Community

Thu
02
Jul
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City Hall to Remain Closed

MIDDLETON–An email sent out by Middleton City Administrator Mike Davis on Tuesday afternoon, informed the public of changes to the City Hall reopening plan. City Hall was scheduled to one with limited access on July 6, but Davis said due to safety concerns.

“Due to the latest increase in COVID-19 cases in Dane County, I have decided that City Hall will not open on July 6 as planned and will remain closed to the public indefinitely. This decision is made out of concern for both the public and city employees’ health and well-being.  City Hall staff continue to work, so if someone needs to schedule an appointment, we are available by e-mail, phone and Zoom. If absolutely necessary we can schedule a meeting in person too,” Davis said in the email.

Thu
02
Jul
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NNO Canceled

MIDDLETON–The 2020 National Night Out (NNO) event that was to be held in Middleton on August 6 has been canceled due to concerns about safely hosting the event during the COVID-9 pandemic. 

The annual event features food, emergency vehicles and a chance for citizens to get out and meet members of the police department EMS and fire department.

“The cancellation is very unfortunate because it is our largest community policing event throughout the year and has always had excellent attendance.  It allowed a significant portion of our staff to get out and have contact with a large number of community members during a family-friendly event,” said Middleton Police Department Captain Jeremy Geiszler. 

The event dates back to the early 2000s, and many communities across the country hold a variety of events to connect citizens and local law enforcement and emergency agencies.

Thu
02
Jul
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Plan Commission Approves Building Plan for Cross Lutheran Church in Bishops Bay

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Plan Commission approved an amendment to the building plan for a neighborhood within Bishops Bay to make room for Cross Lutheran Church. The church, which has been holding service in the Bishops Bay clubhouse since 2016, has struggled to find a site for construction within Middleton that provides a municipal sewer connection. 

Bishops Bay developer T. Wall Enterprises representative Taylor Brengel said the revised building plan relocates 13 residential lots to the Town of Westport making room for Cross Lutheran Church and School. 

City Planner and Zoning Administrator Mark Opitz explained that the plan commission reviewed the proposal for the church site last fall and was supportive. He noted the Westport Town Board approved the amendment relocating the 13 lots. 

Wed
01
Jul
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PHMDC Drafts New Order Further Restricting Bars and Restaurants

MADISON–Public Health of Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) has issued a new health order, effective July 1. The order limits gathering in bars and restaurants. A recent outbreak of COVID-19 has largely been tracked back to bars and restaurants, many on State Street and near UW-Madison campus, and prompted the order.

The order restricts restaurants to a 25 percent indoor capacity, excluding employees, with tables placed six feet apart. They may also offer outdoor seating with the same six foot distancing between tables.

Bars are limited to alcohol only on site and only outdoor seating with a six foot spacing. Bars can serve food to go. Customers must remain seated at all times.

Both bars and restaurants are limited to tables of six or less, all from the same household. Restaurants and bars are asked to encourage take-out and delivery.

Sat
27
Jun
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Middleton Sport Bowl Owners Sentenced to Six Months Each

MADISON–Owners of the Middleton Sport Bowl (MSB) were each sentenced Friday in federal court to six months in prison for not paying income taxes on cash skimmed from video gambling machines at their University Avenue business.

Dudley Hellenbrand, 67, and Cherie Hellenbrand, 45, both of Middleton, told an undercover IRS agent posing as a prospective buyer of the Sports Bowl in late 2017, that the five video gambling machines could provide $175,000 a year in untaxed income, according to Assistant US Attorney Daniel Graber.

The couple was charged with evading taxes from 2010-17 during which the unreported income from the machines totaled $746,009 and created a federal tax loss of $268,852. Adding the loss to the state of Wisconsin increased the amount to $350,191, which the couple repaid before sentencing.

In asking for a sentence of a year and a day for the Hellenbrands, Graber wrote the court:

Fri
26
Jun
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City Looks to Form New Equity Team in Wake of Floyd Death

MIDDLETON–After the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, Luke Fuszard wanted to address inequity in the City of Middleton. Fuszard, Middleton City Council District 5 Alder, drafted a resolution regarding his concerns. 

“I wrote it with City Administrator Mike Davis and Alder Robert Burck with input from Mary Beth Paulisse (Director of Curriculum, Assessment an 4k at Middleton Cross Plains Area School District[MCPASD]),” Fuszard said.

The resolution expressed the sorrow of city leaders and employees at Floyd’s death, called for unity, working to identify and eliminate systemic racism, evaluate and identify issues in procedures systems and policies and, reformulating the Middleton Equity Team (MET). The former equity team became defunct in 2019, and Fuszard said he feels the time is right to take up the problem of racism and racial bias in the community.

Thu
18
Jun
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Ethics Board Dismisses Complaint Against Opitz

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton’s Ethics Board last week dismissed a five-count complaint brought against Mark Opitz, city planner and zoning administrator, by an opponent of airport expansion stemming from ongoing issues with the Middleton Municipal Airport-Morey Field.

The complaint filed on Dec. 20, 2019 was the first the approximately year-old board ever considered.

It alleged that Opitz:

• Lacked transparency and or truthfulness regarding developing a survey of potential airport users;

• Accepted gifts in the form travel at reduced fares from owners of Capital Flight, an airport-based ,private business;

• Misused the city’s listserv email system to advance his pro-airport expansion agenda;

• Shared information with Capital Flight owners which he withheld from the airport manager;

• Had an angry, intimidating conservation with the complainant, Leslie Hayner, after a Middleton Common Council meeting.

Thu
18
Jun
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Middleton Police Chief Discusses Department Policies

MIDDLETON–Middleton Police Chief Troy Hellenbrand knows that the city is removed of some of the policing challenges of larger cities, and he also know that policies can change and should. The Middleton Police Department has worked in the past few years to assess and improve policies, continue officer training, increase community outreach and better serve the public.

Recently calls for defunding the police have rung out nationwide, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. The incident of officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck in the street for more than nine minutes while other officers stood by and watched, was videotaped by a 17-year old bystander and set off a series of protests around the country and world. 

Hellenbrand said he was mortified by the death of George Floyd.

Fri
12
Jun
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Forward Dane Moves to Phase II Monday

Virus still present and infectious in communities; residents urged to take precautions

DANE COUNTY-As a result of meeting criteria outlined in Forward Dane, Public Health Madison & Dane County is issuing an order to move Dane County to Phase 2. Order #5 is effective as of 8:00am on June 15, 2020.

Fri
12
Jun
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Captain Bill's Closes

MIDDLETON–A long time Middleton restaurant has closed its door for good. Captain Bill’s, on the shores of Lake Mendota, will not reopen said Jack von Rutenberg in a press release last week. He cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for closing the business, and will now focus on the other businesses owned by his family’s company von Rutenberg Ventures (VRV).

“Perhaps the biggest, and permanent, change related to Covid-19 is that the company has decided to, upon reopening later this month, consolidate and limit operations only to the town of Westport. Four of the five VRV businesses are located in this town at the northern tip of Lake Mendota. Captain Bill’s, located in Middleton, will not reopen,” the press release read.

Von Rutenberg, his brother Bill and his parents Betty and Bill Sr. Captain Bill’s on Nov. 22, 1993. Jack’s brother, Robert, joined the business in 2000.

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