News – June 13, 2009

Assembly Approves State Budget

6/13/09 – The Wisconsin Assembly passed the new state budget this morning after hours and hours of debate. The plan, which lawmakers say will address the $6.6-billion-dollar deficit, raises taxes more than two billion dollars, lays off 14 hundred state workers, cuts state agency spending — and relies on federal stimulus dollars to make the numbers balance. Speaker Mike Sheridan says the majority Democrat’s delivered a balanced budget that cut state spending by $3.2 billion dollars and puts Wisconsin on a track to economic recovery and future prosperity. However, Republican Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon says that couldn’t be further from the truth. He said “During the worse recession in generations, Democrats increased both spending and taxes by billons of dollars.” Fitzgerald went on to say the Democrats put the state budget ahead of the family budget. The Senate is expected to take up the budget next week.

LaFave Sentenced in Kahn Murder

6/13/09 – The 21-year-old woman who helped her boyfriend kill a UWM student last year has been sentenced to 20-years in prison. Tammi LaFave of Delafield was in a Milwaukee court room yesterday where she apologized for her role in the death of 32-year-old Haroon Kahn. LaFave tagged along with her boyfriend of three weeks, Travis Zoellick, when he went to see Kahn about a car he was selling. However, instead of buying the car, Zoellick and LaFave kidnapped Kahn and drove him back to Watertown where Zoellick later killed him. The judge and Kahn’s family said LaFave had plenty of opportunities to stop what was happening while driving back to Watertown in a separate car and with a cell phone, but instead she did nothing. LaFave was sentenced to an additional five-years of extended supervision. Zoellick killed himself as police were closing in on his Watertown area home.

Sources: Benson Strikes Plea Deal

6/13/09 – A former orthopedic surgeon charged with causing an accident that killed an Oconomowoc High School assistant principal is expected to plead guilty next week as part of a plea deal, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mark Benson was allegedly high on prescription drugs when he was involved in a crash that killed Jennifer Bukosky, her unborn child, and her daughter Courtney Bella in April of 2008. Benson had three drunk driving arrests on his record prior to the incident and his license was revoked. If a deal is not reached before a motion hearing Tuesday Benson will stand trial in mid-July.

Demolition Ahead of Schedule in Beaver Dam

6/13/09 – Mayor Tom Kennedy says demolition contractor Brandenburg Industries is running slightly ahead of schedule with the downtown Beaver Dam redevelopment project. The buildings on the 100 block of Front Street were removed by this time last week, but the foundation wall along the river remains. The river banks on the 100 block will be “rough-graded” by next Friday, which means a rudimentary river bank will start to take shape as they fill the holes where the buildings used to be. We’re starting to get a clearer picture of what Beaver Dam’s 200 block of Front Street will look like when the five corner buildings are removed. 207 Front Street was torn down yesterday becoming the seventh downtown building to be razed. The three remaining buildings all border structures that will not be demolished. The Celestial Building will be the last to fall, sometime on or around June 26. It should be dismantled down to the first floor by next Friday. Kennedy says the other two buildings should be completely down by the end of next week. It will be the end of the month before the rubble is removed. Pictures are on our website.

12th Annual Children’s Radiothon Set for Thursday

6/13/09 – Representatives with the Teen Center of Beaver Dam say the money they receive from the 12th Annual WBEV-WXRO Children’s Radiothon will help them fulfill their mission statement. Melissa Nondorf with the Teen Center’s parent organization High Expectations, says that mission

is to empower youth to support communities and empower communities to support youth. Nondorf says the Teen Center offers a variety of programs for area kids age 11 to 21, including career development, homework help, sports leagues and arts groups. The Teen Center is one of seven organizations that will be splitting the money raised during the 27-hour long broadcast auction and its related events.

Judge Rules Animal Cruelty Charges Not Valid in Kuenzi Case

6/13/09 – Five felony animal cruelty charges are dismissed against a Waupaca County man. Robby Kuenzi, his brother Rory and Nicholas Hermes were accused of running over and killing some deer on a snowmobile last January. State law prohibits animal cruelty charges when a person is hunting. That evidently factored into the judge’s decision. Kuenzi still faces several lesser charges. Four deer were found dead along a snowmobile trail south of Waupaca January 10. Rory Kuenzi and Hermes still face similar charges in the incident.

No Charges Yet for Drive-By Suspect

6/13/09 – Charges against a 20-year-old man suspected of a drive-by shooting in Fond du Lac won’t be filed until early next week. Fond du Lac Police Major Kevin Lemke says reports on the incident this past Wednesday at the Calumet Apartments are still being put together. The case was listed on the Fond du Lac County Court intake list Friday morning with an initial charge of 1st degree recklessly endangering safety. The suspect may have been targeting a person in a group of people standing on the corner near the apartment building. Five shots were fired and three of them hit a vehicle parked on the street. Four people were in the car, but no one was hit by the fire from the .45 caliber handgun. When police arrested the suspect during a high-risk traffic stop Thursday evening no weapon was recovered. (KFIZ, Fond du Lac)

Roehling Pleads Not Guilty

6/13/09 – The 23-year-old Berlin man caught and held at gunpoint by a Town of Ripon homeowner pled not guilty to charges arising from the May 29th incident. Michael Roehling was in Fond du Lac County Court yesterday morning for a preliminary hearing. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing and during an arraignment entered the not guilty pleas. Roehling allegedly stole $4,100 in cash and coins and three lawnmowers from the same Highway 44 residence on May 20th and then returned at the end of May. This time the homeowner grabbed a handgun and forced Roehling onto the floor of the home until Sheriff’s deputies arrived. The case was assigned to Judge Robert Wirtz, but Roehling’s lawyer Anthony Nehls may ask for a substitution of judges. (KFIZ, Fond du Lac)

Doyle Speaks at Democratic Convention

6/13/09 – Governor Jim Doyle was the featured speaker for the opening night of this year’s Democratic state convention. It’s being held through this weekend in Green Bay. U.S. Senator Russ Feingold and Congressman Steve Kagen will also speak during the event. While they’re meeting in Green Bay, Democrats will choose a new chairman for the Wisconsin party. Joe Wineke is stepping down after serving a pair of two-year terms. Party strategist Mike Tate takes over today. He is unopposed for the position.