May 14, 2015

Dodge County Honors Fallen Officers At Ceremony


5/14/15 – That bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace could be heard late yesterday morning in Juneau as Dodge County hosted a ceremony to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty as part of National Law Enforcement Week.  A total of twelve officers and employees were honored at the Law Enforcement Memorial outside of the County Administration Building in Juneau.  One of those was the late Ralph Zylka, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputy who was killed in a helicopter crash in Dodge County fifteen years ago.  Zylka was returning from a tactical operation in Juneau County where he was aiding in the search for a suspect in the murder of a Chicago Police Officer.  Ralph’s daughter Stephanie was invited to be the keynote speaker at yesterday’s memorial.  Despite all the sadness that Zylka’s death brought to Stephanie and the rest of her family, she says they find solace knowing that he passed away doing what he loved.  In addition to Stephanie, a surviving relative of Marshal William Gibson, the first recorded officer to be killed in the line of duty in Dodge County, was scheduled to speak.  That person had to cancel last minute but sent a letter thanking the county for honoring Gibson.


Minneapolis Protests Follow Madison Police Shooting Decision


5/14/15 – As far as we know, Madison Police have not had any skirmishes with protesters opposing Tuesday’s decision not to file charges in that city’s white-on-black police killing.  However, another protest in the Madison case did stir up tensions one state to our west in Minneapolis last night.  Up to 100 activists closed two downtown blocks as they marched to the county government center in Minnesota’s largest city.  Protest organizer Vanessa Taylor of the Black Liberation Project told the Star Tribune she had mace sprayed in her eyes, as she stood a few feet in front of one officer.  An 11-second video went viral on Twitter, showing a Minneapolis officer spraying a chemical into a protester’s face.  As protesters linked arms, Taylor told the crowd, “They maced us.  They maced children.  If you are willing to mace our children, you do not think black lives matter.”  Police Chief Janee Harteau vowed a full investigation into the protest and the conduct of a large number of officers on the scene — who re-directed traffic and preserved order in front of downtown shopping and hotel buildings.  Meanwhile, Madison Police did arrest around two dozen people for blocking traffic yesterday. Members of the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition marched from where Tony Robinson was killed to the Dane County Courthouse, where they put officer Matt Kenny on a mock trial and sat on the street before dispersing. That’s where the arrests took place.


Village of Fall River Board Now Complete


5/14/15 – The village of Fall River now has a full board of trustees. In board action, the five trustees and newly elected President Jeff Slotten moved to unanimously appoint Andy Schmiechen to the board. That appointment will bring the board up to seven trustee members.  Schmiechen was only one vote away from being elected on April 7th. The two new board members elected on the seventh — Angela Freedman and Dan Birr — took their seats at this week’s meeting. This is the first time in the past three years that the Fall River Village Board has had a full complement of seven members.


Fall River Schools Move Forward With Practice Fields


5/14/15 – The Fall River school board approved the bid for construction of a new regulation football and soccer “practice field” at last night’s meeting. Corex Excavation and Construction will be building a pared- down version of General Engineering plans for phase one of the proposed Prairie Street athletic complex. Funding from Fall River schools and the non-profit Pirate Foundation will pay for the new practice field. The initial plans called for a $50-thousand dollar practice field, paved parking lot and a walking path around the perimeter of the 29-acre plot. After checking the construction funds available, it was decided that the 28-car parking lot and the walking path be added at a later date. The school board will using the final money from a voter-approved referendum for funds for athletic facilities and the Pirate Foundation will pay for the remainder of the $38-thousand dollar project.


BDUSD Students Performing With Madison Symphony


5/14/15 – Students from two Beaver Dam elementary schools are performing with the Madison Symphony Orchestra on Thursday. Fourth grade students at Washington and Prairie View elementary schools have been participating in a program through Carnegie Hall that introduces children to music, instruments and orchestra. Music teacher Judy Heffron told the school board this week that the students will not only be listening to the symphony, they will be playing with them as well. Their music instrument: a recorder which is similar to a flute. School board member Marge Jorgensen says it was a wonderful presentation and important for the school board to see how money spent on music programs is allocated. There are 900 kids from schools throughout Wisconsin participating in the program today (Th) at the Overture Center. Carnegie has offered free music materials to schools for the past 15 years and the Madison Symphony signed onto the program last year, initially making it available to Madison schools. This is Beaver Dam’s first year but Heffron says she’d like to see more district schools participate next year.


Two Justices Asked To Dismiss Themselves From John Doe Case


5/14/15 – A special prosecutor wanted two State Supreme Court justices to step down from cases involving the John Doe probe into the Walker recall election in 2012. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley did step down, saying her son worked for one of the law firms involved in the case.  Yesterday, the court released 260 redacted filings in the Doe probe — and in one of them, prosecutor Francis Schmitz asked that two other justices withdraw because they got campaign donations from unnamed people who want to stop the probe.  The justices’ names were blacked out.  The court is about to rule on three cases connected with the three-year-old John Doe.  Two involved requests to stop the investigation, which involves allegations that Walker and Republican Senate recall candidates illegally coordinated campaign funding and other operations involving the 2011-and-’12 recall contests.  Another suit seeks to re-instate subpoenas a judge quashed, effectively halting the probe more than a year ago.  The Supreme Court never heard oral arguments in the cases, saying they needed to protect information which was not made public yet.


State Assembly Votes To Discard Badger Exam Results


5/14/15 – The Wisconsin Assembly agreed yesterday not to use the new Badger achievement exam against teachers or their schools.  With no debate, the lower house ratified a measure passed earlier by the Senate.  It requires that Badger Exam results not be considered in this year’s state report cards of public schools, and the required evaluations of teachers.  The measure now goes to Governor Scott Walker — who has proposed scrapping the online Badger Exam after this year, and have officials come up with new tests.  The Badger Exam was plagued with a number of problems before and after it rolled out this spring.  It attracted a lot of criticism from the Republican Walker to parents — some of whom refused to let their children take the exam.


Puppy Poisoner Gets Deferred Prosecution


5/14/15 – A Fond du Lac woman charged in the poisonings of two family puppies 15 months ago is getting a chance to have her criminal convictions dropped. Thirty-two year old Amanda Farr recently entered into a deferred prosecution agreement.  A pair of misdemeanors will be thrown out if she meets certain court-ordered conditions over the next two years.  Prosecutors said Farr knew that her son had poured bleach on two family puppies, and tossed one of them into a Dumpster in February of 2014.  The boy reportedly did it because one of the pets was biting at his feet.  Humane society officials said two American Stafford-shire terriers needed treatment for chemical burns to their eyes, nose, and mouths — and for respiratory problems after they breathed in toxic fumes. A third puppy in the home was not hurt.  Farr has pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of abandoning an animal and being a party to poisoning an animal.  Five other charges were dropped in a plea deal.


Beaver Dam Man Arraigned In Burglary


5/14/15 – One of two Beaver Dam men connected to a home break-in entered a not-guilty plea at arraignment yesterday in Dodge County Court.  33-year-old James Narr then had his sentencing hearing set for June 4.  He and 48-year-old Darris Montgomery were arrested in March following reports of breaking and entering on South Lincoln Avenue.  A door was damaged to gain access to an apartment, and the loud noise led neighbors to call police. Montgomery, who had apparently been in prison with the victim, was seen leaving the scene with a television.  Officers stopped a vehicle matching an eye-witness description a short time later.  Narr reportedly told officers that Montgomery got into his car with a television but said he did not give it much thought.  Montgomery was sentenced to six months in jail last week.