“News – July 22, 2009”

Farm Tech Days Delayed by 2-Hours


The rain this morning has caused officials with Farm Technology Days to delay the start of today’s events by two-hours.  Instead of the scheduled 9 a.m. start time the gates will open at 11 a.m.


Record Setting Attendance For Farm Tech


It could be a record-setting first day in terms of attendance for the first day ofthe 2009 Farm Technology Days.  That’s according to Dodge County Farm Tech Days Executive Committee Chair Dave Frohling who says the light afternoon showers were not enough to dampen the spirits of attendees. Frohling says the off-site parking lots and shuttle service from the Watertown and Waterloo High School’s have been very popular and were an important addition to this years event.


Doyle Takes in Farm Technology Days


7/22/09 – Farm Tech Days got started yesterday morning with its opening ceremonies, which included the University of Wisconsin Marching Band.  Another highlight on the first day was Governor Jim Doyle speaking about the huge roll farming plays in Wisconsin’s economy, the resiliency of the state in its goal to remain America’s Dairyland and on the manure digester at the Crave Farm and his plans to expand on their model throughout the state to help with energy needs.  Highlights for Day 2 of the event include Tram Tours of the farm as well as tours of the farms manure management systems, including the manure digester.  The event runs through tomorrow.


Funeral for Oshkosh Soldier on Friday


Funeral services are set for Friday in Oshkosh for an Army soldier who was murdered at an outdoor party at Fort Hood Texas. 30-year-old Specialist Ryan Schlack of Oshkosh died at a hospital the day after the incident on Friday night.  Army specialist Armando Baca was arrested Saturday morning and is being held at a county jail on charges of first-degree murder. Schlack had served two tours of duty in Iraq.  His father told the Oshkosh Northwestern that his fellow soldiers from Iraq were at the Fort Hood party when an argument broke out.  Baca had apparently left the party and came back with a gun – and Schlack was shot in the hip when he stepped in to get things settled down.  He graduated from Oshkosh West High School, and joined the Army in 2004 as a repairman for computer detection systems.  His father said he was considering a third tour in Iraq – but instead, he was going to return to the Fox Valley Technical College to complete a degree in electronics.  He was then planning to attend U-W Oshkosh to major in electrical engineering.


Man Cited for OWI after Accident


7/22/09 – A 58-year-old man was cited for allegedly being drunk when he was involved in an accident that resulted in him and another man being hospitalized yesterday afternoon.  Mark Klingele of Muscoda was allegedly intoxicated when attempted to make a left turn at the intersection of Highway P and O in the town of Ashippun and struck a northbound vehicle driven by 23-year-old Michael Cadena.  Both men were taken to the Oconomowoc Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  Klingele was cited for operating while intoxicated causing injury.  The crash remains under investigation.


Columbus and Fall River Looking at Regionalization for Sewer and Water


7/22/09 – At last night’s Council session Columbus City Administrator Boyd Kraemer said that the next two Council meetings would be dealing with Waste Water Treatment and the possibility of regional system. The City of Columbus and Village of Fall River have been studying ways to bring their aging Waste Water systems up to current standards for the past two years. Both communities have received engineering recommendations that included the “regionalization” of waste water collection and treatment facilities.


Pellett Gets Probation


A Stoughton woman was placed on probation yesterday for breaking into a pair of Beaver Dam businesses last October.  Tabatha Pellett pleaded “no contest” to a reduce charge of Obstructing an Officer for her role in the break-ins at Kelm Painting and Beaver Plumbing. Two other suspects: 27-year-old Trevor Waller and 24-year-old Kurtis Billings, both of whom have lived in Beaver Dam, have cases working their way through the Dodge County court system.


Minor Damage in BD Fire


The Beaver Dam Fire Department responded to a small residential fire Tuesday morning.  Deputy Chief Matt Christian says crews were called out to 907 North Center Street just after 7am.  The fire started on an outdoor balcony after a makeshift ashtray burnt through the platform and ignited siding on the outside of the house. The blaze was called in by a passer-by and was nearly extinguished when firefighters arrived.  There were no injuries.  The structure sustained minor damage and crews were on the scene for less than a half hour.


Bankruptcy Filings Jump


The number of Wisconsinites filing for bankruptcy rose by 30-percent in the first half of the year.  Just over 13-thousand-800 bankruptcy petitions were filed in court from January-through-June.  That’s up from almost 10-thousand-600 in the first half of 2008.  Most petitions were from individuals who sought relief from things like credit card bills and medical expenses.  It’s no secret as to why.  Bankruptcy lawyers blame unemployment and under-employment as more people fail to keep up with their monthly bills.  Bankruptcy Court trustee Claire Ann Resop of Madison says middle-aged people and those close to retirement have either lost their jobs, or had big pay cuts due to lost commissions or a lack of overtime pay.  She said those people are not able to replace their incomes with other jobs.



7/22/09 – The driver of a van that drove through the window of a Sheboygan convenience store and killed the attendant has been arrested.  Police said yesterday that they booked a 32-year-old man on a possible charge of homicide by negligent driving.  The incident occurred July 11th at the Pig Stop in Sheboygan.  Police said Jeremy Pfister had just filled his gas tank, and was backing up to get his wife, when the van broke through a window and into the west side of the building.  The 18-year-old attendant, Emily Hughes, died a short time later.


Motorcycle Fatalities Up this Year


7/22/09 – Fifty motorcyclists have died in Wisconsin this year, including three this month.  The state D-O-T said the number of biker deaths from January-through-June was the highest in six years, and the second-highest in the last 15 years.  They’re also up 67-percent from 2008, at a time when auto-and-truck deaths are at their lowest in decades.  The D-O-T’s Dennis Hughes says his agency cannot pinpoint exact reasons for the big spike in motorcycle deaths.  If they could, he said officials would do better in preventing them.  Experts say there are more bikers on the road – including baby boomers and those stung by last year’s record-high gas prices.  But Tom Lane of the ABATE Wisconsin advocacy group says about a-third of the state’s riders don’t have the required motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s licenses.  That means lots of bikers are not properly trained – and they’re riding poorly and illegally.  Also, experts say inattentive car  drivers are seeing bikers less often – especially those distracted by cell phones and G-P-S units.  Alcohol was a factor in half of Wisconsin’s recent motorcycle deaths.  And 80-percent of bikers killed in the state last year were not wearing helmets.


Endowment Funds Can Now Be Spent


7/22/09 – Wisconsin universities and other non-profit groups can now spend more of their endowment funds.  Governor Jim Doyle signed a bill this week that lets charitable groups tap into the original amounts of money donated for things like scholarships.  Until now, only interest and dividends count be spent from those accounts.  But the recession has cut many of Wisconsin’s private and community endowment funds by up to 40-percent in the last year – while the needs which are met by those funds have not gone down.  U-W students are among those who have had to settle for less because of the funding drop.  In fact, the U-W System’s trust funds had to suspend all their payments in February because the university foundation’s endowment had dropped so low.  Marquette said its endowment was close to his original amount in February, but it has since recovered.  Still, school officials say the new law will give them more flexibility in future downturns.  Forty-one other states have made similar changes in the last three years – and others are considering it.


WI Shoppers Won’t Get Wal-Mart Back-to-School Deal


7/22/09 – Wisconsin shoppers won’t get those nine-dollar back-to-school deals announced by Walmart yesterday.  That’s because the Badger State is one of four that prohibits stores from selling items for less than what they paid for them.  Earlier this year, a federal judge struck down Wisconsin’s minimum mark-up law for gasoline.  And while that decision is being appealed, the case has nothing to do with the state law that prohibits selling merchandise below-cost.  That’s still in effect – and there have been no rumblings in Madison about changing it.  It’s designed to keep the big stores from pricing mom-and-pop shops out of business.  But Lisa Nelson of Walmart says the law hurts the consumers’ ability to take advantage of low prices at a time when they could really use them.  The state’s consumer protection agency says it enforces the law when complaints are made.  Jeremy McPherson says they get very few complaints about back-to-school sales –  and it’s not like bureaucrats are digging through ad-fliers looking for violations.  National retailing groups say back-to-school marketing is more aggressive this year, because shoppers plan to spend up to eight-and-a-half percent less due to the recession.


Wizard of Oz Anniversary Special in Oconomowoc 


7/22/09 – Folks in Oconomowoc were among the first to see “The Wizard of Oz” – and the community will celebrate that feat next month.  The producers of the 1939 classic chose Oconomowoc to see how an audience would respond, before it released the film to the rest of the world.  The screening took place August 12th of 1939, and it’s been touted through the years as the possible unofficial world premiere.  Historian John Fricke said M-G-M arranged a few advance test screenings.  And he believes the first showings were in actually in Kenosha and Cape Cod Massachusetts a day before the Oconomowoc event.  Still, Fricke says Oconomowoc has a lot to celebrate, as one of the first places in the world to see Dorothy and the scarecrow.  Community leaders in Oconomowoc are planning an outdoor showing of “The Wizard of Oz” on August 13th.  It will be seen on a 40-foot screen – and a historical marker will be unveiled near the former theater where it was originally shown.


Woman Suing Fraternity in Madison


7/22/09 – A 21-year-old woman is suing a U-W Madison fraternity, claiming she was drugged and gang-raped numerous times at the group’s house last fall.  The Milwaukee area woman said Sigma Chi had an obligation to make the house safe for its guests.  Her Milwaukee County court complaint also cites multiple violations of alcohol and criminal laws.  She’s seeking damages for pain and distress from the assault.  Madison Police are still investigating it, and they’ve made no arrests.  The lawsuit said the woman was a guest at a party at the Madison Sigma Chi house last October.  And she went to a Badger football game and a couple bars before returning to the house.  The next morning, she said she woke up battered, bleeding, and partially clothed – and she claimed she was drugged the night before.  The student who invited the woman to the party has since graduated, and is not a suspect in the attack.  A campus newspaper had reported the incident in March,  and the fraternity was suspended April second for alcohol violations.  It’s still a valid organization, but it cannot hold certain social events.  Sigma Chi’s parent group is also a defendant in the woman’s lawsuit, along with an alumni group that owns the frat-house.