News – December 7, 2016

Homicide In Fox Lake, Three Charged


12/7/16 – Three people have been charged in connection with an apparent homicide in Fox Lake. LaVerne Ware Jr. had cash bond set at $200-thousand dollars Tuesday in a Dodge County courtroom. The 36-year-old Fox Lake man is charged with one felony count of Hiding A Corpse in connection with the death of his live-in girlfriend Sesalie Dixon. Dodge County investigators responded to a residence on We Go Trail in Fox Lake Sunday afternoon after a report of a possible homicide. Dixon was found in the cab of a pick-up truck concealed in a garage at the Mickey property, one day after family had gathered at the very same residence following a funeral. Vernon Mickey, who reported the incident, had a signature bond set at $5000 yesterday. The 57-year-old Fox Lake man is charged with one felony count of Aiding a Felon. According to the criminal complaint, Dixon was killed early Saturday evening and Mickey had learned of the death by early Sunday morning. Mickey told investigators that he had feared for his own life as Ware had said he “would not leave any witnesses.” Mickey said he made up an excuse to leave his house Sunday afternoon to call police. Also charged with felony Aiding a Felon is 64-year-old Marjorie Jones who is the mother of Ware and the live-in girlfriend of Mickey. She is being held on a $25-thousand-dollar cash bond. Ware allegedly told his mother of the murder and she was uncooperative with investigators. Ware and the victim reportedly had a tumultuous five-year relationship with law enforcement frequently responding to domestic abuse calls at their Fox Lake residence. An autopsy conducted by the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiners Officer concluded that the death was consistent with a homicide. The Dodge County District Attorney has indicated that additional charges will likely be filed against Ware. A preliminary hearing for Ware and Jones is slated for next week while Mickey is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next month.


Possible Breakthrough In Sex Offender Placement


12/7/16 – A possible breakthrough in the effort to place two violent sex offenders in Dodge County.  At Robert Larson’s review hearing yesterday, State Attorney Annie Jay told Judge Joseph Sciascia that the Department of Health Services was recently contacted by a housing vendor out of Fond du Lac who expressed interest in working with the department.  At a hearing last Friday for the other Chapter 980 offender, Jonathan Miller, DHS’s Dr. Stephen Kopetskie said 232 houses have been assessed in the last six months.  He noted 15 were viable options but said none were currently available since the vendors did not want to deal with the state.  The Fond du Lac vendor reportedly has never worked in Dodge County so no deal is expected for at least a few weeks.  Previous placement attempts for Larson and Miller in Brownsville, Reeseville, and Lomira each failed, and the attempted Brownsville placement led to state Act 156, which was enacted in March and prohibits the placement of violent sex offenders on any adjoining property within 1,500 feet of a child’s residence.  Previous law only restricted properties within 1,500 feet of places children might commonly gather, like schools, churches, and parks.  In the past week, the judges in both cases have stated that Act 156 does not apply to either man since their supervised releases were granted by the court prior to its enactment.  However, the judges can still use their discretion in approving or striking down any potential location.  Until suitable housing is found, both men are staying at Sandridge Secure Detention Facility in Mauston.  Larson has review hearings set for January 26 and February 8.  No further court activity has been announced for Miller.


BD Police and Fire Commission Hears Update On K9


12/7/16 – The Beaver Dam Police and Fire Commission received an update yesterday on their newest K9 unit. Officer Kevin Hall and his K9 companion Yeti have been on the beat for seven months. In that time, the German Shepherd has been used 103 times resulting in 33 arrests or apprehensions. In some cases, the threat of just using the dog resulted in compliance. Most of the time, Yeti has been used is in traffic stops. Some positive hits have resulted in municipal citations for small quantities of drugs but there have also been large discoveries. Hall says a half-pound of cocaine has been recovered and more than a half pound of marijuana, all with an estimated street value of around $50-thousand dollars. Yeti is “dual-purpose” dog which – in addition to narcotics detection – means he is trained to conduct evidence and building searches, criminal apprehensions and the tracking of a fleeing or missing person. The two-year-old dog is a “passive detection” dog, which means it would sit quietly once something is detected; as opposed to an “aggressive dog” which would bark or scratch to alert their handler. Yeti works third shift while narcotics detection dog Blade works second shift with Officer Nathan Keener.


Trump Loses Eight Votes In Dodge County Recount


12/7/16 – President-elect Donald Trump lost eight votes in the recount conducted in Dodge County. Clerk Karen Gibson says Trump had a total of 26,635 ballots cast, eight fewer than the total announced following the election and a correction from our previous report. Democrat Hillary Clinton and Green Party Candidate Jill Stein saw no change in their totals.  A total of 43,078 ballots were cast, 13 more than originally counted.


The state Elections Commission says small discrepancies and human errors have been found in more than 20 counties — but no more than 35 votes were affected in any one place, and it appears that Trump still has virtually all of his 22-thousand vote Election Night lead intact.


The commission also says it’s confident that the presidential recount in Saint Croix County is accurate, despite broken warranty seals on voting machines. The commission released an affidavit Tuesday from a technician who said he broke the seals to make sure that modems on the scanners were working properly. The commission said Jill Stein’s campaign, which asked for the recount, was satisfied with the accuracy of the ballots which went through the machines in Hudson. Saint Croix County completed its recount, which gave Republican Donald Trump one additional vote above Democrat Hillary Clinton.


Dodge County One Step Closer To New Partnership


12/7/16 – Progress is being made on a proposed economic development agreement between two local counties.  The Dodge County Executive Committee this week signed off on the latest draft of an agreement with the Jefferson County Economic Development Consortium to collaborate development efforts through the newly created public-private Glacial Heritage Development Partnership.  After the committee expressed concerns with the document that was presented last month, Dodge County Administrator Jim Mielke says changes were made, including stipulations that guarantee Dodge County a spot on the partnership’s 12-person governing board and requires that board to report to the county board annually and to various county officials on a semi-annual basis.  Mielke says Dodge County would only have one representative, while Jefferson County would get 11, since Jefferson County would be a much larger financial contributor.  Dodge County included $85,000 worth of funding for the partnership in its 2017 budget.  Funding will come from the county’s sales tax revenues with no contribution expected from Dodge County municipalities or businesses.  The partnership’s goal is to coordinate the area’s economic development efforts by growing businesses and attracting and developing workforce talent.  The latest proposal will be presented to the full county board later this month with possible action in early 2017.  The goal is to begin the five-year partnership by March 31.


Gottlieb Defends Governors Transportation Plan


12/7/16 – Wisconsin’s transportation chief defends his boss’ demand for no new road taxes or fees — but he warns that Governor Scott Walker’s stance could lead to more crumbling roads and more debt later on. At a daylong hearing Tuesday, Mark Gottlieb told an Assembly panel that in eleven years, 42-percent of Wisconsin’s federal, state, and Interstate highways will be in poor shape if new revenues or other solutions are not found. He also said 25-cents of every highway tax dollar would eventually go toward debt under Walker’s plan to borrow one-half billion dollars for road work in the next two years, while some planned improvements could be delayed for decades. Still, Gottlieb says Walker has determined that “now is not the right time to raise taxes on Wisconsin businesses and families.” G-O-P Assembly finance chair John Nygren called it a “disinvestment” in roads — and while county and municipal leaders praised the governor’s plan to increase aid for local roads, they said previous funding cuts have left their communities with poor streets.


Food Poisoning Possible Culprit In UW Band Illness


12/7/16 – Sixty-three members of the U-W Madison marching band got sick while they were at the Big Ten Conference championship football game in Indianapolis. W-I-S-C T-V says some musicians had nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting just before the game. Other members fell ill throughout last Saturday night’s event, 12 were taken to hospitals, and nine never did perform. Health officials are still trying to figure out what happened, but they suspect food poisoning. Band director Mike Leckrone says his group had breakfast and lunch at a hotel, and they had box lunches at the stadium.


Wisconsin Running Out Of License Plate Combinations


12/7/16 – Wisconsin is running out of number and letter combinations for its license plates. And starting next year, a seventh character will be added to the standard three numbers and three letters the D-O-T has assigned to its standard plates since 1986. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl says the first plates started at the top of the alphabet and number scales — something like A-B-C 1-2-3. In 2000, the numbers were put at the beginning and the letters at the end. Now, we’re seeing more plates with letters that start with “X,” “Y,” and “Z” — and by next summer, Jeremy Krueger of the Division of Motor Vehicles says a seventh character will create 100-million more combinations as opposed to the 20-million in the current system. But he says the agency needs to check with law enforcement and others to make sure it doesn’t put a crimp into their operations.