Local Group is Forming a Save the Pool Committee for the WFAC and has a Change of Meeting Venue

Editor’s note: The following announcement was received from Jeffery Knight.

Cheri Zimdars, Guy Ledwell, Jeff Knight, and Geoff Hale are forming a Save the Pool Committee for the Whitewater Fitness and Aquatic Center (WFAC) to educate the public on its exceptional value and commitment to fitness and health in the Whitewater community.  

Take a look at the Banner’s article, “City and School District are on Different Pages as Aquatic & Fitness Center Negotiations Commence,” to understand why we are concerned about saving our beloved Whitewater Fitness and Aquatic Center. This group is hoping to expedite the completion of a new agreement, educate the public on this issue, and help in any way they can to continue its operations. 

In light of this, the Save the Pool Committee will be hosting an organizational meeting on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023 at 6 p.m. The group has changed venues for this meeting and it will now be held at the Cravath Lakefront Community Center, 341 S. Fremont Street.  Additionally, there will be “Save the Aquatic Center” signs distributed at the meeting for those interested in expressing their support.

To remain connected to the public and continue its mission, the Save the Pool Committee has created a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SavethePoolCommitteeWW/. If you wish to support this cause, the group encourages you to follow and share the Facebook page for updates and further information on this issue.

If you would like to learn more on how you can join the Save the Pool Committee, please contact Cheri Zimdarszimdars@hotmail.com/(608) 449-5150, Guy Ledwellledwellguy@gmail.com/(262) 649-7040, Jeff Knightjpk@knightpublicaffairs.com/(920) 728-0662, or Geoff Haleghale@hometops.com/(920) 723-2387.  

WHS Student Selected for WI Senate Scholar Program

Skylar Staebler

WHS student selected for the Wisconsin Senate Scholar program from the 11th Senate District

Whitewater High School is proud to announce that Skylar Staebler from Whitewater High School represented the 11th State Senate District at last week’s 2023 Wisconsin Senate Scholar program session.

One student from each of Wisconsin’s 33 Senate Districts participates in this intensive, week-long program at the State Capitol in January, February, and March sessions. Skylar, daughter of Keith and Tammy Staebler of Whitewater, participated in the March 12-17 session.

Senate Scholars with the Senate Majority Leader
Senate Scholars at the Governor’s Mansion

The Senate Scholar program has a rigorous curriculum. First, the students get to participate actively in many facets of the legislative process. Next, they meet with legislative support agencies, the Governor’s staff, a Supreme Court Justice, the media, lobbyists, and University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty members. The students then put their knowledge into action. Scholars staff the session under the direction of the Senate Sergeant at Arms’ office when the Senate is on the floor. The week’s events culminate in a Senate Scholar committee hearing on a bill that the students have drafted.

Ms. Staebler would like to thank WI State Senator Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater), his staff, and the Whitewater American Legion for supporting this outstanding program.

Skylar is an active member of the National Honor Society, the WHS Drama Club, Model United Nations, Forensics, the Kindness Club, and the Student Council. On top of this, she participates in wrestling and track. Congratulations, Skylar! We are so very proud of you!

Respectfully Submitted by Mr. Greg Stewart, Whitewater High School

Local Resident Named to Ripon College Dean’s List

Ripon College has announced its Dean’s List for the Fall 2022 semester recognizing academic excellence. To qualify for the Dean’s List at Ripon College, students must achieve a 3.40 grade point average or higher on a 4.00 scale and complete at least 12 credits of regular letter-graded works.

Heather Charter, a class of 2025 student from Whitewater, Wisconsin was named to the Fall 2022 Dean’s List. Charter is majoring in Business Management .

Ripon College, founded in 1851, prepares students of diverse interests for lives of productive, socially responsible citizenship. Ripon’s liberal arts and sciences curriculum and residential campus create an intimate learning community in which students experience a richly personalized education. In recognition of its academic excellence, the college was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 1953, placing it among a select group of the nation’s top colleges. Visit ripon.edu.

Seniors in the Park Presents Women Talking

“Women Talking”

Tuesday, March 28, 1 p.m. 

(Drama) Rated PG-13; 1 hour 44 minutes (2022)

A group of Mennonite women who have been victims of sexual assault by a sect of men in their small Bolivian colony, come together after years of silence to form a secret council to discuss their options and ultimately their decision to seek their own justice. Based on the novel, this film received Oscar nominations for Best Film and Screenplay. Its stars include Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Frances McDormand and Ben Wishhaw. .

Update: Winter Weather Warning Extended to Jefferson & Rock Counties; Shovel smart with wet snow

Update: 3/25/23 @ 12:30 a.m.: A correction has been made to reflect that NWS on Friday afternoon issued a Winter Weather WARNING (more significant than the advisory originally stated in our headline). At this time the warning has been extended to Jefferson and Rock Counties. Additionally, the probability for over 8″ of snow in Whitewater was reduced from 38% to 26%.

According to the National Weather Service Milwaukee/Sullivan Office (NWS) at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Walworth County is under a Winter Weather Warning effective from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday due to the anticipated heavy, wet snow from early Saturday morning into Saturday afternoon. The warning is also in effect for Waukesha, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties. NWS states that “the combination of the heavy, wet snow and stronger north to northwest winds will cause concerns for tree damage and power outages, especially across southeast Wisconsin. (NWS considers Whitewater to be in South Central Wisconsin.) The weather service acknowledges that, “There remains some uncertainty with the location of the higher-end snowfall amounts, as they may still shift a little to the north or south.”

Caution is advised for travel during the peak snowfall rates, mainly between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturday, especially on secondary and untreated surfaces.

NWS estimates a 54% probability that the Whitewater area will receive 6-8″ of snow, and a 26% probability of over 8″ of snow.

City and School District are on Different Pages as Aquatic & Fitness Center Negotiations Commence

By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff

The Whitewater Aquatic and Fitness Center (WAFC) has been operating for the past two years without the benefit of the necessary agreement between the City of Whitewater and the Whitewater Unified School District. The entities have recently begun the negotiation process towards executing a new agreement, but it is evident that there is quite a gulf between their starting points.

The Whitewater Aquatic Center opened in 2001 after years of planning, fundraising and tireless work by a group called SWIM (Setting Whitewater in Motion). The Whitewater Unified School District (WUSD) provided the land, the City of Whitewater provided $2,000,000 through a bond issuance, and the public contributed $3.5 million. The facility was operated by a board made up of community, school and city representatives. The city and WUSD accepted various responsibilities in an agreement with a 15 year term.

Mercy Healthcare operated the facility from 2003-2008, making a significant contribution by constructing and equipping the fitness center.

When Mercy’s agreement expired, the board resumed direct responsibility for operating the WAFC. The 15 year agreement expired in 2016, and under a new five year agreement between the city and WUSD, the City of Whitewater Parks & Recreation Board assumed responsibility for the operations. According to the city, WAFC operated at a deficit of over $400,000 from 2016-21 that was paid by the city. According to the agreement the school district was responsible for half of the deficit but has not paid its share.

The five year agreement expired in 2021. According to the city, “A new agreement was drafted, and the School Board passed a draft. The Common Council passed that draft with some minor changes. The School Board never passed a revised agreement that included the changes requested by the Council.” WAFC has operated without an agreement since 2021. Meanwhile the pandemic has presented very significant revenue and operational challenges.

In December, 2022 the Common Council began discussion regarding negotiations with WUSD for a new agreement. City staff told the council that they believe that the unsigned 2021 agreement “does not sufficiently address the annual operating costs of the facility, the School District’s $200,000 delinquent payment owed to the City or the capital costs that will be incurred in the next approximately five years necessary to keep the facility operating. The estimated costs of the renovations are HVAC $1.3 million, Pool Floor $250,000, Roof (possible) $463,000, Play Features (unknown) and Boilers $100,000.”

In January, 2023 the School Board discussed negotiation of the agreement. The board expressed positions that include (1) repairs and maintenance are the city’s responsibility and need to be made in order to move forward with negotiations/creation of a new agreement, (2) the prior deficit is not the responsibility of the district, and (3) “in order to make the necessary updates and changes to keep the Aquatic Center current and the type of facility that Whitewater wants/deserves, it is our position that we should bring this question to the public via a referendum.”

The School Board and Common Council both appointed members to serve on an ad hoc WAFC subcommittee with the purpose of negotiating a new agreement. The first meeting of that committee was held on March 2, 2023. Per the agenda, the purpose of that meeting was to receive reports about the membership, marketing, and financial status of WAFC, to hear public comments, and to establish a meeting timeline for the subcommittee. There were a number of comments from members of the public, nearly all of which spoke to the importance of WAFC to the community and supported finding a way forward. Comments that have been heard afterwards from participants include disappointment that members of the subcommittee had said almost nothing about their opinions; however, this was the first meeting of the body, and per the agenda it was not planned for committee discussion to begin yet. Instead, it was evidently envisioned that the subcommittee members of each body might initially meet separately. Future monthly meeting dates for the full subcommittee were established, with the suggestion that it would be important to finalize a new agreement by June for budgetary purposes.

The first meeting of the Common Council subcommittee was held in closed session on March 17, 2023. The School District has not yet announced if/when its subcommittee members will be meeting separately.

The entire 100 page agenda document for the March 2, 2023 full subcommittee meeting may be viewed here.

The previous Banner article regarding the negotiations dated March 1, 2023 may be viewed here.

#FlashbackFriday with the Historical Society: 1916 Women’s Basketball Champions

It’s time once again for #FlashbackFriday with the Whitewater Historical Society.

And, once again it’s March Madness so we could not resist another vintage basketball photo from our collections.

This great image shows a girls or women’s basketball team from 1916 with the basketball marked as “Champions.” It is not clear if this was a high school or normal school team, but printed on the shoes of the women is “Whitewater 1916.” And, while the emphasis right now is on the men’s action, we love to show how women, even in the past, have had a love for the game as much as men and boys do. In fact, since title IX in the 1970s, the support for girl’s and women’s basketball has grown to be almost as popular as men’s. Another plug for women’s history month!

Join us next week for more from the Whitewater Historical Society.

(3847P, Whitewater Historical Society)

Obituary: Kathleen Rogers Lundin, 87, of Sanibel Island, FL

Kathleen Lundin (nee Rogers), co-author of several business books with her late husband, Dr. William H. Lundin, passed away on March 19, 2023, after a multi-year battle with a series of debilitating physical problems and illnesses. Her family serenaded her with a live rendition of “I’ll take you home again Kathleen,” by her bedside as she was passing. The Sanibel Island resident was 87 years old.

Known as Kathy, she was the daughter of Chicago residents Stanley and Rosemary Rogers, who both worked multiple jobs to raise their family of two daughters through the depression. Kathleen attended St. Alphonse’s High School in Chicago, then enrolled in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She met her husband Bill, a psychoanalyst with a budding practice, and worked as his secretary before marrying him in 1958. Bill was a decorated WWII combat medic and former POW, which sparked Kathy’s lifelong interest in survival instincts.

Bill and Kathy raised their children in the Streeterville area in downtown Chicago, before buying an unfinished school of Frank Lloyd Wright home in Kettle Moraine, Wisconsin and relocating. They embraced the beauty of the area, with Kathy researching and writing the first official history of the nature district in which they resided. She taught her children the varied arts of self-resilience in a remote area, focusing on mastering nature and being self-directed and goal driven. These values kept her alive throughout her long and debilitating final days.

As their children left home, Kathy focused on real estate development, at one point managing several properties in Chicago, Madison, WI and Sanibel Island. Bill and Kathy had purchased a five-acre parcel from the Starling family in the late 1960’s and developed them with the aid of island naturalist George Campbell, author of “The Nature of Things on Sanibel.” Bill and Kathy migrated to the island permanently in the 1980’s, which became their base for international travel and art collecting. Bill applied his many years of consulting experience to their first book, “The Healing Manager.” Over the course of the next decade and a half they penned several more business books, their most famous being “When Smart People Work for Dumb Bosses.”

When Bill passed away in 2000, Kathy immersed herself in the community of the island, working at CROW, and planning for a book based on interviews with POW’s. She is survived by four children, Steven (Candace), Carey (Mark), Leslie (Grant), and Lauren (Dan) and seven grandchildren.

Kathleen will be interred with Bill at Arlington National Cemetery, where a memorial service will be held this summer.

Whitewater Cinemas to Premiere Animated Film Directed by WHS Alumnus

Michael Hilliger, WHS ’17, invites readers to the premiere of his independently made animated short, “Marcus The Teenager’s Never-Ending Quest for Popularity.” Michael says it’s, “The goofy film I’ve been crafting for 2 years! 10 Minutes of Funny Animation! Stellar Voice Acting! An original score! A jazz piece with real players! Test audiences seem to love it!”

The event:

On Monday, March 27, doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door. Michael will be there to answer questions after the film and talk about how he created the short, so be sure to bring your questions. Merchandise and concessions will be available for purchase.

The plot:

A neurotic teen named Marcus desperately tries to improve his social standing through short-term “quests for popularity,” which often succeed (and backfire) in delightfully unexpected ways.

The creator:

Michael Hilliger is a lifelong creator of entertainment media specializing in animation. He was an animator on Amazon Prime’s “The Boys” and other animated shows since his graduation from Whitewater High School in 2017.

We are so excited to be hosting this premiere right here in Whitewater! MARCUS your calendars, we’ll see you on March 27th!