News – March 27, 2021

(Columbus) Businessmen and former Columbus Mayor Mike Eisenga entered a guilty plea this week on federal bank fraud charges. According to the indictment filed in October, the 49-year-old had applied for a $6.9-million-dollar loan from an Illinois credit union to purchase a commercial property in Columbus. Eisenga claimed the property was under a 20-year lease to Festival Foods and guaranteed by Supervalue Holdings but neither the holdings company nor the related documentation were legitimate. The Alliant Credit Union of Rolling Meadows, Illinois approved the loan in February of 2017 and Eisenga’s company reportedly defaulted two years later. In July of 2019, a judgement was entered in a civil lawsuit seeking foreclosure and the property sold for $2.2-mllion dollars in a sheriff’s sale three months later. The credit union awarded a judgement in excess of $5-million dollars. Eisenga’s company filed for bankruptcy last February but a judge dismissed the case in the summer. The fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a one-million-dollar fine. Eisenga will remain free until his sentencing hearing scheduled for June 23rd.

(Watertown) Two men are charged with burglarizing an apartment in Watertown. Twenty-three-year-old Julio Castro and 28-year-old Alexander Mendoza allegedly entered the residence in September of 2019 to take money and drugs they believed were there. If convicted, both face up to 12-and-a-half years in prison. Initial appearances are scheduled for April 19th.

(Juneau) The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office was recently recognized for excellence in policy and training. The department was honored by the Lexipol Connect program for achieving Gold level for consistently and effectively disseminating policies to officers, issuing timely policy updates as laws change and ensuring officers are trained on policies. Lexipol is the nation’s leading content, policy and training platform for public safety agencies.  The Connect program tracks the sheriff’s office’s performance on five metrics proven to measure success in policy management. Last year, Dodge County Sheriff’s Office personnel responded to more than 37,381 calls for service, from criminal investigations to mental health crisis interventions to ordinance violations and animal complaints. To maintain a consistent and professional response, the agency relies on comprehensive, up-to-date policies. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says they are excited to be delivering a standard of excellence through their policy development efforts that reduces risk for their personnel, Dodge County and those they serve.

(Kenosha) Jacob Blake, the Black man paralyzed after a Kenosha police officer shot him last summer, has filed civil suit in federal court. Blake is suing Kenosha Officer Rusten Sheskey for his actions in August.  No criminal charges were filed against the officer because he said he feared for his life.  Blake was shot in the back while he was entering an S-U-V during an arrest attempt.  The suit seeks unspecified damages from Sheskey.  The shooting of Blake led to more protests over police brutality and racism.  He was wounded three months after George Floyd died while being restrained by Minneapolis police. – WRN

(JanesvilleWe wrapped up our conversations yesterday (Friday) with the four candidates on the April 6th ballot for State Senate District 13. Spencer Zimmerman of Janesville is a member of the Trump Conservative Party which was formed in response to establishment Republicans who were not supporting then-presidential nominee Donald Trump. Zimmerman is campaigning on a platform of election reform, saying fraud determined the outcome of the 2020 contest, there should term limits and the ballot placement process is flawed, favoring establishment candidates in the major parties. He is calling for the playing field to be leveled by instituting a policy of random ballot placement.  You can hear our conversation with Zimmerman on, along with the other three candidates on the ballot: Republican John Jager, Democrat Melissa Winker and Ben Schmitz of the American Solidarity Party.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials made a downward adjustment of two COVID deaths Friday bringing that total to 6,597. Dodge County has 158 deaths with 94 active cases. Washington County has seen 139 deaths with 399 active cases. Fond du Lac County has 103 deaths with 68 active cases. In Jefferson County, the death toll is at 105 with 58 active cases. Columbia County has seen 56 deaths with 42 active cases. In Green Lake County, there have been 18 deaths. Statewide, there are 6,721 active cases a one-day increase of 121.

(Wisconsin) Deputy Health Services Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk says the agency is watching the number of cases of coronavirus very closely, as new variants are being detected in Wisconsin and case counts increase in neighboring states. She says the current case rate of about 450 new confirmed cases per day is still very high, and that we’ll need to continue masking up and avoiding large gatherings for a couple more months while more people get vaccinated. – WRN

(Poynette) The DNR is taking comments on a proposed permit for the North-South Bike Trail construction project in Columbia County that may result in the incidental taking of a rare lizard and turtle. The Village of Poynette is proposing installation of an eight-foot paved bike path in the County Road Q and CS right-of-way between Bluebird Circle and South Main Street. The project is not likely to reduce the chance of survival or recovery of the state-endangered glass lizard and ornate box turtle. The DNR will incorporate conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered species into the proposed incidental take permit. Comments on the project can be sent to DNR Conservation Biologist Rori Paloski through April 15th. More information can be found on

(Wisconsin) Phone scammers are turning to a new scam to try and get money out of people. It’s called the Refund Scam, and the crooks will tell you that you’re due a refund, and then fake an overpayment. Then they will demand the money back. State consumer protection director Tricia Collins says some scammers are even getting bold enough in their methods to send real people to your door to get your money. As always, if someone is trying to get you to pay them immediately over the phone, or to send them gift cards or money, hang up because it’s a scam. – WRN