As my time at UW-Whitewater comes to a close, I look back at the three years that I have spent studying, working, making new friends, networking, exploring, crying and laughing.

Wow! Has time flown by!

Attending college has never been a question in my life. It has always been the question of where. Unlike my fellow classmates and close friends, I never had a university in mind that I am dying to attend. I have applied to and been accepted to four colleges: University of Chicago, Marquette University, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and Edgewood College.

Like many others, financial reasons play an important role in deciding which college to attend. Edgewood College was the only college that offered me almost a full ride and a good pre-law program. I chose Edgewood College. I have made incredible friends and connection there. Having a sense of belonging at the college you attend is so critical. I know I did not belong at Edgewood so I decided to transfer.

I have always imagined myself attending a college in the heart of a big city. But imagination only stays as imagination. I chose University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, a college far beyond my expectations and visions.

UW-Whitewater is in the middle of nowhere. The drive from Madison to Whitewater smells like fresh cow poo. But I realized the city represents more than that. It is about the students, the professors, the classes and the facilities.

My father went to law school but was not fortunate enough to finish. He started his own business at the age of 18 and decided his career as a successful entrepreneur is far more important than his dream of becoming a lawyer. As his proudest child, I take on the responsibility of accomplishing his dream.

I wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was eight years old. I worked hard in middle school, high school and college. After constantly being exposed to the ugly world of being a corporate lawyer, I searched for a life in the opposite direction.

And here I am. Through further exploration and trial and errors, I stumbled upon the field of journalism – and fell in love with it. I love every aspects of journalism. The stress, excitement, accomplishment and the rush I get from meeting deadlines, being on television, dj-ing on the radio, and writing stories are what I love. I just love how dynamic the field is. I am always doing and learning something new. There is not a dull moment.

The most important thing I have learned throughout my college career is not only the education I have attained from attending lectures and participating in discussions, but also the connections I have made and being able to learn from the people who have inspired and challenged me.

People come in with the expectations of partying every weekend and getting a diploma at the end of their four-year. But what they are missing out on is the idea of building interpersonal relationships with the professors, classmates, faculty members and neighbors. Getting an education is only a small piece of the college cake.

I was able and fortunate enough to meet people who are just so inspiring to me. It is so empowering to encounter and learn from someone who is smart, different, diverse, risk-taking, optimistic, happy, humble and ambitious. When I surround myself with people with these characteristics, I slowly found myself harmonize with them. It is just so powerful to be a part of something as such.

Being a part of the Royal Purple have taught me so much about myself as an individual as well as a photo editor. Though production nights are a pain in the butt, it is also the nights that I have enjoyed and will miss the most. The music is blasting; everyone is jamming to the same song while working our lives away to bring out the best issue to campus weekly. I will just say the time spent taking pictures, editing, and stressing out about always-frozen Photoshop was worth every second of it.

If I were to go back to the time I started here and had to choose a different path in life, I would still choose UW-Whitewater. I would not have changed every moment of it. The connections I have made through the Royal Purple, in classes, through UWWTV and the communication department are an incredible experience.

As we slowly mature and gradually find who we are as an individual, the world seems different all of a sudden. This university forces me to think and look at the world differently. It is the same feeling I have when looking through a camera lens. It all seems so surreal yet so clear.

As time goes by, I found myself gradually pacing through the slow tempo of Whitewater. And I can proudly say that I belong to UW-Whitewater.

 

 

Whitewater – Though the name of Bill German may not sound familiar, one can be sure of the name The Rolling Stones. German spent 17 years of his life with the Stones – touring with them, interviewing the band members and hanging out with the group in the recording studio, all thanks to a newsletter he created as a teenager.

Carol Terracina-Hartman, professor at University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, invited German to speak about his experiences with the Stones and the affect it had on his life as a fan and an aspiring journalist.

German, a New York City native who was born a year before the Rolling Stones formed, created a crafty Stones’ “fanzine” when he was 16 years old. He creatively named it “Beggars Banquet” after his favorite Stones’ album. He describes the “fanzine” as “a banquet of Stones information that a beggar could afford.”

His “fanzine” cost $3 for a yearly subscription of six issues per year. He described the process of making the “fanzine” as tedious and difficult. “Cut and paste was literally cut and paste,” he said. But it was a “labor of love.”

German started this “fanzine” after hearing songs from his sister’s stereo.

“I was so determined to write about them,” German said. “It was all about the dedication.”

He was 17 years old when the journey as an exclusive Stones’ publisher began.

German attended New York University but dropped out to tour with the Stones. Telling his parents that he wanted to drop out to follow a typical sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll rock band was tough. Nonetheless they accepted his decision after noticing their son’s determination by “giving him ropes”.

German even quoted Mark Twain during the difficult conversation, “School is interfering with my education.”

German’s relationship got closer and closer with the Stones and their management team, and soon they offered him a position to write the band’s official newsletter. As he took the role of his new position he was welcomed to hang out with the band members at their homes and in the recording studio.

He also recalled facing ethical dilemmas while working for the band’s official newsletter. He said the band now “owns” him and had to be extra careful of what he writes on the newsletter.

One of his favorite memories includes his interview with Mick Jagger the day after his 21st birthday. The interview was going well, until German knocked over a glass of orange juice on Jagger’s expensive Persian rug. Thankfully, Jagger handled the situation with little care and cleaned it up as if things like that happened all the time, German said.

Seeing Mick Jagger sopping up his mess on his rug was a sight to see. “It’s a vision I will never forget for the rest of my life,” German said.

That same day, German interviewed Keith Richards. They talked for three hours and he got Richards to talk about his heroin addiction and his estranged father.

When keyboardist Ian Stewart died in 1985, German was the only journalist invited to the funeral in London. The Stones performed a free concert, along with other rock stars, in memorial of the former band member.

17 years of his life and 122 issues of the newsletter later, German ended the “fanzine” and his relationship with the Stones.

“It was not easy hanging around the Rolling Stones,” German said.

German went from being a fan and asking for autographs to autographing his own memoir. He was 33 years old and it was January 1996.

German has lived quite the life. He dropped out of college to follow his favorite band and he became an exclusive member of the Stones’ inner circle.

He describes himself as a goody two shoes and admitted having nothing to do with drugs during the time with the Stones. He was a workaholic, not a drug addict.

His memoir, “Under their thumb”, highlights his humor, dedication and passion for not only the Rolling Stones but also as an aspiring journalist.

“As a journalist, I wanted to remember everything. This was my job,” German said. “I was hanging out with my favorite rock band. I couldn’t get higher than that.”

 

 

 

 

JEFFERSON – The Jefferson County Board advances $1.2 million plans with Miron Construction for the new highway shop facility along County Highway N in Jefferson on Tuesday.

The companies Miron Construction, Spancrete and Stonecast Products offered bids.

Miron Construction’s base bid was chosen at the rate of $1,193,482. This bid was $205,018 less than the target price set at $1,398,500.

In accordance to the new highway facility, utilization of the geothermal system was proposed at the meeting. The geothermal system refers to an internal heating created in the earth’s surface used to generate electrical power for both heating and cooling.

The starting bid of the geothermal system would cost the county $35,000 and it was estimated to take 69 years for a payback.

“Sixty-nine years pay back is ridiculous,” Supervisor Gregory Torres said.

Incorporation of biomass technology, a reusable energy source, was brought up as an alternative in oppose to the geothermal system.

“Biomass could be useful as a potential energy source,” Supervisor Greg David said. “It would keep those energy expenditures right here in Jefferson County and give us local sovereignty.” He also said that spending money on natural gas would be a waste.

Regardless of different opinions, all supervisors agreed to cease funding for a geothermal system and to seek for another sustainable and affordable alternative to incorporate into the new highway facility as well as future projects.

“We have a responsibility to look down the road and look to the future. We do have to look at green energy. That being said, geothermal doesn’t make sense. We are looking at alternatives in solar,” supervisor Dick Schultz said. He added, “We should not take our focus off the future.”

Regardless of the disapproval on the geothermal system, production of the highway shop facility is expected to begin in June.

Law enforcement’s compensation adjusted

The board ratified a three-year contract with the county’s law enforcement union.

Previously, law enforcement officers have been exempt for the requirements of Act 10, a state law that restricts bargaining rights for public employees.

At the meeting, it was agreed upon that law enforcement will make the same “sacrifices”, such as paying more for health insurance and pensions as the rest of the public workers.

The new three-year agreement will require deputies to pay 93 percent of the premium on health plan selected by the county. Along with that, they are expected to have a 2.5 to 3 percent salary increase.

In other matters:

  • County Clerk Barb Frank’s showed excitement about the new D5200 voting machine, which will be used prior to the April 1 elections
  • The board approved a contract to purchase 211 E. Washington St. for 12 new parking spaces
  • Special thanks were given at the meeting for the three board members who will not be seeking re-election: Gregory Torres, Pamela Rogers and Sarah Bregant.

The board changed the meeting time from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m. due to other council obligations and commitments with some of the members. The board has agreed to meet at 5 p.m. on April 15.

This meeting is the organizational meeting, at which board members will select a new chair. All 30 board members seats are up for election on April 1. Six members, including Chairperson John Molinaro, will face challenges.

Whitewater – The Whitewater Common Council has decided to end the zoning discussion and agreed to a final hearing on March 10. A separate hearing for industrial-commercial changes will be held on Feb. 25.

Last year in October at the Common Council Meeting, the rezoning issue was brought up focusing on the same issue. Concerns and impatience escalated quickly among Whitewater residents, landlords and students as zoning laws kept being put on hold.

The current zoning law would not prohibit landlords in providing student housing in certain areas. It would only allow for two unrelated people in one house, which made less rental availabilities for students who are looking to live off campus with several friends.

Larry Kachel, one of the spokesmen for DLK Enterprises, expressed the urgency to rewrite and pass these zoning laws on the behalf of the students.

“Whitewater would not be what it is without the students,” Kachel said.

The rewriting of the zoning laws would allow landlords to make more rental properties available to students in the city of Whitewater. The zones are named the R-2A code. The area includes South Summit Street, South Janesville Avenue, West Center Street, West Whitewater Avenue and Fourth Street.

The zones pertained to student housing on North Fremont Street between Starin Road and Main Street, which is a popular area for single-family owner-occupied housing and rental properties.

The opposing side, who wanted to keep the whole area zoned as single-family owned-occupied housing, argued about the issues that will be brought to the area if the laws were to be passed.

Issues regarding past and current concerns on house parties and vandalism were constantly brought up by residents of Whitewater.

Stephanie Abbott, one of the council members and an employee at DLK Enterprises, argued against the complaints of the residents.

“If the party is too loud, call the police or ask them to turn down their music,” Abbott said.

With the zoning laws being unresolved, landlords and owners of single-family homes are putting real-estate sales on hold. If the rewrite of the zoning laws is successful, landlords will be buying more properties to invest in building apartments for students.

On the other hand, owners of single-family homes will be selling properties instead of buying.

Drainage/Flooding Issue

Other than the zoning issues, residents of Whitewater were concerned about the flooding issue. It is an issue that has been pushed back for a few years.

Richard James, a resident of Whitewater, expressed worries and angers at the delay of solving the flooding issue.

“Five and a half years ago, I saw water shooting up my backyard, drain tile pieces were everywhere and nothing has been done,” James said.

Flooding issues are currently experienced along Woodland Drive in the Buckingham Estates subdivision. It was found that the flooding issue is the result of “insufficient storm sewer pipe and intake capacity”.

In other words, the current pipes are too narrow to hold the huge amount of water going through during heavy rains.

Strand Associates, Inc. has come up with four alternatives for the Whitewater Common Council to decide. The cost for the four alternatives ranges between $48,000 and $86,000.

Cameron Clapper, the Whitewater city manager, explained the delay in televising and documenting the drainage problems.

“Based on documentation, there are some questions regarding the properties whether or not there is anything in the area, Clapper explained. “We would put a camera in there and be able to see what’s going on. That unfortunately was not done prior to the cold and right now if we were to put a camera in there, all we would see is mist and fog.

Clapper promised the issue is under investigation and they are “doing everything” they can to solve this issue.

If documentation proves to have an issue, a residence meeting will be scheduled to further address the problem.

K-9 Unit

The Whitewater Police Department announced the official implementation of the department’s first K-9 unit. The K-9 committee was $12,000 shy of the original financial goal in the beginning of the year until Stan Kass donated the difference and filled the gap.

Kass, who has been a long time supporter of Wisconsin K-9 units, is the owner of Skylark Automatic Vending Inc. of Milwaukee.

The next step of the implementation is to purchase a Labrador. The canine will be mainly used for drug control and tracing subjects of interest.

A rigorous two-week training for the canine will be held at Steinig Tal Kennel of Campbellsports, Wis. as soon as the handler and a canine have been chosen. When the canine is selected and delivered, it will be sworn in along with its handler as a member of the Whitewater Police Department.

The department continues to welcome donations to sustain the program. For more information on the program as well as fundraising opportunities, visit the Whitewater Police Department website.

Other points discussed at the meeting:

  • Approving vacation of alley
  • Amending comprehensive plan to adopt bike and pedestrian plan
  • Appointment of citizen member to Whitewater University Technology Park Board
  • Discussion on housing issues
  • Discussion regarding feasibility report for Wastewater Treatment Plant Digesters

The next Whitewater Common Council Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building on 312 W. Whitewater St.

 

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January 31, 2014 | 1 Comment

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