News 6/29/2010

Cooper Street Project Nixed

6/29/10 – City officials in Beaver Dam have decided they’d rather fix the north side lift station than enlarge the culverts under Cooper Street. Both areas are factors during major flood events, but Director of Utilities Don Quarford recommended to the Operations Committee last night that $350,000 in FEMA grant funding be redirected to the lift station. Cooper Street was originally awarded money by the DNR but it was fourth on a list of flood control projects that the city sought to fund with Community Development Block Grants; they were not awarded their top three choices, which also included replacement of the dam gates at a cost of $600,000. The mayor sent a letter to the DNR requesting the money be used for the lift station and the DNR agreed contingent on committee approval. Both Mayor Tom Kennedy and Quarford said the lift station has to be upgraded anyway while Cooper Street can wait. The upgrade to the north side lift station is estimated to cost around $800,000. The additional costs could come from increased utility rates, though Quarford says there could also be leftover money from the contingency fund of another major construction project: the new $20 million wastewater treatment plant. Quarford says that project – which is about 40% complete – has a contingency fund of $700,000.

Hinkley Arraigned For Sexual Assault

6/29/10 – A Beaver Dam man accused of assaulting a young teen entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment Monday. 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 while Bowers is being held on a $10,000 cash bond.

Oconomowoc Man Dies In California

6/29/10 – An autopsy has been scheduled to determine how a 52-year-old Oconomowoc man died in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego. A medical examiner’s report said Lonnie Gulseth was found floating face-down on Friday morning at Pacific Beach. Surfers pulled his body from the ocean. They used C-P-R to try-and-revive him, but he died about 10 minutes later. Authorities could not immediately say if the death was suspicious or accidental. The investigation is ongoing.

OWI Law Change Takes Effect Thursday

6/29/10 – Wisconsin’s drunken driving reforms that were passed a few months ago will take effect on Thursday. Under the new law, fourth-time O-W-I’s will become a felony – but only if it happens within five years of a third offense. Dennis Hughes with the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety says under the new law, courts will order the installation of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of repeat drunken drivers — and first-offenders convicted of driving with an alcohol level of .15 or higher. The device will also be ordered for drivers who refuse a chemical test at a traffic stop. OWI offenders will cover the costs to install and maintain the ignition interlock devices. Surcharges and license reinstatement fees will also go up. In addition, judges can put second-and-third time offenders on probation and first-time O-W-I’s will become a criminal misdemeanor if there’s a child in the car. In 2009, alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin killed 238 people and injured nearly 3,800 others.

Charges Follow Break-In, Fire

6/29/10 – A 33-year-old Fox Lake man is facing charges after breaking into a former girlfriend’s apartment. It happened in the early morning hours of last Friday when there was no one home. Fox Lake Police Chief Jim Rohr says the intoxicated suspect apparently gained entry to the

residence through a window and fell asleep on a couch while smoking. He awoke to a pillow and cushion on fire, which he eventually was able to put out. He then went to a bedroom where he fell asleep again until his ex-girlfriend came home and called police. Rohr says the man faces charges of felony bail jumping, careless use of smoking materials, and criminal trespassing.