News – November 16, 2016

DC Board Debates Highway Funding During Budget Adoption


11/16/16 – Dodge County taxes should stay fairly level in 2017.  The mill rate of $5.63 per thousand dollars of assessed value is down four cents from the number homeowners saw last December, while county property values are up nearly 1-percent to $5,900,000,000.  Total expenses are just shy of $112,000,000 while the tax levy is up roughly $300,000 to over $33,000,000.  The majority of discussion centered on an amendment proposed by Supervisors Jeff Berres and Ed Nelson. It called for delaying the purchase of five of seven proposed trucks for the highway department by one year and using that $880,000 to fund additional road repairs.  Berres cited a recent instance where he and other elected officials were invited to take a ride in a school bus down some of the county’s highways.  For example, he says some officials nearly hit their heads on the bus’s ceiling when they were going down a stretch of County II in the Town of Portland.  In addition to schoolchildren’s safety, Berres says the roads need to be safe for emergency vehicles as he recently spoke to a woman who says a bumpy ambulance ride made it difficult for responders to stick a needle in her arm.  Berres also noted portions of Highway C and DE that are need of repair and could use funding.  Supervisor Richard Fink is one of the board members who opposed the amendment.  Fink, who previously owned a truck operating business, says he examined the highway fleet and says a number of the vehicles, some of which have not been replaced for over 20 years, would not pass inspection.  Opponents also cited the need to replace trucks before their mileage count gets too high to ensure the county can get good value at auction.  The amendment was defeated by a vote of 22-6 while the budget passed 26-2, with support from both Berres and Nelson who said they were not opposed to the trucks but felt they were doing what was best for their constituents starting a discussion on the matter.


Waupun Adopts 2017 Budget With Lower Mill Levy Than Published


11/16/16 – On a 4-to-2 vote, city officials in Waupun Tuesday night adopted a 2017 budget with a levy increase of 3.6-percent. That is significantly lower than the 11.6-percent levy increase proposed in the budget adopted for publication last month. It is also slightly higher than the 2.9-percent alternative that was also detailed but not recommended by City Administrator Kathy Schlieve. She told the common council last night that increasing the levy from this year’s $2.6-million to $2.9-million next year would allow the city to get caught up on badly needed street projects. Under the plan recommended but not approved, $420-thousand dollars would have been directed to capital improvements for reconstruction of North and South Madison streets along with various other street projects and a boiler replacement at City Hall. Schlieve says it would take 27 years to pay for the Madison street project if the money is instead borrowed. Former Alderman Steve Bastian was the only person to speak at the public hearing and he encouraged the council to make cuts elsewhere instead of raising taxes. A motion to adopt the higher levy failed for lack of a second.


Under the plan adopted last night, the total levy is up $93-thousand dollars to $2.7-million dollars with around $200-thousand dollars being used for capital improvements. The 3.6-percent levy hike is the maximum the city could increase taxes to still qualify for the state’s Expenditure Restraint Program, which rewards municipalities that keep their budgets in check. Waupun will now get $43-thousand dollars in 2018 for complying with the restrain program next year.  In Dodge County, the mill rate will increase 32-cents to $6.84-per-thousand dollars of assessed value. Fond du Lac County residents will see an increase of 14-cents to $6.82-per thousand. Equalized value in the city is down around two-percent to $424-million dollars. The $10.3-million-dollar budget itself includes a salary increase for non-union employees of 1.7-percent, expanded funding for economic development, new vehicles for the police department, drainage repair at the community center, and razing the old Washington Elementary School building.


DCSO: Major Drug Dealer Arrested


11/16/16 – Local law enforcement believes it has taken a bigtime drug dealer off the streets.  According to a press release from Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt, the county’s Drug Task Force arrested 27-year-old Lacresha Lightfoot of Beaver Dam on Monday night.  Lightfoot was reportedly arrested on charges of Manufacturing and Delivering Heroin, Manufacturing and Delivering Cocaine, and Delivering a Counterfeit Narcotic Drug.  Schmidt says Lightfoot has operated a drug distribution ring in various places throughout Beaver Dam in recent years, including locations on Lakecrest Drive, Rosendale Street, and the Shoe Factory Apartments on North Spring Street.  The sheriff believes Lightfoot and her associates have sold drugs in public places throughout the city.  Schmidt says the Drug Task Force will continue efforts to bring those associates to justice.  At last word, no formal charges had been made.


Not Guilty Plea Entered On Child Porn Charges


11/16/16 – A not guilty plea was entered at arraignment yesterday for a Beaver Dam man accused of electronically storing illegal materials.  Marc Nadig stood mute on five felony counts of Possessing Child Pornography.  By using investigative software, officers were tipped to the alleged offense.  A search warrant of the 23-year-old’s house reportedly found an SD card with both video and still images of child porn.  If he is convicted, Nadig faces up to 125 years in prison.


Beaver Dam Man Pleads Not Guilty To Fleeing


11/16/16 – A Beaver Dam man accused of running from police pled not guilty at his arraignment hearing yesterday.  Leighton Finnestad is facing one felony count of Operator Fleeing an Officer for allegedly driving off at speeds around 70 miles per hour down residential streets when police tried stopping him in July for erratic driving.  If convicted, the 18-year-old faces over three years in prison.  Finnestad is due back in court next month.


Arrest Made For Attempted Burglary Of Allenton Church


11/16/16 – A man seen fleeing a church in Allenton is facing burglary charges. The 52-year-old Milwaukee man was spotted in a vehicle that left the church and the State Patrol picked him up in St. Lawrence. One of the Parishioners at Resurrection Church saw another man in the church Sunday afternoon, but that man is still at large. Washington County Sheriff’s officials say the man who was captured had a pry bar. He was exiting a room in the church where a safe is located. The pry bar was in the vehicle he was stopped in.


DPI Requests $707-Million Extra In Next Two Years


11/16/16 – Wisconsin public schools would get an extra 707-million dollars in the next two years, under a budget request from State Superintendent Tony Evers. Governor Scott Walker has said he would invest more in the next state budget to help “every child succeed” — and Evers asked Walker Tuesday to provide more equal school funding throughout the state with a greater emphasis on schools in rural areas and those with high poverty. Evers, who now has four challengers in a primary for reelection next February, also expressed concerns that richer school districts are getting ahead of poorer ones as the result of more local referendums in which voters approved 800-million dollars in tax hikes and building improvements last week alone. Evers’ budget request would raise state funding for public schools by two-point-seven-percent next year, and five-point-four-percent the following year. Among other things, he wants funding boosts for special education and English classes.


Assembly Democrats To Court Working Class Trump Supporters


11/16/16 – The leader of the Wisconsin Assembly’s minority Democrats says his party should regroup and reach out to working class people who voted for Republican Donald Trump for president. Kenosha Representative Peter Barca was reelected Tuesday by his Democratic colleagues to the leadership post he’s held since since 2011. That was when Republicans took control of both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office, and Democrats had 38 of the Assembly’s 99 seats — but now, they hold 35 after losing one more in last week’s elections. Barca was unopposed to keep his post, and Middleton Democrat Dianne Hesselbein is the new assistant minority leader. She replaces Katrina Shankland of Stevens Point, who did not seek that post again.


Dates Announced For Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee


11/16/16 – The dates have been announced for next year’s Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee. The three-day Dixieland jazz festival will be held May 19-through-21 at the Fox Lake Community Center, the American Legion Hall and Mullin’s Drive-In. Fox Lake’s own Roland “Bunny” Berigan was a legendary trumpeter and contemporary of Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey credited with the introduction of swing music to the world. His big hits included “I Can’t Get Started,” “Chicken and Waffles” and “Marie.” There will be a big band playing Bunny’s music at the festival along with the Kaye Berigan 5-Tet featuring Bunny’s nephew, the Stompers, the Matt Miller Jazz Trio and special guest trumpeter Duke Heitger of New Orleans. The 2017 event will also include a Dixieland graveside service at Bunny’s grave that Saturday morning and on Sunday, two morning church services by the St. Louis Stompers at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beaver Dam.

More information is at www.bunnyberiganjazzjubilee or on Facebook under Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee.  For more information on this great jazz event please call Julie Flemming at 920-928-6094.


Military Hero Speaking In Oshkosh Thursday


11/16/16 – A military flying hero will appear in Oshkosh Thursday night. Triple ace fighter pilot Clarence “Bud” Anderson will speak at 7pm at the E-A-A’s Air Venture Museum, as part of the organization’s free “Aviation Adventure Speaker Series.” Colonel Anderson earned more than 16 air victories as a P-51 Mustang pilot with the 357th Fighter Group during World War Two — and he commanded a fighter jet squadron in post war Korea, and led two fighter wings during the Vietnam War. During his career, Anderson also tested 130 types of aircraft for the military. One of those planes, a P-Q 14 target drone is now part of the collection at the E-A-A Museum.


Cedar Crest Recalls Ice Cream Flavors


11/16/16 – Cedar Crest Specialties is recalling Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Monster Cookie and Pirate’s Bounty ice cream flavors. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Cedar Crest found out on November 10th that those products, manufactured by Aspen Hills, have the potential to be contaminated with bacteria that can cause serious illness. The affected products were distributed in retail stores throughout the Midwest. More information on the recall is available at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.