News – January 24, 2009

Wind Chill Advisory

1/24/09 – A wind chill advisory remains in effect until 9am this morning for our listening area as the National Weather Service says “bitterly cold artic blast” has moved into southern Wisconsin. Wind chill readings are 10 to 20 below zero. As far as the actual temperature, we could get as high as four degrees above this afternoon, but the thermometer will drop to five below again tonight with a wind chill as low as 15 below zero. The good news, temperatures will gradually increase over the next seven days and by the end of the week, could be hovering around the freezing point.

Vaughn Not Returning To Dodgeland

1/24/09 – Ronald Vaughn will not be returning as Superintendent of the Dodgeland School District. School Board President Jeff Caine has issued a press release stating that Vaughn has (quote) “requested an administrative leave of absence for career exploration and educational sabbatical that will end June 30.” That is the day his 2-year contract with the district officially ends and is now also the date his resignation will be effective. Caine is not saying why Vaughn is leaving, but there have been several closed session meetings with agendas that stated the board was discussing allegations of “harassment.” The release states that Vaughn “will make himself reasonable available” to Interim Administrator Al Rosenthal, who is “currently running the district.” Caine says they will be looking for Vaughn’s replacement “immediately.” The board will meet again Monday at which time they will decide what further action needs to be taken regarding day-to-day activities and the search for a new superintendent. Rosenthal, who is currently overseeing the districts day-to-day operations, is a partner with Fox River Consultants and has previously served as an interim Superintendent while his firm was involved in the process of hiring Dodgeland’s last two superintendents.

Citizens Group To Meet On Referendum

1/24/09 – Members of a group trying to save Fox Lake and Alto Elementary Schools from being closed were disappointed to find out the Waupun Area School Board will vote on their closing even if a referendum passes. Kim Derleth is a former Beaver Dam High School principal and a member of the group. She says the School Board already has a vote scheduled for a special meeting on Monday, February 23rd. She says there are other alternatives to consider like moving the 8th graders into the Waupun High School, filling the Middle School and closing Jefferson and Washington Elementary Schools. She says that would still preserve the neighborhood school concept. The group will meet Monday night at Fox Lake City Hall at 6:30 p.m. She says anyone from the Waupun School District interested in discussing alternatives to closing Fox Lake and Alto Elementary Schools is welcome to attend.

Referendum Not Likely in Horicon

1/24/09 – The Superintendent of the Horicon School District says given the current state of the economy, it would be a difficult time to go to referendum. The district is looking at a $600,000 deficit next year. Superintendent Gary Berger says he’s not sure if the community is ready, willing or able to support a referendum at this time. Berger says when it comes to curriculum offerings that should be continued or added, a referendum would be the logical approach but realistically the district needs to look at whether the community can afford to some it. Proposed cuts would primarily target staff, resulting in an increase in class size from the current 16 to 18 students to as much as 26 to 28 students per class.

Red Kettle Campaign Sees Green

1/24/09 – In spite of a weakening economy, the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign in Beaver Dam had a successful year. The Noon Kiwanis Club of Beaver Dam coordinated the effort. The groups Karl Nienhuis says the “ringing of the bells” raised $30,230, which was about $2000 more

than last year. There were a total of 436 volunteer hours dedicated to this year’s bell ringing with volunteers bringing in an average of $69.34 per hour. All of the money raised goes to the Salvation Army. Eighty-six percent (86%) goes directly to those in need in Dodge County.

Alleged Deer Killers Waive Prelim

1/24/09 – A lawyer for one of the defendants says his client understands he did something wrong — and says it’s likely the case won’t go to trial. Two brothers accused of running down and killing four deer with snowmobiles waived their right to preliminary hearings yesterday. A fifth deer was hurt so bad it had to be put down. Rory and Robby Kuenzi face charges of mistreatment of animals resulting in death. A third defendant in the case, Nicholas Hermes, has a court appearance scheduled next week. The three defendants are from Weyauwega.

Unemployment Calls Up

1/24/09 – More phone duty for employees of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The slumping economy has increased the numbers of people trying to file for unemployment benefits. State workers say they are overwhelmed as they try to deal with all the calls. Last week alone more than a quarter-million calls were taken at the state’s two centers in Madison and Milwaukee. One caller says she finally gave up after trying to get through for more than an hour. Federal funding will pay for an additional 83 temporary workers. That means the people assigned to the phone banks still would average more than a thousand calls a week to deal with.

Doyle Distances Himself From Blagojevich

1/24/09 – A spokesman for Governor Doyle says he has no comment about remarks from Rod Blagojevich. The Illinois governor brought up Doyle’s name as one who could be a good witness in his defense. The Illinois Senate impeachment trial for Blagojevich will start next Monday in Springfield. Blagojevich said he had worked closely with Doyle and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. The spokesman for Doyle said Wisconsin’s governor has no connection to what’s happening in Illinois, so he has nothing to say.

Wolter To Dole Out Stimulus Cash

1/24/09 – Governor Jim Doyle names the chairman of Madison Gas and Electric Company to head a new state office handling economic stimulus money coming from Washington. Doyle says he expects Gary Wolter to step aside any time there is a potential conflict of interest. Much of the federal stimulus money is coming to Wisconsin for energy projects. Doyle says the new state office will focus on being quick and efficient in distributing the money coming from Washington. About 15 state employees will be assigned to work in the office. Anywhere from two and a half to four billions dollars in economic aid is said to be headed for the Badgers state. Wolter will be assisted by Alan Fisch, a vice chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dane County Board Member Injured by Drunk Driver

1/24/09 – Dane County Board member Shelia Stubbs says she has never been in so much pain before in her life. Stubbs was released from a Madison hospital yesterday wearing a neck brace. She was treated for injuries after a drunken driver slammed into the back of her vehicle. Stubbs says she hopes the incident will bring new attention to recent efforts to crack down on drunken driving. She was hit while stopped at a red light January 15. At the moment it happened, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk was in a meeting with the governor, pitching several ideas to make Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws tougher. Stubbs represents Madison’s south side.