News 6/10/2010

Edwards Pleads Guilty

6/10/10 – A conman who was once on the F-B-I’s Most Wanted list has admitted killing two young couples in Wisconsin and Ohio. Edward Edwards pleaded guilty in Jefferson County Circuit Court yesterday to two counts of first-degree murder in the 1980 killings of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew. And he promised to plead guilty in Ohio tomorrow to the 1977 murders of Bill Lavaco and Judith Straub in Akron – where Edwards was born. He’ll turn 77 on Monday, confined to a wheelchair with complications from diabetes. Ohio prosecutor Sherri Bevan-Walsh said Edwards wanted to serve his prison time in his home area – and it allowed authorities to clear two murder cases that went unresolved for years. Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ said the pleas were in the works for a few days. But not even the victims’ families knew it. They assumed yesterday’s hearing would help decide where Edwards would be housed during a trial which has now been called off. Recently, he’s been getting medical treatment at the state prison in Waupun. Edwards will get two life terms in Ohio, and will be eligible for parole in 10 years in the Buckeye State. If he’s ever released there, he’ll return to Wisconsin – where two mandatory life terms will await him. Edwards escaped Ohio’s death penalty because it was not in effect when the Akron slayings occurred. Edwards, who once wrote a book about his years as a robber and a drifter, worked as a handyman in Sullivan when he killed Hack and Drew as they left a wedding reception in 1980. Both were 19. New D-N-A tests linked Edwards to the slayings, and he was arrested last summer.

Bar Rape Under Investigation

6/10/10 – The Dodge County Sheriffs Department is investigating an alleged rape at a Town of Beaver Dam bar. Patrol Captain Molly Soblewski says the incident may have involved a weapon at a Madison Street tavern and was reported early Tuesday morning. She says investigators are looking into some discrepancies in the story. No arrests have been made in connection with the complaint but several people have been questioned. Soblewski says the sheriffs department is investigating along with the Beaver Dam and Columbus Police Departments.

Authorities Warn of Driveway Scam

6/10/10 – The Dodge County Sheriffs Department is warning the public about an asphalt sealing and driveway repair scam. Detective Michael Reissmann says an investigation has been opened following reports that the suspects have been using high pressure sales tactics. Reissmann says the individuals have been giving a very low quote for repairs with no written contract and once the work is complete they drastically increase the price, which is against the law. The subjects were last located in the Clyman area but are know to travel around Dodge County. Reissmann says the focus of the investigation is on asphalt and driveway sealing but he says the same group of people might also be using the same high pressure tactics with offers to paint barns, install lightning rods or even perform odd jobs. Anyone who has been solicited in the last two weeks is asked to contact the Dodge County Sheriffs Department or the anonymous We-TIP Hotline at 800-78-CRIME.

Waupun Considers Bussing Change

6/10/10 – The Waupun School Board will vote later this month whether or not to change how they bus kids to and from school. Currently their bus company does two routes. But the district is proposing a single route that if approved would have the primary and intermediate schools starting a half-hour later and the junior/senior high a half-hour earlier. Administrators say the change would save them $40,000. Not everyone was in favor of the change and some parents were concerned with the change in start times.

Columbus Gets Nationwide Attention

6/10/10 – Columbus is getting national attention due to City efforts toward “Energy Sustainability.” Jim Atwood, a representative from the National Association of State Energy Officials has been touring Columbus to look at local efforts to improve energy policies and programs. News of the Atwood visit came on the same night the Council heard conversion recommendations from the Ad Hoc Street Light Committee. The committee has recommended conversion of 100 per cent of the City’s current street lighting with energy saving Beta Ledway LED fixtures.

Former Oshkosh DA Seeks Early Release

6/10/10 – A former district attorney in Oshkosh wants to get out of prison early. 50-year-old Joe Paulus is serving a two-year sentence for taking bribes from a defense lawyer. He’s been eligible for parole since May 18th, and he has an interview later this month with the Earned Release Review Commission. State officials say they’ll oppose an early release. Assistant attorney general Gary Freyberg told the commission quote, “Please do not compound the egregious betrayal of a public trust by granting early release.” Paulus took almost 50-thousand-dollars in bribes from a defense lawyer over a two-year period, in exchange for dropping or reducing charges against the lawyer’s clients – mostly involving drunk driving. Paulus was convicted in 2004. He served a four-year term at a federal prison in Pensacola Florida for bribery and filing a false income tax return. He then remained at the prison to do time for his state convictions of misconduct in office and obstructing justice. That term ends on November 15th, when Paulus will go free if he doesn’t get let go early.

High Court Shortens Good Behavior

6/10/10 – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week may pleas federal prison officials but it’s no doubt a disappointment to the 1,100 inmates at Wisconsin’s only federal prison. The 6-3 ruling, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, endorses the Bureau of Prison’s method of calculating how much time an inmate can shave off their sentence for good behavior. Wisconsin attorney and former federal public defender, Dean Strang, says it may sound like a simple math problem, but it means money for the Bureau of Prisons, and more lock up time for inmates. Current law says an inmate can reduce their sentence up to 54 days each year. But the ruling says they can earn only 47. That means more time behind bars for all 200,000 federal inmates. Justice Anthony Kennedy dissented, saying the ruling will hurt the best behaved inmates and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

Emerald Ash Borer Spotted Earlier Than Normal

6/10/10 – Record-warm temperatures have caused the tree-killing emerald ash borer to appear earlier than normal in Wisconsin this year. State agriculture officials say adult beetles and larvae have been found at a park in West Bend for the first time. And new adult beetles showed up 16 days ahead of last year in a previously-infested area at Newburg in Washington County. A new infestation was also found at Victory in Vernon County, where a major outbreak from the past has spread into neighboring Minnesota. There will be no new restrictions on ash products as a result of the West Bend discovery. That’s because the city was already part of a quarantine zone resulting from the Newburg outbreak. Quarantines are now in effect in Fond du Lac, Washington and nine other counties. There have been no reports yet in Dodge County. In general, firewood and ash products cannot be taken outside those counties unless the sellers certify that they’re free of the ash borer. Meanwhile, the state will finish placing 87-hundred traps in ash trees this week. They’ll start checking them next week.

FDA Mulls New Honey Standards

6/10/10 – Wisconsin’s honey-makers would get extra protections under a new proposal from a U-S senator. New York Democrat Charles Schumer has asked the head of the Food-and-Drug Administration to stop imports of mislabeled or adulterated honey from other countries. False honey labeling has gotten to be such a problem for legitimate bee farmers, that Wisconsin and

Florida have adopted their own standards for pure honey – and other states are working on similar measures. Schumer says 144-million-pounds of honey are made each year in the U-S, and the industry is being put at risk. Last year, an executive from China pleaded guilty in Seattle to smuggling adulterated honey into the U-S. It was one of two such criminal cases nationally in 2009.

Fairest Application Deadline Friday

6/10/10 – Applications for the “2010 Dodge County Fairest of the Fair” contest will be accepted through tomorrow (Fr). The county’s 4-H & Youth Agent, Sally Schoenike, says the Fair Association is looking for girls who will be age 18 as of January 2011. Schoenike says the winner will represent the Fair Association in media and promotional events at the Dodge County Fair and other summer events. The winner would also serve as the 2010 Fair Hostess and plan the 2011 competition. In addition, the Fairest will have the opportunity to participate in the 2011 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs contest. The 2009 Fairest of the Fair, Amanda Hetzel, of Rubicon is a student at UW-Oshkosh studying to be a registered nurse with an emphasis in diabetic education. She says she “hopes the excitement never ends” but cannot wait to see who will be crowned as the next Fairest.