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Monday, January 23, 2006

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By Anne Serpe: Pay close attention

Dear Editor:
I am writing at this time to encourage all residents of Walworth County to pay close attention to the decisions and actions of the Walworth County Board and to require their elected supervisors to be accountable for the actions that are taken.

I initially became interested in the actions of the board when the director of Health and Human Services chose to cut funding to a program offering academic and counseling support to students who are expelled from schools in the county. After attending several county board and health and human service committee meetings, I became aware that services to many of the more needy of the county were being discontinued without any effort made to assess the needs or evaluate the services provided.

I witnessed the actions of 21 of 25 county supervisors as they accepted these cuts without question or response to the appeals of many residents attending the meeting.

A resident and taxpayer could look at this and applaud the actions of the board in that $2.2 million was cut from health and human service and analysis shows a net decrease of 35 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation.

This decrease was possible even though county board members voted themselves a 10 percent pay increase and the chairperson was awarded an almost 50 percent increase. Cuts in the budgets of human services and the sheriff’s department budget have made possible extravagant building programs and state-of-the-art facilities to be used at county board meetings. These cuts continue to support an inflated county administrator’s salary and the salaries and fringe benefits paid to 25 supervisors.

I believe that all residents should make every effort to be informed of the actions of the board and their elected supervisors. There should be some accountability for the actions taken in establishing the 2006 county budget.

Ann M. Serpe

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By Dagmar Knorr: Debate continues

To the Editor;

Dani Maculan, Walworth County’s director of Health and Human Services (HHS), claims that the press and the county board have been unfair.

The press has been more than fair to Maculan, and the majority of the board supports her rather than the well-respected, long-time employees, Walworth County residents and taxpayers who left HHS.

On Tuesday night, Jan. 10, citizens filled the chambers and overflow rooms. In spite of this crowd, letters, phone calls and 20 eloquent speakers, the board passed an amendment, 22-3 (Joe Guido, Joyce Ketchpaw and Randy Hawkins) to fully support County Administrator David Bretl and all department heads. Chairperson Ann Lohrmann made an appeal to the board to vote this way, saying that the board should not “micro-manage” departments.

She also questioned why citizens did not come forward to question the budget.
I question why so few board members listened before now.

In Walworth County the message is clear: Bretl decides what sort of a county we want. The board’s job is affirming Bretl’s decisions. If this is the case, I question spending (about) $150,000 a year to pay county supervisors on top of the extravagant salary and benefit package they pay Bretl.

Most of the supervisors—including Lohrmann—are running unopposed in April.

Anyone can run as a write-in. Supervisors can also be recalled after the election. The position taken Tuesday by all but Guido, Ketchpaw and Hawkins tells me that for most being a supervisor will be an easy job.

Listen to Bretl, vote yes and get a check for $500 a month—$1,000 if you get Lohrmann’s job.

In spite of “painful” budget decisions, most of the supervisors had no trouble voting yes for this pay raise.

Dagmar Knorr

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Friday, January 06, 2006

By Julie Rice: New Chance thanks you

Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services terminated their contract with New Chance due to budget cuts. Since then many people have offered their support through donations, our silent auction, bowling at the bowlathon, signing petitions, offering to help,writing letters or speaking to the Health and Human Service or Finance committees.

I'd like to say thank you to County Board Members Joe Schaefer, Joe Guido, Joyce Ketchpaw, Jerry Waelti, Pauline Parker and Ann Lohrmann for listening, offering words of encouragement, and providing direction. Especially to Joe Guido for filing all the necessary paperwork to try to appeal the termination of our contract.

Thank you to Judge Robert Kennedy, Dr. James Sorenson, Dr. Jerry Hawver, Dorthy Kaufmann, Hank Schmelz, Mary Abbott, Jane Simons, Jake Schlick, Chief Tim O'Neil, Jess Hahn, Ann Serpe and Dagmar Knorr for speaking at the committee meetings on behalf of New Chance.

Thank you to all the letter writers and people who made phone calls to County Board Members and Health and Human Services to support New Chance including: Dr. Vicki Loudin, Sam Romano, Joe Lynch, Dorothy Kaufmann, Ann Serpe, Heather Lawson, Stephanie Jordan, Tim Mistrioty, Mark Pienkos, Barb Shreeves, Alvia Drews, Tom Crawford, Gayle Gavin, Karly McCune, Linda Marty and Barbara Ray.

The Bowlathon and silent auction could not have been done with out the help of our bowlers and pledges and all the people who donated items for our silent auction. Thank you to Jane Simons, Lakeland Surgical Clinic, Laura Barkes, Tom, Linda and Courtney Blackwell, Nolan Stanton, De Buck Sod Farm of WI and Melissa De Buck, Mark Peinkos, Travis and Jesse Hahn, Mrs. Ivan Alder, Rob and Mae Mohr, Bob Rice, Cherie and Scott Dillner, Hank, Cara and Kenny Schmelz, Carol Blackbourn, Sue and Howard Lancaster, Dr. Anthony E. Urlakis, Lisa Dettmann, Amanda Christiansen, Alberta Knorr, Gus Knorr, Bryce Knorr with Elkhorn Commodities, Shirly and Richard Jones, Donna Rice, Kathryn Carroll, Jeanne Johnson, Carol Dinsmore, Burdick Excavating, Jeannie Heskett, Dorothy Fladten, Rockwell Delavan Fitness, James Vorpagel, Mary and Heather Faltinson, Pam Scott, Jeff Hansen, Sandy Can Galder, Gramp's Inc., Morse Auto Service, Andrea and Chris White, Mary, Steve and Jenny Abbott, Cindy Emmerson, Nancy Crispell, David Akins, Mel and Ginny Jager, Anchor Bank, Roxanne Armstrong, Sue Polzin, Melissa Folkers, Duane Warrenburg, Hogans Goat, Delavan Piggly Wiggly, Jessica Barkes, Steven Cervantes, Carrie Selusnik, Dan Brandt, Bob Beighton, Kerry Butitta, Mike Cipriano, Maxine Ellis, Deedee Murray, Delores Grover, Eunice Mc Sorley, Barbara Kobbervig, Larry Ellis, Patsy Brown, DDHS Athletic Dept., Carol Dillner, Judy Hintz, Barb Maurer, Jeff Ellis, Jamie Ellis, Sandra Thiele, Julie Thiele, Tom Thiele, Joe Manley, Janet Schmaling, Phyllis Putman, Marylou Palcic, Sue Schmaling, Pat Cordery, Chris Mohr, Grace Primesing, Juanita Sessnor, Jeannine Heskart, Heather Rockwell, Dorothy Fladten, Robert Thiele, Memories From the Heart, Linda Siert with Mary Kay Cosmetics, Hunter's Auto Service Inc., Beall Jewelers, Hair Techniques, Delavan Community Bank, New Horizon's Sports Cafe, Utiger Jewerly, The Good Company, Pesche's Greenhouse, Fantasy Hills Ranch, Grand Geneva, Wildflower Cafe, Evergreen Golf Course, Delavan Lake Resort, White Hot Yoga, Clearwater Day Spa, Four Lakes Athletic Club, Sonoma Cellars, The Perfect Portrait, Curves of Delavan, Attitudes Salon, Hernandez, Gordy's Boat House, Bradley's, Grimm's Fairy Tales Glow Mini Golf and especially Two Seasons Bowl for sponsoring the bowlathon.

A special thank you to Donna Rice, Dagmar Knorr, Ann Serpe and Teri Alder for constant support and help to keep New Chance operating; to Dick Howarth for consultation and help with legal services; to Mike Muerer for the assistance with rent; to Judge Robert Kennedy and Greg Wescott, for always being willing to do whatever it takes to provide an education for each child; to my former students Raum Di Varco for donating his own money to help us continue programming; to Jake Schlick for offering to speak at a committe meeting and doing a great job; and to Heather Lawson and Karly Mc Cune for writing letters from the heart of support for New Chance.

You are the people who give me the determination to work hard to keep New Chance going. I thank each and every one of you for all you have given! We will continue to work with local school districts to provide educational and group services for Walworth County youth.

Julie Rice
Director New Chance

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