Spring 2014 Election
The Gazette Editorial Board offers kudos to Parkview School District residents for their approval of a $17-million referendum Tuesday.
"A dark cloud of uncertainty, which hovered over the district for years, lifted with Tuesday's narrow passage of a two-part referendum," the board writes.
For those who opposed the referendum, the board has some advice:
Instead of continuing to fight what likely will be a losing battle, critics of Tuesday's questions should set aside their differences and help the district unite behind the goal the referendums permit—bringing facilities into the 21st century and giving students better chances to compete in a modern and evolving world.
FOOTVILLE—Three incumbents defeated a challenger for Footville Village Board seats in Tuesday's elections.
Elected to two-year terms on the seven-member board were Nate Beal, John Harnack and Ron Klusmeyer. The challenger was Dick Laws.
Harnack and Klusmeyer said the race had no real issues. Read more ...
ELKHORN—Tom Myrin and Gregory Huss were elected Tuesday to serve on the Elkhorn City Council.
Myrin beat out Incumbent James Boardman Sr. for District 5 alderman by 68 votes.
It will be Myrin's first time serving on city council. Read more ...
JANESVILLE—Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler was accurate in her pre-election prediction that Tuesday's voter turnout would be lower than typical spring elections.
Slightly more than 16 percent of Rock County's 88,345 registered voters went to the polls Tuesday.
Typical spring elections attract about 20 percent of voters.
Going into Tuesday's election, Stottler predicted that turnout would be between 16 percent and 19 percent.
Her prediction was accurate in regards to registered voters. Read more ...
EVANSVILLE--A strategic plan is key to the upcoming decisions the Evansville School Board faces as it discusses going to referendum, two candidates elected Tuesday said.
Incumbents Kathi Swanson and John Rasmussen were the top vote getters in Tuesday's election, while voters also elected former board member Melissa Hammann and the citizens advisory committee chairwoman Amanda Koenecke.
“I am very excited,” said Hammann, who served on the board from 2007-2010. “I'm really looking forward to working together with everybody and getting started with a strategic plan. I get a distinct feeling it's going to be important to get that into place very quickly.” Read more ...
ELKHORN—The first item on the list of things to do as mayor is fix the roads, Brian Olson said after being elected mayor Tuesday.
Olson was with family and friends at his home when he heard the news.
“We're going to move Elkhorn forward with our plans to build parks and take care of our roads,” Olson said.
Olson, elected alderman in 2012 and president of the city council in 2013, ran against Gary L. Payson Sr., a veteran councilman and former city council president.
Howie Reynolds did not seek re-election after serving two terms as mayor. Read more ...
DELAVAN—Voters in in the Delavan-Darien School District have voted down a referendum that would have allowed the district to exceed state revenue limits by $2.1 million on a recurring basis starting with the 2014-2015 school year.
The vote was 1,727 to 1,163.
District officials have said that without the additional money, they will not be able to continue current programs and deep cuts will have to be made. Read more ...
DELAVAN—Two incumbent alderman retained their seats on the Delavan City Council.
In District 2, incumbent Wm. Bruce DeWitt, 50, of 524 McDowell St., Delavan defeated Samuel Riggs, 49, 201 N. 8th St., Delavan, 320 to 139.
In District 3, incumbent Jeff Johnson, 57, 629 Madison Drive, Delavan, defeated Ken Wargo, 44, 1216 E. Wisconsin St., Delavan, 317 to 172. Read more ...
JANESVILLE--Incumbents Jim Farrell and Matt Kealy garnered the most votes in the election for Janesville City Council Tuesday, with newcomer Mark Bobzien finishing a close third.
Four candidates were seeking three open seats.
Farrell had 3,946 votes, Kealy followed with 3,880 votes and Bobzien totaled 3,846.
George Brunner, who has served on the council in the past, came in fourth with 2,901 votes. Read more ...
WHITEWATER—Incumbent Lynn Binnie plans to tackle storm water problems plaguing certain areas of the city in his upcoming term as District 4 alderman.
Binnie was re-elected to his seat Tuesday, beating his opponent Paul Yvarra, a retired UW-Whitewater program coordinator, by 172 votes.
Binnie has been District 4 alderman since 2008 and looks forward to representing Whitewater for another term.
“I'm certainly very gratified that the constituents of my district were supportive of my reasoning and some of the positions I have taken and support my hopes for Whitewater's future.” Binnie said. Read more ...
EVANSVILLE—Challenger Gene Lewis beat incumbent Jon Senn for a seat on the Evansville City Council on Tuesday.
The District 3 race was the only contested seat on the Evansville City Council.
Lewis, 47, of 354 Union St., is an auto technician in Belleville. This was his first election to public office. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Senn, 43, of 216 Garfield Ave., has served on the city council since 2012. Read more ...
DELAVAN—Mel Nieuwenhuis won another term as mayor of Delavan.
Nieuwenhuis, 52, of 720 Parish St., Delavan, defeated Alderman Ryan Schroeder, 39, of 510 S. 7th St., Delavan, 835 to 686.
Nieuwenhuis has been mayor of Delavan since 2002. Read more ...
WALWORTH—According to unofficial returns, voters in the Big Foot Union High School District said Tuesday they're willing to commit $990,000 per year for five years to enhance programming, provide a safer environment and maintain and enhance facilities.
Tuesday's referendum is a reversal for the district, where voters last year narrowly defeated a referendum that sought funding for educational support provisions required by the state.
According to information provided by the district, exceeding the revenue cap for the next five years will have little effect on the overall tax levy. That's because the district recently retired debt service of $1.2 million per year from a referendum that passed in 1998. Read more ...
MILTON—Unofficial results show the two-seat Milton School Board election appears wrapped up.
The results show the two incumbent school board members, Jon Cruzan and Tom Westrick, have held onto their seats against challenger Shelly Krull-Hanke.
With about 90 percent of Rock County votes in the race collected, Westrick took one seat handily, garnering 1,100 votes. Cruzan won the second lead, albeit with a narrower lead 825 votes so far, compared to 726 votes for Krull-Hanke. Read more ...
JANESVILLE—Incumbents Kevin Murray and Bill Sodemann and former board member Dale Thompson have been elected to the Janesville School Board, according to unofficial results from the Rock County Clerk's office.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the results show that Murray received the most votes with 4,360 while Thompson was second with 3,051.
Sodemann beat challenger Diane Eyers by a count of 2,612 to 2,554 for the final seat. Fred Thompson followed closely with a total of 2,448. Read more ...
Poring over results as results pour in
Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler, right, and clerk's office staffer Dave Babcock review election results at the clerk's office in Janesville on Tuesday. Photo by Bill Olmsted, email@example.com.
Advisory referendums that might eventually have a national impact passed by strong margins Tuesday in Delavan, Edgerton and Elkhorn.
The referendums were part of a national movement called Move to Amend, which hopes to overturn the United States Supreme Court's decision in a case that is now referred to as "Citizens United."
In Citizens United, the court ruled that First Amendment rights extend to corporations, labor unions and nonprofit organizations.
The ruling made it easier for those groups to engage in unlimited “independent expenditures” during the election season, opening a flood of money into campaigns. Read more ...
EDGERTON—Unofficial results show the three-seat Edgerton School Board election is wrapped up. The results: Two incumbent school board members held onto their seats, while a young newcomer looks to have narrowly won the third seat on the board.
With two-thirds of Dane County votes and all votes in for Rock County, it appears incumbents Amy Horn-Delzer and Sue Tronnes have retained their seats with incomplete vote totals of 960 and for Delzer and 1,063 for Tronnes.
20-year-old Jordan has garnered 740 votes, taking a 68-vote lead in front of incumbent James Salimes. Read more ...
TOWN OF SPRING PRAIRIE—Town residents will not be getting town-provided trash collection anytime soon.
Voters said "no" to the idea by a slim margin Tuesday, with only 15 votes separating those for the town service from those opposed to it.
The referendum was advisory, but the town board has promised to go with the will of the majority, said town board Supervisor Tom Bolfert. Read more ...
ORFORDVILLE—Parkview students will finally get their updated facilities.
After failing four of the last five construction referendums, Parkview School District voters approved a $17 million referendum Tuesday that essentially will create a new junior/senior high school.
The referendum to swap the grade levels at the Orfordville schools passed 1,146 to 1,120.
A second referendum to exceed the state revenue caps for operating expenses passed 1,230 to 1,044. That vote approved spending an additional $350,000 annually for three years. Read more ...
EDGERTON—Dave Thomas is looking forward to his third term on the Edgerton City Council after easily defeating challenger Patrick Lyons on Tuesday.
Thomas, a retired tool and die maker, said he wants to keep Edgerton progressing on an even keel. Read more ...
MILTON—Unofficial results show the Milton City Council race is wrapped up. The results: Three of four incumbent alderpersons have retained their seat on the city council, while one former alderwoman was voted back on the council.
Unofficial results from the Rock County Clerk's office show incumbents Theresa Rusch, David Adams and Nancy Lader retained their council seats, while a former council member, Lynda Clark, earned her seat back.
In a tight race, Rusch was the top vote-getter with 372 votes, capturing 21.6 percent of the popular vote.
Incumbent Maxine Striegl lost council her seat, falling just 18 votes behind Lader, who grabbed 262 votes. Read more ...
EDGERTON—Incumbent Mayor Christopher Lund has apparently won re-election to his third term.
Preliminary results show Lund leading challenger Matt McIntyre with a comfortable margin. Results for the Dane County portion of the city are not yet available. Read more ...
So far, Parkview referendum is a close one
The Parkview School District referendum, which asked voters for $17 million to renovate and build additions to create an updated junior/high school, is a close one at this point, Gazette reporter Gina Duwe writes:
Polls are closed
A voter casts his ballot at the Edison Middle School polling site in Janesville on Tuesday. Turnout at the site was termed "very light" by one poll worker early in the evening, said Gazette Photo Editor Bill Olmsted.
The polls officially closed at 8 p.m. Keep your eye on this live blog for the latest election results.
Don't forget to do your civic duty, Opinion Editor Greg Peck writes:
Today's blog: Did you vote today? It's not too late, and you're unlikely to stand in any line. Do your civic duty. http://t.co/jyD6Nc2ETZ— Greg Peck (@GazOpMatters) April 1, 2014
Read more at Opinion Matters, Peck's blog: Greg Peck: Did you take time to vote today?
Gazette content partner The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a look at the wave of school referendums before rural Wisconsin voters this Tuesday:
Do voters want local children to have an adequately funded education, with access to high-quality teachers and learning tools?
That's a critical question in the spring election Tuesday for at least 26 rural school districts, where ballot measures will ask residents to approve a boost in property taxes above state-set limits—not for new buildings or technology, but to keep regular operations running.
In Rock and Walworth counties, at least three school districts are seeking funds.
In Rock County, the Parkview School District is seeking $350,000 in each of the next three years to soften projected deficits. That's in addition to the district asking for $17 million for building renovations.
In Walworth County, voters in the Big Foot Union High School District are being asked to approve $990,000 per year for five years to enhance programming, provide a safer environment and maintain and enhance facilities.
In the Delavan-Darien School District, the school board is asking voters for permission to exceed state revenue limits by $2.1 million every year starting in the 2014-15 school year to cover ongoing expenses.
Though the polls don't close for hours, the odds are against these school districts, Astead Herndon writes. Referendums like these often don't pass. Read more ...
Voters' choices likely will matter more than usual in Tuesday's elections. But that's because only 1.2 eligible voters out of 10 will vote across Wisconsin, according to projections. That is an embarrassing number, Gazette blogger John W. Eyster writes. Read more ...
Elections are Tuesday. Don't panic. Find out what you need to know in order to stay calm and vote. Read more ...
While voting is a civic duty, it's an even greater civic responsibility to vote as an informed citizen. So please, if you haven't done so, spend time learning the candidates and issues. Read more ...
Several issues have become controversial in the weeks before the election. The four Janesville City Council candidates say how they would vote. Read more ...
Kevin Murray and Bill Sodemann deserve election to their fourth three-year terms. Newcomer Diane Eyers merits your support, as well. Read more ...
Letter to the editor, March 30
The Rock County sheriff race is the focus of Sunday's letter to the editor.
Farrell and Kealy have served us well in their first two-year terms and deserve re-election. Read more ...
Paul Yvarra, a Whitewater City Council candidate, said he made a mistake in a comment relating to his opponent, Lynn Binnie. Read more ...
No simple solution can solve Parkview's facility and financial shortcomings. But improving schools is a smart investment. Read more ...
Letters to the editor, March 28
Rock County Board and Janesville City Council are the focus of Friday's letters to the editor.
Letters to the editor, March 27
Rock and Walworth county boards, Janesville School Board, Janesville City Council and Parkview School District are the focus of Wednesday's letters to the editor.
- Your Views: Russell Rucker will serve Rock County Board with integrity, participation
- Your Views: Charlene Staples won't fear speaking up on Walworth County Board
- Your Views: Vote to help stem outflow of teachers from Janesville district
- Your Views: For Janesville City Council, Jim Farrell is proven, knowledgeable
- Your Views: Only responsible vote in Parkview School District is 'no'
The Brodhead city clerk/treasurer is hoping to prevent frustration at the polls next week by helping residents better understand the city's switch to an at-large city council.
The city council in December unanimously approved amending city ordinances to switch from six council members elected from wards to six elected at large representing the entire city.
Residents are confused over the timing, said Roseann Meixelsperger, city clerk/treasurer.
The change doesn't go into effect until after the April 1 election, so the current system still applies to the ballots voters will see Tuesday. Residents can vote only for the ward in which they live. Read more ...
Letters to the editor due Wednesday
Heads up: Letters to the editor related to the Spring 2014 Election are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 26.
Opinions so far
There have been plenty of election-related opinion pieces already. Expect plenty more.
- Your Views: Charlene Staples offers honesty, fairness, thoughtfulness
- Your Views: Delavan should elect Ryan Schroeder for mayor
- Your Views: Parkview School District has turned out many success stories
- Your Views: Russ Rucker understands need to uphold our Constitution
- Your Views: Let's unite April 1, build strong Parkview School District community
- Your Views: Diane Eyers would be great addition to Janesville School Board
- Your Views: Parkview School District referendum supports living in past
- Your Views: Parkview School District plan reasonable, sensible, benefits us all
- Your Views: Vote 'no' to proposed tax madness in Orfordville Parkview School District
- Our Views: Spring elections vitally important
- Your Views: You can count on Russell Rucker for Rock County Board
- Your Views: Richard Peterson is worthy choice for Lake Geneva alderman
- Your Views: George Brunner cares about city of Janesville and deserves your vote