News February 7, 2009

Warmer Temps Could Lead to Flooding

2/7/09 – We may all be pining for warmer temperatures right now but a combination of mid-40’s and rain early next week could cause high water levels and possible flooding on area rivers and streams. The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook beginning this morning through next Thursday. The statement reads “the combination of runoff from snow melt with warm temperatures this weekend and early next week, along with moderate rain Monday into Monday night, will cause a rise in area rivers and streams.” There’s a good chance of rain totaling up to a half-inch on Monday. The rise in water levels could also lead to the break-up of ice on rivers and streams, so if ice jams up under bridges, it could cause sudden flooding. The hazardous weather outlook is for 20 Wisconsin counties including Dodge, Jefferson, Columbia, and Fond du Lac.

FDL Make Arrest in 32-Year-Old Murder Case

2/7/09 – Fond du Lac police make an arrest in a 32-year-old murder case. Fifty-three year old Thomas Niesen of Ashwaubenon will face charges in connection with the death of Kathleen Leichtman in July 1976. Leichtman was a 19 year old go-go dancer for the strip club the Other Place. Her body was found in July of that year. She had been stabbed and her throat was slashed. Police Major Kevin Lemke says Niesen became a suspect last fall after the processing of some evidence from the case. Police Chief Tony Barthuly says solving the case will give Leichtman’s family, and the investigators who worked on it over the years, some closure.

State Handling Record Request for Jobless Benefits

2/7/09 – With unemployment at its highest in 17 years, Wisconsin officials say they’re doing all they can to keep up with record requests for jobless benefits. The state has hired 83 more people, and re-assigned other agency workers, to handle a 67-percent increase in unemployment applications from a year ago. Workforce Development secretary Roberta Gassman says she knows it’s hard for somebody to be patient in this situation. But she’s asking applicants who face long delays or lose their phone connections to understand – and she vows that every claim will be responded to. Gassman made her comments today, after the U-S Labor Department reported a seven-point-six percent unemployment rate for January. Almost 600-thousand jobs were cut nationally last month. Three-point-six million jobs have been lost since the recession began 15 months ago – and half those reductions came in the last three months.

32nd Infantry Brigade Sendoff

2/7/09 – Farewell ceremonies are being held throughout Wisconsin, as over three-thousand National Guard troops get ready to go to Iraq. In Green Bay Thursday, Packers’ president Mark Murphy and three players joined friends-and-relatives in sending off 132 members of the Red Arrow Brigade. Mason Crosby, James Jones, and Jordy Nelson were among those attending a ceremony in the Lambeau Field atrium. Crosby, the Packers’ kicker, said it was an honor to meet some of the men-and-women who fight for our freedom. The unit gave Murphy an award for the Packers’ support. A similar sendoff took place in Waupun as well. The 32nd Infantry Brigade has 36 locations throughout Wisconsin. The troops will start training at Fort Bliss in Texas this month, before spending 10 months in Iraq. It’s the largest Wisconsin National Guard deployment since World War Two. About half the Green Bay unit had served in Iraq in 2005.

Abortion Rights Group Happy with Decision

2/7/09 – The head of an abortion rights group applauds the decision to offer second trimester abortions in Madison. Lisa Subeck, Executive Director of NARAL Pro Choice Wisconsin, says it’s important for the procedure to continue to be offered in Madison, where the only doctor offering the procedure is retiring soon. Subeck says the unanimous vote of approval is significant. She says it shows the board of the Madison Surgery Center knows what’s right from a health care prospective for women. Abortions will be offered for women who are up to twenty-two weeks pregnant. Pro-life groups vow to demonstrate outside the clinic.

Newly Appointed Chiefs Attend Training

2/7/09 – A number of area police chiefs participated in training put on the by the Wisconsin Department of Justice recently. Among the 28 newly appointed chiefs included Interim Chief Dennis Weiner of Columbus, Chief Daniel Link of the Hustisford Police Department and Chief Tim Roets of the Watertown Police Department. Topics covered during the week long training seminar were leadership, budgeting, recruitment and labor relations. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen spent some time with the group during the week and briefed them on the state and federal resources available to assist local law enforcement agencies. Van Hollen said quote “I was pleased to spend some time during the week with each of these new law enforcement leaders as they prepare to not only fight crime but to lead. They have my commitment to be their partner as they do both.”

Mock Trial Tournament in Dodge County

2/7/09 – Seven high schools are competing in a mock trial tournament setting at the Dodge County Courthouse today. Eighty Wisconsin high schools are gathering across the state as part of the 26th Annual Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Tournament sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin. The top 12 teams advance to statewide competition in Madison on March 15th and 16th with the first place winner representing the state in the national competition in Atlanta, Georgia in May. The seven teams competing at the Justice Center in Juneau are from Beaver Dam, Dodgeland, Hustisford, Kewaskum, Lodi, Mayville and Watertown High Schools. (Bob Nelson, KFIZ)

18-year-old Student Facing Blackmail Charges

2/7/09 – A prosecutor says he’ll try to keep victims from having to testify against a former student charged with blackmailing boys for sex. Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel says there’s probably enough evidence on Anthony Stancl’s computer to convict him. The 18-year-old Stancl is accused posing as a girl on a Facebook Web site – convincing boys to send him nude pictures – and then blackmailing some of them, forcing at least seven boys to have sex with him. At least 31 of Stancl’s former classmates at New Berlin Eisenhower High School have come forward. Authorities believe there were more victims, but nobody else has come forward since the case made national news yesterday. Schimel said the defendant’s computer had 300 photos and movie clips of the victims. A judge will decide February 26th if there’s enough evidence to order a trial.

The Return of Gas Tax Indexing?

2/7/09 – One group maintains transportation infrastructure would benefit from a return to gas tax indexing. Craig Thompson with Wisconsin’s Transportation Development Association says there were several factors behind the decision to end indexing three years ago. Thompson says there was an erosion of the public’s trust that all dollars from the gas tax were going back into the transportation system. There’s a problem, though, with not having the income generated by indexing and it’s happened before. Thompson says the infrastructure was allowed to crumble during the 1970s, meaning the gas tax had to be bumped 11 cents in the 80s. The governor is expected to call for a return of gas tax indexing in his state budget.

Dairy Settles Complaint with DNR

2/7/09 – A northeast Wisconsin dairy has agreed to pay 46-thousand-dollars to settle a state water pollution complaint. The state Justice Department announced the settlement today involving the United Meadows Dairy of Wrightstown. The D-N-R said the dairy’s manure pit twice went over its top in 2005 – and it also spilled in 2007. As a result, tens-of-thousands of gallons of liquid manure spilled into Apple Creek and the Fox River. The settlement also requires the dairy

to upgrade its manure pit, loading platform, liquid waste collection, and feed storage area. The United Meadows Dairy has about 525 cows.