PHS athletic fields earn national award

by Dave Cary
Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH - Athletic field groundskeepers Ryan Rusch and Eugene Weber were presented with the Pioneer Athletics “Fields of Excellence” award by Athletic Director Gale Grahn at Tuesday’s School Board meting.

Grahn said the award was part of a program begun by the field marking equipment manufacturer in 1998. He said that of the thousands of high school athletic fields in existence, some 200 had applied for the award this year and Plymouth had been one of 85 chosen.

Grahn said the soccer field in particular had attracted unbelievable notice from visiting schools and that the work of Rusch and Weber had been both astonishing and behind it all.

As part of the award, he added, the district had received a banner citing the accomplishment.

• • •

Professional Development Committee liaison board member Richard York continued the subject he had brought up last month - the board taking steps to improve its effectiveness through purposeful study. The board had welcomed the proposal and, in true American fashion, put York in charge of carrying it out.

York said he had obtained booklets from a national school board association on this subject which were distributed to the board. The booklet contained six specific areas to be pursued and York suggested taking 15-20 minutes at a Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss a topic. This he said, would go on for six months or so. Board members gave their informal assent.

That being the case, York then asked the board members to read pages 1-18 for next month and complete the self-assessment that followed for next month’s meeting.

“We’re getting homework?” asked board member Bob Travis.

• • •

Having heard statements from candidates Kelly Cowhig and Phillip Zellmer earlier, the board selected Zellmer to fill the remainder of Pam Holzhaeuser’s term. Holzhaeuser moved out of the district. Zellmer will be sworn in at the July Committee of the Whole meeting.

• • •

In personnel matters, the board accepted the following resignations:

• Shelly Birenbaum, crosscategorical teacher at Plymouth High School effective at the end of the school year. Birenbaum has been with the district 11 years.

• Lynn Zimmermann, general music teacher in the district, effective at the end of the school year. Zimmermann has been with the district 15 years.

• Melissa Costello, library media specialist at Horizon Elementary, effective at the end of the school year. Costello has been with the district seven years.

• Fran Wieneke, four-yearold kindergarten teacher at Parkview Elementary effective at the end of the school year. Wieneke has been with the district for 38 years.

The board also approved the following new 100 percent teaching contracts for:

• Allison Schwartz to teach language arts at the high school starting with the 2017-2018 school year. Schwartz received her bachelors degree from UWStevens Point and this will be her first year of teaching.

• Stephanie Lehman to be an agriscience teacher at PHS starting with the 2017-2018 school year. Lehman received her bachelors degree from UWStevens Point and this will be her first year of teaching.

• Georgia Tucker to be a library media specialist at the high school starting with the 2017-2018 school year. Tucker received her bachelors degree from Iowa State University and holds two masters degrees. One of these is from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, the other from Concordia University- Nebraska. Tucker has twelve years’ experience at three different high schools in Iowa and Nebraska.

• Jamie Moyle to be a cross categorical teacher at Parkview Elementary starting with the 2017-2018 school year. Moyle received her bachelors degree from UW-Oshkosh and has five years’ teaching experience with the Oshkosh Area School District.

In support staff matters:

• Kate VonDerVellen, special ed aide at Parkview Elementary, has submitted her resignation after one year with the district.

• Terry Peterson, food service employee, has submitted his resignation after serving with the district for a year and a half.

• Elyse Buchholz, special ed aide at Horizon Elementary, has submitted her resignation after being with the district for one year.

• Dianne Hughes, special ed crimes to those charged with even low-level offenses. The memos also direct that no one in the country illegally is exempt from deportation.

Nationwide, the number of non-criminals arrested by ICE in Trump’s first 100 days more than doubled from the same period last year, to 10,934 from 4,372. In the Chicago region, for example, 778 of the 2,599 people arrested by ICE were not convicted criminals; last year, 500 non-criminals were arrested during the same time frame.

What that means is that people who come into contact with ICE, even if they are not being sought by the agency, could still be arrested.

“That’s what they call collaterals,” says Wendy Feliz, spokeswoman for the pro-immigrant American Immigration Council. “ ‘We’re gonna pick you up because you’re undocumented and we’re here anyway.’ ”

A farmer in Wisconsin’s Trempealeau County, who asked not to be named because he fears reprisals from immigration authorities, says ICE agents who visited his farm this spring looking for a particular person warned him they knew the rest of his employees were also undocumented and that they would be back.

Experts like Feliz, however, say there is no evidence of the type of sweeping raids carried out near the end of the George W. Bush administration.

ICE may be under pressure from businesses not to run intensive operations in fields or factories where many undocumented immigrants work, Capps says.

“If they were to take a bunch of agricultural workers, or even if they were to scare a large number of agricultural workers away, that could have a bad impact on the local economy,” he says.

As rumors circulated that ICE had visited Durand, four other dairy workers decided to join Hernandez, whose reasons for leaving include returning to see his ailing father.

“I think the family is the most important thing for all of us,” says Hernandez, who always knew he would someday return to Mexico. He and his friends determined it was best to go now — organized, relaxed and with a plan.

“It’s better to go back home because of the laws — they’re coming after us,” says Luis Mendez, 32, who milks cows and helps out as a mechanic at the Knoepke farm. “It’s better to go willingly and be with the family rather than getting deported or something like that.”

If you are deported, he says, “You take the clothes you’re wearing … and that’s it.” But with a planned departure, Mendez says, immigrants can keep their belongings and money.

“This way I’m going calmly, at ease.”

Still others, like Hernandez’s brother Damaso — who has lived in the United States for 17 years — say the time has not come to leave, but the situation could change at any moment. He thinks about the effect of leaving on his four children, who were raised in Wisconsin.

“My kids are very accustomed to life here. The truth is, I don’t know what type of life they would have over there. Would they adapt quickly or…,” he trails off. “That’s what scares me most is the adjustment … life is different over there.

“Various people have already gone. And others want to leave. Now that (Miguel) is leaving I’m asking myself, ‘And you, when will you leave?’ ”

At this hour, everyone on the farm is an immigrant from Mexico.

Hernandez knows his decision to raise his children in Mexico will affect their future, especially when it comes to education.

“It’s a huge difference in school here compared to the school in Mexico. I think we are a lot behind in Mexico, but … it is what it is,” Hernandez says, shrugging his shoulders.When Hernandez told his boss he was leaving, he was offered more money to stay. The farm owners even offered to buy a trailer for the other workers so he and his family could live in the house alone. But Hernandez turned it down.

Four or five people have applied for Hernandez’s job, but none has worked out, according to herd manager Henry Yoder. aide at Horizon Elementary, has submitted her resignation after being with the district for six months.

• Sarah Gamoke, special ed aide at PHS, has submitted her resignation after being with the district for six months.

• Lynn Sierpinski, special ed aide at PHS, has submitted her resignation after being with the district for one year.

• • •

The board ratified the 2017-18 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Plymouth Education Association, which includes a 1.26 percent total base wage increase ($498) on the base salary of $39,452.

The board also approved the district leadership team salaries proposed for the 2017-18 year.

Under it, the administrative salary pool will be increased by three percent and will be distributed at the discretion of the superintendent and School Board in line with the district’s model.

• • •

The board accepted the following gifts and donations:

• $214.72 from Parkview PTK for student transportation.

• $1,392.49 from Fairview PTO for student transportation.

• $224.16 from CESA 7 for the PHS Jolly Pranksters transportation.

• $405 from Joe Van Horn Motors for T-Shirts used in Patty Talen’s performance at Horizon Elementary.

• $500 from Blue Cross/Blue Shield for Horizon Elementary’s “Watch us Sprout” campaign.

• $2,230 from combined area businesses for the STEAM project at Riverview Middle School.

• 4,000 from Kohl’s Department Store for Parkview student field trips.

• $4,290 from Kohl’s Department Store for Fairview student field trips.

• $62.13 from Horizon PATH for student field trips.

• A donation of equipment for the Food Science and Culinary Arts classroom for Glenn and Peggy Thiesenhusen.

• $ 250 from Thomas Gross to help offset costs of the FBLA trip to the nationals this summer.

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