News 6/19/10

Bedker Resigns

6/19/10 – Dodge County District Attorney Bill Bedker has announced his resignation. Bedker says he has accepted a full-time teaching position at Madison College as a legal studies professor. Bedker asked Governor Jim Doyle’s office Friday to accept his resignation effective Friday, August 13. Bedker has been critical of the legislature saying Madison needs to provide sufficient prosecutorial resources to district attorney’s across the state. Bedker himself has been criticized by some for a policy change in the DA’s office that halted prosecution of first-time, stand-alone, small-quantity adult drug offenses. He cites state-imposed furlough days for the change. Once accepted, Doyle would appoint a successor to fill the remainder of the existing term, which is set to expire at the end of 2012.

Five Minor Injuries Reported In Rollover

6/19/10 – A car with six occupants overturned in the Town of Rubicon early this morning. According to the Dodge County Sheriffs Department, the one-vehicle rollover occurred on County Highway P and Grant Road just after midnight. Hartford and Neosho EMS responded. The five passengers were treated and released from a local hospital. The driver, 21-year-old Matthew P. Friedemann of Hustisford, had initially fled on foot but was apprehended a short time later and taken into custody. He faces at least four counts of Operating While Intoxicated Causing Injury. Friedemann was taken to the Dodge County Jail, where he is being held on a probation violation.

Restitution Ordered For Nursing Home Thief

6/19/10 – A Brandon woman was ordered to pay $1200 in restitution this week for stealing money from residents at the Bethesda Lutheran Homes in Fox Lake. Lalonnie Schouten pleaded “guilty” to one misdemeanor charge of Theft In A Business Setting in April and had four others dismissed but read into the record. According to the criminal complaint, the 41-year-old was employed part-time at the facility and was responsible for conducting banking transactions for residents. Over the course of her 18-month employment, an audit revealed that Schouten stole money from five different residents.

Supreme Court Condo Tax Ruling

6/19/10 – Wisconsin developers cannot get out of paying property taxes on land where they had planned to build condominiums, but did not. The State Supreme Court made that decision yesterday (Fr) on a 7-to-nothing vote. The Saddle Ridge Corporation said it should not be taxed for 41 condo units that were planned in the Columbia County town of Pacific, but were not built due to a lack of demand. Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson said it would have allowed developers to unfairly make the first buyers of a condo site pay taxes – even if the home is never built. The real estate industry was closely watching this case, as the recession had forced a number of condo projects to stop before they could be finished.

Alliant Announces Job Cuts

6/19/10 – Alliant Energy Corporation has announced another employee restructuring, with a total of between 70 and 90 job on the chopping block. The Madison-based utility announced the cuts yesterday. Spokesman Steve Schultz says there is no specific reason for the move other than to improve efficiencies. No estimates of cost savings were made available. Schultz says in many cases, duplicate positions at two utility subsidiaries – Wisconsin Power & Light in Madison and Interstate Power & Light in Iowa, will be combined into one. It is not clear if the jobs will wind up in Wisconsin or Iowa.

AT&T Eliminates Positions

6/10/10 – A-T-and-T plans to cut 125 jobs in Wisconsin during the next few months. The company blames the fact that more folks are giving up their land-lines, in favor of using cell phones exclusively. Those to be let go include members of the Communications Workers of America. Union sources told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that over half the layoffs will occur in the state’s largest metro. A-T-and-T spokesman Marty Richter said the firm constantly matches its workforce with the needs of its business.

Vet’s Agency Secretary Under Fire

6/19/10 – The head of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs fights back at critics, saying he was simply bringing change to a troubled agency. Black angrily responded to charges he was systematically getting rid of, quoting here, “old white guys.” A discrimination complaint filed by a manager fired this month alleges Black has shown a pattern of firing, demoting and forcing out white men over the age of 50. Black is accused of saying the agency had too many white men waiting to retire at a meeting last March. The attorney for the fired administrator says she will have no problem proving Black said that — since there were about a dozen people attending the staff meeting.

CYFO Donates Equipment Shed

6/19/10 – Columbus Youth Football is building a new equipment shed for the school district. The building will be used to store football practice and field maintenance gear. The Board accepted the gift this week. Youth Football President Jeff Venden said costs of building the new facility will be paid by his organization. The School is being asked to extend electric service and a water supply to the shed. Principal Connie Valenza says that the organizations support has been critical to the school’s Football Program.

Red Arrow Brigade Celebration In Point

6/19/10 – Country music and free food highlight today’s Stevens Point celebration, welcoming home some 32 hundred Wisconsin National Guard soldiers just back from Iraq. Those soldiers are members of the Red Arrow Brigade. Stevens Point city leaders say the big party is the least the city can do for those who have sacrificed so much for their country. The infantry combat team spent a year fighting in Iraq.

Organ Donors Honored

6/19/10 – Wisconsin organ donors were honored at the governor’s residence in Madison. More than 200 people in the state donated organs last year. Families of the 340 recipients were a part of Friday’s gathering. Drew Stapleton of La Crosse received a kidney and a pancreas. He says every day he prays for the families of donors, and does what he can to honor their memories. Dan Lang of Milwaukee lost his wife Lori suddenly from a massive head bleed two years ago. He’s never regretted the decision to donate her organs, which helped save the lives of three people. He says there’s “no doubt in his mind” that she’d be happy about being able to do that for someone else. About 2-point-6 million Wisconsin residents have added the organ dot to their driver’s license indicating they’re an organ donor. However, they’re also being encouraged to now add their name to an online donor registry launched earlier this year.

Massive Mississippi Clean-Up Today

6/19/10 – Volunteers in 27 cities across five states will roll up their sleeves to clean-up floodplains, wetlands and shorelines of the Mississippi River today. The non-profit environmental group, Living Lands and Waters, organized the simultaneous clean-up spanning river communities from St. Paul, Minnesota, to St. Louis, Missouri. Volunteers will be given garbage bags and gloves on site. Living Lands’ Tammy Becker is coordinating the massive clean-up. Becker says they’ve never done anything on this scale, with crews based in 22 cities along the river. Becker says

everyone has a stake in keeping the river clean whether they realize it or not. She says they’re estimating 1,000 volunteers will take part. The non-profit environmental group has done more than 400 clean-ups along the river over the last 13 years.

‘Transformers 3’ To Film In Milwaukee

6/19/10 – The next “Transformers” movie won’t have Megan Fox – but it will have scenes filmed in Milwaukee. The Film Wisconsin group says director Michael Bay will film scenes at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Tower Automotive site on the week of July 12th. Producers say “Transformers-3” will be shot around the world, including Chicago for a few weeks. It’s expected to be released next summer. Also, Milwaukee could also be chosen for next year’s “American Idol” auditions to take place this fall. Dave Fantle, the board president of Film Wisconsin, says he should get the final word on that next week.

It’s Not Spelled ‘Stoughon’

6/19/10 – A utilities crew in Stoughton could have used a spell checker last week. Workers re-painted the city’s water tower Thursday, but forgot something in the process — the second “T” in the name of the city. Water department spokesperson Enecia Sabroff says the call came in from an alert resident, who noticed the missing letter. She says a supervisor was sent down to find out what happened, and found that the crew noticed their mistake right away. They were simply waiting for the paint to dry before they could go up and correct the error