News- January 4, 2019

(Dodge County) The state Department of Transportation has released final numbers of traffic deaths from 2018. Dodge County experienced eight traffic fatalities last year, well-below the 20 that occurred in 2017. The five-year average in Dodge County is 13. Columbia County saw eleven roadway deaths, five more than last year. Fond du Lac County recorded 15, up from 11 the previous year. Jefferson County had 13 motorists killed in each of the past two years. For the second straight year, Green Lake County experienced no traffic fatalities. Chief Deputy Mark Putzke says from 2000 through 2018 they averaged 2.5 traffic deaths a year. Statewide traffic deaths were down.

(Madison) The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has sided with prosecutors in rejecting a request from Steven Avery’s attorney for the testing of human remains.  Avery and his nephew are serving life sentences for the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. Attorney Kathleen Zellner maintains that the remains found in another location belong to Halbach.  Avery and Brendan Dassey were found guilty partly because of bones found in a burn pit on the family’s property.  Zellner has until next month to file briefs in Avery’s appeal.

(Waupun) A Milwaukee woman is accused of trying to smuggle drugs into Waupun Correctional on New Year’s Day. Lori Ann Neumann is charged with one felony count of Delivering Illegal Articles to an Inmate. The 54-year-old was allegedly observed dropping two balloons into an inmate’s coffee cup during visitation. One of the balloons contained marijuana and the other cocaine. If convicted, Neumann faces up to three-and-a-half years in prison. A signature bond was set at $1000 yesterday (Thursday) and judge will decide next month if there is enough evidence to order a trial.

(Burnett) A Watertown contractor is accused of ripping-off the Dodge County Antique Power Club. Steve Neuman is charged with one felony count of Theft in a Business Setting in excess of $10-thousand dollars. The 54-year-old was given $22-thousand dollars for a down payment on building materials to construct a new barn last summer. He reportedly admitted to failing to complete the work and using $12-thousand-to-$16-thousand dollars for living expenses. Neuman allegedly told investigators that he was “laid up and needed money to make it.” If convicted, he faces up to ten years in prison. Neuman is slated to make his initial appearance in a Dodge County courtroom later this month.

(Madison) A Madison nightclub owner says there has never been an arrest for drugs or prostitution at his business.  An attorney for Visions owner Tom Reichenberger sent a notice of claim to Madison Alderman David Ahrens and the city clerk Thursday, the first step toward filing a lawsuit against a city official. Ahrens has called for the club’s liquor license to be revoked. Reichenberger accuses Ahrens of libel and slander for his comments about the nightclub after a December shooting which resulted in four arrests.

(Juneau) Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt says the closing of the old jail has had a big impact on his 2019 budget. The sheriff’s office saw a 24-percent increase in their budget from 2018, totaling $11.4-million dollars. With the closure of the old facility, the county lost revenue from 108 beds that were being contracted for $75 a day to the federal government. Those contracts brought in roughly $3-million dollars in revenue each year. Schmidt says that $3-million helped offset the costs to run the old jail while the closure only saved his department around $1-million. Schmidt says additional services may have to be cutback in order to make future budgets work.