News 6/15/15

Fitzgerald Eyes Looming Deadline For State Budget


6/15/15 – Wisconsin Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald appears to be running out of wiggle room in his G-O-P caucus to get a new state budget passed.  The Juneau Republican does not have the 17 votes needed to pass a two-year spending package.  Two conservative Republicans — Duey Strobel and Steve Nass — say they will not vote for the budget unless it repeals the prevailing wage law, at least for local governments.  None of the 14 Democrats expect to vote for the budget. So Fitzgerald must either prevent one more Republican from defecting — or try to take some big issues out of the budget and make them separate bills where they might have less of a chance of passing. The prevailing wage could be one of them.  Fiscal experts say a full repeal of the minimum wage requirement for public works projects could save taxpayers up to 300-million dollars a year.  A proposed compromise would exempt school districts and towns from the prevailing wage, and reduce the numbers of projects where it applies to other local and state bodies.  Strobel rejects a compromise, saying he ran for the Senate to cut taxes and not make “bad policy less bad.”  The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has not met for two-and-a-half weeks due to the Senate’s holdup.  In the meantime, the delay has allowed more contentious measures to come forward — like ending the alternative minimum tax paid mainly by those making $200-to-$500-thousand dollars a year.  There was talk that the finance panel would meet on Wednesday to take up that issue and others.  Now, reports say the timetable is up in the air.  The current budget expires June 30th.  If a new one is not in place by then, state spending continues at current levels.


Today Is World Elder Abuse Day


6/15/15 – Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  It began in 2006 so people could get a better understanding of the different kinds of abuse that older people might face.  Doreen Goetsch, who is with Dodge County’s Aging Disability and Resource Center, says elder abuse can include physical, emotional, and sexual abuses as well as financial exploitation, confinement, neglect from others, or self-neglect.  Goetsch says elder abuse is a growing problem in Dodge County.  She says some of the common signs of self-neglect are not eating right, not changing clothes, and forgetting to take medication.  155 related referrals were made to the ADRC in 2014.  Goetsch says 80% of self-neglect cases involve someone who lives alone.  She says the ADRC usually tries to work with the family physician to get a diagnosis on the person’s condition which can help them get into a state program.


BDCH Hosting Blue Zone Presentation Tuesday Night


6/15/15 – A free presentation Tuesday night will outline efforts by the Beaver Dam Community Hospital to bring a healthy initiative to the region. It is called a “Blue Zone,” areas of the world where people live longer, healthier and happier lives, reaching age 100 at rates ten times greater than the national standard. It all started over a decade ago when longevity researches identified parts of the world where the people live longer and better lives.  Similar health and lifestyle characteristics were found in the five areas, which were labeled as ‘Blue Zones.’  In 2009, the Blue Zone effort began and within 12 months, it was determined that participants had added an extra three years onto their estimated lifespans.  CEO Kim Miller learned about the Blue Zone concept at a seminar from Tony Buettner author of “Secrets to a Longer, Healthier Life: The Blue Zone Solution.” Miller says a local committee was assembled a year ago and has grown to a good size but she says more people are needed. She is hoping to secure a wide variety of individuals representing a cross-section of the community, from grocers and restauranteurs to health care professionals and educators. A successful Blue Zone would encourage healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle by making the right choice the easy choice. Miller says a grocery store, for example, would achieve Blue Zone certification by creating a checkout aisle with health options in place of candy bars. A restaurant, meanwhile, would have special healthy items designated on their menu. The free Blue Zone presentation will be held at the Beaver Dam High School Auditorium tomorrow night beginning at 6pm. Tony Buettner, Vice President of Product and Business Development with Blue Zones, will be the featured speaker.


Beaver Dam Voting On Kangaroo Ordinance Tonight


6/15/15 – The Beaver Dam Common Council could be a real dog and pony show tonight. Elected officials will be voting on changes to the city ordinance governing service animals. The city made national headlines in February after police responded to a complaint that a woman brought a kangaroo wrapped in a blanket into McDonalds. The woman said that the kangaroo was a service animal that helped her cope with emotional distress, and she provided a doctor’s letter to back her case.  Neither the state, nor the Americans With Disabilities Act recognizes kangaroos as service animals. However, city ordinance as written does not specifically prohibit kangaroos or elephants for that matter. It currently states (quote) “a guide dog, signal dog or other animal…” Police Chief John Kreuziger says the kangaroo incident prompted city officials to review the current ordinance and the city attorney recommended the removal of the wording stating “or other animals.” While kangaroos would no longer be recognized as service animals ponies will be allowed as the ADA only recognizes only two animals as service animals – a dog or a pony.


BDACT and BDAAA Teaming Up For Summer Camp


6/15/15 – The Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre and the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association are teaming up to offer an Art and Theatre Camp this summer. The camp will see kids entering third through ninth grades write their own fairy tale play to perform, and design and construct the set and props used in the performance. The class will be broken down based on age groups with those going into third and fourth grades, kids going into fifth and sixth grades and middle schoolers in separate groups. The morning will be dedicated to the arts with set and prop construction while the afternoons will be theatre-focused with the campers creating their own fractured fairy tales. The classes will be held at Wayland Academy beginning Monday, August 3 and wrap-up Thursday, August 6 with a show for family and friends that Friday evening, August 7.


Green Lake County Authorities ID Boy Killed In UTV Crash


6/15/15 – Green Lake County authorities have released the name of a 12-year-old boy killed in a UTV accident on private property Wednesday afternoon. Boone P. Kujawa was a 6th grader at All Saints Catholic School in Berlin. Berlin Police Chief Kevin Block says, “The loss of a young child is the worst thing a family can experience.” The accident happened in the 600 block of Van Horn Street.


Motorcyclist Killed In Sun Prairie


6/15/15 – A motorcyclist was killed after colliding with a car in Sun Prairie.  It happened about 3:30 yesterday afternoon.  Sun Prairie Police said a 28-year-old biker was going north when he collided with an oncoming car driven by an 81-year-old woman.  The victim’s name and the crash details were not immediately released.  Police said the Dane County district attorney’s office would review the matter for possible charges.


Wisconsinite Killed In Minnesota Mishap


6/15/15 – The Minnesota State Patrol says three people from Wisconsin were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time Saturday morning.  A tree broke free and fell from a bluff onto the windshield and roof of their pickup.  The driver, a 50-year-old man from West Salem, Wisconsin, was killed.  His 51-year-old wife and 16-year-old daughter were injured and were taken to a hospital in La Crosse.  They are expected to survive.  The accident happened as the pickup rounded a curve on Highway 26 near Brownsville shortly before 9am.


Two Seriously Injured In Crash Near Waupun


6/15/15 – A one-vehicle crash Saturday morning near Waupun sent two people to the hospital with serious injuries. 22-year-old Derek Junaitis of Fond du Lac was on County Highway F around 9am when his SUV spun clockwise, hit the ditch and overturned several times. Junaitis and his passenger – 17-year-old Bailey Zech of Waupun – sustained severe injuries and were transported to Waupun Hospital before being transferred to UW Hospital Madison. Speed, alcohol and failure to wear seatbelts appear to be factors in the crash.


Milk Truck Versus Moving Van Snarls Traffic


6/15/15 – Traffic on Highway 33 near Mayville was tied up for almost three hours Saturday afternoon after a moving van collided with a milk truck. It happened at the intersection with County Highway P in the Town of Herman around 2:15pm. 27-year-old Desmond Williams of Neenah was driving a Freightliner moving van that entered the intersection and struck an eastbound Western Star milk truck operated by 62-year-old Allen Roll of West Bend. Both drivers suffered minor injuries and refused EMS.