News – December 23, 2016

Fox Lake Man Headed To Trial In Connection With Murder


12/23/16 – The Fox Lake man facing charges in connection with the murder of his girlfriend will proceed to trial.  36-year-old LaVerne Ware Jr. had a preliminary hearing yesterday on a felony charge of 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 will be arraigned on February 15.  Two others have been charged with aiding a felon in connection with Dixon’s death.  Ware’s mother Marjorie Jones will be arraigned February 8 while Jones’ boyfriend Vernon Mickey has a preliminary hearing January 19.  District Attorney Kurt Klomberg has indicated that additional felony charges could be filed in the case but none have been handed down at this time.


Columbia County Man Falls Through Ice On Lake


12/23/16 – An 82-year-old Lodi man was taken to the hospital yesterday after his truck broke through the ice on Lake Wisconsin.  The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Town of West Point lakeshore around 9 am.  The driver was able to get out of the vehicle and make his way to shore without suffering injuries.  For precautionary reasons due to the cold temperatures, the man was treated on scene by EMS and taken to Sauk Prairie Hospital.  His vehicle was removed from the lake.  The sheriff’s office encourages residents to be mindful of ice thickness before going onto frozen water.


Fundraising For Trail Segment Nearly Finished


12/23/16 – Fundraising for the first phase of a new walking and biking trail in Dodge County is in the home stretch. The Gold Star Memorial Trail, which would honor local fallen veterans, would initially extend from Mayville’s Theiler Park to the Horicon Marsh Visitor Center. Andrew Johnson is with the Friends of the Dodge County Parks’ Gold Star Memorial Trail Committee. Johnson says only $4,772 is needed to complete phase one, which has an estimated price-tag of $650-thousand dollars. Because there is currently a dollar-for-dollar matching grant being offered by the Bachhuber Foundation through years’ end, that means only another $2,386 needs to be raised by December 31. Johnson expects construction of the ten-foot wide paved trail to begin this summer.  He says attention will then shift to the trail’s second phase, which will incorporate Horicon by either running through the city’s railroad corridor or along Highway E.  Future segments would lead into the city of Beaver Dam.  Mailed donations need to be postmarked by December 31st to insure the match. Tax deductible donations can be made by check to: Friends of Dodge County Parks, Inc., c/o Gold Star Memorial Trail, P.O. Box 72, Juneau, WI  53039 or go online to: www.goldstarmemorial


Local Unemployment Rate Relatively Unchanged


12/23/16 – Both locally and statewide, the unemployment rate was fairly unchanged from October to November.  According to the state Department of Workforce Development, Dodge County had a 3.2% unemployment rate in November, which is up one-tenth from October but down six-tenths from last November.  Columbia County’s 3.1% last month was also up one-tenth from October but down five-tenths from November 2015.  In Jefferson County, last month’s 3.5% was the same as October but down two-tenths from last November.  Fond du Lac County posted the lowest area jobless rate last month at 2.9%, the same as October but five-tenths lower than November 2015.  Washington County’s 3.1% in November was unchanged from the month prior and down three-tenths from last November.  The area’s highest unemployment rate was again in Green Lake County, where last month 4.3% is up two-tenths from October but down seven-tenths from November 2015.  Dane and Lafayette counties tied for the state’s lowest jobless rate last month at 2.7% while Menominee County has the highest at 6.9%.  Statewide, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate of 3.6% was up one-tenth from October but eight-tenths below November’s national average of 4.4%.


Volunteers Needed For Elks’ Holiday Program


12/23/16 – A holiday event that feeds Dodge County families in need is back for another year.  The Beaver Dam Elks Club is holding its annual Christmas Basket Program tomorrow morning.  Elks members will get to the Beaver Dam Ford garage at W8356 Howard Drive early in the morning to unload food products.  Once that is done, the group needs volunteers to help distribute the food.  During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment program, Program Chairman Rob Radig said they need two types of volunteers.  The first group is needed to run the basket assembly line and is asked to arrive between 8-8:30 am.  The second wave of volunteers is tasked with driving the completed food baskets to their recipients.  Those people are asked to start showing up around 9 am.  Radig says the program typically serves 550 families and 2,500 individuals each year.  Each box is filled with a variety of holiday meal essentials.  Radig says all the deliveries should be made by late-morning and invites anyone who helps to join the Elks for lunch at St. Katherine Drexel’s Parish Center.


Large Numbers Expected To Hit Road For Holiday


12/23/16 – A four day weekend begins today for people whose employers normally close on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Triple “A” estimates that more than 2.1-million Wisconsin residents will travel at least 50 miles to a holiday destination between now and January 2. That’s up from 1.7-million during last year’s Christmas and New Year’s period — and the Triple “A” says it’s due to lower gas prices, an improved economy, and more consumer optimism. About 113-thousand Wisconsin residents plan to fly someplace for the holidays, while almost two-million hit the road — and that won’t be easy this weekend with a mix of snow, freezing drizzle, rain, and thunderstorms in the forecast through Sunday. Up to four inches of snow are possible in most of the state today.


State Funding For Juvenile Lockup In Doubt


12/23/16 – Governor Scott Walker now says he doubts that the state will help pay for a new juvenile prison in Milwaukee County. The Republican Walker recently said he was open to helping the county pay for a 36 bed facility to house offenders who would normally go to the state’s Lincoln Hills site which the federal government is investigating for alleged prisoner abuses and civil rights violations. But in his annual year end interviews with Capitol reporters, Walker questioned whether it’s feasible to make piecemeal changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. Reports say a Racine County judge tried telling Walker in 2012 about a youth offender who was sexually assaulted at Lincoln Hills — but the governor said he was never alerted to that, and he insists not knowing about the problems at Lincoln Hills until the state’s criminal probe began there almost two years ago.


Lawmaker Backs Off Student Drug Testing Bill


12/23/16 – A Republican state lawmaker is backing off plans for a bill that would require high school students who participate in extracurricular activities or park a vehicle on school property to undergo random drug tests. Representative Joel Kleefisch of Oconomowoc planned to introduce the idea, which came out of an anti-heroin task force he convened. Several Wisconsin school districts have already implemented similar policies. But Kleefisch’s call for mandatory statewide testing has gotten little support from Governor Scott Walker and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. Kleefisch said yesterday he now wants to write a bill that would allow parents to request schools drug test their children.


Justice Department Considering Wisconsin Jail Investigation


12/23/16 – The U-S Justice Department says it’s considering a congressional request to investigate the deaths of four people at the Milwaukee County Jail. With only four weeks left in office, Milwaukee House Democrat Gwen Moore wants federal agents to look into three inmate deaths in a recent six month period, and the stillborn death of a baby. Sheriff David Clarke says a federal investigation of the facility he operates would only be a political witch hunt and does not believe President Barack Obama’s people would rush through the probe before they walk out the door January 20. Clarke says the incoming Trump administration likely would not conduct the jail investigation.