July 1, 2016

Dodge County Businessman Indicted On Federal Bank Fraud Charges


7/1/16 – A Dodge County businessman has been indicted on federal bank fraud charges. Gary Bortz owned and operated Bortz’s Wild Goose Auto Sales, a used car dealership in Horicon that closed down two years ago. The indictment alleges that Bortz was involved in a scheme that investigators call the “double floor-plan.” That’s an illegal practice where a dealership obtains two lines of credit from two financial institutions by financing the same vehicles. Bortz had a $400-thousand dollar line of credit through American National Bank of Beaver Dam using his inventory of vehicles as collateral for the loan. Without the banks knowledge, Bortz used that same inventory as collateral with the Automotive Finance Corporation to finance the $50-thousand dollar purchase of more vehicles in 2004. That line of credit continued to be increased every couple years until it reached $300-thousand dollars in 2011. Investigators say it was a regular practice of the dealership to finance the same vehicles with both institutions simultaneously. In October of 2014, Bortz failed to make timely loan payments so Automotive Finance Corporation took possession of the vehicles being used as collateral. As a result, American National Bank lost over $300-thousand dollars that it had loaned to the dealership. Bortz had a hearing yesterday in US District Court in Milwaukee and a judge scheduled him to return on July 8 to set the timeline for future court activity.


Fond du Lac DA Ready For Second Brantner Murder Trial


7/1/16 – The Fond du Lac County district attorney says his team is willing to try for a second time to convict Dennis Brantner in the 1990 murder of 18-year-old Berit Beck. A mistrial was declared on Wednesday, after jurors could not agree on a verdict after 16 hours of deliberations. D-A Eric Toney now says his team of prosecutors and investigators are preparing for a second trial, and a judge would have to approve it. Defense lawyer Craig Powell says he would have to speak with his client, and with the D-A, before agreeing to a retrial. The 62-year-old Brantner is accused of killing Beck in her van, after she stopped in Fond du Lac while on her way from her Racine County home to Appleton for a computer seminar — and her remains were found a few weeks later in a ditch near Waupun.


Fox Lake Man Waives Prelim On Vehicular Homicide Charge


7/1/16 – A Fox Lake man charged in connection with a fatal accident in 2014 has waived his right to a preliminary hearing. 69-year-old Lee Henricksen is charged with felony Homicide By Negligent Use of a Vehicle along with two counts of Reckless Driving Causing Great Bodily Harm. The accident happened on County Highway A, near the intersection with County E. 45-year-old Judith Haddad from Lindenhurst, Illinois and a passenger were traveling southbound when she slowed to turn onto Indian Hills Trail and their vehicle was rear-ended by Henricksen. The impact pushed Haddad into the northbound lane where it struck 31-year-old Jennifer Polenska from Waupun. Polenska and Haddad sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The 9-year-old passenger in the Haddad vehicle died four days later at UW Hospital in Madison. Henricksen was uninjured in the crash. A voluntary blood draw found no alcohol or drugs in his system. Henricksen will be arraigned July 13.


Pardeeville Woman Pleads Not Guilty To Abusing Dog


7/1/16 – A Pardeeville woman accused of hitting her dog in the head with a hammer and leaving it for dead near Portage pled not guilty at arraignment yesterday.  Terri Benson is facing felony Animal Mistreatment and misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct charges.  The 57-year-old argued the black lab was having seizures and “acting goofy.”  The dog survived the incident and is still alive.  A jury trial will be scheduled.


Beaver Dam Man Heading To Trial On 9th OWI Charge


7/1/16 – A Beaver Dam man will proceed to trial on charges of ninth offense Operating While Intoxicated after waiving his preliminary hearing. Jeffrey P. Risch allegedly provided a preliminary breath test that was over ten times the legal limit for driving while on probation at point-two-zero-five (.205). Police began tailing the 49-year-old’s vehicle last month after receiving a call from security officials at Kraft Foods who reportedly noticed the suspect stumble to his vehicle on their video surveillance system. Risch has OWI’s dating back to 1991 with the most recent conviction in 2010. If he is found guilty, Risch faces up to 13 years in prison. His arraignment is August 3.


Man Accused Of High Speed Dodge Co. Chase Waives Prelim


7/1/16 – A Deforest man accused of leading an officer on a high speed chase through multiple Dodge County townships waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday.  Christian Barry is facing one felony count of Attempting to Flee a Traffic Officer.  The 25-year-old allegedly fled at speeds up to 130 miles per hour when an officer tried stopping him last week on Highway 33 for a busted tail light.  The chase led to Highways 151 and County Road S before Barry crashed his vehicle into a pole’s guide wire on County Road T.  Barry reportedly said he fled because his license is suspended.  If he is found guilty, he faces up to three-and-a-half years in prison.  Barry will be arraigned July 6.


Cash Bond Set For Indiana Man In Alleged Lomira Car Theft


7/1/16 – Cash bond was set at $5,000 yesterday for an Indiana man accused of stealing a running car from outside a Lomira gas station.  Kyrun Flemming is facing one felony count of Operating a Motor Vehicle Without the Owner’s Consent.  State patrol stopped the 18-year-old in Fond du Lac County shortly after the alleged theft earlier this week.  If convicted, Flemming faces up to six years in prison.  His preliminary hearing is July 7.


Waupun Starts 4th Of July Celebration Today


7/1/16 – A Fourth of July weekend event returns to Waupun for a fifth year.  The ‘Celebrate Waupun’ festival starts this afternoon and runs through Sunday at Tanner Park.  Gates open today at 4 pm, and a tractor pull starts at 7 pm.  Saturday and Sunday’s events kick off at 11 am.  Earlier this week on WBEV’s Community Comment, Committee Member Nick Rusch said the ‘Heroes in Action’ program starts at 2 pm Saturday.  Waupun Police, Fire, and EMS personnel along with Flight for Life will be on hand to give presentations and vehicle tours.  Rusch says the Nerveless Nocks Daredevil Stunt Team Show, which has performances at 3 pm, 6pm, and 8 pm both Saturday and Sunday, is new this year and features a variety of high-wire acts and stunts.  A teen dance runs Saturday from 7 pm to 10 pm.  On Sunday, Rusch says at least 150 vehicles are expected for a car show that goes from 8 am to 4 pm.  Fireworks start at 10 pm.  Live music will be offered throughout the three days.  Festival admission is free.


Final Chapters Of Historical Reflection Due Out This Month


7/1/16 – Dodge County residents have the opportunity to learn about their area’s history.  The county’s Land Resources and Parks Department is in the process of releasing a historical reflection of Dodge County titled “It Happened Here.”  It combines the fields of historic preservation, land use planning, economic development, and tourism.  Dean Perlick with the Land Resources and Parks Department says the reflection is meant to increase public awareness and interest in Dodge County’s history.  He says people are more likely to preserve historical buildings/items when they are aware of their significance.  Perlick says the reflection runs from early Indian occupancy to present time.  Four chapters were released in both May and June.  Perlick says the final three chapters, which should be out around July 13, cover food and beer, the Horicon Marsh, and a look ahead to future years in Dodge County.  Hard copies of the complete work will be available at the Land Resources and Parks office at the Dodge County Administration Building in Juneau.


Gas Prices Falling Ahead Of Holiday Weekend


7/1/16 – Gasoline prices in Wisconsin are inching down, just in time for the July Fourth weekend. The state’s Triple “A” says the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.37 this morning — almost four cents cheaper than last Friday, and 38 cents less than last Independence Day. The Triple “A” says there is no indication of a fuel shortage in the Fox Valley and Green Bay areas, after the fuel pipeline which serves the region has been shut down since March. Truckers and Great Lakes cargo boats have provided northeast Wisconsin with fuel, as the West Shore pipeline from Milwaukee to Green Bay has been shut down since March tenth. The Triple “A” says Green Bay and Milwaukee have the highest prices among the state’s metros — Green Bay at $2.48 and Milwaukee at $2.39, with Madison as the state’s lowest at $2.20.  Many Beaver Dam stations are at $2.38 this morning.


Milwaukee Public Schools Could Lose State Funding


7/1/16 – The Wisconsin Senate’s majority leader says the Milwaukee Public Schools could lose some of their state funds, if they keep resisting the state’s effort to improve low performing schools. Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau says his G-O-P senators were frustrated after Demond Means resigned this week as the head of a program to turn around failing Milwaukee schools. Means was appointed by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele after the governor and Legislature formed the “turnaround district” last year. School officials rejected an offer last week to be partners with Abele and Means on a plan to improve Milwaukee’s poorest schools — and M-P-S offered instead to let the two start an early childhood program in a building with extra space. Fitzgerald says the sentiment in his chamber is to make “significant” revenue cuts to M-P-S if it doesn’t cooperate — though he hopes it does not get to that point.