News – June 27, 2009

Relay for Life of Beaver Dam

6/27/09 – Twenty-seven teams are making their way around the Beaver Dam High School Track for the American Cancer Society. The Relay for Life of Beaver Dam got underway yesterday afternoon. Event co-chair Maria Rognstad says, because of the warm weather, less people turned out last night than last year. But she says everybody’s enthusiasm was high and it was an “awesome” evening. The fundraising goal for this year is $114,000, six thousand dollars more than what was raised last year.

State Budget Sent to Governor for Final Approval

6/27/09 – The long battle over the budget is complete for Wisconsin lawmakers. Now, it’s up to Governor Jim Doyle to sign the 62 billion dollar spending plan. The Assembly approved the compromise version Friday night. The governor has been pressuring members of his own Democratic party to get the job done so he could make the vetoes he chooses, yet get it signed by the start of the new fiscal year Wednesday. Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan says his party was able to pass a budget that protects more than 99% of all people in Wisconsin from income taxes and holds the line on property taxes among other things. Minority leader Jeff Fitzgerald countered that argument saying Democrats have put a higher priority on the state budget than the family budget. The deal covers a record 6-point-6 billion dollar shortfall, cutting most state agency spending by six percent, eliminating pay raises for state workers and including layoffs for 14 hundred state employees. About three billion dollars in federal stimulus money is being used to make ends meet.

BD Girl Among Three Teens Missing from Treatment Facility

6/27/09 – A Beaver Dam teen is among three people missing from a Washington County treatment center. That’s according to a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. They say 14-year-old Victoria Frase, 15-year-old Kyle French and 15-year-old Josh Kropp were last seen running away from the Washington County Youth Treatment Center on Tuesday. French is from Baraboo, Kropp is from Colgate, and Frase is from Beaver Dam. It is believed that the three runaways are in the Sauk or Dodge County area. Anyone having information should contact the West Bend Police Department at (262) 335-5000.

Meeker Sentenced to Prison

6/27/09 – Three years in prison for a Columbus woman who embezzled money from her employer and burned her house down to pay off debts. Krista Meeker pleaded “no contest” in February in two separate cases to charges of Theft in a Business Setting and Arson of Building. The 35-year-old Meeker worked as a bookkeeper at All-Phase Electric in Beaver Dam and wrote 17 company checks to herself totaling $83,000. Meeker told authorities she had cashed the checks and gave all the money to the owner of the company, the late Wendell Vander Galien. Meeker instead deposited most of the money into her bank account. Meeker also set an April 12th fire that destroyed her Town of Calamus home. She says a fire left burning in a kitchen is to blame but samples of wood from a cabinet in the kitchen tested positive for a fire accelerant. She wanted to collect insurance money to pay off debts. In addition to three years in prison, Meeker was ordered to serve two years of extended supervision. She must also repay the $83,000 stolen from the non-defunct All-Phase Electric and $231,000 to Sentry Insurance for the arson.

Huber to Spend Rest of Life Behind Bars

6/27/09 – A Janesville man has been sentenced to a 195-year prison sentence for a series of home invasions and rapes that terrorized Janesville residents over a 10 year period. In sentencing Michael Huber, Judge James Daley said he believed Huber carefully planned and executed all of his crimes. Many of the victims spoke prior to the sentencing. Huber was called an “animal,” among other things. Huber appeared remorseful as he apologized to the victims,

family and friends, and all of Janesville. He will spend the rest of his life at the Dodge County correctional center.

AG Joins Others in Objecting to GM Bankruptcy

6/27/09 – Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen joins 41 other states in objecting to the bankruptcy plans for General Motors. A federal judge in New York will hold a hearing next Tuesday to rule on the objections. Van Hollen’s office says the giant automaker notified its dealers they have to sign new agreements as a part of the bankruptcy. The objecting states say those agreement force the dealers to waive protection rights under state laws. If the dealers refuse to sign, they could be forced out of business. General Motors says it will comply with the judge’s decision.

Voting Changes on the Horizon

6/27/09 – Casting a ballot in Wisconsin could take on a brand new look if changes are made. The Government Accountability Board is considering online voting, early voting changes and moving the deadline for absentee voting to the week before an election. Online voter registration is also on the table. The changes could cost up to 20 million dollars over the next five years. Most of that money would come from Washington. The board is trying to streamline the election process while staying in compliance with federal regulations. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee would have to okay the changes before application for federal help could be made.

Plug and Go in Madison

6/27/09 – Drivers of plug-in electric vehicles will soon be able to charge up on the streets of Wisconsin’s capital city. Madison Gas and Electric is the first utility in the nation to make electric vehicle charging stations publicly available. Six stations will be installed around the city, according to MG&E’s Steve Krause. It’s a demonstration project and for now, and electric vehicle drivers won’t be charged. MG&E’s Don Peterson said the utility sees this as a business opportunity eventually, so the company will be collecting data.

Putt Putt Art in Beaver Dam Tomorrow

6/27/09 – The Beaver Dam Area Arts Association is hosting a new and unique event this weekend. Executive Director Karla Jensen says the Putt-Putt Art fundraiser is being tied into to their newest opening, the Native American Art Exhibit. Jensen says they had nine holes of custom miniature golf commissioned from families across the area, handymen, Boy Scouts and 4-H members. Jensen says the art demonstrations and projects on each hole will reflect the Native American theme. The cost for a round of Putt-Putt Art golf is $5 per person or $15 per family, but since Fathers Day is in June, dads will golf for free.