Government

Thu
28
Aug
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While the debate about an officer-involved shooting rages in Missouri, Middleton’s police chief says squad and body cameras can protect both citizens and police officers

While questions of race, lethal force and police accountability continue to rage in Ferguson, Missouri following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the Middleton Police Department is making clear that it has already taken extensive steps to document its officers’ interactions with the citizenry.

“If a controversial event occurs which involves one of our officers, we are in good shape to review the incident and share the results with the public at an appropriate time,” said Chief of Police Chuck Foulke in a statement sent to city leaders last week.

“I am a firm believer in squad video cameras and am optimistic that personal body cameras will soon become part of our everyday equipment,” said Foulke. “I strongly advocate being transparent in everything we do.”

Wed
30
Apr
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County Tries Again To Bolster Mining Oversight

County leaders aren’t giving up on their efforts to regulate local mining sites, despite towns’ tepid response to their earlier attempts.

Flanked by supporters and backed by the pristine natural landscape of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy and a dormant mine that abuts it, county executive Joe Parisi last week rolled out the latest plan to bolster oversight of mining operations that border residential and conservation areas.

Ordinance Amendment (OA) 26, the county’s stab at making mining companies follow regulatory rules similar to those already in place for other types of businesses, fizzled recently when area towns, under pressure from mining interests and the Dane County Towns Association, voted to block the increased regulations.

Wed
30
Apr
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Alder-elect Declines City Council's District 4 Seat, Prompts the Return of Jim Wexler

Perhaps April Fools day was a particularly apt day for this year’s Spring Election…

Longtime city alderman Jim Wexler has turned his horse around while riding off into the sunset and returned to his seat despite filing non-candidacy papers last year. Wexler was appointed back to the council following his successor’s surprising and cryptic announcement that he would not accept the Middleton Common Council’s District 4 seat, which he won running unopposed in the April 1 election.

Wexler, who had represented the city’s fourth district since 1988, announced late last year that he would not seek an unprecedented 14th term. While announcing his departure, he said he was pleased to see Chad Gehin, a political newcomer, lifelong City of Middleton resident, and local apartment manager, step forward to run for the seat.

Fri
21
Mar
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Did City of Middleton Violate Bidding Rules?

The Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin, Inc. on Wednesday obtained a temporary restraining order in Dane County Circuit Court barring the City of Middleton from proceeding with the construction of its new Public Works Facility and Outbuildings to be located at 4330 Parmenter Street in Middleton.  

Judge Rhonda L. Lanford issued the order after concluding that the City of Middleton improperly awarded the public contract for the construction of the new Public Works Facility to Newcomb Construction, Inc. of Madison.

On December 12, 2013, the City of Middleton issued a public notice that it was accepting bids for the construction of the new Public Works Facility and Outbuildings, which has an estimated cost of over $9 million.  Nine different contractors submitted bids for the Project, including six contractors who are members of the Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin.  

Thu
27
Feb
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Town of Middleton Opposes Increased Mining Oversight

Imagine a long-slumbering mine, located on the edge of a residential neighborhood or nature conservancy, roaring to life one day without any review or recourse for those affected by the operation’s noise, dust and traffic.

That could happen in dozens of sites across Dane County, according to proponents of a zoning law change that would require dormant mines to obtain a permit before re-opening.

Dane County is on the verge of approving an ordinance amendment that would bolster control over local mining sites. According to a county planning document, those mines are “essentially unregulated” right now.

But the fate of the amendment, which has broad support from both the county board and county executive Joe Parisi, will ultimately be up to local towns, which have the power to decide whether they want the increased oversight.

Wed
12
Feb
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City Wants Third Party To Weigh In On Pleasant View Ridge Septic

The City of Middleton will require developer Erdman Holdings, Inc. to hire a third party consultant to weigh in on the use of septic tank systems in the proposed Pleasant View Ridge subdivision.  The consultant’s report would influence the city council on whether or not to approve the development.  

The city’s committee of the whole passed along a consultant request for qualifications and proposal to the common council for approval.  At the following plan commission meeting ald. Hans Hilbert (Dist.  7) recommended the request be utilized to obtain proposals from three different firms.  

“It can be quite uncomfortable to ask two people, because then it is one or the other when you are looking at them,”  Hilbert stated.  “Usually when you throw that third in it makes it a lot more comfortable decision.”

The city expects the requested work and assistance could be done for less than $10,000.  An escrow account will be set up between the developer and the city.  

Wed
05
Feb
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$7.86 Million Public Safety Building Is Leaking

Just four years after Ideal Builders, Inc. completed construction on a new public safety headquarters for the City of Middleton, the building already appears to have problems. Much to the city’s chagrin, the police department and municipal court building, located at 7341 Donna Drive, is experiencing potentially hazardous water leakage, according to information provided to the Middleton Common Council.

If not taken care of in a timely and proper manner, such water issues could lead to dangerous mold, said city leaders. In order to effectively remedy the problem, the city enlisted SRI Consultants, Inc. to identify both the cause of the leakage and avenues for solving the dilemma.

City attorney Larry Bechler noted that while the root of the issue remains to be discovered, the leakage is most likely related to structural troubles.

Wed
29
Jan
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State Rep. misused government resources, according to GAB document

State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) admitted to the Government Accountability Board (GAB) that she used state resources to promote a ballot initiative prior to the spring 2013 election.

According to a settlement agreement signed by Hesselbein and dated August 30, the lawmaker violated state ethics rules when she issued a press release using state resources urging citizens to vote yes on a non-binding Dane County referendum opposing the abolition of same-day voter registration.

She paid the GAB a forfeiture of $200 as part of the agreement.

Hesselbein, who was elected to the state legislature in 2012, is a former member of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School board and still holds her seat as the District 9 supervisor on the Dane County Board.

Wed
29
Jan
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School board president self reports government email violation

The president of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School Board contacted the Government Accountability Board last week to self-report what appears to be a violation of a state law that prohibits using government resources for political purposes. 

Ellen Lindgren sent out an email encouraging people to attend an event featuring Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke late on Wednesday, Jan. 15

“This is a terrific opportunity to get to know a candidate for governor, and I hope you will come,” Lindgren wrote at the top of the email, which went to various individual, including some public employees and elected officials.

“You are invited to a reception, hosted by Ellen Lindgren, with Mary Burke Democratic Candidate for Governor Wednesday, January 22nd,” it continued. The event was scheduled to take place from 5-6 p.m. at the Executive Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency, 333 West Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee

Fri
10
Jan
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Spring ballots to include races for city council, town board, school board

The filing deadline for the spring election came and went Tuesday, and there will a few contested local races on the April 1 ballot.

State offices to be elected include Court of Appeals Districts 1, 2 and 4 and Circuit Court. Various local government seats are up for re-election, including those on city, town, village and school boards.

 

CITY COUNCIL

Incumbent Second District alderman Gurdip Brar will face challenger Robert Conhaim in the only contested Middleton Common Council race.  Conhaim and Brar are no strangers, as the former was ousted from the seat in 2008 by the latter.

Incumbents Susan West (Dist. 6) and Mark Sullivan (Dist. 8) both filed to run for re-election and will not face any challengers on the ballot. District 4 alderman Jim Wexler will not seek another term, so newcomer Chad Gehin will be the only name on the ballot there.

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