News – December 9, 2011

Alderman Critical of Fountain Inn Negotiations

12/9/11 – A Beaver Dam alderman is taking issue with the failed purchase of the Fountain Inn Tavern. Robert Ballweg says the city attorney and mayor should have called a special session of the council to gain approval before sending a letter to attorneys for bar owner Jay Hoeft stating that the city is no longer interested in the property. Mayor Tom Kennedy says there was no need to call a special session to make a decision because there was no decision for the city to make. He says the decision was made by Department of Administration not to award a grant, because some money could have been used for relocation costs, and also by Jay Hoeft who insisted on contract provisions that could have allowed him to sue for relocation costs. Ballweg says he is actually glad the city is not moving forward with the most recent contract because taxpayers would have been on the hook for relocation costs for not only Jay Hoeft but for ten other property owners. That’s because contracts with the other property owners stated that if someone received more money than the assessed value of their property, everyone would receive a comparable dollar amount. The Fountain Inn Tavern is in violation of state statute because it was constructed over the Beaver Dam River. The century-old Front Street building is the last of eleven that remained standing after a 2009 city buy-out and demolition. The city revived efforts to purchase the property after discovering there was unspent grant money from the 2008 floods still available. The DNR could order the building to be torn down at any time.

Waupun Teacher Receives National Credentials

12/9/11 – A Waupun High School teacher is one of 67 educators who earned professional certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards this year, which State Superintendent Tony Evers says is considered the highest national credential available to American educators. Marta Yedinak, who teaches Spanish, earned her certification for World Languages Other than English. Waupun Superintendent Don Childs explains what makes her a special teacher. The certification included a number of assessments that were reviewed by teachers in each certificate area to evaluate how well the educator has demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills, and practices. Childs says the district will benefit from Yedinak’s honor. Wisconsin now has 818 educators teaching in state schools who hold national certification.

Avery Alleging Civil Rights Violation

12/9/11 – Steven Avery now says his civil rights were violated before he was arrested in the brutal 2005 slaying of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County. Avery spent 18 years in prison for raping a woman — he was freed in 2003 when D-N-A evidence showed that somebody else did it — and he was arrested two-and-a-half years later after D-N-A evidence linked him to Halbach’s death. Avery now says investigators used a defective warrant when he searched his home after the murder. He wants 150-thousand dollars in punitive damages. Avery names Calumet County, former district attorney Ken Kratz, and three investigators as defendants. He filed his complaint from prison without a lawyer’s help. Halbach was beaten, raped, and burned on Halloween of 2005 at the Avery family’s auto salvage yard near Mishicot. His nephew, Brendan Dassey, is also serving a life term for the killing.

Richards Sentenced In Butschke Murder

12/9/11 – A teenager involved in the shooting death of a Jefferson County man will spend five years in prison.19-year-old James Richards had previously plead guilty to concealing a corpse and theft from a corpse. 51-year-old James Richardson of Ixonia was sentenced last month to life in prison plus five years for the actual killing of 28-year-old Beau Butschke of Ixonia. Prosecutors said Butschke was shot with a gun that Richardson stole from him a couple weeks before the mid-July shooting. His body was found at a storage facility in Ixonia 12 days after he was reported missing. Prosecutors said Richardson and Butschke were neighbors in a duplex – and they had ongoing arguments over Richardson’s refusal to properly maintain his half of the property.

Walker Seeks To Extend Senior-Care

12/9/11 – Governor Scott Walker asked the federal government Thursday for permission to continue Wisconsin’s popular Senior-Care prescription drug program. The Republican governor said he asked the Health Services Department to seek an extended waiver from federal rules. It would keep Senior-Care going beyond its scheduled expiration at the end of next year. The nine-year-old Senior-Care is popular because it has no gaps in coverage — and it’s cheaper than the drug programs offered by Medicare Part-“D.” Walker originally wanted to scale back the state’s program by making seniors enroll in Part-“D” and then purchase extended Senior-Care benefits. But advocates for the elderly said it would have seniors a lot more — and many would not have been able to afford the extended benefits. Senior-Care requires a 30-dollar enrollment fee each year, with co-pays for medicines of 5-to-15-dollars each.

Taste Testing Hard Liquor?

12/9/11 – Wisconsinites are allowed to get free samples of beer and wine before they buy them – and a state lawmaker wants to add hard liquor to the list. Assembly Republican Joel Kleefisch of Oconomowoc is looking for colleagues to sponsor a bill. It would let retail stores offer samples of up to a half-ounce. Adult customers could get three samples at a time, which would equal about a shot of booze. Kleefisch says his bill would help liquor stores by highlighting new products for customers. He says 43 other states allow samples of hard liquor – and none of them have had any trouble with it.

Majority of Teacher Unions Recertify

12/9/11 – One-hundred-84 Wisconsin public school unions, including the one at Dodgeland, have voted to stay in existence for another year — and 24 others voted against re-certifying. The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission announced the results yesterday. It held the re-certification votes, which are required each year under the new state law which limits public union bargaining. The state’s largest teachers’ union, WEAC, decided against recertifying as a statewide group — and it left the decision to local chapters. WEAC President Mary Bell called the recertifications “overwhelmingly positive.” Senate G-O-P Education Committee Chairman Luther Olsen of Ripon said the next question is whether the unions can collect their dues. The new law bans payroll deductions for dues. State officials say the voting results won’t be final for another week. About a-third of the state’s 425 school districts are operating under the new union law. The rest have contracts that were in place before the union law took effect in late June, including Beaver Dam.

GAB Speculates On Recall Process

12/9/11 – The head of the state elections’ agency says it will take longer than the legal time limit to validate up to one-and-a-half million recall petition signatures. Kevin Kennedy says the Government Accountability Board will need 60 days to determine if there are enough valid signatures for recall elections against the governor, lieutenant governor, and four G-O-P state senators. The board will need a court order to run the process for that long — because the time limit is only 31 days. Kennedy says up to 50 temporary employees will be needed to review the petitions, which must be filed by January 17th. Kennedy says the workers would be separated into teams led by people with more training. The full accountability board is expected to finalize the process when it meets next Tuesday. State Democratic chairman Mike Tate says his party might have some objections with the review procedures — but he says they appear reasonable considering quote, “the unprecedented nature of the undertaking.” The state Republican Party has not commented. Meanwhile, lawsuits are pending in both state-and-federal courts asking that the Senate recall votes use the new districts drawn up this summer. Kennedy says the Board will need guidance from the courts, because the petitions are being circulated in the old districts.

Dakota The Owl Back In Oconomowoc

12/9/11 – Dakota the owl is back home. The great-horned owl was stolen from the Wildlife-in-Need rehab center in Oconomowoc November 12th — and he soon flew away from a bedroom of one of the alleged thieves. On Wednesday, the center was told Dakota was sitting on a porch at a house about three blocks away. Rehabilitator Mandy Feavel captured the owl after he flew around for a little bit. She said the raptor was extremely tired. He was taking I-V fluids after being returned to the center — and he’ll stay in an indoor cage until he recovers. Two teenagers are charged with stealing him. Dakota has been institutionalized his entire life. He’s been a popular ambassador for the rehab center with his many appearances at schools and Scout meetings.

WBEV/WXRO Food Drive

12/9/11 – The annual WBEV-WXRO Food Drive will be held from 7-9 this morning at our studio’s in Beaver Dam. Our morning show hosts will brave the cold weather to collect non-perishable food items and cash donations outside our studios at 100 Stoddart Street. You don’t even have to get out of your car, just roll down your window and they’ll take the items right there on the street. Last year’s Food Drive resulted in $1,580 in cash donations and large quantity of non-perishable food items for the Dodge County Food Pantry.