A national program freshly implemented at Archbishop Bergan Elementary School is providing new outlets for men involved in students’ lives to make a difference.
Watch D.O.G.S (Dads of Great Students) was originally started in 1998 at a single school in Springdale, Arkansas, and has progressively grown into a national movement that brings together hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures into the school classrooms and hallways across the country, released information for Bergan Principal Dan Koenig says.
The idea to get involved with Watch D.O.G.S was first discussed prior to the beginning of this school year during a Back to School Night, Koenig said during a Friday interview with the Tribune. Reception toward the idea proved to be positive, and further discussion took place a few weeks ago during a pizza party which served as a time for men to sign up for a time to serve as a Watch D.O.G.
Enough men signed up to have a Watch D.O.G. present at Bergan Elementary once weekly for the remainder of the school year.
“It entails basically getting more male role models into our school,” Koenig said. “We have a lot of parent involvement from moms and grandmas, but we want to get more dads into our school. It shows the kids that these positive role models want to get involved.
“It’s a good way to have another set of eyes and another set of hands in the school; and it’s a way to have another volunteer in the school helping it to be a safe place, while also having positive interactions with our students.”
Dads and male role models who signed up to serve a Watch D.O.G shift must complete a two-hour-long mandatory Safe Environment Training course – essentially a background check – before they are granted permission to serve as a Watch D.O.G.
On the day a dad or father figure is scheduled to be at the elementary, they arrive early and are present as children arrive in the morning. Koenig said they are equipped with a Watch D.O.G.S vest, and spend much of their day helping teachers and monitoring building entrances and exits.
“They get introduced during our morning meeting, and then they have a set itinerary for the day,” Koenig said. “They start off working with the younger grades and move through the older grades as the day goes on.”
Watch D.O.G.S are also present during recess and lunch periods. For the children, it’s been exciting seeing dads and father figures in the building.
“It’s a new face in the building for our students, and the Watch D.O.G gets to be that new cool person for the day which is fun,” Koenig said. “It’s new for the kids and they love it. There is just such an authentic, positive interaction that’s taking place.”
While the program is still in its implementation phase, Koenig already is seeing positive results.
“It’s still in its infancy, but I do see a better connection with dads and fatherly figures,” he said. “This gives them a great outlet to be involved. It’s just one day out of the school year where they can come in, be seen and get involved with the kids on that day. It’s a great thing for everybody.”
Throughout the day on Saturday local residents have the opportunity to test drive a brand new Ford vehicle, while also raising funds for Archbishop Bergan.
Charlie Diers Ford at 2445 North Broad Street is hosting their 18th Drive 4UR School event, which will benefit Archbishop Bergan’s activities and transportation programs.
“This is a program that Ford Motor Company offers for dealers to take advantage of, and we have been doing these test drive events since Ford started the program,” Maggie Diers Yost said.
Ford Motor Company began the program in 2007 and Charlie Diers has been participating ever since, helping local high schools and charities raise money one test drive at a time.
“We love doing these and we think it is very important,” Diers Yost said. “It is great to have so many members of the community show up, and it’s so easy.”
The Drive 4UR School event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Charlie Diers and for every test drive Ford donated $20 toward Bergan’s activities and transportation programs up to $6,000.
“Sometimes people think they have to give money, but it’s not that at all,” Diers Yost said. “You just show up fill out the form, drive around the block, and go on your merry way.”
According to Diers Yost, the goal is to reach 300 test drives on Saturday to reach the cap of $6,000, which will also help Charlie Diers Ford reach a significant milestone within the program.
“During this event if we get more than 200 people we will surpass the 5,000 test drive mark,” Diers Yost said. “We have pumped about $100,000 into the area through these test drives in partnering with Ford.”
Whatever the total amount raised ends up being, it will all go towards Bergan activities and transportation programs.
“The funds ae going directly to our activities and transportation programs so that benefits basically every single student that we have in our system all the way from our Early Childhood Education Center all the way up to seniors in high school,” Bergan Activities Director Chris Rainforth said. “Everybody uses those programs in some form or fashion.”
Bergan has previously partnered with Charlie Diers for the event multiple times in the past for the fundraiser, which has proved a resounding success.
“It helps give the kids opportunities and it is super easy, it takes less than 30 minutes for someone to go out there and do a test drive so it works really well,” Rainforth said.
Attendees will get the opportunity to drive a number of brand new Ford vehicles, and there is no sales pressure at the event. All drivers must be 18 years old and only one driver per address is allowed.
Although separate addresses are required for each participant, according to Diers Yost those weary of getting behind the wheel of a brand new vehicle need not worry.
“Sometimes people are nervous to drive a new vehicle, but you don’t actually have to be behind the wheel,” she said. “So four people could come and three could be passengers and one could drive and that will be $80 towards the charity, they all just have to have different addresses.”
Rainforth and other members of the Bergan Booster Club will be on site throughout the day as well as Bergan students who will be assisting with registration.
The event will take place rain or shine.
“Hopefully the weather will hold out and we will have a good turnout,” Rainforth said.
For Diers Yost, and Charlie Diers Ford the Drive 4UR School events are a great way to give back to the community and have been more successful than she could have imagined.
“When Ford announced this program years ago, Charlie hopped on board right away and we have been doing them ever since. To get to drive number 18 and 5,000 test drives for charity for Fremont is really exciting,” she said.
Airport Advisory Committee members reviewed hangar lease criteria and a proposed rental increase when they met Friday morning.
The committee has been discussing hangar leases at Fremont Municipal Airport. City of Fremont employees have been updating lease agreements and rules and regulations.
During the meeting, David Goedeken, City of Fremont director of public works, said he plans to send out letters next week notifying tenants that their leases expire on Dec. 31.
Goedeken said his goal is to take the proposed, revised lease agreement and rental rates to the city council’s Nov. 14 meeting for approval.
The leases would extend for five years. Lessees have the option to renew at the end of that period.
At the September advisory committee meeting, Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman suggested a simple 10 percent, across-the-board increase.
Rent for a “T” hangar would increase from $165 per month to $181.50 and for bulk hangers from $330 to $363.
Lease rates were last adjusted in 2012.
Goedeken discussed the updated hangar rental agreement and rules and regulations.
The rules indicate hangars must be used for airworthy aircraft.
Lessees can store equipment used for aeronautical purposes in the hangars. And provided that the hangar is used primarily for aeronautical purposes, the lessee can store non-aeronautical items as long as it’s not blocking the aircraft.
“Basically, when you open the door, the plane’s going to be front and center and it’s got to be a flyable plane,” Goedeken said.
A vehicle temporarily parked in the hangar while the lessee is using the aircraft wouldn’t be considered as displacing it.
Tenants can’t operate a business out of the hangar. Hangars can’t be used as a residence.
The city has the right to inspect the premises at any time.
No more than five gallons of flammable liquids will be permitted in the hangar.
Tenants will be required to have an adequate fire extinguisher, current with National Fire Protection Association standards, in each hangar.
Each year, lessees will need to provide a certificate of insurance for the contents of the hangar to the city or fixed base operator.
New lessees must provide a security deposit.
“It’s the same if you’re renting a storage unit or an apartment or a house,” Goedeken said. “I don’t foresee requiring a security deposit for existing tenants. It would only be for someone new coming into a unit.”
Lessees must provide the city with up-to-date contact information each year and at any time if that information changes.
If a lessee should die, the city has the immediate right of possession of the hangar. The deceased person’s heirs have 90 days to remove all private property from the hangar. The city will refund all unused rent paid beyond the end of the month of the final date that the hangar is vacated.
Goedeken added that emergency or next-of-kin contact information should be provided so the city knows whom to contact in the case of a lessee’s death.
Committee members again received the draft of a letter to tenants.
The letter explains that the city and airport receive Federal Aviation Administration grant funds to expand and maintain the facility.
Funding can be withheld if airports are not in compliance.
“This funding is at a rate of 90 percent and provides many opportunities to our airport,” the letter states. “Over the years, the FAA has provided funds well into the tens of millions of dollars.”
As a result, the city and airport must follow all FAA design, airspace and airport lease requirements.
Recently, attention has been focused on how federally obligated airports use hangars and ensure they’re following FAA regulations. The FAA has been making onsite inspections of several Midwest airports.
Meetings of the Airport Advisory Committee are open to the public. The committee meets at 8:15 a.m., the third Friday of each month.