News August 19, 2011

Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Contest Line-Up

8/19/11 – There are a variety of local celebrities lined up for this afternoon’s Cream Puff Eating contest at the Dodge County Fair. The event kicks off with a swearing-in of the Sheriffs Departments two new K9’s. Their deputy handlers have been invited to compete alongside local legislators Jeff and Scott Fitzgerald and former Green Bay Packer Dave Robinson, who’s in town promoting his new book and his people tell us is willing to participate. Also on tap, a variety of county officials including the District Attorney, Treasurer, FSA Director, Emergency Management Director, County Clerk and the County Administrator. Your favorite performers with the Beaver Dam Area Community Theater will be competing against stage and screen actor Dan Bell of Mayville and Casey Carney of Casey and the Moonshine Band. Those vying for the Fastest of the Fair trophy include Sheriff Todd Nehls, Mayor Tom Kennedy, State Patrol Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald, County Board Supervisor Jeff Schmidt and Ann Killian-Kahn, the Children’s Advocate with PAVE who is going to be eating for two. The contest wraps up with the Dodge County Fire Queen, Dodge-Jefferson Honey Queen and four-of-the-last-five Fairest’s of the Fair. The Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Contest starts at 5pm in Radio Park and will be broadcast live on WBEV 1430AM.

Feingold Won’t Run for Senate or Governor

8/19/11 – Former U-S Senate Democrat Russ Feingold says he will not try to win his old job back next year. And he will not run for governor if there’s a recall election against Scott Walker. In an e-mail to his supporters this morning, Feingold said it was a hard decision – but he said he’d rather spend his time on his current projects. Feingold said he’s enjoying the life of a private citizen – and after 28 years in public office, he has spent the last eight months seeing things from a different perspective. Feingold teaches full-time at the Marquette Law School in Milwaukee. He’s also writing a book on the nation’s response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. And he’s building up a political committee he started called Progressives United. Voters removed Feingold from his U-S Senate seat last November after 18 years in that post. He also spent a decade in the Wisconsin Legislature. Many observers said Feingold would have been the strong Democratic front-runner for the Senate seat to be given up by Herb Kohl next year. His decision not to run comes two days after former Governor Tommy Thompson named two campaign chairs for a possible Republican Senate bid. With Feingold out of the picture, the speculation is that Madison Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is the front-runner for the Democratic Senate bid – along with La Crosse Congressman Ron Kind.

Walker Blames Job Loss, In Part, on Recall Elections

8/19/11 – Governor Scott Walker blames the state Senate recall elections for part of Wisconsin’s largest monthly job loss since the Great Recession. The Badger State lost 12-thousand-500 private sector jobs in July – the most since April of 2009 in the aftermath of the financial collapse on Wall Street. In Waukesha yesterday, Walker said the current turmoil in the national and world economies had a big effect on Wisconsin’s job losses. But the Republican governor also said employers felt a “high level of uncertainty” due to a possible change-of-power at the State Capitol, spurred by the nine Senate recall contests. And Walker said the negative recall T-V ads made employers unsure as to what was going to happen next in Madison. The governor said Wisconsin’s pro-business laws adopted in the first six months of this year helped create quote, “certainty in the state.” The heaviest job losses in July were in the service industry. The state’s employment sector, durable goods manufacturing, added two-thousand jobs. But overall, the state’s unemployment rate jumped two-tenths of a percent to seven-point-eight, at a time when the national jobless rate went down slightly to nine-point-one percent. Walker commented on the new numbers at Weldall Manufacturing in Waukesha, where he announced state incentives that

will add up to 50 new jobs. The metal fabricating firm more than doubled its workforce in the last year to almost 240 jobs.

Another Lawsuit Filed Against Collective Bargaining Restrictions

8/19/11 – Public employees have filed a third lawsuit to try-and-restore full collective bargaining for most of Wisconsin’s state-and-local public unions. Madison Teachers Incorporated and Milwaukee sanitation workers filed suit yesterday in Dane County Circuit Court. They said the union law illegally clamps down on free speech and free association. That’s because non-union employees can individually bargain for whatever they want, while unions can only seek pay raises at-or-below inflation. The suit also accused legislative Republicans of breaking constitutional restrictions on special sessions. The union limits were passed during a special session on job creation and the budget repair bill. And the financial elements of the budget repair bill were delayed so the G-O-P could pass the union limits while 14 Senate Democrats left Madison in a failed effort to block the bill. The state Justice Department and the Walker administration did not comment on the new lawsuit. They’ve said in the past that they were careful to follow both the state and the U-S constitutions in adopting the union limits. The other two lawsuits are still pending in both state-and-federal courts. One suit was filed by a coalition of seven unions. The other was filed by public workers in Madison and Dane County.

First Year for Vessey as BDUSD Superintendent had Ups and Downs

8/19/11 – It was a challenging first year on the job for Beaver Dam School District Superintendent Steve Vessey. It was a year in which controversy often overshadowed what school board members and teachers alike say were significant strides in improving the district. In his annual review by the school board, which was completed earlier this month, Vessey was commended in a number of areas including an overhauled evaluation process for administrators, the reestablishment of administrative cabinet meetings to address district issues and brainstorm for solutions, and a reworking of the school board policies. However, Board President Marge Jorgensen says his biggest contribution may have been the Data Dashboard, which she called a ground breaking method for evaluating student progress. Still, the controversy of the governor’s budget and resulting budget deficits, the union negotiations, the record number of retirements, and the continuing legal issues got much of the attention. However, for Jorgensen that’s what made the letter of support signed by more than 50 staff members and presented to the board at their meeting this week by leaders from the Beaver Dam Education Association that much more meaningful. Vessey’s review wasn’t without its critiques. Among other things, the board said the district’s facilities goal has not been adequately addressed, and there was a need for closer scrutiny and oversight with meeting notices, after the board was fined for a violation recently. Still, Jorgensen says there’s been growth in Vessey’s first year.

Driver Sober Campaign Underway

8/19/11 – The Beaver Dam Police Department is participating in a nationwide effort to crack down on drunk drivers. Deputy Chief Dan Schubert says the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign begins Friday and runs through Sept. 5. He says if you drive drunk, you are risking public humiliation, huge fines and possible jail time. The most devastating and tragic consequence, Schubert says, is causing a crash that kills or seriously injures you, your passengers or an innocent victim. He urges motorists to designate a driver and says if you’re feeling buzzed, you are probably over the point-oh-eight limit and should not drive. There were more than 40,000 convictions for drunken driving in Wisconsin last year; 220 people were killed and more than 3,500 injured in nearly 5,800 alcohol-related traffic crashes. Under a state law enacted last year, those convicted of first-offense OWI with a blood alcohol level of point-one-five (.15) or higher, and all repeat drunken drivers, are required to have an ignition interlock device on

every vehicle they own. The law also makes first offense OWI a criminal offense if there is a passenger under age 16 in the vehicle. Schubert says if you witness a driver on the road who you suspect is drunk, you should contact police immediately. The Dodge County Sheriffs Department is also part of the crackdown.

Fondy Police Looking For Imposters

8/19/11 – Fond du Lac Police are asking for the publics help to find three men who posed as police officers during an incident involving a 14-year-old girl two weeks ago. It happened near Portland and Sheboygan Streets the afternoon of Friday, August 5. The girl told police she was walking along the street when two black-colored vehicles pulled up and a white man got out of one of the vehicles and ordered her to lie on the ground. He said he was a police officer and was holding a handgun. The men talked amongst themselves saying “It’s not her” and told her to go home. They then got back into their vehicles and left. Police Captain Steve Klein says they are concerned because a handgun was displayed during the incident. He says anyone with information can call Detective Brian Bartelt at 906-6779 or 906-5555. Those wishing to remain anonymous can phone 322-3740 or 906-4777. For more info:

Petri Scheduled for Beaver Dam City Hall, WBEV

8/19/11 – Congressman Tom Petri will be holding office hours in Dodge County today (Fri). The Fond du Lac Republican will be at the Watertown Senior and Community Center from 10am to 11am. Later this afternoon, he will appear at Beaver Dam City Hall from 3pm to 4pm. In between, Petri will join us on WBEV’s Community Comment beginning at 12:35pm.

12,500 Jobs Lost In July

8/19/11 – Wisconsin lost 12-thousand-500 private sector jobs last month – and that more than wiped out the state’s huge gains from June. The state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate went up by two-tenths-of-a-point in July to seven-point-eight percent. State Workforce Development Secretary Scott Baumbach said Wisconsin was not immune to the current national economic slowdown. He said the federal debt ceiling debate, the fluctuations in the stock market, and the European debt crisis all caused a great deal of uncertainty. But Baumbach said Wisconsin’s manufacturing economy was still on an upswing, as it gained a seasonally-adjusted 15-thousand jobs so far this year. He said it was more than half the net private job gains of 29-thousand-400 in the last seven months. Various governments added an adjusted 43-hundred jobs in Wisconsin in July. DNR Now Enterprise Agency 8/19/11 – The Department of Natural Resources has become the first “enterprise agency” in the state government. Governor Scott Walker made the announcement Thursday. Enterprise agencies will operate more independently than other departments, with less oversight from administration officials. The D-N-R and the administration department signed a “memorandum of understanding” which stays in effect from now until the middle of 2013. It gives the D-N-R more power to manage its facilities and vehicle fleet – and it lets the agency improve its service to people and businesses. The D-N-R said it would reduce the amount of time needed to get state permits by five-percent, while still keeping the same air-and-water quality guarantees. It also promised better communication with the people it regulates – a 40-percent increase in direct customer service – and a new chain-of-commerce designed to make more consistent decisions throughout the state. The Wisconsin Builders’ Association said it endorsed the changes. Assembly Democrat Brett Hulsey of Madison, who used to be with the Sierra Club, sharply criticized the move. As he put it, “Every time someone wants to gut an agency, they come up with a new name.”