“News-June 25, 2011”

Relay For Life of Beaver Dam On Track


6/25/11 – The 16th Annual Relay for Life of Beaver Dam is wrapping up this morning at the high school track.  Event Chair Kristin Fabisch says the fundraising goal for the 30 teams participating in this year’s event is $125,000. Before the event even got started, over $50,000 was pledged through ongoing fundraising efforts and online donations.  Last year the fundraiser pulled in $112,000 which was $2000 above goal. The theme this year is “Hope Is A Rainbow of Colors.” Donations are still being accepted at: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=30883


Grulke Files Open Meetings Complaint Against BDUSD


6/25/11 – A Beaver Dam man is asking Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg to consider prosecuting seven members of the Beaver Dam School Board and Superintendent Steve Vessey for allegedly violating the state’s open meetings law.  Dan Grulke, who’s been locked in separate legal disputes with the district for about a year, filed the complaint claiming the school board violated the law when they discussed tentative contract agreements with the teachers and support staff unions during the closed session portion of a meeting held on June 6.  However, an attorney for the district, Nancy Pirkey, says while the board did discuss the proposals and offered direction to the negotiating team, there was no vote on the agreements.  She added that the while the wording of the public notice about the meeting could have been more clear the topics addressed  were proper subjects for closed session.  Grulke also notes that the district’s meeting minutes from the night say the board held their annual budget hearing in closed session, which would be a violation of the open meetings law.  But Pirkey says its appearance on the minutes was a clerical error and that the board plans to correct it when they meet next month.


Dahlgren Arraigned In Tavern Break-Ins


6/25/11 – A Mauston man arrested in connection with a series of Dodge County tavern break-ins entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment Thursday. Thomas Dahlgren is charged with three felony counts of Burglary and three misdemeanor counts of Theft. The 44-year-old and two others are accused of breaking into the Dockside Pub and Grille in the Town of Westford in January, Jumpers Bar in the Town of Beaver Dam in February and Chances Bar in the Town of Burnett in March. Thousands of dollars was stolen from poker machines, ATM’s and safes.  32-year-old Nicholas J. Etter of West Salem and 32-year-old Michelle L. Novak of Mayville were the first to be charged in the case. According to the criminal complaint, Novak reportedly admitted to being the getaway driver and lookout; she has since waived her right to a preliminary hearing and has court activity on the calendar next month. Etter admitted that he was involved but blamed Dahlgren for orchestrating the break-ins. Etter entered a “no contest” plea earlier this month and will be sentenced in September. Dahlgren, meanwhile, was on probation for Attempted Homicide at the time of his arrest and is currently incarcerated at the Waupun Correctional Institution.


Hankins Enters ‘Not Guilty’ Plea To Child Porn Charges


6/25/11 – A Waupun man entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment this week to felony charges of possessing child pornography.  36-year-old Jeremy Hankins was arrested in April after a friend borrowed his computer and allegedly discovered sexually explicit videos involving children being downloaded.  The friend told police that he was disgusted by what he saw, stopped the downloads and returned the computer. He notified police because he was concerned about the safety of Hankins two children.  Six videos were reportedly uncovered resulting in six felony charges; each charge carries a maximum 25 years in prison, upon conviction. Hankins told investigators that he did not know how the videos got onto the computer. He has a motion hearing scheduled in August.


OWI Injury Suspect Waives Prelim


6/25/11 – A Sun Prairie woman has waived her right to a preliminary hearing on felony charges that she injured a passenger in a drunken driving accident in Beaver Dam.  Cassandra Dalby could spend as much as 13 years behind bars if convicted on charges of OWI Causing Injury and Operating After Revocation.  According to the criminal complaint, the 25-year-old had a blood alcohol level over three times the legal limit when she struck a utility pole and several street signs on Burnett Street in March.  Officers followed a blood trail to a nearby residence where they reportedly found Dalby and her passenger inebriated and covered in cuts and bruises.  She has an arraignment hearing scheduled for Monday.


Country USA Pedestrian Climbed Barriers Before Fatality


6/25/11 – Authorities said a Washington County man who was killed while trying to walk across an expressway in Oshkosh had to cross three tall barriers before he stepped onto the road. 20-year-old Jacob Wolf of Richfield died when he was hit by a northbound vehicle on Highway 41 near the Country U-S-A music festival. Winnebago County sheriff’s officials said Wolf had just left the festival around 12:30 Thursday morning, and was trying to get to a campground on the other side of the four-lanes. He had to climb a four-foot safety fence and two concrete barriers to reach the pavement, which is under construction at that location. The driver who hit him was a 17-year-old boy from New London. He has not been cited. Authorities are not sure if speed-or-alcohol were factors in the mishap. It’s still under investigation.


Quad Seeks Billions In Loans


6/25/11 – Wisconsin’s largest printing company apparently wants to borrow one-and-a-half billion dollars to refinance its debt. Bloomberg News says Quad-Graphics will hold a meeting with bankers on Tuesday in New York. The business news service says J-P Morgan Chase is handling the transaction. Quad reportedly wants an 800-million-dollar revolving line of credit and a 400-million-dollar loan that are both due in five years – and a 300-million-dollar loan due in seven years. Quad-Graphics is based in Sussex and is one of Dodge County’s largest employers. It merged with Canada’s largest printing firm a year ago – and it’s been consolidating facilities with the goal of moving more of its work to Wisconsin in several years. Quad recently became a publicly-held company after its merger with Canada’s World Color Press. Last year, Bloomberg said the company received a 700-million-dollar loan that’s due in 2016, and it received 530-million in revolving credit lines which can be tapped more than once.


Regional Unemployment Mixed Bag


6/25/11 – It was a mixed bag for the unemployment rate in the region last month.  In Dodge County, the unemployment rate was up one-tenth of a percent to 7.7%. Last year at the same time it was 8.7%.  Columbia County was at 7.3%, down one-tenth of a percent from April.  Washington County was up two-tenths to 7.1%, while Fond du Lac County was down two-tenths to 6.9%.   Jefferson County held steady at 8.1% but that was still more than a full-percentage point lower than last year at the same time.  Menominee County has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 18.1%.  Dane County continues to have the lowest at 5.1%.  49 of the states 72 counties had lower unemployment rates from the previous month while another six had no change.  The state’s unemployment rate was 7.4%, up one-tenth from April.


GOP Recall Candidates Answering Challenges


6/25/11 – Four Republicans running in recall elections against Democratic state senators have until Monday to answer challenges to their nomination papers.  The Government Accountability Board says those candidates have to address questions like whether voters who signed their nomination papers actually live in the correct district.  Responses are due by 8 a.m. Monday.  At that time the board will meet to consider the challenges and approve the final list of candidates for the elections.  The four GOP candidates involved are opposing Wisconsin Senators Jim Holperin and Dave Hansen.


Radiothon Raises $112K


6/24/11 – In its 14th year the WBEV/WXRO Children’s Radiothon shot past the $1.1-million mark.  The annual event spanned 27-hours, 7-regions and raised just less than $112,000 for seven different organizations. Good Karma Broadcasting President and CEO Craig Karmazin says this years event had some firsts, including steady rain.  For a third year in a row Noel’s Angel Walk provided a huge boost to the final total.  The event, which was organized by Lori and Scott Smith of Beaver Dam, is dedicated to their late daughter Noel Ann Smith.  Nearly 150 people walked the 2.5 mile route Thursday morning, and in its three-years of existence the walk has raised more than $45,000 for the Radiothon.  The 4th annual DCS Cup Tour raised nearly $9,800 this year while more than $10,000 was earned through our announcers “Fishing for Donations” from the roof of the station. The money raised will benefit seven Dodge County area agencies including, Green Valley Enterprises, Clothes for Kids, Community Care Preschool and Child Care Inc, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the YMCA of Dodge County, the Parent Resource Place and People Against Violent Environments.


Washington County Man Killed Outside Country USA


6/24/11 – A Washington County man was struck by a vehicle and killed early Thursday morning on an expressway near the Country U-S-A music festival in Oshkosh. Winnebago County authorities said the 20-year-old Richfield man was walking to a campground near the festival, when a car driven by a teenager struck him on Highway 41 near an exit at Highway 44. It happened about 12:3am. Another person who was walking with the victim escaped injury.


NWS Confirms Two Twisters


6/24/11 – The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes from Tuesday’s storms in southern Wisconsin. Both were “F”-one twisters with sustained winds of around 100-miles-an-hour. The first tornado traveled from near Alto in Fond du Lac County to near Markesan in Green Lake County. Officials said it leveled half of a barn, flattened a pole-shed, and took down numerous trees and power lines. The second tornado landed near Green Lake 11 minutes after the first one. It tore part of the roof off a barn, and uprooted trees. It’s the third day this year that Wisconsin has had multiple tornadoes. Twelve tornadoes landed on April 10th. And six more touched down on May 22nd from the same weather system that produced the devastating twister in Joplin Missouri. All told, the Badger State has had close to two dozen tornadoes – about the same number it normally gets for an entire year.


Memorial Service Held For Potential Recall Candidate


6/24/11 – A memorial service was held Thursday for a man who was planning to run against state Senate Republican Randy Hopper in the upcoming recall elections. 53-year-old John Curry of Waupun took out nomination papers – but his name never made the ballot for the July 12th primary. He died June fourth in his apartment, after his wife had passed away in April. Curry made friends at the Waupun Area Food Pantry and Waupun’s Community Food Table in his regular visits recently. Friends cited his strong interest in politics, and they noted that he once ran as a write-in against Fond du Lac Congressman Tom Petri. Officials say Curry’s family does not have a lot of money, and no one has claimed his body yet. The medical examiner says Fond du Lac County will arrange a burial if need be.


Businesses Paying Up For Unemployment Shortfall


6/24/11 – Wisconsin businesses will have to come up with money by September to help the state pay interest on a huge federal loan to cover a big spike in jobless benefits. The state’s Workforce Development agency is telling businesses this week that they’ll be billed in early August. And their payments will be due the next month. Wisconsin was among 30 states that ran out of funding for unemployment benefits during the recession. And they had to borrow money from Washington, as the applications for benefits kept piling up. The Badger State owes around one-and-a-half billion dollars. Congress decided late last year to give states an extra two years to start paying the principal on those loans – but they’re required to pay the interest this year. State officials say businesses with over 25-thousand-dollars in payrolls last year will have to fork up something. They won’t know how much until August.


Giving USA: ‘Charitable Giving On The Rise’


6/24/11 – It appears that more Wisconsinites are opening their pocketbooks for charity, just like other Americans are doing. The Giving U-S-A Foundation said charitable contributions rose by over 10-billion-dollars last year. That’s a four-percent increase, after a combined 13-percent decline in the recession-plagued years of 2008-and-’09. Stephen Webster, the head of Wisconsin’s United Ways, said they raised 3-to-4 percent more last year, as compared to ’09. He said the state’s United Ways took in over 100-million-dollars. But on the other hand, Webster says the needs have been growing by leaps-and-bounds. And the United Ways are spending more time with fund-raising because of that. Meanwhile, the Salvation Army’s Milwaukee County office reached its fund-raising goal in 2010 for the first time in three years. Faithe Colas said they took in almost three-million-dollars – but that’s stretched thinner as well. She said they’re seeing two-thousand needy people a week, up from 15-hundred a few years back. The national survey said Americans gave two-percent of their disposable incomes to charitable causes last year.


Jail Inmates Washing Own Sheets in Crawford Co


6/24/11 – Jail inmates in one southwest Wisconsin county are about to help taxpayers save a little money. Starting next month, prisoners in the Crawford County Jail in Prairie du Chien will start washing their own linens, instead of throwing them in a basket so the county can clean them professionally. Sheriff Dale McCullick says his jail has used a professional service to supply and clean the linens for his entire 19 years in the sheriff’s department – and it’s all been at taxpayer expense. The cost has run from 500-to-700-dollars a month, depending on the jail’s population. Now, the county will buy its own set of sheets, pillow cases, towels, and wash-clothes for just over 14-hundred-dollars – and the inmates will have the job of cleaning them. McCullick figures the linens will pay for themselves in just a couple months. Crawford County already has the washers-and-dryers for the job. The sheriff says it’s nice to save money, and not have to cut any services.