News – December 4, 2016

Local Unemployment Rates Stay Level


12/4/16 – Unemployment rates both locally and statewide stayed fairly level from September to October.  According to the state Department of Workforce development, October jobless filings in Dodge County were 3.1%, the same as September but four-tenths less than October 2015.  In Columbia County, the 3% unemployment rate was one-tenth higher than September but three-tenths lower than the last October.  Fond du Lac County’s 2.9% in October was the same as the month prior and two-tenths below October 2015.  The October unemployment rate in Jefferson County was 3.5%, one-tenth higher than both September and the same month last year.  Washington County’s 3.1% is up one-tenth from September while Green Lake County’s 4.1% in October jumped six-tenths from the month prior.  Lafayette County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in October at 2.6% while Menominee County was the highest at 6.4%.  Wisconsin’s statewide rate of 3.5% was the same as September but down eight-tenths from October 2015.


Traffic Deaths Up In November, 2016


12/4/16 – Traffic deaths in Wisconsin were up for both the month of November and the year-to-date.  According to the state Department of Transportation, 62 people were killed on Wisconsin roads last month, 13 more than November 2015 and 14 above the five-year average.  Five traffic fatalities occurred during this year’s five-day Thanksgiving period, one more than last year.  Through November, 550 people died on Wisconsin roads, 33 more than the first 11 months of 2015.  Included in that are 80 motorcyclists, six motorcycle passengers, 45 pedestrians, and 11 bicyclists.  In Dodge County, there have been 11 traffic fatalities in 2016, the same number as all of last year.  Columbia County has had 21 road deaths.  Fond du Lac and Washington counties have both had 10 traffic fatalities while Jefferson County has seen seven and Green Lake County has had one.


Wisconsin’s Homeless Population Decreases


12/4/16 – The number of homeless people in Wisconsin has dropped by six percent during the past year. That’s according to the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development, which says the state rate had more than twice the decline of the national numbers that were taken on one night in January. HUD says almost 5,700 state residents were listed as homeless this year — including 2,800 who have children, 415 veterans, and 276 who were chronically homeless. A HUD spokeswoman says Wisconsin had a 62% drop in chronic homelessness since 2010 — and a ten-percent overall drop during that time. The government says the Wisconsin figures show that its national goals are closer to be met — including the end of homeless veterans by last year, an end to chronic homelessness by next year, and ending it for families and children by 2020.


Bank Profits Dropping In Badger State


12/4/16 – Wisconsin bank profits fell by an average of 11% from January through September, compared to the same period the year before. The F-D-I-C says the Badger State’s 227 banks earned a total of 811,000,000 in the first nine months of 2016 — $100,000,000 less than at the same time last year. One reason is that banks added money to the reserves that cover their loan defaults, as reserves grew from $48,000,000 last year to $132,000,000 so far this year. The F-D-I-C says Wisconsin had $48,000,000 in shaky farm loans — and Associated Bank of Green Bay more than tripled its loan loss reserves as low oil prices have affected its loans to energy companies. Still, state Bankers Association C-E-O Rose Oswald Poels says the health of the banking industry remains strong, and lending is up among community banks.


Dodge County Toy Bank Collecting Donations


12/4/16 – Donations are still being accepted for this year’s Dodge County Toy Bank effort.  The toy bank is in its 51st year of serving local families with the goal of providing all area children with a Christmas gift.  Shirley Kitchen, who is with the toy bank, says the program started in 1965 where it served less than 100 children.  Over the years, the program has expanded greatly and is now coordinated by a committee.  Since the toy bank does not accept names without an endorsement, families in need can be recommended for the program by select area organizations, such as Dodge County Human Services, Community Action Council, Clothes for Kids, PAVE, or St. Vincent de Paul.  Once the family is accepted into the program, Kitchen says they are typically assigned to someone who has volunteered to purchase gifts for their children, based on what the kids requested.  After all of the kids’ wishes are filled, extra toys are set out for parents to select for their children on the day of the ‘shopping experience,’ which is the day all of the toys are taken homeWhile the nomination period has closed, the toy bank is still looking for donations through mid-week.  Toys can be dropped off in barrels throughout Beaver Dam.  Those are stationed at the three American National Bank locations, Amerigas, Cherry Berry, Gene’s Tires, Key West Tanning Salon, National Exchange Bank, and Shopko.  There are also bins at the Edward Jones in Juneau and Invaenergy in Brownsville.  Cash donations can be dropped off in Beaver Dam at American National Bank or Piggly Wiggly.  The toy bank expects to serve roughly 500 families and 1,300 kids this year.


Banquet Approaching To Honor Chamber Winners


12/4/16 – The Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce proudly will again be honoring a Non-Profit, Citizens and Business of the Year at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner in January. Green Valley Enterprises is a local nonprofit that helps individuals with special needs, and their families, achieve maximum potential and independence through an array of services.  The organization has been in Beaver Dam for over 40 years in Beaver Dam, but has served a clientele from far beyond the city.  Citizen of the Year Bev Beal-Loeck has been an active volunteer in the Beaver Dam community for decades.  She is currently serving on the Board of Education and has served on the boards and as a volunteer for organizations including the YMCA of Dodge County, the Beaver Dam Scholarship Board, Downtown Beaver Dam, Inc., American Cancer Society Relay for Life – Beaver Dam, Kiwanis Club, Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce and Church Health Services, where she is employed.  Fritsche says Northwood Paper Converting is a homegrown success story with over 180 employees in two locations, the other being in Pennsylvania. The company has been in business since 1999, providing high quality sheeting and slitting/rewinding services for paper mills, merchants, and printers. The company has been recognized for excellence in its industry and as a Wisconsin company, including receiving the Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award in 2009.  All three will be recognized at the chamber’s Annual Dinner, which will be held on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at the Beaver Dam Country Club.


BDCH Program Earns Top Rating


12/4/16 – A local care provider has been given top billing.  Beaver Dam Community Hospital’s Hillside Home Care has a five-star rating for patient satisfaction, which hospital officials say is the highest score of any area provider.  Home Care Compare, which uses Medicare’s quality metrics says Hillside Home Care has a four-star rating for quality.


Mayor Kennedy To Hold Listening Session


12/4/16 – Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy has his regular listening sessions scheduled on Tuesday. Kennedy opens his door for city residents to meet with him, one-on-one, without appointment on the first and third Tuesday of every month. The listening sessions are held in Room 158 on the first floor of City Hall from 10am until noon and again from 5pm to 6pm.  Kennedy also makes himself available for private meetings by appointment by contacting the mayor office.  He says it is important that constituents have the opportunity to speak with him the day after each regular meeting of the common council, which is typically held on the first and third Monday’s of the month. On the council agenda tomorrow night: an ordinance eliminating parking on a portion of Fourth Street.  The Beaver Dam Common Council meets at 8pm at the Municipal Building.