News – May 1, 2016

Beaver Dam Rated Among State’s Best High Schools


5/1/16 – A local high school has been named among the best in the state.  U.S. News and World Report ranked Beaver Dam High School 41st out of 468 Wisconsin high schools in its 2016 list.  This is Beaver Dam’s second straight year with a Silver Medal Award rating after it finished 35th in 2015.  Nationally, Beaver Dam placed 1,830th out of more than 28,000 schools nationally.  That is up 80 spots from last year.  Beaver Dam High is the highest ranked area school in the survey that is based on a number of factors such as student performance in reading and math, student-teacher ratios, and college readiness.


Beaver Dam Council To Take Up Sky Lantern Ordinance


5/1/16 – Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy has his regular listening sessions scheduled on Tuesday. Kennedy opens his door for city residents to meet with him, one-on-one, without appointment on the first and third Tuesday of every month. The listening sessions are held in Room 158 on the first floor of City Hall from 10am until noon and again from 5pm to 6pm.  Kennedy also makes himself available for private meetings by appointment by contacting the mayor office.  He says it is important that constituents have the opportunity to speak with him the day after each regular meeting of the common council, which is typically held on the first and third Monday’s of the month. On the council agenda tomorrow night: first reading on an ordinance that would prohibit the use of sky lanterns in city limits. The paper lanterns are powered by an open flame like a candle and rise in the air like small, hot-air balloons capable of traveling for miles before landing. Fire Chief Alan Mannel is recommending the ordinance saying that it’s “irresponsible to light an object, float in the air to goes who knows where as they do not always burn out before they hit the ground.” Also on the agenda: bid approval and contract awards for work related the demolition of the old senior center and the state-mandated storm water filtration pond that will be built once its razed. Police Chief John Kreuziger will also present the department’s annual report. The Beaver Dam Common Council meets at 8pm at the Municipal Building.


Mercury Marine Breaks Ground On Expansion


5/1/16 – Mercury Marine broke ground Friday for a 53-thousand-square-foot expansion project. Mercury President John Pfeifer says machining for 4-stroke outboard engines will be done at the new addition. He says it’s about a $31 million investment. It’s the fifth expansion for Mercury in Fond du Lac since 2009. Pfeifer says they have invested about $730 million into expansion and new product programs. In 2009 there was a battle to keep Mercury from leaving the state that resulted in incentives from the state, and about $50 million in loans from Fond du Lac County and further incentives from the City. County Executive Al Buechel says they were right in investing in Mercury. He says the growth, the expansion, equipment and nearly doubling of Mercury’s work force make it a tremendous return on the investment. Pfeifer says right now they have 60 to 70 job openings, they’ve hired 400 people since January and the expansion will create more job opportunities.


Horicon Again Named As ‘Tree City USA’


5/1/16 – A local municipality was again recognized this week for its support of forestry.  The City of Horicon was presented with a Tree City USA Award for the 29th straight year.  Regional Urban Forestry Coordinator Olivia Witthun was at this week’s council meeting for the presentation and says the four criteria a municipality must meet are: have a tree board, spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, have an ordinance supporting the program’s mission, and hold an Arbor Day celebration.  Witthun says the program’s goal is to get the community involved in caring for the environment.  She credited the city for its public-private tree planting program that reimburses people 50% of the cost for planting trees on private property. Horicon received a $12,000 grant for that effort in 2016.  Witthun says planting trees in Horicon is important since the city will lose some of its current population through EAB.  The program is put on by the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters along with the Arbor Day Foundation.  Since it began in 1976, over 3,400 communities have taken the pledge.


Markesan Legislator Receives Award For Children’s Youth Health Caucus


5/1/16 – The Wisconsin Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics recently named State Representative Joan Ballweg their Legislator of the Year. The Markesan Republican was praised for her understanding and advocacy of early brain development, mental health, and trauma informed care. Her work establishing the Wisconsin Legislative Children’s Caucus, a bipartisan caucus dedicated to improving the life of every Wisconsin child, was also spotlighted.


Wisconsin Among Worst States For Drunk Driving


5/1/16 – A nationwide survey suggests the danger you will be hit by a drunk driver is very high in Wisconsin.  The report from CarInsuranceComparison-dot-com ranks this state fourth in the likelihood a driver will be hit by someone else behind the wheel that is impaired.  It suggests Wisconsin legal penalties aren’t as high as they are in other states and that could be a factor.  Wisconsin is the only state in the U-S where a first offense O-W-I is a citation rather than a crime.


Madison Praised For Its Fitness


5/1/16 – Fitbit has named Madison the nation’s fittest city.  The distinction is based on data from over ten-million users of its wearable fitness tracking devices in 2015.  The company looked at average daily steps, active minutes, resting heart rates and sleep patterns for the rankings.  Minneapolis was second, followed by Spokane, Washington; Boston; and Portland, Oregon, in the top five.


Twin Births On The Rise In Wisconsin


5/1/16 – If you think you’re seeing more twins, you’re right. About 3.4 of every 100 births in both Wisconsin and the U-S are some type of multiples — twins, triplets, or more. That was for 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available. A recent report says 1999 was the first year in which multiple births exceeded three percent of all births in southeast Wisconsin — and the figure has stayed above three percent since then. Experts say there are two main reasons for the increase — first-time mothers are older, and reproductive techniques are more advanced.


DNR To Help Communities Replace Lead Water Pipes


5/1/16 – In the wake of the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Wisconsin will help its hard pressed communities replace lead water pipes. The D-N-R says it will provide almost $12,000,000 to disadvantaged communities, to help homeowners pay for all or parts of their shares to replace their older lead pipes. The funding comes from a program that loans money to replace aging pipes to avoid lead contamination — but for this campaign, homeowners will not have to pay the state back. Milwaukee has an estimated 70,000 homes with lead laterals, and officials say about 250 houses will benefit from the new water pipe replacements. The funding begins July first and will cover the second half of this year.


Bulk Waste Pick-Up This Week In Beaver Dam


5/1/16 – It’s that time of the year for Beaver Dam residents to collect their bulk garbage as this week is one of two annual pick-ups.  Bulk pick-up runs this Monday through Friday for residents who receive city-provided waste collection services from Advanced Disposal.  Bulk waste should be placed on the curb no sooner than 24 hours prior to each collection and by 7am on the day of pick-up.  Bulk waste is defined as, but not limited to, non-metal furniture, wooden doors and windows and rolled carpet, not exceeding six-feet in length.  No metal items like bed springs, doors, windows, appliances and pipes will be collected.  There is a metal bin located at the City Garage for disposal of such items. Also, no bundled or loose piles of lumber or building materials are accepted; those items must be broken down and placed in the weekly collection cart.  The only other bulk pick-up this year will be the first waste collection day of October. Bulk waste can be dropped off twice a month at Myrtle Road and Beltline Drive near the wastewater treatment plant; that’s on first Wednesday’s (from 4pm to 7pm) and third Saturday’s (from 8am until noon). Also, a reminder, that Beaver Dam residents can leave brush at the street’s edge on the first waste collection day of each month.  Neatly-piled, loose tree limbs and shrubbery cuttings should be left out by 7am on the day of scheduled pickup. Yard waste can also be dropped off at the DPW garage on South Center Street. Brush pick-up continues once a month through the first collection day in November.


DPI On Graduation Rates


5/1/16 – A report from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction reveals the high school graduation rate for black students is falling.  Sixty-four percent of black students in the Class of 2015 graduated within four years.  That’s down from 65 percent the year before.  For comparison, almost 93 percent of white students graduated last May.  Graduation rates for ethnic groups like American Indians, Asians, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders and bi-racial children have consistently improved over the last five years.


Wisconsin Military Vehicle Maker Sees Profits Increase


5/1/16 – Wisconsin’s maker of military vehicles is performing better than expected. The Oshkosh Corporation reports a 2.7% hike in its quarterly profits from the same time one year ago. Oshkosh made $56,000,000 from January through March, $1,500,000 more than the same quarter of 2015. Stockholders made 76 cents per share, up from 69 cents one year earlier. Total sales dropped by almost 2%, but officials say higher sales for military, fire, and commercial vehicles nearly offset declines in the manufacture of lift equipment for the construction industry. Oshkosh C-E-O Wilson Jones says military vehicle sales were higher than projected, resulting in a “strong operational performance.”