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Top Stories March 5, 2015

Fox Lake Considering Personnel Policy Changes


3/5/15 - Fox Lake’s Personnel Committee has recommended a number of changes regarding employee benefits.  Currently, 56% of the city’s municipal budget goes toward labor costs.  The committee approved eight of the thirteen items it was presented at yesterday’s meeting.  Included in those selected is a gradual reduction in city contribution toward employee health insurance.  The city’s contribution in the current 88/12 employer-employee ratio would drop by one percent each year for the next five years where it would become an 80/20 ratio in the year 2020.  A cap on the amount of vacation time one can earn and the discontinuation of an employee being able to transfer sick time to a fellow employee are also among the policies accepted. City Administrator Gary Rogers says that a combination of complying with state and federal laws, updating older policies, and addressing financial concerns contribute to this happening.  Rogers anticipates that these changes will save the city “several thousand dollars each year.”  He was unsure of the exact amount due to the committee only selecting some of the proposed ideas but notes that it will help the city in lowering its current $90,000 deficit.  A handful of city employees were present at yesterday’s committee meeting, and they were not pleased with some of the proposed items.  Rogers says he understands the frustration but says that the City of Fox Lake is a “good employer.”  Without these changes, he says that the city may end up having to eliminate positions or services in the future due to a shortage of funds.  The proposed changes will now go in front of the Committee of the Whole on March 18 and if approved, to the Council for final consideration in April.


DNR Plans Controlled Burn On Marsh Friday


3/5/15 - If you see smoke on the horizon Friday, it will likely be coming from a controlled burn at the Horicon Marsh. DNR Wildlife Biologist Paul Samerdyke says the state is teaming up with the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a controlled burn on 3000 acres of both state and federal marsh lands. The burns are an ecological and economical way to limit exotic and unwanted brush that crowds out native vegetation. It also stimulates prairie grass, improving habitat for nesting birds, game and waterfowl while creating pockets of open water.


Beaver Dam Memorial Day Parade Initial Details


3/5/15 - Organizers with the Beaver Dam Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony have released initial details about this year’s event. Chair Lois Levenhagen says most activities will be similar to previous year’s events. However, because road construction in the downtown is expected to begin in Aril, Levenhagen says the details are still being worked out for the starting point of the parade. Memorial Day this year falls on Monday, May 25. As in the past, the River Ceremony will begin at 8:45am, the parade follows at 9:15am and the ceremony at Oakwood Cemetery starts at 10:15am. The parade theme and keynote speaker have not yet been announced.


 Watertown Man Enters Deferred Prosecution For Chase


3/5/15 - A Watertown man has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with Dodge County prosecutors for fleeing from police while operating with a suspended license.  Ian Lichtig pled “no contest” to reduced misdemeanor counts of Fleeing, Obstruction and Disorderly Conduct and the offenses will be removed from his record if he stay out of trouble while on deferred prosecution. Lichtig was clocked going as much as 29 miles over the 45-mile speed limit last fall.  The officer said that the 22-year-old Lichtig did pull over on command but that he restarted his engine and fled at speeds estimated near 120 miles per hour once the officer got off of his police motorcycle.  The officer got back on his bike and followed Lichtig to a red light at the intersection of Fourth Street and County Highway R.  Lichtig attempted to brake but struck the side of a vehicle, which caused the motorcycle and its rider to crash to the ground and come to rest in a lane of traffic.


Waupun Man Charged In Beating Of Pregnant Woman


3/5/15 - Charges have been brought against a Waupun man suspected of beating a pregnant woman. Zachary Disbrow is facing charges in Fond du Lac County Court for the January 19th incident at a Waupun apartment. According to the criminal complaint, the 21-year-old allegedly threatened to throw the woman down a flight of stairs. Disbrow told investigators he knew she was pregnant and grabbed her gently. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday, March 20th.


Court To Decide On Private John Doe Arguments


3/5/15 - The Wisconsin Supreme Court has asked attorneys in a trio of Walker John Doe cases whether their oral arguments should be held in private.  The justices plan to hear arguments April 17th and 20th on whether to reinstate subpoenas that a circuit judge quashed last year -- plus two requests to end the second Walker John Doe probe for good.  The investigation is looking into claims that Walker and other Republican recall election candidates illegally coordinated fund-raising and other campaign activities.  No one has been charged.  A federal judge halted the probe last spring, and an appeals court said the state court system should take it up.  John Doe investigations allow prosecutors to obtain testimony and evidence in secret, to determine if charges should be filed in a particular case. However, many of the details in the Walker John Doe have come out through leaks or public releases.  A federal court inadvertently released some of the evidence for a short time last year.  It resulted in perhaps the probe's most controversial disclosure - - that Walker's camp had urged donors to give secretly to the Wisconsin Club for Growth, and Gogebic Taconite gave 700-thousand dollars that way before it recently scrapped plans for a massive iron ore mine in far northern Wisconsin.


Walker Says He’ll Sign Right-to-Work Bill Monday


3/5/15 - Governor Scott Walker says he'll plan to sign Wisconsin's right-to-work bill into law on Monday, assuming both houses have it all wrapped up by then. Walker told a national conservative group last weekend that Wisconsin would be the nation's 25th worker "freedom" state by the end of this week. The Republican Walker spoke to the Wisconsin Manufacturers-and-Commerce group's meeting in Madison yesterday -- but he did not indicate why he decided on Monday to act on the measure.  Majority Republicans in the Assembly expect to pass the right-to-work bill by 9 am on Friday, after a 24-hour debate period which starts this morning.  If Democrats are successful at passing an amendment, the bill would have to go back to the Senate for ratification.  At last word, G-O-P leaders expected no amendments to be approved.


Walker Stands Firm on Not Raising Taxes


3/5/15 - Wisconsin's transportation secretary said Governor Scott Walker would be open to higher taxes for new highways -- if an equal amount of taxes are cut elsewhere.  Mark Gottlieb told the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee yesterday that the Republican Walker would only raise transportation revenues if it does not put a "burden on the taxpayer." Walker's proposed budget shuns higher taxes and fees, and instead borrows $1,300,000,000 over the next two years.  That's 30% higher than the transportation bonding in the current budget, but Gottlieb notes that Walker would not borrow for state buildings in the next budget. Senate Republican Luther Olsen of Ripon said the state would be in a "no-win situation" if it doesn't address the revenue issue.  However, Senate G-O-P leader Scott Fitzgerald recently wrote that raising the gas tax would be a "non-starter" in the Senate.  He calls such a hike a "terrible blow to Wisconsin's middle-class families."


Pollster Refers to Walker as ‘Perfect Candidate’


3/5/15 - A long-time Republican pollster says Governor Scott Walker is the perfect candidate for the presidency.  Ed Goeas made the remark this week at the annual Business Day event put on by the Wisconsin Manufacturers-and-Commerce group.  Goeas is the C-E-O of The Tarrance Group, and Walker recently hired him to be a senior adviser.  The pollster said voters are looking for a candidate who seeks reform, has consistent principles, and is focused.   He said Walker is "just what the doctor ordered" as someone who looks to the future -- which is what presidential elections are all about.  With many potential candidates in their 40's, Goeas says the Republican field is a "nice contrast" to the Democrats' front-runner, Hillary Clinton.


Politician Wants Governor to Pay for Own Security


3/5/15 - A state Senate Democrat says taxpayers should not have to chip in to help protect Governor Scott Walker when he goes off to speak to national conservatives.  Jon Erpenbach of Middleton brought up the subject again Wednesday, when state Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb appeared before the Joint Finance Committee.  Walker is a potential Republican candidate for the White House next year.  Erpenbach said the trips in question are purely political, and Walker's campaign should be covering the security costs, and not taxpayers. Gottlieb, a Walker appointee and a former G-O-P legislator, said the governor is the governor 24-7, regardless of where he is.  Outgoing Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch told Erpenbach earlier this week that Walker's campaign talks constantly with state officials about appropriate ways to share the governor's security costs.  


Grothman To Speak At Beaver Dam Breakfast


3/5/15 - US Congressman Glenn Grothman will be speaking in Beaver Dam next week. The Chamber of Commerce has announced that the Republican from Campbellsport will be at a breakfast next Tuesday at the Old Hickory Country Club. The public is invited but reservations are preferred.  Cost is $13 per person. The 90-minute program begins at 7:30am.


Born Budget Listening Sessions Continue


3/5/15 - State Representative Mark Born continues his series of budget listening sessions on Friday. The Beaver Dam Republican will be at Horicon City Hall beginning at 11am. On Friday afternoon, Born will be at the Williamstown Town Hall for the hour at 1pm and then he wraps up the day at the Mayville Library beginning at 2:30pm.  Born says the listening sessions are designed to provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on Governor Walker’s 2015-2017 Biennial Budget that the State Legislature will vote on later this year. Those who are unable to attend are welcome to send their questions or comments to the representative. Contact information is on our website – Born has four more days of listening session scheduled this month through Saturday, March 21 in communities including Brownsville, Theresa, Lowell, Hustisford, Lomira, Neosho, Ashippun and Hartford.


Friday, March 6th

11:00 AM – Horicon, Horicon City Hall

1:00 PM – Williamstown, Williamstown Town Hall

2:30 PM – Mayville, Mayville Library


Friday, March 13th

11:00 AM – Brownsville, Brownsville Village Hall

2:00 PM – Theresa, Theresa Village Hall

3:00 PM – Iron Ridge, Iron Ridge Community Center


Monday, March 16th

9:30 AM – Lowell, Lowell Town Hall

10:15 AM – Clyman, Clyman Village Hall

11:00 AM – Hustisford, Hustisford Village Hall

2:30 PM – Lomira, Lomira Municipal Complex


Friday, March 20th

9:00 AM – Rubicon, Rubicon Town Hall

9:45 AM – Neosho, Neosho Village Hall

10:30 AM – Ashippun, Ashippun Town Hall


Saturday, March 21st

10:00 AM – Hartford, Hartford City Hall


Yesterday's Headlines
    - Beaver Dam Teen Dead After Snowmobile Accident
    - Kennedy: 'Watermark Still on the Table'
    - Sheboygan Falls Teen Injured in Farming Accident

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.