News – December 15, 2016

Fire Destroys Town of Lowell Barn


12/15/16 – Fire completely destroyed a barn in the Town of Lowell last night. Reeseville Fire Chief David Snow says his department responded at 6:23pm to a farm at N3485 County Road K. The flames were detected by a passer-by who notified the property owner. Upon arrival, flames were visible inside the non-working barn. By the time crew’s set-up and tapped their water supply the structure was fully involved. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation but is believed to be related to a tractor, which was the only items inside the barn, or an extension cord connected to a tank heater that is used to warm the tractor. There were no injuries but Chief Snow notes that it was pretty cold last night. Ten departments assisted Reeseville along with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and the Dodge County Emergency Response Team. The scene was cleared after four hours.


Suspect In Murder Case Arrives Late To Court


12/15/16 – The Fox Lake man facing charges in connection with the murder of his girlfriend had a warrant issued for his arrest yesterday after arriving late to a review hearing. 36-year-old LaVerne Ware Jr. of Fox Lake is charged with Hiding a Corpse in connection with the December 4 death of his live-in girlfriend Sesalie Dixon. The 27-year-old Dixon was found in the cab of Ware’s pick-up truck inside a garage with a gunshot wound to the head. Ware posted a $200-thousand-dollar cash bond Monday and was released the following day. When Ware failed to appear in a timely fashion, prosecuting attorney James Sempf asked Judge Steven Bauer to issue the warrant and Bauer agreed. Ware arrived late to the 8:15am hearing and Dodge County Sheriff’s deputies held him in custody until a rescheduled 12:45pm hearing during which time the court reinstated his $200-thousand-dollar cash bond allowing him to remain free. Another review hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday and a judge will decide next Thursday if there is enough evidence to order a trial.


Judicial Candidates See Heroin Epidemic As Top Priority


12/15/16 – All three candidates for Dodge County’s Branch Two judicial seat this spring have a strong stance on the county’s opiate drug problem.  Incumbent Judge Martin De Vries of Randolph was appointed by Governor Scott Walker in July following Judge John Storck’s retirement.  De Vries practiced law in California for ten years and in Fond du Lac for 17 years.  De Vries believes Dodge County’s drug court is a step in the right direction for helping those battling addiction by holding them accountable but believes it takes a communal effort to bring these people back into everyday society.  Attorney Todd Snow of Waupun grew up in Ohio and spent 25 years in the armed forces.  Snow earned his law degree in Memphis and worked in the Tennessee Court of Appeals before moving to Wisconsin, where he has focused on a variety of topics, including impaired driving and civil litigation.  Snow supports treating addicts as he says they are not criminals but rather people who have resorted to crime to fuel their addiction.  Attorney Randy Doyle of Beaver Dam graduated from Marquette Law School and has practiced in Dodge County for over 14 years, covering a variety of matters including business law and civil litigation.  He believes there needs to be harsh punishments for drug dealers and programs for the addicts that can help get them to the point of being an asset to society.  The three-way race would force a February 21 primary ahead of the April 4 general election.


Off Road Motorcycles Allowed At Sauk Prairie Rec Area


12/15/16 – The state Natural Resources Board has voted to allow off road motorcycle riding and model rockets at a nature area, despite a lawsuit to ban those activities. The board voted 7-0 Wednesday for a master plan at the Sauk Prairie State Recreation area, on the site of the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant south of Baraboo. The D-N-R has spent several years working with various interests on the use of the three-thousand acre recreation site. A Madison high school rocket club says the activity helps them gain science and engineering skills — but the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance says it could threaten bird populations on the site, and the motorcycle riding could hurt native plants and cause too much. But the board approved the activities anyway, after a D-N-R attorney said the group’s lawsuit filed last week had no merit.


Wisconsin Property Taxes Decreasing


12/15/16 – Wisconsin home and business owners are getting their annual property tax bills this week that bear some good news, compared to the recent past. The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance cites census figures showing that state residents paid 10.8-percent of their incomes to state and local taxes in 2014, down by one-tenth-of-one-percent from the year before. That dropped Wisconsin’s state and local tax burden to the 16th highest in the nation, down from 15th the previous year. Meanwhile, Republican Governor Scott Walker says the average property tax bill would be $426 higher, if it wasn’t for the large tax cuts he and G-O-P lawmakers adopted since they took control of state government in 2011. Minority Democrats say the reductions are at the expense of public education. Walker says more funds will be devoted to public schools in the next two-year state budget he’ll submit to lawmakers in February.


Bill Written By Wisconsin Senator Signed Into Law


12/15/16 – A bill co-written by Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin that seeks to support young researchers has been signed into law. Baldwin and Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins co-authored the legislation. The goal of the Next Generation Researchers Act is to grow opportunities for young people in research, science and innovation. President Barack Obama signed the proposal into law on Tuesday. The act will establish an initiative within the National Institutes of Health to promote opportunities for new scientists. It also boosts the institutes’ loan repayment program for trainees from $35,000 per year to $50,000 per year.


Columbus School Board President Declares Non-Candidacy


12/15/16 – Columbus’s school board president will not return for another term.  Kevin White has declared non-candidacy for the April 4 election while board vice-president Cindy Damm is seeking another two years.  In Fall River, Warren Koenig’s seat is up for election in the spring.  No word on if Koenig will seek another three-year term.  Any candidate for these seats must submit a declaration of candidacy by January 3.  Columbus residents can file that paperwork at the district office inside the middle school building while candidates in Fall River can do so at the administration office.


Emergency Responders Looking To Help The Homeless


12/15/16 – A Fond du Lac program plans to distribute 150 sleeping bags to the homeless. During their normal shifts, firefighters and paramedics will pass out the sleeping bags out along with dental and personal hygiene products. Fire Chief Peter O’Leary says he borrowed the idea from a firefighter in Nashville, Tennessee who launched a similar effort. O’Leary knew corporate sponsors would jump on board the “Roll Out the Warmth” effort. He says the effort will give them the chance to prevent people from getting exposure to the cold and they are thrilled about that.  Agnesian HealthCare Foundation provided $2,500 of the $4,000 donated to buy the sleeping bags. The foundation’s Holly Brenner says the effort goes along with Agnesian’s mission. She says having the sleeping bags and hygiene kits and being able to have them available wherever they are needed and whenever they needed for the people who need them the most is extremely fulfilling to them.  All items being distributed were donated by local organizations and businesses.


BDACT Opening Night: A Christmas Carol Radio Play


12/15/16 – It’s opening night for the holiday radio play that the Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre is presenting in conjunction with WBEV-WXRO. This version of A Christmas Carol has been re-written for the stage from the original Dickens story by Playwright Phillip Grecian in an “old time radio” format. The show itself will include period wardrobes worn by a cast gathered around onstage microphones and old time sound effects performed live on stage.  Show time tonight, tomorrow and Saturday is 7pm with $10 tickets available at Rechek’s Food Pride, online at or – if still available – at the door of the theatre building on North Spring Street. Tonight’s show will be broadcast live on 95.3 WXRO with a rebroadcast Christmas Day at 1pm on AM1430 WBEV.