News September 8, 2011

Code Red Utilized Twice In One Week

9/8/11 – Dodge County’s Code Red system has been used twice in one week to help in locating two different missing Beaver Dam children. Code Red is a reverse 911-system put in place in the county back in 2009 to alert residents of emergency situations with a round of phone calls covering a pre-determined geographical area. Beaver Dam Police Lt. Brandon Stommel tells us that it is rare to deal with a missing child alert in Beaver Dam, let alone twice in one week. As it turns out, both the children who went missing were friends though they were not together at the time of their disappearances. Stommel says Code Red helped locate a missing boy last Friday. The missing boy from last night was found by his mother, but Stommel said Code Red did generate a lot of valuable leads.

Dodge County Emergency Management Director Joe Meagher is asking residents to register there cell phones with the county so as to receive “Code Red” calls. Meagher says they’ve only used the Code Red system a half dozen times since its implementation. Three times were for missing children. It was also used for a boil water order, a gas leak and following the explosion at Columbus Chemical to alert residents of a potential air-born hazard. Meagher says the county is only able to contact residents who are listed in the phone book, or those who register their cell phones. For more information or to register your cell phone number, Meagher encourages you to visit the county’s website at

Code Red has presented officials with some problems, most notably the phone calls directed at Dodge County dispatchers from people that just have questions but have no information. Meagher urges the public to contact law enforcement following a Code Red only if you have relevant information related to the emergency.

Cell Phone Donations Encouraged At Hero’s Festival

9/8/11 – The American Hero’s Music Festival will mark its third year this weekend at Beaver Dam’s Swan Park. New this year will be a cell phone collection drive for soldier’s overseas. Kay Appenfeldt with the sponsoring agency The Exchange Club of Beaver Dam says the AT&T Pioneers group is collecting the used phones. For each cell phone, the company will donate a $25 gift card to a soldier stationed overseas. All date will be securely erased and the type of phone does not matter. Exchange Club President Muriel Harper says they are also inviting attendees this year to sign a banner for local troops who will be shipping out later this month as part of the West Bend-based 238th Aviation Regiment. The event this year was expanded to two days, complete with another parade through the downtown to the event site at Swan Park. Music entertainment on the state includes Alexis, Oil Can Harry, Crystal Waters, The Elwood Lee Band and Joe Cantafio and the 101st Rock Division Band. The American Hero’s Music Festival will be held tomorrow from 5pm to 10:30pm and on Saturday from 11am to 10:30pm. The parade kicks things off on Saturday and entries are being accepted. The Exchange Club is looking for patriotically-themed entries, bands, military vehicles. Contact Don Laabs 887-1253 or Kay Appenfeldt 887-1693

Hartford CEO Found Competent In Attempted Homicide Trial

9/8/11 – A retired C-E-O of Wisconsin’s largest electric utility has been ruled mentally competent to stand trial on allegations that he tried killing his wife. Washington County Circuit Judge Todd Martens has ruled that 85-year-old Charles McNeer of Hartford can help prepare his own defense. In late July, the judge said McNeer was incompetent to stand trial. The defendant was getting treatment at the time at the state’s mental health facility in Madison. McNeer is due back in court on October 19th. He’s charged with attempted homicide for allegedly trying to kill his wife Ann in late June. Authorities said he struck the woman several times in the head with a hammer. He told investigators his own health was failing – and he did not think his wife could live without him. McNeer was the chairman of the Wisconsin Energy Corporation from 1975 through 1991.

Columbus Has New City Attorney

9/8/11 – Columbus will be getting a new City Attorney for the first time in 22 years. The City Council this week approved a two year contract with Lathrop and Clark, a Madison-based law firm. Paul A. Johnson of Lathrop and Clark’s Lodi office will be representing the City beginning in January of 2012. Council Member Roger Sneath was quick to commend outgoing City Attorney Randy Lueders. Lueders will continue to work with the new Attorney till July 1, 2012.

Columbus Safe Routes To School Program Criticized

9/8/11 – The first year of the Columbus “Safe Routes to School” program is receiving criticism. The program to promote safe walking and biking to and from school has received complaints about traffic patterns in the elementary and middle school areas. The Safe Routes to School “Committee” has been working on the new traffic pattern plan for over two years. From discussions at this week’s Council meeting it appears that plan tweaking between City Engineering, school officials, police officers and public works employees will be needed.

Separate Election Probably Needed For Gubernatorial Recalls

9/8/11 – The head of Wisconsin’s elections agency says he believes two separate petitions-and-elections would be needed to recall the governor and lieutenant governor. But Kevin Kennedy says he’ll ask the board to seek a legal opinion from the attorney general on that, when the board meets on Monday. Democrats and union supporters are talking about recalling Republican Governor Scott Walker early next year. But Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch were elected as a team last November. And the state Constitution says nothing about their having to be recalled together. Only the process for calling a single elected official is mentioned. If opponents want to recall both Walker and Kleefisch, Kennedy says they’ll need to get 540-thousand valid signatures statewide to order recall elections for each official – and then the elections would be held separately. Republican Attorney General J-B Van Hollen has not weighed in on the subject. Under Kennedy’s view, voters could replace Governor Walker with a Democrat, while Republicans would still control the lieutenant governor’s office – which is a heartbeat away from the top job.

Dodge Dem’s Chair Discusses Candidate Announcement Timing

9/8/11 – More than a year before next fall’s general election, the Chair of the Dodge County Democratic Party says it is the right time for a local candidate to declare his campaign for Assembly. Peggy Slez says the group has a plan with what they’d like to see happen in the 39th Assembly District and that plan is James Grigg, the current mayor of Horicon. The Assembly seat is currently held by former Beaver Dam councilmen and Horicon resident Jeff Fitzgerald, who heads the Assembly majority. Slez says her group debated the timing and determined with Fitzgerald possibly running for US Senate, it is best to give people a good understanding of the possible future direction of the district sooner rather than later. Grigg – who worked for 35 years in manufacturing – identifies himself as a candidate who supports collective bargaining. Two Democrats Announce Senate Bids 9/8/11 – As expected, two state Assembly Democrats asked voters today to send them to Washington 14 months from now. Mark Pocan and Kelda Helen Roys, both of Madison, announced their candidacies for the U-S House seat being given up by Madison Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who’s running for the Senate. The 47-year-old Pocan owns a sign company, and has been in the Assembly for 12-and-a-half years. He co-chaired the Legislature’s powerful finance committee when Democrats ran both houses in 2009-and-2010. Roys, who’s 32, is in her second term in the Assembly. She used to be the director of the state’s NARAL abortion rights’ group. Both Democrats said they would protect Wisconsin families if elected. A third possible

candidate, state Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach of Middleton, says he’ll announce in the next few days whether he’ll join the race.

Walker Named To GOP Governors Association Exec Committee

9/8/11 – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been named to the executive committee of the Republican Governors’ Association. He replaces Rick Perry of Texas, who stepped down to run for president next year. The head of the G-O-P governors’ group, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, says Walker is a visionary. Walker said he looked forward to working with the group to try and get more Republicans elected in statehouses throughout the country next fall.

Presidential Election Date Change To Be Debated

9/8/11 – Wisconsin lawmakers return to session next week – and one of the first major bills in the Assembly would change the date of the state’s presidential primaries. The Senate has already approved the change, which would move the primaries from mid-February to the first Tuesday in April – the same day as the spring state-and-local contests. Both national parties asked for the change, as more states have been holding their primaries earlier-and-earlier to try and get more national exposure. Other states are also pushing back their primaries. And officials say Wisconsin’s contests would be in about the middle of the national schedule.

Packers To Grace Wheaties Box

9/8/11 – The Green Bay Packers’ two biggest stars will have their own Wheaties’ boxes. General Mills said it recognized quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews both for their play, and for their community service. The two cereal boxes will be sold only in Wisconsin, starting in a month. Rodgers said he could never imagine being on a Wheaties’ box as a child – and he called a privilege and an honor. Matthews said last year was special for the Super Bowl champion Packers – and he’s planning to have the same success this year. Green Bay will open its Super Bowl title defense tonight night at Lambeau Field against the champs from the previous season, the New Orleans Saints.