“News-June 20, 2011”

Weak Tornado Lands in Dodge County


6/20/11 – A tornado touched down in southeast Wisconsin late yesterday, but the National Weather Service said it only damaged some tall grass. Officials said a weak “F”-zero tornado landed just before five p-m in Dodge County, about five miles southwest of Theresa.  Meanwhile, Eau Claire is still drying out after getting four-and-three-quarter-inches of rain in less than two hours on Saturday night. The State Patrol said a mudslide from a hill closed a road near Eau Claire after it caused three traffic crashes. No one was hurt, and the road was re-opened yesterday. Weekend rainstorms also hit northeast Wisconsin. Elcho in Langlade County had the most in that region – three-point-eight inches of rain. Two-and-a-quarter inches fell near Menasha, and Wrightstown near Green Bay had about an-inch-and-a-half. The Weather Service says we could get some more severe weather through tomorrow, as the result of an approaching warm front in southern Wisconsin and a new cold front from the Plains. Morning thunderstorms are likely in the far south – and they’re supposed to be move in statewide by tonight. Heavy rains are possible in central Wisconsin – and stronger storms are in the forecast for tomorrow.


Gas Prices Down


6/20/11 – Gas prices in Wisconsin dropped more than 10-cents on average in the past week.  That’s according to WisconsinGasPrices.com, which says the state average is $3.67 this morning.  That’s 18-cents less than a month ago but nearly 92-cents higher than a year ago.  Gas can be had for $3.53 in Beaver Dam, $3.61 in Waupun and $3.68 in Fond du Lac.  The low price in the state is $3.46 in Baraboo while the high price is $3.99 in South Milwaukee.  The national average also dropped this week and is average $3.66.


Lomira Break-In Under Investigation


6/20/11 – Authorities are investigating a break-in at the Aurora Pharmacy in Lomira.  The alarm company notified the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department just after 4 a-m yesterday morning.  Once on scene authorities found the front door broken open and an unknown number of hydrocodone pills missing.  Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to contact the sheriff’s department.


Skydiver Injured in Dane County


6/20/11 – A skydiver was seriously injured this weekend after coming in too fast during his landing just south of Columbus.  It happened Saturday on Highway 73 in the town of York.  Dane County authorities say the man unsuccessfully tried a mid-air maneuver and fell about 60-feet.  The man was listed in stable condition with possible facial, leg, and pelvic injuries.  Officials say the man’s parachute was open but that he misjudged his landing.  Authorities didn’t immediately release the man’s name.


BD School Board Could Vote on Union Contracts


6/20/11 – The Beaver Dam School Board is expected to take action on contracts for the teacher and support staff unions during their meeting tonight.  No contract details have been released, but during his radio program two weeks ago, Superintendent Steve Vessey said the only way the district could approve a contract was if it included the unions contributing 5.8-percent of their salaries into their pensions.  It’s unclear what impact last week’s Supreme Court decision to reinstate the collective bargaining limits will have on their decision.  The law is expected to go into effect June 29th and any contracts approved before then will have to be honored. The district is facing a $2.8-million dollar deficit for the 2011-2012 school year.  He said through staffing and efficiency adjustments they were able to fill half of the deficit.  The other half would come from the increased contribution.  The board meets at 6:30 tonight in the Educational Service Center.


Attorney Asks for Separate Trials in Lynch Case


6/20/11 – The attorney for former Fox Lake Police Chief Pat Lynch asked a judge on Friday for two separate trials for his client.  The 55-year-old is charged with the alleged sexual assault of a 7-year-old child in 1989. Lynch is also accused of stalking the victim at her work.  His attorney would like those charges as part of one trial and charges that he stalked his ex-wife’s former boyfriend and a former co-worker in another.  No ruling was made on that request.  The judge did approve a motion for bond reduction.  He originally posted a $25,000 cash bond shortly after his arrest in December. Lynch was successful in having his bond reduced to $10,000 in February and received a $15,000 refund. Friday’s action will allow another $5000 to be returned.  Currently there is a five-day jury trial is scheduled for October.


Lawmakers Still Pushing to Use Taxpayer Money to Lure Companies


6/20/11 – Wisconsin lawmakers are not giving up on a major effort to invest hundreds-of-millions of dollars of tax money to help new high-potential companies create jobs. At least three alternatives are being proposed to Governor Scott Walker’s original venture capital plan that was scrapped a few weeks ago. Senate Republicans Randy Hopper and Alberta Darling have come up with a plan to provide 200-million dollars – half the original funding – and create a Venture Capital Authority of experts within the state. They would decide which high-potential start-up firms would get the money. A second proposal is similar to the first, with slight modifications. A third plan by three Assembly Republicans would continue to give money to out-of-state certified capital firms called CAPCOs, which would do part of the investing in Wisconsin start-ups. The involvement of the out-of-state firms is partially why Walker’s original plan was thrown out. The other reason is that the state would not have been given back another part of the original program’s funding, which would have gone to insurance companies. Those insurers would have invested in new start-ups, but the state would have only gotten back 20-percent of those firms profits – not its original investment. Darling and Hopper say their bill best addresses the reasons Walker’s original package was thrown out. Both those senators face recalls this summer, and they want their plan passed by then so the money can start flowing by September. Walker’s office would only say it’s working on a new venture capital measure.


More Single-Father Homes

6/20/11 – Wisconsin fathers had their day yesterday — and a lot more of them are raising kids without the help of a mother. The Appleton Post-Crescent cited Census figures showing that the number of single fathers with children under 18 jumped by 35-percent in the 10 years ending in 2010. That’s the largest growth among family households in the Badger State. Homes with single mothers had the second-biggest increase, with 13-percent. Katherine Curtis of U-W Madison’s Applied Population Lab says single fathers get hardly any attention from the rest of us. She says attitudes on parental responsibility put more of a focus on single moms. Sixty-eight-and-a-half percent of Wisconsin households have traditional married couples. That’s down 10-percent since the 2000 Census.


Trial Begins for Pastor


6/20/11 – The United Methodist Church will start holding a trial in Kaukauna tomorrow for a pastor from northwest Wisconsin accused of violating church rules against homosexuality. 44-year-old Reverend Amy DeLong of Osceola is charged with violating a church ban on the ordination of self-avowed homosexuals, and marrying a lesbian couple. DeLong told her supervisors a number of years ago she was having a lesbian relationship. And she admitted in a required 2009 report that she agreed to marry a lesbian couple. A jury of 13 pastors will decide DeLong’s fate over a scheduled three-day proceeding. She told the A-P it’s been hard dealing with the charges. But DeLong decided not to suspend her conscience when joining the ministry. She said it was incumbent on her not to perpetuate what she called unjust church laws. DeLong is part of a growing movement by Methodist pastors to marry same-sex couples regardless of church punishment. Hundreds of clergy have signed statements in Illinois, Minnesota, New England, and New York State expressing their willingness to go against the church’s ban on marrying gay couples. Minneapolis pastor Bruce Robbins said he signed it out of urgency, as Minnesota considers a constitutional ban on gay marriage.


Dodge County Participating in REACH Child Initiative


6/20/11 – Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg has teamed up with a non-profit organization that seeks to help ease the difficult judicial experience for child victims. The program is called the REACH Child Initiative. REACH stands for “Reading Enjoyment Affects Childhood Happiness.” It was started by Paul Gilbertson of Madison after he and his wife visited Ground Zero in 2007 and were struck by the pictures drawn by children affected by the 9-11 disaster. Gilbertson came up with the idea of giving books to kids to shift their focus/thinking to something positive, other than the crisis they were facing. Klomberg says they have a lot of kids coming through his office both as witnesses and victims of sexual and physical abuse. “Child victims between the ages of 3 and 16 are forensically interviewed at the Dodge County District Attorney’s office using the “Stepwise” protocol,” Klomberg said, adding “Not only have these children been traumatized as victims, but they are also often nervous and upset with having to relive the trauma during an interview. We hope that by offering a book of their choice to take home, the child will be comforted.” While DA’s offices are a relatively new area for the program, REACH books can be found in the vehicles of over 15,000 first responders in 12 states. Over a quarter million books have been given to children in various crisis situations.  The group has also started the “Literacy Crime Prevention Program” which provides books to children visiting incarcerated parents and family members. For years, Klomberg’s office has given child victim’s stuffed animals when they came to be interviewed. He says the addition of a book may further ease their anxiety and perhaps open the door to a lifetime of reading for children. Dodge County’s participation in the program was made possible thanks to an anonymous donor.


Miss USA Pageant Held


6/20/11 – Wisconsin’s entry in the Miss U-S-A Pageant did not make the Top-16 in last night’s televised finals. 21-year-old Jordan Morkin of Green Bay stepped into the contest just a month ago, after the state’s previous contestant was charged with three felony counts of identity theft. Shaletta Porterfield of Madison stepped down last month as Miss Wisconsin U-S-A. She has pleaded innocent, and is scheduled to go on trial July 19th in Dane County Circuit Court. Her attorney Robert Nagel does not believe Porterfield gained any money from her actions. He has said he expects to resolve the case this summer. Meanwhile, Morkin was featured in the parade-of-states in last night’s pageant – but she didn’t get much T-V time after that. Miss California, Alyssa Campanella, was crowned the new Miss U-S-A. She’ll represent the country in the Miss Universe Pageant in Brazil in September.