News – November 30, 2019

(Town of Westford) Beaver Dam Fire Chief Alan Mannel says it was all hands on deck in battling a blaze Thanksgiving night in the Town of Westford. Multiple agencies responded to the fatal fire on Watercress Lane around 10:30pm. Mannel says fighting fires is never easy but doing so on the evening of a major holiday certainly has its challenges. He says they were not necessarily “low-staffed” on Thursday but on Thanksgiving, off-duty personnel are typically tied up with family or other hobbies, like hunting. Mannel says “first-in crews” performed “awesome” but such holiday incidents demonstrate a need for more on-duty staffing. A Dodge County Sheriff’s deputy, who was the first on scene, pulled an 82-year-old woman from the basement. She later died at the hospital; identified in multiple media outlets as Eleanor Neumann. Her husband, 92-year-old Ruben Neumann, was able to escape with non-life-threatening burns. The deputy was treated for smoke inhalation. Chief Mannel called it a (quote) “heroic rescue at great peril” to the deputy’s own life. The cause remains under investigation by the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshall.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin road deaths are down compared to last year. The state Department of Transportation reports that 495 fatalities as of November 17 is down from 521 traffic deaths at the same point in 2018. The Bureau of Transportation Safety credits drivers taking safety seriously on the roads for the decline. Wisconsin is part of a national trend of fewer traffic deaths. Closer to home, Dodge County has experienced 12 road deaths to date, compared to eight for all of last year though below the five-year average of 13. Columbia County is at nine for the year, Fond du Lac is at seven, Green Lake reports three, Jefferson six and Washington County has experienced nine traffic fatalities through mid-November.

(Janesville) The Rock County Sheriff’s Office responded to four separate crashes on the same stretch of State Highway 11 near Janesville Friday. That resulted in a closure of eastbound side of the road for two-and-a-half hours. The bridge was apparently covered in glare ice. Channel3000 reports that one woman whose vehicle was disabled on the bridge, was struck by an out of control vehicle; she fell over the edge of the bridge, a 25-to-30 foot drop.  She was transported with apparent non-life threatening injuries, along with a pregnant woman.

(Lake Superior) Another round of winter weather is on track for northern and central Wisconsin this weekend. Amounts of a foot or more are possible for parts of northwest Wisconsin, more closer to Lake Superior and lesser amounts to the east and south. Heaviest snowfall is likely tonight during the overnight hours. The National Weather Service is advising no travel in northwest Wisconsin during that timeframe. Snow should end across the region Sunday afternoon and evening.

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Area Community Foundation has launched its official website. The foundation serves as a public charity that pools donations that are used to address local needs and invest in nonprofit groups. Tom Heffron, a founding member of the Beaver Dam affiliate, says the foundation’s five-year goal is to have a total of $3-million dollars in assets. The donations are generally distributed from the interest on the investment. The new foundation website allows the public to learn about how to become a donor or obtain general contact information and also lists the types of funds that are available. The foundation has opportunities for tax-deductible donations to an unrestricted fund, specific designated funds, scholarships and other areas of a donor’s interest. The website is, you can find a link with this news story at

(Mount Pleasant) A recent analysis published by the conservative George Mason University suggests that the Foxconn development will likely wind up resulting in a net loss to Wisconsin’s economy, when its total costs and overall benefits are factored in. The study’s lead author says there has not been enough emphasis on what a gamble it is. Their estimates indicate the Foxconn deal will cost Wisconsin’s economy between $1.2-billion and $6-billion dollars over 15 years. The plant in Mount Pleasant, making flat-screen monitors, has reportedly been scaled back. Foxconn maintains it will create 13,000 jobs.

(Columbus) Columbus residents may soon see higher penalties for failure to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks.  A fee change proposal before brought before the committee of the whole this by Columbus Department of Public Works head Zach Navis seek to help the city break even on labor costs and prevent residents from utilizing city crews as a public snow removal service.  Residents could see an initial fine double to $100 for a first occurrence, with incremental increases for ongoing infractions.  If the new fee schedule is adopted by the council, residents of Columbus could see the changes go into effect immediately.  A vote by the council is expected during the first meeting of December.