News – June 28, 2016

Clyman Man Now Accused Of Homicide In Heroin Death


6/28/16 – Charges were modified against a Clyman man accused of failing to get help for a friend who died of a heroin overdose. Gabriel Brandl is now charged with felony First Degree Reckless Homicide, upgraded from felony Hiding a Corpse in connection with the death of Holly Nehls last month. Investigators initially told Brandl multiple times that he was not under arrest, that they had no intention of arresting him and that if he did not want to talk he was free to leave. The 29-year-old at one point stated “heroin is an epidemic” and he wanted to do what was right for Nehls by explaining the circumstances surrounding her death. Brandl allegedly said that he was a regular user and Nehls was an occasional user. The two would share drugs sometimes and on the night she died, Nehls asked Brandl if he would help her shoot up for the first time. He apparently agreed, sharing his personal needle with her and giving her half the dose she asked for. Brandl and Nehls then drove around the Watertown area with their drug supplier, who was named only by initials in the criminal complaint. She was reportedly fine after shooting up…for about ten and then she went unconscious. Brandl says he and the unnamed supplier assumed she would “snap out of it” and drove around for three hours debating the right thing to do. Later in the evening, after dropping off their supplier, Brandl noticed Nehls was no longer breathing. According to the criminal complaint, he attempted CPR, was 99-percent sure she was dead and started to feel guilty because he should have brought her to the hospital sooner. If convicted, Brandl faces up to 40 years in prison. Brandl will be arraigned July 13.


Jury Deliberations In Brantner Trial Enter Day Two


6/28/16 – A jury in Fond du Lac is entering its second day of deliberations in the trial of Dennis Brantner, the trucker accused of killing 18-year-old Berit Beck in 1990. Jurors spent four hours deliberating Monday before stopping late in the afternoon. In closing arguments, Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney said Brantner may have run across Beck while she was changing clothes in a van in Fond du Lac — and cold case investigators say they found D-N-A from the 62-year-old Brantner in Beck’s van before arresting him last year. Beck disappeared while heading from Racine County to a computer seminar in Appleton, and her remains were found a few weeks later on a roadside outside Waupun. Brantner’s lawyer, Craig Powell, says nobody could place his client in Fond du Lac the day Beck disappeared — and it’s possible that Brantner met Beck’s killer while getting a ride in her van.


Watertown Man Who Struck Kid On Bike Enters Plea


6/28/16 – A Watertown man who struck a child on a bicycle and left the scene will avoid a felony record.  Michael Werner pled “no contest” yesterday to a reduced misdemeanor count of Hit and Run of an Unattended Vehicle. Watertown Police say the child had large cuts and bleeding on both elbows and forearms, his nose and the rest of his face following the incident last October.  The child said he was trying to cross the street when he was hit.  His caretaker told investigators that Werner smelled like alcohol.  The 44-year-old told officers he gave the caretaker $30 to cover all damages and thought that was the end of things. Werner was ordered to pay fines and court costs.


Cash Bond Set For Horicon Woman Accused Of Wallet Theft


6/28/16 – Cash bond was set at $750 for a Horicon woman accused of trying to steal another woman’s wallet at the Beaver Dam Walmart on Sunday.  Amber Christian reportedly told police she needed money to pay her ex-boyfriend to stop stalking her.  If she is found guilty on felony Theft and misdemeanor Bail Jumping counts, the 22-year-old faces over ten years in prison.  Christian’s preliminary hearing is July 7.


Beaver Dam School Board Decides Referendum Amount


6/28/16 – The Beaver Dam School Board will decide on July 11 if they will ask the voters for $48.9-million dollars this November. The board met in committee last night to review the results of a recent district-wide survey on a fall referendum. Superintendent Steve Vessey outlined the three possible outcomes of last night’s meeting: doing nothing, adopting a resolution for a referendum calling for $48.9-million dollars or adopt a resolution for a referendum with a dollar figure different than $48.9-million. Vessey says based on current numbers, if Beaver Dam were to add $1.70 onto their mill rate Beaver Dam would still be below the statewide mill rate average. The board agreed by consensus to consider initial referendum resolutions at their next regular meeting asking for funding to make sweeping improvements at the high school and security upgrades at other campuses. Board President Joanne Tyjeski says the board made a decision that they were going to follow the will of the community based on the survey results. He says the results showed that the community really wants the district to go to referendum. With approval next month, the board would have approve the wording of the referendum by the end of August to have the ballots printed and delivered to municipal clerks by September. The General Election is on November 8.


Dodgeland Schools Approve Preliminary 2016-17 Budget


6/28/16 – The Dodgeland School Board approved a $9,800,000 preliminary budget for the 2016-2017 school year at last night’s meeting, which is similar to last year’s total.  Comptroller Laura Grossman expects the mill rate to be somewhere around $12, meaning the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $1,200 for the school portion of their tax bill.  That would be down from last year’s $13.10.  Grossman did not provide a tax levy, stating that number is largely dependent on a state aid projection that should be released early next month.  With the current financial year coming to an end, the board also approved an amended 2015-2016 budget.  Grossman says the new $9,900,000 budget brings a $30,000 deficit due to an increase in salary and fringe benefit costs tied to a new health savings account program.  Grossman expects budgeting for employee health costs will be easier in the coming years since the accounts have been set up and district officials have one year under their belt dealing with the program.  The 2016-17 budget hearing and adoption is set for October 24.


BDHS Athletic Hall Of Fame Class of 2016 Announced


6/28/16 – Three graduates will be inducted into the Beaver Dam High School Athletic Hall of Fame as the Class of 2016.  Greg Furdek graduated in 2000 with a total of ten varsity letters in football, wrestling, and baseball.  Furdek qualified for the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament twice and was the Wisconsin Little Ten Outstanding Wrestler in 2000.  Ben Murray graduated in 1990, the same year he was a gold medal recipient for the USA Olympic Festival baseball team and a Sports Illustrated All-American outfielder.  He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and played four years of professional baseball.  Karl Nienhuis graduated in 1983 after playing football, basketball, and baseball.  He was the captain of the football team. Nienhuis was chosen to both play quarterback in the Wisconsin Football Shrine Game and pitch in the American Legion Baseball All-Star Game in 1983.  The official induction ceremony will be held in conjunction with this year’s homecoming festivities on Friday, September 23.


Columbus Pavilion Renovation Getting Underway


6/28/16 – Planned construction on the pavilion at Fireman’s Park in Columbus begins this week. The $344-thousand dollar project will include a handicapped accessible elevator, remodeling of the first floor public bathrooms and the addition of two new ADA-compliant bathrooms on the second floor. Funds for the design planning and project completion were raised by the Columbus Historic Landmarks and Preservation Commission. The commission is still accepting donations for the project.  Work on the historic pavilion is scheduled for completion in November. Project approval was granted by the city at its most recent council meeting.


Walker Focuses On Transportation Early In Budget Process


6/28/16 – Governor Scott Walker has asked his transportation secretary to submit his next full two year budget plan earlier than normal, so there can be a “full public discussion” on it. Mark Gottlieb was told Monday not to propose any tax or fee increases, be more efficient, keep borrowing “reasonable,” increase highway maintenance and local road aid, and hold spending on the Milwaukee area’s “mega projects” to a minimum. The Republican Walker shot down Gottlieb’s proposals for tax and fee hikes two years ago — and he recently said he would avoid such increases this time, even though it would delay expansions of heavily traveled roads. Normally, the D-O-T submits a partial budget plan by mid-September and the full package in mid-November. But this time, Walker wants the D-O-T’s full budget proposal by September 15th.


Wisconsin Abortion Law Could Be Reviewed By High Court


6/28/16 – We could find out as early as Tuesday whether the U-S Supreme Court will review a Wisconsin law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. The justices struck down a similar law in Texas Monday on a five-to-three vote, calling it an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to an abortion. The Supreme Court held its final conference Monday before its summer recess — and the first cases it will consider in the fall session are expected to be announced Tuesday morning. The state A-C-L-U, which represents one of the two abortion groups challenging the 2013 Wisconsin law, says the case probably will not be taken up because it raises “nearly identical questions” as the one from Texas. State Attorney General Brad Schimel would only say he expects a decision from the court “in the near future.”


Grothman Staffer In Beaver Dam On Thursday


6/28/16 – A representative from Congressman Glenn Grothman’s office will be in Beaver Dam this week. The Republican from Glenbeulah is holding mobile office hours at the Beaver Dam Public Library on Thursday for constituents in the Sixth Congressional District needing help with federal matters. A specialized caseworker will be able to assist with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Internal Revenue Service and other constituent issues. Grothman’s staff will be available from noon to 1pm at the library at 311 North Spring Street in Beaver Dam.


Python On The Loose In Mishicot


6/28/16 – Wildlife experts are helping police in eastern Wisconsin search for a python that its owners reportedly tossed out a window after biting a poodle. Police in the Manitowoc County community of Mishicot say a four foot ball snake injured one of the dog’s ears in the owners’ apartment early Monday — and they freed the dog before tossing the python from their home. Police say the dog had slight bite on its ear. Police say ball pythons are not venomous — but they still urge people not to touch the missing snake, and to call 9-1-1 if they see it. It is illegal to possess exotic animals as pets in Mishicot, and investigators have not said whether the owners would be fined.