News – May 15, 2021

(Ashippun) The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a suspected attempted burglary in the Town of Ashippun. The two suspects involved operate a white Chevy truck, possibly a Silverado with blue decals on the doors and toolboxes on the back. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says one of them knocks on the door and identifies himself as working for a local power company. Schmidt says it appears that the suspect gets the homeowner to walk the property line away from the home. While the homeowner is distracted, the second suspect enters the home and steals items. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating three burglaries from the Towns of Jefferson, Concord, and Ixonia. Schmidt says the suspects are described as being in their thirty’s, five-nine to six-feet-tall with dark hair and acne scars on their face. One suspect may speak with a Spanish accent. Anyone with information is asked to call the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office at 920-386-3726.

(Portage) The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office held their first Cops and Bobbers event this week. The goal of the program is to have law enforcement build rapport with local youth while teaching them how to fish, have fun, and get them hooked on fishing rather than drugs or crime. Sheriff Roger Brandner says the kids involved were able to interact with local law enforcement officers, social workers, and other staff members who volunteered their time to fish with kids and begin forming positive relationships. Brandner says youth participants were paired with a deputy, given rids in squad cars from the Columbia County Law Enforcement Center in Portage to the to the Portage Boat Club on Swan Lake in Pardeeville, and received some education from the DNR. He says his office plans to expand the program in 2022 as well as continue to offer more outings, education events, and larger-sized events to increase community building.

(Juneau) Dodge County Public Health has announced a move to Phase Three of their Safe Restart Plan, allowing for larger group gatherings. The phase change means recommendations for businesses, bars and restaurants increase to 75-percent of their approved capacity. That is up from 50-percent outlined in Phase Two of the three phase plan. In addition, social gatherings can to increase from 50 to 250 people while still following physical distancing and face covering guidelines. Dodge County Public Health Officer Abby Sauer says while current numbers regarding illness and death associated with COVID-19 continue to give us reason for optimism, people should still remain cautious.  Sauer encourages those who have not gotten the vaccine to do so.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials reported one COVID deaths yesterday bringing that number to 6,954. Dodge County is reporting 164 deaths and 11,879 cases. Statewide, active cases total to 7,478, a one-day decrease of 152. Dodge County health officials are actively monitoring 132 cases. Thirty-one-point-six-percent (31.6%) of Dodge County residents are fully vaccinated while 36.1-percent have had at least one dose. // In Washington County 35.3-percent have completed the vaccination series. That figure is 34-percent in Fond du Lac County, 34.3-percent in Jefferson County, 40.4-percent in Columbia County and 35.6-percent in Green Lake County.

(Wisconsin) Wisconsin could be in-line for another large drop in coronavirus vaccine doses. The Department of Health Services reported about 69-thousand doses have been administered this week as of Thursday. That number will increase as the statewide count comes-in over the next few days, but it’s clear demand for the coronavirus vaccine is lower. Wisconsin vaccinations peaked in early April and have fallen since. – WRN

(Madison) Legislative Republicans and Democrats got into some testy exchanges on Thursday in day one of votes on the state budget. Senator LaTonya Johnson argued in favor of a minor increase in funding for the Black Historical Society, an item that was taken out of the budget. Republicans voted down the measure, and Representative Mark Born of Beaver Dam said no one asked for it. That item had been included in Governor Evers’ budget and was approved by the State Historical Society. Johnson called Born a ‘racist ass’ on Twitter after the session and said those sorts of ideas are why Wisconsin remains the worst state in the nation to raise a black child. – WRN

(Madison) Governor Tony Evers says what the state will spend its federal stimulus funding on won’t change, despite there being less than initially expected. The U-S Treasury Department said this week that Wisconsin will get two-and-a-half billion-dollars in stimulus money as opposed to three-point-two billion. Evers said this week that Wisconsin lost 700 million-dollars because its unemployment rate is better than most other states. He still intends to allocate the federal money for economic relief, including grants for businesses, as well as infrastructure and broadband expansion and ongoing pandemic response. – WRN


(Wisconsin) The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is warning of persistent drought conditions in most of the state. The increased fire danger is due to the low relative humidities expected across the state, with the lowest values expected across northern Wisconsin. Temperatures will be warm and the air over Wisconsin will be dry, which are weather conditions that aid in the spread of fires. Dodge, Washington, Columbia, and Jefferson Counties are in moderate fire danger while Fond du Lac and Green Lake Counties are in very high danger. The DNR has responded to 611 wildfires burning more than 1,700 acres so far this year, plus many more suppressed by local fire departments and federal partners – 53 of those fires occurred last week alone.

(Watertown) Watertown Regional Medical Center recently announced they were awarded five stars in the latest Hospital Quality Star Ratings. The Star Ratings program, released by the Centers for Medical and Medicaid Services, is designed to increase healthcare transparency and help patients and their family members make informed decisions about healthcare. Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings measure hospitals based on their performance across seven quality areas, including: mortality, safety of care, readmission, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care, and efficient use of medical imaging. The rating puts the Watertown facility among the top 14-percent of all eligible hospitals in the U.S. with respect to patient safety and the overall patient experience.