Two contested races in Town of Oregon spring election

Town of Oregon voters will have two contested local elections to vote on in April.

Incumbent Town Board Chairman Darryl Weber will face Town Sup. Wayne Ace to win his seat back. Two years ago, Weber won a coin toss to retain his seat after he and challenger Chris Johnson tied in the election.

Tom Wiedenbeck and Andy Blomstrom will both run for the Town Assessor position, as well. Blomstrom is the incumbent in that race.

Ace and Fred Clark, Jr., will also both run again for their supervisor seats unopposed and incumbent Gary Wackett will run again for the Constable position.

Others were nominated for town supervisor positions at the Jan. 17 town caucus, but refused the nomination.

The election will be April 7.


Judge rules against fired Brooklyn employee

A Dane County judge this month shot down a lawsuit against the village of Brooklyn from a former village employee fired in 2010.

Bob Anderson, who was Brooklyn’s public works director for more than two decades, sued Brooklyn, village president Nadine Walsten and village clerk Carol Strause in March 2013 for an undisclosed amount.

Anderson claimed Walsten and Strause sabotaged his 2012 application to become public works director in the city of Darlington and that Walsten damaged Anderson’s reputation with false, negative public comments about his job performance.

But Dane County Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Lanford issued a summary judgment Jan. 9 in favor of the defendants. A transcript of the oral ruling was not available at press time.

Attorney Lori Lubinsky, who represented the defendants, said Judge Lanford “found in our favor in virtually all if not all of the defenses we raised.”


Bike trail getting finished this year

Including planning and construction, the Oregon Rotary Bike Trail has been some four years in the making.

And it will be completed this year.

The Village Board voted unanimously Monday to complete the final two segments of the 3.1-mile trail on the village’s north side this summer. It also decided to spend an additional $160,000 to pave the trail instead of leaving it with a crushed limestone surface.

The village will spend $555,876 to finish constructing the trail. It built the first segment – a 1.8-mile stretch from Alpine Parkway to about halfway to Fish Hatchery Road – last year at a cost of $333,413.

The total project cost is estimated at $889,289.


Burke gets extension, OK to return rifles

Village officials made a few decisions related to the Oregon Police Department at Monday’s Village Board meeting, including an extension on interim chief Dale Burke’s contract and approving his request to return five M-16 rifles to the federal government.

Burke’s original contract limited him to staying at the department until June 30 to ensure things run smoothly until a successor to former chief Doug Pettit is hired. However, the department had to absorb a shock earlier this month when Lt. Karey Clark unexpectedly died.

Village administrator Mike Gracz suggested the contract be open-ended.


Village, county make Janesville Street deal

The Village Board approved a cost-sharing agreement with Dane County Monday for repaving a bad section of Janesville Street near its intersection with Wolfe Street.

The village and county are sharing in the $133,000 cost of the resurfacing project, which is scheduled to take place this summer.

“We’ve got the construction set to happen between July 6 and Aug. 27,” said public works director Mark Below. “I tried to schedule it so it didn’t interfere with Summer Fest and the July 4 weekend, or the start of the school year.”

The project, which was accelerated to deal with a road that became extremely bumpy during last winter’s hard freeze, will also include utility upgrades along the roughly quarter-mile stretch.


Town spring election caucus Jan. 17

The Town of Oregon will hold its caucus to nominate candidates for the spring election Saturday, Jan. 17.

The caucus allows attendees to nominate potential candidates, though those candidates still must agree to run.

Five elected town positions will be on the April 7 ballot: Town Board Chairperson, two Town Supervisors, Town Assessor and Town Constable.

The caucus will start at 2 p.m. at Town Hall, 1138 Union Road.

In the event of bad weather, a snow date is set for Saturday, Jan. 24.


OPD Lt. Clark dies Friday

The Oregon Police Department was shocked to learn it lost its second-in-command last Friday when Lt. Karey Clark died unexpectedly of natural causes.

Clark, 38, joined the department in 2001 and worked his way up to lieutenant in 2011, becoming “the glue that held the department together,” interim chief Dale Burke told the Observer.

“(Former) Chief (Doug) Pettit was gone a lot, both a result of his statewide duties and then later on with his health issues,” Burke said. “So Karey was running the department a lot of the time. Even since I’ve been here … I counted on and depend upon Karey to keep the department going when I’m not here and to be that stabilizing force.”


No primary, but several races

Oregon area voters won’t have a primary election next month, but will have a few races in April.

The Village of Oregon has one challenger for the trustee position, while the Village of Brooklyn president will face a challenge from a current trustee.

As of press time Tuesday, no races had enough candidates for a February primary, but the general election will be held April 7.

Village of Oregon

In the Village of Oregon, all incumbents plan to run again, along with one challenger – Ben Cowan.

Cowan hopes to expand the city’s tax base through economic development.


Oregon police K9 program questioned

Photo by Samantha Christian. Oregon police officer and police dog handler Josh Kohlman and Vende made an appearance at National Night Out on Aug. 5.

Police dogs are commonly used in Wisconsin and throughout the nation for tracking potential criminals and detecting illegal drugs. Canines are also useful public relations tools for police departments, particularly in small towns like Oregon, where crime happens less frequently than in a city like Madison.

The Village of Oregon Police Department began its K9 program in October 2010, when the department introduced a German shepherd named Vende to the community. She turned 4 years old in November, said handler Josh Kohlman, who’s also a patrol officer in the village.

He said Vende is mainly used for drug detection during traffic stops. Most police dogs are also used in schools to act as a deterrent by sniffing out illegal drugs, but the Oregon School District has a policy against using dogs for random searches.


Nomination papers due Jan. 6

Those interested in running for public office in the spring election have just a few days to get their name on the ballot. The deadline to file a declaration of candidacy and collect signatures for office is coming up Jan. 6. 

Locally, some incumbents have announced that they will be on the ballot, but some seats will be open for the April 7 general election. 

All incumbents on the Oregon Village Board plan to run for reelection. 

Steve Staton will seek another term as president, while Eric Poole, Darlene Groenier and Jeanne Carpenter will seek to run as trustees.