“News-April 9, 2011”


Kloppenburg, Prosser Campaigns Descend on Waukesha


4/9/11 – Work started yesterday afternoon by about a dozen representatives of JoAnne Kloppenburg’s campgain.  They were in Waukesha examining election records at the Waukesha County Administration Center.  They were studying the 14-thousand-315 votes that the county clerk says she failed to count last Tuesday.  Votes that dramatically switched a tight race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to a runaway for incumbent Justice David Prosser.  A top state elections official was in Waukesha County at the same time.  Diane Lowe is the lead elections specialist for the Government Accountability Board’s Elections Division.  County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus revealed Thursday she had failed to save on her computer – then report – the 14-thousand-plus votes.  She says she took an extra day to verify the mistake had been made.  Representatives from Prosser’s campaign crowded the office at the same time.


Group: Spending Cuts to Cities Deeper than State Says


4/9/11 – A group that represents cities and villages says Gov. Scott Walker’s proposals to cut labor costs won’t be enough to offset deeper cuts to state funding.  Walker has said requiring public employees to pay more for their benefits will give local governments the “tools” they need to balance their budgets. But the League of Wisconsin Municipalities survey of its members found that even after those savings, local governments would have to make up about 40-percent of the cuts on their own.  Executive Director Dan Thompson says it’s hard to say how they’d make up the difference.  In addition to cuts to shared revenue, the governor’s budget also freezes property taxes, making it harder for local governments to make up the difference on their own.


Employees to Deliver Petitions to Columbia County Board


4/9/11 – A number of public employees in Columbia County are expected to deliver petitions to the county board on Monday afternoon.  According to a press release, the petitions encourage the County Board to ratify what they are calling a “fair” contract with its employees.  Organizers say hundreds of employees and citizens who work or live in the county have signed the petitions.  Columbia County is one of a number of public entities who have held off on approving contracts with their unionized employees until there is some type of resolution of Governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill that would end most collective bargaining for public employees.


Car Registration Stickers Could Be Cut


4/9/11 – In his two-year budget plan, Governor Scott Walker proposes getting rid of those vehicle registration stickers on license plates and Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb tells the legislative budget panel this week there would be a decent cost savings by eliminating them.  He says they have become out of date.  Gottlieb says the agency will save nearly $500,000 a year through printing and mailing costs.  Dan Meyer asks whether eliminating the sticker would make the job harder for law enforcement. Gottlieb tells members of the Joint Finance Committee law enforcement even now can’t rely solely on the sticker to determine whether a vehicle is legitimately registered.  They’d have to look up the license info.  Law enforcement has the ability to look up vehicle registration information from their squad.


$4M to Help Employees Impacted by Layoffs


4/9/11 – Four million dollars from the U.S. Department of Labor will help nearly 26 hundred Wisconsin workers impacted by layoffs and plant closures.  Most of the people getting the help worked in manufacturing.  That grant was announced Friday.  The funds come to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development under a federal program called Trade Adjustment Assistance.  It is aimed at helping eligible workers who lost their jobs because a company moved its operations to another nation.  Services available include job training, income support, job search allowances, relocation help, a tax credit to help cover health insurance premiums and a wage subsidy for workers 50 years of age or older.  Wisconsin got five million dollars under the same program last year.


Regionalization Project Coming Together


4/9/11 – Fall River officials are expected to get a final “letter of instructions” from the USDA for the Columbus/Fall River regionalization project. The USDA loan will allow the Village to replace the main lift station and build a wastewater force main from the Village to Charles St. in Columbus. The Village Board votes Wednesday on approval of Resolutions and Bond Council Agreements that will set in motion the federal and local funding. Those approvals include issuance of $4.2 million dollars in Revenue Bond Anticipation notes. If the terms are agreed to by the Board, bids for the regionalization work could be published within 10 days.


5 Injured in Accident


4/9/11 – Five people were injured a two vehicle accident in the Town of Beaver Dam early last night.  It happened near the intersection of County Highways A and B around 6:30 p-m.  Beaver Dam EMS responded to the scene and transported the injured people to Beaver Dam Community Hospital.  An official says all of the injuries were minor.


BD Woman Facing Drunk Driving Charges


4/9/11 – A Beaver Dam woman faces possible drunken driving charges after a clerk from a Kwik Trip store called authorities and informed them the woman was wearing her pants inside out and driving away from the store.  The Sheriff’s Department made contact with the woman at her home just after 7 p-m.  She was taken into custody on suspicion of drunk driving and taken to Beaver Dam Community Hospital for a legal blood draw.


Falkowski Waives Right to Preliminary Hearing


4/9/11 – A Horicon man, accused of running from police with a car full of guns, has waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Officers executed a high-risk traffic stop in February and arrested David J. Falkowski. According to the criminal complaint, the 42-year-old was fighting with his girlfriend and loaded his minivan with an assortment of guns. Falkowski allegedly saw police as he exited his driveway and accelerated rapidly. The responding officer says he was forced to drive his squad car backwards at a high rate before “initiating an evasive maneuver” that allowed him to narrowly miss the suspects oncoming vehicle. A brief pursuit followed that ended with Falkowski exiting his minivan near North Palmatory and East Walnut. Officers drew their rifles on Falkowski who is said to have made a move toward the back of his van before complying. He reportedly told investigators that he was trying to keep his girlfriend from damaging the firearms left to him by his father. Falkowski allegedly said that he panicked when he saw police and fled because he didn’t want his neighbors to see.  An arraignment hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday.  He could spend over 13 years in prison if convicted of the two felony charges of Fleeing and Reckless Endangerment.


Authorities Identify Boy Killed in Rock County Accident


4/9/11 – The Rock County Sheriff’s office identifies the three year old boy killed in a farm accident last Thursday as Michael R. Beyers.  The boy died when he fell out of a tractor his father was operating on a Rock County farm in the Town of Newark.  He was riding inside the tractor with his father and five year old brother at the time, while their father plowed a field behind their home.  The tractor was on rough terrain and running parallel to a hill at the time.  The victim was reportedly sitting next to the left door of the tractor, which was on the down slope of the hill.


Dane County Deputy Cleared of Wrongdoing


4/9/11 – A Dane County sheriff’s deputy has been clear of any criminal liability for his part in a high-speed chase that resulted in a death.  The investigation of the case showed the pursuit of Wayne O. Stevens Junior last less than a minute and had been called off just before Stevens crashed on Midvale Boulevard in Madison.  Stevens reportedly lost control while going faster than 80 miles an hour on a city street, slamming into a tree.  When examining crash debris, investigating officers found 10 shotguns, rifles and handguns — several of which were stolen items.  Deputy James Nisius was the lead deputy in the chase last Monday and the DA’s office cleared him Friday.


Bill on Open Enrollment Making its Way Through the Legislature


4/9/11 – A bill being taken up the Assembly Education Committee would expand the program which allows children to attend school outside of their home district. Wisconsin parents that want to utilize Open Enrollment only have about three weeks in February to apply for a fall transfer.  State Senator Luther Olsen’s proposal expands the application process from early February to late April. The bill also allows a student to change districts during the year for exceptions such as homelessness, custody issues, bullying or families with military orders.  A Mukwonago mother and virtual school advocate testified today in support of these provisions.”We know that days count, weeks can hurt, months can stifle. Time is of the essence when your child is not learning or is at risk in the classroom,” said Rose Fernandez.  Dan Rossmiller with the Wisconsin Association of School Boards expressed concern about another exception, number seven, which allows for parents to move the child without requiring an explanation. He said in this case the resident district has no way of knowing what deficiencies may have been afoot that caused the student to leave. The Department of Public Instruction would also like a rewriting of exception seven.  Open Enrollment has been in effect in Wisconsin since the 1998-99 school year.