News – February 17, 2016

Primary Election Results


2/17/16 – Area voters Tuesday narrowed the field of candidates for Watertown mayor and a Mayville-area seat on the Dodge County Board. Longtime County Board Supervisor Howard Kriewald did not seek re-election. The top two vote getters for his District Nine seat were Stephanie Justmann and Douglas Schulz; James Qualmann fell five votes short of Schulz. In Watertown, incumbent mayor John David will appear on the April ballot alongside Jordan Turner who beat out James Romlein.


State Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley will run against JoAnne Kloppenburg in the April fifth general election. Both won Tuesday’s primary, as Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Joe Donald was eliminated with 16-percent of almost 250-thousand votes cast. Bradley, who was appointed to the post by Governor Scott Walker last fall, led the way with 52-percent. Appeals Judge Kloppenburg, who lost a recount for a Supreme Court seat in 2011, will try again after finishing second in the primary with 32-percent. Kloppenburg says Bradley has a “partisan background,” and she plans to point out Bradley’s connections to the Republican Walker — while Bradley denies partisanship and vows to maintain her philosophy of “saying what the law is” and not what she may “wish it to be.”


Wisconsin school voters were generous Tuesday, as they approved building projects in all three districts with referenda. In Slinger, 62-percent said yes to borrowing 32-million dollars for classroom renovations and other upgrades throughout the district — and 52-percent approved another ten-million for a new auditorium and athletic facilities at Slinger High School. In New Glarus, 79-percent approved six-million dollars for classroom improvements and security measures — and in Oostburg, 52-percent voted to borrow almost ten-million dollars for a new elementary school wing and related remodeling. In Rhinelander, 68-percent of voters agreed to keep school programs going by raising taxes an extra five-million dollars for each of the next three years. State revenue-cap exemptions were also approved in the Jefferson and Northland Pines districts.


Committee Advances Plans For New Beaver Dam Business Park


2/17/16 – Two-and-a-half years after it was completed, Beaver Dam’s newest business park is looking at three potential occupants, major infrastructure work and a new Tax Increment Finance district. The city’s Community Development Committee last night advanced a concept plan to the full council that allows for the drafting of developer agreements with WDS Construction, Vintage Parts and Barnett Companies – all existing industries in the city looking to expand into the 151 Business Park on the northwest side of town. MSA Professional Services was tabbed to begin the process of creating TIF #7 bordering the new business park, which is currently part of the much larger TIF #4 that is due to expire in three years. Finally, the committee is recommending that millions of dollars in infrastructure – like roads and sanitary sewer – be installed, paid for with projected income from the dollars generated by the new TIF. Beaver Dam Area Development Corporation Vice President Trent Campbell told the committee last night that prudent planning allowed the city to wait patiently to install infrastructure once companies express interest. Campbell says allows for maximum flexibility with available parcels while minimizing duplicate infrastructure work.


As far as incentives, each company is being offered the parcels for one dollar. The largest purchaser is Barnett Companies, which is expected to add $9.25-million to the tax base and will get ten-percent of that back in incentives – estimated at $925-thousand dollars but capped at $1-million dollars. Barnett plans to construct a 118-thousand square-foot facility on 23-acres for a refrigerated, cold-storage facility. Vintage Auto Parts is looking to expand onto 12-acres, building a 124-thousand square foot structure valued at $4.2-million dollars. WDS Construction had planned on moving into the business park off Corporate Drive but the committee last night allowed WDS to instead acquire seven acres in the new park for a 28-thousand square foot corporate headquarters with an estimated value of $4-million dollars. Campbell says the tax increment that is projected to be created – around $8-million dollars – will pay for the infrastructure and incentives several times over. The full common council is expected to address all of the matters at their March 7 meeting. The hope is to have infrastructure in place by September so the companies can begin construction.


Beaver Dam Council President Discusses New Statewide Position


2/17/16 – The president of the Beaver Dam Common Council does not expect his new role as head of the state Department of Corrections to impact his responsibilities with the city. Jon Litscher – who represents Beaver Dam’s Eleventh Ward – was named Friday as the head of the agency that oversees Wisconsin’s prison system, a position he retired from a decade ago. He says the reality is that many of his colleagues in municipal government hold full-time jobs and contribute to the city and “certainly for the rest of this term I can do that also.” Litscher is replacing Ed Wall, who was placed on administrative leave after alleged abuses came to light at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys. Litscher says that will certainly be the top agenda item on day one but that is not the only item. In addition to the young men and women and juvenile facilities, he says that corrections also encompasses all the adult institutions along with probation and parole which are “key elements to having a safe and secure state.” Litscher says his goal is to assist the type of activity that builds a better type of opportunity for the offender once they are released and specifically for youth to provide the education and skills to be a productive citizen. Governor Scott Walker has said that he would not rule out shutting down the youth prison near Irma.  Litscher says it would be premature for him to make a judgement. He says it may be worth looking at clustered homes throughout the state though he notes that not every county has such resources. Litscher says the bottom line is that the state needs to have the best possible environment for the youth at Lincoln Hills, if Lincoln Hills exists adding “that is the goal, they are in our care and we have to do a better job with that. Litscher begins his new statewide assignment on February 29.


Hustisford Woman Killed In Brown Deer Crash


2/17/16 – Brown Deer Police have identified the Hustisford woman killed in a two-vehicle accident Saturday night. 25-year-old Lauren Unertl was driving in Brown Deer when an SUV went through a red light and struck her vehicle. She was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene. Her passenger, 31-year-old Edgar Barbosa of Hustisford, suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital. The 25-year-old Milwaukee man driving the SUV may have been impaired. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.


Fitzgerald Double-Dipping Bill Passes Through Senate


2/17/16 – Wisconsin Senate Republicans have pushed a bill through the upper house that would ban county executives from serving as state legislators at the same time. G-O-P Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald admits his bill is aimed at Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, who’s running for the Senate as a Democrat this fall. Green Bay Republican Rob Cowles joined all Democrats in voting against the measure — which Fitzgerald says would prevent politicians from getting two large paychecks while opponents called the bill a political slap at Democrats. The measure now goes to the Assembly. The Senate also sent bills to Governor Scott Walker that would end the state’s moratorium on new nuclear power plants — and allow landlords to evict tenants for criminal activity even if they’re not arrested for it.


Fox Lake Brothers Suspected Of Madison Walmart Scam


2/17/16 – A pair of brothers are suspected of pocketing thrown-out receipts at a Madison Wal-Mart, and attempting to get return cash for goods on those receipts. Madison police say 25-year-old Jesse V. Farber and 28-year-old Dylan Farber, of Fox Lake, claim that they drove some 60 miles Monday night from Fox Lake to the Watts Road Wal-Mart in Madison to use the bathroom. Wal-Mart employees told police the Farbers are known at various Wal-Marts in Wisconsin because they are believed to snatch receipts tossed into trash cans or dumpsters outside stores by legitimate customers. The Farbers then come into stores, find merchandise that matches those on the receipts and “return” the items for cash. At about nine Monday night, the brothers tried to bring items up to the return counter, and staff called police, according to the report. Police said Jesse Farber had seven Wal-Mart receipts in his wallet and 18 more were seized from the van the brothers had used for the road trip.


Dodge County Fair Acts Discussed


2/17/16 – The Dodge County Fair Association recently discussed the entertainment line-up for this year at its annual meeting. Only one act has been formally announced: Montgomery Gentry on opening night Wednesday, August 17. The other acts discussed at the meeting include newcomer Granger Smith who will be bringing his redneck alter-ego Earl Dibbles Jr. to the grandstand stage on Thursday. Brett Michaels of the 80’s hair band Poison will perform on Friday. Canaan Smith will close out the musical entertainment on Saturday night. Association President Doug Ninmann says a formal announcement is expected in coming weeks.  Cost of entry is unchanged from last year with the concert free with gate admission at $7 before 2pm or $10 after 2pm.