January 27, 2013

Beaver Dam Man Seriously Injured By Tractor


1/27/13 – A Beaver Dam man was seriously injured while working on a tractor Saturday morning. Clyman Fire Chief Eric Howlett says the call came into 9-1-1 at 9:11am. 44-year-old Jim Ireland was working on the tractor on property he owns in Clyman when the axel fell on his head. Ireland was pinned underneath until he was freed by his brother, prior to emergency responder’s arrival on scene. Flight for Life landed on Highway 26 just north of Highway 60. That’s the same general area where a coach bus carrying a hockey team from Grafton collided with a semi Friday afternoon, injuring three students onboard along with the bus driver. Ireland was flown to Froedtert Hospital with life-threatening injuries.


Cabin Fever Fest Today in Beaver Dam


1/27/13 – If the winter doldrums have got you down, officials in Beaver Dam say they have the cure for you.  Today (Sun) the city is hosting its fourth annual Cabin Fever Fest at Crystal Lake Park.  Community Activities and Services Administrator Evonne Boettge says the event will feature a wide variety of activities for people of all ages. New this year is the “Toe-ler Plunge.” Proceeds from the $5 Toe-ler Plunge fee go to Special Olympics and everyone participant who sticks their big toe into the icy waters of Crystal Lake will receive a handmade toe sock courtesy of the volunteers at the Beaver Dam Senior Center.  Also today, the Arts Association is sponsoring a “Hazy Shade of Winter” poetry contest.  There will also be a chili contest. The Dodge County Antique Power Club will be providing wagon rides while local Boy Scout Troop #724 will be cooking stew on the outdoor Dutch oven. Kids will be able to participate in the Ring Around Frosty Game, Seal Races and family crafts. Music will be provided by Jeff Hall DJ Service. Also the Snow Ball drop is at 3pm with the winner receiving $250 in cold hard cash. The person or persons who return the most “snowballs” will win a pool party. Cabin Fever Fest will be held from 1pm to 4pm today (Sun) at Crystal Lake Park.


DOT Secretary on Transportation Recommendations


1/27/13 – Over the last year, Wisconsin’s 10-member Transportation Finance and Policy Commission has gathered information and public input about the state’s comprehensive transportation needs over the next ten years and options to fund those needs. Wisconsin DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb chaired the Commission and served as a non-voting member. Speaking at a State Capitol press conference to unveil the group’s final report, Gottlieb talked about some looming transportation challenges. One factor is increasingly fuel efficient vehicles. It means revenues from motor fuel taxes are going down during a period when transportation needs are going up.


“Wisconsin is not alone in facing fundamental challenges related to transportation finance,” Gottlieb says, “The fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet is increasing. Miles traveled on our highway system are essentially flat. The demographics of our population point to slower growth in vehicle registrations. With a financing system that depends overwhelmingly on fuel taxes, registration fees and federal aid, the danger signs are self-evident.”


Gottlieb says the commission based their recommendations on several guiding principles. “First, keep transportation as a user-funded activity,” Gottlieb says, “Second, keep taxes and fees proportional to system use. And finally, assure that costs are shared with out-of-state drivers and commercial shippers.” The Commission report calls for additional annual investments of nearly $480 million in the state’s comprehensive transportation network over the next 10 years.


Teacher Quality Council Gives Wisconsin D-Plus for Training


1/27/13 – A new report says Wisconsin does a poor job of training school teachers – although the state did get a little better after new policies were adopted. The National Council for Teacher Quality gave the Badger State a grade of “D”-plus for its policies that deal with teacher preparation. That’s a slight improvement from last year’s grade of “D.” The group said Wisconsin took a step in the right direction by making elementary school teachers pass reading and science tests, and putting more of a focus on evaluating teachers according to their students’ performance. But the Teacher Quality Council said the state should also raise its admission requirements for teacher training at universities. And it said more should be done to make sure elementary teachers have enough knowledge of their subject matter. The group also recommends separate teaching licenses for elementary and middle school instructors. It also said the state should close what it calls a loophole that allows social students and science instructors to teach courses in which they don’t have enough knowledge.


Wisconsin Has Second Highest High School Graduation Rates


1/27/13 – The National Center for Education Statistics releases a report showing Wisconsin’s 91-point-1 percent high school graduation rate is the second best in the nation.  The national average for the most recent year measured, 2009-2010, was a little over 78 percent.  Wisconsin’s rate has grown by five percent since 2004 and has consistently ranked first or second in the nation.  The same report shows Wisconsin’s high school drop-out rate is 2-point-2 percent, tied for 10th-lowest among the states.  DPI Superintendent Tony Evers is asking budget writers for more funding for programs encouraging at-risk students to get involved with work-study programs and stay engaged in schools.  Evers says no drop-out rate other than perfection is acceptable.


Venture Capital Program Attracts Interest


1/27/13 – Twelve groups have expressed an interest in a state-funded venture capital program that’s being considered to help new high-tech businesses get off the ground. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation had asked so-called “angel investors” if they’d be interested in joining forces with the state. Nine firms with Wisconsin ties said yes, including a capital run by former state Financial Institutions’ Secretary Lorrie Heinemann. Two companies were from New York, and one from Pennsylvania. Tom Still of the Wisconsin Technology Council said some big names in the venture capital world were among those expressing an interest. And he said it’s an indication that the state should seriously consider creating some type of public-private venture capital arrangement. Governor Scott Walker has said it’s one of his top priorities for the next two years. The Republican Walker says the program needs a quote, “bare minimum” of 25-to-30 million tax dollars in order to be viable.


Oshkosh Corp Raises Earnings Forecast


1/27/13 – Shares of Oshkosh Corporation jumped nearly 19 percent after the Wisconsin company revised its fiscal 2013 earnings outlook upward.  The maker of trucks and life equipment reported a strong first quarter profit led by sales in the construction field.  Oshkosh reported a profit of 46 and a half million dollars for the quarter ending December 31st.  Total sales were down a little over six percent due to a decline in its military business.  Though first-quarter sales in Oshkosh’s military business was off significantly, operating profit margins were much higher than expected. The growth comes despite a reduction in sales of the famous Oshkosh military vehicles. Those sales were down over six-percent in the last quarter, as the Pentagon scales back the war in the Middle East.


Mayo Clinic Seeks To Be Dismissed from Lawsuit


1/27/13 – The Mayo Clinic says it should not be part of a civil lawsuit which accuses one of its former doctors in Eau Claire of malpractice. The Mayo Health System has asked a judge to drop the clinic as a defendant in a suit filed by one of three former patients of pediatrician David Van de Loo. The initial lawsuit was filed against Van de Loo, Mayo, and its insurance carrier. It accused the doctor of sexually abusing a male patient from 2004-until-2011. That person is 21, and is now living in Minnesota. The suit accused Mayo of being negligent in not supervising Van de Loo. Mayo said it was never aware of the sexual assault allegations until last year – and then they fired him. The 60-year-old Van de Loo also faces 17 felony sexual assault charges of various types and degrees. Earlier this month, Van de Loo waived his right to a preliminary hearing on the charges. An arraignment is pending, in which the doctor would enter pleas. Online court records do not list a date for that proceeding yet.


Lawmaker Wants To Charge More For Public Records Change


1/27/13 – If a Republican lawmaker has his way, Wisconsinites would have to pay extra for public records that need to have certain information blacked out. Sister Bay Representative Garey Bies (byes) is asking his colleagues to sponsor a bill to let state-and-local government agencies charge for the time they spend deleting confidential information. The bill would nullify a State Supreme Court ruling from last year, which prohibited the custodians of public records from charging extra for the time it takes to redact confidential items. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which was given a bill for thousands-of-dollars after it obtained heavily-redacted police records for a series of news stories. Bies, a former sheriff, says taxpayers should not have to pay for somebody’s research project. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ office did not comment on the proposal.


Wisconsin Red Meat Productions Down


1/27/13 – Wisconsin’s production of red meat went down by seven-percent last year. The U-S-D-A reports a total red meat output of 115-million pounds. National beef production fell by one-percent. Cattle slaughter in the Badger State totaled 138-thousand-600, down almost 10-percent. Average live weights for meat animals went up by 19 pounds, to just over 13-hundred. Wisconsin’s total hog slaughter for the old year was 38-thousand-600, down by around 63-hundred. The total hog herd dropped by six-percent in 2012, to around 320-thousand head.


Dodge County Land Conservation Extends Tree Sales Deadline


1/27/13 – The deadline has been extended for trees and shrubs available through the annual Small Packet Tree sales program in Dodge County. The Land Conservation Department is offering the trees for sale during the 2013 planting season. Most of the tree and shrub species are still available, except for Tamarack, Sugar Maple, and White Cedar, which have sold out.  Other tree species close to being sold out include Red Oak, White Oak, Swamp White Oak, Hybrid Poplar, Red Osier Dogwood, American Cranberry Bush, and Hazelnut.  Other species still available in good numbers include White Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, White Spruce, and Frasier Fir.  Most trees are sold in bundles of 25 for $24 per bundle. For more information or to get an order form, contact the Dodge County Land Conservation Department at 386-3660. Contact info: http://www.co.dodge.wi.us/conservation/landserv.html#treesales