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Parisi Announces Proposed 2023 County Budget

DANE COUNTY-On Oct 3, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi introduced his 2023 budget proposal at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, where he laid out Dane County’s plans to prioritize investments in life’s basic needs, housing, mental health supports, restorative justice, conservation initiatives, addressing climate change, and more. The $834 million dollar spending plan builds on successful county initiatives while exploring new opportunities to make a substantive difference for individuals and families in the Dane County community.

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Dates Set for 2023 Dane County Department Budget Request Public Hearings

DANE COUNTY–The Dane County Board of Supervisors will be holding two public hearings to hear the budget requests from the individual departments in the County. The hearings will be held on Sept. 14 and Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. with half of the departments presenting their budget requests at one meeting, and the other half at the other meeting.

The hearings are held annually prior to County Executive Parisi releasing his proposed budget.

The hearings will be held in a hybrid format with the option to attend and register to speak both virtually and in person. Information to connect virtually will be available on top of the agendas which will be posted the Friday prior to the hearing date and available here:

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Cross Plains Needs a Crossing Guard

CROSS PLAINS–Cross Plains police will staff the school crossing on Church Street for the next few weeks but after that Police Chief Tony Ruesga asked the village board Monday to find other help.

Efforts to hire a crossing guard last year weren’t successful and a police officer filled in, but Ruesga said that’s not feasible given the department’s staffing constraints.

“Emergency calls can take us away from the street crossing…Parents depend on someone being there…but the police can’t handle it anymore,” Ruesga said.

The Middleton Cross Plains Area School District has posted the position and it’s been publicized on social media but no takers yet for the job that pays $12 an hour.

“I don’t think it’s about the money…even at $20 an hour,” said Village President Jay Lengfeld. 

The job requires a half hour’s work in the morning and again in the afternoon, five days a week.

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Town Tries to Stay on Top of Brush Pile Burden

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–Roadside brush chipping, a popular service offered by the Town of Middleton has again grown to where it needs to be trimmed back, town staff requested Monday.

“It’s an ongoing battle. It was getting better...but we’re asking for a new policy,” Scott Ballweg, crew leader told the town board.

The town’s chipping service is not geared for residents who want their land cleared or entire trees removed. Instead, it’s aimed at brush piles that can be chipped in 15 minutes. 

Ballweg sees the burden growing as the town grows, however, the town’s crew remains at four full-time and two part-time employees.

“A lot of people are getting mad,” he said. “There’s confusion about what they can bring out (to the road) and what they can’t. Some people insist that since they have more acres, they should be able to pile up more stuff,” Ballweg said.

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Blankenheim Sentenced in Child Pornography Case

MADISON–A Cross Plains man who viewed child pornography on the Internet for several years, was sentenced last week in federal court to seven years in prison to be followed by 12 years of supervised release for sharing it.

Jake Blankenheim, 48, had pled guilty to distributing child pornography in April.

According to court documents:

Blankenheim used the Gigatribe computer software, more commonly used in Eastern Europe, to share photos and videos, including child pornography, with others.

He began communicating with a Swiss undercover agent who “rebuked” Blankenheim in August 2019 for looking for child pornography but not sharing any.

Soon, Blankenheim sent six images that the Swiss undercover agent transmitted to the FBI alleging that were child pornography.

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Cross Plains Village Board Votes to Buy One Property, Sell Another

CROSS PLAINS–The Cross Plains Village Board of Trustees voted to move forward with the option to purchase property at 1601 Bourbon Rd. with the purpose of placing the police department next the Cross Plains-Berry Fire Department. 

The purchase price of the property is $390,000 and a recent appraisal came back at $395,000. The real estate was also subject to two studies, an environmental phase I study and a wetland delineation study. Both came back favorable contributing to the board’s decision to approve the purchase option. 

When asked his opinion on the property, Cross Plains Police chief Tony Ruesga said, “Do I think it’s a good spot? Yes.” He added that many towns have their emergency services located next to one another. 

Trustees shared that they had received positive feedback about the move when they are in public. Letters of support have also been received. 

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Golf Cart Crossings Get Nod, Open Containers a No Go

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–Why did the golfer cross the street with his motorized cart?

For some, it will be to get to their next drink while golfing at the new Pioneer Pointe Golf Course.

The 13-hole course that replaced Tumble Down Trails has been open about six weeks according to Jeff Haen, who developed the Pioneer Pointe residential subdivision which surrounds the new course.

The course has six public street crossings, and when Matthew Stebbins applied for a liquor license for the entire golf course property, he ran smack into the state law that prohibits an open alcohol container in a motorized vehicle on public streets.

“That’s the sticking point. There’s no way around it,” Town Attorney Eileen Brownlee said the Town Board on July 5.

Stebbins, of Four Putt, LLC, the liquor license applicant, knew he had a tough road ahead but needed to be able to serve alcohol to golfers just like his competitors at other courses.

Stebbins offered to:

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Sheriff's Office Seeks Help Finding Missing Man

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating John M.
England, 60. He was last heard from on July 9. John had informed friends that he was
feeling suicidal and has a gun with him. John could be driving a red Chevy Malibu WI PC
ACL2718 or a tan GMC suv WI PC AMY8005.
England’s Friends and family advised that he is a military veteran. If contact is made please use
caution and contact the Dane County Sheriff’s Office or call 911. Please do not approach.
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Keep Your Pets Safe During Excessive Heat

MADISON–With excessive heat in the forecast, Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) is reminding pet families to take the extra steps necessary to keep your pets cool and safe. 

“Even healthy pets can suffer from dehydration and heat stroke if exposed to extreme high temperatures and humidity,” says Lisa Bernard, DCHS Public Relations Coordinator. “Make sure your pets stay safe by keeping them in a cool location, giving them plenty of water, and never leaving your pet alone inside a vehicle.”

To keep your pet safe and healthy during the heat:

• Watch out for heatstroke: Symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, fever, vomiting, seizures, and collapse. Call your veterinarian right away If you think your dog or cat may be suffering from heatstroke. Breeds with flatter faces (such as Pugs, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, Bulldogs, Boxers, and Persian cats) and very young and senior dogs are especially vulnerable.  

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City Cooling Centers Open

MIDDLETON–The upcoming weather forecast for the next two days reveals temperatures above 90º Fahrenheit. Additionally, a number of Middleton residents are still without power from the storm which the area experienced yesterday afternoon. Per the City of Middleton’s Emergency Plan the City will establish Cooling Centers when the following conditions are met:

• Projected prolonged heat or heat index equivalent at or above 90 degrees

Fahrenheit; and/or

• State or Federal emergency advisories concerning heat or heat index; and/or

• Local, State or Federal emergencies that displace citizens from their residences

in Middleton during high heat or heat index times; and/or

• Power outages of longer than 12 hours during times of high heat or heat index


• Other times at the discretion of the City’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator


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