“News-May 13, 2011”

Search Continues One Year Later In Fatal Hit & Run


5/13/11 – The Columbia County Sheriffs Department has put out an appeal seeking information about the hit-and-run death of a Portage woman one year ago today. 47-year-old Shari Sampson was killed on May 13, 2010 around 9:45pm on Highway 16 near Wolfram Road in the Township of Lewiston. Sheriff Dennis Richards says they continue to follow up on leads and are actively searching for an early 2000’s Saturn four-door. The color is described as metallic bronze but it could easily be mistaken for gold, dark tan, medium brown or pewter. There were parts of the car left at the scene of the accident. The driver left the scene heading eastbound toward Portage. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriffs Department at 608-742-4166 or the Columbia County Crimestoppers at 800-293-TIPS (8477).


Hartford Woman Succumbs To Injuries


5/13/11 – A Hartford woman injured in an accident last Friday has died.  76-year-old Catherine Becker was a passenger in a mini-van that failed to stop at a stop sign and was hit by a truck.  It happened at the intersection of Highway P and Pond Road in the Town of Rubicon.  Becker was one of two people taken by medical helicopter to the hospital and she passed away Wednesday evening.


Accused Child Molester Evans Waives Prelim


5/13/11 – A Beaver Dam man, accused of molesting a preschool-age child, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday. Joseph R. Evans is charged with one felony count of First Degree Sexual Assault of a Child Under the Age of 12. According to the criminal complaint, the victim was a friend of the family and Evans fondled her in March. The child came home and complained to her mother about Evans. When questioned by trained investigators, the child said the inappropriate contact had occurred (quote) “lots of times.”  The 23-year-old said the two had been wrestling and any inappropriate contact was accidental and outside the clothes. The felony charge carries a maximum 60 year prison sentence, upon conviction. Also yesterday, Judge John Storck denied a motion to modify Evans bail, which remains at $10,000. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for May 26.


Bill Targets Police and Fire Unions


5/13/11 – Police and fire-fighters would lose some of their collective bargaining powers under a bill proposed by Assembly Independent Bob Ziegelbauer of Manitowoc. Republican Governor Scott Walker wants to strip public employees of virtually all their bargaining privileges except for police-and-fire unions, which would be exempt. Ziegelbauer’s bill would let local governments decide whether to make their emergency personnel pay more toward their pensions and health insurance. He calls it a compromise effort to include police-and-fire-fighters in the bill without quote, “blowing up” the entire bargaining process for them. Ziegelbauer voted in favor of Walker’s original plan in the Assembly. The law is currently being blocked in a Dane County court case.


Homestead Tax Credit Freeze Clears Hurdle


5/13/11 – A state committee has voted to give Wisconsin’s low-income people less of an income tax break than they would otherwise receive in the next two years. The Joint Finance Committee Thursday endorsed Governor Scott Walker’s budget plan to freeze the maximum income limit for homeowners and renters who get the Homestead tax credit. All Republicans voted yes, and all Democrats voted no. Normally, the credit goes up each year with inflation. But the Republican Walker decided to keep the income limit at 24-thousand-500-dollars a year. Almost a quarter-million Wisconsinites claimed the Homestead credit in the most recent tax year, costing everybody else 128-million dollars. Walker says the state could save almost 14-million-dollars in the next two years by freezing the income limit. Democrats said the move hurts the poor.


Governor May Gain Power To Appoint Vet Secretary


5/13/11 – Governor Scott Walker would have the power to appoint Wisconsin’s next veterans’ affairs secretary, under a bill endorsed Thursday by an Assembly committee. The Veterans-and-Military Affairs panel sent the bill to the full Assembly, which is scheduled to act on it next Tuesday. Walker has not said whether he would sign the bill if it gets to his desk. It would also reduce members’ terms from six years to four, giving a sitting governor a chance to appoint more members to his liking. Right now, the Veterans’ Affairs Board appoints the secretary. But the bill’s supporters say the department is in shambles, and Walker needs to appoint somebody to straighten it out. But opponents say it would only politicize veterans’ issues just that much more. The most recent veterans’ secretary, Ken Black, resigned after being sued by former employees who said they were let go because they were older-and-white. Black’s predecessor, John Scocos, sued the veterans’ board after it fired him just a few weeks after he returned from a tour-of-duty in Iraq.


Census Figures Show Increase In Single Parents


5/13/11 – If you’re looking for the man-of-the-house, you won’t find him in a growing number of Wisconsin households. The U-S Census Bureau said the number of homes with single moms and kids jumped by 13-percent statewide from 2000-to-last-year. Experts say that’s not good for the children. That’s because single parents bring only one income home – and most women make less than men. Ken Taylor of the Wisconsin Council on Children-and-Families says household incomes are at their lowest during the most important time of young children’s growth-and-development. The Census Bureau says fewer than one-of-every-five Wisconsin homes have a married couple raising kids. That’s down from about one-of-every-four homes in 2000. In Milwaukee, married couples are in less than half of all households, with or without kids. It’s the first time that’s happened. And the numbers of unmarried couples living together in Wisconsin skyrocketed by 40-percent in the last decade. Roberta Coles of Marquette University says the trends are typical for countries where people don’t think marriage is important – or they hold it off until they think they can afford it. Coles said parents in the 1950’s could get by with high school educations, but not today. And because college is so expensive, she says people are waiting longer to get married.


Jazz Jubilee Kicks Off


5/13/11 – The Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee kicks off this afternoon in Fox Lake.  The 3-day event begins with a free concert today from 4 to 6pm at Mullins Drive-In.  Tickets are still available for the remaining events which continue all three days at the Community Center and the American Legion with a special graveside service Sunday morning at St. Mary’s Cemetery at 11am.  While the festival is expected to continue on, this may be the last year for the Bunny Berigan Memorial Jazz Band as bandleader, the Rev. Al Townsend, says most members are getting up there in age or have already passed. He says it’s getting to be time for new blood.