News – January 4, 2009

Roads are Ice Covered and Slippery

1/4/09 – Last night’s freezing rain has made travel conditions treacherous this morning. County, city and private salt trucks have been out in full force working to get a handle on the slick roads. Dodge County Highway Supervisor Ken Stock the roads are just plain “slippery.” Stock says they begun salting the Class 1 main roads last night and began salting the county roads beginning at 4:30am this morning.

The state DOT has listed dozens of highway and interstate miles as being ice-covered and slippery. Among those listed on their website: I90/I94/I39 from Madison to Portage; stretches of I43 from Milwaukee to Green Bay; Highway 41 from Milwaukee to Marinette; Highway 45 from Milwaukee to New London and Highway 151 from Dubuque to Fond du Lac. The Dodge County Sheriffs Department is reporting several run-offs and one fatal rollover.

Icy Roads Blamed for Fatal Accident

1/4/09 – A young child was killed and six others were injured in an accident on Highway 151 Saturday night and authorities are citing icy road conditions. According to the Dodge County Sheriffs Department, the wreck occurred just after 8:30pm near County Highway S in the Town of Calamus. A northbound SUV, operated by a Beaver Dam man, spun out of control and overturned, rolling through the median before coming to rest in the southbound lanes where it was struck by a passenger car. The driver of the passenger vehicle, 50-year-old Illinois man, was injured as was the 30-year-old Beaver Dam man driving the SUV, a 30-year-old Beaver Dam woman and three 7-years old kids in the SUV. A fourth 7-year-old child was ejected and was pronounced dead at the Beaver Dam Community Hospital by the Dodge County Medical Examiner. All of the other injured parties were transported to either the Beaver Dam or Columbus hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities cite driving too fast for conditions and failure to wear safety restraints as the leading factors in the crash.

Three Dead in Snowmobile Wreck

1/4/09 – A snowmobile accident in Vilas County kills three people. Two snowmobilers and a passenger died when the two machines slammed into each other at about 10 a.m. Saturday in the town of Arbor Vitae. The victims were dead at the scene. The accident is being investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Vilas County coroner.

Bleak Job Outlook for ‘09

1/4/09 – A quarterly report from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue paints a depressing job picture for the next 12 months. The economic report projects 65-thousand jobs lost in 2009 — four times as many as in 2008. Unemployment could top eight percent for the first time since 1984. Economists say Wisconsin will lose jobs even if Washington approves a 550-billion dollar stimulus plan. The experts say the only areas not to be hit will be hospitality, health and education. The economy could pick up late in the year, with job growth returning by 2010.

Foreclosures Continue to Climb

1/4/09 – The 25-thousand foreclosure actions started last year set a record for Wisconsin. That figure is up 22 percent from the year before — and things aren’t expected to get any better. At least one economist says, if the recession doesn’t ease up, we may top that number this year. The Wisconsin Realtors Association reports the average selling price of a home dropped more than five percent in the third quarter of last year. That’s bad, but not as bad as the national drop of nine percent in the same period.

Wood Co Abduction Suspect May Avoid Trail

1/4/09 – A Wood County man accused of abducting and sexually assaulting two young men may avoid trial. The attorney for Edward Lanphear says he’s waiting for the results of psychological testing on his client. Lanphear is accused of 13 felonies in the crime. Prosecutors say he abducted two men — aged 21 and 23 — and kept them in chains, until one managed to get away. As it stands now, his trial is scheduled to start in Wisconsin Rapids June 1. Lanphear’s attorney reportedly approached prosecutors about striking a plea deal.

Woman Charged With Stabbing Husband in Neck

1/4/09 – Sheboygan police say Charlene Ruffin-Brand and her husband had been arguing all day. Now, the 42-year-old Sheboygan woman is charged with first-degree reckless homicide for stabbing Marchel Brand in the neck. Officers responded to a 9-1-1 call Thursday at about 10 p.m., finding the husband lying in the street. They reportedly followed a blood trail to the house where they found the suspect with several witnesses. Ruffin-Brand reportedly made the 9-1-1 call herself, telling a dispatcher she had stabbed her husband.

Man Kills Wife, Dies Five Days Later

1/4/09 – An elderly Grant County man tells sheriff’s investigators he set the fire that killed his 71-year-old wife. Sheron Eggert’s body was found in the rubble two days after Christmas in a rural area of the county. Arthur Eggert apparently gave detectives details which matched the physical evidence to convince them he was telling the truth. Arthur Eggert then died five days later — on New Year’s Day. Sheron Eggert was 71 years old.

Taylor Back on Meds

1/4/09 – Former Badger football player Leonard Taylor will be treated with psychiatric meds until he is competent to stand trial. Taylor is accused of stalking and threatening the life of Athletic Director and former football coach Barry Alvarez. Taylor was a star defensive back for the Wisconsin Badgers between 1995 and 1998. He has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. His father says Taylor quit taking his medication about three months before he was arrested November 28. Taylor told the court Friday he will take the medication.