Local News Briefs Thursday 6/26/14

Fond du Lac City Manager Joe Moore last night told the City Council his goal is to pass a $22.7 million tax levy for 2015. It was the Council’s first public discussion of next year’s budget. Moore says that would be an increase of about $1.2 million, but the City has arrived at a point where it will have to pay off larger amounts of debt with that amount increasing to $5.1 million this year and in excess of $8.4 million in 2019. He says however that at the same time the City’s outstanding debt will decrease over that five year period from $78 million to $65 million. The City’s legal debt limit will fall from 60.6 percent in 2015 to 44.7 percent in 2019. He says the City will continue to offer its same services in 2015 and will continue to evaluate positions whenever someone retires or leaves. Of the $1.2 million increase in the tax levy over $500,000 will be for operations and more than $765,000 will be for debt service. As for the timeline to approve the budget Moore says a draft will be ready by August 21st. The City Council will hold budget deliberations on September 3rd with a public hearing on October 8th and City Council adoption of the budget and 5-year capital improvements plan on October 22nd.

FDL City Council Notes

The Fond du Lac City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night in favor of refinancing three old debts and of paying off a wastewater utility debt earlier. Bond consultant Paul Thompson says the City got lower interest rates for some of the debt and the projected savings on refinancing of water utility bonds and early repayment of wastewater utility bonds will save the City a combined total of more than $1.4 million in interest payments. The Council also approved a couple of liquor license renewals and sold a 5,600 square foot strip of land on Griffith Street for $1,900 to Air Tech. The company relocated to former Johnson Brothers Concrete site and will use the land as part of a paved parking lot.  

Shooting In Markesan

Police in Markesan say a 20-year-old man was shot during an incident early Wednesday morning in the City. It happened after 2 a.m. Authorities someone pulled out a gun during a gathering and the man was shot. He suffered non life-threatening injuries during the incident and was taken to a hospital. Three people were taken into custody in connection with the incident. Drugs and alcohol were involved.

Sheboygan Police Officer Shoots Attacking Dog

A Sheboygan police officer shot and wounded a pit bull that attacked him Wednesday night.  Police received a call around 7 o’clock about an aggressive pit bull at large.  An officer was dispatched and located the dog on grass near a sidewalk.  That’s when the dog rushed at the officer, who shot and wounded him at close range.  The officer suffered a minor abrasion when he fell as he attempted to retreat from the dog.  The dog’s owner was located and he took the dog for medical attention. 

Dodge County Accident Update

Dodge County Sheriff’s officials have released the names of the people involved in a three-vehicle accident on Highway 33 in the Town of Oak Grove Tuesday. Nineteen-year-old Natalie Stoeckel of Mayville was heading west when she sideswiped an eastbound vehicle driven by 27-year-old Amy Lanphier from Beaver Dam who was uninjured. Stoeckel then hit another vehicle nearly head on. It was driven by 31-year-old Jesse Beske of Beaver Dam. Stoeckel and Beske were taken to Beaver Dam Community Hospital, but Beske’s injuries were more serious and a Flight for Life helicopter later flew him to the UW-Hospital in Madison. Inattentive driving and dense fog were factors in the accident yesterday.

Road Buckles Near Waupun

There were more reports of pavement buckling Tuesday in Dodge County. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, the right-hand northbound lane of Highway 151 at County Highway C near Waupun was closed for a couple hours late Tuesday afternoon because of the roadway failure.  Dodge County Assistant Highway Commissioner Pete Thompson says the mercury in the thermometer does not need to be boiling for buckling to occur. He says it’s an anomaly and may have been a combination of wet weather and humidity. He says it’s not typical with the temperatures we’ve been experiencing. Thompson encourages motorists to report any crumbling concrete pavement to highway officials.

FDL County Road OOO Closure

County Road “OOO” from County Road “I” to Rolling Meadows Drive/County Road “VVV” will be closed starting at 6 a.m. next Monday for work on the overhead transmission line. It will reopen at noon on Thursday, July 3rd. The road will be closed during daylight hours and reopen at night for the four days.  Crews will be operating a crane and lifting devices for replacement of poles along the roadway.  The posted detour will be Rolling Meadows Drive – State Road “23” – County Road “I”.

DFP Director Thrilled Retlaw Theater Will Be An Active Building Again

Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership Executive Director Amy Hansen says in her seven years with the DFP she worked hardest on trying to find a viable owner for the Retlaw Theater. She says there was even one man who was interested in making a dinosaur and pirate museum out of it. She says she exhausted all options trying to find a buyer or way to save the old movie theater. She says she went to the County’s Finance Committee, the City to inquire about public ownership, and twice tried to get the DFP to take out options on the theater. She says she’s thrilled Commonwealth has come forward with a plan. Hansen says she was in the theater last week and with the standing water from rain and mold problem there was no way the theater can be saved, but Commonwealth Companies specialize in restoring old buildings. She says without Commonwealth’s offer the theater eventually would have been condemned.                    

Commonwealth Classic Something Unique For FDL

The Commonwealth Classic bike race in downtown Fond du Lac brings a unique event to area residents. Fond du Lac Convention and Visitor’s Bureau President Craig Molitor says it helps to burnish the “C’mon In” Fond du Lac brand. For Friday’s event racers will be asked to park in the Fives Giddings & Lewis parking lot on Johnson Street, which opens up more parking downtown for spectators attending the racing. Racing will be throughout the day capped by the men’s professional event and a concert afterwards by Road Trip. There will also be a Kids Zone sponsored by Agnesian HealthCare.

Search Underway For New Ripon HS Principal

The Fond du Lac School District wasn’t the only area district looking to replace a high school principal this summer. Ripon Schools Superintendent Mary Whitrock says longtime principal Dan Tjernagel will become the Superintendent for the Sturgeon Bay School District. She says they are currently conducting a search for a new principal for the high school and Lumen Charter School. She says a search committee will narrow down the list of candidates to two and the community will have a chance to meet them during a meet and greet on July 23rd. The sessions will be held at 2 and 3 p.m. that afternoon. She says normally you’d like to fill that type of position earlier in the summer, but they need to be flexible for the person coming in and the district they are hiring them away from.

Ag Ambassador Money Raffle Winners Drawn

Winners for Agricultural Ambassador Money Raffle were drawn live on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ Wednesday morning. Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce Agriculture Programs Director Brenda Gudex says they sold more tickets than ever to raise money for the education programs they do in classrooms. The third place winner of $500 was KFIZ’s own Terri who was listening when her name was drawn and was delighted to say the least. The winner of the first place prize of $3,000 couldn’t be reached by phone, which meant leaving a voice mail with the kind of news anyone would like to get. The winner’s first name was Jeff, but the last name couldn’t quite be made out on the raffle ticket, which meant follow up calls if he didn’t get back to the Association office. Gudex says about $6,000 was raised for the Ag Ambassador program after all the cash prizes were awarded.

WHA Concerned About Possible Medicare Funding Loss Over Infection Rates

(Wisconsin Radio Network)- The Wisconsin Hospital Association is raising concerns about a new report that says 65 hospitals in the state could lose Medicare funding because of high infection rates. The group’s Kelly Court says they are still trying to figure out what federal officials are looking for when evaluating hospitals. From what they do know, Court says there are concerns that the ratings consider infections rates as far back as 2012. She says many hospitals have been working to improve conditions since then, and that could unfairly penalize some institutions that have made progress since then in lowering their rates.  A review by the Kaiser Foundation found that only six Wisconsin hospitals have scores that are bad enough that they could face the penalty, based on preliminary rankings.

FDL Literacy Services Needs Volunteers

So far this year, 40 low-literate adult students have been lucky enough to be matched with volunteer tutors through Fond du Lac Literacy Services. Unfortunately, many more are waiting.  Fond du Lac Literacy Services needs additional volunteers in Fond du Lac and Eden to tutor adults in reading, math and English. Tutors receive training and then work with students one-on-one with provided materials to help the students achieve literacy goals and gain confidence. Teaching experience is not necessary, and schedules are flexible; most tutors and students meet for one or two hours a week.  The adult students work out of curriculum textbooks and work toward lifestyle-related goals such as understanding work vocabularies, reading labels or following a budget when shopping. For more information, contact Fond du Lac Literacy Services at (920) 322-3932 or visit their web page.  Fond du Lac Literacy Services is located on the second floor of the Fond du Lac Public Library, 32 Sheboygan St.