News – February 1, 2011

Walker Not Concerned About Unfair Labor Charge


3/1/11 – The state government’s largest public employee union filed an unfair labor practice charge Monday against Governor Scott Walker. The Wisconsin State Employees Union accused the Republican Walker of refusing to negotiate on a contract that was supposed to take effect almost two years ago. The union asked the state’s Employment Relations Commission to extend its previous contract – and to require the Walker administration to engage in collective bargaining. During a news conference in La Crosse this afternoon, Walker replied that the state is quote, “completely legal.” With deficits in the next two budgets, Walker said the state does not have the resources to bargain in good faith. In the governor’s words, “They can file suits but the law is on our side.” Walker canceled the union’s contract extensions as of March 13th. The union said it had a tentative agreement which the Assembly approved in December. But the Senate failed to ratify the deal on a tie vote. Walker has since asked lawmakers to pass an adjustment to the current state budget that wipes out most collective bargaining powers of public employee unions. The Assembly okayed the measure, but action is being held up in the Senate which 14 Democrats stay away to delay a vote.


Obama Supports Collective Bargaining


3/1/11 – President Obama told the nation’s governors Monday what he told a Milwaukee T-V reporter 12 days ago – that public employees should not have their bargaining powers infringed to help state governments cut their spending. The Democratic president told the National Governors Association in Washington that he understands the economic challenges facing deficit-ridden states. And he said everyone should be prepared to quote, “give something up.” But Obama said it should not mean that public employees should be quote, “vilified” during budget debates. He didn’t mention Wisconsin or Ohio by name, but he aimed his comments specifically at them, as Republican governors in both states push for bills for a virtual end to public union bargaining rights. Obama said the nation must attract its best-and-brightest to public service. Without mentioning public unions, Obama said the country would not attract the best teachers quote, “if they only make a fraction of what other professionals make.” And he said the nation might not be able to quote, “convince the bravest Americans to put their lives on the line as police officers or fire-fighters, if we don’t properly reward that bravery.”


PAVE Awaiting Budget Address Numbers


3/1/11 – Domestic violence advocates will be keeping a close eye on the governor’s budget address. Jamie Kratz-Gullickson is the Executive Director of PAVE, People Against Violent Environments in Beaver Dam. She says they get $120,000 a year for domestic violence services and even a ten percent reduction in that state aid could result in major changes to their operation. As a worst-case scenario, she says they might have to cut staffing and-or scale back their around-the-clock shelter for victims of domestic abuse. The tough economy is forcing belt-tightening on the state and federal-level, and Kratz-Gullickson says, unfortunately, those same budget problems result in increased domestic incidents. There has been a 450% increase in nights of shelter given at the Beaver Dam shelter since the economic downturn in 2007. PAVE also relies on fundraising to meet part of their budgetary needs and the non-profit is hosting their Second Annual “Sweet Thanks” fundraiser this Friday at the Beaver Dam Veterans Center. Our own Lezli Young is the Master of Ceremonies and auctioneer Julius Tempkin is in charge of the dessert auction. One hundred percent of the proceeds will directly benefit PAVE of Dodge County.


Horicon Man Charged In Pharmacy Break-In


3/1/11 – A Horicon man is accused of breaking into the Marshland Pharmacy and stealing thousands of dollars worth of drugs.  Alexander Metzger is charged with felony burglary for allegedly smashing in the front glass doors to the pharmacy last September and taking over $3600 of Oxycontin.  Police were tipped to the crime by an anonymous call. According to the criminal complaint, a hair found at the crime scene matched one obtained from Metzger. When he was questioned, authorities say the 22-year-old had a white, powdery substance crusted around his nostrils that turned out to be Oxycontin. Metzger could spend over 12 years in prison, if convicted. A signature bond was set at $1000 yesterday and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for later this month.


Accused Child Molester Waives Prelim


3/1/11 – A Watertown man accused of molesting a six-year-old waived his right to a preliminary hearing Monday in a Dodge County courtroom. Cory Hammond is charged with First Degree Sexual Assault of a Child Under the Age of 12 for a pair of alleged incidents that are said to have occurred between May and November of last year. According to the criminal complaint, the 19-year-old reportedly promised the girl several presents if she kept their secret. When questioned, Hammond admitted his actions to investigators saying they were isolated incidents. He faces up to 170 years in prison, if convicted. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for the end of the month. Hammond is being held on a $20,000 cash bond.


BDFD Reminds of CO Detector Law


3/1/11 – Local fire officials are reminding residents about the new Carbon Monoxide Detector law that went into effect last month.  Beaver Dam Fire Captain Russ Johnson says all new and existing, single family and two-unit homes must install a CO detector on every floor, except the attic and garage. The alarms are only required in homes that have a fireplace, wood burning stove, attached garage or a fuel burning appliance like a stove, clothes dryer or water heater.


Columbus Paving Way For ‘Safe Routes’


3/1/11 – The first of the two contracts funding the “Safe Routes to School” project was recently approved by the Columbus Council. The City will be receiving a $250 thousand dollar federal grant to make the walk or bike ride to and from school safer for students. The $48 thousand dollar first phase is for public education and traffic enforcement improvements. The second contract for major sidewalk and bike path work will be taking place over the next two years.


Archdiocese Kicks Off Stewardship Appeal


3/1/11 – Just a month after it filed for bankruptcy, the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese has kicked off its annual Stewardship Appeal. Archbishop Jerome Listecki has encouraged Catholics to quote, “publicly demonstrate our belief in the church’s fundamental goodness and our confidence in her future.” The church filed for Chapter-11 bankruptcy in January. It says it doesn’t have the money to pay damages in a dozen pending lawsuits that accuse the church of hiding the activities of pedophile priests many years ago – thus allowing them to re-offend. The Archdiocese insists that its stewardship donations will go to church programs and cannot be used to pay for sex abuse claims. But the plaintiffs’ attorneys are expected to challenge that. And Marquette professor Ralph Anzivino says people might be reluctant to donate money for purposes they did not intend. But Milwaukee pastor Dave Cooper said he was surprised at the positive reaction he received, when he unveiled the stewardship campaign to his congregation on Sunday. He said parishioners are not happy. But he was expected to be “told off” and he wasn’t. The Milwaukee Archdiocese serves 600-thousand Catholics in 10 counties including Dodge County. Their stewardship goal is seven-point-seven million dollars, same as the previous three years. They exceeded the goal last year, but fell short in the recession-plagued 2009.