New September 23, 2011

Economists: No Double-Dip Recession

9/23/11 – Bank economists in the Upper Midwest do not believe America is headed toward a double-dip recession. But Associated Trust vice president Sara Walker of Milwaukee says “everyone is ratcheting their expectations down” after stock markets throughout the world took a tumble yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged by 391 points, or three-and-a-half percent. And after big sell-offs on Wednesday, the Dow completed its biggest two-day drop since December of 2008. European stock markets fared even worse. Germany’s market plunged by five-percent. U-S Bank investment strategist Jim Russell says Europe now appears to be the biggest short-term problem for the American economy. There were numerous concerns that the European Union is not prepared to a handle a credit crisis that could turn into a double-dip recession there. As the world’s financial leaders get together in Washington this weekend, Russell said U-S Bank expects slow economic growth here for the next year-and-a-half. He said unemployment would remain high, and it would not take much of a foreign disruption to drive the country into another recession. Columbus Gets To Work On 2012 Budget

9/23/11 – Columbus is getting an early start on 2012 budget deliberations. Administrator Boyd Kraemer presented a proposed budget to the City Council this week. The proposed Budget was drafted after receiving State Department of Revenue news that the City’s equalized evaluation was decreased by $7.5 million for the coming year. Kraemer said that the decrease in evaluation was being faced by municipalities throughout Wisconsin. The proposed $3.5 million dollar City General Fund budget would result in an estimated 31 cent decrease in Columbus property owner’s mil rate. The 2012 mil rate estimate would be $8.08 per thousand dollars compared to $8.39 in 2011. The Common Council has scheduled budget workshops in October and November to determine if any changes will be needed.

Worker Killed At Mid-State Equipment

9/23/11 – Federal officials are investigating an accident that killed a man at a farm equipment repair shop in Washington County. Authorities said 21-year-old Jacob Eickstedt of Jackson was trying to fix a harvesting machine when an attachment fell and trapped him underneath. He died later at a hospital in West Bend. The mishap occurred Wednesday morning at Mid-State Equipment in the Washington County town of Polk. Sheriff’s deputies and the U-S Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration are both investigating.

Army Investigating the Death of Appleton Soldier

9/23/11 – U-S Army Police have reportedly launched an investigation into the death of an Appleton soldier in Afghanistan. Three sisters of Staff Sergeant Garrick Eppinger Junior told the Appleton Post-Crescent about the investigation – and it could last for six months to a year. They said they were informed about it by an Army crisis officer. Army officials have not confirmed the probe. The 25-year-old Eppinger died last Saturday in Afghanistan. The initial word was that he was shot, but Army officials have not disclosed a cause of death. Sisters Amy Strong, Robbyn Stanley, and Shandra Smith all said Eppinger worked at a desk job at Bagram Airbase in eastern Afghanistan. They said he was not in an area with heavy fighting, and he was not in the line of fire. Eppinger’s body has not been released to his family yet. It’s at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Funeral arrangements are on hold. Epping was a member of the Army Reserve’s 395th Ordnance Company. He was a supply specialist at the Bagram Airbase. He held the rank of sergeant when he died, and was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant. Darlington Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

9/23/11 – The latest Wisconsin soldier killed in Afghanistan was the first resident of Darlington to die on duty since the Vietnam War. 24-year-old Jakob Roelli, a member of the Army Special

Forces, died yesterday in Afghanistan. His name will be added to a veterans’ memorial that’s being created in Darlington, and is scheduled to be dedicated in 2013. High school principal Doug McArthur said organizers said his community has been fortunate to avoid the grief of losing a service member. Roelli graduated from Darlington High School in 2006. He played football and golf there, performed in musicals, and skipped his graduation so he could compete in the national “Odyssey of the Mind” competition. He left U-W Oshkosh after a year to join the Army. He was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. The Roelli family was on its way to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware today to wait for Jakob’s remains.

BD Man Arraigned On Seventh OWI

9/23/11 – A Beaver Dam man waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday and then entered a “not guilty” plea on charges of seventh-offense drunk driving. Brian Gilmore is also charged with possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia when he was arrested on the afternoon of September 11. According to the criminal complaint, it all started with a relative’s call to 9-1-1 reporting that she had found a marijuana pipe in her brother’s bedroom, where he was staying following his release from prison for sixth offense drunk driving. Gilmore was pulled over a short time later near the residence. His blood alcohol level was allegedly over three times the legal limit for driving at point-two-seven-five (.275). If convicted, seventh offense drunk driving carries a minimum prison sentence of three years and a maximum of ten years, in addition to a loss of driving privileges of at least three years and as many as 13.

Waupun Child Molester Placed On Deferred Prosecution

9/23/11 – A Waupun man who molested a pre-teen has entered into a plea agreement with Dodge County prosecutors. Michael M. Nutt entered a “no contest” plea to a felony count of Sexual Assault of a Child Under the Age of 16 and a reduced misdemeanor count of Fourth Degree Sexual Assault. The 20-year-old was placed on deferred prosecution and will avoid a felony record if he stays out of trouble while on probation for the next year. According to the criminal complaint, Nutt would pick-up the victim in his truck after she snuck out of her house. He first denied the claim to investigators but admitted to the incidents after further questioning and said he thought she was 15-years-old.

Pocket Dial Prevents Domestic Assault

9/23/11 – An accidental call from a cell phone might have spared a Sheboygan County woman from more severe injuries in attack allegedly made by her boyfriend. Prosecutors said 21-year-old Floyd Rashid of Sheboygan pinned his girlfriend to the ground and threatened her on Monday night. And while that was happening, his cell phone placed a call while it was in his pocket – and the woman’s father answered. Authorities said the man heard his daughter screaming, as Rashid asked her if she wanted to die. The father then reportedly sped to the couple’s home and found Rashid still on top of his daughter. Officials said the man threw Rashid against a wall – and the boyfriend ran away. Rashid is now charged in Sheboygan County Circuit Court with false imprisonment, strangulation-and-suffocation, and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

No Charges In Cheney-Style Shooting

9/23/11 – No charges will be filed against a hunter who was arrested for shooting another hunter in the face northwest of Oshkosh last weekend. Winnebago County prosecutors cleared a 59-year-old Appleton man of wrongdoing in the incident. A 27-year-old Appleton man was wounded while the two were hunting at Winchester last Saturday. The victim was wearing camouflage at the time. He was conscious when he was taken to a hospital. The man suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Assistant District Attorney Scott Cernan said the only possible charge he could have filed was causing injury by the negligent use of a firearm – and he would have had to prove that the shooter exercised a high degree of negligence. Cernan said the incident appeared to be a tragic accident.

DiStefano on BDHS Closed Campus: ‘So Far, So Good’

9/23/11 – As part of the new scheduling format at the Beaver Dam High School, the school board earlier this year approved closing the campus beginning with the current freshmen class. That means students are not allowed to leave the grounds during school and Principal Mark DiStefano says so far, so good. They’ve had a couple freshmen test their security but for the most part the students have accepted the new policy. DiStefano says making things easier is the fact the freshmen don’t know any different. Beaver Dam was one of the last districts to move to closed campus and, as of two years ago, just 20 of the more than 450 school districts in the state had open campus at some of their schools.

Udey Dam Ribbon Cutting Today

9/23/11 – The Udey Dam Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be held this afternoon in Columbus. Restoration of the Udey Dam was completed earlier this summer after a six year debate over the Dam’s removal or restoration. The 2pm ceremonies will feature remarks by city officials, engineers and DNR representatives. City Administrator Boyd Kraemer said that the new water control gates are already in use. The Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony will be held on the eastern bank of the Crawfish at the end of Campbell Street.

Lowest Paid State Workers Hit Hardest

9/23/11 – The lowest-paid state government workers are taking the biggest hits from the new law that requires them to pay more toward their health insurance and pensions. That’s according to an analysis released Thursday by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The bureau is non-partisan, but Democratic lawmakers who opposed the increases are the ones who asked for the numbers. They show that state employees who make 25-thousand-dollars a year are seeing their total health and pension costs rise from four-and-a-half percent of their salaries to 11-point-three percent. Workers making 50-thousand a year are paying an average of eight-and-a-half percent of their salaries toward those benefits, up from two-point-three percent. And those making 100-thousand a year saw an increase from one-point-one-percent of their salaries to six-point-seven percent.

Legislator Wants Utilities Responsible For Broken Meters 9/23/11 – The president of the Wisconsin Senate says it’s unfair for utilities to have two years to bill customers for service that was never billed because of malfunctioning meters. Republican Mike Ellis of Neenah has proposed a bill to make electric, water, and sewer utilities responsible for any missed charges after a monthly billing cycle has passed. At a public hearing, Ellis said it should not be the customers’ job to make sure the equipment which monitors their energy use is working properly. The bill is the result of what happened at a supper club in Kaukauna. Kathleen Frieble’s place went out of business when it was found that her electric meter was not working properly for over a decade. We Energies had charged a-thousand-dollars a month to collect the charges of 16-thousand dollars that had built up. Frieble said the utility would not negotiate a settlement, and she ended up filing for bankruptcy. Joan Shafer of We Energies said those errors are rare – but the utility needs to go after unpaid electric use to keep rates under control or everybody. She said Senator Ellis’s bill is unfair, in that it assumes that all equipment always works properly. She said about 15-thousand of We Energies’ two-point-two million meters failed last year. Shafer also warned lawmakers that the bill could hurt utilities’ efforts to bring energy thieves to justice. She said it’s hard sometimes to prove that a meter had been tampered with.

Milwaukee Company Mulling Mexico Move

9/23/11 – Milwaukee-based C-and-D Technologies says it may have to send its production efforts to Mexico to stay competitive. The company blames a tough economy and high production costs

for possibly making the drastic move. The company is negotiating a new contract with the union representing production workers at its Riverwest neighborhood factory right now, trying to keep those jobs in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Measles Outbreak Traced To Burma

9/23/11 – Three measles cases in Milwaukee were caused by a 23-month-old refugee from Burma who had flown to Wisconsin from Malaysia. That’s what the U-S Centers for Disease Control said Thursday. The toddler was one of the three who got sick. The others were an adult in Milwaukee and a baby in suburban Greendale. Milwaukee disease control director Paul Biedrzycki said the C-D-C is still investigating some facets of the three cases. He said the toddler who spread the disease had flown in on August 24th, and his measles were confirmed September seventh. Meanwhile, the C-D-C said a 15-year-old boy who’s also a refugee from Burma flew to California on a different flight than the Milwaukee youngster. But the C-D-C said three other young refugees on that flight caught the measles – and a total of 31 refugees on the California trip eventually went to seven other states, including Wisconsin. Officials said refugee travel from Malaysia to the U-S has been suspended to avoid a further spread of the measles.