News – November 18, 2016

School District Report Cards Released

11/18/16 – Ninety-nine Wisconsin public schools and five districts received failing grades in the state’s new school report cards issued on Thursday. The Cambria Friesland district had the lowest performance score in the state last school year – 46.5-percent on a scale of 100 — and the Bayfield, Cassville, Racine, and Menominee Indian districts also failed to meet expectations, with sanctions possible if they do not move up the scale next year. Eighty-two percent of schools and 91-percent of districts met or exceeded expectations.

The Beaver Dam School District “met expectations” with an overall rating of 69.2-percent. Four Beaver Dam elementary schools “significantly exceeded expectations” Wilson, Washington, South Beaver Dam and Prairie View with all but Prairie View scoring in the 90-percentile. The Beaver Dam Middle School met expectations with a 64.8-percent while the high school exceeded expectations with a 74.6. Superintendent Steve Vessey says he “could not be more proud of the way students have performed academically” and he credits a world-class staff along with the support of parents and the community.

Other school districts around the area that “met expectations” are Columbus with an overall rating of 77.6-percent; Fall River at 68.6-percent; Watertown with a 72.7-percent and Waupun with a 71.3-percent. Area districts that “exceeded expectations” include: Lomira at 76.2-percent; Lake Mills with a 73.3-percent; Markesan at 79.5-percent; Mayville earned a 75.7-percent; Randolph registered a 79.5-percent; Rosendale-Brandon got an 86.9-percent; and Slinger reported an 84.8-percent. District’s “meeting few expectations” include Dodgeland with a 61.9-percent and Horicon at 58-percent. Most of the failing schools are in Milwaukee and other high poverty areas — and only about one third of schools in Wisconsin’s largest city met or exceeded expectations. Schools were not graded last year due to changes in achievement tests and the way results are interpreted.

Debate Arises Over Dodge County Take-Home Vehicle Policy

11/18/16 – Multiple county board members voiced concerns over the county’s take-home vehicle policy. In Dodge County, certain employees in three departments, Highway, Emergency Management, and the Sheriff’s Office, are able to keep county vehicles around the clock. At this week’s meeting where highway department vehicle funding for the 2017 budget was discussed at length, concerns were raised over how take-home vehicles are monitored.

Highway Commissioner Brian Field says employees who use these vehicles are given certain guidelines. The vehicles are only intended for employees, who are on the clock 24/7, to take to and from work, an emergency site, or a meeting. Field says there is an honor system in place with the five highway employees that have take-home vehicles. He says there has never been an issue and believes members of the public would likely notify the county if they saw a county vehicle being used for personal matters. If there were a violation, Field says that employee would face discipline, and he notes that mileage for all departmental vehicles is tracked on a daily basis.

However, multiple supervisors, including Janice Bobholz, expressed concerns with the public-monitoring system, saying it is difficult to recognize the highway vehicles since they are not marked with the Dodge County seal. While making no accusations, Bobholz says today’s times call for a stricter monitoring system to ensure no violations. Bobholz would like to see the trucks treated as fleet vehicles that are numbered, labeled, and monitored on gas, mileage, which employee uses them, and where they are taken.

Field says he has included the topic on the agenda for the highway committee’s next meeting, which is set for December 2 at 8:30am. We reached out to various neighboring counties. Fond du Lac County responded and said they allow five highway employees to take vehicles home. Officials say a past abuse of the honor system was reported by citizens but note all their vehicles are clearly marked as county property.

Four More Arrested In Beaver Dam Drug Ring

11/18/16 – Dodge County prosecutors have charged four more people in connection with a heroin and cocaine distribution ring in Beaver Dam. Those implicated include 22-year-old Earl Howard of Chicago; 23-year-old Herman Jones of Beaver Dam; 25-year-old Paris Mickle of Chicago and 31-year-old Jamar Davis of Beaver Dam. The four were allegedly associates of 27-year-old Lacresha Lightfoot of Beaver Dam who was arrested this week following an 11-month investigation by the Dodge County Drug Task Force. The criminal complaints indicate that the suspects were all affiliated with Lightfoot often times selling drugs on her behalf when she was not available, in some cases using her cell phone to conduct transactions. The sale of cocaine and heroin in one-to-three gram packages to confidential informants allegedly occurred throughout the city over the past year. Lightfoot is being held on a quarter-million-dollar cash bond. Arrest warrants have been issued for the other four suspects.

Beaver Dam Man Seriously Injured After Colliding With Semi

11/18/16 – A Beaver Dam man was seriously injured in a two vehicle accident Thursday morning. The wreck occurred around 9:30am on County Highway S near South Center Road in the Town of Beaver Dam. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says the preliminary investigation shows that 58-year-old Daniel Krueger of rural Mayville was driving a semi with a flatbed trailer east on County S when he collided with a passenger car. 40-year-old Jeffrey Hildebrand was driving the car that reportedly drifted over the centerline into eastbound traffic, striking the rear wheels of the flatbed. Hildebrand sustained life-threatening injuries and was flown from the scene by Flight for Life to UW Hospital in Madison. Krueger was not injured in the crash and there were no other occupants in either vehicle. County S was closed for almost four hours while the scene was being cleared. The accident remains under investigation.

One Person Killed In Jefferson County Vehicle Accident

11/18/16 – One person was killed in a single-vehicle rollover accident in Jefferson County early this morning. The incident occurred at 2:34 am on Highway 16, west of Lang Road, in the Town of Ixonia. The driver of an eastbound pickup truck failed to negotiate a curve, and the vehicle struck the median and rolled. A 23-year-old Oconomowoc woman was ejected from the vehicle and suffered fatal injuries. A 21-year-old Ixonia woman was taken to the hospital with injuries.

Beaver Dam Man Accused Of Disobeying Officers, OWI

11/18/16 – A Beaver Dam man is accused of disobeying police officers who responded to a disturbance in progress. John Hammen is facing two misdemeanor counts of Obstructing an Officer. On August 11, police received a call from an employee at the Landmark at Charleston House who said Hammen showed up and was harassing his wife, a fellow employee. While officers were trying to resolve the matter, Hammen was reportedly slurring his speech and being uncooperative. Hammen told officers he walked to Landmark, but they reportedly found his car in the parking lot. The 56-year-old allegedly told police the whole matter was ridiculous since he donates a lot of money to the Beaver Dam Police Department and (quote) “bought Blade,” one of the department’s K-9s. Hammen was arrested for obstruction and a fifth offense OWI. His initial appearance was set for Wednesday, but Hammen did not appear since he is now a quadriplegic and was unable to get to the courtroom. The initial appearance has been rescheduled for January 3. If he is convicted, Hammen faces up to a year-and-a-half in prison.

Dassey Release From Prison Halted

11/18/16 – It looks like Brendan Dassey will be staying in prison, at least for now. Magistrate Judge William Duffin this week ordered the 27-year-old Dassey be released from the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage by 8pm Friday night. The Wisconsin Attorney General appealed the decision and on Thursday, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago granted the State of Wisconsin’s motion to stay Judge Duffin’s order to release Dassey, which means he will remain in prison pending the outcome of the appeal. Dassey’s lawyers had told the federal appeals court in Chicago that his confession to the 2005 killing of Teresa Halbach was involuntary. But the state disagreed and said other U-S courts have approved the techniques officers used to get Dassey to confess at age 16 — when his attorneys claim he did not have the mental capacity to understand what the officers were doing. Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery were featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” and Dassey’s conviction was later dropped. Avery, who is being held in Waupun, is now appealing his conviction and the state is trying to uphold both guilty verdicts.

Wisconsin Jobless Rate Holding Steady

11/18/16 – Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for October is unchanged from the previous month at four-point-one-percent, still the lowest since February of 2001. The state is well below the national seasonally adjusted jobless rate for the month of four-point-nine-percent. The preliminary figures showed an increase of six-thousand private sector jobs during October. The state’s manufacturing sector lost a reported 24-hundred jobs, while the total service sector grew by nine-thousand and government added 44-hundred workers. All those numbers are expected to be revised, once officials have time to interview larger numbers of employers to get a more complete look at the trends. The workforce development agency also said Wisconsin gained 27-thousand-900 private sector jobs during the year ending October 31st — and we’ll learn in a few weeks how the percentage of job growth compares with other states.

Deadline Today For Beaver Dam Parade Entries

11/18/16 – Today is the deadline to submit entries for next month’s Beaver Dam Holiday Parade. To mark the city’s 175th anniversary, this year’s parade theme is ‘175 Years of Holiday Fun.’ Entry forms are available at the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce office and online at bddowntown.com.

Wisconsin’s Oldest Piano Store Closing

11/18/16 – Wisconsin’s oldest piano store is about to close by the end of the year. Netzow’s Piano and Music Plus in Wauwatosa has been around for 131 years, and its owners say they plan to retire. Steve Datz tells W-I-S-N T-V that music lovers are very disappointed — but he and his wife Ellen could not find a buyer who would keep the shop going. The Datzs bought the store from the Netzow family in 1988.