News – December 16, 2011

Beaver Dam Man Killed in Accident

12/16/11 – A 49-year-old Beaver Dam man was killed early this morning after rolling his vehicle. It happened on Highway G near the Beaver Dam Conservation Club just before 3:45 a-m. According to the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department, the man was driving east when his vehicle drifted off the road and onto the shoulder. He over-corrected trying to get back onto the road, and the vehicle began to spin. The car eventually entered the ditch sideways causing it to overturn and roll. The man was thrown from the car and became pinned under it. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Speed does not appear to be a factor, but it’s unknown right now whether alcohol had an impact. The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of family. The death is Dodge County’s 9th traffic fatality in 2011.

FDL Teen Gets Jail Time

12/16/11 – A Fond du Lac teen will spend six months in jail for burglarizing two homes in Mayville. 19-year-old Devin Dutzle stole cash, credit cards, knives and electronics in the two break-ins in May of 2010. His 20-year-old brother Andrew Dutzle previously received the same sentence for his role in the break-ins. Devin Dutzle pleaded “no contest” to three felony counts and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement on a fourth; a misdemeanor was dismissed but read into the record. A neighbor witnessed a suspicious vehicle in the area of the break-ins and jotted down the license plate. Authorities connected that to a juvenile accomplice who used a stolen credit card online. Dutzle was also placed on probation for four years.

Madison Man Sentenced for 6th OWI

12/16/11 – A 48-year-old Madison man was sentenced yesterday in Dodge County court (Th) to 22-months in prison for his sixth Operating While Intoxicated offense. Roy Hence had previously pleaded “guilty” to one felony OWI charge and had a second count dismissed. According to the criminal complaint, a motorist called authorities in March reporting that a car driven by Hence was swerving on Highway 151 near Columbus. Hence was also sentenced to three years of extended supervision.

Hopper Trial Date Set

12/16/11 – A trial date has been set for former state Senator Randy Hopper on his OWI charge. Hopper was arrested October 16 on his way back from a Packer game on Highway 151 and this week a Fond du Lac County judge set a March 22 jury trial date. A witness told authorities that the 45-year-old Hopper was driving “all over the road”. Officers said Hopper refused to take a preliminary breath test after he was stopped – and he failed a series of field sobriety tests. After a few hours in jail Hopper agreed to the breath test and authorities said his blood alcohol level was still above the minimum of point-zero-eight. It’s the first O-W-I arrest for Hopper, who was recalled from his Senate post in August due to his support for the law which limits public union bargaining.

DC FSA Announces Election Results

12/16/11 – The Dodge County Farm Service Agency has announced the winner in the recent county committee elections. Dale Macheel of the Town of Westford was re-elected to the position. Macheel will continue to represent land owners and operators in the Townships of Oak Grove, Beaver Dam, Calamus, Burnett, Westford, Fox Lake, Trenton, and Chester for a three-year term. The Dodge County FSA Committee for 2012 will also consist of Ronald Twardokus representing the Townships of Leroy, Lomira, Williamstown, Theresa, Hubbard, Herman, Rubicon and Ashippun; and Roger Hildebrandt representing the Townships of Elba, Lowell, Portland, Shields, Clyman, Emmet, Hustisford and Lebanon. The county committees are a direct link between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the community, making local decisions about federal laws.

Nationwide there are over 8,000 committee members serving over 2,400 county offices. One-third of these seats are up for election each year.

Fitzgerald Wants to Make It Illegal to Sign Multiple Recall Petitions

12/16/11 – The Republican leader of the state Assembly wants to make it against the law to sign a recall petition more than once. Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon introduced a bill Thursday to make that a crime. But it would not apply to the current recall efforts against his party’s governor, lieutenant governor, and four senators, including Juneau Republican Scott Fitzgerald. The Legislature is not scheduled to return to session until January 17th – and that’s the same day as the deadline to file the current recall petitions with the Government Accountability Board. It’s already against the law to use a fake name or somebody else’s name to sign an election petition. Those who challenge fraudulent signatures have the burden of finding them – not the Accountability Board.

United Wisconsin Says 507K Signatures Collected

12/16/11 – United Wisconsin – the group that’s leading the recall effort against Governor Scott Walker – said Thursday it has over 507-thousand signatures to force a recall election. The group and the State Democratic Party need 540-thousand valid signatures to order the election – but they’re seeking around 720-thousand signatures to make sure they have enough good ones. Organizers say they won’t turn in the petitions until the state’s deadline of January 17th – and they won’t be made public until they’re turned in. There have been reports of people signing duplicate petitions.

Walker and GOP File Lawsuit Over Duplicated and False Names on Petitions

12/16/11 – Governor Scott Walker’s campaign asked a judge Thursday to force the state elections’ agency to throw out duplicated and false names on the petitions to recall the governor. The head of the state G-O-P is also a plaintiff in a suit against the Government Accountability Board. They said the board acted unconstitutionally this week when it decided not to automatically strike names like “Mickey Mouse” and “Adolf Hitler.” They said it’s up to the people who challenge the signatures to find false, duplicate, and illegible names – and then ask the board to strike them. Walker’s campaign and the G-O-P head said it violates the equal protection clause of the U-S Constitution, because it harms the rights of those who don’t sign the petitions. The head of the Accountability Board, Kevin Kennedy, has said the law would have to be changed to do a more thorough review – and his department would need more resources. This week, the board agreed to hire up to 50 people to review up to one-and-a-half million signatures for possible recall elections against the governor, lieutenant governor, and four state senators. The board also said it would ask a judge for 60 days to review the petitions instead of the allowable 31 days. The Walker campaign’s suit was filed in Waukesha County, under a recent state law that allows lawsuits against the state to be filed in any county a plaintiff chooses.

Fitzgerald Wants GAB Disbanded

12/16/11 – State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald says the four-year-old Government Accountability Board should be disbanded, because it’s not working the way it should. The Horicon Republican says the state should bring back something similar to the separate elections and ethics boards that the new agency replaced. The Accountability Board has been criticized by Republicans during the recall elections over the last year – but board spokesman Reid Magney says the agency is just applying the law during partisan, controversial times. Both houses of the Legislature voted overwhelmingly to create the Accountability Board. It was their response to the caucus scandal of the last decade, in which five former lawmakers of both parties were convicted of campaigning on state time to try-and-keep their parties in control at the Capitol. Former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle appointed the six retired judges who serve on the Accountability Board, but lawmakers were nearly unanimous in confirming them. Fitzgerald said he, too,

approved the change – but in retrospect, he thought the old system quote, “worked fairly well.” The old elections board was made up of appointees from both parties. The non-partisan ethics board had members appointed by the governor.

14,600 Jobs Lost in WI Last Month

12/16/11 – Wisconsin lost 11-thousand-700 private sector jobs in November. And with additional job losses in the public sector, the Badger State lost a seasonally-adjusted total of 14-thousand-600 jobs last month. It’s the fifth month in a row that Wisconsin lost private sector jobs, at a time when employment is growing nationally. But state Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson said the figures are only preliminary – and for five months in a row, he said the final data showed that Wisconsin did better than what the initial numbers indicated. He blamed the federal government for that. The state sends its survey results to the U-S Bureau of Labor Statistics which develops the preliminary job figures and reports them back to the state. Newson said a more accurate way is needed to determine employment data. The state’s seasonally-adjusted job rate dropped from seven-point-seven percent in October to seven-point-three percent last month.