News – April 21, 2016

Dodge County Resident Dies From Elizabethkingia


4/21/16 – At least one Dodge County resident has died from Elizabethkingia. During a weekly update yesterday, state Department of Health Services officials identified for the first time the specific counties where deaths from the bacteria have occurred. In addition to Dodge County, the 19 Wisconsin deaths occurred in eight other counties including Columbia, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Waukesha and Washington. There have been around five dozen reported cases but state health officials have not identified the number of people infected in each county. There were eight cases reported in Dodge County as of six weeks ago, which are the most recent numbers made available. Dodge County Public Health Officer Jody Langfeldt says officials with the CDC have been touring hospitals in the region including hospitals in the Dodge County-area trying to determine the source of the bacteria but have not been successful. Langfeldt says it is important to stress that there is no indication that the bacteria is being spread by a single health care facility. She says it is affecting multiple health care facilities across the region. Person-to-person contact is not thought to be a risk and most people who come in contact with it will never know they have it as it is taking advantage of those with serious health conditions and compromised immune systems. The outbreak in south-central and southeastern Wisconsin is the largest such outbreak ever recorded of Elizabethkingia.


Beaver Dam, Watertown Joining New Athletic Conferences


4/21/16 – After this coming school year, Beaver Dam and Watertown will have to find new rivals.  Earlier this week, the WIAA Board approved a conference realignment plan that affects five conferences and 45 schools, effective 2017-18.  One of those is the Wisconsin Little Ten.  While the other six Little Ten schools are joining one of four newly created conferences composed of mainly Milwaukee-area teams, Beaver Dam and Watertown are heading west.  The Golden Beavers are joining the Badger North conference while the Goslings will join the Badger South.  Beaver Dam High School Athletic Director Melissa Gehring says her school preferred joining a Madison-area conference over one from Milwaukee since residents more closely associate themselves with Madison.  As one of the Little Ten’s charter members, Gehring says leaving those rivalries behind will be difficult.  Gehring says Beaver Dam has already been going to Badger North meetings since scheduling is done a few years out.  WIAA Assistant Director Tom Shafranski says schools initiate realignment changes by bringing them to his organization.  He says the WIAA tries to satisfy as many schools as possible by putting them in conferences with other similarly-sized districts where they can be competitive.  Beaver Dam will join Baraboo, DeForest, Mount Horeb, Portage, Reedsburg, Sauk Prairie, and Waunakee in the Badger North.  Watertown joins Fort Atkinson, Madison Edgewood, Milton, Monona Grove, Monroe, Oregon, and Stoughton in the Badger South.


Consolidation Talks Between Mayville and Horicon End


4/21/16 – Consolidation talks between the Horicon and Mayville School Districts has come to an end. A joint meeting between the two districts planned for next Thursday was cancelled yesterday. The move comes following this week’s meeting of the Horicon School Board and their vote to end discussions of the possible merger. Both districts are facing projected budget deficits within the next few years.  Both boards had been looking at a July decision on consolidation to get a referendum question to the voters on November’s ballot.


New Kayak Launch Installed At Beaver Dam’s Waterworks Park


4/21/16 – A new kayak dock and launch pad has been installed at Waterworks Park. Beaver Dam Community Activities and Services Coordinator Evonne Boettge announced the installation of the launch yesterday on WBEV’s Community Comment. The Beaver Dam School District donated to the city several of the canoes, kayaks and paddle boats they had obtained with a federal grant. The launch will complement a $20-thousand dollar watercraft rental and storage shelter being constructed by the city at the same park which should be complete in early summer. A dedication for the kayak launch and dock will be held on May 19 with a special recognition for Randy Fiegel of Beaver Dam who posthumously donated the funds.


Fox Lake Pool To Be Worked On Before Summer


4/21/16 – Fox Lake’s city pool will be worked on before it opens for the season.  Last summer, the city hired Safe Step to sand down rough spots in the pool.  According to Utility Operator Brad Ruenger, the city recently reached out to Safe Step, who agreed to re-sand the areas they missed at no cost in the coming weeks.  At last night’s committee meeting, city officials discussed the findings of a recent aquatic center walk through.  Prior to the pool opening, the city plans to replace, stain, and paint the wood siding in the pool’s locker rooms, which has rotted in recent years.  Future projects identified include repairing the posts that support the standing deck at the top of the pool’s slide and installing new decorative posts in the area surrounding the pool.  No word yet on what these projects would cost.


Fox Lake Re-Elect Mund As Council President


4/21/16 – One of Fox Lake’s longest-serving aldermen will spend another year as council president.  John Mund was re-elected to that post at last night’s reorganizational meeting.  He has been council president since 2010.  Mayor Tom Bednarek and Aldermen Tom Jahnke, Dan Ault, and Dennis Linke took the oath of office.  Each was re-elected after running unopposed.


Columbus Business Reconstruction Meeting Tonight


4/21/16 – Columbus businesses are getting ready for next year’s major state reconstruction project. A pre-construction planning session is scheduled for tonight (Th) at the Senior Center.  The 2017 Department of Transportation project will mean that many businesses along James Street will have to develop strategies for allowing customers to access to their shops. Downtown road construction has been planned for the length of James Street – which is also Highways 16 and 60 – from Highway 151 to River Road. A special presentation, “The Waunakee Perspective,” by Waunakee Administrator Todd Schmidt will be part of the planning meeting. The reconstruction of Highway 19 through Waunakee was recently completed. Columbus business community leaders are welcome to join municipal planners at this Senior Center session at 125 North Dickason Blvd tonight from 6pm to 8pm.


Local Jobless Filings Drop From February To March


4/21/16 – Jobless filings in the region and around most of the state dropped from February to March. That’s according to non-seasonally adjusted numbers released yesterday by the state Department of Workforce Development. Dodge County reported a 4.8-percent last month, down six-tenths from both the previous month and March of last year. Columbia County reported a similar decrease in recording a 4.7-percent in March. Jefferson County’s jobless rate was 5-percent last month, a half-point lower than February and the same as March of last year. Fond du Lac County dropped seven-tenths from February to 4.3-percent while Washington County declined to 4.1-percent. Green Lake County was down two-tenths to 6.8-percent. Dane County again has the lowest rate in the state at 3.4-percent while Bayfield County had the highest at 10.2-percent. The statewide unemployment rate was 5-percent in March, one-tenth below the national rate. In total, all but one county in the state had a lower unemployment rate last month compared to February. Fifty-six (56) of the state’s 72 counties either had a lower rate or stayed the same when compared to March of last year.


Authorities Investigating Inmate Death At Taycheedah


4/21/16 – Fond du Lac Police disclosed Wednesday that they’re investigating the death of a female state prisoner that happened one week ago. Assistant Police Chief Steve Thiry says 34-year-old Crystal McClendon died last Wednesday at the Taycheedah women’s prison. The state corrections department confirmed the death. Police said they received a call about an inmate who collapsed — but it’s still not known why. Thiry says police are still waiting for autopsy results from the Fond du Lac County medical examiner’s office.


Former Teacher Pleads Not Guilty To Child Sex Assault


4/21/16 – A Mayville man accused of having inappropriate contact with a Wayland Academy student pled not guilty at arraignment yesterday.  Adam Hechimovich is facing 15 felony counts, eight for Child Enticement and seven for Sexual Assault of a Student by School Staff.  The 23-year-old, a former instructor at Wayland, allegedly had contact with a 16-year-old boy a number of times on campus between October and December 2015.


UnitedHealthcare Role In Wisconsin Exchange Uncertain


4/21/16 – It’s not yet known if UnitedHealthcare is exiting the Affordable Care Act exchange anytime soon in Wisconsin.  The health insurance company’s C-E-O says they will exit most states where it’s selling on the exchange, but would not say if Wisconsin is on the list.  A spokeswoman tells the Milwaukee Business Journal that they “do not have an update on Wisconsin at this time.”