Local News

Tim Algiers Recognized For 33 Years of Service

Hartford Common Council met Tuesday night, February 27 at Hartford City Hall.

The new library director of Hartford's Jack Russell Memorial Library was introduced. Vanessa Taylir told council members she is excited to join the library.

The Mayor's Report involved a presentation with a proclamation which recognized Tim Algiers for 33 years as the City of Hartford's Prosecuting Attorney. The report also involved consideration of appointing Kim Schumacher to the Police and Fire Commission. Hartford Mayor Tim Michalak addressed council members regarding the appointment.

"When trying to get an appointment to any of the commissions or committees that the mayor is responsible for, it's important to look around and see who would be appropriate for something. The Police and Fire Commission is very important to us. Both of the chiefs stepped forward and suggested Kim's name for the appointment."

Schumacher is from Hartford, and worked for over 20 years for the FBI. 

The Hartford Common Council unanimously approved the appointment of Kim Schumacher to the Police and Fire Commission. 

 

A Pursuit in West Bend Ends With An Arrest

A West Bend Police Officer recently observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on Washington Street, at Veterans Avenue in West Bend. The officer tried to catch up and saw the vehicle crash into the median at Washington Street and Schoenhaar Drive. The driver then fled from the car on foot. Officers located items in the car belonging to a 25-year-old West Bend man. An Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department K-9 assisted in tracking the man toward a business on Schoenhaar Drive. A short time later Washington County Sheriff's Deputies tried stopping a vehicle on Highway 41, and the driver fled. The vehicle belonged to the business the K-9 had tracked earlier, relating to the man in question. The vehicle tires were spiked, and the driver was found to be the 25-year-old man.

The investigation determined the man stole the vehicle he originally crashed, from downtown West Bend and then stole a different vehicle from the business on Schoenhaar Drive. The man was placed in jail for multiple charges, including 2nd offense operating while intoxicated, fleeing and auto theft. 

Welcome to the Dodge County Sheriff's Office

A special gathering took place at the Dodge County Sheriff's Office for a special swearing-in and recognition ceremony. It was a chance to welcome and congratulate everyone. 

Justin Kontny, former patrol deputy, was promoted and sworn in as detective. Justin Kontny started with their agency in 2010 as a correctional officer at their jail, he then joined the patrol division in 2013.

Carmen Micale was sworn in as patrol deputy. Carmen is returning to the sheriff's office, after previously working for the sheriff’s office for 19 years, both as a correctional officer and patrol sergeant.

Curtis Deboer was sworn in as Public Safety Administrative Support Specialist. Curtis comes to the Dodge County Sheriff's Office from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office where he has served in the jail since 2005.

Communications Sergeant Jeramy Grossman, Communication Officer Tammy Gebhardt, and Communication Officer Michelle Weber all received a Letter of Commendation and a Lifesaving Award. Dodge County Communications received a 911 call from a female reporting she was having a heart attack. Sergeant Grossman's team worked seamlessly to prove immediate lifesaving measures. Deputies were dispatched within seconds giving them critical information that they recognized agonal breathing on the 911 call. After CPR and AED shocks, the patient was conscious and alert before being transported to the hospital.

 

HUHS Board Members Approve A Community Survey

Monday night, February 26 the Hartford Union High School Board of Education voted on a community-wide survey, which would provide additional feedback to the district.

Hartford Union High School Superintendent Jeff Walters recently discussed the item with WTKM News.

"A citizens advisory committee, which is a board appointed committee in this case, has been digging through the audit of our facilities for the past months. They presented to our school board regarding possible scenarios in what they have identified as our facility needs. Each of those scenarios certainly are a possible facilities referendum, depending on the needs of the board supports of the committee. Regarding infrastructure, regarding learning spaces and regarding exterior athletic and outdoor spaces as well. In this case, they have those three important buckets and it's not just about outdoor facilities. It's about infrastructure...the backbone of our district."

Mr. Walters went on to say that it's time for those improvements.

"It is time and it's not easy. Costs continue to go up, and needs continue to rise and that's a bad equation. I believe that in some point in time, the district is going to have to decide where to put our resources. We believe that where we have landed now is a good balance between talking about learning spaces, talking about the backbone...the infrastructure of what we need and also talking about keeping up with other districts who have significantly improved outdoor facilities compared to what Hartford Union High School has, so it's an important conversation. It's driven by members of our communities across our 225 square miles."

Hartford Union High School Board of Education members unanimously approved the community-wide survey.            

Dodge County Dairy Brunch Set For This Summer

The Dodge County Dairy Promotion Committee announced this year's Dodge County Dairy Brunch hosts: The Hafemeister Family Farm of Hustisford!

Dave and Kathleen Hafemeister, along with their children Alayna and Ethan, will be hosting this year's Dodge County Dairy Brunch on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

Dave and Kathleen milk 135 Holsteins with two Lely Robotic Milkers they installed in 2014. They also raise 120 heifers on the farm and grow their own corn, wheat, alfalfa and soybeans on 300 acres to feed the animals. They have one full-time employee, Mike Roe, who also keeps a few of his own registered Holsteins in the herd.

Dave's parents, Richard and Gloria, purchased the farm in 1978. They also hosted the Dodge County Dairy Brunch in 1982. In 2010, Dave and Kathleen purchased the farm from Richard and Gloria.

Photo by the Dodge County Dairy Promotion Committee.

Monthly Report By West Bend Police

West Bend Police Chief Tim Dehring released a statement, stating that because the West Bend Police Department serves all the citizens of West Bend, he intentionally does not publicly engage in partisan politics. 

The West Bend Police Chief respects everyone’s right to express their opinions, and he is grateful for the elected officials willing to serve, and believe strongly in the democratic process. Reluctantly, however, Chief Dehring believes a recent editorial exchange regarding a critical component of the police department’s operations requires some clarification.

West Bend Police Chief Tim Dehring continues:

Just like some of you, I read the editorials and recognized a stark difference in perspective. One candidate pledged to seek input from citizens and officials, while the other indicated their approach was to inform the public of government operations. It is not appropriate as Police Chief to comment on which approach to democracy I prefer. I believe the consent of the governed is determined by the voters in our elections and referendums. Please be part of that process by exercising your right to vote and voting for the candidates and platforms that align with your values.

It is, however, within my role as Police Chief to provide information to our elected officials as they work on behalf of the citizens. In the editorials, a county supervisor who represents West Bend citizens stated the City of West Bend should relinquish its responsibility to dispatch emergency services to our community. Some of the points made are open for interpretation, some are differences in opinion, and some were inaccurate. While this issue has too many dynamics to be fully discussed in this message, I would like to clarify a few of the points made in the editorials to honor my pledge to be responsive and accountable to our community.

The editorial suggested that the county would take over West Bend’s dispatching duties for “free”. I assume “free” means at no cost to the taxpayer. The City of West Bend spends $513,691 in salaries to maintain a minimum staffing level of dispatchers. While the county’s dispatchers are extremely competent and professional, West Bend’s volume of calls for service would require additional positions be added. The city would also need to create new positions at the Police Department for the supplementary duties completed by our dispatchers. To state as fact that relinquishing our dispatching duties would save the taxpayers $1 million is not an accurate statement.

For a dispatch center to remain effective, it must transition to the Next Generation 911 system. This technology utilizes GPS to decrease emergency service response times by routing cell phone calls directly to the appropriate dispatch center. The editorial correctly pointed out that the state has an exclusionary grant program aimed at encouraging dispatch “consolidations” that will not allow West Bend to seek funding for the Next Generation 911 system transition. While disappointed by the decision and its dismissal of the “home rule” philosophy, I understand that grant money is limited and must be guarded to prevent overspending. Every taxpayer should listen carefully whenever grant money is presented as “free” and remember it is your hard-earned money being spent!

Knowing it was critical to implement Next Generation 911, we looked for other ways to secure funding. Like all of you do in your households, we prioritized our needs, delayed “wants”, made hard decisions, and funded this project in a responsible manner. While we did not qualify for the specific Next Generation 911 grant, the State of Wisconsin has been very supportive financially of growth and development in West Bend. The Police Department received a significant law enforcement grant in 2022 that was used to fund the first phase of the Next Generation 911 transition. The second phase of the transition was approved in last year’s budget and will be implemented in 2024.

Some of you may ask why it is important for West Bend to maintain its own dispatch center. It is a fair question. Your dispatchers are not just “someone on the other end of the phone”, they are an integral part of your public safety team. Communication is a critical component to everything your police department does. Your dispatchers are the first contact with our citizens in need, they direct our initial emergency response, and become the center of Incident Command in all levels of critical calls within the city. In addition to the Police and Fire Departments, they monitor and dispatch all the other services provided by the West Bend team that makes this city a great place to live.

I view our dispatch center and dispatchers as a critical foundation of our operational effectiveness. I am firmly against giving up control over such a vital element of our public safety team. A true “consolidation” is resource-based and involves shared governance, joint policy creation, and agency level accountability. That is not the model being implemented in our county. While I have the upmost respect for our partners at the Sheriff’s Office, the size of our organization and the community we serve requires we maintain both the responsibility and oversight for our community. We will, however, also continue our strong collaborative relationships with all of our public safety partners.

One of the last points the editorial made was the fact that many municipalities have relinquished their dispatching responsibilities. The writer cited there were “only about 25 communities” in the state that maintain their own dispatch. West Bend is the 26th largest city in Wisconsin and therefore it would make sense that we may be one of those communities. While we don’t ignore trends and industry benchmarks, we also don’t rely solely on them. Our operational decisions are based on what allows us to best Protect and Serve our community, provide excellence in policing, and keep our officers safe.

The West Bend Police Department and its members are committed to Protect and Serve the City of West Bend. We pledge to provide excellence in policing, remain accountable to our citizens, and will be responsive to the needs of the community. You have our word on that.

Tim Dehring

Chief of Police

Firefighter and EMT of the Year Announced in Hartford

The Hartford Fire and Rescue Department held its annual appreciation banquet on Friday, February 23. 

Two members were recognized for outstanding service during 2023. Andy Brooks received the award for Firefighter of the Year, and Elaine Daly received the award for EMT of the year. Both members consistently put the needs of others before their own, and the Hartford Fire and Rescue Department recognized and thanked them for their dedication.

Please congratulate these members when you see them!

Photos by the City of Hartford.

 

 

Teenagers Involved In Police Chase

A Watertown Police Department officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop early Saturday morning, on February 24 at 12:16 a.m. It involved a vehicle in the area of N. Church St. at Rock St. for a defective headlight. The vehicle initially stopped, but then drove away from the officer. The officer pursued the vehicle through the city. Speeds ranged from 40 to 60 mph with minimal traffic throughout the pursuit.

The vehicle eventually stopped on Clovercrest Ct. off of Oconomowoc Ave. The driver and two occupants fled on foot from the vehicle. One other occupant, a 15-year-old female subject, immediately got out of the vehicle with her hands in the air and complied with the officers. Officers were able to apprehend all other occupants.

Located within the vehicle was a loaded revolver, cocaine, THC products and open intoxicants. The driver, a 15-year-old male, was transported to the hospital for a severe ankle injury from falling from a retaining wall. A 17-year-old male was transported to the Jefferson County Jail for encouraging the felony eluding and for bail jumping. A 16-year- old male was turned over to a guardian. None of the subjects involved reside in Watertown.

This case remains under investigation pending additional charges.

Hustisford Firefighters Respond To Structure Fire

Saturday afternoon, February 24 around 2:00 p.m. the Hustisford Fire Department and EMS, along with their automatic aid departments which include the Neosho Fire Department and Iron Ridge Fire Department were dispatched to Hazelwood Rd. in Hustisford for a structure fire.

A single-story residence had smoke showing from the attic vents.

The Engine 61 crew found a kitchen fire with extension into the attic.

The fire was extinguished by 2:13 p.m. Additional crews assisted with fire extension mitigation, ventilation and overhaul.

Estimated property loss is $20,000 while the estimated contents loss is $10,000.

No one was home at the time and no injuries were reported.

 

New Director For The Jack Russell Memorial Library

The Jack Russell Memorial Library, in the City of Hartford has a new director.

Monday, February 19 was the first day for Vanessa Taylir. 

Vanessa's experience includes working for the West Bend Municipal Library, and prior to that was at both the Slinger School District and Village of Slinger Library. Vanessa Taylir is looking forward to moving the Jack Russell Memorial Library forward with all of the great assets and programs it already provides to their patrons.

The City of Hartford encourages you to please stop in and welcome Vanessa Taylir to the Jack Russell Memorial Library.

Hartford's K-9 Flash Locates Attempted Homicide Handgun

Wednesday morning, February 21 around 1:34 a.m. a 31-year-old Racine woman was dropped off at a hospital in West Bend with a gunshot wound to the neck. An unknown male subject immediately left the scene after dropping her off. The Washington County Sheriff’s Department responded to the hospital, obtained a description of the vehicle involved and learned the shooting occurred at an unknown residence in the City of West Bend.

The vehicle was located by a West Bend Police Officer a short time later, with the driver trying to walk away. The 38-year-old man from Milwaukee was taken into custody without incident.

Information was obtained regarding the firearm. It had been thrown from the suspect's vehicle in the vicinity of Hwy 45 and Paradise Dr.

Officer Parker and K-9 Flash of the Hartford Police Department were requested to conduct an article search to locate the firearm. The team began the search near the on- ramp for Hwy. 45 near Paradise Dr. After extensively searching the ditch line for approximately one mile, K-9 Flash showed several behavioral changes indicating he found the human odor and began sprinting southbound. After several hundred feet, K-9 Flash placed his nose to the ground and laid down right next to a handgun. It was recovered and estimated to have been in the grass for 13 hours.

Several witnesses were located and interviewed. The man has been placed in the Washington County Jail for attempted first degree homicide and possession of a firearm by a felon.

The woman remains hospitalized and is expected to recover.

The investigation is ongoing. 

Jackson Police Encourage You To Protect Yourself Against Scams

The Jackson Police Department released valuable information regarding scams. 

In this case, important tips about the elements of a scam. Every scam has three elements that produce red flags.

???? Pretense: They have to appear to come from a person or business that is legitimate.

????Problem/Prize: They are very creative when they craft their stories. They will try to convince you that a family member needs help, or their is child porn on your computer, a fraudulent transaction on your account, etc. Whatever it is, it is going to sound bad!

????Pressure: They want you to feel like if you do not do something NOW, that things will get even WORSE or you might MISS OUT! Examples: do not worry about calling the police, we already notified the FBI or if you do not "protect" your account, you could lose all of your money.

? Don't click links

? Don't open attachments

? Don't call phone numbers provided by pop-ups

? Don't believe someone just because they know your name, address, or anything else. That information is relatively easy to find online.

? Disengage, hang up!

? Delete the email or text message.

? Check your security settings and change passwords periodically.

? Trust your bank teller!

? Still not sure, call someone you know you can trust.... even if the scammer says that you can't trust AnYoNe!

The Jackson Police Department encourage you to please share the information. 

 

Maple Syrup On The Way!

The dedicated staff and members of the Richfield Historical Society were busy in the Richfield Historical Park recently hauling and boiling sap to make their delicious, award-winning maple syrup. With the warmer temperatures this week and it still being cooler overnight, this should be a good production week!

Interested in learning more about the maple syrup making process? Stop on out to the "Sugar Shack" any morning when the “sap is running” and make sure to mark your calendars for March 23rd for Maple Syrup Family Day!

Fun fact, it takes about 50 gallons of collected sap to be boiled down into 1 gallon of syrup!

Creative Ice Sculptures Featured At Hartford's Iced on Main

The annual Iced on Main event in downtown Hartford is Saturday, February 24.

This event not only showcases some beautiful ice sculptures and displays, but also gives you a great reason to check out all of the new and not so new businesses that grace their downtown. 

It's a great family friendly event. 

New Hartford Police Officers Sworn In

New police officers have joined the Hartford Police Department.

Hartford City Clerk Shanna Kreilkamp recently swore in two new officers for the Hartford Police Department. Geoffrey Radtke and Sean Schmidt were official sworn into action, after spending the last few months working with on-the-road training. Officer Schmidt was a transfer officer from Waukesha County Sheriff’s Dept while Officer Radtke is a local product of Hartford Union High School and graduate of the Fox Valley Technical College law enforcement program.

This now brings the Hartford Police Department up to the status of being fully staffed.

Nationwide AT&T Outage

AT&T has sent out a nationwide notification to all 911 centers about a nationwide outage impacting the ability of customers to make voice calls and data calls. This will likely impact the ability for AT&T customers make 911 calls on anything that uses AT&T’s network (FirstNet, Cricket, Consumer Cellular, Straight Talk, FreedomPop, Tracfone, etc.). The first email to the Washington County Emergency Communications Center came through at 3:26AM with the most recent update at 5:38AM.

AT&T technical teams have taken steps to mitigate the issue and some services have been restored. WIFI calling should be an option for most phones, but it must be enabled on the device and have a WIFI connection.

The Washington County Emergency Communications Center is still receiving landline 911 calls normally and all 911 calls from other cell phone vendors.

We will send out an update when notified by AT&T when the nationwide issue is fully resolved.

Area Chapters Celebrating National FFA Week

It’s National FFA Week.

It’s all about celebrating the incredible impact of agriculture, science and the essential role FFA plays in shaping the future of farming and leadership.

Hartford Union High School is celebrating with fun events and dress up days. Wednesday, February 21is dedicated to jeans, boots and flannel.

Agricultural Science Teacher Kim Yohn told WTKM News that students and teachers get involved with FFA Week every year.

"Every year, we have dress up days and students and faculty get involved. It's fun...and they can collect FFA Bucks for getting involved, and then on Friday they can exchange it for ice cream." 

By dressing up, students collect FFA bucks to cash in for an ice cream treat on Friday.

For National FFA week last Monday, February 19 the Slinger FFA members were out and about on their annual Bun Run. Every year during FFA Week, they travel around Washington County handing out donuts to our local farmers to show their appreciation for everything that they do.

Columbus Area Death Investigation

A Columbus Police Officer was dispatched to Prairie Ridge Health, at 1515 Park Avenue in Columbus Monday morning, February 19 around 6:20 a.m. for a report of a man outside the entrance area with a gun. The officer arrived on the scene, and it was reported that the man had shot himself in the emergency room waiting area. Medical aid was immediately attempted by medical staff but not viable, as he had already passed away in this case.

Columbus Police Officers requested that Dodge County Deputies respond to the individual’s residence, in the Town of Elba, to check on the status of the individual’s wife.

Dodge County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived around 7 a.m. at an address on Oak Grove Dr. and located a female subject deceased in the home. The sheriff’s office immediately began a joint law enforcement investigation into this incident and the case is still open and under investigation. 

The investigation to this point has led them to believe that David Zittel, age 85, shot his wife, Susan Zittel age 81. He then went to Prairie Ridge Health, entered the lobby and shot himself. No other individuals are believed to be involved in this incident.

With this incident occurring inside of a hospital, the Dodge County Sheriff's Office feel it is important for the public to be aware that this is an isolated incident, and that the community is safe. They would like the community to also know that Prairie Ridge Health responded as they should have, and immediately went into lock down until mid-afternoon. They also diverted all ambulances temporarily until it was determined safe to resume operations. They resumed normal operation after the law enforcement investigation was completed on Monday, February 19.

The Columbus Police Department and the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office have been in contact with the family, and they respectfully request privacy as they mourn the loss of their loved ones.

No other information will be available for release in this incident until the investigation has been completed.

Primary Election Results

Hartford Joint 1 School Board

inc. Ed Behnke  491  29%

Barbara Lindert  341  20%

Terrence Perfect  338  20%

Ian Gronbeck  335  20%

 

Town of Erin Supervisor

inc. Michael Stapleton  208

Ken Priesgen  197

Elaine Gonya  184

Pat Landon  177

 

Dodge County Supervisor

inc. Kevin Burnett  43  43%

Steve Rydzewski  42

Jared Landsee  15 

It's Election Day

It’s Election Day.

It’s the Spring Primary Election.

Five candidates are running for two open seats for the Hartford Joint 1 School District.

The list of candidates includes Terrence Perfect, Ian Gronbeck, Tristan Johannes, Barbara Lindert and Ed Behnke.

The Town Board Supervisor race in the Town of Erin has five candidates that are running. You will vote for no more than two candidates.  

The list of candidates includes Ken Priesgen, Pat Landon, Bob Bruha, Michael Stapleton and Elaine Gonya.

Winners will appear on the April 2 ballot.

Death Investigation Continues in Dodge County

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a death investigation on Oak Grove Drive, in the Town of Elba. Sheriff’s office detectives are investigating. 

The Columbus Police Department is investigating a death that occurred in the Emergency/Urgent Care lobby of Prairie Ridge Health, on Park Ave, in Columbus.

While the investigations are still ongoing, it is believed that both incidents are related.

There is no risk to the public or the hospital.

They will notify their families, but further details are expected to be released today.

 

Questions may be directed to Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt or  the Columbus Police Department.

 

Crossing Signals Installed Along The Rubicon River Trail

A higher level of safety was recently implemented at the Rubicon River Trail, in the City of Hartford.

New pedestrian crossing signals were installed on North Grand Avenue. 

When you press the crosswalk button, it will activate the LED flashing lights on both sides of the road to make it safe for pedestrians to cross. Once the push button is activated, you will have 45 seconds to cross. Please use extreme caution when the light is flashing.

Arrests Made In Connection To Home Invasion

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office has made two arrests in connection with the armed home invasion that occurred in the Town of Hustisford on January 28, 2023. 60-year-old Robert L. Ledbetter of Palmyra, Missouri, and 45-year-old Anthony Smith of Monroe City, Missouri are currently in custody in the State of Missouri and are facing extradition back to Wisconsin for their initial court appearances. Throughout the past year, the Dodge County Criminal Investigations Division worked diligently to identify those involved in this home invasion by using nearly every investigative tool possible. Over the last month, we sent two of our detectives to southern Illinois and Missouri to conduct interviews and work with local police agencies in attempts to locate Robert Ledbetter, as Anthony Smith was already in custody on non-related charges. Subsequently, Robert Ledbetter was taken into custody on February 13, 2024, on the Dodge County warrant as a result of our investigation.

The following charges have been requested and sent to the Dodge County District Attorney:

Robert Ledbetter

1. Robbery armed with a weapon - 943.32(2)

2. Burglary to building or dwelling - 943.10(1m)(a)

3. Impersonating peace officer - 946.70(1)(a)

4. False Imprisonment - 940.30

5. Criminal trespass to dwelling - 943.14(2)

6. Intimidation of victim - 940.45(3)

Anthony Smith

1. Robbery armed with a weapon - 943.32(2)

2. Burglary to building or dwelling - 943.10(1m)(a)

3. Impersonating peace officer - 946.70(1)(a)

4. False Imprisonment - 940.30

5. Criminal trespass to dwelling - 943.14(2)

6. Intimidation of victim - 940.45(3)

Sheriff Dale Schmidt would like to commend the entire criminal investigative division of the sheriff’s office for their work on this case as it was very challenging and began with very limited information. They followed the leads and made a solid case against the perpetrators in this case. Also, in closing this case they were able to obtain justice for the victim.

Finally, as a reminder, all persons are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Assisting the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office was the Palmyra and Hannibel Police Departments in Missouri.

The home invasion occurred on January 28, 2023, at approximately 6:31 a.m.

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of an armed home invasion at a residence on Indian Road, in the Town of Hustisford. The victim reported that two male subjects came to his house and forced their way inside. The suspects told the victim that they were law enforcement officers looking for a homicide suspect.

One suspect remained with the victim while the other suspect began searching the house and asked where the victim’s valuables were located. Once the suspects completed their search of the house, they fled in a white pickup truck. 

Hartland Firefighters Respond To Structure Fire

The Hartland Fire Department was dispatched to a possible structure fire at 372 Millington Dr. on Saturday, February 17 around 6:19 p.m.

The windows in unit 368 Millington Dr. were black in color, due to smoke.

With the assistance from the Hartland Police, they were able to enter the unit and discovered heavy smoke conditions on the second floor living space. Heavy smoke and fire were found in a kitchen and quickly extinguished.

No one was home at the time of the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Assistance was provided by the Hartland Police Department, and area fire departments including Merton, Lake Country, Western Lakes, Lisbon, Sussex, Brookfield, Menomonee Falls, Mukwonago and New Berlin.