News – March 26, 2016

Wisconsin Grocery Prices Down In Time For Easter


3/26/16 – While picking up groceries for your Easter dinner, you may have realized prices are lower than last year’s holiday.  According to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Marketbasket survey, the cost of 16 basic food items used to prepare one or more meals is $49.70.  That is $3.67 less than fall’s survey and $2.26 less than last spring.  The farm bureau credits lower energy prices along with rebounding supplies of beef, eggs, and dairy.  Eleven of the 16 items dropped in price from last year while three are more expensive: boxed cereal, chicken breast, and orange juice.  Eggs were the biggest mover, dropping 54% per dozen to $1.34.  Last year’s influenza outbreak was blamed for higher prices that reached $2.94 last September.  The farm bureau says increases in cattle herd and beef supplies coupled with a softening export market led to price decreases in ground chuck and sirloin tip roast.  Strong supplies in the U.S. and abroad had a similar effect on pork prices.


Dodge County Looking To Control Barnyard Runoff


3/26/16 – Dodge County is helping farmers who need to control barnyard runoff.  According to the county’s land conservation department, runoff events often pollute waterways.  The department says roughly 200 pounds of phosphorous go from barnyard sites to surface waters each year, which is enough to spur the growth of 10,000 pounds of algae and weeds.  This activity can affect human health and fish habitats.  County Conservationist Marc Bethke says there are three steps to controlling barnyard runoff: diverting clean water from flowing through a barnyard site, containing manure and polluted water so particles can be removed, and creating a grassed buffer area to absorb polluted liquids.  In addition to protecting water sources, Bethke says benefits include easier barnyard cleanup, safer conditions for livestock, and increased milk value.  State law also prohibits the direct discharge of barnyard runoff into state waters.  Anyone who might be causing water quality problems is encouraged to contact the Dodge County Land Conservation Department for assistance.


Jefferson Co. Won’t House World’s Largest Goat Milking Operation


3/26/16 – The owners of a new dairy enterprise who were looking to establish the nation’s largest goat-milking operation in Jefferson County are now looking at land elsewhere. Reports say Drumlin Dairy changed plans to build a facility to house about 9,000 goats in Jefferson County after reaching an agreement for land in a different county.  It does not identify the new county.  Company officials say that the proposed operation aims to address the state’s goat milk shortage in order to bolster its flourishing goat-cheese industry. The company hopes to have the farm operational by March 2017.


FDL County Woman Facing Prison Time For Fatal Crash


3/26/16 – A Fond du Lac County woman is facing up to 10 years after being convicted in connection with a fatal crash. A jury in Fond du Lac County on Thursday found 27-year-old Heather Cleveland of Kewaskum guilty of homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle for texting while driving. Prosecutors say Cleveland was traveling west on State Highway 23 from Fond du Lac to Ripon in June 2014 when her S-U-V read-ended a pickup stopped to make a left turn. The impact pushed the truck into the path of another vehicle driven by 63-year-old Linda Trotter of Ripon. Trotter died at the scene. Phone records show Cleveland was sending and receiving texts moments before the crash. Her sentencing is set for June 24th.


Columbia County Ferry Open For Season


3/26/16 – A ferry that runs through Columbia County is open for the season.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced yesterday the Merrimac Ferry is up and running for 2016.  It runs between Okee in Columbia County and Merrimac in Sauk County on Highway 113.  The ferry, which holds 15 vehicles in addition to bicycles and pedestrians, runs 24/7.  One crossing takes seven minutes.  There were 54,411 trips in 2015, carrying a total of 302,915 vehicles.


Wisconsin’s Assembly Speaker Endorses Ted Cruz


3/26/16 -Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is endorsing Ted Cruz as the Republican presidential nominee. The Rochester Republican had been a Marco Rubio supporter. Vos says now that Rubio is out of the race,  Cruz is the obvious choice for the nomination and offers the best hope of defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in November. He says Cruz has been a principled voice for conservative values and loves America. Wisconsin’s primary is set for April 5th.


Man Charged With Threatening To Hire Hitman On Roommate


3/26/16 – A La Crosse man faces charges after allegedly threatening to hire a hit man to kill his roommate. Rick Lofts was charged Thursday with felony intimidation of a victim and bail jumping. Lofts was arrested after he got into a fight with his roommate on March 15th. Authorities say he began texting the woman the next day after he was released from jail despite a no-contact order and suggested he was going to take out a hit on her. The woman reported the texts to Lofts’ probation officer on Wednesday.


Marquette University Offers Job Back To Professor


3/26/16 -John McAdams is offered an opportunity to return to his job at Marquette University.  University officials say all he has to do is apologize.  The political science professor has been suspended since December 2014 for a controversial blog posting. McAdams says he will not apologize and hopes the case goes to court.


Volunteers Needed For Beaver Dam’s 2017 Mural Festival


3/26/16 – Volunteers are needed to help plan next summer’s mural festival in Beaver Dam.  At a meeting this week, the Mural Festival Committee discussed eight sub-committees that need chairpersons or members.  Jensen hopes individuals or organizations volunteer no matter how much time they can offer.  During the June 28-July 2 festival, roughly 200 artists from throughout the country will converge on Beaver Dam to paint murals on certain downtown buildings.  Two murals have been painted in the last couple years, and Jensen says at least eight more should be completed during the festival.  Organizers have applied for various grants to fund the murals, which cost roughly $7,500 each.  The committee’s next meeting is April 26 at 6pm at the Downtown Beaver Dam Inc. office building.


FDL Fire Chief Responds To Brussels Attack After Visit


3/26/16 – Fond du Lac Fire Chief Peter O’Leary says this week’s terrorist bombing at the Brussels Airport means a little more to him because he went through the airport while on vacation last August. He feels security at the time was good. The chief says it was adequate but notes the area before the screening is a vulnerable space for any airport.  O’Leary says recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Belgium will make him think twice before going overseas again. At least four U.S. citizens are unaccounted for after the terrorist acts in Belgium and nine Americans were injured in the airport bombing.