News – September 23, 2021

(Juneau) The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office is urging motorists to put their phones down while behind the wheel. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says his deputies have seen many incidents of drivers who are paying more attention to their cellular devices than their driving. According to the state statutes no person while driving a motor vehicle may be engaged or occupied with an activity, other than driving the vehicle, that interferes with their ability to drive safely. Schmidt says his office and local police departments are not able to affect the culture change needed to make local roadways safer alone. He says the public needs to make a conscious decision to always put their phones down at all times, not just when there is a squad car around.

(Portage) The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is promoting railroad safety to prevent deaths and injuries near tracks. The effort is part of Operation Clear Track, the single largest rail safety initiative in the country. Law enforcement agencies will dispatch officers to high-incident railroad crossings, during the operation. Once onsite, authorities share safety tips and enforce crossing and trespassing laws as well as write citations to violators. Every three hours, a vehicle or person is struck by a train in the U.S. A link to more information about the initiative is available at

(Lodi) A juvenile suffered minor injuries after being struck by a vehicle in the City of Lodi Tuesday afternoon. Police were dispatched to the crash on Highway 60 and Water Street at 3:24pm. The 11-year-old boy was running on the sidewalk and was approaching the intersection as a Toyota Corolla was turning. The boy ran into the street and was hit. He was transported by ambulance to UW Hospital in Madison.

(Fond du Lac) COVID has claimed the life of a member of the Fond du Lac Police Department.  On the departments Facebook page a post from late Wednesday night announced the passing of Officer Joseph Kurer, age 26 on September 22.  Officer Kurer began his career with the Fond du Lac police department in August of 2018.  He served as a member of the Tactical Field Force Team, Honor Guard Unit, Domestic Violence Intervention Team, and was certified as a Field Training Officer.  Kurer was also a veteran of the United States Army Wisconsin National Guard.

(Wisconsin) It’s a critical situation for hospitals in Wisconsin — beds are scarce due to a surge of COVID patients. Wisconsin Hospital Association numbers updated on Tuesday showed more than a thousand people hospitalized with the virus, including 322 in the ICU. – WRN

(Dodge County) In Dodge County, there were five additional hospitalizations recorded yesterday bringing the total since the pandemic began to 911. The seven-day daily average of new cases per 100-thousand people has increased to 54.4, health officials say 25 cases is classified as the “tipping point.” Deaths stand at 214, 188 confirmed with 26 more probable. Forty-six-point-one-percent (46.1-percent) of people in Dodge County have received at least one dose of the vaccine while 43.4-percent have completed the vaccination series.

(Watertown) The number of COVID patients flooding emergency rooms has led one hospital to shut down its urgent care facility. Doctors at Watertown Regional Medical Center are switching some responsibilities. A spokesperson says emergency department patient volumes at the hospital are up by more than half. Nearly 91-percent of all hospital beds in Wisconsin are occupied during the resurgence of the virus. Medical Center officials have not said when the urgent care facility will reopen. – WRN

(Dodge County) Jobless claims held steady in the region from July to August. The state Department of Workforce Development says the unemployment rate in Dodge County last month was 3.3-percent, the same number it was in July but still well below the 4.6-percent logged last August. The county was ranked 12th in Wisconsin for unemployment rates, up two spots from where they were in July. Statewide jobless numbers held steady over the three-month period at 3.9-percent, well below the national rate of 5.2-percent.