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Obituaries and death notices for Nov. 8, 2019

Linda Louise DeKelver

Jacqueline S. Finney

Patricia Lynn Giles

Daniel “Doc” Johnson

Christine Ann (Granzo) Randall

Mitch Robert Saunders

Susan Stage

Lee John Zimmerman

Submitted photo 

U.S. Army Sgt. Robert W. McCarville, 24, of Beloit was killed in action Dec. 5, 1942. His remains were returned to his hometown Thursday night.

‘We never thought this would happen’


A Beloit World War II veteran finally is getting the send-off he deserved after being away from home for more than 75 years.

U.S. Army Sgt. Robert W. McCarville, 24, died in combat Dec. 5, 1942, during an assault against the Japanese in modern-day Papua, New Guinea, during the Battle of Buna-Gona.

On Thursday, McCarville’s remains traveled from Atlanta to Milwaukee and then to Beloit. He will be buried next to his parents, Francis and Cecilia (Terhorst) McCarville.

Police officers, firefighters and a military honor guard helped escort the remains to Beloit late Thursday night.

Many family members said bringing their long-lost relative home helped give them closure.

McCarville’s niece Marie McCarville and nephew Robert Ricksecker represented the family at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport. Ricksecker, who is named after his uncle, said Robert McCarville is remembered as “a hero in the family.”

“It gave me a real chill to know he was coming home,” Marie McCarville said. “We never thought this would happen.”

Nephew Richard Ricksecker said his mother, Jane Ricksecker—Robert McCarville’s sister who died in 2012—would be “beyond elated to have him home.”

“To have him coming home in this way is no less than unbelievable,” he said. “It wasn’t even on our minds as something that would be possible. It’s so emotional, but yet you can’t express enough gratitude to the Army and the Department of Military Affairs to make this happen.”

McCarville earned several honors for his service, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

His remains could not be recovered after his death, and records of his identity were lost until he was accounted for on July 10.

Scientists from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency used dental and anthropological analysis to identify the remains. Scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System also helped identify McCarville using mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome DNA analysis.

Beth Koos, another niece, said bringing McCarville home adds new significance to his place in the family.

“It was like he was a character in the family story, but now that he was identified and is being brought home, it’s like it’s come full circle and he is real to us,” Koos said.

Nephew Mark McCarville worked at Fairbanks Morse in Beloit for 12 years and met someone who knew his uncle.

“He was part of his platoon, and he told me that my uncle was a quiet guy, a nice guy, and someone who read a lot,” Mark McCarville said. “We all knew about our uncle growing up.”

Brigadier Gen. Joane Mathews is scheduled to present the family with a medal during a private ceremony today.

Another private ceremony with full military honors will be held for family and invited guests Saturday at Mount Thabor Cemetery.

Gov. Tony Evers has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff Saturday to honor McCarville.

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Proposed city tax rate drops 18%, will affect taxpayers differently


Janesville’s proposed 2020 budget calls for the second-smallest tax levy increase in 20 years and a significant decrease in the tax rate.

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But the city’s recent property revaluation means a lower tax rate will affect individual taxpayers differently, depending on how much their property value has changed.

The public can offer feedback on the proposed budget at a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday in council chambers.

Under the revaluation, residential property values jumped an average of 31% while commercial property values rose by an average of 12%. A steeper increase in residential property values has shifted more of the property tax burden from commercial to residential properties, Finance Director Max Gagin said.

Since the process wrapped up, city staff has said an increase in property value doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in city taxes.

The Gazette looked at a couple of residential properties to confirm that.

The city’s proposed 2020 tax rate drops almost 18.7% from this year’s rate, from $9.54 per $1,000 of assessed property value this year to $7.76 per $1,000 of assessed value next year.

Residents whose property values increased around the 31% average likely will see an increase in the city portion of their tax bills.

For example, the city’s median assessed home value jumped from $112,400 to $147,600. A home valued at $112,400 in 2018 paid $1,072 in city property taxes.

A home valued at the new median assessed value would pay $1,145 in city taxes if the proposed tax rate is approved—an increase of $73.

On the flip side, a residential property valued at $34,800 in 2018 paid $332 in taxes. That property’s value increased 19% to $41,400, making the estimated 2020 city tax bill $321—an $11 decrease.

To calculate their estimated city taxes, residents can take their new assessed value, multiple that by the proposed tax rate—$7.76—and divide the total by 1,000.

The tax rate could change as the council moves forward with its budget adoption process. After Monday’s public hearing, the council will vote to approve the levy and tax rate Dec. 3.

The tax rate could change between those two dates, Gagin said.

Priorities for the 2020 budget included investing in infrastructure, moderately increasing the tax levy and decreasing the city’s dependence on the general fund balance for operating expenses, Gagin said.

The most recent state budget gave additional state funding to municipalities for transportation, Gagin said.

The city chose to allocate all of the $205,000 it was given to fix roads, he said.

Janesville will save money in the long term if the city can rely on cash financing for infrastructure instead of issuing debt, Gagin said.

The proposed 2020 budget is the first to include the city’s water rate increase, which took effect Nov. 1.

Solid waste fees are estimated to increase about 13% because of the increased cost of recycling nationwide, Gagin said.

The city used to be paid for recyclables. Now it has to pay someone to collect them since China stopped importing waste from around the world in 2018, Gagin said.

Solid waste rate increases will cost residents about $4.16 more per quarter, he said.

Stormwater utility fees now will be used to pay for curb and gutter replacement. That, along with an increase in stormwater costs, will result in an increase of $6.54 per quarter for the average household.

The budget contains no significant changes to services, Gagin said.

On the personnel side, the city budgeted for one additional human resources staff member, he said.

During recent study sessions, the city council wanted the budget to address concerns about downtown parking, Gagin said.

He said council members and city staff have heard a lot of concern about downtown parking since projects such as the Milwaukee Street bridge and pedestrian bridge have disrupted the flow of traffic and parking in the last year.

One early idea from the council was to consider downtown parking fees. However, the budget instead increases funding for the police department so it can double the amount of time spent on parking enforcement, Gagin said.

First Wisconsin veto override attempts in 9 years fail


The Wisconsin Legislature’s first veto override attempts in nearly a decade failed Thursday with no Democrats jumping ranks to provide Republicans with the votes they needed to succeed.

Despite not having the votes, Assembly Republicans forced votes on three budget items that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed over the summer. The votes marked the first time either legislative chamber tried to override a veto since 2010. The last time an override attempt succeeded was 1985.

The votes came on a tumultuous day at the end of a dramatic week of clashes between Evers and the Republican-controlled Legislature. Evers called a special session on gun control for Thursday, asking lawmakers to pass bills that would require universal background checks and allow judges to temporarily seize guns from people who pose a threat.

Republicans avoided debating the bills by gaveling in and out without taking action. Gun control advocates rallied at the Capitol, and Evers said he felt “positive” about the session, even though Republicans were not going to vote on the bills.

That bit of theater followed the state Senate’s vote Tuesday to fire Evers’ choice to run the agriculture department. Evers attended the debate in person and then tore into senators after the vote, calling the action “BS” in comments sprinkled with profanity.

Evers fared better Thursday with all three veto override attempts failing.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said ahead of the session that Republicans bringing the veto overrides were “trying to have cover for their cowardice on the firearms issue.”

“This is all done to delay, to distract from the business we were called into for today,” said Democratic Rep. Evan Goyke, of Milwaukee.

Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke rejected that accusation as “ridiculous.”

Republicans argued because there’s bipartisan support to build more regional mental health crisis centers in Wisconsin, Democrats should have supported overriding a veto that killed $15 million to build one in northern Wisconsin. Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul organized a summit last week to discuss the need for more centers.

Evers’ veto allowed that money to instead be used to expand the existing Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center in Madison.

Backers of the override cited the time and expense of transporting people up to eight hours away to get them to the Winnebago mental health crisis center in Oshkosh as reason to build a facility in northwestern Wisconsin.

Republican Rep. Rob Stafsholt, whose district is in rural northwestern Wisconsin, said he was appalled with the veto because it places a burden on law enforcement and people in crisis who have to travel hours to get treatment.

“Today is our day where we can fix that wrong,” he said. “I hope that everybody sees this is not politics.”

The other vetoes targeted for override blocked $5 million a year for doctors who care for people in state health care programs and gave the Evers administration more flexibility in how to spend $500,000 to increase the number of health care providers, nixing the Legislature’s plan to create a new grant program.

All three failed on party line 62-34 votes, with Republicans in support and Democrats against. Two Democrats would have had to side with Republicans for the overrides to succeed. Overriding a veto would also need 22 votes in the Senate, where Republicans have 19 seats. The Senate doesn’t plan to return until January.

In a statement after the override votes, Evers didn’t defend his decision to strike the items but instead said Republicans were “more interested in playing politics than getting anything done for the people of our state.”

Steineke said if the overrides fail but there’s support to try again in the future, he would bring them up for another vote. A rule change that Republicans adopted over Democratic objections last month allows for multiple veto override attempts.