“News – July 23, 2009”

FTD Attendance Up In Spite of Rain


7/23/09 – In spite of the rain, the turnout for Farm Tech Days has been better than expected.  Farm Tech Days Executive Committee Chairman Dave Frohling says while it’s too early for exact figures, the early numbers look good. Based on the parking numbers alone, Frohling told us yesterday they had more people for Day Two than Day One. Frohling also commended volunteers, saying that every committee member became a Grounds Committee member yesterday in drying out the grounds.  By yesterday afternoon, attendees couldn’t even tell that the start of the event had been delayed by two hours. Field demonstrations were cancelled yesterday but Frohling says they will be available today.


The Poop on Farm Tech


7/23/09 – Hundreds of people have been cramming on the Farm Tech Days Tram Tour of the Crave Brothers Farm to get a closer look at their manure digester, which turns cow waste into renewable energy. On Day One, tickets were gone by 10am. Dan DeBuhr co-founded Clear Horizons, the company that the Crave Brothers partnered with in funding the multi-million dollar manure digester.  While manure digesters don’t sell as quickly as some agricultural products at the farm show, DeBuhr says there has been about a dozen realistic opportunities for viable, potential clients. After taking the tram tour, Dick Dvorak, a dairy farmer from Manitowoc County, said the manure digester was the future for dairy farmers, allowing producers to get a better handle on odors and their nutrient management plan. Because the byproduct can be used as pathogen-free bedding for cows, Dvorak says the cows will even be more comfortable.


Unemployment in Dodge County Hits Double Digits


7/23/09 – Dodge County’s unemployment rate has hit double digits.  The county’s unadjusted rate for June was 10.1%, up from 9.5% in May and more than double from a year ago.  Washington County is also at 10.1% up nearly a full point over May.  Columbia County saw an increase of three-tenths (.3%) of a percent to 8.1%, while Jefferson jumped from 9.1% to 9.8%.  An increase of six-tenths (.6%) of a percent was seen in Fond du Lac County as their unemployment rate is now at 9.5%.  Overall, the unemployment rate increased in 57 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.  Dane County still has the lowest rate at 6.3% but that’s still nearly double from its rate of 3.6% a year ago.  The highest rate in the state was in Menominee County where nearly 16% of the population is unemployed.  Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for June was 9.2%, while the national rate was 9.7%.


Downtown Redevelopment Ahead of Schedule


7/23/09 – Beaver Dam’s downtown redevelopment project is running ahead of schedule.  That’s according to Mayor Tom Kennedy who says South Center Street should be open to traffic sometime between July 31 and August 7, weather permitting. In the next two weeks, city crews will also begin to re-set streetlights and traffic signals that were removed and install posts and signage along the river in the Tower Parking lot. Demolition Contractor Brandenburg Industries pulled out of town last Friday but will be back to install sidewalks. Damaged sidewalks, curbs and approaches will be repaired by the end of next week.  Fences will also be reconfigured by next week to allow for a narrow sidewalk on both sides of the South Center Street bridge.


FDL Authorities Searching for Sex Offender


7/23/09 – Fond du Lac police were only minutes behind a 42-year-old sex offender who skipped out of the area early Tuesday morning. Police Captain Steve Klein says Carl King cut his electronic monitoring bracelet off with a steak knife. King was living at 457 Thomas Street and another sex offender who lives there said he’s seen King about 15 minutes before they arrived. King has a girlfriend who lives in Chicago. On June 23rd he was released from prison after serving 3 years for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. (KFIZ)


BD Looking for Subjects Who Allegedly Vandalized Vehicles


7/23/09 – The Beaver Dam Police Department fielded several complaints Tuesday from city residents whose vehicles were targeted by vandals.  The vandals slathered at least four automobiles with mustard.  In one instance, the condiment stained the paint.  The reports came from Pleasant Street, Bogert and Lake Shore Drive.  Authorities are asking anyone with information to contact the Beaver Dam Police Department or the anonymous We-Tip Hotline at 800-78-CRIME.


FDL Working With Waupun Firm on Brownfield Assessment Grants


7/23/09 – Fond du Lac County officials have entered an agreement with a Waupun firm to apply for two brownfield assessment grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. County supervisors approved the agreement Tuesday night. Each grant is for up to $200,000. They could be used to assess properties that have potential petroleum or hazardous substance contamination. County Planning and Parks Director Sam Tobias says projects targeted for economic development such as the Lakeshore in North Fond du Lac and areas of Waupun could benefit from the environmental assessments. (KFIZ)


Public Hearing Held on Do-Not-Call List


7/23/09 – The lawmaker who first proposed Wisconsin’s do-not-call list says the 100-dollar fine for violators is nothing to a large telemarketing firm.  And that’s why Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach of Waunakee wants to raise the penalty to at least a-thousand-dollars – and up to 10-thousand for the worst violators.  A Senate committee held a public hearing on his bill yesterday.  Erpenbach said it would send a message that violators would have a “pretty stiff price to pay.”  But Senate Republican Mary Lazich of New Berlin said it’s like moving from a slap-on-the-wrist to a sledge-hammer.  And she wanted judges to be able to give small fines to quote, “a small business doing a minimum offense.”  The bill would give the state’s consumer protection agency discretion in seeking punishment.


New Phone Fee Goes into Effect in September


7/23/09 – September is when Wisconsinites will start paying the new 75-cent monthly phone fee that’s part of the new state budget.  Some customers may not get charged until later if their phone companies aren’t ready to add the fee – and they could be back-billed for what they didn’t pay in September.  Also, there’s a chance you might not see the fee on your monthly bill.  Chris LaRowe of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association says most phone companies will itemize it for their customers.  But he said the governor and Legislature set up the law so that the fee can simply be molded into your local service rate.  The fee is designed to help local communities maintain police-and-fire protection, as a way to help them make up for losses in state aid and keep property taxes from going up even more in December.


Bill Would Require Calls to Police After Hitting Wild Animals


7/23/09 – Wisconsinites would have to call the police if they hit a wild animal with an off-road vehicle.  That’s part of a new bill aimed at stopping “thrill killings” like those alleged in Waupaca County, where three men are accused of slaying a half-dozen deer with their snowmobiles in January.  Assembly Republican Andy Jorgensen of Fort Atkinson proposed the measure a few weeks ago, and he held a news conference yesterday to highlight more of the details.  He said his bill was in response to the killings of 62 ducks on the Rock River in Fort Atkinson in late January.  That happened after snowmobilers killed 57 ducks near Fond du Lac on January 13th – four days after the Waupaca County incident.  Jorgenson said accidents happen, but it’s disingenuous for someone to claim they had an accident without notifying police or the D-N-R.  His bill would give the same penalties to “thrill killings” as those for animal cruelty.


Major Lettuce Recall


7/23/09 – A major lettuce company is recalling 22-thousand cartons of romaine lettuce sold in Wisconsin and 27 other states.  Tanimura-and-Antle says the product might have been tainted with salmonella bacteria.  No one has gotten sick from it yet, as far as we know.  Tanimura, which is based in Salinas California, announced the voluntary recall for cartons of bulk-and-wrapped romaine lettuce harvested from June 25th-through-July 2nd.  Here’s the lot code number – 5-3-1-3-8-0.  The company says it has technicians reviewing its food safety procedures.


Lanphear Sentenced to 50 Years


7/23/09 – The Wisconsin Rapids paper-mill worker who kidnapped two young men, put them in chains at his home, and sexually-assaulted them will spend 50 years in prison.  47-year-old Edward Lanphear was sentenced yesterday.  Wood County Circuit Judge Greg Potter called Lanphear “every person’s worst nightmare,” and said he deserves a virtual life term.  Lanphear pretended to be a police officer when he picked up a 23-year-old man on the street last July, and he took a 21-year-old from his car who was sleeping off a night of drinking.  He molested both at his rural Wisconsin Rapids home until he went out for an errand, and one of the captives broke free.


House Passes Modified “Pay as You Go” Law


7/23/09 – All but two of Wisconsin’s eight U-S House members supported an effort to put the brakes on a growing federal deficit.  The House voted yesterday to bring back a modified “pay as you go” law.  It would require new programs and tax cuts to be paid for with the same amounts of spending cuts or tax increases elsewhere.  Republicans were upset that the rule would not apply to massive appropriation bills which are part of the federal budget.  Tom Petri of Fond du Lac was the only Republican to vote in favor of the measure, and he joined the state’s five Democrats in voting yes.  It’s aimed at slowing the growth of a federal deficit that’s now one-point-eight trillion dollars this year.


Horicon PD Gets We-Tip Award


7/23/09 – The Horicon Police Department has received a 2009 WeTip Community Awareness Award.  Each year, WeTip acknowledges specific municipalities throughout the nation who have led the fight against crime by providing WeTip as a crime reporting resource in their community.

The program was started in Horicon three years ago by Officer Steve Williams and former Sergeant Joel McNabb. WeTip is a resource that allows citizens to anonymously report crime, fraud, property loss, drug trafficking and other crime tips with awards of up to $1000 possible. The number is 800-78-CRIME.