Local News Archives for 2023-12

A Positive 2023 For The City of Hartford

It’s been another positive year in the City of Hartford, as 2023 comes to a close.

Hartford Mayor Tim Michalak told WTKM News about a few things that city officials are proud of. 

"We are keeping the taxes down in the city of Hartford, we're proud of that through hard work from the common council and City Administrator Steve Volkert. We live within our means, and that has continued. We need to realize that the city is only 29 percent of your tax bill. There are five taxing entities if you live in the City of Hartford, including Hartford Union High School, Hartford's Joint #1 School District, the county, the city and Moraine Park. Another bright spot from this year is the Centennial Park project. They are doing a wonderful job, and we will be finishing it up soon. It has become a true landmark."     

New businesses continue to move into the city, with more additions planned for 2024.


County Executive Schoemann Highlights Significant Permit Fee Reductions

Washington County completed a review of the Land Resources permitting and review fees, resulting in significant fee reductions in the 2024-2025 Budget approved by the County Board in November. County Executive Josh Schoemann initiated the review aimed at lowering the overall regulatory cost of home construction and platting, and to mitigate the impact on the price of housing.

The Next Generation Housing (NGH) initiative prompted the review, as the county worked with local municipalities involved in the NGH developments to change some of the zoning regulations and fees to lower the cost of the homes. The objective is to provide housing opportunities that will allow working individuals and families to remain in Washington County and build equity through home ownership.

“Reducing the cost of development leaves more money in the pockets of homeowners and businesses and furthers the mission of creating an environment for our citizens to enjoy our authentic quality of life,” Schoemann said.

Most Land Resources fees will be reduced by an average of 50 percent, with some eliminated altogether. The county fees affected are primarily in subdivision and stormwater infrastructure review, permits located in the County – regulated shoreland, floodplain and wetland, non-metallic mining, and septic system installations.


The new fees are posted on www.washcowisco.gov/departments/natural_resources.  

Lieutenant Brian Drumm Announces Retirement From Dodge County Sheriff's Office

After 33 years of service to our country and 24 years of service to Dodge County, Lieutenant Brian Drumm has made the decision to retire from the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.

Drumm started his Military/Law Enforcement Career as a Military Police Officer in the U.S. Army in September of 1987. He served as an MP until August, 1991. He became a police officer with the Napoleon Police Department in Ohio in April of 1994 and was promoted to detective in February, 1997. He served in that capacity until November of 1999.

In December of 1999, Brian Drumm was hired by Dodge County as a Deputy Sheriff assigned to the District Attorney’s Office as their investigator. In November, 2003 he transferred to the detective division of the sheriff’s office and was promoted to Lieutenant in July of 2013. Since being promoted to Lieutenant, he has overseen the detective division, third shift patrol and the Dodge County Drug Task Force. He has also managed the sheriff’s office evidence room and was integral in completing a total overhaul of the evidence room, including a major purge and reorganization. 

Drumm was also a huge part of their successful effort to become an accredited law enforcement agency.

Brian’s career has been successful throughout his experience as an investigator and supervisor, and has been a key part of numerous serious investigations including high-profile homicide cases. The Dodge County Sheriff's Office is thankful for all the work he has done in service to the community.

Brian Drumm also served as the police chief for the Town of Beaver Dam Police Department from November 2014 until May 2021.

Please join the Dodge County Sheriff's Office in congratulating Lieutenant Drumm on his very successful career and thanking him for his service to our country and our county. Lieutenant Drumm will be missed.

Drumm was joined by his family for a retirement gathering, and his son was able to provide the final radio call message.  

Fatal Incident in Polk Under Investigation

Washington County Sheriff’s investigators responded to the scene of a fatal incident, which involved a semi, and a pedestrian which occurred on I-41 at Sherman Road, in the Town of Polk around 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, December 27.

Northbound I-41 remained closed for a period of time.

The male victim was struck in the middle of the traffic lanes of the interstate. The semi-truck driver was not injured and remained on the scene, fully cooperative with investigators.

Deputies and officers with the Slinger Police Department were dispatched to the area just before the accident for a possible distressed individual on the Sherman Road overpass.

The incident remains under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Washington County Medical Examiner’s Office. They were also assisted on the scene by the Slinger Fire Department, Washington County Highway Shop, and Lifestar Ambulance.


A Merry Christmas With A Child's Smile

A Child's Smile continues to create a Merry Christmas for many local families in need.

St. Olaf Church of Rubicon and founder Roger Johnson again this year, partnered with various organizations, schools, businesses and area residents to help children of local families in need during the holiday season.

They recently completed their 12th year of this growing program, A Child's Smile.

Teachers and counselors in 50 of our local schools selected the families in need and made sure that a responsible parent or caregiver in each family received a $50 Walmart gift card for each child in their family. 

100 percent of the $73,050 received from all the generous communities were converted to Walmart gift cards. A Child's Smile provided a special Christmas for 1,461 public school and home school children from 690 local families facing difficult times.

"It was off the charts this year," said Johnson, who appeared on WTKM's Open Line show on December 27. "It was great, absolutely off the charts. On one hand, it was sad because the need was greater than in previous years. On the other hand, the community was just so supportive...businesses, organizations, individuals that partner with us that contribute to the program, they were all so generous again this year. They made it happen."

In addition, around $2,200 worth of hand knitted and store bought caps and mittens were donated this year to A Child's Smile. All of those items will be dispensed by the schools as needed, to the kids who lose them or come to school without warm clothes.

$2,900 worth of toys, dolls, stuffed animals and model train sets were also donated.

"All of the recommendations, or nominations come from the teachers who know what's going on with their kids," according to Johnson. "These kids, 1,461 come from 690 families and that's 94 more families than we provided for last year. The donations, everyone who contributed...it was amazing to see, just amazing. The main goal here is to provide some sunshine for Christmas, but also to show that there's people they don't even know that live around them that care." 

Contributions to A Child's Smile can be sent to St. Olaf Lutheran Church, W 653 Roosevelt Rd. Rubicon, WI 53078 or electronically at st-olaf.org.  



Germantown Man Charged With Extortion, Impersonating a Police Officer, ID Theft and Disorderly Conduct

A 35-year-old Germantown man was charged in Washington County Circuit Court on Tuesday, December 26 with attempting to trick and extort victims into sending explicit photographs by posing as a Washington County Sheriff's deputy, and a local attorney. Daniel Anderson now faces several charges including extortion, impersonating a police officer, ID theft and disorderly conduct. Anderson was arrested on December 22, 2023 by Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigators after nearly a month and a half-long investigation.

The investigation started after one victim came forward and reported contact by someone through text messages claiming to be a deputy. The individual offered to help her rid legal charges the victim was facing, in exchange for explicit photos and sex acts. Anderson told the victim he could purge the pending criminal charges from the computer system in exchange for her cooperation. Investigators subsequently took over communication with Anderson, posing as the victim, while they worked to identify the suspect who had sent a photograph to undercover investigators of what he claimed to be himself in uniform. During the initial investigation, it was learned that Anderson had also contacted other victims. In one case, Anderson attempted to obtain photos from another victim by posing to be her husband’s divorce attorney.

As the investigation progressed it was determined that Anderson was a tow driver for Homer’s Towing, and he had identified two victims from towing their vehicles after law enforcement requested tow services. In both cases, Anderson contacted the victims shortly after towing their vehicles. Washington County investigators worked in conjunction with the Homer’s Towing service on this investigation. The towing service has been fully cooperative and has always been a terrific partner with public safety agencies throughout Washington County, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office. 

Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis stated, “this case is particularly concerning because the suspect betrayed our communities trust by using his position as a tow driver to manipulate vulnerable victims. Tow drivers are critical public safety partners, and he took advantage of that relationship. I want to thank Homer’s Towing for terminating the suspect’s employment shortly after their notification of the arrest.”

No other victims have been identified at this time, however if you had your car towed by Homer’s Towing and received suspicious text messages shortly afterward, the Washington County Sheriff's Office would like to hear from you. You can contact Tim Kemps at tim.kemps@washcowisco.gov or call 262-335-4846.

According to the directive of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicity, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

City of Hartford Leaf Pickup Finalized

The City of Hartford's Leaf Pickup Program is over for the season. 

While a white Christmas did not happen this year, that doesn’t mean that they have extended the leaf pickup schedule. If you still have leaves that have yet to fall or yet to be raked up, please put them in bags and bring them to the City of Hartford Recycling Center behind the Hartford City Garage.

City of Hartford Street Crews are now onto winter responsibilities like tree trimming and equipment set up, and will not have time to go back on leaves pushed onto city roads.

Recently, Hartford City Officials reported receiving various complaints from neighbors, who are worried that late leaves will end up in snowplowed snow back on their terraces.

The City of Hartford is asking you to do your part and bag those leaves. The City of Hartford Recycling Center is open Thursday nights and Saturday mornings.

West Bend Police Department Welcomes New Officer

Andrew Hallett was sworn in as a member of the West Bend Police Department.

Hallett attended Oak Creek High School, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and previously worked as a Community Service Officer with the Greenfield Police Department. The West Bend Police Department sponsored Andrew Hallett at the State of Wisconsin 720-hour Recruit Academy, at Waukesha County Technical College. On December 7, 2023 Officer Hallett graduated from his Academy studies and now joins the West Bend Police Department to serve the citizens of West Bend in their Field Training program.

Recently, during a West Bend Common Council meeting, Officer Hallett’s mother and father were in attendance to pin Officer Hallett’s police officer badge on his uniform.

Officer Hallett expressed his excitement to transition from the classroom to the patrol car. The West Bend Police Department welcomes Andrew Hallett to West Bend, and their police family.

Photo by the West Bend Police Department.

Grant Funds For The City of Watertown Help With Business Growth

The City of Watertown is pleased with the announcement that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has been awarded a $500,000.00 Corridor Identification and Development (CID) Program grant by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The FRA unveiled plans for a significant expansion of the Hiawatha Service, including the potential addition of Amtrak passenger service and a new stop in Watertown, Wisconsin which would be part of a route connecting Milwaukee to Madison, as well as Eau Claire and Minneapolis. This infrastructure project is set to enhance connectivity for residents of both Jefferson County and Dodge County, fostering economic development and business growth in the region.

The City of Watertown has secured a $500,000 Corridor Identification and Development (CID) Program grant from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). This grant supports the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's plans to expand the Hiawatha Service, potentially bringing Amtrak passenger service and a new stop to Watertown.

The proposed expansion aligns with their commitment to connectivity and innovation, positioning Watertown as a key transportation hub. Watertown Mayor Emily McFarland sees this as a game-changer, saying, "Improved transportation options mean opportunities for economic development, business growth, and tourism."

A Child's Life Saved

The Hartford Fire and Rescue and Hartford Police responded to an emergency call on November 11, 2023 for a 27-week pregnant female subject in imminent delivery. Crews arrived on the scene within three minutes of the call, and found the woman giving birth with evidence of a complicated delivery. After the EMS personnel assisted with the delivery, they discovered the newborn was not breathing and did not have a pulse, so CPR was performed.

The mother and the newborn were rapidly transported to Aurora Medical while providing supportive care to the mother and resuscitative efforts to the newborn in separate ambulances. The newborn was successfully resuscitated in the ER after CPR was performed for almost an hour. The newborn, with the name Caroline, was transferred to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and has been receiving care in the NICU. 

Caroline has been getting stronger every day since, and Caroline's parents came to visit the crew members that responded to the call on December 11 in order to thank them for their efforts and care.

The actions of the responders that day are a reflection of the dedication that Hartford Fire & Rescue prides themselves on, to deliver high-quality care to the members of the community every day.

Slinger Continues To Welcome New Businesses

The Village of Slinger continues to welcome new businesses.

Village President Scott Stortz told WTKM News that the Slinger Business Network was created to show support for new businesses.

"When any business decides to put roots down in a community, they are taking a substantial risk. They are using their money, their time and their energy. The least we can do is to help them and recognize them and support them. We also make sure they have the resources they need to give them that sense of security."

The Village of Slinger officials officially welcomed Altered Spirits Distillery on Saturday, December 23. It's the first and only distillery in Washington County. A ribbon cutting was held, along with a presentation of a check from the Redevelopment Authority for their grand opening.

The RDA is a function of the Village of Slinger to help improve their downtown district.

An oak barrel was donated to the Slinger Historical Museum.   

Photo from the Village of Slinger. 

Vehicle Pursuit in Town of Calamus

A Dodge County Sheriff’s Office deputy was conducting routine patrol on December 20, around 10:00 p.m. on U.S. Highway 151, when he observed a southbound vehicle traveling 97 mph in a 65 mph posted speed zone. The deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop by activating his emergency lights and sirens. However, the vehicle accelerated and attempted to elude the deputy by increasing their speed and changing lanes.

A pursuit, with speeds ranging from 100 mph to 123 mph, began while the suspect's vehicle continued southbound on U.S. Highway 151. The suspect's vehicle turned onto the off ramp to State Highway 73, when the driver failed to negotiate a turn. The vehicle crossed over the median divider, entered the west ditch of State Highway 73 and came to a rest on a steep embankment after striking some trees and brush.

The deputy exited his squad car to order the driver out of the vehicle, but he was not complying with the deputy’s commands. The driver then put the vehicle in reverse in attempts to flee again, but ended up striking more trees and brush, which in turn caused the vehicle to become immobilized.

A short time later, other officers arrived on the scene and they were able to take the driver into custody. The driver was identified as Jon Fedkenheuer, a 55-year-old male from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. He was arrested for the following offenses:

1. Knowingly Fleeing an Officer (Felony)

2. Operating while Intoxicated (Felony)

3. Bail jumping (Misdemeanor)

This is the 21st pursuit that has occurred in Dodge County in 2023 and the 13th initiated by the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Dale Schmidt want the public to know that that law enforcement agencies in Dodge County have committed to holding those who flee from law enforcement officers accountable. Those who are complaint and stop for law enforcement may still end up with consequences for the reason they are stopped, but those who flee will certainly also face additional felony charges.

The vast majority of those who flee do end up being arrested. The Dodge County Sheriff's Office arrest these individuals as swiftly as possible, not only to hold them accountable to the law but also as a deterrent to others. Rest assured if someone flees in Dodge County they will be arrested and held legally accountable.

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

Assisting with this incident was the Columbus Police Department, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Questions may be directed to Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt

Special Recognition For Hartford Union High School's Production of Once Upon A Mattress

Hartford Union High School's production of Once Upon A Mattress has received 17 nominations for the Jerry Awards. 

This Wisconsin Jerry Awards program reviews high school musical productions during the fall and spring, providing feedback about every aspect of the show. Hartford Union High School has participated in the program since it began in 2009.

This is the first time their pit orchestra received a nomination and it's the most nominations HUHS has ever received. 

The students and the production staff were recognized, as the entire production was nominated for both Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Ensemble.

Jerry Nominations for Hartford Union High School's production of Once Upon a Mattress:

Outstanding Musical

Outstanding Ensemble

Outstanding Orchestra


Individual Nominations:

Outstanding Lead Performance: Maddy Adams (Princess Winnifred)

Outstanding Lead Performance: Brady Senkbeil (Prince Dauntless)

Outstanding Lead Performance: Annie Nettesheim (Queen Aggravain)

Outstanding Lead Performance: Lukas Lichtenwalner (The Minstrel)

Outstanding Lead Performance: Gaby George (The Jester)

Outstanding Lead Performance: Audra Schafer (Lady Larken)

Outstanding Dance Performance: Amiah Brakob (Jester Dance Solo)

Outstanding Directions: Dani Kuepper & Mel Kaiser

Outstanding Musical Direction: Ernest Brusubardis

Outstanding Choreography: Dani Kuepper & Mel Kaiser

Outstanding Scenic Design: Colleen & Rob Boelkow

Outstanding Lighting Design: Dana Klieman

Outstanding Costume, Wig/Hair and Make-up Design: Mary Lou Stelter, Sandy Wallisch, & Sue Steldt

Outstanding Sound Design: Zach Szalay


Photo credit: Dynamic Light Photography

Hartford Community Development Authority Weatherization Department Provides Valuable Services

The Hartford Community Development Authority Weatherization Department just completed with their annual Financial Administrative Review, and Program Administrative Review conducted by the State of Wisconsin, Department of Administration, Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources.

It was focused on the Weatherization Program and reviewed compliance with state and federal requirements. The CDA staff were found to be knowledgeable in the Weatherization Program’s regulations, policies, and procedures.

The Weatherization Program is a nonprofit program that weatherizes eligible low income homes in Washington and Dodge County. The Weatherization may include insulating attics, sidewalls, air sealing of attics and basements, replacements of water heaters, furnaces, refrigerators, and freezers. For more information or to locate your local agency call toll free 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947) or visit homeenergyplus.wi.gov. 

City of Hartford Street Parking Restrictions Lifted Through January 2

The City of Hartford announced an adjustment to the winter parking rules.

Due to the holidays, and many people expected in to visit loved ones and the unbelievably mild weather currently expected through both Christmas and New Year’s Day, the Hartford Public Works and Hartford Police Department have decided to lift the winter parking restrictions until Tuesday, January 2. 

Please understand, according to the City of Hartford, that just like any other time, if the city would experience a winter snow emergency which includes two inches or more of snow, then they would require all vehicles to stay off the roads so that crews can clean the roads and make them safe for travel.

Happy Holidays from the City of Hartford.   

Busy Holiday Travel Season

AAA projects 115 million travelers will cover 50 miles or more from their home over the 10-day year-end holiday travel period.

104 million people are expected to drive to their holiday destinations, which is an increase from last year.

If you are planning on flying, keep in mind that airports will most likely be the busiest they've ever been over the Christmas and New Year's travel period.

It's expected to be a busy two weeks of travel across Wisconsin. Area law enforcement remind you to stay safe, and stay focused while behind the wheel.

Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt told WTKM News that it's important to put your phone away while driving, and share the road safely with all of the other drivers and come to a complete stop at stop signs.

Motorists are expected to pay less at the pump. The national average price for a gallon of gasoline was $3.19 at the end of last week.     

Intersection of Cedar Street and Monroe Avenue in Hartford Under Discussion

Representatives from the City of Hartford and Hartford Union High School met to discuss the future safety enhancements for the intersection of Cedar Street and Monroe Avenue.

Hartford Union High School Superintendent Jeff Walters told WTKM News about some of the possibilities.

"Some of the enhancements that we've talked about regarding that intersection, are regarding the pedestrian crossing and high-visibility crosswalk signage. Yield here to pedestrian markers and signs. And then we are also going to continue work we did three years ago, where we moved cars and parking spots away from three of those four areas. And the fourth area, on the east side of Cedar Street near the utility garage between the intersection of that garage and driveway. We are going to try and get that cleared up as well, in order to create more visibility. We have worked well with the city, and appreciate Hartford City Administrator Steve Volkert being a part of those conversations."


The bus drop-off and pick up is at the front of the building, at Hartford Union High School. The parent drop-off and pick up is located at the back of the building.

Shop With A Cop With The Germantown Police

Officers from the Germantown Police Department participated in several Shop with a Cop events.

The first one was the Fraternal Order of Police Kettle Moraine Lodge #10 Shop with a Cop event held on Monday, December 4, in West Bend. Many talented people helped organize this event.

The second Shop with a Cop event was at the Fleet Farm of Germantown on Tuesday, December 5. The Germantown Police Department would like to thank everyone for their donations towards the event, including Cousin’s on County Line Rd. for making lunch, and the volunteers and employees who wrapped all of the presents.

The last one was held on Thursday, December 14 at the Walmart of Germantown on Appleton Avenue. Many thanks sent out by the Germantown Police Department for their donations towards the event, the Subway inside of Walmart for donating lunch, and the volunteers and employees who wrapped presents.

The department was happy to organize and participate in these events and hope that it brought a little joy to the children who shopped and to their families.

Firefighters Respond To Early Morning Accident

The Slinger Fire Department and Lifestar EMS were dispatched to the area of State Highway 60 and Slinger Road, for a three-vehicle accident around 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 20. 

Crews responded and upon arrival, assisted EMS with patient removal from vehicles, debris/fluid cleanup, and performed vehicle hazard assessments.

Injuries were reported due to the three-vehicle crash in Slinger.

Hartford's Support the Troops Continues to Serve


Support The Troops was started in 2007 by a Hartford mother, LeAnn Boudwine, by sending care packages to her sons overseas, who served our country in the military. After hearing from her sons when they were deployed that other soldiers did not receive mail, she started sending boxes to others as well. The momentum continued, even when her children returned home, and Support the Troops was created.

They have grown from a one room operation at her home to a donated store front with many volunteers. All of the items for the care packages and postage are from donations.  Packages have been sent to our troops deployed all around the world, according to Boudwine. 

"Japan, Korea, Hawaii, Poland, Kuwait, South Korea, Hungary, Africa, Cuba, Italy...I'm so pleased when we get these wonderful thank you notes back, but I'm always thankful to them for all they do."

16,000 plus care packages have been sent by Support the Troops as they continue to send a care package to as many of our soldiers as possible. 


Schaefer's Service Center of Slinger Recognized For Their 50th Anniversary

Recognizing 50 years in business is a special celebration.

Slinger Village President Scott Stortz was honored to issue Sherry Schaefer of Schaefer's Service Center a Proclamation in recognition of their 50th anniversary.

The Schaefer family has been an integral part of this Village of Slinger. Her husband Bob served as fire chief, her son Brad (pictured with Sherry and Slinger Village President Scott Stortz) serves the Slinger Fire Department as the current assistant fire chief and her grandson is also a member of the Slinger Fire Department.

Besides running a successful local company and serving on the Slinger Fire Department, the Schaefer family has been a huge supporter of local organizations and charities. Sherry also currently serves on the downtown RDA and continually volunteers at their wonderful museum.

This is a family that has helped define "service above self."

Dodge County Highway Department Applying Anti-icing Brine

The Dodge County Highway Commissioner Brian Field recently released information regarding a proactive plan to treat area roads this time of the year.

We are currently experiencing an unusual weather pattern for mid-December. Warm days result in sweating pavement, and freezing nights result in frosty pavement. Motorists do not anticipate frosty pavement consequently, we are experiencing more than the usual number of runoffs, especially during the early morning commute time. Drivers are unaware of these conditions and cannot see the frost in many cases.

The Dodge County Highway Department decided to be proactive and apply brine to sections of highways that meet the following criteria, as a cost-effective way to prevent run-offs and crashes.

-Bridges, ramps, hills, curves, intersections, and shaded areas

-State highways (WIDOT encourages this treatment on their system)

-Select county highways

-New/smooth pavement

-Concrete pavement

Applying brine is a fast, cost-effective option to protect these areas from early morning frost conditions, and treatment is typically effective for three to five days.

Area drivers, who are on regular time as opposed to overtime, can apply a very low-cost product at a much faster pace than a salt truck. Dodge County anti-icing material is a blend of water, salt, and a product that reduces corrosion. This additive effectively reduces corrosion and damage to Dodge County trucks and resident's vehicles.

Please call 920-386-3650 for additional information.

Looking Ahead To The Election

The month of December is the time for all interested residents who want to be a part of change in the City of Hartford to take out papers for the 2024 Spring Election.

Hartford has three alderpersons which will once again be up for re-election in April. Each of the three districts has one incumbent who is up for re-election with one, District 2, who has filed non-candidacy papers.

No matter what district you are in, this is your time to make a difference. Stop by the Hartford City Clerk’s office or go online to the City of Hartford's website for more information and to get your forms to fill out and gather signatures.

The deadline to get completed forms in to the Hartford Clerk’s Office is January 2, 2024 by 5:00 p.m. Forms should be turned in days before the deadline, just to make sure everything is complete and signatures are validated.

A New K9 Unit For The Jackson Police Department

The Jackson Police Department has selected a new K9.

The handler, Jackson Police Officer Michael Trevarthen has been matched with a 13-month old German Shepherd named K9 Delta.

K9 Delta was born and trained in Hungary and arrived in the United States recently. He is completing his training at Jessiffany Canine Services, LLC in Iron Ridge. The two will undergo training together in January, of 2024.

The Jackson Police Department hit their $100,000 fundraising goal to re-establish the department's K9 unit. The department adds a four-legged officer to the team for the first time since K9 Officer Falko left their ranks in 2009.

The funds raised will provide the fundraising for the K9 unit, which is outside of their general budget.  


A Dodge County Accident Under Investigation

Dodge County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a serious injury crash on State Highway 16/60 near Roche Road, in the town of Elba, in Dodge County on Friday, December 15.  

The initial investigation showed a 2017 Ford Explorer, driven by a 28-year-old female from Columbus, was eastbound on STH 16/60 when the SUV struck a 31-year-old male from Fond du Lac who was on a bicycle. The male bicyclist was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash but was wearing dark clothing and did not have any lighting on. The crash occurred near the fog line. The bicyclist suffered serious injuries that are potentially life threatening and was transported to UW-Hospital by Life Star EMS. The female driver of the SUV was not injured.

Assisting at the scene were Columbus Fire Department and Life Star EMS.

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

Questions may be directed to Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt.

Lieutenant Mark Steiner Set To Retire From The Kewaskum Police Department

Lieutenant Mark Steiner announced his plans to retire from the Kewaskum Police Department.

After 30 years of dedicated service to the Village of Kewaskum, Lt. Mark Steiner has announced his retirement from the Police Department effective April 2, 2024.

Lt. Steiner began his law enforcement career with the Village on May 26th, 1994, and was promoted to the position of Lieutenant in January, of 2015. Assignments Lt. Steiner covered were logistics of planning for the Christmas Parade and 3rd of July Fireworks, overseeing the Police Auxiliary Dept., Patrol Officer, Evidence Room Officer, WILEAG Accreditation Manager, Court Officer, SORP Officer, current Associate member of WCPA, among many other administrative and leadership responsibilities.

Lt. Steiner’s dedication to the Village of Kewaskum and surrounding community has reached further than just law enforcement. He is a volunteer member of the Kewaskum Fire Department and serves as Treasurer of the Kewaskum Firefighters Association. You’ve also likely seen him in the concession stands of the Doc Mitchell Complex volunteering with the Booster Club during Kewaskum High School events. He also currently serves as Treasurer of the Kewaskum Booster Club.

He is one of the citizen representatives on the Kewaskum School District’s Finance Committee and an alternate on the Policy and Building & Grounds Committees. He is an active member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church and is a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.

A formal ceremony and party will be announced at a later time.

Photo from the Kewaskum Police Department.

Tee Off This Winter

It's a fun opportunity to play golf in Hartford during the winter season.

You can play year-round with the Hartford Parks & Recreation Department Foresight Golf Simulator. It's a chance to experience full-size, true-to-life golf simulation. From the practice range to course play, their Foresight Simulator has everything you need – Play full rounds of golf at world-class courses, practice on the range or on a specific hole. FSX Play combines hyper-realistic gameplay with an ultra-modern interface to deliver a new standard in virtual golf fun. Experience some of the very best courses from around the world with 25 world-class golf courses to choose from. Play at the same courses that have hosted some of golf’s historic majors over the years.

A typical 18-hole round of golf takes around an hour per player. Reservations are strongly encouraged to utilize their single bay. You can reserve your tee time by contacting the Rec Center at 262-670-3730.

Gift certificates are sold during office hours, Monday-Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. and Friday 7:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Golf Simulator Rules and Regulations:

• $30/HR Res, $40/HR Non-Res. Only one charge for up to four participants with a four-golfer max per reservation. 18 holes takes approximately one hour per player.

• Golfers under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

• Must bring your own clubs.

o Bring your own golf balls. Please use a clean ball. 

o Golf tees will be provided.

• Food and drink carry-ins allowed. Must remain at the high seat table. No alcohol at this time. Food and drink not allowed inside the simulator bay.

• Must wear athletic shoes. No metal spikes allowed.

New City Clerk for the City of West Bend

The City of West Bend Common Council appointed Jilline Dobratz as City Clerk. 

"We are pleased to welcome Jilline to our city team,” said West Bend Mayor Joel Ongert. "Jilline is a respected and credentialed municipal clerk with extensive experience.”

Dobratz has served more than 20 years in the public sector with 10 years of experience specifically as a deputy clerk or village clerk. She obtained an associate degree from Madison Business College, and completed the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Institute and Wisconsin Municipal Treasurers Course at UW-Green Bay. Dobratz possesses the following credentials: International Institute of Municipal Clerk (IIMC) Master Municipal Clerk (MMC), Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association (WCMA) Wisconsin Certified Professional Clerk, IIMC Athenian Leadership Society Athenian Fellow, and numerous others. She is a member of IIMC and WMCA.

“As a resident of the City of West Bend, I am looking forward to serving my community as the City Clerk,” said Dobratz. “I have a passion for this role and look forward to leading our constituents through four important elections in 2024.”

Dobratz will oversee the City Clerk Department. The department is responsible for issuing licenses and permits, operating all City of West Bend elections, assisting the Board of Review, maintaining papers and records, attending meetings of the Common Council, and keeping accurate records of the proceedings, and assisting in the budget procedure.

Photo provided by the City of West Bend.


New Members Recognized For The Oconomowoc Police Department

The Oconomowoc Police Department welcomed new members to their team.

Their newest officers include Chris Kenny and Delaney Kubiak, were sworn into the Oconomowoc Police Department.  Both graduated from the WCTC Police Academy on December 7th, 2023 and will begin their careers in law enforcement with the Oconomowoc Police Department. 

The department recognized Officer Dawn Hass and Officer Kami Berlin for the instrumental roles they played in Lake Country Shop with Cops and Oconomowoc’s National Night Out. Both were presented with Certificates of Appreciation. The Oconomowoc Police Department extended big thanks for the time and effort you put in to making these events a success.

Member of the Hartford Department of Public Works Department Helps Resident in Need

Sometimes, it's all about being in the right place at the right time.

On Saturday, October 14th, while on his way to work to assist the Hartford Parks Department with a burial, Hartford Public Works employee Jordan Loosen noticed a vehicle in the City of Hartford parking lot with a flat tire. Loosen took the initiative and went aheda and changed the flat tire for the stranded motorist, and refused to take any money for helping the gentleman out of a jam.

The following week, the Dodge County Chaplin called the Hartford Public Works Director and explained what happened, and how very appreciative he was with the help he received from Jordan.

A great story of doing the right thing, and representing the City of Hartford in a positive light.

Hustisford Firefighters Respond To Structure Fire

The Hustisford Volunteer Fire Department and EMS, along with their automatic aid departments which include the Neosho Fire Department and Iron Ridge Fire Department, responded to the 100 Block of S. Oakwood Blvd. in Hustisford for a structure fire on Wednesday, December 13.

A working still was requested on MABAS box card INH-11-1. Hustisford Engine 2161 arrived at 9:48 p.m. to find a single-story residence with smoke showing from the rear of the house. Crews conducted a fire attack and search simultaneously and found the victim. In this case, the victim was removed from the residence at 9:55 p.m. and EMS immediately started life-saving measures. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Dodge County Medical Examiner. 

Crews completed primary and secondary searches and no other victims were found.

The fire was deemed under control by 10:14 p.m. Additional crews assisted with fire extension mitigation, ventilation, salvage and overhaul. Law enforcement took control of the scene. All fire and EMS units were completed at the scene by 1:39 a.m. on Thursday, December 14. 

The fire remains under investigation.

There were no working smoke alarms in the residence, according to the Hustisford Volunteer Fire Department. 

Area departments assisted, including the Hustisford Police, Dodge County Sheriff/Dispatch, Dodge County Medical Examiner, Hustisford Utilities, Neosho Fire Department, Iron Ridge Fire Department, Mayville EMS, Horicon Fire Department, CLR Fire Department, Juneau Fire Department, Mayville Fire Department, Ixonia Fire Department, Lebanon Fire Department, Watertown Paramedics and Horicon EMS.

Report submitted by Hustisford Assistant Fire Chief Scott Fredrick.  

Jury Trial Set To Begin May 20 For Russell Quaas

A Washington County case, which involves a Town of Wayne man who is charged with ten counts including six counts of intentionally mistreating animals, continues to move forward in Washington County Circuit Court.

The defendant Russell Quaas appeared in court on Wednesday, December 13 for a plea hearing. No agreement was reached and a trial was requested.

A jury trial is scheduled for May 20, 2024 at 8:15 a.m.

A jury status hearing is scheduled for May 8, 2024 at 1:15 p.m.

Quaas also faces one count of failing to provide food, one count for failing to provide water, one count which involves shelter space and one count which involves outside animal shelter.

A Washington County Sheriff's Office investigation resulted in 35 dogs that were seized from a Town of Wayne property.  

Construction Of Watertown's New Fire Station Scheduled To Begin In The Spring

Plans for a new fire station continue in Watertown.

It will be located just off of South Church Street, on seven acres of land at 621 Bernard and 668 Johnson Streets.

The designs are expected to be complete in January, of 2024 according to Watertown Mayor Emily McFarland.

"The majority of our common council voted in favor of the necessary funding to construct the fire station. The fire station's design should be complete by the end of January, and then we'll put that project out for bid around mid-February. And then we'll begin construction in the spring. It is a super, exciting milestone...it's something that we've needed for many many years. And it will allow us to be able to serve the public even better."

The current fire station in Watertown does not fit the needs of modern-day firefighting and it was never built to house both Fire and EMS. The city did not have EMS service when the station was built in 1964. Now, they have full-time Fire and EMS and offer other services like water rescue, trench rescue, confined space rescue, hazmat response and more.

Their vehicles are larger and heavier. That weight has taken its toll on the apparatus bay floor.       

Winter Parking Rules In Effect

The winter season means parking rules are in effect.

The City of Hartford's municipal code allows for the purchase of winter parking permits at the Hartford Police Department, by those vehicle owners who don’t have enough parking for vehicles in their garage or driveway. The cost of each new permit is $120.00 for the season and can be applied for and purchased from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Hartford Police Department. The new permit allows parking on the street, until March 31, from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m., on alternating sides of the street. The permitted vehicle shall be parked on the even numbered side of the street on those nights which at 3 a.m. bear an even calendar date and on the odd numbered side of the street on those nights which at 3 a.m. bear an odd calendar date.

Permits may be transferred by the permit holder from one vehicle to another within the same household.

This permit does not allow street parking during a declared snow emergency.

Also keep in mind, you cannot park vehicles in your yard (on the grass area) over a sidewalk, or on the area between the road and your sidewalk (apron of the driveway) to avoid parking on the roadway any time of the year. You may receive a citation for doing so.

The permit issued is for one season and shall be hung from the rearview mirror of the vehicle unless such placement is not possible due to the design of the vehicle. The permit shall be placed in the vehicle so that it is visible to people outside of the vehicle.

In addition to the new permits, the city may designate municipally owned parking lots which may be used as overnight winter parking. Vehicles may be parked in designated lots without permits for a period not to exceed 24 hours and in compliance with all other requirements of the Municipal Code. Designating a lot for overnight parking shall not supersede other parking restrictions imposed on the designated lot. A map of these designated lots, along with the winter parking ordinance will be posted on the City of Hartford website. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the winter parking information.

City of Hartford Staff Surpass United Way Campaign Goal

Good news was announced from the City of Hartford, regarding the United Way of Washington County's campaign.


The 2023 United Way of Washington County campaign starts to wind down, the City of Hartford staff were made aware that they had surpassed their 2023 goal of giving $10,000. Recently, a total of $10,727.91 was announced. 


Congratulations to all of the staff, especially this year’s chairpersons Randy Wojtasiak, Brian Rhodes, Zack Stupnik, Ross Kirley and Dan Meier.


A special thanks to the guys in the streets which provided strong leadership for the campaign with the Steel for United Way Campaign, which by itself raised over $5,000.


Congratulations to you all!

Maintaining Parks in the City of Watertown

A budget goal for the City of Watertown next year is to maintain and enhance their parks and infrastructure for quality, safety, and compliance. City officials recently revealed a sneak peek of the fantastic projects lined up to achieve this goal.

• $1.75 million for road improvements, including Dewey Ave design, Welsh Rd. Federal Highway Safety Improvement, Oconomowoc Ave, S. Twelfth, S. Eleventh, crack sealing, and resurfacing.

• Biosolids drying system installation at the wastewater treatment plant.

• Playground upgrades at Mary Rose and Hunter Oaks parks – say goodbye to inset borders and hello to sleek sidewalks and benches!

• Adding a shade structure to the Stage at Bentzin Family Town Square.

• Enhancing stormwater runoff with a biofilter at the yard waste site.

• Water quality trading initiatives for our stormwater system

• Riverside Park creek maintenance – working towards stream bank stabilization.

• Annual maintenance of the storm sewer system for cleaner and safer neighborhoods.

• Earmarking funds for Riverside Park bathroom improvements.

• A fresh paint job for the iconic water tower on West Street.

• A new roof for the West water treatment plant building.

• Continuing the commitment: Lead service lateral replacement for the fifth year in a row.

Maintaining Watertown’s parks and infrastructure will keep them operating well for years to come.

Plea Hearing Set For Russell Quaas

A Washington County case, which involves a Town of Wayne man who is charged with ten counts, including six counts of intentionally mistreating animals, continues to move forward in Washington County Circuit Court.

It’s the State of Wisconsin versus Russell Quaas.

A hearing took place on Wednesday, November 1. Quaas did not appear in court, but his attorney did appear along with the prosecuting attorney for the State. A meeting was scheduled for November 9, 2023 with the attorneys in order to discuss a resolution. A plea hearing is also scheduled for December 13, 2023 at 1:15 p.m.

A group of animal lovers gathered in front of Washington County Court with signs to show their support of a conviction in the case.

The investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office started when deputies received an anonymous complaint about dogs being tied to trees, and not having proper shelter.

The Washington County Humane Society was called in to assist. Communications Specialist Joe Poczkalski told WTKM News that it's a win for animal welfare.

"This is a massive case in our county and we consider it a massive win for animal welfare in Washington County. All of the 35 dogs taken from the Town of Wayne property have been adopted. We saw a huge response from our community, which we're eternally grateful for. We received donations and we had people sharing our posts on Facebook. And of course, to those who adopted these wonderful dogs. It's a massive win for the animals of our county." 

Quaas also faces one count of failing to provide food, one county for failing to provide water, one count which involves shelter space and one count which involves outside animal shelter.     

Allegedly, Russell Quaas was believed to be operating a non-licensed dog breeding business out of a property in the Town of Wayne. 

The investigation started when Washington County Sheriff's deputies received an anonymous complaint about dogs being tied to trees and not having proper shelter. 

Hartford's Candy Cane Park Receives An Uplift During The Holiday Season

There has been plenty of activity at Candy Cane Park in the City of Hartford. 

Staff removed the old playground from Candy Cane Park in preparation for the new playground donated by the Nightengale Family. In 2022, the Hartford Parks and Recreation Department was approached by the son of former city employee Larry Nightengale. The Nightengale family lived on East Lincoln Avenue in Hartford, and they spent a lot of time at the playground at Candy Cane Park. Larry’s sons Robert and John Nightengale each donated $25,000, for a total of $50,000 toward a new playground at Candy Cane Park on behalf of their late parents Larry and Gertrude Nightengale.

The playground was purchased in April, but due to manufacturing delays the city did not receive the equipment until late October. The playground will be constructed by staff as weather allows. The new playground will include a multi-slide play feature, a tractor rocker, spinner, accessible swing set, new sign, bench and fresh mulch.

West Bend School District Hosts Mental Health Seminar

A free seminar is planned, which will focus on mental health.

Families and community members are invited to attend this free seminar on mental health: Understanding the Impact of Mental Health on Families. It will take place on Wednesday, December 13 at the Education Service Center, 735 S. Main Street, West Bend, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

The West Bend School District Student Services department is holding this event, which will feature a family sharing their lessons learned, struggles, and celebrations in supporting their son who is living with a mental health challenge. In addition, a panel will discuss community resources that are available for individuals and families.

Washington County Fair Park Announces New Chief Executive Officer

Washington County’s Agriculture and Industrial Society (AIS), which operates the Washington County Fair Park and Conference Center, appointed Stacy Holland (formerly Indermuehle) as the new Chief Executive Officer. The announcement follows an unveiling of the organization’s new mission and strategic plan last September. Holland will attend the Society’s annual meeting in December and officially assume the role on January 14, 2024.
“Our Board agreed that Stacy has the skills and abilities to execute our vision for the County’s facilities: elevating the County Fair, expanding agriculture and industry and connecting the community,” said AIS President Phil Dahlberg. “Her extensive communication and leadership skills will be a welcome addition to our team at Washington County Fair Park."
Holland has a strong background in strategic growth initiatives, acquisitions, cost management and continuous improvement and is a proven business leader with an emphasis on sales expansion and operational efficiency.
She has held leadership positions with Deloitte, Rockwell Automation, and Waukesha Bearings, and most recently served in CFO positions for several emerging pharmaceutical research companies through her own business. As a finance executive with global management experience, Holland is well positioned to execute the strategic goals set forth by the AIS Board. 
Holland grew up in the nearby Pike Lake area, later raising her children in Germantown, and her roots in the community extend back to her grandparents farm in the Town of Hartford until their retirement.
Incoming CEO Stacy Holland expressed her appreciation to the AIS Board upon selection, saying, “I enthusiastically look forward to advancing AIS’s strategic vision by increasing use of the Fair Park in ways that impactfully serve Washington County’s residents, agricultural interests, and businesses.”
AIS’s outgoing Executive Director, Kellie Boone, submitted her resignation effective December 1, 2023.

“I extend my thanks to Kellie Boone for her service, and we wish her success in her future endeavors,” added Dahlberg.

Hartford's Shop With A Cop Serves 17 Families

Hartford Police Department's appreciation goes out to everyone involved with this year's Shop with a Cop (SWAC) event. It was another huge success due to the generous donations of time and funding. The SWAC event that was held Saturday, December 9 at their local Hartford Walmart store.

This year, they were able to serve 17 families for a total of 85 family members. The Hartford Police, through Shop with a Cop, served families from two members on up to a family with nine members. In addition to their Hartford Police Officers assisting the children, officers from the Town of Hartford Police Department and a Wisconsin State Patrol trooper were on hand, as well as members of our Public Safety Cadet Post 9910.

They continue to greatly value our donation partners, including the businesses and community members who help them each year. Walmart has hosted the event, Wellspring Church has wrapped all the gifts for many years, and Subway continues to help feed their attendees with their box lunches.

The Hartford Police Department extend a big thank you for thinking of others and helping make their holiday season a little bit brighter.

Photo provided by Hartford Police Chief Scott MacFarlan.

A Veteran Mental Health Grant Awarded To Washington County

Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary-designee James Bond traveled to West Bend recently to present a $30,000 grant to Washington County, as part of the recently announced Veteran Mental Health grants that are part of Governor Evers’ $10 million investment in veteran services. It's funded through the American Rescue Plan Act. The grant recipients were announced on November 17. 

Washington County's Department of Health and Human Services received $30,000 to fund outpatient services including crisis intervention, outpatient psychotherapy, and medication management from a prescriber. A small percentage of the grant award will be used for outreach and training for the providers to better serve incoming veterans. 

Pictured left to right: Julie Driscoll, Chief Health & Human Services Officer; Mark Provencher Jr., Outreach Coordinator for WDVA Region 13 Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP); WDVA Secretary James Bond; Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann; Anthony Tadych, Community Treatment Services Supervisor; Kurt Rusch, Veteran Service Officer/Reserve Emergency Management Coordinator.

Holiday Scams

Unfortunately, during the holiday season with an increase in consumer spending comes an abundance of scams.

Jodi Groonwald, owner of Pack and Ship and More in Hartford told WTKM News about a number of recent customers that tried to send money on overnight deliveries.

This time of year, scammers use fake charities to solicit donations. 

Imposter websites are also a popular scam, which involve attempting to present themselves as legitimate online retailers, but are built with the intent of stealing financial and personal information. 

Area law enforcement encourage you to report any suspicious activity you may encounter. 

Midnight Madness

Downtown Hartford's Midnight Madness event is tonight.

Jason Wix of the Downtown Hartford Business Improvement District, and Faith and Giggles Gift Shop told WTKM News that it's important for downtown business owners.

It's an opportunity to support local businesses in downtown Hartford.

Bring the kids and visit Santa from 4pm to 7pm in the Link Building.

This great annual event runs tonight from 6pm to midnight.

Jackson Police Department K-9 Fundraising Campaign a Success

A successful fundrasing campaign for the Jackson Police Department will provide the opportunity to re-establish a K9 unit.

Jackson Police Chief Ryan Vossekuil told WTKM that they used to have a K9 until it left the ranks around 15 years ago.

The Department is moving forward to add a fully trained K9 officer, which is expected to be in place by the beginning of next year. 

The Jackson Police Department has purchased a squad car for the new K9 unit. 

The funds raised will provide the necessary funding, which is outside of their general budget. 

Hartford Community Chorus

The Hartford Community Chorus will present their Christmas Concert this Saturday. 

The director, Mark Weller told WTKM News that he feels it will be a special show. 

The title of the Christmas Concert is a Night of Wonder, and it includes traditional Christmas favorites and new songs. 

It is a free concert, which will be held at the Schauer Arts Center in Hartford.

It is scheduled to begin this Saturday night at 7:30pm.

Midnight Madness

Downtown Hartford's Midnight Madness is tomorrow night.

Jason Wix of the Downtown Hartford Business Improvement District told WTKM News, that the later you shop, the more you save!

It's a great opportunity to support local businesses in Downtown Hartford. 

Bring the kids and visit Santa from 4pm to 7pm in the Link Building.

This great annual event runs from 6pm to midnight.

Tree of Life Shines Bright in Hartford

The Medical Center Foundation of Hartford's Tree of Life Celebration begins at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6.

Every bright light on the tree represents a donation to a valuable program, which provides peace of mind according to Executive Director Sarah Grotelueschen.

"We light a light for someone we love. This event goes right towards our Personal Emergency Lifeline Program. Those are the medical alert help button, and currently we have 315 people that use this program in our community."

Visit mcfhartford.org to purchase a light for the Tree of Life.

The ceremony will be held at the Tamarack Adult Day Service, at 1022 Sell Drive in the city of Hartford.

The Hartford Union High School Concert Choir will perform during the ceremony.

Patty Peters and Beth Gorman are the honorary tree lighters for the Tree of Life Celebration.    

Charges Requested in Town of Beaver Dam Arson

On November 16, 2023, at approximately 6:19 p.m., the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residential fire in the 1100 Block of Madison Street in the town of Beaver Dam. Fire personnel from the Beaver Dam Fire Department informed the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office that they believed the fire was suspicious in nature, and requested a detective respond to the scene.

As a result of the investigation, Francis Benson, a 39-year-old man from the city of Beaver Dam was arrested. On December 4, 2023, Francis Benson had his initial hearing where he was charged with:

1. Arson of Building w/o Owner’s Consent

2. Burglary- Building or Dwelling

3. 1st Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety

4. Felony Bail Jumping

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

Assisting with this investigation were the Beaver Dam Fire Department and the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations. We would like to thank the public and community members who came forward to provide information during this investigation.

Questions may be directed to Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt

Slinger Fire Department's Tips To Avoid A Chimney Fire

As temperatures fall and you spend more time indoors in front of the fireplace, the last thing you want to think about is the condition of your chimney. Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which damage or destroy homes and injure people.

Clean chimneys don’t catch fire. Make sure a professional chimney sweep inspects your solid fuel venting system annually, and sweeps and repairs it whenever needed. Your sweep may have specific maintenance recommendations depending on how you use your fireplace or stove.

Before lighting a fire, make sure it is safe to do so. Be fire smart. Home fires occur more often in winter than in any other season.

The chimney and the flue that lines it are there to carry dangerous gases from the fireplace or wood stove safely out of the home.

What do chimneys do?

Fireplaces and wood stoves are designed to contain wood-fuel fires while providing heat for a home. Chimneys expel the by-products of combustion that include smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog and assorted minerals. As these substances leave the fireplace or wood stove, and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs. The resulting residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote.

What is creosote?

Creosote is a black or brown residue that can be crusty and flaky—tar-like, drippy and sticky—or shiny and hardened. All forms are highly combustible. If it builds up in sufficient quantities, and the internal flue temperature is high enough, the result could be a chimney fire.

Conditions that cause the buildup of creosote:

Restricted air supply and unseasoned wood encourage the buildup of creosote. To avoid that buildup:

Do not restrict the air supply

-By closing the glass doors.

-By failing to open the damper wide enough. -The longer the smoke is in the flue, the more likely is it that creosote will form.

-By closing down the stove damper or air inlets on a wood stove too soon or too much.

-Do not burn unseasoned wood: So much energy is used initially just to drive off the water trapped in the cells of the logs that it keeps the resulting smoke cooler than if seasoned wood is used.

-In the case of wood stoves, overloading the firebox with wood in an attempt to get a longer burn time also contributes to creosote buildup.

Fireplace safety:

-Keep a glass or metal screen in front of fireplace to prevent embers or sparks jumping out.

-Do not burn paper in your fireplace.

-Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home.

-Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least 3 feet from your home.

Wood stove safety:

-Make sure your stove is 3 feet from anything that can burn.

-Do not burn paper in your wood stove.

-Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home.


Sources: fema.gov, barnhillchimney.com and chimney-fire-precautions https

Hartford Union High School Hires New Director of Communications

Hartford Union High School is thrilled to announce the appointment of Emmy award-winning journalist Katrina Cravy as their new Director of Communications.

"I'm grateful to Superintendent Jeff Walters, the leadership team, and the entire School Board for this new assignment. This role is personal for me since our son is a senior here and my husband is a Hartford Union graduate," says Cravy.

"You know I've always been a passionate storyteller and I can't wait to share with you the nationally recognized work being done by our faculty and students. What HUHS offers is truly unique and telling our story is going to be fun!"

Superintendent Jeff Walters says, "Katrina brings an impressive portfolio of experience and skills to our team, and we're super excited about the fresh ideas she'll be bringing to our communication strategies."

Cravy will be responsible for the overall internal and external communications plan which includes building strong relationships with Hartford Area Schools, community, media and corporate leaders.

Prior to this new role, Cravy has been a keynote speaker for educational organizations like WASBO (Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials) and CESA 6 talking about marketing/branding and how to attract media attention. In 2016, she started her own executive communications business after nearly eighteen years as a news anchor and Contact 6 reporter for WITI-FOX6 News.

Serious Injury Crash Reported In Westford

Shortly before 2:00 p.m. on Monday, December 4  a serious traffic crash was reported on State Highway 73 at County Highway CD, in the town of Westford, about 1.5 miles south of the village of Randolph.

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash and has determined a southbound car driven by a 66-year-old Randolph woman attempted to make a U-turn at the intersection in order to head northbound. The car turned into the path of a southbound semi-tractor, driven by a 53-year-old rural Fox Lake man.

The woman was flown from the scene by a medical helicopter with suspected serious, but non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the semi-tractor did not report any injury.

There were no other occupants in either vehicle. The crash remains under investigation.

Assisting the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office at the scene were Randolph Fire and EMS, Beaver Dam Paramedics and Flight For Life.

Questions may be directed to Dodge County Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt

Hartford Utilities Donates to Hartford Fire and Rescue For Kids In Crisis

Employees of Hartford Utilities recently attended an event where they created crisis kits for kids. The utility was able to bring some of the kits back to the local community, where they were donated to Hartford Fire and Rescue.

Utility Billing Specialist Holly Wenzel believes it's important to give back.  

“Our locally owned, not-for-profit utility exists for the benefit of our customers. It’s important for us to support our community by giving back, and we’re hoping these kits bring some light to children in crisis.”  

The kits included a soft stuffed animal, children’s book, notepad, markers, kinetic sand and other items.

The event attended by the employees was “Building Community Connections.” It’s an annual event hosted by wholesale energy provider WPPI Energy, of which Hartford Utilities is a member-owner. Each year, utility members of WPPI gather together to discuss new industry ideas and brainstorm with like-minded utility professionals on helping their communities thrive.

Wenzel says that serving the community is a top priority for Hartford Utilities.  

“Serving our community is of great importance to us here at Hartford Utilities. We live and work in the community, too, and we want to help out our friends and neighbors whenever we can.”

A Special Gift For Hartford's Special Olympics

The City of Hartford's Department of Public Works presented a gift to Hartford's Special Olympics. 

The crew from Public Works presented a check for $500 to Special Olympics. This was money collected from the recycling efforts during the United Way time period, which were not specifically designated for United Way.

Sara Cummings, of the City of Hartford Rec Staff, is one of the key participants and our greatest advocate for Special Olympics, and was grateful to accept the check which will go toward their athletic events.

West Bend Police Issue A Reminder Regarding Winter Parking Rules



City of West Bend


West Bend Police Officers placed “Parking Notices” on vehicles parked overnight on city streets. These warnings are to familiarize citizens of the Winter Parking Restrictions that took effect at 11:00 p.m. on December 1, 2023.

Winter Parking Restrictions are in effect until April 1 annually so that DPW can plow streets after a snow storm. The restrictions are in effect regardless of snow or temperatures.

During this time, vehicles must be parked on the even side of the street on those nights, at 11:00 p.m., which bear an even calendar date, and continue to park on that side until 6:00 a.m.

Vehicles must park on the odd side of the street on those nights, at 11:00 p.m., which bear an odd number calendar date, and continue to park on that side until 6:00 a.m.

Violations will result in the issuance of a parking ticket. 

No Injuries Reported From An Accident Which Involved A Train And A Vehicle

Slinger Police Officers and members of the Slinger Fire Department and LifeStar Rescue responded to an accident on Saturday, December 2 at 1:13 p.m.

It occurred at the 400 Block of Kettle Moraine Drive. The accident involved a vehicle and a train.

Police Officers found a box style delivery truck with the back end seriously damaged, off the roadway on private property. The driver was behind the wheel, and did not have any injuries.

According to the Slinger Police Department, a witness reported seeing the delivery truck drive around the active railroad crossing arms and was struck by the train. The CN railroad crossing lights, swing arms and bells were active at the time and working properly.

The driver of the delivery truck was transported to a hospital for evaluation.

The Slinger Police Department determined that there was no impairment involved and it appears to be a case of operator error on the part of the driver.

CN Railroad was not at fault. 

The driver of the delivery truck was cited for a violation.


Photo by the Slinger Police Department.




Two Hartford Union High School Students Recovering From Home

There is more information regarding two Hartford Union High School students that were hit by a car while crossing the street.

It occurred Thursday morning, November 30 around 7:12 a.m. The Hartford Police Department received a report of two female students that were struck while walking across a cross walk by a vehicle operated by a male student who was turning left, from Cedar Street onto West Monroe Avenue.

The two students from Hartford Union High School are recovering at home.

The driver remained on the scene and is cooperating with the investigation.

Following the accident, police officers and Department of Public Works staff directed traffic around the scene, while fire and EMS crews rendered medical aid to the girls who received injuries from the impact with the vehicle. The girls were transported to a Medical  Center and evaluated.


While the accident is currently under investigation, inattentive driving and speed are believed to be contributing factors, according to the Hartford Police Department.

A letter was released from the Hartford Union High School Superintendent Jeff Walters. 


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More Information Released From Fatal Accident in Dodge County

On November 29, at approximately 6:20 pm, Dodge County Sheriff’s Office took 911 calls regarding a vehicle which was traveling the wrong way on I-41 near STH 67 in the township of Lomira, in Dodge County. The vehicle was going northbound in the southbound lanes and deputies responded, however shortly thereafter, dispatch took calls regarding a two vehicle crash on I-41, just north of STH 67.

Deputies arrived on the scene and the initial investigation showed a 2011 Subaru SUV was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes when it struck a 2008 Honda minivan head-on. The driver of the Subaru was an 82-year-old female from Campbellsport, WI and the driver of the Honda minivan was a 34-year-old man from Oshkosh, WI. Both were pronounced deceased at the scene by the Dodge County Medical Examiner’s Office. There were no other occupants in either vehicle.

Southbound lanes of I-41 were shutdown at STH 49 for the investigation.

The driver of the Subaru involved in the crash on I-41 near State Highway 67 was identified as Grace Campagna (82 years old from Campbellsport, Wisconsin). The driver of the Honda minivan was identified as Ying Vang (34 years old from Oshkosh, Wisconsin).

The crash remains under investigation by the Dodge County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office Crash Investigation Team.

Assisting at the scene were Lomira Fire Department and First Responders, Theresa EMS, Fond du Lac EMS, Wisconsin State Patrol, Fond Du Lac County Sheriff’s Office, Dodge County Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Dodge County Emergency Response Team.


Two Hartford Union High School Students Hit By A Car

On Thursday, November 30 at approximately 7:12 a.m., the Hartford Police Department received a report of two female students struck while traveling in a cross walk by a vehicle operated by a male student who was turning left (west) from Cedar Street onto West Monroe Avenue. The male driver remained on scene and is cooperating with the investigation. 

Following the crash, police officers and Department of Public Works staff directed traffic around the crash scene, while fire and EMS crews rendered medical aid to the female subjects who received injuries from the impact of the vehicle. The girls were subsequently transported to a Medical Center for further treatment and evaluation. Their condition is currently unknown. 

At that time of day, the intersection of Cedar Street and West Monroe Avenue is busy with both vehicular and pedestrian school related traffic, as it is located directly in front of Hartford Union High School.

While the crash is currently under investigation, inattentive driving and speed are believed to be contributing factors.

Scam Alert

The Watertown Police Department has issued an announcement, which was released by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.    

It states that there have been reported phishing attempts like this one where scammers are pretending to be WisDOT and/or the Wisconsin DMV to get you to click fraudulent links or reveal personal information.

Be on the lookout and follow these tips:

? If you receive an unsolicited text message or email from an unknown number or person, do not respond, engage with the caller or click on links.

? Sign up for account activity alerts and renewal reminders by subscribing to DMV's eNotify. Like most bank accounts, you will receive confirmation of transactions on your account which alerts you of any fraudulent activities. Sign up for eNotify here: