News – December 12, 2016

Winter Storm Rolls Through Region


12/12/16 – Parts of southern Wisconsin got the brunt of the weekend’s big snowstorm in the Badger State, while central areas were not far behind. Beaver Dam reported five inches of accumulated snow while the National Weather Service says Elkhorn got the most in the state with nine-point-one inches late Saturday and most of Sunday. La Crosse, Janesville, Monroe, Delavan, Racine, and the Milwaukee area all had eight to nine inches. Sturgeon Bay had more than seven — and Wausau, Plover, and Westfield all had six to seven while in the north, Lac du Flambeau reported eight inches but most places in the Northwoods and far northwest Wisconsin only had about three to five inches after getting dumped late last week. Weather Service meteorologist Dave Schmidt calls the storm a “slap of reality” after November’s warm and relatively dry weather. This week is supposed to be anything but warm, as a cold front moves in tomorrow (Tuesday) and drops temperatures early Wednesday into single digits in the region and below zero in the north.


Fall Through Ice On Neosho Lake Unfounded


12/12/16 – Dodge County Sheriff’s officials say a report that someone fell through the ice on the Neosho Pond in the Village of Neosho Saturday night was incorrect. A search of the area where a hole was supposed to be turned up a patch of clear ice. The Neosho Fire Department learned the person had gotten off the ice safely and there were no signs that anyone else had been on the pond. The person who had been out on the ice was found later and was fine. Fire Departments from Iron Ridge, Hustisford, Hartford, and Woodland also assisted in the search. Neosho. Rubicon and Ashippun Police Departments were also dispatched to the scene.


BDPD Discusses Squad Camera Operations On WBEV


12/12/16 – The cameras in the Beaver Dam Police Department’s squad cars were working properly during this summer’s officer-related death.  That is according to Police Sergeant Craig Retzlaff who spoke about the matter on a recent edition of WBEV’s Community Comment program.  Retzlaff says the cameras are products of the Wisconsin-based technology company Baycom and are supposed to record audio and video from up to 800 feet away when in a clear, optimal setting.  During an August 5 incident at Beaver Dam’s Spring Lake Apartment complex, Sergeant Joseph Nicholas of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office returned fire and killed 59-year-old James Quealy, who expressed a desire to die that night by putting officers in a position where they had to shoot him to ensure public safety.  In a memorandum released last month where Nicholas’ actions were deemed proper, Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg expressed concern with the in-squad cameras, stating they stopped working before audio of gunshots, which occurred about two hours after officers responded to the scene, could be captured.  Klomberg said that audio could have served as additional evidence during the state’s investigation.  Sergeant Retzlaff was at the scene that night and says the recordings stopped working, even though the cars were roughly 50 feet from where the shots were fired, because the equipment is programmed to turn itself off one hour after the vehicle’s ignition is turned off to preserve battery and prevent the officer from being unable to start the car upon returning.  While law enforcement would like to have the recording, Retzlaff says returning to the car to reactivate the equipment was not in the best interest of officer safety.  Retzlaff says the department has no plans to change technology providers but rather tested the recording equipment in each car following the incident.  He says the department also had Baycom check the vehicles to verify all wiring was correct.  Retzlaff calls the way equipment is set up in the Beaver Dam squad cars ‘industry standard.’


Mannel Says There’s A Takeaway From Warehouse Fire


12/12/16 – Beaver Dam Fire Chief Alan Mannel says there is a lesson to be learned from this month’s tragic warehouse fire in California. The building called “Ghost Ship” was converted into an artist collective with unpermitted living space and was hosting an underground music concert at the time the blaze killed 36 people. At the city’s recent Police and Fire Commission, Mannel shared several early takeaways from the Oakland tragedy being discussed by those in the fire service. At the top of the list is the importance of taking care of the behavioral health of first responders of who take part in critical incidents. December is the anniversary of the 1942 Coconut Grove fire in Boston and the 1958 Our Lady of the Angels fire in Chicago and Mannel says those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Also, he says the number of dead would have likely been zero if the structure had a working sprinkler system. Community education especially involving area youth is another takeaway. Finally, Mannel says the reason his department strictly enforces building codes is because an incident like what happened in Oakland is not going to happen on his watch if he has anything to do about it.


Wisconsin Recount Winding Down


12/12/16 – State officials say Wisconsin’s presidential recount will finish today (Monday), one full week before the Electoral College registers the state’s ten votes for Republican Donald Trump. As of Friday, all but seven of the 72 counties were done. That does not include Dane County, which completed its tally on Saturday night in Madison. As of Friday, only about 150-thousand of the state’s nearly three million ballots had not been counted. There continued to be virtually no change from the election night tally, as 14-hundred votes were added to the statewide total and Democrat Hillary Clinton gained only 25 net votes on Republican Donald Trump — but that difference looks to be a little wider this (Monday) morning, as Clinton gained 172 votes while Trump stayed the same. Dane County was the largest to conduct its recount totally by hand. Trump lost eight votes in the recount conducted in Dodge County while Clinton and Green Party Candidate Jill Stein saw no change in their totals.


DNR: ‘Not Pushing Hard For Fee Hike’


12/12/16 – A D-N-R spokesman says his agency is not pushing hard to have lawmakers raise state park fees for the second time in two years. That’s after Democrats said the proposed increases for next year could be unaffordable for families, and naming rights would not be enough to keep the parks going without state tax support. In the current budget, Republicans ended state tax dollars for parks — and there was a corresponding increase of up to eleven dollars in admission and camping fees at the most popular locations — but the D-N-R still projects a one-point-four-million-dollar deficit per year in the current park budget, and Republicans want the agency to look for new revenue sources. The D-N-R says it’s not specifically advocating what it came up with — further increases of up to ten dollars in admission and camping fees, plus naming rights to park facilities, among other things. Governor Scott Walker will decide what to recommend to lawmakers when he submits his next budget in February.


Columbus Looking At New Waste Collection Provider


12/12/16 – The City of Columbus will have a new waste collection vendor in the New Year.  City officials are working on a contract with Columbia County Solid Waste Collection and are exploring the possibility of using automated resident-owned carts.  The goal is to keep the same weekly collection schedule the city currently has with Advanced Disposal.


Elks Christmas Basket Program Gearing Up


12/12/16 – Volunteers are needed for an annual holiday event.  The Beaver Dam Elks Lodge is once again holding its Christmas Basket Program, which provides a Christmas dinner to Dodge County families in-need.  On the morning of December 24, Event Chairman Rob Radig says roughly 550 baskets will be assembled in the Beaver Dam Ford garage and delivered to families throughout Dodge County.  During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment, Radig asked volunteers to show up between 8-8:30 am on Christmas Eve as the assembly line will start running around 8:45 am.  He says people are needed to both slide the boxes down the assembly line and pack the boxes.  Radig says each box is filled with meal essentials such as meat, potatoes, vegetables, and desserts.  Radig says the program typically serves 2,500 individuals each year.  While local law enforcement agencies and organizations deliver some of the baskets, Radig says drivers are needed to make deliveries in Beaver Dam.  He encourages those volunteers to arrive any time after 9 am.  Radig says all the deliveries should be made by late-morning and says anyone who helps can join the Elks for lunch at St. Katherine Drexel’s Parish Center.  Radig says monetary donations can also be made by visiting the Elks’ website,


Culvers Opens 600th Restaurant


12/12/16 – Right after a change at the top, the Wisconsin based Culver’s restaurant chain has opened its 600th U-S restaurant. The milestone was reached earlier this month when the frozen custard and burger chain based in Prairie du Sac opened eateries in Illinois, Arizona, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. The Milwaukee Business Journal says Culver’s will have opened 43 restaurants this year — and it’s planning to open 44 more in 2017. The chain recently named its top financial officer, Joseph Koss, as its C-E-O after previous leader Phil Keiser died in October.