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Local
A village is born
After incorporation, Yorkville to elect new village board

YORKVILLE — Changes are ahead for the Town of Yorkville’s governing body.

As soon as the results Tuesday’s referendum to incorporate Yorkville as a village are certified by the state, the town will officially become a village. Then it can begin planning for the election of a new board of trustees.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the incorporation referendum during Wisconsin’s spring election with 1,060 votes in favor and 54 opposed.

Up until the election for a new board, the existing Town Board will serve as Yorkville’s governing body, according to Town Chairman Peter Hansen. The board members plan to determine the specifics of the election during their April 23 meeting and are tentatively looking at a June 12 election, with a May 22 primary, if necessary.

While the Town Board is made up of three members with a chairman and two supervisors, the new village board will tentatively consist of five members, with four trustees and a president.

Hansen does not plan to run for a spot on the new village board, and is set to retire from public office after more than 30 years in local government. Hansen was on the Racine County Board for 27 years and has been Yorkville’s town chairman seven years.

“It’s been a wonderful 30 years for me,” he said.

The two other Town Board members, Sherry Gruhn and Terrence McMahon, both plan to file to run in the election for village board.

Gruhn said she plans to run in part because she wants to ensure that everyone on the new village board is informed and up-to-date on the Town Board’s previous work.

Timeline

If Yorkville does set a June 12 election date, it will mean a tight timeline for those wishing to run for village board to circulate nomination papers and file paperwork, according to Yorkville Town Clerk, Michael McKinney.

Foxconn-related legislation allowed Yorkville to incorporate as a village without meeting certain statutory requirements, such a population density. It also allows Yorkville to bypass the requirement to hold an election for a new board within 40-50 days of state referendum certification. However, Yorkville plans to stick to that timeline anyway, McKinney said.

The clerk warned that anyone looking to run should wait until the Town Board sets the election date to begin paperwork.

“Registration and nomination papers should not be completed or circulated until the election is officially scheduled,” McKinney said.

Union Grove

Once it’s officially a village, Yorkville will surround the Village of Union Grove. However, leaders from both communities don’t believe this will cause problems.

“I’m very happy for the Village of Yorkville,” said Union Grove Village President Michael Aimone.

He predicted that the two communities, whose governments already share a fire department and a municipal building at 925 15th Ave., would continue to have an amicable working relationship.

Aimone said he’s not at all worried about Union Grove becoming landlocked. If, for example, a development within Yorkville and adjacent to Union Grove required services that only Union Grove could provide, the two communities could come to an agreement for annexation of that property, allowing Union Grove to expand its borders.

“It doesn’t disallow us from growing if it’s in the best interest of both communities,” Aimone said.


Hansen


Local
Caron Butler’s new radio show
Caron Butler to co-host radio show

LOS ANGELES — After the Super Bowl, and with the NBA playoffs and NCAA tournament on the horizon, Scott Shapiro, vice president of Fox Sports Radio, was preparing to create a radio show aimed more toward basketball.

Shapiro wanted a show with a “reputable, big name, currently retired NBA player,” and approached long-time Sports Illustrated writer Chris Mannix, who now reports on the NBA for Yahoo Sports.

With Mannix based in Boston and Fox Sports Radio operating out of Los Angeles, Shapiro asked Mannix to come up with a list of names of retired NBA players he would like to work with for a radio show.

“The number one name on his list was Caron (Butler),” Shapiro said. “What I didn’t tell (Mannix) beforehand was Caron was number one on my list too, and I thought there was no chance that our lists were going to be unified at the very top. So it was a perfect marriage from the jump.”

Mannix covered Butler during the years he played for the Washington Wizards and was an NBA All-Star.

“I always found Caron a particularly insightful guy,” Mannix said. “In recent years, I’ve followed him as he’s done a lot more media stuff. … I admired the work ethic he had.”

For Butler, he always thought about doing a radio show or podcast. Butler said Mannix is a “rising force in this industry” and wanted to collaborate with him.

“You can’t just pair yourself up with just anyone,” Butler said. “Over the years, we’ve developed this great connection and a respect for one another’s craft. I always said if I wanted to do a show or anything like that on a national stage, I would love to be paired with him because we bounce ideas off each other really well.”

The three-hour show, called “Chris and Caron,” is broadcast on Sunday mornings. And although no local radio stations have yet picked it up, Wisconsin residents can listen to it on the iHeartRadio app or on FoxSportsRadio.com.

‘I’m breaking down

the game for you’

Having played in the NBA for 16 years, becoming an all-star and a champion, Butler plans to bring detailed analysis and authentic perspective to life in the NBA.

“What I’m able to do is provide a real, educated opinion about my experience and my longevity,” Butler said. “I don’t have a horse in this race, so I’m not going to show any favoritisms or anything. … I’ve been fortunate enough to play under the best basketball minds who ever coached or participated in this game of basketball.”

Butler points to playing college ball at the University of Connecticut under head coach Jim Calhoun, playing under Miami Heat head coach Pat Riley, having teammates like Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade and winning a championship with Dirk Nowitzki as experiences that have shaped his view about the game.

But taking those experiences and translating them on the radio can be more difficult than people understand, Butler said.

“It starts weeks ahead of time, and you have to know the (team) personnel inside and out, you got to know their tendencies, where they’re from,” Butler said. “And being a former player, I know about the travel, going through adversity, the trade talks, the pulse of the team, their rhythm. … The viewer wants to know the who, what, when, where, why, how stuff and I can break it down.”

Butler said he wants the show to sound like he is “sitting in the barber shop … and I’m breaking down the game for you.”

Butler has also become a fixture on television doing basketball commentary for ESPN men’s college basketball programming and on TNT, and being live-in-studio for Spectrum SportsNet commenting on the Los Angeles Lakers.

‘Talking kringle’

Having grown up in Racine, Butler said with this new platform and his more than 500,000 social media followers — “the majority of them are from the state of Wisconsin” — that he will not forget his roots.

“We’re going to have so many components of the state and my hometown, Racine, on the show,” Butler said. “We’re going to be talking kringle, we’re going to be talking (Green Bay) Packers. … I’m always going to put something on for the 2-6-2 (area code), I’m always going to put on for my home state.”

Mannix said he knows that Butler is proud of being from Racine and “I know he’s proud of pulling himself up and becoming what he’s become today, both professionally and personally.”

“I don’t know a lot of former athletes that might be willing to grind the way Caron grinds,” Mannix said. “He has no problem, after being at the peak of his previous profession, starting from scratch and learning new things and having no ego about those things.”

Although the show won’t be broadcast on any local radio station, Shapiro said they recognize Butler has a large Wisconsin following and encourages passionate fans to listen online.

“There’s a lot of people hired in the media business, and they’re only hired for their name, and when they’re on the air, they’re flat and it’s clear they were only hired for their name,” Shapiro said. “But Caron’s the type of person where he can make a name for himself in this business.”


Pete Wicklund /   

Gruhn


Local
RUSD
Incoming Unified board member a veteran of the district

RACINE — Jane Brewer Barbian will be a new face on the Racine Unified School Board with a long history in the district.

Barbian ran unopposed in Tuesday’s election, garnering 2,224 votes for Unified’s District 5 School Board seat. The seat is currently held by Steve Hooper, who did not run for re-election.

Barbian said she wants families to know that Unified schools are a good option.

“I want to show the community that Unified can be a great choice for their children,” she said.

Barbian, a 62-year-old Caledonia resident, has lived in the Racine area for her entire life. She is a graduate of Horlick High School who went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a master’s degree from National Louis University and a reading specialist certification from UW-Stout.

Prior to retiring three years ago, Barbian worked for Racine Unified for 38 years. She started out as a first grade teacher and later became a reading and language arts coordinator. She was an educator effectiveness coach during the last year of her tenure.

Excellent education

Barbian said she knows students can obtain an excellent education at Unified schools, as her children attended them. One of her children went on to an Ivy League university.

“A lot of the students are doing extremely well,” Barbian said.

She acknowledged that not all Unified students are doing as well as they could and said she wants to help the district provide all the tools and resources to teachers that they need to do the best job possible. Barbian would also like to see Deputy Superintendent Eric Gallien’s work to address students’ social-emotional needs continue.

Barbian believes a major focus for the district should be programs for kindergarten through second grade students, as proficiency in reading, writing and math by third grade is a strong indicator of future success.

As someone who worked in Unified’s classrooms and its administration, Barbian said she could bring some new insight to the board on how Unified identifies and utilizes resources.

Barbian has attended the past few board meetings and said she has a lot of questions. She added that she’s not sure if the all the board members understand what it takes to provide a quality education.

Barbian is set to take the oath of office on April 23.

She is married and has three children and two grandchildren.

“I have a lot invested in Racine Unified,” she said. “It’s been my life for the past 38 years.”

“I have a lot invested in Racine Unified. It’s been my life for the past 38 years.” Jane Brewer Barbian, incoming School Board member