News – January 24, 2020

(Fairwater) A violent sex offender who has served his time is being released into the Fond du Lac County Town of Alto today (Friday). Jonathan Miller is moving to a residence on County Highway E, between the village of Fairwater and the city of Waupun. The 34-year-old has been the focus of a series of news stories about his placement for several years. Miller is a so-called Chapter 980 sex offender and he had been held at a detention facility long after his release date as officials scrambled to find suitable housing. It unconstitutional for the state to detain someone who has served their time. Last week, a Dodge County judge approved a petition for discharge. Miller is not on any active community or extended supervision but is required to comply with the Sex Offender Registry including lifetime GPS monitoring.

(Columbus) An Appleton man is facing a vehicular homicide charge related to a multi-vehicle crash near Columbus last May. Benjamin Birney is also charged with two felony counts of Injury By Intoxicated Use of a Controlled Substance for the incident that occurred on Highway 151, near the Highway 73 overpass. The 34-year-old reportedly had marijuana in his system. 38-year-old David Bickel of Mukwonago died from his injuries. Birney was driving a straight truck and reportedly failed to reduce speed as he encountered slower moving traffic in a construction zone. In total, ten people were involved, with two escaping injury.

(Horicon) A Dodge County judge found probable cause yesterday (Thursday) for a Horicon man to proceed to trial on arson charges. Neighbors reportedly observed Michael Hansen at the Horicon residence, right before it was damaged by fire three years ago. The 69-year-old initially denied entering the home, but later changed his story allegedly admitting to inspecting the home’s utility room, which is where the fire originated. If convicted, Hansen faces up to 40 years in prison. He will be arraigned next month.

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam community got its first look at a master renovation plan proposed for Swan Park. The plan includes the replacement of the city pool with a splash pad as the current pool has exceeded its useful life. The size of the pool that would be required to meet the needs of the community was determined to take up too much space in the park. The current pool is still expected to be open this summer. Other proposals include playground upgrades, a walking path encircling the park, retention wall fixes around and aerators in the pond and removal of some benches around the bandshell to be replaced with tiered grass seating. No figures were provided last night. The matter is expected to be discussed by elected officials in committee going forward.

(Juneau) There is a new traffic safety coordinator for Dodge County. Joel Kiesow, who served in the position since February of 2015, announced his retirement effective January 13. The Dodge County Board this week approved appointing Scott Smith to the opening. Smith retired from the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office in January of 2018 after serving 18 years in multiple positions within the department.

(Marquette County) A deer shot and killed in Marquette County during the 2019 nine-day gun deer season has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. That detection means that hunters and landowners in Marquette County will not be allowed to feed or bait deer for three years. A similar three year ban goes into effect in Columbia County while Green Lake County will see a two year ban. This is the second time a deer has tested positive in Marquette County.