December 20, 2014

MPTC President Announces Leave


12/20/14 – Moraine Park Technical College President Dr. Sheila Ruhland will be leaving the school as she has verbally accepted to become the new president at Tacoma Community College in Washington.  Ruhland joined MPTC in July 2011 and was able to obtain state and federal grants for the school.  Under her guidance, the Forming Alliance to Cultivate Talent Initiative was established, student nursing scores on the NCLEX test were consistently above the national average, and ground was broken on a student services wing at the Fond du Lac campus.  Ruhland will be leaving to begin the new role on March 9.  Moraine Park Board President Vernon Jung expects an interim leader to be named early next year.


BDFD Ice Rescue Protocol


12/20/14 – Beaver Dam Firefighter Donald Smith spoke about the department’s various means of rescuing persons who have fallen through ice on the city’s lake during a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment.  Smith says that the department possesses multiple devices, including a hovercraft and what is called a ‘banana boat’ that allow them to get onto the lake and out to the location where the person has fallen through the ice.  Smith notes that the objective with the boat is for two of the rescue unit members to pull the patient up into the device with the help of a board.  Another option is to throw a ladder out to the person, as long as they are not suffering from hypothermia and can still grab the object.  Smith says that the rescuers do everything in their power to avoid going into the water themselves and only do so as a last resort.  The firefighter encourages anyone who is planning to go out on the lake to be aware of the thickness of ice and any open holes that might be present.


Elks Lodge Borrowing Ice Skates to Citizens


12/20/14 – The Beaver Dam Elks Lodge is running an initiative to aide people in being able to utilize the Beaver Dam lake for ice skating.  The organization recently requested and received a $2-thousand dollar grant from the National Elks Foundation.  Lodge Chair of Fundraising Harvey Lewis says that the group was able to use that allocation to get a substantial start in implementing the program by purchasing a total of 45 pairs of skates, which are divided up between warming shelters at Crystal Lake and Tahoe.  He says that if the endeavor goes well this winter, the Elks will request another grant next year to expand the program.


State Patrol Welcomes New Officer Class


12/20/14 – The Wisconsin State Patrol swore in 47 new officers during a graduation ceremony yesterday in Madison.  The 47 cadets that make up the 60th Recruiting Class went through 23 weeks of training, which began on July 13.  They will either work as state patrol troopers or inspectors in one of the state’s five regions.  Troopers are tasked with patrolling highways to enforce traffic safety and criminal laws while inspectors focus on the enforcement of safety laws and regulations pertaining to commercial vehicles.  Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.


Wisconsin Struggling with Job Growth


12/20/14 – Wisconsin’s job growth continues to lag behind the rest of the country.  The federal government said that the Badger State grew its private-sector workforce by one-and-a-half percent for the year ending in June.  That’s the 32nd-largest job growth among the 50 states — and it lags behind the national increase of two-point-three percent.  The numbers come from the Quarterly Census of Employment-and-Wages, the most accurate indicator of job growth since it surveys 96-percent of employers.  The monthly unemployment updates only survey about three-and-a-half percent of employers — which state officials have criticized when the numbers make Wisconsin look bad.  That’s not true today, however.  The Labor Department said the Badger State added an estimated 16-thousand-500 private sector jobs in October.  However, that data is often subject to heavy revisions later on.  Wisconsin’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped another two-tenths of a point to five-point-two percent.  That’s six-tenths less than the national jobless rate for last month.


Wisconsin’s Priciest House on the Market


12/20/14 – If you want to buy Wisconsin’s most expensive house for Christmas, you’ll need at least a few million dollars.  The Zillow real estate Web site says Black Point — a four-story mansion on a 464-foot lakeside spread near Lake Geneva — has an asking price of 12-point-two million dollars.  However, you might want to negotiate, since Zillow estimates a fair market value of three-and-a-half million. It’s listed as a single-family European Estate with 11-thousand square feet, ten bathrooms, five bedrooms, a four-vehicle garage, and luxurious amenities which include a pool, sauna, cabana, curved staircase, nine fireplaces, and much much more.  It’s located along Geneva Lake on Black Point Drive.  Zillow says it’s been on the market for around 14 months. According to the property’s Web site, Seipp Brewing Company owner Conrad Seipp bought 27 acres in 1887 and built his former home.  Zillow has posted a Web listing of the most expensive house for sale in each state.


State Legislature Working on ‘Pro-Life’ Bills


12/20/14 – With larger Republican majorities in the state Legislature, pro-life groups are working on several anti-abortion measures they hope will pass in the next two-year session.  Wisconsin Right-to-Life is seeking a ban on all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, plus renewed bans on doctor-assisted suicides.  The Wisconsin Family Action group says it will push again to boost the state’s right-of-conscience laws, which allow people to refuse actions according to their moral or religious beliefs.  In the last session, the group supported a constitutional amendment which never got off the ground.  It would have barred the state from punishing those exercising rights-of-conscience — including doctors who don’t perform abortions.  Pro-life Wisconsin says it wants to prohibit the selling of body parts from aborted infants.  The group will also try for a second time to create a special license plate which reads, “Choose Life.”


Popular Holiday Gift Causing Online Problems


12/20/14 – Gift cards are popular presents for the holidays — but state officials say they can pose problems for both givers and recipients.  Jarad Albrecht of the consumer protection bureau says to watch out for scams.  Over the past couple years; more folks are getting texts and social media messages which promise gift cards of up to a-thousand dollars by paying a shipping charge, or filling out an Internet survey.  Those surveys can either place malicious software on your machine, or send you to a Web site that demands your personal information. Albrecht also says those who buy gift cards in stores should make sure they’re in the original packaging, to reduce the chances of buying a card that’s been tampered with.  If you’re buying unused second-hand cards, Albrecht says you should know and trust the seller — or else you could get cards which are counterfeit or drained of their value.  For those receiving gift cards, Albrecht says to use them as soon as possible, so you don’t get hit with fees later on.


UW-Extension to Offer Exercise Class in the New Year


12/20/14 – The Dodge County UW-Extension will be holding a four-week exercise class for the public.  The class will be led by a certified personal trainer and will target the less fit older adult through a three-pronged approach of functional strength.  Mobility, strength, and balance will be addressed to improve posture, reduce the risk of falling, and bring ease to the daily activities of life.  The eight classes in the program will be held each Monday and Wednesday morning between January 12 and February 9 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Pre-registration is required by January 9 and the $40 payment can be made at the door the day of the first class, which will be held at the Dodge County Administration Building Auditorium at 127 East Oak Street in Juneau.  A minimum of five people are required to hold the class, and it can accommodate up to 20.


Wisconsin Areas among Nation’s Best Credit Scores


12/20/14 – We’ve been told before that Wisconsinites are more responsible than most in handling credit — and a new survey re-affirms that.  The consumer finance Web site Nerd-Wallet compared average credit scores for 143 U-S metro areas, as provided by the Experian credit bureau.  Wisconsin had five of the nation’s ten best collective scores.  The Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, which includes Hudson and River Falls, is Number-One with an average vantage score of 702.  Duluth-Superior is third, and Green Bay-Appleton is fifth.  Both had average scores of 697, but Fox Valley residents have slightly more open credit cards than folks in the Twin Ports.  Madison was ranked seventh with an average credit score of 694.  La Crosse-Eau Claire is ninth at 692.  Nerd-Wallet-Dot-Com said many of the top metros have healthy local economies with above-average incomes and low unemployment.  The Brownsville area in Texas has the worst credit, and Las Vegas is second.