“News – August 31, 2009”

Union Members Still Voting, FDL Officials Looking at Sales Tax Incentive


8/31/09 – Union employees at Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac will keep voting today – even though the company says it will not recognize their second vote on contract concessions.  Company spokesman Steve Fleming said the union had all of last week to re-consider its earlier rejection of the concessions – and the union should not have waited until two hours before its deadline to start the vote.  But it took all week for the national union’s leadership in Chicago to agree to a second vote, without its normal requirement for major changes in the company’s proposal.  Employees had petitioned for the re-vote.  Mercury said the union had until midnight Saturday to accept the concessions, or else the plant would start a three-year move to a non-union facility in Stillwater Oklahoma.  Early yesterday, company president Mark Schwabero thanked the community for its support, and plans for the move would begin as soon as possible.  Some Fond du Lac area leaders held  out hope that it’s not over yet – and County Executive Alan Buechel said he would ask the County Board to approve a half-percent sales tax to give Mercury incentives for staying.  Even if the plant and its 850 workers leave, leaders hope to keep Mercury’s corporate headquarters in Fond du Lac.  Those headquarters employ another 900 people.


Petri Expresses Disappointment in Failed Negotiations 


8/31/09 – U.S. Congressman Tom Petri, which represents Fond du Lac and much of our area, issued a statement in which he conveyed his disappointment that an agreement could not be reached between Mercury Marine and its employees union but said the focus must now be on keeping Mercury’s corporate headquarters in the city.  Petri said he’s hopeful that the company will strongly consider the headquarters incentive package that was recently developed by state and local leaders.


Niesen Trail Could Go to Jury Tomorrow


8/31/09 – The murder trial for a 53-year-old Ashwaubenon man could wrap up in Fond du Lac County Court early this week. Thomas Niesen is suspected of killing 19-year-old dancer Kathleen Leichtman in July of 1976 when the young Milwaukee woman came to Fond du Lac to dance at The Other Place Strip Club. Her body was found along Rolling Meadows Drive on July 15th of that year. Today the prosecution will call the lead investigator in the case, Fond du Lac Police Detective Steve Kaufman. Originally scheduled to run through this Friday, the jury could begin their deliberations tomorrow. (KFIZ)


First Day of Classes in Revamped Waupun School District


8/31/09 – It’s the start of a new school year for most kids this morning but it’s even more than that for students in the Waupun School District.  Today will be the first day of classes since the district consolidated its six schools into three last spring in an effort to cover a budget deficit of $1-million dollars.  Closed were the elementary schools in Fox Lake and Alto, as well as Jefferson in Waupun.  In the wake of the closures district officials renamed the remaining schools.  The former Washington Elementary is now Meadow View Primary and houses grades K through 2.  The Middle School is now Rock River Intermediate and has grades 3 through 6 and the high school is now Waupun Area Junior/Senior High with grades 7 through 12.


Large Fight at Town of Lebanon Business


8/31/09 – Suspects in an alleged fight took off on a school bus after authorities arrived at the scene early Sunday morning according to a briefing from the Dodge County Sheriffs Department.  Sheriff’s deputies were called to a business in the Town of Lebanon on Highway R to investigate a report of a large fight taking place.  Authorities said suspects fled in a school bus before officers arrived.  The bus was located along with one of the suspects.  A 40 year old man was arrested on suspicion of substantial battery and theft.  Authorities said a 33 year old man was taken to the Watertown hospital.  The investigation continues.


Two Injured in Columbia County Crash


8/31/09 – Two people were injured in a single vehicle accident on Highway 39 near Portage early Sunday.  The State Patrol reported that a trooper was trying to stop a car for traffic violations when the driver of the car accelerated, lost control and crashed.  The driver, 25 year old Jason Davis of Portage, was taken by Med Flight to UW Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  A passenger in the car, 23 year old Bret Thome of Portage, was treated and released.  Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.


Cold Temps Throughout State this Morning


8/31/09 – The calendar still says August – but it’s below freezing in far northern Wisconsin.  Land O’Lakes in Vilas County had 29 degrees at five o’clock.  And it was only 30 in Tomahawk, 31 in Eagle River, and 32 in Merrill.  In Beaver Dam, it was 41 degrees as of 6 o’clock this morning.  The National Weather Service said a cold ridge of high pressure moved into Wisconsin overnight from Canada.  A frost advisory remains in effect until seven this morning for the north.


Erpenbach Won’t Run for Governor


8/31/09 – State Senator Jon Erpenbach says he will not run for governor next year.  The Waunakee Democrat considered throwing his hat in the ring, after Jim Doyle said he wouldn’t run again.  But Erpenbach says he could not fully commit to the governor’s race, because he wants to spend at least some time with his teenaged children.  He says the race will get a lot of national attention, and the nominees must be extremely focused with no other issues to deal with.  The 48-year-old Erpenbach has been in the Senate for 11 years, and was the Democratic minority leader in 2003.  He says he’ll run for his current seat again next year.  Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton is the only Democrat to say she’ll run for the top job.  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and La Crosse Congressman Ron Kind are considering it.  On the Republican side, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former Congressman Mark Neumann are the major candidates.


WI Barber Who Cut Kennedy Brothers Hair to Retire


8/31/09 – A barber from Superior who once cut Ted Kennedy’s hair is hanging up his clippers for good today.  Bud Wigchers is retiring after 54 years.  He says it’s been a satisfying career – and he’s had a few famous heads in his chair.  Wigchers said Kennedy was pretty quiet while getting his haircut – and he had a hard time staying awake.  Back then, the late Massachusetts senator was tired because he was campaigning non-stop for his brother John during the 1960 presidential race.  Wigchers eventually the cut the hair of John, Ted, and Bobby Kennedy, because J-F-K’s campaign headquarters was just a couple blocks away from his barber shop.  Ted Kennedy died last week.  His funeral was on Saturday.