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Top Stories December 22, 2014

Sheriff Ninmann Discusses Future of TAD Program


12/22/14 - Dodge County Sheriff Patricia Ninmann spoke about recent county board action regarding the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Program during a recent appearance on Community Comment.  She notes that the board voted to transfer the program from the Sheriff’s Department to that of Health and Human Services to ensure the utmost collaboration amongst the county’s various departments and to help best utilize available resources.  The board agreed to put a sunset clause in the TAD Program that states the initiative will go away if the grant funding disappears unless the county board agrees to fund it themselves.  While she understands the fiscal side to the decision, she is disappointed as she feels that the program has been a success thus far and is moving in the right direction.


Local Organization Giving Away Holiday Food Baskets


12/22/14 - The Beaver Dam Elks Lodge will once again be giving away holiday food baskets to families who are in need during the festive season.  The lodge sends out donation requests to a number of its partners before the annual campaign starts to obtain monetary contributions to fund the effort.  Christmas Basket Committee Chairperson Robert Redig says that the baskets are distributed on the morning of Christmas Eve and that he anticipates over 500 families to be receiving a parcel this year.  Redig says that number is down from recent years, where the total has been around 600 but notes that it is still significantly up from the 340 handed out when he first took over chairing the campaign ten years ago.  Redig refers to the holiday food basket program by a pair of terms.  He says that he and those involved have it running like a ‘well-oiled machine’ after a decade of working on the project.  However, he says that the day of the event still ends up being ‘organized chaos.’


11 Injured in Lightning Strike after Packer Game


12/22/14 - Updated reports this morning said 11 people were injured, one critically, when lightning struck in the parking lot right after the Green Bay Packers' victory at Tampa.  The original report was that seven had minor injuries.  Authorities said nobody was directly hit by the lightning -- but the shock caused a number of people to fall, as rocks were kicked up.  A northwest Wisconsin woman who drove down for the game had the roof of her car damaged by lightning.  Terry Halvorson of Somerset told a local T-V reporter she planned to drive up to Minnesota today for Christmas -- but that won't happen now.  One of the injured spectators was hospitalized in critical condition at last word.  Reporters at the game said about half of the 64-thousand fans at the game were dressed in Packers' green-and-gold.


Proposed Bill Would Remove State Chief Justice


12/22/14 - The longest-serving Supreme Court justice in Wisconsin history would be removed under a bill proposed by a Republican lawmaker.  Hudson Representative Dean Knudson wants to set the retirement age for justices at 75 -- and his bill would immediately remove Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who's 81.  Also, Senate Republican Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst is sponsoring a bill to let the justices select their chief, instead of the senior member getting the post.  Both conservatives claim it's not their intention to go after Abrahamson, the most liberal justice.  However, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says conservatives blame Abrahamson for the Supreme Court's discord of recent years -- in which justices openly criticized each other in meetings, and in their opinions on cases.  Knudson says his bill would do what the state Constitution requires.  Voters approved an amendment in 1977 to have the Legislature set a retirement age for judges -- and it hasn't been done since.  Tiffany says it's a matter of principle for the Supreme Court to select its own chief.  Abrahamson was appointed by former Democratic Governor Pat Lucey in 1976, and was named the chief justice 20 years later.  Abrahamson said both proposed measures ignore the will of the people, who've elected her four times -- most recently in 2009.  


Christmas Tree Safety Advised by BDFD


12/22/14 - Although a staple of the holiday season, real Christmas trees can cause problems in one’s house if not properly tended to.  That’s according to Beaver Dam Firefighter Donald Smith who says that the real variety of the holiday staple can be a fire hazard.  He says that the lights on the tree can be an issue, especially older style lights as they are more heat conducive than are those of the new L-E-D variety.  Smith recommends watering the tree on a regular basis and keeping it away from a wood-burning stove if possible as those can easily drain the water from the tree.


Wisconsin to Participate in New Year Health Initiative


12/22/14 - Wisconsin will again be part of a national effort to help people get a healthy start to the New Year.  The annual First-Day Hikes will take place at some of Wisconsin's scenic and best-known parks. They'll include Peninsula, Devil's Lake, Mirror Lake, and Whitefish Dunes -- as well as parts of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, and the Richard I. Bong State Recreation Area.  The American Hiking Society and America's State Parks are organizing the hikes as a healthy way for folks to start 2015.  A year ago, almost 200 people hiked for a total of about 600 miles at nine Wisconsin state park facilities.  


Changes to Local Waste Collection Schedule


12/22/14 - Garbage and recycling collection in Beaver Dam will be delayed by one day later this week because of the holiday.  DPW officials say Advanced Disposal will suspend garbage pick-ups on Christmas Day this Thursday.  Residents who normally receive pick-up on Thursday will instead have garbage collection on Friday and Friday’s route will be collected on Saturday. There is no change in schedule for those who receive garbage pick-up through Wednesday. The city’s Public Works Garage, however, will be closed on both Wednesday and Thursday.


Complaint Filed in John Doe Investigation


12/22/14 - The Wisconsin Club for Growth has filed a complaint for the way the Government Accountability Board handled its investigation into Governor Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign.  The club alleges the G-A-B pursued the John Doe investigation without getting approval, and then staff continued even after it lost the authorization of the six retired judges who run the board.  The 50-page complaint was filed in May and amended last month, before it was unsealed Friday.  The suit alleges G-A-B chief counsel Kevin Kennedy and ethics administrator Jonathan Becker moved forward on their own.


Future of Wisconsin Wolf Hunting/Trapping Decided


12/22/14 - A federal judge has tossed out a decision by the Obama administration which will end wolf hunting and trapping in three states, including Wisconsin.  There is an estimated wolf population in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin of about 37-hundred.  The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service dropped federal protections from the wolves two years ago, handing over management to the states.  U-S District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that decision was “arbitrary and capricious” in Washington, D-C, Friday.  She said it violated the federal Endangered Species Act.  Court battles over the gray wolves have been waged for years.


WI Econ Development Commission Seeking New CFO


12/22/14 - Once again, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation needs a boss.  Its fourth chief financial officer in less than four years is leaving the public-private partnership agency tasked with job creation and economic development.  C-F-O Stephanie Walker notified the corporation Friday she will be leaving in mid-January to join her husband who has taken a job in the District of Columbia.  The search for a replacement begins immediately.  W-E-D-C was created by the governor and Legislature three years ago with the aim of retaining and attracting businesses to the state.  It has had to deal with a lot of turnover in its leadership positions.


Drastic Increase in Road Salt Prices


12/22/14 - It’s bad enough that the price of road salt is soaring this winter.  Some private construction companies are reporting supplies are very tight.  While your streets and highways may be clear, the companies who move the snow off shopping center parking lots are paying double the prices seen last year and they say their normal suppliers are only offering one-quarter the amount of salt used in the past.  Those Wisconsin companies are said to be going as far away as Venezuela to get the salt they need.  Cities are being hit, too.  Janesville is reportedly paying about 66-dollars per ton this winter.  The price was 26-dollars per ton in 2001.  It jumped by 15-percent last year alone.


Holiday Hunt Begins this Week


12/22/14 - Hunters in the Southern Farmland Zone will be able to hunt antlerless deer in the coming days.  That territory includes Dodge, Columbia, Washington, and Jefferson Counties.  This is the first year that the harvesting of antlered bucks is not included as part of the holiday-time event that requires all hunters who are not pursuing waterfowl to wear blaze orange attire.  The hunt begins this Wednesday and runs through January 1st.


Yesterday's Headlines
    - BDACT Singing Competition Auditions Today
    - 'Failure to Obey' Leading to WI Road Deaths
    - Early Season Flu Numbers High in Wisconsin

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.