“News – August 11, 2009”


Benson Sentenced to 30-Years


8/11/09 – Former surgeon Mark Benson might have gotten Wisconsin’s toughest prison sentence ever for homicide by intoxicated driving.  He was given 30 years yesterday for causing the April 2008 rear-end crash that killed Oconomowoc educator Jennifer Bukosky, her unborn child, and her 10-year-old daughter.  Benson admitted being high on prescription drugs at the time.  But because he’s a three-time drunk driver, it spurred calls by the governor and Legislature for tougher laws against O-W-I.  Waukesha County Circuit Judge Mac Davis said he could think of only one other case in Wisconsin where a person convicted of homicide under the influence got 25 years.  But the judge said the public needed to be protected from the 56-year-old Benson.  He’ll be locked up until just before his 87th birthday.  Bukosky’s father Michael said Benson should die in prison, saying quote – “He should not be able to kiss his wife or embrace his daughters until I am able to do so.”


Father and Son Charged in Illegally Killing of Buck


8/11/09 – A father and son have been charged after the DNR determined they were responsible for shooting a 26-point buck outside of the gun hunting season.  24-year-old Anthony Nisiewicz of Horicon faces six charges while his father 45-year-old Wayne Nisiewicz faces two charges.  Anthony Nisiewicz told DNR officials, who investigated the incident after neighbors reported hearing gun shots on New Years Eve, that he was hunting on his parent’s property when he shot the buck with a bow and arrow.  His father corroborated the story but after an informant sent pictures to the DNR showing the big buck in the Nisiewicz’s shed they obtained a search warrant.  It was at that point they sent parts of the buck off to a laboratory where it was determined it had been shot with a shotgun.  The father and son are due in court later this month.


No Marshal Yet in Cambria


8/11/09 – Cambria officials have given themselves the opportunity to hire a marshal as the village’s lone law enforcement officer but stopped short of actually appointing anyone at a special session last night.  At a meeting last week the board dissolved the police department for a number of reasons including, budget concerns and complaints from residents about Chief Rick Nelson.  The village plans to meet on Wednesday to discuss what their immediate options are as well as long term possibilities.  Ideas floated last night in include contracting with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department or coming to a mutual agreement with a neighboring community.


Increase in Sewer Rate Coming to BD


8/11/09 – Beaver Dam residents could see an increase in sewer rates for the first since 1997 if a proposed ordinance is passed by the city council.  But even with an increase the rates will still be lower than they were in 1985.  That’s according to Utilities Director Don Quarford who says the rate will jump two dollars per quarter to 39-dollars for the typical residential user. The increase is aimed at helping comply with regulations set forth in a grant and low interest loans presented to the city last week by Governor Jim Doyle as they expand and upgrade the current wastewater facility.  Quarford says without the grant the rate could have gone up to 50-dollars-per-quarter.    The plan is to have the ordinance read twice and to hold the public hearing at next Monday’s council meeting in an effort to meet all the guidelines of the 20-million-dollar grant.


BDPD Reviews other Facilities Statewide


8/11/09 – If the Beaver Dam Police Department had its way they would demolish the former YMCA building and replace it with a brand new station.  The city recently purchased the building but there are differences of opinion on how they should proceed on the site.  After a presentation last night to the Operations Committee, that showed other new and refurbished police facilities in the state, Chief Dale Boldt said a contractor for one of the projects looked at the old YMCA building and told him while he liked the site he didn’t feel renovating it would be cost effective. A study is being done right now to determine whether building new or renovating will be the best option for the city.


Lake Mills Teen Killed, Watertown Teen Injured in Fiery Crash


8/11/09 – Authorities have released the names of those involved in a fiery crash in Jefferson County early Sunday morning that killed one person and injured another.  Sheriff Paul Milbrath says they received a call just before 1:30 reporting a fire near the intersection of Navan Road and River Bend Road in the Town of Milford.  Once on scene deputies found a pick-up truck fully engulfed in flames.  While checking the area, authorities found 17-year-old Cody J. Smith of Watertown who had been ejected from the vehicle.  Smith was taken by Med-Flight to UW-Hospital in Madison with serious leg injuries.  After putting the fire out a second person, 18-year-old Michael Adar of Lake Mills, was found dead inside the vehicle.  There is still no word on how the accident occurred as the investigation continues.


Degorski Jury Selection Underway


8/11/09 – Jury selection got underway yesterday in the trial of a second man accused of killing seven people at a suburban Chicago restaurant owned by a Columbus native.  Prosecutors said James Degorski joined his high school friend, Juan Luna, in storming a Brown’s Chicken restaurant in 1993.  Owners James and Lynn Ehlenfeldt were shot-to-death, along with five employees.  Their bodies were found in a walk-in freezer.  Columbus native James Ehlenfeldt was an aide to former Wisconsin Acting Governor Martin Schreiber in the 1970’s – and he and his wife were both long-time Madison residents.  Degorski faces the death penalty if he’s convicted of the killings.  Questionnaires were given to 150 prospective jurors in Degorski’s trial.  They’ll be questioned by attorneys on both sides, and they’ll narrow down their choices until a full jury is seated.


Sticker-Shock for Tax Payers


8/11/09 – Taxpayers in at least some parts of Wisconsin are getting sticker-shock at their annual school district meetings.  That’s because they’re being asked to make up for decreases in state aid that the governor and Legislature ordered in the new state budget.  In Menomonee Falls, residents will be asked tonight to approve a nine-percent jump in their property tax levy for the next school year.  That district is among 99 in the state where school aid went down by 15-percent or more.  That’s not the case in Beaver Dam where the Department of Public Instruction estimated late last month that they’ll get a two-point-two percent (2.2%) increase in general aid.   However, other districts in our area will see a drop.  That includes two-point-three percent (2.3%) in Columbus, five-point-two percent (5.2%) in Waupun, and six-point-four percent (6.4%) in Horicon.  The current numbers are only estimates.  Final state aid figures won’t be available until mid-October.


Preparations for H1N1 this Fall in Progress


8/11/09 – Wisconsin schools, hospitals, and state-and-local governments are all planning for what might happen this fall – when the H-1-N-1 swine flu could return.  State officials have drafted a 135-page plan that details how this fall’s mass vaccinations will take place and Dodge County Public Health Officer Jody Langfeldt says as of right now the target vaccination group would be children. The plan also tells what might happen in the event of mass outbreaks – including the shutdowns of schools, farmers’ markets, and stores for community protection.


Internet Voting in Wisconsin Inching Closer to Reality


8/11/09 – Wisconsin is one step closer to studying Internet voting, and other ways to make it easier for people to cast ballots.  The Government Accountability Board endorsed a five-year plan yesterday that could also result in early voting on machines instead of absentee ballots – and perhaps letting people use fax or e-mail to vote absentee.  Some people asked that the board require photo I-D’s at the polls.  But the panel refused, saying it’s an issue for the Legislature to resolve.  Annette Kuglitsch of Waukesha accused the accountability panel of side-stepping the issue.  But board members said photo-I-D was outside the scope of the process for modernizing elections.  The federal government wanted the plan as part of the Help America Vote Act.  Board member Gordon Myse (myze) said Wisconsin does not have enough voter fraud to warrant I-D’s at the polls.  And he said the problems outweigh the benefits.  Board member Thomas Cane said Wisconsinites want  it, but he said the election plan was not the place to address it.  Republican lawmakers tried three times in recent years to require photo I-D’s.  But Democratic Governor Jim Doyle vetoed it each time, saying it would discourage the poor and minorities from casting ballots.


Boy Sentenced to Life for Killing Father


8/11/09 – Zach Reid of Neenah has been sentenced to life in prison for strangling his father to death – and his first chance of freedom will come in 40 years.  Winnebago County Circuit Judge Scott Woldt agreed yesterday to let the 17-year-old Reid petition for a supervised release starting in 2049 – when he’ll be older than the man he killed.  Reid claimed that his father was coming at him with a knife when he strangled him in self-defense last October, during an argument about his being grounded.  He said he panicked – and that’s why he didn’t call police when he threw his father’s body in a car, and left it outside a school in Neenah.  A pre-sentence investigation showed that Reid’s claim was quote, “unbelievable.”  District Attorney Christian Gossett agreed, and wanted Reid locked up for life with no chance of release.  His mother and his 19-year-old sister both asked for leniency, saying he needs counseling to get over a long history of  abuse from his father.  Reid’s mother has promised an appeal, and says she’ll go all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.  In her words, “It’s not over.”


Unemployment Offices Closed for Furlough this Friday


8/11/09 – If you need to ask for unemployment benefits on Friday, the state wants you to do it on-line.  The unemployment call centers will be closed on Friday, so employees can take one of their 16 unpaid days off that are required of all state workers in the next two years under the new state budget.  Workforce development officials say the Internet site for unemployment claims will still be running, along with an automated phone system.  But officials recommend filing on-line Friday, because operator assistance will not be offered for those using the automated phone lines.  Here’s that automated number – 800-822-5246.  The Internet forms can be accessed from the state government’s home page at Wisconsin-Dot-Gov.


Mustskis Finish 13th at Nationals


8/11/09 – The Beaverland Mustskis finished 13th in the 35th Division One Show Ski National Championships this past weekend.  The Mustskis received an invite to compete just a week before the event but were excited for the opportunity and experience gained from the 14-team show.  The Mad City Ski Team of Madison was crowned champions for the 4th Year in a Row. The Mustskis have six more weekend shows before September 6th, including three at Tahoe Park.