News June 17, 2015

Fire Destroys Farm Shed In Randolph


6/17/15 – Fire destroyed a large farm shed in Randolph last night. It was reported by a neighbor just before 9pm at the James and Heidi Kooiker property at W11819 Blanecae Road. The Dodge County Emergency Response Team closed Blanecae for the three-and-a-half hours crews were on scene. Fire Chief Bruce Miller tells us the structure was fully involved when they arrived on scene, in fact the flames or visible from miles away. The blaze completely destroyed the 60-foot by 120-foot shed along with several vehicles, tools and a skid loader.  Miller says the wind was blowing in the right direction as a barn with the livestock located less than 50 feet from the blaze was not affected. The cause of the fire is under investigation; foul play is not suspected. Randolph received mutual assistance from DCERT, Beaver Dam, Fox Lake, Cambria Friesland and Markesan.


Blue Zone Presentation Draws Community Interest


6/17/15 – Around 150 business leaders, elected officials and residents of Dodge County turned out for a presentation last night in Beaver Dam on a healthy initiative. Tony Buettner with “Secrets to a Longer, Healthier Life: The Blue Zone Solution” asked those in attendance last night to raise their hand if they walked to school as a kid. He noted around 80-percent of the audience raised their hand. Buettner then asked how many of their kids walk to school now. Only a couple hands went up. A “Blue Zone” was identified in a National Geographic study as areas of the world where people live longer lives, reaching age 100 at rates ten times greater than the national average. Biking trails, community gardens, healthy menu choices and even a simple walk to school are some of the solutions implemented in Blue Zones across the country that Buettner says have reaped positive results with people living longer, healthier and happier lives.  Establishing a Blue Zone is no small feat and it carries a high price tag. While the benefits would essentially be free to everyone in a community – like a healthy checkout lane at a grocery store – the cost to implement for a community like Dodge County could run several hundred thousand dollars, a cost typically bore by a sponsor like a health insurer, hospital or philanthropist. Buettner says the ideal Blue Zone community has and strong leaders. He identified Beaver Dam Community Hospital CEO Kim Miller as such a leader, and Miller says she is determined to create a Blue Zone in the region. She says she is in talks with potential backers but it’s still early in the process. A committee has been established but Miller says more people are needed. For more information on how to get involved you can go to, text TEAMBLUE to 38470, or call (920) 887-4851.


Retiring Veteran’s Service Officer Bids Farewell To County Board


6/17/15 – Dodge County’s outgoing veteran’s service officer addressed the county board at its meeting last night.  Mark Grams is retiring after 19 years of serving the county’s veterans.  Grams says the most rewarding part of his job was helping veterans cut through the red tape of bureaucracy.  Beaver Dam Representative Mark Born was on hand to present Grams with a plaque to commemorate his service to the county.  During his speech, Grams held up a large stack of thank you cards that he received over the years from the veterans he helped.  He says part of the credit for those cards goes to the county board for putting him in a position to help those folks.  Grams says his successor, Andrew Miller, is similar to him when he first started in terms of being fresh to this sort of work.  Grams expects his successor will thrive in the position because he feels that Miller cares about the veterans just as much as he does.  Miller started on May 31 while Grams says he is looking forward to spending more time with his family.


Dodge County Board Approves Official County Seal


6/17/15 – The Dodge County Board approved an official county seal at its meeting Tuesday night.  Since it was founded in 1836, Dodge County has never had an official seal.  It was unanimously passed despite some concerns that were raised at this month’s Executive Committee meeting about it being too plain.  A picture of the seal can be found on our website at


Woman Pleads Guilty To Smuggling Tobacco Into FLCI


6/17/15 – A Pewaukee woman accused of smuggling tobacco into the Fox Lake Correctional Institution pled guilty in a Dodge County courtroom yesterday. Ilysha Bishop was convicted on one felony count of Delivering Illegal Articles to an Inmate. The 25-year-old was visiting an inmate when corrections staff discovered her with several pipe-tobacco-filled balloons inside a bag of Cheetos.  She will spend two months in a county jail with work release privileges and be on probation for two years.


Start-Up On Statewide Computer System Expected Next Month


6/17/15 – Governor Scott Walker’s administration told lawmakers yesterday that a new $138,000,000 state government computer system is on track. Officials told the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Information Policy that the D-O-T is working to implement the new “STAR” system, and the first of three phases will start up July first.  “STAR” is the State Transforming Agency Resources project.  It will eventually provide a single software system for agencies to handle payroll, procurement, and other financial matters.  Officials say it will replace over 140 separate computer systems that date back more than a quarter-century.


Wisconsin DOT Holding Upcoming Project Meeting In Waupun


6/17/15 – The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will hold an informational meeting on an upcoming road project in Waupun.  The public is invited to share input at the meeting about the resurfacing of Highway 151 at the Highway 49 interchange.  The D.O.T. will also discuss preliminary concepts for a reconstruction project of the same area that is currently scheduled for 2022.  The meeting will be Tuesday, June 23 from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Waupun Public Library.


Beaver Dam Concerts In The Park Begins Tonight


6/17/15 – Beaver Dam’s Concert in the Park series kicks off tonight at Swan Park. The Beaver Dam Community Band will be performing three times this summer, beginning tonight at 7pm. The Community Band will also perform on July 1 when they will be joined by the Wisconsin National Guard Band and again for the final performance of the year on July 29. Also slated this year on Wednesday nights is Loco Vocals, the Ken Lonnquist Duo, Ladies Must Swing and Jubal-ation.


Public Lands Board Compromises On Climate Talk


6/17/15 – The Wisconsin public lands’ board backtracked Tuesday, and voted 2-to-1 to stop barring staff members from working on issues that involve global warming. Secretary of State Doug La Follette proposed a compromise in which the nine staffers on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands could still work on climate change matters — but not lobby for-or-against such policies in state government.  La Follette said part of the board’s work deals with land issues and timber harvests, and it makes sense that climate change would be involved in those matters.  The work ban was imposed in April, after G-O-P State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk learned that agency secretary Tia Nelson served on a state global warming task force a number of years ago.  Democrats and environmentalists called the move a “gag order” on any talk of global warming.  They also called it an attack on Nelson, whose late father Gaylord Nelson is the founder of Earth Day.  Attorney General Brad Schimel cast the deciding vote for the compromise, saying it’s what he wanted in the first place. Adamczyk voted no.  He asked what would happen if Nelson worked on another global warming task force.  Schimel and La Follette agreed it would not be allowed.  Nelson has stayed above the fray throughout the controversy, not commenting on the board’s actions.  She refused comment again yesterday.


Scenarios Of Avian Flu Outbreak Outlined


6/17/15 – We still don’t know why the avian flu hit chicken-and-turkey farms in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest — but the U-S-D-A now has some possible scenarios.  A new report from the Animal-and-Plant Health Inspection Service said the H-5 virus was likely transmitted in a number of ways.  It said wild birds were probably responsible for the earliest cases, through the droppings they shed.  It also appeared that some infections were transmitted between poultry farms. The U-S-D-A said there were a number of factors that may have contributed to the spread of the bird flu — including the movements of employees, vehicles, and other machinery between infected and non-infected farms — and the presence of rodents or small wild birds inside poultry facilities.  Also, wind data in the infected areas showed that the virus could have also been transmitted through the air.  The Animal-and-Plant health service said it would keep studying those factors.  Wisconsin had ten confirmed bird flu cases in four counties, resulting in the deaths of one-point-seven million animals. Neighboring Minnesota and Iowa were hit much harder than the Badger State.