News 4/15/2010

Hug A Dispatcher Week

4/15/10 – This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Dodge County Communications Director Scott Smith says he hopes people take a moment this week to think about the behind-the-scenes work of dispatchers. He says he is continuously impressed with the ability of his staff to multi-task in the face of extreme pressure. Each Communications Officer at Dodge County Central Communications answers around 600 incoming calls for service from the general public in one month. Over 110,000 calls were logged last year, of which over 16,000 were emergency 9-1-1 calls. In addition to taking those calls, Communications Officers last year field calls over 100,000 calls from 27 fire departments, 31 EMS and First Responder Units and 22 other law-enforcement agencies, including the Sheriffs Department. Smith says the key to their success is teamwork. Smith says the average citizen only calls 9-1-1 twice in their life. He hopes people will take a minute this week to think about ways to make a dispatcher’s job easier, in the event that call does have to be made. Even with the high-stress nature of the job, Smith says the turnover rate in Dodge County is pretty low, with some dispatchers looking at 25 years on the job. Something he credits to his officers strong work ethic, teamwork and professionalism. You can hear more of our conversation with Communications Director Scott Smith in the third segment of WBEV’s Community Comment Friday afternoon.

Results of DNR Spring Hearings

4/15/10 – Every person but one that attended this weeks DNR Spring Hearings in Horicon wants the power of appointing the DNR Secretary returned to the Natural Resources Board. It is currently a power of the Governor but the vote was 53-1 at Monday’s meeting to support legislation that would give it back to the board. Statewide nearly 90-percent said they would also support such legislation. The vote was not as lopsided when the question of increasing the statewide over-winter goal of the deer herd by 25-percent. In Dodge County, 76-percent were in favor of the idea, which would increase the goal for the winter deer herd by 175,000. Statewide, 73-percent were in favor and all but four counties had a majority in support. The questions that divided voters statewide had to do with upping the age range for those who can participate in the youth hunt for deer and turkey. In both questions the age range would allow those up to 17 years of age to be a part of the youth hunt, which is currently capped at 15-year-olds. In Dodge County, voters approved both questions but statewide only the question involving the turkey hunt passed with 36-counties voting in favor. 39-counties voted no to allowing it for the deer hunt. The results will be passed on to the Natural Resources Board next month and if there is enough support for a proposal the questions could become a DNR rule change proposal in following years.

Columbus Holding Public Supt Search Meetings

Columbus School District parents, teachers and staff are invited to offer their ideas on what kind of Superintendent the Board should hire. Current Superintendent, Mark Jansen, will be retiring June 30. “Focus group” sessions are scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 3:30 and 7:00 pm in the High School Library. Board President Jerry Gaska has urged the public to attend. Residents will be asked to offer answers to eight questions focusing on the hire of a new top Administrator. The sessions will be led by Dr. Louis Birchbauer of the WASB.

Feingold Opponent Logs $1.2 MIllion

4/15/10 – Madison developer Terrence Wall has put one-point-two million dollars of his own money into his Republican campaign for the U-S Senate. According to his campaign finance report, Wall raised one-point-three million in the first three months of this year – all but 100-thousand of it from his own checkbook. As a result, he’s got about a million-dollars in his war-chest. That’s three times what he had three months ago – but it’s still less than a quarter of the four-and-a-quarter million dollars incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold has in his campaign account. The other official Republican candidate, Watertown businessman Dave Westlake, says he’ll issue his report by Thursday’s filing deadline.

AG Opposes Dem’s Voter Bill

4/15/10 – Wisconsin’s attorney general says we could see more election fraud if Democrats in the state Legislature pass a bill to make it easier for voters to register. Majority Democrats have proposed a package of changes. Among other things, citizens would automatically be registered-to-vote when they apply for driver’s licenses. Absentee voting could be done at more locations. And the bill creates new protections against intimidation at the polls. But Van Hollen – the state’s only Republican constitutional officer – told lawmakers the bill does not require voters to confirm their information by signing a form. He says the current system of registering on Election Day eliminates the need for the driver license sign-ups. And Van Hollen says there are already laws that ban threats against voters. He says the new measures try to suppress free speech. Democratic supporters say the voting package would bolster Wisconsin’s already-high voter turnouts. Lawmakers have eight days to try-and-pass the measure before the current legislative session ends.

Now That’s A Tall Horse

4/15/10 – A Columbia County farmer has the world’s tallest horse. Jerry Gilbert of Poynette has made the Guinness Book of World Records for his nine-year-old Belgian gelding. His name is “Big Jake,” just under 6-feet-11 at his tallest point. That’s two-and-three-quarter inches taller than the old record held by Remington, a Clydesdale from Texas. “Big Jake” will be recognized Friday night at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison. Gilbert says folks can take the horse’s picture – but he probably won’t let them stand next to Jake because he’s not used to strangers.

Kids Share Fair Is Saturday

The Kids Share Fair will be held this Saturday in Beaver Dam. Kathy Hetzel with Dodge County’s 4/15/10 – UW Extension Office says the free event allows parents to learn about a variety family-oriented businesses, agencies and organizations all while their kids get to play games and have a little fun. Parents will be able to get information on a variety of community resources including child care centers, state and county agencies like Head Start and Health and Family Services, non-profits like Clothes for Kids . There will also be representatives with the local martial arts academy, ice skating and dance studios. Meanwhile, kids will have the opportunity to tour the fire safety smoke house, jump in the bounce house, have their faces painted or just play with sand, hula-hoops and play-doe. The Kids Share Fair will be held at the Heritage Village Mall in Beaver Dam Saturday morning from 9:30am to noon.