New September 17, 2011

Plea Entered In Tavern Burglary Spree

9/17/11 – A West Salem man was sentenced this week to five years in prison for his role in a series of Dodge County tavern break-ins. Nicholas J. Etter pleaded “no contest” to a felony count of Burglary back in June and had two other felonies dismissed but read into the record. The 33-year-old and two others broke into the Dockside Pub and Grille in the Town of Westford in January, Jumpers Bar in the Town of Beaver Dam in February and Chances Bar in the Town of Burnett in March. Thousands of dollars was stolen from poker machines, ATM’s and safes. 45-year-old Thomas Dahlgren of Mauston pleaded “no contest” to a pair of felonies earlier this month and will be sentenced in November. Dahlgren was on probation for Attempted Homicide at the time of his arrest and is currently incarcerated at the Waupun Correctional Institution. 32-year-old Michelle L. Novak of Mayville has a three day jury trial on the calendar next month. According to the criminal complaint, Novak reportedly admitted to being the getaway driver and lookout. Etter admitted that he was involved but blamed Dahlgren for orchestrating the break-ins. In addition to five years behind bars, Etter was sentenced to five years of extended supervision and ordered to pay $13,500 in restitution.

Minivan Vs. Pick-Up Results in Fatality

9/17/11 – One person is dead after a minivan versus pickup collision Friday in Green Lake County. It happened just after 8am when the driver of the eastbound minivan crossed the centerline on Highway 23 in the town of Brooklyn. A Flight for Life helicopter responded to the scene and circled the accident but did not land. Traffic was detoured and a section of Highway 23 was shut down for around one hour. The driver of the minivan was trapped inside the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. The name is being withheld pending notification of family. The driver of the pickup was transported from the scene with non-life threatening injuries.

Beaver Dam Man Sentenced For Seventh OWI

9/17/11 – A 52-year-old Beaver Dam man charged with seventh offense OWI has entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors. Jay Zeman showed up drunk to a meeting with his parole officer in June. The criminal complaint says Zeman told authorities that he had three drinks while visiting his father’s house in Madison before driving back to Beaver Dam for the meeting. The parole officer noticed he smelled like alcohol and gave him a breathalyzer test that recorded a point-one-nine (.09), which is just over the point-one-eight (.08) limit for driving. Zeman’s drunken driving convictions date back to 1989 with the most recent coming in 2006 in Dane County where he was still on extended supervision. That’s been revoked but the 51 months in prison he was sentenced to this week in Dodge County will run concurrent to any new prison time related to that revocation. Zeman was also sentenced to 60 months of extended supervision.

Waupun Woman Gets Probation For Underage Relationship

9/17/11 – A Waupun woman was placed on probation yesterday in Dodge County for having a relationship with a 15-year-old boy. Carol Coonfield pleaded guilty to three amended counts of Second Degree Sexual Assault of a Child. The 20-year-old also charged with Bail Jumping because her actions violated a condition of bond in Fond du Lac County for child sexual assault. A nine month prison sentence was imposed and stayed. Coonfield is also prohibited from seeing the victim, or anyone under the age of 18, and must pay the costs of any counseling.

Wiccan Chaplain Charged In Prison Scheme

9/17/11 – The first Wiccan to be hired as a state prison chaplain has been charged in an apparent scheme to get her and a male inmate transferred to another prison. 52-year-old Jamyl Witch of Omro is charged in Winnebago County with sexual assault by a corrections officer, and delivering narcotics and illegal contraband to a prisoner. According to prosecutors, Witch claimed that the inmate assaulted her after blocking a door to her office on August 10th – and that she gave the man pills to make him fall asleep. The inmate later told investigators that Witch came up with the scheme, because she claimed to be mistreated by her co-workers – and she wanted a transfer. Witch is free on a signature bond. She’s due back in court next Thursday, when a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order a trial. Witch was hired in 2001 as the prison system’s first Wiccan chaplain.

State Fair Midway Staying Put

9/17/11 – The Wisconsin State Fair will not eliminate its midway next year. West Allis Police and other officials questioned keeping the area of rides-and-games, after a series of mob attacks started near the midway on the fair’s opening night August fourth. But on Friday, the State Fair Park Board voted to keep the attractions for 2012. Board chairman John Yingling said a large number of families make the rides a large part of their visits – and it’s a traditional form of entertainment that will stay around for years to come. The fair said it would directly manage the rides, games, and concessions starting next year. They said it would give them a better working relationship with more-and-different vendors. Several people were hurt during the August fourth attacks, and 31 young people were arrested for incidents both on-and-off the fairgrounds. The violence was not repeated for the rest of the fair – and over 911-thousand people attended. It was the first time in at least a decade that the crowds exceeded 900-thousand.

Walker In The Dark On Archer Investigation

9/17/11 – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says his office hasn’t been told anything about the investigation into one of his top agency officials. Walker says he just knows what he’s seen in media reports. FBI agents seized items during a raid on the Madison home of Cynthia Archer. She had been his aide while Walker was Milwaukee County executive and she followed him to Madison for a post in Wisconsin state government. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has reported anonymous sources say the case is focused on whether staff workers in Walker’s county office did political work on time paid for by taxpayers. Archer says she has done nothing wrong and hasn’t been told whether she is part of that investigation or not.

Vos Critical of Protestor Following Beer Incident

9/17/11 – State finance co-chair Robin Vos – who had beer dumped on his head in a hotel bar this week – said protesting has gone out of control. 26-year-old Miles Kristan of Racine turned himself in to Madison Police Thursday. That was after a Capitol staffer identified him as the pro-union protestor who threw beer at Vos and two other G-O-P lawmakers Wednesday evening in a hotel bar on Madison’s Capitol Square. Kristan was cited for disorderly conduct and then released. He’s due in court October 10th. Vos, an Assembly Republican from Racine County, issued a statement saying he supports free speech but quote, “It’s a shame when the expression turns into criminal behavior.” He said lawmakers are “regularly harassed” by certain protestors. Vos called it an “unfortunate reminder of what lawmakers have to put up with every day in Madison.” And it’s not just in Madison, apparently. Former Senate Republican Randy Hopper, who was recalled a month ago, says he still gets harassed every day in his home town of Fond du Lac – if nothing else by people honking their horns and screaming as they go by. Hopper says that his family has also been harassed since he lost his Senate seat – and it’s brought his young daughter to tears. Vos said he hoped the protestors would realize this type of behavior only hurts their cause with the public. Assembly Republican Steve Nass of Whitewater issued a statement blaming Madison’s law enforcement leaders for what he called an “escalation of disorderly and dangerous conduct.”

UW Green Bay Vice Chancellor Stepping Down, Again

9/17/11 – A vice chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay decides to step down from the position as the state Department of Employee Trust Funds examines his case. There are questions whether Tom Maki retired, only to be re-hired by the school, so he could collect his salary and retirement benefits at the same time. Maki returned to UW-Green Bay just a month after he formally retired. If his return was negotiated before he left, that would break state law. State Representative Steve Nass has stopped a bill allowing tuition increases at the Green Bay school until he gets answers about the Maki situation. Maki’s going to step down, again, in December. The school starts a search for a replacement next week.

National Guard Troop Send-Off

9/17/11 – Troops from the Wisconsin Army National Guard get a big send-off as they head to Kosovo for a peace-keeping mission led by NATO. They will undergo two months of training in Indiana before leaving for Kosovo around Thanksgiving. Governor Scott Walker gave the soldiers a Wisconsin flag during the Friday ceremony, telling them to remember the millions of

supporters they have back home every time they look at it. The soldiers are members of the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and the 32nd Military Police Company.