News – August 12, 2021

(Fort Atkinson) Fire departments from five counties, including Dodge County, among those assisting with a warehouse fire in Fort Atkinson that began Tuesday. The sky was filled with black smoke for hours.  Fort Atkinson Fire Chief Daryl Rausch says the structure contained a lot of very large heavy equipment tires along with chemicals and cardboard from a local canning company. As of Thursday morning, the fire is under control and being allowed to burn out.  Reports show that over a million gallons of water were used to keep the blaze contained with at last 150 firefighters responding, working in 20-minute rotations due to the heat.

(Portage)The Portage fire department was dispatched Wednesday night to the Village House Apartments at 2830 Village Road for a report of black smoke coming from a lower unit.  Fire crews battled the interior blaze preventing the spread to upper units.  The fire is believed to have started on top of a stove and quickly spread.  Residents were allowed to re-enter the building once the threat was cleared to get their essential belongings.  There were no injuries reported.  Some residents were able to find a place to stay while others were assisted by Red Cross with shelter and food for the night. The fire is under investigation.

(Markesan) Lightning caused a house fire in Markesan. Authorities were called to W2240 Oakwood Avenue at 7:09pm Tuesday night. Emergency officials were on the scene for two-and-a-half hours extinguishing the flames and preventing the fire from spreading to other parts of the residence, which sustained smoke and fire damage. No injuries were reported but the residents were displaced.

(Watertown) An Illinois man who led Watertown police on a high speed chase entered a guilty plea in a Dodge County courtroom yesterday. Gecobea Leach was pulled over in March of last year for speeding. The officer suspected drug trafficking and a K-9 unit indicated illegal substances in the vehicle. The 39-year-old sped off sparking a pursuit that reached speeds in excess of 110-miles-per-hour and was called off after just over one mile.

(Beaver Dam) Ground has been broken on a new girl’s dormitory at Wayland Academy. The coed college preparatory school in Beaver Dam is slated to see the new, $8-plus-million-dollar residential facility open in time for the start of the 2022-2023 school year. The new building would house 68 students and also faculty members. In addition to dorm rooms, there will be meeting rooms, offices, study spaces, student lounges, laundry facilities, and kitchenettes. Head of School Jason Warnick says the new dorm is a reflection of Wayland’s commitment to education and their future in Beaver Dam, where they have  been for more than 166 years.

(Waupun) Applications are being accepted through Friday for a program in Waupun intended to attract small businesses to the community. The City of Waupun’s Business Improvement District (BID) is behind the 2021 Pop-Up Waupun Program. The initiative is for small business owners and offers an opportunity to occupy a storefront for a three-month period for a greatly reduced price. The program uses grant money supplied by the district and storefront owner discounted rent. Applications are due by noon on Friday. More information can be found with this news story at