News – October 27, 2020

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council last (Monday) night approved the proposed 2021 budget for publication. The 16.9-million-dollar document includes a tax levy of $10.82-million dollars. The budget qualifies for the state’s Expenditure Restraint Program, which financially rewards municipalities that keep their spending in check. However, the city would not qualify if a referendum seeking to fund six new positions in the fire department is approved by voters. Council action last night allows for publication of the budget with funding outcomes for both scenarios. Final budget adoption is set for next month.

(Wisconsin) The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an effort to require the counting of absentee ballots that are postmarked on or just before Election Day. The court’s 5-3 ruling means that absentee ballots will be counted only if they are actually in the possession of municipal clerks offices by the time polls close next Tuesday. The justices determined that the Constitution provides that state legislatures – not federal or state judges, governors nor other state officials – bear primary responsibility for setting election rules. The Wisconsin legislature has not met since April. Democrats, their allies and nonpartisan groups wanted ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day to be counted, arguing the pandemic has slowed the mail. – WRN

(Beaver Dam) Cash bond was set at $25,000 for a Beaver Dam man who made his initial appearance in court yesterday (Monday) on Eighth OWI Offense charges. John Ludtke reportedly had a blood alcohol level of point-two-three-five when he was pulled over Sunday by Beaver Dam police. Due to Ludtke’s seven previous OWI convictions, he had a blood alcohol restriction of point-zero-two (.02). If convicted, the 55-year-old faces no more than 12-and-a-half years in prison. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 5th.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials are reporting 2,883 positive coronavirus cases in Monday’s daily update. There are 41,067 active cases in the state, an increase of 529 from Sunday. State health officials recorded 10 deaths, bringing that total of 1,788. Dodge County has 27 deaths on record 3,945 cases, an increase of 128 from Sunday. County health officials are actively monitoring 1,173 people.

(Waupun) A Waupun prison has seen a rise in coronavirus cases, according to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Over the last week, Waupun Correctional saw an increase of 336 positive cases among inmates and that number now stands at 625. There are currently 388 active cases while 237 have recovered. The facility has had 68 staff members with COVID-19. Over 1,300 specimens were collected by the Wisconsin National Guard during site-based testing at Waupun Correctional last week.

(Madison) COVID-19 vaccine trials will resume at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Drug-maker Astra-Zeneca suspended testing last month when a trial subject in the United Kingdom got sick. A review determined the test vaccine did not cause the illness.  Scientists at U-W Health and the U-W School of Medicine will begin contacting participants after getting the approval to resume the trials. – WRN

(Madison) Wisconsin’s moratorium on all utility disconnections has been extended until April 15th. That means companies cannot shut off utilities like water, electricity, and heat.  The ban was set to expire November 1st when the Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted two-to-one on the extension.  Initially, it did not include water service – but, when commissioners were told there were plans to shut off service to more than nine-thousand customers, the disconnection order was changed to include water.  The Evers administration has invested 15 million dollars to help customers pay their heating bills this winter. – WRN