February 11, 2013

New Software Company Could Cost BDUSD


2/11/13 – Several local school districts may have to find the money to transition to a new statewide software company. Skyward recently lost out on a contract to start a statewide database of Wisconsin school students, even though the Stevens Point-based company was the low bidder. Infinite Campus of Blaine, Minnesota was awarded the 15-million-dollar contract for a computer system that will let officials statewide get information about any public school student in Wisconsin.


Both companies software can already be found in school districts across the state. However, Skyward is in more than half, including Beaver Dam where Superintendent Steve Vessey says it has been in use for over a decade to manage student data including grades, demographics and health records. “When parents go online to access electronic grade books, that’s Skyward,” he says. Vessey anticipates the costs associated with the transition to Infinite Campus software to be upwards of $30,000, likely absorbed by the district. Most of the money, he says, will go toward training. The school district considered a move to Infinite Campus three years ago but Vessey says officials did not act because the implementation of a statewide system was likely. “Infinite Campus was the better product,” he says. While the student database is expected to transition to Infinite Campus, Vessey says Beaver Dam will be staying with Skyward’s financial package for budgeting, payroll and leave time.


Skyward contends that it should have won the contract, and it filed a challenge Friday with the Walker administration. The Wisconsin-based company said its proposal would cost the state less, and there were financial factors that the state didn’t consider. Infinite Campus says that the bidding process was quote, “fair, transparent, and open.” The Minnesota company released a score-sheet which showed how it was given the highest technical score in the bidding process – and how it claimed the lowest cost.


Man Stabbed in Theresa


2/11/13 – The site of an apparent drinking party in Theresa turned into a crime scene over the weekend.  Dodge County authorities say an early Saturday morning altercation at a South Milwaukee Street residence sent a 21-year-old Campbellsport man to the hospital with stab wounds. The man was listed in stable condition at St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac. A 20-year-old Lomira man is charged with Felony First Degree Reckless Injury. He suffered minor injuries in the altercation and was taken into custody after being released by the hospital. Another man was charged with misdemeanor Battery and Strangulation, while a fourth man was charged with misdemeanor Battery. Authorities say their investigation is ongoing.


Walker Not a Stranger to Appointing New Sheriffs


2/11/13 – Appointing a new sheriff is becoming old hat for Governor Scott Walker. With the retirement of Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls next month Walker will have to appoint a new sheriff for a third time in less than a year. Previously he put a new sheriff in place in Grant County and Oneida County. In both instances the Governor chose someone that had experience within the sheriff’s department that he was taking over. Nehls says there are people he would recommend but he’s not sure they’d want the job. Nehls believes that due to what he considers a substandard compensation package current employees would be hesitant to take the job. In the past, Walker’s office announced that they were accepting applications and gave two weeks for those interested to apply.


Snowmobile and ATV Trails in Good Condition


2/11/13 – Snow may have buried much of the Northeast, but it’s just right for outdoor activities in Wisconsin. Tourism officials say many areas of this state have good or excellent conditions for skiing, sledding, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Last week’s snowfall added inches to trails and sledding hills. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says snowmobile and ATV trails in Dodge County are open and in good conditions. The biggest outdoor event of the week kicked off Saturday on Lake Winnebago with the start of the 16-day sturgeon spearing season.


Dairy Industry Leaders Not Worried About Latest Report on Food-Borne Illness


2/11/13 – Wisconsin’s dairy industry does not appear to be alarmed by a new finding that dairy items cause the second-highest number of food-borne illnesses. The U-S Centers for Disease Control recently said dairy products accounted for one-point-three million illnesses from 1998-to-2008, second only to leafy vegetables. And dairy items caused 10-percent of food-borne deaths, and 16-percent of hospitalizations. Marianne Smukowski of the U-W Madison Center for Dairy Research said there’s no pattern of any problems at Wisconsin’s dairy processing plants. She says there are not many product recalls, and the industry continues to have a good reputation. Steve Ingham of the state Ag Department says pasteurization problems are rare at Wisconsin dairy plants. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the biggest concern appears to be with unpasteurized raw milk. Wisconsin considered legalizing farm sales of raw milk in 2010. The Legislature approved it, but former Governor Jim Doyle vetoed it, out of fears that illnesses from raw milk would hurt the dairy industry world-famous reputation. Raw milk supporters continue to push for a new bill – but it has not gone anywhere in Madison over the past couple years.


Schuller No Longer Trying to Eliminate His Position


2/11/13 – Wisconsin’s state treasurer has given up trying to eliminate his office, as he promised to try and do when he ran for the job three years ago. Kurt Schuller’s chief deputy told Gannett Wisconsin Media he’s focusing on his duties, and not on merging his and the Secretary-of-State’s duties into other agencies. Deputy Treasurer Scott Feldt said Schuller offered a constitutional amendment in the last legislative session, but majority Republicans chose not to take it up. The deputy said if there was a chance of disbanding the treasurer’s office, it would have been in the last session. Feldt said the treasurer has a lot of work to do – like the returning of unclaimed property to its rightful owners, so that’s what they’ll do. Last fall, Schuller asked that four temporary project workers be made permanent. Assembly Republican Dean Kaufert of Neenah balked, saying it’s a sign that Schuller’s going back on what he promised to the voters in 2010. Schuller says the four workers are already on the payroll, so it’s not like he’s adding anyone new. Kaufert says the employees’ status will be considered when the governor and lawmakers act on the next state budget later this year.


Not Much Impact for Wisconsin at the Grammys


2/11/13 – Wisconsin did not make the big splash at the Grammys that it made a year ago. Eau Claire’s Bon Iver – last year’s winner as the Best New Artist – was not up for any of the major awards last night. Before the C-B-S telecast started, Blanton Alspaugh was named the classical music producer-of-the-year. He featured Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera company and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in the album “Don Davis, Rio de Sangre.” Also during last night’s telecast, jazz composer Mike Melvoin – an Oshkosh native – was remembered during a memorial. He died last February.