“News – April 29, 2011”

Airport Zoning Revisions Please Nearby Homeowners


4/29/11 – A collective sigh of relief from the property owners near the Dodge County Airport in Juneau.  Proposed zoning restrictions could have made their homes worthless. However, after public outcry, the Airport Zoning Technical Advisory Committee last night announced revisions to their Overlay Zoning Ordinance. The ordinance itself is needed for a variety of reasons, like for public safety and planning possible future expansion of the airport. Once approved, it will basically establish acceptable structures and land uses within a three-mile radius around the airport, both on the ground and in the air. Early drafts of the ordinance would have held nearby homeowners to the “fifty-percent rule,” prohibiting them from spending more than half of their homes assessed value on improvements, ultimately devaluing their property and making their homes worthless.  Tami Braband (brey-band) owns a house on Sunset Road, not far from Runway 220, in a “high impact zone.” Braband says she was pleased that the committee listened to their feedback and she says they made some great changes. Airport Zoning Committee Chair Pete Thompson says they’ve had a lot of public input since the process began, going through six different versions of the zoning map and four drafts of the ordinance. He assured the crowd of three dozen residents that under the ordinance, existing homes would still be able to make improvements without fear of restrictions. The Zoning Overlay Ordinance now heads to the Highway Committee, the public hearing phase and finally the county board, though all the property owners we spoke with say they are content and believe their concerns have been addressed.


Langfeldt Has Cash Bond Set At $100K


4/29/11 – Cash bond was set at $100,000 for a 36-year-old man Columbus man who authorities say ran into a parked car, a utility pole and several street signs before being pulled from the drivers seat by the sheriff of Dodge County.  Tony Langfeldt has been formally charged with felony OWI and misdemeanor Operating After Revocation for the incident in Fox Lake on Tuesday. Because he is being considered a repeat offender, Langfeldt could spend a maximum of 13 years behind bars if he is convicted. A preliminary hearing is set for June.


Collective Bargaining Could Go Into State Budget


4/29/11 – If the State Supreme Court does not legalize the collective bargaining limits for public employee unions, the measure will possibly be put into the next state budget. That’s according to a spokesman for Senate G-O-P leader Scott Fitzgerald. The possibility of a second approval was vaguely brought up earlier this week in the Joint Finance Committee. Fitzgerald spokesman Andrew Welhouse yesterday (Th) gave the Madison Capital Times the most definitive statement yet on the matter. Welhouse said Supreme Court was quote, “the preferred avenue” for implementing the union bargaining limits. And if that doesn’t happen, Welhouse says G-O-P leaders have informally decided that it will be inserted into the 2011-to-2013 budget. Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi has blocked the adoption of the law, until she can decide if legislators broke the state’s Open Meeting Law when they passed it on March ninth. The state Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to step in and make the union limits legal. Sumi has said the Legislature could easily settle the lawsuit by passing the measure again, with the required public notice. But Republicans have hesitated, fearing a second round of major protests that helped drive down G-O-P Governor Scott Walker’s popularity ratings. If the union limits do go into the budget, Welhouse said a finance committee member will insert them before the package is approved there – or they could be introduced as an amendment just before the full Assembly acts on the budget this summer.


Carriage Festival Gets Seed Money


4/29/11 – The 2011 “Columbus Horse & Carriage Festival” was given “seed money” and go ahead approval by the Common Council this week. The show will be funded by two $5,000 dollar Room Tax grants. The Festival replaces the former June Carriage “Classic.” The Festival event is being organized by a new group of volunteers. The Festival will be held at Fireman’s’ Park on Father’s Day. Responses from drivers and event sponsors indicate a rekindled interest in Columbus as a venue for this Horse and Carriage event.


Walker Names Natural Resources Members


4/29/11 – Governor Scott Walker has named three new members to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board. The Republican Walker says they’ll represent agriculture, hunters, and the business community on the board that sets policies for the D-N-R. The new members are Bill Bruins, former president of the state’s Farm Bureau Federation – Terry Hilgenberg, former president of the Wisconsin Realtors Association – and Gregory Kazmierski, who co-founded the state Hunters’ Rights Coalition. They’ll replace three members whose terms expire on Sunday – board chairman Jonathan Ela, former state agriculture secretary Gary Rohde, and John Welter.


Drug Drops Planned Tomorrow


4/29/11 – Several Dodge County communities are participating in the nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day tomorrow (Saturday).  The effort is aimed at removing drugs from the streets and promoting the proper disposal of prescription medications. The Beaver Dam Police Department will be collecting pharmaceuticals from 10am to 2pm in the department’s parking lot located just off Washington Street. The Horicon Police Department will host the “Take Back” from 9am until noon at the Public Safety Building on Ellison Street.  The Juneau Police Department collect meds at the police department on East Cross Street from 10am until 2pm.  The Watertown, Waterloo and Waupun police departments are also hosting drug drops. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.  Medications should be brought in their original containers with personal identification removed. Drug take-back programs are intended to reduce the amount of drugs available for theft, or accidental poisoning but are also helpful in keeping those meds out of the water supply. Last year, during the first “Take Back,” the Drug Enforcement Agency collected 121 tons of drugs at 4100 sites operated by the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners.