County Board appoints new circuit judge

By Emily Leclair

March 27, 2017

JEFFERSON, Wisconsin – The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners opened its meeting on March 14, 2017 at the Jefferson County Courthouse with the introduction of the new Circuit Court Judge Branch III, Robert Dehring, effect April 1.

Dehring, a Southeast Wisconsin native, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and earned a law degree from Marquette University of Milwaukee.

“My wife and I couldn’t be happier to be rejoining you all in Jefferson County,” Dehring said.

Dehring came to Jefferson County back in 2009, when he was practicing law as a prosecuting attorney. He looks forward to his role as the new Circuit Court Judge.

The appointment of Dehring was followed by a presentation from Wisconsin Municipal Mutual Insurance Co. Director Dean Boes.

Jefferson County joined WMMI 2009, but Boes reviewed the new 2017 structure for the county, while providing an updated list of the most recent members of WMMI including Miller Park Stadium District.

During the annual reports, the board took time to recognize Register of Deeds, Staci Hoffman, who was awarded Constitutional Officer of the Year.

Hoffman joked it was so unexpected that she had a mouth full of food when they called her name to accept the award.

County Administrator Ben Wehmeier presented the 2017 Strategic Plan Report, which was originally completed in 2010.

After conducting interviews, the Administration and Rules Committee hired the Chamness Group of Brookfield, WI, to update the plan.

According to the report, the new budget allows for $15,000-$20,000 and is expected to be completed by August of 2017 after extensive interviews have been conducted with elected officials, staff and the public for input toward the plan.

Finance Committee Board:

  • A unanimous vote adopted the authorization of year-end requests to carry over funds for the 2017 fiscal year.
  • A unanimous vote authorized the contingency fund transfer to offset the 2016 fiscal year department deficits.

Other actions:

  • The Human Services Board voted all in favor proclaiming the Month of March 2017 as the Professional Social Worker Month, while also voting all in favor to proclaim the Month of April 2017 as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.
  • The Human Services Department voted 28 to one absent to the authorization of $85,000 in capital funds in the Human Services Department budget, which was originally budgeted for the replacement of roofing.

The Jefferson County Board will hold its next meeting on April 17 at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Published in: |on March 28th, 2017 |No Comments »

Whitewater Common Council split on Spring Splash

Feb. 14, 2017

Emily Leclair

WHITEWATER, Wisconsin – The Whitewater Common Council held its weekly meeting last week on Feb. 7, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building in Whitewater, Wisconsin. While the agenda held for discussion on adding stop signs to cross streets and the purchase of a new police dog after Boomer, the topic of Spring Splash had the council going back and forth for a majority of the meeting.

Six days prior to the council meeting, members of the Common Council met with Wisconsin Red owner, Steve Farina, on Feb. 1 to discuss the organizations participation in this year’s Spring Splash event.

After the behavior that took place during last years event, the council voiced opinions on the influence Wisconsin Red had on the participants of the event.

“If it helps send the message that such things are unacceptable and discourages such activities from the future that this year it is best for all that Wisconsin Red not participate,” City Manager Cameron Clapper said.

Clapper voiced a concern that the students of UW-Whitewater will view this withdrawal by Wisconsin Red as the city not wanting to be associated with the students.

“We want to encourage good activities and events that can reach and meet needs and expectations of all visiting,” Clapper said.

Council member Stephanie Goettl shared her concern with the city council’s encouragement of Wisconsin Red withdrawing from the event.

“As soon as people heard through the rumor mill that Spring Splash was cancelled, they started planning a number of large scale parties,” Goettl said.

Goettl said Wisconsin Red was not to blame for the behavior of the participants of the event because they cleaned up their area, and their tent was controlled.

The different ages of the council began to become more and more evident as the members began to go back and forth concerning the severity of the decision to have Wisconsin Red withdraw from Spring Splash.

While the council was split, Goettl said the meeting with Wisconsin Red reached a new level of “anti-student.”

“This is the most blatantly anti-student discussion I think we have ever had,” Goettl said. “Some of the failures of this are on our part…we said last year we were going to start working on ways to fix this.”

Council member Christopher Grady disagreed with Goettl about the situation being “anti-student.”

“There’s nothing I would rather have than have the students that are here have a good time and do what they want to do, as long as they are on their own property and not infringing on the rest of the entire city’s right to have a decent day on a Saturday afternoon,” Grady said.

Whitewater Police Department’s Chief of Police, Lisa Otterbacher, said Wisconsin Red’s, Farina, shared several pillars of his business and what is stands for.

Otterbacher said Farina was in agreement that the “mob mentality” behavior is not acceptable, and that type of behavior is not something he would want his business to be a part of.

“How nobody died last year is a gift,” Otterbacher said. “It is an absolute gift and if it continues at that level, I don’t know what would have happened in 2017.”

The council ended the discussion with no certain plan as to what their plans are for the upcoming Spring Splash event.

Two days after the Common Council meeting, Wisconsin Red released a post on the Whitewater Spring Splash 2017 Facebook page explaining their reasoning for choosing to not participate in this year’s event.

The post began with Wisconsin Red voicing it’s obligation to give an “accurate explanation” of what happened in the meeting with the Common Council.

Wisconsin Red continued that it had attempted to collaborate with the Whitewater Police Department to come up with a plan for this year’s event, but the city showed no interest in the plans.

“We were essentially forced to step back from our involvement this year or be subject to a myriad of unwarranted consequences,” Wisconsin Red posted.

The post generated over 96 likes, and comments from both students and community members voicing their opinions on the upcoming event.

“We have much love for you Whitewater, and we appreciate the ongoing reciprocation of low and continued desire to paint your town #WisconsinRed,” Wisconsin Red posted.

The Common Council released its own press release on Feb. 11 to explain the intentions the city had for meeting with Wisconsin Red, and the councils acknowledgment that there will still be parties despite Spring Splash’s cancellation.

Spring Splash is scheduled for April 29 in the city of Whitewater.

 

Published in: |on February 14th, 2017 |No Comments »

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Published in: |on January 24th, 2017 |No Comments »