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Top Stories August 21, 2014

IT Committee Hears About New World Progress


8/21/14 - More insight last night into the issues surrounding the rollout of Dodge County’s new law enforcement software system; this time positive. The county’s Information Technology Committee is now receiving regular updates on New World. The New World system is intended to connect all law enforcement agencies countywide. Among other things, it’s used in squad cars for background checks, writing citations and GPS. Back in the office, it’s an administrative tool for not only patrol but also corrections and dispatch. IT Director Ruth Otto says they are taking steps to move forward with the problems. Otto says they brought in a New World employee who has dispatch background. She spent two days with the department and identified a number of issues. The New World employee indicated that the system does have problems and she brought back that information to the software company. Otto says communication is improving as they hold their weekly meetings with New World and the sheriff’s department. She says they have focused on the priorities and what needs to be fixed. Otto says the close knit dialogue with New World has helped close nearly a dozen cases so far in the last two weeks.


Grothman Picks Up More Votes At Canvassing


8/21/14 - Glenn Grothman had his U-S House primary victory confirmed yesterday (Wed).  An official canvass of last Tuesday's ballots had the Campbellsport Republican winning his Sixth District primary by 219 votes over fellow state Senator Joe Leibham of Sheboygan.  Grothman gained six votes from the unofficial Election Night returns, and Leibham gained one vote.  About 64-thousand people voted in what was a four-way G-O-P primary.  Grothman's winning margin was about one-third of one-percent, the smallest for the Wisconsin congressional contest since 1970.  The canvass totals gave Grothman 23-thousand-247 votes, and Leibham 23-thousand-28.  Leibham says he and his campaign staff will review the canvass results, then decide whether to seek a recount.  For now, Grothman will face Democrat Mark Harris in November, for the right to replace retiring House Republican Tom Petri of Fond du Lac. 


District-By-District ACT Scores Released


8/21/14 - Wisconsin public school superintendent Tony Evers said last year's seniors "did a fine job" on the A-C-T college entrance exam.  The state Department of Public Instruction released district-by-district results on Wednesday. That was after the statewide totals showed that Wisconsin had the nation's second-highest composite score on the A-C-T test -- 22-point-two of a possible 36.  The Beaver Dam School District’s composite A-C-T score is above the average at 22-point-nine; Randolph is 23-point-four; Columbus is 23 and Dodgeland averaged 22-point-four. Coming in below the average were Watertown at 22-point-one; Horicon and Mayville each scored 21-point-nine; and finally Waupun’s composite A-C-T score is 20-point-nine.  Statewide, one of every five Wisconsin students who took the exam failed to reach the A-C-T's benchmarks for assuring academic success in first-year college courses. Still, half the students achieved three or more benchmarks.  Three-fourths of test takers achieved the benchmark for English -- but only around half achieved it for reading, math, and science.  Evers noted that the percentage of Wisconsin kids who achieved the reading and science benchmarks were well above the national averages.  And both those percentages were slightly higher than a year ago.  Starting this school year, all Wisconsin students will be required to take the A-C-T.  Evers said the system wants students to pursue rigorous coursework, so they can be prepared for the next steps -- whether it's college, military service, work, or job training.


Unemployment Declining In State, Region


8/21/14 - Counties in the region, and around most of the state, experienced a decrease in jobless filings from June to July. According to the Department of Workforce Development, the unemployment rate in Dodge County last month six-percent even, three-tenths lower than June and over a full percentage point below July of last year. Jefferson County was down one-tenth over the two-month period to 6.1-percent. Green Lake County dropped seven-tenths to 6.3-percent. Columbia County and Washington counties, meanwhile, decreased slightly to 5.3-percent. Fond du Lac County reported a 5.5-percent. Dane County again had the state’s lowest number of filings at four-percent even. Menominee County has the highest at 18.3-percent. In total, 63 of the state’s 72 counties saw a decline in jobless figures while four were unchanged. Wisconsin's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July was 5.8 percent, up from 5.7 percent in June and down from 6.8-percent in July 2013. Nationally, the rate was 6.2 percent, up from 6.1 percent in June and down from 7.3 percent in July 2013.


Avery Drops Federal Lawsuit With Handwritten Document


8/21/14 - Steven Avery wants to drop a federal lawsuit he filed three years ago, which alleged that his civil rights were violated.  Avery claimed he was subject to unreasonable searches, and that his free speech rights were denied while he was in the Calumet County Jail.  That was before his conviction in the 2005 slaying of Teresa Halbach at the Avery family's auto salvage yard near Mishicot.  Avery wanted 15-million dollars in punitive damages from a number of government officials.  But that was before Federal Judge Lynn Adelman refused to give him a tax-funded public defender.  Avery wrote a handwritten request to drop his lawsuit.  An attorney for the defendants is asking that the suit be dismissed with prejudice -- which means he cannot re-file the claim if he ever gets the proper legal representation.  Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey are both in prison for shooting and burning Halbach on Halloween almost nine years ago.  The case drew national attention, because Avery was freed from prison two-and-a-half years before the murder.  He served 18 years for a rape which D-N-A evidence later showed he didn't commit.


Illinois Man Charged In OWI Injury Accident


8/21/14 - A Shorewood, Illinois man is accused of injuring his wife in a motorcycle accident while high on drugs. Michael Mayer is charged with a misdemeanor count of Operating Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance Causing Injury. According to the criminal complaint, Flight for Life medical helicopters were sent to the June accident. The 50-year-old was southbound on Highway 26 near Hogsback Road in the Township of Clyman. He attempted to pass two vehicles and a semi, when one of the vehicles pulled out to begin passing as well, striking the motorcycle. Authorities say the motorcycle made contact with an Escalade and began a counterclockwise spin. The motorcycle went airborne, ejecting both occupants. Mayer’s wife sustained multiple head lacerations. Mayer allegedly had marijuana in his blood system. Court set bond at $500 dollars.


Coffee With A Cop In Juneau This Morning


8/21/14 - The Dodge County Sheriff’s Department is holding its latest Coffee with a Cop Thursday at the Village Garden in Juneau. Sheriff Pat Ninmann says they are again joining forces with the Juneau Police Department for the two-hour program, which allows deputies and officers to sit down with community members in a neutral space to discuss local issues. The coffee will be poured beginning at 8am this morning.


Yesterday's Headlines
    - Beaver Dam Council Unanimously Accepts Watermark Grant
    - Operations Committee Tables Bidding For Watermark
    - Kennedy Upset With Media For Announcing Grant

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.