News – March 1, 2009

Phase 1 of BD Downtown Plan Below Projections

3/1/09 – The Beaver Dam Common Council tomorrow night will hear a presentation of a borrowing plan for the downtown redevelopment plan and related Tax Increment Finance District. A representative with Wisconsin Finance Professionals will be on hand to outline the costs association with the acquisition and demolition of nine downtown buildings. Plans also call for removal of the culverts in the Tower parking lot. The buildings are located in the floodway over the Beaver Dam River, and the state DNR has indicated that such buildings are in violation of state statute but they have never given a firm deadline for their removal. Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy says the city should be proactive to prevent the further deterioration of the properties. WDS Construction was hired last month to assemble a maximum-cost proposal. Kennedy told us on WBEV’s Community Comment that WDS received their bids last week. The cost for building and culvert removal, remediation and partial restoration is estimated at $1.67 million dollars, which is about a quarter of a million dollars lower than projected. The Common Council will hear the borrowing presentation when they meet at 8pm tomorrow at City Hall. Then one week from tomorrow, city officials will hear a presentation from WDS on the costs of the project based on the bids received. At the council’s March 16th meeting, the council will consider a resolution to hire WDS to carry out the demolition and acquisition, as well as a separate resolution to consider funding for the project.

Columbus Candidate Questions Solicited

3/1/09 – Columbus residents are being asked to drop off their written questions for local candidates by Tuesday, March 10th. Candidates will be debating City issues in two separate Chamber of Commerce sessions. Questions can be dropped off at Julies Java Hut or the Pine Peddlers. The debate between candidates for City Council seats will be held on March 18th. Former Mayor and Council Member Dave Bomkamp is running against seated 2nd District Council Member Darrell Augustine. In District 3 contender Ray Lawler will be running against incumbent Bill Bruns. The only Council Member running unopposed is 1st District Alderman Roger Sneath. In the race for Mayor Former Council Member Bob Link will be running against Former Mayor Peter Kaland. That Debate is scheduled for March 25th. Organizers are expecting a good public turnout since the debates held before the February Mayoral Primary election packed the Senior Center. Both debates are scheduled for a 6:30 pm start with John Ganga moderating.

Beasley Gets One Year For Pizza Robbery

3/1/09 – The last of the teens who robbed a 76-year-old Pizza Hut delivery driver in Beaver Dam was sentenced this past week. Jarod Beasley of Beaver Dam was sentenced to one year of conditional jail time and 10 years probation related to the November 2007 robbery. The 20-year-old had previously pleaded “no contest” to a count of Armed Robbery and had charge of Theft dismissed but read into the record. According to court records, Beasley and three other teens used a BB gun and a knife after ordering the pizza to the 200 block of Front Street. 19-year-old Edward Mendoza of Madison and 18-year-old’s Thomas Falkowski of Beaver Dam and Keith Shananaquet of Markesan were already sentenced to between 10 months and one year in jail.

Police Impersonator Suspected in Columbia County

3/1/09 – The Columbia County Sheriffs Department is warning the public to be on the lookout for a potential police impersonator. According to Sheriff Dennis Richards, a city of Lodi resident reported Saturday morning having been approached by a man wearing a uniform similar to that worn by a Columbia County Sheriffs Deputy, accented with a “large, LAPD-style” badge. The man did identify himself as a member of the Columbia County Sheriffs Department. He was described as a white male in his late 20’s or early 30’s, over six feet tall with sandy brown hair styled in a short, military fashion with no facial hair. Richards says deputies carry picture identification on

them at all times. If an officer or deputy’s identity is ever in question, the sheriff recommends calling 911 to have the communications center verify the legitimacy of their presence.

Prescription Drop Off Successful

3/1/09 – The Dodge County Sheriffs’ Department held a prescription drug turn-in in conjunction with Saturday’s Kids Fair at the Heritage Mall in Beaver Dam. Detectives collected over 250 prescriptions and other miscellaneous medical items during the three-hour period. Detective Brian Drumm says the collection exceeded expectations. The medications will be safely disposed of rather than kept in people’s medicine cabinets – which can lead to theft or misuse – or flushed into the water supply, which is no longer encouraged.

State Budget Hearing At Miller Park

3/1/09 – When the legislature’s budget committee holds a public hearing in Milwaukee this month — it may be making history. The hearing will be open to the public at Miller Park March 21. The time and exact location will be announced this week. That will be the first of a half-dozen planned hearings around Wisconsin. Governor Jim Doyle’s $62.7 billion dollar spending plan includes nearly six billion dollars in federal stimulus money and increased state taxes. The 16-member Joint Finance Committee is expected to begin voting on the two-year budget in April. Its recommendations would have to be approved by the entire legislature.

Milwaukee Sheriff Against Inmate Release Plan

3/1/09 – Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Junior says it just shows how out of touch with the reality of criminal behavior some of Wisconsin’s state leaders are right now. Clarke had harsh words for an early release plan for prison inmates backed by Governor Jim Doyle. Wisconsin Corrections Secretary Rick Raemisch says the idea could save up to 27 million dollars a year. Clarke says it would be a case of playing Russian roulette with public safety, impacting Milwaukee’s poor neighborhoods especially hard. Up to a thousand of the state’s 22 thousand inmates might be eligible under the governor’s plan.

Stone: ‘Future of Rail Uncertain’

3/1/09 – A Wisconsin lawmaker sees a mixed bag for the future of rail freight in the state. Greendale Republican state Representative Jeff Stone attended an industry-sponsored event in Washington last week where recommendations include tax incentives to improve, equipment and infrastructure. Stone says railroads struggled in the 1970s because of over-regulation. He worries that could happen again, which wouldn’t be good for the economy of southeast Wisconsin. On a positive note, Stone says millions of federal stimulus dollars proposed for passenger rail will probably benefit freight as well.

EdVest Numbers Down

3/1/09 – The bad economy has taken a half-billion dollar bite out of Wisconsin’s college saving program, EdVest, and a similar national plan. Many parents have seen their college savings go down dramatically. The contribution level also declined, but only by a little. EdVest offered more conservative portfolio’s starting last October. The plan allows investors to earn money tax-free, and take it out of their account tax-free. Around 222 million dollars was invested in 2008.

Vets Education Still Available

3/1/09 – Despite budget cuts, officials want veterans to know a free education is still within reach. Military veterans seeking tuition remission should first apply for federal assistance with the Post-9/11 GI bill. Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Secretary Ken Black says that enables the state to take full advantage of federal funding. Federal benefits will help make state

benefits last a little longer. Black says Wisconsin is “holding harmless” eligible veterans. He says we don’t want veterans to worry about how they are going to pay for their education. County Veterans Service Officers are available throughout the state to provide information and assistance in obtaining veterans benefits, programs and services.

CWD Issue Persists

3/1/09 – It’s been seven years since Chronic Wasting Disease was first discovered in Wisconsin’s deer herd – and it’s a problem that continues to haunt the DNR. Big game manager Keith Warnke says the agency is still not confident that the disease is contained to southern Wisconsin. Warnke says the DNR still has a lot to learn about how to manage and prevent it from spreading further into the state. It was February 28, 2002, that three deer in the Mount Horeb area tested positive for the fatal brain disease. Since then, the state has spent millions of dollars to stop its spread.