November 4, 2014

Voter ID Not In Effect, But ID Is Required To Register


11/4/14 – Photo identification is not required to cast a ballot at the polls for today’s General Election. There is, however, a difference between “voter ID” and “proof of residence.” Dodge County Clerk Karen Gibson notes that identification will be needed for those who need to register to vote at the polls today. That would include anyone who has never voted, moved since the last election or those who have changed their name. The voter rolls are also purged every four years and unregistered voters are taken off the books. A driver’s license or state ID is acceptable to show proof of residence to register to vote today. However, if voters have been issued a state license or ID but are not able to produce it, they can show another form of identification but they need to provide the number on the driver’s license or ID. Other acceptable forms include an ID issued by an employer; a real estate tax bill or receipt; university, college or tech college ID; a recent utility bill; bank statement or paycheck, among others.


Gubernatorial, AG Race, Referenda Top Statewide Ballots


11/4/14 – The only poll that counts will be taken today in Wisconsin, as voters settle an extremely-tight and hard-fought governor’s race.  Republican Scott Walker is going for his second term, but he’s facing the voters for the third time since 2010.  He defeated Democrat Tom Barrett by five percentage points the first time, and by seven points in his 2012 recall challenge.  Today, Walker faces Democrat Mary Burke — who recently said she’s surprised how thick her skin is, as she’s deflected criticisms about her past tenures as a Trek Bicycle executive and state Commerce secretary under Jim Doyle.  Walker has taken a lot of heat himself in the wake of his Act-10 law that ended most public union bargaining, while creating less than half of the quarter-million jobs he promised in winning the governor’s office four years ago.  Walker says he’ll keep working to cut taxes, after reducing them by two billion dollars.  Burke promises to focus more on the middle class.  Voters will also choose a new state attorney general.  There’s also a statewide constitutional referendum on using gas tax revenues only for transportation — plus advisory referendums in numerous counties on raising the minimum wage and seeking extra federal Medicaid funds under Obama-care.  Forty Wisconsin school districts have more than 50 referendum questions on almost 700-million dollars for new-and-improved buildings, plus higher taxes to keep current programs going.


Dodge County Races


11/4/14 – In Dodge County, voters will choose between two Republican candidates for sheriff today.  There are contested races for the Fifth and Sixth Congressional districts, State Senate District 13 and three contested Assembly races on Dodge County ballots. Local referendum questions will also appear on ballots in the towns of Beaver Dam and Westford and the Hustisford School District.  Polls will be open from 7am until 8pm tonight and we’ll have all the local, state, and national results throughout the night once the polls close on AM1430 WBEV and 95.3 WXRO.


Man Prevented From Bringing Gun To Walker Rally


11/4/14 – A Columbia County man was upset Monday about having to remove his openly-carried pistol from a pre-Election Day rally for Governor Scott Walker.  Jay Brendemuehl of Pardeeville told reporters he was waiting for the Republican Walker to show up when police escorted him out.  He said he returned moments later without the gun and then watched the speakers.  The event was held at an equipment business in Sun Prairie which is allowed to ban firearms under Wisconsin’s concealed weapons’ law.  Brendemuehl said he didn’t see the sign — and he was not pleased that his right to self-defense was not, as he put it, “continuous.”


Witnesses Attempt CPR In Fatal Columbia County Wreck


11/4/14 – One person was killed in a single vehicle accident yesterday afternoon in Columbia County. The wreck occurred just after 3:30pm on Old County Highway U Road in the Town of Caledonia. Sheriff Dennis Richards says a 22-year-old Portage woman left and re-entered the roadway before overturning into a cornfield. She was ejected from the SUV and was pronounced dead at the scene. Reports to dispatch indicated that she was not breathing and witnesses were performing CPR on the victim while emergency responders were in route. The victim was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Alcohol and Speed does not appear to be a factor. The name is being withheld pending notification of family.


Mayville Man Facing Stalker Charges


11/4/14 – A Mayville man made his Initial Appearance in a Dodge County courtroom Monday on stalking charges. Leroy G. Stalker is charged with felony Stalking with an enhancer of having a Previous Conviction Within Seven Years. The 54-year-old allegedly violated a court order by repeatedly contacting an ex-girlfriend he had been violent to in the past.  Stalker was reportedly arrested for Domestic Battery in February of last year. She obtained a restraining order in August after he apparently went to her home on at least 50 occasions, repeatedly texted her and threatened her and her children. When questioned by officers he told them (quote) “there is nothing you can do about it.” Cash bond was set at $1000 and a judge will decide in November if there is enough evidence to order a trial.


Columbus Council Mulling In-Town Snowmobile Trail


11/4/14 – A snowmobile trail through the city of Columbus may not be open this winter. Members of a private snowmobile club are seeking council permission to get approval for a trail through the city for another year. Due to residents’ complaints of speeding, noise and property damage, use of the trail may not be approved for this winter. The council will continue to work with the club to search for ways to make snowmobiling through the city possible. They will review the city’s ordinance and discuss routes with the club members. The issue will be under discussion again at the next council session November 18th.


Operations Committee Advances Sewer Rate Increase


11/4/14 – The Beaver Dam Operations Committee last night forwarded to the full common council a proposed increase in sewer rates. Utility Foreman Rob Minnema says the change in rates is based on a study that determined the actual costs of service. The city has to raise rates by 39-percent across-the-board to get increased expenses and decreased revenues into the black. He explained to the Operations Committee last night that the vast majority of customers, around 90-percent, are residential and small businesses customers. The average user will see the smallest percentage increase in rates, around 27-percent. That includes a 90-cent increase in the base rate to $16.10 and a volume increase of around $8, bringing the quarterly sewer bill to $40-per month. The biggest increase will be passed along to the handful of industrial customers. Those high-use customers will see a base rate increase from $52 to $382. The average industrial user currently pays $92-thousand dollars a quarter based on the volume of sewer water that is treated. If approved, that bill would be $125-thousand dollars; that’s about 35-percent more. The volume increase is based on the size of the sewer utility customer’s meter. Residential customers use around 10-thousand gallons per quarter while the handful of commercial users go through around 1.2-million gallons each. The Common Council held first reading last night on the ordinance change with second reading and a public hearing planned for November 17.


Regional Gas Prices Below Three Dollars


11/4/14 – Wisconsin gasoline prices continue to inch downward.  The Triple-“A” said the average statewide price was $3.03-a-gallon this morning for regular unleaded.  That’s a half-cent cheaper than yesterday, four-and-a-half cents less than last week, 30-cents cheaper than a month ago, and 19-cents less than a year ago at this time.  In many places, fuel prices are at their lowest in four years.  Gas-Buddy-Dot-com said Kenosha had the cheapest fuel prices in the state — $2.78. Gas is still averaging $3.08 in Beaver Dam. Watertown is as low as $2.94; Ashippun and Neosho are at $2.95; Hartford is at $2.97; Theresa is at $2.99; Waupun is at $3.05.  The Triple-“A” says today’s national average for unleaded is below three-dollars, at just over $2.97.  Analysts cite large supplies, relatively low demand, and lower crude oil prices.  Nick Jarmusz of the Wisconsin Triple-“A” says you can expect gas to stay at-or-below its current level at least through next spring.


Chamber Economic Development Luncheon Planned


11/4/14 – The Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce is holding their annual Economic Update Luncheon later this month.  Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson is the keynote speaker for the event.  Mayor Tom Kennedy will provide a “state of the city address” while County Board Chair Russ Kottke will provide an update on the county.  Cost of attendance is $30 per person.  Advanced reservation and payment is due by Monday, November 17. The event will be held at the Beaver Dam Country Club on Sunset Drive Wednesday, November 26 from 11:45am to 1:30pm. Secretary Newsome will join us on a special late edition of Community Comment that afternoon around 2pm. Today on Community Comment, we welcome Beaver Dam Chamber President Phil Fritsche on AM1430 WBEV beginning at 12:35pm.