News – March 16, 2009

Waupun School Board Expected to Vote on Closings

3/16/09 – The day has finally come in the Waupun school district for parents and kids wanting to know where they will be going for school this fall. The school board is expected to vote tonight on whether to close three elementary schools in an effort to balance a budget that is $1.25-million-dollars in the red for the 2009-2010 school year. Schools on the chopping block include Fox Lake, Alto, and Jefferson Elementary. If they were to close the district would move to three buildings, with Washington Elementary housing kindergarten through 2nd grade, the middle school taking in 3rd through 6th grades, and the high school having 7th through 12th grades. District Administrator Randy Refsland has said that the move is not only for the short term benefit of the district but also the long term health. However, a Fox Lake area citizens group disagrees with Refsland and, in anticipation that the board will vote to close their elementary, the group has set up a meeting for tomorrow to discuss the possibility of detaching from the district.

Important Resolutions on Beaver Dam Agenda

3/16/09 – Months of planning for the downtown Beaver Dam redevelopment plan culminate in a series of landmark resolutions this evening. The Common Council will consider borrowing $1.76 million dollars for acquisition and demolition of nine of eleven downtown buildings that were constructed over the Beaver Dam River. The buildings are in violation of state statute and the DNR could order them removed at anytime. City leaders call it a proactive approach to avoid further deterioration of the downtown business district and it comes less than a year after flood waters ravaged the same buildings.

Also tonight, the council will consider hiring WDS Construction of Beaver Dam to act as the general contractor in removing the buildings, as well as the Tower Parking Lot culverts, as well as partially restoring the area. Steve Westra of WDS told city officials last week that demolition costs would not exceed $630,000 while removal of the culverts is capped at $200,000. The figures include $75,000 for contingencies. Westra says one of the biggest unknowns is the condition of the riverbed underneath the buildings.

Another exemption that could not be factored into the maximum cost is the issue of the common wall surrounding the Fountain Inn Tavern. The structure is targeted by the DNR for demolition but owner Jay Hoeft has no plans to sell his property to the city, so work will proceed around his building. A tentative completion date is September 30. City officials are hoping grant funding will help defray some of the costs of the demolition and restoration. In fact, the agenda for tonight calls for a public hearing regarding the city’s proposed application for Community Development Block Grant and Emergency Assistance Program funds. The Common Council meets at 8pm in city hall.

Highway 33 Project Expected to Get Underway This Morning

3/16/09 – By all accounts, the Highway 33 reconstruction project in Horicon will get underway today. The project has been delayed year-after-year for since 2002, and was delayed last week due to inclement weather. A good weather forecast and confirmation from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in their weekly advisory are combining to mean only one thing: the $6.5 million dollar project on the 1.4 mile stretch of road between Columbia and Palmatory Streets will begin this morning. A posted detour directs travelers to Highway’s 26, 60 and 67. Highway 33 is closed to through traffic but local businesses are open. The completion date is set for November 20.

Fire Injures Three in Washington County

3/16/09 – Three firefighters suffered minor injuries fighting a fire at a rural West Bend home yesterday afternoon. Washington County Sheriff’s officials say the six people living in the home on Hickory Knoll Drive and two family dogs safely made it out. The fire, which may have been

caused by sparks from an outdoors grill, caused about $300,000 to the home, its contents, two vehicles and a pop-up camper. (KFIZ)

Kimber Bound Over for Trial

3/16/09 – The 21-year-old Waupun woman suspected of stealing more than $6,400 from a grocery store she worked for has been bound over for trial. Amanda Kimber was in Fond du Lac County Court last Friday for a preliminary hearing. . According to the criminal complaint Waupun Police last November began investigating a report about employee theft at the Waupun Piggly Wiggly. Kimber is accused of making out money orders to herself and taking cash from a service desk. The thefts occurred over a four month period last fall. (KFIZ)

Boise in March?

3/16/09 – Wisconsin and Marquette are headed to the Big Dance. The Badgers (19-12) and Golden Eagles (24-9) each received at-large bids Sunday to play in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Marquette picked up the number-six seed in the West yesterday, and will play number-11 Utah State at 11:30 Friday morning in Boise Idaho. Wisconsin was given a 12-seed in the East Region, one of the last six teams to make the Field-of-65. They’ll also be heading to Boise, for a tough match-up with fifth-seeded Florida State about nine o’clock Friday night.

Numerous Church Goers Treated for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

3/16/09 – Six people got sick yesterday when carbon monoxide levels rose quickly at a Madison church. A faulty furnace is the apparent cause, but authorities are still investigating. The poisonings took place during a basement fellowship, following a service at Trinity United Methodist Church. A family member took a two-year-old girl to the hospital after she felt groggy. And an ambulance later transported five others. The carbon monoxide levels jumped as high as four-thousand parts per million. That’s well over 100 times the amount determined to be unsafe. The church’s pastor says all scheduled activities in the building are called off until it’s determined that the building is safe again.

Wisconsin to Unveil First Logo Today

3/16/09 – The state of Wisconsin is unveiling its first official logo today. Governor Jim Doyle will introduce the logo and the state’s new marketing slogan at his annual tourism conference in La Crosse. The slogan is “Wisconsin – Live Like You Mean It.” And the logo has a red silhouette doing a cart-wheel on the word “Wisconsin,” which is all green in capital letters. The slogan is printed in small letters at the bottom. It won’t only be used for tourism – but also for commerce, agriculture, and other parts of state government. Doyle says it’s an important tool to let businesses know why they should relocate or expand in Wisconsin – and why talented employees should choose the Badger State.

State Bonds Available for Purchase

3/16/09 – Got at least five-thousand dollars to invest? If so, you can buy state government bonds that offer up to six-percent interest – more than what most pay these days – and prevent the state from having more budget problems. The state might end its current fiscal year 93-million-dollars in the red if the one-and-a-half billion dollars in bonds are not sold by June 30th. If they are, it could have a 216-million-dollar surplus. The bonding was authorized last year, but the Wall Street melt-down delayed the sale.