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Top Stories April 21, 2014

Front and Center Demolition Progressing


4/21/14 - The downtown Beaver Dam skyline looks quite different now after most of a building at the corner of Front and Center has been taken down. Work got underway about one month ago on the razing of 152 Front Street. City Engineering Coordinator Ritchie Piltz says the removal process is intentionally slow and time consuming so as to protect the adjoining buildings. In the past week, the north, south and west walls have been dismantled. The final wall, the east wall, abuts the neighboring Chinese restaurant and requires more careful dismantling. Statewide Razing Inc. of Combined Locks is doing the work. The three-story corner structure held up the Front Street portion of last summer’s Highway 33 reconstruction. It was discovered late in the process that the crumbling building is so close to the intersection that it interferes with the turning radius of semi-truck traffic. The state now plans to reconstruct the 100 block of Front Street/ Highway 33 next year.

Top Stories April 20, 2014

DOT Touts Green Initiative On State Roads


4/20/14 - Green initiatives on state roadways are in the spotlight as part of Earth Day. Steve Krebs is an engineer with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Materials Management Section. Krebs says the DOT incorporates a variety of recycled or waste materials into transportation projects. “Basically, all asphalt or concrete pavements are recycled as part of a project. Asphalts can be re-heated and re-used as part of the new pavement. With concrete — we’ll crush it into smaller pieces and it can be used in a number of different applications in the highway such as shoulder material along the roadway or as base course underneath the pavement or in the new concrete pavement itself.” Krebs says various waste materials can be used either in or under pavements including asphalt shingles, pulverized toilets and glass, and industrial byproducts such as fly ash and foundry slag. Each year, the Wisconsin DOT incorporates about two million tons of recycled materials into transportation projects statewide.


Firefighters Purchase Bee Protection Equipment


4/20/14 - A Fond du Lac firefighter says a hobby led to better protection for his fellow firefighters. Todd Shippee says he began keeping bees out of concern over the dwindling bee population. He learned that trucks carrying millions of bees are carried across country pollinating almond, apple, citrus and other crops before arriving in Wisconsin for cranberry crops. He became worried about whether firefighters had the proper protection if one of those trucks got involved in a traffic accident such as a mishap involving 17 million bees in Lakeville, Minnesota in May of 2010. He says the department purchased six protective suits for those types of situations. Shippee says they also can use Class A foam or something firefighters know as “wet water” to render bees harmless. Shippee and several past and present members of the Fond du Lac Fire Department are bee keepers.


High Schoolers Behaving Better Than Previous Generation


4/20/14 - Today's Wisconsin high school students smoke less, drink less, and have less sex than teens did 20 years ago.  That's according to the new Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the state Department of Public Instruction.  One of every three high school youngsters surveyed in 2013 said they recently had a drink -- down from half in 1993.  Thirty-three percent said they tried cigarettes, way down from 64-percent in the early '90's.  Thirty-five percent of last year's students admitted having sex, down from 47-percent two decades earlier -- and two-thirds used condoms.  Officials attribute that to better health education -- and they said high cigarette taxes keep more kids from smoking.  However, the survey shows that lots of teens engage in more modern risks.  Over half of Wisconsin juniors-and-seniors have texted while driving, and 15-percent admitted driving after having alcohol.  The percentage of teens playing on computers or video games for at least three hours a day jumped from 20-percent to 34.  Over half of girls believe that bullying and student harassment are problems at their schools -- and a third of the boys feel the same way.  The state has given 88 mini-grants to schools to try and fight these risky behaviors.  The grants totaled 85-thousand dollars last year.  Alcohol offenders covered most of those costs with their fines.


Study Focuses On Chocolate Milk In The Classroom


4/20/14 - A new study shows that banning chocolate milk from school lunches might not be a good idea.  Cornell University studied the effects of banning chocolate milk from 11 elementary schools at a school district in Oregon.  Total milk sales dropped 10-percent -- certainly not good news for milk producers in Wisconsin and elsewhere.  Students did buy more white milk, but they tossed 30-percent of it in the garbage.  The study also found that seven-percent fewer students bought school lunches after the chocolate milk disappeared.  Cornell also said 78-percent of all students throughout the U-S took milk when the chocolate variety was offered -- and that dropped to 71-percent where the item was banned.  Schools have talked for years about banning chocolate milk in the name of reducing sugar and calorie consumption.  However, Cornell says it also reduces childrens' intake of proteins and calcium.


State Considering Oil Pipeline Permit


4/20/14 - A Minnesota company is asking the state to endorse improvements to a crude oil pipeline that helps provide gas-and-diesel fuel to a good share of Wisconsin.  The Minnesota Pipe Line Company has asked the Public Utilities Commission in the Gopher State to approve a half-dozen new pumping stations, and improvements at two existing sites.  It would allow the newest of the company's four pipelines to carry 350-thousand barrels of crude each day to two refineries in the Twin Cities region.  That's twice the line's current capacity.  The firm says the added capacity is not meant to increase the amount of refined oil -- but it will keep the raw product flowing whenever the other three pipelines are down for maintenance or emergencies.  The output at the two refineries is already close to their capacities most of the time.  The Pipe Line Company also emphasizes that the project would not expand its actual pipelines, or create new ones.


Baraboo Public Recreation Area Now Open


4/20/14 - A place where bombs and bullets were made for the U-S military during the Vietnam War is now open for public recreation.  The Sauk-Prairie Recreation Area south of Baraboo will be open through May 27th -- and folks will be able to hike, bike, and ride horses and vehicles.  But the place is still being developed, so there are no road signs yet.  That means you might get lost if you don't keep track of where you're going.  The Badger Army Ammunition plant operated on the property until 1975.  A de-construction project has been taking place since 2004.  Steve Schmelzer, the superintendent at nearby Devils Lake State Park, is overseeing the Badger property as well.  He said the site would temporarily close May 28th, so piles of concrete from the old buildings can be consolidated.  The site is cut up into three areas.  The D-N_R is close to finalizing a master plan for a 38-hundred acre park.  The Ho-Chunk Indian tribe has 15-hundred acres.  Over two-thousand acres are devoted to the U-S-D-A's Dairy Forage Research Center.


Highway Signs To Be Maintained By New Company 


4/20/14 - Starting May first, a new company will maintain those blue freeway signs that tell you where to eat, stay, and get gas.  The Georgia firm of Interstate Logos will take over the Wisconsin road-sign contract which Derse of Milwaukee held for 30 years.  Derse promised to cut the rates that businesses pay to alert freeway motorists to their services.  Interstate Logos will keep the old prices the same, but officials said businesses would get better signs and faster repairs when those signs wear down.  Derse appealed the D-O-T's decision twice -- but both the D-O-T and the state Administration Department found that the contract was awarded properly.  The program does not use tax money.  Gas stations, restaurants, lodging outfits, and attractions pay 30-dollars a month for signs on the highways -- and 10-dollars a month for signs on entrance and exit ramps. 


Feds To Require Pig Infection Reporting


4/20/14 - The federal government is about to get a better handle on a disease that has killed millions of farm pigs in the last year.  Wisconsin is one of over two dozen states where Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, or P-E-D, has shown up.  The U-S-D-A says it will require farmers to report pig infections -- and labs must send tissue-and-fecal samples to the U-S-D-A when they report positive test results.  Also, farmers affected by P-E-D outbreaks will have to take part in a program to help keep the virus from spreading.  Until now, the federal government has been using voluntary lab reports to try and keep track of the virus, which began showing up in the U-S last year.  Officials say P-E-D is believed to have originated in China.  It causes severe diarrhea in newborn piglets, and many of them die from dehydration.


Attendance Up At Midwest Horse Fair in Madison


4/20/14 - Rainy and cool weather did not stop folks from attending the recent Midwest Horse Fair in Madison.  Officials said almost 55-thousand people attended the three-day festival -- two-percent more than the year before.  It was the third-highest attendance in the 35-year history of the Horse Fair.  Two nights of rodeo events were held for the first time.  The fair also featured the world's tallest horse and donkey.




Yesterday's Headlines
    - Student Injured Outside Sages School in Fox Lake
    - Fox Lake Seeking CDBG For Street Repairs
    - Waupun-Area Vacancy on Dodge County Board

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.