“News – July 9, 2009”

Woman Arrested After Head-On Collision


7/9/09 – One person was arrested after a two car accident injured three people yesterday afternoon in the Town of Rubicon.  The Dodge County Sheriff’s Department says 44-year-old Margie Sather was driving west on Highway 60 near Highway P when she collided head on with a vehicle driven by 26-year-old Tammy Jahns.  Sather, Jahns and Jahns passenger, 46-year-old Rick Laumann, were taken to Hartford Hospital.  Laumann was later transferred to St. Lukes in Milwaukee.  Jahns was released from the hospital and arrested for Operating While Intoxicated causing great bodily harm.  The accident occurred just before 3 p.m. and remains under investigation.


State Aid Cuts Higher That Expected


7/9/09 – Almost a quarter of Wisconsin’s public school districts were shocked to learn that their general state aid dropped by 15-percent.  And that could trigger a sudden jump in property taxes in those places.  The New Berlin School Board learned this week that it has an instant deficit of one-point-three-million dollars for this fall.  School officials were bracing for a cut in state aid, after the Legislature approved an average drop of just over three-percent.  But almost 100 of the state’s 426 districts are getting 15-percent less from Madison – while 90 districts will actually get more.  That includes Beaver Dam where the Department of Public Instruction estimates they’ll get a two-point-two percent (2.2%) increase in general aid.   However, other districts in our area will see a drop.  That includes two-point-three percent (2.3%) in Columbus, five-point-two percent (5.2%) in Waupun, and six-point-four percent (6.4%) in Horicon.  The reason is the state’s complex aid formula which gives bigger percentages of aid to places with the lowest property values.  Enrollment and property valuation changes as well as spending decisions all factor into what school districts receive in general aid payments from year to year. Other state payments for schools are distributed through grants and levy credits or on a reimbursement basis.


BDUSD Avoids State Aid Cuts


7/9/09 – Beaver Dam can thank lowered property values and the implementation of a 4-year-old Kindergarten program as the reasons for an increase in school funding from the state next year.  While many school districts will be seeing huge losses next year, Beaver Dam is in the minority of schools that will see more state aid, 2.2% to be exact.  Director of Business Services Andrew Sarnow says under the school funding formula, a 4-year-old Kindergarten program decreases property values per student, in the eyes of the Department of Public Instruction. That combined with recent decreases in assessments is creating a more favorable financial climate for the school district.


CPD Design Contract Approved


7/9/09 – The Columbus Council has approved the architectural and engineering services contract for renovation of the newly acquired downtown “law building.” The new home for the Columbus Police Department and Eastern Columbia County Municipal Court will be designed by General Engineering of Portage. The renovation plans are scheduled to be completed in 60 days. Jason Jackson of General Engineering said that City employees who will be housed in the refurbished facility would be consulted during the design planning. Council members approved $26,800 funding for the architectural and engineering planning earlier this week. Renovation of the single story law building and four car garage at 159 South Ludington St. could begin as early as September with a Police Department “move in” planned for early January of 2010.


Three Local Fires Do Damage


7/9/09 – Fires in three communities caused little to great damage yesterday. Fire destroyed a home that was being moved to a property on Dodge County Highway F early yesterday morning. The home was still on a trailer. An electrical fire at the Gables Apartments in North Fond du Lac damaged some carpeting when an outlet sparked. It was quickly put out, but three families had to be evacuated while power was shut off. A car was destroyed by fire in a detached garage in Fredonia. Washington County Sheriff’s officials say there was little structural damage to the garage. (KFIZ)


Lake Days Gets Begins Tonight


7/9/09 – The 16th Annual Beaver Dam Lake Days gets underway today. The four-day event features live music, food and, of course, fireworks.  There is a $5 cover Friday night unless you purchase tickets in advance for the Door County Style Fish Boil, in which case entry is free.  Kids 10 and under are also free.  And there is free admission on the other three nights, including tonight for the annual Teen Dance with music provided by Jeff Hall DJ Service.  Pre-registration is also underway for the Beaverland Must-Ski’s Ski Clinics which will be held Saturday morning. A beer-tasting, now in its second year, will be held on Saturday. Sunday, as always, is GermanFest with an Ecumenical Polka Service, German food and beverages and music by Orv Konop and the OK Band and Dorf Kapelle. Other musical acts on the main stage include The Nines and The Toys Friday along with Wild Heart and The Sociables on Saturday.  Lake Days is held at Tahoe Park.  Shuttle service is available at the lower Tower Parking Lot, off Mill Street, and the Family Center and leaves every half hour.


BDACT Tell-A-Tale Theater Premiers Willie Wonka Jr.


7/9/09 – Area youth bring Willie Wonka Jr. to the stage of the Beaver Dam Area Community Theater today as part of their annual Tell-A-Tale production.  Two of the community theaters summer productions, Willie Wonka and Peter Pan – which starts later this month — both have the youngest directors in the history of the organization at the helm.  Wonka Director Chris Hughes says he’s been in plays since he was a kid and it’s an honor to be able to give something back to the performing arts community.  “Willie Wonka Jr.” has six performances beginning today and running through Sunday at the theater building on North Spring Street.  Tickets are $5 and are available at Rechek’s Food Pride or at the door.


BDHS Break-In Reported


7/9/09 – The Beaver Dam Police Department is investigating a break-in at the high school varsity baseball field’s concession stand.  According to department records, the incident was reported Tuesday morning to the concession stand off East Burnett.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Beaver Dam Police Department or the anonymous We-Tip hotline at 800-78-CRIME.


Caruso Resigning from Office


7/9/09 – After just two months in office, Wisconsin’s Doug Caruso has resigned as the head of the U-S-D-A’s Farm Service Agency.  He told the Country Today newspaper he had the same goals as other agriculture department leaders – but they had “divergent views” on how to accomplish them.  As a result, Caruso decided to let the agency bring in someone who’s more in line with its vision.  The agency would only confirm that Caruso resigned on Monday.  He was the director of the Wisconsin Farm Service Agency when Bill Clinton was in the White House.  He left when George W. Bush took over 2001, and became the C-E-O of Wisconsin Farmers Union Specialty Cheese company in Montfort.  He left that job earlier this year to take the federal appointment.  The Farm Service Agency manages conservation, commodity, credit, loan, and disaster programs.


Great Circus Parade Show Grounds Open


7/9/09 – The big top is back in Milwaukee.  The Great Circus Parade’s show-grounds opened two hours ahead of schedule yesterday, to accommodate the crowds who were waiting.  Folks saw the dozens of antique circus wagons that will be featured in Sunday’s Great Circus Parade in downtown Milwaukee.  There are also rides, exhibits, music, a full circus, and a lot more – and it all continues through Saturday at Veterans Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront.  The show-grounds were part of the Circus Parade festivities every year until 2003, when the event ended in Milwaukee due to a lack of funding.  Organizers raised one-and-a-half million dollars for this year’s festivities – and they say to enjoy them now, because they won’t be around next year.


Cudahy Plant Will Be Rebuilt


7/9/09 – Patrick Cudahy’s owners ended days of speculation by saying they would re-build the Milwaukee area meat plant that was heavily damaged by Sunday night’s fire.  Smithfield Foods said production could resume next week in areas not affected by the blaze.  And up to 80-percent of the plant’s 14-hundred production workers would be back on the job within a couple weeks.  The blaze was finally put out yesterday.  Company president William Otis says total damages could exceed 50-million dollars, and the assessment will begin as soon as possible.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


Regents to Consider Tuition Increase


7/9/09 – The U-W Board of Regents will consider a new budget today that includes a five-and-a-half percent tuition increase – and a five-point-three percent jump in fees for dorm residents.  The tuition hikes would be less than 300-dollars at most of the 13 four-year campuses. Average room-and-board rates would rise by 284-dollars, and mandatory fees would jump an average of 51-dollars.  All those figures vary by campus –But national education observers say many other public colleges are raising their tuition-and-fees by over 10-percent – while the U-W’s increases are all under six-percent.


Majority of Economic Stimulus Money to be Used for Deficit


7/9/09 – About two-thirds of the state government’s federal economic stimulus money is being used to cover a record drop in state tax collections.  The Legislative Fiscal Bureau says Madison is getting almost three-and-a-half billion dollars from the Obama stimulus package over the next three years.  And about two-point-two billion is being applied to the state’s deficit.  The fiscal bureau says health programs like Medicaid are getting one-and-a-quarter billion stimulus dollars.  Schools are getting just over one-point-one billion.  And 426-million is going to highways and other transportation.  Republican lawmakers warn that using the one-time stimulus money for ongoing programs will it harder to balance the next state budget in 2011 – which is already about two-billion dollars in the hole.


Study: Safe Drivers in Madison and Milwaukee


7/9/09 – Madison and Milwaukee have some of the nation’s safest big-city drivers.  That’s according to a new study by Allstate Insurance.  Madison is the 13th safest among the country’s 200 largest cities.  And Milwaukee is 19th, based on Allstate claims data.  The firm said Madison drivers averaged 11-point-six years between accidents, and Milwaukee drivers averaged 11-point-two years between collisions.  Sioux Falls South Dakota was the safest place in the survey.  Washington D-C ranked last, but the D-C suburb of Alexandria was named the country’s most improved driving city over a two-year period.