Local

Fri
30
Sep
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Cross Plains Considers Part-time Police Officers

CROSS PLAINS - Police Chief Tony Ruesga is reluctantly asking to hire part time officers to partly replenish department ranks and reduce overtime costs.

“I don’t like part timers, but we’re at that spot unless board willing to invest significant money that we don’t have,” he told the Village Board Monday night.

Hiring a new full-time officer costs an estimated $80,000 annually which Ruesga said he’d like but realizes it’s not financially prudent to do so at this time.

The village’s current population warrants having an additional officer and the department will be losing one due to a retirement in January, with more retirements expected in the next few years, Ruesga said.

Hiring an officer part-time shortens the time involved in hiring a full-time officer by months and allows for more flexible scheduling, he said.

It could also save money compared to overtime costs as the position would pay $30 an hour without benefits.

Fri
30
Sep
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Town Sues City Over Road Expansion

TOWN OF MIDDLEON–With preparations to widen Pleasant View Road just weeks away, the Town of Middleton has filed suit to prevent the City of Middleton from proceeding with the project through town’s right-of-way.

In addition to the city, the suit filed earlier this month in Dane County Circuit Court, names as defendants Mayor Gurdip Brar, City Administrator Bryan Gadow and Public Works Director Shawn Stauske, in their official capacities.

According to the complaint filed on behalf of the town by attorneys Michael Lawton and Richard Bolton:

The city has agreed with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the city of Madison to widen Pleasant View Road to four lanes Mineral Point Road and USH 14. However, the town is not party to the agreement and hasn’t given consent to allow its right-of-way to be used.

Fri
30
Sep
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Giddy-up! Stone Horse Green Nears Finish Line, Grand Opening Planned

MIDDLETON–Nearly seven years after the concept plan was presented to the Middleton Plan Commission, a new greenspace will come to fruition. The city will celebrate the Grand Opening of Stone Horse Green, the only greenspace space downtown, with the Middleton Jazz Festival and a dedication of the park.

Arts + Literature Laboratory and Middleton Community Development Authority (CDA) will host the two-day event, which is planned for Oct. 7-8.

On Friday, the jazz crawl, Strollin’ Middleton, returns with stops downtown, including: the Mustard Museum, Villa Dolce, Louisianne's, Middleton Senior Center and the Stone Horse Green.

Saturday morning at 10 a.m. there will be a ribbon cutting and dedication for the space. On addition there will be art activities and more live jazz at Stone horse Green. The event will be capped off with headliners the Alexander/McLean Quartet featuring Chicago's Dee Alexander.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Fri
30
Sep
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Town of Middleton to Post Lead Warning Signs Near Airport

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–The test results confirming the presence of airborne lead emissions around the Middleton Municipal Airport-Morey Field are in, and signs warning of the dangers of exposure to lead particles are going up.

Earlier this year, a consulting firm hired by the Town of Middleton Board projected that areas east and south of the airport that would have the heaviest concentrations of ambient lead based on computer modeling that factored in meteorological and the flight patterns of airplanes using leaded fuel.

The Middleton airport is Dane County’s second-leading source of lead emissions, behind only Dane County Regional Airport, and contributes 217 pounds of lead emissions annually, according to the Environmental Protection. However, there isn’t any routine air quality monitoring for lead in the area, according to Trinity Consultants Sept. 15 report to the town board.

Sun
25
Sep
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Know Your Dollar Teaches Middle Schoolers Financial Literacy

MIDDLETON–A course in financial literacy has taken off in Middleton and Madison and teaches middle school students about managing money at an early age.

Know Your Dollar (KYD) was started by Middleton high School senior Jahnvi Datta when she was a sophomore in 2021 and she began implementing the program in the 2021-2022 school year. She said that she targeted middle school students because they are at an age when they are beginning to form money habits.

KYD is offered at middle schools, community centers and camps, Datta said, and she developed the curriculum because she saw a need during the pandemic. “During the pandemic, I could see that the effects of it were not strictly medical. There were financial impacts too that were causing anxiety for people all around me and I felt that financial literacy education was a huge need,” she said.

Sun
25
Sep
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Plan Commission Reviews Proposal for Winery & Restaurant, Wheel & Sprocket Expansion

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Plan Commission reviewed a concept proposal for Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant which would replace Tanner’s Bar and Grill and Maurice’s clothing store in Greenway Station. The plan commission also approved the design of the proposed expansion of Wheel and Sprocket bike shop on University Avenue which would replace the former Chocolaterian Cafe.

City of Middleton Associate Planner Daphne Xu explained to the plan commission that Cooper’s Hawk would consolidate the spaces currently occupied by Tanner's Bar & Grill and Maurice’s. The applicant is requesting feedback on the concept prior to seeking design approval in October, Xu said.

Representative of Cooper’s Hawk Lauren Williams said, if approved, this would be the business’s second location in Wisconsin. The other location is in Brookfield.

Williams summarized the operations of the business.

Sun
18
Sep
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Middleton Drainage District Dissolved

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–A drainage district, once proposed as remedy for the once too-high groundwater table in a City of Middleton subdivision, has been recently dissolved by court action, according to a town attorney.

Restoring the decades-dormant Drainage District #19, also known as the Middleton Drainage District, was proposed by 2019 to help some homes in the Hidden Oaks subdivision where sump pumps ran continually after the August 2018 flood.

Farmers and other large property owners opposed revitalizing the district as the cost of drainage improvements in the upper Black Earth Creek watershed would fall disproportionally on them.

Jim Wells, owner of O.W. Holdings, filed suit in October 2020 seeking the dissolution of the district. The Town of Middleton joined the suit as much to the district was located in their jurisdiction.

Sun
18
Sep
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Package Delivery a Problem for Middleton Hills Residents

MIDDLETON–Middleton Hills residents have always had to pick up letters at a nearby rented mailroom but they’re unhappy with the post office’s recent decision requiring them to pick up their parcels there, too.

For years, residents could count on the US Postal Service to deliver packages to their doorstep but last month, were informed that service is being discontinued due to staffing shortages, said Don Knorr, president of the Middleton Hills Neighborhood Association (MHNA).

Letter carriers are working 14-hour days, six days a week and some changes needed to be made to that unsustainable schedule, local postal officials said, according to Knorr.

Now, packages are piled on shelving in the mailbox the association rents from Erdman and Associates, developers of the 430-home residential subdivision.

Sun
18
Sep
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Council Amends Agreement for Multifamily Project on Lake Street

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Common Council approved an amended and restated development agreement with T5 Real Estate for a planned four story, 65-unit apartment building at 6100 Lake Street, formerly Captain Bill’s restaurant. The amended agreement increases the amount of tax incremental financing (TIF) by nearly 25 percent. 

The original development agreement with T5 Real Estate was approved by the council in April 2022. The building is currently under construction. The developer requested additional TIF funds in light of higher costs than anticipated for TIF eligible components of the project.

Tue
06
Sep
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Alcohol-Related Traffic Crash Injuries Spike in Dane County

DANE COUNTY–Dane County experienced a much higher number of motor vehicle crashes related to alcohol use during the first six months of this year, according to a new report from the Dane County Traffic Safety Commission (TSC). In total, 80 crashes from January to June involved alcohol use, compared to the previous five-year average of 57, a 41 percent increase. These include crashes resulting in injury or death.

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