February 20, 2014
The Verona PressConnectVerona.com
City of Verona
Water utility asks customers to monitor water pipes
With the subzero tem-peratures this winter, the City of Verona Water Utility is requesting that all customers immedi-ately begin monitoring the temperature of the water entering their homes and businesses. “This winter’s abnor-mally cold weather has driven the frost to unusual depths, and it is possible that water service pipes may freeze,” the city said in a news release.Residents should take temperature readings at a cold water faucet clos-est to their water meter. Readings should be taken for 30 seconds while the cold water is flowing. If the reading is below 35 degrees, residents should call the water utility at 845-6695.The city said that cus-tomers who don’t use a lot of water are at risk for fro-zen pipes.“This includes cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets,” the city said. “Also, if you are planning on an extend-ed vacation resulting in little water consumption, we recommend that you contact the Water Utility.”In order to keep pipes from freezing, customer might have to run water continually in a pencil-sized stream. Customers won’t be charged for the additional water usage.
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School’s not out
Employees from the city’s public works department prepare to dig to a water main that broke outside Verona Area High School’s K-wing on Friday morning. School continued on as normal, however, with workers digging up an extra route into the back of the school building so students could avoid all the new ice. The K-Wing houses the Exploration Academy and a number of high school classes.Exploration Academy director Mike Murphy said water was restored by noon, so the only disruption to the day was students and staff hav-ing to use bathrooms in the main building for the morning.
Verona Area School District
Graduation requirements changing to match state
Board also adjusts hiring policies
Uniﬁed Newspaper Group
The Verona Area School Board is consider-ing changing graduation requirements for the dis-trict’s high school to come in line with state require-ments.Recent changes to state law require three science and three mathematics credits to graduate from high school, while the cur-rent VASD policy only requires two for each sub- ject.The change would not affect students graduating in 2014-16, but begin with the current freshman class.VASD director of instruction Donna Behn said more than 85 per-cent of students already complete the new level of requirements, so they do not expect it to have major impact.The total number of credits required also would also rise from 22.5 to 23.5, with the required elective credits dropping from 9.5 to 8.5.
The board also discussed at its Monday meeting a change to the staff recruit-ment and hiring policy aimed to “get a diverse pool of qualified candi-dates,” VASD director of human resources Jason Olson told the board.“We’re just trying to broaden our tool kit,” he said.The changes would authorize district admin-istrators to use a set of recruitment and retention programs, including high school or college scholar-ships, signing and/or reten-tion bonuses, loan forgive-ness programs and par-tially or fully paid teacher certification programs for VASD support staff.Several board members questioned one of the sug-gestions, giving adminis-trators the option to waive posting requirements for jobs. Olson described a hypo-thetical situation in which a job would be posted soon but he meets a “superstar” candidate at a job fair and would like to discuss it with the candidate there.“We wouldn’t envision this being an often used tool,” superintendent Dean Gorrell said. “If we don’t have a full toolkit, that’ll put us at a distinct disad-vantage over time relative to others that do.”The board asked Olson to report to the personnel committee any time the requirements are waived as a “check and balance,” and Olson agreed.The board will likely consider a vote on the poli-cies at its March 3 meet-ing.New Century School received the lowest, with just 10 applications for 21 open spots for incoming kindergartners.The school, which in 2010 had its char-ter changed to become a “green” charter school, focused on environmental lessons, had 21 applicants for 18 open kindergarten slots a year ago.NCS director Jim Ruder said he expects the num-ber to grow in the coming months as the school con-tinues its marketing efforts to incoming VASD parents.He said the new format of reaching out to parents, which had a DVD sent home and offered open houses at each school rather than a single mass meeting with all of the schools pres-ent, likely contributed to the low number.“We didn’t have the same traffic for the open houses,” Ruder said.If the numbers were to stay that low, he said the school would have issues with staff-ing and class size, but they won’t have to worry about that as long as the numbers come up before Sept. 1.Parents can still apply for spots at the schools as long as they are open.He said the school’s site council would meet Tues-day night to form a plan going forward.Verona Area Interna-tional School, entering its fourth year of existence and being a full K-5 school for the first time next year, received 16 applications for its 22 openings at the kindergarten level. That’s a stark contrast from last year’s 38 applications for the same number of spots.Core Knowledge Charter School, however, surpassed its number of openings by three, meaning the district will have to hold a lottery to decide which of the 43 applicants will fill the 40 open spots.Core Knowledge also received 25 applications for grades 6-7 and another 27 for grades 1-5. VAIS received two additional first-grade applicants and NCS had six additional applicants for grades 1-5.The Exploration Acad-emy, the district’s charter high school, is accepting applications through Fri-day, and plans to grow from 60 to 80 students next year, director Mike Murphy said.setup and our initial month-ly frequency, the Star will be similar to the Press and our other commu-nity weekly newspapers, the Oregon Observer and Stoughton Courier Hub. It will feature coverage of city government, business, local sports, features and upcoming events, as well as highlights of our coverage of the Verona Area School District and Oregon School District – both of which include parts of the city – with coverage of all Fitch-burg schools.The previous version of the Fitchburg Star had been published continu-ously in various forms since 1976, well before Fitchburg became a city in 1983. UNG continued to maintain its ConnectFitchburg.com web-site, and the city increased publication of its UNG-produced Fitchburg Update newsletter from quarterly to every two months. City leaders and com-munity groups approached UNG several times since 2009 about publishing a newspaper in Fitchburg, but it was not feasible until UNG proposed the elimi-nation of the Fitchburg Update, meaning the two products would not com-pete for ad revenue. The agreement, which came out of meetings between UNG general man-ager David Enstad, Mayor Shawn Pfaff, Ald. Steve Arnold and city staff, will nearly double the post-age costs to about $30,000 by making the publication monthly. Alders debated the proposal in November and included it in their 2014 budget. The city and UNG have been finalizing details of their contractual arrange-ment in recent weeks. Though the contract could be renewed for all or part of 2015, UNG plans to convert the Star into a sub-scriber-based weekly model like its other newspapers.Details of the timing and manner of that transition have yet to be determined and will depend on inter-est from potential subscrib-ers and advertisers. It’s not clear whether the paper would immediately switch to weekly publication.UNG will produce the Star using the same news-gathering staff, led by editor Jim Ferolie, but will increase coverage all around, includ-ing at local schools. Unified Newspaper Group is part of Woodward Community Media, a divi-sion of Woodward Com-munications Inc., based in Dubuque, Iowa.
Star will include coverage of Verona schools
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New Century gets only 10 kindergarten applicants
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