Local News Briefs Monday 2/9/15

No one had all the numbers for Saturday night’s Powerball jackpot. It was worth $394 million and grows to $450 million for Wednesday night’s jackpot. The cash payout for that jackpot would be just over $304 million. The biggest jackpot ever won was by an 84-year-old Florida woman in May of 2013 who won $590.5 million.

Committee Did Good Work On Lakeside Park Survey

Fond du Lac Public Works Director Jordan Skiff says he was pleasantly surprised so many people took the Lakeside Park survey. About 2,200 people took the survey on the City’s website about use of the park. He says the Lakeside Park Exploratory Committee did a good job of putting together the survey and got responses from a variety of stakeholder groups. He says the challenge will be to determine what recommendations to make on issues where there was no clear majority opinion. He says issues had a pretty clear majority opinion for instance the desire for a concessionaire and not wanting to have alcohol available in the park. The committee has about four months before its final report and recommendations to the City Council. Skiff says they have a pretty good handle on things now and will be able to meet that challenge.

Thiesfeldt Likes Removal Of Cap On State School Voucher Program

State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt says long before he was elected to the state legislature he’s been advocating for statewide expansion of school choice. He says the Governor’s last budget opened the door for the first 1,000 voucher students. The Governor’s new budget proposal includes a proposal to remove the cap for the voucher program. Thiesfeldt says there are income limits, which are essentially the free and reduced lunch program cap of 185 percent of the federal poverty line. The state lawmaker from Fond du Lac says it also rolls the Racine program into the state program. Thiesfeldt says there is a lot to sort through in the 1,800 State Budget proposal.

Community Development Aids Development Of Big Projects

Fond du Lac’s Community Development Director says her department’s role is to help facilitate ideas that will turn into development. Dyann Benson says they do have a role in helping Marian University with repurposing the Nielsen Building. She says that included accommodating the multiple uses that are going into the building like Marian’s Nursing School and Agnesian’s IT Department and making sure there’s adequate parking. But being an information source and helping the City Council and City Manager bridge the gap for financing in the project. She says the real stars are those who come up with vision for instance Marian with the Nielsen or Commonwealth for the old Wells Manufacturing site. The City of Fond du Lac is investing up to $255,000 in Marian’s conversion of the A.C Nielsen Building. It’s a nearly $5 million project.

Strategic Planning Accreditation Leads To Name Change For FDL Fire Rescue

Division Chief of Fire Prevention Troy Haase says the Fond du Lac Fire Department got a little assist from the public in their name change to Fond du Lac Fire/Rescue. He says they really are much more than a fire department with all the types of rescues and education they do. He says they are saving lives as witnessed by the 23 people they saved by administering Narcan during drug overdoses last year. He says they talked with people while doing their strategic planning who weighed in on how to improve the department. The department is also seeking international accreditation.

Give Snow Plows Room To Work

Wisconsin will have an early spring — at least according to Sun Prairie’s Jimmy the Groundhog. But long-time state residents know there’s still plenty of winter and snow likely on the way. When snow begins to fall, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation depends on county highway departments and some 750 county plows to keep state roadways open for travel. Todd Matheson with the DOT’s Bureau of Highway Maintenance says during severe winter storms, drivers should stay off roads if possible — but if you must travel — go slow and be cautious. He says you need to stay at least 200 feet away from a working snowplow. He says drivers should be aware of them driving slower than the speed limit and should know that they do make turns and abrupt stops to reposition themselves. Working snowplows can also create a cloud of snow that can obscure a driver’s vision.