3/6/15 - A competency evaluation is being ordered for a Green Lake County man accused of stealing four cars in three counties while narrowly eluding capture on two separate occasions. Maxwell Decker is charged in Dodge County with Fleeing an Officer, Burglary with a Dangerous Weapon and Theft. Prosecutors say the 19-year-old Berlin man stole a car in Berlin in August sparking a nearly 12-mile pursuit down Highway 175 into Dodge County that ended with the driver disappearing into nearby cornfields. A second vehicle was taken and later recovered in the Fond du Lac County Town of Oakfield, where a third vehicle was then reported stolen. Decker allegedly sparked a second police chase early the following morning again into Dodge County this time through the city of Beaver Dam at 100mph. The vehicle was abandoned near Breezy Point Road as the suspect escaped a second time. Later that same day it was discovered that someone broke into a Town of Trenton home, stole a firearm, ammunition and a vehicle. Decker was apprehended in Jefferson County the following day. In addition to ordering a competency evaluation, Judge Brian Pfitzinger Thursday also denied a motion to reduce his $100-thousand dollars cash bond.
3/6/15 - Local school districts are partnering with the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce’s new affiliate. The Manufacturing Business Alliance for Dodge County was officially brought on by the Chamber at its recent annual meeting. Columbus School District Superintendent Bryan Davis says that local school districts have been able to help the MBA in reaching its goal of promoting manufacturing and careers in that field to local students through the “Project Team Up” campaign. Davis says that the Columbus High School has partnered with Lyco Manufacturing as some of the school’s students have worked with the company to create a children’s play structure that the elementary and middle school students in Columbus will be able to utilize beginning this fall. The partnership is also running in other area districts as Horicon and Juneau have partnered with John Deere and Beaver Dam is working with Apache Stainless. Davis anticipates that the program will continue to grow as they will continue to work with any local parks and affiliations that are interested in having a product created for their location. Davis says that these collaborations have allowed students to get a better understanding of what manufacturing plants are like and hopes those kids are able to note some of the manufacturing careers that are available in the area.
3/6/15 - The Columbus Council has approved the refinancing of two bonds that is projected to save the city roughly $470 thousand dollars. Finance Director Kim Manley says refinancing the 2008 and 2010 bond issues was triggered by council requests for street repair funding. One resolution approved the sale of $1.45 million dollars of Electric and Waterworks Revenue Bonds. The other resolution approved sale of $4 million dollars of General Obligation Notes. Current low interest rates will mean a big savings to the city. The council now faces decisions on which street improvements will be done first.
3/6/15 - A public meeting for Columbia County residents to discuss an upcoming road construction project will be held later this month. The conversation will be over the pavement replacement project on Wisconsin Highway 73 at the US 151 south interchange that will take place this summer. State Department of Transportation project staff and contractor representatives will be on hand to field any questions regarding the work. The meeting will be held at the Columbus Community Center on March 18 from 5 pm to 6:30pm.
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.
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.