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Top Stories August 27, 2015

Keynote Speaker For Hero’s Fest Announced


8/27/15 - The keynote speaker has been announced for this weekend’s seventh annual American Hero Music Festival in Beaver Dam. Dodge County’s new Veterans Service Officer Andy Miller will address the crowd during the 1pm ceremony at Swan City Park. Sunday afternoon’s ceremony will honor soldiers who lost their lives in battle as well as a their families and tribute to the firefighters and police officers who died in the line of duty.  The ceremony will also include a singing of the national anthem, the playing of taps, and a 21 gun salute.  The American Hero’s Music Festival, hosted by the Exchange Club of Beaver Dam, will be held at Swan City Park from 10am to 10pm.  Live music will be performed in the band shell for the majority of the twelve hours, only taking a break for the 1pm ceremony. That ceremony will be broadcast live on 95.3 WXRO.


Beaver Dam Composite ACT Scores Highest In School History


8/27/15 - Students taking the A-C-T test in the Beaver Dam School District last year scored higher than the statewide average. According to the state Department of Public Instruction, the state’s composite score was 22.2 out of a possible 36. Seniors in Beaver Dam had a 23.4. Steve Vessey called the score (quote) “pretty awesome” and says it is the highest composite score in the history of the school.  He says congratulations go out to the kids and notes that higher scores mean more scholarship opportunities and more doors opened for college admissions. Columbus was at 22.9 while Watertown was in line with the statewide average at 22.2. Many other area schools were below the state average. Lomira had a 22.1; Hustisford was at 21.9; Randolph at 21.8; Horicon at 21.4; Mayville and Dodgeland were at 21.3; Waupun got a 20.7 while Cambria-Friesland was at 19.2. As we reported yesterday, Wisconsin again has the nation's second-highest scores on the college entrance exam, tied with Iowa. Minnesota is in the top spot. 


Portion Of McKinley Street To Be Opened Tuesday


8/27/15 - A portion of the street that runs along the Beaver Dam High School campus will be open, as planned, in time for school to start. However, the rest of McKinley Street will remain under construction for another month. The $1.2 million project from Prospect Avenue to East Burnett Street will result in new pavement, sidewalks, storm sewers, street lighting and – for the first time – bike lanes. The reconstruction got underway in June and the work is on target to meet its goal of having the first phase complete by September 1. When school starts next Tuesday, the contractor says the portion of McKinley from Prospect Avenue to just north of Gould Street will be open to traffic. The sod will still need to be planted but the street will be painted, signage posted and the street lights functional. McKinley will still be closed until October, as expected, from about 300-feet north of the Gould Street intersection – that’s the west leg of the Gould Street intersection – to East Burnett Street. No detour route will be posted.


MPTC Student Ambassador Making The Most Of Opportunities


8/27/15 - This year’s student ambassador at Moraine Park Technical College is making the most of her opportunities. Kayla Ebert – who attends class on the Beaver Dam campus – says she has driven semis and dump trucks, worked construction and on farms, done auto body work, and is currently a welder for Mayville Engineering Company. After all that she decided to pursue education in a field she thinks she would be good in: human resources. Ebert says she’s totally involved at Moraine Park. She started a human resources club, has been involved in fund raising for an international education trip and other endeavors. Ebert is in the student senate, a sorority and has had a 4.0 grade point average since she started. Ebert believes her experiences would benefit others she would work with through human resources.  Ebert says she will be seeking a bachelor’s degree after she leaves Moraine Park, but may not be satisfied until she has a PhD. Each of the 15 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System has an ambassador, charged with promoting technical education, collaborating with student government and assisting with college activities and events.


Jobless Rates Continue Downward Trend


8/27/15 - Last month’s jobless rate in the region, and around most of the state, was down. According to the Department of Workforce Development, jobless filings in Dodge County were at 4.4-percent in July, down from 4.7-percent in June and 5.4-percent last year at this time. Jefferson County also dropped three-tenths from June to 4.2-percent, also down a full point from last year. Columbia and Fond du Lac counties were both at 4.1-percent, again down a full percentage point from last year. The same declines were reported in Washington County, which was at 3.8-percent last month, and Green Lake County which was at 4.8-percent. Dane County once again has the lowest rate at 3.2-percent while Menominee is the highest – and the only one in double digits – at 11.6-percent. In total, 69 of the state’s 72 counties decreased or stayed the same from June-to-July and every county was down compared to last year.


Randolph Seeking Sewer Rate Increase


8/27/15 - The Village of Randolph is looking to make improvements to its wastewater treatment plant which could lead to increased residential costs.  The plant should be able to treat all of the village’s waste for the next 20 years, but officials say a lot of the equipment needs to be replaced.  Randolph is asking the Department of Natural Resources to approve roughly $3.25-million dollars in projects including upgrades to the aeration system, upgrades to the collection system, and replacing the influent pumping.  Randolph hopes to finance the project through the Clean Water Fund loan program and wants additional funding from a Community Development Block Grant.  The average residential cost could jump from $21.55 per month to $33 to $40.  The public is invited to comment on the matter by contacting the DNR’s Bureau of Watershed Management in Madison by September 9. 


Oshkosh Corp May Find More Tactical Vehicle Customers


8/27/15 - The head of the Oshkosh Corporation says the U-S military might not be the only customer for its new grade of light tactical vehicles. Charles Szews says his firm will start marketing the product to our allies -- and there could be a significant demand. On Tuesday, Oshkosh beat out three others to win a six-point-seven billion dollar contract for an initial run of 17-thousand Joint Light Tactical Vehicles that will replace the basic Humvee. The Army eventually expects to buy 50-thousand vehicles, and the Marines plan to get 55-hundred. The Oshkosh contract could eventually stretch to 30-billion dollars, the highest in the history of the long-time military vehicle maker. The deal guarantees up to a quarter-century of work for thousands of Oshkosh employees and related parts' suppliers. Oshkosh showed off a prototype of the new product to local officials yesterday.


Walker Posting Guards At Department of Justice


8/27/15 - Governor Scott Walker's administration plans to post armed security guards at the entrances to the state Department of Justice's Madison headquarters. The guards will go on duty beginning September first. A guard has been stationed at a desk in the main lobby entrance, but without a weapon. A State Department of Administration spokesman says the move is part of a "security upgrade" for the facility, and not a response to any specific threat.


Lomira Woman Arraigned On Drug Charges


8/27/15 - A Lomira woman enterer a “not guilty” plea at arraignment yesterday to drug charges related to her daughters overdose death. Danielle Kalmus is facing one count of Possession of Narcotics, which carries a maximum fine of three-and-a-half years in prison if she is convicted. The two-year-old girl was found dead in July of last year at a Brownsville apartment. The 26-year-old Kalmus told investigators that she found the girl with an open pill bottle in the days prior to her death. Toxicology tests determined the child to have morphine in her system. Court activity is on the calendar in Dodge County court again in October.


Tax Collections Higher Than Projected


8/27/15 - A new report shows the state collected about 71 million dollars more in taxes during the last fiscal year than anticipated. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released figures Wednesday showing the state took in nearly 15 billion dollars during the year ending June 30th. The final estimate for 2014-15 collections in January projected the state would take in about 14-point-47-billion dollars. The report shows much of that increase was attributable to a bump in corporate income and franchise tax collections. Under state law, about 12 million dollars of the excess collections must go into the state's rainy day fund. The remaining 60-million dollars or so will increase the opening general fund balance for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which began July first.


Anniversary Of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Death


8/24/15 - It was 25 years ago today when electric guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan and four others died in a helicopter crash after a show at Alpine Valley near East Troy. The 35-year-old Vaughan had just performed with Eric Clapton when one of four choppers heading to Chicago crashed into a ski slope, less than a half-mile after takeoff. Vaughan was considered to be on the verge of stardom when he collapsed at a show in 1987, blamed on an out-of-control drug-and-alcohol problem. After rehab, Jason Hanley of the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame says Vaughan was back to playing a "ferocious" guitar. As Hanley put it, "Who knows what he would have done next." Vaughan and his blues band Double Trouble were inducted into the rock hall earlier this year. Hanley says it guarantees that Vaughan's work will be "honored and preserved."


Yesterday's Headlines
- Trial Underway In Murder Of Clyman Woman
- School Boards Agree To Consolidation Study
- Cambria Adopts Budget With Expected Mill Rate Increase

For those stories and more click here.

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