News – September 2, 2016

District Attorney To Head New Criminal Justice Council

9/2/16 – The Dodge County Criminal Justice Collaborating Council has elected its first chairman. District Attorney Kurt Klomberg will head the new committee which is tasked with overseeing its two treatment courts: the Impaired Driving Court and the Treatment Alternatives and Diversions program. Also elected yesterday were Judge Joseph Sciascia as Vice Chairman and Dodge County Administrator Jim Mielke as Secretary. The ten member council will have representatives from the courts, sheriff’s office, and district attorney’s office in addition to high-ranking county officials and those who work with people struggling with addiction. Klomberg says he is honored that his peers selected him to chair such an important body. Klomberg says all the stakeholders are involved in a program that takes a non-traditional approach within the judicial system and the council assures its effectiveness. The council is currently soliciting a representative from a private social services agency and a representative of a substance abuse treatment provider. Any qualified individual interested in serving should contact Rebecca Bell at the Dodge County Human Services Department. The council is a requirement of a state grant the county applied for through the Department of Justice. Dodge County has requested $290,000 in funding for its treatment courts in 2017. The county would also contribute $72,500, bringing the treatment programs’ budget to $362,500. Dodge County has received the state funds in previous years. While Dodge County officials expect to receive the money, the state will not notify the county of its final decision until later this month.

Patriot Tour Wraps Up Tomorrow In Beaver Dam

9/2/16 – A summer-long event wraps up in Beaver Dam tomorrow. The Nation of Patriots’ Patriot Tour is in its eighth year. Organizer Wade Fletcher says the American flag left Madison on Memorial Day weekend and spent roughly 100 days traveling the lower 48 states as it is passed from one motorcyclist to another. At each stop, there is a ceremony and fundraising event. Last year, the tour brought in $140,000 for wounded veterans and their families. The flag left Madison in late May and will have traveled over 14,000 miles when it returns to Wisconsin tomorrow. Fletcher says a group of motorcyclists will leave Hogz and Honeez in Beaver Dam at 9 am tomorrow morning and participate in the flag’s final transfer in Madison around 11 am. They will return to Beaver Dam at 1 pm for a parade through the downtown area before heading east on Highway 33. Fletcher says this year’s closing ceremony begins around 2pm on the Radio Park stage at the Dodge County Fairgrounds.

Mental Exam Ordered For Juneau Man Charged With Battery

9/2/16 – Dodge County Judge Brian Pfitzinger has ordered a competency evaluation for a Juneau man accused of trying to stab his brother. Arlington Badder had his preliminary hearing yesterday on one felony count of Aggravated Battery as a repeat offender with a domestic abuse enhancer. The 20-year-old had been living with his brother since being released from the Winnebago Mental Health Facility in March. On April 9, the brother called police, stating he came home to find Badder drunkenly making suicidal comments. Badder reportedly cut his left arm and attempted to stab both his brother and the family dog. If he is found guilty, Badder faces up to three years in prison.

WCI Inmate Pleads Not Guilty To Attacking Officer

9/2/16 – A Waupun Correctional Institution inmate accused of attacking a corrections officer pled not guilty at arraignment yesterday. Joshua Braithwaite is facing one felony Battery by Prisoners count for allegedly causing lacerations to the officer’s lip, left eye brow, and left arm during the May incident. If he is found guilty, the 25-year-old faces up to ten years in prison. He is due back in court October 5.

Watertown Man Put On Probation For Home Break-In

9/2/16 – A Watertown man will spend three years on probation for stealing electronics from a friend’s house. Nathaniel Koplien pled no contest yesterday to a felony Burglary count while a second charge was dismissed but read into the record. The 22-year-old and a co-conspirator broke into a house in December to steal electronic items and blank checks. Koplien tried to sell the stolen items and cashed a couple of forged checks. He will avoid prison time if he stays out of trouble during his probation stint.

August Traffic Death Total One of The Lowest In State History

9/2/16 – Fifty people have died in Wisconsin traffic crashes last month, lowest for an August since World War Two in the 1940s. The state D-O-T reports 14 fewer deaths than in the same month last year and 15 fewer than the average for the past five years. Wisconsin had a number of heavy rainstorms and floods that may have kept some motorists off the roads — and the state reported no flood related traffic deaths last month after two in July. Going into the Labor Day weekend, the state’s death toll for the year is still 9% higher than 2015 with 387 deaths reported from January through August.

Local Dealership Could Give Away Free Cars This Fall

9/2/16 – A local car dealership will be giving away a bunch of free cars if it rains on Halloween. Beaver Dam Ford is one of six dealerships in the state participating in the Happy Halloween Labor Day Event. Everyone who purchases a car from Beaver Dam Ford this weekend – today, tomorrow and Monday – is eligible. If it rains more than one-inch on Halloween, the dealership will refund the full price of the car along with all taxes, whether paid-in-full at the time of purchase or obtained through an auto loan. The one-inch rain measurement is determined by the closest official weather reporting station, which in the case of Beaver Dam is the Fond du Lac County Airport. Dealerships in Racine, Kenosha and Lake Geneva are also participating. The stores will be decorated for Halloween this weekend offering candy, a haunted house and games. More details are at www.halloweenlabordayevent.com.

Highway 151 Overpass Closed Until Mid-November

9/2/16 – State Department of Transportation officials say the Fond du Lac County Highway T overpass at Highway 151 will remain closed until mid-November due to a vehicle strike earlier this summer. It happened June 4 during construction when a vehicle exceeding the height limit tried to go under the overpass. There was structure damage to a new girder. The County T overpass will remain closed until a new girder can be made and installed. DOT officials say the project had been ahead of schedule.

Wisconsin Tax Revenues Below Projections

9/2/16 – Wisconsin received about $85,000,000 fewer tax dollars than it projected for the fiscal year ending in June. But the Revenue Department says total state tax collections still rose by 3.8%, and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the state remains on track to have a $241,000,000 surplus for the first year of the two year budget period. In June, the non-partisan budget office projected a $325,000,000 surplus for the past year — and the new tax collection numbers reduced that surplus. But the Revenue agency’s report does not take state spending discrepancies into account, and a more complete review of the state government’s financial status is due out in October.

Second Wisconsin Person Hospitalized Over West Nile Concerns

9/2/16 – A second person has been hospitalized in Wisconsin with a possible infection from the West Nile virus. State officials say a probable case turned up in Saint Croix County in the Hudson area, after the year’s first case was confirmed in Sawyer County in August. West Nile is transmitted by mosquitoes, and only one of every five people notice symptoms. Last year, Wisconsin had seven human cases including one death — and 47 birds and one horse died from the virus. This year, 17 birds and two horses have died from West Nile, and local health agencies reported three deaths of crows this week in Washburn and Brown counties.

Review: Madison Police Acted Appropriately In Arrest

9/2/16 – An outside review has determined Madison police acted reasonably and within department policies when arresting an 18-year-old black woman that sparked protests after footage was posted online. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval released results of the Dane County Sheriff’s review yesterday and wrote a lengthy blog piece about the incident. Police arrested Genele Laird in June outside of a Madison mall after they say she brandished a knife while confronting someone she thought had stolen her cellphone. Video of the arrest sparked protests alleging excessive use of force and discrimination by Madison police. In the video, police officers struggle with Laird and punch her as they take her to the ground and handcuff her.

Outgoing Lawmaker Starting PAC

9/2/16 – A Republican state lawmaker who is stepping down this year is emptying his campaign fund to start a special interest political action committee. Hudson Representative Dean Knudson has reportedly transferred $21,000 from his campaign donors to start the Wisconsin Liberty Fund, designed to push for limited government and freedom. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is a political watchdog that says the arrangement might be illegal because it allows unlimited contributions, removing restrictions the money had when it was given to Knudson as a candidate. The Democracy Campaign’s Matt Rothschild plans to file a complaint with the state Ethics Commission. However, Knudson says the former Government Accountability Board told him the actions were legal as part of the campaign finance changes made this session.