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Top Stories October 30, 2014

1960s Waupun Prison Death Investigation ‘Unfounded’


10/30/14 - Dodge County authorities said they could not find evidence that an inmate at the state prison in Waupun died under suspicious circumstances in the 1960's. Sheriff's deputies received a complaint in June about an unnamed prisoner's body that was said to be placed on top of another body in a cemetery.  Last week, officers pulled back topsoil in the area -- but they did not open any graves, and they found nothing out of line.  Also, both Dodge County and state workers searched a host of records to try and identify the inmate -- but they could not identify the person.  With the lack of evidence, authorities now say the death investigation is closed, and is officially unfounded.


Horicon Hammers Out 2015 Budget


10/30/14 - Horicon’s Committee of the Whole met last night to discuss the city’s 2015 budget.  It was stated at the meeting that the committee will levy for the maximum possible amount.  Mayor Steve Neitzel says that the allowable 1.6% increase in the budget will be utilized.  This will lead to approximately $53,000 being spread out amongst the taxpayers.  At last night’s meeting, the committee reduced the budget over $19,000 from what it was proposed to be at the beginning of the evening.  It was also stated that the $264,000 budget deficit that the city is currently looking at will be offset by the use of surplus funds.  The public will still have an opportunity to weigh in on the matter before it is solidified.  The final budget hearing is set for Tuesday, November 25th.


Lake Street Bridge To Open By Deer Season


10/30/14 - The Lake Street Bridge in Horicon should be open to traffic by deer hunting season. The 60-year-old structure was closed to traffic in March of last year due to stability concerns. Public Works and Utilities Supervisor David Magnussen says the project is approximately five days behind its scheduled November 14th completion date. The remaining work includes the approaches to the east and west, some blacktop, concrete hand-railings and landscaping. The state and federal government is picking-up 80-percent of the bridge-replacement cost, roughly $1.4 million dollars. The city is paying the remaining 20-percent. Magnussen says the project is expected to come in under the budgeted amount which for the city could be around $20-thousand dollars.


Wastewater Treatment Plant Revenues Underperforming


10/30/14 - The $20-million dollar wastewater treatment plant constructed in Beaver Dam three years ago is underperforming. In 2009, the city was awarded $20 million in stimulus money; half was an outright grant while the other half was a low-interest, tax-free loan.  Beaver Dam expanded their outdated wastewater treatment plant and incorporate green technology into the upgrade. The plan was for the city to pre-treat waste from Kraft Foods and convert it to biogas, which would be used to generate electricity.


Utility Foreman Rob Minnema says it has taken a couple years for the biomass to acclimate to the type of waste that it is treating. The process utilizes actual bugs that have been reacting to various types of waste in the electricity-producing process. Early projections were that the city would save about a quarter million dollars a year in electricity costs. Alliant Energy has also been buying surplus electricity from the city, originally estimated at another quarter million dollars annually. Utility Director Don Quarford says the city is still generating revenue but at only about half what was projected. That’s because the city had been generating biogas revenues from corn silage shipped in from Iowa, but that waste product is no longer available. Quarford says the operating staff at the wastewater facility is working every day to generate more electricity-producing biogas.


The dismal revenue collections are not the only factor behind a planned increase in sewer rates, which Quarford says is also the result of increased costs. Pending council action, the average residential homeowner is looking at a quarterly increase of $8 while the increase for commercial properties is estimated at roughly $29. Even with the price hike, Quarford says Beaver Dam will continue to have the lowest rates in Dodge County and among the lowest sewer rates in the state.


Man Who Killed West Bend Student Commits Suicide


10/30/14 - Cody Cousins -- the Purdue University student who killed a fellow student from Wisconsin -- has killed himself in his prison cell.  The Indiana Corrections Department said the 24-year-old Cousins died a half-hour after he was found unresponsive on Tuesday night.  He was sentenced last month to 65 years in prison for killing a fellow electrical engineering student, 21-year-old Andrew Boldt of West Bend.  Boldt was shot-and-stabbed on January 21st, while he served as a teaching assistant during a noon-hour class.  Officials said Cousins had self-inflicted cuts to his neck and arms in his cell at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.


Two Injured In Hartford-Area Crash


10/30/14 - Washington County Sheriff’s officials say a 60-year-old Hartford woman may have been impaired when she drove her SUV through a stop sign and hit a passenger car in the Town of Addison Wednesday morning. The collision happened at the intersection of State Highway 83 and County Highway K. The driver of the passenger car, a 49-year-old Town of Trenton woman, is in critical condition at Froedtert Hospital where she was flown after the crash. The Hartford woman is at Aurora Hospital in Summit with serious injuries.


Walker Leads Burke In Latest Poll


10/30/14 - Governor Scott Walker has taken a seven-point lead over Democrat Mary Burke in a new Wisconsin poll released Wednesday by the Marquette Law School. The Republican Walker now leads Burke 50-to-43 percent among 11-hundred-64 adults who are likely to vote next Tuesday.  Walker's new lead is four-percentage points beyond the poll's margin-of-error.  The governor and Burke were tied in the last Marquette poll two weeks ago -- when about four-of-every-five registered voters in each party said they were certain to go to the polls.  In the new poll, the numbers of Republicans saying they'll vote has jumped to 93-percent -- while the percentage of Democrats planning to vote went up just a little at 82.  The increase in G-O-P turnout helped Walker's new poll standing -- along with the fact that more independents are going with Walker, 52-to-37 percent.  The poll also showed that Burke's personal ratings have dropped, while Walker's has held steady.  Thirty-eight percent of registered voters said they viewed Burke favorably, while 49-percent viewed her unfavorably.  The new poll was taken last Thursday through Sunday.  It's the last one before Election Day.


AG Candidates Trade Barbs In Final Debate


10/30/14 - Both candidates for Wisconsin attorney general stepped up their attacks on each other at their final debate in Madison last night.  Republican Brad Schimel said Democrat Susan Happ would make life harder for businesses, with a liberal agenda that includes trying to halt the Gogebic Taconite iron ore mine.  Happ said she would not bring a partisan agenda to the Justice Department.  She also condemned the negativity in the race, while repeating her previous criticism that Schimel would be a "robot" by automatically defending all state laws.  Also, the two debated their records on fighting the state's heroin problem -- a major initiative for outgoing Attorney General J-B Van Hollen.  As the Waukesha County D-A, Schimel said he saw the crisis coming years ago, and said Happ was slow to pick up on it.  Happ, the Jefferson County D-A, said smaller counties don't often have the resources to pick up on trends right away.  Earlier yesterday, Schimel took a four-point lead over Happ among likely voters in the Marquette Law School poll.  They were tied two weeks ago, but almost one of every five likely voters remain undecided.  Also, the Government Accountability Board dropped a G-O-P complaint that Happ wrongly offered a deferred prosecution agreement to a child molester who had bought her family's house. Officials said Happ properly withdrew and let an assistant D-A handle the case.


Zahn To Appear On Community Comment Today


10/30/14 - On WBEV’s Community Comment this afternoon, we continue our look at the contested race in State Senate District 13. Incumbent Republican Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau was our guest Wednesday. On today’s program, we welcome his challenger, Democrat and Juneau businesswoman Michelle Zahn. Community Comment airs weekdays on AM1430 WBEV beginning at 12:35pm.


Chamber Accepting Yearly Recognition Nominations


10/30/14 - The Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for their yearly recognition of a local business, citizen and non-profit organization. President Phil Fritsche says the chamber is soliciting nominations in all three categories through next month.  The Chamber will base their 2015 Business of the Year selection on customer service, employee / management volunteerism, charitable contributions and other investments in the community, along with other industry awards that have been earned.  This past year, American National Bank was honored.  For Citizen of the Year nominations, the Chamber will consider volunteerism, civic involvement and charitable contributions.  This year’s winner was Jim Flynn.  The Non-Profit of the Year is judged based on the organizations general impact on the community, preferably over the course of a long period of time rather than the recent past, and by other awards and recognitions that the organizations has received.  Clothes for Kids was honored this year.  The nominees must be located in Beaver Dam or the surrounding township but they do not need to be Chamber members.  Nomination forms are available at the Chamber offices or at A link is on our website The deadline for submission is November 21. The Chamber’s 2015 Annual Dinner will be held in January.


Yesterday's Headlines
    - Chimney Fire Damages Beaver Dam Residence
    - Dodge County Finance Committee Advances Budget
    - Residents Speak Against Road Construction Project

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.

2014 Sheriffs Debate

Click link to listen to a segment.

Dale Schmidt Segment 1

Dale Schmidt Segment 2

Pat Ninmann Segment 1

Pat Ninmann Segment 2