News – February 2, 2016

Storm Track Shifts North


2/2/16 – It appears that southwest Wisconsin, the state’s mid-section, and Lake Superior will get the brunt of the Groundhog Day snowstorm that’s moving in. The National Weather Service says the snow and strong winds will begin at mid-to-late morning in the western half of the state — and some places could get freezing rain late Tuesday before it snows again Wednesday. Eight-to-12 inches are predicted for southwest Wisconsin by the time it’s all over. Central areas and spots near Lake Superior can expect seven-to-eleven inches, the northwest could get from four-to-eleven inches, and the far south including the Dodge County area is only expecting two-to-five inches. The National Weather Service has downgraded Dodge, Fond du Lac and Columbia counties to Winter Weather Advisory from Winter Storm Warning, which remains in effect for counties north and east the our listening area; southeast Wisconsin may get around an inch.


Beaver Dam Liquor License In Limbo Following Investigation


2/2/16 – The Beaver Dam Administrative Committee Monday night rejected a request to extend the time allowed for a tavern to begin using a liquor license. The same committee in November approved a liquor license for Randy Stibb’s Half Court Sports Bar and Grille in the former Elks Lodge at 126 South Spring Street. Police Chief John Kreuziger last night recommended the license extension be denied because of a criminal investigation pending against Stibb related to the purchase of the bar by a vulnerable, at-risk adult. The chief says a judge has ordered a permanent restraining order between the at-risk adult and Stibb. As a result, the court ordered the bank not to release any funds until further order of the court. With last night’s rejection of the extension, Stibb will have to reapply for a liquor license.


Beaver Dam Committee Advances Borrowing Plan


2/2/16 – The Beaver Dam Operations Committee Monday night signed-off on the city’s five-year Capital Improvements Plan. The CIP, as it’s called, lays out infrastructure improvement needs, street repairs and major equipment purchases over the next five years while outlining a specific borrowing plan for the current year. The city has been acting under a council-adopted policy for several years that limits borrowing to no more than $1.6 million per year. The city has no complete road reconstruction planned for the next two years. This year’s CIP includes $275-thousand dollars for the reconstruction of the Third Street parking lot following the demolition of the former senior center and the construction of a state-DNR mandated water filtration pond; South University Avenue from Stone Street to the city limits will be pulverized and repaved at a cost of $110-thousand dollars; East Burnett from North University to McKinley Street will see mill and overlay at a cost of $300-thousand dollars. There is $130-thousand dollars slated for concrete street rehabilitation and $47-thousand for seal-coating. The $70-thousand dollars slated for a new boiler at the DPW grounds has been changed to fund a feasibility study for a new DPW facility along with temporary heating until a final decision is made. The CIP now heads to the Administrative Committee and then the full council for consideration.


Street Designs For North Spring Street Limit Left Turns


2/2/16 – The Beaver Dam Operations Committee Monday night approved the street designs for the 2018 reconstruction of North Spring Street. The project would run from Maple Avenue to Mackie Street. Among the notable changes, the elimination of left-hand turns into the Post Office and library. City officials are also working with the US Postal Service for a possible change of traffic flow through the facility. Other changes would be the addition of five-foot bike lanes on both sides of the new roadway and the complete elimination of parking from East Mackie to Third Street.


Beaver Dam Council Approves New Director Of Utilities


2/2/16 – The Beaver Dam Common Council Monday night promoted Utility Foreman Rob Minnema to the Director of Utilities.  Minnema was poised to take a management position in a nearby city when current Director Don Quarford announced his retirement last month. The position oversees water and wastewater along with the storm water utility.  The change is effective March 1.


BDUSD Holds First Referendum Informational Session


2/2/16 – A handful of folks were on hand to tour the Beaver Dam High School Monday night during an informational session meant to provide details and get feedback about a possible fall referendum.  The school board is considering the referendum to pay for building upgrades that were identified in a recent facility study.  Superintendent Steve Vessey says over $35-million worth of improvements could be made, including $11-million to $12-million to give the building a facelift and new paint and $7.7-million to bring the building up to speed mechanically.  Vessey says the school’s workshop area was built in 1976 and still resembles manufacturing from that era.  He says it is a far cry from the modern workspaces in professional manufacturing plants.  Vessey believes that is a major problem since a large number of the district’s graduates go into technology-based or manufacturing careers.  The next session is on March 7 at 6 pm in the high school cafeteria.  A referendum survey will go out to all area households in the spring, and the board will make a final decision on whether to hold a referendum in August.


Wisconsin Public School Grade Downgraded


2/2/16 – After further review, Wisconsin public schools did not score as high as originally reported by Education Week a month ago. The state’s original grade of “B”-minus was reduced to a “C”-plus Monday, due to a calculation error. No other state had its letter-grade changed. Wisconsin’s overall score dropped six-tenths of one-point to 79-point four, but that’s still the eleventh-highest in the nation — and it’s still well above the national score 74-point-four. Education Week evaluates state school systems each year according to their classroom performance, positive outcomes in students’ lives, and school financing.


Bankruptcy Filings Drop


2/2/16 – Wisconsin bankruptcy filings dropped to their lowest level in eight years in 2015. Economists say it’s due to the improving employment picture, and to tighter credit standards making it harder for consumers to get over their head in debt. Court records show there were 18-thousand-455 bankruptcy petitions filed in the state last year, down 11 percent from 2014. It was the first year since 2007 that Wisconsin recorded fewer than 20-thousand consumers and businesses declaring themselves insolvent.


Candidates Scramble To Succeed Ribble


2/2/16 – At least eight Republicans and one Democrat are interested in the northeast Wisconsin U-S House seat being vacated by Reid Ribble. The scramble began Monday, after Ribble said Saturday he would not seek a fourth two-year term this fall. State Assembly finance chairman John Nygren of Marinette says he’s weighing the impact on his family — and he didn’t think he’d have to make this decision for another two years, after Ribble promised to limit himself to four terms. Other Republican state lawmakers considering a congressional run are Senators Roger Roth and Frank Lasee, Representatives David Steffen, John Macco, and Andre Jacque, and former lawmaker and Brown County official Chad Weininger — plus former Assembly Democratic leader Tom Nelson, who’s now the Outagamie County executive. In Appleton Monday, Governor Scott Walker made a pitch for his former presidential campaign adviser Michael Gallagher.