November 18, 2015

International Students Enjoying Life In Dodge County Through AFS Program


11/18/15 – In conjunction with International Education Week, representatives from the AFS foreign exchange program, along with three students currently studying in the area, joined us on Tuesday’s edition of WBEV’s Community Comment. Aziza from Lebanon, Bia from Portugal, and Yok from Thailand are spending the entire school year in Beaver Dam, Dodgeland, and Columbus, respectively, as part of the AFS exchange program that brings roughly 2,300 students to the United States each year.  AFS Staffer Jayne Butterbrodt says the program started in World War I when volunteer ambulance drivers were looking for a way to create peace.  As a result, they started the exchange program once they returned to U.S. soil.  Butterbrodt says families in participating areas submit an application and are matched with a student AFS deems to be a good fit.  Students come for either one semester or a full year.  The students had various reasons for coming to America.  Aziza says she came to the United States with the goal of showing people that all people from Lebanon and Muslim countries are good people, not terrorists.  While people can sometimes take daily life for granted, Bia says she has enjoyed part of American culture, such as the opportunity to ride a school bus each day.  The students have also loved American cuisine.  Yok says she enjoyed trying a hamburger and fries.  Anyone interested in hosting students in the 2016-17 school year can fill out an inquiry sheet at


No Public Input At Columbus 2016 Budget Hearing


11/18/15 – There were was no public input at last night’s annual budget hearing in Columbus. Increased property values in the city will have a positive impact on the December tax bills for homeowners. The $2.9 million dollar tax levy is up by less than one-percent. The proposed $8.50 mil rate is projected to be seven cents per thousand above last year’s rate. The owner of a $150-thousand dollar home will see an increase of $18.50 over last year’s tax bills. Columbus officials are waiting on exact figures from the state before adopting the budget, which is anticipated at their first meeting in December.


Wisconsin Holiday Travel Higher Than Average


11/18/15 – Wisconsin will have a larger increase in Thanksgiving traffic than the nation as a whole. The Triple-“A” says 977-thousand Badger State residents will travel 50-miles-or-more for their turkey and pumpkin pie next week. Wisconsin’s road traffic will be one-point-four percent more than last Thanksgiving, higher than the national increase of six-tenths of one-percent. That’s much smaller than a nearly five-percent national hike from a year ago despite higher disposable incomes, and falling gas prices which could be as low as two-dollars a gallon by the holiday. According to the average statewide price today is $2.21 a gallon for regular unleaded. That’s 24-cents less than a month ago and 71-cents cheaper than last Thanksgiving. Gas in Beaver Dam is as low as $2.18. The cheapest gas in the state is $1.84 in Kenosha.


Man Found Guilty In Dodge County Court For Multi-County Crime Spree


11/18/15 – A Green Lake County man pled no contest yesterday to multiple charges that tied him to a multi-county crime spree.  A Dodge County court found Maxwell Decker guilty of felony counts of Burglary with a Dangerous Weapon and Fleeing a Traffic Officer and misdemeanor Taking a Vehicle without Consent.  The 20-year-old had four other counts dismissed but read into the record.  Decker stole a car in Berlin last August, sparking a nearly 12-mile pursuit down Highway 175 into Dodge County that ended with the driver disappearing into nearby cornfields. A second vehicle was taken and later recovered in the Fond du Lac County Town of Oakfield, where a third vehicle was then reported stolen.  Decker sparked a second police chase early the following morning, again into Dodge County this time through the city of Beaver Dam at 100 miles per hour. The vehicle was abandoned near Breezy Point Road as the suspect escaped a second time. Later that same day it was discovered that someone broke into a Town of Trenton home, stole a firearm, ammunition, and a vehicle. Decker was apprehended in Jefferson County the following day.  He was already found guilty in Green Lake County court and will be arraigned in Fond du Lac County next month.  Decker will be sentenced in Dodge County on January 14.


Green Lake Man Jailed For Reckless Driving Death


11/18/15 – Two months in jail for a Green Lake man who drove into a motorcycle killing a 36-year-old Ripon man. Travis Hartman was looking down to change radio stations when the accident happened on Highway 44 near Ripon in July of last year. Tym Hollerup died at the scene. Hartman was initially charged with felony vehicular homicide but pled to reduced misdemeanor counts of Negligent Operation of a Vehicle and Reckless Driving Causing Death. In addition to 60 days in jail, a Fond du Lac County judge also placed the 25-year-old on probation for two years, ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service and suspended his driver license for one year. Hartman will also have to pay $7000 in restitution towards funeral expenses.


Congressman Grothman Receives A New Committee Assignment


11/18/15 – Congressman Glenn Grothman received a new assignment yesterday.  The Republican from Glenbeulah was named to the Conference Committee for Education Reform along with nine others from his party.  Those selections were made by new House Speaker Paul Ryan.  Referring to strengthening and reforming education, Grothman says he “looks forward to coming to a final agreement that puts students and parents first.”


State Supreme Court To Decide Governors Power Over DPI


11/18/15 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court will decide by next summer whether the governor’s office can take power from the elected state public school superintendent. The justices spent two-and-a-half hours Tuesday hearing arguments. At issue is the legality of a 2011 state law that gave Governor Scott Walker veto powers over administrative rules from the Department of Public Instruction. The law covers all state agencies, but previous court rulings said the voters have the final say over the D-P-I in the superintendent elections every four years. Susan Crawford, an attorney for teachers’ unions and parents, says the veto power makes the superintendent a “subordinate” to the governor and the administration secretary. Rick Esenberg, a lawyer for business groups and private voucher school interests, asked the court to overturn a 1996 decision granting school authority to the superintendent. He says the ruling illegally transferred school powers that are supposed to be shared by the Legislature.


Assembly Adopts Bill Prohibiting Hunter Harassment


11/18/15 – The state Assembly’s natural resources committee has approved a bill prohibiting people from harassing hunters in the woods. The 14-1 vote clears the way for a full vote on the Assembly floor. However, the chamber has already wrapped up fall floor sessions, and does not reconvene until January. Wisconsin law already prohibits someone from interfering with hunting, fishing or trapping activities. The bill would add scouting, dog training, and baiting and feeding as hunting activities. It also would expand the definition of interference to include engaging in an activity more than twice that’s intended to impede a hunter, including remaining in a hunter’s sight, photographing a hunter, using a drone to photograph a hunter and confronting a hunter.


Beaver Dam Chamber Yearly Recognition Deadline


11/18/15 – The deadline is approaching to submit a nomination to the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce for their yearly recognition of a local business, citizen and non-profit organization. President Phil Fritsche says the chamber is seeking nominations in all three categories.  The chamber will base their 2016 Business of the Year selection on customer service, employee / management volunteerism, charitable contributions and other investments in the community, along with other industry awards that have been earned.  This past year, Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation was honored.  For Citizen of the Year nominations, the chamber will consider volunteerism, civic involvement and charitable contributions.  This year’s winner was Rhonda Steiner.  The Non-Profit of the Year is judged based on the organizations general impact on the community, preferably over the course of a long period of time rather than the recent past, and by other awards and recognitions that the organization has received.  The YMCA of Dodge County was honored this year.  The nominees must be located in Beaver Dam or the surrounding township but they do not need to be chamber members.  Nomination forms are due by next Monday and are available at the chamber offices or at A link is on our website


Final Round Of Leaf Pick-Up In Beaver Dam Begins Thursday


11/18/15 – Today is the final day for curbside leaf pick-up in Beaver Dam. DPW Director Jeremy Klug says leaves — along with lawn grass rakings resulting from leaf gathering, garden vines and stalks – may be placed in the terrace areas of the street edge in loose piles for the last time today. Yard waste cannot be placed in the street or gutter, or in any containers, and residents should avoid piling around tree’s, light poles and street signs when possible. Leaves, rakings and garden debris cannot be mixed with other forms of waste like brush or shrubbery cuttings.  Fruits, nuts and vegetables are not acceptable and should be disposed of as garbage. After city crews begin leaf pick-up tomorrow, they are only making one last round in no particular order.  Klug says that means once leaves have been picked up from your residence after today that is your final pick-up for the season. Leaves can also be dropped off at the City Garage on South Center Street weekdays between 7am and 3:30pm. And after this weekend, the garage will be closed on Saturday’s until spring.