November 14, 2014

Horicon Firefighters Respond to House Fire


11/14/14 – The Horicon Fire Department responded to a fire call at 708 Lake Street that came in around 1:15 this afternoon.  Nine units from Horicon and neighboring communities responded to the scene after the fire was reported by a passer-by.  Four street blocks in downtown Horicon were blocked off while responders got the fire under control.  The occupants of the property were not home at the time of the incident, and the cause is still unknown.


Fire Levels Lomira BP/Burger King Building


11/14/14 – A gas station and fast-food restaurant were destroyed by fire this (Fr) morning in Lomira.  Crews were called around 6:20am to the Burger King and B-P Hi-Way Hop just off Highway 41. Both businesses were housed in the same structure and were a complete loss; one wall and the drive-through menu were still standing.  Lomira Fire Chief Brian Ries (reese) says flames were visible from the outside of the structure when crews arrived on scene. After entering, Riese says he found flames inside the exhaust of the broiler. He tried to douse the flames but discovered that the fire had moved into the attic. The fire then spread rapidly throughout the building. Riese says they went on the defensive and began to fight the fire from the exterior of the structure. Riese says it is unknown what started the fire that fed into the exhaust system. The restaurant was serving breakfast at the time, so employees evacuated to the parking lot.  There were no injuries. Eleven agencies responded to the scene. The cause remains under investigation.


Johnson Recalls “Incredible” Outpouring From Community


11/14/14 – The father of fallen soldier David Johnson of Mayville recalled what he says was an “incredible” outpouring of support from the Dodge County-area when his son returned home one last time. Andrew Johnson recounted the days surrounding the January 2012 death of his son in Afghanistan when he appeared this week on the WBEV Tribute to Veterans broadcast.  Johnson says that his son was greeted as a hero when he was brought from Dover Air Force Base into Mitchell Field. He paused for a moment as he explained that airport personnel had lined the hangar and firefighters sprayed the water cannon over the plane as it taxied down the runway. After the memorial service in Dodge County, a procession brought David Johnson to another service held for his military family before he was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery in the nation’s capital. A motorcade consisted of the Patriot Guard, State Patrol, county deputies and various municipal law enforcement agencies while firefighters were stationed at several intersections. Highway 43 was closed for the procession. Andrew Johnson said, “I don’t know how any of that worked to be honest with you.” He says the family was “shocked” when he saw the entire John Deere workforce lining the main street alongside hundreds of men, women and children. The Johnson family is a Gold Star Family, a designation for those who have lost a loved one defending our country. To honor David’s memory, and to support all the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Andrew Johnson is working to build a walking and biking trail connecting Mayville with the Wild Goose State Trail, fittingly titled the Gold Star Trail. We’ll bring you details of that effort during our newscasts on Saturday.


Hoeft Lawsuit Against City, State Dismissed


11/14/14 – A Dodge County judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the city of Beaver Dam and the State of Wisconsin by the former owner of the Fountain Inn Tavern. Jay Hoeft filed a lawsuit on January 27 in Dodge County Circuit Court. In the complaint, attorney’s for Hoeft accused the city of illegally pocketing money from the federal government that was directed by law to pay relocation costs to the owners of ten properties displaced by the 2008 floods. Beaver Dam, via the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, received $3.7 million dollars in federal funding for the acquisition and demolition of ten, flood-raved, riverfront properties. Hoeft contends that because the money came from the federal government, the Uniform Relocation Act (49CFR24) mandates that displaced property owners be fairly compensated for costs associated with moving, along with 100-percent of the pre-flood market value of the properties. The owners were originally offered 65-percent of the assessed value of their property; the alternative given at the time was losing everything and still paying the costs for demolition of their buildings. The city later offered 100-percent of assessed value; like the first offer relocation costs were not included. All the property owners accepted the offer, except Hoeft who haggled with the city and state for years. He sold the building to the city/state last year for $179-thousand dollars; the structure has since been demolished. In December of 2012, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development made it clear that the state and the city had to use the federal dollars to pay not only relocation costs but also 100-percent of the pre-flood market value – not the assessed value – of the affected properties. Hoeft asserted in the lawsuit that the 65-percent offer was tantamount to a threat and the city’s below-market-value offer was a violation of his civil rights. In addition, Hoeft said he lost a source of income and was unable to re-establish his business in a replacement location. Hoeft did initially re-open in the same location in the fall of 2008 before closing his doors for good in the spring of 2011. He says the uncertainty created by the city’s refusal to pay him the federally-mandated relocation costs eventually doomed his bar. In July of 2013, Hoeft filed a relocation claim seeking $392,810.92. In September, the lawsuit says that the city of Beaver Dam forwarded a check to Hoeft in the amount of $20,000. Hoeft refused the money and the lawsuit seeks the full amount, $392-thousand dollars, along with interest and litigation costs. Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy tells us he was not surprised to see the courts rule in favor of the city. Hoeft was not available for comment.


Jury Trial Set in Hartford Murder Trial


11/14/14 – A weeklong jury trial is now on the calendar for a Hartford-area teenager accused of murdering his older brother.  Joseph Langlois was in a Washington County courtroom for a hearing yesterday. The 18-year-old is charged with Reckless Homicide for allegedly stabbing his 20-year-old brother Jacob to death with a fish-filet knife in February. Prosecutors say the stabbing occurred after the two argued over who owned video games, knives and other items. Jacob was packing up for Army National Guard training in Georgia. The defendant had accused his brother of stealing things from the family’s home as he was getting ready to leave.  Jacob was found dead by his mother lying on his back in a large pool of blood on the kitchen floor. Joseph reportedly admitted to investigators that he stabbed his brother because he was angry about losing a fight with him. He is free after posting a $75-thousand dollar cash bond. The jury trial is slated to begin April 13.


One Injured, Cited Following Oak Grove Rollover


11/14/14 – One person was injured in a rollover accident last night near Juneau. The accident happened around 9pm on Highway 33 at Fairfield Road in the Town of Oak Grove. According to the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department, 30-year-old Jeremy Vorpagel of West Bend was transported to Beaver Dam Community Hospital by Beaver Dam EMS. Vorpagel was cited for third offense Operating While Intoxicated before being taken to jail. The eastbound lanes of Highway 33 were closed for over one hour. Dodge County was assisted at the scene by Wisconsin State Patrol and the county Emergency Response Team.


Citation Wound Up Costing More That Surrender Fee


11/14/14 – The local man who was looking to save money by dodging dog surrender fees had his plan backfire.  The fees to drop Lucky and Chance, the two dogs allegedly found in the dumpster behind Rechek’s in Beaver Dam, off at the Dodge County Humane Society would have been $150.  Instead, he will be paying a fine for twice that amount.  Police Chief John Kreuziger told us recently on WBEV’s Community Comment that things didn’t add up when the man offered authorities a story that conflicted with the one given to the humane society.  The man ended up admitting to police that he made up the story that was reported to the society.  Lucky and Chance never were in any danger late last month when the incident occurred.  The humane society did end up taking the dogs in free of charge.  DCHS Board of Directors’ Treasurer Kensie Drinkwine says that the dogs were in rough shape when they received them.  They appeared to have not been groomed in quite some time and had a foul-smelling odor.  The Dodge County Humane Society is currently taking applications for Lucky and Chance.  They would like the two to stay together when finding them their ‘forever home.’  More information about the application process can be found on the humane society’s website.


Big Bros, Big Sis Celebrates 40 Years in Dodge County


11/14/14 – The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dodge County and Watertown Community celebrated its 40th anniversary last night.  The program has matched adult volunteers with children in the area since 1974 through both community-based and school-based programs.  Executive Director of BBBS in Dodge County Betsy Bright says that statistics show that the program has multiple benefits for those children who participate.  They are 52% less likely to skip school, 46% less likely to do drugs, and 27% less likely to use alcohol. Bright says that the aspect of one-on-one mentoring helps to form a strong bond and makes the program successful.  She says that the organization is currently looking at a $4-thousand shortfall.  Donations can be made online at


Third Candidate Announces For Grothman Seat


11/14/14 – The field is getting crowded for a Wisconsin Senate election that has not even been called yet.  Calumet County Board member Ralph Prescott has become the third Republican to announce his candidacy for the Senate seat to be vacated by Glenn Grothman when he becomes a congressman in January.  Prescott is a former supermarket operator who ran for the Legislature earlier this year, and lost in an Assembly primary to Jesse Kremer.  Prescott joins Assembly Republican Duey Strobel of Saukville and Ozaukee County Board chairman Lee Schlenvogt on the list of G-O-P candidates.  The Senate seat covers much of rural southeast Wisconsin.  Governor Scott Walker will call the election after Grothman officially leaves the Legislature.


Governor Announces Columbia County Register of Deeds


11/14/14 – Columbia County has a new Register of Deeds. The governor’s office has announced the appointment of Karen Manske to fill the vacancy created by Lisa Walker who recently stepped down after 30 years in office. Walker accepted a position with the state Department of Health Services. Manske currently serves as Constitutional Office Deputy, and Governor Walker says her considerable experience and knowledge make her an asset to the community and the ideal candidate for the position.


Madison Veteran Trying To Convince VA He Is Alive


11/14/14 – The U-S Veterans Affairs Department promises to set the record straight, after a Madison man saw his wife read a letter declaring that he’s dead.  The Wisconsin State Journal said Julie Brenner got the letter on Monday from the Veterans’ Benefits Administration.  It expressed sympathy for the death of her 81-year-old husband Kenneth — and by the way, please stop cashing his benefit checks. Kenneth wanted to call the agency on Tuesday to give him a piece of his still-active mind, but the office was closed for Veterans’ Day.  Veterans’ Affairs spokesman Craig Larson in Chicago said those things happen infrequently, often because somebody keyed in the wrong data.  He promised the mistake would be fixed.  Kenneth Brenner gets a disability check every month because he was seriously injured in 1955.  He said he was hit by a cable that snapped from heavy equipment at an Air Force base in Texas.