News – June 15, 2009

Four Dead in Traffic Accidents in Southeast Wisconsin

6/15/09 – Authorities say they will wait until an autopsy is conducted later today before releasing the name of the person killed in a one-car accident near Brownsville Sunday morning. According to the Dodge County Sheriffs Department, the 45-year-old driver was driving a pick-up truck that was pulling an enclosed trailer on State Highway 49 when he failed to negotiate a curve, struck a guardrail, then rolled down the embankment and caught fire. He was unable to get out of the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Dodge County Medical Examiner. The wreck occurred at 2:15am.

6/15/09 – A 25-year-old man was killed just southeast of Hartford Sunday afternoon after losing control of his motorcycle while going around a curve. The Washington County Sheriff’s Department says the man from Stone Bank was traveling west on Highway E near Rolaine Parkway with four other riders when the crashed occurred around 2:30pm. The investigation into the accident continues but speed is believed to a factor. The man’s name was not immediately released.

6/15/09 – Two people on a motorcycle died last night when their bike collided with a vehicle in the Waukesha County town of Vernon. Authorities said both bikers were not wearing helmets, and both died at the scene. Other details were not immediately available about the crash – which happened just after 7:45 last night.

Several Motor Vehicle Injuries Reported in Region

6/15/09 – Two injuries were reported after a motorcycle struck a stopped vehicle near Watertown Sunday evening. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, 54-year-old Debra Pritchard of Ixonia was at a stop sign on Highway 16, waiting to make a left-hand turn onto Hustisford Road, when she was struck by the motorcycle. A 41-year-old male from Johnson Creek was driving the motorcycle and was transported to Watertown Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. His passenger, a 30-year-old female from Johnson Creek, was transported to Froedtert Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Pritchard was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured. Authorities are investigating.

6/15/09 – Two men were injured in separate accidents on Dodge County roadways early Sunday morning. 22-year-old Jeremiah Meyer was transported to the hospital following an accident on Highway 175 in the Town of Theresa Sunday morning at 2:20am. A few minutes later in the Town of Lowell, 29-year-old Brian J. Kelm was transported to the hospital after going through a stop sign on Highway 60 and striking a tree.

6/15/09 – Traffic on the Interstate south of Madison was tied for up two hours late Sunday, after a pair of crashes in the southbound lanes. Several people were hurt, and a 67-year-old woman had life-threatening injuries.

Culvert Removal Begins

6/15/09 – Removal of the culverts in the Tower Parking begins today as Beaver Dam’s downtown redevelopment and demolition project enters its fourth week. Crews will be cutting asphalt in the parking throughout the week. The river flow will be blocked to the east culvert on Friday so that it can be removed. Meanwhile, demolition continues on three remaining buildings on the 200 block of Front Street. 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 this Friday. The city will install a new metal cap on the shared wall between Celestial and the Fountain Inn Tavern. Owner Jay Hoeft has selected the color and approved the detail. The other two buildings should be completely down by the end of the week as well, though it will be the end of the month before the rubble is removed.

Council Considers Weyco Extension / Demerit Point System

6/15/09 – The Beaver Dam Common Council tonight will consider an extension of the closing date for the sale of the former Weyco Shoe Factory property. Wisconsin Redevelopment is seeking renovate the structure into loft-style apartments and will pay another $5000 to move the closing date to August 31 from May 31. The move was already approved by the Community Development Committee. Under the terms of the purchase, the developer would have to incur $1 million in construction costs by the end of next year or they’d lose a quarter million dollars. Wisconsin Redevelopment Vice President Todd Hutchison says the downturn in the economy has made it difficult for him to sell his recently-acquired low-income tax-credits to investors. Hutchison says he really wants to work with the city, but he can’t afford to risk pushing that kind of deadline so the additional $5000 is an insurance policy for a worst-case scenario. Hutchison says his company remains optimistic about the Beaver Dam project. The council tonight will also consider a demerit point system for local taverns, which was re-introduced at the last council meeting after being defeated last month. The Common Council meets at 8pm tonight at city hall.

Legislators Personal Wealth Declines by Millions

6/15/09 – Wisconsin’s richest member of the U-S House lost over 20-percent of his net worth in the last year. Menomonee Falls Republican Jim Sensenbrenner was worth eight-point-nine million dollars on March 31st. He lost almost two-and-a-half million dollars in the past 12 months, mainly due to declines in the stock market. Sensenbrenner, an heir to the Kimberly-Clark fortune, puts a detailed record of his assets and liabilities in the Congressional Record. He says he believes in full disclosure. But members are only required to list broad ranges for their total annual income and net worth. And while the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gets a little more detail from Wisconsin’s delegation, only Senate Democrat Russ Feingold and House Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Madison supplied all the information the paper asked for. Feingold is worth 386-thousand dollars, one of the lowest among Wisconsin’s Capitol Hill lawmakers. House Democrat Gwen Moore of Milwaukee and Wausau Democrat David Obey also reported assets in the low six-figure ranges. Baldwin’s net worth is around one-point-one million dollars, down from one-point-four million last year. Fond du Lac House Republican Tom Petri is worth around eight-million. Senate Democrat Herb Kohl, one of the richest members of Congress, is estimated to own assets of around 110-million dollars. His annual income fell from 11-point-eight-million dollars to four-point-nine million during the year ending in March.

Dem’s Tab Lawton As Doyle Successor

6/15/09 – Wisconsin Democrats want Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton to be their party’s nominee for governor next year, if Jim Doyle does not seek a third term. Wis-Politics-Dot-Com took their usual straw poll at the State Democratic Convention this past weekend in Green Bay. Eighty-two delegates preferred Lawton if Doyle steps down. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was the choice of 33 delegates, followed by Senator Jon Erpenbach of Waunakee and Congressman Ron Kind of La Crosse. Convention delegates were also asked which G-O-P candidate was more beatable for governor next year. 124 of them said it was Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, while 90 said former Congressman Mark Neumann was the easier challenger. Among other things, the convention unveiled a Democratic Internet ad that slammed both Walker and Neumann. That was one of the projects from U-W Madison student Sam Roecker, the state Democrats’ first media intern. He’s showing the party how to use You-Tube, Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of so-called “new media” to their advantage.

Ho-Chunk Wants Cigarette Tax Cash

6/15/09 – The Ho-Chunk Indian tribe is expected to find out tomorrow whether it can get thousands-of-dollars in refunds on cigarette taxes. The State Supreme Court will decide if the tribe is eligible for a refund based on cigarette sales at its DeJope bingo hall and casino in

Madison for parts of 2003-and-’04. The tribe says the state must pay the refunds on 70-percent of cigarette taxes collected on lands that were designed as Indian property before 1983. The Ho-Chunk also said the law was ambiguous, and that’s another reason it should get the money. A state appeals court ruled last year that the DeJope Casino was not an Indian property until ’83, so the Ho-Chunk is not entitled to the tax refunds.

Goodwill Accepting Computers

6/15/09 – Goodwill has not accepted donations of computer equipment – until now. Many of Wisconsin’s Goodwill centers have just started taking used computers and related equipment in a partnership with Dell’s Re-connect recycling program. Maureen Roche of Goodwill Industries in south central Wisconsin says its stores will take any brand of computer in any condition, and it’s an ongoing program instead of something that’s done just once a year. Roche says donors can get receipts for tax purposes – and if they donate software, they’re asked to include the software licenses.