“News – August 18, 2009”

The northbound lanes of Highway 151 just south of Highway 73 are still closed at this time after a pedestrian was struck by a semi.  Dodge County Dispatchers say the accident happened just before 7 this morning.  The injured person is being taken to the hospital at which point it’s expected that they will be taken by MedFlight to another hospital.  Currently northbound traffic is being routed through Columbus.  Both southbound lanes remain open.


Sewer Bills Going Up In Beaver Dam


8/18/09 – Beaver Dam residents will see an increase on their sewer bills beginning next quarter.  The Common Council last night approved the two-dollar boost in user charges — from approximately $37 for $39 — to pay for a planned $20 million dollar sewer treatment plant upgrade.  Utilities Director Don Quarford says the plant is reaching the end of its operating capacity and a partnership with Kraft Foods presented an opportunity to keep costs low. The plan allows the city to expand their outdated plant and incorporate green technology into the upgrade. The city will pre-treat waste from Kraft Foods and convert it to biogas which will be used to generate electricity, which will be sold back to Alliant Energy for a profit. Because it is a “green” project, federal stimulus dollars will be used for half the costs, and the other half will be paid with a low-interest loan. While the earliest the upgrade would be complete is the end of next year, Quarford says the conditions of the grant require that the rate increase go into effect immediately. A 2007 facilities plan to upgrade the sewer treatment plant without grant funding would have increased sewer bills around $13.


Obama Bucks Fund Two Beaver Dam Street Projects


8/18/09 – Two Beaver Dam road projects will be paid for with federal stimulus dollars.  The city this year submitted 13 projects for consideration and after being turned down twice before, officials learned earlier this month that the third time’s a-charm.  Madison Street will get a new layer of asphalt from Rowell to Curie Streets at a total cost of $195,000.  North University will see complete reconstruction from Gould to Parallel Streets at a cost of $678,000.  The grants will cover 100% of the expenses of the project, except design engineering costs.  The Common Council last night approved the expenditure of $37,000 to MSA Professional Services to do that engineering work.       


Milwaukee Mayor Released from Hospital


8/18/09 – Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett still has gashes on his head and face, a broken tooth, two teeth knocked out and a broken hand.  Despite his injuries, Barrett was released from the hospital yesterday.  He also got a call from the president.  President Obama released a statement Monday afternoon saying he called the former Democratic congressman to make sure he was getting better.  He commended the mayor for his bravery after he interceded on behalf of a grandmother who was screaming for help outside of the Wisconsin State Fair on Saturday night.  While attempting to call 911 Barrett was beaten with a metal pipe by 20-year-old Anthony Peters.  He is now in custody.


No Agreement between Union and Merc


8/18/09 – Two weeks of talks between Fond du Lac-based Mercury Marine and its labor union are unproductive so far.  Monday was the self-imposed deadline for the company to have a new deal in place.  It passed without an agreement.  The outboard motor maker wants concessions from the union or it’s going to move the Wisconsin operation to a non-union plant in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  Mercury Marine says its workers wouldn’t see any pay cuts, but the union says they also wouldn’t get the two percent pay raises in the current contract.  Union members are to vote on the company’s offer next Sunday. Meanwhile Fond du Lac officials are saying the loss of Mercury Marine would not only affect Fond du Lac but also thousands of jobs throughout the state.  Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation President Brenda Hicks-Sorensen says according to their calculations Mercury’s departure would affect more than 5,000 jobs locally and over 11,000 jobs in the region. That impact and the Corporations efforts to keep Mercury in Fond du Lac are detailed in the Corporation’s latest “Signals” newsletter.


Tax Rate Could Be Lower Than First Thought for BDUSD Residents


8/18/09 – Numbers aren’t final yet but the tax rate for Beaver Dam School District residents could end up being lower than initially thought.  Business Services Director Andrew Sarnow had said earlier this summer that a worst case scenario would have the mill rate jumping to $9.45 per $1,000 of assessed value.  However, due a number of factors the rate may jump just 4.1% from last years rate to $8.81 per $1,000 of assessed value. The budget presented to the school board last night also contained a deficit of nearly $600,000.  Sarnow says they hope to use $350,000 from the American Recovery Act to take care of part of that debt, while the rest would come from the districts Fund Balance. Sarnow says he won’t have final numbers until October after the 3rd Friday of September count, determines how much state aide the district will get.  The board also plans to have their public hearing on the budget during their meeting next month.


BDPD Investigating Sexual Assault


8/18/09 – The Beaver Dam Police Department is investigating a sexual assault that occurred early Sunday morning. Authorities say the incident occurred on Mill Street around 3am. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, five feet seven inches tall, 170 pounds with shaggy hair on the top of his head and shaved sides.  He was last seen wearing a grey T-shirt and blue jeans.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Beaver Dam Police Department or the anonymous We-Tip hotline at 800-78-CRIME.


Man Charged with Possession of Child Pornography


8/18/09 – A Watertown man faces 50-years in prison for allegedly possessing child pornography. Craig Feder is charged with two felony counts of possessing nude pictures of an 11-year-old girl he met on the internet. The victim’s mother contacted police after finding emails with the content.  Eight pictures were reportedly found on Feder’s computer. According to the criminal complaint, the 40-year-old requested photo’s from the victim but said he did not ask for nude photo’s.


Bond Set For Suspected Daytime Burglar


8/18/09 – Charges have been filed in connection with a string of burglaries that plagued the Dodge County area last fall.  Oscar Jasper Jr., a Milwaukee-native who had been living in Beaver Dam, is charged with five felony counts of Burglary, Theft and Felon in Possession of a Firearm, along with a handful of misdemeanors related to the daytime burglaries last October.  The 47-year-old was apprehended with the help of video surveillance footage after he tried to sell stolen tools outside a Beaver Dam business in the days after the burglary. Jasper stole mostly firearms, jewelry and tools from homes in the Towns of Shields, Hubbard, Oak Grove and in Juneau; most were recovered from a pawn shop in Milwaukee.  The penalties carry a maximum penalty of over 48 years in prison but because Jasper is a repeat offender, he could have up to another 30 years added to his sentence. Jasper had bond set at $20,000 cash during an initial appearance yesterday in Dodge County court.        


Charges filed in Mayville Tavern Break-In


8/18/09 – Two men from Cascade are charged with burglarizing the Bottom’s Up Tavern in Mayville.  23-year-old Tyler Diedrich and 27-year-old Charles Sramek are accused of breaking into the tavern in March and stealing about $1000 in cash.  The pair each face up to 13 years in prison if convicted, but because both are repeat offenders they could each have another six years added to their sentence.


Republican Party Doesn’t Buy Doyle’s Reasons for Not Running


8/18/09 – The head of the Republican Party of Wisconsin has some doubts about Governor Doyle’s reasons for not running for a third term in office.  Party Chairman Reince Priebus says there are plenty of reasons for the Governor to get out now, such as his low approval rating, the budget mess, and the use of one time federal funding that will have to be replaced in the next budget. With those in mind, Priebus finds it very unlikely that Doyle would says he’s not running because he thinks governors should only serve two terms in office.  Priebus says that explanation is a sham, since Doyle has continued to raise campaign funds throughout his current term in office.  Priebus says Republicans were looking forward to running against Doyle. However, he says they’ll also enjoy competing for an open seat.


Dems Still Think They Can Hold Onto Governors Position


8/18/09 – Democrats like their chances of holding on the Governor’s mansion.  Governor Doyle’s decision not to seek re-election means the field is wide open, and Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate expects to see many qualified candidates step forward in the coming weeks.  Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton is the only Democrat to indicate she will run for the nomination, although Tate says many others are weighing their options. Aside from Lawton, other possible Democratic candidates include Congressman Ron Kind and state Senator Jon Erpenbach.  As candidates enter the race, they’ll be playing catching up with a Republican headstart on fundraising. Tate says their candidates will have plenty of time to raise money, with only the winner of the Democratic primary having to match what the GOP candidates has been able to raise.


Feingold in Disagreement with Obama Administration on Health Care Reform


8/18/09 – U.S. Senator Russ Feingold says he is not interested in passing health care reform in name only.  The Wisconsin Democrat says a plan that doesn’t include a public option is not a reform plan.  Feingold says the government-sponsored public insurance option has to be present in any plan for him to support it.  Feingold took his stand after key members of the Obama administration seemed to suggest private insurance cooperatives would be acceptable.  The White House did say yesterday that the public insurance option is still on the table.