Local News Briefs Tuesday 7/21/15

Washington County Sheriff’s officials say a 22-year-old sex offender will be released from prison today and will be moved to a Town of Polk residence. Alex Hoffmann will be living at 4452 Highway 60. He was convicted of 2nd degree sexual assault of a child in November of 2010. He will be under the supervision of the Department of Corrections into 2026 and will be on GPS monitoring.

Senator Gudex On Selection Of Ariens As WEDC Board Chairman

State Senator Rick Gudex Monday commented on the selection of Dan Ariens as the Chairman of the Board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation or WEDC. Gudex serves on the WEDC board, which made its selection of Ariens during their meeting in Oshkosh. Gudex says he was delighted to vote in favor of Ariens. He says, “I am certain that as displayed with his leadership at the Ariens Company and its success, Dan will be a guiding force leading the board in a positive direction.”

WCI Keeps Third Shift For Guard Towers

Most state prisons will be losing their third shift tower staff, but Waupun Correctional is being allowed to keep full staffing for the next two years. While the Joint Finance Committee was still holding meetings on the state budget, the Waupun Common Council held their own to hear residents concerns about cutting staffing especially at Waupun Correctional. Waupun Mayor Kyle Clark credits that effort in making a difference. State Senator Rick Gudex and State Representative Michael Schraa, who is also a Joint Finance Committee member, also attended that meeting in Waupun and pushed to keep the funding. Waupun’s other prisons, Dodge Correctional and the John Burke Center will lose their third shift staffing for guard towers. They will be relying on infrared cameras, trip wires, and sensors as a deterrent for possible escapes. Clark hopes that works. He says he’s uncertain whether that will be as effective as having manned towers.

County Board Takes Up Railroad Resolutions

The Fond du Lac County Board’s agenda for Tuesday night includes a couple of resolutions that have to do with railroad transportation in the North Fond du Lac area. One opposes the closing of Lincoln Road and Viaduct Road railroad crossings. It supports the Friendship Town Board’s request to keep the existing crossings open for vehicle traffic. County Highway Commissioner Tom Janke  says the Town and its residents have some legitimate concerns. He says it could impact emergency response and make it harder for vehicles to get around. He says it could lead to other issues like more area to stack trains and do their operations, which doesn’t always work well in a populated area. The other resolution asks the state Department of Transportation and area legislators to provide funding for construction of a railroad overpass on County Highway N or Kinker Road. Janke says it makes more sense there and would allow for continued access for vehicles and emergency response.

Home Sales Up In June

Existing home sales and the median price of those homes were both up in Fond du Lac County in June compared to a year ago. According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association homes sales in the County were up by 27 percent and the median price of a home was also up by 8.5 percent. For the first half of the year home sales in the County increased by 1.4 percent and home prices were 1.7 percent higher compared to the first six months of last year. Across the state home sales increased by 17.6 percent in June and home prices were up by 6.3 percent.

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Water Survey Being Mailed Out

A survey will be mailed out soon to 2,300 private well owners in Fond du Lac County. The County Health Department, Code Enforcement, Land Conservation, and County U-W Extension are working together on the effort. Diana Tscheschlok of the Extension Service says it will pose questions about water use, filtration that is used and other questions. She says they will also ask people whether they have had their water tested. She says the aim is to find out how knowledgeable residents are about their drinking waters. She says that will help the various agencies to keep improving the programs and educational activities they offer related to drinking water and keeping it safe. A grant from the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board is paying for the survey. When it arrives in the mail it will be from the UW-River Falls Research Center.

Wisconsin Sustainability Report Gives Mixed Grades

Wisconsin gets mixed grades in sustainability according to a report issued by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council. Some of the highlights of the report show in the economic category that the state is 5th best in manufacturing job growth, but 40th in overall job growth. In the environment category it’s noted that the state surpassed its goal of getting 10 percent of its electricity from renewable energies, but is the 10th most coal-dependent state. In the social category the state’s 88 percent high school graduation rate ties it for second in the nation, but overall health decreased from 20th place in 2013 to 23rd in 2014. The report also notes that Wisconsin is the worst state in the nation for the well being of black children. To see more click here.

New Board Members Sworn In For MPTC District Board

Three new members were recently sworn in for the Moraine Park Technical College District Board. MPTC President Bonnie Baerwald says each new member, Candy Fields, John “Bur” Zeratsky, and Lisa Olson bring something to the board. Fields is originally from Columbia and didn’t speak any English when she moved to the U.S. She says Fields attended the English language learning classes at MPTC and is now bi-lingual. Zeratsky is an employer member of the board. He is the executive vice-president of National Rivet and Manufacturing in Waupun and is a fourth-generation family business owner for a company that manufacturers fasteners. Olson has a background in technology and education. She is the District Administrator for the Hartford Union High School District, she has also served as an educational consultant for the state’s Department of Public Instruction. Each was sworn in to three years terms.