The state Building Commission Wednesday approved a massive renovation of the Vern Wolf Lake Dam at Bong State Recreation Area. Wolf Lake was drained last year after heavy spring rainfall destroyed the outflow pipe near Highway 75. The water was drained, and a review found the dam was in need of extensive renovations to comply with safety standards. Construction is scheduled to begin in September and be completed in December.
(Kenosha)--Alderman David Bogdala says that the city needs to reallocate funds to renovate one fire house, so that another can receive much needed repairs. Bogdala told WLIP’s Bill Lawrence that a resolution the he co-sponsored would move funds from adding office space at Fire House 4 to fix the deteriorating floors at Fire House 5. He said that while he always opposed the House 4 changes, this makes the issue even worse. Alderpersons Ruffolo, Matthewson, Bostrom, and Downing also co-sponsored the measure, which could be taken up by the council by next week.
Democrat Mary Burke's first television ad in the race against Gov. Scott Walker will begin airing in multiple markets Friday, touting her background with bicycle maker Trek while also attacking Walker's record on jobs. The ad, released by Burke's campaign yesterday, comes eight months before the November election and officially kicks off the race. Walker's campaign has yet to release an ad but the Republican Governors Association launched a pair of spots last month that a liberal group (tracking spending) said cost $1.2 million. Burke references the RGA ads in her first spot, which mixes details about her history as an executive at Trek Bicycle Corp. with attacks on Walker's record.
A young Salem woman died in a two-vehicle crash that occurred on a dangerous stretch of Highway C yesterday. According to police, 20-year-old Haley Reitz lost control of her vehicle while eastbound on a snow-covered curve in the 21-thousand block of Highway C (Wilmot Road) in Bristol. The vehicle spun sideways and was struck on the driver’s side door by a westbound vehicle driven by Joanna Derouchie of Salem. The victim’s 4-month-old daughter was in the vehicle but suffered no apparent injuries. According to police, she was taken to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee as a precaution. The crash remains under investigation, but weather and road conditions are believed to be a contributing factor.
A New York firm has been hired by the city to help create and enforce a new marketing strategy. Development Counsellors International was selected by a review committee of city officials. The group will create a new logo, slogan, website and marketing campaign for Kenosha. According to city officials, work on the project is expected to begin this spring and take about six months to complete. A request for bids was sent out last November. If all goes according to plan, the city’s new logo and ad campaign would be rolled out in 2015.
The state Senate has approved Gov. Scott Walker's $504 million tax cut plan. The bill would send $406 million to technical colleges to reduce their property tax hit and cut income taxes by $98.6 million. The plan would shrink property taxes on a median-valued home by around 130-bucks on this December's bills and save the typical taxpayer $46 in income taxes.
The Kenosha area registered just a few days of temperatures above freezing last month. According to the National Weather Service, only four days saw temperatures above freezing, with a high of 49 degrees on Feb. 18th. The average temperature was 17.5 degrees last month, 7.3 degrees lower for the same month last year. Meanwhile Kenosha received 13.2 inches of snowfall last month, about half as much as the city received a year ago. But for the year to date, the area has received 48.1 inches of snow. That’s 10.5 inches more than 2013 and well above the winter average of 36.9 inches. In about two weeks, spring is set arrive. Higher temperatures this weekend may be foreshadowing its arrival
The unrelenting weather continues to wreak havoc on water mains in Kenosha. According to a Water Utility spokesman, this winter has been one of the coldest and longest in decades. The never-ending cold has produced 5 feet of frost in the ground and seemingly constant water main breaks across the city. According to a spokesman, there have been over 100 water main breaks and over 200 frozen pipe incidents this year. With about two weeks until the start of spring, the area fought below-zero temperatures on Sunday followed by bone-chilling cold on Monday. The temperature is expected to hit 36 degrees on Friday, which could potentially create even more problems for underground water pipes.
A man who sold stolen goods from Snap-on Inc. has managed to escape jail time. 55-year-old Michael Ostrom said his then-girlfriend Linda Anderson arranged for the items to be sent to him. Anderson worked for Snap-on in 2007 when the robberies took place, and she helped process returns. Ostrom took the scratch-and-dent inventory that Snap-on could not sell through its dealers and sold them on Craigslist. He paid for the shipping expenses but not for the merchandise. Because Ostrom had no prior record and was considered a “model citizen”, he will now serve three-years probation.
To help fight drunken driving and increase seat belt use, the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department will intensify its traffic safety enforcement from March 4-20th, specifically targeting St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The increased enforcement is part of a $6,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The money would allow the department to put approximately 32 hours of extra enforcement into place during this time period.
The Republican Governors Association has released its second attack ad against Democrat Mary Burke in the Wisconsin governor's race. The ad released yesterday is similar to the first one released by the RGA last month in that it focuses on Burke's time spent as state commerce secretary under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. Burke is challenging Gov. Scott Walker this year. She served as Commerce Department secretary from 2005 to 2007 and is also a former executive at Trek Bicycle Corp., a company founded by her father.
Average retail gasoline prices in Wisconsin have jumped 8.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.53 a gallon. According to GasBuddy.com, in Kenosha, prices jumped 12 cents a gallon in the last week to an average of $3.49. Nationally, prices up 3.2 cents per gallon in the past week to an average of $3.44 per gallon. According to GasBuddy, it costs around 50 bucks to fill the average gas tank.
If Gov. Scott Walker’s wish is granted, a verdict on the Kenosha Casino Project may not come until after February 2015. Walker has asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to grant him a six-month extension for a decision on the Menominee Nation’s plan to build a Hard Rock casino in Kenosha. The extra time will allow consultants hired by the governor to finalize a report on the impact of the project. Walker’s administration also needs extra time to “facilitate discussions with the interested parties". If granted, the deadline for the governor’s action would move from Aug. 23 to Feb. 19, 2015 — well after the November election.
One Kenosha alderman is asking the City Council’s help in speeding up the process by which the Ethics Board takes up complaints. A measure authored by Alderman Steve Bostrom would require the Ethics Board to take action on a complaint within 15 days of having received the grievance. It would also require the city’s HR department to pass those complaints to the board within one day of the receipt. The idea behind the change, Bostrom said, is to make clear to the Ethics Board that complaints need to be dealt with in a more timely fashion. His ordinance will have to go through a number of committees before the City Council takes up the measure.
A resolution calling for the Kenosha City Council to request a public hearing on allegations against Fire Chief John Thomsen will once again be enlisted on the Public Safety and Welfare Committee’s agenda. The most recent allegations against Thomsen were filed with the Police and Fire Commission and accuse Thomsen of numerous counts of misconduct. Committee Chairman Rocco LaMacchia said Thursday he made a mistake last week by prematurely stopping debate on the resolution, authored by fellow committee member and Eighth District Alderman Kevin Mathewson. LaMacchia said he would place the resolution on the committee’s March 10 agenda for consideration.