“News – July 29, 2009”

Favre Tells Vikings He’s Staying Retired


7/29/09 – Brett Favre calls it the hardest decision he ever made.  The former Packers’ quarterback told Minnesota Vikings’ coach Brad Childress yesterday he will not come out of retirement for a second time.  Favre – who turns 40 in October – told E-S-P-N he did not believe he could play at a physically-acceptable level.  And he had to be careful not to commit for quote, “the wrong reasons.”  Favre had surgery on his throwing arm in May, and he said the Vikings kept telling him quote, “You went through all this, and you’ve got to finish it off.”  But Favre said he had legitimate reasons for his decision and quote, “I’m 39 with a lot of sacks to my name.”  E-S-P-N said Favre had pain in his ankles and left knee during his recent workouts at his home in Mississippi – and the pain got worse, which led Favre to doubt whether he could play for a full season.  But the speculation continues as to whether Favre is retired for good.  His former  quarterback coach, Steve Mariucci, is among those questioning whether his latest decision is final.  Favre could be available if a contending team needs a quarterback later in the season.  He has played 18 N-F-L seasons – including 16 in Green Bay before he was traded a year ago to the New York Jets.


Eauslin gets 16 Years for Molestation


7/29/09 – A Lowell man will spend 16 years in prison for molesting a preteen girl. Wayne Eauslin was convicted of assaulting the child while she slept last August.  The 36-year-old was a guest at the family’s home. Eauslin was found not guilty of assaulting an even younger girl during that same stay. Eauslin still faces a three other felony child sexual assault charges in two separate cases for allegedly molesting three different girls. In the other case, Eauslin assaulted two girls in a bathroom in the summer of 2007. In the third case, Eauslin is accused of the repeated sexual assault of a girl in 2001. District Attorney Bill Bedker says that he has (quote) “never heard testimony as gut wrenching as what he saw from that little girl.” Bedker said his heart was in his throat and his eyes welled up as she broke down in tears repeatedly while recounting what he did to her. At sentencing, Eauslin’s public defender asked for probation with “super-stringent” sex offender rules, arguing that the defendant had a good work ethic and no serious criminal history before this incident. Judge Brian Pfitzinger rejected the recommendation for probation saying, (quote) “this court sees you as someone the children of this county and this state need protection from” and not imposing a lengthy prison term would depreciate the seriousness of the offense.  In addition to 16 years in prison, Eauslin was ordered to serve 10 years of extended supervision and register as a sex offender.


Mercury Marine Talks Continue


7/29/09 – Time may be of the essence as Mercury Marine decides whether to stay in Fond du Lac, but employees’ union officials are going to need more of it to review proposed changes to their contract with the company. Union representatives met for about 3 and a half  hours yesterday to go over proposed changes. They emerged from the meeting needing more time to review documents. They’ll hold another meeting next Monday. Mercury officials have made no secret of the fact that what is worked out with the union will influence their decision on whether to consolidate operations in Fond du Lac or at the company’s Stillwater, Oklahoma facility.


City To Close on YMCA Property Thursday


7/29/09 – The city of Beaver Dam will close on the purchase of the former YMCA property Thursday.  That’s according to Mayor Tom Kennedy who says city officials will be immediately getting to work on plans to convert the parcel into a new police station. The city is planning to add the YMCA to its recently completed “Space Needs Study” of city-owned property. Once MSA Professional Services completes the assessment, Kennedy says city officials will have a better understanding of what to do with the existing structure, in terms of renovation or demolition.


Phase One of Highway 33 Project Close to Completion


7/29/09 – The downtown business district in Horicon will get a huge boost in the next two weeks as the DOT completes Phase One of the Highway 33 reconstruction project.  This means Lake Street, which is home to a large number of businesses, will be open to traffic for the first time in months.  Mayor Jim Grigg says while the reopening can’t bring back the money lost during the closure he feels businesses will be able to recover. Grigg says to his knowledge none of the business along the construction route have been forced to close up shop.  The entire project is expected to be completed by November. Business leaders are also planning a ribbon cutting and street dance for the 15th of August to celebrate the reopening.  For updates visit the Horicon Chamber of Commerce website.


Horicon Common Council Approves Purchase of Land for New Well


7/29/09 – The Horicon Common Council approved the purchase of a parcel of land at the high school last night for a place to build a new well.  The new well will replace two others that are about 90-years-old.  Mayor Jim Grigg says they decided to replace the older wells after maintenance workers noticed some corrosion of the wells castings.  Though they have seen no evidence of surface water contamination the DNR suggested they shut those wells down and build another. The school district sold the land for just $1 on the condition the city would put bathrooms into the building.  The total cost of the building is expected to be $25,000 and the city has applied for a grant to help for the total project cost of $1.25-million dollars.  The city is now in the bidding process to have someone come in a do testing on the site.


Waupun Police Use Taser After Foot Chase with Beaver Dam Man


7/29/09 – Waupun police had to use a taser several times to apprehend a 43-year-old Beaver Dam man who led them on a foot chase. Police say an officer was patrolling one evening when he the officer spotted a car driving without head lights. A records check determined the vehicle had a revoked license. When the car was stopped the driver got out and fled on foot. During a foot chase the first deployment of the taser was unsuccessful. However police used it a second and third time, this time successfully as the man continued to try and run. He’s being held in the County Jail on drunken driving and operating after revocation charges. (KFIZ)


NWS Confirms 3 Tornadoes Touched Down Monday


7/29/09 – Three tornadoes touched down in southern Wisconsin on Monday night.  The National Weather Service confirmed those twisters yesterday in Marquette, Crawford, and Lafayette counties.  The strongest one landed just after 5:45 Monday afternoon about three miles southwest of Montello.  It had winds of about 95-miles-an-hour, was 100 yards wide, and ran for nine miles, causing tree damage.  The Crawford County tornado was the first there since 1987.  It touched just after 5:15 Monday about a mile east of Fairview.  It destroyed several out-buildings on a farm, plus numerous trees.  It ran for four miles with winds primarily at 65-to-85 miles an hour.  Monday’s third tornado landed about 8:10 p-m two miles northeast of Gratiot in Lafayette County.  It was only on the ground for a tenth of a mile, with winds of around 80 miles-an-hour.  The storm caused minor roof damage to a couple of farm-houses, and smashed three vehicles.  It was Lafayette County’s third tornado in four days.  Two twisters last Friday caused heavy crop damage.


Popp Hoping for Plea Deal in Patrick Cudahy Meat Plant Fire


7/29/09 – A plea deal is being sought for at least one of two brothers accused of firing the military flare that started the massive fire at the Patrick Cudahy meat plant.  Kurtis and Joshua Popp waived their preliminary hearings yesterday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.  And they were ordered to stand trial on felony charges of second-degree reckless endangerment.  The attorney for 23-year-old Joshua Popp says he hopes negotiations for a plea bargain can be wrapped up by August 24th – when the Popps are scheduled to enter pleas.  Prosecutors said Joshua took the military flare while he served in the Marines, and he let his 25-year-old brother Kurtis fire it the night of July fifth.  Their mother said they were at a family barbeque at the time.  The flare landed on the roof of the Patrick Cudahy plant, and it sparked a blaze that caused over 50-million dollars in damage.


Wood Wants Evidence Dismissed


7/29/09 – A judge in Portage says he’ll decide in December if marijuana found in a state legislator’s car can be used as evidence against him.  Assembly Independent Jeff Wood of Bloomer says two bags of pot and drug paraphernalia should be tossed out as evidence – because the state trooper who arrested him did not have a search warrant.  Wood’s lawyer says a recent U-S Supreme Court decision put new limits on when police can search vehicles without a warrant.  Columbia County Circuit Judge Daniel George told Wood and prosecutors to file legal briefs before he makes his ruling.  It will come about a year after Wood allegedly crashed into a highway sign on Interstate 39-90-94 near Portage.  The arresting trooper claimed to find the lawmaker urinating on the side of the road before searching his car.


Badgers State Great Place To raise Kids


7/29/09 – Wisconsin is the 10th best state for a child to live.  That’s according to the annual Kids Count report, released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  The state’s overall ranking is two places higher than the previous two years, when Wisconsin was ranked 12th.  The report shows how well each state performs in 10 indicators of children’s health and well-being.  They include infant mortality, teen birth rates, and the percentage of teens not going to school or working.  Wisconsin has improved in six of the 10 indicators that were tracked between 2000 and 2007.  The survey said Wisconsin did worse in its rankings for kids in single-parent homes, children living in poverty, kids in families where no parent works full-time, and babies with low birth-weights.


Change in Election Process in the Works


7/29/09 – A five-year plan to update Wisconsin’s election process could include voting by mail, or on the Internet.  And it could also move the September primaries earlier, so there’s more time for the winners to campaign before the November general elections.  Yesterday, local and state officials and citizens’ groups got together to discuss the five-year plan – which would put the Badger State in compliance with federal election laws.  It also explores new things like voting by mail, which is now done only in Oregon and in Washington State outside the Seattle area.  Some residents at the meeting were concerned such measures would invite voter fraud.  But director Kevin Kennedy of the Government Accountability Board said security is paramount – and while the plan’s short on details now, he says the board would use all the tools it has to fight fraud.  Madison Alderman Bryon Eagon, a U-W student, wanted to see on-line voter registration.  He said it  would especially be of help to young people.  Rick Stadleman of the Wisconsin Towns Association said he’s not sure all the ideas are possible or necessary.  It would cost 17-million dollars to make all the changes.  Federal funds would cover about four-million, and Kennedy says his agency’s budget could handle some of the costs.  Also, the Legislature would have to approve some items in the plan – like mail or Internet voting.


Groups Support Bill to Remove Politics from DNR


7/29/09 – Environmentalists, sportsmen, and D-N-R employees lined up yesterday to support a bill to get politics out of the state’s natural resources agency.  Most of the 173 speakers at a legislative hearing supported the idea of having the Natural Resources Board appoint the D-N-R secretary, and not the governor.  That’s the way it was before 1995.  Since then, former board chairman Herb Behnke said resource policies have been influenced too much by the governor’s office.  Former D-N-R attorney Linda Meyer said that in some cases, top officials have weakened rules and interfered in enforcement cases. Retired D-N-R water specialist Douglas Risch said the agency recently bowed to political pressure, and let those with flooding problems on small lakes pump water into the Wisconsin River.  And Risch says the D-N-R’s morale is as low as ever.  Susan Miller, head of a  wardens’ union, said they’ve dealt with inexperienced management.  And other conservation officers said they have not been allowed to speak about cases.  But the state’s largest business group agreed with Governor Jim Doyle that he keep his current power.  We Energies, the state’s largest electric utility, feared that a change might make the D-N-R put less emphasis on air-and-water issues.