News – January 6, 2009

Gas Prices Going Back Up

1/6/09 – Gas prices are on their way back up in Wisconsin. The statewide average of a gallon of regular unleaded is a $1.85 today, up 16-cents over the past week. In Beaver Dam and Horicon it’s at $1.86, while Oconomowoc is at $1.94. The cheapest price is a $1.64 in Amery. High price is a $2.04 in Eagle River. Rising prices aren’t confined to our region. Nationwide the average price is up more than 6-cents in the past week to $1.68. Though prices are rising again they have a ways to go to match where we were a year ago. According to, the average price a year ago in the state was $3.10.

Fire Department Responds to Gas Leak

1/6/09 – The Beaver Dam Fire Department was called out to a report of a gas leak this morning. The Dodge County Sheriff’s Department says the call came in around 1:15 this morning that there was a gas leak at Walters Gas on Highway 151 in the Town of Beaver Dam. After arriving they determined a valve was leaking. A keyholder for the building was contacted to fix the valve.

Waupun District Administrator to Discuss Referendum

1/6/09 – Waupun School District Administrator Randy Refsland is planning to make a number of public appearances to get the word out about the 3 referendum question that will appear on resident’s ballots during the February primary election. That will include a stop at the Fox Lake City Council Meeting January 14th. The three questions on the ballot will ask taxpayers to allow the district to exceed the revenue cap for three years by a total of nearly $5-million. If the questions do not pass it’s possible that a number of schools in the district could be forced to close.

Wehner in Court

1/6/09 – A Horicon teen is charged with leading authorities on a high speed chase. Authorities say Jonathan Wehner, who turns 17-years-old tomorrow, reached speeds of 120 miles per hour on Highway 151 in a pursuit that began in Beaver Dam and ended in Columbus with deputies calling off the chase. Two hours later, his girlfriend was located in the vehicle – borrowed from a friend of a friend – and she directed officers to Wehner. He had a signature bond set at $1000.

Operations Committee Forwards Ordinance Change

1/6/09 – The Beaver Dam Operations Committee met briefly last night. An agenda item to consider the job description for a working DPW foreman position was removed so that the city labor attorney can hammer-out union-related issues. The committee did unanimously approve an ordinance change that would require developers to plant trees in new subdivisions and business parks.

State DOT to Review ’08 Traffic Fatalities

1/6/09 – State transportation officials will take a closer look at last year’s traffic deaths, to find out why they were at their lowest since World War Two. State Patrol superintendent David Collins wants to find out the exact roles that things like seat-belt usage and drunk driving played. Wisconsin had a 20-percent drop in traffic deaths last year – 589, way down from 737 the previous year. It’s been said that high gas prices, heavy snows, and the economy all kept travel down. Collins says the D-O-T does not have an exact correlation between those factors and the number of fatalities. But he hopes it signals a trend that will continue. The news wasn’t as good in Dodge County. The 20 fatalities in 2008 were six more than the previous year.

Wisconsin Stimulus Package?

1/6/09 – The Wisconsin Senate’s majority leader says the state should have its own economic stimulus package. Democrat Russ Decker made that comment yesterday, as lawmakers opened their new two-year session. Decker says a state stimulus package would use Wisconsin’s share of federal funds aimed at putting people to work by building roads, bridges, and other infra-structure. Decker also said lawmakers could get millions more, by stopping companies from sheltering their Wisconsin income in out-of-state subsidiaries where they pay little-or-no income taxes. Democratic Governor Jim Doyle has opposed that measure, fearing it might cause firms to cut jobs or leave the state in a time of recession. In any event, Decker says a state stimulus package would quote, “let Wisconsin companies hire Wisconsin workers at family-supporting jobs.” The details are still being worked out.

Wisconsin Farmers Bracing for Dairy Decline

1/6/09 – Dairy markets have been tumbling for the last couple weeks – but it will be at least another month before Wisconsin farmers feel the brunt of it. According to the latest projections, Wisconsin producers will get an average of 17-dollars and 10-cents for every hundred-pounds of milk they made in December. That’s down 70-cents from November. That may sound bad, but officials say the decline could be as much as five-dollars over the next two months. For now, Wisconsin’s December is about 1.20 higher than the national average for the 23 major dairy states. The national price of 15.90 was down 1.20 from November. California farmers will have the lowest milk prices in the nation for December at 13.50, down 1.65 from the previous month.

Columbus Candidates for Spring Election

1/6/09 – Today is the final day for Columbus candidates to turn in their papers for the spring elections and residents are going to have some choices to make this year. There are races shaping up for both Common Council and School Board seats.

Incumbent Mayor Nancy Osterhaus will face challenges from two former Columbus Mayors and one former Council Member. Former Mayors Peter Kaland (Kay’-land) and Art Westergaard Jr. have registered to run against Osterhaus. Former Council Member Bob Link has also filled out his papers for the Mayor’s office.

Incumbent 1st District Alderman Roger Sneath is the only Common Council person running unopposed. 2nd District incumbent Darrell Augustine will be facing a challenge from former Council Member and Mayor Dave Bomkamp. Incumbent 3rd District Alderperson Bill Bruns will be challenged by Ray Lawler.

Three seats on the Columbus School Board are up for election this spring…seats currently held by Mary Carpenter, Don Nelson and Jim Shieble. However, both Carpenter and Shieble filed their notices of non-candidacy. At the closing of the District Office yesterday afternoon, four persons have filed candidacy papers. William Braun, Pamela Larson, incumbent Don Nelson and Sally A. Owen have filed candidacy papers for a seat on the Columbus School District Board.

AP Releases First High School Basketball Polls

1/6/09 – There are a number of local high school basketball teams in the just released associated press poll. In boy’s basketball Wisconsin Lutheran leads Division 2 at 8-0, while Waupun and Maple Northwestern are tied for third. In Division 4, the Randolph boys are first, followed by Wisconsin Rapids Assumption and Benton. In the A-P Girls poll, Columbus is ranked 2nd in Division 2 behind Monroe. Both teams are 8-0. Pewaukee is third.