News 6/18/2010

Lebanon Man Killed In Wreck

6/18/10 – A rural Lebanon man was killed in a one-vehicle accident Thursday afternoon in the Town of Emmett. The crash occurred at 12:30pm on County CW, just west of County EM. According to the Dodge County Sheriffs Department, the 87-year-old was traveling eastbound when his vehicle slowly drifted to the north, crossing westbound traffic. The 2002 Oldsmobile Bravada entered the ditch, went down a steep embankment, then hit a moped that was either abandoned or parked in the brush, before finally striking a tree. Speed and alcohol are NOT considered factors in the crash. The Dodge County Medical Examiners office is working to determine if the driver was dead before the crash occurred. His name will be released this afternoon.

Babysitter Bound Over In Homicide

6/18/10 – Probable cause was found yesterday for a Hustisford woman to proceed to trial on Reckless Homicide charges. Renee Kuehl is accused of inflicting fatal trauma on a 22-month-old boy she was babysitting in November of 2007. The incident was reviewed after another child was allegedly injured while in her care. The 47-year-old says the child died from a fall down the stairs. The medical examiner testified yesterday that the child sustained abdominal injuries and a torn bowel consistent with a punch or a kick. Dr. Phillip Kelley said (quote) “the constellation of injuries together was not due to a fall down the stairs, unless she was thrown with force.” Defense Attorney Gerald Boyle questioned the time frame of the bruising. Dr. Kelley told the court that the injures occurred hours – not days – before 9-1-1 was called. In the most recent case, Kuehl says she was outside babysitting a 2-year-old girl who was twirling like a ballerina and fell on concrete. She sustained two skull fractures, one on the top of her head and the other on the back of her head, along with a golf ball sized impact wound on her forehead and bruising under her right eye. Dr. Lynn Sheets of Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee also testified yesterday. Sheets says that the contusions came from “multiple different angles” and it didn’t make sense how one fall could cause all of the injuries, unless Grace had fallen down the stairs. Kuehl was also babysitting a 5-year-old child who told authorities that he thought the girl fell in the basement and saw Kruel carry her into the living room to lay her down. Kuehl faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted. An arraignment hearing set for next week.

Edwards Confesses To Murder of Step Son

6/18/10 – Edward Edwards – the man convicted of killing two young couples in Wisconsin and Ohio – now says he murdered his foster son 14 years ago. The 77-year-old told the Associated Press in a jailhouse interview in Jefferson County that he lured Dannie Boy Edwards to a secluded cemetery near the family’s home in Burton Ohio – and he fired two shots at his chest from a 20-gauge shotgun. Dannie was in his mid-20’s at the time. Edwards said his children got ripped off by Dannie, because he stole their credit cards and other items. And Edwards claimed he wanted to cash in on a quarter-million dollars from a life insurance policy. He told the A-P that he’s admitting to the murder so he can be sentenced to death in Ohio. His killings of a young couple in Akron in 1977 did not qualify him for the death penalty – because it was not in effect at the time. The sheriff in Geauga County Ohio said investigators have spoken to Edwards many times about his foster son’s death – and they get a little more information every time he talks about it. He has not been charged in that killing. Last week, Edwards pleaded guilty in Jefferson the 1980 murders of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew in Sullivan – and then he pleaded guilty to the 1977 slayings in Akron. He was sentenced last Friday to two life terms in Ohio – and he was returned to Jefferson, where he’ll be sentenced Monday morning. He’s expected to get two life terms for the Hack and Drew killings.

Hinkley Waives Prelim

6/18/10 – A Beaver Dam man accused of assaulting a young teen waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday. Robert Hinkley Jr. is charged with one felony count of Second Degree Sexual

Assault of a Child. The 18-year-old Hinkley and another man allegedly assaulted the young teen in April. Christopher Bowers was arraigned in April; the 19-year-old stood mute and had a “not guilty” plea entered on his behalf. The two say they did not know the victim’s age. However, according to the criminal complaint they removed several “missing person’s posters” with the juvenile’s age listed. Hinkley is currently free on bond and has an arraignment hearing on June 23. Bowers is being held on a $10,000 cash bond and has court activity on the calendar at the end of the month.

Fugitive Apprehended

6/18/10 – Authorities in Beaver Dam have apprehended the suspect behind a fugitive alert issued this week. Dodge County Sheriff’s officials asked for the public’s help in finding Richard Valdovinos, saying he was either was a witness or a party to a crime. The 37-year-old is also wanted for numerous open arrest warrants through Dodge and Racine Counties. Valdavinos was taken into custody just before 5pm Wednesday on East South Street.

Immigration Advocates Criticize Jail Partnership

6/18/10 – The Dodge County jail is one of the top locations in the Midwest for holding illegal immigrants awaiting deportation. Since 2003, the facility has housed an average of 1,000 immigrant detainees a year, with most eventually deported to Mexico. Sheriff Todd Nehls says that’s helped the county pay for a new jail it built in 2001. He says Dodge County’s partnership with the federal government has created 50 jobs and generated 45 million dollars in federal revenue. Dodge County ranks 14th among the 1,500 facilities where deportees are held and Nehls says that’s because it is providing good medical service, translation assistance and access to attorneys for immigrants fighting deportation. But immigrant rights activists say the county is raking in federal dollars and ignoring the damage being done to families when a mother or a father is deported. Jill Vonnahme of Vocesde la Frontera says her biggest concern is that although Homeland Security officials say most of the immigrants being deported are guilty of serious crimes, her group has found that’s not the case. She says of the 150 cases they’ve seen in the past year, there have been only 5 or 10 dangerous criminals.

Update: Tanzanian Education Project

6/18/10- The 20-foot container of school supplies that left Beaver Dam for Africa in March is expected to arrive at its destination next week. Beaver Dam-native Cassie Parkhurst is one month into a four month trip to Tanzania, where she and two others are building three libraries. Parkhurst is founder of the Tanzanian Education Project, and is in the middle of her second trip to the impoverished east African country in the past two years. In a blog she updated yesterday (Th), under the heading “Slowly But Surely,” she says the shelves for the libraries are currently being constructed. Parkhurst writes, (quote) “it is extremely rewarding to see our donors money morphing into the much needed projects I’ve been yapping about for the past year.” Unfortunately, a strike in South Africa has added to the delays in getting the container to their village, but because it is a strike they are not incurring additional costs related to the shipping. With the help of her home community of Beaver Dam, Parkhurst packed a crate the size of a Buick with books, sports equipment and school supplies.

High Speed Rail To Create 9000 Jobs

6/18/10 – A group that supports high-speed passenger trains says they’ll create over nine-thousand jobs throughout Wisconsin, while helping the environment. The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group is touring the state for the second straight year to promote new rail service from Chicago to Minnesota’s Twin Cities. The group says the Midwest is behind the East Coast, Europe, and Asia in high-speed rail travel – and the new trains are needed to keep the region’s economy competitive. The first trains would go 79-miles-an-hour with an eventual goal of

110 – and the group says that’s faster than today’s cars. But Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker says it would still be faster and cheaper for people to drive from Milwaukee-to-Madison. And Walker has said he’ll stop the project if he’s elected governor in November. The Obama White House has approved over 800-million-dollars in federal stimulus funds for the project. The first leg from Milwaukee to Madison is set to begin in 2013 and would have stops in Watertown and Oconomowoc.

Conservations Group Legislative Scorecard

6/18/10 – A conservation group did not get its top priorities approved by the state Legislature but the League of Conservation Voters still gave high marks to more individual lawmakers than ever. Forty-one of the 132 senators and Assembly members voted 100-percent of the time with the group’s priorities in the most recent session. The lowest scores belonged to Joe Kleefisch of Oconomowoc and Scott Newcomer of Pewaukee who voted in line with the conservation group just six-percent of the time and landed on the dis-honor roll. Meanwhile, legislators Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon, Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau and Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac each scored 50-percent meaning they voted in favor of half of the bills supported by the League.