Local News Briefs Saturday 8/22/15

Congressman Glenn Grothman says it’s hard to hold government accountable when one of their agencies is hacked. The IRS this week said its computer databases were hacked, which could leave over 300,000 people exposed to possible identity theft.  Congressman Grothman says collectively government hasn’t had a sense of urgency about that type of situation. He says that is always true of government because they won’t go bankrupt or close if their customers aren’t happy. He says the government will always be there and that’s why we want government to do a minimum amount of things.

Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over

The State Patrol and law enforcement agencies across the state are participating in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which runs through Labor Day.  Dave Pabst is the director of the state Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Safety. He says the goal is not to write more citations. He says they want all drivers to be responsible and not get behind the wheel impaired. Their goal is zero deaths, which he says takes everyone. Last year in Wisconsin, 162 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and over 24,000 drivers were convicted of operating while intoxicated.

Fall Enrollment Down At MPTC

Fewer students will be attending classes at Moraine Park Technical College campuses this fall. MPTC President Bonnie Baerwald says there are a variety of reasons including a stronger economy, businesses not always investing in workforce training, and there are fewer students coming out of high school. She says the decline in enrollment is nothing new. She says the last five or six years they’ve seen a decline in enrollment, which has been a national and statewide trend in the technical college system. She says this year their fall enrollment is down about 4 percent as well. Students return to classes on Monday.

Veterans ID Being Considered

It’s still being reviewed, but Congress is looking at authorizing a veterans’ ID card for those who aren’t enrolled in VA health care or have not retired. Fond du Lac County Veterans Service Officer Rick Patton says it could be used at places who give veterans a discount, but require proof you are a veteran. He says it will display the veteran’s name and photograph. It will also serve as proof that the veteran has a DD-214 form or other official document in the veteran’s military personal file that describes the veteran’s manner of discharge. He says it will be different than the VA health care ID. Patton says there will be a fee to cover the cost of the ID.

Sabre Garden Gets Grant Support

Marian University was recently awarded a grant from the International Paper Foundation that will assist with water conservation efforts at the new Sabre community garden. The Sabre garden features six 40-foot long raised-mound beds and a greenhouse. The IP Foundation grant supports improvements to the current plot, and will include the installation of a more conveniently-located water source that will allow for drip irrigation system. The goal of the Sabre garden is to teach students how to grow food using sustainable organic techniques, while providing healthy, fresh food to those in need in the community. All food grown in the Sabre garden is currently being donated to the Salvation Army Food Pantry in Fond du Lac, which provides services to more than 1,000 individuals in the local area.

State Trust Fund Loans Approved For Area Projects

A building remodeling project in the Ripon Area School District got some help from the state this week when the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands approved a $900,000 state trust fund loan for the project. It was part of the total of $3.2 million in loans the board approved during their meeting. The board also approved a $900,000 loan for the Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah School District for a district wide heating, ventilating and air condition project. Also the Village of Random Lake is getting a $565,000 loan to finance street and recreational facilities projects.

Funding Approved For I 41 Improvements

Governor Scott Walker this week approved $4.8 million to improve nearly nine miles of I-41 from Breezewood Lane and Bell Street in Winnebago County to State Highway 15 in Outagamie County. Construction is scheduled to begin Monday and be completed by the middle of November Michels Construction of Brownsville is the prime contractor. The project will include concrete pavement repairs to the roadway that will maintain safety and mobility along this vital transportation corridor.

Explorium Grand Opening Today

The Explorium at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center will hold its grand opening celebration today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. DNR Wildlife Educator Liz Herzmann says there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. and the exhibits open up to the public at 11 a.m. She says going through the exhibits is like walking through time at the Horicon Marsh. She says the grand opening will feature guided tours and hikes, crafts and more. She says there’s even an airboat simulator and you can have your picture taken on it while you’re taking the ride. The fee for the Explorium will be waived for the day.