News – July 31, 2020

(Madison) Governor Tony Evers has issued a statewide mask mandate to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. The Democratic Governor has issued a new public health emergency, along with the mandate for people to wear a mask. It could put him at odds with Republican legislators who have argued masks should be optional. Effective Saturday, people age five and up are required to wear a face covering when inside or an enclosed space, other than a private residence, and around those who are not members of their household. Evers recommends masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible. -WRN

(Madison) Republican legislative leaders are not keen on Governor Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he is gauging the interest in his caucus, to possibly vote down the order, and that the Legislature, which has not met for weeks, should be reconvening for just that. The Juneau Republican added (quote) “good luck enforcing this without local support.” -WRN

(Juneau) The Dodge County Sheriff is telling the public not to call his office to report violations of the governor’s new indoor mask mandate, though his staff is being told to comply. Sheriff Dale Schmidt notes that the order does grant exemptions to the mask mandate for medical reasons and because the governor asks that the public not assume a person’s health situation when encountering someone without a mask, he says enforcement is difficult. Because of that, the sheriff says his deputies will not be responding to or investigating mask violations.

(Beaver Dam) Marshfield Medical Center – Beaver Dam say they strongly support the governor’s mask mandate. In a press release, hospital officials say face coverings such as cloth masks and surgical facemasks are proven steps to decrease exposure to COVID-19. The facility says they thank Evers for his actions to protect the health and safety of communities and that they stand with public health officials in their educational efforts around basic and essential measures.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials reported 1059 positive coronavirus cases in Thursday’s daily update, which is 6.1-percent of the 16,200 tests announced. There are 9,852 active cases in the state, up 148 from Wednesday. There were eight deaths reported by state health officials, for a total 919. Jefferson County now has a fifth death. Dodge County has five deaths on record and 642 cases, an increase of eight from Wednesday. Public health officials in Dodge County are actively monitoring 78 cases.

(Trenton) Cash bond was set at $50,000 yesterday (Thursday) for a Madison man charged with running from Dodge County deputies. Equon Hopkins was apparently released from Dodge Correctional less than an hour before sparking the pursuit down Highway 151, onto County G into Lowell. The 40-year-old crashed into several trees and was apprehended near his vehicle after attempting to run. It all started when authorities were alerted to a domestic incident after witnesses allegedly saw a woman exit his vehicle on the highway. A preliminary hearing is scheduled next week.

(Beaver Dam) A Beaver Dam woman accused of assaulting a minor was ordered yesterday (Thursday) to spend 15 years on conditional release.  Earlier this month, the court found Jennifer Schmidt not guilty by reason of mental defect on a count of Repeated Child Sexual Assault. That means the 50-year-old is guilty of committing the crime but cannot appreciate the wrongfulness of her actions and is unable to conform her behavior to the law. Schmidt had inappropriate contact with a teen on multiple occasions last spring.

(Beaver Dam) In an effort to crack down on vandalism, the Beaver Dam Rotary is working to install cameras and WiFi year-round at Swan Park for their Christmas Light Display. The Rotary is investing $10-thousand-dollar while Interquest would cover all maintenance free for five years. Once installed, the city would purchase the system for one dollar. Some alderpersons expressed concerns with privacy, questioning the checks and balances in place to keep law enforcement and Rotarians from accessing the footage. Sheriff Dale Schmidt, a Rotarian, says the video would only be accessed in the event of criminal activity or when the club wants to make sure the lights are working. The motion advanced out of committee with two dissenting votes and will be considered by the full common council on Monday.

(Juneau) Today is the deadline to pay your second installment property tax bill and if you waited this long, you should plan on paying it online, over-the-phone or in-person. Dodge County Deputy Treasurer Brenda Wenzel there are additional fees to pay online or by phone. Citizens can use the Payment Dropbox located inside the Administration Building, 127 East Oak Street in Juneau, on the first floor by the information counter. Wenzel notes that currently all entrances into the building are locked except for the doors on Miller Street. Taxpayers mailing after the deadline are subject to interest and a penalty of ten point five percent (10.5%)…and for the second installment that is retroactive to February 1.