EDITORIAL: Open government report card — Arena improves, Lone Rock sued, other local public bodies receive letters

Sunshine Week is a time to celebrate government transparency and public service, as well as a time to address lapses in the same. In October 2020, shortly after incorporating and shortly before our first edition, we sent out a Wis. Stat. 19.84(1)(b) written request by email from news media to our local governmental bodies asking that Valley Sentinel be sent meeting notices for the respective governmental bodies. Recently, we sent reminder letters by mail to the local governmental bodies in our immediate coverage area that have not been consistent in sending us meeting notices, with several having sent none at all in the past nearly 2.5 years.

Legal Editor’s Column: We’re suing Lone Rock over public records, here’s why

Last Halloween, the Village of Lone Rock held a public meeting and did not notify the Valley Sentinel. The next night they held public hearings on their annual budget and a village board meeting. The Valley Sentinel was sent an e-mail notice less than an hour before the meeting started. We asked for various public records related to these matters and got nothing. The village clerk told us we were not entitled to notice, and past notices had merely been given as a courtesy.

Now we’re suing.

Tortilleria Zepeda production facility officially open in Lone Rock

Tortilleria Zepeda hosted an open house at it’s Lone Rock location Wednesday, which featured tours of the production facility, fresh tortillas and unconventional twists on traditional Mexican fare. The open house allowed members of the community to tour the facility where the Heidi and Julian Zepeda produce their authentic and organic nixtamal corn tortillas, and learn more about their unique process that differs from typical, mass produced corn tortilla manufacturing. The couple also uses locally grown ingredients. The open house offered samples of their original tortillas, dressed with serrano-avocado salsa and traditional tamales. The event also offered cocoa tortillas and dessert tamales with strawberries and cream cheese. Julian also offered a fermented mesa drink that is traditional to his home area of Mexico, called Tejuino. Currently, Heidi and Julian are planning to host different social events or host classes at the location, and are considering opening monthly to offer fresh tortillas and other options.

Spring Green Board approves ATV/UTV ordinance, asks ice cream truck to answer questions

The Village of Spring Green Board met April 14 virtually to stamp their approval on the Farmer’s Market location, complete the several meeting process of allowing ATV’s and UTV’s on village roads, to accept the resignation of Trustee Robin Reid as she transitions to village president — and to request the attendance of an ice cream truck owner at their next meeting to answer questions.

Absentee numbers appear to return to pre-COVID levels

Spring Green resident Declan Daniel submits his first-ever ballot at the village of Spring Green polling location, the Spring Green Community Library, on April 6. Daniel said “It’s awesome to finally be part of a system that’s happened for hundreds of years, that people fought for.” As of Tuesday morning, Village Clerk Wendy Crary reported that 127 of the 167 absentee ballots requested have been returned. In Spring Green
for the April 2020 election, 584 absentee ballots were returned, and for the November 2020 election, 639 absentee ballots were returned.