News – November 25, 2016

WisDOT Secretary Outlines Local Projects In Dodge County


11/25/16 – The head of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation provided insight into some local road and infrastructure projects this week in Beaver Dam. Secretary Mark Gottlieb provided the keynote address at this week’s Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce Economic Update Luncheon. Gottlieb says the state worked with local officials to secure a federal grant to replace two bridges spanning Shaw Brook and Pratt Creek on County Highways KW and S near Reeseville. He says the World War Two-era bridges were falling into disrepair and they were replaced with a new innovative technique that minimizes project duration costs and future maintenance needs. Gottlieb also noted that the state has invested around $36-million dollars since the beginning of the millennium on studying the possible conversion of Highway 151 from Columbus to Waupun from an expressway to a freeway. The change would essentially restrict access to the highway at interchanges only as opposed to the cross traffic that is now allowed. He says any conversion of the 40-mile stretch of roadway would not take place for many years but once the study is complete then the state can go through a mapping process and begin to reserve the land that would be necessary to complete the project. Full audio from Gottlieb’s keynote address can be found at:


Slight Mill Rate Planned For Columbus City Taxpayers


11/25/16 – City administrators in Columbus are proposing a slight increase in the mill rate for taxpayers. Finance Director Kim Manley says the proposed $8.12 per-thousand-dollar mill rate will be going to the council for approval next week. The proposed document was assembled following a series of budget workshops held between city administration, the mayor and the city council throughout October and November. City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden says the budget will address a number of city capital projects that have been in need of funding for some time. The council will vote on the budget Wednesday night at 6:30pm.


Wisconsin Likely Heading To Recount


11/25/16 – Jill Stein’s presidential campaign says it has the money for a statewide recount of Wisconsin’s White House election. The State Elections Commission says it’s preparing for a recount, and Stein promised to file the request by today’s (Friday’s) five p-m deadline. Stein, the Green Party candidate who placed fourth, says many people doubt the election was on the up and up after a report that hackers wiped out thousands of electronic ballots in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — and had all the ballots been tallied, Democrat Hillary Clinton would have carried Wisconsin instead of Republican Donald Trump. State officials say there’s no sign that anyone hacked the limited electronic ballots, noting that 85-percent of all ballots are on paper. As of late Thursday, four-point-two million dollars were raised on Stein’s campaign website — and her group “congratulated” donors for making Wisconsin the first state to finance a recount.


DeVos Reaction Along Party Lines


11/25/16 – The advocacy group School Choice Wisconsin is pretty happy.  Betsy DeVos, president-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for U-S Education Secretary is receiving starkly contrasting responses, depending on point of view.  Republican Governor Scott Walker congratulated DeVos, calling her his friend.  Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan, a Democrat, calls the nomination really bad news for public schools.  The liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now says she is a billionaire whose hobby is supporting campaigns to steal public school dollars.


Lafferty Enters Not Guilty Plea To Copper Theft Charge


11/25/16 – A former Beaver Dam man entered a not guilty plea at arraignment this week to charges that he stole from a Dodge County business prior to being incarcerated.  Donny Lafferty, who is currently an inmate at the Stanley Correctional Facility, is facing a felony Theft count for allegedly admitting that he stole over $8,000 worth of copper wire from the Linck Aggregate Quarry in the Town of Trenton in March 2011.  The copper was part of the electrical system running the quarry and two weeks’ worth of work was lost because of the theft, costing $1500 per day. A DNA test of chewing tobacco found at the scene reportedly tied the 23-year-old to the crime.  Lafferty reportedly sold the wire to support his drug addiction.  If he is convicted, Lafferty faces up to eight years in prison.


Mayville Man Arraigned On Child Porn Charges


11/25/16 – A Mayville pled not guilty at arraignment this week to charges that he had inappropriate images on his computer.  William Waldoch is charged with six felony counts of Possessing Child Pornography.  The 42-year-old’s online activity put him on police’s radar.  In February, officers executed a search warrant at his house and seized five electronic devices that reportedly contained a total of at least 15 illegal images.  Waldoch allegedly told police that he enjoyed looking at child pornography but would never act out his fantasies.  If he is convicted, Waldoch faces up to 150 years in prison.


Madison Authorities Seek Fraud Suspect


11/25/16 – Madison-area authorities are looking for a woman who apparently used fake identification to get more than 16-thousand dollars from a credit union.  The woman identified herself as Karina Gomez last month, using what is now thought to have been a false I-D.  She is accused of fraudulently obtaining cash advances at U-W Credit Union offices in Middleton and Madison.  Witnesses say she was a brunette, with the top layer of her hair dyed blond.  She could have been traveling in a small, dark-colored Chevy crossover vehicle.


Driver Crashes Driving 100mph On Frontage Road


11/25/16 – A Wisconsin State Patrol trooper says he was driving on Interstate 94 in the Milwaukee area when he saw a vehicle on a parallel frontage road going more than 100 miles-an-hour.  That driver lost control of his vehicle, crashed and nearly hit a house.  Troopers say they saw the 37-year-old man walking near the wrecked vehicle, covered in blood.  He was arrested for his fifth O-W-I and taken to Waukesha Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  The man’s name hasn’t been released.


Sheriffs November Law Of The Month: Winter Driving


11/25/16 – Dodge County drivers are encouraged to be prepared for winter driving.  The sheriff’s office addresses the topic as its November ‘Law of the Month.’  Sheriff Dale Schmidt says his office typically responds to a large number of crashes each year when the roads are slick or snow-covered.  In addition to possible injuries, vehicle damage, and insurance claims, Schmidt says drivers may be issued a citation following one of these accidents.  The sheriff says state statute says drivers must travel at an ‘appropriate, reduced speed’ when a ‘special hazard exists with regard to weather or highway conditions.’  When citations are issued, Schmidt says drivers often argue that they were not speeding.  He reminds drivers that the posted speed limit is intended only for dry pavement conditions.  Schmidt says driving too fast for the road conditions brings a fine of $213 and four demerit points.  A second offense within one year costs $263 and four additional points.


Festival of Trees Saturday In Beaver Dam


11/25/16 – A weekend fundraiser is raising money for a local non-profit.  The 14th annual Festival of Trees event is being held in Beaver Dam tomorrow, with proceeds benefitting Church Health Services, which offers medical, dental, and mental services to people who are uninsured or underinsured.  The event begins at 5 pm on Saturday at the Old Hickory Golf Club and includes a dinner and both live and silent auctions.  Tickets are available at the door for $45 each.  Last year’s event raised $14,000, and organizers are looking to raise $17,000 this year.


Columbus Holiday Parade Tonight


11/25/16 – The Columbus Holiday Parade is tonight from 6:30pm to 8pm. Line-up starts at 6pm at Kiwanis Park and proceed down School Street to Ludington where it will turn right and continue onto Mill Street.  Tonight’s kick off to the holidays concludes with a community tree-lighting ceremony outside the Columbus Public Library following the parade.