New September 27, 2011

Beaver Dam Police Station and Court Dedication

9/27/11 – Over 150 people attended yesterday’s dedication of the city of Beaver Dam’s new Police Station and Municipal Court. Because of the rain, state and local officials packed the spacious garage of the facility not far from where the previous property owner, the YMCA of Dodge County, had their pool. Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson told the crowd that while the police department and municipal court are separated within the building they are part of a larger system of justice based on fairness and equality. Police Chief Ron Smith says his department is grateful to the citizens of Beaver Dam who recognized the need and agreed to fund the facility. The public is invited to tour the new building during an Open House this Saturday between 1pm and 4pm. Officers, police and court staff will move into the new $5.1 million building in three weeks.

Columbus Enrollment Numbers Up

9/27/11 – Columbus Schools received favorable 2011-2012 enrollment news at last night’s school board meeting. The amount of state funding for schools is tied to enrollment figures that are tallied on the third Friday of each September. Preliminary figures showed an increase from 1,149 students last school year eleven hundred and forty-nine students enrolled last year to eleven hundred and seventy this year. There was also an increase in the “open enrollment – IN” numbers. The confirmed figures are due into the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) by the end of the month.

Milwaukee Woman Admits To Smuggling Drugs Into FLCI

9/27/11 – A Milwaukee woman has entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors on charges that she smuggled tobacco and marijuana into the Fox Lake Correctional Institution. Janell Prasalowicz will spend 60 days on electronic monitoring after entered a “no contest” plea to misdemeanor charges of Violating State Institution Laws and Disorderly Conduct. The 25-year-old was also placed on Deferred Prosecution for drug possession and will avoid a felony record if she stays out of trouble while on probation for the next year. Prasalowicz visited the prison with another woman in June and brought 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, 31-year-old Christina Andrzejewski of Milwaukee, entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment last week.

Homes Sales Up, Prices Down

9/27/11 – Sales of existing homes in Wisconsin rose by a whopping 31% in August compared to the year before. But state Realtors said the median price of a home dropped by 7.3% percent, to $139,000. According to a numbers released yesterday, realtors sold just over 5400 houses throughout the Badger State last month. There were 82 homes sold in Dodge County compared to 48 at the same time in 2010, that’s a 71% increase. But sellers got 19% less for their home than they did a year ago as the median price dropped from $127,000 to $103,000. There were eight more homes sold in Columbia County last month compared to 2010 and the value dropped by $30,000 to just over $102,000. In Jefferson County, there was a 50% increase in homes sold and a 17% decrease in price to $150,000. Conversely, home sales in Washington County doubled while the median price edged up one-percent last month compared to 2010. Fond du Lac County saw a 35% increase in homes sales and a one-percent drop in home values. Wisconsin Realtors Association Board Chairman Rob Keefe says the big sales increase was not a surprise, because sales were very low last summer after the federal tax credits for home buyers had expired. The group says its monthly year-to-year comparisons will not really be valid until the fourth quarter which starts in October. For the first eight months of the year, Wisconsin home sales were down almost 6% from the same period in 2010.

BDPD Involved in Short Standoff

9/27/11 – The Beaver Dam Police Department responded to the 600 block of South Vita Avenue Sunday afternoon after receiving reports of a suicidal man that may be armed with a gun. That’s according to a press release issued yesterday. It says officers arrived just before 3 p-m and saw the 52-year-old man exiting his vehicle. Officials say the man did not comply with officers commands. They shot two bean bag rounds at him to try and get him to comply, but were unsuccessful. After about 15-minutes the man finally did follow the officer’s orders, and he was taken into custody without further incident. He was taken to the Beaver Dam Community Hospital, and later transferred to Winnebago Mental Health facility for further evaluation. .

Union at Oshkosh Corp. On Verge of Strike

9/27/11 – Contract talks are expected to resume today at the Oshkosh Corporation, where the United Auto Workers say they’re preparing for a strike. The union says it might call for a walk-out if a new deal is not reached by midnight Friday. It would affect 31-hundred U-A-W members at the plants that make military vehicles – and it could also affect dozens of suppliers. Company president Charles Szews says the company’s five-year offer reflects the billions-of-dollars in budget cuts planned for the Defense Department, which is the main customer of Oshkosh. The firm is offering a total pay raise of eight-percent over five years, and a two-thousand-dollar lump sum if a contract deal is reached by Friday night. But the union is not happy that health insurance premiums would nearly double, and temporary workers could be used totaling up to 10-percent of the workforce starting in 2013. The temps would work for up to six months – and they would not be used if regular employees are laid off and waiting to be recalled. Still, union president Nick Nitschke says it’s a job security issue. They’re also concerned about working conditions in the Oshkosh plants, which have been running full-tilt to make vehicles for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Warning for Badger-Care-Plus-Basic Subscribers

9/27/11 – If you’re on the state government’s bare-bones health plan, you better pay your premiums on time – or you’ll be cut off immediately with no chance to re-enroll. Senate Democrat Jim Holperin of Conover says recipients of Badger-Care-Plus-Basic have complained they were kicked out, even though they were just a couple days late on their payments. Holperin tells the Wisconsin Radio Network that people have asked him for help, but he couldn’t do anything. State health services’ spokeswoman Beth Kaplan said the cut-off policy was necessary because the program’s in a financial bind. It stopped taking new people in March because expenses had exceeded revenues from premiums. Democrats created the Basic plan last year for low-income childless adults who were on a waiting list for the more extensive Badger-Care Plus. Its supporters promised that recipients would pay the entire cost, with the help of a federal grant – and state taxpayers would not have to shell out a dime. But in May of this year, the Legislative Audit Bureau said the plan racked up a 140-thousand-dollar deficit in its first six months. In March, the Walker administration cut off enrollment at 57-hundred – and they raised the monthly premiums to 200-dollars. But the audit said the higher fee was still not enough to cover all the costs. And Kaplan said the deficit rose to nearly two-million-dollars. She said the health agency is now trying to decide whether Badger-Care-Plus-Basic can be sustainable.

Lawsuit Over Cheese Billboard Possible

9/27/11 – The group that’s putting up a billboard in Wisconsin on the dangers of eating cheese says it’s not infringing on intellectual property rights by using a Cheese-head in its ad. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says it’s practicing its right to free speech. But the firm that makes Cheese-head hats, Foamation of Saint Francis, is considering a lawsuit to prevent the billboard from going up, saying it violates the company’s intellectual property. Foamation’s Denise Kaminski says there’s no way her company condones the message on the billboard. It features the Grim Reaper wearing a Cheese-head with a warning that cheese can sack your health. The sign was supposed to go up yesterday on Highway 41 near Green Bay,

where Packer fans will see it when they go to the football game against Denver on Sunday. But rainy weather delayed its installation. Wisconsin is the nation’s top cheese producer, and its Milk Marketing Board has tied the Physicians Committee to an animal rights group. The group also wanted Green Bay’s mayor to put up warning signs for high-fat cheese products sold at Lambeau Field. But Jim Schmitt says he might not have the power to do that – and he certainly doesn’t have the desire to hurt one of the state’s biggest industries.