Local

Fri
05
Aug
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Plan Commission Defers Rezoning on Proposed 376 Unit Apartment in Greenway Center

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Plan Commission held a public hearing and voted on a rezoning request to construct three, eight story buildings with 376 multifamily units at 1551 Pleasant View Rd. Planning staff and plan commission members expressed support for the proposal but deferred the rezoning until various issues identified are resolved.

The proposal from LZ Ventures of Madison calls for three, eight story buildings, each containing 119 to 124 units and two levels of underground parking. The site is 5.32 acres and has been part of the Greenway Center Planned Development District (PDD) but has never been developed. The rezoning would create a new PDD. A PDD allows the city to create a zoning district tailored to a specific project which can be more or less stringent than typical zoning code.

Fri
05
Aug
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Mehring Changes Plea

MADISON–Nodding his head in response to Judge Ellen Berz, Eric Mehring entered guilty pleas for three counts of intoxicated use of a vehicle last week, stemming from an October 2021 accident that killed three teenage boys. 

The incident occurred in the Town of Middleton when Mehring was speeding down Mineral Point Road in the Town of Middleton and rear-ended a Chevy Cruze that contained John “Jack” Miller and Evan Kratochwill, Middleton High School students, and Simon Bilessi, a West Madision High School student. All three teens were killed in the crash. Merhing’s blood alcohol content was 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

He was driving his Jaguar an estimated 35-40 mph over the 45 mph posted speed limit at the time of the crash. At the time, a sheriff’s deputy asked Mehring how fast he was going and he estimated 75 mph. When asked why he was traveling at such a high speed he replied, “over confidence.” 

Fri
05
Aug
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City of Middleton Awarded $1 Million Grant for North Mendota Trail

MIDDLETON–Local officials joined at a bike/pedestrian bridge on Century Avenue in Middleton last week to announce a $1 million dollar county grant for the construction of the next segment of the North Mendota Trail. The section will run from Highland Way/Century Avenue traffic signal to the eastern city limits just past Signature Drive.

Middleton Mayor Gurdip Brar and District 7 Alder Dan Ramsey joined Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and County Board Supervisors Alex Joers, District 9, Holly Hatcher, District 26 and April Kigeya, District 15 in announcing the grant on July 27.

Mon
01
Aug
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Council Votes on Vehicle Replace meant, TIF Runds

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Common Council deliberated on several vehicle and equipment purchase requests from the police and public works departments. The requests are generally part of the budget cycle, but staff sought approval for early purchases to get ahead of long lead times due to ongoing supply chain complications. The council also approved a $16.4 million request for tax incremental financing for the planned 44 acre “Belle Farm” residential development at 4887 Parmenter St.

Mon
01
Aug
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Property Assessments Up 26%

MIDDLETON–Property assessments in Middleton are complete and residents and business owners have received letters informing them of their current property assessments. Like much of Dane County, the City of Middleton saw a big jump in assessments, on average 26 percent–27 percent for residential properties and 25 percent for commercial properties.

Middleton Finance Director Bill Burns said the last time assessments were done in Middleton was 2018. The four-year span was determined to be adequate in determining property value, Burns said, and included, “The timing of when a revaluation is needed is based on how quickly market values are changing.”

Sat
16
Jul
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SCOTUS Miranda Ruling Concerns Law Experts

WASHINGTON DC–“You have the right to remain silent” has been a cornerstone of the Miranda Warning in the US since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ernesto Miranda in the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona. The court then ruled that suspects should be informed of their rights when accused of committing a crime.

On June 23, the current Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) had a different take when it came to holding law enforcement accountable for reading those rights. In the case of Vega v. Tekoh the court voted 6-3 to remove the ability of a suspect to sue police in cases when “right to remain silent” is not read.

“The Supreme Court has slowly chipped away at it, and this is one of the biggest assaults on Miranda,” said Steven Wright, Clinical Associate Professor-UW Madison, and former director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. “In the past 30 years the court has slowly created loopholes for police.”

Sat
16
Jul
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Public Health Can Issue Orders, Court Says

WISCONSIN–The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on Becker v. Dane County on July 8, a case which bought into question Public Health of Madison and Dane County’s (PHMDC) ability to issue a public heath order for the safety of the public. 

The judges found no cases to support prohibiting the agency from issuing mandates or enforcing civil citations so long as it is within the bounds of other laws. 

The initial lawsuit was filed in November 2020 in the Wisconsin Supreme Court by Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) on behalf of two Dane County residents, and challenged Emergency Order #10, which extended face mask requirements indoors, restricted the size of indoor gathering to 10 and only allowed in person learning for grades K-2 and those with disabilities.

Sat
16
Jul
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Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules in Favor of PSC in CHC Case

WISCONSIN–Cue the “Never Ending Story” theme song. The saga of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek (CHC) power transmission line has yet another chapter in it. 

The latest entry is a ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that marks another victory for the line’s supporters and the Public Service Commission (PSC) that approved construction of the project, which will link wind and fossil fuel-generated power in Iowa to consumers in Wisconsin. 

In essence, critics of line, chief among them the Driftless Area Land Conservancy, had alleged that PSC commissioner Michael Huebsch had a conflict of interest when he approved the line, but the state’s highest court found no solid evidence that the allegations were true. In fact, the majority of justices said such claims were meritless and borderline frivolous. They also disagreed with procedural issues raised by the circuit court, but supreme court justices themselves could not agree on some of the procedural questions, either.

Sun
10
Jul
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Parks to Receive New Zoning Classifications

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton is creating new zoning classifications for its parks to better reflect how the property is being and will be used, Abby Attoun, Director of Planning and Community Development told the Middleton Plan Commission last week.

The change follows “best practice(s)” used by planning professionals and would create the Neighborhood Park District for eight parks including Fireman’s, Parkside Heights, Stonefield, and Stricker, which are currently zoned residential.

“We have a pretty outdated zoning ordinance, it’s older than I am,” Attoun said at the June 28 meeting. The name changes allow the city to implement its Comprehensive Plan and “get things up to date and where they need to be.”

Comments from the public about the proposed change during the public hearing were favorable.

Sat
02
Jul
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Newspaper Hosts School Supply Drive

MIDDLETON–The Times-Tribune will once again be collecting school supplies for MOM’s (Middleton Outreach Ministry) Back to School program. 

“We are excited to help MOM raise donations for the school supply program again this year,” said Times-Tribune editor, Michelle Phillips. “Families are struggling even more to make ends meet with the increase in prices for goods, and we hope to collect more supplies than previous years to help fill that need.”

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