March 24, 2011Walworth — For one school day, students had a chance to walk a mile in their shoes.
While wearing earplugs, kids struggled to hear their teachers. Other students put scotch tape on their glasses, which resulted in them crashing into their classmates in the hallways.
None of the Big Foot High School students said it was easy. Most reported being teased.
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Semantics change reduces stigmaMarch 24, 2011Williams Bay — In order to spare seven teachers the stigma of the state nonrenewal process, the Williams Bay School Board in a special March 14 meeting approved an agreement with the Williams Bay Teachers Association to change the layoff process back to the one spelled out in the teacher contract.
Preliminary layoff notices will now be issued April 15 and layoffs won't occur until July 1, said Williams Bay Superintendent Fred Vorlop.
In late February, because of uncertainty over the effects of the new state budget and budget repair bills on teacher-school district contracts, the school board sent preliminary notices of nonrenewal to seven teachers as required by state law.
March 24, 2011Walworth — Holding flowers, dressed in camouflage and wearing a big smile, Army SSG. Aaron Stamm, who had been in Iraq since October, marched toward the stage at Walworth Elementary School where his kids were waiting with their eyes closed.
Moments before, in front of the entire school, his son, Kenton, 6, was asked by his teacher to make a wish, and he yelled into the microphone that he wanted his dad to come home "foreeeever." After he made his wish, he and his sister, Kayla, 4, and the rest of his classmates were asked to keep their eyes closed, cross their fingers and to wish really hard for Aaron to return home.
The excitement was too much for Kenton, who couldn't keep his eyes closed for very long. He peeked, ran toward his father, screamed "daddy" and jumped into his arms. His dad hugged him and carried him back to his seat where he also was reunited with his daughter.
January 20, 2011Fontana — For many years the building on the corner of Fontana Boulevard and Highway 67 was a place where people had their hair cut and styled.
In September 2007, Headquarters, 138 Fontana Blvd., closed its doors. About a year later, the village purchased the building and the adjacent vacant lot for $350,000 with plans to redevelop it in the future.
Now the village is working with Brian Pollard, the president of Fairwyn Development Corporation, to develop the site and return it to the tax roll.
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Recent Geneva Lake West
Turner resigns from CDAMarch 17, 2011Fontana — In a March 2 e-mail, long-time Community Development Authority Chairman Bill Turner announced he was resigning from the group. Turner is a long-time fixture in village politics. He has been elected as a trustee and village president. “As you know, Barbara and I are spending about seven months of the year in Florida. We are also selling our property in Fontana,” Turner wrote. “I have served as Chairman of the CDA for the last 10 or more years (who’s counting when you’re having such fun!), and most of our planned work has been completed. As you know, the CDA will have limited resources going forward. For all of these reasons, I am hereby resigning my position.”
Texas fugitive with local ties caught in OmahaMarch 17, 2011Omaha — A former Darien man who escaped from a Texas prison was arrested Monday night at 8:45 p.m. in Nebraska. Before the arrest, local law enforcement was keeping an eye out for David R. Puckett, 27, because of his local ties. Puckett escaped from the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Stiles unit in Beaumont, Texas, where he was serving a 30-year sentence for aggravated assault.
Despite cloudy future, Bay School Board to plan aheadMarch 10, 2011Williams Bay — A $600,000 deficit is burning a hole in the district’s pocket, and the actual effects of Gov. Walker’s budget and repair bills are unknown, but the School Board is still planning.Despite or because of all of the uncertainty surrounding the public schools, now is the time to get options down on paper, said Superintendent Fred Vorlop.“None of us know where this is headed,” he said in a telephone interview Monday. “There are a lot of twists and turns in the road.”
Effort to reduce boat slip lease rate falls shortMotion fails on 3-3 voteMarch 10, 2011Fontana — Two trustees changed their original votes and about a half a dozen angry boat slip owners uttered their displeasure, but in the end the 31 percent increase in boat slip leases will remain intact. In September, the Village Board voted to increase the rate boat slip owners pay to $2,750. Trustee George Spadoni was the only board member to vote against the increase.On Monday night, the board considered reducing that increase to 3.5 percent, but the motion failed on a 3-3 vote. A 3.5 percent increase would have brought the new rate down to about $2,170.
Goodbye Antique Mall?DOT leans to plan requiring acquisition of building, village eyes alternative
March 03, 2011Walworth — Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials are leaning toward a proposal for the Highway 14 project that would require the acquisition of two village businesses. However, plan commissioners may have put a wrench in those plans — which the DOT would fund — during the February meeting by asking for more information on another proposal.On Feb. 21 the commissioners requested cost figures for a proposal, which requires the acquisition of a residence and brings the road closer to Walworth Elementary School.
Up to seven Bay teachers could lose jobsPreliminary notices result of uncertainty over budget bill effectMarch 03, 2011Williams Bay — Seven teachers received preliminary notification from the Williams Bay School Board that they may not be rehired by the District for the 2011-12 school year.Phil Sanborn, president of the Williams Bay Teachers Union, said there is little the School Board or the union could have done to avoid this.Those cuts are the result of the failed referendum, and the school district is following the contract, he said.
Warrant issued for illegal immigrant who skips courtsDiaz-Hernandez was working at resort under false nameFebruary 24, 2011Elkhorn — After missing a court hearing, a warrant has been issued for an illegal immigrant who was employed at the Abbey Resort under a false name.Francisco A. Diaz-Hernandez, 127 Allen St., No. 11, has been charged with felony identity theft, financial gain. If convicted, he faces up to six years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines.On Nov. 14, a $10,000 signature bond and a $2,000 cash bond was set for Diaz-Hernandez. He posted bond on Nov. 15.
With repair bill looming, teachers settle contractsFebruary 24, 2011Walworth — Just the proposal of Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill has already had a major impact on the contracts of local teachers.Last week, the school boards and teacher’s unions at Big Foot High School and Walworth Elementary School settled contracts for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.These agreements were made despite recent comments from local union leaders that they weren’t happy with aspects of the contract.
Village hires four part-time police officersFebruary 17, 2011Walworth — There will be four new cops patrolling village streets. On Monday night, the Village Board approved hiring four part-time police officers, all of whom will work less than 600 hours annually and won’t receive benefits.For training purposes, Walworth Police Chief Chris Severt said the officers start dates will be staggered. However, he expects two of the officers to be on patrol by March. The other two should be on the roads by May.
Room occupancy increases at AbbeyVillage collects $24,000 more in room tax revenueFebruary 17, 2011Fontana — It could be a sign the economy is improving, or the result of good marketing and sales techniques. Or maybe it is a combination of the two.But, anyway you look at it, the Abbey Resort saw an increase in room occupancy in 2010, collecting more than $5 million in room rental revenue alone.The increase means the municipality collected more money in room taxes, which eases the tax burden on property owners.