May 15, 2014
County announces early childhood program for Stoughton
Unified Newspaper Group
An early childhood initia-tive to promote readiness for Kindergarten will come to Stoughton.The program, a partner-ship between Dane County and United Way of Dane County, was announced in the fall as a way to close the county’s achievement gap, or the difference in test scores along racial or socio-economic lines.The “Born Learning Mobilization Plan” will focus on 13 county commu-nities, including Stoughton. United Way will contribute $1.7 million in 2014 to the program, along with around $1 million from the county for the initiative.The plan creates an “Ear-ly Childhood Zone” for those 13 areas. The Madi-son Leopold area, Verona and Sun Prairie have begun or will begin the programs in the near future as the first three communities.The most visible part of the plan is a “play and learn” for children 5-year-old and under and their caregivers. The two-hour sessions must be attended by both the child and a caregiver, at no charge.United Way director of community impact Kathy Hubbard said the sessions focus on teaching parents or caregivers how to build relationships with their children, with a focus on children from lower-income families who are often taken care of by “families, friends or neighbors” rather than in a structured daycare environment.The time includes group activities such as “circle time” as well as free time for children to play with toys, which Hubbard noted are always non-electronic and “encourage imagina-tion.”The program aims to ensure children are “cared for and have fun” as they prepare for school, United Way of Dane County presi-dent Leslie Ann Howard said at a press conference earlier this month in Vero-na.“We’ve got to impact children and their brains before the age of 3,” How-ard said. “Disparities in achievement really start early.”Howard pointed to statis-tics showing that the differ-ences for children from pro-fessional families to more financially troubled ones can be as large as having had 1,000 hours of reading experience compared to just 25 hours or a 10,000-word vocabulary versus 800 words. Those disparities can leave children already two years behind some of their peers by the age of 5, she said.The plan calls for five targeted areas to improve children’s readiness, with a goal of 80 percent of 4-year-olds at age-expected development and ready to begin school by 2020. According to United Way statistics, only 60 percent of children in the Madi-son Metropolitan School District scored “ready” for kindergarten on a screener given in 2013. The scores for African-Americans (38 percent) and Hispanic chil-dren (29 percent) were the lowest.The initiative will also aim to help parents find stable employment and pro-vide a “one-stop shop” for parents seeking help raising their young children, Unit-ed Way assistant director of community engagement Sarah Listug told the Hub.She said the next step will be to get people out into the communities to hear from parents what sup-port they need and requests for proposals in the differ-ent neighborhoods.“We’re not doing a one-size-fits-all,” Listug said, adding that parents who have ideas can call the United Way to make sug-gestions by dialing 211.The plan came out of nearly 12 months of work by the “Born Learning Del-egation,” which included more than 40 “community leaders” from around the county, and the group hopes to see continued support from around the communi-ties, including the business sector.One example of early support from the business community comes from BMO Harris Bank, which has funded “Books for Babies” bags to be distrib-uted through local hospitals to parents of newborns. The kids include books for the child, tips for parents on how to engage with their child during the first five years and a list of resources in the county.
City of Stoughton
Applications sought for EMS director
The City of Stoughton is looking for a new EMS director following the retirement of Cathy Rig-don earlier this year.The job was posted April 23 after city officials had agreed a few weeks ear-lier that the fire and EMS departments should have separate leaders.Candidates for the EMS director position need to file their application by May 22. Applicants need to have five years of expe-rience as an EMT with an “EMT-Basic IV-Tech” level of certification. Can-didates with “supervisory and budget development experience” are preferred, according to the city’s job posting.The EMS director posi-tion became vacant in early March after Rigdon retired. She has served the Stough-ton Area EMS in some capacity since 1992. The city had decided to look at the possibility of joining the EMS and fire depart-ments under one leader, but chose not to merge the departments because there were very few perceived benefits. Former SAEMS administrative assistant Lisa Schimelpfenig has served as interim director. The posted salary for the director position is $61,000 per year.Employment applica-tions and position descrip-tions are available online at www.ci.stoughton.wi.us under Employment Oppor-tunities. Applicants should return a cover letter, application and resume to the Office of the City of Stoughton, Human Resources Dept., 381 East Main Street, Stoughton, WI 53589.
– Mark Ignatowski
U N 3 4 0 5 7 4
Due to the Memorial Day holiday, the display ad deadline for the May 28, 2014 Great Dane Shopping News will be Wednesday, May 21 at 3 p.m. Classified ad deadline will be Thursday, May 22 at NoonDeadlines for the May 29, 2014 Oregon Observer, Stoughton Courier Hub and Verona Press will be Friday, May 23 at Noon
In observance of the holiday, our offices will be closed Monday, May 26.
City of Stoughton
Car lot, training center get planning commission nod
Council action needed, duplexes proposed
Unified Newspaper Group
City of Stoughton Plan-ning Commission mem-bers made quick work of a few routine approvals for several businesses Mon-day.A couple public hear-ings drew no comments and the city was able to forward recommendations of approval for a new fit-ness business, a car lot and changes to a façade on Main Street. Commission-ers also had a preliminary talk about a residential development along Hwy. B and North Page Street.
Plans to sell a few cars at an existing auto detail shop on North Page Street were recommended for council approval. Eli Pitney made the request for his business and commissioners found the conditional use would fit in the area.
The commission gave a positive recommendation for a new fitness training business operated by James Brooks in the Kegonsa Pla-za shopping center. The 1,000-square-foot business would focus on personal training, group fit-ness classes, powerlifting, boot camps and strongman training, according to docu-ments filed with the city. PRIMAL Strength and Fit-ness still needs approval of their conditional use permit by the council, but commission members had no objections to any of the business plans.
Commissioners approved plans to renovate the facade of the State Farm Insurance building at 274 E. Main Street.Changes include a new bay window on the second floor, new siding, a shake-style shingled awning and some stone veneer.Commission members approved the changes and do not need council action.
Developer AJ Arnett spoke with the commission about plans to develop a roughly 2.5-acre lot on the corner of North Page Street and County Hwy. B.The discussion was pre-liminary in order to get feedback on what sort of design and amenities com-mission members might like to see. Arnett’s ini-tial proposal called for between 10 and 15 duplex units along a private drive. He said he envisioned an affordable neighborhood where residents could own their own duplexes, typi-cally known as zero-lot-line homes. Arnett will likely bring detailed plans to the com-mission in the coming months for further review, City of Stoughton planning and development direc-tor Rodney Scheel told the commission.
Town of Rutland
Public hearing on radio tower expected
A public hearing tenta-tively set for next month will give area residents a chance to weigh in on a controversial proposal to build a 486-foot radio tower in the Town of Rutland.Tomah-based Magnum Communications wants to build the tower near Old Stage Road to service Stoughton’s first FM radio station. Town and Dane County officials denied the request in 2012, but chang-es to state law last spring opened the door for Mag-num to try again.Town officials discussed the proposal at two sepa-rate meetings last week but took no action. The pub-lic hearing is expected to be held 6:30 p.m. June 12 at the Rutland Town Hall, 785 Center Rd. A joint meeting of the town’s plan commission and board of supervisors will fol-low, said town clerk Dawn George.A separate public hear-ing was held April 29 by a Dane County committee that drew proponents and opponents of the tower. The town has 60 days from that hearing to vote on the pro-posal, though Rutland offi-cials are expected to ask for a 40-day extension beyond that, George said.
– Seth Jovaag
How to apply
Applicants should return a cover letter, application and resume to the Office of the City of Stoughton, Human Resources Dept., 381 East Main Street, Stoughton, WI 53589.More info online at ci.stoughton.wi.us under Employment Opportunities.
Born Learning Mobilization Plan
Five focuses:1. Engage, inform and support parents on being their child’s first teacher2. Focus holistic family supports on 13 neighborhoods in Dane County 3. Screen children for developmental delays and provide support for families with children showing delays4. Create a community among practitioners, case managers and resource centers that serve families with children under 55. Ensure healthcare professionals are knowledgeable about community support systems and can direct parents to them easily.