New September 22, 2011

Unemployment Down in the Region

9/22/11 – The jobless rate in the region, and most of the all of the state, went down over the two-month reporting period from July to August. According to the Department of Workforce Development, the jobless rate in Dodge County was at 7.6% last month, down three-tenths from July and four-tenths from the same time last year. Jefferson and Fond du Lac counties are also down three-tenths; Jefferson is at 7.8% while Fond du Lac is at 7%. Washington County is at 6.5% while Columbia County is at 6.8%, both decreased by four-tenths of a percent in August. Green Lake County is down two-tenths to 7.2%. Only two counties saw increases: Douglas County edged up slightly to 7%. Menominee County continued to have the highest jobless rate in the state after jumping nearly two full percentage points to 21.9%. To put that in perspective, Rusk County has the second-highest rate at 10%. Dane County still has the fewest people applying for unemployment, they are at 5.1%. The seasonally-adjusted statewide rate edged up one-tenth to 7.9%, which remains below the national rate of 9.1%.

Median Income Down in Wisconsin

9/22/11 – Wisconsin’s family incomes are being hit a lot harder than others around the country. The U-S Census Bureau says the median household income in the Badger State plunged by 14-and-a-half percent from 1999-through-last year. The national decline is lower, at eight-point-nine percent. Wisconsin’s median income was just over 49-thousand-dollars last year. It just over 57-thousand in the 2000 Census, when adjusted for inflation using last year’s dollars. In Milwaukee, the income drop was even bigger, at 22-percent. Timothy Smeeding of the U-W Madison Poverty Research Institute says it’s another sign that the middle class is taking a beating – and high unemployment is the big reason. Smeeding said “we were building S-U-V’s and everyone was buying them” when unemployment was at three-percent. But that’s all changed with the state’s jobless rate at close to eight-percent, and the national rate still over nine. And those with jobs have had cuts in pay, pensions, and benefits. Mark Zilges, the union president at Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac, says workers have cut back on the everyday fun stuff because there are other bills to pay. His members took a seven-year wage freeze to keep their jobs two years ago – and to keep their plant from moving to Oklahoma.

Costly Mistake by City Assessor in Fox Lake

9/22/11 – A mistake by the city assessor is going to leave Fox Lake about $300,000 short during their budget planning for 2012. Citing a computer error, Assessor Art Kind told the Committee of the Whole last night that the report he filed with the state on the TIF District’s valuation was nearly $16-million less than it should have been. The error wont effect the amount of money they can collect for taxes, but does impact the amount it gets from the TIF District. Kind filed an amended report with the state meaning they’ll eventually see the money lost. However, Mayor Tom Bednarek says it could cost the city thousands of dollars in interest if they have to borrow money for 2012. A decision on whether to borrow money will be made during the budget planning process.

BDPD Public Dedication Ceremony On Monday

9/22/11 – A Dedication Ceremony for the city of Beaver Dam’s new $5.1 million dollar Police Station and Municipal Court will be held on Monday. Mayor Tom Kennedy will act as Master of Ceremonies for the program which will include several special guest speakers and those involved in the construction project. That will take place at 11am on Monday at the Main Entrance of the facility located at 123 Park Avenue. The 100 block of Park will be closed to thru-traffic though access to adjoining businesses will not be affected during the temporary closure. A public Open House has also been scheduled for Saturday, October 1 from 1pm to 4pm. The public will have an opportunity at that time to tour the new facility.

Mannel Commends Crew Following Record-Setting Day

9/22/11 – Last week at this time the Beaver Dam Fire Department was handling a record 17 Emergency 9-1-1 calls. Fire Chief Alan Mannel says last Thursday’s totals top the previous years-old record of 15 emergency calls and is three times on average more than they receive on the average day. Mannel says department personnel rose to the challenge admirably as they always do. There were 1597 Emergency 9-1-1 calls in 2010. So far this year, the department has fielded 1290 calls, an average of 4.9 per day. Those numbers do not include revenue-generating, inter-facility transports that Beaver Dam provides when crews are available. There were 470 inter-facility transports last year and 257 so far this year.

Fair Association Donates To Local Charities

9/22/11 – The Dodge County Fair Association has awarded $8000 to seven local charities and organizations. Association Treasurer Sharon Keil says the money comes from the sale of $1 alcohol wristbands, a program stated in 2010 to reduce underage alcohol consumption on the grounds. The organizations benefiting include the Dodge County Boots and Saddle Club, the Beaver Dam Exchange Club, the Dodge County Emergency Response Team, Shop with a Cop, Honor Flight, the Veterans Assistant Program for Homeless Veterans and the WBEV-WXRO Children’s Radiothon. Keil says the organizations that have benefited have all contributed to the fair over the years and they are looking for more volunteer organizations next year, when the fair celebrates it’s 125th year. Organizations interested in volunteering should contact the Fair Association. Contact information is on our website. PO Box 654, Beaver Dam WI 53916 or at www.dodgecountyfairgrounds.com

Regional Jobless Rate Down In August

9/22/11 – The jobless rate in the region, and most of the all of the state, went down over the two-month reporting period from July to August. According to the Department of Workforce Development, the jobless rate in Dodge County was at 7.6% last month, down three-tenths from July and four-tenths from the same time last year. Jefferson and Fond du Lac counties are also down three-tenths; Jefferson is at 7.8% while Fond du Lac is at 7%. Washington County is at 6.5% while Columbia County is at 6.8%, both decreased by four-tenths of a percent in August. Green Lake County is down two-tenths to 7.2%. Only two counties saw increases: Douglas County edged up slightly to 7%. Menominee County continued to have the highest jobless rate in the state after jumping nearly two full percentage points to 21.9%. To put that in perspective, Rusk County has the second-highest rate at 10%. Dane County still has the fewest people applying for unemployment, they are at 5.1%. The seasonally-adjusted statewide rate edged up one-tenth to 7.9%, which remains below the national rate of 9.1%.

Most Public Unions Opting Not To Re-Certify

9/22/11 – Wisconsin’s largest state government employee unions will lose their official status after Thursday. That’s because they won’t try to re-certify under the new state law which took away most of their collective bargaining privileges. Only three smaller unions that represent prosecutors, other attorneys, and building trade workers have filed for re-certification votes. And a fourth group that represents state research employees is also expected to file for an election before the deadline. Marty Beil, head of the Wisconsin State Employees’ Union that represents 23-thousand workers, says none of his units plan to re-certify. He calls it an “exercise in wasted resources.” But Beil vowed to keep the group together and quote, “use our resources to organize our members and advocate for our members.” The new certification votes require approval from 51-percent of all group members – and not a simple majority of those who vote. The new law allows most public unions to bargain only for pay raises at-or-below inflation. And union dues are no longer being deducted from paychecks. Governor Scott Walker, who proposed the union limits, had no immediate comment on the lack of certification votes.

Romney In Milwaukee Monday

9/22/11 – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney visits Wisconsin this Sunday. Invitations have been sent out for a 250 dollar per person brunch with the former Massachusetts governor at noon at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee. Romney has close ties to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and several members of his administration. Romney spoke at a fundraiser for Walker when he was running for his current office. For a 25 hundred dollar donation, those attending can meet with Romney during a private reception, have a picture taken with him and get to sit nearby.

Milwaukee Woman Arraigned On FLCI Smuggling Charges

9/22/11 – A Milwaukee woman accused of smuggling tobacco and marijuana into the Fox Lake Correctional Institution entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment yesterday (Th) in Dodge County court. 31-year-old Christina Andrzejewski is accused of visiting the prison with another woman in June and bringing the contraband inside a condom hidden in her bra. Corrections officers say the two had been under investigation and they were monitoring phone conversations and have video of exchange attempts with the inmates. Her friend, 25-year-old Janell Prasalowicz of Milwaukee, will be arraigned next week. If convicted, the felony charge of Delivering Illegal Articles to an Inmate carries a maximum three-and-a-half year prison sentence.

Madison Group Stops Alabama HS Football Prayers

9/22/11 – Madison’s Freedom from Religion Foundation has scored a victory in removing prayers from high school football games in Alabama. The foundation said a parent complained to the group about the prayers at the start of every football game at Arab High School. Superintendent John Mullins started the policy about 10 years ago – and he never knew until now that anyone was offended. He apologized if the prayers offended somebody, and he agreed that the tradition does not go along with the constitutional separation of church-and-state. Officials said all football games at Arab High School in Alabama would now begin with a moment of silence.

Duck Hunting Season Opens Saturday

9/22/11 – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says duck hunters who scout at least three times take home an average of 15 ducks. That figure is three times what hunters who don’t scout take in. Duck season in northern Wisconsin opens Saturday at 9am and runs through November 22. The hunt in the new Mississippi River zone also opens Saturday. The southern zone season opens October 1st.

Chicago Packer-Fan Car Salesmen Is A Top Seller

9/22/11 – Do you remember the car salesman near Chicago who got fired for wearing a Green Bay Packers’ tie to work last January? Well, John Stone is still alive – and doing very well. A competing auto dealership in Homewood Illinois hired the 35-year-old Stone right after he got canned. And since then, Fox Sports says he’s been the dealer’s salesman-of-the-month three times. Stone has been first-or-second among his 15 colleagues in car sales every month he’s been there. And Guy Cesario, the general manager of Chevrolet-of-Homewood, says potential car buyers still ask for the “Packers tie guy.” Stone got in trouble at his old job for wearing a Packers’ tie while selling cars to Bears’ fans the week before the NFC Championship Game. He’s talking about wearing the Packer tie again this week, as Green Bay gets ready to play the Bears again on Sunday. But his boss has a different idea. Cesario says they’re talking about framing the tie and putting it above Stone’s desk. Cesario says the tie is quote, “certainly a big part of our history now.”