News – January 1, 2016

Beaver Dam’s 175th Takes Center Stage In 2016


1/1/16 – Beaver Dam will observe the175th anniversary of its founding in 2016 and a years-worth of activities are planned. Parades and picnics are in the works. Many of the happenings will be held in conjunction with longstanding events like Cabin Fever Fest and Lake Days while others are designed specifically for the occasion like a time capsule dedication and historic bus tours. In November, there will be a presentation of Town Hall Tonight. Local historian Roger Noll explains that Town Hall Tonight originated as a book by Beaver Dam-native Harlow Randall Hoyt that detailed the city’s downtown concert hall in the late 1800’s. The theatre is located above what is now the Gergen Law Offices. The book is still used in university curriculum to study that time period. Hoyt went on to have a prolific career as a critic, columnist, dramatist, cartoonist, playwright and even a magician. Noll says his life has inspired many works, three works in particular will be used as the basis for this falls presentation of Town Hall Tonight. One is a 500-page doctoral thesis on the life of Hoyt; another is a one-man show about Hoyt and a third is a Wisconsin Public Broadcasting musical production of Town Hall Tonight. Writer and Director Annette Kamps with the Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre is going to use writings as a basis for putting together the communities own version of Town Hall Tonight, which will be on the stage of the theatre in November. Meanwhile, events celebrating Beaver Dam’s 175th anniversary take center stage at this month’s Cabin Fever Fest at Crystal Lake Park. The two-day evening on January 30 and 31 includes a polar plunge, ice sculpting, poetry contest, ice skating, sledding and their annual snow ball drop for cash.


Columbus Park Pavilion Renovations Planned In 2016


1/1/16 – Work on the city-owned pavilion in Columbus’ Fireman’s Park could start as early as February. Historic Land Preservation Commission President Carolyn Fredericks says that now that the city council has approved the modernization project, Design Coalition will proceed with construction plans as soon as possible. The pavilion project will include construction of a new elevator and new ADA accessible bathrooms. Fredericks says that the cost of the $300-thousand dollar pavilion upgrade is being paid for entirely by donations. Planners are trying to complete the work by the fall.


State Park Fee Hike Takes Effect Today


1/1/16 – It’s going to cost more to get into Wisconsin state parks in the New Year. State budget provisions raising park admission and trail fees go into effect today (January first). Wisconsin residents will have to pay 28 dollars for an annual park pass, up from 25 dollars, and eight dollars for daily admission, up from seven dollars. Annual trail passes will increase from 10 dollars to 25 dollars, and daily trail passes will go from four dollars to five dollars.


29K+ Request Federal Avery Investigation


1/1/16 – Almost 20-thousand requests have been made for the federal government to either investigate the Wisconsin murder convictions of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey — or have President Obama pardon the pair. Three petitions have cropped up on the White House website, after Netflix unveiled the ten-part documentary “Making a Murderer” on December 18th. Avery and his nephew Dassey were both sent to prison for killing Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County in 2005. Avery maintains his innocence, and Dassey had claimed he was coerced into confessing — but Sheriff Robert Hermann says the documentary does not have all the facts. Each of the three petitions must have at least 100-thousand signatures by late January in order for the White House to consider them.


Text Message Records Status To Be Determined


1/1/16 – The board that oversees public records will review its decision to redefine transitory records next week. The Public Records Board plans to discuss the vote at a meeting January 11th in Madison. The board voted in August to include texts and other messages deemed to have only temporary value as transitory records. Such records are deemed to be of such temporary usefulness that they don’t need to be retained for any specific period. Governor Scott Walker’s administration has used the changes to deny requests for texts and records of visits to the governor’s mansion. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council filed a complaint last month saying the board didn’t provide sufficient notice of the content of the August meeting and members didn’t record motions on roll call votes.


New Year’s Holiday Effecting Garbage Pickup Schedule


1/1/16 – City of Beaver Dam residents who receive contracted solid waste collection services will be able to place Christmas trees and boughs street-side for collection by city crews beginning next Monday (January 4). Trees and boughs must be free of ornaments, lights and stands so they can be chipped. Crews will continue to pick-up trees through Friday, January 29. Wreaths and boughs containing roping or wire may also be placed in the Advanced Disposal non-recyclable cart for collection as garbage. City residents can also dispose of Christmas trees and boughs at the Public Works Garage Yard Waste Drop off Site on South Center Street, Monday through Friday. No wreaths or boughs containing roping will be accepted at the Drop-off Site. Also, no waste of any kind is accepted from outside of the City or from any contractors.


World’s Largest Ice Sculpture Attempt In Superior


1/1/16 – Roger Hanson is trying again to create the world’s largest ice sculpture in Superior. Last winter, he built a tower at Barker’s Island that was 60-feet tall before it collapsed. This year, he’s adding a second spray tower with the goal of building a European-style ice castle that’s 75-feet tall and 90-feet wide. Hanson — who’s from Big Lake, Minnesota — says people don’t realize all the technology and engineering work that goes into such a project. He uses a command center with six cameras to keep an eye on things, and materials that can make repairs if necessary.