New September 24, 2011

Report: Thiel’s Death Attributed to Car Accident

9/24/11 – A death of a Beaver Dam woman who died in May has been attributed to a car accident nearly ten years ago. 24-year-old Dannielle “Danni Jo” Thiel died May 22 at her home in Beaver Dam. Thiel, her mother Suzanne and her siblings were driving on Highway E in August of 2001 when an oncoming truck failed to negotiate a curve, crossed the centerline and collided head-on with the Thiel’s. The accident took the life of Sue and left Danni Jo bedridden for the past decade. The driver of the offending vehicle, Nicholas Gross, was convicted of Homicide by Intoxicated Use of a Vehicle and two counts of Causing Injury by Intoxicated Use of a Vehicle. Gross is due to be released from prison next May. Danni Jo’s father Dan Thiel told us on WBEV’s Community Comment Thursday that her death certificate arrived in the mail on Wednesday. Thiel says he would like to see additional charges brought against Gross now that the autopsy results confirmed “car accident” as the official cause of death on the death certificate. Under Wisconsin law, there is a six-year statute of limitations on felony cases but there are exceptions to that. Charges would have to come from the law enforcement agency that investigated the accident and our calls to the Horicon Police Department were not immediately returned. Bob Barrington, the Managing Attorney with the Dodge County District Attorneys Office, says he cannot comment on the specifics of the case other than to say that his office has not received any formal request for charges. Since the accident, Dan Thiel has become an advocate for drunken driving prevention, often speaking to first-time offenders about the impact of their actions. About three ago, Danni Jo made a tape describing her life since the accident, which can be seen by visiting our website

Fox Lake Teen Charged with Sexually Assaulting Young Girls

9/24/11 – A 17-year-old Fox Lake boy is facing ten felony charges including six counts of sexual assaulting a child. Eric Watters, who is a senior at Randolph High School, made his initial appearance in Columbia County yesterday on charges that he sexually assaulted a 3-year-old and 4-year-old girl last week at a home in the town of Courtland. Watters is charged with three counts of first-degree child sexual assault of a person younger than 12, three counts of first-degree child sexual assault of a person younger than 13, two counts of child enticement – sexual contact, and two counts of causing a child younger than 13 to view or listen to a sexual act. According to authorities, Watters admitted to the assaults and told them another assault of a 3-year-old girl happened a few weeks earlier. If convicted on all charges, Watters could spend 285 years in prison. He had cash bail set at $2500 and is due back in court next month.

Report Outlines Deficient Bridges

9/24/11 – A public policy group says one-of-every-12 bridges in Wisconsin need some type of repairs. The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group says over 11-hundred bridges throughout the Badger State are structurally-deficient, according to federal standards. That includes 10 of Dodge County’s 203 bridges or 4.9-percent. That’s the lowest percentage in the region. Next is Jefferson County with 6.2-percent of their bridges deficient. The report says 7.1-percent of Washington County’s bridges need work, while 9.5-percent of the bridges in Fond du Lac County are considered deficient. The highest rate in our area comes from Columbia County where nearly 14-percent of their 180 bridges are labeled structurally deficient. The Public Interest group issued its report as Congress considers President Obama’s request for 447-billion-dollars in infra-structure improvements, tax breaks, and other stimulus efforts. Bailey said bridge projects normally create more jobs than highway expansions – and bridge repairs would be a wiser use of tax dollars. The group’s findings do not appear to be much different than a formal review of Wisconsin’s bridges by the Legislative Audit Bureau in 2008. It found that four-point-two percent of state-owned bridges were structurally-deficient – and that D-O-T officials were doing a poor job of monitoring bridge repairs by counties.

Ryan to Serve as RNC Presidential Trust

9/24/11 – Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan will serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee Presidential Trust. That means the Janesville Republican will head the party’s fundraising effort to win back the White House. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is a close friend of Ryan’s. He says the Trust will raise money and act as a partner with the Republican nominee for president. Ryan says raising the money needed to win the election will be the deciding factor in 2012. At one time Ryan was considered a potential candidate, but he announced earlier this year that he wasn’t running.

More Details on Death of Darlington Soldier

9/24/11 – We’re learning more today about the death of a southwest Wisconsin soldier in Afghanistan. The Pentagon said 24-year-old Army Specialist Jakob Roelli of Darlington was one of two soldiers shot-to-death during an attack by insurgents in Kandahar province. The attack happened Wednesday. Specialist Robert Dyas of Nampa Idaho was also killed. Both were members of the Army Special Forces’ 34th Armor Regiment based at Fort Riley Kansas. Roelli graduated from Darlington High School in 2006, and went to U-W Oshkosh for a year before joining the military. He’s the 27th Wisconsinite to die in Afghanistan – and he’s the first Darlington resident to be killed in combat since the Vietnam War.

State Will Seek NCLB Waivers

9/24/11 – State school superintendent Tony Evers says Wisconsin will seek waivers as soon as possible from basic parts of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. That’s after President Obama announced that he would let states seek the waivers. He said states can scrap the requirement that all children must be proficient in math-and-reading by 2014, if the states can show that they’ve done better to prepare students. Evers is working with Governor Scott Walker and a task force of education leaders on developing a new system of testing and standards. Evers said yesterday’s (Fr) White House announcement would let Wisconsin be innovative, and design a system of accountability that’s more meaningful. Evers and school officials throughout Wisconsin have long criticized the former Bush education act, saying it only encourages kids to pass tests. States also took offense to being called “failures” for not meeting certain parts of the law. Evers said the Wisconsin plan would still address ways to improve low-performing schools – something Obama insists upon before Washington grants waivers.

“Deer Trustee” to be Appointed

9/24/11 – Wisconsin’s long-promised “deer trustee” is about to come on board. Governor Scott Walker issued an executive order Friday which orders his administration to retain an independent expert in managing the state’s deer herd. The new person will told to review the D-N-R’s deer management practices by October first, and submit a preliminary report by next March first on any recommendations for changes. The governor’s office says the new deer trustee will most likely be named next week. The Republican Walker promised during his election campaign last year that he would bring in a deer expert. That’s after hunters have long complained that the state’s deer control policies are so out-of-date, they’ve caused a big drop in the herd – and much lower harvests by hunters.

Horses Found to Have EEE

9/24/11 – More than two dozen horses in six Wisconsin counties have been diagnosed with the deadly eastern equine encephalitis since the middle of last month. Mosquitoes carry the disease which can kill horses by striking their central nervous system. It has a mortality rate reported at 90 percent. State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt says horse owners need to call a vet if their horses show any of the symptoms of EEE.

Frontier Airlines Cutting Positions in Milwaukee

9/24/11 – Frontier Airlines has notified the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development it plans to cut 213 jobs at Mitchell International Airport. The positions will be eliminated between November 14th and 23rd. Frontier has about 12 hundred people working in Milwaukee right now. Frontier announced last week its plans to cut nearly one-third of its 67 flights from Milwaukee to eliminate routes that are losing money. Flights to Green Bay, Madison, Dayton, Cleveland, Des Moines and Minneapolis will be cut in November.

Jobs Coming to Wisconsin from Mexico

9/24/11 – It’s a reverse of a trend. Osseo-based Global Finishing Solutions is going to import 110 jobs from Mexico. A spokesman for the copany says it will be able to offset higher wages by streamlining manufacturing and cutting out quite a bit of transportation costs. The move to the Osseo headquarters makes Global Finishing Solutions eligible for up to 600 thousand dollars in economic development tax credits — to build and equip expansion efforts in Wisconsin. The company says the incentives were part of its decision, but it’s more about services the markets better.

Church Collecting Items to Help Liberia Recover

9/24/11 – A local church is collecting a variety of items this (Sat) morning to send overseas to an impoverished West African country. Liberia is an English-speaking nation that is in the process of recovering from a bloody civil war. Pastor Mark Molldrem of the First Lutheran Church of Beaver Dam says their relationship with Liberia began in 2006 when a parishioner was stationed there as part of a UN peacekeeping force during their first democratic elections. Molldrem says the civil war was devastating and they need a lot of help in rebuilding their country. The church is collecting school supplies, including reading books, encyclopedias, globes and computer’s in addition things like office and sports equipment even good-condition twin beds and box springs. The items will be sent over in a cargo container later this year. They are being collected in the parking lot of the former Breuer Metal factory on North Spring Street in Beaver Dam today and on the second and fourth Saturday’s of October from 10am until noon. Collections can be dropped off beginning this Saturday.