Local News

Centennial Park Grand Opening

The Hartford Parks and Recreation department announced the City of Hartford’s Centennial Park Grand Opening event on Friday, May 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The community will celebrate the generosity of those who made the redevelopment of Centennial Park possible. The Barbecue Company and Brewed Omen will be present for purchases of food and beverages, along with a ribbon cutting ceremony that will be held at 6 p.m. and live music by Wait For Morning.

This event is open to the public and is family friendly.

Grass was planted in the park, along with the installation of new playground equipment which will include a variety of train-themed accessories. The project also included the asphalt paving of the bike path and parking lots.

 

Washington County Sheriff's Office Proclamation

It's National Telecommunicators Week, from April 14 to April 20. 

Beginning in 1991, Telecommunicators Week was nationally created to raise public awareness of the hard work and dedication of public safety telecommunicators. In 2023, Sheriff’s Office Telecommunicators, or Communications Officers answered 25,390 emergency 911 calls, handled 63,353 administrative phone calls and responded to and/or monitored over 4.3 million radio transmissions.

This dedicated group of unseen public safety professionals are often the first point of contact for citizens in crisis and in need of assistance. They are the calm voices behind phones and radio mics who try to make sense out of chaotic situations without the ability of seeing what’s wrong. To recognize these men and women for their backstage role in maintaining peace and order, suppressing fires, and providing medical treatment and transport to the citizens of Washington County, please join the Washington County Sheriff's Office this week in showing your appreciation by simply saying; thank you.

Resurfacing Project In Jackson Begins

The Jackson Police Department released a reminder regarding a road project. 

Resurfacing of State Hwy. 60, from Hwy. P to Eagle Drive and the roundabout project at Eagle Drive in Jackson is underway. 

  • It involves one lane of traffic (eastbound only) that will be maintained through the project, except for a one-week time period when the railroad crossing replacement will take place.
  • Westbound traffic will be detoured along County Rd. G, County Rd NN and County Rd. P. County Rd. P will be closed south of Hwy. 60 beginning June 3. 
  • One-way traffic patterns in the eastbound direction with a detour for westbound traffic, full roadway closure with detours and two-way traffic patterns under flagging operations.
  • A new hot mix asphalt pavement surface, new pavement markings, and signage.
  • Upgrade traffic signals at County P, Industrial? Drive and Jackson Drive
  • Improve curb ramps to ADA standards
  • Reconstruct Hwy 60 at Eagle Drive intersection to a modern roundabout.
  • Installation of retaining wall at the northwest corner of the roundabout.

Traffic Still Open to Highway 83 Businesses

Road work continues in the City of Hartford, but there is access to local businesses.

While the state is now working on the stretch of Hwy. 83, from Monroe Avenue south into the Town of Erin, residents are reminded that you can still get to local businesses in the City of Hartford.

All roads are barricaded on one side, and this will entail everyone to take their turn to get around the barricades to get to those businesses on the south end of the City like Hahn’s Ace Hardware, Hartford Animal Clinic and Grand Avenue Dental to name just a few.

Serious Injury Crash Leading To Lifesaving Measures

Deputies from the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to Owl Road, in the town of Calamus on Sunday, April 14 at 1:16 a.m. for a crash involving a single motorcycle operated by a 37-year-old man from the city of Beaver Dam.

An individual who lives in the area found the motorcycle and the operator in a field, and called 911. Once deputies arrived, life-saving measures including CPR were conducted for around eight minutes by Dodge County Deputy Dylan Ott.

The male subject was transported to Marshfield Medical Center in Beaver Dam by Beaver Dam Paramedics. He was then transported to UW-Health in Madison by medical helicopter with life-threatening injuries.

Alcohol is believed to be a factor.

The crash remains under investigation by the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.

Assisting the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office was the Beaver Dam Fire Department.

Questions may be directed to Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt

Traffic Pursuit Leads To Charges For A 23-Year-Old

A Dodge County Sheriff’s Office Deputy initiated a high-speed pursuit Saturday night, April 13 around 7:36 p.m. with a white BMW, traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 151 near E. Salem Road in the town of Calamus. The deputy observed a speeding violation. The pursuit continued for around 28 miles into Fond Du Lac County. During the pursuit, the vehicle reached speeds of over 130 mph and almost struck several other motorists. There was a successful deployment of a tire deflation device, but the vehicle continued to flee.

On State Highway 26 in Fond Du Lac County, a trooper with the Wisconsin State Patrol joined the pursuit and stopped the vehicle with a successful Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver. The driver, who was identified as Gregory Pauly, age 23 of Middleton, was taken into custody for Fleeing/Eluding an Officer and 2nd Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety.

This pursuit tied up a number of resources and the actions of the driver put the motoring public in harm’s way, for which he is now being held accountable. Assisting the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office in this incident were the Beaver Dam Police Department, Waupun Police Department, Fond Du Lac County Sheriff’s Office and Wisconsin State Patrol.

It is important to note that all persons are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Questions may be directed to Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt.

Low Turnout Reported From Spring Election

Spring storms seem to put a damper on the spring election.

Tuesday’s spring election saw a reduced turnout with only 32.56% of eligible voters making their way out, during an unusual snowstorm during the day.

The City of Hartford was hit with 3.5 inches of wet snow on election day, while individuals tried to get out for the spring election. In the past, Hartford's spring election numbers were closer to 39.2%.

The most contested races on this spring ballot were for school board positions. The next election is August 13, which will be the partisan primary followed by the November 5 general election. 

As always, the City of Hartford thanks all of their poll workers who came out to make sure the elections were run extremely well.

Floodplain Study Open House on May 2

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is hosting a Flood Risk Open House for property owners regarding Preliminary Floodplain Study Map Amendments. There are over 8,700 parcels within the floodplain study that will receive a postcard from Washington County.

Approximately 71% of the parcels will see a net decrease in the total area of floodplain on their property or a minimal change (+/- .1 acres). An estimated 29% of parcels will see an increase in the floodplain zone on their property. The areas of Washington County that are most impacted are in the north half and southeast part. 

The floodplain maps in the southwest portion of Washington County are being updated due to a required change by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) related to the model used to measure positions on Earth, that results in very little impact on the floodplain zone.

Areas of a studied floodplain that are designated flood fringe or flood storage may provide a property owner with development options that were either not available or required expensive engineering analysis in unstudied floodplains.

Impacted property owners should look for a postcard inviting them to attend the open house on May 2 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Washington County Fair Park – Ziegler Building, 3000 CTH PV., West Bend. The postcards will generally indicate whether a property will have an increase or decrease in floodplain zone but does not indicate the locations of the floodplain changes. Interested property owners can visit https://www.washcowisco.gov/landresources to view the preliminary mapping changes as it relates to the existing floodplain zone through a search by address or tax parcel.

Tracy Byrd Set To Perform At The Dodge County Fair

Well-decorated country music veteran, Tracy Byrd will share some of his thirty hit singles with a crowd of fans in Beaver Dam on August 15. Byrd will take the Moraine Park Main Stage on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Fans should be ready for a really entertaining time.

Of his thirty hit singles, eleven of them were Top Ten hits. Billboard number-one hits included “Holdin’ Heaven” in 1993 and “Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo”, a popular go-to party song, later in 2002.

The American Music Awards also recognized Byrd in 1994, by welcoming him to the industry with a nomination for Favorite Country New Artist. The year following, TNN and the Music City News Country Awards foreshadowed his successful career with a nomination for the Male Star of Tomorrow award. The Recording Industry Association of America awarded Byrd four gold certifications and one double-platinum certification.

One of Byrd’s most familiar hits is a popular love ballad. It is most recognized for being played at weddings over the decades since its release. “The Keeper of the Stars” is a fan favorite to dance along to at weddings and sing along to at his concerts. The melody and the lyrics received several nods by Byrd’s peers. In 1996, the song won Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music Awards. It was also nominated by the Country Music Association Awards for single of the year in 1995.

“Keeper of the Stars” was featured on his second album “No Ordinary Man”, which featured several other hit singles. “Watermelon Crawl”, “The First Step” and “Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous” helped the album earn double-platinum status, reaching over two million album sales. Each of these catchy tunes is sure to make the August 15 concert one heck of a party.

Byrd is the second headliner announced in the 2024 series of free evening entertainment at the Dodge County Fair, August 14-18.

Area Law Enforcement Conduct Drug Search

On Friday, April 5, the West Bend Police Department worked in collaboration with the West Bend School District Administration to conduct a proactive K-9 drug search at the West Bend High Schools and Badger Middle School. Trained police search dogs from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office, Mequon Police Department, Hartford Police Department, and Grafton Police Department were utilized to conduct the search. As a result of the search, two citations were issued for possession of a vaping device and one citation was issued for underage possession of alcohol. No drug arrests were made.

The West Bend Police Department maintains a zero tolerance approach to violence or threats of violence in any school setting as well as zero tolerance for the presence of illegal drugs. All acts of violence or drug possession will result in an arrest.

If you observe violence, threats of violence or become aware of illegal drug activity, see something - say something, and contact a school official or the police department at (262)335-5000.

Projects Beginning Ahead of Schedule in Hartford

It's the first project of the year in the City of Hartford. 

This year's unseasonably warm winter has allowed projects to begin ahead of schedule.

Some of their summer projects have already started. The Pleasant Hill Cemetery gets a new entrance approach, as the first phase of the paving project for Arlington Dr.  Many more projects are scheduled for this year, including the total reconstruction of portions of W. Rossman St. and E. Loos Street.

Forte Bank Host Fraud Seminars

Hartford's Forte Bank will host two fraud seminars with AARP, which will provide valuable information.  

Learn the Do’s and Don’ts of how to spot and avoid common types of scams, plus information about:

????Preventing financial exploitation

????Empowering family caregivers

????Helping those with dementia

The events will be held April 22 and April 25 from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Community Room of the Forte Bank Hartford branch.

Don't let fraud catch you off guard - arm yourself with knowledge and safeguard your finances. 

Chris Young Performing at the Washington County Fair

The Washington County Fair Park and Conference Center in West Bend is excited to announce their Saturday headliner, on July 27 at the Washington County Fair!

Country artist Chris Young, with Tucker Wetmore.

Chris Young will perform at the Silver Lining Amphitheater as part of his Young Love and Saturday Nights Tour.

Tickets will go on sale on Friday, April 12 at 10 a.m.

Visit wcfairpark.com for tickets and more information.

The Washington County Fair runs from Tuesday, July 23 to Sunday, July 28 at the Washington County Fair Park and Conference Center in West Bend.  

Drugs Discovered During OWI Arrest

A 38-year-old West Bend woman was arrested for second offense OWI after a deputy stopped her for traveling 114 mph on U.S. 45. The incident occurred just after 1 a.m. when the deputy locked radar on the woman’s vehicle south of Badger Road in the town of Kewaskum. While catching up to the driver, the deputy also observed the vehicle deviating from the travel lane, including traveling left of center.

The deputy observed numerous signs of impairment and quickly developed probable cause for arrest. A search of the vehicle resulted in additional cites for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana. Additional citations are likely forthcoming pending toxicology results from a blood test.

Dodge County Participating in Annual Drill

This week, April 8 - 12 is Wisconsin Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Thursday, April 11, 2024, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in the Statewide Tornado Watch/Warning Drill. The sirens will alarm at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. This will just be a test, however, if there is any ongoing weather it could be rescheduled to a later date.

The Dodge County Sheriff's Office recommend that everyone takes some time this week to go over their safety plan so that you can be prepared when severe weather does strike.

Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared the week of April 8 - 12 as Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week.

It is launched every year to remind people of the dangers associated with tornadoes, thunderstorms, flooding and hail.

Wisconsin's annual statewide tornado drills will take place on Thursday, April 11 at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

During the drill times, Wisconsin's National Weather Service offices will conduct NOAA Weather Radio tests that can be heard if you are actively listening to those devices.

 

There is Still Time to Win!

RODNEY ATKINS FANS!

You still have time to win a pair of VIP tickets to see Rodney Atkins at the Waukesha County Fair on Thursday, July 18th!

All you have to do is send an email to FunAndGames@WTKM.com and tell us your favorite Rodney Atkins song and why you want to see his show. Include your name, city, and phone number. Each day this week, we will randomly select one winning email and announce the winner at 9:30am after the Trading Post Show this week. 

Congratulations to Our Winners So Far: 

Cody from Lake Mills

Joel from Hartford

Patrick from Sussex

Jeremy from Juneau

Jim from Fort Atkinson

You still have Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week for a chance to win!

 

Fire Reported At A Barton Business

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a passerby on Highway 45 last Sunday morning, April 7 around 9:17 a.m. reporting smoke coming from a building in the Town of Barton. The West Bend Fire Department was paged and the call was upgraded to a MABAS call. Fire Departments from Kewaskum, Jackson, Slinger, Allenton, Newburg, Boltonville, Kohlsville, Fillmore and St. Lawrence were paged to assist.

The first responding Washington County Sheriff's Deputy arrived confirming smoke was coming out of the back of the building. The Deputy reported the business was locked and the gate across the entry was closed. Contact was made with the business owner who provided the gate code and responded to the scene.

The fire was fully extinguished by 10:13 a.m. The business suffered some damage, but it was not occupied at the time of the fire. The West Bend Fire Department has requested the assistance of a Fire Investigator from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and this is an active investigation.

 

Kewaskum Police Officer Arrested

A 34-year-old Kewaskum Police Officer has been arrested for his alleged involvement regarding inappropriate conduct toward an 18-year-old female student while the officer was assigned as the School Resource Officer. The female’s parents reported this concern on Friday, April 5th, 2024. After being notified, Police Chief Thomas Bishop immediately initiated an internal investigation. To maintain transparency and impartiality, the Chief requested the West Bend Police Department conduct the independent investigation based upon mutual assistance.

The initial investigation revealed inappropriate conduct towards the female student. The officer was arrested the evening of Friday, April 5th, 2024, and remains in custody at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. He is being held on felony charges of Sexual Misconduct by School Staff - 948.098(2) and Misconduct in Public Office – 946.12(2).

Police Chief Thomas Bishop said of the incident, “We hold our officers to the highest moral and ethical standards. To say these allegations are a shock would be an understatement. As a parent and your police chief I am saddened and angered. This officer betrayed the trust of the Kewaskum Police Department, the Kewaskum School District, and most importantly, the community our officers take an oath to serve with professionalism, integrity and respect.”

The officer will be placed on administrative leave pending the completion of a formal employment discipline process upon his release from jail. At this time there is no evidence to suspect there are any other victims.

In an effort to maintain the integrity of the investigation, no further details about the case will be released at this time.

Scam Using the Dodge County Sheriff's Office Identity

The Dodge County Sheriff's Office released information regarding a scam.

There is currently a scam by someone claiming to be from the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office. They are using the actual names of employees from the sheriff’s office, but the phone calls are not legitimate. They are also spoofing the phone number on their caller ID making it seem like the phone number is legitimate.

This makes operations very difficult, as we do need to speak with people in the public via the phone. If you receive a phone call from the sheriff’s office, we will never ask you for legal information over the phone. If you are concerned that a phone call has been received from the sheriff’s office and it is not legitimate, ask for the person’s name and tell the person that you are going to hang up and call our dispatch center. You can then call our dispatch center and they will patch you through to the person that needs to talk to you. This is a sure way to ensure the call you are receiving is legitimate. The non-emergency number for the sheriff’s office is 920-386-3726.

Solar Eclipse Happening Today

A solar eclipse is happening on Monday, April 8.

The full eclipse is expected when the moon slides right in front of the sun, entirely blocking it. The resulting twilight, with only the sun’s outer atmosphere visible, would be long enough for birds and other animals to fall silent. 

Weatherology Meteorologist Paul Trambley provided some insight on the solar eclipse with WTKM News.

"Today, if you have the proper eye-wear, we should be in line to see it. It appears the sky will remain clear enough to be able to view the eclipse. It will start to happen around 12:53 p.m. and continue to 3:21 p.m. and expected to be 80 to 85 percent of totality with this eclipse."

The out-of-sync darkness lasts up to 4 minutes and 28 seconds. That's almost twice as long as it was during the U.S. coast-to-coast eclipse seven years ago, because the moon is closer to Earth.

It will be another 21 years before the U.S. sees another total solar eclipse on this scale.

Special Needs Alert Form

Law enforcement, fire departments and EMS professionals encounter individuals every day who struggle with disabilities such as blindness, cognitive impairment, deafness, prone to seizures, and others. They want to be prepared and be able to respond to the needs of the citizens to the best of their ability. Knowing that someone is autistic and also knowing what may upset them or calm them down can be extremely helpful in finding the best solution possible for that person and their family.

If you or someone in your family live in Dodge County and may struggle with a disability having special needs, fill out the form on the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office website at www.co.dodge.wi.gov/special-needs-alert on the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office app available for download from your Android or Apple App Store.

Once we receive the information, it will be maintained in our countywide records management system and available to first responders, as well as our 911 communications professionals. Information will be relayed to responders who need that information quickly so that we can provide the best possible service to our citizens.

Additionally, as part of this request form, you can sign up to be contacted regarding Dodge County’s Project Lifesaver program available to the residents of the county to assist caregivers of loved ones who are prone to wandering, especially those with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, and down syndrome. The program involves placing an FM transmitter, similar to a wristwatch, on the arm or leg of a person who is prone to wander. If the person wanders away, the caregiver can contact the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and trained personnel will respond and assist in locating the individual using equipment designed for locating the signal from the transmitter.

May 22 is the Annual Day of Service

The Hartford Union High School Day of Service is May 22 this year. They are looking for nonprofits, businesses, churches and any other groups who could use some helping hands.

Please send an email to DayofService@huhs.org to let them know more about the work their students can do for you.

Service work such as cleaning, organizing, painting, yard work, and anything of the sort would be great sites for us to include in this day. Please include in your email to DayofService@huhs.org the following information:

1. Location/Business

2. Address where work is to be done

3. Point of contact

4. Email and phone for point of contact

5. Type of work to be done

6. Number of students you are requesting (based upon an approximate 9am-2pm work time)

Hartford Union High School sends a thank you for considering and helping in making this another successful event for their staff and students. 

City of Hartford Remains Strong Financially

The City of Hartford is doing well financially.

Hartford City Administrator Steve Volkert told WTKM News that the fund balance received a boost.

"We had originally proposed and budgeted to pull around $240,000 out of our fund balance, which is our savings account, to balance the budget. Now, due to how we finished the year, we actually had over $700,000 to the positive, so we were able to put back rather than taking $240,000 out we were able to put over $400,000 back in our savings account. Something like this happens because we make sure our employees are as efficient as possible. They look for every avenue to save tax dollars. Our taxes in the City of Hartford have not gone up in several years."     

The city taxes have a lower tax rate then they’ve had in quite some time, and one of the major reasons is the growth of the community.

A recent call with the rating company Moody’s brought more good news for the City of Hartford. Volkert told WTKM that the city is ranked high, with a AA2 ranking which is rare for a community this size.                                            

The City of Hartford’s finance department has a lot to do with their overall financial picture.

Prescribed Burn Planned in West Bend

The City of West Bend Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department and Fire Department will conduct a prescribed burn at Riverside Park on the morning of Friday, April 12, 2024. In case of poor weather conditions, Friday, April 19, has been designated as a rain date.

The Riverside burn will target approximately 40 acres of prairie and natural areas located along the Riverwalk from Indiana Avenue east to River Road. Burning is set to begin at 9 a.m. and conclude mid-afternoon.

Prescribed burns are conducted annually throughout the state to assist in the rejuvenation of prairies and native plantings. Specific benefits include the removal of dead plant material that can inhibit the germination of native species, the reduction of invasive species, and the destruction of woody vegetation that may encroach native plantings.

Additionally, the post-burn blackened soil absorbs sunlight, which encourages the germination of seeds. Burning is a best practice and beneficial management tool for prairie maintenance.