February 21, 2013

Walker Unveils Budget to the Legislature


2/21/13 – Governor Scott Walker highlighted his desire to cut taxes when he spoke to lawmakers last night about the new two-year state budget he asked them to approve. Walker proposes using a current surplus to give a 106-dollar income tax cut in each of the next two years to average families-of-four where both parents earn a total of 80-thousand-dollars a year. He also plans to reduce the bottom three of the state’s five income tax brackets. The governor also touted his budget plan expand private school choice – in which low-income kids get tax-funded vouchers to attend private schools in up to nine new areas. Some Republicans are against the voucher program but not State Representative Mark Born of Beaver Dam. He says the expanded program would empower parents with choices if they reside in a large school district that is failing its students. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau said the budget proves that spending money more wisely and efficiently is the solution to the state’s biggest challenges. But Democrats say Walker should have restored the school aid he slashed two years ago. They also said the governor is wrong not to take millions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid, and he should have done more to help the middle class. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca says Walker’s proposals are quote, “bad for the short term, and bad for the long term.”


Van Hollen Touts Crime Alert Network


2/21/13 – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says his department’s Wisconsin Crime Alert Network played a key role in helping local law enforcement identify suspects in a string of AmeriGas burglaries.  The Crime Alert Network allows law enforcement to issue alerts to other police agencies along with residents and business owners by email, fax or text message. The AmeriGas in Beaver Dam was among the first in the state robbed in March of last year.  Whitewater Police issued a statewide alert for a burglary at AmeriGas last month. When the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department received the alert, detectives installed a surveillance system at the Beaver Dam location. A few weeks later, burglars struck in Beaver Dam for a second time and the cameras were activated.  Two suspects were taken into custody, one of them armed with a handgun, and they are working their way through the court system. Similar burglaries elsewhere across the state remain under investigation. Van Hollen says the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network is leading to more and more ‘success stories’ like the one in Beaver Dam.


BDAAA and Watermark to Join Forces?


2/21/13 – Officials raising funds to build a community center in Beaver Dam may be joining forces with a local arts group.  Beaver Dam Area Arts Association Executive Director Karla Jensen calls it an exciting development that started with the possibility of the Arts Association decorating the walls of the planned Watermark and maybe having a gift shop at the South Center street building. As it progressed, Watermark officials told the arts group they would provide gallery space and asked the Association to run all arts and crafts programs. Jensen says their location at the Seippel Center has limited handicapped accessibility and only one classroom. A partnership with the Watermark would solve both of those problems.  Autonomy remains a primary concern and Jensen says the Arts Association would keep its own identity and remain independent of city functions.  The Arts Association announced the possible partnership in their most recent newsletter and is asking patrons for feedback in moving forward. Jensen says the “opportunities for partnership are limitless.” The Watermark is seeking a state Community Development Block grant that could be worth up to $750,000 for the city and Mayor Tom Kennedy says partnerships like this look great on the application. City officials plan to provide more details at the March 4 Common Council meeting.


Break-In at Clyman Church


2/21/13 – Authorities are investigating a break-in at a Clyman church. According to Dodge County Sheriff’s Department records, a caretaker at St. John’s Catholic Church reported yesterday that a rear door window had been smashed and a safe was missing. Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to contact the sheriff’s department.


Planned Late Starts a Thing of the Past in BD


2/21/13 – There will be no more planned late starts for students in the Beaver Dam School District. The school board discussed the 2013-2014 academic calendar at their meeting this week and Superintendent Steve Vessey says the change comes after hearing how much parents and teachers disliked the late starts impact on their normal schedule. He said the teachers also felt the hour and a half of in-service wasn’t beneficial. Now, Vessey says teachers will do full-day in-service on Ocotber 7th and on February 17th. The district also plans to hold parent/teacher conferences on those nights.


Columbus Referendum the Topic on Community Comment Today


2/21/13 – Officials with the Columbus School District will discuss their school funding referendum on WBEV’s Community Comment program this afternoon. The two-question referendum will appear on the April ballot seeking to borrow nearly $40 million. The current high school sits on 25 acres of land; the proposed campus on Maple Avenue would be on 69 acres. The new high school would include secure entrances, state-of-the-art technology classrooms and a community auditorium. There would also be enough land for football, track and volleyball facilities with plenty of spectator space. Superintendent Bryan Davis and School Board President Liz O’Donnell will join us for the hour beginning at 12:35pm today on AM1430 WBEV.


Milk Production Up


2/21/13 – Wisconsin’s milk production continues to out-pace the country as a whole. The National Ag Statistics Service said the Badger State’s dairy cows pumped out four-point-nine percent more milk in January than in the same month a year ago. The national increase was just one-half-of-one-percent. And California, America’s top milk producer, had a drop in its output by four-point-three percent, to just under three-and-a-half billion pounds. Second-place Wisconsin made just over two-and-a-third billion pounds of milk last month. The state’s dairy herd grew by about five-thousand, to over one-and-a-quarter million head. Average production per cow rose by 80 pounds, to 18-hundred-70. Also, the federal government reported a record national milk output for all last year. Just over 200-billion pounds were made last year, with a four-tenths of one-percent national increase in cows.