February 26, 2013

Progress Being Made on New BD Business Park


2/26/13 – The first phase of construction on the city of Beaver Dam’s third business park should be wrapped up by summer. Consulting City Engineer Mike Laue of MSA Professional Services recently provided an update on the 151 Business Park, which is located on 200 acres of land on the north side of the city purchased just over a year ago. Laue says phase one got underway in the fall, focused on getting utilities to the site. Work on specific parcels within the site is targeted in future phases.  Laue says the most noticeable addition is the $1.1 million dollar construction of a 400-thousand gallon elevated water reservoir, the third one in the city and the tallest. The project also includes a $400-thousand dollar water main extension installed along Kellom Road to serve the water tower. The water main led to $420-thousand dollars in road improvements to Kellom Road and Gateway Drive/ County Road B.  A turning lane was added along with street lights. Existing pavement was pulverized and compacted to strengthen the base for semi-trucks underneath a new four-inch asphalt surface. The construction of a $335-thousand dollar sanitary pump station is over halfway done while work on an $800-thousand dollar water booster station is set to commence next month. Phase one projects will be finalized before July. Beaver Dam’s 151 Business Park will be marketed statewide and nationwide under the new “Certified In Wisconsin” program from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Beaver Dam was one of nine communities recently selected.


WASD Dealing with Deficit of $1.2M for 2013-2014 Budget


2/26/13 – The zero increase in per pupil aid in Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget is causing issues for a local school district. Tonya Gubin, the District Administrator for the Waupun Area School District, says as it currently stands they have a deficit of $1.2-million for their 2013-2014 budget. Gubin says they’re hoping for some changes to the governor’s budget but if not they’ll have to make some extreme cuts – and she’s not sure where they’ll come from. Already the district has cut staffing and changed insurance carriers. Waupun is not alone in dealing with a deficit. The Beaver Dam School District is roughly $350,000 in the red, though most of that will be negated by the closing of Trenton Elementary at the end of the school year. The state Legislature will make changes to Walker’s budget over the next couple of months, with passage expected to come in June.


WCI on Lockdown


2/26/13 – The Waupun Correctional Institution is on lockdown – as planned. The Wisconsin Department of Correction locked the facility down to conduct a planned, routine search of the facility. In a press release, Warden Bill Pollard said they had been planning the search for several months. Institution lockdowns occur periodically at adult prison facilities statewide to search for contraband, such as cell phones, illegal drugs, tobacco or weapons. Pollard said the searches are part of their effort to protect the public, the staff and the inmates. During the lockdown, staff will conduct searches and collect contraband as they make sure inmates only have what is allowed in their possession.  Officials say all activities, including visits, will be cancelled for a minimum of one week.  Once the inspections are complete the facility will gradually return to normal operating procedures.


Inmate Population Not Declining


2/26/13 – Wisconsin prisons are getting an extra nine-million tax dollars, because inmate populations have not dropped as expected. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted 16-to-nothing today in favor of the additional funding. The current state budget assumed that the prisons would lose a net of 28-hundred inmates over the two-year budget period that ends June 30th. Instead, the population of male prisoners has gone up by almost 700 from what was expected in the current fiscal year. Lawmakers had cut 52-million-dollars from the corrections’ budget.


Man Facing Election Fraud Charges


2/26/13 – A Hustisford man is charged with Election Fraud for allegedly casting a ballot in the presidential election even though he is a convicted felon. Prosecutors say 53-year-old Richard Alverson is on the ineligible vote list but filled out a new Wisconsin Voter Registration application in November, signed the application and voted in the Village of Hustisford. Alverson was found guilty of Failure to Pay Child Support in Waukesha County court in 2010. The felony charge carries a maximum three-and-a-half year prison sentence, if he is convicted. A signature bond was set at $1000 yesterday and a judge will decide in April if there is enough evidence to order a trial.


Burglary Charges Against a Beaver Dam Man


2/26/13 – A Beaver Dam man is facing charges of felony Burglary for allegedly stealing flooring materials from a home under renovation. 23-year-old Andrew Rodriguez allegedly crawled through a window in the vacant home in December. Police found him walking down the street with a large box under his arm. Footprints in the fresh snow around the house were reportedly an exact match. The charge carries a maximum penalty of twelve-and-a-half years in prison if he is convicted.


Man Could Face Charges for Injuring Deputy


2/26/13 – Formal charges are expected against a Clyman man who allegedly injured a Dodge County Sheriff’s Deputy in a weekend incident. Police responded to a domestic incident in Clyman just before 3am Sunday morning. 36-year-old Nathan Sellnow reportedly threw a vase at his girlfriend tearing her hand open, then threw her to the ground and refused to let her call 9-1-1. Sellnow made his Initial Appearance yesterday on one felony and three misdemeanors. Charges are pending against his uncle who allegedly refused to let authorities into the home. The 54-year-old was subdued with a Taser gun during a subsequent altercation, resulting in injuries to the deputy, who was treated and released.


Committee Votes to Endorse Easing Mining Restrictions


2/26/13 – A state committee voted 12-to-4 Monday afternoon to endorse an easing of Wisconsin’s mining restrictions, so an iron ore mine could be built in Ashland and Iron counties. All Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee voted yes. All Democrats voted no, and they proposed a half-dozen amendments which were shot down. They dealt with mining taxes, fees, and allowing public challenges to D-N-R decisions in contested case hearings. The committee sent the package to the Senate, where it’s expected to be considered on Wednesday.


Tax Cut Could Result in $83 Per Year


2/26/13 – The average Wisconsin family would get an income tax break of 83-dollars a year under Governor Scott Walker’s proposed tax cut. The state government’s non-partisan Fiscal Bureau came up with the figure – and it’s almost 25-dollars less than what another a liberal fiscal agency had projected a few days ago. The Republican Walker wants to use a surplus of 343-million dollars in the current budget to give income tax breaks over the next two years. The Fiscal Bureau said the top 25-percent of Wisconsin households would get more than half of what’s being returned. But lower-income families in the 30-thousand-dollar range would get the largest percentage tax cut, at three-point-three percent. Walker has proposed reductions in the three lowest tax brackets among the five the state uses.


Authorities Identify 16th Snowmobile Accident Victim


2/26/13 – The Badger State has recorded its 16th snowmobile death of the winter. Bayfield County authorities said 26-year-old Justin Mulder of Munster Indiana lost control of his machine at a corner. It left a road, and crashed in a wooded area. The mishap occurred Sunday afternoon, and the state D-N-R said alcohol and speed are both possible factors. An investigation is continuing.


Documentary on Honor Flight Program Coming to the Area


2/26/13 – Dodge County-area residents have an opportunity this spring to see the documentary about the Honor Flight program. Honor Flight is a nationwide non-profit that seeks to fly veterans to their memorial in Washington DC at no cost to them. The film, which the Los Angeles Times calls “enormously moving,” features four World War II veterans and local volunteers from the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight hub. That is the chapter that covers Dodge County. Honor Flight hubs across the country are using the film to raise awareness about the program with theatrical screenings from coast to coast. Honor Flight holds the Guinness World Record for the largest film screening ever when the movie premiered at Miller Park last August before a crowd of 28,442. Another 15,000 Wisconsinites saw the film during a three-day run in early December. The film will be shown for free at the Watertown High School on Saturday, April 6 at 2pm.