News – December 26, 2016

Sheriff Addresses Concerns Over Federal Program


12/26/16 – Dodge County’s top law enforcement officer is not concerned about losing revenues as federal power changes hands.  During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment program, Sheriff Dale Schmidt discussed the possibility that President-Elect Donald Trump’s intention to deport illegal immigrants could have a direct effect on the Dodge County Jail.  In recent years, the county has housed federal detainees in its jail through agreements with the Immigration Customs Enforcement and U.S. Marshals.  Schmidt says housing this program has allowed his office to operate the jail for roughly $1,000,000 per year, which he says is $3,000,000-$5,000,000 less than similar-sized jails typically operate.  In 2015, Schmidt says the program allowed him to return $60,000 in budgeted funds to the county and expects to give back a much larger sum at the end this year, as the budgeted 235 beds per night have consistently been exceed by 45-55 detainees in 2016.  Earlier this year, Schmidt budgeted 236 federal beds per night for 2017 and does not seem concerned that will be an issue.  Due to the strong relationship Schmidt says he has built with ICE, he expects Dodge County would be one of the top destinations they would send the reduced number of detainees.  Schmidt says he is discussing other options with county officials in case the potential deportations cause issues in future years, such as using additional space to house the county’s juvenile offenders, who are currently housed elsewhere in the state with taxpayer money.  According to the sheriff, the county is looking at the possibility of closing the ‘old’ jail and building an additional pod onto the current jail, for either federal detainees or troubled youth. 


Vehicle Sales Increasing After Rough Year 


12/26/16 – Local vehicle sales were up for the month of November but are still slightly down through the first eleven months of the year.  According to the Waterloo-based industry tracking firm RegTrak, there were 309 vehicles sold in Dodge County last month, a 19-percent increase from the 260 sold in November 2015.  The county’s year-to-date sales total was at 3,169, nearly a three-percent drop from the same time period last year.  Columbia County’s 234 sales last month were a 30-percent increase from the 180 sold the previous November.  Through the first eleven months of 2016, 2,286 vehicles were sold, a drop of seven-and-a-half percent from the year prior.  In Jefferson County, 236 vehicles rolled off the lot last month, nearly a 17-percent increase from November 2015.  Year-to-date sales were down nearly two-and-a-half percent to 2,486.  The nine-county south-central Wisconsin region had 3,833 vehicles sold last month, just shy of a nine-percent increase from last November.  Through the first eleven months of the year, there were 41,507 vehicle sales, a one-and-a-half percent drop from 2015.


Dodge County Snowmobile Trails Closed


12/26/16 – Outdoor enthusiasts got some bad news over the weekend.  Dodge County’s snowmobile trail and ATV trail along the Wild Goose State Trail both closed yesterday.  Warming temperatures and deteriorating conditions were cited for the closure.  Riders can monitor the trails by calling a 24-hour status line at 920-386-3705.


Local School Honored For Helping Military


12/26/16 – A local school has been recognized for its commitment to area veterans.  Moraine Park Technical College made Victory Media’s list of ‘military friendly schools’ for a seventh consecutive year.  Criteria for making the list include: efforts and success in recruiting and retaining military and veteran students and academic accreditations.  MPTC says it has numerous resources available for these students, including a Student Veterans Association club that provides information about educational opportunities and benefits available to them as they transition from military to collegiate life.  Last month, MPTC also learned it ranked eighth on Military Times’ 2017 Best for Vets: Career and Technical College list.  It’s second consecutive year on the list.  All this comes in a 2016-17 school year that Moraine Park designated as ‘Year of the Student Veteran.’


Cultural Event Returns To Dodge County


12/26/16 –   An event that highlights diversity in Dodge County is returning to Beaver Dam this winter.  Wayland Academy, which is home to high school students from around the world, is hosting a ‘Global Fair’ for a second straight year.  Wayland’s Karla Jensen says international students have booths to share information about their nation’s culture along with samples of their country’s cuisine.   Jensen says the fair is also open to any community members that want to have a booth to share about an international culture.  She believes this year’s theme of ‘Building a Better World’ will help unite the community at a cultural divisiveness.  The ‘Global Fair’ is scheduled for Saturday, February 18.  Registration is free, and Jensen says information is available on the Beaver Dam Community Library website.


Officials To Discuss Lake Michigan Pollution


12/26/16 – Wisconsin officials will argue that manufacturers along Lake Michigan shouldn’t be punished when pollutants which form ozone flow up the coast from other states.  Air-quality readings from counties along the lake’s western shore are so high they are going to violate tougher federal standards which go into effect next year.  That will likely bring a new round of federal pollution controls, leading to cleaner air, but hurting businesses.  Total air pollution has actually been declining for decades.


Beloit People Arrested In Fatal Shooting Incident


12/26/16 – Beloit police report the arrest of four people, including two juveniles, in a fatal shooting in Beloit Friday afternoon.  Nineteen-year-old Jodany Rodriguez is the only involved person who has been identified.  He and two 16-year-old boys are charged with felony murder and armed robbery.  Another 16-year-old boy died when he was shot in the head.  Police say the fourth person in custody showed up at Beloit Memorial Hospital with gunshot wounds to the face and leg.  He was arrested for violating his probation and drug possession.


Wisconsin Teen Appealing Carjacking Sentence


12/26/16 – He won his first appeal, now a Wisconsin teenager who shot a woman in the face during a carjacking is appealing again.  Grover Ferguson shot the woman last year, even though she wasn’t resisting and had put her car keys in the seat.  He was given a 50-year prison term, but the appeal knocked it down to 35.  Now, Ferguson is appealing again because the prosecutor had only asked for a 20-year sentence.  The original judge called the crime “flat-out evil,” but he is no longer on the bench.  The case is in federal court.


Man To Be Sentenced On Dog Park Stabbing


12/26/16 – When he is sentenced next March, a former Neillsville man could get up to 40 years in prison.  John Cook entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of second-degree intentional homicide in Jackson County Circuit Court last week.  Cook admitted he stabbed 30-year-old Jacinda Muir in a dog park in the town of Brockway last May.  The 25-year-old Cook said he stole methamphetamine from Muir, they used the drug, then argued.  He admitted stabbing the woman in the neck and torso.  Prosecutors dismissed 17 other charges, but they can be considered by the judge when determining Cook’s sentence.