“News-May 10, 2011”

Lighting Sparks Fires in Beaver Dam and Chester


A home in Beaver Dam suffered significant damage after a nearby tree was struck by lighting that then jumped to the house and started a fire.  It happened at 502 W. Burnett Street just after 2:30 p-m yesterday.  Fire Chief Alan Mannel says when he got on scene there was smoke coming from the roof, and while they were able to get it under control quickly, the home is currently unlivable.  The homeowner, Nancy Falbe, was home at the time and was sitting at her computer when the lighting struck.  She says she heard a loud crack and plates breaking, before noticing the wall socket was completely blown out and smoking at which point she went outside.  Falbe praised the fire department, and said she believes the quick response saved the home, which she’s lived in for 23 years.  Two firefighters suffered minor injuries while fighting the blaze and were taken to the hospital.  Though no determination has been made, it’s likely the large pine tree that was struck will have to be cut down for safety reasons.  Fire personnel were on scene for more than an hour and half.


Meanwhile, a shop and storage building in the Town of Chester caught fire when it was also hit by lighting.  Waupun Fire Chief Jeff Berry says it happened around 2:45 p-m on County Highway I.  Berry says a passerby saw the lighting strike and called it in.  He says the rear area of the shop suffered moderate damage and they were able to contain the damage to one work bay.  Crews were able to get the fire under control within 20 minutes and were on scene for about an hour and half.  Berry credited the firefighters for doing an outstanding job containing the fire and removing farm equipment from the building to minimize damage.  The property belonged to Irvan Possin.


New Kachelski Memorial Location Approved


5/10/11 – The Beaver Dam Operations Committee has approved a new location to erect a plaque in honor of the city’s first full-time mayor. Committee Chair Laine Meyer came up with the idea of placing the Robert Kachelski memorial between the Chamber offices and the Historical Society. Mayor Tom Kennedy, a friend of the late mayor, says he believes that location is appropriate since Kachelski was in office when the museum moved from the old depot building to its current location in the former Williams Free Library. The council unanimously approved a resolution in October that called for a memorial plaque and tree planting in honor of Kachelski on his birthday next month.  Tensions ran high last week after Kennedy told the council that the memorial would be placed on the southeast corner of Front and Center Streets. That’s where buildings like Doc’s Corner tavern once stood before being demolished in the wake of the 2008 floods, and where Wal-Mart is donating $10,000 for landscaping. Alderman Robert Ballweg objected, saying Kennedy was overstepping his bounds in selecting a location without approval. Ballweg apologized to Kennedy last night for what he referred to as “inappropriate dialogue” from last weeks meeting that basically resulted in each suggesting where the other could stick the memorial. Incidentally, Ballweg says he believes a more appropriate recognition in the soon-to-be landscaped park where the downtown buildings once stood would be to Mayor Kennedy, for successfully orchestrating a multi-million dollar demolition project that was largely paid for with grant funding. The Kachelski tree planting ceremony is planned for June 7.


Chamber Seeks To Purchase Old Depot


5/10/11 – Plans by the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce to purchase the city-owned historic depot where they are currently located moved through the city’s Operations Committee last night. Chamber officials say they would like to assume the responsibilities and costs associated with the acquisition.  The matter now heads to the Plan Commission for consideration.


Hartford Man Charged In High Speed Chase


5/10/11 – A Hartford man faces a variety of charges of allegedly sparking a high speed chase with police last week. Luke J. Vogds is charged with felony Reckless Endangerment and Fleeing, along with misdemeanor Operating After Revocation, for leading deputies on a pursuit in and around Neosho that reached speeds of over 100 mph.  A passenger on the back of his motorcycle told police that she repeatedly asked the 21-year-old to stop and said she feared for her life. Vogds reportedly told arresting officers that he fled because he did not want to jeopardize his chances of getting his suspended license back. He could spend over 14 years in prison if convicted. Cash bond was set at $500 and a preliminary hearing is on the calendar for May 19.


Poynette Teen Succumbs To Injuries


5/10/11 – The driver of a passenger car struck a school bus Friday morning in Columbia County has died. Chief Sheriffs Deputy Michael Babcock says 19-year-old Cory Adams of Poynette died Saturday morning as the result of injuries sustained in the crash. The wreck occurred on Highway 51-60, just south of the Village of Arlington.  A Poynette school bus was travelling northbound and was slowing to turn when Adams car failed to slow down and crashed into the rear of the school bus. Adams was taken to UW Hospital Madison via MedFlight where he later died. The accident remains under investigation.


Counterfeit $50 Turns Up At Beaver Dam Bank


5/10/11 – A counterfeit $50 bill popped up in Beaver Dam on Friday.  According police logs, the Horicon Bank on Industrial Drive reported the phony money and officers took custody of the bill. Such incidents are turned over to the Secret Service for investigation.


Supreme Court Recount Could End Up in Court


5/10/11 – It appears that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser will win the recount of the ballots cast on April fifth. But JoAnne Kloppenburg’s camp is talking about challenging the recount in court. And Prosser’s attorneys say the Supreme Court seat might have to sit empty for months while a legal battle drags on. Waukesha County is the only one still working on its recount. In the other 71 counties, Prosser leads by over 69-hundred votes. Kloppenburg gained just 355 votes from the initial county canvasses. And with just over 30-percent of Waukesha County’s ballots counted, Prosser has gained 18 votes. Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken says she “gets the math.” But she says there are serious questions about the way the recount was handled – especially in Waukesha County, where bags of ballots had incorrect seals and were partially opened. Over 400 exhibits have been marked for further review, and that’s why the tally is going a lot slower than elsewhere. Prosser attorney Daniel Kelly says the issues in Waukesha are no different than what was seen in other counties. The recount was supposed to be finished yesterday, but a Dane County judge gave Waukesha County until May 26th to wrap it up. The way the numbers are now, Prosser is scheduled to begin another 10-year term on the Supreme Court August first.


WI Denied Federal Train Funds


5/10/11 – Governor Scott Walker’s office says it will do what it can to maintain and improve Amtrak’s high-speed rail line from Milwaukee-to-Chicago. That’s after federal officials turned down the state’s request yesterday for 150-million dollars to provide new rail cars and locomotives for the Hiawatha line, and a new maintenance facility in Milwaukee. The funding would have come from a two-billion dollar stimulus rail grant that Florida turned down. U-S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood refused to say if Wisconsin’s rejection was caused by what happened last fall – when Walker said no to federal money to extend the Amtrak line from Milwaukee-to-Madison. But Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he wasn’t shocked by yesterday’s decision, given Walker’s opposition to the other project. And Barrett said the Republican governor better have a “Plan-B” to make sure train-maker Talgo stays in Milwaukee. It plans to leave after fulfilling its current contracts – but it talked about keeping a maintenance facility in the city. Wisconsin was hardly the only one to be told “no.” States asked for five times as much as what was available. But State D-O-T Secretary Mark Gottlieb said it was still a disappointment. And he said the 800-thousand annual riders of the Amtrak Hiawatha line would be the ones not to benefit. Ridership on that line has doubled in the last eight years – and so far this year, the train has attracted almost eight-percent more riders than at the same time a year ago.


Columbus Selects New Principal


5/10/11 – Jeff Mastin was selected as the new High School Principal in Columbus last night. Mastin was chosen from three finalists to succeed eleven-year veteran Connie Valenza. Valenza will be leaving the District July 1st to become Superintendent in the Platteville District. Mastin is working on his U.W. doctorate in educational leadership. He has taught in Sun Prairie and Verona and worked as an administrator in Oakfield, Port Washington and Stoughton.