March 11, 2016

Sheriff Opposes High Risk Sex Offender Placement


3/11/16 – A high-risk sex-offender is being placed around 2000-feet from dozens of children in Reeseville. However, state law allows such placement within 1500 feet of residents with children. In Dodge County Circuit Court yesterday, convicted Chapter 980 Sex Offender Robert Larson Jr received conditional approval to be placed at N1701 Neuberger Road in the Town of Lowell. Prior to yesterday’s hearing the state Department of Corrections was asked by the Department of Health Services to conduct an investigation into the residence.  As part of that investigation, corrections requested that the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office provide input into this potential placement. Sheriff Dale Schmidt argued against the placement, citing 14 children who live in the homes full-time, another eight who live there on a temporary basis. In addition, one of the nearby homes holds school weekdays for 13 additional children while another home hosts a summer day care.  Schmidt says that he is (quote) “strongly opposed to the placement for a number of reasons…and strongly opposed this being approved as it is not a suitable location for housing these subjects.” Larson and Jonathon Miller sparked statewide headlines last year when were placed next door to kids in the Brownsville area and were subsequently removed by the courts after additional information was discovered by the Sheriff’s Office that this placement was inappropriate.  That led to legislation championed by State Representative Mark Born of Beaver Dam and Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau. The sheriff commends the lawmakers for their efforts but says it’s always very difficult to get laws that are one-size-fits-all.  There will be another hearing on Tuesday, March 22 for the other Chapter 980 sex offender. Jonathan Miller is slated to be placed at the same residence.  If the placement is approved, the sheriff says he would hold a community notification meeting in the Reeseville area to answer questions and his department will be vigilant in protecting the citizens of the area.  Schmidt says he completely understands that residents are upset but he is asking for civility and self-restraint.  He says he will continue in his efforts to raise his concerns before additional placement decisions are made in attempt to urge for a more suitable location.


Man Sentenced For Beaver Dam High-Speed Chase


3/11/16 – A Green Lake County man was sentenced to six years in prison in Dodge County court yesterday on charges that tied him to a multi-county crime spree.  Maxwell Decker was found guilty in November on felony counts of Burglary with a Dangerous Weapon and Fleeing a Traffic Officer and misdemeanor Taking a Vehicle without Consent.  The 19-year-old stole a car in Berlin in August 2014, sparking a nearly 12-mile pursuit down Highway 175 into Dodge County that ended with the driver disappearing into nearby cornfields. A second vehicle was taken and later recovered in the Fond du Lac County Town of Oakfield, where a third vehicle was then reported stolen.  Decker sparked a second police chase early the following morning, again into Dodge County this time through the city of Beaver Dam at 100 miles per hour. The vehicle was abandoned near Breezy Point Road as the suspect escaped a second time. Later that same day it was discovered that someone broke into a Town of Trenton home, stole a firearm, ammunition, and a vehicle. Decker was apprehended in Jefferson County the following day.  Yesterday, Decker was also placed on extended supervision for five years, given three-and-a-half years’ probation, ordered to pay restitution, and told to stay sober at all times.  The Dodge County sentence will not begin until he is done serving a three year prison term in Green Lake County for the same chase.  A plea and sentencing hearing in Fond du Lac County is set for April 1.


Hartford Man Charged In Drunken High Speed Chase


3/11/16 – A Hartford man is accused of leading a Dodge County Sheriff’s deputy on a drunken high speed chase. Myles Hesse is charged with felony Attempting to Flee a Traffic Officer along with second offense Operating While Intoxicated and driving with a Prohibited Alcohol Content. The 24-year-old was clocked going ten miles over the speed limit last month in the Town of Rubicon. When deputies pursued the vehicle, speeds reached near 100-miles-per-hour. Hesse was arrested at gunpoint after stopping his vehicle in the city of Hartford. He told the arresting officer he was (quote) “just being an idiot.” The deputy informed the suspect that he was observed driving 83-miles-hour to which the Hesse reportedly responded (quote) “at least that.” A preliminary breath tested indicated his blood alcohol level to be in excess of the legal limit for driving at point-one-two (.12). If convicted, the charges carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison. Hesse will make his initial appearance in Dodge County court on March 21.


Waupun Man Accused Of Running From Police


3/11/16 – A Waupun man is accused of running from police while driving on a suspended license. Kenneth Steinle is charged with felony Attempting to Elude a Traffic Officer, misdemeanor Operating While Revoked and seven counts of felony Bail Jumping. Prosecutors say a tip led Waupun police to the vehicle the 53-year-old had been driving. Steinle reportedly failed to stop when officers activated their lights and siren and continued to speed up and slow down for about a half-mile before exiting the car and fleeing on foot. He reportedly fell over a snowbank and was arrested with a taser gun pointed at him. Steinle will make his initial appearance in a Dodge County courtroom on March 21. The fleeing charge carries a three-and-a-half year prison sentence upon conviction while each bail jumping count brings up to six years.


Watertown Man To Be Arraigned On Burglary Charge


3/11/16 – A Watertown man accused of stealing electronics from a friend’s house waived his right to a preliminary hearing in a Dodge County courtroom yesterday.  Nathaniel Koplien is facing felony counts of Burglary and Identity Theft, both as a party to a crime.  According to the criminal complaint, the 22-year-old and a co-conspirator broke into a house in December to steal electronic items and blank checks.  Koplien allegedly tried to sell the stolen items and cashed a couple of forged checks.  If he is found guilty on both counts, Koplien faces over 18 years in prison.  He will be arraigned on April 13.


Columbus Fire Department Looking To Purchase Drone


3/11/16 – A local organization is using its annual dinner to fund a new piece of equipment for the city’s fire department.  Proceeds from the Columbus Agribusiness dinner will go toward the purchase of a drone.  Columbus Fire Chief Randy Koehn says a drone could help the department get ahead of large wildland fires by providing an aerial view of the blaze.  Koehn says it would also be useful in hazardous material incidents as the drone could be sent to examine a contamination site instead of having to jeopardize sending a person close to the harmful substance.  Koehn says the drone could also help with missing persons’ cases and natural disaster cleanup.  In addition to the drone, Koehn intends to purchase a thermal imaging camera that he says is far better at detecting heat variations than the built-in camera.  Koehn believes the dinner proceeds plus department savings should cover the combined $6,000 to $8,000 cost.  The agribusiness dinner starts Tuesday at 6 pm.  Tickets can be purchased ahead of time for $25 each at Farmers and Merchants Union Bank, Mid-State Equipment, or Club 60.  Wisconsin author Michael Perry is the special guest speaker.


Fall River Getting New Senior Living Facility


3/11/16 – A new community-based retirement facility (CBRF) is being planned in the village of Fall River. An eighteen-bed wing will be connected to the existing Meadows of Fall River Assisted Living Center on the northern edge of the village. Apex Management spokesperson Brent Van Gysel said that the planners will be able to start construction as soon as the village approves the certified survey map at their next board meeting.  The size of the planned building addition will be just under 12-thousand square feet. The retirement facility will be located on the northern edge of the Meadows parking lot just off of County Highway D. The new facility is expected to bring in ten to 15 new jobs to the Fall River.


Entire Dodge County Snowmobile Trail System Closed


3/11/16 – The entire Dodge County Snowmobile Trail system is now closed for the season. That’s according to Dan Schultz with the Dodge County Land Resources and Parks Department who says the trail system is closed because of the lack of snow and frozen ground. He says clubs will begin removing signage as soon as ground conditions allow. The ATV trail along the Wild Goose State Trail remains closed due to unfrozen ground and will officially close for the season on March 31st.


Winter Parking Lifted In City Of Beaver Dam


3/11/16 – Beaver Dam residents can park overnight on city streets once again. With recent warmer temperatures, Mayor Tom Kennedy lifted the winter parking ban a few weeks before the April 1 deadline outlined in city ordinance. The ban went into effect back in November and had prohibited parking on city streets between 2am and 6am.


Rumble Strips To Be Used On Dodge County Highway Project


3/11/16 – A Dodge County highway project is one of 12 throughout Wisconsin that will utilize temporary, portable rumble strips this summer.  The strips, which provide an audible and vibratory warning for drivers entering a construction zone, will be used on days flaggers direct traffic near the Highway 151/49 mill and overlay project in the northern part of Dodge County.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation hopes the temporary rumble strips will increase safety for drivers and workers after 2,400 work zone crashes were reported in 2015.


Kloppenburg Admits Goof Over Lincoln Slave Comment


3/11/16 – State Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg admits saying the wrong thing when she told youngsters that Abraham Lincoln had slaves. It happened last month when Kloppenburg and her election opponent Rebecca Bradley spoke to the West Allis Youth Commission. Both were asked who they thought were the best U-S presidents — and Kloppenburg cited Lincoln, saying he signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed slaves even though Lincoln once had slaves himself. Yesterday (Thursday), she told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editors she knew right away she goofed — and she may have been confused, knowing that the family of Lincoln’s wife in Kentucky had owned slaves.


Bradley Affair In The Spotlight


3/11/16 – A lawyer for State Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley says his client did not violate the judicial code-of-conduct when she had an affair with a man, and later represented him in court. The Journal Sentinel says Bradley was a private lawyer when she had an affair with the chief operating officer of the Milwaukee law firm where both worked 15 years ago — and she later represented him in a child-placement case. The matter comes up just 25 days before Bradley stands for election against Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg. Governor Scott Walker appointed Bradley to the vacant Supreme Court seat last fall, and his office says the governor was not aware of what Bradley attorney Dan Kelly called a “non-event.” It comes after a week of criticism over her campus newspaper columns while a student at Marquette — in which she scorned gays, AIDS victims, abortion patients, and date rape victims.


Community Comment Begins Election Coverage Today


3/11/16 – We begin our look at the local, contested races on the April ballot this afternoon on Community Comment. Ed Benter and Julie Flemming are competing for the District One Fox Lake-area county board seat currently held by Darrell Pollesch who is not seeking re-election. Benter will join us today at 12:35pm followed by Flemming at 1pm. There are a half dozen other contested races on the 33-member Dodge County Board and all candidates will appear on Community Comment with the exception of Beaver Dam-area incumbents Ed Nelson and Randy Grebel who have declined our offer. We will also feature the contested aldermanic race in Beaver Dam and the Mayville mayor’s race where current aldermen Rob Boelk and Joe Hohmann are seeking to replace mayor Bob Redeker, who chose not to seek re-election. Community Comment airs weekdays on AM1430 WBEV beginning at 12:35pm.