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Top Stories November 26, 2015

Luncheon Serves Optimistic Economic Outlook


11/26/15 - The Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce held their annual economic development luncheon Wednesday at the Mayville Engineering Company’s west plant. The keynote speaker was Governor Scott Walker who heard an update on the state of the city and state of the county before taking the podium. Mayor Tom Kennedy told those in attendance that the city is in good fiscal shape with a diversified industrial and manufacturing base. Kennedy says Beaver Dam’s good economic position should only improve as the economy improves. He says officials will continue to work with existing businesses and the Area Development Corporation to attract new industry and jobs, positioning the city for a “very bright future.” County Board Chairman Russ Kottke detailed the numbers noting that the county’s $110-million dollar budget with a tax levy of $32-million dollars. Kottke says on a $150-thousand dollar home that translates to $851 for the county-portion of the tax bill. Governor Walker acknowledged the “good things happening” in the city of Beaver Dam and Dodge County in touting the successes on the statewide level. Walker’s keynote address had a simple theme: everyone who wants a job should be able to find a job. He cited the latest statewide unemployment rate of 4.3-percent, which is well below the national average of 5-percent. The last time jobless numbers were at 4.3-percent he says was not before the recession but before 9-11. He credited the job creators in attendance and across the state for creating the opportunity. Walker says Wisconsin has the people, the ideas, the innovation and is on the right track going forward and he is excited about the future.


Library System Encompassing Dodge Co. Looking At Joining Two Others


11/26/15 - The Mid Wisconsin Federated Library System Board voted at Tuesday’s meeting to accept a recommendation from the Merger Committee to look into joining one of two other library systems.  Dodge and Washington County will be the only remaining members of the Mid Wisconsin Federated System after Jefferson County leaves for a different system in January.  While Dodge and Washington counties will operate as a two-county system in 2016, the decision was made last night to begin negotiations with both the Arrowhead System, which is headquartered in Milton and covers libraries in Rock County, or the Eastern Shores Library System, which encompasses libraries in Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties.  Dodge County Administrator Jim Mielke is on the Merger Committee and says joining either system could greatly expand the resources available to Dodge County’s library patrons.  According to Mielke, the library board will send letters to both the Arrowhead and Eastern Shores systems with hopes of getting their initial feedback by January 22, which is four days prior to the Mid Wisconsin Federated System Board’s next meeting.  If the Mid Wisconsin Federated Library System decides to merge with another system, it would require approval by the county boards in Dodge and Washington Counties.  Mielke says this could be a lengthy process, but the goal is to have an agreement in place for the start of 2017.


Prosecutors Seek To Keep John Doe Evidence


11/26/15 - State prosecutors have asked a federal judge to let them keep evidence they gathered in the second of two former John Doe probes against Governor Scott Walker. The State Supreme Court has ordered the Milwaukee County district attorney to return evidence that was subpoenaed, and destroy the rest. But D-A John Chisholm and his assistants and investigators say they need some of the evidence to defend a lawsuit from ex-Walker aide Cindy Archer. She claims she was wrongly targeted in the first Doe probe, when the governor was the Milwaukee County executive. Prosecutors say evidence in the second investigation includes some key elements from the first. The latter probe dealt with accusations that Walker and Senate Republicans illegally worked with outside groups on fundraising and other parts of their recall election campaigns in 2011-and-'12. The justices ruled that Walker and the others did nothing wrong. G-O-P lawmakers recently approved a bill to affirm that it's legal for candidates to coordinate their campaigns and fund-raising with outside groups.


Competency Evaluation Ordered For Alleged Fleet Farm Shooter


11/26/15 - A competency evaluation has been ordered for a Fitchburg man accused of shooting an employee outside the Fleet Farm in Beaver Dam this summer.  Jared Spencer is facing felony counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide, First Degree Reckless Injury, Aggravated Battery, First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety and misdemeanor counts of Pointing a Firearm and Retail Theft. Spencer entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment last month but his attorney asked Judge Joseph Sciascia yesterday to amend the plea to “not guilty by reason of mental defect.” Sciascia ordered the evaluation and scheduled a competency hearing in February. The 17-year-old allegedly shot the assistant manager of Fleet Farm with a handgun after he was confronted about a suspected ammunition theft.  The manager was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  Spencer was taken into custody shortly after the incident following a traffic stop on Highway 151 near Columbus.  If he is found guilty on all charges, Spencer faces a combined maximum of over 152 years in prison. 


Beaver Dam Man Placed On Deferred Prosecution For Assault


11/26/15 - A Beaver Dam man who assaulted an underage girl will avoid a felony record if he stays out of trouble while on probation for the next two years. 18-year-old Anthony Walstra was placed on deferred prosecution yesterday after pleading “no contest” to an amended charge of misdemeanor Fourth Degree Sexual Assault.  The court withheld a finding of guilt on a felony count of Second Degree Sexual Assault of a Child. The incident happened in July after some mutual friends left the two for a short time at a Beaver Dam residence. The victim told investigators that she repeatedly asked Walstra to stop but he refused. Walstra says the contact was mutual and he eventually stopped because she was underage and he knew it was wrong.  In addition to two years’ probation, Walstra was ordered to serve 90 days in jail with work release privileges.


Waupun Woman Placed On Deferred Prosecution For Embezzlement


11/26/15 - A Waupun woman pled “no contest” Wednesday to embezzling from a fast food restaurant she managed. Dodge County Judge Steven Bauer placed Rachael Bell on deferred prosecution, which means she will avoid jail time and a felony record if she stays out of trouble while on probation. The offenses occurred in August at A&W Root Beer in Waupun. The 34-year-old was withholding money from daily deposits totaling $6,235. Bell admitted to the thefts saying that she started to (quote) “borrow” money earlier this year to help pay for personal bills. Shortly thereafter, she started to replace the missing money from the previous day with the current day’s deposit. Eventually, she stopped going to the bank all together because she got so far behind with the deposits they no longer added up.


Beaver Dam Woman Arraigned For Burglary


11/26/15 - A Beaver Dam woman accused of breaking into a house along with her daughter pled not guilty at arraignment Wednesday.  41-year-old Catherine Kenevan is facing charges of felony Burglary and two misdemeanor counts, all as a party to a crime.  According to the criminal complaint, she and her 18-year-old daughter Kayla Kenevan broke into a house on Fabisch Road and stole cash.  A neighbor, who is also the homeowner’s sister, called police when she saw the two acting suspiciously in her brother’s backyard.  Shortly after, officers arrested the two women in a car that was parked in a wooded area near the Dodge County Fairgrounds.  If they are found guilty on all charges, each faces up to 14 years in prison.  Catherine’s has further court activity on January 6 while Kayla has a preliminary hearing on December 17.  


Supreme Court Says Littering Evidence Enough For OWI


11/26/15 - If you drive drunk, the police can arrest you, even if their only evidence is a passenger tossing a cigarette butt out your car window without you knowing it. On a six-nothing vote Wednesday, the State Supreme Court ruled against motorist Daniel Iverson. He was stopped in La Crosse after a trooper suspected he was drunk. But the officer later admitted he had no evidence to stop the motorist until a passenger illegally littered by tossing the cigarette butt. Last year, a state appeals court ruled in Iverson's favor, after he said the arrest violated his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches. The Supreme Court reversed that decision. Justice Annette Ziegler says the trooper was allowed to stop Iverson -- even though he claimed he didn't know a passenger broke the law by littering. His lawyer said a cigarette butt does not come close to approaching the definition of "solid waste" that's part of the littering law. New Justice Rebecca Bradley sat out the case.


Holiday Travelers May Encounter Lane Closures, Inclement Weather


11/26/15 – Holiday travelers may encounter some lanes closures and inclement weather today. The state D-O-T says most of this year's road construction is finished -- but there's still work being done on Milwaukee's Zoo freeway interchange, Interstate-41 between Oshkosh and Green Bay, I-43 in the Green Bay area, and Madison's Beltline. The entire state can expect a mix of precipitation today that may include heavy rain and street floods in southern Wisconsin, two-to-four inches of snow in the north, and possible sleet-and-freezing rain in between. Last year, six people died in Wisconsin crashes during the Thanksgiving weekend.


Yesterday's Headlines
- Hunting Death In Columbia Co.
- Schools Hold Consolidation Meeting
- Columbus Marching Band Update

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