News 5/10/2010

Henry Trial to Begin Today

5/10/10 – A trial is scheduled to begin today for a Waupun man accused of killing his wife. Larry Henry allegedly struck his wife in the head with a metal pipe last July, and then placed plastic wrap over her face. Following the death, the 47-year-old is said to have walked into the Waupun Police Station, telling officers that he had “taken his wife’s life.” 42-year-old Tammy Henry was found on a blood-soaked mattress in the couple’s living room. The Dodge County Medical Examiner ruled that she died as the result of blunt force trauma to the head. Henry initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but last month changed that plea to guilty. With the plea change the district attorney’s office must now convince a jury that Larry Henry was mentally capable of killing his wife. The trial is scheduled to last five days before Judge Andrew Bissonnette.

Fitzgerald, Van Hollen on Community Comment Today

5/10/10 – On WBEV’s Community Comment this afternoon we welcome the Assembly’s Minority Leader and the state Attorney General. Republican Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon will join us at 12:35pm to discuss the recent legislative session and talk about what made it to the governor’s desk and what didn’t. At 1:30pm, JB Van Hollen will be in to talk about the recent elimination of the DNA backlog in the state crime lab and his office’s role in prosecuting a high-profile Beaver Dam fraud case. Van Hollen announced last month that he is seeking a second term against Democrat Scott Hassett this November. Community Comment airs weekdays on WBEV 1430AM beginning at 12:35pm.

To Pursue or Not to Pursue?

5/10/10 – Dodge County Sheriff’s Captain Molly Soblewski says deputies take many factors into consideration before getting involved in a high speed chase. She says time of day, traffic flow, and the original offense all come into the thought process when making a decision. The two pursuits last Thursday, Soblewski says, were perfect examples of situations where a chase should continue or be abandoned. Whereas the chase that went for 20-miles last Thursday night came during a time when traffic wasn’t heavy the other pursuit on Highway 41 never really got started because it took place just after rush hour.

Teamwork Credited in Recent Cases

5/10/10 – Sheriff Todd Nehls says teamwork played a role in all three of the high profile news stories that hit the county late last week. Including the high speed chases, Nehls says multiple agencies came together to help breakup a daytime burglary ring and also saw their hard work pay off in court when a man involved in a standoff with police last June in Fox Lake was convicted. Dodge County authorities believe the three men arrested last week for the burglaries were responsible for at least five of the daytime burglaries in the county over the past few months. They also say most if not all of the items taken from the homes were found in the suspects vehicle and will be returned to their owners.

Oshkosh Radio Announcer Facing Sex Charge

5/10/10 – An Oshkosh-based radio station’s morning show host is facing a sex charge in Fairfax County, Virginia. Richard Kieffer, known on the air as “Rich Allen” at WVBO-FM 103.9, was arraigned Thursday for soliciting sex with a minor. The charge is a felony. Authorities say the 54-year-old Kieffer is being held without bond. The particular charge is soliciting a minor by use of a communication device, namely a computer. He has a preliminary hearing on June 7th. WVBO is owned by Cumulus Broadcasting. (KFIZ, Fond du Lac)

State Sees Decline in Same-Sex Registry’s

5/10/10 – Over 13-hundred same-sex couples in Wisconsin applied for the state’s domestic partner benefits in the first five months they were offered. About one couple entered the same-sex registry for every 11 traditional marriages in the final five months of last year. But the numbers fell off dramatically after an initial surge when the registry was first offered last August. And in seven counties, no gay couples signed up for the state benefits in 2009. The governor and Legislature approved the registry last year as part of the state budget. Three members of the Wisconsin Family Action group failed to get the Supreme Court to strike down the program. But the group is still deciding whether to file a lawsuit in circuit court, on the grounds that registry goes against the 2006 constitutional amendment which banned gay marriages and civil unions.

Tourist Dollars Down in 2009

5/10/10 – Wisconsin visitors spent over a billion-dollars less in 2009 than the year before. The state Division of Tourism said visitors spent 12-billion dollars last year, down almost eight-percent from 2008. Tourist spending had jumped 80-percent since 1996 – and until now, there were increases every year but 2007. State Tourism Secretary Kelli Trumble blames the economy. She said it would probably take two years for visitor spending to return to its 2008 levels. Trumble expects a modest increase this year, and even more growth in 2011. The state’s tourist industry had 286-thousand jobs last year, down from 310-thousand the previous year.

Another Assembly Member Won’t Run for Re-election

5/10/10 – The Wisconsin Legislature’s top environmentalist is the latest to call it quits. Democrat Spencer Black of Madison has become the 17th of the 99 Assembly members to say he’s not running for re-election this fall. The 59-year-old Black told a Madison paper that he could probably be re-elected to his 27th year in the Assembly but quote, “It’s a good time to pass the torch.” Black tried for years to pass a clean energy law similar to the one that failed in the most recent legislative session. He called it disappointing, but said it did not play a role in his decision to step down. Black is the sixth Assembly Democrat to step down, along with 10 Republicans and Independent Jeff Wood.