“News-April 12, 2011”

A Senior Moment


4/12/11 – A joint committee of the city of Beaver Dam’s two standing committees has voted unanimously to accept a free building intended for use as a Senior Center. Much of the discussion prior to the vote last night centered on the city’s financial obligation once it acquires the Fullerton Lumber property on South Center Street. That argument was countered with discussion about the city’s role in eliminating blight and revitalizing the downtown area. Council President Jon Litscher presided over last night’s joint meeting and has indicated a preference for the downtown Fullerton site but has always cautioned that city dollars are scarce. Litscher says he will call for an advisory referendum before any city dollars are spent to rehabilitate the structure. Community Activities and Services Coordinator Evonne Koeppen, who oversees the Senior Center, says they are very enthusiastic moving forward.  Koeppen says they are determined to raise the money on their own and have plans in place move into the facility in phases as the money becomes available. The senior’s cleared a big hurdle last night, but it’s not a done deal yet as the matter will now go before the city’s Plan Commission and if approved there it will head to the council floor for consideration.


Agreement on Ambulance Authority Likely


4/12/11 – The City of Columbus and seven surrounding townships are nearing agreement on an Ambulance Service authority for the next five years. Representatives from the City and the townships of Calamus, Columbus, Fountain Prairie, Elba, Hampden, Portland and York have agreed, in principle, to an Intergovernmental Agreement creating an authority for area EMS services. The Intergovernmental Agreement will come before the April 19 Council after review by the City Attorney.


Hartford Businessman Charged With Illegal Contributions


4/12/11 – The president of the Wisconsin-and-Southern Railroad has been criminally charged with two felony counts of making illegal and excessive campaign contributions. William Gardner of Hartford is accused of exceeding the 10-thousand-dollar personal limit in donating to Republican Governor Scott Walker’s campaign last year. He’s also accused of giving money to others to make campaign gifts to Walker and other state candidates. The 63-year-old Gardner is scheduled to appear in Washington County courtroom next month. Gardner reportedly admitted to investigators last year that he used railroad money to reimburse employees who donated to Walker. The Walker camp returned 43-thousand-dollars in donations to Gardner and a few of his employees – and the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee gave back 35-hundred dollars. Prosecutors say the state would not recommend jail time because Gardner had cooperated. The employees who were reimbursed by Gardner face fines of 250-dollars each – and the Wisconsin-and-Southern Railroad itself would get a civil fine of 166-thousand-dollars. It’s illegal in Wisconsin to give corporation money to state candidates.


Probation For Shooting Palin On TV


4/12/11 – A former town board member in Dane County was put on three years’ probation Monday for shooting out his T-V, because he didn’t like seeing Bristol Palin on “Dancing With the Stars.” 68-year-old Steven Cowan of rural Black Earth pleaded no contest to a felony count of obstructing police during a 15-hour standoff after the shooting last November at his home. He was also convicted on misdemeanor counts of negligent handling of a weapon and disorderly conduct. If he stays clean during his probation term, he can ask that the felony conviction be dropped. A reckless endangerment charge was dismissed. Cowan was on the Vermont Town Board in Dane County until he resigned last December. He and his wife were watching “Dancing with the Stars” when he complained that Bristol Palin was on the show because of politics, not because she’s a good dancer. So he got a shotgun and fired it into the T-V, and later threatened his wife. A judge told Cowan to take advance of counseling to avoid such incidents in the future. Cowan did not address the judge before his sentencing.


Walker Seeks To Limit Legal Services For Poor


4/12/11 – Wisconsin would no longer help poor people pay attorneys in civil lawsuits under Governor Scott Walker’s proposed state budget. The budget would cut two-point-six million dollars a year which now goes to Legal Action of Wisconsin, the state’s largest group that provides legal services to the poor. The funding represents about half the group’s budget. And as a result, spokesman Leon Lynn says the group has already identified 21 lawyers and other staffers who will be laid off July first. The funding comes from a special fee for filing civil cases. It also pays for the state’s popular on-line court records – which are also expected to lose part of their money in the next budget. About a million-dollars that’s currently being given to Legal Action would be used instead to pay assistant district attorneys. The group said it supports that move – and cutting some of the other recipients of filing fee revenue would preserve Legal Action’s funding without hurting the others too much.