News – October 22, 2020

(Beaver Dam) A Beaver Dam residence was damaged by fire Thursday morning. Crews responded to North Hills Mobile Home Lot 85 on Kellom Road around 5:10am. Resident Walter Stavanew told dispatchers that he returned home to find the residence full of smoke. Upon arrival, smoke was seen coming from the roof and interior of the structure. Major smoke and minor fire damage were reported, specifically between the ceiling and roof of the home. No one was inside at the time and no injuries were reported.

(Hartford) A Hartford man has been sentenced to 27 years in prison on federal sex trafficking charges. Christopher Childs had previously entered a guilty plea to one count of Sex Trafficking By Force, Fraud or Coercion. The indictment details the stories of four women who were forced to dance at area strip clubs for no pay and perform sexual acts for money that went entirely to Childs. The 48-year-old controlled the victims phone usage, told them what they could eat, took all of the money the victims made and would violently beat them if they failed to comply. The complaint states that the prostitution occurred, among other places, inside the TNT Gentlemen’s Club in Lebanon and the Hardware Store in Clyman, both of which are now closed.

(Dodge County) Dodge County recorded its 23rd COVID-19 related death yesterday, one of a record 48 in Wisconsin which has now seen a total of 1681 deaths. New deaths were also reported in Jefferson, Fond du Lac and Washington counties. State health officials reported 4,205 positive coronavirus cases in Wednesday’s daily update. There are 38,485 active cases in the state, an increase of 1,127 from Tuesday. Dodge County has seen an increase of 130 cases from Tuesday to Wednesday with local health officials actively monitoring 929 people.

(Waupun) Additional coronavirus cases have been reported at several Dodge County prisons, according to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Over the last week, Waupun Correctional saw an increase of 46 positive cases among inmates, a number that now stands at 289 of which there are 55 active cases. The Wisconsin National Guard will be conducting specimen collections at Waupun Correctional through Friday. Dodge Correctional has 57 active cases while Fox Lake Correctional has three active cases among inmates and John C. Burke has one.

(Waupun) The Waupun Common Council heard an update this week on the 2021 budget. The proposed tax levy of $3.3-million-dollars would be an increase of $108-thousand-dollars from the current budget, or 3.4-percent. Preliminary mill rate figures were not announced because the city is still waiting for the state to unveil assessed values which is expected tomorrow. Waupun’s final budget adoption is slated for November 10th.

(Fond du Lac) Despite the global pandemic and its effects on the economy, Fond du Lac County will be able to provide the services its residents expect in 2021. That was part of the budget message County Executive Al Buechel delivered to the County Board Tuesday night. Federal COVID-19 relief funding and continued growth in the county sales tax are partly responsible. The proposed tax levy is $47.6 million or an increase of nearly $1.7 million over the current year. But the tax rate will actually decrease from $5.88 this year to $5.81. The County Board will approve the budget and tax levy next month.

(Wisconsin) The coronavirus pandemic has put an end to two major Wisconsin music festivals. The company behind Rock USA and Country USA, two of the largest music festivals in the Midwest, is filing for bankruptcy. The events, based out of Oshkosh, have drawn big names in the past and usually play host to tens of thousands of visitors each year. A number of ticket holders are still trying to get refunds for this year’s events, which were cancelled back in June.

(Columbia County) The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help in searching for a Huber walkaway. Authorities say Kirk Curtis walked away from his place of employment yesterday (Wednesday). The 35-year-old was serving a probation sentence and is currently on bond through Columbia County for felony Theft charges. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

(Columbus) Several local agencies are among 158 receiving state tourism relief. The city of Columbus Tourism Commission is receiving $5000 while the Columbus Chamber of Commerce is getting nearly $6400. The Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce was approved for $7700 while the Watertown Chamber of Commerce is slated to see $23-thousand dollars. The Tourism Department doled out a total of $11.8-million dollars as part of their Tourism Relief to Accelerate Vitality and Economic Lift (TRAVEL) stimulus grant program. While the grants were initially announced to total $8 million using federal CARES Act funds, the state increased the funding by $4 million. The grant program was designed to help Wisconsin’s tourism promotion and tourism development organizations resume business operations and restore economic activity stemming from the pandemic.