News – January 5, 2016

One Driver Killed In Highway 151 Accident Near Columbus


1/5/16 – One person was killed in a two vehicle accident on Highway 151 southbound yesterday.  The crash happened at 9:14 am just south of Highway K near Columbus.  According to the Columbus Police Department, a 69-year-old rural Columbus man was killed when his tractor was struck by a semi driven by a 45-year-old Iowa man.  Names are being withheld pending family notification, and the matter remains under investigation.  Assistance was received from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Highway Department, Columbus Fire Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, and Lifestar EMS.  Highway 151 southbound near Columbus was closed for over four hours while the crash was investigated.


Downtown Tavern Owner Meeting With City Over Violations


1/5/16 – The owners of a downtown Beaver Dam tavern will be meeting with city officials in the next couple weeks to discuss alleged violations of city ordinance. Saturday’s on Front Street accumulated enough demerit points in one year under city ordinance to trigger a hearing that could result in suspension or revocation of their liquor license. An underage patron was found on the premises last February and then the bar was cited for serving after closing time on Thanksgiving. While points have been assessed against Saturday’s by the police department, a hearing cannot be triggered until a resident of the city of Beaver Dam files a formal complaint with the city. Depending on how the meeting with city officials and the bar owner turns out, Saturday’s could find their license suspended or revoked or they could simply be given a warning. Police Chief John Kreuziger says the bar owner will meet with himself, the city attorney and mayor to find the best solution. Kreuziger says that could result in a warning or the filing of a formal complaint. If that is the case he anticipate that the third shift sergeant would file the complaint. During last night’s Administrative Committee meeting, Council President Jon Litscher expressed frustration with a state statute that says a liquor license cannot be suspended or revoked for serving an underage patron on the first offense. Litscher says if a formal complaint is filed, the statute could result in the council being unable to take any action on suspension or revocation of the license. The matter is expected to be brought back to the Administrative Committee in two weeks. If a formal complaint is filed, the Administrative Committee would vote whether or not to recommend that a hearing be held before the full council. The city’s demerit point system identifies liquor license holders who break the law. Taverns that accumulate 200 points in a rolling 12-month period could have their license suspended or revoked.


Beaver Dam Restructuring Directors Job Description


1/5/16 – City officials in Beaver Dam are restructuring job responsibilities in an effort to fill a vacant director’s position. The Common Council last night approved a staffing change that moves Director of Facilities Jeremy Klug into the Water Utility Department where he will work as a maintenance/ operator starting February 1. The Director of Facilities primarily oversees the public works department but also manages streets, parks and the storm water utility. The Operations Committee last night approved a succession plan that would create the job title Director of Facilities and City Engineering Coordinator. Current City Engineer Ritchie Piltz has been tabbed for the new position pending council approval. Piltz would receive a salary increase of about $4000 and would assume ten-percent of the responsibilities of Director of Facilities position. The remaining 90-percent, the day-to-day management, would be assigned to a new position: Public Works Supervisor. That vacancy is expected to be posted after the job description is finalized. Mayor Tom Kennedy noted last night that it would be a lot easier to fill a vacant DPW supervisor position that it would be one that combines DPW supervisor with a variety of management skills.


Beaver Dam Seeking Grant Dollars For Third Street Pond


1/5/16 – The Beaver Dam Common Council last night authorized the submission of a grant to build a state-mandated storm water pond off East Third Street. With the current senior center moving into the new Watermark Community Center this month, city officials realized recently that they had a whole new potential pond site; behind the library where the current senior center is located. In October, the city was awarded a 150-thousand dollar state Department of Natural Resources grant for the $550-thousand dollar pond. Last night’s action allows the city to submit a grant application for $400-thousand dollars to fund the rest of the project; a local match would not be required. As part of a permit that allows Beaver Dam to discharge water into nearby streams, the DNR requires the city to construct and maintain a number of so-called water-filtration ponds, which filter debris from rainwater before flowing into the river.  There’s roughly $3-million dollars in CDBG funds available through the state. In addition to the $400-thousand dollar request for the pond, the city is also asking the state for $426-thousand dollars to replace the culverts under Cooper Street as part of an effort to reduce flooding on the south side of the city.


Safe Ride Ron Burglary Suspect Apprehended


1/5/16 – A man who allegedly robbed Safe Ride Ron in Beaver Dam has been arrested. Forty-eight year old Brian Krieger was picked up in Waukesha County over the weekend for violating a previous probation, and officials say he’s being returned to nearby Dodge County to be questioned about the thefts. Ronald Gafner — a Safe Ride driver who takes tavern patrons home when they’ve had too much to drink — let Krieger stay at his house after the man claimed he had nowhere to go during last Monday’s snowstorm. A van and T-V were missing from Gafner’s house the next day. Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt says the van was found in Milwaukee the next day — and an anonymous donor heard about Gafner’s story and donated a new T-V on New Year’s Eve.


Mayville Church Burglary Suspect Makes Initial Appearance


1/5/16 – A Black Creek man accused of breaking into a Mayville church made his initial appearance in a Dodge County courtroom yesterday.  Bond was set at $1000 for Tristan Vandeneng who is facing a felony Theft charge along with two misdemeanors.  According to the criminal complaint, the 18-year-old used a pipe wrench to break into Christian Life Fellowship Church to steal cash and electronics.  Vandeneng allegedly confessed, stating that he was trying to build a home stereo system.  If he is found guilty on all counts, Vandeneng faces up to 14 years in prison.  A judge will decide in March if there is enough evidence to order a trial.


Beaver Dam Businessman Appears On Internet Theft Charge


1/5/16 – Bond was set at $1000 yesterday for a Beaver Dam businessman accused of breaking into a neighboring business. Cory Mahlum is facing one felony Burglary count.  According to the criminal complaint, the 33-year-old, who owns Autoworx Unlimited, broke into Professional Floor Coverings to connect a cable that allowed him to steal internet services.  Mahlum was allegedly behind on rent and close to eviction.  He reportedly told officers that he broke into the Professional Floor Coverings office due to a falling out with that business’s owner.  If he is found guilty, Mahlum faces over 12 years in prison.  A judge will decide in March if there is enough evidence to order a trial.


Horicon Man Accused Of Molesting Dog


1/5/16 – A Horicon man accused of molesting his sister’s dog had bond set at $500 yesterday. Nicholas Bradley is charged with misdemeanor Sexual Gratification of an Animal and Disorderly Conduct. The woman told authorities she woke up and heard her dog moaning and clawing the bathroom floor. When questioned by authorities, the 22-year-old reportedly confessed to trying, unsuccessfully. A veterinarian determined there was no sign of trauma. Bradley is expected back in court next month; a jury trial is on the court calendar in March.


Attorney Says Exposing Secrets Would Exonerate Avery


1/5/16 – An attorney who represented Steven Avery says his best chance for being freed is for new evidence to come out. Dean Strang tells W-I-S-N T-V in Milwaukee that Avery’s “realistic hope” is for somebody to spill a secret that’s been hidden for ten years. The recent Netflix series “Making a Murderer” has raised doubts about the convictions of Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey — both of whom are in prison for the brutal death of Teresa Halbach in 2005 at an auto salvage yard in Manitowoc County. The Netflix series has resulted in national news coverage of the case — and four petitions with more than 320-thousand signatures are on Change-Dot-Org and the White House website, calling for pardons and federal investigations. The Manitowoc County sheriff says the documentary does not tell the whole story.


Third Body Recovered In Walworth County Drowning


1/5/16 – A third body has been recovered, and one was still missing at last word from Sunday’s drowning incident near East Troy in Walworth County. Sheriff Kurt Picknell says the unidentified third victim was pulled from Mill Lake after 3pm Monday. The other two who were pulled from the Lake Beulah chain Sunday were identified as 21-year-old Christopher McQuillen and 20-year-old Lanny Sack. All four graduated from New Trier High School in suburban Chicago. Officials say about one dozen friends were visiting a friend’s cabin when the four drowning victims — who all reportedly drank alcohol and were not wearing life jackets — took off for an overnight canoe ride and never returned.