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Top Stories April 24, 2014

Tornado Drill Planned For Today

 

4/24/14 - It is Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin. Dodge County Deputy Emergency Management Director Joe Meagher is marking the occasion by urging the public to invest in a NOAA Weather Radio. Tornado sirens will be blaring this afternoon Thursday as part of a statewide drill.  Local media will also be interrupted. Meagher urges members of the public to take advantage of today’s drill to review or implement an evacuation plan and prepare or update an emergency survival kit. The statewide tornado drill begins with a mock tornado watch at 1pm and a mock tornado warning at 1:45pm. If there is actual severe weather, the drill will be postponed until Friday. If it still doesn’t look good tomorrow, the drill will be cancelled. Meager will be our guest this afternoon on Community Comment beginning at 1:30pm.

 

Jobless Filings Down in Region

 

4/24/14 - Jobless filings in the region last month are lower than both the previous month and the previous year. Dodge County’s unemployment rate last month was 7.4-percent, four-tenths lower than February and seven-tenths below last years rate. In March of 2013, both Columbia and Fond du Lac counties reported a 7-percent jobless rate. In February of this year both counties were at 7.1-percent. Last month, Columbia County was at 6.7-percent while Fond du Lac County was at 6.5-percent. Jefferson County was at 7.3-percent last month, three-tenths below the February rate and six-tenths below last years numbers. Washington County was at 6.2-percent last month, four-tenths lower than February and six-tenths lower than last year. Dane County has the lowest unemployment in the state at 4.4-percent. Iron County has the highest at 13.1-percent and was one of nine Wisconsin counties with double-digit jobless figures. Rates decreased or stayed the same in all but six of the state’s 72 counties. The state’s seasonally-adjusted jobless rate was at 5.9-percent last month, this first time since the recession began that it was below six-percent.

 

Second Lake Study Grant Approved for Beaver Dam

 

4/24/14 - The DNR has approved a second large-scale planning grant for the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association. The $24,000 grant will be used to assemble a comprehensive Lake Management Plan. It covers 67-percent of the cost; the Association is providing matching funds of $12,000. This is the second time Beaver Dam has been awarded the grant. The Association’s Bill Boettge says the first round was awarded to Environmental Horizons in Waukesha but the project leader left to take his “dream job” out of the country and the study was suspended. The lake management planning firm Onterra LLC has now been hired to assist the association in assembling the plan. The renewed effort this spring involves collecting and analyzing data on water quality, aquatic plant life, shoreline conditions and the watershed. Boettge says the lake project also includes public participation.  A critical part of the plan was completed last year when a comprehensive survey was sent to over 1,600 residents on or near the lake. The findings indicated that fishing is a primary draw to the lake. The survey also noted the aesthetic aspects, like wildlife and sunsets.  A planning committee is being assembled to work with Onterra during the development of the plan. The 18-month project is intended to result in a plan that will act as a guide for the future management of the lake.  Boettge says that could include specific actions being developed to meet realistic goals or also additional studies of the lake and its watershed. Beaver Dam Lake has 41 miles of shoreline that is home to over 800 residents with property values over $161 million, which is about 9% of total property value of the city of Beaver Dam and the five townships surrounding the lake.  More information is available at www.bdlia.org.

 

Groundbreaking Today For Campbellsport Highway Shop

 

4/24/14 - Fond du Lac County officials will hold a ground breaking Thursday at 12:30pm at the new site in Campbellsport Industrial Park for the County’s new Campbellsport Highway Garage. County Highway Commissioner Tom Janke says it’s a more than $2.1 million project. He says there will be a lot more room for storage. The new building will be 17,300 square feet in size compared to the current building’s 5,400 square feet. The project should be finished by the end of the year.

 

Suspect Arraigned In Triple Beaver Dam Business Burglary

 

4/24/14 - A Beaver Dam man accused of burglarizing three area businesses in one night last month entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment Thursday. 25-year-old Rylee Umland is charged with three felony counts of Burglary along with a handful of misdemeanors including Theft and Bail Jumping charges. Umland, and 28-year-old Randall Riese, are accused of breaking into Cocktail’s Bar and Grill and the North Plaza Laundromat, both of North Center Street, and Schmid’s Car Wash on Mackie Street. A propane torch was used to open the coin machines at the car wash and laundromat. Alcohol and frozen pizza’s were stolen from the tavern. Umland was connected to the crime after he used the coin machine at ShopKo to cash-in over $300 in quarters. He dropped a bank bag with “Schmid’s Car Wash” written on it at the department store. Umland was then identified at the scene of the crime in video surveillance footage. When he was stopped, officers found a small propane torch in the backseat. Both suspects have court activity on the calendar next month. 

 

Mayville Man Enters Not Guilty Plea To Assault Charge

 

4/24/14 - A Mayville man entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment Thursday to charges that he molested a young teenager. Robert J. Sexton is charged with Second Degree Sexual Assault and Child Abuse. Prosecutors say the incidents occurred multiple times over a six month period beginning last September. The victim told investigators that Sexton threatened her, slapping her across the face when she refused to cooperate. The 49-year-old reportedly gave the victim several gifts after the assaults. He admitted to backhanding the girl but denied any other contact. The charges carry a combined maximum of 46 years in prison, if convicted.


Fire Destroys Barn in Town of Clyman


4/24/14 - Fire destroyed a barn in the Town of Clyman last night. Clyman Fire Chief Eric Howlett says the barn just southeast of Highway 60 and M on Sun Road was a total loss. The owner, Jeff Mamarek saw the flames from the house and called it in at about 9:40pm last night. The barn, which was being used for storage was a total loss along with all of the contents. Fire crews managed to keep the flames away from the nearby house and a shed. The cause has not yet been determined. Chief Howlett said 75 fireman from a dozen departments with 30 trucks responded to the call. They used about 105,000 gallons of water. The blaze was contained at about 12:30am this morning. Crews were on the scene until 2am.

 

AG Candidates On Environmental Advocates Post

 

4/24/14 - One of three Democrats running for Wisconsin attorney general says he would restore an environmental advocate's post in the Justice Department.  Jon Richards says he would bring back the public intervenor's office if he's elected.  The post was created in 1967, as a watchdog to protect people's interests in natural resource matters that include water regulations.  Richards, an Assembly Democrat from Milwaukee, is running against district attorneys Ismael Ozanne of Dane County and Susan Happ of Jefferson County in the August primary.  The winner will face Republican D-A Brad Schimel of Waukesha County in November -- and that winner will replace the retiring J-B Van Hollen.  Ozanne says he would support bringing back the public intervenor.  The other candidates have not commented.  Republicans did away with the post almost two decades ago, saying it caused businesses to be hit with expensive and unfair lawsuits. 

 

Phosphorous Exemptions Bill Signed

 

4/24/14 - Wisconsin food, paper, and sewage plants can buy up to 20 years of extra time to comply with the state's limits on phosphorus emissions.  Governor Scott Walker signed a bill Wednesday allowing waste-water discharge facilities to get up to four five-year exemptions from the state's tough new restrictions on phosphorus releases.  But first, the state would have to get federal approval for a statewide exemption from the requirements the D-N-R first adopted in 2010.  For each individual exemption, discharge limits would get more stringent.  When lawmakers first passed the new limits, communities and businesses said they would have to spend millions of dollars on sewage upgrades.  The Republican Walker put a temporary halt to the new rules after he became governor in 2011.  The bill was among 55 Walker signed yesterday in his Madison office.  Others will strength state laws against human trafficking, and give victims a chance to escape penalties for any crimes they commit while being trafficked.  Also, Walker agreed to ban anyone under 18 from officiating at weddings.  

 

Downtown Demolition Progressing

 

4/23/14 - 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. The north, south and west walls have been torn down. 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. The building at 203 Front Street will also see the wrecking ball soon.



Yesterday's Headlines
    - Beaver Dam Officials Hear Watermark Update
    - Petri on WBEV: 'I'm Still on the Job'
    - Keller Sentenced On Child Porn Charges

For those stories and more click here.


For older stories visit our news archive here.