News 6/3/2010

Size Study Committee Forwards Resolution

6/3/10 – A committee studying the size of the Dodge County Board has finalized the wording of a resolution that recommends the elimination of four supervisors and the restructuring of five committees. The size committee concluded that the county operates very efficiently, spending approximately $1.67 a year per county resident, the fifth lowest of 52 counties surveyed. Three human services committees are proposed to merge into one, while the responsibilities of two others could be absorbed into existing committees. Many of the remaining committees are mandated by the state. The change is expected to save the county around $5000. Chair Dave Frohling says the more supervisors that are eliminated the more of a burden that will be shifted to the remaining supervisors. He says that increased workload could discourage some from running for office, or even push the county toward the need for full-time supervisors. Supervisor Jeff Berres was reluctant to sign-off on the final numbers, but not because he is against downsizing. While Berres says the committee has been “chasing pennies,” he says the elimination of more than two districts could lead to less representation, especially in rural areas. Even if the board approves the recommended reduction at their June 15 meeting, the change would be tentative and a two year process would begin. In that time, municipal voting wards would be restructured based on forthcoming census data and another committee would recommend the layout of the 33 county districts. Two public hearings would also have to be held before the changes take effect in 2012.

Kaiser Enters Plea In Vehicular Homicide

6/3/10 – A Beaver Dam teen charged in connection with a fatal accident entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors Thursday. 18-year-old Dominick Kaiser pleaded “no contest” to a felony charge of Homicide By Negligent Use of a Vehicle and had a misdemeanor drug paraphernalia and a felony bail jumping charge dismissed but read into the record. Kaiser was speeding when he lost control of his car on Shaw Hill Road at 3 o’clock on the afternoon of September 15, 2008. His passenger, 16-year-old Kristen Baade, was killed. According to the criminal complaint, Kaiser’s speed had reached a velocity of between 102mph and 129mph when his vehicle began a clockwise spin. After entering a ditch and striking a culvert, the car went airborne and split a utility pole in half while overturning, before eventually coming to rest on its roof. Kaiser told authorities that the hood of his vehicle had flown up, blocking his windshield and leading to his loss of control. Investigators say the car’s battery was too big and there was evidence that the hood was clamped down. Sentencing is set for June 25.

Funeral Friday For Hartford Police Officer

6/3/10 – A funeral service will be held Friday night for a Hartford police officer who died while on duty. 41-year-old officer Steven Wannow, an 18-year veteran of the Hartford police force, died from a single gunshot wound. The Washington County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the cause. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says foul play has been ruled out, and no one else appears to be involved. Visitation will be held from noon to 6pm Friday at Saint Kilian Catholic Church, where the service begins at six. Police Chief David Groves said a memorial fund has been set up at the First National Bank of Hartford to provide a college fund for Wannow’s three sons.

Law License Now Required To Practice

6/3/10 – After years of working on just the right wording the Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed on the definition of who can — and who cannot — practice law. The court approved a new rule this week designed to prevent people from practicing law without a license. Unlike most other states, Wisconsin does not have a comprehensive law or rule defining the unauthorized practice of law. Attorney Tom Zilavy of the State Bar Association says the new rule is not to impose any additional regulations on lawyers, but rather to protect consumers from people who are engaging in the practice of law “without the education or the requirements to adequately serve the consuming public.” Zilavy says the Bar is not satisfied with the high court’s unwillingness to

adopt strong enforcement provisions. The Wisconsin Supreme Court reached a compromise that satisfied some who wanted strict enforcement and others who wanted no enforcement language at all. The new rule will also have to be tweaked to satisfy insurance companies who fear the new rule may make it harder for them to represent their clients.

State Education Curriculum Changes

6/3/10 – Wisconsin public schools will follow new national standards for teaching math and language arts. Those standards were released Wednesday. Wisconsin education officials helped create them, and state Superintendent Tony Evers officially adopted them. They’re also part of Wisconsin’s new application for a quarter-billion federal stimulus dollars in the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” education program. The standards will serve as the base for a new curriculum, as well as student tests.

Sexual Assault Reports Decline

6/3/10 – The numbers of sexual assaults reported to Wisconsin law enforcement have dropped dramatically in the last three years. The state Office of Justice Assistance said 46-hundred-33 sexual assault incidents were reported to police agencies statewide last year. That’s down from 46-hundred-50 in 2008, and almost 52-hundred the year before that. The numbers don’t really tell us whether sexual assaults are actually on the decline, since officials say it’s one of the most under-reported crimes. Over 13-thousand female victims sought help from service providers last year – and 70-percent of them never went to the police. Of the cases that were reported, fondling accounted for 43-percent of the complaints. And the number of juveniles reporting sexual assaults out-numbered adult victims three-to-one.