News – September 6, 2016

Beaver Dam’s Downtown Water Tower Upgrade Needed


9/6/16 – The city of Beaver Dam is looking to update its downtown water tower. Director of Utilities Rob Minnema says the tank in the downtown Tower parking lot was built in 1936 and received an extensive interior and exterior recoating in 1986. In 2007, the maintenance contract allowed for a high-pressure wash and low-quality recoat. Today, that tower is experiencing several spots with rust bleed-through. A recent inspection revealed that the paint is failing, though the metal structure itself is in good condition.  A new tower would cost a minimum of$1.3-million dollars. A recommendation by Dixon Engineering is for a complete exterior recoat within the next one to two years at a cost of $650-to-$700-thousand, twice as much as a tower with a pedestal. If the city were to consider a new tower on the south side of town, Minnema says the current downtown tank would probably be used as just as water storage basin. The city is in the process of getting proposals for engineering services and the matter will be submitted as a capital request in the budget when the numbers are available. The engineering firm, if approved by the city council, would be responsible for preparing the specs, bidding documents and project oversight. The utility is also looking into a rate study. The city’s last water rate increase was in 2005 and prior to that was in 1997; two rate increases in 20 years.


The city has three water towers and one reservoir at the water treatment plant. The DNR requires the reservoir to be inspected every five years. The well is underground concrete and little maintenance is required. The most recent inspection of the well in 2012 showed no major structural issues; another inspection is planned next year. The city’s newest water tower, in the 151 business park on the north side of town, will not need maintenance for several years. The water tower at North Spring and Industrial Drive was last painted in 2003 and is expected to remain in good condition for the next five-to-ten years. The Industrial Drive tank received a complete sand-blasting and high quality paint job and an inspection conducted this year showed the interior and exterior to be in good condition needing only a paint touch-up and exterior wash. The earliest the downtown tower would be painted is next year. As far as budgeting, the final payment on the city’s water treatment plant is in 2017; the city has been paying around $600-thousand dollars annually for the debt service on the plant.


Randolph School Taxes Expected To Decrease


9/6/16 – The school portion of Randolph School District residents’ tax bill will likely cost less this year than last.  The $6,300,000 preliminary budget calls for a $2,500,000 tax levy.  The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $123 less in school taxes this December; with the projected levy dropping from last year’s $13.53 to $12.30.  Director of Business Services Ryan Cashman says the mill rate decrease is due to a $400,000 increase in state aid.  Cashman says he is unsure why the district is receiving more aid while other nearby districts have seen state funding cuts in recent years.  Property valuations are not final yet so the district used last year’s $204,000,000 figure in the preliminary document.  Cashman says the major expense in this year’s budget is a current construction project that is adding K-8 classrooms onto the high school campus.  He says the effort is roughly 30% complete and should be finished by the start of the 2017-18 school year.  The final budget approval is set for October 24.


New Cell Phone Law To Affect Wisconsin Drivers


9/6/16 – Starting October 1, Wisconsin drivers cannot have a cell phone in their hands while traveling in a work zone.  The new law makes it illegal to talk on the phone in construction areas, with the exception of using a hands free device or in the case of an emergency.  Dodge County Highway Commissioner Brian Field says the change was put in place for the safety of both workers and drivers.  Field says Dodge County workers encounter hazardous, distracted drivers on a daily basis, with the morning and evening commute times especially dangerous.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says there were over 24,000 distracted driving crashes in the Badger State last year.  Roughly 2,000 of those crashes happened in a work zone.  Once the law takes effect, violators will be fined $40 for a first offense and $100 for any subsequent offenses.


Name Released In Multi-County Chase That Ended In Lomira


9/6/16 – A 28-year-old Menasha woman was flown to the hospital following a three-county, 22-mile police chase on Sunday.  The Wisconsin State Patrol says Alecia Swick sustained non-life threatening injuries. Neenah police received a call at 4:25 pm of a stolen pickup truck and minutes later got a report that the truck sideswiped another vehicle on Interstate 41.  Officers chased the truck at speeds near 100 miles per hour before it spun out and came to rest in the median on I-41 at Highway 67 near Lomira.


Federal Judge Rudolph Randa Passes Away


9/6/16 – Rudolph Randa has died, after almost 25 years as a federal judge who made controversial rulings in numerous major cases in the eastern half of Wisconsin. The 76-year-old Milwaukee native died on Labor Day, after leaving the bench in February with cancer. Randa was the first to halt the state’s 2012 John Doe probe into the G-O-P’s recall election campaign activities, before the State Supreme Court ended the probe for good — and he made other high profile rulings on abortion, lead poisoning, the Milwaukee Archdiocese bankruptcy, Wisconsin’s minimum markup for gasoline, and criminal matters. Randa was appointed to the federal court in 1992 and was the district’s chief judge from 2002 through ’09. In 2007, he said he would move into a semi-retired senior status, but only if Republican President George W. Bush could name his replacement — which didn’t happen, so Randa stayed on full time.


Edgerton Lieutenant Back On Job Following Domestic Incident


9/6/16 – The second-highest-ranking officer in the Edgerton Police Department is back on the job after a prosecutor decided not to charge him.  Lieutenant Randy Meehan punched a hole in a wall during a family disagreement and he was arrested for domestic battery.  He did lose five days’ pay.  Family members say Meehan has a history of threatening behavior when he is drinking.  During the incident, investigators say Meehan grabbed his wife by the arm and threw her into a couch, leaving visible marks.


Crow In Rock County Tests Positive For West Nile


9/6/16 – Health officials say a dead crow found in Rock County has tested positive for the West Nile virus. The Janesville Gazette reports that the county public health department says it’s the first bird found infected in the county since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began in May. Health officials say the discovery means county residents need to take more precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Those include using mosquito repellent, disposing of tin cans, discarded tires and other items that hold water, and changing the water in birdbaths and pet dishes. Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on dead birds and can spread to humans through bites. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, rash and fatigue.


Waukesha Church Changes Name To St. Teresa


9/6/16 – A Waukesha church will soon have a new name, reflecting the new honor bestowed upon the woman for whom it was named.  Archbishop Jerome Listecki says he will approve the change from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to St. Teresa of Calcutta. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her life of service to India’s poor and dying.  Mother Teresa died in 1997 at age 87. Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa Sunday in a ceremony in St. Peter’s Square that drew huge crowds of the faithful. The priest and 26 parishioners from the church bearing her name in Waukesha were in attendance.


Event Raising Funds To Award Local Scholarships


9/6/16 – An upcoming event is collecting funds to provide college aid to local students.  The Beaver Dam Scholarship Foundation is holding its 18th Annual Golf Outing on September 19.  Foundation Board Member Brenda Meyer says the organization was founded in 1991 with the intent of making secondary education more affordable for students.  Meyer says the foundation awarded a total of 27 scholarships last year to local students attending two-year and four-year schools, totaling $186,000.  Since its inception, Meyer says the foundation has awarded 591 scholarships totaling over $3,700,000.  Fellow Board Member Steve Vessey says the Scholarship Foundation is separate from the school district and is open to any students who live within the boundaries of the Beaver Dam Unified School District.  They do not need to attend Beaver Dam High School.  Registration is $110 per person and is due Friday.  Sponsorship opportunities are also available and range from $200 to $2,500.  The outing is held at Old Hickory Golf Club in Beaver Dam.  Shotgun start is at noon with sign-in starting one hour prior.  Golf is followed by dinner and live and silent auctions.  Registration information is at