News – October 29, 2016

Local Unemployment Rates Continue To Drop


10/29/16 – Unemployment rates continue to drop in our local area.  According to the state Department of Workforce Development, jobless filings in Dodge County last month were at 3.1-percent, down six-tenths from August and four-tenths from last September.  Columbia County was down four-tenths from August to 2.9-percent while Fond du Lac County dropped seven-tenths to 2.9-percent.  In Washington County, the month-to-month unemployment rate fell by four-tenths to 3-percent.  Jefferson County was down half-a-point to 3.4-percent, and Green Lake County had the same drop, coming in at 3.5-percent in September.  Four counties were tied for the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.4-percent: Dane, Green, Iowa, and Lafayette.  Menominee County once again had the state’s highest jobless rate at 6.6-percent.  Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 3.5-percent in September, 1.3-percent below the national figure.


School Tax Rate Decreasing In Randolph


10/29/16 – The school tax rate is decreasing for residents in the Randolph School District.  Earlier this week, the board approved a mill rate of $13.27 per thousand dollars of assessed value, which is 26-cents less than the number homeowners saw last December.  The $2,800,000 tax levy is down $244,000 from last year’s budget.  However, district property values increased by over $8-million dollars to nearly $213,000,000.  While the mill rate is down from last year, it is nearly one dollar more than the $12.30 figure included in the district’s preliminary budget.  Director of Business Services Ryan Cashman says that was due to a combination of factors: the district receiving $75,000 less in state aid than originally anticipated and the 4% increase in equalized values which added $160,000 to the levy.  Cashman provided an update on one of the priciest budget items, a construction project that is adding K-8 classrooms onto the high school campus.  He says the addition should be completed by May or June, remodeling will take place next summer, and all classrooms should be open by the start of the 2017-18 school year.  The project will make Randolph a single-building district.


Not Guilty Plea Entered For Alleged Shooter In Columbia County


10/29/16 – A 21-year-old West Allis man stood mute yesterday, while a Columbia County judge entered not guilty pleas to charges in a shooting spree on Interstate 90/94. Zachary Hays was arraigned in Columbia County on five felony counts of reckless endangerment and one count of fleeing an officer — and his attorney asked for a new judge. Investigators say Hays shot and killed 42-year-old Gabriel Sanchez in their suburban Milwaukee apartment building on May 1, and he later drove to the Wisconsin Dells area where he reportedly shot at vehicles and killed passenger Tracy Czackowski while her family heading home from a Dells weekend. Hays has also pleaded insanity to four reduced charges in Sauk County where the woman’s death took place, and he has a jury trial set for January 30 in Milwaukee County on counts of reckless homicide and reckless endangerment. His lawyers previously said Hays had mental health issues.


Dodge County Warrants Served Through National Event


10/29/16 – A number of Dodge County law enforcement agencies recently took part in a national effort.  For the second straight year, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, along with ten municipal police departments, took part in the National Family Violence Apprehension Detail, which aims to serve family violence warrants, hold offenders accountable, enhance community relations, and promote community awareness that domestic violence is not tolerated.  The event started 14 years ago in Clackamus County, Oregon and now has over 1,600 participating agencies throughout the country.  On October 19, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve 50 warrants and were able to clear 16 of the warrants.  Sheriff Dale Schmidt said his office also issued drug-related citations to an Ashippun man and got leads on other warrants, which the department plans to pursue.  Many of the warrants were related to things like child support, domestic abuse, and contempt of court.


Law Firm Asks EPA To Reverse State Frac Sand Permits


10/29/16 – A Madison environmental law firm has asked the federal E-P-A to reject the state D-N-R’s approvals of air emission permits for two new frac sand mines. The Midwest Environmental Advocates says the state approved permits for Superior Silica Sands’ facilities in Polk and Barron counties without following E-P-A standards in checking out potential emissions of fine particles from sand piles into the air. The law firm represents the Sierra Club and the Ho Chunk Indian tribe, in claiming the air permits violate terms of the federal Clean Air Act by allowing air particles that can cause heart and respiratory illnesses. The D-N-R says it’s reviewing the groups’ complaint and has not commented further. Wisconsin has more than 100 mines that create fine sand for drilling machines in the oil and gas industry.


Wisconsin To Share In Vehicle Settlement


10/29/16 – The state of Wisconsin is getting just under one million dollars from Kia and Hyundai to settle a lawsuit over fuel economy claims. Wisconsin is one of 33 states to sue the Korean car companies over false fuel mileage claims between 2011 and 2013. In all, the car company is paying out just over $41,000,000. Wisconsin is due to get $920,000.


Walker Seeks Disaster Help For Flood Damage


10/29/16 – Governor Scott Walker has asked the U-S Small Business Administation for low interest loans to help homes and businesses in Vernon County repair damage from the September floods. Forty-four houses were destroyed in the floods and mudslides — including one home that slid down a bluff and killed one man inside. Vernon County reported almost $4,000,000 in home and business damage. But it was not enough to qualify for more subsidized general disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA has approved relief for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure operated by local and state governments.


Vehicles Set On Fire Outside Athlete’s Home


10/29/16 – Police are investigating after vehicles were set on fire outside the Milwaukee home of M-M-A star Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Television station W-I-T-I reports the fires were started early Thursday.  Detectives believe someone used an accelerant to ignite two cars, which forced flames to spread to a third vehicle.  No arrests have been made.


Local Trick-Or-Treat Times


10/29/16 – Local communities are holding their annual trick-or-treat hours over the next three days.  Today: Randolph 3-5 pm, Fox Lake 4-6 pm, Watertown 4-7 pm, Waupun 4:30-6:30 pm, Horicon and Columbus 5-8 pm.  Tomorrow: Reeseville 3-5 pm, Theresa 3-6 pm, Beaver Dam, Juneau, Fall River, and Lowell 4-6 pm, and Mayville 5-7 pm.  Monday: Cambria and Friesland 5-7 pm.


Halloween Activities Planned For Horicon Marsh


10/29/16 – There are Halloween activities planned tonight on the Horicon Marsh. The Department of Natural Resources is hosting “Creatures of the Night Haunted Explorium Spooktacular” at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor. The family-friendly event is billed as an opportunity to learn all about the creepy crawlies that lurk in the shadows of the marsh at night. The center’s newest exhibit, the Explorium, is being transformed into a family-friendly haunted experience. Participants will also have an opportunity to take a hair-raising hike in search of things that go bump in the night. In addition, the event will have bake sale treats along with arts and crafts. All participants who wear a costume will receive a prize. While admission is free, a $2 donation per person is appreciated. The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center is located between Horicon and Mayville on Highway 28. The event runs 7pm to 9pm tonight. More information is at the Friends of Horicon Marsh website: or call 920-387-7893


Businesses To Hand Out Candy At Columbus Fire Station


10/29/16 – The Columbus Fire Department among those taking part in Halloween festivities tonight.  During tonight’s trick-or-treat hours of 5-8 pm, a number of local businesses will gather at the fire station to hand out candy.  The fire station is locating on the corner of Ludington and Harrison.


Cemetery Walk To Be Held In Fox Lake


10/29/16 – People have a chance to learn about one Dodge County community’s history tonight.  At least eight reenactors are expected to be on hand at Fox Lake’s Riverside Memorial Park cemetery to honor some of the area’s earliest settlers.  The cemetery has been around since 1850, when the Waushara Cemetery Association was organized at the office of Stoddard Judd in the Dodge County Village of Waushara.  The walks start at 6 pm, with the last group leaving at 7:15 pm.  Guides should be available upon request.  Cost is $4 per adult and $2 per child with all funds going to the Fox Lake Chamber of Commerce.


Sober Halloween Party To Be Held In Dodge County


10/29/16 – People who are looking to celebrate this weekend without the influence of alcohol and drugs are invited to attend a Sober Halloween Party. The event is being organized by the local group Community Awareness and Recovery Environment, or CARE for Dodge County Inc. Organizers say the event is family-friendly offering music and dancing, a scary photo booth, a costume contest and more. Admission is free if you are wearing a costume or $1 if not. The Sober Halloween Party is being held at Crystal Lake Beach on State Highway 33 in Beaver Dam.