News – December 18, 2021

(Lodi) Columbia County authorities are asking the public’s help in their investigation into the deaths of three people over 20 years ago. The sheriff’s office and Lodi Fire Department responded to a home on Clar-Mar Drive on August 22, 1998. Sheriff Roger Brandner says despite the best efforts of neighbors and emergency responders, Cheryl Cady and her children, Cory Cole and Bria Meitner succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Brandner says for 23 years, detectives have utilized every available investigative method, technology, and resources in an effort to understand what happened. Most recently, a new team of investigators has assumed responsibility for the investigation. Brandner says this new team continues to collaborate with local, state, and federal partners to leverage their collective resources to further this investigation. He says they are appealing directly to those who knew Cheryl, Cory, and Bria. The sheriff asks those who may have known them at work, in school, from activities, or in the neighborhood to come forward. Brandner says conversations you participated in, observations you made, or any knowledge you have regarding them, may be important to the investigation. He says learning more about who they were as individuals helps them develop a deeper understanding of their relationships, challenges, and goals for the future. Brandner adds even if you think the information you have is not important or relevant to what occurred, they encourage you to come forward and let them make that determination.

(Portage) The Wisconsin State Patrol is investigating a series of crashes in Columbia County yesterday (Friday) morning. Authorities say two commercial motor vehicles crashed on I-90/94 around 9am and went off the road near the Town of Caledonia. The occupants suffered non-life threatening injuries. While crews were working to recover those vehicles, a secondary crash happened when a semi tractor-trailer rear-ended a truck pulling a camper that was stopped in traffic. The crash led to lane closures, but the State Patrol says no one was hurt. The driver of the semi was cited for following two closely.

(Theresa) A two-day jury trial was scheduled yesterday (Friday) for a Theresa woman charged with stabbing another person multiple times. Michele Schacht is facing felony charges of First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety, Aggravated Battery, and Substantial Battery. Schacht allegedly stabbed the male victim with a large kitchen knife in the neck, thigh, and stomach last December. The victim also reportedly said that Schacht punched him in the face twice. According to the criminal complaint, the victim told authorities that Schacht got upset and told him to leave. He added that the attack was unprovoked. If convicted, the 51-year-old faces up to 29 years in prison. The trial is slated to begin on March 15th.

(Hustisford) An Oconomowoc man is heading to trial on charges that he had a controlled substance in his system when he significantly injured a passenger in a motor vehicle accident. Ryan Rhadans waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday (Thursday) on one felony count of Injury by Use of a Vehicle-Controlled Substance. Rhadans was the reported driver during the 2016 crash that left his passenger, Timothy Bradfield, paralyzed. Blood samples that were later tested reportedly found THC in Rhadans system. If convicted, the 39-year-old faces no more than 12-and-a-half years in prison.

(Juneau) Dodge County Highway Commission officials are giving some tips for driving in wintery conditions. Highway Commissioner Brian Field says anyone who has ever slipped into a ditch knows why snow rhymes with slow. He says motorists should only travel when necessary if the roads are covered with snow and ice. Drivers should also plan extra time and take their time. He adds that the public should always be prepared to react to changing conditions on winter roads such as drifting, scattered slippery spots as well as slippery bridges and ramps. The Commissioner suggest everyone to inspect their vehicle for items including all-season or snow tires, good windshield wipers and fluid, and winter safety kits. Motorists should also dress for the weather and bring extra warm clothes. Field asks citizens to give snow removal vehicles, salting trucks, graders, and loaders ample room to do their jobs safely and stay back 200 feet. He says most of the time, snow does not cause accidents, driving too fast in snow does.

(Fond du Lac) Mercury Marine Monday recently announced three new expansions to its Fond du Lac campus to meet record demand from its global customers. Mercury will increase capacity in both its Foundry and Machining facilities in Wisconsin, adding close to 100,000 additional square feet to its now three million square foot campus. Since 2009, Mercury has invested more than $1.7 billion in capacity and expansion, growing to more than 4,000 employees in Fond du Lac. Mercury Marine President Chris Drees says expanding the two facilities will give them the opportunity to produce more engines to meet the growing needs of their global channel partners. A recent study showed that Mercury contributes $5.1 billion annually to the Fond du Lac community. Mercury will also open a 512,000 square foot distribution center near Indianapolis, Indiana to support its parts and accessories business.

(Milwaukee) Now you can call him Ambassador Tom Barrett. The U-S Senate Thursday confirmed Milwaukee’s mayor as the new ambassador to Luxembourg. President Biden nominated Barrett for the post in August, but he’s been waiting for an official vote. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson helped move Barrett’s nomination forward. Barrett’s departure kicks-off a special election for Milwaukee mayor. That field is already crowded.

(Wisconsin) The number of people in Wisconsin hospitals with the coronavirus remains high. The Wisconsin Hospital Association says about 16-hundred, 50 people were in the hospital with the coronavirus as of Thursday, including 410 in intensive care units. Those numbers are similar to the start of the week. – WRN