News 5/21/2010

Unemployment Rate Drops Considerably

5/21/10 – Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is on the way down. The seasonally-adjusted jobless rate is now at eight-and-a-half percent, down three-tenths of a point from March. State Workforce Development Secretary Robert Gassman says she was heartened that Wisconsin added 13-thousand net jobs last month – and she called it the biggest one-month increase in 14 years. Gassman said the state has added a net of 32-thousand jobs since January. The state’s actual un-adjusted jobless rate took a big plunge last month. It’s now at eight-point-two percent, down from nine-point-eight in March.

Memorial Day Travel Projections Up 8%

5/21/10 – The Memorial Day Weekend starts a week from today – and almost eight-percent more Wisconsinites plan to travel than a year ago. The state’s Triple-“A” says about 665-thousand people plan to travel during the holiday weekend. About 88-percent will head-out-on-the-highway, while 12-percent will take to the air. The Triple-“A’s” Tom Frymark says a stronger economy will encourage more people to get away. The Wisconsin increase is almost two-and-a-half percent more than the five-point-four-percent jump in holiday travelers expected nationally. The Triple-“A” says air fares are pretty much the same as a year ago, and hotel rates are close to last May. Car rental rates are down about 15-percent nationally.

Memorial Day Parade Entry Reminder

5/21/10 – Organizers with the Beaver Dam Memorial Day 2010 Parade are reminding the public that entries are still being accepted. Lois Levenhagen says the committee encourages all service organizations, bands, schools, scouts and churches to enter a float or marching group and incorporate the theme, which this year is “Veteran: The True American Idol.” The parade will be held on Monday, May 31 and is being sponsored by the American Legion Post #146. Levenhagen says the parade route will be slightly different this year because of construction in the Tower Parking lot. It will be starting at Front and Spring Street and then proceed down Front Street/ Park Avenue to Veterans Memorial Park at Oakwood Cemetery.

Vietnam Vet Tribute This Weekend

5/21/10 – About 25-thousand tickets have been sold for this weekend’s main tribute to Vietnam veterans in Green Bay. L-Z Lambeau is a three-day event that starts Friday at Lambeau Field. Organizers say it will salute the Wisconsin Vietnam veterans who were scorned at when they arrived home in the politically-charged 1960’s-and-‘70’s. Numerous events are planned all weekend on the Lambeau grounds – and except for the Saturday night program, the events are all free. Organizers said tomorrow’s program will have room for about 40-thousand people. And barring a sell-out, tickets will be available at the gate. Meanwhile, the group Veterans for Peace is planning its own displays and workshops, claiming that L-Z Lambeau has turned into a pro-war exhibition designed to get kids into the service. But program director Don Jones said the weekend has not strayed from its original intent to welcome Vietnam veterans home. He said no recruiters would be allowed, and there will be space at Lambeau for all veterans’ groups to hand out literature.

Frohling / Bedker on Community Comment

5/21/10 – On Community Comment today we’ll be talking about the size of the Dodge County Board. Supervisor David Frohling is chair of a committee studying the issue. The committee will soon be forwarding to the full board a recommendation to reduce the 37-member body by five supervisors down to 33. Frohling will join us for the hour beginning at 12:35pm. In our second segment, we’ll be airing a conversation we had with Dodge County District Attorney Bill Bedker about his office’s recent policy change that shifts prosecution of minor first-time, adult drug

offenses from the circuit court to the municipal court level. Community Comment airs weekdays on WBEV 1430AM.

Fall River Woman Injured

5/21/10 – A 79-year-old Fall River woman was seriously injured in a two-vehicle accident Thursday afternoon on Highway 151. According to Dodge County Patrol Captain Molly Soblewski, the wreck occurred just after 1:45pm at County Road S. The woman was traveling northbound in the inside lane when she slowed to make a left-hand turn and crossover the southbound lanes. That’s when authorities say she was rear-ended by a pick-up truck driven by a 37-year-old Markesan man. The Fall River woman was seriously injured and transported to Columbus Community Hospital. The driver of the truck, who Soblewski says appears to be at fault, was injured as well and was also transported to Columbus. Both vehicles sustained extensive damage. Traffic was reduced to one-lane in both directions for over an hour.

Prelim Waived In 121mph Pursuit

5/21/10 – An Illinois man has waived his right to a preliminary hearing in connection with a high speed chase that is said to have reached speeds in excess of 121mph. A Dodge County deputy was clocking cars going south on Highway 41 earlier this month when a silver Mercedes, driven by 37-year-old Johnny Ward, allegedly came speeding past. By the time the deputy had turned around to begin the pursuit the vehicle was out of view. A short time later, a deputy in Washington County reportedly observed Ward driving 121-miles per hour. He lost control of his vehicle a short time later and crashed near the Slinger Shell station. Ward is charged with a felony count of Fleeing an Officer and is currently being held in the Dodge County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond. An arraignment hearing is set for June 9.

Concrete Contractor Sentenced

5/21/10 – A Beaver Dam contractor will spend sixty days in jail for failing to pay for the concrete he used on a job. Casey McNicol was placed on deferred prosecution for a felony theft charge and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction. The 28-year-old operator of “Concrete Works Unlimited” was hired in October of 2008 to perform work for the Lowell Fire Department. He completed the job but used the $3000 his client paid for concrete for other supplies and to pay his workers.

Jensen Retrial At Home

5/21/10 – Former state Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen will have his second criminal misconduct trial in his home county of Waukesha. The State Supreme Court ruled on a 6-to-nothing vote Thursday that Jensen qualified under a 2007 state law to have his trial moved to his home area from Madison, where the alleged offenses occurred. The Republican Jensen was one of five former legislators charged in 2002 with illegally campaigning on state time, and his is the only case that’s still pending. Jensen was convicted in 2006 in Madison of three felonies and a misdemeanor. But an appeals court later ordered a re-trial on the felonies because the judge refused to let one of Jensen’s key witnesses testify. In 2007, the Legislature responded to the campaigning scandal by approving a series of reforms that resulted in the creation of the Government Accountability Board. As part of those measures, they voted to allow legislators accused of state government crimes to be tried either in Madison or their home counties. Prosecutors said the law didn’t exist when Jensen was first charged, so he could not take advantage of it – and lower courts agreed. The Supreme Court reversed those rulings this morning. Former Assembly Speaker David Prosser was the one justice who abstained. The original prosecutor, Dane County D-A Brian Blanchard, will become an appeals judge in August. And the chief prosecutor in Waukesha, Brad Schimel, said the case will overwhelm him. He says his offices don’t have enough space to store all the paperwork in the nearly eight-year-old case.

And Schimel says it will take him months to get up-to-speed in the case. State Attorney General J-B Van Hollen has long supported a plea bargain for Jensen.