News – January 26, 2016

Shakeup In Beaver Dam Upper Management


1/26/16 – The city of Beaver Dam has three primary department heads overseeing daily operations: the director of administration which is essentially the finance director; the director of facilities which is a public works and parks; and the director of utilities which overseas water and wastewater. What could have been a huge shake-up in upper management may hardly be noticed thanks to quick-thinking and selfless action on the part of city officials. Last month, Director of Facilities Jeremy Klug requested and was given a transfer to a rank-and-file utility position. The job responsibilities were restructured with the City Engineering Coordinator assuming the bulk of the upper management stuff; now the city only has to look for a DPW supervisor. What would have been a difficult transition will now hardly be noticeable.  Last night, the city’s Operations Committee accepted the resignation of Director of Utilities Don Quarford. In this case too, the transition will be smooth. With this change, city officials say Quarford put the good of the city ahead of his own needs in calling it a day a couple years early. That’s because second-in-command Rob Minnema had taken a lucrative position in a nearby city and the only way to keep the talents Minnema accumulated with 25 years in Beaver Dam was for a vacancy to open up at the top. Quarford says it was in the best interest of the city and those who work with Minnema think the world of him and he would not have been able to live with the city losing him. Minnema, who trained for years under Quarford, says it was not his intent to push anybody out he just needed to move into a management role. Operations Committee Chair Robert Ballweg says the decision Quarford made speaks volumes of our city employees in recognizing the needs of city residents and putting that ahead of their own wishes. Ballweg notes that Quarford has done that a number of times throughout the years. Last night’s meeting, which was originally intended to be a lengthy discussion on finding Minnema’s replacing, resolved quickly with the matter being advanced to the Administrative Committee and then the full council next Monday. The change would be effective March 1.


Mayville Council To Vote On Sewer Lateral Loan Package


1/26/16 – Mayville’s Finance Committee approved sending a proposed loan package for the city’s sewer lateral replacement project to the council for final consideration.  The plan would allow homeowners who cannot obtain a loan on their own to get one through the city as a means of paying for their lateral replacement.  In July, Mayor Bob Redeker broke a three-three council tie to green light a project that would require roughly 70% of the city’s homeowners to replace their iron or clay sewer lateral with a new plastic pipe for roughly $3,000.  The committee’s recommendation would allow the council to set the interest rate on that loan each year.  In addition to voting on that proposal in two weeks, the council will also hear from City Attorney James Hammes as to why he said Council President Rob Boelk’s direct legislation opposing the lateral replacements was deemed non-applicable.  Boelk, who collected signatures from nearly 450 residents who are against the project, questions if the ordinance passed in July is legal due to concerns over whether or not Hammes read it over.  If the ordinance was not legal, Boelk feels his petition should be recognized.  Even if it cannot be repealed, Boelk says he would like to see changes made to the existing ordinance such as redefining where the lateral ends.  He feels it should run from the home to the property line, not the home to the street.  Alderman Joe Hohmann, who like Boelk is running for mayor this spring, says his main concerns with the current ordinance are the cost it will pass on to taxpayers and that it requires a certain amount of laterals to be replaced each year.  He would prefer to see all of the replacements done in conjunction with street projects.  While Hohmann would like to see changes to the ordinance, he says addressing the lateral issue is necessary.  He says roughly 98% of the city’s water infiltration is caused by faulty laterals.  The lateral replacements are currently scheduled to start in the spring with the Clark Street and Lincoln Lane reconstruction projects.


Public Hearing Wednesday On Prison Drone Bill


1/26/16 – A public hearing is set for Wednesday on a bill to keep drones from dropping contraband within state prison walls. Smugglers have dropped illegal drugs, pornography, and other illegal items using drones. One of them crashed into a prison yard last fall in Oklahoma. Closer to home in December, a Waupun man who lost contact with his drone inadvertently landed it at the state’s maximum security lock-up close to his home. The Senate Judiciary panel will hear testimony on a measure from Fond du Lac Republican Rick Gudex, to give local authorities the power to seize photos and videos from drones that land in prison yards.


Waupun Area Man Arrested On Multiple Drug Offenses


1/26/16 – A rural Waupun man was arrested on drug-related offenses after he was found slumped over the wheel of his vehicle. Waupun police were called to the 500 block of Fond du Lac Street just after 4pm Saturday. Police Chief Heeringa says the vehicle was still running when authorities arrived on scene and officers determined the 28-year-old to be under the influence of a controlled substance. The suspect did not require medical attention. Charges of Operating Under the Influence of narcotics, along with multiple counts of possession of pills without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine have been referred to the Fond du lac County District Attorney’s Office.


Murder Trial Begins In Green Lake County


1/26/16 – A two-week jury trial began yesterday in Green Lake County Court for a 34-year-old Berlin man suspected of murdering his estranged wife and her boyfriend in September of 2014. Nicholas Tuinstra is accused of killing Melissa Tuinstra and Justin Daniels, both 28-years-old, at their apartment in Berlin. Nicholas and Melissa Tuinstra had filed for divorce the week leading up to the murder.


Sentencing Date Set For Fox Lake Shooter


1/26/16 – A Madison man will be sentenced in Dodge County court on April 8 after he was found guilty last weekend of firing three shots at a motorist just outside Fox Lake in September.  Anthony McCaskill was convicted on three felony counts and one misdemeanor.  The 21-year-old waited down a side street with his vehicle lights turned off, followed another car after it left the Fox Lake Kwik Trip, and fired three shots.  The incident started inside the convenience store when McCaskill’s girlfriend accused a man of touching her inappropriately.


Woman Makes Initial Appearance On Dog Abuse Charges


1/26/16 – A Pardeeville woman is free on a signature bond, after being accused of hitting a dog in the head with a hammer and leaving her for dead near Portage. Terri Benson is due back in court February 8 for a pre-trial conference. The 56-year-old made her first appearance yesterday on Columbia County charges of felony animal mistreatment, misdemeanor disorderly conduct, and a civil charge of abandoning an animal. Benson reportedly told authorities her Black Labrador Misty had seizures and was “acting goofy” after leaving their home last Wednesday. The Columbia County Humane Society says the dog has a tumor but is recovering nicely — and the group has received lots of support, donations, and 50 adoption offers.


Randolph Woman To Deferred Prosecution For Stealing


1/26/16 – A Randolph woman was placed on a deferred prosecution agreement yesterday for stealing from her employer.  The court found Marnie Kilian guilty on a felony count of Theft of Movable Property after she pled no contest.  The 44-year-old took roughly $33-hundred dollars from the Ultimart Shell Gas Station in Randolph to pay her electricity bill.  Kilian gave the owner a signed statement detailing what happened and returned over $18-hundred dollars of the stolen funds.


Bond Set For Allenton Man Facing Drug Charges


1/26/16 – Bond was set at $1,000 in Dodge County court yesterday for a 20-year-old Allenton man accused of felony drug charges.  Morgan L. Miller was one of three passengers in a car that was stopped in Lomira due to the driver’s suspended license.  A K-9 search allegedly found two locked boxes containing over 68 grams of various drugs and $570 in cash, and Miller reportedly admitted to using drugs.  Miller will be arraigned on February 11 and faces over 43 years in prison, if convicted.


Walker Campaign Makes Payment To State


1/26/16 – Governor Scott Walker’s campaign has repaid the state another $135,000 for expenses related to his presidential bid last year. That brings to $260,000 the amount repaid to taxpayers for various security costs during both his 71-day White House run and the months of preparation for it. The state Administration Department says the payments include things like food, lodging, and the use of state vehicles for Walker’s security team. It does not include pay-and-benefits, since it’s normal for state troopers to protect the governor wherever he goes at state expense — regardless of what he’s doing.


Pro-Lifers Working To Ban Fetal Tissue Research From Aborted Babies


1/26/16 – Pro-lifers are stepping up their efforts to get the Wisconsin Legislature to ban medical research using newer fetal tissue from aborted babies. An anti-abortion group called “Alliance Defending Freedom” has obtained public records showing that a Planned Parenthood clinic gave aborted heart-and-brain tissues to U-W Madison in 2010, to help study the growth of infants with birth defects and without. The U-W and Planned Parenthood both say nobody was reimbursed for the tissues, the involved mothers agreed to their usage, and the university no longer gets such tissues from Planned Parenthood clinics. The medical use of aborted fetal tissues elsewhere drove Wisconsin Republicans to propose a bill banning such usage. The measure is still expected to come up in the Legislature, as the current two-year session comes down to its final weeks.


Missing Cheese Found While Another Shipment Is Lost


1/26/16 – About $70,000 worth of stolen cheese has been found in Milwaukee. A heap of Wisconsin’s signature food product was stolen early last Friday in a 54-foot trailer at D-and-G Transportation in Germantown. The trailer was found empty later on Friday, along with a semi-tractor used in the theft — and police have not reported any arrests. Meanwhile, police in Marshfield said yesterday that a truck with $90,000 worth of cheese was stolen January 14th from WOW Logistics. Police lieutenant Darren Larson says officers have very few leads, and it’s possible th