December 23, 2014

State Legislature Committee Assignments Released


12/23/14 – Standing committee assignments for the 2015-16 State Assembly legislative session were announced today (Tue.).  In addition to serving as the chairman of the Public Benefits Reform Committee, 39th District Representative Mark Born will serve as a member of the criminal justice and public safety, financial institutions, insurance, natural resources and sporting heritage, and tourism committees.  The new session begins on January 5th.


Horicon Man Facing 5th Offense OWI


12/23/14 – A 29-year-old Horicon man mad an initial appearance in Dodge County Circuit Court yesterday for a 5th offense OWI.  William Schrubbe was allegedly a passenger in a vehicle that pulled into the Mayville Kwik Trip parking lot at around 9:15 Saturday night.  A Mayville police sergeant noted that the license of the driver had been revoked for an alcohol-related offense.  When the vehicle left the fuel station, Schrubbe was driving while the previous operator was in the back seat.  The sergeant pulled over the car and cited the vehicle’s owner for having operated with a revoked license as well as a 21-year-old woman in the car for drug paraphernalia.  Schrubbe was allegedly not wearing a safety belt and is said to have given the officer a fake name when questioned, which returned no matches when it was run through the system.  He reportedly told the sergeant that he had a couple of drinks and then blew a .05 on a breathalyzer test.  Schrubbe also received a citation for operating with a revoked license and violating a license restriction.  If convicted of the OWI charge, he could face up to six years in prison.


Beaver Dam Man Facing Felony for Attempted Burglary


12/23/14 – A Beaver Dam man made an initial appearance in Dodge County Circuit Court yesterday after an attempted gas station break-in on Sunday.  54-year-old Rudolph R. Jackson is charged with a felony count of attempted burglary to a building or dwelling for an incident at the BP Gas Station on Madison Street in Beaver Dam.  Police responded to the fuel station after a burglar alarm went off at around 10:15 Sunday night.  He is also facing a misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property. Jackson has a preliminary hearing scheduled for January 8.  If convicted, he faces up to seven years and three months in prison.


Local Representative to Chair Newly Formed Committee


12/23/14 – State Representative Mark Born will be chairing a newly-formed committee when the state legislature session starts up early next month.  The 39th District Assembly leader from Beaver Dam will be the head of the Public Benefit Reform Committee, one of two new committees formed for the upcoming session along with one dealing with mental health reform.  The focus of Born’s committee will be on reducing fraud and waste in the state’s public welfare system.  He says that one of the key points that he will have the committee focus on is the state’s food stamp system.  Born says that some of the discussions from the last session that pertain to the program can look to be built upon including requiring those who receive food stamps to use at least two-thirds of the allocation on items that are approved on the list that sets guidelines for the program.  Born also mentions possible changes in terms of the drug testing policy for those in the state who receive government benefits.  He says that an increase in drug treatment is possible as he wants to ensure that the government benefit program has integrity in the eyes of his constituents.  This committee will be the first that the second-term representative will chair.  During his initial term, he served on six committees.


Elks Seeking Volunteers for Christmas Food Drive


12/23/14 – Chairperson of the Elks Christmas Basket Committee Robert Radig says that the group is looking for volunteers to help with Wednesday’s food basket giveaway.  He says that he and his fellow organizers get to the Beaver Dam Ford garage at approximately 7 a.m. on the morning of Christmas Eve to start setting up the assembly line and unloading produce and other goods from trucks.  He says that with the assistance of volunteers, they can get things up and running by around 8:45.  The chairperson notes that the indoor helpers are needed prior to those who will be delivering baskets as they will not be ready for the drivers until everything is set up.  Radig says that the Ford building that is once again housing the event is currently undergoing some remodeling, but he does not expect that to interfere with the effort in any way.  Radig expects the deliveries and clean-up process to be finished by 11 a.m.  He says that all volunteers are invited for a free lunch at the Elks Lounge following the event.


Local Counties Bucking State Trend in Home Sales


12/23/14 – Wisconsin Realtors sold fewer homes this November than they did the same month a year ago .The Realtors Association says its members sold 45-hundred-12 existing houses last month.  That’s down from 48-hundred in November of 2013 for a year-to-year drop of six-percent.  However, many counties in the area went against that trend.  Dodge County was up 65 sales this November from 60 in the same month last year.  Columbia County increased by three sales to 49.  Fond du Lac County saw a bump of two homes to 77.  Green Lake County went from 10 sales last November to 15 this November.  Jefferson County increased from 63 transactions to 78.  Washington County stayed level at 107 sales.  For the year as a whole, almost 64-thousand homes were sold by Wisconsin Realtors, about two-percent less than a year ago.  Dodge County has had 878 sales which is 47 more sales in 2014 than 2013.  Columbia, Fond du Lac, and Green Lake Counties have seen slight increases in year-to-date sales this year from last year.  Jefferson and Washington Counties have had substantially less homes sold through November 30 of 2014 than they did last year.


Protestors Marched through Downtown Milwaukee


12/23/14 – About 150 people marched quietly from Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Park to the federal courthouse yesterday.  They attended a news conference where Dontre Hamilton’s family demanded a federal investigation into D-A John Chisholm’s decision not to charge fired Milwaukee officer Christopher Manney, who shot and killed Hamilton during a scuffle in Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Park.  On the way to the courthouse, a Milwaukee police officer took one man into custody. After the news conference, the group split in two and kept marching through the downtown.  Chisholm said the F-B-I and the U-S Attorney’s office have the evidence his office came up with — and it’s his understanding that federal authorities are already investigating.  He said he doesn’t know of a timeline for their probe.  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said it’s the position of Milwaukee Police that protesters can exercise their First Amendment rights, and it’s the mayor’s hope that the demonstrations remain peaceful.


Vehicle Rollover Leaves Four Injured


12/23/14 – A vehicle rollover in the Town of Williamstown yesterday left four people injured.  The single automobile incident occurred around 7:40 am near County Road Y and Slag Road.  Mayville Emergency Medical Staff and Fire Department responded.  The vehicle was towed.


Gas Prices to Continue Falling Heading into 2015


12/23/14 – The Triple-“A” says national gas prices have dropped for 88 days in a row as of yesterday. It’s the longest such streak on record, breaking the old mark of 86 days of price drops during the Great Recession.  The Wisconsin Triple-“A” says the state average is just over 2.38 yesterday for a gallon of regular unleaded — a penny under the national average, one-and-a-half cents less than the previous day, and over 75-cents cheaper than Christmas Week a year ago.  A number of Beaver Dam area stations were charging as low as 2.41 yesterday — and you can expect fuel prices to keep dropping into the New Year.  The U-S Energy Information Administration expects the average household to spend about 550-dollars less on gasoline next year, compared to this year. The typical household can plan on spending just over 19-hundred dollars for gasoline next year — the first time since 2009 it will be under two-thousand dollars per annum.


WI Milk Production Increasing but Behind National Figure


12/23/14 – Wisconsin dairy cows made two-point-eight percent more milk in November, compared to the same month a year ago.  However, the increase is smaller than the nation as a whole.  The U-S-D-A said the country’s total milk production rose three-point-four percent, to 16-and-a-half billion pounds last month. Wisconsin farms made two-and-a-quarter billion pounds of that, the second-most behind California’s three-and-a-third billion.  Wisconsin’s dairy herd dropped slightly, to one-point-two-seven million cows, but each cow made an average of 50-pounds more, to 17-hundred-75 pounds for November.  The 23 major dairy states had a net increase in their herds of around 93-thousand cows.  Their production rose by 41 pounds — not quite as much as Wisconsin’s efficiency.


Wisconsin Woman Helped Decorate White House


12/23/14 – If you watch a T-V special about the White House holiday decorations, you’ll want to know that a Wisconsin had a hand in that project.  Nancy Meiller of Baraboo was among 106 volunteers who spent a week decorating the presidential home in late November and early December.  A-thousand people applied, and Meiller was the only Wisconsinite chosen.  She recently retired after teaching history to middle school youngsters for 32 years.  As a history buff, Meiller found her experience to be especially enjoyable.  She says that she was watching an H-G-T-V special a year ago on the holiday decorating volunteers at the White House when she applied.  She almost forgot about her application by the time a Washington staffer called to say she was selected.


Justice Department Budget to Cut Program Funding


12/23/14 – The state Justice Department’s next budget seeks to eliminate laws that guarantee funding of various programs with Justice Assistance grants. Reports say that the proposal would drop state grant funds for 14 child abuse victim centers, plus other programs.  Justice spokeswoman Dana Brueck reportedly said that the current laws do not require expectations or accountability on the part of those receiving the grants.  Instead, outgoing Attorney General J-B Van Hollen has asked that the agency create new standards and criteria for the grant awards.  The liberal group One Wisconsin Now says the new budget proposal would allow the Justice Department to dole out two-million dollars with no oversight from the governor or Legislature. Brueck takes issue, saying there would be a competitive process for criminal justice grants which would provide more transparency than “automatic earmarks.”