News – June 5, 2021

(Beaver Dam) Two people were arrested in Beaver Dam on Attempted First Degree Homicide charges. Columbia County sheriff’s deputies were called to an altercation at the Pardeeville Road Wildlife Area in the Township of Wyocena around 5pm Wednesday. The caller reported that she and her boyfriend met up with two male subjects to buy marijuana. She told authorities that the drug deal turned into a rip-off and a fight ensued. A BB gun, a pocketknife, and a 9-millimeter pistol were brandished. Sheriff Roger Brandner says one of the male subjects attacked the caller’s boyfriend by striking him the face with a handgun. He says while the caller and her boyfriend were attempting to leave the scene, the back window of their vehicle was shot out by the suspect using the 9-millimeter pistol. Deputies spoke with witnesses and developed lead resulting in the suspects being identified and taken into custody. Brandner says 19-year-old Lucas Szopinski if facing charges Attempted First Degree Homicide, Battery, Armed Robbery, and First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety. A sixteen-year-old male was also arrested on charges of Attempted First-Degree Intentional Homicide as a Party to a Crime, Armed Robbery, and First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety. The incident is still under investigation. Assisting the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office was the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, Beaver Dam Police Department, and Blystone’s Towing.

(Beaver Dam) A Watertown teen charged with using pepper spray while robbing a Beaver Dam business is heading to trial. Avery Bence this week waived his right to a preliminary hearing on a felony count of Robbery with Use of Force and a misdemeanor charge of Battery. According to the criminal complaint, Bence and a second suspect entered the businesses on North University Avenue in November. Bence allegedly used peppery spray on the store clerk and took several packs of cigarettes. The incident was captured on video surveillance and Bence was reportedly identified by a school resource officer and a relative. When questioned, Bence allegedly admitted to his actions. If convicted, the 17-year-old faces over 15 years in prison. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for July 20th.

(Leroy) A Waupun man charged with injuring another motorist in a two-vehicle crash while being under the influence of a controlled substance is heading to trial. Nicholas Leser waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday (Thursday) on a felony count of Operating While Intoxicated Causing Injury – Second Offense and felony Bail Jumping. Deputies were dispatched to State Highway 49 near Panzer Road in the Town of Leroy in February for the crash. Witnesses said a car traveling eastbound was rear-ended by another vehicle twice. The driver of that vehicle was reportedly identified as Leser. According to the criminal complaint, authorities recognized him because the 37-year-old was arrested the day before for OWI. Leser allegedly admitted to taking Percocet’s that day. The victim suffered a slipped disk and required neck surgery following the crash. If convicted, Leser faces up to 12-years in prison. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for June 30th.

(Milwaukee) A state representative from Milwaukee says bipartisan police reform bills in the legislature don’t go far enough. David Bowen introduced a dozen new bills on police reform this week. The so-called “Enough is Enough Justice Reform Package” includes requirements for increased transparency, investigations into officer-involved deaths, and the prosecution of law enforcement. One of Bowen’s bills would have law enforcement officers carry cards with their name, contact information for their supervisor, and the resources to file a formal complaint. Seven police reform bills have already been introduced at the Capitol. – WRN

(Madison) At the Capitol this week, there was debate of a sort, on unemployment. Governor Tony Evers said he does not think ending a 300 dollar weekly federal supplement to state UI benefits will cure the current worker shortage. Joint Finance Committee co-chair, Representative Mark Born of Beaver Dam said Republicans on the budget panel want to incentivize people to get and keep jobs. Republicans on JFC this week approved a budget provision from Evers, making it easier for veterans to qualify for help finding employment. But they also rejected Evers’ plan to spend more and 9-and-a-half million dollars to create 42 new “career coaches” to help clients get trained and find jobs. – WRN

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials recorded 21 COVID deaths yesterday bringing that number to 7,150. Dodge County is now reporting 172 deaths and 11,978 cases. Dodge County health officials are actively monitoring 88 cases. Thirty-four-point-five-percent (34.5%) of Dodge County residents are fully vaccinated while 38.6-percent have had at least one dose. In Washington County 38.3-percent have completed the vaccination series. That figure is 36.6-percent in Fond du Lac County, 38.5-percent in Jefferson County, 45.2-percent in Columbia County and 38 -percent in Green Lake County.

(Beaver Dam) The Fair Food Festival returns to the Dodge County Fairgrounds today (Saturday). The monthly series of events features sweet treats, fried fair food and an assortment of food carts. A variety of new vendors will be showcased during each month’s event. Today’s event will not only include an updated menu but a small midway, carnival games, and motorcycle racing will be available to entertain visitors. Organizers say Wenzel Entertainment provided two food stands at the first two Fair Food Festivals. They say after securing concessions, the organization wanted to also provide entertainment for patrons. Corina Wenzel of Wenzel Entertainment says the rides are a god mix for all ages. She says they will have something for everyone to do. Ride tickets will be available for purchase at the event. If weather permits, rides may also be available to enjoy again on Sunday. The motorcycle races, hosted by the Beaver Cycle Club, will get underway at 5 and go until 9pm. Get half-price admission to the races with a food purchase coupon from any of the Fair Food Fest vendors after 4 pm. Those interested in competing should register from 1:30-to-3:45pm, with a pre-meeting and practice scheduled to follow at 3:45 and 4pm. Participant fees are $25 for amateur class and $30 for pro class. Food purchases during the festival will help support the non-profit Dodge County Fair Association as well as the participating vendors, who may have endured hardships in 2020. Visitors are welcome to enjoy a socially distanced meal at one of the picnic tables provided or bring their own lawn chairs. The event will begin at 11am tomorrow and run until 8pm. Future fair food festival dates include July 17th, September 4th, and October 2nd. The Dodge County Fair is scheduled to return with a variety of family friendly events and midway rides on August 18th through the 22nd.

(Wisconsin) The great outdoors are free in Wisconsin this weekend. State parks and trails are open for visitors at no charge. You will not need a fishing license today and Sunday, either. The freebies are part of the Department of Natural Resources’ annual free fun weekend. – WRN