De Pere City Council
Tidying up trash collection downtown
Downtown businesses may have to walk a few extra steps to get rid of their trash after the De Pere Common Council approved a measure that would establish common areas for dumpsters, rather than for each business to have its own trash and recyclable bins.
The result of individual businesses with their own containers, or the “proliferation of recycling and garbage carts in the city’s downtown commercial areas” is that access to parking and businesses is restricted, in addition to looking untidy, according to the resolution.
Since commercial building footprints generally include the entire parcel, it leaves tenants little room to store their containers between trash pickup days.
The city is creating three common waste collection districts.
• Marquette Square District (Parcels ED-857, ED-850, ED-848, ED-847, ED-842, ED-841, ED-840, ED-837 and ED-836)
• The Nicolet Square District from Main Avenue to the north, Third Street to the east, Reid Street to the south and Fourth Street to the west (including Parcels WD-906 to WD-913; WD-915; WD-917 to WD-923; WD-925; WD-930; and WD-931).
• The 400 Block of Reid Street and Main Avenue District (including Parcels WD-884, WD-885, WD-886, WD-887, WD-888, WD-889, WD-890-1 and WD-288).
Some property owners chose to opt out of the program and were given a deadline of Oct. 1. Going forward, any property owner that wishes to opt out should notify the city by Oct. 1 of each year.
Businesses choosing to opt out will have to have enclosures around their bins, and the bins must be out of sight, behind a barrier a foot taller than the height of the waste or recycling container.
The vote was unanimous, and there was no discussion.
Alderperson Dean Raasch was excused.
New cell tower approved
The De Pere Common Council voted unanimously to approve a conditional use permit for the construction of a cell tower in industrial park-zoned property at 747 Heritage Road, about 300 feet northwest from the intersection of Heritage Road and Enterprise Drive.
The applicant, Vertical Bridge, will put up a 125-foot monopole tower with a 10-foot lightning rod, for a total height of 135 feet inside a 60-square-foot area.
Vertical Bridge has a commitment with Cellcom and will erect, own and operate the tower, which will be open for collocation to other wireless providers.
Mayor Boyd took a moment at Tuesday’s meeting to recognize October as National Disability Employment Awareness month.
His proclamation called upon employers, schools and community organizations “to observe this October in support of the theme, Disability: Part of the Equity Equation, and continue to take steps to recruit, hire, retain and advance individuals with disabilities and work wholeheartedly throughout the year to pursue the goals of opportunity, full participation, economic self-sufficiency and independent living for people with disabilities.”
Visiting the sister city
De Pere Common Council voted unanimously to approve a request for Mayor Boyd to represent De Pere in a sister-city delegation trip to Amal, Sweden, in December.
Funding, of $2,263, will come from unassigned reserves.
This year is the 15th year of the sister-city relationship between De Pere and Amal.
Amal’s municipal director, Jan-Erik Samuelsson, invited Boyd and several others from De Pere to visit.
“Our history of cooperation has shown that in-person delegations have spurred new ideas and opportunities for exchange,” Samuelsson wrote.
Since 2007, six high school students from Amal have attended a school year in De Pere, via sponsorship from AFS scholarships.
Teachers and other community members from both cities have been involved in sharing across cultures in a variety of ways, from a penpal club in the elementary grades to representatives of St. Norbert College hosting visitors.
In June of 2019, two artists spent two weeks as guests of Definitely De Pere, painting a mural on the north side of 115 N. Wisconsin Ave.
In August of this year, a delegation from Amal and the European Union that has focused on refugee integration visited.
“Our shared Amal/De Pere goal of sharing ideas in the area of youth, education and cultural exchange have been productive and fruitful,” Samuelsson wrote. “We look forward to the De Pere delegation in December 2022, to further, strengthen and expand our cooperation, and to continue to educate our students and community about other cultures and the world.”
De Pere School Board
Four recognized for National Merit Program
The De Pere School Board recognized four De Pere High School semi-finalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
The finalists include seniors Neel Andhole, Tyler Blom, David Hendrickson, and Elizabeth Werner.
They scored within the top 1 percent of students in the nation on the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship qualifying test and are among the 16,000 students in the country competing for about 7,500 National Merit Scholarships totaling more than $31 million, to be announced next spring.
Key Club members Avery Greene, Madie Renier, Lauren Collins (juniors) and Sahith Rimmalapudi, a senior, updated the board on their recent activities, including Power Puff girls flag football game, part of homecoming activities, which raised money for a local cancer charity, as did Making Strides for Breast Cancer.
They also mentioned the homecoming football game, senior activities, volunteering at the National Railroad Museum, and their cornhole tournament.
The four students are speakers with De Pere High School’s Key Club, whose 145 members have a goal of volunteering 1,000 hours.
At the presentation, senior Sahi Rimmalapudi gave a few words about what inspired him to volunteer.
“When I was a freshman, our entire house burned down,” he said. “The whole community just came together to help us out, and that has made me really want to give back.”
The students were there as part of an effort from the board several months ago to encourage student involvement in school board meetings.
Mental health on the upswing
Unified School District of De Pere Pupil Services Director Jerry Nicholson and Social Worker Michelle Dahlke reported on the district’s mental wellness efforts at the most recent meeting of the school board.
They said 45 students from the district are getting help with social workers able to schedule time with 15 per week across six school buildings.
It’s been helpful, they said.
“We have seen a big, big, big change in behavior and wellbeing, with the majority of students reporting they had experienced massive or slight improvements,” Dahlke said.
She said that in addition, their attendance improved.
Connections for Mental Wellness is the district’s school-based mental health outreach.
It partners with Bellin to bring mental health services to students who request it.
De Pere is part of a regional collaborative that aims to deliver mental health services to schools, with an emphasis on students who have barriers to accessing such services outside of school.
In the district, Bellin provides help to students at De Pere High School, De Pere Middle School and Foxview Intermediate.
Nicholson said some of the biggest barriers to students in accessing mental health outside of school include inability to pay, lack of transportation, a counselor shortage and waiting lists of up to eight months.
Dahlke said parents are aware at all steps in the process and give their permission for their kids to participate.
In all, 24 school sites across eight school districts are involved in the regional effort: Ashwaubenon, De Pere, West De Pere, Denmark, Pulaski, Howard-Suamico, Green Bay and Wrightstown.
How it works is that teachers or student services staff identify students who might benefit from SBMH, then reach out to parents and students to see if they would be interested in the program.
It’s voluntary, and students and parents have to consent.
The program helps students identify problems and develop tools to cope with them.
Services are available one day a week per building to between 12 and 15 students per building.
Board President David Youngquist asked Dahlke if they’ve noticed any long term mental health effects of the pandemic shutdowns among students.
Dahlke indicated that older students appear to have rebounded.
“It’s the younger kids who are struggling to be in a classroom,” she said.
Youngquist cited having heard that it seems many children in pre-kindergarten seem to want to play with the teacher rather than with each other.
Some of the issues students are getting help with are behavioral problems, peer difficulties, hyperactivity, social skills and more.