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"After all these years, still doing a great job!!" -Ron Hermanson
Phosphorus issue discussed at Village Board
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
At the Luck Village Board meeting last Wednesday the board received their annual phosphorus compliance report and there was not a lot of good news to be had.
Nutrient pollution is the process where too many nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus, are added to bodies of water and can act like fertilizer, causing excessive growth of algae.
Excessive amounts of nutrients can lead to more serious problems such as low levels of oxygen dissolved in the water.
The primary sources of nutrient pollution are: Agriculture: animal manure, excess fertilizer applied to crops and fields, and soil erosion make agriculture one of the largest sources of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the country.
However, municipalities are required to record and report the amount of phosphorus being put out through effluent from wastewater treatment plants.
About 10 years ago, the Department of Natural Resources was required to regulate the amount of phosphorus being put into the environment with the issuance of discharge permits.
Teresa Anderson of MSA was present at the meeting to share a summary of the report.
“The permits are based upon the body of water that the effluent goes into,” noted Anderson. “The good news is we have been able to reach the interim limit of four years through chemicals keeping it between 0.8 and 0.5. However, the upcoming requirements will be 0.075, there is no way that this can be done just through chemicals. Some other technologies like filters will have to be employed. The next permit cycle is 2020.”
Anderson noted that filters and other technologies can be very expensive and quite a financial hit to small villages like Luck. The price tag on filters for the village that would bring them into compliance are in the ballpark of $5 million.
“There are some options,” said Anderson. “One is an economic variance. That would be up to two percent of the median household income.”
Anderson went on to note that about 1.28 percent of the median household income would cover the projected needed upgrades. However, that would raise the costs to residents by more than 50 percent.
There is also the option of the multi discharger program. Approximately $11,000 a year would be put into a program that would reduce phosphorus in other areas within the watershed. It would cost about $14 per year, per user. At current effluent rates, the amount may only be $8,000. While this may be an idea for the way forward, the program is slated to end in 2027.
While much of the phosphorus that ends up in waterways comes from agriculture Anderson noted “They can't regulate farmers, they can regulate you.”
Costs for the current technologies may come down in the interim, however that can't be guaranteed.
In the near future, the board plans to request a meeting with a Department of Natural Resources representative to see what options may be open to the village. A DNR representative was planning to be there, however was deterred due to the weather.
April 18, 2019
Stellar report segues into epic announcement
By Lynda Berg Olds
Julianna Thompson is the student representative to the Luck Board of Education. She clearly takes her responsibility seriously as she has demonstrated time and again her comprehensive knowledge of what is going on with the kids at school. She began her report to the school board Monday night with winter sports updates.
She said the Boys Basketball team is 13-9 overall, with Conference play standings at six losses and five wins. She said the boys will be playing their first regional game Tuesday night at home against Butternut at 7 p.m.
Thompson then informed the Blizzard Hockey team has won just two of the last seven hockey games and the wrestling team has won three of their last matches, noting they have also been competing in many tournaments.
As for Girls Basketball, overall they are 8-14, with four of eight Conference wins. Thompson related that the girls season is done now. She said their first regional playoff game was up in Drummond - against the Lumber Jills. The Cardinal ladies won 50-44. The second regional playoff game was against the Frederic Vikings in Frederic and the Cardinal ladies lost 44-56.
Moving on to Clubs and Organizations, Thompson reported that Forensics had a great sub-district meet at Cumberland – and all participants moved on to the district competition in Menomonie.
“FFA officers Sierra Zuniga and Julianna Thompson went to the district speaking contest. Sierra placed sixth and Julianna placed third and received honorable mention. The middle school students created an FFA Quiz Bowl team to attend as well and they took second place and will be attending another match. The FFA Spring Fruit Sale is happening as of right now – and as last week was National FFA week, we celebrated it by selling cheese curds and milk. We also had an ice cream social set up for the staff members.”
Next, Thompson talked about FCCLA. She said they had their first competition at the regional level.
“We had 16 members attend the UW-Stout event. As of right now, we know that 12 will be going to state. Two FCCLA members went to compete the next day at UW-Stout for 'Recipe for Excellence.' During this, Rose King and Mckenna Delany made a dish using locally produced maple syrup from Morley's and pork from Van Meters. They created a maple and balsamic glazed pork chop dish. Their meal had a side of brown butter sweet potatoes, topped with apple compote, and a salad of toasted almond and cranberry couscous spread. Rose and Mckenna took first place out of nine other teams. The girls both won a $500 scholarship for UW-Stout.”
The Spanish Club has been doing many different fundraising activities, according to Thompson. She said for the last teacher in-service, they provided over 50 teachers with a meal made up of Mexican cuisine. They made cheese and beef enchiladas and tres leche pastel (three milk cake). The teachers also had lemonade and chips and salsa. The Spanish Club has also sold tacos at both the high school and middle school basketball games. For parent-teacher conferences, they will also be selling tacos and nachos, informed Thompson.
“The students involved in the National Honor Society just recently had their banquet (see separate article). They inducted 10 new members; one from the senior class, three from the junior class, and six from the sophomore class. Mr. Hinkel was the guest speaker and he delivered a great speech.”
Also noted was The Spring Show. Thompson said play practice has commenced and the performances will be March 29 and 30.
“There was an 80’s dance provided for all high school kids to attend. It was a kick-off dance to spirit week. There was a dress up challenge and two people won. Haley Hermansen won 1st place and Juliana Olave won 2nd. Many of the students that attended dressed up. This dance was hosted by parents of students and we celebrated Spirit Week Feb. 5-8. The Junior class won for their third year in a row. Seniors placed second, sophomores third and freshmen fourth. The Spirit Week planning committee brought back the “Pie game.” We made a lot of money for the spirit club account and other organizations. Miss Nelson was pied for $25 and she put it all into spirit week.”
This piece of information begs to be expanded on:
During Monday night's meeting of the Luck School Board, Lori Nelson's retirement was announced – and approved with tremendous regret and huge appreciation. Nelson has served as the Library Media Specialist and a teacher for the Luck School District for 38 years! The reason this information is being communicated here is because it is Miss Nelson's wish to keep Spirit Week going in perpetuity, as related by High School Principal Brad Werner.
“She has asked me if I would work on trying to maintain some of the things she has held near and dear, such as Spirit Week in some way, shape or form. We had a good conversation and she laughed and said, 'I'm not stupid, I know it will change, I just want to see it continue. She has actually been really great already – she actually started a couple years ago when she was out for extended medical leave. She started some lists and stuff for us of stuff that she accomplishes that we maybe don't know where they live in the Library Media Specialist position. She has continued that for this year and is hopeful that she will leave us in good hands.
One of the people we have often talked about – is when she walks out the door for the last time – we are not going to know what we are missing out on until it hits us in the face. We'll be saying, 'Well who did that?' Lori, we think. So she has been really diligent already this year even before she provided us with this letter. Her and I have chatted about it. She has 38 years of experience...”
Lori is planning on moving closer to her family and the board (and Ledger Newspapers) wholeheartedly extends their best wishes to the one, the only, Lori Nelson. Nelson has been an unparalleled resource for Ledger (Luck Enterprise) Newspapers for all of her 38 years at Luck School. Her help and knowledge when it comes to the school and its students has been invaluable and will never truly be replaceable.
School Board President Jacob Jensen stated, “So the motion has been made and seconded – and we can't talk Lori into staying for 40 years...” After the chorus of unanimous 'ayes,' the board contemplated just how long 38 years is...Nelson's final day will be June 6, at the conclusion of the school year.
Editor's note, Thompson also reported that the Disney trip for Luck music students is less than a month away and they have been busy fundraising to that end. She also discussed the Luck Winter Carnival, which was a giant success.
February 28, 2019
“We dig deeper than we used to”
By Lynda Berg Olds
The recent meeting of the Luck School Board was filled with facts and figures relating to curriculum and testing – and also the fact that Luck will be moving to trimesters from semesters, which is clearly not an easy thing to accomplish.
“The 9-12 population will have the biggest changes, related 7-12 Principal Brad Werner.
“So students should be able to get additional classes?” queried School Board member Rick Palmer.
“Yes and no,” replied Werner. “We took two periods away, but overall we should be able to get more variety. We were running eight periods of academics and we are moving to six.”
School Board member Kurt Stonesifer commented, “But it should be more effective right? Isn't that the general idea?”
“Yes, absolutely,” Werner replied.
Elementary Principal Jason Harelson gave the second of a three-part report, updating the board on academic performance...and he had some good news.
With regards to Star Reading and Star Math, he said, “Good news at a glance, we are growing just like we should. That's the whole point of these programs. So we started out the year in reading, K-three combined,we had 47.4 percent of students at or above proficiency to start the year and our mid-year check-in, our most recent round of testing, that 47.4 percent went to 62.2 percent of students reading at or above proficiency, which is fantastic.
“Same story in math, the numbers are similar, we had 43.5 percent of students at or above proficiency – and then, in our most recent round of testing that went up to 60 percent, so good news.”
School Board member Todd Roehm asked if there would be more testing then this year. That response was in the affirmative. Roehm wondered about the breakdown of where the kids were at. For instance can they look at a specific student's performance at a given picture in time. Harelson said they can indeed track the kids by grade – and Roehm asked, “What is going on in third grade?”
There was some laughter as Harelson explained there are a lot of factors going on in third grade with things that are out of our control and out of student's control.
“We've had quite a few new kids move into that group,” stated Harelson. “We've lost some and gained some – we've had quite a lot of movement in that group. That is pretty typical – that every group is totally different.”
Harelson showed the software capacity to quickly click on a student and see what different area(s) he or she might be struggling with.
“It is cliché, but every single group is wildly different.”
Harelson said the third-grade group that Roehm was speaking of was a “once in a career group” with the amount of outside pressures on the kids.
Roehm observed, “We seem to be saying that more and more as time goes on.”
Harelson went on to say that some of these “outside pressures” are easy to recognize. We've talked a lot as a district, especially us three (himself, Werner and Superintendent Cory Hinkel) about mental health issues with kids and families. It is very easy to point out the problem – and there is a lot of research coming out now and most of it is talking about being aware...and that is kind of where we are at as a society. We can be aware of it – but now what do we do about it? What can we control? What resources are there and what should we do about it? It is very easy to see a kid struggling, and we know why – because of what is going on at home, which is well out of the child's control. And we have training where we can recognize it, but you can't forgive things. Where it is easy to say, 'ah, don't worry about it. Don't worry about not handing that homework in – or we will let you slide this time...but all the research says you cannot do that. You can be sympathetic and empathetic – but you have to hold them to the same standard. I wish we could do more and I wish there were more resources...”
Roehm said, "Perhaps we should look at ourselves and our staff.”
Harelson said they do.
School Board President Jacob Jensen stated, “You brought up the fact that there are more students with home issues or mental illness – so are there more families with struggles or are we able to identify and diagnose things more than we were before?”
“I think so,” Harelson said adding, 'I think we dig deeper than we used to,” remembering back to when he first started teaching. “We have added our family therapy and that has been huge. Families are taking advantage of that. I think we started with one day and now we are at two.”
Werner said there is a waiting list for family counseling. Harelson noted that when a family does need help there are still a lot of barriers, like insurance barriers and he observed that it is easy to give up along the way.
'It is amazing to work in a building where everyone gets right in there and tries to help along the way...all the way up through high school. The intentions are there and we want to help these kids. What can we control? A lot of times it is bringing awareness to the parents – and they have to take the baton and go from there.
“I've been heavily involved with a couple of families this year and have really had to go deep to find care and it is frustrating. We have to work at it – and find that insurance. I'm happy that society awareness is rising and it is cool to see that we all have the same messages on our walls. They are saying the same things we are only going to get better.
There are any number of special programs at the schools these days. One that is being touted as phenomenal for the whole family is Terrence Talley. He shares stories about overcoming ridicule, to give every student hope and empower them to give hope to others. There will be four assemblies at the school on Thursday, March 7, at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. - and again at 6 p.m. so more parents can attend.
March 7, 2019