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Top Stories May 3, 2015

Drought Conditions Persist


5/3/15 - Drought conditions persist in over 90-percent of Wisconsin.  This week's update from the U-S Drought Monitor is about the same as the week before.  Most of the northern half of the Badger State is in a moderate drought which affects 48-percent of the state land area.  The moderate drought territory extends as far south as portions of Fond du Lac and Green Lake counties. A handful of counties in west-central Wisconsin are drought-free, bounded roughly by Alma, Viroqua, Wisconsin Dells, and Big Flats. The rest of the state is abnormally dry, including Dodge, Columbia, Jefferson and Washington counties. The D-N-R says the risk of wildfires remains either high or very-high, depending on the location.  In general, the northern half of the state has a very high fire danger.  The southern half has a somewhat lesser risk, but it's still high.  The same status applies in four counties in the far north -- Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, and Iron. 


New Officers On Columbus School Board


5/3/15 - The Columbus School District Board has a new slate of officers. After serving for twelve years on the board, Liz O'Donnell has stepped aside as president. Former board clerk Kevin White was elected to the president's post at this past week's organizational meeting. First-term board member Loren Glasbrenner was elected as the vice president. Another first-term board member, Cindy Damm will serve as the board clerk.  Mary Arnold, will moved from the vice president into the treasurer's position.  The remaining three members of the seven-member body -- newly re-elected Bill Braun, Joe Conlin, and Liz O'Donnell -- will continue to serve as board members.


Drug Drop-Off Options In Fond du Lac County Detailed


5/3/15 - Drug Free Communities of Fond du Lac County group is reminding area residents that there are six different drug-drop off locations in Fond du Lac County for dropping off old prescription drugs safely. Many heroin users start out with addictions to opoids like hydrocodone and oxycontin. The drug drop-off boxes are located at police stations in Fond du Lac, North Fond du Lac, Ripon, Oakfield, Campbellsport and Waupun.


United Way Of Dodge County Accepting Applications


5/3/15 - The United Way is looking to fund non-profit organizations in Dodge County that are looking to improve quality of life for those in the community.  New non-profits and those currently funded are being encouraged to apply for 2016 funding.  United Way is currently serving twenty agencies in Dodge County.  The funding application deadline is this Friday, and interviews will be held later in the month.  More information can be obtained by contacting the United Way of Dodge County, Inc.


Dodge County HCE Hosting Dementia Program


5/3/15 - The Dodge County Association for Home and Community Education will be holding a learning session later this month.  The event is titled “Brain Fog/Dementia: Use It or Lose It” and will teach those in attendance how they can act in a proactive, positive way to the problem of memory loss.  The seminar will be held on Thursday, May 21 at 2 pm at the Dodge County Administration Building Auditorium in Juneau.  To register or get more information on the event, contact the Dodge County UW-Extension Office. 


DNR Reminds Hunters of Electronic Registration


5/3/15 - The Wisconsin D-N-R is reminding deer-and-bear hunters that they'll have to register their animals electronically starting this fall.  The agency has done away with manual registrations at places like bars and gas stations.  Those businesses were concerned about losing customers during the hunting seasons.  But the D-N-R emphasizes that any business can serve as an electronic registration station, by providing the computers and phones hunters will need.  After a limited electronic registration program last year, the system is going statewide this year.  All deer-and-bear hunters will have to register their prizes either by calling 1-800-GAME-REG by five p-m the day after their kills -- or online at GameReg-Dot-Wi-Dot-Gov.


Soybean Nominations Include Jefferson, Washington Co District


5/3/15 - The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection is accepting nominations for two seats on the Wisconsin Soybean Board.  District six, which includes Jefferson and Washington Counties, and district two are the open spots.  Signed, notarized nomination forms must be received by June 1 and include signatures from five eligible soybean growers other than the nominee.  DATCP will conduct the election from July 15 through August 10, and the elected growers’ three-year terms will begin on September 1. 


Ag Department Accepting Cranberry Board Nominations


5/3/15 - The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection is accepting nominations for two vacancies on the Wisconsin Cranberry Board.  Anyone who grows or sells cranberries in the state is eligible for the two open director positions.  The board is responsible for administering the state’s cranberry marketing order as well as securing and distributing funding for research, education, and promotion of Wisconsin’s cranberries.  Applications can be received by contacting DATCP, and signed, notarized nomination forms must be received back by June 1.  The election period will run from July 15 to August 10, and newly elected members will begin serving in September. 


Classic Country Concert In Waupun Next Weekend


5/3/15 - The Waupun City Hall Auditorium will be hosting a classic country concert next weekend.  The music performed will span five decades of vintage country hits.  The show begins on Saturday at 7:30 pm and features performances by the Star Fire Family and the Foggy Valley Boyz.  Tickets are $7.50 in advance or $10 at the door.  Information on how to order those tickets can be found on our website at


Kennedy Hosting Listening Session On Tuesday


5/3/15 - Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy is hosting another round of listening sessions Tuesday.  Kennedy offers city residents a chance to sit down with him in a one-on-one setting, without an appointment, on the first and third Tuesday of every month, which is typically the day after each regular common council meeting. The listening sessions are on the first floor of City Hall, in Room 158, from 10am until noon and again from 5pm to 6pm on Tuesday. Kennedy says private meetings can also be arranged by appointment through the mayor’s office. 


Madison Airport Fares Highest In Nation On Average


5/3/15 - Madison's airport now has the distinction of having the highest average fares in the nation for scheduled domestic flights.  The federal Transportation Department said the Dane County Regional Airport had average commercial round-trip fares of 505-dollars from October through December of last year. That's well above the national average of 393-dollars.  The Wisconsin State Journal says there are several reasons for the high average.  They include a lack of discount carriers, increasing numbers of business travelers who don't normally pay economy fares, and the fact that Madison is close to larger airports like Milwaukee which offer low-cost flights with more frequency.  The Dane County airport has the nation's 84th highest numbers of passengers.


Cheese Production Hits Record Numbers


5/3/15 - Wisconsin produced a record amount of cheese last year.  The National Ag Statistics Service said the Badger State pumped out two-point-nine billion pounds of cheese in 2014.  Wisconsin retained its title of America's big cheese, producing more than a quarter of all U-S cheeses.  Italian-type cheeses were the most popular.  About one-point-four billion pounds -- almost half the state's total -- was Italian in variety.  About 987-thousand pounds of that was the mozzarella that pizza lovers crave.  American cheese had the next highest Wisconsin volume, with 849-thousand pounds produced.  There were 127 cheese factories operating in the Badger State last year.  Thirty-seven of those plants pumped out about 84-percent of the state's total cheese output.


May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month


5/3/15 - The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is urging motorists to abide by certain rules as part of May’s National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.  They encourage drivers to share the road with motorcyclists and watch for them when making turns and changing lanes.  The DOT suggests checking a motorcycle’s position two or three times before proceeding through an intersection or making a turn.  More than half-a-million Wisconsin residents have a motorcycle license or permit.  Last year, 73 motorcycle riders and passengers were killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes.  


Edmund Fitzgerald Successor Being Scrapped


5/3/15 - A 62-year-old freighter is being scrapped, after it replaced the ill-fated Edmund Fitzgerald as the major shipping boat for a Great Lakes company.  The American Fortitude spent the winter docked at a port on Lake Ontario in central New York State.  The vessel is heading to a scrap yard in Canada this weekend.  The 690-foot American Fortitude used to be on the largest and fastest vessels on the Great Lakes.  It replaced the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1978 as the flagship in a group of freighters owned by a Cleveland firm which was sold in 2008 to a Belgian mining company.  The Fitzgerald is part of Wisconsin maritime lore, after it sank during a vicious storm on Lake Superior in 1975.  All 29 crew members on that boat were killed. 


Yesterday's Headlines
Trial Dates Set In Burnett Child Neglect Case

- Crews Respond To Horicon Laundromat Fire
- Pitch, Hit and Run Trials In Beaver Dam Saturday

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.