Council pursuing manufacturer

City officials are excited about the possibility of a large, new manufacturing facility being built on 35 acres in Business Park North.

The Common Council last Tuesday discussed the prospect of Guardian IG building a 204,000-square-foot plant that would initially employ 80 to 100 people. It later unanimously authorized Mayor Donna Olson and her staff to prepare a developers agreement and a tax-increment finance project plan for the expansion of Business Park North.

City finance director Laurie Sullivan said Guardian would like to have two shifts running by the end of 2015.

The company is in the process of deciding whether to build its new facility in Stoughton or Arlington, a small community about 25 miles north of Madison.

Guardian is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., and manufactures fabricated glass products, fiberglass insulation and other building materials for commercial, residential and automotive markets.


Ringhand advances to general election

Only about 15 percent of registered voters in Dane County showed up for last Tuesday’s partisan primary, but those who did helped put Democrat Janis Ringhand on the November ballot.

Ringhand will vie for the 15th District state senate seat against Republican Brian Fitzgerald of Janesville.

Ringhand earned 63.5 percent of the vote in Dane County, compared to 20.4 percent for challenger Austin Scieszinski and 16 percent for Mike Sheridan. Throughout the entire district, Ringhand earned 40 percent of the vote, compared to 38 for Scieszinski and 22 for Sheridan.

In a race for state assembly seat 43, Leon L. Hebert narrowly won a Republican primary race with 52 percent of the vote over Herschel Brodkey. Herbert will face incumbent Democrat Andy Jorgensen of Milton.

City of Stoughton voters played no role in the senate or assembly races, with no voters casting a ballot for any candidate in the partisan primary.


Wal-Mart updates commission

City of Stoughton Planning Commission members got an update on Kettle Park West Monday but took no action on anything related to the west side development.

Officials from Wal-Mart shared a presentation with the commission and answered a few questions about the proposed store design and layout after giving a similar presentation at an open house just a half hour before the commission meeting. The exchange focused mostly on general concepts for the store, rather than specific details that will be hashed out during the next phase of approvals.

The commission has already approved a general development plan for the commercial area along Hwys. 138 and 51. The next phase will focus on specific details for each lot, including the proposed 153,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter.


Strong open house turnout

Photos by Bill Livick. Ingrid West discusses the landscaping design for a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter with consultant Ryan Solum, a civil engineer with Manhart Consulting.

Local interest in a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter is strong, if the turnout for an informational open house Monday is any indication.

A steady stream of residents walked through the training room at the Stoughton EMS building on Fourth Street and talked with nearly a dozen Wal-Mart representatives and consultants about the project. The company had a few videos playing on TV screens, along with numerous displays resting on tripods, all depicting, explaining or promoting some aspect of the proposed 152,000-square-foot Supercenter.

The new store would be built in the proposed Kettle Park West development at the northwest corner at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 51 and State Hwy. 138. It would replace a 41,000-square-foot store on Hwy. 51 that was built in 1988.

Mayor Donna Olson and a majority of the Common Council support the project, while five alders have consistently opposed it. Olson and a handful of alders attended Monday’s open house.


Police join statewide effort to curb drunk driving

The Stoughton Police Department will join hundreds of other departments around Wisconsin in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

The effort to curb drunk driving runs from Aug. 15 to Sept. 1.

SPD Sgt. Patrick Frisch said the campaign will include two extra officers on duty from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. the nights of Aug. 15, 16, 29 and 30.

Frisch also said the department would use “high-visibility” tactics, including LED signs, as people drive into the city on those nights as a deterrent to people driving after they’ve consumed alcohol.

“We try to refocus the whole police department on OWI enforcement during that time,” Frisch said.

Statewide, the campaign will also include television and radio commercials and updated features to the “Zero in Wisconsin Drive Sober” mobile app, according to a news release from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.


Redistricting meeting Aug. 14

The Dane County Board of Supervisors will hear from two election experts at a hearing during the Executive Committee this Thursday, Aug. 14, at 5 p.m., and citizens are encouraged to attend and weigh in.

Following the testimony of the two experts, County Supervisors will have the opportunity to ask questions, and a public testimony period will allow citizens to voice their opinions on the topic.

“People need to have confidence that their vote counts just as much as the vote cast by someone across the street or across the county,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan in a news release.

“The way we draw our voting maps has to be open, fair and transparent, and we need to think carefully about the process by which we do that. We need to hear what these experts have to say, ask them tough questions, and then heed their advice.”


Kneebone ‘advocated for the citizens’

District 1 Ald. David Kneebone died unexpectedly last Thursday, Aug. 7, after a brief illness. Kneebone, 66, had served on the Common Council since being elected in April 2012 and was a progressive populist with a quick wit.

He lived in Stoughton for the past 21 years.

Council president Michael Engelberger said Kneebone “did a good job for the council and the citizens.”

“He was good for the city,” Engelberger said.

Born in 1948, Kneebone was raised on an 80-acre farm in western Dane County near Paoli. He married Georgene Fink in May 1970. The couple had two adult children: Aaron Kneebone of Edgerton and Jesse (Tracy) Kneebone of Baraboo.

Dave worked in both labor and management and had experience negotiating long-term contracts. He’d worked as a newspaper publisher and Sunday school teacher and had been on the executive board of a couple of unions, he told the Courier Hub in 2012.


Bids come back too high for Norse Park shelter

A plan to make improvements to the Norse Park shelter will need some tweaking after bids for the project were higher than budgeted.

City Parks and Recreation director Tom Lynch said staff members planned to meet this week to discuss how to move forward with the plan.

The city had originally budgeted about $138,000 for the project with hopes that it would be completed by volunteers. But Lynch said as they began to plan more, staff realized the project should be professionally bid and built.

The shelter, originally built in 1979, is in need of repair and is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards, Lynch told the Hub. The new shelter designs that were bid out would have nearly doubled the shelter size to a total of about 3,400 square feet. The new space would have room for up to 18 picnic tables under the canopy and twice as many bathroom facilities.


Polls open Aug. 12 for partisan primary

Voters will be able to cast ballots Aug. 12 during the partisan primary election to see who will be on the final ballot come November.

The biggest statewide race this fall will be for governor. Incumbent Scott Walker will face a challenge from one of two Democrats facing off in the August primary. Mary Burke and Brett Hulsey will be on the August ballot.

Racine Democrat John Lehman and Madisonian Mary Jo Walters will vie for a spot to challenge incumbent lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

Three Democrats are vying to run this fall for the state attorney general: Susan V. Happ of Jefferson, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Jon Richards of Milwaukee.

Julian Bradley of La Crosse will face Gary Beis of Sister Bay in the primary for secretary of state.

There will be a Democratic and Republican primary for state treasurer.

Dane County races


Three of a Kind: New, old pubs add flavor to downtown

Photos by Samantha Christian. Vik Malling, above, describes the design of the ship bar, the top of which is made of reclaimed wood from a 100-year-old Stevens Point silo.

Downtown Stoughton has an “old” look that provides it with much of its charm and unique personality. In the next few weeks, though, that look will be infused with some businesses sure to bring some new looks – and tastes – to the area.

The most prominent is the Viking Brew Pub, which has been in the works for more than a year and takes over a spot next to the Yahara River Grocery Co-op. It will eventually feature its own in-house brewery, with a modest selection of craft beers.