“News – July 5, 2009”

Safe Fourth in Dodge County


7/5/09 – There were numerous reports to illegal fireworks usage in Dodge County last night, but otherwise it was a relatively quite evening for law enforcement. Thousands of spectators poured into Fireman’s Park in Columbus for their nearly 45 minute fireworks display. Earlier in the day, one of the state’s longest parade’s – around 2 hours – wound through the streets of downtown Columbus. Reports of illegal fireworks skyrocketed and police will continue to enforce state statute, which basically prohibits any pyrotechnic that leaves the ground. Authorities say any firework that goes up into the air is illegal and the permits sold at fireworks stands only allow people to possess the illegal items, not shoot them off.


Gas Down 20 Cents from Memorial Day


7/5/09 – Gas was a bit cheaper for the Fourth of July than it was for Memorial Day. According to wisconsingasprices.com, the average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded in the state is $2.59, which is 20 cents cheaper than one month ago. In Beaver Dam, gas has trickled down another couple pennies in the past 24 hours to $2.57.  Fond du Lac is also at $2.57. Waupun is at $2.55. Watertown and Johnson Creek are at $2.54. Pleasant Prairie has the highest price in the state at $2.79. The lowest price for gas is $2.49 which can be found in Janesville and Columbus.


Police Enforcement High For Holiday Weekend


7/5/09 – The Fourth of July holiday weekend can be plenty of fun, but police are urging drivers to party smart.  State Transportation Safety Director, Major Dan Lonsdorf, says officers are out in force this weekend to make sure the roads remain safe.  Over 250 agencies are participating in the annual “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” program, where police are looking for people who have had too much to drink or are driving aggressively.  Police will also be using Wisconsin’s new primary enforcement seat belt law to pull over drivers who still refuse to buckle up.  Violators face a 10-dollar fine.


State Tourism Officials Optimistic About Summer Travel


7/5/09 – Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Kelli Trumble is optimistic about the industry — not only for the Fourth of July weekend, but also the entire summer.  Trumble says the most important part of the summer travel season is the next six weeks.  She says her office is hearing from businesses in the Wisconsin tourism industry that reservations look strong.  Adding to Trumble’s optimism is the fact that Wisconsin has always been an easy drive destination and a great value.  Tourism is Wisconsin’s number three revenue-producing industry.


Bloody Break-In In Emmett


7/5/09 – The Dodge County Sheriffs Department is investigating a breaking and entering in the Town of Emmett.  According to department logs, the break-in was reported last night at a residence on County Highway E. A basement window was broken to gain access and there was a large amount of blood all over the residence.  Several items of evidence were collected by the detectives.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Dodge County Sheriffs Department or the anonymous We-Tip hotline at 800-78-CRIME.


Kennedy Holds Open Door Meeting


7/5/09 – Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy will hold another one of his regular open door meetings on Tuesday.  Kennedy says city residents are invited to meet with him, one-on-one, without appointment on the first and third Tuesday of every month.  Kennedy says he feels it is important that constituents have the opportunity to speak with him the day after each regular meeting of the common council. The meetings will be held in Room 109 on the first floor of City Hall from 10am until noon.  Kennedy says he also make himself available for private meetings by appointment by contacting the mayor office.


End of Recession in Sight


7/5/09 – Wisconsin state revenue officials say the bottom of the economic recession is in sight.  They say the state’s economy is showing signs of a rebound, but the recovery won’t start before next year.  Between December 2007 and the end of this year, Wisconsin will have lost more than 150 thousand jobs.  And, when it comes, recovery will be slow for the Badger State.  Those same state officials point out that when the 2001 recession ended, it was 2004 before the job situation was back to normal.  Job losses for Wisconsin in this recession are said to be the worst, by percentage, since the end of World War II.


Teen Cell Phone Driving Ban Being Debated


7/5/09 – Bipartisan legislation has been introduced at the state Capitol which would ban cell phone use by an driver younger than 18.  An exception would be made for emergencies.  Wisconsin law prohibits drivers from engaging in any activity that interferes with the safe operation of a vehicle.  Several studies show drivers who are testing or talking on their phones are just as distracted as drunken drivers might be.  More than 20 states have similar legislation on their books.


Search for Convicted Murderer Underway


7/5/09 – The search is on for a convicted murderer who escaped from a minimum security facility in Kenosha.  The Wisconsin Department of Corrections reports Eric Adams ran away after officers spotted him talking on a cell phone in his room.  Prisoners aren’t allowed to do that.  Adams has been missing since Friday afternoon.  He ran through an unlocked door at the Kenosha Correctional Center.  That center has no perimeter fence and is mostly used for inmates on work release assignment.  Adams was serving 20 years for a 1999 felony conviction on murder and armed robbery charges.  He was to be eligible for parole in October.  Adams had earned a spot at the minimum security prison by his good behavior.


Homicides Hold Steady in Milwaukee


7/5/09 – Thirty-nine homicides in Milwaukee in the first six months of 2009 are more than last year, but less than the average.  Milwaukee’s murder rate of 12 per 100 thousand is high, but well below the 64 per 100 thousand in the nation’s murder capital, New Orleans.  Wisconsin’s largest city had 71 homicides last year.  That was a 32 percent improvement from 2007.  Victims killed in the first six months of 2009 range in age from two months to 77 years old.  Nearly 40 percent of the victims were black males aged 15-to-29.  Nearly 80 percent of the people murdered were black.  Another 80 percent of the victims were shot.


Flu Outbreak at Camp Wonderland


7/5/09 – People were getting sick, so the Salvation Army has sent campers and counselors home from Camp Wonderland in southeastern Wisconsin.  Several flu cases brought on the decision, including one confirmed as swine flu.  Almost 200 campers had arrived Monday for a week long visit, but they were sent home Wednesday.  The camp on Center Lake is being disinfected.  It is scheduled to reopen a week from tomorrow.  Camp directors worked with the Kenosha County Health Department when they decided what action to take.  Guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control were followed.


Big Brother in Racine


7/5/09 – For the thousands of people celebrating the holiday on Racine’s North Beach, big brother was watching, but they likely didn’t even know.  Camera surveillance equipment was installed before the Fourth of July and it is being used to monitor the crowds.  Police partnered with ClearCom, Incorporated, to give cops an extra set of eyes.  The cameras are being watched on a special Internet server in the police trailer in the North Beach Oasis parking lot.  The cameras were in place Thursday afternoon and they will be taken down tomorrow morning.