News – January 11, 2016

Schmidt On Heroin: ‘Personal Responsibility and Enablers’


1/11/16 – The Dodge County Sheriff’s Department is trying to increase personal accountability in combating the county’s opiate drug problem.  In his monthly column, Sheriff Dale Schmidt discusses responsibility and enablers.  Schmidt often sees drug users trying to deflect blame onto others, even when caught red-handed.  He says they also often lie to loved ones to get money to support their habit.  Schmidt defines anyone who makes excuses for a drug addict or finances the habit as an ‘enabler.’  In a recent case, Schmidt says a female heroin addict stole from numerous family members to support her habit.  She took money, firearms, children’s toys, and vehicles.  The vehicles, which she claimed she was borrowing, were scrapped for roughly $300 each.  Many of the other items were tracked down at area pawn shops.  Schmidt encourages people to not only do a self-reflection but also determine whether any loved ones meet the definition of an enabler or does not take responsibility for their actions.


Freezing Temperatures Grip Badger State


1/11/16 – All of Wisconsin has dropped below zero Monday morning, as the Badger State endures its first cold spell of the winter. It was seven-below in Beaver Dam at 6am and 22-below up north in Cumberland. Much of the state has relatively light winds, but breezes of up to 15-miles-an-hour dropped Appleton’s wind-chill to minus-28. Wind chill advisories remain in effect from until mid-morning through noon in most of the northern half of Wisconsin. The National Weather Service says another blast of Arctic air is due in tonight, and wind chills could be a problem into Wednesday.


Livestock Perish In Town of Herman Barn Fire


1/11/16 – Fire destroyed a barn in the Town of Herman late Saturday night. Eleven fire departments battled the blaze at the Dale Twardokus residence at N5952 Pierce Road. No one was injured, but a number of livestock died from smoke inhalation. When Dodge County Sheriff’s deputies arrived the Iron Ridge Fire Department was already on the scene and the barn was fully engulfed. The Iron Ridge Fire Department will be investigating the cause and origin of the fire. The fire was reported at 10:03pm.


BD School Board To Vote On Music Program Changes


1/11/16 – The Beaver Dam School Board plans to vote on proposed changes to the district’s music program at its meeting tonight.  Last month, Band Directors Russ Diggins and Rich Zeman proposed delaying music participation until middle school, thus cutting elementary band and orchestra.  The department heads say off-site teaching at the high school is among the factors driving down elementary participation numbers.  The school board meets at 6:30 pm at the Educational Service Center on McKinley Street.


Final Planning Underway For 2017 Columbus Street Project


1/11/16 – Final planning for the multi-million dollar city of Columbus James Street reconstruction project is underway. In preparation for issuing the construction bids on the major east-west artery in the city, completion of the final legal paperwork is being completed. The first months of 2016 will be spent completing acquisitions and easements needed to renovate Highways 16 and 60 through the city. A public meeting is being planned alerting area residents as to what will be happening during the 2017 project. Final city and DOT plans and specifications are scheduled to be finished this spring and the bids will be let in the fall of this year.


Walker To Detail College Affordability Plan


1/11/16 – Governor Scott Walker will announce a proposal to make college more affordable for Wisconsin students. The Republican governor is scheduled to lay out his plans during appearances this (Monday) afternoon at Waukesha County Technical College and U-W La Crosse. We don’t know yet what Walker has in mind. State lawmakers have introduced bills in the current session to make more scholarship funds available and help graduates refinance student debt that’s been skyrocketing in recent years. Whatever Walker proposes may have to speed through the Legislature in order to pass, since the G-O-P Assembly leadership has talked about wrapping up its business for the year in February.


Mining Project Draws Mixed Opinions


1/11/16 – A proposed mining project in Upper Michigan would affect northeast Wisconsin. Officials recently held a public hearing that drew split opinions about a plan by Aquila Resources to open a gold, silver, copper, and zinc mine just north of the Wisconsin-U-P border north of Marinette. The firm commissioned a study by the University of Minnesota-Duluth which found that Marinette County would share in the estimated 13-hundred-30 construction jobs, 450 permanent jobs, and 20-million dollars in annual tax revenues. But the River Alliance of Wisconsin says wastewater from the mine could pollute the Menominee River on the state border, and hurt a project at the mouth of the river that seeks to put more sturgeon in Lake Michigan. Aquila says it needs to get up to 300-million dollars for the mine, and construction could start in 2019-or-2020 if it’s approved.


Lawmakers Look At Arts Expansion


1/11/16 – Lawmakers of both parties are getting behind a second effort to expand the arts as a way of boosting Wisconsin’s economy. A renewed bill would provide state funds to cover up to one-third of the cost of downtown development projects, public art, workspace for artists, art education, and related infra-structure. State grants would be limited to 40-thousand dollars per project, and outside funds would have to cover at least twice the amounts of each grant. Arts Wisconsin director Anne Katz says the bill would encourage a “creative economy” aimed at improving the state’s quality-of-life — and she says it has a better chance this session than last. Senate Republican Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls introduced it, and eight of its 23 total sponsors are from the G-O-P majority.


BDAAA Offering First Aid Fridays


1/11/16 – A new bi-monthly course is available for people dealing with emotional issues.  The Beaver Dam Area Arts Association is offering ‘First Aid Friday’ on the second and fourth Friday of each month, which intends to provide emotional first aid through art making.  Executive Director Jessalyn Braun says the meetings are not like a support group but rather can help a wide variety of people including those dealing with stress, grief, illness, or emotional wellness issues.  She says the classes focus on making things rather than talking.    Braun says the sessions offer both group activities and individual projects in a variety of fields such as drawing, painting, and sculpting.  Each class runs from 9 am to 10:30 am.  Cost is $5 for one session or $25 for a package of six classes.  More information is available at


Powerball Up To $1.3-Billion


1/11/16 – The Powerball jackpot is now at a world-record one-point-three billion dollars for Wednesday night. Wisconsin, which normally has around eight-thousand winners in a normal drawing, had 290-thousand tickets win something on Saturday. Nine of those won the third-prize of 50-thousand dollars — and they were sold in West Allis, Oshkosh, Burlington, Cedar Grove, Plymouth, Dane, Sparta, Menomonie, and Hudson. The jackpot is by far the highest since the odds of winning it grew last fall from one-in-171-million to one-in-292-million. Kelly Cripe of the Texas Lottery says three-fourths of all possible winning combinations were chosen by players in Saturday’s drawing — and he expects 80-percent of all combinations to be picked for Wednesday.