News – June 4, 2020

(Dodge County) Dodge County saw its largest single day increase in COVID-19 cases yesterday (Wednesday) and its third recorded death. The county now has 383 positive tests, a jump of 157 from Tuesday. That increase is attributed to the number of inmates testing positive at Waupun Correctional, which has grown to 225 in the past week, along with 19 employees. Dodge County Public Health Officer Abby Sauer says some of the prison numbers had slowly filtered into daily updates, but the state health department has just now caught up on imputing all of the positive cases. Sauer notes that mass testing at the prisons bogged down the reporting system. The county had 398 negative tests announced Wednesday for a running total of 5,180. Sauer says Dodge County’s negative tests will also see an increase in coming days once the prisons numbers are entered into the system. Dodge County health officials are currently monitoring 50 individuals while 112 people have recovered. Wisconsin health officials are reporting a statewide increase of 483 cases of COVID-19 in Wednesday’s daily update. There is a total of 19,400 people now having tested positive. Two-point-nine-percent (2.9%) of the nearly 16,000 tests administered came back positive Wednesday, compared to 3.6-percent Tuesday and 3.9-percent Monday. State public health officials reported nine deaths bringing that total to 616. Washington County has eight deaths on record and 261 positive tests. Fond du Lac County has five deaths being reported and 221 people having tested positive. Jefferson County has reported three deaths and has a total 114 cases. There has been one death in Columbia County and 44 positive cases. Green Lake County now has 22 cases. A final note on the coronavirus numbers in Dodge County as it relates to prisons, Steven Avery — who according to state court records is incarcerated at Waupun Correctional for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach — has tested positive for coronavirus, according to his attorney.

(Wisconsin) Peaceful protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis are spreading across Wisconsin. While Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and other cities have witnessed looting and riots, events in smaller communities have been peaceful including Beaver Dam where a couple dozen people turned out for a Black Lives Matter demonstration yesterday (Wednesday) along North Spring Street near Industrial Drive.

(Juneau) The Dodge County Sheriff issued a press release on the local protests saying his departments core values of integrity, accountability, teamwork, leadership and service is guiding the approach to policing demonstrations. Dale Schmidt says they will partner with the community and develop proactive solutions toward making Dodge County a safe and enjoyable place to live; while safeguarding the lives, property and constitutional rights of citizens. He says it is legal to protest and make your opinions known and that his office will not infringe on a person’s right to freedom of speech. However, the public is reminded that protests must remain legal and peaceful and must not violate the law. Schmidt reassures business owners and residents that no one has the right to trespass, vandalize or damage their property. He says the Wisconsin Constitution gives the duty and authority to the sheriff to maintain law and order and preserve the peace. The sheriff adds that he will work with the local police departments to accomplish that goal.

(Madison) Governor Tony Evers, on a Journal Sentinel video call Wednesday, said defunding law enforcement agencies in the state is not going to happen. Evers this week called for passage of legislation that would change use of force policies. A Madison group, “Freedom Inc.,” this week released a list of demands, which includes defunding of police.

(Wisconsin) The Wisconsin National Guard remains deployed in Wisconsin cities. According to a media release from Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs, nearly 1200 Soldiers and Airmen have ongoing missions in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, and Racine, and some of those troops continue to stand ready to assist in other communities, if requested by local authorities.

(Watertown) The state Justice Department says the person shot by Watertown police over the weekend has succumbed to his injuries. Officers had been looking for the subject to question him about his involvement in a domestic incident and initiated a traffic stop. Non-lethal means were deployed prior to an officer discharging his firearm and striking the white, male. A firearm was found on-scene. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he later died. Authorities say the family has chosen to pursue organ donation and that process was completed yesterday (Wednesday). No other injuries were reported. The officer involved was placed on administrative leave, per department policy. The Justice Department is continuing to investigate and completed reports will be directed to the Jefferson County District Attorney.

(Beaver Dam) A referendum to fund eight new positions in the Beaver Dam Fire Department may not be going to the common council after all, after the city’s Police and Fire Commission this week rescinded the recommendation that was approved last month. PFC Chair Jeff Kohman says the commission reversed course because questions arose after the vote about costs of the plan, not to mention concerns with the pandemic and related economic uncertainties. The hiring’s were the conclusion of a study released earlier this year on staffing and the construction of a northside substation; the second station would not be part of the referendum. The eight positions recommended include six personnel to staff a third ambulance around the clock along with a dedicated fire inspector and a training chief. Another meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday to further explore the issue and perhaps make another recommendation to the common council for a referendum possibly with a lower price tag.  Fire Chief Alan Mannel wants to see the matter settled before August 25th, the deadline to get a referendum question on the November ballot. Kohman says if there is no change at next Tuesday’s meeting, the matter is expected to be revisited next spring.

(Beaver Dam) Coronavirus has delayed a couple notable projects in the city of Beaver Dam. During last (Wednesday) night’s common council meeting, Mayor Becky Glewen announced that the Kwik Trip project on the city’s south side is on hold. Glewen noted that the company has already paid the costs of running water and sewer utilities to the site on Madison Street, across from their current location. Beaver Dam is one of 13 projects Kwik Trip is delaying for COVID-related reasons. Also being delayed is the relocation and expansion of Nunatak Coffee downtown. The café is moving from South Center to South Spring Street, adding outdoor seating and a larger coffee roasting facility. Nunatak is receiving incentives from the city’s Tax Increment Finance District totaling $80-thousand dollars to supplement the $400-thousand-dollar project.  The council was supposed to consider an incentives plan for the Heritage Village Mall as part of efforts to attract up to three new retail businesses, but that item was removed from the agenda because of a scheduling conflict.  Last (Wednesday) night’s meeting had been rescheduled from Monday because of an error on the agenda related to the link for the video conferencing option for attendance.

(Beaver Dam) Just hours after the Beaver Dam High School announced plans to hold their 2020 graduation at HH Derleth Field later this month, severe storms damaged the site. The football field’s bleachers were blown east, away from the press box and onto the edge of the track surface, taking out a portion of the fence around the track. The bleachers also incurred structural twisting and bending. The southern portion of the bleachers were torn off and blown onto the football field. District officials say they are still committed to hosting the graduation ceremony on June 28th at 2pm on the field but may need to be more creative with seating. Also damaged Tuesday: Lincoln Elementary, Washington Elementary, the Educational Services Center and the Beaver Dam High School which saw damage to the greenhouse and baseball scoreboard. The district is working on tree removal, documentation and consulting with their insurance company. Superintendent Mark DiStefano says this is not the reality they wanted to navigate right now but is the hand they have been dealt. He says they will come together and work to bring resolution to this new challenge. Further details about the graduation ceremony can be found with this news story at Daily