News – June 20, 2009

Local Man Wins WSP Event

A former Beaver Dam and UW-Whitewater baseball player is making big money – but not by playing the game. Eric Baldwin won 522-thousand dollars in a World Series of Poker event this week in Las Vegas. The 26-year-old Baldwin grew up in Beaver Dam, majored in psychology at Whitewater, and moved to Las Vegas recently to focus on a full-time poker career. Baldwin said he spent about half of last year playing in various poker tournaments in Vegas, so he decided to forget the snow and live there full-time. Almost 21-hundred people played in the No-Limit-Hold-‘Em tournament he won. He paid a 15-hundred-dollar fee to get in. Madison poker pro Phil Hellmuth also finished in the money in the same event.

Man Facing 9th OWI

A Beaver Dam man could be looking at his 9th drunk driving citation after being pulled over Thursday evening. The Beaver Dam Police Department says a woman reported seeing a vehicle driven by 42-year-old William A. Reese swerving near the intersection of Spring and DeClark Streets around 8 p.m. After he was pulled over Reese refused a breathalyzer. Authorities arrested Reese on a probation and parole hold and booked him into the Dodge County Jail. Reese has been charged with obstruction and driving on a revoked license. The District Attorney’s office expects to charge Reese on the drunk driving charge after they finish reviewing his criminal history.

Detectives say they knew they couldn’t question a suspect in a 32 year old cold case when they met with him to collect a DNA sample. They say Thomas Niesen brought up DNA without being asked, saying it took him by surprise and that the DNA might tie him to other cases. The meeting took place in the Fond du Lac County Jail last February. Niesen is accused of killing dancer Kathleen Leichtman July 15, 1976, leaving her body along side the road. He was tied to the killing when he had to submit a DNA sample as a part of a sentence for child abuse last year. It was a match for semen collected from the dead woman from the 32 year old case.

Employees of a Mayville company will be laid off longer than expected. Metal-craft has told state officials that 325 layoffs will go beyond the originally-scheduled period of six months. The firm did not say how long the extension would be. The layoffs involve 244 employees in Mayville, and 81 others at a plant in West Bend. Metal-craft does pre-fabrication and post-fabrication metal work. Last week, the company said it would close another of its plants in Greensboro North Carolina in September, putting 120 people out of work.

A fourth person has died of injuries suffered in that wrong-way crash on Highway 41 in Brown County early Friday morning. Investigators say they suspect alcohol played a part in the fatal crash, but toxicology test results won’t be available for up to two weeks. The Brown County Sheriff’s office reports Stephen Siebert was driving his vehicle the wrong way on the divided highway when he slammed into another car. He was killed, as were three people in the second car. Siebert was apparently involved in a separate traffic accident on the same highway before the fatal crash.

A confirmed tornado west of Kenosha was part of a second straight day of heavy weather in Wisconsin. Trees were blown down by high winds a day after heavy rains caused some serious flooding. Winds gusted 60 to 70 miles per hour at Pleasant Prairie. Two National Weather Service spotters reported the tornado about five miles from Kenosha a little after 6 p.m. Friday. People lost power and traffic on I-94 was affected for a time. More than five thousand customers lost power during the storms.

Local governments and school systems will have to increase their contributions to employee pension plans next year. The six percent increase was approved by the Employee Trust Funds board Friday. It affects about 90 percent of the more than 260 thousand workers enrolled in the state retirement system. The increases are needed to help keep retirement funds solvent after the recession had a dramatic impact on those funds in 2008. Government agencies will now have to chip in 11 percent of salaries earned to those funds.

Republicans will continue to vote “no” on the state budget, no matter what changes are made to the plan. That’s according to Senator Alan Lasee, who says GOP lawmakers have big problems with the package. He says the budget is filled with endless tax increases, ranging from taxes on capital gains to garbage. All Republicans in both the Senate and Assembly have voted against the budget, and Lasee predicts that won’t change when a compromise emerges from a legislative conference committee.