County

Mon
16
May
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The Task of Preserving Dane County’s Farmland

DANE COUNTY–One of the most popular bumper stickers in Dane County, which may or may not come standard on any new Prius or Subaru, states a simple slogan: “No Farms, No Food.” But with rapid development in Dane County, local fields are being usurped by subdivisions and parking lots, and families who spent generations tilling the soil say goodbye to a way of life forever. 

Fri
06
May
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Trout Days Back in Full Swing

CROSS PLAINS–The Cross Plains Lions Club and Cross Plains Chamber of Commerce is proud to sponsor Cross Plains Trout Days. Since 1984 Cross Plains has hosted Trout Days on the first Saturday of May, the opening day of fishing season. This annual community event has drawn fishing and outdoor enthusiasts to the Black Earth Creek area to fish and celebrate the spring season. 

Now in its 37th year, this growing event features food, live music, wine walk and a variety of fun outdoor educational activities for all ages and interests, with trout fishing and the area’s natural resources at heart.

Mon
18
Apr
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Town to Keep Meeting Virtually

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–Despite a decline in reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the Middleton Town Board last week decided to continue to meet virtually until June.

Like other public and private organizations, town committees, commissions and the town board shifted in March 2020 from in-person meetings to conducting meetings via Zoom.

Since then, the board has twice decided to extend meeting virtually including in late December when the Omicron variant spiked and created a third surge of cases.

While the City of Madison and Dane County are contemplating a return to in-person meetings, the town board was reluctant to follow suit.

“I’d like to proceed with caution…There are no windows that open at town hall,” said Town Chair Cynthia Richson.

Although the exposure to COVID-19 cases may have lessen, board supervisors noted that the virus continues to infect people ranging from House Speak Nancy Pelosi to local Costco employees.

Mon
11
Apr
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Historic Building Gets Renewed Purpose

CROSS PLAINS–Plans for a top-to-bottom restoration of a historic downtown building into and eclectic mix of entertainment, workshops and lodging advanced Monday to the Village Board.

Named after its address, The 2100 American Legion Drive project, plans to be a seven-day-a week event center for weddings, workshops, lessons, an art studio and activities for children and adults.

An art studio will operate in the basement featuring glass blowing lessons and retail sales.

Weddings, fundraisers, lessons, fitness classes, pop-up shops, music and corporate parties are among the uses envisioned for the main floor. Yoga classes and other lessons could begin as early as 5:30 a.m. and parties may continue to bar time, according to information supplied to the Cross Plains Plan Commission, which recommended rezoning the property Monday night.

A two-bedroom apartment is planned for the top floor and would be the village’s first short-term rental living unit.

Fri
18
Mar
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Court Ruling Won’t Stop Power Line Payments to Towns

MADISON–Although they would prefer that the Cardinal-Hickory Creek power line wouldn’t be built, officials in the municipalities the power line would cross said they would still welcome the money that comes with it.

Construction of the 345-kilovolt powerline, begun in November, has triggered the calculations of the one-time and annual environmental impact payments that six Dane County municipalities will receive.

The Town of Cross Plains would host the most miles of the line in the county and will receive the highest one-time distribution, an estimated $718,689, and $86,243 annually thereafter, according to American Transmission Co., (ATC) which co-owns the line with ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative.

The one-time payment about equals what the town collects in yearly property taxes, said Town Chair Greg Hyer, which creates a quite a windfall.

Fri
18
Mar
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Sap’s Slow Flow Doesn’t Deter Open House

CROSS PLAINS–Maple sap needs temperatures above 45º during the day and 25º at night to flow up the trunk and through taps for syrup making. Cold temperatures this winter meant the sap wouldn’t flow, and during the Open Kettle Farms Open House last weekend, the business had produced just 30 gallons of syrup. 

“This is the latest it’s been since we started,” said Jan Noll, who started up the maple syrup production with her husband Tim 10 years ago.

“We’ve got a ways to go,” added Tim.

Tim wasn’t too concerned as temperatures reached that 45º mark on March 13 and the clear, sweet liquid began to drip from spouts on a stand of maples at the Cross Plains farm.

The goal this year is to produce 250 gallons of syrup, which Tim said comes at a ratio of 50 gallons of sap to one gallon of finished syrup. “We have a lot of red maples, and they’re not as sweet,” he explains. 

Fri
11
Mar
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PFAS Fish Consumption Advisory Issued for Black Earth Creek

DANE COUNTY–A PFAS-based fish consumption advisory has been issued for Black Earth Creek by the Wisconsin Department of Resources and Department of Health Services (DHS). Following sampling in 2020, the DNR found elevated levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), a type of PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl substances), in brown trout sampled from Black Earth Creek near Cross Plains. As a result, the DNR and DHS recommend consuming one meal per week for brown trout harvested from the creek from Cross Plains to Blue Mound Creek.

According to Seam Strom, DNR Fish and Wildlife Toxicologist, this was the first time the Black Earth Creek corridor was tested for PFAS.

“Additional fish were collected in 2021 and we are still waiting on those results; [they] likely will not be available until later this year,” said Strom. “We also plan to collect additional fish (different species) later this summer.”

What are PFAS?

Fri
04
Mar
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Ace Hardware to Open in CP, Job Fair Saturday

CROSS PLAINS–It’s been more than three years since the World of Variety store in in Cross Plains closed, but the building will soon come back to life when Ace Hardware opens its doors at the end of the month.

Tyler Johnson, regional director of operations for Niemann Foods, the company that holds the franchises, said the company saw a need for a hardware store in the community.

“We thought we could bring some revitalization, perhaps, to this area,” Johnson said. The Cross Plains Ace will be located in the Glacier Creek Shopping Center next to Piggly Wiggly, and Johnson, who oversees the company’s Wisconsin stores, said he hopes the Ace will bring further revitalizations and more traffic to the businesses.

“We like being in a hub with Piggly Wiggly and other businesses. We hope that we can bring in business for them and they can bring in business for us. 

“We hope to be an anchor in the community as well as being an employer,” stated Johnson.

Mon
28
Feb
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County Supervisors Introduce Broadband Resolution to Expand Grants

DANE COUNTY–County supervisors Michele Doolan (District 28), Pat Downing (District 30) and Dave Ripp (District 29) last week introduced a resolution to commit matching funds for a Public Service Commission (PSC) Broadband Expansion grant application for approximately 1,000 locations in the Southwest and Western areas of Dane County. 

“Basically, we’re partnering with the state to expand the affordability piece of [broadband access],” said Doolan.

If the resolution is ultimately approved, Dane County would be committing $1 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds towards the project (if the grant application is successful), estimated to cost approximately $10.3 million.  Charter Communications will be applying for the funds and would provide at least $3.5 million for the project. The application is requesting a match from the State of Wisconsin for the remaining amount. 

Mon
28
Feb
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Sheriff, DA Rally for New Jail–Supervisors Delay Vote

MADISON–Everyone agrees, something must be done to improve the conditions at the Dane County Jail, and after years of discussions and planning, those improvements are still up in the air. 

At a press conference on Valentine’s Day, Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne were joined by Dr. Bill Greer, who worked at the jail facility, Allison Owens, a formerly justice involved community member and members of the Dane County Sheriff’s Deputies Union to support the original plan for a 922 bed jail with mental and medical care services on site. 

The conference came on the heels of RES-320, which would add an addition $24 million to the $200 million project, citing increased costs and the project stalling out for the past two years due to COVID-19. 

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