News 6/9/15

Mayville Council Votes To Renew Controversial Bar’s License


6/9/15 – Roughly 70 patrons of Sidelines Tap packed into the Mayville council chamber for Monday night’s meeting in support of the bar and its owner Chris Neu.  Police Chief Chris MacNeill cited 21 calls his department responded to at the Main Street bar within the last year as the main reason for suggesting its license be taken.  Included in that was seven bar fights, two after hours violations, and one minor on the premises.  Neu disputes what actually happened in some of those instances and said he’s already working on installing a 16-camera system in his bar that he can log into from a computer or smart phone so he can better track what patrons and employees are doing at the bar when he’s not there.  Neu also says he wants to create a smoking area on the premises to deter people from doing so in the ally next to bar and making noise, increase the lighting outside the building, and have more male staff on hand during busy times to try to stop problems before they start.  After a good deal of discussion, the council agreed to renew Sidelines’ license, but the bar will be on probation for the first six months.  After that probation period, the council will review if the changes have been made and the number of police calls has been reduced.  Mayor Bob Redeker says he and the council did not want to see one of the city’s downtown businesses go away after 22 years and believes things will improve if the bar owner and police can find a better way of working together.  The council also agreed to start looking into the creation of a possible points system for all bars in the city where a certain total is lost for each offense.  Initial discussion will start at this month’s committee meetings.


Sub-Committee To Set Job Description For New Mayville Role


6/9/15 – Mayville’s Personnel Committee of the Whole and its Water and Wastewater Commission approved the creation of a new position at their joint meeting Monday night.  The position is a combination of Director of Utilities and City Engineer with roughly 60% of the focus being on utilities.  The cost for the position would be split between the Utility and the general fund.  It’s expected to save the city $9,000 a year from the start.  Mayor Bob Redeker says another benefit would be improved communication between the two departments.  A special sub-committee has been created to create a job description for the position which Redeker hopes will be done by early next month.  He says the city will look both internally and externally for candidates.  Ron Wellner currently serves as the full-time Utility Director and the city engineer is contracted through Kunkel Engineering of Beaver Dam on an as-needed basis. The city council will still need to approve the position, and a potential hire isn’t expected to be made until the fall.


BDUSD Adopts Preliminary Budget


6/9/15 – It’s still early in the process but the Beaver Dam School District had adopted its preliminary budget for the upcoming school year. The $40-million dollar budget has a projected deficit of $379-thousand dollars. However, Director of Business Services Bob Avery says the number does not include the impact of per-pupil state aid numbers in the state budget, which has not been adopted. If the per-pupil aid continues through the legislative process and is not vetoed that would mean an additional $525-thousand dollars resulting in a surplus of $146-thousand.  The preliminary budget includes a tax levy of $11.8-million, down over $150-thousand dollars, which at this point would calculate to a 10-cent decrease in the mill rate. Avery says, however, that does not mean anything at this point in time as the numbers will change. The public hearing on the budget and formal adoption is planned in August. The budget would then need to be amended in October once staff hirings are complete and final enrollment numbers are known.


Beaver Dam Hires District Financial Advisor


6/9/15 – The Beaver Dam School District hired a financial advisor at Monday night’s meeting. PMA Securities was selected and was the second lowest of four bids. The bid was based on services paid only in the event the district decides to sell bonds. For example, PMA would charge two-percent which on a $25-million dollar bond which is $50-thousand dollars. Ehlers and Associates bid 1.5-percent which would translate to $35-thousand in a similar scenario. There are no immediate plans for bonding. PMA is also waiving an $8000 annual fee for other financial services it already provides the district, namely management of retirement benefits, scholarships and investments. Board member Marge Jorgensen, who chairs the Accountability Committee, says PMA was preferred over the low-bidder because of the size of their team, the scope of the services and because the district already works with them in other areas.


Columbus Mayor Proclaims Today ‘Sue Sewell Day’


6/9/15 – The Mayor of Columbus has proclaimed Tuesday as “Sue Sewell Day.”  Sewell is retiring from the district after 37 years of service.  As a Portage High graduate she received bachelors and masters degrees from UW Madison, and certification from UW Whitewater and Marion College. She has served as a Kindergarten teacher, science teacher, elementary school principal and was one of the creators of the Discovery Charter School in Columbus.  Mayor Kelly Crombie recently thanked Sewell for her dedication and contributions to the students, fellow teachers and Columbus area community and wished her well in her retirement.


Handgun Waiting Period Appeal Up For Vote


6/9/15 – A bill to end Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period for buying handguns is up for final legislative approval today.  The state Assembly is scheduled to vote on the measure, after the Senate passed it in April.  Wisconsin has had a waiting period since 1976, so the criminal backgrounds of prospective gun buyers could be checked.  The bill’s supporters say our modern technology allows background checks to be done in just hours — so the two-day waiting period is no longer needed.  Democrats say it would encourage those in domestic-and-other disputes to obtain handguns quickly, and to use them while they’re still in fits of rage.  Wisconsin is among ten states and Washington D-C which have some type of waiting period for handgun purchases.  Also today, both the Assembly and the Senate are scheduled to vote on letting retired and off-duty police officers carry guns in schools.  Right now, only active on-duty officers can carry guns on school grounds — and within a-thousand feet of school property lines.


Abortion Bill Vote Today In Senate


6/9/15 – The Wisconsin Senate plans to vote today on banning all non-emergency abortions in the state after 20 weeks of fertility.  The Senate’s health committee endorsed the measure last week with Republicans voting yes and Democrats no. The bill’s main sponsors say an unborn child can feel pain after 20 weeks, and it shouldn’t have to happen.  National experts say fetuses don’t feel pain until 27 weeks, when the third trimester begins.  Supporters are trying to get the bill passed before the Legislature starts dealing with the new state budget later this month.  However, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has not said when-or-if his house would take up the 20-week abortion ban once it gets to his chamber. Soon after the bill was introduced, Vos said it should include exceptions for rape-or-incest victims.  The bill’s sponsors have refused to include that.  Either way, G-O-P Governor Scott Walker has said he would sign it into law.  Both houses of the Legislature will be in session today — and they’re both expected to vote on letting businesses keep supplies of epinephrine injectors to treat potentially fatal allergic reactions.


Markesan Overdose Death Suspect In Court Today


6/9/15 – Judges in Portage County are about to hand down sentences in three homicide cases in one day.  That’s a rarity for Wisconsin, something you don’t hear about even in Milwaukee.  It all starts at 9:30 this morning at the Stevens Point courthouse, when 64-year-old David Bronk goes before Judge John Finn.  Bronk was convicted in late April, for providing the prescription drugs that killed 22-year-old Ethan Erickson of Plover 16 months ago.  At 1:30 this afternoon, two more people will be sentenced across the hall from each other.  Judge Thomas Eagon will decide whether 33-year-old Andrew Pray should get any chance for a supervised release, after he killed his step-father Christopher Bonstetter with a baseball bat just over a year ago.  Pray will get a mandatory life sentence.  At the same time, Judge Thomas Flugaur will sentence 27-year-old Erik Olson of Hancock, for supplying the heroin that killed a roommate — U-W Stevens Point student Jordan Peterson of Markesan — in November of 2013.


Bond Set For Hustisford Woman Accused Of Hit And Run


6/9/15 – A Hustisford woman accused of leaving the scene of a hit-and-run injury accident had her bond set at $1,000 during an initial appearance in a Dodge County courtroom on Monday. Faith Murphy allegedly fled after rear-ending a car that was stopped behind a school bus at a Waupun railroad crossing in April. A child in the other vehicle sustained back injuries. The victim took note of Murphy’s license plate number. When police contacted her by phone she reportedly said she was drove away because she was scared. When informed she would be facing a felony count of Hit and Run Causing Injury, the 25-year-old told the officer  “This isn’t even Faith and this isn’t even her phone” and then she hung up. She did call back to apologize and to try to talk the cop into giving her a warning. Murphy has a preliminary hearing set for July 30. If convicted, she faces up to nine months in prison.


BDPD Urging Driver Safety With Kids Out For Summer


6/9/15 – Today marks the start of summer vacation for many Beaver Dam students.  The city’s public schools had their final day yesterday, and many of the private schools have already started their breaks.  During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment, Beaver Dam Police Sergeant Jake Vosters encouraged drivers to use caution as there will be a lot more children out riding bikes and playing on playgrounds.  He says the last couple of years have gone well in Beaver Dam and hopes this summer will be no different.  According to Vosters, there are certain things motorists can do to prevent any mishaps such as going slow in residential neighborhoods.  He urges drivers to anticipate places where a child could run out from at any moment.  Vosters encourages drivers to slow down.  He says the extra minute or two added on to a drive from going at a slower speed is worth it in order to prevent against potentially fatal incidents.


Fond du Lac Residents Found After Lost In Tennessee Mountains


6/9/15 – A Fond du Lac woman and her 16-year-old son were found yesterday, after they went missing Sunday night in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.  Authorities said Christy Barns and her son Casey texted family members to say they were lost.  They were found in good shape in the Clingman Dome’s area of the Smoky Mountains’ park.