News – September 21, 2016

Dodge County 2017 Financial Plan Adopted


9/21/16 – Dodge County’s 2017 financial plan, which the county board approved on a 26-4 vote last night, includes a variety of projects totaling $5,800,000.  Each year, the finance committee creates the plan, which allocates revenues from the county’s half-a-percent sales tax.  Nearly half that money is being used for debt service in 2017 while the rest funds various projects.  The item that caused debate at last night’s county board meeting was an $85,000 allocation to fund a development partnership with neighboring Jefferson County that would aim to bring new businesses to the area.  The five-year plan would require both counties to commit funds for only the first year.  Both counties would then review the program annually to determine if funding should be renewed.  County Board Supervisor and Finance Committee Chair Dave Frohling supports the partnership as he feels it allows the counties to pool resources without duplicating services.  Supervisor Donna Maly cited concerns with the development partnership in voting against the financial plan, such as a lack of guidelines for measuring the program’s success and a lack of clarity in whether the partnership can attain tax-exempt nonprofit status.  The county board last night also adopted a new five-year capital improvement plan, which lays out construction projects and major equipment purchases.  Projects for 2017 total $23,700,000 and include reconstructing portions of Highways S and C, and the airport runway and replacing the sanitary system in the detention facility.  While the financial plan and capital improvement plans were adopted, funding is not guaranteed until the 2017 budget is approved in November.


Storck Says Farewell To Dodge County


9/21/16 – A departing judge addressed the Dodge County Board at its meeting last night.  Circuit Court Judge John Storck is retiring next month after serving 22 years in Dodge County.  Storck thanked the board for supporting the courts throughout his stint with measures like funding a new courthouse around the turn of the century and adding a fourth judge in 2008.  In July, Governor Scott Walker appointed Fond du Lac lawyer Martin De Vries to replace Storck.


Retired Circuit Judge Killed In Columbia County Motorcycle Accident


9/21/16 – A Dane County man killed in a weekend motorcycle crash was a retired circuit judge and a former prosecutor. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has identified the deceased as Steven Ebert of Middleton. The 69-year-old was riding his bike near Lodi when a van pulled into his path Saturday on Highway 113. Officials say Ebert was wearing a helmet, and the driver and a passenger in the van escaped injury. Ebert was a prosecutor in the state Justice Department before he was appointed to fill a vacant Dane County judgeship in 1997. He retired in 2009, and he filled in as a reserve judge until he retired at the end of last year.


Waterloo Man Accused Of 8th OWI


9/21/16 – Cash bond was set at $50,000 yesterday for a Waterloo man accused of driving drunk for an eighth time.  Thomas Kovacs is facing felony counts of 8th Offense OWI and Operating a Motor Vehicle While Revoked.  Officers were dispatched to the intersection of Highways 89 and County Road TV in the Town of Portland early Tuesday morning for a vehicle run off.  Upon arrival, an officer spotted a truck in a field and saw Kovacs walking toward him.  The 52-year-old allegedly said his son was driving the vehicle when they went off the highway.  When asked why his son was no longer at the scene, Kovacs stated he had hitched a ride home.  Kovacs’ wife and son later arrived.  After first claiming he was the driver, Kovacs’ son reportedly told the officer he was not even present when the vehicle went off road, claiming his father was in fact the driver.  When asked if he was impaired, Kovacs allegedly responded with (quote) “absolutely.”  He reportedly failed field sobriety tests and blew over twice the legal limit for driving.  If he is convicted, Kovacs faces up to 11 years in prison.  His preliminary hearing is September 29.


Milwaukee Man Accused Of Ripping Off Hustisford Man


9/21/16 – A Milwaukee man is accused of scamming a Hustisford man out of $7,200.  David McCready is facing a felony Forgery charge for allegedly issuing a fraudulent check in a private vehicle purchase in January.  If he is convicted, the 35-year-old faces up to six years in prison.  McCready’s initial appearance is October 3.


National Exchange Bank, American Bank Merger Finalized


9/21/16 – National Exchange Bank and Trust has completed its merger with American Bank. The institutions will operate under the National Exchange Bank and Trust name. Jim Chatterton, former American Bank CEO, leads the combined institution as President and Chief Operating Officer while National Exchange’s Eric Stone, formerly Chairman and CEO, assumes the position of Chief Executive Officer. Chatterton says the combination of the two banks (quote) “positions the institution for efficiency and growth while maintaining the independence and quality service of a local bank.” National Exchange Bank first opened its doors in 1933 in downtown Fond du Lac. The merged institution now serves 33 locations in southeastern Wisconsin, covering Columbia, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Sheboygan, Washington, Waukesha, Waushara, and Winnebago counties. American Bank was not affiliated with American National Bank in Beaver Dam.


Realtors: Home Sales Outpacing Last Year’s Numbers


9/21/16 – Wisconsin Realtors sold nine-percent more houses in August of this year compared to sales in the same month one year ago. The Realtors Association says its members sold 83-hundred-85 homes last month, up from 77-hundred the previous year. The median sale price rose by five-point-three percent (3.5%) during that stretch to $170-thousand dollars. There were 129 homes sold in Dodge County last month, two dozen more than August of last year with a median price up $2000 to $131-thousand dollars. Realtor home sales for the first eight months of the year were up four-point-four-percent (4.4%) to just over 55-thousand with a median sales price up four-point-eight-percent (4.8%) to $165-thousand dollars. Year-to-date in Dodge County there have been 711 homes sold, over 100 more than last year for an increase of 17-percent; the median price remained relatively flat up eight-tenths to $130-thousand dollars. Erik Sjowall, the new chairman of the state Realtors’ board, says a lot of homes were sold this summer — the most active season for home buying, when about one third of the year’s housing inventory changes hands.


DOT Wants To Make Cheaper Voter ID Cards


9/21/16 – The Wisconsin Department of Transportation wants to manufacture cheaper I-D’s for voters that couldn’t be used for any other purpose. Wisconsin law requires the D-O-T to give people free photo I-D’s for voting. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that agency officials say as a result fewer people are paying the 28-dollar fee for an ID card, causing a drop in revenue. D-O-T officials included a plan in their 2017-19 budget request to Governor Scott Walker to begin producing I-D’s stamped “voting purposes only” with fewer security features that are found on other I-D cards. The plan says the agency hopes that will encourage people to pay the 28 dollars for a full-fledged card, generating additional revenue for building and maintaining roads.


Nienhuis Among BDHS Athletic Hall Of Fame Inductees


9/21/16 – The Beaver Dam High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame will receive its Class of 2016 later this week.  On Friday, Karl Nienhuis, Ben Murray, and Greg Furdek will join the 47 BDHS alumnus already enshrined.  In a three-part series, we will profile each new inductee.  In today’s first installment, we look at Nienhuis who graduated high school in 1983.  Hall of Fame Committee Member Greg Steil says Nienhuis was BDHS’ quarterback in the early 1980’s.  Nienhuis collected a number of honors during the Golden Beavers’ undefeated Wisconsin Little Ten campaign in 1982.  He went on to play college football at both St. Olaf State and Illinois State University.  Steil says Nienhuis also had a successful baseball career, helping Beaver Dam win the American Legion state title in 1982 while being named MVP of the high school team in 1983.  Nienhuis also went on to play baseball at Illinois State.  He was also a two-year starter and captain of the BDHS varsity basketball team.  Festivities are planned throughout the day on Friday to honor Nienhuis and his fellow inductees, culminating with a formal induction ceremony prior to the 7:05 pm kickoff of Beaver Dam’s homecoming football game against West Bend West.


Presentation On The Ledge Tonight In Horicon


9/21/16 – Dodge County’s Ledge Park is part of a rock formation that stretches to Niagara Falls and has its own unique history. The Rock River Archeological Society will be presenting a program tonight about the archaeological discoveries that can be found on “the Ledge.” Professor Dwight Weiser, the founder of the Friends of the Ledge Coalition and is its co-chairman, will explain why the Ledge became a destination for the prehistoric Native Americans who followed the melting mile-high glacier and set the stage for successive waves of advanced cultures. Weiser recently published “Secrets of the Ledge: Pictorial Report of Archeological Findings on the Niagara Escarpment in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin.” He played a major role in raising public awareness and convincing the DOT to change their planned highway corridors which would have destroyed irreplaceable archaeological treasures.  The 7pm program on “the Ledge” will be presented in the lower level of the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center and is free to the public; doors open at 6:30pm.