New September 15, 2011

Pewaukee Teen Injured In Town of Herman Wreck

9/15/11 – A 19-year-old from Pewaukee was seriously injured in a two-vehicle accident yesterday in the Town of Herman. Both lanes of traffic on Highway 33 were closed for over four hours at County A-Y starting around 2:30pm. Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls says the teen was westbound on Highway 33 when he attempted to pass another westbound vehicle, failed to notice the oncoming semi and the two collided head-on. The teen was flown from the scene to Froedtert Hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the semi was not injured. The Iron Ridge Fire Department First Responders and Horicon EMS assisted at the scene. The Wisconsin State Patrol Technical Crash Investigation Team is conducting the investigation.

Fox Lake Man Arraigned On Ten Felony OWI Injury Charges

9/15/11 – A Fox Lake man entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment Wednesday to charges that he caused a drunken, head-on collision that injured a carload of people. Brandon M. Smith faces ten felony counts of second-offense OWI Causing Injury for the accident on Highway 33 in the Town of Beaver Dam on August 20. According to the criminal complaint, the 27-year-old told police he drank a 30-pack case of beer before heading out to a friend’s. He reportedly lost control and crossed the centerline, into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The driver of that vehicle was transported to the Beaver Dam Community Hospital and four other passengers complained of back, neck and hip pain. Smith’s blood alcohol level was said to be over three times the legal limit for driving at point-two-six-three (.263). The charges carry a maximum six-year prison sentence upon conviction, but because Smith is a repeat offender he could have up to four years added to that sentence. He would also lose his license for at least one year and as much as two years. Smith is being held on a $20,000 cash bond.

Air Quality Better Today

9/15/11 – Officials say the air quality in southeast Wisconsin should be much better today, as smoke from a massive Minnesota wildfire is pulled away from the region. Yesterday, the D-N-R issued its first “red alert” for the Milwaukee area since December of 2007 – which meant the air quality was unhealthy for everyone. But advisories in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Kenosha counties were allowed to expire at 11 last night. The Pagami Creek fire at Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area expanded to over 100-thousand acres. Officials said a break in the weather caused the blaze to expand very little yesterday. Stronger winds and warmer temperatures are expected for the weekend – which means Wisconsinites might not be out of the woods yet. But for now, the D-N-R expects the plume to be pushed away from the Badger State as it moves higher in the atmosphere. Racine schools canceled all their outdoor events yesterday afternoon due to the pollution alert. Milwaukee schools canceled outdoor recess – and they told parents and bus drivers not to idle their vehicle engines while waiting to pick up kids. But after checking the D-N-R’s hourly pollution data, Milwaukee did allow after-school sporting activities to proceed.

Omro Man Charged In Baseball Bat Beating of Puppy

9/15/11 – A Winnebago County man is due back in court next Monday on a charge of beating a Rottweiler puppy to death with a baseball bat. A $2500 cash bond has been set for 18-year-old James Albright III of Omro. Prosecutors say Albright and his roommate were given 10 days to get rid of two dogs because of poor conditions in their apartment. And Albright was quoted as telling his roommate, “If I can’t have Harley, nobody can.” Prosecutors said the roommate tried to talk Albright out of beating Harley-the-Rottweiler to death but Albright reportedly said quote, “This is what all rednecks do with their dogs.” Albright is charged with a felony count of mistreating animals in causing death. A judge is scheduled to decide September 22nd if there’s enough evidence to order a trial.

Local Law Enforcement To Be Paid For Protest Security

9/15/11 – The check’s in the mail to Wisconsin police departments which helped provide security at the State Capitol during the massive pro-union protests in February and March. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously yesterday (Wed) to pay just over eight-million-dollars in expenses for almost 200 local police and sheriff’s departments, four state police forces, and three U-W police departments. The Beaver Dam Police Department is anticipating around $40,000 while the Dodge County Sheriffs Department is expecting around $70,000. Sheriff Todd Nehls says he never doubted that he’d get his money; he just hopes the check comes before the end of the year. Thirteen G-O-P lawmakers, led by Assembly Republican Steve Nass of Whitewater, wanted the panel to delay reimbursements to Madison and Dane County officers. In a letter, Nass and the others said the Madison leaders encouraged the protestors with their actions and political comments. But during the finance meeting, Milwaukee Assembly Democrat Tamara Grigsby said the Republicans were insulting quote, “the very individuals who protected you.” She said police escorted the G-O-P lawmakers when they voted in favor of the law which limits public union bargaining – and they did not escort the Democrats who opposed the bill. Deputy Administration Secretary Chris Schoenherr said the state asked for the extra police help, and the state will pay for it as promised.

Cell Phone Use in Schools Discussed in Columbus

The Columbus School Board discussed student cell phone use in school this week. High School Principle Jeff Mastin told Board members that current policies and the number of incidents of classroom disruption were not a problem. Board member Don Nelson suggested that a policy of teaching students when and how to use cell phones and other portable electronic devices would be preferable to amending the current rules. The School Board is monitoring student cell phone use in the District to determine whether changes should be made.

FFRF Wants Tax Break for Ministers Housing Ended

9/15/11 – Madison’s Freedom from Religion Foundation is trying to end the federal tax break that church ministers get for their housing. The group has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Madison, which claims the tax break violates the separation of church-and-state, and is therefore unconstitutional. The foundation wants to strike down an I-R-S provision that allows ministers to exempt the costs of home ownership or rent from their income. The Madison group says nobody else gets that kind of deal – and it wants the courts to stop the I-R-S from granting the tax break. But religious legal expert John Witte of Emory University in Atlanta says it’s not the first time the issue has come up in the courts. He tells the Wisconsin State Journal the lawsuit has little chance of succeeding. Witte said the Supreme Court makes it clear that tax exemption cases are for politicians to decide – and not judges.

Wisconsin SAT Scores Above National Average

9/15/11 – Last spring’s high school graduates in Wisconsin scored well above the national average on the S-A-T college entrance exam. State officials said only about five-percent of students took the S-A-T – which is the preferred test for college admissions on both coasts. Most Midwest colleges want students to take the A-C-T exam – and 71-percent of Wisconsin graduates did so this year. But those taking the S-A-T scored at least 86 points above the national average in math, writing, and critical reading. And there continues to be a racial gap in student performance. White students averaged 17-hundred-89 points on the S-A-T, while African-American youngsters averaged 15-hundred-three