Spotlight: 40 years ago

Verona’s mile relay team won the state championship with a time of 3 minutes, 29.4 seconds. From left, Richard Scholze, Jerry Tordoff, Eric Vande Zande and Shawn McSherry.

50 years ago

• The Town Board canceled a public hearing on a mobile home ordinance it had been working on for months, then revived the ordinance for legal reasons.

The previous month, a Sun Prairie developer had brought plans for a mobile home park that would accommodate as many as 700 units, and with the village opposed because of the cost to the school district and new information showing the town would be limited in how much it could tax, the town decided it would rather ban mobile home parks altogether.

However, on the advice of legal counsel, the board realized it could not discriminate in favor of farmers and would have to allow mobile homes on individual parcels if it did not allow parks.

• After hearing a plea from the high school the month before about a lack of space, the school board had an architect plan some sketches for a physical education-music facility north of the school. It was expected to be about 32,000 square feet and cost around $700,000.

The board unanimously opposed a proposed pool in the addition, reasoning that it would raise the price of the referendum too high.

• The town created a second utility district to serve a new apartment building on Raymond and Gammon roads.

• The Village Board allowed taverns to stay open until 2 a.m. during Daylight Saving Time.

40 years ago

• The Common Council had to reverse a controversial decision on committee appointments after the city’s attorney declared it illegal.

Mayor William Pechan’s list of committee appointments – particularly chair appointments – did not sit well with four members of the council, who provided their own list and voted 4-3 to ratify them, with a mayoral veto on each.

• Verona’s high school baseball field was dedicated as Stampfl Field after the late Charles Stampfl, a lifelong baseball player who served on the school board.

Among those who attended were Charles’ son Linus, several members of the Town Board and Common Council and many past and present baseball players.

• The city voted to hire a consultant to plan out its first tax-increment financing districts.

The city has created eight TIF districts, which help facilitate development, and it still maintains three.

• Verona’s Hometown Days parade was moved from Sunday to Saturday to bring in about a dozen high school marching bands.

• The Verona Area Education Association and school board agreed to a 10.5 percent salary increase. Administrators received similar pay raises, and the superintendent’s salary increased to $37,950.

• Verona’s 1,600-meter relay team won the state championship as the boys team finished fifth overall.

• Henry Maurer retired after 29 years as town assessor.

30 years ago

• After months of acrimony, a group of parents came to an agreement with the school board and administration over the new sex ed curriculum.

The originally planned curriculum, called “Values and Choices,” included content that some parents found objectionable. The new curriculum, adapting an element of the program called “Human Growth and Development,” was made available in a 27-page handout.

• The potential construction of a tire recycling plant hit a snag when the Common Council voted to require an environmental impact study first.

Many residents had expressed concerns over the potential impact on nearby Fireman’s Park beach, and a state Department of Natural Resources representative said it appeared the operation might not be licensable because it was in a flood plain.

• The Verona Area School District and the local teachers’ union decided to go to mediation/arbitration after the two sides could not bridge an impasse that left them $150,000 apart.

• The Common Council decided to spend $92,000 to bury the power lines 500 feet north of Verona Avenue on North Main Street during the reconstruction of the road that summer.

• City residents were asked to reduce water use, including watering their lawns, because one of the wells was out of commission.

20 years ago

• The city approved a development around the planned Country View Elementary School that was fast-tracked in order to save the school district money on building a temporary road.

A small group of citizens almost derailed the project by signing a petition that required a supermajority vote in favor.

• The original Concerts in the Park series debuted in Verona. The brainchild of former alder Pam Grundman and Verona Area Chamber of Commerce director Katie Montgomery, they were sponsored by TDS and ran for four consecutive Thursday nights at the Harriet Park shelter.

The series has since been revised and even ran during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

• City officials squashed rumors that had been circulating about a Wal-Mart store coming to Verona.

• A police car was caught in a flash flood while an officer was on storm spotting duty in the Gateway Estates neighborhood. Water filled the cab of the vehicle, ruining the electronic equipment inside, and also destroyed the engine.

• Verona Area High School installed a pair of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at the school. The machines, which are still there, were intended to help in case of cardiac arrest.

10 years ago

• A threat of a gang fight that never happened and a threat of a downpour that did put a damper on Hometown Days, which ended up about 30 percent down on ticket sales.

• A driver’s education instructor was fired for allegedly making inappropriate comments to Verona Area High School students. The district did not release the person’s name, and no arrests were made, but several students complained about the comments.

• Drex Jackson returned to the state track and field meet, where he finished ninth place in the shot put and 10th in discus, missing the medal stand despite his best throws of the season. And wheelchair athlete Luke Russell won the shot put by 2 inches, cruised to victory in the 400-meter race and finished second in the 1,600 and 800 behind national record holder Trey Roy.

• Burglars hit three downtown restaurants and broke a glass door at a pet store. At least two of the restaurants lost cash, including donations for Angel’s Wish.

• The girls soccer team won their first state tournament title with a 2-0 shutout of Homestead. Rachel Cropp and co-captain Allie Stone each scored goals.

• New Century School made interim director Lynn Berge permanent after she beat out 41 other candidates for the part-time job.

Because of limited space during the COVID-19 pandemic, Verona's history is running behind by three months. Verona Press staff felt it important to keep the continuity of the stories within and hope to catch up soon.