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Ferradermis wraps up summer with robotics camp

August 15, 2018

Ferradermis wrapped up a busy summer of presentations and demonstrations with a robotics boot camp for new and veteran members from August 4 – 11. Starting Saturday, August 4, eight incoming students joined a group of veteran members and mentors to learn about all aspects of the robotics team. Nineteen students and thirteen adult mentors, many of whom are engineers and engineering students, participated throughout the week. On the first day, new members learned about the electrical system on the robot and practiced soldering some wires under the supervision of veterans Cassi Hoxie, Rosie Aschenbrener, and Gwynne Sahyun. Hoxie gave the freshmen an overview of what it takes to program a robot, and they had the opportunity to write a small amount of code. Veterans Danny Soto and Reilly Aschenbrener helped them learn how the CAD team operates and spent some time teaching them the basics of Autodesk Inventor. Veteran members Sayhun, Rosie Aschenbrener, and Bennett Miles introduced them to competition logistics (how a season and competition works). Students also practiced driving last year’s robot under the direction of 2018 drive team members Soto and Hailey Prager. At the end of the day, the students were presented with their challenge for the week, a Frisbee shooter, based on the actual 2013 FIRST Robotics game. Veterans and new members worked together to design and implement a solution throughout the week, often taking the robot outside to test the mechanisms by shooting Frisbees at targets marked off on the side of the building.

Not only did new members get to experience all parts of the robotics team, veterans crossed over to other sub-teams to take on new responsibilities and learn new roles. For example, senior Zach Brantmeier, the head programmer for the previous two years, stepped back and supervised a new group of programmers as they found their way through the code for the first time. Boot camp provided a great opportunity for new freshmen to not only get familiar with the robotics program and improve their technical knowledge but also to develop friendships with upperclassmen prior to the start of school. Veteran member junior Rosie Aschenbrener stated that “Boot Camp has been very educational for both veterans and new members, and it has been a great team bonding experience as we introduced the new members to our team.” Veteran member senior Cassi Hoxie added, “I was excited to teach new people about robotics, and I really wanted the leadership experience as an upperclassman sharing my talents with the freshmen.” Dilpreet Randhawa of Wisconsin Robotics at UW-Madison, who serves as co-head coach for the team with Carissa Petzinger, an engineer from Generac, shared, “A core component of FIRST is getting some exposure to some of the challenges students have to face as a team. Our students have definitely risen to the challenge of the game, and I’m constantly surprised by the fervor in which they work.”

Throughout boot camp, the business team also worked to finalize the fundraising campaign for the 2018-2019 season, sending out letters to former and new potential business sponsors, submitting paperwork for a possible Culver’s Share Night and Topper’s Doughnation Night, and advertising our PayPal donation system for interested individuals on the team website at www.ferradermis.org. For more photos, follow Ferradermis on Facebook or visit Ferradermis.org. Team membership will be open to all Whitewater High School students in September, whether or not they attended the boot camp. Contact Team Administrator Laura Masbruch at lmasbruch@wwusd.org with questions.

Whitewater School Board Approves Referendum Question for November 6 Ballot

August 14, 2018

At its August 13 meeting, the Whitewater Unified School District board approved a resolution to place a referendum question on the ballot for November 6, 2018.

If approved, the referendum would provide expanded revenue limit authority over the next four years and generate funds that would go toward maintaining targeted class sizes, student support and mental health services, comprehensive instructional and co-curricular programs, technology, safety, and facilities infrastructure. It would replace a 2014 referendum, which is set to expire in June 2019.

“In placing the question on the November ballot, the district and board look to maintain what has made Whitewater schools so great,” said Casey Judd, board president. “We believe we must keep the programs and services currently available to our students now and in the years to come. We also must make the most efficient use possible of the money taxpayers have invested in our local schools. The solution that will be presented to voters achieves both of these ends.”

In Wisconsin, the amount of money a school district receives is restricted by a revenue limit, also known as a revenue cap. Every district has its own revenue limit, which is impacted every two years by the state budget and is highly dependent on changes in annual enrollment. WUSD’s revenue limits dictate the majority of its operational spending.

In recent years, state budgets have not increased revenue limits to keep up with inflation. Moreover, a decline in student enrollment means WUSD’s revenue limit is being reduced at a rate much faster than the district’s ability to realize the costs savings that can come from serving fewer students. In fact, the district’s current revenue limit is at the same level as in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

“While our state-imposed revenue limit has not increased for the past eight years, we’ve also seen rising costs related to inflation and investments in technology,” said Dr. Mark Elworthy, WUSD district administrator. “Our top priority is to continue our legacy of delivering a top-quality educational experience to each and every student.”

In addressing its needs, the district and board used an inclusive process, engaging community members to develop potential solutions that balance the district’s needs with those of the Whitewater community. This included the Citizen Finance Advisory Committee, a group of local business and community leaders.

If passed, the November referendum would result in a $0 tax rate increase in the first year, in keeping with past district referenda. It would then increase the levy rate $30 per every $100,000 of assessed property value in subsequent years.

To learn more about WUSD’s needs, the process the district has used to address them and the solution that will appear on the November 6 ballot, visit www.wwusd.org/referendum. The District will be scheduling information sessions for the community in September and October.

Invading Cripple Creek, Pikes Peak & Garden of the Gods… – Part 4 of the Banner City Bikers in Utah

August 14, 2018

From Blake Scharine:

Followers of the BCBikers!

A half day at Cripple Creek and overnight. We kept ourselves pretty busy! I encourage you to read up a bit on Cripple Creek, CO. It was and still is a big player in gold mining. (Crazy how commercial mining is done nowadays.)

Our ride into Gunnison, CO is one to remember. Coming in on 92 on the scenic north rim of the Black Canyon. As has been nearly everywhere, the pavement was great and the canyon view was dark, massive with a big river meandering its way to the dam.

The Ol Miner restaurant in “Gunny” did not disappoint and the next day Russ & Mary Rogers along w/John Sanderson headed out early to shave a day off the return trip for a wedding and family commitment.

Leaving Gunnison through Monarch pass was great. We took advantage of a slow day at the trading post and took the cable cars up to 12,000 ft… very cool and also VERY COOL.

On to Cripple Creek, a gambling town, with lots of restaurants and numerous other activities

  • gambling
  • narrow gauge train ride
  • a little riding
  • gambling
  • feeding the loose donkeys
  • walks around town
  • oh, and did I mention gambling?

Pikes was great, part of the group opted out of riding up to 14,000′ but they did go part way up to visitor center and explored as they watched us through a telescope.

Lastly, before a Dairy Queen stop, we visited Garden of the Gods. This a great drive or hike through park and FREE!

We’re making our way east of Colorado Springs for 6 hours in Kansas then another 8 hours. That’s 14 hours on the bikes!

It shouldn’t be so amazing to me anymore, how God puts all these things in front of us to enjoy. Just a little heaven on earth.

Til next time!

The next installment of the Banner City Bikers’ trip to Torrey, Utah will be posted as sent in by members of the group. For part 1, ; part 2, ; part 3, 

WHS Class of 1983 35th Reunion – Saturday, August 25, 2018

August 13, 2018

To download a pdf with the information and RSVP form, 

Studio 84’s Artist of the Month: Laurie Narad

August 11, 2018

Laurie Narad says, “When I was a little girl I always wanted to be an artist, yet I did not think it was possible until coming to Studio 84.”

Laurie thinks back to four years ago when she started coming to Studio 84, she was afraid to mix colors, and now she does it all the time with confidence. Coming to the art studio twice a week has its health benefits, too. Laurie has Cerebral Palsy and experiences a sense of relaxation when she is painting. It has also helped with the dexterity in her left hand. Laurie says art has taught her there is no one way to create something.

Laurie is currently beginning in Studio 84’s Vocational Training Programming that will assist her in developing her art as a career. She’s sold many of her notecards and coffee mugs with her art on them at local venues such as the Whitewater City Market and an art fair in Jefferson.

With the help of staff, Laurie works from a custom designed easel that makes her canvas and paints easily accessible. There is a special support board that gives her good arm a place to rest and stay steady.  She says that some days are easier than others and some days she needs someone to hold her arm still enough to be able to paint due to her Cerebral Palsy. She will let staff know if she needs a stencil or an area taped off to help guide her and prevent paint from getting where she doesn’t want it.

Laurie states that staff Ben Kelly and Intern Stacy Whetlow are very good at inventing and developing ways for students to be successful and she is very grateful to have them on board.

You can see some of her work at Studio 84’s store located at 121 W. Center St. in Whitewater, WI

Studio 84 in Whitewater is a non-profit art studio that provides experiences in the arts for the community. They specialize in the creative and vocational development of people with disabilities, including those with Autism, physical disabilities, cognitive limitations, and mental illness. The studio is open to all ages and all abilities.

To learn more visit studio84inc.org  or check us out on Facebook.

WUSD Staff Receive Mental Health Training

August 10, 2018

During summer 2018, 14 school district staff and 6 administrators received intensive five-day training in DBT Steps A. The training was delivered by James Mazza and Elizabeth Dexter-Mazza co-authors of the book DBT Skills in Schools: Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents (DBT Steps-A). DBT Steps A is a Social Emotional Learning Curriculum designed to help adolescents develop their own toolboxes of effective behavioral strategies or life skills. These skills can help youths solve problems, make sense of their own world, resist and persist in the face of adversity, form positive relationships, improve communication skills, and provide a framework for responsible decision-making.

The district plans to teach these skills in a variety of ways in grades 6-12. Significantly, Steps A curriculum will connect to the developmental guidance lessons taught through Second Step in Grades 4K-5 throughout the district to help facilitate a smooth transition from the elementary schools to the middle school.

In addition, during summer academies, held in August, trained district staff will be training their middle and high school colleagues on how to infuse the Steps A strategies into the work they do with students.

A special thank you to the Watertown Community Foundation for supporting the DBT Steps A training. Via their generosity 70 school district staff members and 57 school administrators in Jefferson County received this valuable training.

Rides, rides and more rides! – Part 3 of the Banner City Bikers in Utah

August 10, 2018

From Blake Scharine:

Greetings Whitewater & beyond,

We all have been hunkered down at the Broken Spur Inn and Steakhouse in Torrey, Utah (ok, almost all, more details to follow). We highly recommend this place. It has great rooms, amenities and an excellent restaurant on site. Everything we want when staying in the boonies of Utah.

The formula for our trips involves getting to our main destination in 2 or 3 days and 4-6 nights at our home base hotel.

So from Saturday to Tuesday, our group knocked out a ton of great motorcycle routes.

Capital Reef National Park
Spectacular towering rock formations with deep red color, winding pavement for nearly 25 miles

Fish Lake loop
Curvy country roads to a beautiful lake setting.. watch out for all the cattle ‘landmines!”

Bryce Canyon
One road in & One road out; Rivals the Grand Canyon without the crowds. Bright orange spires, crazy rock formations, thousands of acres of canyon grown rock towers and tremendous viewing pull-offs to get the best pictures. This canyon appears to go on forever.

Red Canyon
This one is a bit shorter drive-thru but right up next to the pavement. Deep red columns, 2 rock tunnels and massive rock walls with alien looking rock spindles called “hoo doos”

Arches National Park & Moab
A 108° day but 16 miles in and 16 back allowing one to pull into a missed attraction with ease on the travel back. This park had a bit more hiking into the attractions so we did mostly pull-offs and got to see a couple miraculous stone arches, huge volcanic mountains. Afterward, we visited a familiar pair of arches in Moab. Apparently, those arches have served millions!

Utah-Hwy 12 (some call the devil’s backbone)
NEWLY PAVED!! an awesome stretch of about 70 miles. Tall thick forest, deep layers of canyon formations, and an eerie view of 10s of thousands of acres of desolation. All this is 2nd to about 3mi stretch that has 1000′ drop offs w/no shoulder or guard rail. The new pavement, from 6 yrs ago, added a 6″ curb on each side. (To give you the impression of safety.)

Burr Trail
A hidden gem!!! 18mi paved; huge crevices almost caves where water runs through in spring. Riding along canyon walls 1000′ up, wow! VERY little traffic. Thx Patty n Cliff for finding this one!

God really has created heaven on earth here, we see glimpses of it at home and full panoramas of it out here… amazing.

Til next time.

The next installment of the Banner City Bikers’ trip to Torrey, Utah will be posted as sent in by members of the group. For part 1,  ; part 2,

Groundbreaking set for the UW-Whitewater Community Engagement Center and new hotel

August 9, 2018

Collaboration and creativity are driving the plans for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Community Engagement Center and a new hotel on the city’s west side.

The site, located at 1260 W. Main St., will soon undergo a major redesign that will include the construction of a privately owned and operated 70-room, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott hotel on the south side of the property. The existing 52,000-square-foot building to the north, which previously housed the former Sentry grocery store, is being leased to the university and will be transformed into a state-of-the art UW-Whitewater Community Engagement Center — a hub for faculty, staff, students and community members to engage in community-based learning, projects and research.

A groundbreaking at the site is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11.

“For 150 years, UW-Whitewater has been dedicated to serving our communities and we are proud to be a partner in bringing a hotel and the Community Engagement Center to the region,” said Chancellor Beverly Kopper. “I want to express my appreciation to the UW-Whitewater Foundation, Inc., which previously owned the property and saw the potential for this space to serve both the educational and hospitality needs of the community. This project is an example of the outstanding cooperation between UW Whitewater, the Foundation, the City of Whitewater, the developer — United Development Solutions — and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, which helped make the project a financial reality.”

The mission of the Community Engagement Center is in keeping with the Wisconsin Idea — that the people and resources of the university stretch beyond the boundaries of campus to positively impact lives across the state.

“We envision this building as a place where everyone can collaborate to find creative ways to make a difference in our communities,” Kopper said. “We will also expand and enhance our training and certification programs to serve even more students and adult learners.”

The Community Engagement Center will house:

Business development centers that support entrepreneurs and business owners with consulting, market research, educational and other services.

Safety lab to train future workspace inspectors on the proper safety techniques using hands-on experiences.

Clinical suites for counseling, speech pathology and social work faculty and students to serve patients and clients.

Art gallery and studio to display UW-Whitewater’s permanent art collection, welcome visiting artists and provide archival storage.

Computer testing center for students and community members to complete certifications and fulfill degree and licensure requirements.

Continuing Education Services to facilitate adult outreach and training opportunities.

In addition, the center will feature dedicated classrooms, meeting spaces, conference rooms and co-working areas to host training sessions, workshops, and other programming.

“The Community Engagement Center is being redesigned with an architecturally industrial vibe that allows for innovative and flexible spaces,” said Grace Crickette, vice chancellor for administrative affairs. “Some areas will feature roll-up garage doors so that visitors can see learning as it happens.”


Mildred A. Van De Bogart (Webb) age 89 of Whitewater died Monday, August 6, 2018 at Fairhaven Nursing Home in Whitewater.

She was born October 28, 1928, to the late Arthur and Otelia (Heir) Webb in Bloomer, WI.  Millie graduated from Bloomer High School as Valedictorian.  She earned her undergraduate degree from UW Madison, Magna Cum Laude.  She then attended law school at UW Madison and received her Master’s degree in Biology from UW-Whitewater.  She married James A. Van De Bogart on November 20, 1950, in Bloomer, WI.

Millie worked at the UW Enzyme Research Laboratory in Madison for several years as a research assistant.  After she and Jim moved to Whitewater, she taught Biology to Nursing Students at Milton College.  She then taught Jr. High Science at Whitewater Jr. High until her retirement.  Millie loved traveling with her daughter and friends, reading, gardening, canning and making wine.  She enjoyed walking, swimming and being outdoors.  She was active in the Community of Christ the Servant Church and many clubs in Whitewater.  In 2009, Millie suffered a debilitating stroke and moved to Fairhaven Nursing Home.

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