News – February 5, 2011

Walker Informs Unions of Layoffs


3/5/11 – Governor Scott Walker has informed Wisconsin employee unions he intends to issue layoff notices to 15 hundred state workers.  The step is a follow up to a warning Walker gave Senate Democrats who have left the state to prevent a vote on the governor’s budget bill.  That legislation eliminates most collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin state employees.  Friday, Walker said the layoffs would be effective April 4.  He says the step is necessary to find the savings that would otherwise have come from a part of the bill that is stalled.  That portion would have forced state workers to pay a bigger portion of the cost of their benefits.


CEA Extends Teacher Contracts


3/5/11 – Columbus Teachers agreed to have their contracts extended to July of 2012. Teacher salaries will remain at levels close to this year’s pay scale. However, they would be asked to contribute more to teacher retirement and health care insurance. The extension would also see changes in the contract regarding employee layoff priorities. Board Member Alice Schmidt said negotiation sessions between Teachers, Administration and Board Members were friendlier than usual due to the many questions still unanswered in State Budget debates.


Capitol Cleanup Costs Less than Originally Thought


3/5/11 – The cleanup cost estimate for the Wisconsin state Capitol has been adjusted downward — by a factor of more than 20.  Originally, state officials said marble in the Wisconsin Capitol had been damaged by protesters and it would cost seven and a half million dollars to fix it.  Now, a second estimate puts the figure at 350 thousand dollars.  Much of the cost would be restoration of landscaping around the Capitol building.  At first, the Department of Administration had suggested it could cost as much as a half-million dollars just to assess the amount of damage.  At several times over the past few weeks there have been as many as five thousand protesters inside the building.


Milroy: “No harm, no foul”


3/5/11 – Video showed him being tackled to the ground.  Now, state Representative Nick Milroy says both he and the officer were acting too aggressively.  Milroy was quoted as saying, “No harm, no foul.”  The Democrat from South Range even had praise for the way the police handled the situation.  Milroy was trying to get into the building even as police were trying to move protesters out.  When Milroy showed his legislative ID, he was still refused admittance.  That’s when he tried to go in any way.  A Milwaukee television station shot the incident on video, but the lawmaker says the pictures made the confrontation look more violent than it was.


Public Reacts to Possibility of Democrat Senators Being Arrested


3/5/11 – News that state Senate Democrats now in Illinois could be taken into custody, is provoking strong public reaction.  The threat by Senate Republicans to have their out-of-state colleagues detained and brought back to Wisconsin, surfaced during a Milwaukee rally supporting Governor Scott Walker.  Participant Alicia Smokewitz says she wouldn’t mind if the 14 democrats are held against their will.  Outside the Milwaukee rally, standing among hundreds of pro-union demonstrators was Gil Bryan of the United Steelworkers. He says Senate Republicans have over-reached.  Walker, Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats say they are still trying to work out their dispute, as the GOP Senate leader says the state is now in a constitutional crisis.  The Senate Democrats say they are doing work while in Illinois.


Seidl Placed on Probation


3/5/11 – The 17-year-old Hartford teen accused of kidnapping a girl from her home last summer has been placed on probation.  Eric Seidl was found guilty on three amended counts of disorderly conduct.  The judge withheld sentencing for Seidl and ordered to him to serve two years of probation.  The kidnapping happened in late June of last year.  Authorities say Seidl, who had just recently met the 16-year-old girl, was able to get her to come out of her home after threatening to wake her parents up if she did not.  Once the girl was in the car the boy took off traveling to Hartford and West Bend.  Police say the girl asked to be taken home or to be set free, but Seidl refused.  She was eventually able to text a friend and authorities were notified a short time later.  Authorities located the two teens at Seidl’s home, gained entry and rescued the girl, who was unharmed.


Man Gets Probation in Burglary Case from 2005


3/5/11 – A Beaver Dam man will spend 18 months on probation in connection with a five year old burglary. Blood found at the scene of an Elm Street break-in dating back to November of 2005 was connected to Kodey B. Meredith after a routine search of the DNA Data Bank at the State Crime Lab. His DNA was collected following a recent felony conviction for Fleeing and Eluding Police.  According to the criminal complaint, the 20-year-old broke into the garage of the home in Beaver Dam and stole a wallet with cash and credit cards. Meredith pleaded “no contest” to a felony count of Burglary and charges of misdemeanor Criminal Damage To Property and Theft were dismissed but read into the record. Meredith was also ordered to pay restitution and perform 30 hours of community service.


1 Injured in Rollover Accident


3/5/11 – Alcohol is believed to have played a factor in a town of Chester accident yesterday (Fri) morning that injured one person. It happened around 2:45am on County Road I near Oakwood Road. The Dodge County Sheriff’s Department says 27-year-old Tiffany Oertel was driving north when she lost control going around a curve.  Her vehicle entered the ditch and rolled onto its side before coming to rest against a tree.  The only passenger in the vehicle, 43-year-old Michael Paul, suffered minor injuries and was taken to the Waupun Hospital. Oertel was not hurt but was cited for Operating While Intoxicated Causing Injury.


Alexander Gets Prison Time


3/5/11 – A 20-year-old Waupun man will spend two years in prison for having sex with a minor and being at an alcohol party with minors.  Colten Alexander will serve the prison time and two years of extended supervision after being found guilty on a felony bail jumping charge. In a separate case, Alexander got three years of probation on two counts of sex with a child older than 16 and two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping.  According to the criminal complaint, Alexander had sex with a girl inside his Waupun residence in early July of last year.  The girl, fearing she was pregnant, told police.  The second case revolves around an incident in mid-September of last year, when officers responded to a report of an underage drinking party.  They say they found three girls, two 15-year-olds and a 17-year-old, sitting around Alexander.  As part of his deal in the first incident, he was prohibited from having contact with females under the age of 18.  If Alexander violates his probation he will serve an additional three years in prison.


Luxury Items to be Auctioned Off


3/5/11 – Two weeks from today you could buy some luxury items at auction prices.  Clothing and jewelry bought by a convicted embezzler at Koss Corporation will go on the auction block in Milwaukee.  Sue Sachdeva was convicted of stealing 34 million dollars from the company that makes stereo headphones.  She is serving 11 years at a Connecticut prison.  Millions of dollars of items she bought with that money will be auctioned live and online at the Wyndham Hotel.  You’ll need a government-issued picture ID to attend the public preview the day before the auction, Friday, March 18.  Live bidders will have to pay a 500 dollar deposit to take part.