News – December 2, 2016

Fox Lake City Administrator Resigns


12/2/16 – The City of Fox Lake is looking for a new city administrator.  Gary Rogers recently submitted a letter of resignation to Mayor Tom Bednarek.  After serving in the position for just over three years, Rogers last day as city administrator is set for December 30.  Rogers says now is a good time to retire since he is in good health and can start to cross some items off his personal bucket list.  He feels the city is headed in the right direction as revenues have exceeded expenditures both of the last two years and a fund balance has been created. Rogers believes the city has made significant progress in the last few years, through partnerships with local businesses such as Knott Autoflex, who is planning a major expansion in 2017, and Karavan Trailers, who recently added another shift to their operation.  Mayor Bednarek says the city received confirmation this week that they received the $500,000 state grant to aid in the Karavan expansion.  Bednarek says Chuck Schranz will serve as interim city administrator until a new part-time administrator is in place.  Schranz was the city’s interim administrator in 2013 prior to Rogers’ hiring.


Wisconsin Enters Day Two Of Recount Vote


12/2/16 – This is Day Two of Wisconsin’s presidential recount. Many counties got off to a slow start Thursday as they muddled through record keeping and paperwork before getting to the business of counting the state’s 2.8-million ballots from November 8. Starting today, the state Elections Commission says it will release data from counties where the vote totals are changed — and the state says it will try to publish explanations for any change of ten votes or more. Canvassing shows that Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by about 22-thousand votes — but fourth place finisher Jill Stein is the one seeking the recount, amid reports that computer hackers took away ballots that were electronically counted. Forty-nine counties are performing hand recounts, ten others are using a mix of hand counts and electronic scans, and 13 counties are scanning the vast majority of their ballots, and they’re all supposed to finish by the night of December 12th.


State Senate Minority Leader Still Holds Lead


12/2/16 – Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling continues to lead in a recount for her state Senate seat. On Thursday, a canvassing board in Vernon County approved 46 absentee ballots on which clerks did not write their addresses as required by a new Republican law. An attorney for Shilling’s G-O-P opponent, Dan Kapanke, said the ballots should not have counted — but Shilling’s lawyer says voters should not suffer because of clerical mistakes which the voters did not make. Kapanke asked for the Senate recount after losing by 56 votes to the Democrat Shilling, of almost 90-thousand ballots cast November 8. Shilling now leads by 64 total votes after recounts were completed in the Vernon, Monroe, and Crawford County parts of the Senate district. The largest county, La Crosse, expects to finish its tally today.


Columbus Business To Join TIF District


12/2/16 – Columbus officials say the expansion of a local business will increase the city’s tax base and create new jobs.  The city council approved a memorandum of understanding this week with Fromm Family Foods that allows the family-owned pet food company to expand in the city’s fourth tax incremental financing district.  A new 90-thousand square foot production facility is planned on the Highway 16 side of the existing Columbus/Fall River Road plant.  Construction costs are estimated at $4.9-million dollars.  Fromm is the fourth business to sign on to develop in TIF 4 within the past year, following Ottery Tank Cleaning Service, Duffy Fleet Services, and Vita Plus.  Fromm also has a plant in Mequon.


Born To Serve On State’s Joint Finance Committee


12/2/16 – A local politician has been given a new committee assignment.  Representative Mark Born was appointed yesterday by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to serve on the Joint Committee on Finance.  The Beaver Dam Republican will be part of the 16-member standing committee, which is comprised of members from both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature and is tasked with reviewing the state budget.


Columbia County Officers Make Arrest In Embezzlement Case


12/2/16 – The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in an embezzlement case.  Nina McConnell of rural Lodi is facing seven felony Fraud charges after detectives searched her house yesterday and reportedly found numerous illegally obtained items.  The 33-year-old is accused of stealing $52,000 from her employer, Strander Sanitary of Lodi, through fraudulent use of company credit cards.  Signature bond was set at $10,000, and McConnell is due back in court in February.


Former WCI Inmate Waives Hearing On Attempted Homicide Charge


12/2/16 – A former inmate at the Waupun Correctional Institution accused of trying to kill a corrections officer has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.  Bobby Kimble, who is now being held in Boscobel, will proceed to trial on felony charges of Attempted First Degree Intentional Homicide, False Imprisonment, and Battery by Prisoners, all as a repeat offender. In October 2015, Kimble allegedly waited outside one of the facility’s restrooms for a female corrections officer and punched her multiple times.  The 47-year-old then reportedly locked himself in the bathroom with the woman and continued to attack her with a homemade weapon, threatening to kill her.  The officer’s injuries included swelling to the point where she could not see out of her right eye and bruising on the jaw and cheek. Other corrections officers were able to get into the bathroom and subdue Kimble.  He allegedly admitted to the crimes, saying he felt threatened by the way she looked at him over the course of several months.  If Kimble is convicted, the charges carry a combined 72 years in prison.  An additional 14 years could be added on since Kimble was previously convicted on First Degree Sexual Assault charges in Dane County.  Kimble will be arraigned February 8.


Juneau Woman Accused Of Stealing To Fund Addiction


12/2/16 – A Juneau woman has been accused of stealing from her grandfather.  Amy Maas is facing three felony Forgery counts for allegedly stealing over $500 in cash and several checks, which were cashed at multiple area businesses.  The 28-year-old reportedly admitted the thefts, saying it was to support her drug addiction.  If she is convicted on all counts, Maas faces up to 18 years in prison.


Warrant Issued For Watertown Man Accused Of Sex Assault


12/2/16 – A bench warrant has been issued for a Watertown man who failed to appear in Dodge County court on charges that he had inappropriate contact with a teenager. Charles A. Schmidt is charged with two felony counts of Sexual Assault of a Child Under 16 Years of Age. An anonymous tipster allegedly told police about the relationship the 22-year-old was having with the teen. The victim told police they were in a physical relationship for over one month before breaking up. Schmidt reportedly told authorities that he had contact with her on one-or-two occasions and was aware of her age. If convicted, the charges carry a combined maximum of 80 years in prison.


Man Headed To Trial For Alleged Fox Lake Chase


12/2/16 – A Milwaukee man will proceed to trial on charges that he led an officer on a high speed chase in Fox Lake.  Alasan Dawan waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday on one felony count of Attempting to Flee a Traffic Officer.  In July, the 19-year-old allegedly drove his vehicle in and out of a ditch on Highway 33 while he was passing an officer who was at the scene of a fatal accident.  The officer got in his car and started following Dawan, who reportedly was going up to 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, ignored the squad car sirens, and blew multiple stop signs.  Dawan stopped the vehicle after a near three-mile long pursuit.  If he is convicted, Dawan faces over three years in prison.  He will be arraigned on December 21.


UW Officials Say Chancellor Can’t Call For ‘Sanctuary Campus’


12/2/16 – The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s student government has passed a resolution demanding Chancellor Rebecca Blank and U-W System President Ray Cross declare system schools sanctuary campuses for students who entered the country illegally as minors. The Associated Students of Madison passed the resolution Wednesday. It calls on Blank and Cross to issue the declaration before President-elect Donald Trump’s January 20 inauguration, saying Trump may start deporting immigrants who entered the country illegally as minors. The resolution says such a declaration would mean campuses would not release information to federal immigration authorities on deportation issues, federal authorities would be barred from visiting campuses to arrest students who entered the country illegally as minors and campus police would be prohibited from working with federal immigration authorities. Responding yesterday, school officials said Blank does not have the authority to declare the school a sanctuary for students who entered the country illegally, as she must run the school within the constraints of federal and state law.


PAVE’s Annual Campaign Underway


12/2/16 – As the holidays approach, a local non-profit is kicking off an annual campaign.  People Against Violent Environment began its ’12 Days of Giving’ yesterday.  Each day, PAVE seeks donations of a particular food or life necessity item for its shelter.  Executive Director Teresa Nienow says today’s item is paper towels.  Tomorrow’s focus is trash bags.  That is followed by baby wipes, peanut butter and jelly, canned fruit, mac and cheese, cereal, canned pasta, canned meat, and a gift card for milk and eggs.  On the final day, PAVE is asking for individuals to sponsor one night of a person’s cost for staying at the shelter, which Nienow says is roughly $75.  Nienow says included in that cost is: food, clothing, hygiene products, a bed to sleep in, and having a shelter advocate on hand around the clock to help clients deal with their issues.  In 2015, Nienow says PAVE served 531 people for a total of 3,322 nights of shelter.  Pre-bundled grocery items can be picked up Rechek’s Food Pride.  Nienow says good donated during the twelve day campaign typically keep PAVE’s cabinets stocked for roughly five months.  More information on how to donate is available at people-against-a-violent-environment-dot-com.