News – June 7, 2016

Waupun Voters To Likely See One Referendum Question, Not Two


6/7/16 – Waupun school district residents will likely see one referendum question on the November ballot, not two.  Last night, the district’s Facilities Advisory Committee leaned toward including a $36.8-million dollar question to cover maintenance needs and leaving off an $8.6-million dollar question to fund an auditorium.  Superintendent Tanya Gubin says the decision to scrap the auditorium was the result of it testing poorly in a recent community survey.  Gubin says the deferred maintenance needs take priority so the auditorium will have to be revisited down the road.  Gubin says the $36.8-million dollar question includes remodeling work and new secure entrances at SAGES and Rock River Intermediate School in addition to special education classroom expansions at Meadowview Primary School and gymnasium additions at both Meadowview and the high school.  District officials call the $36.8-million dollar question ‘budget neutral’ since a $36-million dollar debt from a previous referendum comes off the books in 2018.  They have not shared what the tax impact would be after 2018 without the new referendum question.  The Facilities Advisory Committee will make a formal recommendation to the school board on June 20.


Beaver Dam Plans 2016 Borrowing


6/7/16 – The Beaver Dam Common Council received an update last night on 2016 borrowing from the city’s financial advisor. Carol Wirth with Wisconsin Public Finance Professionals says Beaver Dam is looking at borrowing $4.8-million dollars with a projected interest rate of 1.65-percent. The money will be used to fund $2-million in infrastructure for the city’s newest business park, which will be paid back with Tax Increment Finance dollars; $1.6-million dollars will fund the city’s Capital Improvements Plan for street repairs and equipment purchases paid back through the property tax levy; $700-thousand will fund storm water projects paid for with utility revenues; finally $500-thousand dollars will be used to refinance sewer department debt saving $70-thousand dollars in interest payments. Council President Jon Litscher says there has finally been a leveling off of general obligation debt that taxpayers are directly responsible for through the tax levy. He says that the city is beginning to finally get debt under control.  Litscher spearheaded a debt cap policy six years ago that limited yearly borrowing to $1.6-million. The common council is expected to act on bonding for the borrowing at a special meeting on Tuesday, July 5.


Beaver Dam Seeks RFPs For DPW Feasibility Study


6/7/16 – The city of Beaver Dam is looking for an architect to conduct a feasibility study to look at a new Public Works and Parks facility. The Operations Committee last night agreed to seek Requests for Proposals from area agencies. The study would evaluate the current location on South Center Street, built in the 1940’s, as well as other properties throughout the city to see which spot would work best for a new DPW campus. The current facility is landlocked and in need of costly upgrades. Alderwoman Becky Glewen voted against moving forward with the RFPs saying she wants to see limited city resources directed to things that will attract young families to the community, not a storage facility. The city budgeted $70-thousand dollars for the study in their 2016 borrowing plan. If the aging boiler in the current DPW grounds fails, it would also cost around $70-thousand.


Watermark Parking Lot Layout Finalized


6/7/16 – It took three tries but the Beaver Dam Operations Committee last night finally approved a pavement marking plan for the parking lot of the Watermark Community and Senior Center. Alderman Mick Fischer objected to previous layouts, citing constituent concerns over a row of premium employee parking spots that he felt should be replaced with handicap parking stalls. Fischer wanted to see the nine handicapped stalls increased to 15; the plan adopted last night has eight handicapped stalls but has the potential to increase the number of stalls based on demand. The plan also eliminated designated employee parking. Community Activities and Services Coordinator Evonne Boettge at the last minute suggested 12 handicapped spots. Operations Committee Chair Robert Ballweg noted that the Watermark is not just a senior center but a community center and noted that the current number of handicapped stalls is above the recommended minimum. There will be 65 stalls with angled parking painted onto the Watermark’s parking lot.


Dodge County Not Selling Monarch Range Lots


6/7/16 – The former Monarch range property in Beaver Dam is off the market.  Dodge County’s Executive Committee heard yesterday that the Taxation Committee is recommending holding onto the land while it figures out a course of action.  Last year, Dodge County held discussions with the City of Beaver Dam about a possible sale of the five parcels along North Spring and Main Streets.  Beaver Dam would have used the land to build a DNR-mandated storm water pond.  The city pulled out of the deal due to concerns over potential environmental cleanup costs.  The county is not looking into environmental testing at this time.


Miller: Dodge County To Benefit From Reimbursement Changes


6/7/16 – Recent changes should make it easier for Wisconsin counties to receive reimbursements for the veteran’s services they offer.  That’s according to Dodge County Veteran’s Services Officer Andrew Miller who says statewide changes should make it easier for Dodge County to recoup $13,000 per year.  While Dodge County has been fully reimbursed each year, Miller says the 30 counties that are members of his statewide association have only received a combined 40% of the funding for which they have applied since the state went from a block grant program to a reimbursement grant system.  He says the new payment method is more similar to a block grant program without officially being a block grant.  Miller says there are a handful of services that are eligible for reimbursement including: information technology, transportation, and special outreach.  Miller says the county has already been paid over $8,000 for veteran’s services in 2016.


Motorists Identified In Columbia County Double Fatality


6/7/16 – Two Portage residents were identified as the motorists killed Sunday in a one-vehicle accident in Columbia County. Sheriff’s officials say 37-year-old Patrick Shier and 34-year-old Angela Larson were found dead inside the car along County Highway F north of Portage when authorities arrived on scene around 5:30pm. The vehicle was reportedly traveling at a high rate of speed when Shier entered the shoulder, overcorrected and rolled into a wooded area hitting numerous trees.


Bond Set For Horicon Man Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Minor


6/7/16 – Bond was set at $5,000 yesterday for a Horicon man accused of having a relationship with a 14-year-old.  Nicholas Bradley is facing two counts of Sexually Assaulting a Child Under the Age of Sixteen for allegedly having contact multiple times with a girl he met on Facebook last December.  If he is convicted, the 23-year-old faces up to 80 years in prison.  His preliminary hearing is July 28.


Arrest Warrant Issued For Former Lomira Man Accused Of Child Abuse


6/7/16 – An arrest warrant has been issued for a former Lomira man facing felony Child Abuse charges for allegedly injuring a three-month-old. Andrew A. Freeman, who now resides in Milwaukee, was not in court for his initial appearance.  The 42-year-old allegedly fractured the infant’s leg and caused bruising to the face and tongue last October. When the child’s mother left for work he was said to be smiling and happy but when she returned he was blue and lethargic. The infant was taken to a local hospital before being Med-Flighted to Milwaukee. Freeman told investigators that the child was fussy but denied any physical contact. A doctor’s report from Children’s Hospital says the injuries were likely caused by a bottle, spoon or finger being forcibly inserted down the child’s throat or by a blow to the face. That resulted in a one-centimeter laceration in his throat. The left leg fracture was likely caused by a yank or twist or the force from violent shaking. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.


Oshkosh Corp Tabs New Leader


6/7/16 – Wisconsin’s maker of military trucks has a new leader. John Bryant was named Monday as president of the Oshkosh Corporation’s Defense Division. He was previously the division’s senior vice president, and had been with the Oshkosh Corporation since 2010. Bryant spent 28 years with the Marines before retiring with the rank of colonel. Before joining Oshkosh, Bryant was a professor at the Defense Acquisition University in Virginia.


Wisconsin Honeybee Kill Off Above National Death Rate


6/7/16 – Beekeepers in Wisconsin are having to import honeybees from other states following a dramatic die-off last season.  The Fond du Lac Reporter says 60 percent of the state’s bees died over the winter, higher than the 44-percent death rate nationally according to the U-S Department of Agriculture.  Insecticides, global warming and a parasitic mite are blamed for the sharp increase in bee deaths.  The mite has impacted nearly every hive in the state.