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Top Stories October 20, 2014

Generations of Memories On Badger Honor Flight

10/20/14 - There were 85 veterans from south-central Wisconsin aboard the final Badger Honor Flight of 2014. The group included eleven World War II vets and 74 from the Korean conflict. Eight of the veterans were from the Dodge County-area. The TSA waived the group through the gates in both states and the chartered flight had take-off and landing priority in both Wisconsin and DC, where the vets were greeted by throngs of well-wishers thanking them for their service. There were four busses from the Madison hub which were given a special police escort, typically reserved for dignitaries and other high-ranking officials, from the airport to the various memorials.


The first stop was Arlington Cemetery for the changing of the guard. After that the group visited memorials honoring World War Two, the Korean conflict, Vietnam and the Air Force. We spoke with several area Korean War veterans, including Lew White of Columbus, Watertown-native Howard Hilgendorf and Beaver Dam’s Jerry Tolsma and Dick Tomaschek; they all had similar reactions ranging from “wonderful” to “amazing.”


Back at the airport in DC, there was another huge send-off with many dressed in World War Two-era costumes. A band inside the terminal played “On Wisconsin” as the group boarded their plane. Back in Madison, the largest group of all – numbering in the thousands – filled the terminal from end-to-end with music, noise-makers and patriotic signs. The 20-hour-long day came to an end with the 85 veterans walking though the crowd one-by-one, shaking hands, taking pictures, hugging family and shedding tears, taking with them memories that will be shared for generations to come.

Early Voting Begins Today


10/20/14 - Early voting begins today at municipal clerks' offices throughout Wisconsin. Republicans trimmed it down this year, to prevent the state's predominantly-Democratic big cities from voting during the hours that clerks in smaller G-O-P areas don't have the resources to run.  Still, early absentee voting gives parties a chance to rally their supporters, and get votes in the can for Republican Governor Scott Walker and his Democratic challenger Mary Burke.  Democrats plan to take whatever advantage they can, as the latest Marquette Law School poll had Burke and Walker tied at 47-percent.  Both the State Democratic Party and Burke's camp say they'll have volunteers encouraging residents to vote early. They're also planning rallies throughout the state.  Walker said the new limits create voting uniform hours statewide.  Clerks' offices can hand out ballots from 8 a-m to 7 p-m on weekdays until the Friday before Election Day. There's no more weekend voting -- which Milwaukee Election Commission director Neil Albrecht says is disappointing.  He said five-thousand people voted early on the weekend before the 2012 presidential election.  Albrecht says voting laws should encourage participation.  Milwaukee expects around 30-thousand early voters, and Madison ten-thousand.


Sheriff Candidates Disagree on if Race Decided


10/20/14 - Sergeant Dale Schmidt will be the loan name on the ballot after winning the Republican primary back in August. However, it was announced on Community Comment last week that there will be two candidates running for Dodge County Sheriff on November 4th.  Current Sheriff Pat Ninmann said that she will be running as a write-in.  Each of the candidates shared their view about whether or not the decision for sheriff has already been made.  Schmidt says that the people’s voice was already heard during primary season.  The sergeant says that he will not look back on an election that he feels has already been decided.  Instead, he plans to look forward to how he can best serve the people of Dodge County.  Ninmann says that it is still an undecided matter since only a small amount of the Dodge County population turned out to the polls in August.  She cites that only a nine-percent turnout was present for the primary election and says that the voice of the full population has not been heard.  Ten days of early voting begin today at the local clerk’s office. 


No Confidence Vote Cast Against Sheriff


10/20/14 - The union representing Dodge County Sheriffs personnel cast a vote of no-confidence in Sheriff Patricia Ninmann late last week.  Union President Scott Petrack says the vote stemmed from a statement Ninmann made last Wednesday on WBEV about the union supporting her for sheriff. Petrack says the union has never and will never support a specific candidate. After the comment was made, the union’s executive board decided to hold a meeting to determine how to respond. The union committee agreed again not to endorse a candidate and then cast the “no confidence” vote. In a press release, Ninmann said that certain members of the department have engaged in what she calls ‘acts of defiance’ because she expects them to perform a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.  She went on to say that she will not be bullied into changing her policy of holding the best interest of those she serves as a top priority. 


Wisconsin Implementing Ebola Prevention Plan


10/20/14 - Governor Scott Walker is calling upon the federal government to issue a commercial travel ban to West African countries where cases of the Ebola virus have been reported.  Under this proposal, military, charter, and medical relief flights would still be permitted to commute.  It is part of an emergency preparedness plan that state leaders are working to set in place in case the Ebola virus hits Wisconsin.  So far there have been no confirmed, or even suspected, cases of the virus in the state.  Walker’s plan also includes training Wisconsin National Guard teams to serve as back-up response units.  The proposal goes on to state that a Clinical Advisory Team will be established to provide assistance and share expertise with the Department of Health Services.  Wisconsin has also implemented surveillance means to monitor those citizens who have recently traveled to countries where Ebola is an issue.


John Doe Legal Fees Totaling Nearly $1 Million


10/20/14 - The Wisconsin Secretary of State’s office reports the John Doe investigation of campaigning by supporters of Governor Scott Walker has cost 900-thousand dollars in attorneys’ fees.  The current cap on that expenditure is set at one-point-one-million dollars.  The probe is focused on campaign activities between the governor’s camp and outside groups.  Prosecutors maintain the coordination was illegal, the other side says the investigation was politically motivated.  It’s on hold right now.  A federal judge had ruled some campaign coordination is legal, but that decision could be overturned on appeal. 


Fall River Budget Hearing Tonight


10/20/14 - Fall River residents will be presented with a $7.3 million dollar budget at the annual Budget Hearing and School District Meeting tonight. Total Expenditures have decreased by $13 thousand dollars. However, the School Property Tax Levy has gone up 7.48 per cent. The proposed School District mil rate will be 9.36 per thousand.  School District stakeholders are invited to attend tonight’s annual meeting beginning at 7:00 pm in the Fall River School multi-purpose room.


Watertown Considering Downtown Redevelopment


10/20/14 - A company that has been hired by the city of Watertown to focus on the redevelopment of its downtown and riverfront area issued a plan that would cost over $6.5-million.  Redevelopment Resources has suggested that a number of changes be made in the Watertown’s effort to revitalize that part of the city.  According to the proposal, the largest expense would come from the creation of a town square that would cost over $2-million.  Watertown would have to purchase all of the land in that area, which is on the 100 block of West Main Street’s south side.  A 75-room hotel, 200-spot parking garage, and 350-foot long river walk have also been recommended.  The city is not expected to act on the proposal immediately as it will first need to see what funds are available and what investors and developers would be willing to take part in the renovations.


Fox Lake to Host Cemetery Walk


10/20/14 -  Fox Lake’s Riverside Memorial Park on Hamilton Street will host a cemetery walk this Saturday from 7-8 pm.  The walk will feature torch-lit portrayals of a number of early Fox Lake settlers, including at least ten that are new to the event.  This event will shed light on what it was like for those people who left their homeland to carve out a new life in America.  It will also document some of the various difficulties that these settlers encountered upon first moving to the new world.  Cost to attend is two dollars per adult and one dollar per child.  Guides will be present to lead group tours. 


Yesterday's Headlines
    -Union Casts No-Confidence Vote Against Sheriff Ninmann
    -Walker, Burke Square Off at Final Governor Debate
    -Dodge Co. Sheriff Candidates Debate Citizens' Voice

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.