News – June 3, 2015

Beaver Dam’s Emerald Ash Borer Epicenter Identified


6/3/15 – The epicenter of the Emerald Ash Borer outbreak in Beaver Dam has been identified. The tree-killing beetle was confirmed in the city earlier this year. City Forester John Neumann says the true epicenter is in northeastern Beaver Dam along Liberty, Pleasant and Grove streets. No heavy infestations have been found outside that area. All the tree’s identified, approximately two dozen, have been removed.  Neumann says they will continue to monitor the area around the epicenter and take the trees as they develop signs of the ash borer. Trees on private land are a responsibility of the property owner. While the city tends to trees in the terrace – the area between the sidewalk and the street – some homeowners want those trees saved as well. Those property owners are responsible for paying the costs to treat the city-owned trees. Neumann says he is keeping a record of those trees so that the city does not accidentally remove them. Signs of the Emerald Ash Borer include increased woodpecker activity with the bird pecking away at the bark until the tree becomes almost white. That is easier to spot in the early spring but with more foliage on the trees at this point in the season, Neumann says to be on the lookout for a dying off of leaves at the crown and an increase in new branches in the lower half of the tree. The adult beetle will be pupating in the next two to three weeks and will be flying as much as a half-mile out through mid-to-late August before dying off.  Ash trees represent around 23-percent of species on public property.


Two Killed In Oshkosh Plane Crash


6/3/15 – Two people were killed, after their small plane crashed at an Oshkosh Corporation plant site near Wittman Regional Airport.  It happened around 3:20 Tuesday afternoon.  Investigators from the F-A-A and the National Transportation Safety Board spent much of last night at the site.  Media reports said a single-engine Sonex S-A fixed-wing aircraft was trying to land at a runway — but it ended up striking several nearby trucks parked at the Oshkosh north plant.  It did not create a fire or explosions.  The company said none of its employees were hurt.


Trooper Shooter Not Responsible For Nearby Bank Robbery


6/3/15 – The man who killed State Patrol Officer Trevor Casper in Fond du Lac was not responsible for a bank robbery about 500 yards away.  The state Justice Department said Tuesday it did not believe that 38-year-old Steven Snyder of suburban Detroit was the suspect in the hold-up.  It occurred March 24th at the Hometown Bank on Fond du Lac’s west side, about an hour before Snyder and Casper were both killed in a shoot-out.  Authorities said Snyder robbed another bank in Wausaukee the same day, stole a bank employee’s vehicle, killed Thomas Chryst close to where he had a different getaway vehicle, and drove that car two hours south to Fond du Lac where the shoot-out occurred.  The Justice Department has yet to release a full report of its investigation.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the Fond du Lac County D-A wanted it withheld, while that office investigates further.  Media reports said Snyder committed several bank robberies in lower Michigan the past few years, and the F-B-I joined Michigan authorities in investigating Snyder not long before his Wisconsin crime spree.  His estranged wife Stacey reported the prior bank robberies to authorities, but it’s not clear when that happened.  Snyder was also wanted for an alleged attack on his wife last Christmas Day in Michigan.


Watertown Man Sentenced In Teen Pregnancy


6/3/15 – A Watertown man will spend 75 days in jail with work release privileges for getting a teenager pregnant. In Dodge County court Tuesday, Patrick Berry pled to reduced misdemeanor charges of Fourth Degree Sexual Assault and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.  According to the criminal complaint, the 37-year-old former Alabama man was staying with a “friend-of-a-friend” in Watertown in the summer of 2011 when he had consensual relations with a 15-year-old. Berry spoke with investigators by phone two years ago and admitted to the offense saying he would “do the right thing” by providing money and returning to Wisconsin when the victim reaches legal age for marriage.


Dodge County Sheriff’s Department Attending Drone Demo


6/3/15 – The Dodge County Sheriff Department will be attending a drone demonstration on Wednesday to see if it’s something that might be in the departments’ future. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says the drones could be useful in search and rescue operations or manhunts for wanted fugitives. He says they would have to consider peoples’ rights to privacy and what constitutes unreasonable searches. Schmidt says they may take a wait and see approach to drones, but the costs of purchasing them are on the way down. The drone demonstration is being held in Columbia County where their Sheriff’s Department is looking seriously at purchasing a drone.


Beaver Dam Police Add Chaplain To Roster


6/3/15 – The Beaver Dam Police Department is adding a chaplain to their roster. Police Chief John Kreuziger told the city’s Police and Fire Commission last night that the volunteer position is being filled by Pastor Mark Jensen from First Lutheran. The chaplain will assist officers as needed when notification is given to a family in the death of a loved one. Kreuziger says the chaplain will also assist police officers as they navigate through the difficulties of the job. Pastor Jensen has already had crisis training. Today he is touring the police department and learning more about their death notification process.


Horicon Goose Team Acts On Invoking Depredation Permit


6/3/15 -The Horicon Urban Goose Management Team gave the nod to invoking a depredation permit in the city for 2015 at its meeting Tuesday.  The management team is a collection of officials and city representatives that are tasked with getting a handle on Horicon’s non-migratory bird population each year.  That stems from issues they’ve had with geese at a number of locations throughout the city in the past.  Team Chair Joe Adamson says the committee started the process of relocating adult and euthanizing young non-migratory geese in 1999.  He says it has made a noticeable difference in the city’s waterside locations and parks.  It’s estimated that there are around 185 geese in residential areas and parks throughout Horicon this year.  That’s considerably higher than the estimate of 35 from last year, which was the fourth straight year the total was under 100 after having been over the century mark in 11 of the first 12 years of the committee’s existence.  Those numbers help explain why the team has invoked the permit in previous years.  According to Adamson, all of the birds are put to use as adults are donated to food pantries and goslings are frozen to be used as feed at wild game preserves throughout the state.  He says failure to control the population each year compounds it to a greater issue the following year.  The Committee of the Whole and City Council will now take action on the recommendation at their meetings on Tuesday.


Columbus Council Approves State Reconstruction Agreements


6/3/15 – The Columbus City Council Tuesday night approved four project plans to be used in the four-year reconstruction of the main east/west route through the city, Highways 60 and 16. Major costs for the construction will be covered by state funds. Plans for downtown crosswalks and the entire James Street LED lighting project were unanimously adopted. A portion of the new street lighting costs will be paid by state “Community Sensitive Design” (CSD) funds. The state Department of Transportation 2017 plat plans were also approved. In addition, Columbus officials approved state and municipal agreements for the 2016 reconstruction of the intersection of State Highways 16 and 60 on the northwest side of Highway 151. State and municipal agreements on the Highway 151 on and off ramps over Highway’s 16 and 60 were also given the go-ahead. The interchange ramps are tentatively scheduled for 2021.


Fox Lake Council Meeting Postponed Until Thursday


6/3/15 – Officials in Fox Lake are postponing tonight’s (Wed) regular city council meeting until Thursday. The council typically meets on the first Wednesday of the month but there is not a quorum for tonight’s meeting. The agenda includes a public hearing on changes to the city’s fair housing ordinance and the hiring of a company for a new website. The council meets Thursday at 6:30pm in City Hall.


Federal Government’s Records Collection Closer To Ending


6/3/15 – The U-S Senate took another step forward toward passing a revised plan to end the federal government’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone-calling records yesterday.  The Senate took another procedural vote which passed 83-to-14.  But House G-O-P leaders took issue with three amendments that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to get through.  In a closed-door meeting of House Republicans, the A-P said Jim Sensenbrenner of suburban Milwaukee reported called the amendments a “poison pill.”  One proposed Senate amendment would phase out the National Security Agency’s collection of phone records over a 12-month period instead of six months.  That’s despite a claim from N-S-A director Mike Rogers that six months would be enough.  Another amendment would require the national intelligence director to certify that the N-S-A can search records held by phone companies as part of terrorist investigations.  Without an agreement, the N-S-A would have no authority at all to collect Americans’ phone data.  That’s because a Patriot Act provision to that effect expired late Sunday night.