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Top Stories July 29, 2014

YMCA Plans To Retire Debt


7/29/14 - The YMCA of Dodge County recently launched a new campaign to retire existing debt. The debt retirement campaign is geared towards the community to help unlock the full potential of the local YMCA. Executive Director Jen Kruel says they need to retire nearly $6.65 million dollars. Kruel says local donors have contributed lead gifts to start the campaign.  She says the Schwertfeger family donated one million dollars, the YMCA Board of Directors donated $355-thousand dollars and Chuck and Randy Neuman donated $700-thousand dollars. And to get the ball rolling, Kruel says Horicon Bank has set a $2-million dollar matching grant put-out to the community. Kruel says the YMCA will accept cash donations and pledges to the organization. She says every dollar is matched by Horicon Bank. The YMCA has nearly $1.2 million dollars in matching donors to date and they are working to raise the remaining $800-thousand to take full advantage of the match Horicon Bank has offered. If all goes according to plan that leaves an additional $500-thousand dollars that would be needed to completely retire the debt. That means the gap to goal is just over $1.3 million dollars. Kruel says it is really important that they reach this goal, so they can give back to the community. The deadline to retire the debt is December 31.


Inmate Apologizes To Officials


7/29/14 - A 36-year-old inmate at Waupun Correctional Institution apologized to officials during his jury trial on Monday morning. In February, Benjamin Biese told the court that he would represent himself against charges of sending multiple letters to judges, threatening them with death if his demands were not met. Biese was charged with four counts of battery or threats to a judge as a repeat offender and three counts of threats to injure or accuse a person of a crime as a repeat offender. If convicted, he faces up to 70 years in prison and $70,000 in fines. According to the case notes, Biese was scheduled for a sentencing hearing early February, however, he made a motion to withdraw his pleas and continue on with a trial. According to the criminal complaint, Biese sent four letters between Nov. 19, 2012, and Nov. 29, 2012, threatening the lives of a Dodge County judge and a Wisconsin Court of Appeals judge. The letters said that hits had been placed on the judges. The letter also included threats of mustard gas at the court house, and threats of hits on President Barack Obama and Gov. Scott Walker. According to the complaint, all of the letters were signed by Biese. When a detective met with him in the prison on Dec. 11, 2012, he said he knew exactly what he was doing and he wrote the letters to intimidate the judges into doing what he wanted. He told the detective that a hit had been put out and a judge would be executed. He also mentioned wanting to put hits out on others, including judges in Milwaukee, Chicago and Secretary of the Department of Corrections Ed Wall. Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg presented five witnesses yesterday including Clerk of Courts, Lynn Hron. Biese was offered counsel and refused, wanting to continue to represent himself. He will present his witnesses on Tuesday before the trial ends.


New Facility Opens In Waupun


7/29/14 - A new hotel opened its doors Monday in Waupun. The 66,000 square-foot, three-story AmericInn hotel facility has 61 rooms and features a pub serving drinks and light appetizers, swimming pool and whirlpool, fitness room and hotel-wide internet access. Mayor Kyle Clark says a recent study indicated Waupun was underserved for hotel rooms and he believes the hotel development will be beneficial for the city.  The hotel was built by Consolidated Construction and will be managed by The Lighthouse Hospitality Group.  Clark says the project totals nearly $4 million dollars. The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands granted the City of Waupun a $700- thousand dollar loan to finance the economic development project in June. Clark says the city has generated over $10 million dollars in new development in the tiff district over the last couple years and he says the city generates nearly $250-thousand dollars a year and the taxes paid for the development go towards repaying any loan the city would receive. Clark says the city should able to pay the $700-thousand dollar loan off rather quickly. The new AmericInn Waupun is located off of Highway 151 on Shaler Drive.


Dodge County Sheriff Debate Held Tonight


7/29/14 - The first of two debates in the race for the Dodge County Sheriff will be held tonight (Tu). The exchange between incumbent Patricia Ninmann and challenger Dale Schmidt is sponsored by the American Federal of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union. It will be held at the Juneau Community Center beginning at 6:30pm. A second debate will be held at the Beaver Dam Veteran’s Center next week on Thursday (Aug 7) from 7pm to 8:30pm and is sponsored by the Republican Party of Dodge County.  


Juneau Holds First Annual National Night Out


7/29/14 - Juneau will hold its first annual National Night Out on Tuesday, August 5 in Juneau. The event is being co-sponsored by the Juneau Police Department and Dodge County Sheriff’s Office along with neighboring communities throughout Dodge County. Sheriff Pat Ninmann says this event is a night for communities to come together to promote awareness, safety and neighborhood unity. The event is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for local anticrime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. The Juneau Police Department in conjunction with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting an open house at the Juneau Public Safety Building at E. Cross Street Juneau. Local Fire & EMS departments will be present with their vehicles & gear for people to explore and get to know. In addition, some of the different booths that will be set up include Kid Id’s, Bike registration and Fatal Vision. The Juneau Police Department will also have their drug drop off box available to dispose of unused medications. This is the 31st year for the National Night Out and the event runs from 6pm to 8 pm.


School Board Borrows Money To Complete Energy Improvement Projects


The Columbus School Board passed a resolution to purchase $7.5 million dollars in promissory notes last night. The School Board is borrowing the money to complete energy efficiency improvement projects throughout the District's Elementary, Middle and High School buildings. The promissory notes will result in an interest cost of $806 thousand dollars over ten years. The resulting interest rate was 2.14 per cent. The District has contracted with CESA 10 for energy efficiency improvement projects such as roof replacement; boiler system replacements; kitchen equipment upgrades; and interior & exterior lighting replacements in the schools. The projects are scheduled over the next three years.  The District was given a Moody's Investment Services A-1 rating which enabled the Schools to do the "tax-neutral" borrowing.


State Tax Breaks To Be Reported To Officials


7/29/14 - The board of Wisconsin's job-creation agency is expected to vote on a new policy at its next meeting to prevent state tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas.  Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca unveiled the measure yesterday in suburban Milwaukee, before a meeting of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation board on which he sits.  Governor Scott Walker, who chairs the board, has made outsourcing a major issue in his re-election bid against Democrat Mary Burke.  Walker told reporters he endorses Barca's proposal.  It would require companies that receive W-E-D-C incentives to notify the agency if they outsource jobs, or change future employment levels they promised to achieve.  The firms would also have to certify that they need the state incentives in order to expand or locate in Wisconsin.  Barca says they're necessary moves to protect taxpayers, and make sure public money is not used to send jobs overseas.  Agency spokesman Mark Maley says his department will create wording for the proposed new policy.  He said it could apply to companies that move jobs to other states as well as other countries.


Dairy Youth Group Presents New Booth To Fair


7/29/14 - There will be a new addition to the Junior Dairy Barn at the Dodge County Fair in August. The Dodge County Dairy Youth Group will present the “Moo Booth,” an educational area that will feature hands-on activities for children visiting the fair. The booth will feature a calf from each of the dairy breeds and dairy youth members will be on hand to talk with fair visitors about the dairy industry.  Other activities include a scavenger hunt and agricultural coloring books available for children attending the fair. The “Moo Booth” will honor the late FFA advisor, Grace Roberts who passed away earlier this year. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at the fair on August 13 at 9am.


Yesterday's Headlines
    - No-Call List For Telemarketers
    - Beaver Dam Man Sentenced For Burglary Of Former Sheriff's Home
    - Waupun Women Guilty Of Burglaries

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.