News 4/20/2010

Doyle Signs Hospitals Bill At CCH

4/20/10 – Governor Jim Doyle was in Columbus yesterday signing the “Critical Access Hospitals Bill” into law. Doyle praised the hard work of Columbus Community Hospital CEO Ed Harding, the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative for their efforts in drafting the bill. The governor said state budget cuts reduced Medicaid reimbursements by as much as 10% but the task force headed by Harding found a way to restore those cuts. In addition, Doyle says the funds leveraged through the bill will be used to help train additional doctors to serve in rural areas, like Columbus, doubling the amount of student loan repayments for doctors who decide to practice in rural areas.

Feingold At BDHS

4/20/10 – More than 100 people turned out for a listening session with Senator Russ Feingold this morning in the Beaver Dam High School auditorium. Topics varied throughout the one-hour event from the wars overseas to unemployment to the recently passed health care reform bill. Feingold voted in favor of the bill that has created angst throughout the country including with many seniors who were upset with supposed cuts in Medicare subsides. The Democrat disputed the notion of cuts saying the only real cuts would be to wasteful spending. Feingold also touched on the economy and specifically creating jobs. He says he wants to push for further expansion of the Jobs Tax Credit, which currently gives a payroll tax-break to businesses that hire workers who have been unemployed for at least 60-days. Feingold has introduced legislation that would give further tax breaks to companies that hire new employees, expand work hours for their current workforce, or simply raise worker pay. The senator also took time to speak about his opposition to President Obama’s idea of putting more troops into Afghanistan and says he plans to present a bill that would set up a flexible timetable for troops being brought home. Feingold is running this fall to earn what would be his fourth term in office. A main Republican challenger has yet to emerge following last week’s news that former Governor Tommy Thompson would not run. Currently David Westlake and Terrance Wall are the only declared Republican candidates.

Council Approves Lakeview Zoning Change

4/20/10 – The shuttered Lakeview Hospital in Beaver Dam is one step closer to becoming as an assisted living facility. The Beaver Dam Common Council last night approved a zoning change from “multi-family residential” back to what it had been for decades: a “medical, professional and administrative” district. Owner Gene Kirschbaum is in the process of selling the property to Lakeside Pueblo, which is contingent on securing state and federal dollars. Alderman Glen Link explained before last night’s vote that the hospital’s zoning was changed a half dozen years ago to make it more marketable, and the constituents in his ward support the zoning change because they would like to see an operational assisted living facility on the premises. Kirschbaum says if all goes according to plan, the sale of the property could take place before summer, with ground broken as early as this fall.

YMCA Refinances $8 Million in Municipal Bonds

4/20/10 – The Beaver Dam Common Council last night approved a resolution that allows the YMCA of Dodge County to refinance $8 million in revenue bonds. In building their new facility, the YMCA used the city as a conduit to acquire municipal bonds, which in turn got the Y a better interest rate on their loan. Michael Scalise with Robert Baird and Company says the change will allow the YMCA to save an estimated $150,000 annually in interest costs. Director of Finance John Somers says the refinancing does not change the fact that the bonds for the YMCA will not affect the city’s borrowing capacity, bond rating and in no way are they a taxpayer obligation.

Illinois Man Charged Following Snowmobile Injury

4/20/10 – In Illinois man is has been charged following a drunken snowmobile accident that left his passenger with minor injuries. Matthew Milkowski of Prospect Heights is charged with misdemeanor counts of Snowmobiler Causing Injury While Intoxicated and Causing Injury With A Prohibited Alcohol Content related to the incident on Fox Lake in February. The 26-year-old reportedly told authorities that he was traveling around 30mph when he struck an embankment and lost control of his snowmobile. He and a passenger were thrown from the machine. Both were wearing helmets and sustained minor injuries. Milkowski allegedly had a blood alcohol level of point one-one (0.11). If convicted, he faces a minimum of 60 days in jail and a maximum of two years, and fines ranging from $600 to $4000. Milkowski had a signature bond set at $500 yesterday and a return date scheduled for May 24.