News – February 22, 2016

Three Killed In Columbia County Rollover


2/22/16 – Three people were killed in a single vehicle rollover accident last night in Columbia County. Sheriff Dennis Richards says the crash was reported around 9pm Sunday on County Highway P at Whitetail Drive in the Town of Pacific, located approximately three miles south of Portage. The initial call reported that two people were trapped in the wrecked vehicle and were not responding to the caller talking to them. Rescue personnel on the scene discovered that four individuals were trapped in the 1998 Buick LeSabre.  The driver of the vehicle, an 18 year old female, died at the scene along with two other male passengers.  One male passenger was transported to UW Hospital via Medflight. The crash remains under investigation by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.


Eighth Snowmobile Death Reported This Weekend


2/22/16 – The eighth snowmobile death in Wisconsin this winter remains under investigation. Authorities say 17-year-old Joshua Pampuch of Chippewa Falls died Saturday, after his machine left a trail in the far northwest part of the state and hit several trees. Douglas County sheriff’s deputies say Pampuch was riding with a group near Poplar when the crash occurred. Deputies and the state D-N-R continue to investigate. The state’s snowmobile death toll is one fewer than the nine that occurred by this time last year.


Beaver Dam Girl Struck By Vehicle, Taken To Madison


2/22/16 – A Beaver Dam girl was transported to UW Hospital in Madison on Saturday after being struck by a car. Police Lt. Terrance Gebhardt tells us that the accident happened at 11:20am on the 200 block of Oneida. The 10-year-old girl was struck in the driveway of a home. She sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported by EMS to Beaver Dam Community Hospital before being taken to Madison.


Million Dollar Lottery Ticket Sold At Rechek’s Food Pride


2/22/16 – Brett Rechek says he first heard at church Sunday morning that someone purchased a million dollar PowerBall ticket from his store in Beaver Dam. He quickly called Rechek’s Food Pride and discovered that the in-store lottery device itself indicated that a winning ticket with a large cash prize was sold at his outlet. Rechek then received a call from lottery officials confirming the seven-digit prize. As of early Sunday evening the winner or winners have not been announced. Rechek says everyone keeps asking him if he is going to get a financial bonus for selling the winning ticket but he says there was no talk of that in his conversation with lottery officials on Sunday and he does not think that practice is still in place. When asked what he might do if there was a financial reward, Rechek said he would use it as seed money to bring back the “Grandpa Rechek’s Golf Benefit” that he used to run with his dad, who recently passed away. “I just feel privileged to be a part of this; I hope that somebody in Beaver Dam who needs the money and does good with it, wins it,” he says.  Rechek’s has been a lottery outlet for 20 years and while there have been other winning tickets sold, this has been the first one with a million dollar payout.


Horicon School District Exploring Energy-Efficiency Upgrades


2/22/16 – The Horicon School Board is exploring energy efficient opportunities within the district.  East coast technology company Lockheed Martin and Chippewa Falls-based service agency CESA Ten will team up to identify potential projects.  While the district hopes this will save taxpayers money in the long run, Horicon would use a state exemption to raise taxes in the next few years.  The first step is having the firms complete an audit.  Superintendent Gary Berger says the cost of the audit will be absorbed into any projects they complete.  If Horicon asks for the audit but does not do any of the identified projects, it will cost seven cents per square foot.  He says projects could include lighting, roofing, windows, and HVAC upgrades.  Berger says the goal is to keep the mill rate, which was $10.10 this year, relatively steady.  He says that could include up to $200,000 in projects each year.  The school board will discuss which parts of the two district buildings should be audited at a meeting tonight.  The audit could be done in spring with some projects getting underway this summer.


Hustisford School District Exploring Possible Referendum


2/22/16 – An advisory committee established by the Hustisford School Board is looking into the cost of specific projects that could be included in a November referendum.  There is no word on the referendum’s price tag. Superintendent Doug Keiser says a number of facility upgrades could be included such as constructing secure entrances in both buildings, making the bathrooms ADA compliant, undergoing energy efficiency projects, and replacing HVAC, electrical, and plumbing units that are original to the buildings.  Keiser says educational wants include adding classrooms in the elementary school, upgrading the district’s science labs, and making both libraries suited for 21st century learning.  Keiser expects the committee to make a recommendation on the specifics of the referendum in the next four to six weeks.  The district plans to mail out an interest survey to homeowners this spring.


Search Underway For New Columbus Senior Center Director


2/22/16 – The search for a new Columbus Senior Center director is in the final stages. When Lana Platz recently retired from an administrative position, Senior Center Director Cailin Lueders was chosen to fill the vacant city hall post. That led to a search for a new Columbus Area Senior Center Director. City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden says that the search and screening procedure for a new center director is well underway.  Candidate interviews for the director’s job are now in progress. The 36 year-old Columbus Area Senior Center next to City Hall is accredited by the Wisconsin Association of Senior Centers.


Walkers Security Team Gets Improperly Withheld Overtime


2/22/16 – Nine members of Governor Scott Walker’s security team have been paid 577-thousand dollars for overtime that the U-S Labor Department said was improperly withheld. The overtime covered a two-year period ending last May, when the Republican Walker was traveling heavily to get ready for a presidential bid that lasted only 71 days later in the year. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says State Patrol Sergeant Eric Dante received the biggest payment, of about 93-thousand dollars. Wisconsin governors normally get 24-hour protection no matter where they go — and the security team occasionally accompaines the governor’s family members, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefish, and visiting dignitaries. The overtime limits that the federal government rejected were first adopted in 2006 by former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle.


Wisconsin Senators Race Gaining Major Donors


2/22/16 – Wisconsin’s U-S Senate election is more than eight months away, but it’s already attracting some big-name donors. Former Vice-President Dan Quayle and Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson are among those giving to Republican incumbent Ron Johnson — while Democrat Russ Feingold has received checks from former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Walt Disney’s grandniece Abigail Disney, and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry. Businessman Richard Uihlein was the biggest donor in the final three months of last year, giving one-point-five million dollars to the conservative Restoration Political Action Committee. An Uihlein spokesman says about 700-thousand dollars of that will most likely be spent on the Johnson-Feingold race. It’s expected to be one of the top races in the country, as Democrats try to win back control of the chamber in November.


Nature Land To Be Sold Under Natural Resources Board Plan


2/22/16 – About 59-hundred acres of Wisconsin nature land would be sold, under a plan to be considered Wednesday by the state Natural Resources Board. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the newest land sales avoid controversy — because they do not include popular trout fishing spring-ponds in Langlade County, nor a lakeside land sale sought by businesswoman and Walker campaign donor Elizabeth Uihlein. Majority Republicans ordered the D-N-R to sell a total of ten-thousand acres of state land by the middle of next year, to help off-set rising costs in the Stewardship program which borrows millions to preserve natural-and-recreational sites. Twenty-three parcels up for approval on Wednesday would go to local governments and Indian tribes. Another 35 properties without public access would be sold to adjacent landowners, and 24 more parcels would go up for bids.


Bill To Protect Pets From Abuse Awaits Governor’s Signature


2/22/16 – A bill to protect pets involved in domestic abuse cases is among dozens of measures awaiting the governor’s signature. The measure introduced by Milwaukee Senate Democrat Tim Carpenter would let pets be protected for abuse victims, as part of restraining orders and injunctions issued by Wisconsin judges. Alleged abusers could be ordered not to hide, mistreat, or throw out a family dog or cat — and a person could legally be chosen to pick up the pet on the victim’s behalf. Tony Gibart of the group End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin says pet safety is often why victims stay in abusive relationships — and those pets are often a victim’s only family connection, since many abusers try to keep their victims away from couples’ friends and relatives.