Walworth County Announces COVID-19 Testing Event in Delavan, TODAY & Fri, Aug. 13-14/Pruebas de COVID-19 Gratis HOY & Viernes en Delavan

Walworth County Announces Community Testing Event in Delavan

The Walworth County Division of Public Health and Sheriff’s Office are partnering with the Wisconsin National Guard to offer another community Covid-19 testing site.

The event will be held at Phoenix Middle School on Thursday, August 13th and Friday, August 14th from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Phoenix Middle School is located at 414 Beloit St. in Delavan. Arriving as early as possible is encouraged, as occasionally a site will run out of testing supplies before the end of the day.

No appointment is necessary, although pre-registration for the event is encouraged by visiting https://register.covidconnect.wi.gov/. Pre-registration ensures an efficient testing process that produces faster result notification. Two people who pre-registered and tested at the Alliant Center in Madison this past week got their results the next day. Members of the Wisconsin National Guard will administer nasal swab tests and will manage the specimen samples. Those receiving tests will not be charged.

“Many people with COVID-19 symptoms have experienced challenges getting tested. We also know that not everyone who contracts this disease shows symptoms,” said Elizabeth Aldred, Health and Human Services Director. “The primary goal of our public events is to provide easy access to testing for anyone in the community.”

Student Takes Top Prize in State Research Competition

Joseph Creanza

By Alison Parkins
Associate Director of Public Relations
University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Joseph Creanza, a junior soil and crop science major at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, scored first place at the recent 2020 Student Research and Innovation Showcase for his project, “Plant Essential Oils as Natural and Safe Pesticides for the Control of Soybean White Mold Disease.” The event featured 15 students from across the UW System and was sponsored by WiSys, an independent, nonprofit organization that advances scientific research throughout the UW System by assisting with grants, patents and licensing processes. Creanza will receive a cash prize of $750.

According to Creanza’s background research, plant diseases cause up to 25% yield loss in the field, with an additional 10% post-harvest loss. While chemical application is the most common method to control plant diseases, it comes with drawbacks, including the high cost incurred by farmers on pesticide sprays, their environmental impacts and the rising threat of pesticide-resistant pathogenic strains.

While essential oils have been used for hundreds of years, they are most commonly associated with personal care or aroma therapy, but have also been used as antimicrobial agents. Creanza’s research aims to use essential oils as anti-fungal agents for the control of soybean white mold disease.

“Now is the time when sustainable ideas and innovation is really needed, and everyone is interested in the topic,” said Creanza, a native of Whitewater, Wisconsin. “People are usually surprised and interested when they hear about how essential oils can be used in sustainable plant disease management.”

Creanza focused his research on three stages: identifying the smallest concentration of essential oils that would inhibit fungal growth in culture plates, identifying the concentration of the oil with the least phytotoxicity to prevent detriment to the plant, and identifying essential oils that are highly effective in preventing and controlling the disease in plants. This work is a part of the research project funded by WiSys Technology Foundation as Applied Research Grant to Dr. Muthu Venkateshwaran, associate professor of crop physiology and molecular biology in the School of Agriculture (PI), and Dr. Raja Annamalai, associate professor of chemistry (Co-PI).

“The results have been really interesting and very encouraging, and we continue to move on with our research and hopefully develop marketable products,” said Creanza.

Creanza joined Venkateshwaran’s research group as freshman in fall 2018. Since then, he has been working on multiple research projects studying plant-microbe symbioses. His involvement in this most recent research project on sustainable plant disease management is part of UW-Platteville’s Summer Undergraduate Scholars Program, which offers students the opportunity to spend the summer engaged in research in their area of interest while mentored by a faculty member. Through the program, he has been able to work 40 hours a week in the lab, and said this hands-on experience is crucial in order to pursue graduate school, which he hopes to do in the area of plant breeding and biotechnology.

In addition to gaining this important research experience, Creanza said the project, and potential results, have a personal value to him as well.

“My inspiration for going into soil and crop science came from a lifetime of growing up on my family farm and working alongside my parents,” said Creanza. “One of the main reasons I chose to study agriculture is so I would be able to have my community and neighbors benefit from my knowledge. I really appreciate and value those principles of the UW System and Wisconsin Idea.”

To read more about the WiSys Student Research and Innovation Showcase, and view Creanza’s presentation, visit www.wisys.org/news-media/2020-student-research-innovation-showcase-winners-announced.  

State Building Commission Approves $65 million for Key Projects, including Design of UW-W Winther Hall Addition/Renovation

MADISON – August 12 — Gov. Evers announced today that the State of Wisconsin Building Commission approved a total of approximately $65 million in key projects across the state.

“From public safety improvements and building renovations to celebrating Wisconsin’s brewing heritage at Old World Wisconsin, I am glad the Building Commission approved these critical projects today in order to invest in needed repairs and upgrades across state properties,” said Gov. Evers. 

Highlights of approvals include:
  • Release of Building Trust Funds – Planning for preliminary design of the UW-W Winther Hall addition and renovation project
  • Construction of three DNR Fire Response Ranger Station replacement projects to aid in public safety at Cornell, Gresham, and Blakc River Falls
  • Grant release for the State’s contribution to the new addition of the LaCrosse Center
  • Construction of the Old Brewery and Biergarten as the Brewing Experience building at Old World Wisconsin
  • Construction of exterior envelope repairs at Mary Ann Cofrin Hall/Wood Hall at UW-Green Bay
  • Design of the UW-Oshkosh Clow Hall renovation phase II project
  • Construction of 15 maintenance and repair projects located at various locations in 11 counties across the state for the Depts. of Administration, Corrections, Health Services, Natural Resources, State Fair Park, and the UW-System.

The Building Commission is chaired by Gov. Evers and includes the following members:

  • State Senator Janis Ringhand;
  • State Senator Jerry Petrowski;
  • State Senator Patrick Testin;
  • State Representative Jill Billings; 
  • State Representative Rob Swearingen;
  • State Representative Mark Born; and
  • Citizen member Summer Strand.

WUSD Press Release: School Board Approves Instructional Plan

WHITEWATER, WI, August 11 — At its meeting Monday night, the School Board of the Whitewater Unified School
District (WUSD) voted to approve the district’s Fall Instructional Plan. As a result, students will engage
in a combination of in-person and virtual learning starting Tuesday, September 1.
The district will begin the school school year in Phase I, which means students in grades K-5 will take
part in virtual learning with a rotating schedule of small-group in-person classes. Students in grades
6-12 will participate in an orientation-to-schools day with virtual learning follow-up instruction.
Prekindergarten students will learn in small-group in-person classes on two half-days each week.

“We are pleased to move forward with what we believe is a sound plan for approaching the upcoming
school year and all of the uncertainties associated with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on
teaching and learning,” said Dr. Caroline Pate-Hefty, WUSD District Administrator. “While we know that
not everyone will agree with every decision we make, we will continue to work to minimize risks for
students and staff while providing a high-quality educational experience to all of our students.”

The district also will offer an all-virtual option for families who cannot or do not yet feel comfortable
having their children attend school in person at this time.

To help students and families gain a greater understanding of the virtual platforms that will be used for
teaching and learning this school year, WUSD will hold training sessions on Tuesday, August 18 in the
Whitewater High School auditorium. A Seesaw training for parents of students in grades 4K-5 will start
at 6:30 p.m., while a Google Classroom training for grades 6-12 will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The district will also provide a Spanish-facilitated version of the presentations on Wednesday, August 26 at 7 p.m. in the Whitewater High School Library Media Center.

Banner note: The following fact sheet which provides an overview of the Fall Instruction Plan was referenced in the press release, though not part of it. We found it to be helpful.

Whitewater Community Development Authority Receives $250,000 for Capital Catalyst Program to Assist New Business Growth

Per a press release issued by the City of Whitewater – The Whitewater Community Development Authority (CDA) was awarded $250,000 from Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for the CDA Capital Catalyst Program.

Catalyst funds deploy capital to the new business generation. Whitewater is proud to be one of seven capital catalyst programs operating within the state of Wisconsin. With this monetary amount awarded to the CDA, Whitewater is ready and able to stimulate entrepreneurship.

“Whitewater is a great choice when choosing a location for your business,” says Whitewater Economic Development Director, Cathy Anderson. “Located near the interstate and just a short drive from major cities, along with a University in town, Whitewater has a hometown feel and the resources necessary to grow a strong and healthy business.”

Investment decisions by the CDA will focus on assistance to companies in industry sectors including but not limited to advanced manufacturing, agriculture or food processing, information systems or software, medical devices, biosciences and energy. Although these funds may not be used for investments in real estate, retail or hospitality businesses, including restaurants; Whitewater has many opportunities to put this money to great use for up and coming businesses.

Recipients are required to provide quarterly and annual reports on the number of awards made from the fund, the type and amount of each award, the recipient of each award, the level of employment, and the amount of capital investment leveraged. The City of Whitewater is ready and prepared to assist new companies to ensure these tasks are completed and the funds are put to qualified and deserving entrepreneurs.

“Whitewater is open for business and with this capital catalyst fund, we are excited to help new businesses grow in our community,” says Anderson. For more information or questions, contact Cathy Anderson, Economic Development Director at 262-473-0148 or CAnderson@whitewater-wi.gov.

The City of Whitewater provides efficient and high-quality services which support living, learning, playing and working in an exceptional community. Visit www.whitewater-wi.gov for community information and updates.

Supreme Court Case Spurs Sign Ordinance Update

by Lisa Dawsey Smith, Whitewater Banner Staff

In a roughly 90 minute long regular meeting, Whitewater’s Plan and Architectural Review Commission undertook what was described as a work session to review and discuss a proposed rewrite to the City’s sign ordinance. Background included reference to a Supreme Court case found here that debated and rendered decision about the legality of regulating the content of signs. Businesses or community members wishing to view the draft ordinance can find that here as one of the supporting documents for the meeting’s agenda. Those also wishing to view the entirety of the meeting can find that posted to the city’s Vimeo account here when it has been uploaded. The next regular meeting of the Plan and Architectural Review Commission is scheduled for September 14th at 6 pm and is expected to be a virtual meeting.

Also discussed with no action taken was an application for a driveway expansion for a residence located on Clay Street. That item is also expected to return for the September meeting.

Local Republican Vote Favors Fitzgerald to Replace Sensenbrenner by Nearly 3:1; Democrats Turn Out Strongly In Spite of No Competitive Race

Results of the August 11, 2020 state primary election

Walworth CountyJefferson CountyTotal
No preference581270

Rep in Congress /Dist 5 (R)Walworth CountyJefferson CountyTotal
Scott Fitzgerald26642308
Cliff DeTemple9711108
Rep in Congress / Dist 5 (D)Walworth CountyJefferson CountyTotal
Tom Palzewicz55587642
Assembly Rep / Dist 43Walworth CountyJefferson CountyTotal
Don Vruwink (D)55785642
Beth Drew (R) 29945344
Walworth County races
Reg of Deeds (D)Cairie Virrueta482
Reg of Deeds (R) Michele Jacobs 317
District Attny (R)Zeke Wiedenfeld316
County Clerk (R)Kim Bushey321
Treasurer (R) Valerie Etzel314
Jefferson County races
District Attny (D)Monica J. Hall85
County Clerk (R)Audrey McGraw44
Treasurer (R)John E. Jensen44
Reg of Deeds (R)Staci M. Hoffman 44

Downtown Whitewater, Inc. and the Classroom to Community Connection

Submitted by Rob Boostrom, Board Vice President for Downtown Whitewater, Inc. and Associate Professor of Marketing for UW-Whitewater

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is obviously a big part of our community. Yet, often, it seems that the students don’t see much of the town and sometimes don’t feel like they’re part of it. To help bridge the gap between the students and the town, Downtown Whitewater is beginning its Classroom to Community Connection program.

To be sure, this isn’t the only effort in this area. The university’s own Community-Based Learning (CBL) program has been guiding faculty and staff to create really wonderful programs to meet the needs of area businesses and organizations for a while now. They offer many tools for connecting students to community members and Downtown Whitewater, Inc. continues to be a proud partner with this program. You can find out more here: https://www.uww.edu/ce/cbl.

That said, we feel there are two ways that Downtown Whitewater might help facilitate additional connection. First, we want to continue working with businesses and organizations to connect them to opportunities to work with students via the CBL program. We hope to act as a kind of matchmaker for organizations and instructors who want to take part in that process. Second, some instructors might be interested in trying something less comprehensive than the CBL process. We would like to help those instructors find community partners that might add to the classroom environment in a smaller way.

As such, we are now asking businesses and non-profit organizations to describe up to three different problems that might be addressed in some way by student projects. These should be projects which require the application of some expertise and the output would be some kind of strategic plan, tactical recommendations, or creative work. The problem doesn’t need to be extremely specific or lengthy but should communicate the expected area of expertise that will need to be applied.

For businesses or organizations who are just interested in connecting to students, your problem or interest area might be hypothetical. Consider asking a radical question about how something could be promoted or how a resource might be applied. This can be a way to either get help with a real problem or just connect to students from a particular class in a new way to raise awareness.

We are also asking instructors to provide a brief description of the kind of inputs you’d need (like participation of the business owner) and the outputs a client might expect (such as a plan, presentation, or creative materials). Descriptions generally would only need to be a few sentences long to communicate the basics of what is required.

For businesses, organizations, or instructors that would like to find a partner, please contact Downtown Whitewater’s President, Lisa Dawsey Smith, at ldawsey06@gmail.com. Provide either the description of what you’d like a class to help you with, or if you’re an instructor, the description of what you’d need from a partner and what you’d provide. We’ll be collecting these until August 20th. We plan to have all match suggestions sent out by August 28th.

School Board Extends Initial Reopening Plan to Sept. 25; Tentatively Plans to Resume In-Person Instruction on Sept. 28 (Revised and updated)

By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner staff

In a 3 hour meeting on August 10, the Whitewater Unified School District School Board extended the reopening plan that it approved in its July 27 meeting for another two weeks, ending on September 25. The motion was passed 6-1, with Jennifer Kienbaum dissenting. Under the plan, 1/4 of the elementary students will each attend in-person learning with cohorts of four to eight students on the days of Tuesday – Friday from 12:30 – 3:00 p.m. 4K students will be in school two mornings or afternoons per week. Middle School and High School students will only attend a single orientation session during the first week of September, and then be online for the rest of the month. Special arrangements will be made as needed for ELL students, those who are at risk, and those who are unengaged by online learning. 

The board also voted that at a special meeting on September 14, depending upon the status of COVID in the area and the schools, they hope to affirm that the schools will be returning to fulltime in-person instruction as of September 28. (Note: the Banner story initially said “regular meeting.”)

Before making the decision, the board heard from the epidemiologist with the Jefferson County Health Department, who explained his rationale in recommending that school districts not return to in-person education until the 14-day positivity rate of COVID-19 testing is below 8%. Pam Streich, Educational Consultant with Jefferson County, clarified that the county does not have the authority to close a school; they may only make recommendations. They look at not only the positivity rate, but also the hospitalization rate, the community spread, whether the trend is up or down, and other factors. District Administrator Caroline Pate-Hefty indicated that the district is computing a positivity rate that utilizes the rates for Jefferson, Rock, and Walworth counties, adjusted for the percentage of the students who reside in each of the counties. That rate is currently 8.2%.

Dr. Pate-Hefty indicated that 658 students have registered thus far, out of an expected enrollment of approximately 1900. 22% of the enrollments have selected the virtual model. Parents will be able to change the model of choice for their student(s) at the end of each quarter of the school year.

The board adopted a policy that any students who are exempt from the requirement to wear a face mask will be encouraged to wear a face shield. (Note: the Banner story initially said “required.”) Members also voted to utilitze as a guiding document the Jefferson County Health Department metrix, retitled the “Jefferson Health Department Reopening County Schools and Addressing the Spread of COVID-19” plan which was just released on August 10.