May 13th, 2014

My Final Capstone Project

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April 8th, 2014

Like a Rolling Stone

 

Bill German graced University of Wisconsin Whitewater students on campus with his presence Tuesday, April 1 for a lecture about persistence in journalism.

German grew up loving classic rock n’roll band, the Rolling Stones since he was 10 years old.   “I was walking past my sisters room and I heard the craziest loudest sounds,” said German when describing the very first time he had ever heard the Stones.  After Germans first run in with the Rolling Stones music, he began to read every magazine he could get his hands on to stay up to date on his favorite band.

In high school German decided to take a journalism class, and ended up enjoying writing very much.  On German’s 16th birthday, he decided to combine his two new loves and create his very own fanzine- “Beggars Banquet.”  Living by his motto for the fanzine, “Banquet of stories and information that a beggar could afford,” German sold his fanzine for a quarter.  Eventually, German developed sources and began to gain some buyers.

A couple days after German’s high school graduation, he waited outside of a nightclub the Stones were expected to come out of.  Mick Jagger came out first and left in a limo.  Eventually Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards walked through the crowd, and that is were German gave Wood the Rolling Stones very own copy of “Beggars Banquet.”

After months of dropping off the fanzine to the Rolling Stones main offices in Manhattan, the Stones eventually asked German to tour with the group and be the official reporter while they toured.

“I can’t tell you it was a dream come true because I could never have dreamed it,” according to German.  The deal between him and the Rolling Stones was that he wrote a bimonthly fanzine for a whopping $3.  German eventually gained one million subscribers.

German toured with the band of his dreams for 17 years.  German’s relationship did not end with the Stones in a dramatic or unpredictable way like most of his time spent with the Stones went.  Rather, German became “disenchanted with how much money played a role with the Stones. “

German’s lecture to aspiring journalists consisted of two running themes; persistence and passion.  German stated that the whole reason the Stones gave him so much access to their lives, was because he was persistent in letting them know “that I [he] existed.”

Passion is what fueled German to continue writing for the Stones.  German elaborated on how hard the process was of maintaining his fanzine, but credits “the passion of being a Rolling Stones fan and the passion of being a wannabe journalist” to his success.

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March 18th, 2014

Considerations for “Green” Energy Discussed at Tuesday’s Jefferson County Board Meeting

 

The Jefferson County Board meeting was held March 11, 2014 at 7p.m. at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The board approved a $15 million budget plan for the highway department to construct a 22,897 square feet highway facility this past August.  The facility will be located along County Highway W.   The new facility will feature a automatic truck wash, and precast concrete walls. The previous infrastructure at this location was a countryside home; the demolition estimated to be $1.1 million.

Now the topic of debate is whether the facility should be cooled and heated with geothermal technology.  Geothermal heating and cooling takes advantage of the energy already stored in the earth. In order to accomplish this task, drilling is required.  In order to continue with the plan and design process, a $35,000 bid is needed.

Advantages of geothermal heating and cooling include reliability, zero emission, and no mining or transportation required.  The biggest concern however, – cost.

“We need to keep both science and taxpayer money in mind,” according to Supervisor Dwayne Morris.

Some supervisors are not on board with the possibility of geothermal energy.

“We have a responsibility to look down the road and look into the future,” said Supervisor Dick Schultz at Tuesday’s meeting, “We do have to look at green energy.”

However, green energy is not just obtained by geothermal.

According to Schultz, “we are looking at alternatives in solar…we should not take our focus off the future.”

However, some supervisors on the board are in favor of the geothermal technology.  “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,” said Supervisor Greg David.

Chairman John Molinaro did express the concern for the amount of expense this process would cause.   Before the meeting Molinaro stated that the, “possibility of geothermal in the highway facility would cost $55,000 a year for 66 years to pay back.”  That total equals a whopping $3.5 million dollars by the year 2080.

Another order of business was awarding the bid for the new Highway Shop Facility.  The board had bids from three contractors; Miron Construction, Spancrete, and Stonecast Products.

The Infrastructure Committee’s target price was $1,398,500.   As a result, the committee accepted Miron Construction’s bid of $1,193,482.  The bid came to be $205,018 less than he target price.

This budget would include the construction of adding back walls and broom finish on the second welding bay, deleting the aggregate surface, and coloring the concrete.

The committee also took the production of the actual material into consideration when awarding the bid.

April 1, all the board seats are up for re-election.  Six member of the board have competitors, and three are not running another term.  New voting machines will be used for these elections as well.  According to County Clerk, Barb Frank,  the machines will be more reliable and a smaller percent error.  In the past, there has been trouble with certain writing utensils causing confusion on ballots.

The next meeting for the Jefferson County Board will be April 15, at 5p.m. At this meeting board members will be selecting a new chairman, Molinaro is included in the running.

 

 

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February 11th, 2014

Whitewater Common Council Meeting 02-04

Last night the Whitewater Common Council met at the Municipal Court located at 312 W. Main Street in Whitewater, WI at 6:30 p.m.  The agenda for the night included three main topics of interest that pertains to the students of the university as well as the Whitewater residents.

Zoning Issues

Because of a student housing shortage, zoning concerns are on the minds of many Whitewater residents.  The Whitewater Common Council has put the conversation on hold for quite some time, and this set back has put landlords on edge.

The concern of the residents has to do with living next to college students as well as the value of their own residential properties.  Larry Kachel spoke on behalf of DLK Enterprises and expressed the urgency to rewrite these zoning laws for the benefit of the students.  According to Kachel, Whitewater would not be what it is without the students.  Suggestions to combine commercial and residential zoning decisions were made but in the end it was decided to separate the two.

The hearing for industrial-commercial changes will be held Feb. 25, and the hearing for the residential changes will be held March 10.

Flooding

Richard James, Whitewater resident residing on Fremont Street, kick started the next item on the agenda pertaining to flooding.  James expressed his frustration with the city for not fixing these damaged pipes that are causing his backyard to flood.

Three different studies were presented to the council in order to gain a better understanding of the flooding, and the possible solutions.  Two main areas were identified as localized flooding; the low point of Highland Street located 100 feet just west of Whiton, and a section located northwest of the intersection of Franklin Street and the railroad.

To fix the drainage issue the council must decide if they want to pursue the option of constructing adequate flood capacity at the intersection of Whitewater Street and Church Street for a 25-year storm event.  This first option would ultimately cost $469,000.  The second option involves creating ample capacity for a 100-year storm event.  This option would cost the city at least $600,000.

The council has not made a solid decision on this topic, but was presented the information and considering the options.

K-9 Unit

Whitewater Chief of Police, Lisa Otterbacher, announced that the financial goal to implement a K-9 unit has finally been met.  The K-9 committee was $12,000 short of their goal in the beginning of 2014, until Stan Kass donated the difference.  Kass owns Skylark Automatic Vending Inc. of Milwaukee and has been a long time supporter of Wisconsin K-9 units.

The newest member of the police department will be chosen from Steinig Tal Kennels in Cambellsport, WI.  The canine will be used for drug control and tracking people of interest.

The department prefers a Labrador breed because of the canine’s level of friendliness.  The canine will be around children in the community including school in order to educate children of the area about harmful drugs.  When the canine is chosen and delivered, it will be sworn in and considered a member or the Whitewater Police Department.

These issues along with many other minor issues were discussed at the meeting and changes will be implemented with time.

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February 3rd, 2014

Convergence to Web Journalism

I have never been thrilled with the idea of online journalism.  I consider myself to be a pen and paper journalist.  I rather feel the pen between my fingers and the paper beneath my hands, rather than the keys on a keyboard.  However, the internet has become very important aspect of journalism.

The convenience and timelines of online journalism has changed what journalism is now, and it will never be the same again.  The ability to update information in a matter of seconds makes online journalism so appealing to consumers of new as well as producers.

The downfall to online journalism is the fact that anyone can partake in it; this is commonly known as citizen journalism.  There are many examples of how citizen journalism is both positive and negative, here is an article that adds to this idea.

What scares most journalists including me, is that citizen journalism will eventually take over the professional’s job.  Not only is this specific type of journalism free for the readers, but the “journalists” can be at an event the moment it happens and cover it immediately.   The hope I have, is that the audience that real journalist’s are trying to appeal to, still have the taste for authentic and professional journalism.

Even though I prefer traditional journalism, the rapid growth in popularity make the switch to online journalism a necessity for those trying to break into the field.

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