News – March 13th, 2010

It’s opening weekend for two Dodge County theater troupes. The Beaver Dam Area Community Theater spring production “Wait Until Dark” premiered last (Fri) night. The play, which was made into a movie starring Audrey Hepburn in 1967, is a suspense thriller involving a blind housewife who becomes the target of three thugs after she mistakenly comes into possession of child’s doll with illegal contraband hidden inside. Good Karma Broadcasting’s own Stefani Bishop plays the lead role. Also premiering last night, the Players of Mayville production of “The Dixie Swim Club.” The comedy-drama follows the lives of five friends over several decades who meet at the same beach house every few years to catch-up. Director Diane Rabehl (ruh-bail) describes the show as a cross between “Steel Magnolia’s” and “Beaches” but says it will appeal to both women and men. Both plays have evening performances tonight and wrap up with a matinee one week from tomorrow. Tickets for “Wait Until Dark” at the Beaver Dam Community Theater are available at Rechek’s Food Pride. There are “dinner-and-a-show” options for “Dixie Swim Club” during three-of-their-six performances at the Mayville American Legion and tickets can be purchased at Mountains Piggly Wiggly.

He’s not officially running, but former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson leads at least one poll in the race for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold. Thompson hasn’t declared yet. Polling by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute shows Thompson holding the support of 51 percent of likely voters, while 39 percent lean toward Feingold. The poll was conducted by political scientist Ken Goldstein at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When pitted against Republican candidate Terrence Wall, Feingold was ahead — 47 percent to 32.

The search for a new Schools Superintendent in Columbus moved into high gear this week. The school board is moving forward with screening possible search firms while also soliciting input from the community. Former School Board President Trish O’Neil recently advised the Board to take their time in the selection process and make sure they found the “best candidate” for the post. Next steps could still include hiring a search firm and possible hiring of an “Interim Superintendent.” One thing that school board members say they do NOT want to do is act to hastily.

Gas prices have gone up almost 20-cents-a-gallon in Wisconsin over the past month. And some analysts say we’ll be paying three-bucks by Memorial Day for unleaded regular. Gas is currently averaging $2.75 in Beaver Dam. The Triple-“A” says the average statewide price of unleaded regular is 2.78-a-gallon. That’s eight cents higher than this time last week, and 19-cents more than the same time a month ago. Industry analysts say the annual switch from winter-to-summer blends is causing some of the price hikes, along with speculative investors who are grabbing up futures’ contracts.

In Milwaukee County, Desmond Laster and Anthony Barnes will stand trial for the killings of two women and two small boys. A court commissioner made that determination yesterday. Both men pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree intentional homicide and arson. A follow-up conference is set for March 23rd. Eight people offered testimony in yesterday’s hearing in Milwaukee. The men are accused of killing Brittney Robertson, her roommate Rachel Thompson and Thompson’s two sons.

Trial for Waukesha County jail inmate Steven Lettenberger starts next July. He’s charged with assault, accused of attacking a sheriff’s deputy while he was being treated in a hospital last November. Lettenberger pleaded not guilty yesterday. Authorities say his restraints had been taken off so he could use the restroom. That’s when he approached the deputy with the knife, saying he wasn’t going back to jail. The deputy shot him after warning him several times.

Americans for Prosperity will meet in the Wisconsin Dells today, planning to discuss strategy, hear from conservative leaders and discuss how they might influence this year’s election. Talk show host Michael Reagan, son of former President Reagan, Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen are among the scheduled speakers. This meeting has no official ties to any political party. It comes about a year after tea party rallies were held across the country.

Their terribly bad day just got worse. A Racine man has been arrested in connection with the beating death of his girlfriend’s two year old son. The boy was taken to the hospital early Friday and pronounced dead about two hours after he arrived. An autopsy was done, showing the victim suffered blunt force trauma that killed him. Not only was the 30 year old suspect arrested, his 24 year old girlfriend now faces charges of marijuana possession and retail theft.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker says small is better when it comes to schools. Walker is running for Wisconsin governor as a Republican. He says the state’s biggest school district should be broken down into 10 or more autonomous districts, saying the split would make it easier to provide an education for Milwaukee public school students. A campaign spokesman for Democratic candidate Tom Barrett calls Walker’s idea “half-baked.” Barrett has backed a measure that would give the mayor’s office control of Milwaukee Public Schools.

Thousands of visitors will comes to Milwaukee on Memorial Day weekend as the 2010 Summit on Leadership and Prayer comes to town. Visitors will fill about 18 hundred hotel rooms and dump more than a million dollars into the local economy. They are coming to the convention to learn “strategic prayer and spiritual warfare,” according to convention brochures. Tickets range from 89 dollars for general admission, to nearly two thousand dollars for platinum admission to all the scheduled events.

The state will hold a public information meeting on Monday to discuss the State Highway 26 North Watertown bypass project. The bypass is planned to run from state Highway 19 to County Highway Q. The Michels Corporation is the project contractor. They will have representatives at the meeting to discuss the construction schedule and related road closures. There will also be time for questions with Michels Corp. and DOT representatives. The meeting will be held from 4pm to 6pm on Monday at the Watertown Municipal Building.