February 7, 2019

Sun Prairie Clock Tower Express Logo

Department Updates

City Engineering: The Public Information Meetings that were cancelled last week due to weather have been rescheduled. Affected residents can learn more about the rescheduled dates and times.

Clerk's Office: Interested in requesting an absentee ballot? Learn how to request yours today! Read on to learn more about the City's efforts to enhance the operations of elections.

Economic Development: Jimmy predicts an early Spring! Get a recap of the City's 71st Prognostication.

EMS Department: The EMS and Fire Department will be co-hosting a St. Baldrick's head shaving event at the Nitty Gritty on March 30th. Learn more about the upcoming event.

Fire Department: The Fire Department will be hosting the annual Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association Winter In-Service Leadership Symposium this Friday and Saturday, February 8th and 9th at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Parks and Recreation Department: Parks and Recreation will be switching registration systems starting with Summer 2019 registrations. Migrate your account today! Read on to learn more about upcoming events including the Pampered Chef Tween Cooking Series and Future Leaders of Sun Prairie: Teen Leadership Workshop.

Police Department: The Police Department is proud to announce that the Police Chaplain program is now officially the Public Safety Chaplain program! Learn more about the great work the chaplains do and how they serve our community.

Public Works: Public Works has a new survey out on POLCO and would like your insights about how you are currently using the Recycle Center and what other items you wish the center would collect. There will be no change in collections for the President's Day Holiday.

Sun Prairie Media Center: The Media center is offering free Media Maker Labs for all ages. Read on to learn more about recent events including a recent podcast that SPMC director Jeff Robbins took part in and another successful KIDS-4 Potluck!

Sun Prairie Public Library: The Library will be closed Friday, February 8th for a Staff In-Service. Read on to learn more about the sponsored writing contest on "Why I love My Library" and upcoming events including the West Wind Concert and a visit from Wisconsin Author Doris Green.

City Engineering

The Public Information Meetings on Road Reconstruction for affected residents that were cancelled last week due to weather have been rescheduled! The meetings will now be held at 6:00 p.m. (Roland Street, Allen Avenue, Williamson Avenue and Clements Avenue) and 7:00 p.m. (Broadway Drive, Blaser Court and Dickson Drive) on Tuesday, February 12th at City Hall in the Community Room.

Back to the top

Clerk's Office

Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Under Wisconsin law, voters do not need a reason to vote absentee. Any voter who prefers to vote by absentee ballot may request one. You have several options for requesting an absentee ballot and casting your vote.

Absentee ballot requests will be processed within 24 hours of receiving the request and acceptable photo ID. You must be registered to vote before an absentee ballot can be sent to you. To register to vote, visit My Vote Wisconsin.


Visit My Vote Wisconsin to request an absentee ballot.


In-Person absentee voting usually starts approximately 3 weeks before an election; and ends at 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the election. The City of Sun Prairie has two in-person absentee voting locations.

  • City of Sun Prairie – 300 E Main Street
  • Sun Prairie Public Library - 1350 Linnerud Drive

Absentee voting hours will vary for each location, but will be posted on the City's website once determined.

If you apply for an absentee ballot in your Municipal Clerk's office, or another designated location for in-person absentee voting, you will vote your ballot immediately, seal your ballot in the proper envelope, and return it to a member of the clerk's staff. No ballots may be taken with you.

By Mail

Absentee ballots requests are available on the Wisconsin Elections Commission website. Complete the form and mail it, along with a copy of your acceptable photo ID. If you have not previously provided a copy of your photo ID, a photo ID must accompany your first application by mail.

Your application must be received by the clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday before the election in order for an absentee ballot to be SENT to you.

Mail application to:

City Clerk's Office
Attn: Elections
300 E Main Street
Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Council Hears Election Improvement Plan

During the most recent election, the City used four polling places with an average of over 4,500 registered voters assigned to each polling location. The average voter experienced wait times of 45 minutes and during peak hours, wait times increased up to two hours. At the February 5 Committee of the Whole meeting, City staff recommended to increase the number of polling locations for the City of Sun Prairie from four to eight locations and implement staffing improvements. This would require the purchase of new equipment and a communications plan to provide adequate advance notice of these changes to citizens. Stay tuned for more information to follow!

Back to the top

Economic Development

Jimmy's 71st Prognostication is an Early Spring!

Jimmy the groundhog in his cageSun Prairie celebrated the 71st annual Sun Prairie Groundhog Day Prognostication ceremony this morning, Friday, February 2, 2019. The ceremony began at 6:50 a.m. and the Prognostication took place at sunrise (7:11 a.m.) Young and old alike gathered at Cannery Square in Downtown Sun Prairie to welcome Jimmy the Groundhog to Sun Prairie and to hear his Groundhog Day prediction!

Mayor Paul Esser's translation of Jimmy the Groundhog's prognostication is that Sun Prairie should anticipate an early spring.

The City of Sun Prairie would like to recognize and thank Wilderness Walk Zoo and Recreation Park, just outside of Hayward, Wisconsin. Wilderness Walk Zoo and Recreation Park is the official handler for this year's groundhog. The Prognostication was translated into Spanish and Hmong. Sign language interpreting services were provided by Purple Communications Inc.

Back to the top

EMS Department

Sun Prairie EMS and Sun Prairie Fire Department will be co-hosting a St. Baldrick's head shaving event at the Nitty Gritty on March 30th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The St. Baldrick's Foundation raises money and donates to childhood cancer research -- some of the research is even done here in Wisconsin!

There are many ways to participate! Whether you decide to shave your head, volunteer, or donate, we hope you will join us and be a part of the excitement!

View the event website.

Back to the top

Fire Department

Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association Winter In-Service: Leadership Symposium

The Sun Prairie Fire Department will be hosting the annual Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association Winter In-Service Leadership Symposium this Friday and Saturday, February 8 and 9 at the Hilton Garden Inn. This event brings together fire service leaders from all over the state for opportunities to learn, network and share leadership values.

Keynote speakers for the event are former Navy Seal and author Chad Williams and Steven Bench, founder of Generational Consulting. There will be a variety of sessions offered throughout the event including sessions presented by Chief Christopher Garrison, Fire Marshall Mark Mlekush and Captain Becky Gruber of the Sun Prairie Fire Department.

The Sun Prairie Fire Department is proud to deliver this educational program for the State of Wisconsin. View the event website.

Back to the top

Parks & Recreation Department

New Registration Information System

After careful consideration, the Sun Prairie Parks and Recreation Department has decided to switch registration systems, starting with Summer 2019 registrations. If you have registered online with us previously, using our current system, Activenet, you will need to create a new account with our new system, RecPro.

From now until March 4, 2019, the Parks & Recreation Department will be migrating Activenet accounts to the new system, Recpro for users. To request your account be migrated by the Parks and Recreation Department, please fill out an online form.

After March 4th, users will need to create their own account. If you have any questions about the transition, please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (608) 837-3449

Coming Soon!

Thank Goodness It's Thursday

Thursdays 2/7 to 2/28
2:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
$52 R/$72 NR

Join us every early-release day for an afternoon of action-packed activities in collaboration with the YMCA Afterschool program! Each session will feature a healthy balance of academic, recreation and social activities that support educational achievement and personal growth. On most days of the program, participants will rotate through a variety of age-appropriate games, activities and crafts that revolve around a monthly theme. Participants will have time carved out to complete homework and/or silently read. An afterschool snack will be provided.

Note: This program is open to ALL SPASD students, regardless of the school they attend. The Parks and Recreation Department does not provide transportation.

Pampered Chef Tween Cooking Series: Valentine's Day Sweets

Saturday 2/9
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
$70 R/$90 NR*
*fee includes all cooking supplies and equipment

Sweets and treats are super neat! We will be making sweets and treats for Valentine's Day while covering the how to's of baking.

NOTE: Food allergy alternatives are not available for this program.

Discover Day: Dynamic Dinos

Saturday 2/16
12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
$15 R/$23 NR

Discover dinosaurs like never before! We will be travelling through time to unearth when dinosaurs lived, learning their names and digging fossils.

Future Leaders of Sun Prairie: Teen Leadership Workshop

Saturday, 2/23
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
$52 R/$72 NR

This active and engaging leadership program will inspire and motivate teens to become leaders within the community. The program focuses on building character, college/career readiness and community service. Through interactive activities and exercises, teens will gain greater control over their loves and learn how to recognize and harness the power of their own leadership skills. Discussion and learning topics include: Happiness and gratitude, self-confidence, professionalism, communication, commitment and goal-setting.

**For more information or to register for these and other Recreation programs please visit the Recreation Department page.

Back to the top

Police Department

The Sun Prairie Police Department is proud to announce that as of the first of the year, our in-house Police Chaplain program officially became the Public Safety Chaplain program, serving our community and all first responders (Police, Fire, and EMS).

After the explosion this summer, the chaplains were instrumental in providing support and grief counseling to family members and first responders. Fire Chief Garrison and EMS Chief Goff approached the police department with a request to expand the program in order to continue to meet the needs of their staff and the community.

Out of that discussion, the Public Safety Chaplain program was born. Our volunteer chaplains were more than willing to take on this exciting new role, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service to us and our community.

All of our volunteer chaplains were provided with documents and clothing, clearly identifying them as Public Safety Chaplains. Our current Public Safety Chaplains are:

Father Mike Tess (Head Chaplain)

Pastor Jenny Arneson

Pastor Charlie Brandt

Pastor Robert Neubert

Deacon Joe Stafford

Pastor Luke Were

Pastor Jon McNary

Pastor Rick Bloom

Back to the top

Public Works

Recycle Center Survey Goes LiveLogo for POLCO

Public Works recently published a survey about the Recycle Center and wants to hear from you! To get started, you will need to create an account. Fill out the survey. Learn more about POLCO and how the City uses this information.

No change in collections for President's Day Holiday

Refuse and recycle collection routes will remain the same for the week of February 18.

Back to the top

Sun Prairie Media Center

Media Center / Library Offering FREE Media Maker Labs

Media Makers Image with kids and adults

Want to get some free hands-on experience behind the camera, in front of the camera, and in front of the microphone? The SPMC is the best place in town to share your creativity and your passion with friends, family, the city, even the world. And there is no better time to learn more about the Media Center then our Free Media Maker Labs for Kids and Adults.

Film It! 

Saturday, February 23, 10 a.m. to 12 noon (kids)

Wednesday, February 27, 6 to 8 p.m. (adults).

Be a Radio DJ!

Saturday, March 23, 10 AM-12 noon (kids)

Wednesday, March 27 6-8 PM (adults)

Please call 825-0701 to register for either of the kids programs or 825-7323 to register for either of the adult programs.

SPMC Director Joins Wheeler Report Podcast

Robbins at table with hosts at Wheeler Report PodcastJeff Robbins recently took part in a discussion on the importance of community media on #LocalGovMatters, a weekly podcast produced by the Wheeler Report, a news service covering the Wisconsin legislature.

The program airs Tuesdays at 2:30 PM on 103.5 FM, or you can listen to it.

Thanks to Wisconsin Counties Association and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities for their partnership on the podcast.

Another Successful KIDS-4 Potluck

Students at KIDS4 Potluck

The SPMC thanks the KIDS-4 families who braved some inclement weather to attend the annual KIDS-4 potluck dinner on February 5. At this annual event, KIDS-4 families eat, discuss the year, and vote on how to utilize funds that have been raised in the last several months.

This year the vote was for the SPMC to purchase portable podcasting equipment and mini live streaming cameras. The SPMC looks forward to implementing these new items in our programming!

A special thanks to the library for supplying the space and Day One Pizza for supplying the main dishes.

For more information on how to get involved in KIDS-4, please call 837-4193.

Back to the top

Sun Prairie Public Library

The library will be closed Friday, February 8th for Staff In-Service. The drive-through book drop will be open for returns.

Friends of the Library Writing ContestSun Prairie Public Library Logo

The Friends of the Sun Prairie Public Library are sponsoring a writing contest on "Why I Love My Library" from Friday, February 8th until Friday, March 15th. We encourage kids, teens and adults to write a personal short story, essay or poem on this topic. A prize will be awarded in each of three age categories. This project is funded by the Dick Wanless Memorial Fund. Please see the guidelines for more information.


Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. Storytime is geared for children ages approx. 2.5 to 5; all ages are welcome to attend! We encourage caregivers to hold children under 3 in their laps while everyone enjoys the fun! Storytimes are 30 minutes long and filled with books, songs, fingerplays, action rhymes, puppets, dramatics, simple crafts, and more – a variety every week! Each week is a new theme.

Registration is recommended, but not required. Please register for the time that you attend most oftenRegistration is currently open and can be completed at the Children's Desk. Registration guarantees that children have name tags waiting for them in Storytime.

West Wind Concert

Back by popular demand! The West Wind Trio balances lilting jigs and driving reels with exuberant dance tunes. Don't miss this dazzling display of musicianship. You might even be tempted to get up and dance! 

Sunday, February 10 at 2 p.m.
Library Community Room

Wisconsin Author Visit with Doris Green

Wisconsin author Doris Green will talk about her book Elsie's Story: Chasing a Family Mystery, a memoir about a decades-long search for information about the unresolved death of her aunt in 1960. 

Monday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m.
Library Community Room

Kids Yoga!

Join the staff of CI Pediatric Therapy Centers as we try out some fun yoga moves. Yoga is a great way to help kiddos stay active! Geared towards ages 2-5. Feel free to bring a yoga mat or towel. Meet us in the Library Community Room.

Wednesday, February 13 at 1:00 p.m
Library Community Room

Back to the top