News – January 15, 2009

Meeting Fox Lake Draws Huge Crowd

1/15/09 – More than 140-people packed the Fox Lake Community Center last night to voice their opinions on three proposed referendums for the Waupun School District. With the district staring at a 1-million-dollar budget shortfall for 2009-2010 school year and larger deficits in the following years, the referendums are asking for a total of around 5-million dollars spread out over three-years. If the first referendum question were to fail it’s possible that Fox Lake and Alto Elementary would be closed.

For those in attendance the biggest issue seemed to be the idea the district did not exhaust all of their other possibilities to close the deficit before bringing the referendum to the table. People made suggestions throughout the night as to how to close the deficit and District Administrator Randy Refsland says a number of them have validity, and he will look into the feasibility of possibly implementing them.

Despite the fact that kids from the city and town of Fox Lake make up just 13% of the districts population, residents in those municipalities pay 27% of the districts tax bill. That led a number of people to contend the district owed it to them to keep Fox Lake open. After the meeting dozens of residents signed up for an exploratory committee to seek out other options to close the deficit or look at the possibility of leaving the district. Some residents are also looking into the possibility of pushing the referendum date back to April so as to give them time to come up with other alternatives to the closures. It was unknown last night if that was a possibility legally.

Another meeting will be held tonight at the high school for residents looking to help pass the referendum. That meeting will begin at 6pm in the Choir Room.

Mallard Ducks Killed in Fond du Lac County

1/15/09 – Just days after snowmobilers killed five deer in Waupaca County, riders in Fond du Lac apparently rounded up 57 mallard ducks — and ran them over with their machines. Necropsies will be performed today on 20 hens and 37 drakes. D-N-R warden supervisor George Protogere says he wants to make sure they died from trauma. He did not believe a disease outbreak could have been involved. A passer-by said the ducks looked okay at nine Tuesday morning. But five hours later, the same person came by again and saw them dead. The ducks were found in an ice-fishing hole, and open water on the Fond du Lac River near the city’s wastewater plant. Bill Schumann, head of the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs, called both the duck and deer incidents disgusting. He said it’s not what snowmobiling is all about, and something is drastically wrong. Schuman says he’d like to see the killers lose their riding privileges and go to jail. He says they must be brought to justice.

In the Waupaca County incident, one deer had its stomach pulled out, and another choked while tied to a tree. A news conference is planned this afternoon to provide an update on that case. Protogere said it’s too early to say if a copy-cat killer was behind the Fond du Lac incident. He says it’s hard to speculate on what the riders’ motives might have been.

Six Facing Charges in Beating of 17-year-old

1/15/09 – Six people face charges for attacking a 17-year-old boy who was confronted as he was about to use a portable toilet. It happened in a Washington County park near West Bend the night of December 30th. Officials said the victim’s ex-girlfriend might have master-minded the incident. The boy was invited to the park assuming he’d meet a girl he wanted to date. Instead, two males jumped from the portable toilet when he was about to use it. They and the other four suspects allegedly hit the victim several times, and stole his wallet which had 100-dollars and a credit card. The boy was not seriously hurt. Authorities are seeking numerous charges – including strong-armed robbery – against two adults and four juveniles.

Speaker of Wisconsin Assembly Looking to Include GOP in Budget Fix

1/15/09 – The new Democratic speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly says he wants to include Republican ideas in closing the state’s massive budget deficit. But G-O-P leader Jeff Fitzgerald doesn’t buy that. Earlier, Speaker Mike Sheridan said he didn’t think the G-O-P would get involved until late in the process of passing the next two-year budget – when there’s almost no chance to amend it. But yesterday, Sheridan said he has a meeting planned later this month with Fitzgerald on the budget. Democrats control both houses of the Legislature for the first time in 22 years – and with a Democratic governor, they can ram through most of what they want. But Sheridan says there needs to be a bi-partisan solution to the deficit. He has promised to pass bills sponsored by the G-O-P, and he vows to set a different tone by crossing party lines. But Fitzgerald says his meeting with Sheridan probably won’t cover anything of substance – and it will only give Democrats a way to brag that they’re reaching out.

Powerball Up to $165-Million

1/15/09 – The Powerball jackpot keeps going up. It’s now at 165-million-dollars for the next drawing on Saturday. Nobody won last night’s top prize of 147-million. But four players in Wisconsin won 200-thousand-dollars each, by matching all five regular numbers but not the Powerball. The lottery did not say overnight where those tickets were sold. Three other Wisconsin players won 10-thousand apiece, by matching four regular numbers plus the Powerball. Just over 28-thousand players in the Badger State won something. The numbers were 8, 25, 34, 39, and 46. The Powerball was 34, and the Power Play multiplier was five. The cash option for Saturday night is just under 97-million dollars. That goes to a single winner who wants the whole prize now, instead of getting it in 30 annual installments.