Local

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25
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Henige Sentenced in Sexual Assault Case

MADISON–A former Middleton and Mount Horeb man was sentenced on April 13 to five years in prison for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl when he was her neighbor in Middleton.

Brian R. Henige, 54, had been a neighbor of the girl’s family for 24 years and had worked with the girl’s father. The two families were so close that they had keys to each other’s house, the girl’s father was a groomsman at Henige’s wedding and the girl was a godparent to Henige’s youngest child.

Through his close association with the family, Henige learned of the girl’s self-esteem issues, which he exploited to groom her for a sexual relationship, said Circuit Judge Ellen Berz.

Mon
18
Apr
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City Council Review Scenarios for Staffing Referendum, Approve First Reading of Chicken Keeping Ordinance

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Common Council reviewed possible scenarios for the planned staffing referendum to appear on the November ballot. The council deferred any decision until two new council members are sworn in next month. The council also passed a first reading of a chicken keeping ordinance which has been a cause of outcry in the local chicken keeping community. 

City Administrator Mike Davis laid out three possible scenarios for the planned November referendum to exceed property tax levy limits up to $500,000 annually.

Scenario one would direct a little more than half the funds to the police department and use the rest to increase hours for a communications specialist and management analyst. Create a half-time HR support position and a full-time streets crew position.

The second scenario Davis described would direct all the additional revenue to the police department. 

Mon
18
Apr
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Salinas in Right Place at Right Time During Exchange Student’s Medical Emergency

MIDDLETON–March 25 was an average Friday for Siobhan Wren, or so it seemed. The 20-year-old British, exchange student at UW-Madison had come to Middleton to thrift shop with friends. Paying for purchases and leaving the Goodwill on Century Avenue would be the last thing she would remember before waking up at University Hospital and Clinics. 

Middleton Police Officer Cesar Salinas was doing regular patrols on the same afternoon when a young woman ran out to the street to flag him down. The woman, named Laura, told Salinas that her friend had collapsed. She and Irene, both exchange students from the Netherlands had been shopping with Siobhan at the time. Salinas immediately called dispatch and told them there was a medical emergency, prompting both Officer Ryan Roettger and Officer Kim Wood to arrive at the scene and later Middleton EMS and Middleton Fire Department personnel. 

Mon
11
Apr
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Hidden Oaks Subdivision Water Issue Drying Up

MIDDLETON–The once continuous whirl of sump pumps at some homes in the Hidden Oaks subdivision has been largely silenced credited by drier weather and efforts by the city of Middleton.

Sump pumps ran continuously after the August 2018 flood in many damp basements in the 120 homes in this far west subdivision. Hidden Oaks residents could see Glacial Lake Middleton swell just to the south, as the flood knocked out the pump that once lifted water over a berm before it flowed into a culvert under USH 14.

That prompted Ald. Luke Fuszard, a Hidden Oaks resident, to petition in 2019 to reactivate the long dormant Drainage District 19, formed 100-plus years prior, to improve agriculture production in lands bordering Black Earth Creek.

Hidden Oaks homeowners hoped the district would lower the level of Glacial Lake Middleton and reduce the time their sump pumps operated.

Mon
11
Apr
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City Announces Assessments of All Properties

MIDDLETON–Property owners in the City of Middleton will soon receive letters from the City Assessor concerning the citywide revaluation process for 2022. All properties will be assessed.

The letters will include a survey of rental income and expenses for leased commercial property. The income and expense information will be kept confidential and be used solely by the assessor for establishing property values using the income approach. Residential properties are generally assessed using a comparable sales approach.

“All property owners will be receiving notices of changes in assessment this year. As a whole, the city’s assessments were at about 85 percent of market in 2021. The goal for the revaluation is to bring the average assessment level to 100 percent of market,” said city finance director Bill Burns. 

The last property revaluation was for the 2018 assessment and tax year.

Residential Property Valuation

Mon
11
Apr
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Janairo Beats West, School Board Incumbents Retain Seats

DANE COUNTY–Voters in the Spring Election offered up little surprise Tuesday when they went to the polls.

An upset came in Middleton when longtime city councilwoman Susan West was beat out by newcomer Lisa Janairo in the District 6 race. Janairo brought in 65.1 percent of the vote, with West taking 34.6 percent.

In a statement, Janairo said, “It’s an incredible honor to have the voters of District 6 select me to be their new representative on Middleton’s Common Council. I owe my election to a number of highly engaged volunteers and supporters who believed in me and who agreed that it was time for a change. I commend Alder Susan West for running a competitive race. She deserves our appreciation for devoting so many years to public service for the benefit of our city.

Mon
04
Apr
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City Breaks Ground on Stone Horse Green

MIDDLETON–Five years after it purchased a lot at Hubbard Avenue and Aurora Street, the City of Middleton held a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday for the Stone Horse Green project, a downtown, outdoor entertainment and gathering venue.

On hand were a host of contributors, contractors, Friends of Stone Horse Green, city staff and Mayor Gurdip Brar who said the location will become a destination for “downtown and the city.”

“There will be music, dancing and a place to socialize that will make downtown a vibrant place,” he said on the bright, chilly morning.

The lot, which was once occupied by four buildings, was purchased from the T. Wall Enterprises for approximately $1.2 million, leveled and fund raising began which amassed $1.6 million, according to the stonehousegreen.org website.

Brar called finding private funds for the project one of the “biggest challenges” but some of the community’s largest companies came through with contributions.

Mon
04
Apr
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Listening Session Held on Traffic Safety for City, Town of Middleton

MIDDLETON–Safe Communities Madison-Dane County presented results of a traffic safety study in Area 3A–the City of Middleton and Town of Middleton–conducted by the organization, which also polled other Dane County Communities.

Lisa Bullard-Cawthorne led the two-hour presentation and discussion with community members, most of whom had not taken the survey. She said 79 city residents and eight town residents completed the survey.

Data collected from accidents reports was presented in addition to survey results and participates were asked to add other traffic issues or locations they felt were safety concerns.

Mon
04
Apr
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New York Man Sentenced in Death of Cecile Druzba

MIDDLEBURY, VT–Former Middleton resident Cecile Druzba was killed by a driver under the influence of drugs in Vermont on March 22, 2019, as she and her brother, Jacques Marton, were on their way to a celebration of life for their mother in New York. On March 22, three years to the day after her death, the driver who caused the crash, which occurred just 30 minutes from the Druzba’s home, Ian Labounty, was sentenced to two years, 10 months in prison and 10 years probation.

The police report outlined that he had passed out at the wheel, crossing the center line on Route 22A near South Burlington, VT, hitting Cecile’s car head. Cecile was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Labounty and Jacques were not seriously injured in the collision. 

Sun
03
Apr
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Middleton Woman Missing in Northern Wisconsin

IRON COUNTY–A 30-year-old Middleton woman was reported missing on March 30 after she went on a hiking trip in Iron County in northern Wisconsin and did not return.

According to a press release by the Iron County Sheriff’s Office dated April 1, the agency was contacted by the Middleton Police Department (MIPD) stating the woman had not returned from the hiking trip. The last contact with the woman was on March 26 when she was at Potato River Falls near Gurney.

Deputies in Iron County found the vehicle that was described by the MIPD in a parking area at Potato River Falls. They provided this information to MIPD, and a search began for the woman.

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