News – December 3, 2016

Judge Denies Convicted Sex Offender’s Motion


12/3/16 – The search continues for suitable Dodge County housing for a convicted violent sex offender.  At a motion hearing yesterday, Judge Brian Pfitzinger denied a motion made by Jonathan Miller, who remains at Sandridge Secure Detention Facility in Mauston as all three attempted placements in the past year-and-half have failed.  In the motion made yesterday, Miller’s lawyer argued that Wisconsin Act 156, which was enacted in February and does not allow for the placement of a violent sex offender in any adjoining property within 1,500 feet of a child’s residence, was keeping his client from being released back into the community.  Dr. Stephen Kopetskie, who is the Court Assessment and Community Programs Director at Sandridge, says 232 houses have been assessed in the last six months.  He says 24 were seen as viable houses, and 15 were still available when the seller was contacted.  However, Kopetskie says none of those are options since none of the owners wanted to sell to the Department of Health Services.  Kopetskie says many other houses in the 232 would have been appropriate prior to Act 156, as state law previously only restricted properties within 1,500 feet of schools, parks, churches, or places children might commonly gather.  Pfitzinger denied the motion, stating the locations did not fail due to Act 156 but rather DHS’s in-house standards, which are in many ways similar to the provisions of Act 156.  For the time being, Miller will remain at Sandridge until suitable housing is found.  In a separate Chapter 980 sex offender case that has tracked with Miller’s, Robert Larson has a review hearing set for Tuesday.


Senator Johnson Attends Horicon Ribbon-Cutting


12/3/16 – A large Dodge County expansion project is complete.  John Deere Horicon Works held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday following its 388,000 square foot expansion, which cost $46,000,000.  Ground was broken in October 2015, and production began last week.  John Deere’s reason for expansion was to improve efficiency in its vehicle assembly process by condensing all the work into one location.  United States Senator Ron Johnson was one of the politicians on hand for the ceremony and spoke with WXRO about the widely discussed ‘skills gap’ and how it relates to manufacturing.  Johnson says that while there is a ‘skills gap’ to some degree, there is more so a ‘worker gap’ as many manufacturing jobs do not require a four-year degree but rather skills that are taught on the job that allow young workers to ascend their company’s ranks.  Factory Manager Steve Johnson says the expansion will add 80 full-time jobs to the Horicon plant, bringing the total north of 1,200 employees.


Break-In At Lomira Gas Station


12/3/16 – A Lomira gas station was robbed early this morning.  At 12:48 am, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from an employee at the Shell station on East Avenue.  The employee said the alarm sounded and when he got to the scene, found that the front glass doors were shattered.  Cigarettes, beef jerky, and Green Bay Packers clothing was taken, and the suspects were gone when police arrived.  The Dodge County Detective Division is investigating and asks anyone with information on the case to contact the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.


Wisconsin Recount Allowed To Continue


12/3/16 – The Wisconsin presidential recount will keep going, at least for now. Federal Judge James Peterson of Madison refused yesterday to immediately halt the statewide tally, after two special interest groups of Donald Trump supporters claimed the recount was unconstitutional. The judge says there’s no immediate harm to the Republican president elect or his supporters — so he’s letting the recount proceed for now, while both sides submit written arguments. The Great America and Stop Hillary political action committees claimed the two-day-old recount was unconstitutional because not all ballots are handled equally throughout the state — and there’s a risk the recount will not be finished in time for Wisconsin’s ten electoral votes for Trump to be counted by the Electoral College later this month. Green Party candidate Jill Stein sought the recount, and her campaign says citizens need to see the process completed to ensure the “integrity of the vote.”


Beaver Dam Ringing In Christmas Season Today


12/3/16 – A number of seasonal happenings are planned today (Saturday) in Beaver Dam. The Dodge County Historical Society is again holding their open house, inviting the public to revel in local history while enjoying hot cocoa from 1:30pm until 7pm. Music Entertainment will be provided by Bill Hill who will sing and play guitar music with a holiday theme. The Chamber of Commerce will be open from noon at 5:15pm offering free hot chocolate, coffee and cookies. Mayor Tom Kennedy will be lighting the Christmas Tree in front of the Chamber at 5:15pm. The 25th annual Holiday Parade gets underway at 5:30pm. The parade is organized by Downtown Beaver Dam Inc. and will be broadcast on AM1430 WBEV. The theme this year is “175 Years of Holiday Fun.” Also downtown businesses are participating in a storefront decorating contest, with the winner announced December 23 getting a traveling trophy.


Columbus School Officials Discuss Report Card


12/3/16 – Columbus School Board members received a detailed report on the recent Wisconsin DPI School report cards at this week’s meeting. Director of Curriculum & Instruction Becky Schmidt feels the system used to produce report card rankings between school communities does not tell the whole story. Columbus is one of 186 Wisconsin school districts that were classified as exceeding expectations, with a score of 77.6. Schmidt says the state uses four priority areas.  She says there is no changing the district’s commitment to developing its students. Anyone with questions on the district’s report card can contact a Columbus school administrator.


Milwaukee County To Audit Inmate Healthcare


12/3/16 – The Milwaukee County comptroller’s office says it will conduct an audit to determine if a contracted firm is giving proper medical care to jail inmates. Armor Correctional Health Services has provided care to Milwaukee County prisoners since 2013 — and new reports have raised concerns about Armor’s care in the wake of four inmate deaths in recent months. On Thursday, the Journal Sentinel quoted Chief Medical Examiner Brian Peterson as saying he was “threatened” and “verbally pummeled” by Sheriff David Clarke in late October for information the examiner’s office released about two of the jail deaths. Clarke was out campaigning heavily for President Elect Donald Trump at the time, and County Board member Supreme Moore Okomunde called on Clarke this week to resign for not doing his job. Clarke says Okomunde is just upset that the sheriff helped Trump win the White House.


Successful Year For WBEV/WXRO Food Drive


12/3/16 – Another successful year for the WBEV/WXRO Holiday Food Drive.  Yesterday’s event brought in $1,220 in cash donations plus a large amount of non-perishable food items.  All contributions will go directly to the Dodge County Food Pantry.  The drive was co-sponsored by Countryside GM Auto Group and Mischler’s Harley Davidson.


Fox Lake Marking Pearl Harbor Anniversary


12/3/16 – One community is holding an event to mark the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks.  Historian Jim Gibbons give a presentation today at the Fox Lake Public Library titled ‘Pearl Harbor: A Day That Will Live in Infamy.’  It will discuss the world conditions of the time that led to the Japanese attack on the United States’ naval base.  After the presentation, people have a chance to ask Gibbons questions.  The event begins at 1 pm and is free to the public.