News – June 26, 2015

Children’s Radiothon A Success


6/26/15 – The 18th year of the WBEV/WXRO Children’s Radiothon was successful in raising money for nine non-profit organizations in the Dodge County area. The annual event spanned 27-hours, five regions.  Craig Karmazin announced the totals Friday morning. The event raised a total of $113,210.81 brining the 18-year total to $1,621,528. For a seventh year in a row Noel’s Angel Walk provided a huge boost to the final total.  The event, which was organized by Lori and Scott Smith of Beaver Dam, is dedicated to their late daughter Noel Ann Smith.  Around 150 people walked either the one mile or two-and-a-half mile route Thursday morning, raising $10,654.88. In its seven-years of existence, the walk has raised more than $80-thousand dollars for the Radiothon.  The eighth annual Dodge County Service Cup Tour – in which the agencies compete amongst themselves to raise money for the event – brought in $13,197. The agencies benefitting this year include PAVE, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Dodge County, Green Valley Enterprises, YMCA of Dodge County, Clothes for Kids, Community Care, ARC of Dodge County, the Watertown Family Center, and – new this year – the ImpACT Coalition.


Reactions To Rindfleisch Reconsideration Request


6/26/15 – Observers and critics are shaking their heads, after a State Supreme Court justice asked colleagues to re-consider their rejection of an appeal in a political corruption case involving a Columbia County woman.  Justice Michael Gableman asked the court this week to consider hearing an appeal from ex-Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch of Columbus.  That’s after the same court in March refused to consider overturning a lower court’s ruling that upheld her conviction for misconduct in public office.  Ex-Justice Janine Geske says she’s never heard of a justice asking colleagues to reconsider a case.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said a litigant asked for a Supreme Court re-consideration in 1979, and was told it was not allowed. Rindfleisch said she was convicted because investigators exceeded their authority in searching her personal e-mails. She has also asked the U-S Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of the e-mail searches — which were apparently intended to dig up evidence against another defendant. Gableman did not say why he wanted the case brought back.  Because of that, one critic accused Gableman of “cronyism” in going to bat for Rindfleisch — who was Walker’s deputy chief-of-staff when he was the Milwaukee County executive.  Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now told the A-P it’s an instance of “corruption of the conservative court majority.”  Gableman would need three justices to go along with his request to reconsider Rindfleisch’s conviction.  She began a six-month jail term in April, for doing illegal G-O-P campaign work when she was supposed to be working for Milwaukee County.


Pfitzinger Recuses Himself In Diels Case


6/26/15 – Dodge County Judge Brian Pfitzinger recused himself Thursday in the case against a Burnett woman accused of helping the man who robbed Coyote Gas and Liquor last June. 22-year-old Kellie Diels is charged with Aiding a Felon and Delivery of Heroin.  Pfitzinger’s campaign treasurer is the manager of Coyote and is also godmother to Pfitzinger’s son. A new judge will be assigned and the sentencing hearing is being rescheduled. A witness saw 23-year-old Zachary Turck exit a purple vehicle belonging to Diels, put on a black ski mask and walk toward the Beaver Dam gas station. A police search for vehicle matching the description led investigators to the couple. Diels told investigators that when she found out what was happening she reportedly tried to talk Turck out of it and they fought about it for ten minutes. She later allegedly admitted that she saw Turck put the weapon used in the hold-up in the glove box of her vehicle.  The two were caught after allegedly selling heroin to a confidential informant a couple days later.


Doylestown Man Accused Of Shaking Infant


6/26/15 – A Doylestown man has been accused of shaking an infant.  Raymond Koester is facing two felony counts of Child Abuse with the Intent to Cause Bodily Harm.  The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release saying they arrested the 26-year-old on Monday.  They received a call last weekend about an infant who was admitted to the hospital with brain bleeding that was the result of multiple injuries.  At last word, the four-month-old is in critical but stable condition after having brain surgery.  The criminal complaint was filed Thursday.


Beaver Dam Man To Be Arraigned On Exposure Charge


6/26/15 – A Beaver Dam man accused of exposing himself to a minor on the internet waived his preliminary hearing in a Dodge County courtroom yesterday. Fredrick Grignon was arrested after a search warrant was executed at his North Lincoln Avenue residence. A joint investigation by the Beaver Dam and Sun Prairie Police Departments allegedly found an explicit online conversation and an exchange of photographs between the 43-year-old Grignon and a 16-year-old girl. He is charged with a felony count of Exposing Intimate Parts to a Child, which carries a maximum prison sentence of three-and-a-half years if he is convicted. Grignon will be arraigned on July 1.


Woman Accused Of Sending Contraband To WCI To Be Arraigned


6/26/15 – A Coloma woman accused of trying to mail illegal contraband to an inmate at the Waupun Correctional Institution waived her preliminary hearing in a Dodge County courtroom yesterday. Geri Dee Scolman is charged with Delivering Illegal Articles to an Inmate – a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of three-and-a-half years behind bars, if convicted. Dodge County prosecutors say the 50-year-old mailed an envelope to the prison last August that contained electronic devices, chewing tobacco, marijuana, prescription drugs and pornographic magazines. The Department of Corrections had received an email tip that an inmate was getting balloons filled with drugs once a month from his mom. The items were discovered during a routine x-ray inspection. Scolman told investigators that she received the envelope in the mail with instruction to send it to her son and that it was filled with paperwork and books. Scolman will be arraigned on July 15.


Report Issued On VA Prescription Abuse


6/26/15 – We learned more Thursday about a U-S Senate committee’s probe into drug over-prescriptions and whistle-blower punishments at the V-A hospital in Tomah over the last decade.  Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson, who chairs the governmental affairs committee, issued a report with six preliminary findings. One quoted pharmacists at other V-A facilities as saying that Tomah was in danger of losing its federal controlled-substance accreditation in 2013 — and the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted at least three separate inquiries into potential drug diversions from Tomah to patients as far away as Sheboygan. The findings showed there was no V-A investigation into the firing and suicide of Tomah doctor Christopher Kirkpatrick.  The report also said a V-A investigator told Tomah employees to expect a public report on the results of its inspection by early 2013 — but nothing was ever released to the public or to Congress.  Johnson called his committee’s report a “first step in identifying serious problems” at the facility.  He said he was “troubled” to learn that numerous federal agencies made attempts to address Tomah’s problems over a period of years, and “nothing happened.”  The V-A has not commented on the report.  It’s still doing a high-profile investigation, of which the early findings confirmed over-prescriptions and punishments of whistle-blowers.


Walker Needs Dems To Approve Bucks Funding Package


6/26/15 – Governor Scott Walker will need votes from minority Democrats in order to approve a funding package for the new Milwaukee Bucks arena.  And he’s apparently thinking about vetoing a long list of last-minute items that Republican finance committee members inserted into the budget.  That’s all according to Assembly Democratic Andy Jorgensen of Milton, who chairs his party’s caucus in the lower house.  Jorgensen met with Walker one-on-one today.  The governor also met with key G-O-P legislative leaders to try and break a nearly four-week impasse among majority party members on the budget.  They’ve disagreed publicly over which highway projects should be delayed due to a cut in proposed borrowing.  They also disagree on whether the budget should include a repeal or a reduction in the state’s prevailing wage law for public works projects. Jorgensen told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Walker has told Democrats next to nothing about the arena plan.  He said that if the governor needs the Democrats’ votes, he should be calling them — and give them a written outline of what he wants them to vote for.  Walker’s office would not confirm what Jorgensen said about his meeting with Walker.  The new budget is due to take effect next Wednesday.


Dems Reviving Call To Accept Fed Medicaid Funds


6/26/15 – Wisconsin Democrats are using Thursday’s Obama-care Supreme Court ruling to make another pitch to accept the federal Medicaid funds Governor Scott Walker keeps rejecting.  On a 6-to-3 vote, the justices ruled that people in all 50 states can receive tax subsidies aimed at making the Affordable Care Act live up to its name. The court rejected arguments that only states with their own purchasing exchanges can offer the federal subsidies to Obama-care clients.  Democrats hailed the ruling, saying it would not put the 184-thousand Wisconsinites on Obama-care in jeopardy.  Now, the minority party wants the Republican Walker to take another step forward, and accept Medicaid funds which help provide Obama-care coverage to more low-income people.  Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca says tens-of-thousands of Wisconsin residents still cannot get insurance because the state refuses to take the money that Walker has said could disappear — and the state would be hard-pressed to keep the benefits rolling on its own.  Democrats estimate the amount at two-billion dollars over the decade.  Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling says Wisconsin should join 30 states of both political stripes which are taking the Medicaid Obama-care funds.  Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach of Middleton says Walker should help people instead of focusing on his likely presidential bid — which Erpenbach calls a “relentless pursuit of higher office.”


Camp American Legion Expansion Approved


6/26/15 – The state Natural Resources Board has approved a plan to expand Camp American Legion in a state forest near Lake Tomahawk.  The Legion has operated the camp since 1925 on Big Carr Lake and Little Lake Tomahawk as a restoration facility for sick-and-disabled veterans.  Superintendent Steve Peterson of the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest says the camp has had a number of leases — and if it wanted to expand, the state would work with the veterans’ group.  Peterson says an additional 225 acres will be available for accessible trails and hunting opportunities for veterans and their families. That’s in addition to the 300-acres the camp has now.  Officials say the extra scenery will give the veterans more solitude, and the Legion is also considering more lodging on the site.


Screech Going To Jail


6/26/15 – “Saved by the Bell” T-V actor Dustin Diamond will begin his four-month jail term on Sunday in his current home town of Port Washington.  He’ll get work release privileges, a part of a sentence handed down yesterday for waving a pocket-knife in a bar last Christmas.  It gave Casey Smet a minor stab wound in one of his armpits. Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy also put the 38-year-old Diamond on 15 months of probation.  A jury convicted him last month of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and having an illegal concealed weapon.  A felony reckless endangerment charge was thrown out.  Witnesses said Diamond’s fiancee Amanda Schutz instigated the bar fight by pushing a woman and grabbing another woman’s hand.  She was fined 500-dollars for disorderly conduct.  A misty-eyed Diamond told the judge the incident was the most “terrifying experience” of his life, and he apologized to all involved.  Diamond also told the judge he would never act in self-defense again.  In his words, “If I’m ever in a situation where I, or a loved one, is in danger, I will choose to passively accept what is given to me in the hopes that a night in the emergency room would be infinitely better than a future of being seen as a criminal.”