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"After all these years, still doing a great job!!" -Ron Hermanson
Luck narrows proficiency gaps
By Lynda Berg Olds
“I'm happy to report our academic world looked pretty good this year,” began Luck Elementary Principal Jason Harelson at the Luck School Board meeting last Monday. “If you just look at our STAR Reading, combined with grades K through three, we started the year and the kids were at 47.4 percent proficiency or above – and grew it by the end of the year to 70 percent, which is something to celebrate.”
Harelson said it was a similar situation with math, with 43.5 percent of students at or above proficiency levels at the beginning of the year and by the end of the school year, 68 percent.
“These are great numbers and the whole staff, K through 12 have really worked hard on RTI (Response to Intervention) the past couple of years. We've had some speakers in and really tried to transform our practices – of what we do when a kids shows that they are struggling – and I think it is coming to fruition a little bit. We are getting better at it.”
Harelson noted that they have added Karen Pedersen as their interventionist part-time, which, he said, is going great. He also observed, “And, as always, Title 1 Reading Specialist Janet Brandt does a great job.
“It is good to see that all that effort is coming together in student achievement,” enthused Harelson. “We can always do better. We just take the kids where they are at and do our best to grow them as much as we can. And it's been a good year for growth.”
There was some discussion among board members about summer school and lack of real rigor in the programs (they are educational...but fun). School Board member Todd Roehm recognized the summer school classes as “cool and fun” and wondered if there was any such thing as real summer school anymore, like in reading and in math.
“Not so much,” Harelson responded. “We send book bags home and our Title I kids get stuff sent home. The follow through isn't always the greatest, but it is not that many numbers, so it is not that hard to have a conversation with the parents saying, 'Keep reading. Here's some books. What do you need?' There are some formal programs, but to get people to do it and follow through with it is the tough part. But, that is why you see them starting low again in the fall...”
“So you knows those 11 kids?” queried Roehm.
“Yes,” Harelson said. “But the good news is, that I should point out, is that of those kids who are behind, I do not believe we have any over a grade level and a half behind, including special education students. I know that Janet Brandt says that when she goes to Title I Conferences, it always comes up, 'So what do you do with that fifth grader who is reading at a first-grade level?' and we don't have that, which is good.”
Roehm observed, “So what this doesn't point out is that the gap from proficient to not [is smaller].”
“Right now it is not as wide as normal,” concurred Hareslson. “Like I say, we have worked hard all the way up to seniors trying to eliminate those gaps as best we can. The good news is nobody is way behind.”
School Board member Rick Palmer asked if Brandt also comes into the classroom, which prompted another success story.
The answer was yes and Harelson spoke about the sixth-grade class.
“They really grew this year and it was quite the story as they have historically been our lowest performing group. That's a big group and they had big gaps, which had widened. Teaching, as we all know, is a lot of art to go with the science. A lot of the art this year was to get those kids to the sixth-grade teachers towards the start of the year – and hit pause on the books to do some things to grow their self esteem and make them believe that they can achieve...they really soared. A little success bred more success and they were also really something to celebrate this year.”
July 3, 2019
Merging cop shops a strong possibility
By Lynda Berg Olds
Centuria Trustee Stanley Swiontek reported to fellow board members at their Monday night meeting that the Personnel Committee had a meeting with Balsam Lake about “police business.” The agenda item was under “new business” and Village President Rod Peterson asked Swiontek, “Whatever became of that?”
“Nothing,” Swiontek began, meaning no formal action had been taken, but clearly considerable conversation had been held about potentially merging Centuria's Police Department with Balsam Lake's.
“Right now we are researching it, laying out what steps we need to take to satisfy both communities and what it is going to take to run this. We had one meeting and that was last month. We have another one coming up here next Monday, so that will be posted.
“The only action that I want to take – or what we need – is, Personnel needs approval from the board to continue on. Or if the board does not want to merge, or even look at it, then we need to settle that right now. So that is the only action that needs to happen now.”
“What does our Chief of Police think?” asked Peterson, looking pointedly at Chief Eric Jorgenson.
“It is a discussion that is up to the board,” he said.
Peterson stated firmly, “The only thing I have to say is there can only be one chief. You can't have two chiefs.”
“What would be the benefit to us?” asked Trustee Chuck Ellsworth.
Swiontek said it would be cost savings, however he did not believe any savings would be evident in the first three years
“But as it progresses there is cost savings,” he said, “with liability – even just your insurance. Another benefit is even if we have no one on here, there is going to be someone on in Balsam. If we have no one on now, we have to wait for the county to come from Clear Lake, Osceola, Frederic – or where ever they are at – to get here.”
While Swiontek conceded that they're not going to have around the clock coverage, the important thing to note was that there would always be an officer within four miles.
“The department would be run by one chief – and a committee,” Swiontek added.
“So this is just in the works right now,” commented Peterson, who then asked, “What was the deal when we were going to do this with St. Croix...”
Swiontek recalled, “St. Croix actually wanted us to pay them to do it – and they wanted us to use their court system and everything else. I see this (merging) as no different than the way it is right now, except it will be one department instead of two.”
He used the example of Center City, Lindstrom, Chisago and Shafer in Minnesota, who just have one police department, Lakes Area Police. Swiontek noted that different towns in Wisconsin also have merged police departments.
“A lot of it is strictly because of the budget constraints. They are trying to save money.”
The other, perhaps even larger issue, is there simply aren't a lot of officers out there.
“Balsam Lake doesn't have an officer right now,” Swiontek said. “They have no police – so it benefits them. Can they understand it is not a 50/50 split. It is whatever the breakdown is on the budget. How much we put in and they put in. We talked. I think right now it is 58.3 percent/41.7 percent and we are the lower end as far as the money that's put in.
“But like I said,” Swiontek continued, “No action has been taken. I just want to have the approval to move forward and research it and really think about doing this. Not just me or us, but our committees working together – to make it work.”
Peterson stated, “I think it would be fine if we can get it all ironed out. I think it would be a good thing.”
Swiontek remarked that he has looked into this for a few years – more than once.
“I believe that it will work,” he said. “I want permission to go ahead and continue.”
Trustee Kevin Kamish said he would make that motion and Swiontek noted that everything would be combined.
“That is, with budget constraints it is the only way to survive. So those are my thoughts and like I said I believe it is a good thing and we should move forward with it. And if we can hash it out where both villages are happy...I would like to look at it hard and see if we can have it, if not done, close by the first of the year.”
Trustee Tom Boettcher seconded the motion and everyone present was in favor, with Trustees Katie Hamm and Steve Sylvester absent.
July 11, 2019
Luck trustees/staff “should be proud of themselves”
By Lynda Berg Olds
MSA's Teresa Anderson was present once again at the July 10 regular meeting of the Luck Village Board. She traded in her chef's hat after serving up brats and beverages outside prior to the meeting – a token of her appreciation to the trustees, business owners and residents of the village for their help, cooperation and patience throughout the course of three major projects.
“We've been through three pretty major projects these last few years and we know that it has been hard work for the village staff and the village board. There have been lots of tough decisions and we want to say, 'Congratulations!' to you for your hard work and thank you to the board and staff. You should be proud of yourselves. It is a pretty big accomplishment to get a Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade, Main Street Improvement Project and a new dam within the space of a few years.
“So nice job guys! Thanks for working with MSA! We have a poster for you with photos of different construction going on – and we also have, knowing that the Main Street project was going to be a big deal, before and after photos for you.”
A nice photo op ensued and everyone was in high spirits.
Anderson noted MSA did some work with the golf course with their Aerial Solutions Drone Group and wondered if that had ever come up. Course Superintendent Kevin Clunis said that indeed, they have embedded the aerial photography on their web site.
“It turned out very well, very nice,” he said. “We were the Guinea pig.”
The village also benefited from some nice aerial photography.
Moving along, Anderson said she was out at the dam that (Wednesday) afternoon and that job is basically complete.
“We are pretty much just waiting for the grass to grow and then we can take out the silt fence – and the water level is coming up. So we kind of knew that was maybe going to be a thing. The recorded, ordered lake level was lower than what the lake had been at for several years. So you make adjustments as you go.”
As for the Main Street Project, Anderson said there is still a punch list left to be completed and she has been in contact with the contractor every day.
“I'm told they were here today looking at the work they need to do, which will be completed by the end of this week. That is the plan – so then I will anticipate their final pay request next month.”
That concluded Anderson's project update, but Village President Dave Rasmussen wanted to share a letter he received from the county – about them not being willing to share in the dam cost.
“...I'm writing as a follow up to correspondence between Polk County's Corporation Counsel and your village's legal representation. At its meeting on June 18, the Polk County Board considered the Village of Luck's request to enter into a cost-share agreement for repair costs for the culvert and dam on [Big] Butternut Lake.
“The county board rejected the request based on the fact that the county does not have an ownership interest. As the project is complete, Polk County considers this matter closed...”
Rasmussen said he wanted to express that he was very disappointed in the outcome.
“I was more disappointed that I didn't even know this was coming up for a vote at the county board at their June 18 meeting. I never got any notification whatsoever that this was going on. That action came out of closed session; there was a vote to reject that request. I don't know what to say. I will probably touch base with the county administrator and the county board chairman and see if I can get some more specifics in terms of why this was rejected besides the ownership interest. This process has been going on for a year now...and that was the outcome.”
The next item on the agenda was a pay request from the Peterson Companies for the Butternut Outlet Structure.
With a bitter taste in his mouth, Rasmussen clarified, “That dam project.”
Anderson said the request was for $44,952, which left about $8,000 remaining. Rasmussen made the motion, which of course was approved. But throughout the meeting when money issues came up – about this pot of money for this or for that, he would say, “Can those funds be allocated to the dam?” Until it was almost funny, but not quite.
Tourism Director Sherrie Johnson reminded Rasmussen that the Big Butternut Lake Association, last year at their meeting in August, did approve $15,000 towards the dam. Rasmussen was aware – as he has been actively searching for ways to feel less impact after being let down by the county, who evidently did originally believe they had an ownership interest in the dam. Apparently the records aren't much to speak of when one goes a certain distance back in time.
July 18, 2019
Referendum planning takes new shape
By Lynda Berg Olds
At Monday night's meeting of the Luck School Board, members received the revised preliminary plans for improvements to the campus. In addition to the auditorium and locker renovations, a gymnasium study has been completed and plans detailed for the gymnasium addition.
Said plans include a new community entry from the parking lot for the revamped weight room and activities, and a proper corridor connected to the commons area that provides more appropriate access to the kitchen.
Facilities expert Luke Schultz of CESA 10 was in attendance, along with Ben Berry of Wold Architects, to explain the new schematics, re-configuring what the board is looking at – minus the parking lot, which many members of the public objected to – while staying within the $9.5 million.
“We are looking at renovating the same kind of spaces, the same idea. Looking at our maintenance side of it we are still around that $2.1 million and then that $7.4 million for looking at the existing elementary school with the bleachers and the stage and getting all that up, which puts us right to that $9.5 million where we wanted to stay.”
Schultz said some of the maintenance items “might be a little tight” on the finishing side of it, but he said he believes they can make it work.
Berry took the floor to describe the new diagram, noting the fundamental change with the gym.
“Last time you saw the plan, the gym was slid all the up touching the existing gym, with the commons out front. Without the addition of the parking lot, what we came up with, utilizing the funds we had estimated for the parking lot, we figured out the square footage we could add. The commons stays about the same, and we basically add in this weight room and the hallway connection.”
Berry said the nice thing about the new plan is it provides good circulation within the building.
“It gives you a loop around and keeps the weight room close to the locker room. Once people are in the locker rooms and they're changed, they don't have to travel through the building to get to the weight room. This also provides a neat opportunity for some vision back and forth between the spaces. There are endless possibilities about what that looks like. You could have a really nice connection between the new gym facility and the weight room, with some visibility. There's a lot of good potential there.”
School Board President Jacob Jensen asked if that would be two stories tall, so the roof lines would line up all the way through. Berry responded, “It certainly could be,” adding that he thought that made sense.
“I see the gym is running a different direction,” observed Jensen. “Is there room in the budget for bleachers and to be a competition space?”
“So we did flip the gym to stay out of that green space as much as possible (about which the public had expressed concern in the focus groups the last time around),” stated Berry. Actually it provides pretty nice access with the flow, with bleachers on the side(s). They don't have to cross the court to get to the bleachers. They can access right into the bleacher zone. And yes, there was some funding for bleachers set aside in that estimate.”
Berry said what that looks like is to be determined. It could be anything from relocating the bleachers the school has into the space – or all new bleachers with a similar seating count (or some reasonable facsimile thereof).
“The thought would be, your competition court would be in the middle. When the bleachers are pulled back you could have two practice courts. When they are pulled out, they would be about 10 to 12 feet from the center court line, so you have enough room for circulation and benches.”
Security doors were also discussed – so that the rest of the school could be locked off when games are in session, so people don't have access to the whole building. Evidently the number of doors leading out from the new gym will be dependent on the number of bleachers in the space.
“Usually, you need about four two-door exits, and they have to be spaced apart. They can't be next to each other. So you would probably have two exits out into the commons area and two to the outside.”
Superintendent Cory Hinkel commented that one of the things he likes about the new plan is that even though they won't be getting their loading dock, but it allows access to the kitchen without traipsing through the hallways.
“That is one thing nice about having that weight room in between that corridor.”
The board discussed various options relating to storage, restrooms and locker rooms. Nothing is written in absolute stone at this juncture, but the preliminary plans met with approval, and as Schultz said, “We have time.”
July 25, 2019
Yet another accident at Highway 35 and 230th Avenue
By Lynda Berg Olds
Late last Wednesday afternoon, at 5:20 p.m., a “car versus motorcycle” 10-50 (accident) with PI (personal injury) came over the scanner at Ledger Newspapers in Balsam Lake. The location of the accident, at Highway 35, just south of 230th Avenue, prompted the press to make the mad dash to the crash.
This intersection has been the site of countless accidents, with at least one fatality in the past several years (where the Ledger was also on scene, the deceased a friend), as well as some recent significant injuries resulting from a three-car crash at the exact same site. The press knew three of the four or five injured in that wreck, with one good friend still healing – and her daughter.
In this instance an employee of Bradwell Auto and Truck Repair had exited the driveway of the business onto Highway 35 and was rear-ended, launching him from his motorcycle. Emergency crews responded en force to the scene, which wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.
The motorcyclist was fitted into a neck brace. He was conscious and assisted into a sitting position when the press left the scene. Although his condition wasn't clear at press time, and certainly he is battered and bruised, authorities surmised, “he would be okay.”
This particular stretch of road has some topography issues with hills and curves that impact the line of sight. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution in this area and be sure to promptly signal their intent to turn, providing as much notice as possible to other drivers.
August 1, 2019
Death knell sounded on the Clam Dam
By Lynda Berg Olds
Polk County Administrator Nick Osborne communicated by email on Monday with Clam Dam stakeholder Matt Lovley. He updated him on what happened last Thursday at a meeting between NW Wisconsin Energy (NWE) and Renewable World Energies – with the DNR. And it does not look good for the greater Clam Falls community. Lovley shared the email with the County Ledger Press and it is being reproduced here in its entirety:
“The Clam Falls Dam issue on the Aug. 8 General Government committee agenda has been changed from a resolution to a discussion. This was done at the request of NW Wisconsin Energy and Renewable World Energies (RWE). The two parties arranged a meeting with the DNR last Thursday and asked Polk County to sit in. The DNR was asked whether they would be willing to lower the hazard rating for the dam and after an extensive discussion, the DNR indicated in clear terms that they were not. This significantly alters the options available to the current dam owners and what is financially possible.
“At this point, the decision on the dam’s fate is up to NW Wisconsin Energy and RWE and they have indicated that they will likely pursue dam removal.
“I have asked Dave Dahlberg from NW Wisconsin Energy to come to General Government Committee meeting to discuss what happened at the meeting last Thursday and those who attended on the County end will also be there to answer questions. Since you have been active on this issue and you previously wrote to me, I wanted to let you know. I do not have the contact information of any of the others who spoke during public comment, but feel free to share.”
On Sunday, Aug. 4, Polk County Supervisor Brian Masters also emailed Lovley regarding the Clam Falls Flowage. He said that point blank NWE and RWE have pulled their offer to the County for the Clam Falls Dam, noting there were “too many issues with the DNR approving exemptions.”
He went on to say, “Polk County does not own this dam, it is up to NWE and RWE to determine the future of the Clam Falls Dam.”
Lovley also shared Master's missive with the Ledger.
In light of this recent action, Lovley and other homeowners with lakeside property are working with a lawyer right now. He said:
“We all bought lakeside property. Apparently there is this thing called 'prescriptive property rights' where the power companies are liable for our loss in investment. The lawyer I'm working with said his favorite thing to do at work is to sue power companies, so we shall see what we can do.”
The General Government meeting on Thursday begins at 10 a.m. at the Polk County Government Center.
The Ledger reached out to Osborne to see if there were any more details available and he more or less reiterated what he had sent to Lovley:
The decision from the DNR does significantly change the discussion. The fate of the dam is up to the current owner, but it is my understanding that their last offer to the County doesn't make financial sense anymore. We were getting ready to consider a resolution but it was pulled from the agenda at their request.”
August 8, 2019
New library ahead of schedule - done in October
By Lynda Berg Olds
At Monday night's meeting of the Milltown Village Board, Bryant Christenson of Cedar Corporation, was present to update the board on the library project (and to submit a pay request). He said his goal was to go over a change order as well as to request payment for a contractor.
The change order was in the amount of $17,890, which Christenson said would come out of the contingency fund for the building (of $47,000). The original contract price was $956,793. That price with the change order is now $974,638. The exciting thing is the substantial completion of what will be a gorgeous new space (see photo) will hopefully happen by the end of October of this year.
“The reason we have a contingency fund is for conditions with an existing building – and we do the renovations to the existing building, so they are always some things that aren't known until we excavate and dig it out.
“The first item had to do with the Purple Parrot building and some of the structure wasn't taken out with the building. We had the contractor go in and get another dumpster and take the time to take the rest of that out.”
Asbestos also had to be taken out of the building, which was where the old office was. Christenson said there is still more asbestos in the whole floor – the old green and white tiles, which will be left undisturbed with carpet tiles going over the top. He noted that asbestos is only dangerous when it is disturbed and said the carpet tiles will serve to encapsulate the asbestos. The alternative would have been an abatement job that could have cost $20,000.
Moving on, Christenson said, “When we excavated, we found the bottom of the existing footing and where our new building is coming to butt up to that, is at a lower level so we get some more head height. We didn't know where that lower level was so we couldn't put that on the plans. So this next item says they had to pour alongside the existing building to make a bearing point for the floor system above.”
Christenson enumerated 10 different change order items, each of which required more time and/or material. Two different spots within the building amounted to “voids” beneath the original building's flooring – hollow spots where mud-jacking is required. If the flooring tiles were not asbestos they would have been able to drill down from the top, but asbestos abatement amounts to a huge expense, which they can sidestep safely with the mud-jacking.
There were also issues with going around the fiber optics – and any number of items that, again, come up when dealing with an old building, especially when connecting it to new construction on an old construction site. Old bowed roof trusses had to be dealt with and ceiling materials also changed out of necessity.
“When they were doing excavation for the footings, we did find an abandoned well,” continued Christenson. “We are guessing there might have been a cheese factory there at one time, so they would have had a well. The excavator had to dig down 16-feet and put new soil corrections in and we also put some more re-bar in for reinforcement.”
Trustee Ben Kotval questioned the fees associated with each change order item.
“So every time something changes we are getting hit with that too?”
Christenson responded, “So you have five percent for the contractor and then you have 15 percent on general.”
“Every time there is a change order you get nailed,” commented Public Works Lead Mike Nutter.
“No matter what you do,” put in Village President LuAnn White.
“Yup,” conceded Christenson. “And a lot of this is unforeseen because of the existing building. No plans are perfect.”
In reality, the change orders amounted to $21,973, but three other items were adjusted to mitigate the number somewhat – to the $17,890 figure. They included:
Changing the brick veneer along the north wall of the new building to stone veneer; retaining about 200 square yards of existing sidewalk and a section of the old foundation wall; and relocating two windows in a programming room to utilize the two existing blocked-in window openings – all at a total cost savings of $4,082.
Christenson discussed pay request number two – from Derek Building Solutions, whom, he said, have done a great job, putting the project two months ahead of schedule.
“Everything will be enclosed in the next two weeks. You will have all your windows and doors, your exterior siding will be on and it is going to start looking like a building. The front veneer won't be on quite yet, that will be one of the last things they do for the exterior, but it is looking really good.”
The pay request was unanimously approved by Milltown trustees in the amount of $182,826 – as was the change order (which was coming out of the project contingency fund anyways). Christenson had commented that usually, when dealing with an existing building, they like to see a 10 percent contingency fund, but in this case they only plugged in five percent. Also, the $17K-plus change order represents the bulk of what could possibly transpire – and “only” just over a third of what has been set aside.
August 15. 2019
Famous “Beer Tree” a hot topic at golf course
By Lynda Berg Olds
Committee reports were next and Luck Golf Course Superintendent Kevin Clunis was present to provide the board an update:
“July 19 we will remember for a long time. My first count of about 150 trees damaged was way low. As the week went by and I recounted, there were 164 trees that ended up on the ground from the storm and 112 more trees were damaged with another 78 that still had hangers up in there – and that's 352 trees that had some sort of damage (his math). The 164 on the ground are being taken care of now, with 54 other trees to be removed as they are too damaged – and there's still a couple more I'm debating on – to keep them or cut them.”
“Not the beer tree?” queried Rasmussen. “You are keeping that right?”
“No, we are going to replant,” stated Clunis. “But we are not moving it until we can replace it with something else – or maybe we will just keep it like that (see photo).”
That's why you have to attend Monday's Golf Commission meeting,” advised Trustee Mike Broten, who chairs said commission – there will be a big discussion.”
Alarmed, another trustee asked if the Beer Tree went down, but he was told no, it had been snapped off (at less than half). It is time for some clarification perhaps. This ancient, majestic pine tree sits smack dab in the middle of the eighth fairway, just a fair poke away. Clearing the tree is always cause for celebration and bets abound, beer bets mostly of course.
“If I clear the tree you're buying me a beer right?”
Rasmussen recommended a chain saw sculpture – in the shape of a beer mug - be made out of the tall 'stump.'
The board joked around a bit saying how there could be fountain coming out of the beer – and contest to put one's ball in the 'mug.' Only in Wisconsin.
Clunis said he is accepting all ideas.
“The actual damage to the trees and the storm that came by. It has been chain saws and sweat and hard work and we're getting rid of it, but what really has made me dis-pleasured is working with our insurance company and the emergency management people. When you ask them a question, they don't have an answer. It drives me up a wall. I'm sorry. No is an answer and I can take no because you have to make plans and keep moving on with something like this. And for a week when they kept stringing me along, it made me nuts. I went over the edge a few times. It wasn't pretty for a while. I was pretty grumpy and pretty ornery.”
“Yes he was,” chimed in a trustee or two.
“There were people cowering when I walked into the clubhouse, I don't know why, but it's getting better,” quipped Clunis.
Clunis noted that at first, on Saturday (July 20), it was all hands on deck just dashing around trying to move trees to get the course open. They didn't get open until Sunday afternoon, so lost a day and a half of revenue on the second busiest weekend of the year – over Lucky Days.
“Thanks for Kyle (Johansen, of Frandsen Bank) being around town. He didn't take vacation so we could at least get moving and get the potentially dangerous trees on the ground, which was more than our staff could do. We were fortunate that Mike Costello from Boss Equipment and two other guys came to our board meeting and wanted to give us a bid to help us get all this cleaned up – and it turned out to be a real good move on our part – as I went out and got three bids from other companies and they were significantly lower than the other professional storm chasers that were in the area, so that worked out.”
Clunis thanked a number of volunteers. He said Luck local golfers stepped up again. The senior muscle came out and helped pick up sticks everywhere – and helped clean up so the crew could get on to some regular mowing. He said there were 10 or 15 of them, but he didn't have everyone's name down. They know who they are.
“I'd like to thank the Luck Volleyball team. They came out one morning, 16 of them, and helped pick up sticks and branches and get things organized. The Unity Golf Team showed up with one person, who was out there for an hour. And a real big hats off to the Ellsworth Football Team. They came up on a bus. I had 15 minutes notice from the sheriff of Polk County, who said, 'I've got 20 football players, you want them?' I said, Yes, please! They were there for four hours. Guys that could work! Their coaches were right there with them. They were not standing around. We fed them and gave them pop and water. They were really good. If they were going to drive up this far – well that's pretty impressive. We thanked them and sent them a letter and have it all over Facebook. We are real appreciative of that. Not sure where our locals were, but Ellsworth showed up.”
Clunis said he did finally get some answers from insurance.
“We are covered up to $50,000 for business interruption. So for that day and a half that we were closed and couldn't operate, by my calculations it was about $9,500 that did not go in our til. I've given all the information to the insurance company, it is all documented. They are only going to write one check, so there are all these bits and pieces that have to come together before they write one check.”
Clunis said there is $50,000 available for trees, turf and shrub damage and replacing and clean up.
“Why they couldn't answer that on day one I don't know.” he sighed.
“As of today, Boss has been up there for a solid two weeks...and they are on their last two holes between 14 and 15. We rented a chipper for two weeks just to get things going, so out of pocket we have already spent $25,000. And it is imperative that we get all these things closed up so we can get all of the information in to the insurance company. As soon as Boss is done I will know. That being said, their bill for tree removal will be over $20K, which is still (hugely) lower than the next bid.”
Clunis said he got bids on continuing tree work from Cal Haines for a bunch of hangers. Clunis said he will basically have to go down every tree line, where there are small, medium and “really large” hangers that will have to come down. Haines also bid the stump removal. Clunis didn't have those numbers at the Luck Village Board meeting but he did at the Golf Commission meeting on Monday. He bid the remaining hangers at $7,000 and stump removal at $9,500. There will be over 200 stumps to clean up.
Clunis said there are somewhere between 10 or 15 trees he and Broten thought they should replace.
“Number one is the Beer Tree,” he said. Two huge oaks were lost on hole #10, two more on #17 and another two on #18, along with a lone beautiful oak on #13. Replacement is expensive and fall is the best time to transplant trees. Chuck Torrance generously offered to donate some money towards tree replacement
Clunis had some negative news in terms of revenue. He said play is off 15 percent from last year and between four and eight percent over the three previous years.
“The financials are showing some significant reduction in revenue earnings as our expenses are holding for what we had planned – and I have incurred several significant repair bills over the last three weeks.
But the show must go on as it undoubtedly will. Course improvements will continue for both playability and aesthetics as Luck Golf Course becomes better and more beautiful than ever.
August 22, 2019
Luck explores Charter School
By Lynda Berg Olds
A tremendous amount of material was covered at Monday night's meeting of the Luck School Board, not the least of which was the exploration of what it takes to become a Charter School by Superintendent Cory Hinkel, who recently attended a Charter School Conference in Wausau.
“It is an interesting concept, you can have your emphasis on whatever you want but you still have to have CORE math and reading,” Hinkel began. “We are trying to wrap our heads around what other schools are doing. There were a lot of good conversations that I had with other schools. A lot of them are doing online things. And there are a lot of companies out there too that will assist you. The grant is a five-year $950,000 grant. As we explore charter school and look at it deeper, Mr. Werner (High School Principal) and I have been discussing how this could be a factor in how we do things in the future.
“It was a good place to learn and get my head wrapped around what charter school is all about.”
School Board President Jacob Jensen asked Hinkel to explain a bit further what the grant is all about.
“The grant would be to help us set up. The first year, you build into the grant a planning year, and there is a $150,000 for expenses to get everything set up. I will know more in October when that application comes out, which is due in February. People that I have talked to have said if you have a solid plan and you make sure everything is correct, there is a really good chance that we will get it. They said they did not give out all of the money that they had available this year.”
If successful, that first year grant would be the $150,000, followed by $200,000 for the next four years.
“Is there additional state funding for charter schools?” queried Jensen.
Hinkel said no, but commented a lot of schools are doing online consortium, where they can send their kids but keep their funding.
“There are a lot of things to explore, a lot of different models with personalized learning plans. I don't claim to be an expert yet. It could take a while.”
Jensen observed that “yet” was the operative word. Mr. Hinkel has demonstrated time and again that he is indeed a quick study.
Unfamiliar with Charter Schools, the Enterprise/Ledger Press reached out to Hinkel for a bit more information. He explained that a Charter School is basically “a school within a school.” He said Charter School has more flexibility in how lessons are structured - while still holding the students accountable.
“Personalized learning, project- based learning and virtual learning are all models currently out there. The district is exploring ideas that may work for us in this area and meet the needs of our students. The end goal is to provide an alternative unique education setting and possibly increase enrollment. We would still have our traditional setting, but students would have the option to join the charter school. How that will look is part of the research phase we are in right now.”
August 29, 2019