News – June 9, 2009

MVP’s Liquor License Revoked

6/9/09 – The Beaver Dam Common Council voted 9 to 3 to revoke the liquor license of MVP’s Sports Bar. There was no discussion before the votes were cast. Before the vote, the tavern’s attorney spent one hour contesting the findings of fact assembled following the committee-level revocation hearing last month. Attorney Karl Green attempted to discredit the 150 calls-for-service to the establishment, call-by-call. Green said the calls spanned three liquor licensing years, and also included calls to the municipal parking lot and even Kwik Trip. Green also said most of the calls were for lost or stolen wallets and cell phones, civil matters or probation violations. Joe Sciacca, the attorney representing Police Chief Dale Boldt, said there were a disproportionate number of calls for service to MVP’s and reports of cell phone threats and parole violations are disorderly by nature. MVP General Manager James Lebeau says the vote was just not fair and said he will appeal the matter in circuit court and also plans on filing a lawsuit. Chief Boldt was not available for comment following the meeting but Lt. John Kreuziger says the revocation will likely free-up officers on the third shift to concentrate on other public safety matters. Pictured: Supporters of MVP’s Sports Bar held signs protesting the city’s actions to revoke their license.

Council Approved $75K YMCA Purchase

6/9/09 – The city of Beaver Dam is one step closer to owning the former YMCA building. In a special meeting last night the council unanimously approved a resolution to purchase the Park Avenue property for $75,000. It was originally listed at just under a half million dollars. A second resolution to swap for city-owned land adjacent to the new YMCA was not considered. As part of the offer to purchase, the deed would only restrict the city from using the pool for anything that would compete with YMCA programming. Alderman John Litscher introduced an amendment that added wording acknowledging the city’s recent space needs study, and says that the city will use the structure for a Police Department, a Community Activities and Senior Center or city administrative purposes. The money for the purchase will not be appropriated from the general fund, as Director of Finance John Somers had originally pitched. Instead, Somers says there is adequate money in the Capital Improvement Fund. The city attorney is drafting the cash-based counter-proposal for consideration by the YMCA’s board.

Standoff Suspect in Court

6/9/09 – Cash bond was set at $25,000 for the Fox Lake man accused of sparking a seven-hour standoff with authorities last Thursday. Ronald Shurpit is charged with felony counts of Battery to Law Enforcement and Intentionally Pointing a Firearm at an Officer. According to the criminal complaint, a Fox Lake officer attempted to serve a Washington County warrant on the 50-year-old for Failure to Pay Child Support in excess of $6000. That’s when authorities say Shurpit “forcibly tried to push a running law mower onto the legs and feet of the officers” at least three times. Shurpit wound up on his back but reportedly continued to kick at the officer. The officer tried unsuccessfully to use a tazer gun during the struggle before spraying pepper spray, which also wound up in the officers eyes. Shurpit and the officers both had weapons drawn but the officer refrained from shooting because there may have been a small child in the immediate area. Shurpit retreated into his residence, where he stayed for 7 hours before walking out unarmed. Over 80 rounds of tear gas were launched into the residence. Shurpit faces over 12 years in prison if convicted. A preliminary hearing is set for June 18.

Ronald Shurpit’s girlfriend has posted a $5000 cash bond related to the standoff. April L. Amond was in Dodge County court yesterday on a felony charge of Battery to Law Enforcement and misdemeanor Resisting Arrest. During the altercation, Shurpit allegedly yelled at Amond (quote) “kill him, kill him, kill him.” The 41-year-old was holding a small child in her arms and reportedly threw something at the officer before retreating into the house and grabbing a small steak knife. Amond faces nearly seven years in prison if convicted. She also has a preliminary hearing on June 18.

Sheriff Todd Nehls says he’d change very little about the way law enforcement handled the standoff. Some people, including family members, have been critical of the force used to try and get Shurpit out of his home. Nehls says entering into a standoff situation is never an easy decision to make. Authorities shot upwards of 85-tear gas canisters into Shurpit’s home, which some thought excessive. However, Nehls says authorities were just reacting to the situation presented to them and “gas is pretty cheap, a lot cheaper than a life.”

Legit Liquor License for Farkas

6/9/09 – After granting a man his liquor license by mistake last year the Fox Lake City Council recently overwhelmingly approved renewing the license for the next year. Last year the council voted no to giving Thomas Farkas his bartending license because he’d been in numerous incidents while behind the bar. Mayor Gerald “Moose” Mullen vetoed their decision. However, when the question on whether to override the mayor’s veto was presented the council unanimously voted no thinking they were saying no to giving Farkas a license. As a result the veto was not overridden and a license was issued. Last week, licenses were again issued and this time the council approved a legit license for Farkas after not hearing of any problems over the past year. The vote was 5 to 1 in favor of granting the license with Alderwoman Ann McCarthy being the lone dissenting vote as she had hoped to put some restrictions on the license. The council also rejected the license application of Michelle Hubbard.

Official “Re-Opening” of Lake Delton Today

6/9/09 – Governor Jim Doyle will declare the re-opening of Lake Delton at a ceremony today, the first anniversary of one of Wisconsin’s most graphic natural disasters. Heavy rains and flooding washed out part of nearby County Trunk “A,” and created a channel which drained the man-made lake, and all-or-parts of five homes floated away down the Wisconsin River. The dramatic video was shown worldwide. And it sparked a large reduction in tourist business in the Wisconsin Dells area last summer. Doyle and other state officials committed to refilling the 264-acre Lake Delton before the start of this summer’s tourist season. And the governor will mark the occasion in a program at the site of the Tommy Bartlett Show – where the water-ski performers made their return in time for Memorial Day.

Sheriff’s Posse Begins Training

6/9/09 – The Posse volunteers have begun their training. The program, put on by the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department, swore in its initial class of 18 late last week and completed their initial 4-hours of training. The Posse is expected to help the Sheriff’s Department with a number of tasks including circulating stop sign and seat belt surveys and also complete registry checks for sex offenders and Huber prisoners. The group is diverse with a mix of men and women, as well as the young and those a little older. The department has 25 additional applications on file for future additions to the Posse and will bring those volunteers on board as necessary over the summer months. Background checks have been completed on every applicant and no application has been denied. Those still interested may submit applications anytime. Information and applications can be found at dodgecountysheriff.com.

Confirmed Tornado Touches Down in Mukwonago

6/9/09 – A tornado touched down near Mukwonago yesterday afternoon, but authorities reported no structural damage or injuries. The National Weather Service said there was tree damage in the relatively weak twister that landed southwest of Mukwonago, and went to the south and east of that village. It had winds of around 65-miles-an-hour. A tornado was also reported in Racine County, but the weather service said it was actually a weak whirl-wind called a “gustnado.” That area had gusts well over 50-miles-an-hour. The heaviest tree damage was in Walworth County. Golf-ball-sized hail was reported in Waukesha County, and smaller hail fell in Dane and Green counties. There were no injuries from any of the storms. The storms followed a bout of heavy rains that dumped over three-inches in a 12-hour period in parts of southern Wisconsin.

Judges May Have to Remove Themselves in Cases with Campaign Donators

6/9/09 – Should a judge have to withdraw from a case involving a profession which gave campaign donations to that judge? The Wisconsin Supreme Court will address that question this fall, when it holds hearings on whether to change its rules on when judges should step aside. Yesterday, the U-S Supreme Court ruled on a case from West Virginia which could make changes more likely here in Wisconsin. The court ruled that significant campaign contributions to a judge can possibly create “actual bias” later on. The issue reared its head in the 2007-and-2008 State Supreme Court elections, when the Wisconsin Manufacturers-and-Commerce group spent millions to help elect conservative justices Annette Ziegler and Michael Gableman. Ziegler was criticized last year when she wrote a decision that resulted in large business tax refunds. The Manufacturers-and-Commerce group filed a brief in that case – and it said one of its goals was to win it, which it did. Ziegler said it was appropriate that she not withdraw from the case. During her election bid, Ziegler said she didn’t want special interest groups in the race – but she couldn’t stop them.