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Top Stories November 24, 2015

Hunting Death In Columbia County


11/24/15 - The first shooting-related death in the gun-deer season since 2012 occurred in Columbia County. Officials say a 39-year-old Alaska man was shot in the armpit while handing a rifle to a woman in a tree stand. It happened Sunday near Portage. Meanwhile, Wisconsin's gun deer hunting season is off to a much better start than a year ago. The D-N-R says 119-thousand-495 deer were taken in the opening weekend of the nine-day hunt. That's 15-and-a-half percent more than in 2014. The statewide buck harvest was up almost 13-percent, while the antlerless total rose by close to 20-percent.  In Dodge County, there were 1684 deer harvested, around 400 more than last year for an increase of 33-percent. Columbia County saw 2393 deer taken opening weekend this year compared to 1965 last year, an increase of nearly 22-percent. Jefferson County had 760 deer harvested, up 29-perecent from last year’s 590. Washington County had 703 this year up five-percent from last year’s 665. More than half the season's total harvest normally takes place on the opening weekend. A new phone-and-online registration system is being used for the first time this year -- and it got bogged down Sunday night and much of Monday. By early this Tuesday morning, a special D-N-R website had a county-by-county breakdown of the opening weekend.


Horicon, Mayville School Boards Have Joint Consolidation Meeting


11/24/15 - Horicon and Mayville’s school boards held a joint meeting last night to further discuss a possible consolidation.  Presentations were given on the financial and legal ramifications of consolidation.  According to a report from Baird Financial, the consolidated district’s mill rate would fall somewhere between the two district’s current projections.  An estimate for the 2018-2019 school year has the owner of a $150-thousand dollar home in Horicon paying $43 less than they would without a consolidation but Mayville taxpayers paying $24 more than they would without a merger.  The financial analysis did not take things such as savings on staffing and transportation into account and also did not factor in any additional debt the schools might take on prior to a merger.  The consolidated district could receive additional state aid for the first five years after the merger and would be allowed to put an added burden on the taxpayers in the sixth year.  Concerns were raised about drawbacks each district would face heading into the merger.  Horicon Superintendent Gary Berger acknowledged that taking on debt to improve Mayville’s buildings could make Horicon taxpayers leery of merging.  Before a decision is made, Berger says the two school boards should walk through each other’s facilities to get a better idea of what improvements need to be made.  Mayville Superintendent Pat Antony believes the projected tax increase for Mayville residents would not be enough to hold many of them back from supporting a consolidation.  Having received more information on consolidating, both boards will discuss whether they want to continue discussing a merger at their next meetings.


School Board Gets Columbus High Marching Band Update


11/24/15 - The Columbus High School marching band is continuing their quest for top competitive status among Wisconsin schools. Band Director Tim Meinholz says his staff and students have won many statewide and regional competitions since they started competing eighteen years ago.  Meinholz reported that many students spend over 200 hours each year practicing the music and athletic moves that have resulted in the long list of winning programs. Meinholz says that student interest in marching band continues to grow as staff and students become more and more creative each school year.


Dane County Officer Killed In Head-On Collision


11/24/15 - A village south of Madison is mourning the death of one of its police officers in an on-duty traffic crash. Thirty-three year old Ryan Copeland was killed Monday, when a state D-N-R truck crossed a center line and hit his squad car head-on. It happened just after noon on Dane County Trunk N in the town of Albion. A 25-year-old woman was driving the D-N-R pick-up. She was taken to a Janesville hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Authorities say Copeland was just starting his shift when the crash took place. It remains under investigation. Copeland was the McFarland Police Department's K-Nine officer. He had been on the force since 2013. The Village Board held a moment of silence in his honor during a meeting last (Monday) night. The state police union says Copeland spent a decade in the Army, mainly as a Green Beret Special Forces member.


Pardeeville Man Appears on Drug-Related Injury Accident


11/24/15 - Bond was set at $10,000 yesterday for a Pardeeville man charged in Dodge County Circuit Court with injuring a motorcyclist while he had marijuana is his system. Joshua J. Luther is facing one felony count of Injury By Vehicle – Controlled Substance. The incident occurred in May on Highway 151 when the 25-year-old allegedly pulled out in front of the motorcycle near County Highway DE. The 44-year-old motorcycle operator was transported by Med Flight and later had his leg amputated. Luther reportedly admitted to smoking marijuana the night prior. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 12-and-a-half years in prison. As stipulations of his bond, Luther cannot drive without a valid license and must stay sober at all times.  A preliminary hearing is set for January 21.


Watertown Man Accused Of Breaking Into Two Houses, Stealing Narcotics


11/24/15 - A Watertown man is accused of breaking into two houses.  Lucas St. John is facing two counts of felony Burglary, four counts of felony Bail Jumping, and one count each of felony Possession of Narcotic Drugs and misdemeanor Theft.  According to the criminal complaints, the 20-year-old broke into his girlfriend’s grandfather’s house in an effort to find narcotic pills.  He could not find any so nothing was taken.  St. John then allegedly broke into his girlfriend’s mother’s home and took 23 pills from her bedroom.  As officers were arresting St. John, he reportedly admitted to stealing the pills and returned 13 of them while not mentioning the other ten.  If he is found guilty on all counts, St. John faces over 53 years in prison and could have his driver’s license revoked for up to five years.  An initial appearance is set for December 21.


Bond Set For Burnett Man Accused Of Stealing From Apartment


11/24/15 - Bond was set at $1,000 yesterday for a Burnett man accused of stealing from a Beaver Dam apartment.  Keaton Koch is charged with felony Burglary.  According to the criminal complaint, the 29-year-old broke into an apartment and stole clothes, shoes, an mp3 player, and a video game system.  Koch allegedly made calls on the house’s home phone, asking various friends to pick him up down the block.  Earlier that day, Koch reportedly fled on foot from an officer who was trying to stop him for an outstanding warrant.  If he is convicted, Koch faces over 12 years in jail.  His preliminary hearing is set for January 21.


Federal Appeals Court Rules Against GOP Abortion Bill


11/24/15 - A federal appeals court in Chicago is the latest to rule against a Wisconsin law that requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles. A three-judge panel voted two-to-one Monday in affirming that the 2013 Republican law be struck down. Judge Richard Posner says it endangers women's health, and medical benefits claimed by the G-O-P are "non-existent." The state Justice Department says it will ask the U-S Supreme Court to rule on the matter. The nation's highest court has already agreed to consider a similar law in Texas that could shut down three-fourths of that state's abortion clinics. Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services challenged the Wisconsin law. They said it would force Milwaukee's Affiliated abortion clinic to close -- and the state's other clinics could not handle the extra patients. Madison District Judge William Conley previously ruled that the Wisconsin law is unconstitutional.


Credit Breach At Wisconsin Dells Resort


11/24/15 - The Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells has announced a data breach in their computer processing systems. Guests who used a debit or credit card to pay for or place a hotel reservation, or made purchases at the on-site food and beverage or retail locations between March ninth and June eigth of this year could be affected. Those who bought a gift card online or purchased food at their locations off-site including Field's at the Wilderness, Sarento's, Monk's, or Sundara Spa, are not impacted by this system breach. The resort says on October eighth, with the help of investigators, they discovered an unknown person had placed malware on one of their computer systems that is used to process credit and debit cards. As a result, the company added additional security measures to prevent any other incident. The Wilderness is also offering guests affected by this a complimentary year of credit monitoring.


Dodge County Part Of Federal Veterinarian Loan Program


11/24/15 - Dodge County is one of 28 counties in Wisconsin previously underserved by veterinarians that may get some added help from a federal program. The U.S. Ag Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) helps provide veterinary services in rural, underserved areas by awarding loan repayment benefits to new veterinarians in exchange for a three year commitment to serve in a shortage area. One of the leading causes for shortages in veterinary services is the heavy cost of education which leaves graduates with average debt of more than $135,000. To pay this off, graduates opt for jobs in higher population areas where they can receive better salaries. Shortages are more critical in rural areas and in high-priority specialties that require advanced training, such as food safety, epidemiology, diagnostic medicine and public health. In addition to Dodge County, other counties eligible for the federal program include Sauk, Dane, Fond du Lac, Jefferson and Washington counties. Wisconsin is one of 26 states that will fill at least one shortage region through the program. Nationally, more than $4.5 million will be paid to recipients over a three-year period. Average awards are $95-thousand dollars including loan repayment and a federal tax benefits. More information is available about the program can be found at:


Yesterday's Headlines
- Name Of Killed Driver Released
- Fox Lake Could Act On Property
- Applications Accepted For Council

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.