News – January 8, 2019

(Madison) Wisconsin’s new governor calls for a return to “Wisconsin values.” Tony Evers identified those values as kindness and respect, and said the state faces myriad problems and needs – including paying for education, infrastructure, and health care. The Democrat, who defeated Scott Walker in November, said young people are looking for leadership. Joining Evers at the inauguration, Mandela Barnes, the first African-American lieutenant governor of the state, Attorney General Josh Kaul and other constitutional officers.

(Madison) Governor Tony Evers didn’t waste much time to sign his first executive orders, just a few hours after he took office.  One of them requires state agencies to develop and implement policies that prevent discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.  Another order calls state agency leaders to recognize the contributions of state employees and promote positive morale.

(Beaver Dam) With two dissenting votes, the Beaver Dam Common Council last (Monday) night approved a sewer rate increase that will cost the average residential sewer utility customers $81 more per year. Two factors are driving the increase: inaccurate projections of revenues from large industrial customers and poorer than expected infrastructure uncovered by video inspections. A rate study determined that an additional $997-thousand dollars in annual revenue is needed. The last sewer rate increase in 2015 resulted in an average annual increase of $36-per year.

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council has agreed to receive both written and verbal objections to the proposed 15-day suspension of the liquor license for a Beaver Dam tavern. Johnny’s Lounge is being assessed enough points to trigger the suspension under the city’s demerit point ordinance because of a closing time fight last summer. In two weeks, the full council will vote on the suspension, which was recommended by the city’s Administrative Committee, where arguments were heard last month from both the complainant and the bar owner. City officials last (Monday) night only had to decide if objections to the suspension from the bar owner should be submitted in written form, verbal form or both. On January 21, the council will hear both before deciding. If the defendants want to contest that decision, the matter would be handled at the circuit court-level.

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council last (Monday) night approved a $2000 per year increase in the salary for municipal court judge. Starting after the April election, the position will pay $21-thousand dollars per year. This April is a special election for Beaver Dam municipal court judge prompted by the addition of a new city to its jurisdiction. Starting this fall, municipal court matters from Waupun will be handled in Beaver Dam, which already handles cases in the city and Town of Beaver Dam along with the village of Neosho and the towns of Rubicon and Ashippun.

(Beaver Dam) A two-day jury trial began yesterday (Monday) for a Beaver Dam accused of providing the drugs that killed a Reeseville man. Jason Thompson is facing First Degree Reckless Homicide charges in the death of James Hook. Following jury selections, the state made their opening arguments and called multiple witnesses to the stand to testify about the incident. The 62-year-old Hook was found unresponsive in his apartment two years ago. An autopsy revealed heroin was in his system. Investigators say the 40-year-old Thompson sold the heroin to Hook. If convicted, he faces up to 46-years in prison.

(Middleton) The Dane County DA has cleared police and deputies for shooting and killing a workplace gunman in Middleton last summer. District Attorney Ismael Ozanne says that the two Middleton police officers and two Dane County deputies had no choice but to use lethal force in the incident. Officers shot and killed Anthony Tong in September after he shot and wounded four of his coworkers at WTS Paradigm. Ozanne says it’s unlikely a motive behind the shooting will ever be known.

(Barron) It’s been nearly three months since Jayme Closs went missing from her Barron home in western Wisconsin.  Barron County Sheriff Christ Fitzgerald is planning to provide an update on their investigation next week Tuesday, marking the 90 days since she disappeared and when her parents were found dead at their home.  Fitzgerald says he will discuss new partners and an expanded team working to find her.