December 13, 2014

Wisconsin DNR Funding Healthy Lakes Projects


12/13/14 – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has established a grant that funds Healthy Lakes Initiative Projects.  President of the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association Bill Boettge says that the grant funding requests must go through the BDLIA, who is locally sponsoring the effort.  The projects, which focus on habitat restoration and runoff and erosion control, can be done by municipalities and business in addition to those who own property on the lake.  The five examples that the state’s DNR has given are: the deployment of fish sticks, the installation of native planting packages, the diversion of runoff water, the placement of rock infiltration pits or trenches, and the installation of upland rain gardens.  Boettge says that he finds the projects to be very beneficial for all parties involved in the program: the lake and the animals that inhabit it as well as the property owners.  Each project is capped at $1,000 and requires a 75/25 match between the state and property owner.  The BDLIA must submit its group of 25 projects for grant funding by February 1.  The deadline for a person to reach out to the BDLIA for a chance to participate in the endeavor is January 10.


Diesel Fuel Spill Pools Near Columbus


12/13/14 – A semi-truck spilled a significant amount of diesel fuel Friday afternoon in Columbia County. Columbus Fire Department Public Information Officer Jerrod Fox says the truck was traveling southbound on Highway 151 near mile-marker 114 around 12:30pm when the fuel tank sprung a leak. Fox says it appears that debris – like a rock or chuck of concrete – punctured the bottom of the 100-gallon gas tank. The driver had recently refueled and it is estimated that between 70-and-100 gallons leaked out. It left a huge puddle along Highway 151. Fox says the department used several methods to control the leakage including four bags of an industrial granular absorbent and multiple rolls of synthetic cotton pads. They were able to contain the fuel but there was still pooling when firefighters cleared the scene around 2:30pm and the Department of Natural Resources took over. The DNR is hiring a contractor to dig up the dirt.


The scene of the fuel spill in the southbound lanes at mile marker 114 is the exact same location of an accident involving three vehicles and a semi that occurred Friday morning around 6:30am. One person was transported from the scene; that individual would have been flown but Med-Flight was not operating at the time because of foggy weather conditions.


Meanwhile, a half hour later around 7am Friday and 16 miles south down Highway 151 in Dane County, emergency responders had their hands full with a fatal accident. Madison police say an S-U-V fish-tailed and slid into a concrete barrier near American Parkway. The driver was out checking the damage when he was struck-and-killed by a pick-up truck which slid on the ice.


Mayville Man Gets Three Years In Prison For Seventh OWI


12/13/14 – A Mayville man was sentenced Friday to three years in prison after driving drunk for a seventh time. John M. Shelley pled “no contest” to felony OWI and had a second felony charge of Operating With A Prohibited Alcohol Content dismissed. The 66-year-old was arrested in June in the city of Mayville after a breath-test registered a point-one-eight-eight (.188). According to the criminal complaint, Shelley told officers that he was losing at the casino and so he started drinking. Shelley said he was reluctant to go home and explain some big casino losses to his wife. He even argued with the arresting officer about the number of OWI’s he has had in his life, saying he only had five which he noted (quote) “was not that much.” In addition to three years in prison, Shelley was sentenced to five years of extended supervision and lost his driver’s license for three years followed by three years with an ignition interlock device on his vehicle.


Beaver Dam Woman Sentenced For Television Thefts


12/13/14 – A Beaver Dam woman who stole several flat-screen televisions from the Beaver Dam Wal-Mart will spend two years on probation. 26-year-old Tera Rahn pled “no contest” to felony Retail Theft and had three other felony charges dismissed. Rahn and her husband removed the security wires from the televisions – each valued at between $700 and $1000 – and walked out the door on four separate occasions in less than two weeks last winter. 30-year-old Dustin Rahn is also charged with four felony counts of Retail Theft and has a plea hearing scheduled next month. The two were previously convicted on similar charges in Dane County.


Fox Lake Newspaper Ceasing Publication


12/13/14 – The Fox Lake Representative newspaper will soon cease publication.  That’s according to city officials in Fox Lake, who included the matter as an agenda item for their meeting this coming Wednesday. The agenda says that the newspaper will stop publishing for good in just less than two weeks on December 25th. The council will vote Wednesday on a new official newspaper, which is required by city ordinance for the publication of public happenings.  The paper has a circulation of 230 households, according to the website of its parent company, Echo Media.


Wisconsin GAB Overhaul Possible


12/13/14 – A bill is in the works to overhaul Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board. That’s what G-O-P Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Friday, after the state Legislative Audit Bureau found problems with the agency that handles state elections and ethics investigations.  Among other things, the audit found that the agency had long delays in some cases in reviewing whether felons had illegally voted — routinely failed to charge late fees to those who missed deadlines for filing campaign finance reports — and did not have written procedures for handling complaints.  Vos said Assembly Republican Dean Knudson of Hudson was writing a bill to revamp the agency – but the speaker did not offer specifics.  Friday’s report mentioned that the board had its resources tapped heavily in recent years by recall elections, an on-and-off voter I-D law, a rare statewide recount in a tense Supreme Court race, and handling new legislative districts and lawsuits on that subject.  Auditors could not review records concerning a number of investigations, because the attorney general said the law required that they remain secret.  Board director Kevin Kennedy said he was pleased with most of the audit’s findings, and it would work diligently to resolve issues that were uncovered.


Bradley Center Debt Increasing


12/13/14 – Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center lost one-point-nine million dollars in its last fiscal year.  C-E-O Steve Costello says the 26-year-old arena now has a total of 20-million dollars in debt — and he’s hoping things can start to turn around next year.  Officials blamed this past year’s losses on reduced attendance to see a poor Milwaukee Bucks’ basketball team, a sub-par concert season, and dwindling state repair grants.  As talks continue for a new downtown arena, Costello says the Bradley Center’s operations for the next several years will be critical — and it will need support to keep going.


Agreement Close on Baraboo Museum Control


12/13/14 – It was a year-and-a-half ago when we learned that two non-profit groups were wrestling for control of the state’s Circus World Museum in Baraboo.  Now, the two sides are close to an agreement on a revised lease and management agreement.  The State Historical Society and the Circus World Museum Foundation are expected to have their boards act on the revised deal next month.  The Historical Society owns the museum’s collections and grounds — while the museum foundation operates the site under a state agreement.  The Baraboo News-Republic says the new deal would set conditions in which the agreement could be terminated — and what steps should be taken to resolve issues.  Museum director Scott O’Donnell says the tone of the talks has been positive.