News April 10, 2009

Fire Damages Hustisford Home

4/10/09 – Firefighters responded to a home fully-engulfed in flames in the Town of Hustisford early this morning. The Sheriff’s Department says a call reporting the fire came in around 2:30. The house at North 3965 Level Valley Road was abandoned at the time of the fire but the owner of the home was notified. No word on how it got started and no one was hurt. Responding were the Hustisford, Juneau, and Woodland Fire Departments. There were also at least four other grass fires reported during the day yesterday though none caused any extensive damages.

“Thrill’ Killings Still Being Investigated, Charges Filed in Chase

4/10/09 – A 22-year-old Beaver Dam man faces five first-degree felony reckless endangerment charges and a felony attempting to flee a traffic officer after he led authorities on a high-speed chase last Friday as they attempted to pull him over as part of their investigation into the beating deaths of animals in Columbia County. Authorities attempted to pull over a vehicle driven by Christopher Swanke near Pardeeville but he did not comply and led them on a 10-minute pursuit with speeds reaching nearly 85-miles per hour. Once he finally did pull over authorities found five teenagers in the pickup and numerous bats and homemade clubs that are believed to have been used to beat wild animals to death. Officials say some of the bats had racially motivated slogans inscribed on them including KKK and “Hang the Coons”. The DNR is still investigating and they believe as many as 15-people were involved in the “thrill” killings.

Indictment to be Sought against Leon

4/10/09 – A federal grand jury indictment will be sought against Adam Leon, the pilot who allegedly stole a plane in Canada and flew erratically in the Midwest. A detention hearing is scheduled for this morning in Saint Louis. And assistant U-S attorney John Sauer wants to delay a preliminary hearing on two federal charges until next Friday, so the indictment can be sought. The 31-year-old Leon told authorities he wanted to commit suicide, and he was hoping the military would have shot his plane down after he broke U-S air space on Monday. Officials said he flew across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri for seven hours before he landed on a dark road and was later arrested. The State Capitol in Madison was evacuated – even though reports later said Leon never got within 5-to-10 miles of the place. If convicted of his current charges, Leon could spend up to 10 years in a federal prison before being deported back to Canada.

BD Man Tasered During In-Home Incident

4/10/09 – A 7-year-old girl called the Beaver Dam Police Department Wednesday night to report that her father was going crazy and that he might kill her mother. Chief Dale Boldt says when they arrived at the residence on East Burnett, they were met outside by a 45-year-old woman, who told them her husband was still inside the residence and she feared for the safety of her daughter. Boldt says officers safely removed the child and then located the 45-year-old man in the basement, with a beer in one hand and a loaded 22-caliber handgun in the other. After refusing to surrender the weapon, which was cocked, officers deployed their Tazer gun and took him into custody. The subject was arrested on charges of Disorderly Conduct, Domestic Battery, Resisting Arrest, Endangering Safety With a Dangerous Weapon While Intoxicated and Intentionally Pointing a Firearm at a Law Enforcement Officer.

Counterfeit $20 Bills Found in BD

4/10/09 – Two Beaver Dam businesses have reported finding counterfeit twenty dollar bills. Deputy Police Chief Dan Schubert says the bills were found Tuesday and Wednesday at Family Video and Piggly Wiggly. Schubert says they were high quality counterfeit bills and even had the visible security thread – that’s the plastic strip that is visible when held up to the light – but the thread is said to be off center. He says the bills also feel slightly different to the touch, and have

a grayish-green tint. Schubert says local businesses should invest in a pen – similar to a highlighter – that can detect phony bills. The Secret Service has been notified.

Kuenzi Trial Would Have Jurors from Outside Waupaca Area

4/10/09 – If Rory Kuenzi goes on trial for slaughtering six deer in Waupaca County, a jury from somewhere else will determine his fate. Judge Philip Kirk approved a defense request yesterday for a change-of-venue. The judge will wait to see if there’s a plea deal before he decides whether to move the whole trial, or bring in a jury to Waupaca. The 24-year-old Kuenzi is one of three people accused of slaying deer with their snowmobiles on a trail in January. And Kuenzi is also accused of stealing the machine he allegedly used. Judge Kirk says he’s never had so many letters from people about a case in his 28 years on the bench. He said the “pulse of the community” justified the change of venue, noting the heavy criticism expressed about the defendants’ alleged actions. The judge asked, quote, “Why should we allow that poison to infect the process of the trial?” Kuenzi and the other two defendants are charged with animal mistreatment and a host of other counts. But they’ve asked that the mistreatment charges be dropped, saying the law requires an animal to be owned by a person. A hearing on the matter will be held May 12th.

No Charges in Fatal Washington County Crash

4/10/09 – Washington County authorities say no criminal charges will be filed against the 38-year-old Milwaukee man whose one ton flatbed truck crashed into an SUV and killed three of its occupants on March 29th. Ricardo Guerrero and two passengers that were in the truck on a snow-covered State Highway 164 that day face deportation. Guerrero was cited for going too fast for conditions. Members of two Hubertus families were in the SUV on their way to church that Sunday morning. Three of them were killed and four others were injured.

O’Steen Forced to Step Down

4/10/09 – A long-time Waupun alderman has been forced to step down after moving out of his district. Preston O’Steen’s resignation from the 4th district after seven years on the job is expected to be accepted at a council meeting next week. O’Steen cites the city renovation projects over the past year and the fact the council has gone the last three years without a tax increase as accomplishments he’s proud of. O’Steen’s term expires next April so the council will have to fill the vacant spot until then.

State Supreme Court Will Look at Ban on Gay Marriage

4/10/09 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court was asked yesterday to decide whether the state’s ban on gay marriage should be struck down on a technicality. The Fourth District Appeals Court in Madison refused to act on a legal challenge to the ban. It said there were new issues the Supreme Court should address. Fifty-nine percent of state voters approved a 2006 constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages as well as civil unions. But U-W Oshkosh political science instructor William McConkey says those two bans should have been put to the voters separately, instead of in one referendum question. A Dane County judge struck down McConkey’s challenge in late 2007. The law defines marriage as between a man and a woman. And it bars the state from granting a similar legal status to unmarried individuals. Governor Jim Doyle’s proposed state budget would allow gay couples to register with counties as domestic partners. It would give them some of the benefits that married couples now receive.

Stimulus Dollars Going to Child Care in WI

4/10/09 – Wisconsin will get 34-million federal stimulus dollars to provide more child care to needy families, and protect more kids from diseases. The White House said yesterday that Wisconsin would get three-point-nine million dollars to expand child vaccinations. Almost 84-percent of

Wisconsin kids have their proper vaccines. That’s higher than the national rate of 77-percent. And Health Services spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis says the new money will help the state continue its effort. Wausau House Democrat David Obey, who helped arrange the funding, said every dollar spent on child vaccine saves 16.50-a-year in health care costs. Meanwhile, the 30-million for child will either go directly to needy parents – or to centers to improve their care structure. An official of the Wisconsin Shares program says the new money will help create a rating system for the state’s 42-hundred child care facilities – with extra funding to the best ones.