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Blanchard leaves mark with parks
Brd prsdn spsdwn fr 27 yrs
Unifed Newspaper Group
The longtime presidentof the Oregon Park Board isstepping down after some-thing like 27 years on theboard.Jon Blanchard can’t sayfor sure how long he’s servedon the board, but 27 years ishis best estimate.“There doesn’t seem to bea record of it,” he said.“It’s just a lot of yearsdoing it, and I’m feeling alittle bit of burn out,” he saidin explaining why he’s leav-ing the board now. “I’ll letsomeone else take the reins.“We have a lot of goodpeople on the board now,” headded. “It’s been fun, and Ienjoyed it. I’ve seen a lot of changes.”Blanchard and his wifemoved here in 1984 andraised three children.He initially got involvedwith the Park Board when hewas a member of the OregonJaycees.The organization hadraised lots of money forparks, especially JayceePark, and had a representa-tive on the Park Board.“The person that was doingit aged out of the Jaycees,”Blanchard recalled. “Theywere looking for somebodyto replace him, and I thoughtit sounded interesting so Ithought I’d do it for a coupleyears.”Twenty-seven years and12 additional parks later,Blanchard has decided it’stime for a change.He said the world hasbecome more complicatedthan when he joined theboard around 1987.The Park Board used toprepare the village’s park plan itself, as well as apply-ing for grants and other fund-ing sources. Now the villageuses a professional planningconsultant for those things.The parks themselves havealso changed. Most parks nolonger usethe individualsteel-struc-ture itemsthat usedto make upplaygroundequipment.Nowadays,they tend tobe a single unit with slides,monkey bars and teeter tot-ters and whatever else a com-pany can add to the mix.“They’re kind of like all-in-one structures,” Blanchardsaid. “There’s one in themiddle of Jaycee Park andone in Bethel Green Acre,which is on Burr Oak Street.We put up a shelter overthere, too.”Perhaps the single biggestcumulative accomplishmentunder Blanchard’s tenure hasbeen the 12 new parks estab-lished in the village, includinga skate park next to the tenniscourts on Oak Street.About 15 years ago, the vil-lage spent close to $100,000in electrical improvementsnear the ball diamonds byKiser Park.“We had help from thesoftball association and thechamber,” Blanchard said.“We replaced the lights atthat time, and the carnivalswere being required not to runtheir main feeder lines aboveground and so the chambergot involved and set up a boxthere for the Summer Festarea.”The Park Board also over-saw the development of sev-eral paved recreation trailsand is in the process of devel-oping Keller Alpine Mead-ows Park on the west side.Blanchard said he workedwith a total of six differentvillage presidents since he joined the Park Board.“I got along well with all of them,” he said.In interviews with the
over the years,Blanchard often stressedthat new parks being devel-oped were never at taxpayerexpense. The funds camefrom fees assessed to devel-opers, who were also usuallyrequired to dedicate land for aneighborhood park.Last year, Blanchard andthe board worked out a res-ervation system for organi-zations and individuals whowanted to reserve a park shel-ter or play area, ending whathad become a source of con-flict for park users.“In January, we lock downthe reservations for shel-ters in parks and you can’treserve them for one year tothe next,” he explained.“We have the differententities come to our Januarymeeting and compare theirschedules for the year andwork out any differences.After that they make theirreservations to reserve shel-ters, and now they can actu-ally reserve them through theschool district.“We do that at the end of January, and after Januaryit’s open to the public.”With nearly three decadesof experience dealing withlocal parks, Blanchard jokedthat he could probably begina second career as a munici-pal parks consultant.But all joking aside, he’sproud of the contributionshe’s made in Oregon.“It definitely was time wellspent,” he said, “and I think I’ve added something to thevillage.”
Community parksdeveloped while JonBlanchard served asPark Board president:Merry Hill, RusticVineyards, Thompson,High Meadows,Hawthorne Estates,Bergamont, StoneRidge, Keller AlpineMeadows, Windcrest,Meadow View, Liberty,Forest View.
New warden (again) at Oakhill Prison
Forthe sec-ond timein fourmonths,a newwardenhas beenappointedto leadOakhill Correctional Insti-tution.On April 7, WisconsinDepartment of CorrectionsSecretary Ed Wall appoint-ed Daniel A. Westfield tolead the minimum-securityprison with roughly 700inmates located at 5212County Highway M inFitchburg, about a milenorth of Oregon.Westfield succeeds JohnPaquin, who took over aswarden last December.Paquin transferred fromOakhill April 7 to becomeassistant administratorof the Division of AdultInstitutions, according toa news release. He hadserved as Oakhill’s wardensince Dec. 4.Paquin had succeededDeirdre Morgan, wholeft Oakhill last Septem-ber after eight years asits warden. Morgan wasappointed deputy secretaryof the DOC on Oct. 29.Westfield’s most recent job within DOC was assecurity chief for theDivision of Adult Institu-tions. Prior to that, he hadworked in Dodge, Colum-bia, Waupun, Oshkoshand Fox Lake correctionalinstitutions between 1981and 2005, according to aseparate news release.
Information taken from thelog book at the Oregon PoliceDepartment.
Police cited a33-year-old Madison manwith first offense of drunkendriving on the 900 block ofJanesville Street.
Local police werecalled to assist a Dane CountySheriff’s Office deputy on thearrest of a 21-year-old manfor a previous offense on the300 block of Concord Drive.The man fled through a backwindow but was arrested aftera short foot pursuit.
– Seth Jovaag