News – June 6, 2009

Columbus PD To Relocate

6/6/09 – The Columbus Police Department will soon have a new home. The City Council this week approved the purchase of the Strohschein and Green law offices on South Ludington Street to house not only the police department, but also the Eastern Columbia County Joint Municipal Court and the Columbia County Probation and Parole Departments. The city will pay $270,000 for the nearly 6000 square-foot building, which also includes a four-car garage. In a press release, Mayor Bob Link said the building was a “very reasonable, long-term solution for the city’s space needs” adding it is “perfectly suited for the police department and is a relatively inexpensive burden for the taxpayer.” Al Strohschein says the law practice must vacate the building by mid-September so that the city can complete its renovation by the first of the year. The city plans to add an elevator and a video surveillance system. The office of the Director of Economic Development and Energy Sustainability will move to the former Anchor Bank Building just south of city hall. That building will be called the Columbus Collaborative Center and will also include office space for the recreation department as well as a city business center. That move is also expected by September.

BD To Consider Two YMCA Property Options

6/6/09 – The YMCA Board of Trustees has countered the city of Beaver Dam’s offer to purchase the former Y property. On Monday, the common council voted 9 to 3 to allow the city to make a $75,000 offer-to-purchase the Park Avenue property that was once listed at just under a half million dollars. On Thursday, the city attorney received a counter-offer with a second option. In addition to the $75,000 cash offer, the city also has the option to trade for two-acres of city-owned land that is adjacent to the new YMCA. The offers are being drafted into separate resolutions that will be considered during a special meeting of the common council Monday evening.

No Shots Fired in Stand-Off

6/6/09 – The sounds coming from Thursday night’s standoff in Fox Lake led many to believe a shootout was taking place between police and 50-year-old Richard Shurpit, who had barricaded himself inside his home with a loaded gun. However, Acting Fox Lake Police Chief Randy Martin says that wasn’t the case as the gunshot noises were actually police shooting more than 80 canisters of tear gas into the home. Shurpit never fired his weapon. The seven-hour standoff began when a Fox Lake police officer attempted to serve a warrant on Shurpit. That’s when authorities say Shurpit attempted to hit the officer with a lawn mower and also pointed a rifle at him before retreating into the home. Martin says the tense situation came to a less than dramatic ending around 12:45am yesterday. Shurpit saw officers clearing some broken glass on his property and went outside without his weapon to argue. The SWAT team then pounced and took Shurpit into custody. No one was seriously hurt in the incident. Martin says Shurpit can expect to face a number of felony charges related to the incident.

Sutter Sentenced on Drug Charges

6/6/09 – A Horicon woman will spend four and a half years in prison for dealing drugs. Angela Sutter was arrested in December after authorities executed a search warrant at her residence and recovered 11 grams of heroin, 37 grams of cocaine and over 200 grams of marijuana. Numerous scales, needles, pipes and other paraphernalia were also located. The 42-year-old Sutter was also sentenced to 14 and a half years of extended supervision. At sentencing, Judge Bissonnette Agreed with Assistant District Attorney Kurt F. Klomberg that it was rare to find a person dealing so many different drugs and also rare to find heroin in Dodge County. The Judge further noted that this type of offense needs to be punished to deter other people from selling these destructive drugs, which fuels additional criminal behavior.

BD Man Bound Over in Teen Pregnancy

6/6/09 – A Beaver Dam man, accused of getting a 14-year-old girl pregnant, has been bound over for trial. 22-year-old Cristobel Ordonez is charged with Second Degree Sexual Assault of a Child in connection with a two-year relationship he had with the girl. Ordonez faces 40 years in prison. Arraignment is scheduled for June 16.

Garage Burglaries in BD

6/6/09 – Two garages in Beaver Dam have been broken into in the past couple days. The Beaver Dam Police Department is investigating one break-in on the 300 block of Mary Street. The subject gained access Thursday to both a locked garage and vehicle and made off with over $1500 in items. On Wednesday evening, officers responded to a residence on the 1200 block of Lake Shore Drive just before midnight. In that case, the homeowner left his garage door open and caught someone rifling through his car. The subject fled on foot, got into a vehicle and fled in an unknown direction. There was no description. Authorities are urging the public to lock their doors. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Beaver Dam Police Department or the anonymous We-Tip hotline at 800-78-CRIME.

Tornado Season Off To A Slow Start

6/6/09 – The tornado season in Wisconsin is off to a slow start, but it may not stay that way. Jonathan Martin, Chair of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UW Madison calls the atmosphere “a mystery” and he doubts there is any way to predict the activity we’ll see in a tornado season. Martin say forecasting regular weather is only possible about 10 days out. Another difficulty is the nature of twisters which are spontaneous when they appear. Cooler Wisconsin temperatures may have curbed severe storms so far. Martin says the state’s peak tornado season threat is late June to mid August.

Diesel Prices Running Lower Than Unleaded

6/6/09 – While most of us are starting to feel the pain at the pump again, truck drivers and other diesel unions are actually seeing some relief. Diesel prices are running about 30 cents a gallon less than regular gas. Last year diesel average a dollar-40 a gallon more than regular unleaded. Tom Howells of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association says it’s taking some of the burden off truck drivers He says many are already struggling to keep up with lower levels of freight that need to be hauled right now. The statewide average for diesel is around two dollars, 42 cents a gallon.

Unemployment Figures Still High

6/6/09 – Unemployment is still high, but more people are finding jobs both in Wisconsin and throughout the country. U-S employers cut about 345-thousand jobs last month – almost half the number of job reductions from April. Still, the nation’s seasonally-adjusted jobless rate rose by one-half percent to nine-point-four. That’s highest since August of 1983. Here in Wisconsin, unemployment dropped slightly in April to eight-point-six percent. The statewide figures for May won’t come out until June 18th. Mark Immekus of the Q-P-S job placement firm in Brookfield says he’s never seen unemployment as broad and deep in the 25 years he’s been in his profession. But his firm has been placing more workers over the last month – and he says things are starting to pick up.

Traffic Deaths Lower

6/6/09 – Wisconsin traffic deaths in May were the second-lowest for the month since World War Two. Forty-eight people died in state crashes last month – one more than the record low for May of 47 set last year. But not all the news is good. Motorcycle deaths are up sharply this year. Transportation officials said 28 bikers have been killed in the Badger State from January through May. That’s almost double the 15 motorcycle deaths from last year at this time. Dennis Hughes,

the D-O-T’s chief of safety, urged car-and-truck drivers to watch more carefully for motorcyclists as the weather gets better – because more bikes will surely be out on the road.