News – March 15, 2009

Niesen Arraigned

3/15/09 – Thomas Niesen says he didn’t do it — 33 years ago. Niesen has entered a not guilty plea to charges of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Kathleen Leichtman in Fond du Lac in July 1976. Niesen made a court appearance last Friday. His trial is to start in late August. Niesen’s attorney is asking for a change of venue — or, at least, to have a jury from outside the area bused into Fond du Lac to hear the trial. After more than three decades, Niesen was charged when a DNA sample connected him to the victim.

Standoff in Sauk County

3/15/09 – The Sauk County Sheriff’s Department takes a man into custody after a standoff. He was armed — with a cross-bow and some swords. Authorities say they got a call from the Town of Fairfield where a man said he’d been assaulted by his son. Deputies, a negotiation team and an emergeny response team converged on the house, only to find the suspect wasn’t inside. He was arrested outside the house when the unusual assortment of weapons was discovered.

Burnett Man Arrested For Punching Woman Outside Bar

3/15/09 – A Burnett man was arrested early Sunday morning for allegedly punching a woman outside a Beaver Dam bar. According to the Dodge County Sheriffs Department, authorities were called to the 200 block of Front Street just after 2am on reports that 27-year-old Dustin Wiedenhoeft had assaulted the woman and fled in a vehicle that struck a parked car while leaving. The suspect vehicle was apprehended near Juneau and the 40-year-old female driver was cited for OWI, Speeding and Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign. Wiedenhoeft was cited for Disorderly Conduct – Battery.

Questionable Mortgage Brokers Outed

3/15/09 – The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the state has issued licenses to several questionable characters, giving them authority to write your mortgage loan. Among them are a convicted killer, Michael Lock, several drug dealers and the head of a Latin gang. The newspaper’s review found more than 340 licensed mortgage brokers in Wisconsin had admitted to felony or misdemeanor convictions on their applications. Several of them concocted scams worth millions of dollars.

Sheboygan Boy Advances to DC Bee

3/15/09 – Andrew Grose of Sheboygan won the 61st annual Badger State Spelling Bee yesterday at Monona Grove High School. The 12-year-old advances to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., next May. Lauren Chars of Franksville finished second. Grose won by spelling catfish, or rather the scientific name for a catfish – which is spelled N-E-M-A-T-O-G-N-A-T-H.

School Start Law Reconsidered

3/15/09 – Wisconsin legislators are again being asked to abolish the law which makes public schools wait until after September first to start their fall classes. Senate Democrat John Lehman of Racine introduced a bill that would end the mandate in the fall of 2011. The measure has been sent to his education committee. Many schools, especially in rural Wisconsin, used to start school in mid-August. But former Governor Tommy Thompson tried to change that, when the tourist industry lobbied to keep their summer workers through Labor Day if they could. Thompson agreed to make schools wait until September, unless they held public hearings and passed resolutions to start earlier. Dozens did just that – so in 2001, former Governor Scott McCallum closed that loophole, saying schools had to show a hardship to start in August. The Wisconsin Association of School Boards says local districts should have the right to decide when to open

their own buildings. Farmers also criticized the later start times in the past – because an early end to classes allowed students to help get the crops in the ground. But Julia Hertel of the Wisconsin Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus says there’s no compelling reason to change the law. She says a September start works best for parents and families.

Governor Wants Cell Surcharge

3/15/09 – If Governor Jim Doyle has his way, Wisconsin cell phone customers would not get back 25-million dollars they were over-charged for 9-1-1 upgrades. Instead, the money would go to local governments as part of their state aid. It’s part of the governor’s plan to close the five-point-nine billion dollar deficit in the next state budget. In 2006, the state slapped a surcharge on cell phone bills, to help local 9-1-1 centers install equipment which identifies the locations of cell calls in emergencies. Last July, the Public Service Commission said the fee was not needed anymore – and they decided to give back 25-million-dollars in revenues that were never used. Rebates were planned. We have not been told yet how much those average rebates might have been.

Kennedy Opens Door Tuesday

3/15/09 – Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy will hold another one of his regular open door meetings on Tuesday. Kennedy says city residents are invited to meet with him, one-on-one, without appointment on the first and third Tuesday of every month. Kennedy says he feels it is important that constituents have the opportunity to speak with him the day after each regular meeting of the common council. The meetings will be held in Room 109 on the first floor of City Hall from 10am until noon. Kennedy says he also make himself available for private meetings by appointment by contacting the mayor office.