News – April 8, 2016

Waupun School To Survey Residents On Referendum


4/8/16 – Residents in the Waupun School District should receive a mail survey about a possible November referendum within the next month.  With $36,000,000 from a previous referendum coming off the books in 2018, the district is looking to add on another $35,800,000.  Superintendent Tonya Gubin says the funds would address three areas of need.  Basic maintenance includes boiler and window updates, plumbing work, and partial roof replacements.  Safety upgrades would involve moving the office area to the outside of each building so staff can more closely monitor the entrances.  According to Gubin, renovating some district classrooms could allow for a better student learning environment.  Gubin says they are also considering a $7,000,000 referendum for a high school auditorium.  The school does not currently have one, and Gubin says it would likely add $40 to the tax bill of a $100,000 property.  If approved, Gubin says referendum dollars would be invested in all four district campuses.


Born Weighs In On Authoring Chapter 980 Changes


4/8/16 – State legislators looked at sex offender residency laws in several communities in establishing new guidelines for placing high-risk offenders. The attempted placement of two so-called Chapter 980 offenders next door to children in Dodge County last year caught the attention of local legislators. State Representative Mark Born authored legislation that, for the first time, set a minimum amount of distance between an offenders residence while under supervision and dwellings with vulnerable individuals. The distance that was chosen was 1500-feet. Last month, a Dodge County judge approved the placement of the same two Chapter 980 offenders in Reeseville in a house within about 1600-feet of children. That move was ultimately halted because the house was taken off the market but not before raising questions about the flexibility and discretion in the new law. We asked Representative Born about how the 1500-foot distance was selected when authoring the bill. The Beaver Dam Republican says his staff researched all the local ordinances in the state and took the average, which was 1496-feet which made it easy to select 1500-feet. In approving the placement of the Chapter 980 offenders in Reeseville last month, Judge Joseph Sciascia said that, while not an ideal location, it did meet the minimum guidelines of the recently passed legislation.  Born says that the bulk of the law has not changed and the same discretion that judges had in revoking the original placement of the offenders last year could have been applied during last month’s ruling. Both Sciascia and Born note that failing to release offenders who successfully complete their treatment could lead to the courts declaring the Chapter 980 program illegal.  If that happens, they say all high-risk offenders being detained would be released without any supervision.  Robert Larson Jr. and Jonathan Miller remain at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston and will be back in court on May 6. No word yet on where the state will attempt to place the two Chapter 980 sex offenders.


Supreme Court Reverses Grandparent Visitation Decision


4/8/16 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court affirms the rights of grandparents to have court-ordered visitations, even when a parent objects. On a six-to-zero vote Thursday, the justices reversed earlier rulings from a Jefferson County circuit judge and an appeals court. The grandmother in the case died last year, soon after the appeals court ruled against her, but the Supreme Court decided to clarify the law anyway, saying it was a matter of “great public importance.” With only Rebecca Bradley abstaining, the other six justices unanimously agreed that a grandparent does not have to prove a “parent-like relationship” with a grandchild to have legal visitation rights. The court said the standard of proof was only required by those seeking visitations who are now grandparents, great-grandparents, or stepmothers and stepfathers.


Federal Judges To Hold Trial Over Gerrymandering Allegations


4/8/16 – Three federal judges will hold a trial on whether Wisconsin’s 2011 redistricting was illegally gerrymandered in favor of the G-O-P — and whether a Democratic standard should apply in drafting future legislative districts. The judges denied the state’s request to throw out the Democrats’ lawsuit yesterday (Thursday) — and they decided to hear testimony instead of just reviewing legal briefs. Another federal court panel upheld the state Senate and Assembly maps drawn by majority Republicans in 2011, but ordered two Milwaukee Assembly districts to be re-aligned. The state Justice Department says it’s disappointed the latest challenge wasn’t thrown out, but they’re confident they’ll win a trial that’s due to begin May 24th. Sachin Chheda of the Fair Elections Project says it’s the first time in 30 years that a partisan gerrymandering challenge has made it to the trial stage, as Democrats seek to adopt a national standard on how much a party can reshape districts to include as many of its own voters as possible.


FDL Fire/Rescue Awards Honor Casper Responders


4/8/16 – Fond du Lac Fire and Rescue handed out its annual awards yesterday.  One award honored the crews of Med 473 and Engine 483 for their attempts to save State Trooper Trevor Casper’s life last March. Casper was shot and killed in a shootout with bank robber Steven Snyder. Assistant Fire Chief Steve Beer sat down with the crews after the life-saving attempt and says it was not easy for anyone at the scene.  Beer appreciates the council approving funding that has since allowed them to purchase bullet proof vests for paramedics and firefighters.


High School Counselor Killed In Fond du Lac County Traffic Accident


4/8/16 – Fond du Lac High School is mourning the death of a guidance counselor in an apparent weather-related traffic crash. Thirty-five year old Matt Heinen of Cedar Grove died at the scene of Thursday morning’s collision on Highway 23 east of Fond du Lac. Sheriff’s deputies say Heinen’s car was going west when it slid out of control and collided with an S-U-V. That driver, a 37-year-old Mount Calvary man, was taken to a Fond du Lac hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Officials say road conditions were slippery due to falling snow, and visibility was low because it was foggy.


Beaver Dam Man Pleads Not Guilty To Hit-And-Run


4/8/16 – A Beaver Dam man accused of fleeing the scene of an accident pled not guilty at arraignment yesterday.  Mackaveli Graham is facing one felony count of Hit and Run Involving Injury along with one misdemeanor.  The 19-year-old reportedly drove off after causing a multi-vehicle accident that resulted in two people being taken to the hospital with possible head and neck injuries.  Graham allegedly fled the scene on foot and later told officers he did not have enough time to stop since his front brakes did not work.  If he is found guilty, Graham faces 9 months in jail.  He will be back in court May 23.


Woman Pleads Not Guilty To Stealing From Family


4/8/16 – A Beaver Dam woman accused of stealing from multiple family members pled not guilty at her arraignment yesterday.  Emily Hanefeld is facing five felony counts including Burglary, Theft, and Forgery; along with three misdemeanors.  The 24-year-old allegedly broke into her family’s shop in Burnett in late December and early January to steal tools.  She also took cash and checks from other relatives.  Hanefeld reportedly cashed the checks at various Beaver Dam stores and used the money to fund her heroin addiction.  If she is found guilty on all charges, Hanefeld faces over 38 years in prison.


Emerald Ash Borer Found In Two More Counties


4/8/16 – Two central Wisconsin counties are the latest to be quarantined for the emerald ash borer. That’s after the tree-killing bug was found in Stevens Point for the first time. Quarantines in Portage and Wood counties bring the total number to 41 counties where wood products’ businesses must certify with the state that their merchandise is ash-borer-free before it can be sent to non-quarantined counties. State agriculture official Brian Kuhn says paper mills in the Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids areas can still received wood from quarantined counties — but they must follow the rules for shipping out wood products. The tree-killing ash borer was first found in Wisconsin in 2008 northwest of Milwaukee and was detected in Dodge County three years ago. Kuhn says Wood County was included in the latest quarantine because it’s likely that the ash borer is present at low levels which are hard to detect.


Beaver Dam Memorial Day Theme Announced


4/8/16 – The theme of the 2016 Beaver Dam Memorial Day Parade has been announced. Lois Levenhagen with the Parade Committee says the theme this year is “Veterans Serving Beaver Dam Area 175 Years.” Levenhagen says the theme was chosen to honor veterans past and present, who have served or are serving to preserve our country’s freedom. The committee is asking service organizations, businesses, bands, schools, scouts, 4-H clubs, churches, and others to enter a float or marching group in the parade. Any veteran or current service men and women, Badger Honor Flight attendees and Gold Star Families are also invited to participate. The parade will be held on Monday May 30 starting at 9:15am. The parade will be starting at Center Street and then proceed down Front / Park Avenue continuing along Highway 33 to the Veterans Memorial at Oakwood Cemetery. Transportation will be provided for those who need it.  Pre-register by contacting Lois Levenhagen, 920 887- 0642 or Paul Lauth, 920-885-5141 or Bob Koch 920-885-6335.


Agreement Allows MPTC Students To Transfer For Bachelors


4/8/16 – A new partnership will allow some Moraine Park Technical College graduates to finish their bachelor’s degree at another school.  Starting this spring, students who complete their associate’s degree at Moraine Park can transfer to Wisconsin Lutheran College at junior status.  32 programs are eligible-17 for full transfer and 15 for partial transfer.  Moraine Park has campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac, and West Bend.


Eligible Full-Transfer Programs: Accounting, AODA Associate, Business Management – Management and Supervision, Business Management – Marketing, Business Management – Small Business Entrepreneurship, Criminal Justice – Corrections, Digital Marketing, Early Childhood Education, Graphic Communications, Human Resources, Information Technology – Network Specialist, Information Technology – Technical Support Specialist, Interactive Media Design – Animation, Interactive Media Design – Motion Graphics, Leadership Development, Medical Laboratory Tech, and Nursing.