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Twelve city keys given out to area leaders

Mayor Scrima continues his new tradition

Dec. 18, 2012

A year after Mayor Jeff Scrima recognized 12 individuals for outstanding civic contributions with keys to the city for the first time, he continued the tradition at Tuesday night's Common Council meeting.

He said the 12 new recipients, all who represent a wide range of professions in the city, have his "utmost respect."

He added that their contributions have "further stabilized the family values of Waukesha - values of empathy, responsibility and creativity. They have carried out these values with strength to proactively build a brighter future - a future for ourselves and for our children."

The following individuals were honored by Scrima:

Steve Crandell - He is the city's community development director and has also served as the interim city administrator on two occasions.

Scrima said Crandell, who has worked for the city for 36 years, has provided long-term planning and balance to Waukesha and assisted in bringing in millions of dollars of new investment and new employment into Waukesha. The mayor also credited Crandell with playing a key role in the redevelopment of the Frame Park Riverwalk.

"He is a man of professionalism that works for and with others," Scrima said of Crandell.

Ron Grall and the Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department - Grall has been the WPRF's director since 2000 and under his leadership the department earned the National Recreation and Park Association Gold Medal Award.

Scrima called Grall "humble, flexible and persistent in providing exceptional park, recreation and urban forestry services making our community a desirable place to live, work and play.

"During the last 12 years he has overseen the growth of community partnerships, volunteerism and planning initiatives bringing us the services that we enjoy today."

Rick Congdon - His service to the city dates back to 1974. These include being on the Housing Rehabilitation Committee, Board of Review, Board of Directors for La Casa de Esperanza, a Circuit Court Judge, a representative to Sister City of Kochatau in Kazakhstan and president of the Waukesha-Granada Partner City Association.

He's currently a member of the Plan Commission, president of Waukesha GuitarTown and executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County.

Scrima said Congdon "understands opposing emotions, can navigate complexities and is committed to freedom, justice and restoration."

John M. Schoenknecht - He worked on the sesquicentennial celebration, helped create the 1834 Club and served on the Landmarks Commission, the board of the Friends of the Library and the board of the Waukesha County Historical Society. He also authored the book "The Great Waukesha Springs Era," edits Landmark magazine and writes a history column for the Waukesha Freeman.

Scrima said Schoenknecht "makes Waukesha better by making us aware of our impressive history. He has taken us on a journey of discovery about our past which has given us the foundation for our future."

Roger Igielski - He owns Allô! Chocolat in downtown Waukesha and as the president of the Waukesha Downtown Business Association and past president of the BID has been instrumental in the growth of Friday Night Live as well as the Silver Bells Christmas events.

Scrima said Igielski's "purpose is to give light to every business downtown, help the city stand out as recognized by Money Magazine and allow people to see Waukesha as a good small town American destination. (He) is a light of the downtown and his work building up our community front porch events cannot be hidden."

Nancy Major and Safe Babies Healthy Families - Safe Babies Healthy Families is an organization that serves two populations - isolated, abused and pregnant young women and young, at-risk families who lack financial, health and social supports.

"They have become a voice for the innocent and are committed to breaking the cycle of child abuse, neglect and poverty," Scrima said.

The mayor added, "against the odds and despite risk factors, 98 percent of the children in their program today are living life, life free from abuse or neglect and reaching their potential. They passionately produce outcomes that make a difference."

The nonprofit was created by a merger of Pregnancy Support Connection and Healthy Families of Waukesha County.

Renee Ramirez and the Waukesha Community Dental Clinic - The WCDC is a nonprofit clinic for low income individuals who live in Waukesha County. The goal of the dental clinic is to increase access to dental care for children and adults with limited financial resources and elevate the oral health care for this population through preventive services, treatment, education and advocacy.

Scrima said Ramirez, as the executive director, builds mutuality with others.

"Their presence ensures that more children in Waukesha can experience the joy of a healthy smile," he said.

Thom Farrell and SPX Transformer Solutions - Scrima noted that SPX Transformer Solutions built an $80 million plant expansion that added 250 family-supporting jobs to Waukesha.

They are a primary manufacturer of state-of-the-art transformer and mega-transformers, which are being used to rebuild and strengthen the American power grid, sending electric power thousands of miles to serve millions of people.

"They are strong community partners and we are honored to have them in Waukesha," Scrima said.

GE's Waukesha Gas Engines - The mayor noted that GE purchased the Waukesha gas engine business two years ago and has since invested millions of dollars in upgrading this plant and engineering center, and has added 115 family-supporting jobs.

"The GE Waukesha Gas Engines manufactured here are known for their innovation, preparedness and ability to perform reliably, around the clock, in the rugged, demanding and often-isolated conditions all over the world," Scrima said. "Waukesha is proud of GE."

Page Remmers and Waukesha Community Art Project - Is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 and is open to all middle school students that is used to help adolescents reach their potential by developing their self expression, creativity, problem-solving skills, leadership skills and community involvement through quality after-school art experiences.

As the director, Remmers and the WCAP sponsors freecommunity art events,collaborates with a variety of local businesses and organizations and has been recognized the last two years as one of the reasons that America's Promise Alliance ranked Waukesha one of the "100 Best Communities for Young People" in the United States.

Todd Gray and School District of Waukesha - Gray has been with the Waukesha School District since 2008 and Scrima credits the growth of the Waukesha STEM Academy, Harvey Philip Alternative Charter School, Charter Recovery School, Waukesha Academy of Health Professions, Waukesha Engineering Preparatory Academy and iQ/eAchieve Academy Wisconsin.

Scrima also noted Waukesha West's run of state academic decathlon titles and Waukesha North's multiple state marching band titles.

"The district is well known for its music, art and other fine arts initiatives - and is planning a future Fine Arts Academy," Scrima said.

Majors Ronald and Carol Lemirand and The Salvation Army of Waukesha - For the past 110 years, The Salvation Army has had a strong presence in Waukesha and has demonstrated redemption and the ability to meet human need at the point of need through various programs including: Emergency Lodge, Drop In Homeless Hygiene Program, Family Services, Snack Pack, Feed The Kids, Community Meal Program, Summer Camps and Disaster Services.

Scrima said the Army's average is to use 83 cents of every dollar donated in direct services for people in need.

"People believe that when they contribute to The Salvation Army, they're giving where it will do the most good," Scrima said and called the Lemirand's "empathetic and authentic servants."

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