News – November 8, 2017

Election Day Is Finally Here


11/8/16 – Almost seven of every ten Wisconsin adults will have voted in today’s elections, including the nearly 800-thousand who voted early. Republicans will try to win the state’s ten presidential electoral votes for the first time since Ronald Reagan in 1984, and Donald Trump is trying to become only the third Republican since 1960 to carry the Badger State. Polls give Democrat Hillary Clinton a slight lead in Wisconsin — and the state’s U-S Senate contest is so close, it’s considered a tossup by some pundits. Incumbent Ron Johnson is trying to become the first state Republican since Bob Kasten in 1980 to win a Senate post in a presidential year — and if Democrat Russ Feingold defeats Johnson, he would be the first since 1934 to win back any U-S Senate seat after losing it six years earlier. State officials expect a record three-point-one million Wisconsinites to vote, and the polls close at 8pm tonight. Dodge County voters will see contested legislative races on their ballots. There are Assembly races in district’s 37, 39 and 42; State Senate races in districts 14 and 18 and congressional races in districts five and six. There are also school funding referenda is Beaver Dam, Waupun, Hustisford and Campbellsport along with a referendum in the city of Watertown and Town of Westford.


Beaver Dam Council Approves Tourism Commission


11/8/16 – The Beaver Dam Common Council last night approved the creation of a Tourism Commission. The latest state budget requires all municipalities to establish such an entity for tourism promotion and development. Mayor Tom Kennedy told officials last night that there was no need to “reinvent the wheel” and for the past two months has been working with the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce for the collaboration. As part of the agreement, the Chamber’s Visitors and Hospitality will be designated as the Tourism Commission. Wisconsin Act 55 also mandates that a certain portion of room tax revenues – the money generated from the hotel/motel bed tax – be directed to local tourism. The city, however, is currently in the middle of a 20-year agreement with the Beaver Dam Area Development Corporation, a public-private economic development entity tasked with attracting new businesses. The agreement directs 90-percent of room tax revenues to the Development Corp and the remaining 10-percent to the Chamber. City Finance Director John Somers says the city averages around $135-thousand annually. Once the contract between the city and Development Corp ends in 2023, $100-thousand dollars in room tax funds would have to go toward tourism (or 30-percent whichever is greater). In the meantime, Somers says the Development Corp will receive less-and-less funds with $110-thousand earmarked for the pending budget and $100-thousand dollars in seven years. The Tourism Commission will become official on January first and must be renewed annually.


Beaver Dam Youth Soccer Club Seeking City-Owned Land


11/8/16 – A local sports club is looking to build a soccer complex on city-owned land in Beaver Dam. The city’s Operations Committee last night heard a presentation from the Beaver Dam Unified Soccer Cub about the development of 22-acres along with west side of Distribution Way near Wal-Mart. Jim Jansen with the seven-year-old, non-profit soccer club says the group has raised $40-thousand dollars for this project. The goal is eight soccer fields, a concession stand, restrooms and a walking track. Jansen says his group right now is using borrowed land in the business park off Highway 33 and Commercial Drive. But after thousands of dollars and countless hours of sweat equity, he says the soccer club would be without a field if and when land is sold. In addition to a home field for area youth, Jansen notes that a soccer complex would have economic benefits attracting people to the community resulting in additional revenues for local hotels and restaurants. The group is asking that the city designate the land as a park. Operations Committee Chair Robert Ballweg says the committee agreed last night to move forward with a due diligence period. A memorandum of understanding would also be developed that would make upkeep of the grounds a responsibility of the soccer club. Jansen says if all the pieces fall into place, the first four fields could be complete in time for next year’s soccer season.


Conley Appointed To Beaver Dam PFC


11/8/16 – The Beaver Dam Common Council last night approved an appointment to the city’s Police and Fire Commission. Nancy Conley was tabbed to fill the position created by this month’s resignation of Rodney Kreitzman, who had a work conflict.  Conley retired from the PFC in 2012 after serving as chair for over a decade. The term runs through April of next year.


Dodge County Committee Concerned With Development Proposal


11/8/16 – Members of the Dodge County Executive Committee expressed concerns over a drafted economic partnership agreement they were presented at yesterday’s meeting.  In recent months, Dodge County officials have been in discussions with the Jefferson County Economic Development Consortium about collaborating economic development efforts through the newly created public-private Glacial Heritage Development Partnership.  What was originally going to be an intergovernmental agreement was presented as a contract for services.  County officials were concerned that would affect their representation on the Glacial Heritage Development Partnership’s governing board.  Dodge County Administrator Jim Mielke says officials from the two counties’ felt a contract for services might do a better job of segregating public and private funds that would be involved in development efforts.  Dodge County’s participation in the partnership would cost $85,000 annually, and funding is included in the county’s proposed 2017 budget, which will be voted on November 15.  Funding would come from the county’s sales tax revenues with no contribution expected from Dodge County municipalities or businesses.  Mielke says it’s different for Jefferson County, where funding for the JCEDC is contributed on a per capita basis by both the county and its participating municipalities.  Mielke says Jefferson County is also considering a campaign that would solicit funds from the private sector.  The goal of the Glacial Heritage Development Partnership is to coordinate the area’s economic development efforts by growing businesses and attracting and developing workforce talent.  Mielke says officials from the two counties will meet to update the proposal ahead of the executive committee’s next meeting on December 5.  The goal is to begin the five-year partnership by March 31.


Man In Stable Condition Following Fox Lake Semi Rollover


11/8/16 – The driver of the semi involved in Sunday’s single-vehicle rollover accident in the Town of Fox Lake is said to be in stable condition.  64-year-old Thomas Mitchell of Lake Mills suffered non-life threatening injuries when his semi rolled over as he was turning from Highway A onto Highway AW.  He was flown to the hospital with what was described as serious injuries.


Green Lake County Authorities Looking For Homicidal Woman


11/8/16 – Green Lake County sheriff’s deputies say they’re looking for a mentally unstable woman suspected of setting fires in her father’s home, apparently to try and kill him. Deputies say 57-year-old Cynthia Starks Griffin of Elizabethtown, Kentucky is wanted for attempted homicide and arson, after she allegedly set fires to a home early Sunday in the town of Marquette on the southwest corner of Big Green Lake. Nobody was injured. Officers say Starks Griffin is traveling in a silver van with a Kentucky license plate — she has two reportedly vicious dogs with her — and she may have both a shotgun and a nine millimeter handgun. Green Lake deputies say Starks Griffin has been sleeping in her van in public places in south central Wisconsin.


Not Guilty Plea Entered For Columbus Man On Sex Assault Charges


11/8/16 – A not guilty plea was entered at a hearing yesterday for a former counseling intern for Dodge County’s Human Services and Health Department accused of having a sexual relationship with one of his clients.  Kyle Reilly is facing two misdemeanor counts of Fourth Degree Sexual Assault.  The 37-year-old Columbus man allegedly had sex with the woman multiple times between February and April 2016.  If convicted, Reilly faces up to 18 months in prison.  His return date is December 5.


Mayville Man Accused Of Sending Inappropriate Pictures


11/8/16 – Bond was set at $1,000 yesterday for a Mayville man accused of sending inappropriate messages to a minor.  Jeffery Keel is facing one felony count of Exposing a Child to Harmful Material for allegedly sending a handful of explicit pictures via cell phone between 2014 and early 2016.  If he is convicted, the 39-year-old faces up to three-and-a-half years in prison.  Keel has a preliminary hearing set for January 5.


Bond Set For Brandon Teen On Fleeing Charge


11/8/16 – Bond was set at $1,000 yesterday for a Brandon teen accused of running from police.  Levi Schommer is facing one felony Fleeing count for allegedly sparking a high speed chase in August.  An officer tried to pull Schommer over since his motorcycle did not have rear plates.  The 16-year-old reportedly fled at speeds up to 100 miles per hour within Beaver Dam’s city limits before heading north on Highway 151 to Waupun.  Officers called off the pursuit but found the motorcycle abandoned in a ditch along a cornfield.  Police later received an anonymous tip that Schommer was the one operating the bike.  When questioned, Schommer reportedly admitted to investigators that he fled to avoid losing his temporary driver’s license.  If he is convicted, Schommer faces up to three-and-a-half years in prison.  His preliminary hearing is January 5.


Wisconsin Crop Yields Could Set Record Highs


11/8/16 – Some farmers in western Wisconsin lost fields to September’s floods, but the rest of the farmers in the state should see record corn and soybean crops. The National Agriculture Statistics Service expects Wisconsin farmers to produce 549-million bushels of corn and 101-million bushels of soybeans. Both would be new records.