January 15, 2013

Columbus Approves Referendum Questions


1/15/13 – The Columbus School Board unanimously approved resolutions that will result in a two question voters’ referendum on the April 2nd ballot. In total, the questions will ask district residents to allow the borrowing of $39.9 million dollars to improve building and grounds facilities. The first question would ask for $9.3-million and would allow for, among other things, the district to purchase land on Maple Avenue for a new high school. The second question asks voters for $30.6-million to build the new high school, renovating the current high school for grades four through eight and to knockdown the current middle school. If both questions pass, residents would see a tax rate increase of $2.82 per $1,000 of assessed value. A concern that was raised often during the past 15 months of facilities planning was the possibility of consolidation between Columbus and Fall River schools. Superintendent Bryan Davis said that combining the two Districts was not possible at this point because Fall River wasn’t interested.  Over 1,000 district residents gave their input during the referendum planning process.  Officials say they’ll hold focus groups and information sessions for residents between now and the April election.


BDUSD Awaiting Release of State Budget


1/15/13 – Administrators in the Beaver Dam School District are anxiously waiting to see what’s in Governor Scott Walker’s budget. Superintendent Steve Vessey outlined a couple ideas for board members to look for when the budget is released next month – none bigger than the per pupil increase in funding. The district is planning their budget with the idea that there would be no increase. In that case they’d be left with a $435,000 deficit for the 2013-2014 budget. A $100 increase would leave them with a deficit of $100,000 and a $200 increase, which is what Senator Luther Olson is pushing for, would allow them to balance the budget without any significant cuts. Officials are also waiting to see if the state decides to make the ACT the standardized test in high schools and if funding for SAGE will continue.


Lynch No Longer on Electronic Monitoring


1/15/13 – Former Fox Lake Police Chief Pat Lynch, who is charged with child molestation and stalking, is no longer on electronic monitoring. Judge Andrew Bissonnette yesterday approved a defense motion lifting the monitoring requirement. There were conditions added that prohibit him from being on specific streets in Fox Lake and Beaver Dam. All other previously imposed conditions of bail remain in effect, including restrictions on having unsupervised contact with minors.  The 56-year-old is charged with three counts of First Degree Sexual Assault of a Child and three counts of Stalking, all felonies.  The alleged assault of a 7-year-old child occurred in the summer of 1989 at home in Randolph. The victim’s father worked with Lynch at the Randolph Police Department at the time. The victim says, years later, Lynch kept showing up where she worked and would drive his police car past her home. He is also accused of stalking a woman who used to work for the Fox Lake Police Department – as well as a man who was dating his ex-wife.  Lynch resigned from his job as police chief in Fox Lake in the spring of 2009. The charges were filed in December of 2010 and Lynch pled “not guilty” to all counts at arraignment in February of 2011.


Man Facing More Charges After “Friending” a Minor


1/15/13 – You may want to avoid “friending” minors on Facebook if you have child porn possession charges hanging over your head. Jeremy Hankins of Princeton was already facing a half-dozen felony counts when he allegedly made a friend request last October. The 38-year-old former Waupun resident reportedly used the social networking website to contact a 14-year-old family member of his former spouse, violating the conditions of bail. Hankins was first arrested in April of 2011 after a friend borrowed his computer and allegedly discovered explicit videos involving children being downloaded. The friend told police that he was disgusted by what he saw, stopped the download and returned the computer. He notified police because he was concerned about the safety of Hankins two children.  Six videos were reportedly uncovered resulting in six felony charges; each charge carries a maximum 25 years in prison, upon conviction. Hankins told investigators that he did not know how the videos got onto the computer. He has a two-day jury trial scheduled on the possession charges in June and is scheduled to make his first appearance on the Bail Jumping charge on Thursday.


Bork Gets Prison Time for 6th OWI


1/15/13 – A Beaver Dam man will spend 27 months in prison for drunk driving. Lynn S. Bork pled guilty Monday to felony sixth offense Operating While Intoxicated. The 54-year-old was driving an RV last fall that ran out of gas on South Center Road, blocking a lane of traffic. Deputies called to the scene say they smelled intoxicants. Bork failed a field sobriety test with a point-two-one (0.21) and then refused to submit to a legal blood draw on religious grounds; a statement he later retracted. Bork was also sentenced to three years of extended supervision and lost his license for three years followed by three years of blowing into a tube to start his car. He was also ordered to pay $3000 in fines and court costs.


Gay Sentenced After Deferred Prosecution Agreement is Revoked


1/15/13 – A former Reeseville firefighter who attempted to cover-up a car accident was sentenced Monday to a week in jail and a year of probation. Nicholas Gay had a plea agreement with Dodge County prosecutors revoked last month. Gay was placed on deferred prosecution back in May for misdemeanor charges of Failure to Report a Crime and Obstructing an Officer. The charges were related to a February 2011 accident involving Brodie McIntosh, who injured a passenger after put his car in the ditch. Gay and another emergency official from the Lowell-Reeseville First Responders were found guilty of failing to call 9-1-1 and driving the two from the scene. The court withheld a finding of guilt and the 32-year-old Gay would have avoided a criminal record if he stayed out of trouble for one year. However, Gay has a court trial next week in Jefferson County court on a charge Failure of Operator to Notify Police of an Accident for an alleged incident on November 11. That led Dodge County prosecutors to revoke the deferred prosecution agreement.


Senator in Favor of Allowing Schools to Exceed Tax Limits for Safety


1/15/13 – A Wisconsin senator wants to let public schools exceed their state-mandated taxing limits to improve their safety. But the head of the Assembly says he won’t go along with the idea. Democrats agreed in 2009 to let schools exceed their revenue limits by a total of 86-million-dollars to pay for safety measures. But Republican Governor Scott Walker dropped the exemption in the current state budget. And Senate Democrat John Lehman of Racine wants to bring it back in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre. But Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says schools already have enough money to improve their safety without sacrificing the quality of their education – and he says the tax increases caused by the cap exemptions are not necessary. Beaver Dam Superintendent Steve Vessey says losing the exemption won’t hurt his district but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t support reinstating the exemption. Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards said his group would discuss the matter when it meets later this month.


Emails Show Threats Against Governor Walker


1/15/13 – Though no charges have been filed, newly-released e-mails and other documents show Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his family were the targets of numerous death threats during his first two years in office.  Most of the threats came right after he took office in 2011 and were related to his proposal which weakened public employee union collective bargaining.  That change sparked huge protests at the Capitol which lasted several weeks.  A Wisconsin Department of Justice spokesperson says there are no open investigations into threats against Walker now.


Statewide Primaries Set


1/15/13 – The statewide contests for Wisconsin’s spring elections were certified Monday. Supreme Court candidates Ed Fallone, Vince Megna, and incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack will square off in February 19th primary. And the top two vote-getters will run in a general election on April second. There will also be a primary for Circuit Court Judge in Dodge County. The top two vote getters between Joseph Sciascia, Joseph Fischer and Dawn Klockow will be on the April ballot. In Fox Lake, there will be a primary in Ward 2, where Andy Bath and Donald Klug are challenging incumbent Robert Jenswold. And in the Watertown School District there are seven candidates with the top six vote getters in the primary going onto the April election. There will not be a primary for state public school superintendent. Assembly Republican Don Pridemore of Hartford was the only challenger to run against incumbent Tony Evers – and both were placed on the April ballot. The state Government Accountability Board set the statewide races, after nobody challenged any of the five candidates’ nominating signatures.