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Let’s get ready to rumble! Boxing returns to Watertown

After a long absence, amateur boxing returns this weekend when Watertown joins the ranks of such heavyweight cities as Dallas, Los Angeles, Tampa and Washington, D.C. when it hosts BorderWars 11.

BorderWars offers individuals the opportunity to get off the couch, pop on the headgear, lace up the gloves and step into the ring. It also provides amateurs a chance to fight following a long layoff.

Wisconsin won the rights to host BorderWars in March, according to Jorge Monterrey, owner of Defense Combatives in Watertown. He is also the co-owner of The Bar, where he and Misti Hawn also own Kiss My Axe inside The Market, 210 S. Water St.

Monterrey said the boxing will take place outside of The Bar on a large patio, with the main event at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“After participating in BorderWars 8 and 10, I knew Watertown was going to be the new home for this event. We knew we could do it better. Watertown has a history of being a fight town, and had a very successful boxing program. It’s time to bring that back to life,” Monterrey said. “I pulled out my checkbook and asked what needed to happen to bring BorderWars to Watertown.”

Monterrey is ready as is Adrian Rowen, boxing coach for Defense Combatives. Rowen has been working with several of the local fighters to prepare for this amateur boxing event.

“It’s going to be huge,” Rowen said. “We’re hoping to put on an event comparable only to those seen in Las Vegas or Atlantic City.”

Tha Boxing Voice Podcast, Defense Combatives, The Bar and BPE Network have come together to host a MGM Grand style fight experience complete with ring girls, VIP bottle service, giveaways and premier entertainment all night long, Rowen said.

“This is the bowling league for the boxer,” Rowen said. “Whether you have the experience or not, this event provides individuals with the platform to give it a try or just get back in the ring.”

This event will be live streamed on BPE Network.

“Win, lose or draw — it’s a great experience for everyone involved,” Rowen said. “This is our trial run. If we’re successful we’ll gain the respect and be able to bring professionals here to Watertown. Our goal is to make Watertown the boxing center of Wisconsin again so people don’t have to travel to Madison or Milwaukee. They’ll have it right here in their backyard.”

Monterrey agreed.

“If the Watertown event brings in the crowd, the tide will rise and all the boats in the water will also rise,” he said. “It will force others to step up their game and also their events when BorderWars decides on another city and venue. We want this event to be big, but we want to keep the small town feel to it. This may be the biggest show yet, and it’s right here in Watertown.”

Rowen said the fight card is already set with 10 fights deep. He said no one can walk up Saturday and request to fight.

“We have fighters coming from California, Detroit, Texas, Washington, D.C. and all over Wisconsin,” Rowen said. “The weight classes will start at 135 and go all the way to 250 pounds.”

He said each bout will last six minutes with three, two-minute rounds.

“Anyone who doesn’t come to see this is missing a big event,” Rowen said.

Face off and weigh in will happen at 7 p.m. Friday at 210 S. Water St. There is no charge for Friday’s event.

General admission tickets are $35 with standing room only tickets set at $15. Tickets and VIP packages for Saturday’s fights are available on the Eventbrite site or at the door, 210 S. Main St.

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Human services head summarizes tough year

JEFFERSON — You know your county department is functioning well when, as its head, you deliver your annual report to the board of supervisors, listeners smile approvingly and no one questions you. Then, a well-known humanitarian on the panel rises to speak and compliments you, saying:

“What you and your department go through — I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. I’d be too depressed. You may have the most difficult job in the county.”

That quote was provided to Jefferson County Human Services Department Director Kathi Cauley by Jefferson County Board Supervisor Dick Schultz of Fort Atkinson at this week’s meeting of the county board.

Schultz, a Vietnam veteran, has built his adult life on showing compassion to people who need homes and spent more than a quarter of a century taking in dozens of young men from foreign countries who have needed a place to live as they pursue their educations in the US — Fort Atkinson in particular. Schultz lamented the fact that some of his “sons” from other countries had personal demons and have since died, so he has personal experience with what human services department workers go through as they deal with people who suffer from mental illness and other uphill battles.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Cauley and her staff have had about as challenging a year as one could imagine and she acknowledged this in her annual report Tuesday night. She also said her staff has been amazingly resilient and has remained positive, performing effectively.

Human services departments in Wisconsin are among the last stops in society for people with myriad challenges — everything from the nightmares of drug and alcohol addictions, to mental illness and aging. Cauley said she and her staff have seen these battles exacerbated exponentially by the pandemic.

“As you well know, 2020 brought us all a global pandemic,” she said. “We learned new skills, transformed every service we provide, and practiced a new vocabulary that included words such as ‘unprecedented,’ and phrases such as, ‘you are frozen’ and ‘we can’t hear you.’ The COVID-19 pandemic affected our department and the people we serve in a myriad of ways.”

Cauley said she and her staff transformed mental health and substance use services to a “telehealth platform,” rooted in social distancing — something foreign to what has normally been a hands-on business.

“Nutrition and meals sites had to be closed resulting in frozen and fresh meals having to be delivered,” she said. “Supervised visits had to occur, at least for a time, either outside, with people in personal protective equipment, or in a virtual manner.”

She noted that vehicles and transportation services had to be adapted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A bright side to Cauley’s report also came in that she was able to say that human services had a positive fund balance of $4,180,820 at the end of 2020. The year-end fund balance of $1,964,685 was $3,582,339 more than what was budgeted for the year.

“At every turn, new policy and practices had to be developed and implemented,” Cauley said. “I am very gratified to be able to report that we met these challenges with resiliency and responsiveness. All services were maintained and some even increased over the year. We are very fortunate to have great assistance from all of our county departments and leadership.”

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Swimmers find submerged car in Rock River

HUSTISFORD — Swimmers trying to cool off Wednesday found a submerged vehicle in the Rock River.

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from the individuals about the car in the Rock River near the bridge on Elmwood Road in the Town of Hustisford.

Hustisford Fire Department members, using a boat, confirmed the information.

The Beaver Dam Fire Department dive team was also called to the area. Divers found the vehicle unoccupied and Advanced Towing pulled it from the river. Sheriff’s officials said the vehicle was a discarded BMW 323.

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation and asking anyone with information about the car to call them at 920-386-3726.

Hustisford Fire/EMS, Beaver Dam dive team and Iron Ridge and Neosho fire departments and the Dodge County Emergency Response Team assisted Dodge County Sheriff’s employees at the scene.

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Wenzel anxiously awaits reign at fair

JEFFERSON — Janelle Wenzel spent some time Tuesday evening addressing the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors, informing the board’s members of her role as this summer’s Jefferson County Fairest of the Fair and what it all means to her.

Wenzel said she is very excited for the upcoming fair, which is scheduled for July 7-11 and views her new position as multi-faceted and one that benefits many, herself included.

Wenzel told supervisors that she is a enrolled at the University of Wisconsin – Madison where she is pursuing a degree in nursing and that she has been involved with her local 4-H club for more than 10 years, showing swine, and sheep, while pursuing cultural arts, animal science, foods and nutrition.

Wenzel said, “To be the fairest of the fair is a great honor and is the perfect way to conclude my years of showing at the fair. I am able to be a role model for all the youth that are seeking out their passions and a direction in life, as the fair provides many great opportunities for exploration and personal growth.”

According to Wenzel, being fairest of the fair provides her with personal opportunities for networking and learning at a new level.

“Serving as the fairest of the fair, I am able to have impactful interactions with fair exhibitors, fairgoers, community members and leaders and prospective families looking to be involved at the fair in the future,” she said. “I am not only given a chance to connect people to our fair, but connect them to the community within our fair, which can provide (benefits) to everyone, no matter their abilities, age and access.”