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Top Stories January 20, 2017

Beaver Dam, Townships Nearing Finalized Contract


1/20/17 - An agreement is close on a new five-year contract between the Beaver Dam Fire Department and the five townships that contract services with the city. The townships of Calamus, Lowell, Westford, Trenton and Beaver Dam comprise the Beaver Dam Community Fire and Rescue Association, and at their meeting last night both sides reviewed the latest contract along with a separate water and ice rescue contribution agreement. A primary sticking point over the past few months has been the townships role in contributing to costs associated with the replacement of deteriorating water rescue equipment owned by the city. Township officials maintain that state statute places the responsibility of water rescue at the county level but have acknowledged during negotiations the importance of the service. The agreement offers $55,720, which 25-percent of the total cost to upgrade the equipment, split five-ways and payable over five years beginning in 2018. The city has already included its portion in its borrowing plan for this year. There is still a chance that the county funds a portion of water rescue in future budgets and if that is the case the townships would see 25-percent of their contribution returned. However, that wording will be broadened. Township attorney Sean Donohue says language will be inserted to allow any type of revenues, including grants or other donations, to be eligible for reimbursement. Beaver Dam Fire Chief Alan Mannel says that it seems fair to expand the type of revenues that could lead to the townships contribution being reimbursed. Town of Beaver Dam Chair Neal Stippich says he is comfortable with the contract being presented. Each township board and the city council has to sign off on the contract which will be brought back before the rural fire association in one month. While the contract expired at years end, a contract extension is in place through the end of February.



DCSO Unveils 2017 Goals


1/20/17 - Earlier this week on WBEV’s Community Comment program, Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt unveiled his office’s performance objectives for 2017.  While the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office’s top goal for the coming year is launching Spillman, the new records management system that is expected to go live in December, Sheriff Dale Schmidt has additional aspirations.  One of those is to install an automatic license plate reader in one of his squad car, which he says could be useful in identifying stolen vehicles and vehicles of interest.  In addition to linking with other agencies, Schmidt says the system would bolster officer safety by allowing them to run plates quickly, rather than having to type in information as they are passing a vehicle.  The sheriff also wants to purchase new high-definition cameras for his squad cars to replace the current ones, which he says are outdated.  In addition, Schmidt plans to equip his officers with body cameras, which he says is for evidence collection, not concerns with community relations.  Schmidt also wants to add another K9 either this year or next, with the goal of having a trained dog on each of the three shifts.  He says police canines are necessary for drug detection, tracking, and handler protection.  Schmidt hopes to land a grant that will cover the majority of the cost, as they did when purchasing K9 Kid.  Also, the sheriff plans to continue working with the various superintendents in Dodge County to discuss the possibility of creating a rapid response task force that could allow for more effective communication between area schools and emergency responders, should there be a crisis situation.  Schmidt says there are a total of 10-15 goals for 2017, which is less than previous years due to the size of the Spillman implementation project. 


Sheriff Provides Update On Skittles Spill


1/20/17 - Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt has released more details about the hundreds of thousands of Skittles that coated a section of Highway S earlier this week. The Skittles were in a box on the back of a flatbed pickup truck and due to rain the box broke open spilling the candy on the highway. That load of candy did not make the grade for packaging and was going to be used for cattle feed.


New Vehicles For Columbus PD


1/20/17 - One local police department is getting some new wheels.  At this week’s meeting, the Columbus Common Council approved the purchase of two new interceptor squad cars from a Hartford dealership.  When the new vehicles arrive in early March, officials say one squad that recently became unstable will be removed from the fleet.  The new arrivals will bump the department’s vehicle total from six to the recommended seven.


Born Supports Transportation Funding Framework


1/20/17 - State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is proposing $300,000,000 in higher taxes and fees for highway construction, while cutting taxes elsewhere using the new budget surplus. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau this week projected higher tax revenues and spending cuts totaling $713,000,000 through mid-2019. Vos says part of that windfall could keep major projects on track while helping Republican Governor Scott Walker keep his promise not to raise overall state taxes -- and Walker's office says it looks forward to hearing more details. Vos says his fellow Assembly Republicans support his package -- which does not specify the amounts of the propose increases for the gas tax and vehicle registration fees. Reports say the $300,000,000 could be generated with a 4.5% per gallon increase in a state gas tax that's now almost $0.33.  Representative Mark Born of Beaver Dam supports the proposal, saying “I am happy our conservative reforms in the past couple years have put us in a strong enough financial position that we can continue to reduce our tax burden while also addressing our long-term transportation funding needs.” 


Wisconsin Tied To Presidential Inauguration


1/20/17 - House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville and Kenosha native Reince Priebus will both help determine Donald Trump's fate as president. And they were among the speakers Thursday night at a state victory party in Washington, where Trump will become the nation's 45th president at eleven this morning. Priebus, who becomes Trump's chief of staff, told state G-O-P officials and activists that Trump won because Americans wanted an "antidote." He praised the state's campaign operation that Priebus said could be emulated "all over the country." Governor Scott Walker said the party's changes during the past six years, especially in the Midwest, paved the way for somebody to take the G-O-P's message to the nation's capital.


Two More Wisconsinites Get Sentences Reduced


1/20/17 - On Barack Obama's final day as president, two more Wisconsin drug convicts saw their prison sentences reduced. 46-year-old Jeffrey Coleman and 31-year-old Cartell McLemore, both of Milwaukee, will both go free in May. Coleman was initially sentenced to 30 years in 2006, for helping run a cocaine trafficking network between Milwaukee and South Texas -- and McLemore had about ten years remaining on a cocaine and gun possession sentence before Obama commuted it. The president granted clemency to 330 federal convicts Thursday for a total of 1,715 during his time in office, the most of any president. About 15 Wisconsin inmates received commutations and pardons during the past year, as Obama made it a priority to reduce long prison terms given during the war on drugs in previous decades.


Group Aiming To Get Clarke In Senate


1/20/17 - An effort is underway to try to convince Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to run for the U-S Senate against Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin.  The "Sheriff Clarke for Senate" draft campaign was launched this week by a Super PAC with a nine-member advisory board that includes reality T-V star Duane Chapman, better known as "Dog the Bounty Hunter."  An attorney with the group says Clarke was approached by them about running for the Senate a few months ago, but Clarke did not give an idea if he would consider it.


Yesterday's Headlines
- Prison Time For Fatal Crash
- Trucker Charged In Burglary
- Man Accused Of Fleeing Police

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.