“News – April 21, 2011”

Kloppenburg Requests Recall


4/21/11 – Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg requested a statewide recount today of the ballots cast in the Supreme Court election 15 days ago. And Kloppenburg asked the Government Accountability Board to have a special investigator look into Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus. It was the clerk’s error that took away Kloppenburg’s apparent victory of 204 votes from Election Night. Nickolaus forgot to include Brookfield’s votes in her original tally. And when it turned up in the county’s canvass, incumbent Justice David Prosser took a 75-hundred-vote lead. After all the counties were canvassed, Prosser had a 73-hundred-16 vote victory.

Wisconsin taxpayers will cover the cost of the recount, since the margin of Kloppenburg’s defeat was less than one-half of one-percent. The next step is for Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson is to appoint a judge to hear whatever legal concerns are raised about individual ballots during what’s expected to a long recount process.

Earlier this week, Prosser and his campaign advisors said the incumbent’s margin of victory was such that Kloppenburg would not have much of a chance of overtaking him. They called the recount “frivolous,” and said they would do what they could to stop it.

Should Prosser’s victory be upheld, the Supreme Court’s 4-3 conservative majority would remain in place. Observers had predicted an easy win for Prosser. But that was before public union supporters got behind Kloppenburg, with the hope of making it easier to kill the law that limits collective bargaining once and for all. As a result, the supposedly neutral Supreme Court race turned out to be a partisan-style referendum on Republican Governor Scott Walker’s policies.


BDPD Releases Annual Report


4/21/11 – The Beaver Dam Police Department has released their 2010 Annual Report. According to the Uniform Crime Report figures from the state, violent crime increased in Beaver Dam from three in 2009 to seven in 2010. That includes five robberies and two aggravated assaults. There were no homicides or forcible rapes last year. Property crimes decreased last year with 487 reported compared to 553 the previous year.  Eighty-four (84) burglaries were reported in 2010, ten more than the previous year. There was a 16% decrease in adult arrests over the two-year period with 879 reported last year. There was 22% less juvenile arrests than in 2009 with 440 reported. The Beaver Dam Police Department continued its affiliation with the Dodge County Drug Task Force, which made 188 drug-related arrests last year, 45 more than in 2009.  There were 474 traffic accidents last year, which is far below the five year average of 537. That resulted in 93 injuries. There was in one fatality on city streets last year, the first since 2006.  Beaver Dam Police officers issued 1316 parking tickets generating $23,216 in revenue. Most tickets were for violation of the city’s winter parking ban during snow removal season. Calls for service from Beaver Dam to the Sheriffs Department Dispatch Center in Juneau have been down in each of the three years since the consolidation with the county. There were almost 28,000 back in 2008, close to 26,000 in 2009 and 23,700 last year.


BDPD Among Those Hosting Drug Take Back


4/21/11 – The Beaver Dam Police Department has announced that they will be one of the agencies participating in the nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at the end of the month.  The effort on April 30 is aimed at removing drugs from the streets and promoting the proper disposal of prescription medications. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more Americans abuse prescription drugs than the number using cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined. The Beaver Dam Police Department will be collecting pharmaceuticals from 10am to 2pm in the department’s parking lot located just off Washington Street. The Horicon and Juneau Police departments are also hosting drug drops. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.  Medications should be brought in their original containers with personal identification removed. Drug take-back programs are intended to reduce the amount of drugs available for theft, or accidental poisoning but are also helpful in keeping those meds out of the water supply. Last year, during the first “Take Back,” the Drug Enforcement Agency collected 121 tons of drugs at 4100 sites operated by the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners.


March Unemployment Numbers Positive


4/21/11 – The jobless rate in the region, and around most of the state, decreased last month. In Dodge County, the unemployment rate was down a half percentage point from February to 8.6%. Last year at the same time it was in double digits at 11%.  Columbia County was also at 8.6%, down four-tenths from February. Half-point drops were reported in Fond du Lac and Washington counties, which both stand at 7.7%.  Jefferson County dropped a half point as well but rests at 9.1%. Green Lake County is one of 24 counties in the state in double digits at 10.1%. Vilas County has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 13.3%. Dane County continues to have the lowest at 5.3%.  All but four of Wisconsin’s 72 counties saw their actual unemployment rates go down. Vilas, Iron, and Florence counties saw their rates go up. Lincoln County’s rate was unchanged. Meanwhile, six of Wisconsin’s 12 metro areas added jobs in March. The state’s workforce development agency is reporting that Metro Milwaukee gained 46-hundred jobs last month – bringing the total job gains to almost 17-thousand in the first three months of this year. Eau Claire added an estimated 800 jobs in March. Smaller gains were made in Appleton, Madison, Janesville, and Oshkosh. La Crosse and Wausau both lost an estimated 400 jobs last month, and Racine lost 300. Jobs held steady in Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, and Green Bay. All 12 metro areas had a drop in their unadjusted jobless rates from February-to-March.


Jury Still Out On Capitol Security Costs


4/21/11 – We still don’t know how much it cost to provide security for the demonstrations at the State Capitol in February and early March. The Walker administration said Wednesday it’s still adding up the bills – and they’re running well into the millions-of-dollars. Hundreds of law enforcement officers from throughout the state patrolled the Capitol and the surrounding area for the better part of a month. They kept a watch on demonstrators who protested the bill to limit collective bargaining by public employee unions. The state is picking up things like overtime for the local officers who came to Madison to help out. The administration department gave details of two contracts to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. One of those contracts provided various services to law enforcement – including food, ear buds for officers’ radios, and a health care provider for officers who worked for long hours. That arrangement cost two-million-dollars. Another contract called for security in the parking lots where officers parked their vehicles while at the Capitol. That deal cost almost 99-thousand dollars. Also, the paper said the state D-N-R spent 351-thousand dollars to have its wardens and other officers at the protest site.


Hopper Misprint Directs Callers To Randy Chat Line


4/21/11 – State Senate Republican Randy Hopper – who’s already under fire for voting to slash collective bargaining – is in hot water again. According to the Fond du Lac Reporter, Hopper’s newsletter for residents of his district had an incorrect number for his office phone. And those who called it reached a phone sex line with a greeting that said, “Hey there sexy guy…” As you might imagine, the state Democratic Party had a field day with this one. Party Chair Mike Tate said Hopper won’t listen to his constituents, so he’s apparently sending them someplace where “the chat lines are still open.” Hopper called it a typographical error. He wasn’t sure how many constituents saw it, but he listed a correction on his Web site saying he’s happy to respond to people’s needs. He said the newsletter was meant to highlight a bill that provides tax relief to senior citizens – but instead it’s quote, “a political game of ‘gotcha.” Hopper is one of eight G-O-P senators targeted for recall by the Democrats, for his vote in favor of the bill to restrict public union bargaining powers.


Green Bay Hotel Reservations Stagnant


4/21/11 – Green Bay hotels are normally jammed with reservation calls almost immediately after the Packer schedule is announced. But this year, lots of folks are taking a wait-and-see approach – mainly because the games might not be played if the current N-F-L owners’ lockout drags on. Jason Vanden Heuvel of the Comfort Inn in Ashwaubenon says fans don’t want to commit yet. But Kelly Eversen of the Green Bay Radisson says people will probably make reservations anyway, because they have up to two weeks to cancel at her place. Many other hotels in Titletown require a 30-day cancellation notice, and often a minimum two-night stay. Brad Toll of the Green Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau says fans won’t wait too long for fear of missing out – and he hopes the N-F-L labor situation gets settled soon. Those who offer Packer travel packages don’t expect fans to hold back. They emphasize offering refunds if the games are not played.


Tourism Secretary Says Bike Paths Important


4/21/11 – Although the governor wants to scrap funding for bicycle paths, Wisconsin’s tourism secretary says cycling will not be forgotten as a tourist attraction. Stephanie Klett made that promise at the state’s Bike Summit held this week in Madison. Klett promised to include cycling in the state’s tourist advertising – which would get boost under Governor Scott Walker’s budget for the next two years. Walker wants to increase tourist advertising from 13-million-dollars this year to 14-million in the next fiscal year, and almost 16-and-a-half million the year after that. Klett said she cannot remember a Wisconsin tourist ad that featured bicycling – and she vowed to change that. Walker’s budget plan would also eliminate two-and-a-half million dollars set aside by Democrats two years ago for bike-and-pedestrian trails. Many of the bicycling enthusiasts at the summit were planning to ask their legislators to restore that funding – and to create tougher penalties for motor vehicle drivers who kill bicyclists in traffic accidents.



Wisconsin Milk Production Outpaced By California


4/21/11 – Wisconsin dairy cows pumped out more milk last month – but the increase was not as big as the national average. Officials said the Badger State made just over two-and-a-quarter billion pounds of milk in March. That’s up one-point-three percent from a year ago. The national increase was two-point-two percent. And California, the country’s top milk producer, made three-point-one percent more. Wisconsin added six-thousand cows to its dairy herd last month, for a total of just over one-and-a-quarter million. The average cow increased its output by 15 pounds, to an average of 17-hundred-85. California only added a-thousand cows, but each one averaged 60 pounds more. Nationally, farmers made almost 17-billion pounds of milk last month, and almost 48-and-a-half billion pounds in the first three months of the year. Production in the 23 major dairy states was up two-point-four percent in March, and all but six of those states had increases from the year before.


Authorities Identify Tow-Truck Driver Killed


4/21/11 – A tow-truck driver killed during Tuesday’s snow-and-ice storm in Washington County has been identified as 59-year-old Daniel Bobholz of Allenton. Authorities said he was pulling a vehicle out of a ditch when he was hit. It happened on the southbound lanes of the Highway 41 expressway near West Bend. The State Patrol said a Washington County sheriff’s deputy was directing traffic when an S-U-V hit the officer’s squad car, and then Bobholz. The victim was then pushed against his tow truck – and he fell onto the road where he was then hit by a passing semi-truck. The incident remains under investigation.


4 Injured in Highway A Accident


4/21/11 – Four people suffered minor injuries, including a young child, in a two-vehicle accident just outside of Fox Lake last night.  Sheriff Todd Nehls says a car making a right turn onto Highway A off of Cordelia Street failed to yield the right of way and was rear-ended by an east bound vehicle.  The four people were taken to the hospital and none of the injuries were considered serious.  Citations are pending for the driver of the first vehicle.


Recall Petitions Targeting Democrats


4/21/11 – Petitions will be filed today to order recall elections against three more Wisconsin senators. And for the first time, Democrats will be the targets. Organizers say they have more than enough signatures to order recall votes against Dave Hansen of Green Bay, Jim Holperin of Conover, and Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie. Eight Democrats and eight Republicans have been targeted for their actions involving the bill to limit collective bargaining by public employee unions. So far, recall petitions have been filed against four Republicans – Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, Dan Kapanke of La Crosse, Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac, and Luther Olsen of Ripon. The deadline for filing those petitions is just days away.