August 22, 2016

Dodge County UW-Extension Future Should Be Determined By Mid-2017


8/22/16 – The future of Dodge County’s UW-Extension, and those in Wisconsin’s other 71 counties, should be determined by the middle of next year.  That’s according to UW Colleges and Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen who says county officials have been asked to submit a flat budget in 2017.  $3,200,000 was cut from the Extension program in response to the UW System’s $250,000,000 funding cut in the current two-year state budget.  Sandeen says the Extension has dealt with the cuts by leaving unfilled positions vacant.  She says they are in a good place financially nearly 14 months into the 24 month budget.  The Extension launched its re-organization process earlier this year.  While plans were supposed to be finalized by this fall’s budgeting season, delays have postponed that one year.  Sandeen says Dodge County will start sharing services with Columbia, Fond du Lac, and Sauk counties by the start of 2018.  She says expertise will likely be shared along county lines with a heavier reliance on statewide resources, such as specialty researchers at the system’s various four-year colleges.  Sandeen says high priority services will be maintained but some others may be lost in the re-organization.  She says no decisions have been made on which services would be impacted.


Mayville Residents Could See Lower Mill Rate For School Taxes


8/22/16 – Mayville residents could see a significantly lower mill rate for the school portion of their tax bill in 2016-17 than they did last year.  The school board recently adopted the district’s preliminary budget.  The $13-million dollar document has a $9.03 mill rate, down from $10.56 in 2015-16.  This year’s levy is estimated at $5.1-million dollars, down over $800-thousand dollars from a year ago.  However, Superintendent Scott Sabol expects the district’s total property value will increase by half-a-percent from the $562-million dollars that was taxed in 2015-16.  Sabol says a major expense in the budget is addressing some facility needs at Parkview Elementary that were delayed last year.  That was in response to the district learning last winter that there was mold in the elementary gymnasium.  He says the mold was successfully removed with the project being completed under budget.  According to the superintendent, the gym will be ready for all student activities this fall.  Sabol says the district will receive less state revenue in 2016-17 than it did last year due to a slight decline in enrollment.  He says that led to restructuring in the district’s staffing.  While Sabol says some employees were moved to different departments, he is unsure if any people lost their positions entirely.  The final budget approval is scheduled for October 17.


High Electric Rates May Effect Wisconsin Industry


8/22/16 – Wisconsin’s utility regulators have been warned that high electric rates may cause large industries to either leave the state, or put its future expansions elsewhere. That’s according to some of the responses to a recent report that Wisconsin’s average electric rates are now the highest among eight states in the Midwest for the first time in ten years. The report was part of a strategic energy assessment which projected the state’s electric needs through 2022, and it was approved by the state’s Public Service Commission last month. The Wisconsin State Journal says the P-S-C received 30 responses to the report — some of which said the high electric rates make it hard for industries to stay competitive. We Energies of Milwaukee, the state’s largest electric supplier, says it works closely with its business customers to try and reduce their costs for power.


Columbus School Using Grant For Agri-Science Elective


8/22/16 – Columbus schools have been awarded a $10-thousand dollar “Farmers Grow Rural Education” grant from Monsanto. The district will be using the grant to improve the Columbus school’s agriculture program in middle and high schools grades six-through-12. These grades will see an addition of elective Agri-Science courses. The formal Monsanto check presentation ceremony will take place during half time at the Friday, September 9th Columbus High School home football game in Fireman’s Park.


Fox Lake Gets Half-Million Dollar Grant


8/22/16 – The City of Fox Lake will be receiving a Community Development Block Grant from the state for $500,000. The money will be used by the city for infrastructure and street improvements. The state’s Department of Administration recently announced the awarding of $8.2 million in public facility grants.


Names Released In Two Separate Fatal Accidents


8/22/16 – The names of the people killed in two separate car crashes in our area were released over the weekend.  19-year-old Brady Wagner died on Friday morning when his vehicle vaulted and struck two trees after he drove off the shoulder of Highway A in the Town of Oak Grove.  54-year-old Douglas Lee of rural Fall River died when he struck a semi after failing to stop at the intersection of Highways 60 and C in the Columbia County Town of Hampden on Thursday morning.


Founder of ‘Three Doors Down’ Dies In West Bend Hotel


8/22/16 – Autopsy results are pending for Matt Roberts, who died in Wisconsin on Saturday. Roberts helped start the rock band Three Doors Down. The 38-year-old was with his father in West Bend, where he was planning to perform at a fundraiser for Honor Flight, the program that makes one day flights to Washington so older veterans can see their national monuments. He died in a hotel room in West Bend, and T-M-Z says it was from an apparent excess of prescription drugs. His father Darrell tells C-N-N that Roberts struggled with anxiety and an addiction to prescription pills since leaving Three Doors Down in 2012 for health reasons. Roberts and the band’s two other founders were all from Mississippi, and their biggest hit was “Kryptonite” in 2000, a nominee for a Grammy Award.


Spike In Premiums Coming To Obamacare Recipients


8/22/16 – The 239-thousand Wisconsinites who get their health insurance from Obamacare might see some big increases in their premiums next year. Some of the largest national insurance companies have pulled out of the Affordable Care Act — and Wisconsin insurers have told the federal government they expect to raise premiums anywhere from five-to-38 percent, with the larger hikes expected for those who don’t get federal subsidies. Scott Johnson, president of Wisconsin’s Molina Healthcare, says his company’s actual increase will be much less than the 31-percent it proposed. Experts tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel there are several reasons for the higher premiums — only half as many Americans as expected have Obamacare coverage, and sick people make up a larger percentage of the clients. That’s apparently because many young and healthy adults refuse to enter Obamacare, opting instead to pay the fines for not having their required insurance.


Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Winners


8/22/16 – Seven contestants have new trophies on their mantels this morning following a spirited weekend competition. I’m of course talking about WXRO’s 21st Annual Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Contest at the Dodge County Fair. Marcus Jackson of the US Army Reserve Center took home the “Thank You For Serving Our COUNTY” trophy. Musician Elwood Lee of Under The Gun defeated local historian Roger Noll, the Beaverland Mustkis and the Beaver Dam Area Community Theater to earn the ‘Cream Puff of the Crop’ cup. Hustisford School Superintendent Heather Cramer outpaced her colleagues from Beaver Dam, Horicon, Waupun and Juneau to take home the “Excellence in Pastry Consumption” title. Our own Rachel Ward, organizer of the Children’s Radiothon, took home the #itsforthekids trophy after besting the agencies that benefit from the annual fundraiser. Wisconsin American Legion Commander Dan Seehafer kept his unbeaten record going for another year taking the Fastest of the Fair trophy from the Beaver Dam mayor, the district attorney and the sheriff, who came in second. Fairest of the Fair 2010 Danielle Clark dropped the hammer on past and present fairests’ along with the Dodge-Jefferson Honey Queen and Miss Wisconsin Princess to take home her fourth Sweetest of the Fair trophy.