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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
8/20/14 - The Dodge County Board approved the creation of two full-time counselor positions within the Human Services and Health Department at last night’s meeting. The positions were created as part of the county’s effort to assist those with drug addictions and reduce drug-related crime. Department director Janet Wimmer says that the program will be open to all Dodge County residents, regardless of ability to pay. She also stated taxpayer dollars, grant funding, and reimbursement from Medicaid and insurance companies will share the cost for the program. Tuesday’s vote was just to create the jobs and will have no effect on the current budget as the funding for these positions will be voted upon as part of the 2015 budget. The total cost of these jobs with benefits included is $150-thousand. Grant money has been applied for to cover some of this amount but so far none has been received.