7/22/16 - A Dodge County judge found probable cause Thursday for a Beaver Dam man to proceed to trial on charges that he robbed a Town of Beaver Dam gas station. Joshua Benson was bound over on charges of felony counts of Armed Robbery, Identity Theft, Retail Theft, and Possession of Burglarious Tools, along with two felony counts of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud in a separate case. The 33-year-old reportedly had a weapon when he stole cash from the BP station in December. Benson is also accused of breaking into a Beaver Dam house in February to steal prescription medications and a checkbook, which he allegedly tried to cash. He also reportedly stole nearly $1,000 in liquor from the same BP station in May. If he is found guilty on all counts, Benson faces up to 65 years in prison. He will be arraigned next month and remains jailed on a $5000 cash bond.
7/22/16 - A Waupun alderman is decrying the process that led to the hiring of a full-time city administrator following a series of closed session meetings. Alderman Pete Kaczmarski was the only city official to vote against the hiring of Kathy Schlieve following the latest in a series of closed session meetings on Wednesday. Schlieve has been the city’s economic development director since last August and the two positions will be combined. The vote came on the heels of an announcement by current mayor Kyle Clark that he would be stepping down at the end of the month due to health concerns. Clark had been the city administrator prior to his becoming mayor in 2014 and the administrator position was left vacant. Kaczmarski says the public should not have been shut out of the process. He says the lack of input really cut the people of Waupun short. “This was a rush job, it didn’t have to be done this way, the people of Waupun deserve better,” he says. Kaczmarski says the responsibilities of a city administrator are already being handled by current city staff and the move is not necessary. He says the agreement ties the hands of future elected officials. As part of the compensation package, Waupun taxpayers will pay for Schlieve to obtain her master’s degree. Kaczmarski says he does not know if the citizens would support the decision because they were not involved in the process. The council will discuss and possibly take action Tuesday on the mayoral vacancy. Calls to Schlieve and Clark for comment were not immediately returned.
7/22/16 - A Beaver Dam man made his initial appearance in a Dodge County courtroom yesterday on charges that he used the threat of a gun and a bomb to rob the State Bank of Reeseville in Watertown last week. Adam Raney is charged with felony Armed Robbery with the Threat of Force, Bomb Scare and Terrorist Threats, all as a repeat offender. Prosecutors say the 37-year-old flashed a black handgun to the teller and ordered the drawer be emptied. The teller told investigators that he recognized Raney and he had been on the lookout for him anticipating that Raney may try to cash a forged check. The suspect said he was leaving a bag with a motion activated bomb and no one would be hurt if everyone stayed still for ten minutes. Cash bond was set at $100-thousand dollars yesterday and a judge will decide in September if there is enough evidence to order a trial. If convicted, Raney faces a combined maximum of 61 years in prison.
7/21/16 - Strong winds moved through the area Thursday evening downing trees and power lines. Dodge County Emergency Management Director Amy Nehls says the storms moved through from the northwest with the heaviest hit area in the city of Beaver Dam which reported numerous downed trees, limbs and power lines. At one point, Alliant Energy was reported over 3000 customers without power in Dodge County, by 8pm that number was down to around 1000 with all but a handful in the Beaver Dam area. The power is expected to be restored by 1am. Columbia County had 1750 outages reported at 7pm and by 8pm that number was up to around 1900. Only a handful of those outages were in Columbus with the bulk in Poynette, Lodi and Friendship. A large tree in front of the Beaver Dam Community Theatre on North Spring Street fell on the Century 21 offices. A home on North Center known for its elaborate Christmas decorations lost a large evergreen. In Columbia County, the hardest hit area was in the northeast corner of the county in the Village of Friesland. Columbia County Emergency Management is reporting that widespread tree and power line damage occurred including a barn that was destroyed and a house that was damaged on Highway E as well as minor damage to numerous barns and homes in the area. One person had minor injuries from broken glass and was treated by Friesland First Responders from the Friesland Fire Department. At this time, Columbia County officials have not determined if the damage was caused by straight line winds or from a tornado.
7/21/16 - The Columbus Common Council took action this week on part of Baker-Tilley’s municipal sewer rate recommendation for the three-community wastewater system. The City of Columbus, Village of Fall River and Town of Elba share wastewater collection and treatment facilities. The council partially approved sewer rate recommendations that were part of a mandatory bi-annual report to the state DNR. The council approved recommended sewer rate hikes for the Village of Fall River but will still re-visit the study at its next meeting. The Columbus and Elba sewer rates will be discussed July 31st.
7/21/16 - People are encouraged to follow a number of safety tips during this week’s excessive heat warning. Dodge County’s Emergency Management Office is encouraging people to stay in air-conditioned buildings, avoid direct sunlight, limit physical activity, wear lightweight clothing, and drink plenty of water. They say young children, the elderly, overweight people, and those with chronic medical conditions are at the greatest risk. Dodge County’s last excessive heat warning was in 2012.