News May 7, 2009

H1N1 Flu Virus Cases Continue to Rise

5/7/09 – The number of probable and confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu continues to rise but fears of the virus are starting to diminish. Earlier this week, the U.S. government did an about-face and said the mass closing of schools around the country was unnecessary. Dodge County Public Health Officer Jody Langfeldt says the reason for the change in direction is due to the strength of this particular strain. However, she says while this strain isn’t as strong as originally thought it could take a similar path that the 1918 Spanish Flu did, which hit in the spring, dissipated in the summer and then struck with a vengeance in the fall. The number of confirmed cases of Influenza-“A” took a big jump yesterday, just as state officials had predicted. There are now 26 confirmed cases, and 176 probable ones. However, still no confirmed cases have been found in Dodge County.

Smoking Ban on the Fast Track

5/7/09 – Once America celebrates its freedom next year, Wisconsinites will lose the freedom to smoke in many places. Legislators announced a deal yesterday on a statewide public indoor smoking ban that takes effect July fifth of 2010. Both houses are expected to pass the ban next Wednesday. Governor Jim Doyle says he’s pleased about it, but has not promised he’ll sign it yet. Senate President Fred Risser of Madison says it will save the lives of our citizens, and save money for taxpayers. Anti-smoking and public health groups wanted the ban to take effect earlier, but tavern owners and other businesses said they needed time to adjust. The parties haggled for a couple years before they finally reached an agreement. Indian casinos would be exempt, along with existing cigar bars and tobacco shops. Bars and restaurants could create outdoor smoking areas. Those caught smoking in workplaces would be fined 100-to-250-dollars. And business owners could get one free pass before being tagged for 100-dollar fines. Wisconsin would join neighbors Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois in having statewide bans.

Group Forms to Recall Waupun Mayor

5/7/09 – A group of Waupun residents has started a campaign to recall Mayor Jodi Steger. The Citizens of Waupun for Leadership Change filed a registration statement with the city clerk’s office yesterday. Waupun Businessman Dan Ganz, who filed the papers, has been vocal in his criticism of City Administrator Gary Rodgers and told the clerks office the reason behind the recall is because the mayor has failed in her duties to remove him. The group now has 60-days to get 750-signatures supporting the recall. The city would then have to hold a special election within six weeks of the certification of the petition.

Authorities Investigating

5/7/09 – Authorities in Columbia County are investigating a 51-year-old Pardeeville woman suspected of stealing prescription medications from residences in the county. Sheriff Dennis Richards says Linda Brener was arrested yesterday on two counts of criminal trespass to property and is also being held on a probation violation. Brener is believed to unlawfully entering residences in the greater Columbia County area in order to steal the medications. Richards says in the past, Brener lies to residents to explain her presence in their home. The Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone who may have been victimized by Brener to call their office.

Senior Expo a Big Success

5/7/09 – Organizers estimate that close to 800 people attended the 14th annual Senior Expo at the Heritage Village Shops yesterday. Elder Resource Committee member Jim Bublitz says vendors at the event told him it was the busiest they had ever seen it. According to Bublitz, highlights of the day included a barber shop quartet, bingo, and the brat fry. Bublitz says he saw a number of people at the event the entire day. This year’s event featured more than 40 vendors.

Powerball Back Above $100M

5/7/09 – The Powerball jackpot is above 100-million-dollars for the fourth time this year, and the first time since April eighth. Nobody won last night’s top prize, so it’s up to 109-million for the next drawing on Saturday. Wisconsin had almost 22-thousand total winners last night. One of them is getting the 200-thousand dollar second prize. The current jackpot has been building since April eighth, when a ticket sold in Washington D-C won 144-million dollars. The biggest jackpot of the year was 174-million. Players in Delaware and Pennsylvania split that prize on February 27th. Saturday’s cash option is 56-million.