December 19, 2014

McHenry Bound Over For Stealing Car of Murder Victim


12/19/14 – A Dodge County judge found probable cause and a Milwaukee woman will proceed to trial on charges that she stole the car of a homicide victim.  Kriscilla McHenry was in Dodge County court Thursday for a preliminary hearing. The 30-year-old Milwaukee woman was reportedly the last person seen with 43-year-old Michael Soeller of Randolph. McHenry allegedly took his car after leaving his apartment. His landlord discovered his body in the apartment on August 24th. Authorities considered her the leading suspect in the death and while formal homicide charges have been requested they have not been filed by the District Attorney’s office. McHenry has an arraignment hearing scheduled in February.


Reeseville Man Gets Three Years For Child Porn


12/19/14 – A Reeseville man entered a “no contest” plea Thursday to charges of possessing child pornography. Kevin Munz pled to three felony counts and had six others dismissed but read into the record. In March, the state Justice Department Division of Criminal Investigation and the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant at his Maiden Lane Road residence. Computers, hard drives and cell phones were among the items seized for examination. Munz was sending and receiving illegal images of preteen children through various email accounts. The 22-year-old admitted to investigators that he knew he was engaging in illegal activity. Munz was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison and five years of extended supervision.


Wally’s Burglary Suspect Arraigned


12/19/14 – One of the men suspected of orchestrating the burglary of Wally’s Auto Sales and Salvage entered a “not guilty” plea at an arraignment hearing on Thursday. 19-year-old Tavish J. Heller of Randolph is charged with Burglary and Possession of Burglary Tools and misdemeanor Criminal Damage to Property. Authorities were called to the Town of Beaver Dam business in July after a motion alarm was set-off. The Heller vehicle was located after being seen leaving the scene of the crime. He told police he and three friends were walking around the yard looking for parts and hoping to smash some windows on junk vehicles; they did not. They did allegedly have a backpack full of tools. A service door was damaged after being pried open. According to the criminal complaint, Heller was in danger of having his car repossessed and was concerned he would be sued because of damage to the vehicle. He knew the parts he needed were at Wally’s and reportedly talked the other three into carrying out the crime. The three other suspects have arraignment hearings in the next month. If convicted, they all face a combined maximum of over ten years in prison.


32-Year-Old Columbia Co. Homicide Reopened


12/19/14 – The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is seeking to identify the remains from a homicide investigation that occurred over three decades ago.  The 1982 incident left a white female dead from blunt force, and her body was found significantly decomposed along a county road in the Township of Caledonia.  She was buried five years later by county officials as a Jane Doe.  The cold case was reopened earlier this year as Columbia County worked with the FBI Crime Laboratory in an attempt to compare her against missing persons in the Combined DNA Index System where a profile of the woman returned no matches.  An anthropologist review of the remains shows that she was a five-foot-five-and-a-half inch white female between the ages of 45 and 60 who had given birth.  After fifty leads that still have yet to lead to the victim being identified, the sheriff’s department is still searching for information on the case.


WI Supreme Court Reprimands Beaver Dam Attorney


12/19/14 – The State Supreme Court has reprimanded a Beaver Dam attorney for giving his son access to a trust account that’s supposed to be used to serve his clients. The justices rejected a proposed two-year suspension for attorney Richard Steffes.  The state’s Office of Lawyer Regulation suggested the license suspension, along with an order to pay 10-thousand dollars in restitution.  The justices rejected the payback order as well, saying Steffes only has to cover the 78-hundred-dollar cost of the office’s investigation.  According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a customer of his son’s construction firm paid 27-thousand dollars for a job that was never finished.  The money was placed into Steffes’ trust account — but state auditors found that only 16-thousand was actually used for the project, which was never completed.  The Supreme Court’s attorney for the case, Catherine Rottier (ro-teer’), said it was never proven that the customer lost any money — and the proposed two-year suspension for Steffes seemed “entirely too harsh.”  The court said it was clear, though, that Steffes violated trust account rules, and that’s why a reprimand was in order.

Ninmann on Public Reaction to Female Sheriff


12/19/14 – Departing Sheriff Pat Ninmann spoke about public reaction to her holding the top law enforcement position on Community Comment earlier this week.  She said that she never played the gender card throughout her near twenty-month stint as sheriff.  However, Ninmann says that there are some who approached her about the role being gender specific.  She said that she responded by explaining the equal training that female officers receive compare to their male counterparts. The sheriff noted that she does not believe issues like this should still be prevalent in the year 2014.  Ninmann says that she hopes that she was able to change the opinions of those detractors.  The sheriff says that there were a number of people who approached her with a completely opposite take.  She said that there were more supporters than detractors that approached her, and she hopes that she was able to be a role model for young women. Ninmann is quick to note that she does not feel stature makes a great officer.  Communication and acquired skills are what she cites as the most important qualities in law enforcement.


BDFD to Hold Annual Food Drive Tomorrow


12/19/14 – The Beaver Dam Fire Department will be holding its eleventh annual food drive tomorrow.  Firefighter Donald Smith is entering his fourth year of leading the effort and says that there are multiple locations where people can help the cause.  Collections will be taking place at Recheck’s Food Pride and Piggly Wiggly from 9am-1pm.  A container for donations located at the fire station is expected to be kept out until this coming Monday.  The event, which looks for non-perishable goods as well as financial contributions, fed approximately 800 families last year.  Smith says that he is looking for an increase in the $687 raised last year while maintaining the two truckloads of food that was collected.  All of the food that is raised during the drive is taken directly to the local food pantry.


Environmental Cleanup Initiative Delayed


12/19/14 – A five-year extension of the Great Lakes’ environmental clean-up program will have to wait until the next Congress convenes in January.  The House voted last week to continue the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  But the Senate adjourned Tuesday night without taking it up — which means the process will have to start all over again after lawmakers begin their new terms.  Over one-point-six billion dollars has been spent since 2010 on a host of projects in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest — including removals of invasive species, reductions of algae, improved wildlife habitat, river-and-harbor cleanups, and more.  Ohio Representative David Joyce sponsored a bill to spend 300-million dollars each year on the program for another five years — although the allocations would need to be voted on each year.  Joyce says his bill has “broad bi-partisan support,” and he intends to bring it back in January.  Todd Ambs of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition remains confident the extension will be finalized soon.  He said the Senate’s failure to pass the bill this week was disappointing — but it’s only a temporary setback.


Severed Cable Led to Columbia, Dodge 9-1-1 Outage


12/19/14 – Emergency line services were down for the majority of the day yesterday in Columbia County and the western part of Dodge County.  This was due to an underground fiber optic cable having been inadvertently severed.  Frontier Communications reached out at approximately 9:10 am to notify the counties that they were among a group of south-central Wisconsin public safety posts that were not receiving calls, along with Adams, Juneau, and Marquette Counties.  Service was restored in Columbia County around 4 pm and Dodge County had its full service back about a half hour later.