News- June 18, 2015

Davis Leaving Columbus School District


6/18/15 – Columbus Schools’ Superintendent Bryan Davis is moving on. Davis will be heading to the Milwaukee suburbs where he will be the new superintendent in the Shorewood School District next semester. He has been the Columbus superintendent since 2010. Davis and his family moved to Columbus from the Green Bay area. His last day in Columbus will be July 24th. Davis says (quote) “it has been an honor to serve in many different capacities in Columbus over the past five years.” Davis was one of the leaders in improving the facilities in the three-school district over the past four years. He also remarked that “Columbus is and will continue to be a great place to live and learn.” School Board President Kevin White has called a special meeting for this Monday to discuss the process of searching for a new superintendent.


Columbus Firefighter Honored For Fiery Rescue


6/18/15 – Columbus Firefighter Jerrod Fox was honored this with a Heroism Award from Liberty Mutual Insurance. On April 16th Fox was returning from Madison when he came upon a car on fire along the side of Highway 151 near Columbus. Fox took action leading three other bystanders in extracting a 68-year-old Columbus woman from the burning vehicle before it was destroyed by flames. The woman was hospitalized but is alive today because of the actions of Fox and the other bystanders. Julie Sternal from Liberty Mutual said that she was excited to present the Heroism Award to Fox and that the award puts the Columbus Fire Department in the running for national recognition. The award was presented at this week City Council meeting in chambers packed with Columbus firefighters and city officials.


Downtown Beaver Dam Traffic Signals Will Be Synched


6/18/15 – Motorists driving through downtown Beaver Dam will notice a shorter wait time at traffic signals after this summer’s reconstruction of Highway 33/ Front Street is complete.  The stop lights will have technology that detects cars and motorcycles at the intersection, triggering a green light. City Engineering Coordinator Ritchie Piltz says the traffic signals at four downtown corners will be wired together with fiber optics. Under the pavement, there will be magnetic loops that detect cars, trucks and motorcycles. If there is no cross-traffic the red lights will quickly turn green. Piltz says the actuator loops under the pavement that triggers the light cycle will replace a 40-year-old system that runs on a timer at each individual intersection. That’s means motorists used to have to sit through a full cycle of green or a full cycle of red, regardless of the amount of cross traffic. The lights on Highway 33 / Front Street will remain green during times of slow traffic patterns until there is cross traffic that prompts the change. The four intersections that will be coordinated are Maple and Center, Front and Center, Front and Spring and Maple and Spring.


DOT Public Hearing On Highway 26/151 Designation


6/18/15 – The state Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing tonight (Th) in Rosendale to discuss the proposed controlled access highway designation for State Highway 26. It will be from approximately 1.25 miles north of the Highway 26/ Highway 151 intersection in Fond du Lac County to the north Fond du Lac county line. The hearing will be at the Rosendale Town Hall from 5 to 7pm. A brief presentation about the project will be held at 5:15pm.


FFA Statewide Honors Given At Madison Convention


6/18/15 – Wisconsin’s agricultural education group has elected ten new leaders for the coming year — and one of them will be named today as the new state president. The F-F-A is entering the final day of its three-day convention in Madison.  Last night, four members received the group’s highest statewide awards.  Ashley Zimmerman of the Spencer F-F-A received the Star Farmer Award.  Alex Costello of Campbellsport was named the Star in Agribusiness. Ryan Schmitt of the Juda F-F-A received the Star in Agricultural Placement award.  And Carlie O’Donnell of Walworth Big Foot was given the Star in Agri-Science honor. Besides the new president, Wisconsin’s top F-F-A chapter will also be announced on the convention’s final day.


Fond du Lac Earthquake Survivor To Speak Tonight


6/18/15 – The Fond du Lac man who survived an earthquake while climbing Mt. Everest will give a slide presentation and talk about that experience in Fond du Lac tonight. Andy Land says he’s narrowed it down from 1,000 to about 80 pictures, but will also talk about the people he met and helped on his way down the mountain after the quake. The free presentation is at 7 p.m. in the Stayer Center at Marian University. Land says they will collect a $5 donation at the door for the Sherpas Fund to help out the people of Nepal.


Show Us Your Hope Week In Beaver Dam


6/18/15 – Purple ribbons have been popping up throughout Beaver Dam. It’s all part of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Beaver Dam.  Event Chair Kristin Fabisch says color purple represents all those who have survived cancer or those who are fighting cancer. Mayor Tom Kennedy read a proclamation at this week’s council meeting designating this as “Show Us Your Hope Week” encouraging residents to display purple to show support for the cause. The Relay for Life will be held Friday at the Beaver Dam High School track.


Fox Lake Looking To Raise Fees For Mowing Private Properties


6/18/15 – Fox Lake’s Committee of the Whole agreed to raise the fee for mowing private properties at its meeting last night.  When the grass gets out of control on a private property, the city hires a private contractor to do the job.  Fox Lake had been billing landowners the service cost plus a 25% administrative fee.  According to Mayor Tom Bednarek, those fees are not covering the service cost of hiring the contractor.  Instead of letting the city do the job, he wants people to take pride in the upkeep of their own property.  The committee agreed to start charging property owners the amount billed by the contractor plus $100.  Bednarek expects this increase will give people more incentive.  He says many of the habitual offenders are owners that are not looking after their rental properties.  The City Council will take up the matter for final consideration in two weeks.


Wisconsin In Bottom Third Of Job Growth In Nation


6/18/15 – Wisconsin ranked 38th among the 50 states in job creation last year, and 35th during the first four years of Scott Walker’s tenure as governor.  That’s according to the new Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages released yesterday by the U-S Bureau of Labor Statistics.  It said Wisconsin created just over 35,750 private sector jobs for the year ending in December. That’s an increase of just over 1.5% percent during 2014 — well below the national job growth percentage of 2.6%.  For the first four years of the Walker administration, 2011-through-’14, Wisconsin’s job growth was 5.7%, while the national increase was 9.3%.  The state created 129,000 jobs in that period, almost 52% of the quarter-million jobs Walker promised to create when he first asked the voters to elect him governor in 2010.  His Republican voter base long forgave him, as they re-elected him last November by the largest margin of any of his three statewide contests.  As Walker travels the country in a likely run for the White House, he mentions other factors — including Wisconsin’s below-average unemployment rate — as evidence that the state’s economy has improved on his watch.


Budget Vote Likely Pushed To July


6/18/15 – For the first time in eight years, there’s a very real possibility that Wisconsin’s next state budget will be more than a few days late.  The Senate chair of the Joint Finance Committee, Alberta Darling, says majority G-O-P lawmakers are so split over parts of the two-year budget that negotiations could stretch into mid-July.  That’s bad news for Governor Scott Walker, who was hoping a budget could be approved early so he could move on with his likely presidential bid. Media reports have said July 13th is the earliest possible date Walker could announce a White House candidacy.  Republican lawmakers gave Walker virtually everything he wanted in his first two budgets in 2011-and-’13, and he signed them on time at the start of July.  This time, they’re split on what highway projects to cut.  Darling and Assembly finance co-chair John Nygren say there’s a basic agreement to reduce highway borrowing by 800-million dollars, to a level of 500-million. Darling tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Assembly Republicans want half the cuts to apply to major projects in southeast Wisconsin — including the re-construction of Milwaukee’s zoo freeway interchange which is well underway.  Darling calls the zoo delay unacceptable. She said the debate could be held off by making the highway projects a separate bill.  But Darling wants it in the budget, so the highway debate doesn’t get put off for too long.  The last time a state budget had major delays was in 2007, when Democratic Governor Jim Doyle had to deal with a split Legislature.


Unemployment Benefits May Be Scaled Back For Temp Layoffs


6/18/15 – Laid-off workers who expect to be called back will only get up to three months of unemployment benefits before they have to start looking for new jobs.  The state workforce development agency tightened up the requirements this week. Those on temporary layoffs must start their job searches after eight weeks of getting jobless benefits, with possible extensions for a total of 12 weeks.  That’s how it used to be before 2004, when those workers were given a full year to wait before fulfilling the state’s job-search requirements for getting unemployment pay.  State law requires people to look for at least four jobs a week in order to keep their benefits. Officials say the new limits will make it easier to audit recipients’ job-search activities — and it re-affirms unemployment as a short-term benefit for those between jobs.  They also say it will give employers a larger pool of possible job candidates to fill their openings.


Fire Destroys Randolph Farm Shed


6/18/15 – Fire destroyed a large farm shed in Randolph Tuesday 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.


Waupun Man Pleads Not Guilty On Fleeing Officer Charge


6/18/15 – A Waupun man accused of running from an officer pled not guilty at arraignment yesterday.  Jordan Bader is facing a felony count of Attempting to Flee or Elude a Traffic Officer.  The 23-year-old was allegedly traveling at speeds over 40 miles-per-hour down Waupun’s Main Street in the early hours of March 18.  The officer who clocked Bader’s speed turned on his lights and siren to pursue him.  Bader accelerated to speeds over 100-miles-per-hour and kept fleeing.  He finally stopped and reportedly said he would prefer a ticket without the loss of any points so he could keep his license.  If he is convicted, Bader faces up to three-and-a-half years in prison.