News – December 12, 2020

(Juneau) With wintery conditions upon us, Dodge County drivers are urged to be cautious on the roads. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says motorists need to slow down when there is inclement weather, allowing enough time to safely arrive at their destination, not using cruise control in winter conditions and properly clearing windows of snow and ice. He also is reminding drivers that the law requires vehicles to stay 200 feet behind a snowplow.

(Horicon) A Beaver Dam man charged with Homicide by Intoxicated Use of a Vehicle was found competent to stand trial during a motion hearing yesterday (Friday). A Dodge County judge ordered a competency exam earlier this month for Dustin VanderGalien, who is facing 14 felony charges stemming from a multi-vehicle crash that killed a 22-year-old Orfordville man in July of 2019. The defendant told the court that he was competent and attorneys for both sides agreed with the findings of the doctor’s report. The 36-year-old allegedly had several mixed drinks prior to the crash. If convicted on all charges, VanderGalien faces up to 165 years in prison.

(Herman) A Beaver Dam man was placed on probation yesterday for burglarizing a residence in the town of Herman. Doty Broadnax will spend three years on probation after previously entering a no contest plea to a felony charge of Burglary as a Repeat Offender. The 56-year-old attempted to take a snowblower from the home on Highway 33 last September. Broadnax sped away when a relative of the property owner showed up. He was eventually arrested by authorities in Washington County. Numerous power tools and equipment from the property were found in his vehicle.

(Madison) An Air National Guard pilot killed in this week’s crash in the Upper Peninsula has been identified. The Madison-based 115th Fighter Wing identified 37-year-old Captain Durwood “Hawk” Jones of Albuquerque as the pilot killed in an overnight F-16 crash December 8. Jones joined the Air National Guard in 2011 and graduated from F-16 basic qualification training in 2015, according to a news release. The investigation into what caused the crash could take at least a year. Governor Tony Evers is ordering the flags of the United States and the state of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for Captain Jones beginning today and continuing through Friday. -WRN

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials are reporting 3,858 positive coronavirus cases in Friday’s daily update. There are 50,264 active cases in the state, a decrease of 1,995 from Thursday. The state reported 47 deaths bringing that total to 3,991. The CDC says 291-thousand people have died nationwide. Dodge County has experienced 87 deaths and has 904 active increases, an increase of 43 cases from Thursday. Washington County is reporting two more deaths, for a total of 86, along with 1,709 active cases. Fond du Lac County is reporting three deaths for a total of 59 and 1,130 active cases. The state says Jefferson County has seen 45 deaths and 581 active cases. Columbia County has experienced four deaths for a total of 19 and has 664 active cases. Green Lake County is reporting its ninth death with 99 cases reported in the last two weeks.

(Madison) Republican leaders in the Wisconsin Legislature accuse Governor Tony Evers of making too many unilateral decisions on the state’s response to COVID-19. Republicans say they want oversight of how Wisconsin spends federal pandemic relief money, and how vaccines are distributed in the coming months. That’s what Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and incoming Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu told Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce this week. Vos and LeMahieu say legislative oversight would create more transparency. -WRN

(Madison) A legislative hearing on Wisconsin’s presidential election yesterday included this testimony from Dean Knudson, a Republican appointee on the state Elections Commission. “There were no dumps of ballots during the night – none. There is no evidence of any fraud related to Dominion voting machines in Wisconsin – none. The counting in Wisconsin did not stop and restart. Election observers were allowed to be present throughout the election day and election night proceedings. The number of voters on our poll books match the number of ballots cast.” However, a second Republican appointee to the commission, Bob Spindel alleged fraud occurred because of large amounts of mail-in voting. Those invited to testify provided little actual evidence of fraud in the November vote. Also Friday, Governor Tony Evers announced that the state Electoral College members will meet Monday at noon in the Capitol to cast their votes for president and vice president. Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been certified as the winners in Wisconsin. -WRN

(Madison) A judge has dismissed a lawsuit aiming to overturn the election in Dane and Milwaukee Counties. That lawsuit was filed by Trump attorneys after their first attempt was dismissed by the State Supreme Court last week. Judge Stephen Simanek says there’s no evidence of fraud in the election, and that elections officials did not violate state laws or guidelines in handling absentee voting. That decision could be heading back to the State Supreme Court. -WRN

(Madison) The chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission says she has been threatened that a “crowd of patriots” will show up at her house.   Ann Jacobs says that’s just one of the threatening messages she has received through social media.  She adds her children have been mentioned.  Jacobs tells reporters photos of her home were posted on Twitter.  She says she has alerted her neighbors and police about the “constant threats.”  Election officials in Michigan and Georgia say they have received similar threats after repeatedly concluding there is no evidence suggesting voter fraud during the November presidential election. -WRN

(Madison) Faculty and staff at U-W Madison are looking at more unpaid days off next year. Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced a second round of furloughs that’ll run between January and June. How many unpaid days off depends on how much each employee makes. The higher the salary, the more unpaid time off. Blank says they need to make cuts in order to deal with a 320-million-dollar shortfall. -WRN

(Meanwhile) Ten U-W system schools are waiving application fees. But Madison, Eau Claire, and La Crosse are not; though they can waive fees for some students based on financial need. It usually costs 25-dollars to apply to a U-W System school. University leaders hope by dropping the fee, they can get more students to apply.  -WRN

(Juneau) UW Extension Dodge County is highlighting an upcoming webinar that will cover proper small farm animal diets. The Farm Ready Research Series discusses how to take an accurate forage sample, how to read a forage lab report and then allocate forages based on quality and stage of livestock production. The topic for the first webinar of the series is forage sampling and analysis and will be led by UW-Madison Shepard Todd Taylor along with several agricultural agents. The program does include time for producer questions and discussions. There is no charge to participate in the session but pre-registration is required to allow access to the webinar. The program will start at 7:30pm on December 16th.