News February 8, 2009

Double Fatal in Jefferson County

2/8/09 – A father and son are dead following a two-vehicle accident in Jefferson County last night. It happened around 6:15pm on State Highway 106 in the Township of Koshkonong. According to Sheriff Paul Milbrath, 22-year-old Lucas White of Fort Atkinson was apparently drinking when he veered his westbound vehicle into the eastbound lanes and struck a car head-on. 41-year-old Elano Calvillo and his 11-year-old son Bailey Calvillo were pronounced dead at the scene by the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. Med-Flight landed at the scene but did not make a transport. White was treated and released at Fort Atkinson Hospital for minor injuries. Both vehicles sustained extensive damage. The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Department Major Accident Investigation Team.

Drivers Dad Named in Defamation Suit

2/8/09 – Three Houston police officers file suit against the father of Packer wide receiver Donald Driver. Their defamation suit alleges Marvin Driver Junior and activist Quanell X made false statements about the November arrest. Driver had said the police beat him during the arrest. He had to be treated at a hospital. He said officers Gilberto Cruz, Bacilio Guzman and Matthew Marin hit him, forced him to open his mouth and made him swallow cocaine. The officers say Driver lied about the circumstances and they have suffered embarrassment and loss of income.

Teen Charged As Adult in Canadian Girlfriend Smuggling Attempt

2/8/09 – A teenager from Oshkosh will stand trial as an adult. Seventeen-year-old Nickolas Robbins is accused of trying to smuggle his 14-year-old girlfriend into Canada. The charge is interfering with child custody. If convicted, Robbins could get up to three and a half years in prison. The girl told investigators she and Robbins were trying to get to Canada because he parents didn’t approve of their relationship. She didn’t have a passport or birth certificate, so Robbins piled clothes on her before trying to cross the border. Canadian authorities turned him back — and the girl was discovered by U.S. Customs officers.

Ellis: ‘Campaign Reform Package Fall Short’

2/8/09 – A longtime supporter of campaign finance reform says a recent rule change in the Assembly does more harm than good. Assembly leadership this week approved a rule that bans campaign fund raising during budget negotiations. The move has been applauded by campaign finance reform groups, but state Senator Mike Ellis says it has no teeth and it doesn’t keep the special interest groups out long enough. Ellis says it also has a huge loophole in that it allows legislative campaign committees to continue fund raising. He says that gives leadership more control over individual members. Instead of a ban during the budget, Ellis hopes to introduce a bill soon that would ban fund raising until the end of the legislative session. It would also create new regulations for political issue ads.

River Trail Agreement

2/8/09 – They’ve been working on a river trail along the Fox River for two years. Finally, agreement between officials in Little Chute and the Fox River Navigational System Authority has been reached. The village plans to pave a trail and build a pedestrian bridge from Island to Heesakker parks. A state grant will cover about half the cost. It’s possible the tight budget will force the state to pull that funding. If not, the trail should be finished by sometime next year. An unusable bridge has made Island Park virtually inaccessible for some time.

Motel Tax Lowered

2/8/09 – Amery motel owners had asked for elimination of the city’s motel tax. Mayor Harvey Stower says the city council settled on a reduction instead. The money the tax raises goes

towards tourism in the Amery area. Stower says the reduction is in line with other communities in the area, and four percent is still low for motel taxes in the Badger state. He says the cost is 15 percent more if you stay in Madison. Motel owners cited the economic downturn in calling for elimination of the tax. The decrease will take effect in April.

Milwaukee Co Sick Day Pay Halted

2/8/09 – A Milwaukee County judge stops enforcement of a city ordinance on sick days. The rule requires private employers to pay sick days for all of their workers in the city of Milwaukee. The judge granted a request for a temporary restraining order last Friday. The ordinance was to go into effect next week, but business owners called it a job killer — and challenged its legality. Milwaukee was only the third city in the country to pass such an ordinance, but 69 percent of voters supported the idea. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for next May.

Bridge To Nowhere

2/8/09 – He’d worked at PDM Bridge in Eau Claire for 37 years, but now he’s out of a job. An arbitrator has ruled that the company can fire its longtime worker for stealing — even though the scrap metal he was taking was worth less than five dollars. The arbitrator says it’s unfortunate, but the company does have that authority. The plant manager caught the man who apparently offered to buy the 15 pounds of scrap. The employee’s union filed a grievance, but the firing was upheld by the arbitrator.