February 11, 2015

Mayville Woman Enters into Deferred Prosecution


2/11/15 – A Mayville woman has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with Dodge County prosecutors to charges that she embezzled over $15-thousand dollars from the Ben Franklin True Value in Mayville. Kathy Dankert pled to a misdemeanor count of Theft of Movable Property; a felony count of Theft In A Business Setting will be dropped from her record if she stays out of trouble while on probation for the next two years. She was also ordered to pay over $15-thousand dollars in restitution. The offenses occurred between September of 2012 and December of 2013. The owners of the store contacted authorities after noticing missing inventory and finding that some customers were never given receipts for returned items. The 42-year-old was ringing up the items and canceling the transactions whenever a customer paid with cash. Dankert would keep the cash after the customer left with the goods and there would be no record in the system. One customer realized they had not gotten a receipt, went back to the store and was offered a receipt from a different transaction. A manager was called and the transaction could not be found in the system. Dankert initially denied to investigators that she took the money and suggested her co-workers logged-in to the stores records system using her information.


Juneau May Repeal Pit Bull Ordinance


2/11/15 – Officials in Juneau may repeal a city ordinance that prohibits pit bulls. The ordinance on the books outlaws the Staffordshire bull terrier, American Pit Bull and American Staffordshire terrier, along with any dog that has the appearance and characteristics of a pit bull. Resident Renada Sharp moved to Juneau six months ago and learned about the ordinance when she went to City Hall to register her pit bull. She says you should not judge people by the way they look the same way you cannot judge an entire breed; people’s dogs are like family and she says it’s only fair to go case-by-case. She reached out to Greg Hoffman of Watertown All Breed Community Inc. and together they asked city officials to consider eliminating the breed-specific ban. Hoffman says any dog can be vicious and breed specific ordinances give the public a false sense of security as any breed can bite. Repealing the ordinance also has the support of the Juneau Police Department. Sgt. Brittany Borchardt says cops are not veterinarians and it is difficult to tell one breed from another. The common council held first reading last night on the change and a public hearing and vote will take place at next month’s meeting.  If the pit bull ordinance is repealed, the city already has an existing vicious dog’s ordinance that regulates dangerous dogs.


Cambria-Friesland Looking to Combat Bullying


2/11/15 – The Cambria-Friesland School District has created an ad hoc committee to address what some administrators perceive to be a problem with bullying, both physically and verbally, in its schools.  That committee met yesterday to begin preliminary discussions on what can be done to combat the issue.  Talks began with discussion of the current policy, which Superintendent Tim Raymond says provides an explanation of harassment and bullying.  While Raymond does support the content of the current policy, he feels that some changes can be made to strengthen it to better meet the needs of the district’s students, parents, and staff.  He says that he, most importantly, would like to see it better embody citizenship.  Raymond also says that he would like the district’s policy on bullying include mention of proactive means of what the school will do to enforce its stance as he notes that the current version falls short on defining outcomes of what will happen if bullying occurs.  The committee plans to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current policy and discuss those findings at its next meeting before beginning possible work on the creation of a new policy.


Waupun Correctional Towers Facing Possible Cuts


2/11/15 – The towers at both of Waupun’s correctional institutions may be affected by the new state budget.  Governor Scott Walker’s version of the budget that was introduced last week may lead to the shutting down of state correctional institution towers during third shift hours, including those at the Dodge Correctional Institution and Wisconsin Correctional Institution, both of Waupun.  Mayor Kyle Clark says that he is seeking more information about the possible happening and has scheduled conference calls with three local politicians, State Senator Richard Gudex and State Representatives Michael Schraa and Mark Born.  Clark hopes to find out more information about how security will be maintained at the facilities if the third shift cuts are enacted.


Community Invited to Design New DCSO Vehicles


2/11/15 – The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office is holding a contest to find a new design for its squad cars.  Members of the public are encouraged to submit designs for the new 2015 Ford Police Interceptor SUV’s that the station is receiving.  Sheriff Dale Schmidt says that this contest is part of his plan to incorporate community involvement into the sheriff’s department.  Schmidt says that the new image of the vehicles will coincide with the new environment that has been created at the sheriff’s department since he took over the top post last month. The sheriff notes that the current design has been in place for less than two years and says that the colors of the car designs do not all match.  He says that all of the cars will be uniform in appearance once the current vehicle life cycle is completed in the next four or five years and those cars are replaced.  Entrants are to include a side and rear view of the vehicle design and should keep in mind that black is the color of the cars.    The contest winner will have their design featured on the entire fleet of new vehicles and will be given the chance to ride along in one of the cars during an upcoming parade.  Submissions are due to the sheriff’s office by 4pm on Friday, February 27.


Bill Would Allow Tech Colleges To Charter High Schools


2/11/15 – The 16 Wisconsin technical colleges could operate independent charter high schools, under a proposal from two G-O-P lawmakers.  Senator Van Wanggaard and Representative Tom Weatherston, both of Racine, are asking their colleagues to co-sponsor a bill to let students go to a tech school’s charter facility for four years.  They could then obtain an associate degree after just one year at the corresponding tech college.  Weatherston says the vocational charter high schools could attract youngsters who would probably not otherwise go to college — and they could get the more finely-tuned skills that Wisconsin employers are looking for.  The state already has options for high school students to take technical college courses — but Weatherston says not all K-12 districts let their students participate.  Governor Scott Walker’s proposed state budget also encourages independent charter schools, by creating a new state board that would let non-profit groups run them.  The Republican governor made a similar proposal two years ago, but it didn’t make into the final budget.  Supporters say independent charter schools can be more innovative, since they have less government bureaucracy. Opponents say it takes vital state aid and students away from public schools.  Independent charter schools now operate in the Milwaukee and Kenosha regions.


Walker Stands Firm on Kenosha Casino Stance


2/11/15 – The head of the Walker administration said no yesterday to an offer from the Menominee Tribe and Hard Rock International to help pay for a new Milwaukee Bucks’ arena in exchange for getting the casino they want in Kenosha. Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said that Governor Scott Walker will not change his mind about rejecting the casino.  The tribe and the casino’s proposed developer, Hard Rock, said they could help take political heat off the Republican Walker.  The governor’s proposed state budget would borrow 220-million dollars for the new Bucks’ arena, and make N-B-A players pay it back with income taxes from the higher salaries in an upcoming league T-V package.   Hard Rock chairman Jim Allen and Menominee tribal chair Gary Besaw said they hoped to meet with Walker after he returns on Friday from his current trade mission to the United Kingdom.  The governor’s office repeated concerns that a Kenosha casino would leave the state open to hundreds of millions in payments to the Potawatomi tribe, due to language in that tribe’s gaming compact for its Milwaukee casino.  Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca called the arena-casino package a “double bonanza,” and he urged Walker to approve it.


Walker Renting Space Ahead of Presidential Caucus


2/11/15 – Governor Scott Walker has become the first potential White House candidate to rent office space in Iowa, where the first-in-the-nation caucuses are less than a year away.  Walker spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski says the tax-exempt group “Our American Revival” has leased space in suburban Des Moines, and it’s in the process of opening other offices in the Hawkeye State.  The first Walker office is in a strip mall — but shoppers may hardly notice, considering the other political activity which has been conducted in that same store-front in the past. Republican Mitt Romney leased the site in his 2012 general election bid for the White House.  Others using it were Michele Bachmann in early 2012, and John McCain in ’08.


Stores Could Soon Pass Out Alcohol Samples


2/11/15 – Small samples of booze could soon come to a grocery aisle near you.  The state Assembly Government Operations Committee unanimously endorsed a bill today to let retailers with liquor licenses hand out free samples of booze to their adult customers.  Oconomowoc Republican Joel Kleefisch sponsored the measure to give distilleries and other liquor companies an equal chance as others to win over shoppers.  Beer and wine sellers are allowed to offer free samples.  The new bill would let shoppers-of-legal-drinking-age sample a half-ounce of hard liquor, or about a-third of a shot. The proposal now goes to the full Assembly, and there’s a similar measure pending in the Senate.


Emerald Ash Borer Found In Outagamie County


2/11/15 – The tree-killing emerald ash borer has turned up in Outagamie County for the first time.  State agriculture officials say the green beetle was confirmed on private land in Appleton.  A tree-trimming crew found heavy damage from wood-peckers, and reported it to city officials.  Larva and wood samples were collected, and a U-S-D-A lab confirmed the presence of the ash borer during the past week.  Outagamie County was already under a quarantine for the bug, because it’s close to a previous infestation at Sherwood in Calumet County. Thirty-five other Wisconsin counties have similar quarantines.  They prohibit folks from moving firewood to places without quarantines.  Businesses cannot ship ash-wood products to non-quarantined counties until they get state certifications that their items are pest-free.