Thumbs up/down for Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
Thumbs up to Roosevelt Elementary School. It should surprise no one that this school on Janesville’s east side is one of just eight in Wisconsin nominated by state Superintendent Tony Evers for the National Blue Ribbons Schools program. Roosevelt has long been a jewel of the Janesville School District. Quality leadership and dedicated teachers have helped it earn several other honors. Evers cited Roosevelt in a category that recognizes schools having at least 40 percent of students from disadvantaged backgrounds yet report card index scores within the state’s top 15 percent. First-year Principal Deanne Edlefsen praised not just her staff but the parents and students, who she says set the bar high on achievement. “Everyone is a piece of making this work,” she told reporter Nick Crow in last Thursday’s Gazette. “It’s an environment conducive to learning.”
Thumbs down to Wisconsin’s brain drain. We’ve heard about it for years. As the Wisconsin State Journal reported, Morris Davis, associate professor and academic director of the James Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, sounded the warning again. He told listeners at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development that Wisconsin has lost 9,000 college-educated residents, ages 21-29, in each of the last five years. Minneapolis lures many, and Davis says investments in Milwaukee might help stem this loss. Madison could recruit college graduates from Illinois, and with 90,000 people leaving Michigan every year, that state might be ripe for picking, too. Without enough educated young adults in the state, companies will have a tough time finding workers, particularly as baby boomers retire. Davis suggested ideas such as tax breaks or discounted tuition for students who agree to stay in Wisconsin after graduating, as well as convening a group of experts to examine the problem. Lawmakers, are you listening?
Thumbs down to “one ring” telephone scams. State officials say scammers using call generators with automated spoofing capabilities are placing calls to many cellphone numbers in the U.S. Here’s how it works: Your cellphone rings once, but no voicemail is left. You call back, get put on hold and are asked to wait for an operator. While on hold, you’re being charged international fees starting at around $20. The longer you wait, the more you’re charged. The state Consumer Protection Bureau says because the calls start with three-digit area codes, unsuspecting recipients assume the call came from the United States. Usually, it came from the Caribbean. Bureau officials suggest you block these area codes to avoid the scam: 264, 268, 246, 284, 767, 809, 829, 849, 473, 876, 664 and 649. To learn more or file a complaint, go to datcp.wi.gov, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-422-7128.
Thumbs up to Gil Sedor’s charitable efforts. Gil Sedor, longtime Janesville attorney, died Tuesday at age 80. He helped many nonprofits, including Rotary Gardens, the Janesville Performing Arts Center, Rock County Historical Society, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, YMCA and Agrace HospiceCare. He raised money for these and causes such as Hedberg Public Library and UW-Rock County with the tenacity you might expect of a former Marine. “Any charitable activity he undertook, he gave it his all,” said Gary Smith, who served as president of the United Way of North Rock County for 17 years. “He truly would follow up on every account and convince people that they needed to give at a higher level. He would joke that when people saw him coming, they would go to the other side of the street.” It’s no surprise that being inducted into the Rock County Hall of Honor is just one of many accolades Sedor received. Maybe his persistence made some people uncomfortable, but as Smith added, “A lot of agencies really had successful campaigns because of him.”