News – June 27, 2016

Anonymous Radiothon Donor To Be Revealed In 2017


6/27/16 – We will find out next year the name of the anonymous donor who agrees to match all pledges during the overnight hours of the WBEV-WXRO Children’s Radiothon. That’s according to Good Karma Brands President and CEO Craig Karmazin who made that announcement Friday morning while also giving the fundraising total at the end of the marathon 27-hour broadcast. Karmazin says he had been saying for the past ten years that he would announce the donor at year 20 if they were still contributing. He says they deserve it and it’s “the most selfless thing he’s ever seen.” The Radiothon made $106,080.88 this year. The nine organizations benefiting from the Children’s Radiothon are People Against A Violent Environment, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dodge County, Green Valley Enterprises, YMCA of Dodge County, Clothes for Kids, the Watertown Family Center, The ARC Dodge County, Community Care Preschool and Child Care and – new this year – the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association.


Waupun School District Looking At $1-Million Deficit


6/27/16 – If projections are correct, the Waupun Area School District will start the next school year with a nearly $1 million deficit. Superintendent Tonya Gubin says that is nothing new for the district, which began the past school year with a $600-thousand dollar projected deficit. She says they will end it with a deficit of $120-thousand dollars. Gubin says their fund balance is healthy so they can handle paying off that deficit. She says cuts in state aid, open enrollment and adding $200-thousand to the budget for additional teaching positions all will impact the next budget. Two new teachers are being added at the elementary level to reduce class sizes, and a half a position is being added to the high school. Gubin says the projected deficit is just that and may look worse than it actually is. She says the projected deficit is $968-thousand dollars. The school board this past week approved the preliminary budget.


Brantner Murder Trial Goes To The Jury


6/27/16 – It’s been 26 years since 18-year-old Berit Beck stopped in Fond du Lac on her way to a computer course for work and wound up dead in a ditch outside of Waupun. Today, a Fond du Lac County jury will decide whether Dennis Brantner killed her. The jury will consider the fingerprint evidence, a video of police interviewing Brantner, and the testimony of witnesses — many in their 60s and 70s – who employed or knew Brantner. The 62-year-old claims he got drunk that night and does not recall much of it, other than getting a ride from a man in a van: Berit Beck’s van.


Former Beaver Dam Coach Appears On Child Sex Charges


6/27/16 – Cash bond was set at $10-thousand Friday in Winnebago County court for a former Beaver Dam High School soccer coach facing child sex charges.  Colin Stringer coached the girls’ Junior Varsity team in 2015 and was arrested last Wednesday in Oshkosh.  Prosecutors say an Oshkosh officer was monitoring posts on social media June 17 and reportedly responded to a post from Stinger by sending a picture of a 14-year-old girl then engaging the 29-year-old Horicon man in explicit conversation. Stringer was arrested with marijuana and condoms after showing up at an arranged meeting place.


Dodge County’s May Vehicle Sales Up From April, Last Year


6/27/16 – Area vehicle sales last month were up from May 2015, but the year-to-date numbers were lower than the first five months of last year.  According to the Waterloo-based industry tracking firm Reg-Trak, Dodge County saw 297 vehicles sold in May, up 12 sales or 4.2% from the same month in 2015.  Truck sales were up nearly 11% while car sales were down over 12%.  Through May, 1,361 vehicles had been sold in Dodge County this year, down 98 vehicles or 6.7% from the same five months in 2015.  There were 232 vehicles sold in Jefferson County last month, up 30 vehicles or 14.8% from May 2015.  However, the 1,063 vehicles sold in the first five months of this year were 46 less than the same time period in 2015, a decrease of 4.1%.  Columbia County had 202 vehicles roll off the lots last month, 14 less than May 2015 for a 6.5% drop.  The year-to-date sales total through five months of 925 was down 117 vehicles or 11.2% from last year.  The nine county south central Wisconsin region had 3,539 vehicles sold last month, down 49 vehicles or 1.4% from May 2015.  The year-to-date sales total of 17,108 was over 700 fewer than the same period last year, a decrease of over 4%.


Wisconsin Gas Prices Above National Average


6/27/16 – Wisconsin’s gas prices continue to range about a dime higher than the national average.  Triple A says the average price across the country for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.31 today.  It’s $2.41 in the Badger state, which is a drop of five cents from a week ago. Gas in Beaver Dam is averaging $2.38. The lowest price for gas in Wisconsin is in Superior where motorists are paying $2.15.


Columbus’ Fourth Of July Parade Still Accepting Entries


6/27/16 – Entries are still being accepted for the Columbus Fourth of July parade.  Organizer Tory Weideman encourages people get those in sooner rather than later to lock up a spot in line.  He says entries are placed once the registration form is received.  The parade begins at noon and averages over 100 entries per year.  Weideman says the roughly two-hour long route begins near Columbus Chemical on the north side of the city, runs through town, and ends near Fireman’s Park.  All entries should be no longer than twelve feet.  This year’s parade grand marshal is Columbus Chemical Owner Richard Sheard.  Columbus’ five-day celebration begins Thursday.  Monday’s events start with a five-mile run at 7:15am.


Columbus Business Leaders Holding Reconstruction Meeting


6/27/16 – Columbus business leaders plan to take a proactive approach to the 2017 reconstruction through the city’s downtown. The James Street Reconstruction Group will be holding their first meeting of the summer tonight at the Columbus Senior Center. A major task before the group is to assure customers that businesses will remain open and let customers know how to access downtown shops. The Department of Transportation project through the city’s primary east-west corridor is scheduled to start early next spring. Tonight’s Senior Center meeting is from 6pm to 8pm. The meeting is organized by the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development, the Columbus Economic Development Office and the Public Library.


Dodge County Dairy Brunch Delayed Until Saturday


6/27/16 – Rain forced the cancellation of the Dodge County Dairy Brunch yesterday. It was supposed to be held at the Pieper Farm on County Highway C in the Town of Beaver Dam. The annual event has been rescheduled for next Saturday. A variety of dairy related foods will again be on the menu including pancakes, assorted cheeses, milk, juice, and ice cream sundaes.


Tornado Confirmed In Waupaca County


6/27/16 – The National Weather Service confirms a weak tornado in east central Wisconsin. A twister rated at E-F-Zero was on the ground for almost three miles near Symco in eastern Waupaca County around 2:15 Sunday morning. Farm outbuildings and part of a silo were damaged, a mobile home was pushed off its foundation, and trees were uprooted and snapped. Hail, heavy rains, fallen trees, and power outages were also reported throughout Wisconsin from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon. Winter in Sawyer County had the most rain, with three point seven inches — Jefferson had three and one quarter inches — and Watertown had nickel sized hail.


Poverty Holds Steady In Wisconsin


6/27/16 – Despite an increase in jobs, Wisconsin’s actual poverty has held about steady since 2008 — and it did not change at all in 2014. That’s according to a new update on U-W Madison’s poverty measure, which includes the effects of government benefits — unlike the federal government’s numbers which showed that Wisconsin poverty dropped by one percent during the past year. The U-W says its measure of poverty gives Wisconsin a rate of ten point eight percent for 2014, same as the previous year — while the federal government lists 12 point one percent of Wisconsinites in poverty, down from 13 point four the previous year. Tim Scheeding of the U-W Institute for Research on Poverty says the state is “kind of moving in the right direction,” but “it would be nice if the economy picked up more.” U-W researchers says the effects of government programs are starting to lessen, due to changes in the food stamp program, medical expenses, and payroll taxes.