First of two OWI patrols this weekend

Photo submitted. A new “Choose Your Ride” repainted squad car that looks like a half-taxi, half police vehicle is designed to grab a little extra attention during the OWI patrols. The back says, “This ride about $25,” and the front says, “This ride about $2500.”

Oregon’s first high-visibility OWI patrol of the year is this weekend. 

From 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, as many as 10 patrol cars from seven jurisdictions will cruise the streets of Oregon in a high-profile display to dissuade people from considering operating while intoxicated. 

This is the second year for Oregon in the “Capital Area OWI Task Force,” a state grant-funded program that continues to add new wrinkles in its fourth year. It has grown from a half-dozen agencies to 14, and this year it is splitting most patrols in half and will accompany some of them with a police car that’s been repainted to look like half-taxi, half-squad car.

Half the traveling officers will be in Oregon this weekend, and the other half will be in Stoughton on the same night. The two will again share the patrols in July.


Sections of Hwy. MM will be repaired

After years of back and forth between Dane County and the City of Fitchburg, two sections of Hwy. MM near the Village of Oregon will be repaired. 

The City of Fitchburg will contribute $50,000 toward the project after the Common Council voted in late March to approve the funds. Dane County will contribute up to $100,000.

In 2012, the state Department of Transportation rebuilt the interchange at Hwy. MM and Hwy. 14, adding three roundabout intersections where the roads meet and at Hwy. M. Two 600-foot sections of Hwy. MM north and south of the project fell outside the project scope and were left untouched. Drivers in the area had questioned the lack of repair to these two parts and officials from Dane County and the City of Fitchburg set out to find a way to agree on the project costs and figure out who is responsible for the road. 


Zach, Ramin to return to OSD board

After three straight Aprils where challengers ruled, both Oregon School Board incumbents on the ballot won re-election last week.

Village of Oregon voters also elected three incumbents to the village board, while Brooklyn voters voted for a new village president and have two new village trustees, as well.

In the Oregon School Board race, Area I representative Steve Zach extended a run on the board that began in 1999, comfortably defeating challenger Marilyn McDole, 2,239 to 1,696, according to Oregon School District figures. Jeff Ramin, the Area IV who represents the village of Brooklyn and towns of Oregon, Montrose, Brooklyn and Union, will also return after running unopposed and garnering 2,6,34 votes. School board terms are for three years. 


Wisconsin and Southern Railroad to resume regular freight service this month

Wisconsin and Southern Railroad will install new signals this spring or early summer at the rail crossing on Netherwood Street.

The Wisconsin and Southern Railroad is expected to resume freight service to the Lycon Ready Mix concrete facility in the Alpine Business Park this month.

Trains are expected to run three times per week – likely Monday, Wednesday and Friday – and will be limited to speeds of 30 mph and 10 mph at rail crossings.

Freight trains began running on the rail line from Madison to Oregon last October to serve the Lycon Inc. concrete production plant.

A few trains came to the village in October, but regular freight use of the line will begin this month and run through October, said Ken Lucht, director of government relations for Wisconsin and Southern.


Spring election supports status quo in Village

Village of Oregon voters maintained the status quo in Tuesday’s election, but Town of Oregon and Village of Brooklyn voters chose a change in leadership.

Village of Oregon voters returned longtime School Board incumbent Steve Zach for another term. And they also re-elected three incumbents to the Village Board: Jeanne Carpenter, Eric Poole and Darlene Groenier. The incumbents defeated Ben Cowan for three seats in the at-large election.

Carpenter garnered the most votes – 1001 – while Poole tallied 891 and Groenier 823. Cowan came in fourth with 799 votes.

In unofficial results on the Dane County Clerk’s website, Zach had 2,087 votes to McDole’s 1,600. In the lone Rock County precinct in the Oregon School District, Zach garnered nine votes to McDole’s three. Zach, an Oregon High School graduate, has served on the board since he was first elected in 1999.


Pagenkopf ‘excited about the future’ after promotion to lieutenant

After a decade with the Oregon Police Department, Jenny Pagenkopf is looking forward to her newest challenge.

The Village Board approved Pagenkopf’s promotion to lieutenant March 23 after OPD chief Dale Burke chose her from among four in-house candidates for the position. She had served as a sergeant detective for the department before being promoted. 

“It’s going to be tough to leave investigations, but the nice thing is I still get to oversee them,” Pagenkopf said. “I am really excited about the future, with bringing in a new chief and being kind of that middle piece to help the staff adapt and help the chief adapt.”

Pagenkopf was one of four sergeants within the department he considered, Burke said.


Village board, OSD highlight ballot

Oregon and Brooklyn voters and those in two surrounding towns each will have two or more local contested races next week to cast ballots for –  on the Oregon school board and on the Oregon and Brooklyn village boards and the Oregon and Rutland town boards. 

Oregon School District voters will choose between incumbent Steve Zach and challenger Marilyn McDole. Jeff Ramin is running unopposed.

Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Oregon Village Board in next Tuesday’s election.

Three incumbents – Eric Poole, Jeanne Carpenter and Darlene Groenier – are seeking another two-year term while newcomer Ben Cowan is hoping to win a seat for the first time. The top three vote-getters will be sworn in at the board’s April 21 meeting.


Candidate questionnaires for the April 7 election

The Town of Oregon and Village of Brooklyn will hold a general election on April 7. The Oregon Observer asked each of the candidates to answer a questionnaire about themselves and the issues facing the Village of Brooklyn and Town of Oregon.

April 7 general election (click on a name to read that candidates questionnaire response)

Town of Oregon Chairperson: Darryl Weber (I), Wayne Ace

Village of Brooklyn President: Nadine Walsten (I), Pat Hawkey


2015 Oregon Village Board candidate questionnaires

Click a name below to read that candidate's answers to our questionnaire:

Jeanne Carpenter
Eric Poole
Ben Cowan
Darlene Groeneir


Downtown building gets TIF

Construction of a new building downtown is expected to begin this spring after the Village Board on Monday approved taxpayer assistance for two local businessmen.

Jeff Groenier and Mark Mortensen had sought $80,000 in tax-increment financing for a two-story, 4,000-square-foot building they want to put up at 120 N. Main St., in the vacant lot next to the Firefly Coffeehouse.

They made a pitch for the TIF to the Village Board last month. The board responded by offering a package totaling $60,000, mostly for site preparation and special building materials.

TIF is a form of taxpayer assistance that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects. It combines the increased revenues from all taxing jurisdictions on projects that would not exist “but for” the use of TIF.