News – December 24, 2011

White Christmas Unlikely

12/24/11 – Northern Wisconsin is likely to have a White Christmas after all. Up to an inch of snow was expected in the region yesterday and it could stay around through Christmas, because temperatures are not expected to get above freezing. But it’s a different story in southern Wisconsin, where highs are supposed to get close to 40 both today and tomorrow. Another storm system could bring a little more snow to the north on Christmas. But the south is supposed to stay dry-and-brown. The National Weather Service defines a White Christmas as having at least an inch of snow on the ground that day. Due to the temperatures expected in our area today it’s unlikely we’ll have any snow on the ground tomorrow. Milwaukee has had a White Christmas 48-percent of the time in the last 118 years, but it won’t have one this year. Madison does not get protected by Lake Michigan, and therefore it snows more often – at least on Christmas. The Weather Service said Wisconsin’s capital has had a White Christmas 69-percent of the time – but not this time. The farther north you go, the more likely a Christmas will be white. Wausau has only had five Brown Christmases since 1931.

Elks Lodge Food Basket Program Hits 60th Year

12/24/11 – The Beaver Dam Elks Lodge is gearing up for their annual Christmas Food Basket Program. For 60 years, the service organization has been helping families throughout Dodge County put a little extra food on the table over the holiday. Organizer Rob Radig says over 520 baskets will be packed-up by an all-volunteer assembly line and sent out by all-volunteer drivers. Packing of the food baskets will begin around 8am SATURDAY morning with assistance from the Beaver Dam High School Wrestling team and local Boy Scouts. It’s too late to receive a basket but Radig says the public is encouraged to line-up at Beaver Dam Ford on North Spring Street around 9am to help deliver baskets. Radig says the delivery process should take a couple hours. After the workshop is closed and the sleighs are empty, volunteers are invited over to the Beaver Dam Elks Lodge at 126 South Spring Street for a free lunch. For more information visit:

St. Katharine Drexel Warns of Overcrowding

12/24/11 – Officials at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Beaver Dam are asking members to be aware of the different opportunities to observe mass over the next two days for Christmas. Judy Johnson says the closure of St. Patrick’s Church has them concerned about possible overcrowding at the more popular times for mass. Beaver Dam fire codes say the church capacity is 812 people and Johnson says once the church is filled people will be turned away. Times for mass: December 24th 4pm, 5:30pm, 7pm, 11pm. December 25th 9:30am.

Randolph Church Serving Christmas Dinner

12/24/11 – The First Reformed Church of Randolph is hosting a Christmas dinner on Sunday for anyone in need of a meal. Organizer Rita Hookstead says this the 3rd year they’ll be doing the event and last year they served more than 50-meals. The meals will be served from 11a-3p tomorrow in the church basement. However, Hookstead says if you can’t make it to the church they can deliver it to you. If you want it delivered Hookstead asks that you call her at (920) 344-0573.

Local Woman Plays Large Role in Decorating Tree in the Governor’s Mansion

12/24/11 – A Randolph-area woman played a large role in decorating a tree in the Governor’s Mansion in Madison. Linda Hughes provided nearly 200 of the ornaments on the Soldier’s Tree in the governor’s mansion. One-hundred and seventy ornaments on the Blue Spruce represent the servicemen and women who died while fighting in the Middle East and five represent the soldiers who died on American soil as a result of injuries sustained overseas. The ornaments will be sent to the Gold Star families bearing their loved ones name after the holiday. Hughes cousin was killed overseas in 2005. Because she has been an advocate for troops over the years, she was contacted by Governor Jim Doyle’s office to contribute seven years ago, and each year her

contribution has gotten bigger. Hughes tells us that she’s already had a vision for next year’s Soldier’s Tree at the Governor’s Mansion.

WEAC Hoping Barrett Doesn’t Run for Governor

12/24/11 – Leaders of the state’s largest teachers’ union met this week with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and urged him not to run in a possible recall election against Governor Scott Walker. Barrett has not given an indication that he would run anyway, saying he’s focusing on his re-election bid for mayor. But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said WEAC union leaders do not believe they convinced Barrett to definitely stay on the sidelines. The Democrat Barrett lost to the Republican Walker 52-to-47 percent in last year’s gubernatorial contest. Milwaukee’s City Hall was closed today, and Barrett was not immediately available for comment. The Journal Sentinel also said WEAC is trying to clear the way for former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk to run against Walker. The paper cited a union memo stating that Falk and former U-S House Democrat David Obey of Wausau have as good of a chance as Barrett of unseating the governor.

Tax Collections Up in MKE Baseball District

12/24/11 – There’s another sign today of how much wider Wisconsinites are opening their wallets. Sales tax receipts for the Milwaukee baseball stadium district went up seven-point-eight percent in 2011, compared to a year ago. People in Milwaukee and four surrounding counties pay a one-tenth of one-percent sales tax for the financing of Miller Park. And the stadium district received 26-million-dollars in sales tax contributions – one-point-two percent more than the Stadium Board had budgeted. The contributions reflect sales taxes paid by consumers through October. Depending on how the economy goes, the district expects the sales tax to end between 2016 and 2018 when all the bonding is paid off.

Woman Gets Prison Time for Defrauding State Program

12/24/11 – A woman from Elkhorn will spend two and a half years in prison for defrauding the Wisconsin Shares program. Angela Stott will be on probation for five years after she gets out. Stott held the license for Little Angel Academy. It was one of dozens of day care centers suspended from the subsidy program, for receiving payments for children who rarely attended – or never showed up at all. Stott was convicted last month on two counts of theft by false representation. She has to repay 355 thousand dollars to the state.

Cuts Coming for State Agencies

12/24/11 – Wisconsin state agencies have been ordered to make 123 million dollars in spending reductions without layoffs, if at all possible. Taking another direct hit is the University of Wisconsin System, which has been told to trim another 46 million dollars over six months. That’s on top of a previously announced quarter-billion dollar reduction over the two-year budget cycle. Governor Scott Walker’s Department of Administration released specifics of the plan yesterday. The Legislature budget committee is expected to hold a hearing next month to make sure core state services are not affected. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca says the cuts disproportionately target higher education.

Suspects Sought in Oxy Robbery Spree

12/24/11 – Milwaukee County authorities are looking for two teenagers wanted in connection with an oxycodone robbery spree. Two more teens are already in custody. Police say the four started last Wednesday night by robbing a Walgreens. They told the pharmacist on duty they were armed and they made off with an unknown quantity of the drug. They then tried to rob four more Walgreens stores, but a security confronted them at the location at 27th and Layton. One boy was arrested there, with the second taken into custody yesterday morning. Two are still at large.