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Top Stories December 17, 2014

Deer Population Increase Recommended


12/17/14 - The Dodge County Deer Advisory Council finalized its recommendation that will be submitted to the state’s natural resources board.  At last night’s meeting, which was the final installment in a series of three, the decision was made to recommend that Dodge County’s deer population be modestly increased over the next three years.  Chair Dale Maas says that the decision was strongly influenced by those in the county who spoke out in person at the meetings and via an online survey that was distributed.  In addition to the results of the survey where sixty-six percent voted in favor of increasing the population, seventy-five percent of those representing various departments in the county held that same stance.  Maas says that the judgment of many involved was not based strictly on last month’s deer-gun season but rather on what has been observed over a number of years.  The board has to submit that decision to the natural resources board by Friday.  The board can either choose to agree or disagree with the county’s proposal.  Maas says that he anticipates the state to listen to the recommendation as he notes that the entire process was put into place to give the citizens of Wisconsin a voice in the decision making. 


TAD Program Now Under Control of Human Services


12/17/14 - A new program in the county to address the growing problem of heroin and prescription drug abuse will be overseen by a different department. The Dodge County Board last night approved a plan to move the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion program, known as TAD, from the Sheriff’s Department to Human Services. The program was kick-started this summer by a state grant. The drug courts are similar to the alcohol court implemented three years in Dodge County. Non-violent criminal offenders are given an assessment to determine the type of treatment needed; their progress is then be tracked throughout the court process. The courts seek to reward non-violent offenders with reduced jail time if they remain sober and stay out of trouble while on probation. Human Services Director Janet Wimmer says moving the administration of the program from the sheriff’s department to Human Services will allow for greater efficiencies. The resolution adopted last night was amended on the floor to include a sunset clause. As a result, if the state grant ever runs-out, the county would no longer continue the program, unless additional funding is approved by supervisors.


Sheriffs Dept Gets New Van For Federal Inmate Transports


12/17/14 - The Dodge County Board Tuesday night approved the purchase of a cargo van to transport federal prisoners. The sheriff’s department generates revenue from housing federal inmates from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The cargo van cost $38-thousand dollars and replaces a 2008 cargo van of similar make and model that has over 500-thousand miles on it. Revenue from the so-called contract beds had averaged around $9-million dollars annually since the jail was constructed in 2001. That number dropped to $8 million in 2013. Last year, revenue was projected based on an average of 275 being filled every day; the final number was closer to 230, which is being budgeted again for next year.


Timeline For Grothman Successor Detailed


12/17/14 - A new state senator will be elected next spring to replace Congressman-elect Glenn Grothman of Campbellsport.  Governor Scott Walker announced the timeline yesterday.  Candidates can start circulating nomination papers now. They must be filed by January 6th.  Three Republicans have said they'll run for the post.  If they all file, they'll square off on the state's previously-scheduled primary day of February 17th.  The general election for the post will be April 7th, the same day as contests for the State Supreme Court and local government posts.  Grothman, one of the state's most conservative lawmakers, was elected to Congress in November.  His tenure in Madison officially ends when his current term expires on January third.  Three Republicans have said they'll run for his old state post -- Assembly Republican Duey Strobel of Saukville, Ozaukee County Board Chairman Lee Schlenvogt, and Calumet County Supervisor Ralph Prescott. 


Lawmaker Reaction To Unemployment Audit


12/17/14 - State lawmakers reacted quickly Tuesday to an audit which found that the unemployed were overpaid 168-million dollars in benefits over three years -- and one-point-seven million people could not get their phone calls answered when they sought benefits in the past fiscal year.  Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau zeroed in on the 15-percent of overpaid recipients who lied on their applications to get more benefits than they deserved.  The auditors said the other 85-percent made unintentional mistakes in reporting their data.  Fitzgerald said the level of fraud remains too high, and he promised improvements in the oversight and management of jobless benefits.  Assembly Democratic leader Peter Barca said the G-O-P majority should not use the audit as an excuse to slash unemployment benefits.  He noted that his part proposed in the last state budget to add extra staffers at the unemployment call centers to prevent applicants from being cut off.  Auditors said there was a lack of annual accounting for over-payments -- and how much in fraudulent benefits are returned each individual year.  Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson said there will be annual figures from now on.  Newson also said the state's new computer system for filing jobless claims should help reduce the need for phone calls.  He said the one-point-seven million cut-offs was high -- because each applicant tries calling back an average of four times.


Supreme Court To Rule On John Doe


12/17/14 - The Wisconsin Supreme Court has decided to rule on three cases tied to the John Doe probe into campaign fund-raising by Governor Scott Walker and other Republicans in the 2012 recall elections. One case seeks to reinstate subpoenas thrown out in January by John Doe judge Greg Peterson.  He sided with the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other targets who received the subpoenas.  The judge said the activities at issue were not illegal.  The other two cases challenged the legality of the Doe probe, which secretly took evidence on allegations of illegal campaign coordination between G-O-P recall candidates and the Club for Growth and other outside groups.  Judge Rudolph Randa halted the probe in May as part of the Club for Growth's federal lawsuit.  The state justices voted 6-nothing to accept the three cases before them. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley did not take part, because her son works at a law firm which represents one of the investigation's targets.  Other justices expressed concerns over how their review will proceed -- mainly because the records are not public, which is highly unusual in matters before the Supreme Court.  Also, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says four of the seven justices have benefited from donations by the Club for Growth to their own campaigns.  Some experts say they should withdraw from the case for that reason.


Fatal Wreck Stemmed For Police Chase


12/17/14 - The motorist killed this week on Highway 33 in Dodge County was running from police at 100 miles-per-hour when he crashed his vehicle. The driver died during the overnight hours following the wreck which occurred around 2:30pm Monday. Wisconsin State Patrol Duty Sergeant Greg Jenswold tells us that the driver had been involved in an 18 mile-long pursuit with Beaver Dam and Fox Lake police. The Dodge County Sheriff’s Department also deployed a “tire deflation device.” The vehicle at one point left the roadway and struck a tree. The name of the driver has not been officially released but Capital Newspapers has identified him as 25-year-old Ethan Plath of Fox Lake. Jenswold says more information will be available after the responding officers complete their report this week.


Beaver Dam Man Accused Of Molesting Runaway


12/17/14 - A Beaver Dam man is accused of molesting a teen runaway. Brock Schwarzenbacher is charged in Dodge County court with felony Sexual Assault of a Child Under the Age of 16. The 25-year-old was arrested in October with the 14-year-old in his vehicle. The two had mutual friends and had met two weeks prior on Facebook. Schwarzenbacher told police that he thought she was 18-years-old and was reportedly visibly nervous and upset when he was told her actual age. He initially denied contact with the teen but later admitted to the relationship. An Initial Appearance is scheduled later this month. If convicted, Schwarzenbacher could spend up to 40 years in prison.


BDACT Holding Singing Competition


12/17/14 - The Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre is holding a singing contest and the winner will walk away with $500. Auditions are being held today and Sunday for the Beaver Dam Singing Star. The theatre’s Managing Director David Saniter says the show will be similar to American Idol and feature vocal soloists. Participants will be judged on skill, artistry, personality, stage presence, and entertainment value. Contestants must provide their own music by mp3 or CD.  Saniter says all ages are welcome by anyone younger than high school age must have a parent or guardian accompany the child to the audition. Audition times tonight and Sunday are 7pm to 8:30pm at the theatre’s current building on North Spring Street.  Finalists will be posted on the BDACT website by next Tuesday. Performances dates are January 15th through the 17th with a snow date on January 18 and a rehearsal opportunity the weekend prior. For questions, please email BDACT at or call 920-885-6891.


Ninmann On Community Comment Today


12/17/14 - On Community Comment this afternoon we sit down with outgoing Dodge County Sheriff Patricia Ninmann. With a few weeks remaining in her term as the county’s top cop, Ninmann will join us to discuss her time as the first female sheriff in Dodge County and the accomplishments under her leadership. She was appointed in the spring of 2013 by the governor following the early retirement of former Sheriff Todd Nehls. Community Comment airs weekdays on AM1430 WBEV beginning at 12:35pm.

Yesterday's Headlines
    - Leasers of Metal Fab Property Owe County Rent
    - Teen Killed In Town of Lowell Accident
    - National Exchange Bank Allenton Robbed

For those stories and more click here.

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