Jefferson County News


April 17, 2019 County accepts gift of Indian mounds

By Steve Sharp: steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON — Jefferson County seems perhaps akin to the tortoise from “The Tortoise and The Hare” when it comes to its leaders’ patient, steady, methodical approach to developing tempting tourist destinations within its boundaries.

April 17, 2019 Broadband concept advancing quickly in county

By Steve Sharp: steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON — The crew entrusted with making sure Jefferson County’s rural residents have access to broadband internet is not fooling around.

April 05, 2019 Invenergy gives views on solar development
STEVE SHARP/Daily Times Dan Litchfield, director of renewable development for Invenergy in Chicago, spent some time Thursday morning at Watertown's Maranatha Baptist University for a breakfast meeting.

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April 03, 2019 Solar installation details explained at area meeting


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STEVE SHARP/Daily Times

Jeff Rauh of Ranger Power, left, discusses plans for solar power collection stations in the towns of Jefferson and Oakland Thursday afternoon with Chuck and Doreen Renz of Fort Atkinson at the Jefferson Area Business Center.

March 22, 2019 Barb Frank looks back on career as county clerk

By Steve Sharp: steves@wdtimes.com
Sharp Photo

JEFFERSON — In typical light-hearted style, Barb Frank gave her final statement to the Daily Times as Jefferson County clerk quoting a saying from Charlie Brown.

“It’s the friends you meet on your path that make the journey worthwhile,” she said

March 22, 2019 McGraw looks forward to new career challenge as clerk

By Steve Sharp: steves@wdtimes.com

Sharp Photo

JEFFERSON — Replacing retiring Jefferson County Clerk Barb Frank will be Audrey McGraw.

The Jefferson County Executive Committee and County Administrator Ben Wehmeier forwarded a resolution appointing McGraw to the interim county clerk position.

March 14, 2019 Rainfall, high temps boost area water ways
Ryan Whisner and Steve Sharp: Staff Writers

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March 12, 2019 Officials "roast" beloved colleague Frank

By Steve Sharp: steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON — Jefferson County officials mixed business with pleasure Tuesday evening during their regular county board of supervisors meeting for March.

Following a brief, good-natured, Dean Martin-style roast of retiring Clerk Barb Frank — complete with cake — the board tackled its business objectives for the evening, one of which included taking a significant step toward making the internet accessible for more people in the county.

March 12, 2019 'Working Group' to address broadband internet in county
By Chris Welch: welchwriter@yahoo.com

JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved creating a “working group” to address broadband internet access, and funding possibilities, for rural communities.
March 08, 2019 Jefferson County vets encouraged to play "Games"
By Steve Sharp: steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON -- Eligible veterans from around Jefferson County are encouraged to get into training to participate in the 34th National Veterans Golden Age Games set for Madison in 2020.
February 20, 2019 Veterans Service Donation
VetsDonation
February 20, 2019 Fair Park raises new swine barn
JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors went hog wild Tuesday, giving the go-ahead to build an expanded swine barn and animal wash rack at Jefferson County Fair Park.
February 20, 2019 County advances comprehensive plan update
By Ryan Whisner: rwhisner@dailyunion.com

JEFFERSON — The process to update Jefferson County’s comprehensive plan and agricultural preservation and land use plan got under way Tuesday night.

February 20, 2019 County board, panel per diems drop third consecutive year
JEFFERSON — Overall per diems and expenses for members of the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors dropped for a third consecutive year, a report presented to supervisors shows.
February 19, 2019 Jefferson County board retains 30-member size
February 18, 2019 They Strive to Save Lives - Jefferson County Suicide Prevention Team is Evolving

By Steve Sharp: Watertown Daily Times and Family & Friends magazine staff

Cultural anthropologists have long observed that as societies become more complex and pressurized, such as that of the U.S. today, mental illness increases. One of the unfortunate eventualities of serious mental imbalance and despondency, as well as acute drug and alcohol dependence, can be suicide. Some healthy younger people also experience setbacks but lack the life experience to realize few situations, good or bad, last forever. Hence they chose to end their lives.

February 14, 2019 Jefferson County Sheriff's Honor Guard salute fallen Milwaukee police officer
By Steve Sharp: steves@wdtimes.com

Numerous law enforcement agencies in Jefferson and Dodge counties sent officers to Milwaukee Wednesday to honor their fallen brother, Milwaukee Police Department Officer Matthew Rittner.
February 08, 2019 Jefferson County Highway Treatment Now High-Tech

By Steve Sharp - steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON —  To quote an old Virginia Slims cigarette ad, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Anyone over the age of 45 visiting the Jefferson County Highway Department’s winter maintenance facility this time of year in 2019 could be forgiven for feeling the urge to recite that crusty advertising slogan to the highway department’s Commissioner Bill Kern.

February 04, 2019 Barb Frank to retire in April after 22 years as Jefferson County Clerk
JEFFERSON — After 38 years of service to Jefferson County, including the last 22 as county clerk, Barb Frank is retiring from public service.
February 03, 2019 Reducing board size on county agenda
JEFFERSON — The size of the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors will top the agenda when the full board meets on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
January 22, 2019 Treatment foster parents needed in Jefferson County, beyond
JEFFERSON — Nicole Ruder of Family Works said her agency alone receives around 900 requests per year to place children in foster homes statewide, but they’re only able to help around 50 of them.

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January 09, 2019 County supervisors look at future planning, budgeting
JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors approved several semi-related actions on future county planning and budgeting issues during its first meeting of the year Tuesday.
January 09, 2019 Supervisors eye board, committee sizes (Ad-hoc committee to study proposals, ramifications)

JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday undertook a lengthy discussion of possibly altering its size and committee structure.

During a two-and-a-half-hour session following its normal meeting agenda Tuesday, the board debated dual proposals from Chairperson Jim Schroeder: one that would reduce the number of supervisors (and thus supervisory districts) from 30 to 25, and one that would combine the county’s 11 standing committees to seven.

January 09, 2019 Supervisors consider county board structure, committee's configuration

By Steve Sharp: steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON -- As promised and officially scheduled, Jefferson County Board Chairman Jim Schroeder began 2019’s board functions with a provocative bang Tuesday evening when he made a pair of presentations designed to get supervisors thinking about how they are doing their jobs and where, or even if, improvements need to be made.

January 08, 2019 TAKING THE OATH
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New deputies who were sworn in and the sheriff's office administrative team. From left, they are; Chief Deputy Jeff Parker, aptain Jerry Haferman, Deputh Alexander Koeser, Deputh Ehrin Eisenberg, Captain Paul Wallace, Deputy Bryan Toland, Deputy Jarred Gonzalez, Deputy Thianna Wegner, Deputy Logan Dahnert, Deputy Courthey Jacobson, Captain Duane Scott and Sheriff Paul Milbrath.

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Republican Cindy Hamre Incha, takes her oath of office as the new Jefferson County Clerk of Courts. She ran unopposed to fill the position being vacated by Carla Robinson to earn a four-year term. Robinson served in the role for three terms.

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Members of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office honor guard display the colors during the swearing-in ceremony. From left they are Deputy Scott Bondurant, Detective Chad Garcia, Deputy Eli Wiedenfeld and Deputy Thomas Klemke.

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Jefferson County Register of Deeds Staci Hoffman stands before newly sworn Deputy Logan Dahnert while he and the other six new deputies read the code of conduct prior to receiving their badges.

December 27, 2018 County board chairman to recommend cutting board size at January meeting
JEFFERSON — Jefferson County Board Chairman Jim Schroeder has plans in early 2019 to again publicly examine the structure of one of the county’s most powerful governmental bodies — the board itself.
December 12, 2018 2021 Farm Tech Days at Jefferson County Fair Park

JEFFERSON — While still preparing to play host in 2019, Jefferson County also will be the site of the 2021 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.

Next summer, the show will be hosted by the Walter Grain Farms in the Town of Milford owned by Mike and Sarah Walter from July 23-25.

The 2021 show will be will be held at Jefferson County Fair Park.

December 12, 2018 County board OKs letter of intent for osteopathic college
December 12, 2018 District 11 Supervisor Don Reese mourned


The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors met for its monthly meeting on Tuesday evening. Sadly, Supervisor Don Reese was not there, as he had passed away unexpectedly at home Monday. A plant was placed at his desk in the board chambers. Reese also was chairperson of the Town of Farmington Board of Supervisors.

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November 28, 2018 County panel hears input on osteopathic college site
JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Finance Committee received input on the proposed location and construction of a new osteopathic college during a town hall-style meeting Tuesday night.
November 19, 2018 Loyd new 4-H coordinator for Jefferson County
JEFFERSON — Calling 4-H “the best youth development program in the world,” Kara Loyd says that the organization made her what she is today.

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November 16, 2018 Making a change with the help of others - Drug Treatment Court offers second chance
Drug Court Graduation Image

JEFFERSON — The descent into drug use and addiction can happen any number of ways. An injury and the prescription of opioids as painkillers, trying to kill emotional pain through use of drugs … the reasons are as varied as the individualswho find themselves using and abusing.
November 14, 2018 Supervisors adopt county budget, tax levy
JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors approved a $29.6 million budget for 2019 on Tuesday
November 06, 2018 Jefferson County 4-H presents annual awards
JEFFERSON — Thousands, perhaps millions, of hours of hard work were recognized at Jefferson County’s annual awards banquet Thursday, Nov. 1, with honors going out in categories ranging from leadership and volunteerism to fundraiser sales and outstanding achievement in various projects.
November 05, 2018 County voters to face full ballot Tuesday
JEFFERSON — Jefferson County-area voters will face a full ballot when they go to the polls Tuesday for the general election.


October 24, 2018 County Board hears solar farm plans - No public comment on 2019 budget
JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting Tuesday, ostensibly a public hearing for the proposed 2019 county budget. However, the majority of the two-hour session focused on a solar farm proposed near Concord.
October 23, 2018 County fair input given at community meeting

By Pam Wilson: pwilson@dailyunion.com

JEFFERSON — Overall, the Jefferson County Fair ran pretty smoothly this year, but community members had a few ideas in mind to make it go even better in the future.

October 10, 2018 Proposed county tax rate down 16 center per $1,000

JEFFERSON — Jefferson County’s 2019 tax rate is expected to be down about 16 cents per $1,000 equalized valuation from this year’s rate, the board of supervisors learned Tuesday.

Jefferson County Administrator Ben Wehmeier told the board during its monthly meeting that the budget calls for a 2019 tax rate that is about 4.07-percent less than the 2018 rate.

October 05, 2018 Committee forwards budget to the board
By Steve Sharp: steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON -- The Jefferson County Finance Committee agreed Friday it will forward a proposed countywide tax levy of $27,636,322, with a corresponding tax rate of $3.99 per $1,000 of equalized valuation, to the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
September 26, 2018 West Nile kills crow in county

JEFFERSON — Jefferson County has recorded a confirmed case of the West Nile virus killing a crow.

This marks the first bird that has tested positive for West Nile in Jefferson County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.

September 24, 2018 Budget hearings are underway - Part 1 of 3
JEFFERSON -- In keeping with its philosophy of being prepared for just about anything these days -- when almost anything can happen in government -- the Jefferson County Finance Committee and Administrator Ben Wehmeier took the plunge Monday into what will, come November, be the finalized 2019 county budget.
September 24, 2018 Board continues to work on budget - Highway request is down slightly - Part 2 of 3
JEFFERSON --The amount of county tax levy being requested by the Jefferson County Highway Department is decreasing slightly in 2019 from the current year, but that doesn't mean the department is backing down from tackling road needs in its jurisdiction. If anything, the department is ramping up its efforts to provide smooth, safe driving surfaces and clean winter highways for the traveling public.
September 12, 2018 Jefferson County supervisors approve new trail bridge bid
By Chris Welch: welchwriter@yahoo.com

JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously revised and reapproved purchasing a bridge to span the Rock River, connecting two sections of the inter-urban trail between Watertown and Oconomowoc.

September 07, 2018 County gets $1 million to develop interurban trail
JEFFERSON -- Jefferson County continues to progress in its creation of attractive recreational alternatives for residents and visitors with the announcement today it will receive $1,102,840 to put toward development of the interurban bike/pedestrian trail from Watertown to Oconomowoc.
September 04, 2018 JCEDC head talks on preparing for careers of future
By Pam Wilson: pwilson@dailyunion.com

JEFFERSON — The jobs of tomorrow require a lot more than the ability to make widgets.

August 24, 2018 HAPPY 15TH!
Happy 15th

The Rock River Free Clinic (RRFC) celebrated its 15th anniversary Thursday afternoon with live musical entertainment and a free build-your-own ice cream sundae reception, featuring custard donated by Culver’s. Guests also were invited to sign up for door prizes donated by numerous area businesses, organizations and individuals. The free clinic, a full-time operation which sees patients each weekday, is supported by Fort HealthCare, Jefferson County, the United Way of Jefferson and North Walworth Counties, and numerous individuals and service organizations. During its 15-year existence, the clinic has provided almost 30,000 medical office visits for members of local communities.
August 14, 2018 County Board advances advisory referendum on 'dark stores'
JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors approved moving forward Monday with an advisory referendum that would address a perceived tax loophole for national and regional retail stores.
August 13, 2018 Gruber takes Branch I Circuit Court Bench in Jefferson County

By Steve Sharp steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON — In recent years, Jefferson County has seen a relatively significant turnover of its judges and Friday saw yet another addition to the historic list of law experts who have presided on the bench here as William Gruber became Branch I Circuit Court judge.

Gruber, who was most recently Watertown’s city attorney, replaces the retiring Jennifer Weston.

August 13, 2018 Gruber dons robes as new Jefferson County judge
Gruber

William V. Gruber became Jefferson County's newest circuit court judge during an investiture Friday at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Shown here, Judge Robert Dehring Jr. swears in Gruber, whose wife, Annie, is holding the Bible.

August 12, 2018 Full ballot for primary election Tuesday
On Tuesday, Jefferson County-area electors will be going to the polls to cast ballots in partisan primary elections for federal, state and county positions. In addition, those in the Waterloo School District will be voting on two referendum questions regarding updating the high school.
August 09, 2018 Talk/Read/Play a cooperative initiative

Talk Read Play

WATERTOWN — If you really want to help kids, you can make the most difference while they’re young.

Helping local parents and communities maximize their children’s learning and development at an early age is the goal of a new initiative being funded by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation. Cooperating in this effort are the Jefferson County Health Department, Jefferson County Human Services Department, and numerous other area agencies, nonprofits and professional organizations in the field of child development.

August 06, 2018 Rock River Free Clinic to mark 15th year August 23
JEFFERSON — The Rock River Clinic is celebrating its 15th year with a public “make-your-own-ice cream sundae” gathering Thursday, Aug. 23.
July 16, 2018 Heat, rain not a big factor: fair organizers 

JEFFERSON — Organizers said they believe that the 166th Jefferson County Fair ended on a high note with the heat not impacting attendance in any great way.

Fair Fire Performer

The fair ended its five-day run on Sunday at Jefferson County Fair Park.

July 16, 2018 Knoebel crowned 2019 Fairest of the Fair
Fairest of the Fair

Libby Knoebel, Helenville, is crowned 2019 Fairest of the Fair by 2018 Fairest of the Fair Kiley Eck. The crowning took place Sunday at the Kids' Stage. Knoebel will reign over the 2019 Jefferson County Fair. For more photos, click here.


JEFFERSON — A childhood dream became a reality for Libby Knoebel on Sunday when she was crowned 2019 Fairest of the Fair.

The Fairest of the Fair competition was just one part of the 166th Jefferson County Fair, which concluded its five day run Sunday.

Knoebel was selected by the judges as this year’s winner and was crowned by 2018 Fairest of the Fair Kiley Eck at the Kids’ Stage just prior to the International Demolition Derby.

July 16, 2018 PHOTO GALLERY: 2018 Jefferson County Fair concerts
A staple of the Jefferson County Fair are the Friday and Saturday concerts held at the grandstands. This year, country music singers Travis Tritt and Randy Houser were scheduled for Friday and Saturday, respectively. However, the Tritt concert was canceled due to inclement weather. There is a no-refund policy, so there will be no refunds for the canceled concert. Tritt’s opening act, Madison County, was able to complete its set prior to the storm rolling in. Houser's opening act was Stetsin & Lace. For more photos, click here.
July 14, 2018 PHOTO GALLERY: Jefferson County Fair Weekend
The 166th edition of the Jefferson County Fair continued through Sunday. Despite warmer temperatures, large crowds continued to pass through the gates to enjoy the wide range of entertainment and fun available for all ages at the fair. Fore more photos click here.
July 14, 2018 PHOTO GALLERY: Jefferson County Day Two

The 166th edition of the Jefferson County Fair continued Thursday. Despite warmer temperatures, large crowds continued to pass through the gates to enjoy the wide range of entertainment and fun available for all ages at the fair. For more photos, click here.

July 12, 2018 County fair gets under way
Fair Image

Reed Woolley, 3, Lake Mills, gets a kiss from a baby goat during Day One of the 166th Jefferson County Fair.

JEFFERSON — The 166th Jefferson County Fair kicked off Wednesday beneath blue, sunny skies, drawing crowds of all ages to enjoy Kids’ Day.
July 11, 2018 Jefferson County at Farm Technology Days
Farm Technology Days

Jefferson County will be playing host to the 2019 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. As such, representatives are in a hospitality tent at this year’s event, which kicked off Tuesday in Marshfield. Shown above, left to right are Brad, Sarah and Mike Walter, of Grellton in the Town of Milford, who are some of the hosts of the 2019 Farm Technology Days.
July 11, 2018 Taking the oath
Taking the Oath


Jefferson County Clerk Barb Frank swears in new Supervisor Roger Lindl.

July 11, 2018 Supervisors adopt resolution on eminent domain
JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors on Monday voted 23-4 to approve a resolution calling for a delay in private companies utilizing the eminent domain law until the state Legislature has conducted a legislative review of that law.
July 11, 2018 PHOTO GALLERY: CROPS, FOOD AND ANIMALS
Fair Photo

Tuesday was animal-in day and, for some, judging day is the final day of preparation for the 2018 Jefferson County Fair. The 166th fair started today and runs through Sunday, July 15, with fun and entertainment for the whole family in celebration of the “Year of the Chicken.” Daily adult admission at the gate is $10. Highlights of this year’s fair include Sea Lion Splash,High Flying Pages Aerial Thrill Show and Brant the FireGuy, a fire juggler and street performer. For more photos click here.
July 10, 2018 Officials discuss joint projects - Part 2

By Steve Sharp - steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON — In the first of this four-part series, the Daily Times discussed one of the major projects accomplished in Jefferson County through intergovernmental cooperation, that being the Glacial Heritage Area.

July 10, 2018 Local governments gaining traction with cooperation - Part 3

By Steve Sharp - steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON — As Jefferson County addresses what its administrator Ben Wehmeier called “big policy issues,” its county board Chairman Jim Schroeder weighed in on how he views the modern-day interplay among the county, school districts, law enforcement and municipalities and how it should continue to evolve.

“This topic is important to us,” Schroeder told the Daily Times. “I believe it makes for an interesting and topical story.”

July 10, 2018 Costs are climbing, volunteers fading - Part 4

By Steve Sharp - steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON -- Of community leaders interviewed for this series on intergovernmental cooperation in Jefferson County, perhaps the most pragmatic was Jefferson City Administrator Tim Freitag.

July 10, 2018 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days 2018 Wood County
Farm Tech Days

A view of Tent City from the edge of the parking area.

When the 2018 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days kicked off Tuesday in Wood County, representatives from Jefferson County were there to help promote next year’s event. Jefferson County will play host to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days (WFTD) for the third time when it takes place on Walter Grain Farms in Grellton in the Town of Milford on July 23-25, 2019. Mike and Sarah Walter, who were among those representing Jefferson County in Wood County, were announced as the 2019 host farm in January 2017. They farm 6,000 acres with two of their sons and their wives, Adam (Heather) and Brad (Kristi) Walter. For more photos, click here.
July 09, 2018 Two women vying for 2019 Fairest title
Fairest of the Fair 2018

Left to right rae Libby Knoebel, 2018 Fairest of the Fair Kiley Eek and Natalie Ciciva.
July 03, 2018 Positive changes come from governments working together - Part 1


Part 1 of a 4-Part Series

Positive changes come from governments working together

By Steve Sharp - steves@wdtimes.com

JEFFERSON — Recent years have seen many positive changes in the ways governments work together in Jefferson County to get projects done.

This improved approach to working together has been engendered by open-mindedness and increased levels of education on the concept among those in prominent positions of county leadership and municipal government, as well as their exposure to other governments they’ve seen having success through teamwork.

July 02, 2018 2018 Jefferson County Fair to kick off fun on July 11
Logo Square
JEFFERSON — The 166th Jefferson County Fair will kick off Wednesday, July 11, and run through Sunday, July 15, with fun and entertainment for the whole family in celebration of the “Year of the Chicken.”
June 28, 2018 Challenge to Daybreak expansion fails
Odor, air quality concerns cited in appeal to state