News – June 2, 2015

Beaver Dam Tabs Contractor For Watermark


6/2/15 – The Beaver Dam Common Council last night unanimously approved the hiring of a general contractor for the Watermark. Capelle Brothers and Diedrich of Fond du Lac was the lowest of four bidders for the community and senior center planned on South Center Street. The contract bid was for $1.67-million bringing the total cost for the project to $2.1-million, which is about $50-thousand dollars below a cap set by the city council.  Each bids also contained three alternate bids in the event the project needed to be scaled back to come in under the council-imposed cap. One deductive option would have removed for the folding walls at a cost of $40-thousand dollars, a second would have saved over $11-thousand dollars by eliminating a canopy over the main entryway and the third would have reduced the project by around $9000 by eliminating cabinetry in the pantry. The council also approved the hiring of Schmidt Challenges of Lowell for $28-thousand dollars to demolish three outbuildings on the Watermark property, which will be located in the former Fullerton Lumber building.


County Rejects City Offer, Devises Counter Proposal


6/2/15 – Dodge County’s Executive Committee discussed an offer from the City of Beaver Dam for the former Monarch Range site at its meeting yesterday.  They rejected the proposal and came up with a counter-offer that would sell Beaver Dam five lots for a total of one dollar and hold the city liable for all environmental clean-up costs.  That offer is much different than the one received from Beaver Dam in multiple areas.  The City of Beaver Dam only wanted to purchase the lot that includes the vacant land between Rechek’s Food Pride and Dodge Central Credit Union.  Dodge County’s offer adds four other nearby lots in which the city has shown no interest.  Beaver Dam’s version also capped its environmental clean-up total at $70,000 and called for Dodge County to pick up any additional charges while the County does not want to assume any of that responsibility.  If the County Board gives the nod, the offer will be sent back to the Beaver Dam Common Council for consideration.  The City of Beaver Dam is interested in the lot included in their initial offer as the site for a new storm water management pond. The city previously accepted a $150,000 grant award from the DNR to assist in funding the construction of the pond, which will cost the city’s Storm Water Utility another half-million dollars.


Plea Hearing Set For Randolph Murder Suspect


6/2/15 – A Milwaukee woman charged with killing a Randolph man had her plea/sentencing hearing set for June 26 in a Dodge County Courtroom yesterday.  Kriscilla McHenry is charged with First Degree Intentional Homicide in the August death of 43-year-old Michael Soeller. According to the criminal complaint, Soeller’s body was found at the Randolph Motel in the Town of Fox Lake by the manager of the facility who had not seen the victim in several days and noticed a bad smell coming from the unit. The manager found Soeller in the bedroom with a large pool of blood next to his body by the bed. McHenry reportedly told investigators that Soeller tried to rape her and she stabbed him with a pen knife after the incident as she was trying to defend herself. The 31-year-old allegedly took his car after leaving his apartment.  If convicted, she faces a life prison sentence.


New Judge Assigned In Beck Murder Trial


6/2/15 – The 61-year-old Kenosha man suspected of killing 18-year-old Berit Beck 25 years ago has asked for and gotten a new judge. Dennis Brantner was supposed to be arraigned Monday on a First Degree Murder charge, but the hearing was delayed when his lawyer asked for a judge substitution. Now the case will be heard by Fond du Lac County Judge Gary Sharpe. The arraignment has been reset for this Friday afternoon. Beck was driving from her home in Sturtevant to a computer class in Appleton when she vanished.  Her van was discovered in a parking lot in Fond du Lac, and her body was found a few weeks later along a roadside near Waupun.  Fingerprint evidence was found in Beck’s van allegedly connecting Brantner to Beck’s murder.


Neosho Man Sentenced In Heroin Overdose


6/2/15 – Washington County Judge Todd Martens has sentenced a 26-year-old Neosho man to eight years in prison for his role in a heroin overdose death. After his prison term, Tyler Schroeder will be on extended supervision for another eight years. Schroeder was sentenced Mondayin connection with the April 2013 death of Jeff Erickson. Twan Parham previously got a ten year sentence for his role while Clayton Selsing, who allegedly set up the needle for the overdose, is in court later this month.


Waupun Woman Charged With Sexually Assaulting Toddler


6/2/15 – A Waupun woman has been charged with having inappropriate contact with a toddler.  Cassandra Scheuers is facing one felony count of First Degree Sexual Assault with a Child under the Age of Twelve.  According to the criminal complaint, an officer was investigating a check welfare complaint and thought the 25-year-old was possible going to harm herself as she took a hatchet with her on a vehicle ride.  Once taken to the police station, she reportedly provided authorities with a hand-written note describing sexual acts involving herself, her husband, an infant, and a toddler.  Scheuers’ husband allegedly took pictures of her act and threatened to use them against her.  Scheuers said she committed the act out of fear that her husband might harm her if she didn’t cooperate.  If Scheuers’ is found guilty, she faces up to sixty years in prison.


Man Facing Two Drug Charges From Lomira Search


6/2/15 – A West Bend man charged with drug possession was released on signature bond yesterday.  Nathan Myers is facing felony counts of Possession with Intent to Deliver over 50 grams of Ecstasy and Possession with Intent to Deliver less than 200 grams of THC.  Myers was pulled over in Lomira on Sunday night for driving with a suspended license.  The officer conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle with his K-9 after suspecting drug use.  Two black boxes containing individually bagged drugs totaling 68 grams, a bag containing marijuana butter, and $570 in cash were allegedly found in the search.  Myers reportedly admitted to selling the drugs at a festival in Black River Falls.  If he is found guilty on both charges, Myers faces up to 43-and-a-half years in prison.  He has a preliminary hearing set for July 23.


Dodge County Operational Review Is ‘Off and Running’


6/2/15 – Work is underway on the Operational Review of Dodge County’s Human Services and Health Department.  It was announced at yesterday’s Executive Committee meeting that the kickoff meeting between Human Services staff and representatives from Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, the firm conducted the review, was held last week.  Field work is expected to start later this month, and a report of the findings should be ready in the fall.  The review is in response to concerns over the department going $1.1-million dollars over its budget in 2014.


Wisconsin Drivers Entering Into Dangerous Deer Season


6/2/15 – Many Wisconsin drivers assume that they’re most likely to hit a deer in October and November, when hunting gets into high gear.  However, the month we’re now entering is also among the worst for car-deer crashes. The state D-O-T says more deer are moving around in June, as females find places to give birth — and the young animals separate from their mothers.  As a result, June was either the worst month or the second-worst for injuries from deer crashes in four of the last five years.  Ten people were killed in Wisconsin deer mishaps last year, and eight of those 10 were motorcyclists.  All told, the Badger State had over 18-thousand crashes in 2014 involving deer and motor vehicles.


Walker Hoping Bucks’ Arena Deal Wraps Up This Week


6/2/15 – Governor Scott Walker says negotiations for a new Milwaukee Bucks’ arena are still “fluid” — but he’s hoping a deal can be announced by the end of this week. The Republican Walker says the latest financing plan has not reached what he called an “absolute conclusion.”  It was reported late last week that taxpayers would put $250,000,000 toward the new downtown Milwaukee facility — while past-and-present Bucks’ owners would cover another $250,000,000.  This morning it was said part of the plan would expose taxpayers to a lot of interest payments, making their final cost perhaps $400,000,000. Whatever the final product is, Walker says it will have a “higher benefit to statewide taxpayers” than if a deal is not reached — in which case the Bucks could be taken over by the N-B-A in mid-2017, with the team possibly leaving.  If the Bucks do leave, officials say taxpayers would remain on the hook for needed repairs at the team’s current home, the BMO Harris Bradley Center.


Wisconsin Election Laws Being Challenged


6/2/15 – Voting rights’ advocates have filed a federal lawsuit that challenges Wisconsin election law changes made by Republicans since the start of 2011.  Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s education fund joined the One Wisconsin Institute and a handful of voters in suing the state Government Accountability Board.  They contend that G-O-P laws like photo I-D for voting, and reductions in early voting hours place unconstitutional burdens on Hispanics, blacks, and others who tend to vote for Democrats.  The state Justice Department says it’s reviewing the lawsuit.  The U-S Supreme Court gave its blessing to Wisconsin’s voter I-D law in March, when it refused to consider overturning an appellate court’s ruling that the law is constitutional.


Walker Plans To Sign Abortion Bill


6/2/15 – Governor Scott Walker said yesterday he will sign a bill that bans all abortions in Wisconsin after 20 weeks of fertility.  The Republican Walker made it clear he would approve the package, whether or not it contains an exception for women who get pregnant by rape or incest.  As currently proposed, the bill does not have that kind of exception.  The potential 2016 White House candidate — called the 20-week ban “rational and reasonable.”  State health officials said just over one-percent of the 65-hundred abortions in Wisconsin in 2013 came after the 20-weeks of fertility.  The Senate and Assembly health committees plan to hold a joint public hearing on the bill this morning at the State Capitol.


State Justice Dpt. Creates New Office


6/2/15 – The Wisconsin Justice Department is starting an Office of Open Government. Attorney General Brad Schimel says it will handle requests for records in his agency — things like investigations into police shootings. It will also give advice to state-and-local officials for carrying out the state Open Records and Open Meetings laws.  Schimel said his agency had up to six dozen open records’ requests pending when he took office in January.  Legal services administrator Kevin Potter has officially overseen the department’s records, but Schimel says Potter has a number of other responsibilities.  Assistant Attorney General Paul Ferguson will head the office.  He has served as a prosecutor and a public defender in Pennsylvania and Indiana. Schimel said the numbers of total positions in his agency will not change, and he’s re-assigning a lawyer to focus totally on its Open Records-and-Meetings’ responsibilities.