WHS Players Presents Beauty & the Beast – Thurs. – Sun.

There’s no better way to start the holiday season than by taking in a performance of the Whitewater High School Players production of the beloved Disney classic, “Beauty and the Beast,” that showcases the talents of nearly 70 actors, stage crew members, and musicians. 

Jim McCulloch and Liz Elliot serve as Directors, Kat Dunham is the Scenery Construction Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Theatre major Taytum Adkins is the Choreographer, and Justin Kamp is Conductor of the pit band.

Performances in the Whitewater High School Auditorium will be Nov. 17, 18, and 19 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 19 and 20 at 2:00 p.m.

General admission tickets ($7 for students and $10 for adults) can be reserved by calling 262-472-8178 or in person at the Book Teller in downtown Whitewater.  Tickets also are available an hour before the performances.

“Beauty and the Beast” tells the story of a “beast” who captures a young woman, Belle, in an attempt to gain her love, so he can shed his monstrous form. It’s filled with lovable characters and singalong songs.

“Beauty and the Beast” (“La Belle et la Bête”) was written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in “La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins” (“The Young American and Marine Tales”).  It has been prominent in books, on the stage, and in movies ever since.

About thirty minutes before the curtain rises, there will be a “pre-show” of Tom Ganser’s photos from WHS Players productions of “The Little Mermaid” (2019), “Summer Shorts” (2021), and “Footloose” (2021).

In addition to the regular performances, there will be a special “Be Our Guest” Tea Party on November 19th at 12:30 p.m.  Come dressed as your favorite Disney character, enjoy some sweets and treats in the enchanted castle, get your picture taken with some of the cast, and take home a souvenir teacup. Tickets are $10 per child. Adult chaperones are free. Seating is limited and reservations for this event are required by calling 262-472-8178.

This production of “Beauty and the Beast” will participate in the Madison Overture Center’s Jerry Awards program that encourages, recognizes, and honors excellence in high school musical theater.

Hayleigh Pond is an 8th grader at Whitewater Middle School and takes to the stage as a villager and as a piece of silverware in “Be Our Guest.”  She said, “Even a spoon is important, so that means even if you are not popular or known, you are still a big part of life.”

Skylar Staebler, a senior at WHS, has been in many productions throughout her years in Whitewater.  In “Beauty and the Beast,” she takes on one of the leading roles as Belle.

“I love the resilience and strong, independent nature of Belle. I am a very independent person and think that I can connect well to Belle’s standards. I am not as proper or ‘princess’ like Belle, but I think my hard work and love of stories make up for it. I often find myself daydreaming and living in the world of music like Belle’s love of books.”

Staebler concludes, “I’ve truly loved bringing the world of Belle to life and can’t wait for an audience to see all the hard work the cast and crew have done.”

Joshua Kirley, also a WHS senior who has been in many theatrical productions, is cast in a leading role as the Beast.  He shared that a challenge for him as the Beast is “portraying my emotions in the songs I sing.”

Asked to compare the Beast to a flavor of ice cream, Kirley said, “I think that Rocky Road suits the Beast, because he’s mean at first but as soon as you get to know him you’ll learn to love him.”

Seniors in the Park Presents Elvis


Tuesday, September 27, 1 p.m. 


Rated PG-13; 2 hours, 39 minutes (2022)

The life of music icon Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), his relationship with manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), and Elvis’ love affair with eventual wife, Priscilla. 

Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin awards more than $500,000 for projects involving 10 UW institutions

Editor’s Note: The following was received from the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin.

In its latest round of funding, the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin has awarded $544,541 for eight projects that will increase research and student training collaborations among 10 UW System universities.

Students will be involved in projects and programs that include expansion of the Wisconsin Agriculture-Water Nexus Network, summer field experiences in western and central Wisconsin, lab and field training in water quality techniques, examination of the economic impact of recreational and commercial fishing, monitoring of the Red Cedar Basin watershed and expansion of the Innovative Weather program.

“Our latest funded projects will create new collaborations and strengthen existing partnerships among the UW institutions and external partners that will further enhance the student experience and prepare undergraduates for careers in Wisconsin’s workforce,” said Marissa Jablonski, executive director for the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. “We were very pleased that many of the projects will involve students, faculty and staff at multiple universities.”

Freshwater Collaborative funding to date has been awarded to UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, UW-Superior and UW-Whitewater.

Grant descriptions for the latest funded projects are available at https://freshwater.wisconsin.edu/funded-projects-august-2022/

The funding is part of a statewide initiative, backed by the Wisconsin State Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers, to tackle Wisconsin’s grand water challenges and support curriculum development, undergraduate research opportunities, career development and field training experiences for students interested in studying water-related fields at the 13 UW universities.

Startup funding for the Freshwater Collaborative was provided in 2019 by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the UW System. In July 2021, the state legislature and Gov. Evers approved $5 million in the biennial budget to expand the collaborative’s ability to train water professionals and establish Wisconsin as a leader in water-related science and economic growth. The Freshwater Collaborative awarded $3.42 million in March 2022.

Whitewater FFA Officer Camp- Adventure of a Lifetime

Editor’s Note: The following was submitted by Whitewater High School FFA Reporter Katie Gillette.

On Wednesday, July 20th, the Whitewater FFA officers united together at Whitewater High School to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. We departed from Madison Airport and made our way to Denver, Colorado. We arrived at our lodge in Estes Park and were greeted with the amazing Colorado scenery. We knew we were in for a treat when just a half mile away we saw 50+ elk. Thursday, July 21st, we made our way to Rocky Mountain National Park. Our officer team hiked the Emerald Lake trail, which took us about 4 miles and 700 feet in elevation. It was hard to keep moving, as the views were breathtaking. Every step we took looked like a postcard. Later that evening we returned to the lodge to prepare for the upcoming year and events. Friday, July 22nd, our officer team loaded up and traveled to Fort Collins, Colorado. We arrived at “Moutain Whitewater.”

Whitewater FFA Officer team enjoying the beautiful views in Estes Park, Colorado.”

After having lunch and a short safety lesson, we kicked off our Whitewater rafting adventure. We assembled in our rafts and started our voyage. The views were incredible. Along the journey, we spotted many species of wildlife, including rocky mountain goats gazing down at us from a small cliff. Whitewater rafting was an absolute thrill for everyone. Saturday, July 23rd, started at 4:30 A.M. We re-entered Rocky Moutain National Park, hoping to see a moose. Though we were unsuccessful the views once again did not disappoint. Later that morning we set off for Cheyenne, Wyoming, to see the opening of Cheyenne Frontier Days. The rodeo was full of excitement and suspense.

The night was followed by a great performance from Dierks Bentley. Sunday, July 24th, our team finished its annual planning for the upcoming year. We all enjoyed some leisure and bonding time. Later that afternoon we headed into town for some shopping and tourist attractions. Monday, July 25th, we packed up our bags and said goodbye to Estes Park. We traveled to Denver once again and before we knew it we were back in Wisconsin.

Whitewater FFA Officer team enjoying the beautiful views at Emerald Lake Trail in Rocky Moutain National Park. Left to Right: (President) Heidi Sherman, (Secretary) Emily Schmidt, (Reporter) Katie Gillette, (Vice President) Eloise Rohloff, (Treasurer) Owen Heussner,(Sentinel) Sterling Truesdale, (FFA Advisor) Paul Majors

Our trip could not have been possible without the following people: FFA Advisor Paul Majors, FFA Alumni, and Donna Sherman.

We would also like to give an extra thank you to the FFA Alumni and Donna Sherman for their donations and funds for our trip and other events throughout the year.

Whitewater FFA Officer Team at Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Job Services Help Desk at the Library

Amanda Abbott, of the Walworth County Job Center, said, “Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA), we can assist eligible individuals in career planning, paying for school, and arranging apprenticeships and work experiences. Even more so, we have funding for supportive services to assist in breaking down the barriers that have kept individuals from getting the job or education that they desire. Most people do not know that these services are available in Walworth County, and we really want to spread the word. In addition, most people don’t know about the assistance available to them just by coming into the Job Center. That being said, we are hoping that in collaboration with local libraries, we can spread the word.”

UW-W Related Tax Exemption Relief Funding Unchanged for a Decade / Lost Tax Estimates Grow by 74%

By Al Stanek
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff

A state agency report indicates that, if trends continue, a significant increase in the cost of improved Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the city of Whitewater will not result in a sharing of the increased costs by the state on behalf of UW-Whitewater.

A recent ‘Banner’ article highlighted the fact that the increased costs for needed improvements in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) would likely only be absorbed by local taxpayers.

A WI Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) “Information Paper” reveals that the amount of state dollars appropriated for a state program intended to compensate cities for lost property tax revenue due to state buildings not being taxable has remained unchanged for the last decade or more while municipalities’ costs have gone up significantly.

The appropriation for the WI Municipal Services Payments (MSP) program has not changed since 2011 according to a LFB 2021 report. The LFB, which defines itself as a nonpartisan agency says “The intent of the program is to aid in the reduction of local property taxes by making an equitable contribution toward the cost of certain municipally provided services.”

A recent state report on the Municipal Services Payments (MSP) program stipulates that the city of Whitewater will receive only 38.48% of what the program estimates is a fair estimate of the total loss of tax revenue by the city because of state buildings being exempt from municipal property tax.

Whitewater is in the top 10 of Wisconsin communities regarding the annual amount of what the MSP “… calls entitlements, or the. amount of reimbursement earned by each municipality,” according to another nonpartisan group’s recent report. The WI Policy Forum, which traces its roots to what was called the WI Taxpayers Alliance, concluded that “Our analysis found municipalities’ entitlements, for which fire and police are by far the largest components, rose by more than 74% in the last decade.”

The Whitewater Common Council recently committed to having enough paid-on-premises EMS staff to have two ambulances available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Relying primarily on paid-on-call EMS staff in the past often took five minutes or more before an ambulance left the fire station according to a city news release. Often calls were ultimately referred to other agencies which created longer delays.

The city of Whitewater’s projected cost share of incorporating enhanced EMS services as a city department is estimated at $1,100,000 annually. The owner of a $200,000 home in Whitewater will need to pay an additional $105 to $134 each year in added property tax depending on their county of residence.

WFD, Inc., the previous service provider, currently contracts with area towns and those taxpayers are expected to be asked to pay higher taxes to pay for the enhanced level of EMS services. A city of Whitewater news release lists the towns of Whitewater, Cold Spring, Johnstown, Koshkonong, Lima Center and Richmond as currently under contract for fire and EMS services. Town boards in those communities will be asked to collectively increase their contribution for Fire/EMS by an estimated $370,000 per year.

The current proposal for sharing of the additional costs uses a combination of assessed property value for each unit of government and the average number of EMS calls originating from each governmental unit over a five-year time period. There appears to be no way to apply that formula for the 400-acre UW-Whitewater campus and its roughly 11,500 students.

Whitewater’s First International Children’s Day a True Celebration

Editor’s Note: The following was provided by Whitewater Unites Lives. Tom Ganser took and provided the photos.

The Starin Park Community building was full of families and fun on Saturday, April 30, International Children’s Day.  Whitewater hosted its first, free International Children’s Day event on Saturday, April 30 from noon to 4 p.m., and all children were welcome at the Starin Park Community Building and grounds.  Events included face-painting, arts and crafts, healthy snack activities, balloon art, chalk art and more.  St. Patrick Church offered food for purchase, and music featured Lincoln School’s 5th Grade World Drumming Ensemble, 12-year-old Alondra Valadez, and Marco Wence.

Photo by Tom Ganser

Sponsors and/or partners of the Children’s International Day included the City of Whitewater, The Health Promoters, Kiwanis Whitewater Breakfast Club, The Tree House Child and Family Center, UW-Whitewater Spanish Club, Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services, Whitewater Unified School District, Whitewater Unites Lives, Mexican Consulate of Milwaukee, Urban Forestry Commission, and Working for Whitewater’s Wellness – W3.

Miguel Aranda, Chair of the Children’s International Day, said, “Everywhere I looked children were smiling and enjoying the activities.  The weather outside did not hamper the great fun inside.  With an estimate of 200 attendees, many thanks to our community for celebrating all children on this wonderful day.”   

Photo of Lincoln World Drumming by Tom Ganser

Plans are already underway for International Children’s Day in 2023.

In 1925, International Children’s Day was first proclaimed in Geneva during the World Conference on Child Welfare. The represented countries recognized that “mankind owes to the Child the best that it has to give.”  Specific goals focused on increasing childhood access to quality education, decreasing unethical child labor practices, and lifting children out of poverty. International Children’s Day is celebrated on different days depending on the country – some dates include June 1st or November 20th. In many Latin American countries, the special day is celebrated on April 30th. 

Photo by Tom Ganser

Children’s Day is celebrated similar to Mother’s or Father’s Day. In some countries, teachers suspend lessons and it becomes a day for children to have fun with activities during school and afterwards with their parents. A day the community, from businesses to governments, comes together to advocate for and champion the rights of children and to celebrate the joy they bring to the world.

Photo by Tom Ganser.
Photo by Tom Ganser
Photo by Tom Ganser
Photo by Tom Ganser
Photo by Tom Ganser
Photo of Alondra Valadez by Tom Ganser
Photo by Tom Ganser

Janesville City Mgr. & Fort School District Bus. Svces. Dir. Among Candidates for UW-W Vice Chancellor Position

According to a May 12 UW-Whitewater campus announcement, four finalists have been selected for the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs position currently being staffed on an interim basis by Jeff Arnold. The candidates are Jason Demerath, Director of Business Services for the School District of Fort Atkinson; Mark Freitag, City Manager of the City of Janesville; Brant Wright, SVP for Administration and Finance and Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management at Piedmont University; and Brenda Jones, Vice President of Financial Affairs, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

Public forums with the candidates will take place between May 17 and 24. Further information on the candidates and the selection process may be found at https://www.uww.edu/administrative-affairs-search

Whitewater VFW Post 5470 Pursuing Project to Save Local Historic Building

Editor’s Note: The following was provided by Whitewater VFW Post 5470.

The Whitewater VFW post has long been without a permanent home. For many years, the local VFW partnered with American Legion Post 173, hosting meetings in the old Legion Hall on Wisconsin St. until it was sold to be converted into senior housing in 2019. Since then, the VFW Post has held meetings in local businesses, Post members’ homes, and most recently partnered with the Whitewater Lions Club to host meetings in their Whitewater Lake clubhouse.

“While we appreciate the partnerships and support of the Legion, Lions Club, and community over the years, Whitewater is in need of a dedicated space to serve Veterans’ needs” said Post Commander Jason Dean. “With the university here, Whitewater is a place where many Veterans come as they transition out of the military and back into civilian life. We need a space for the Veteran Community to call home.”

A prominent local building, on the corner of Janesville St. and Walworth Ave. has been left vacant, and in need of major renovations for the past several years. “This building would make an ideal Veterans Center for the City of Whitewater,” said post member Curtis Lemke. “It is a local landmark, and it would be a shame for it to continue to sit empty.” The Whitewater VFW post recently re-established a committee founded to fund local Veterans building projects.

The Post 5470 Buildings and Memorials Committee was originally established to finance the Memorial along the Main Street bridge in downtown Whitewater. They now seek to raise funds to purchase and renovate the Janesville St. building. “A Veterans Center would serve as the heart of the Whitewater Veteran community. More than a place to hold meetings, the building will be a hub for connecting resources and engaging with Veterans and the community,” stated Commander Dean.

The Janesville St. building was built in 1860, placing it among the oldest buildings in Whitewater. The committee’s goal is to raise $500,000 to purchase and renovate the building, preserve the historic exterior and incorporate modern amenities creating a versatile space for Veterans and the community.

If you wish to contribute to the building fund, checks may be mailed to VFW Post 5470, PO Box 426, Whitewater, WI 53190, or by contacting committee chairman Curtis Lemke at JVC@VFW5470.org. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Veterans of Foreign Wars is a Congressionally chartered 501(c)19 non-profit organization, Whitewater post 5470 has been in existence since 1947.

This Week’s City & School Board Meetings

City of Whitewater Urban Forestry Commission – Monday @ 4:30 p.m.

Agenda https://www.whitewater-wi.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03282022-1503

In Person and Virtual
Community Room – 1st Floor – 312 W. Whitewater St., Whitewater, WI 53190

Please join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
You can also dial in using your phone.


Access code 724-713-501


Downtown Whitewater Board of Directors Meeting – Monday @ 6:00 p.m.

Agenda https://www.whitewater-wi.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03282022-1504
Downtown Whitewater is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Join Zoom Meeting

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Meeting ID: 883 3436 4279 Passcode: 193245


Whitewater Unified School District School Board – Monday @ 6:00 p.m.
Whitewater High School Library
534 South Elizabeth Street, Whitewater, Wisconsin

https://go.boarddocs.com/wi/wwusd/Board.nsf/public (Click on meetings in upper right corner)
6:00 p.m. via Zoom Online
– URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87568950772?pwd=TUZYRHVSVDRTeFBLWFZCNG16Q29WQT09
– Password: 585258
– Dial-in: 1-312-626-6799
– Webinar ID: 875 6895 0772
– Passcode: 585258
Closed Session
7:00 p.m. via Zoom Online
– URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85117432233?pwd=TlFpaTFNcnlUamFzSDhMY0ZWczQrdz09
– Passcode: 038241
– Dial-in: 1-312-626-6799
– Webinar ID: 851 1743 2233
– Passcode: 038241


City of Whitewater Community Involvement & Cable TV Commission – Tuesday @ 6:00 PM

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone


You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (571) 317-3122 Access Code: 779-618-325