News – June 24, 2009

Heat Suffocates the Midwest

6/24/09 – It’ll be another hot one today though not as warm as yesterday, when the mercury hit 90 in Juneau, 92 in West Bend, and 93 in Fond du Lac. A heat advisory will be in effect for about the southeast-third of Wisconsin from noon until seven o’clock. Temperatures in the low-90’s are forecasted. The National Weather Service is also investigating a possible tornado touchdown about five miles southeast of Edgerton in Rock County. A pilot saw it around eight last night.

The recent heat is causing some roadways in Dodge County to buckle. Local authorities and county road crews had their hands full yesterday patching blow-outs on Highway 151 near Highways C and M. Traffic in the area was slow going for about 3 hours during the afternoon commute. Crews also scrambled to make repairs on the Interstate near Portage, Poynette, and Hudson. Assistant Highway Commissioner Pete Thompson says in extreme heat everything expands, including pavement, though the heat affects concrete more than asphalt because asphalt is more flexible. Blow-outs typically occur at the shoulder, the joints between sections of roadway or at the bottom of a hill, and with the pavement having nowhere to go but up, it will buckle by breaking up the joint and popping out the chunks.

Meanwhile, local emergency responders are urging the public to stay hydrated in this hot weather. Beaver Dam Fire Captain Matt Christian says – especially if you’re going to be outside – you should drink plenty of fluids. He says water is good, but a drink with electrolytes is even better because it replaces the salt that is lost when you sweat. Christian also urges the public to check in on older neighbors.

Supreme Court Upholds Identity Theft Charge in Baron Case

6/24/09 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a decision Tuesday that allows the Jefferson County District Attorney to proceed with identity theft charges against Christopher Baron. The 33-year-old Baron is a former Jefferson County E-M-T who is accused of sending e-mails in his boss’s name about an affair the boss supposedly had. The e-mails were sent to fellow E-M-S workers and Mark Fisher’s wife, saying he was using an apartment owned by the fire department to conduct the affair. Baron told authorities he had the right to spread what he called true information – and he wanted people to know about the affair because Fisher was not a quote, “golden boy.” Fisher committed suicide the day after Baron allegedly used the e-mail account to send those messages. Baron was later charged with six crimes, including identity theft, obstructing an officer, and computer crimes. But a Jefferson County judge dropped the identity theft charge, saying it didn’t apply in Baron’s case because Fisher was a public official. But the Fourth District Appeals Court said it was a still a crime for Baron to claim he was somebody else, public or not. The state’s high court yesterday affirmed the decision by the Court of Appeals. The rest of the case is still pending.

Homicide Under Investigation in Pardeeville

6/24/09 – Columbia County authorities are investigating a homicide. Sheriff Dennis Richards says the victim has been identified as 43-year-old Thomas G. Kratz of Montello. 46-year-old James J. Henke of Pardeeville is being held in the Columbia County Jail on two traffic warrants. Further criminal charges are being considered by the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office. Sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant yesterday (Tue) at 128 North Main Street in Pardeeville and recovered a knife on the roof of the apartment building. Further testing will be conducted to determine if it the same weapon used in the homicide. Authorities were called to North Main Street around 2am yesterday morning following reports of a man that had been injured in a fight. The case remains under investigation.

1901 Brewers Honored with Monument

6/24/09 – The 1901 Milwaukee Brewers, which included three local players, were honored with a monument at Miller Park yesterday afternoon. Davy Jones of Cambria, Pink Hawley of Beaver Dam and Pete Husting of Mayville were a part of the team that was a charter member of the American League. The Brewers left Milwaukee after 1901, moving to St. Louis for 52 years before later becoming the Baltimore Orioles. A baseball historian from Watertown, David Stalker, approached the Brewers about the possibility of a monument saying it was a way to commemorate one of the original American League teams as well as a way to showcase

“We’ll Never Forget You Brent”

Well now you can express the way you feel about Brett Favre through a t-shirt. The Madison based clothing store, Sconnie Nation is selling a t-shirt that has an outline of the state of Wisconsin, with a picture of Favre and the caption, “We’ll never forget you Brent”. The store has apparently already sold a couple hundred of the t-shirts. The longtime Packers quarterback is expected to come out of retirement for the 2nd time and play for the rival Minnesota Vikings during the 2009 season.

Two Escape Injury in Plane Crash

Two people escaped injury when their plane crash-landed about a mile west of the airport in Lodi. Columbia County sheriff’s officials were first told that a prop-plane needed to make an emergency landing at the airport, and rescuers should be sent there. A few minutes later, deputies were told the plane crashed before it got to the airport. It happened around 7:30pm Monday night. Authorities are investigating.

Columbus Looking into Adding Group to Investment Board

The City of Columbus is considering adding some help to their “Investment Board.”

The Council heard last night from the President of Community Investment Partners. Kenneth Herdeman told the council that his firm was NOT in competition with local banks in providing investment services. Unlike the current Board, banks or stock brokers Investment Partners specializes in working with a select list of government approved investments. Most Council members favored a yes vote when the resolution to engage the management firm comes before the Council next Tuesday.

Bankers Expect Fewer Home-Owners to Refinance in the 2nd Half of the Year

Fewer Wisconsin home-owners will refinance their mortgages in the second half of the year. That’s according to a survey by the Wisconsin Bankers Association. Twenty-three of the 129 bank officials surveyed expected the demand for home loans to grow from July through December. Sixty-six percent expected long-term rates to go up in the next six months. And the bankers expected business and commercial real estate loans to remain flat. Kurt Bauer, the head of the bankers’ group, says every indication in the survey showed that the recession and growing unemployment is hurting the financial condition of state families and companies. The bankers said they blamed lower cash flows, reduced capital, and poor earnings as reasons for turning down credit requests so far this year. They expected real estate and housing to lead the way in a recovery, with consumer spending right behind.

Law Enforcement Looking to Crack Down on Drunk Boaters this Weekend

Authorities in Wisconsin will keep a closer eye out for drunk boaters this weekend. The D-N-R has a campaign called “Operation Dry-Water.” It’s part of a national effort to enforce laws against boaters who are under the influence. State wardens and local patrol officers will look for operators who exceed the blood alcohol limit of point-zero-eight. Fines and jail time could result – along with impounding the offenders’ boats. Todd Schaller of the D-N-R says alcohol makes boaters more impaired, fatigued, and susceptible to the problems that involve cold water.

Legislature to Hold Special Session on Hospital Tax

Governor Jim Doyle has called a special legislative session for today, so the state can expand the new hospital tax to get more federal Medicaid money. The proposed state budget would expand the tax to ambulatory surgery centers. Doyle says it would give the state an extra 110-million dollars in Medicaid funds – but only if the tax expansion is signed into law by next Monday. The budget is not expected to be approved by then, so Doyle wants a separate bill to pass the hospital tax expansion. The governor has urged legislative leaders to pass a budget in the next few days, saying there’s a July first deadline to assure several types of new federal aid. But the Assembly and Senate still disagree on major portions of the budget, so Doyle says he’ll try to get the most urgent parts approved as separate bills.