News 5/2/2010

Doyle Not Surprised that Harley is Hurting

Harley-Davidson recently told its workers that profit losses and growing expenses could force them to move out Wisconsin. Governor Jim Doyle says he’s not surprised by the development because people have been putting off buying luxury items like motorcycles due to the sluggish economy. However, Doyle says that won’t last forever and customers will return. He says the state is willing to work with company officials to help them cut costs and keep operations in Wisconsin. He compares the situation to the one involving Mercury Marine, which threatened to leave Fond du Lac because of declining profits. The company eventually decided to stay in Wisconsin and brought in more jobs from Oklahoma, but only after a series of tax incentives were offered by state and local officials. Doyle says he doesn’t believe Harley Davidson is threatening to leave just to get a similar deal.

FDL Authorities to Keep Close Eye on Sex Offender

Fond du Lac County Sheriff Mick Fink says authorities will closely monitor a just-released sex offender. Dennis Thiel has spent about 12 years in a state treatment facility under Wisconsin’s sexual predator law, but now he has moved into a home in the Town of Van Dyne. Fink says Thiel can’t leave his home without an escort. Fink says Thiel is a Level-3 offender, which required a community notice meeting and door-to-door fliers. He says that takes away a sexual offender’s biggest weapon: anonymity. After a year Thiel can petition the court to reduce some of his restrictions, but he will always be on the sex offender registry.

Windy Conditions Strand Boaters

Yesterday’s windy conditions stranded close to 20-people who were canoeing in the Horicon Marsh. The Sheriff’s Department says the group of 19 were unable to continue due to rough water conditions caused by wind gusts of more than 40-miles-per-hour in some places. The DNR, Sheriff’s Department, and Horicon Police Department got the entire group to shore and no one was injured. The incident happened just after 1pm.

Better Business Bureau Warns About Census Takers

U.S. Census workers started going door-to-door this weekend. While Ran Hoth of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau doesn’t anticipate problems, he wants residents to pay attention. It’s not okay for Census workers – or anyone else who comes to your door – to request Social Security numbers or any other personal information. Hoth says requests like that are “large red flags.” He says it should be easy to identifying legitimate canvassers because they will have Census Bureau issued identification and shoulder bags. You can contact the Census Bureau if you are unsure at 630-288-9200. Hoth says it’s important to cooperate with the Census workers – even if you already filled out and mailed your Census form.

Immigration Protest Draws Thousands in Milwaukee

Thousands of marchers packed the streets of downtown Milwaukee yesterday to protest the new Arizona law on immigration. That law requires law enforcement officials to question people about their status if there is reason to suspect they are in this country illegally. Dozens of rallies were held across the country yesterday because May 1st is a traditional day of protest and is International Workers Day. The Milwaukee event was planned long before the Arizona law was passed — but that passage brought many more people to Wisconsin’s largest city. The crowd filled five city blocks with an estimated five thousand people taking part.

Ryan Still Facing Charges for Sexual Harassment

Racial discrimination claims against Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan have been dismissed, but a state investigation found charges of sexual harassment “believable.” The Department of Workforce Development investigation found probable cause for the charges from fired human resources director Angela Payne to advance to a hearing before an administrative law judge. That judge will determine whether the claims get a full hearing and a possible ruling from another judge. Payne is black. She says she was fired for rejecting Mayor Ryan’s sexual advances. The city of Sheboygan says she was fired after department heads approached the mayor with questions about her performance on the job.

Appeals Court: Serious Misconduct in McGee Trial

A federal appeals court finds “serious misconduct” in the trial and conviction of former Milwaukee alderman Michael McGee Junior. McGee is about halfway through his six-year sentence on a federal bribery conviction. The appeals court had harsh words for the judge, prosecutor and defense attorneys concerning mistakes made in his 2008 trial. The U.S. Attorney’s office admits

the mistakes, but denies they were deliberate. The jury was allowed to hear information about an FBI wiretap that the defense argues could have led it to believe McGee was guilty because there was enough evidence to get approval for that wire tap. The conviction could now be upheld, reversed — or McGee could get another trial. The requirements for getting the case thrown out are tougher because McGee’s public defender failed to object when the jury heard about the wire tap. The government says the mistakes didn’t affect the outcome of McGee’s trial because all the other evidence was so strong. McGee was arrested in May 2007 after federal agents heard him and other discussing plans to have a man beaten or perhaps killed. The former alderman is scheduled to get out of prison in 2013 now.

State Asking for More Vet Centers

Wisconsin lawmakers are asking the U.S. Veterans Administration to open more vets centers to better provide services for the state’s veterans. U.S. Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, as well as House members Gwen Moore and Dave Obey, say Wisconsin has a disproportionate number of vets centers compared to states like West Virginia or Hawaii. Obey says many of the state‘s veterans find it difficult to access counseling services. He says while there are vet centers in southeastern Wisconsin, Green Bay, and one coming soon to La Crosse, there is a “huge hole in service in central Wisconsin.” Jim Gausmann is a Veterans Service Officer for La Crosse County. Gausmann agrees that there needs to be more VA services in rural areas, but he points out there is a larger population density of veterans in southern part of the state