July 13, 2015

Many Columbus Residents Have Power; 300 To Still Be Without Overnight


7/13-15 – The number of people without power in Columbia County is far less than earlier today.  At an afternoon press conference, City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden said roughly 400 residents are without power.  That’s compared to 1,200 this morning but at least 300 are expected to be without power throughout the night.  Cleanup crews have been on scene since around 4:30 am and are expected to be out until 8 pm.  They’ll start working again tomorrow morning.  The Red Cross will be at the Columbia Middle School throughout the night to aid folks, and the city’s recycling center will be open indefinitely so people can drop off fallen branches and debris.  Highway 73 is among the roadways expected to be closed overnight.  Police Chief Dan Meister urges drivers to avoid barricaded areas for safety reasons.


Clean-Up Efforts Ongoing In Columbus, Dodge County


7/13/15 – Clean-up efforts are ongoing in many area municipalities.  The City of Columbus says residents may be without power throughout today and into tomorrow.  A number of area utility crews are working together to try to bring back power to Columbus.  The Red Cross is at the Columbus Middle School to help anyone who needs temporary relief or shelter.  According to Dodge County’s Emergency Management Director Amy Nehls, the inclement weather started in Columbus and moved east into Dodge County.  Responders are currently out in places like Reeseville and Clyman.  In Columbus, many streets are still blocked off.  Folks are encouraged to stay off the streets until clean-up crews have removed all the debris.  Nehls encourages people to clean-up their own property if possible but says there are some general rules to follow.  She says folks should be careful working with power tools and be aware of power lines.  Nehls says it’s also important for people to call their insurance company before starting to clean-up in case the insurance agent wants to see the property in person.  Columbus residents can bring tree limbs and brush to the recycling center on River Road.  Folks needing clean-up assistance should contact their local Department of Public Works office, fire department, or town chair.  The non-emergency line to report a tree down or blocked street is (920) 623-5908.  Emergency calls should be directed to 9-1-1.


Storms Down Trees and Power Lines


7/13/15 – Extensive damage reported in Columbus as storms moved through the area early this morning. Columbus Fire Department Public Information Officer Jerrod Fox tells us that all sections of the city appear to have been impacted in some way, though the main thoroughfares of Ludington and James streets spear to be the hardest hit. Fox tells us there are downed trees and power lines throughout the city. He advises the public to be cautious especially around downed power lines. Crews are mobilized in the Columbus area and are working to correct the situation. Meanwhile, Dodge County Emergency Management Director Amy Nehls says there has been a severe wind and rain storm damage in communities throughout the county.  The damage is still being assessed but there are multiple reports of trees down, high water, and power outages. Citizens are urged to use caution and be aware of standing water on the roads and downed power lines.  Emergency responders are responding to start the cleanup and assessment, the public is asked not congregate at the damage sites.


Walker Announcing Presidential Bid

7/13/15 – “I’m in,” Governor Scott Walker tweeted this morning. Walker officially begins his presidential campaign today with massive financial support.  The Associated Press said two outside groups raised at least 20-million dollars to spread his conservative message without having federal donation limits.  The Republican Walker reportedly has a donor base of over 300-thousand people, built while raising 83-million dollars for his three gubernatorial elections.  Much of that came from outside the state, especially when Walker took advantage of a window in 2012 when he could raise unlimited funds to defend himself from being recalled.  Walker’s top political adviser, Rick Wiley, tells the A-P that Walker’s battles with unions will get a high-profile during his announcement today — which will take place in the same building where Walker celebrated his victory as the nation’s only governor ever to survive a recall election.


Walker Vetoes 104 Items In State Budget


7/13/15 – Governor Scott Walker vetoed 104 items Sunday as he signed the new two-year state budget into law.  The Republican Walker held a ceremony at Valveworks U-S-A in Waukesha, where he said the budget puts “taxpayers first,” and it cuts overall property taxes for an unprecedented six years in a row. Walker vetoed the last-minute provision to let pay-day lenders start offering insurance and financial services, as critics said it was more than what others could offer.  Walker also toughened a requirement that food stamp recipients take drug tests to obtain benefits.  He removed a provision to limit the testing to those with suspicions of drug use.  Walker also cut a million dollars in state environmental grants to groups like the Ice Age Trail and River alliances.  The governor also put limits on open enrollments for the state’s long-term Family Care and IRIS programs, designed to keep elderly people out of nursing homes.


Sackett: ‘Lake Days A Success’


7/13/15 – Beaver Dam Lake Days will be back bigger and better next year. That’s according to organizer Doug Sackett who says they really needed the weather to cooperate this year. In spite of thundershowers in the forecast for the second half of the weekend, Sackett says they (quote) “dodged a bullet and pulled it off.” He credited a little help from above and says Don Laabs was missed though his spirit was everywhere this weekend. Laabs, who among other things was a volunteer for Lake Days from the beginning, passed away last week. Sackett says he thinks Laabs did a little lobbying in Heaven to help prove the forecasters wrong. As far as attendance, Sackett says Thursday and Sunday were average with around 450 at the teen dance and 750 on the grounds yesterday. Friday’s numbers were down with only around 1000 people walking through the gates but Saturday’s turnout was four times that at around 4000 people. Sackett says they went through a “ton of beer” on Saturday. Just the same, there were no incidents reported on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. He says the sponsors also had a huge role in the success of Lake Days, with many giving twice what they did last year because they knew it was a rebuilding year. At one point, there were not going to be any fireworks this weekend. While the committee will continue to fundraise for next year, Sackett says Lake Days will be observing Beaver Dam’s 175th Anniversary in 2016, hopefully with two days of fireworks.


Columbus Schools Working To Fill Superintendents Post


7/13/15 – The Columbus School Board will be narrowing the field of candidates for the district superintendent’s position Monday night. This is Bryan Davis’s last week before he heads over to Shorewood schools to assume his new post as superintendent there. Board members and the administrative team have been accepting applications for the district’s top post up until last Wednesday. They will be choosing the top candidates in a closed session meeting tonight. The top candidates will be interviewed beginning July 20th. The board will be looking for a superintendent who can work well with two newly appointed Columbus principals. As of July 1st, Loren Glasbrenner is the new Columbus Middle School principal and Beth Helpap is the new Elementary School principal. The board will also be looking for candidates who are familiar with “Project Lead the Way,” the “One to World” computer initiative, and the districts “policy governance” system.


North Sidewalks Closed This Week In Downtown Beaver Dam


7/13/15 – Sidewalks are going to be removed this week on half of the north side of Front Street. It’s part of the state’s reconstruction of Highway 33. The portion being removed is the north sidewalk from Center Street to mid-block. The contractor says that pedestrian access has changed and a crosswalk is now available around the Front and Spring Street intersection, the mid-block alley on the south side of Front Street and on existing and new sidewalk.  Sidewalk closures will be limited to one side of the street at a time. Meanwhile, with the intersection of Front and Center complete, work remains focused on the Front and Spring Street intersection. Water and sanitary laterals are being installed along the eastern half of Front Street while water and sanitary main installation is being done at Front and Spring streets. Storm sewers are being installed on Spring Street. The project is slated to be completed in August. Meanwhile, on McKinley Street, excavation and gravel work is complete and storm sewer work begins is underway and should be complete in the next week. It is anticipated that concrete paving will begin in two weeks.


New Mural In Downtown Beaver Dam


7/13/15 – There is a new mural in downtown Beaver Dam. The image is painted on the side of the Interquest building on South Spring Street. The design is one picture with three separate panels connected by the theme of vintage electronics. Kamrath’s Radio and Television, which is the center panel, used to be located in the same building as Interquest. The left panel in the tryptic features a couple dressed in evening wear watching a new Zenith television. The right panel is the vintage image of the dog in front of a Victor Victrola. A picture is on our website wbevradio.com.  The mural was championed by Downtown Beaver Dam Inc. in cooperation with other area non-profits like the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association. Work started last Wednesday and was completed this weekend. The project comes in advance of a 2017 mural painting festival being orchestrated with Walldogs, an international group of as many as a hundred artists who descend upon a community and paint murals by the dozen. The Interquest image joins a Monarch Range mural on the side of the Richards Insurance building painted two years ago.