News – December 8, 2020

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board’s Executive Committee yesterday (Monday) discussed the possibility of terminating the COVID-19 emergency declaration. In March, the County Board adopted the resolution that streamlines the process to acquire state aid and allows supervisors to attend meetings virtually. While Supervisor Jeff Schmitt wants to end the declaration noting that the board has (quote) “not skipped a beat,” Supervisor Dan Hilbert cited concerns for board members who have health conditions. A supervisor would have to bring a termination resolution up for discussion at the next executive committee meeting if they want to end the declaration. If it advances, the county board would then take it up for a vote.

(Dodge County) Reported cases of COVD-19 in Wisconsin continue to decline following a November peak. However the state’s weekly average of new deaths remains high. The state Department of Health Services reported 94 COVID-19 related deaths over the weekend including 77 on Saturday, when the state hit its all-time high seven-day average of daily deaths at 60. Sunday’s seven-day average of daily deaths was just under that. There have been 3,738 deaths attributed to the virus with 19 reported yesterday (Monday). Dodge County has experienced 83 deaths and has 975 active cases.

(Dodge County) A Dodge County prison has seen a large increase in coronavirus cases following on-site testing by the Wisconsin National Guard. According to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Fox Lake Correctional jumped from 461 positive cases among inmates to 906 over the last week. There are currently 479 active cases. The state guard collected nearly 800 specimens at the facility on November 30th. Dodge Correctional has 88 active cases, Waupun Correctional has one while John C. Burke is currently at 14.

(Wisconsin) State health officials are working to contract out additional staff to help give COVID vaccines. Department of Health Services deputy secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk says they assessing their health care systems who has capacity to be vaccinating their own. She says they have been encouraged by how man can do so and are assessing were additional workforce is necessary. DHS is also working with the National Guard. -WRN

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council was supposed to start discussions last month on the relocation of the city’s Department of Public Works Facilities but some new properties on the market could change the scope of the project. Mayor Becky Glewen told the council last (Monday) night that the process is currently in limbo because the city engineering department is looking at the former Nancy’s Notion’s warehouse. Another update is expected in “the next couple meetings.” The DPW relocation was identified in a facilities study a decade ago to help preserve expensive equipment and address safety issues.

(Calamus) A Waupun man charged with running from Dodge County deputies made his initial appearance in court yesterday (Monday). Timothy Savannah was reportedly pulled over for speeding through a construction zone in August on Highway 151. The deputy allegedly smelt a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and noticed that Savannah had bloodshot eyes. When asked to step out, the 28-year-old reportedly sped away. The pursuit was called off after two miles. Cash bond was set at $1,000 and preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 14th.

(Wisconsin) California attorney John Pierce says he had planned to step aside in the Kyle Rittenhouse case all along. Pierce announced late last week he is leaving the defense team for accused Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. Pierce says his goal was to raise enough money to bail the 17-year-old out of jail and establish a criminal defense team based in Wisconsin. Rittenhouse is free on a $2-million-dollar bond. The Illinois teenager is charged with six felonies, including intentional homicide and reckless homicide. Pierce says he is confident the defense will prove Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. Rittenhouse is expected to enter a plea of not guilty during his next court appearance in January. -WRN

(Wisconsin) Trump campaign attorneys have filed a new motion seeking to toss out ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. The votes targeted include in-person absentee ballots, incomplete ballots, ballots cast by people who identified themselves as “indefinitely confined” and ballots submitted at Madison’s Democracy in the Park events. The lawsuit is on appeal after the state Supreme Court refused to hear it and directed it to the district court in Milwaukee, where a hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. -WRN

(Madison) Wisconsin may have a 373-million dollar budget shortfall to cover over the next two years.  The Wisconsin Policy Forum calculated the projection, which did not take into account Medicaid costs and new spending requests from state agencies.  This shortfall could be the biggest the state has had to cover since 2011.