go through.

The council first told the police department they could go through with a K-9 unit in 2012, but the budgeting from the city was not enough so fundraising was going to be necessary to make the addition possible.

There were many different kinds of fundraising that the police department did from selling t-shirts, a 5K/10K run, dog washes and more. Including the donation from Cass, there were many private citizens, civic groups, and student organizations from UW-Whitewater that made it possible to have a K-9 unit.

The Daily Union did an early story about the K-9 and what the dog was going to be involved in with the police department.

Chief Lisa Otterbacher explained that the “K-9 will mainly be involved with drug detections in search warrants, consent searches in schools and businesses for locker and vehicle searches, or other searches related to arrests.”

Otterbacher also mentioned the K-9 being used for searching for missing people, like children, and tracking fleeing suspects.

“The department has been working really hard; I cannot thank enough the community for its support from the businesses to local residents,” said Otterbacher.

The Whitewater police department proudly purchased a Labrador Retriever and will start the interview process to be the K-9’s handler. Once that process is over, the training will begin of the K-9 and Whitewater will be on its way to a successful K-9 unit.

The police department is still continuing as much fundraising as possible. To give a generous donation today, please visit http://www.whitewater-wi.gov/departments/police. Also, for updates on the K-9’s progress, like the Whitewater Police K-9 page on Facebook.

All About Fitness

One of my favorite hobbies is doing anything to staying fit. The one thing I love to do more than basketball is Crossfit. In my hometown, I have a crossfit gym that I go to where there is a community of people who love to be fit just as much as I do.

Six days a week my family and I go to the gym and get our sweat on to improve our health and fitness. Crossfit is our families bonding time, as weird as that sounds. We love to compete with each other and push each other to make us better.

The workout of day, or a WOD, is different everyday. They can have running in the workout or lifts, or both. It is a rush coming into the gym wondering what is going to be the workout.

Anyone can do crossfit. I recommend that everyone should try crossfit at least once. But if you think crossfit is not for you, still do something, at least a half an hour a day, to be fit and healthy.


Dining Halls on Campus: Poorly Staffed or Careless Students

It is no surprise that dining halls are going to get unclean when there are thousands of college students coming in and out at all hours of the night. When things get messy though, it should not take long for them to get cleaned up.

This seems to be the issue at some, if not all, the dining places on campus. Dirty tables and untidy buffet lines is not something that students should have to deal with. There are days when you go into a dining hall to eat and the same table is dirty all day. It is no doubt that a student left the mess, but it is the dining hall’s job to be properly staffed with enough people to take care of this problem.

Megan Tkachuk, a student at UW-Whitewater, said, “I’ve been here (at Whitewater) for two years and at lunch earlier this week was the first time I’ve actually seen a table being cleaned.” Tkachuk lives on the towers side of campus where the dining halls are Esker and Prairie Street. She said she does not always notice when places are dirty, but when they are you can really tell.

Another Whitewater student and member of Whitewater Student Government, Danielle Jordan, said “I’m very particular about things being clean, especially where I’m going to be eating many of my meals in a day.” Needless to say this is disappointing to hear from students.

An article from USA Today called “26,500 school cafeterias lack required inspections,” presented research that showed 8,500 schools failed to pass kitchen inspection in 2008. To read something like this puts doubt into the minds of not only the students on campus, but the parents that pay for their children to go to Whitewater.

It is time to figure out what the problem is at the UW-Whitewater campus. Is it because the staff is not sufficient or is it the students do not know how to clean up after themselves?

On a blog called “The Connection,” students rant about cafeterias on college campuses.

All college students agree that the dining halls can be a messy place, but “The Connection” is trying to point out the problem with them being so messy to be blamed on the students being lazy, careless and not being courteous to everyone else. The question that stuck out in this blog was “Is it too much to want a society of cleanliness versus an unsanitary and cluttered one?”

That answer should be obvious for everyone, but sometimes college students do not see the world as everyone else is living in it too, but that it is just themself and they follow their own rules.

How do we make college students realized that there are no “moms” to clean up after us when we go to college? The problem to the messy dining halls is not the service being improperly staffed, it is students being careless.

Many of the dining halls services are taking action by having big signs for garbage and recycle to hopefully ensure students will be mature to throw their garbage away.

Kittatinny Mayor arrested on scene of car accident

Mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz may face charges in connection to an alcohol related car crash at 1 p.m. on Saturday, which sent the other driver to the hospital.  Sheriff’s Deputy said Petykiewicz, 53, collided with another car and had a blood alcohol content of almost twice the legal limit.

Thirty-nine-year-old Robert Doane was driving the 1997 Buick that was struck heading north on State Highway 117 when Petykiewicz was heading east on Fonebone Road. At the intersection of the roads, the cars met, where Petykiewicz struck the driver side of Doane’s car.

Witness at the scene, Alice Magarian, 30, saw the whole accident. She said the Buick, Doane, was driving north about 55 miles per hour when the Ford, Petykiewicz, approached from the west. The Ford hesitated at a stop sign, and then pulled through the intersection, hitting the Buick on the driver side.

The mayor will have his preliminary hearing Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. The accident could potentially be the end to Mayor Petykiewicz’s job and he could get the maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Petykiewicz had a blood alcohol content of .14 percent. A half empty bottle of Fleischmann’s vodka was found in the car, which leads to some suspicion.

Petykiewicz was arrested at the scene of the accident and later taken to Schuylkill County Jail.

The vehicles ended up crashing and landing on the northeast of the intersection where the first impact happened. Petykiewicz did not have injuries other than being disoriented.

Doane’s injuries needed more attention. He was bleeding from the head, he was complaining about abdominal pain, and the paramedics at the scene said there could be spinal damage. Doane was immediately transported by helicopter to Northeast Pennsylvania Hospital and Trauma Center in Wilkes-Barre.

A nursing supervisor said Doane had several broken ribs, a broken jaw, and cuts and bruises to the head chest and abdominal area. It was a relief to hear Doane did not suffer from any spinal injuries.

The mayor later posted for bail and was released to his wife, Gloria Petykiewicz.

Later, when trying to contact Mr. Petykiewicz, Mrs. Petykiewicz answered the phone with no comment and did not open any doors when trying to come to the house.

Life is a Valuable Thing

“Right now the new is you,” Steve Jobs said to an audience of Stanford graduates. Jobs’ commencement speech was about having “courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

It was a beautiful spring day on May 7 for Jobs to give a speech to graduates who were ready to start their new life. For Jobs to reach out to these students, he did a wonderful job of telling his story of how he became to be the successful man he is today.

Jobs had three messages in his life story that he shared with the graduates. These stories are very simple, but, for a 50-year-old man, they are life changing.

The first story started with connecting the dots. Jobs said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you have to look backward.” Here he goes on to mention how he did not graduate from college because he dropped out. He did not feel fit for required classes and scheduled homework, but he still stuck around at Reed College to “drop-in” on other classes.

What he did instead of going to his required classes, Jobs went to classes that interested him. These classes may have seemed pointless at the time, but down the road they helped him create what would make him a millionaire: the Macintosh.

Now, Jobs was not implying that all the students were going to invent computers or become millionaires, but in telling them he story he wanted them to remember their past and hopefully what they did will help them in the future.

Jobs’ second message had to do with love and lost. No, this did not have to do with his relationship with his beautiful wife, Laurene Powell, but with his career.

Jobs and his partner Steven Wozniak, or Woz, created the company Apple. With this company they also hired a man named John Sculley, who had as much love for Apple at Jobs and Woz did.

Even though all three of them loved Apple, they still butted heads now and again. These arguments got serious and Sculley did the unimaginable and got Jobs fired from the company he helped establish.

Jobs loved what he did so much; he was not going to let this one loss stand in his way. With momentum on his side, Jobs created Pixar, an animation based movie Production Company.

“It’s an awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it,” Jobs said referring to himself. He said this was the best part of his life and none of it would have happened if he had not been fired from Apple.

His take home message from his story is to realize there will be ups and downs, but never be discouraged by what life throws at you. “Keep looking. Don’t settle,” Jobs said.

Jobs’ last message was about death. In 2004, Jobs was face with the worst news ever, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The doctors were telling him to live life normally, but say your goodbyes now. Jobs did not like this advice.

At his next doctor’s appointment, the doctor had relieving news. Jobs’ cancer was rare and curable with surgery. Now, a year later, Jobs is healthy and ready for any other life challenges. “… Death is very likely the single best invention of Life,” Jobs said with motivation to encourage the students not be afraid, but embrace death because that is where we are all headed.

Jobs created this commencement to ensure that all students understand there will be challenges, but with challenges there will be rewards.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living some else’s life.”

Mykaell Bratchett impresses the audience at Open Mic Night

All of 100 students showed up to slam a poem or song at Open Mic Night in the University Center’s Down Under last Wednesday night. This impressive turnout was credited to Students Entertainment Awareness League, or SEAL.

“This would not be possible without the creative people that came to express themselves,” said Poetry Coordinator James Blacks. Blacks said this was one of the more successful nights for this event and he thanks SEAL for all their hard work.

From Greek members to athletes, diverse groups of people stepped on stage to rap, sing, and slam to an audience who always wanted more. *This event created an environment for students to release stress or show talent in a public setting and, as a bonus, meet new people.

A new crowd was brought together at this event, but the different faces did not scare people away from showing their true talents during this event.

Creative expression is a hard thing to come by, but for one Mykaell Bratchett, creative writing came all too easy.

Brachett’s life consists of being a football player at UW-Whitewater, he is a biology major and is planning to go to medical school, and on top of all of that, he preparing to start his own business. “I have an ambition and I’ll do whatever it takes to reach it,” said Brachett with confidence.

The song/rap he performed was called “Wone” (pronounced like one). Brachett wanted this song to express how he was working to the top. He wanted to be “number one,” but he had to be the “won.” Coming from poverty Brachett knew reaching any goal of his was going to be tough, but he was not going to let anything stand in his way.

After Brachett performed, he received a boisterous applause and he left the stage smiling.

“His performance was amazing. I wish he would do more,” said Lianna Carter, a close friend of Brachett. An audience member and performer at Open Mic Night, Justin Cunningham, said, “His body expression was the same as his words. You knew it was his own.” Brachett took these words of encouragement to focus on the bigger picture of his future.

Still a freshman, Brachett has a long road ahead of him, but he won’t waste a beat or a rhyme making his dream a reality.

Budget Struggle in Kittatinny

Adding garbage fees to utilities bill has the community of Kittatinny at a dead end. 600 employees were laid off at Susquehanna Steel Corporation, which are just about half the town’s jobs. Mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz makes a hard call and proposed a budget that not many people are fond of. Tough decisions are being made, but Mayor Petykiewicz says, “We do not have the option of doing nothing.

The assessed value of property in Kittantinny (which includes industrial, commercial, and residential) is going to be a total of $741,800,000. This is an 11 percent decrease in value, which is going to hurt the City tax levy overall. The taxes can be a downfall too because not everyone will pay taxes after being outraged about a possible change in budget.

While employees were laid off at Susquehanna, some employees are losing their jobs at other corporations. Two American Federation State County Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, personnel are being laid off due to budget cuts and many people are in an uproar.

President of AFSCME Local 644, Martha Mittengrabben has mixed opinions about the proposed budget. Mittengrabben does not want to lay people off, nor does she want to cut salaries. In order to cut salaries, since AFSCME is a union the corporation would have to go through contracts and change them entirely. “It is not something we will rule in or out at this time,” said Mittengrabben with a trouble look.

As the cuts are being made at AFSCME, the police force is making cuts as well. Two of the 10 officers are laid off from the staff. With this cut, many emotions, mostly fear, are amongst the chief of police and the president of the police association, Roman Hruska and Bjarne Westhoff.

Hruska says, “The mayor and I do not see eye to eye. Cut on patrol is unacceptable. There will be less surveillance and therefore dangerous situations could get out of control.” The chief of police also stated he would take a 10 percent decrease of salary immediately if that would help the police force be fully staffed.

For a community dispute, the garbage pickup is also changing. This charge will be added to the city water bills to ensure an automatic payment for the city.

Some more increase values include:

n  Parking Fees: 11% increase

n  Parking Tickets: 11% increase

n  Police citations: 13% increase

Mayor Petykiewicz is welcome to suggestions whenever and from whomever. The budget will not be set and stone until December 1, 2012.