Yes Votes All Around

Voters were in a “yes” mood on April 7, with all local, regional and statewide referenda being approved with yes votes.

With a well-run campaign by community members in the Sevastopol School District, the Sevastopol School referendum easily passed, with 1,099 yes votes and 377 no votes. The referendum allows the district to exceed the state revenue limit by $1.5 million for the next three school years, through 2018-19.

“A referendum isn’t an event, it’s more of a measure of the trust that school and community build up collaboratively over the years,” said Sevastopol Superintendent Linda Underwood. “We are very grateful to our community. It is a vote of trust for us and we will go forward doing what’s right for our kids and what’s expected from the community.”

Washington Island voters also approved a referendum for Washington Island School, 246 to 140, which will allow the district to exceed the revenue limit by $564,766 for the next school year and $574,383 for 2016-17.

Voters in the six-plus county region served by Northeast Wisconsin Technical College said yes to its $66.5 million referendum for new construction and renovation on the Green Bay, Marinette and Sturgeon Bay campuses.

“On behalf of the staff and students of NWTC, I want to thank our supporters in the Door Peninsula,” said Dr. Jeff Rafn, NWTC president. “We are thrilled with the outcome and do not take the public’s support of this referendum lightly. On behalf of the residents of our district, we have the opportunity to create, innovate and elevate state-of-the-art facilities that will inspire, strengthen, and transform our students and the communities we serve. We have promises to keep and keep them we shall.”

Voters in all 14 municipalities in Kewaunee County overwhelmingly approved the Kewaunee County Groundwater Ordinance, which bans the spreading of liquid manure on land with only 20 feet to bedrock from Jan. 1 to April 15.

“I believe what this says to all of us in county government is that we are right to be concerned about our ground and surface waters and that the people of Kewaunee County are very ready for us to take the lead in developing the kinds of common sense rules that will slow and then reverse the water quality problems we are faced with here,” said Kewaunee County Board Supervisor Lee Luft. “They are hoping we will act in the best interest of those who are here now and in the best interest of all those who may follow in the years to come.”

“We were elated with the news that the groundwater ordinance passed overwhelmingly in all 14 towns,” said Kewaunee County farmer and activist Nancy Utesch. “We see this as a direct message to our elected officials that the citizenry of Kewaunee County recognizes and supports the need to clean up our surface and groundwater and begin to remediate behaviors related to this contamination.”

There were two big upsets in Sturgeon Bay. Challenger Kelly Catarozoli defeated longtime 1st District Alderman Dan Wiegand, 136 to 88, and write-in candidate Will Gregory bested incumbent 7th District Alderman Bob Schlicht, 128-120.

“It says that the people were ready for a change in the status quo in Sturgeon Bay,” said Gregory, who threw his hat in the ring as a write-in candidate in late February after being disgusted with the developments in the controversial hotel planned for the city’s Westside Waterfront Redevelopment project.

Gregory said he took his family out on the street and knocked on more than 500 doors in the district.

“I had conversations with a couple hundred people on their doorsteps,” he said. “Almost everyone I talked to was against the Westside Waterfront project, not against development itself, but the plan the council had approved. I ran into three people who thought it was good, three.”

Gregory mentioned that his family roots go back 137 years in Sturgeon Bay, so he is proud to have pulled off the election win.

“I hope all governments are listening,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to the position, it’s going to be very exciting. Now the hard work begins.”