News – October 30, 2020

(Wisconsin) The Department of Health Services says COVID 19 is continuing to wreak havoc on the state’s ability to combat the illness. DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk says 70 out of 72 counties in the state are at the very high covid-19 disease activity level. Overall, the state’s hospitals are at 86 percent of their full capacity. Marshfield Medical Center Beaver Dam CEO Angelia Foster told us yesterday that the hospital is at upwards of 90-percent capacity.  Fox Valley hospitals are at 93 percent capacity. There were 193 more people were sent to hospitals yesterday.

(Madison) A UW Health doctor was on NBC’s TODAY show yesterday. Dr. Jeff Pothof says all three wings of one unit at UW Hospital in Madison are full of COVID-19 patients. In addition to the space, Pothof says the greater concern is for critical care staff who are caring for coronavirus patients. The state is adding 71 new public COVID-19 testing sites.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials are reporting 4,870 positive coronavirus cases in Thursday’s daily update. There are 44,896 active cases in the state, an increase of 1,428 from Wednesday. State health officials reported 51 deaths, bringing that total to 1,948. Dodge County has 27 deaths on record and to date 4,343 cases, an increase of 175 from Wednesday. County health officials are actively monitoring 1,157 people.

(Wisconsin) The Wisconsin Supreme Court has declined to take a case that would have provided elections officials in two Fox Valley counties with guidance on how to deal with misprinted ballots. Clerks in Outagamie and Calumet wanted to be allowed to mark some 13,000 ballots with small “timing mark” errors, enabling them to be run through automatic counting machines. The court’s decision not to accept the case – with the four conservatives declining and the three liberals saying they should have – means clerks will not have that option. The clerks could now file with a lower court. With no guarantee of a ruling before Election Day, they might have to either “re-make” the 13,000 ballots or count every single ballot in both counties by hand.

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Finance Department has released updated numbers detailing the possible budget impact of the referendum seeking to fund six new positions in the fire department. The proposed 2021 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 for the extra money in the 2022 budget if the referendum is approved because expenses would exceed the allowable increase. The proposed 16.9-million-dollar budget includes a tax levy of $10.82-million dollars, which is a decrease of $45-thousand dollars from the current fiscal year. If the referendum is approved, the net tax levy would increase by $383-thousand dollars over the 2020 budget. The city is publishing the budget with both scenarios. If the referendum is approved, the mill rate for next year is projected at $9.46, down from this year’s $9.58. If the referendum is not approved, the mill rate would be $9.09. Final adoption is slated for next month.

(Lomira) A five-day jury trial was added to the court calendar yesterday beginning June 7th for a Lomira woman charged in connection with the death of her three-year-old child. In March, Jamie Hildebrandt allegedly said she accidentally stepped on her son after laying him on the bathroom floor to reach for more diapers and forgetting he was there. The autopsy report concluded that there were multiple blunt force injuries to the child’s head, chest and back. Hildebrandt also allegedly admitted to using make-up to cover the child’s injuries. If convicted, the 33-year-old faces up to 25-years in prison.

(Beaver Dam) A huge loss for Beaver Dam’s business community as Mischler’s Harley Davidson announced this week that it is closing. In a social media post, the dealership says the current business climate left no other options. Mischler’s has been open for 62 years. The post says they will be turning the key for the final time on December 23.

(Madison) Students at UW-Madison are being asked to tone it down this Halloween. Both the city of Madison and the university are urging students not to party or get together Saturday night. The big worry is that students will spread the coronavirus. Madison’s mayor reminds students that public gatherings are limited to ten people indoors, and 25 people outdoors.