News 5/6/2010

Nancy’s Notions Expo Reaches Milestone

5/6/10 – Hotel rooms in Beaver Dam are filled, gas stations are busier and restaurants are more crowded. Nancy’s Notions Sewing Weekend is getting underway today. Nancy’s Notions founder Nancy Zieman says 300 people turned out in 1985 when she held the grand opening of her first official warehouse in Beaver Dam. Her mother-in-law served snacks and her first seminars were in the dark because they blew a fuse. Around 3000 people are expected this year. Zieman says there’ll be more creative people in Beaver Dam this weekend than any other place in the country. Tomorrow, there will be a charity fundraiser at noon on the warehouse stage. Zieman says they will be auctioning uniquely-themed, stuffed bunnies created by local and national artists, as well as sewing celebrities, with the proceeds going to the New Beginnings Homeless Shelter of Dodge County.

Educators Warn Parents About Teen Drinking

5/6/10 – Local educators are urging parents to act responsibly when planning proms and graduation parties for teens. The campaign is called “Parents Who Host Lose The Most: Don’t Be a Party to Teenage Drinking.” Beaver Dam High School Associate Principal Bill Greymont, who is also the coordinator of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug program, says parents need to understand that alcohol and school don’t mix and the choices that parents make are the same examples that are set for their children. Greymont says the message is especially important as the school year winds down and plans for prom and graduation parties gear-up. Parents can be held financially and criminally liable for the actions of teens who consume alcohol on their property or under their supervision.

Assault Suspect Arraigned

5/6/10 – A Waupun man entered a “not guilty” plea yesterday to charges related to a domestic incident that left a woman with a broken arm. Bryant D. Williams is accused of assaulting his girlfriend at her home last May. When her sister intervened, Bryant allegedly pushed her down a flight of stairs. When she tried to call 9-1-1, the phone was snatched away. When she tried to leave, she was pushed to the ground. She finally did escape and called 9-1-1 from a nearby gas station. The 24-year-old fled before authorities arrived and a statewide bulletin went out to law enforcement and local media outlets. Williams faces over 14 years in prison if convicted on the felony charges of Substantial Battery and Bail Jumping and misdemeanor Intimidating a Victim.

Home Foreclosures Hold Steady

5/6/10 – Home foreclosures in Wisconsin continue at a record pace for the year – but new case filings were down slightly for April. The Madison firm of ForeclosureAlarm-Dot-Com said there were 2510 new foreclosure cases filed in Wisconsin courts last month – 33 fewer than in April of last year and almost 13% fewer than the previous month. Numbers in our area held steady with Dodge County having the same number of foreclosures last month as they did a year ago: 35. Jefferson County had two more foreclosures than last year at 36. Washington County saw an increase of six to 55 and Columbia County was down one to 27. For the year as a whole, there were 10,319 foreclosure filings through last month – 56 more than last year’s record. That trend held in Dodge County, which had 17 more foreclosures through the first four months of this year compared to same time a year ago. However, there were declines during the same period in Washington, Fond du Lac, and Columbia Counties.

Obey Decision Draws Mixed Reactions

5/6/10 – Democrats gave high praise, while Republicans had mixed reactions to today’s announcement that House Appropriations chair David Obey will retire this year. At a noon-hour news conference, the Wausau Democrat said there’s still a lot to be done but quote, “Frankly I am bone tired.” The 71-year-old Obey has served 41 years in the House – which he says is the

longest such tenure in Wisconsin history. Ken Spain of the House Republican campaign committee said Obey was facing the re-election battle of his life and quote, “It is understandable that the architect of President Obama’s failed stimulus plan has decided to call it quits.” Obey recently defended the 787-billion-dollar stimulus package, which he crafted as the appropriations chair. Among other things, he said thousands of unemployed people would not have gotten jobless benefits without it. Jerry Madison, a former long-time aide to Obey, said he did good job of looking out for people who have a hard time making their voices heard. Mosinee Republican Kevin Hermening, who ran twice against Obey in the 1980’s, said he wasn’t surprised by today’s announcement. He said he thought Obey would leave after one of his major goals – national health care reform – became a reality this year. Sean Duffy, one of the two G-O-P hopefuls for Obey’s seat, took the high road. He said Obey served honorably for four decades – and while Duffy has major disagreements on issues, he said Obey deserves a great deal of respect for his work. Duffy also said it would not change the way he campaigns. He’s running against 2008 G-O-P nominee Dan Mielke in the September primary. Meanwhile, State Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker of Weston is the first Democratic name being raised. Decker spokeswoman Carrie Lynch said her boss spoke with Obey this morning, and said he was thinking about running.

Arts In Wisconsin Suffers Setback

5/6/10 – The arts in Wisconsin suffered a defeat in the State Supreme Court Wednesday. The justices ruled that the sales tax applies to concerts put on by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The court did not buy the group’s argument that its 100-to-150 concerts a year are mainly educational and charitable, and therefore should be tax-exempt. Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson said the orchestra spent a lot more money promoting its concerts as entertainment, than it did on educational outreach. The issue involved 720-thousand-dollars in sales taxes for Milwaukee Symphony concerts from 1992-through-’96. The group charged the tax, and was seeking a refund for those years. The justices upheld a ruling from the State Tax Appeals Commission that the sales tax should be charged. Had the court ruled in the orchestra’s favor, other arts organizations throughout the state were expected to seek tax exemptions for their shows. The justices unanimously ruled that the tax should be applied to traditional concerts and “pops” programs. But Justices Pat Roggensack and Michael Gableman said shows specifically for children should be tax-free. Milwaukee Symphony spokeswoman Susan Loris said the orchestra disagreed with today’s court ruling, and it’s reviewing its legal options.