No progress made in the city’s efforts to purchase restaurant sitting in the middle of Village Green

No progress made in the city’s efforts to purchase restaurant sitting in the middle of Village Green

Oconomowoc could be only city in the state, maybe Midwest, with a Chinese restaurant in the middle of its signature park   Anyone looking for a quick and inexpensive resolution to the problem of the city having a Chinese restaurant smack dab in the middle of a highly visible city park in the heart of the downtown might want to reconsider, especially now that the Common Council, in its wisdom, has appointed Dave Nold as its interim mayor. Nold stated at a previous Common Council meeting, that he did not consider having Fong’s Gardens taking up space within the park to be a problem: “We’ll just build the park around the building,” said Nold when asked about the city’s efforts to finish creating the park. That stance is not shared by others on the Council, nor is it sitting well with some residents who were led to believe by former Mayor Jim Daley and his supporters that the park, which sits at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and North Main Street, the most prominent intersection in the city, would provide clean views of Fowler Lake from both streets (see illustration on the right). When the idea of creating what was then called the Village Green was first proposed and publicized, there was no restaurant on any of the various architectural drawings presented to the public and the Common Council. The reality, however, is there is a restaurant in the Green that has little incentive to relocate. Since 2012, the city has attempted to purchase the property, but owner Tommy Linn, then and now, has not indicated he wants to move. Linn,... read more

Kay’s motion calls for salary increases for OASD board members and president

Lake Country Municipal Court Judge Tim Kay, in his role as a private citizen and resident of the Oconomowoc Area School District, plans to introduction a motion at Tuesday’s Sept. 19 annual meeting of the OASD Board of Education that would raise the salaries of the board’s members and president. While Kay has not served on the board, he has an intimate knowledge of what it takes to serve on the elected body; his wife, Susan, served on the board until her resignation in April, 2012. Tim Kay is also a former Oconomowoc Sports Booster Club President and in that role worked closely with the board. Kay’s motion contends that the salaries of the board members and its president are below the average for communities and school districts of similar size in Wisconsin. And he’s right. Analysis of salaries for boards in area communities shows that the average salary for board members is $3,734. Board presidents are paid, on average, $3,993. Currently, the salary for an elected OASD board member is $2,330, $1,414 below the average for school boards in 10 comparable area communities. Here are those annual salaries: District (alpha order)Board SalaryPresident Salary Arrowhead$3,050$3,050 Elmbrook$3,600$3,600 Hamilton$4,000$4,000 Kettle Moraine$3,000$3,000 Menomonee Falls$5,000$5,500 Mukwonago$2,000$2,500 Muskego$4,195$4,545 New Berlin$3,500$5,000 Oconomowoc$2,330$2,330 Pewaukee$4,000$4,000 Waukesha$5,196$5,196 Oconomowoc ranks second from the bottom on the list with only Mukwonago paying less ($2,000). Two districts, Sussex-Hamilton and Muskego, pay $4,000 and $4,195 yearly. Waukesha, a bigger community, pays its board members $5,196 yearly. Kay’s motion, which is voted on by the electors at the meeting, not the Board members, calls for a $4,000 annual salary and $4,500 for the... read more
PHOTOS–AFF donors preview new athletic facilities

PHOTOS–AFF donors preview new athletic facilities

Donors to the successful Athletic Fields Forever campaign that raised funds to help renovate and improvement the outdoor athletic facilities at the Oconomowoc High School were given an advance preview of the facilities on Thursday evening. After several presentations, including one from OASD Superintendent of Schools Roger Rindo, the group split into small groups for mini-tours of the new soccer stadium, baseball diamond, track, and synthetic turf field at Ed Rux stadium. The group also saw a short video on the Rux stadium scoreboard and were entertained by the OHS dance team. Click on any of the thumbnail images below to launch a self-directed slide show featuring larger versions of each photo. Photos by Malcolm McIntyre.... read more

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PHOTOS: Cooney boys soccer team at Kettle Moraine

PHOTOS: Cooney boys soccer team at Kettle Moraine

The OHS varsity boys soccer team and its counterpart at Kettle Moraine battled to a 2-2 tie Thursday at Wales.. These photos by Malcolm McIntyre are copyright Oconomowoc Today, but you may share, download, or print them for personal use.

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Hula Hoops, Bubble Gum, Bullying, & Mindfulness is theme for free workshop for kids aged 8-10 on Saturday, Jan. 31

Sponsored by Abundant Joy Yoga and Oconomowoc Parents Education Network Hula Hoops, Bubble Gum, Bullying, & Mindfulness is the theme of a free workshop sponsored by Abundant Joy Yoga on Saturday, Jan. 31, from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Oconomowoc Lakes Plaza building, W359 N50002 Brown Street, Suite 211, Oconomowoc. Designed for children aged 9 to 10, the session requires per-registration. A minimum of five and maximum of 15 participants is required. Click here to register. According to a press release from Abundant Joy Yoga, “We are all moving at warp speed and our children are not far behind us. We will plant lots of seeds in this one hour class!” The goal is to give kids 8-10 years old more tools and reminders that help them recognize what they can and can’t control about their lives. The session is further designed to help participants be aware of living in the moment, appreciate who they are and who they are not. Instructor Janet Foust has taught 4-year old kindergarten through third grade as well as gifted learners. She has a masters in... read more
Free workshop on helping parents help children dealing with grief set for Tuesday night at OAC Little Theater

Free workshop on helping parents help children dealing with grief set for Tuesday night at OAC Little Theater

Program sponsored by Healing Hearts of Waukesha County and Oconomowoc Parents Education Network Grief in children can occur as a result of trauma associated with death, divorce, incarceration, immigration, military deployment, abandonment and separation. Grief is a natural and normal response to any of these traumatic events. To help parents of children help their children who are experiencing grief, Healing Hearts of Waukesha County, in conjunction with the Oconomowoc Parents Education Network (OPEN) is sponsoring a free workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 27, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in the Little Theater at Oconomowoc High School. Healing Hearts of Waukesha County is committed to supporting children and families experiencing grief. Executive Director Chris Beck will help parents understand how they can best support children experiencing any of these difficult situations. After thirty-nine years of teaching Speech, English and Television Production in the Waukesha High Schools, Beck volunteered as a facilitator with Healing Hearts where she witnessed the power of the program to assuage children’s grief. This is her fourth year as a facilitator and her third year as executive director. Please attend to learn more about a powerful topic that touches all of our lives. Click here to make FREE reservation. COME MEET HEALING HEART’S THERAPY DOG NOAH! Healing Hearts Mondays With Noah from Healing Hearts of Waukesha Co. on Vimeo.  ... read more

OPINION: Don’t let misinformation leave you wrong

Misinformation and missing information are problems that won’t go away. Case in point: Just listen to people talk about Fowler Lake Village. If built, some say, St. Paul street will be closed. Wrong. The condo owners at FLV will own lakefront property. Wrong. If the development isn’t built, the city will be on the hook for $6.4 million. Wrong. The city-owned playground that sits on the lake front, next to St. Paul’s will disappear. Wrong. The popular boardwalk will be interrupted. Wrong. There will be less public parking. Wrong. Condo owners will take some of the public parking. Wrong. The list of misinformation is extensive. So what’s the solution? Yes the city has to do a better job disseminating information, but to its credit, it has taken action, including creating a website that is a major valuable information resource. But city staff and elected officials aren’t always able to easily share information. For example, there are legal issues associated with the city holding an “informational” meeting on key issues or concerns. The state’s Open Meeting Law comes into play and there is a lot of gray area around how such meetings are conducted, who can attend, etc. In the past, the city has took the position that if such a meeting were held, it would probably requite a legal notice and a published agenda. Plus the meeting would probably be conducted as a meeting of the Common Council, which has its own set of procedural constraints, many of which don’t support or encourage open dialog or public discourse. Council meetings are working sessions for the aldermen; not public forums.... read more

2013 COMMENTARY–Online Updates for Area Sports … Who Really Cares? Apparently,You Do!

Data on Cooney football games reveals impact of social media By Gary Wipperman We are used to checking ESPN.com or NFL.com for up to the minute sports scores.  This is especially true when we are away from a television and the Packers, Badgers, Brewers, and Bucks are playing – (OK, well maybe not the Bucks). We are constantly refreshing our screens to get the very latest on that scoring drive, base hit, or buzzer beater. We have become an “always online” society and expect any news we receive will be the very latest.   At a national and even state level this is not a new occurrence. Ask your kids what options are available to get news, weather, and sports updates when you’re away from home and you will most likely get an eye roll and a look that confirms you are indeed a dinosaur.  So, we are used to getting our state and national sports updates by the minute delivered to our PC, tablet, smartphone, or even smart TV.  What about local sports updates?  Is there a demand for that in our community? I decided to put that question to the test the past two weeks and you may be surprised to at the results. Prep sports is a burgeoning market as providers such as wissports.net, maxpreps.com, and rivals.com can attest. These are national websites that make their living by reporting up to the minute information as it relates to high school sports. These companies earn revenue through advertisers to their website–often companies that tailor to sports equipment are their primary clients. In addition, they pocket revenue by... read more

OPINION: Have Applicants for Vacant District 3 Council Seat Made the Decison in Advance for Council Members?

Only one applicant, Joe Warren, is willing to respect council’s preference for placeholder status Nothing  seems easy for the Oconomowoc Common Council. In October, it decided to temporarily fill the aldermanic position vacated by the resignation of District 3 alderman Cathleen Slattery with a short-term appointment, a “placeholder.”  Council members said they did not want to district under-represented by only a single alderman, especially given the council’s agenda over the next few months. They also wisely felt that ultimately the voters in District 3 should elect their representative, not the aldermen. Therefore, in a compromise of sorts, they decided to appoint someone who would serve only until the general election in April. To their credit, they also recognized that the person appointed, if they decided to run for the post in April, would have an advantage over other potential candidates because they would be an incumbent. In Oconomowoc, being an incumbent is often tantamount to being re-elected. So to ensure that this did not happen, the council said he would prefer giving the appointment to someone who would agree not run in April. So far so good. Unfortunately, two of the three applicants for the placeholder position don’t appear to be on the same page as the aldermen (see article). One says he won’t agree to refrain from running for the seat in April and another says he is undecided as to whether he’ll accept the council’s stipulation. That leaves only one applicant, Joe Warren, meeting the criteria laid out by the council members back in October. Doesn’t this seem a little odd? Why would people ask for an... read more
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