New September 26, 2011

DCSO Busy With Car Sunday Accidents

9/26/11 – The Dodge County Sheriffs Department handled four accidents in 90 minutes Sunday morning. At 3:50am, deputies came across a vehicle that had crashed at the intersection of County Highway M and Oak Road in the Town of Emmet. The driver, 23-year-old James J Roberts of Watertown, was taken by helicopter to Froedtert Hospital. A half-hour later, a Reeseville woman called to report that she swerved to avoid a deer and flipped her vehicle on Old Highway J in the Town of Lowell. Further investigation revealed that her 20-year-old son was driving and he was arrested for OWI. At 5:07am, there was a one-vehicle accident reported at the intersection County Highway’s B and W in the Town of Beaver Dam. The vehicle was unoccupied but authorities eventually made contact with the 18-year-old driver. Seven minutes later, deputies were called to the Town of Ashippun, where a 20-year-old Hartford man had crashed into a tree. He was taken into custody for Operating While Intoxicated.

Lake Mills Woman Killed In Illinois Motorcycle Accident

9/26/11 – A Jefferson County motorcyclist was killed in a weekend crash in neighboring Illinois. 52-year-old Robyn Chambers of Lake Mills was killed on Saturday night near Savanna, Illinois. Authorities said she was a passenger on a bike that went into a ditch after it swerved to avoid debris on a roadway. Chambers died at a hospital in Rockford. The motorcycle driver, a 52-year-old Lake Mills man, was treated and later released.

Thiel Discusses Danni Jo’s Death With D-A

9/26/11 – Dan Thiel had what he called a “productive conversation” with Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg on Saturday. Thiel’s wife was killed by a drunk driver ten years ago and his daughter Danni Jo was left bedridden for a decade. Danni Jo died in May and an autopsy recently concluded that she died as a result of that tragic drunk driving accident in August of 2001. Thiel told us on WBEV’s Community Comment that he received Danni Jo’s death certificate last Wednesday and he hopes the man responsible will face new charges now that the official cause of death is “car accident.” 32-year-old Nicholas Gross of Burnett is serving a ten-year prison sentence for Homicide By Intoxicated Use of a Vehicle and is due to be released from prison next May. Thiel tells us that his conversation with Klomberg was “positive” and he says the “ball is rolling.” No formal charges have been filed at this time. Thiel says he will be involved with a series of meetings with the District Attorneys office and other law enforcement agencies. Klomberg says the matter is under investigation and he cannot comment further.

Hartford Man Sentenced For High Speed Chase

9/26/11 – A Hartford man who sparked a high speed chase with police will spend four months in jail. Luke J. Vogds entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors in a Dodge County courtroom late Friday. As part of the deferred prosecution agreement, if he stays out of trouble while on probation for the next two years, he’ll avoid a felony record. Vogds pleaded to reduced misdemeanor charges of Failure to Obey a Traffic Officer, Disorderly Conduct and Operating While Revoked. Authorities say Vogds sparked a chase in May, leading deputies on a pursuit in and around Neosho that reached speeds of over 100 mph. A passenger on the back of his motorcycle told police that she repeatedly asked the 22-year-old to stop and said she feared for her life. Vogds told arresting officers that he fled because he did not want to jeopardize his chances of getting his suspended license back.

Newburg Man Found Guilty Of Lawn Mowing Murder

9/26/11 – A Washington County jury last Friday found a 64-year-old Newburg man guilty of killing a 39-year-old West Ben man over a lawn mowing issue. George Trinka shot Steve Szerbowski to death in July of last year as Szerbowski was mowing his mother-in-law’s lawn. The two families had some history between them and Trinka had been drinking. The jury found him guilty of 1st

degree reckless homicide and First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for November 30.

Supreme Court Rejects Deer-Killer Case

9/26/11 – Cases against three men accused of using their snowmobiles to kill deer will resume next month after the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to review it. The request for review was made by an attorney for 27 year old Rory Kuenzi of rural Wewauwega. He and his brother Robby, and Nicholas Hermes of Waupaca, all have court dates in October. The state Supreme Court was asked to review a decision by the 4th District Court of Appeals in Madison. It had ruled a Waupaca County judge made an error by dismissing felony animal mistreatment charges against the three defendants. The deer were killed in January 2009.

Police Station Dedication Ceremony This Morning

9/26/11 – A Dedication Ceremony for the city of Beaver Dam’s new $5.1 million dollar Police Station and Municipal Court will be held this morning (Monday). Mayor Tom Kennedy will act as Master of Ceremonies for the program which will include several special guest speakers and those involved in the construction project. That will take place at 11am today at the Main Entrance of the facility located at 123 Park Avenue. The 100 block of Park will be closed to thru-traffic though access to adjoining businesses will not be affected during the temporary closure. A public Open House has also been scheduled for this coming Saturday from 1pm to 4pm. The public will have an opportunity at that time to tour the new facility. In the event of rain the dedication ceremony will be held in the garage of the new facility. Attendees are asked to enter through the far east side of the building and not the main entrance.

Downtown Street Closures Expected For Beaver Dam Drill

9/26/11 – The Beaver Dam Fire Department will be conducting a drill in the downtown Tuesday and it will result in some street closures. The department will be using a smoke machine to simulate smoke as part of the exercise at the Rogers at 103 East Maple. Smoke will be visible coming from the windows of the six-story structure during the training. Firefighters from Waupun, Burnett, Juneau and Horicon will also be participating. Street closures include East Maple Street at North Lincoln Avenue, North Spring Street at Third Street, Maple Street at North Center Street and North Spring Street at Park Avenue. The drill is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm tomorrow and should last around 90 minutes.

John Doe Probe Targets Pro-Life Election Activities

9/26/11 – Milwaukee prosecutors have reportedly started a John Doe probe into alleged bribery to round up pro-life voters in last month’s state Senate recall elections. The Journal Sentinel said subpoenas are being distributed “like candy” – but prosecutors and Wisconsin Right-to-Life are not commenting on that. The pro-life group recently defended the way it offered rewards to volunteers who signed up pro-life voters, and urged them to vote early with absentee ballots. According to a group e-mail, those who signed up 15 pro-life, pro-family voters by July fifth would get 25-dollar gas-or-gift cards – and those signing up the most in each Senate district would get 75-dollar cards. Before the John Doe probe, Sue Armacost of Wisconsin Right-to-Life said her group consulted with Indiana attorney James Bopp – and he found nothing wrong with the effort. Bopp would not comment on the current investigation. In a John Doe probe, witnesses are called to give secret testimony which helps prosecutors decide whether to file charges. Milwaukee prosecutor Bruce Landgraf confirmed last month his office was looking into the Right-to-Life case – as well as one involving a community-and-labor coalition called Wisconsin Jobs Now. That group reportedly held five parties in Milwaukee in which people were given free food and free bus rides to City Hall to vote absentee in a Senate recall contest. State elections’ officials said last month it would not be legal to combine free food and rides to the polls.

Supreme Court To Review Pay-Day Loan Case

9/26/11 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a judge can order a pay-day loan store to lower its interest rates in certain cases. A circuit judge had ruled against the Pay-day Loan Stores of Wisconsin in a lawsuit filed by Jesica Mount of Onalaska. She took out multiple loans in 2008 – and their annual interest ranged from 446-percent to 13-hundred-38 percent. The company sued her for not making payments, and the judge called the interest “unconscionable.” The Pay-day Loan Stores appealed the ruling. But in June, the Fourth District Court of Appeals wouldn’t touch the case and sent it directly to the Supreme Court, saying the matter would have a statewide impact on credit transactions. Mount claims the company broke the Wisconsin Consumer Act because the rates were unconscionable. The alleged incident took place a year-and-a-half before a new state law regulated the roll-overs on pay-day loans, in an effort to keep interest rates under control. The law did not set the interest rates itself. Elected Coroners Cold Have Professional Standards Set 9/26/11 – Wisconsin’s elected coroners would have to meet professional standards under a bill that’s being drafted in the Legislature. Assembly Democrat Amy Sue Vruwink of Milladore says coroners have no training requirements – and that can be a problem in death investigations. If they’re not done properly, Vruwink says survivors might not be able to collect on a loved one’s life insurance policy. Portage County coroner Scott Rifleman is working with Vruwink on the legislation. He says there are numerous opportunities for training – but not all coroners take advantage of them. Rifleman says he and his deputies are all certified by the American Board of Medico-legal Death Investigators. And a growing number of coroners and medical examiners are getting certified. Also, more counties have done away with their elected coroners, in favor of doctors who are appointed as medical examiners. Dane County, which includes Madison, made the switch earlier this year.

Evers To Seek Waiver From NCLB

9/26/11 – State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers says Wisconsin will seek waivers from having to meet the standards of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Evers has long pushed for states to be allowed to avoid meeting some parts of that Bush-era law. President Obama is allowing states to skip the requirement that all children be proficient in reading and math by 2014 if they can meet alternate conditions designed to better prepare and test their students. Evers is working with the governor and education leaders to develop a new system. It would still identify high- and low-performing Wisconsin schools. Most states are expected to apply for the waivers.

Tazed Student Parents Question Methods

9/26/11 – The family of the former Bay Port High School student Tasered earlier this month says this is not the first time they’ve had problems with Brown County Deputy Jody Lemmens. Seventeen year old Raymond Peters faces charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct from an incident at the school September 12th. He could face a fine and more than 10 months in jail. Peters and another boy had a dispute that morning outside the school. When he was placed in a conference room, he’s accused of throwing a backpack, kicking a chair, pushing tables around and refusing to comply with orders from Lemmens, a school resource officer. Lemmens used the Taser. Robert Peters say the device shouldn’t have been used on his son. He says the same officer has had problems with his other children. He says the family hasn’t discussed filing a lawsuit. The teenager didn’t need medical attention after the incident.

United Coop Awarded $1.5 Million DOT Loan

9/26/11 – A Beaver Dam-based business has been awarded $1.5 million dollars from the state to help improve its rail infrastructure. A project by United Cooperative is among ten statewide splitting a total of over $17 million in freight rail awards.

Frank Huntington with the DOT’s Rails and Harbors Section says the awards will be generally used to improve rail infrastructure, construct rail-served facilities and help preserve freight rail service. Huntington says, “Freight rail service supports economic development across Wisconsin. This includes moving raw materials to industries and finished products to other markets. There are many jobs in our rural areas and villages that depend on freight service — so these awards really help strengthen the local economy and the agricultural industry.”

United Cooperative will use the loan to construct a new grain elevator and rail loading facilities between Mazomanie and Sauk City. The Coop will be constructing two, 48-foot diameter grain storage bins, a grain elevator leg and associated conveying equipment to load rail cars on the mainline track. The improvements are intended to improve market access for farmers in southern Sauk and northern Dane counties.

The DOT has awarded a total of six loans totaling $4.6 million as part of their Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP). The revolving loans are awarded not only private industry like United Coop, but also to railroads and local governments with the overall goal of boosting economic development and jobs. As the loans are repaid, the dollars are used to help fund new projects.

Four grants totaling $12.8 million are being distributed through the state’s Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP). FRPP grants cover up to 80 percent of the cost of projects designed to preserve rail service or rehabilitate fixed facilities on publicly owned rail lines.

Super-Duper Zippin Pippin Numbers

9/26/11 – Green Bay city officials expected the replica of Elvis Presley’s favorite roller coaster to be a success, but maybe not this big a success. The Zippin Pippin has doubled expectations with nearly a half-million rides. Total revenue at the Bay Beach amusement park is almost two and a half million dollars, half again as much as last year. Bay Beach closed for the season last (Sun) night. The city spent about 3-point-8 million dollars to build the wooden roller coaster replica, just like the one that thrilled riders for years in Memphis.

Playoff Rally This Thursday

9/26/11 – The Brewers Playoff Rally will be held this Thursday at the Summerfest Grounds along the Milwaukee lakefront. The Brewers and their fans will celebrate the team’s first division title since 1982. All the Brewers players, coaches, and even some former players are expected to be on hand. The Brewers clinched the National League Central Division title with a 4-1 win Friday against the Florida Marlins.