“News – August 8, 2009”

WI Dealers Breath Sigh of Relief


8/8/09 – Relief and excitement from the president of the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association.  William Sepic says President Obama’s signing of an extra two billion dollars for the “Cash for Clunkers” program will help improve the climate for car buyers and dealers.  Despite some grumbling about the paperwork involved, Sepic says the ‘clunkers’ program is bringing customers into the dealerships.  He says pent-up demand which dealers believed existed is finally being released by the publicity over “Cash for Clunkers,” and the thawing of frozen credit markets.


WTPD Investigating Bank Robbery


8/8/09 – Authorities in Watertown are investigating a bank robbery that occurred late Thursday afternoon.  Officials say a man in his late 20’s to early 30’s entered the Associated Bank on Main Street around 5 p.m.  The man demanded money by passing a note to the teller though it’s unknown if he was armed.  Police are not releasing how much money was stolen.  The suspect is described as a white male, 5’10” to 6′ tall, medium build, with a full beard and mustache wearing a dark baseball hat, black pullover shirt, and blue jeans.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Watertown Police Department or the anonymous WE-Tip Line at 1-800-78-CRIME.  Police are also offering a reward $1000 for information resulting in a conviction.


Fundraiser Items Stolen from Church


8/8/09 – Police are looking for those responsible for the theft of 50 plastic flamingos from the front lawn of Zion Lutheran Church in Theresa.  Officials say the popular lawn ornaments were taken between midnight and 5am Thursday.  They belonged to the Lucky Clovers 4H Club who were selling them as part of a fundraiser.  Organizers say the stolen flamingos are valued at a total of $114.  Police have no suspects.


Kapanke Facing Pressure from Wisconsin Democratic Party


8/8/09 – The Wisconsin Democratic Party wants to take congressional candidate Dan Kapanke to court.  The party is suing the state senator, demanding he turn over the records from a forum held in La Crosse last June.  The Democrats maintain Kapanke’s state staff improperly coordinated the economic forum.  They say it was campaign-related because his campaign staff issued an advisory.  Kapanke’s office says no records were kept, so they are not available.  Kapanke is a Republican from La Crosse who has announced he will oppose Democratic Congressman Ron Kind in the 2010 election.  Kind’s party members are asking for a criminal investigation.  It has also contacted the Government Accountability Board.


Doyle Aid Resigns


8/8/09 – Governor Jim Doyle’s chief legal counsel has resigned.  The action comes after the Wisconsin Republican Party filed a complaint because Chandra Miller Fienen is not licensed to practice law in this state.  The resignation was turned in yesterday.  The governor’s office had defended when the allegation came to light, saying she didn’t need a license because she never represented the governor in court.  She was an adviser.  The attorney general’s office functions as the governor’s lawyer on courtroom matters.


Obama Health Care Plan Would Have Same Issues as Current Programs


8/8/09 – Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus says President Obama’s public choice option on health care would offer the same problems seen currently with Medicaid and Medicare – failing to compensate medical providers the full amount.  While a procedure may cost 100 dollars, the government will reimburse only 50.  Priebus says this will force the clinics and hospitals to increase rates on private insurers making premiums outrageously expensive for customers to maintain their policies, eventually causing private plans to fold.  The GOP leader admits reform needs to happen.  He says it’s not the quality of health care that is the problem, it’s the price.


ALCU to Represent Crivitz Man for Flying Flag Upside Down


8/8/09 – The ACLU agrees to represent a man from Crivitz whose flag was confiscated when he flew it upside down.  American Civil Liberties Union Wisconsin director Chris Ahmuty says he hopes the lawyers representing the village of Crivitz have a stronger understanding of the First Amendment than village authorities have shown.  Vito Congine flew the upside down flag in protest last month after the village board turned down his application for a liquor license.  Police seized the flag just before a Fourth of July parade was to start.  They returned it the next day, but Congine called the act theft and trespassing.  The ACLU says it thinks the case will likely be resolved without going to court.


Number of Train Passengers Drops on Hiawatha Line


8/8/09 – The recession is being blamed for a drop off in the number of riders on the Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha line.  The trend emerges as Wisconsin tries to fast-track a 47 million dollar loan to buy a pair of 14-car trains for the route.  The Department of Transportation says it believes ridership will rebound by the time the new trains get here.  Travelers on the Hiawatha nearly doubled in number between 2002 and 2008.  However, the drop in ridership was seen in the first six months of this year.


Riverfest Continues Today


8/8/09 – The 23rd Annual Riverfest continues in Watertown today with a host of big musical acts among other activities.  Those performing include the Tempters from 3 to 4:30, the Twang Dragons will follow them at 5:30, and finishing up the main state at 7:30 will be the always popular Johnny Wad. Other events today include the Taste of Watertown which runs 11am to 11pm.  The day wraps up with Fireworks at 10pm.  For more information you can visit watertownriverfest.info.


Mustskis Go National


8/8/09 – The Beaverland Mustskis are performing Saturday afternoon in the National Championships.  The water ski team from Beaver Dam is one of 14 competing in the 35th Annual Division One Show Ski Association National Championships in Loves Park, Illinois.  Organizer Diane Bell says each club has one hour to present a theatrical performance on water skis. Judges score acts by awarding points based on originality, presentation and execution.  The team competition will start at 7:30am Saturday and Sunday. The Beaverland Must Skis are performing around 2pm Saturday and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.  The competition is also available for viewing on a live web cast.  To view the live web cast, go to: http://events.usoc.org/waterski.