News May 17, 2009

Columbus PFC Appointee

5/17/09 – The Columbus Police and Fire Commission will be swearing in a new Commissioner at Monday night’s meeting. The five-person volunteer Commission has one new member appointed by the Mayor each year. At the last Council session Mayor Bob Link appointed Joe Roche of rural Columbus as a new PFC member replacing current Vice President Larry Haseman. Roche was recommended by members of the Rural Fire Group to take the place of Haseman whose term expires this year. Council Member Dave Bomkamp was the lone vote against Roche’s 5 to 1 approval asking the council to retain Haseman for a second term. While his position has been filled, Haseman has agreed to continue to serve the PFC as a consultant in personnel issues and job descriptions. The Commission will also be discussing the status of the current candidates being considered for permanent Fire Chief Position.

Microburst Blamed for Storm Damage

5/17/09 – Officials with the National Weather Service say a microburst is to blame for this past week’s storm damage in the Town of Leroy. The Weather Services Rusty Kapela says the small downburst last Wednesday between 9:45pm and 9:55pm targeted a two-mile swath from just southwest of Farmersville to the Knowles area. Based on a preliminary storm survey by weather service meteorologists, the maximum wind gusts ranged from 75 to 100mph with the damage 50 to 75 yards in width. One hundred to 150 trees were damaged or pushed over and some road signs were damaged, mostly in the Farmersville Road and Highway V area. Two pole barns were destroyed which contained approximately 100 head of cattle. No one was injured in the storm though several head of cattle were killed when the pole barns collapsed. Kapela says the survey team did not see damage patterns that would support theories that a tornado occurred.

Gas Continues Its Upward Climb

5/17/09 – The cost of gas has gone up about a quarter since the beginning of the month. The price of a gallon of regular unleaded in Beaver Dam is $2.32, eight cents below the state average but three cents above the national average. We started out the month of May with gas averaging $2.09. Fond du Lac and Oshkosh are also at $2.32. Watertown and Johnson Creek are at $2.29. Oconomowoc is $2.49. Last year at this time, the statewide average was $3.87. The low price in the state today is $2.23 in Reedsburg. The high price is in the north Milwaukee-area at $2.69.

Mayville Man Gets 30 Months in Prison for 7th OWI

5/17/09 – Two-and-a-half years in prison for a Mayville man who was convicted of his seventh drunk driving offense. David Kuhn was arrested in December for driving eleven miles over the speed limit. A preliminary breath-test indicated that the 45-year-old had a blood-alcohol level of point-zero-eight (.08), the minimum level for intoxication. Because of previous conviction, Kuhn was prohibited from driving with a BAC above point-zero-two. (.02). In addition to prison time, Kuhn had his license revoked for three years followed by three years with an ignition interlock on his vehicle.

Classmates of Student Killed By Drunken Driver Petition Legislators

5/17/09 – Former classmates of a student killed by a drunk driver get involved. Lacey Meinel died at the age of 14. Her classmates from D.C. Everest Junior High School in Weston have delivered 38 hundred signatures on petitions asking lawmakers to take a tougher approach to fighting drunken driving. The girl’s mother said the fight won’t end until the law change. Copies of the petition were given to the governor and leaders in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate. Lacey Meinel was being driven home last January when a suspect drunk driver slammed into the family’s vehicle. Felony charges are pending against the 23 year old driver. Lawmakers expect to hold a hearing soon on a package of new reforms of the state’s drunken driving laws.

Statewide Smoking Ban To Be Signed Monday

5/17/09 – Governor Jim Doyle promises to sign a statewide smoking ban into law tomorrow. He has scheduled three ceremonial signings in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Madison. The ban would prohibit smoking in almost all workplace, including bars and restaurants. I takes effect in July 2010. It wouldn’t apply to tribal casinos, existing cigar bars or existing tobacco shops. Violators could be fined up to 250 dollars.

Gay-Lesbian Rights Could Be Expanded

5/17/09 – Plans by the governor to give gay and lesbian couples more than 40 new rights don’t violate Wisconsin’s ban on gay marriage. That legal opinion was offered yesterday, but court challenges are expected. Same-sex couples who register their partnerships would get the right to visit each other in the hospital, make end-of-life decisions and inherit assets. The Wisconsin Family Council contends the plan is still unconstitutional.

Paramedics Called For Praying Parent

5/17/09 – Paramedics are called to a Wausau courtroom when the defendant has a medical emergency. Leilani Neumann is on trial for praying instead of getting her daughter medical attention. The daughter died. Saturday morning, as the prosecution was giving its opening statement, Neumann’s attorneys asked for a recess to get her some help. Her attorney later today the judge she was having a physical and emotional breakdown, and saying she had lost feeling in her arms and legs. She was taken to another room in the courthouse, but returned less than an hour later.

Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week

5/17/09 – Today marks the start of Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week in Wisconsin. Residents are being urged to learn more about the invasive species that is devastating the state’s ash trees. Millions of trees have been destroyed. Wisconsin residents are being asked to help slow the spread of the beetle. Fifteen states are joining Wisconsin in the effort. The emerald ash borer has been found in southeastern and southwestern parts of the state.

Fox Valley Com Center Costs $45 Million

5/17/09 – The cost of a new communications system for three counties in the Fox River Valley will be about 45 million dollars. Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties work together, sharing information and dispatching personnel. A recent review showed the current system is slow, taking three times as long as dial-up to transmit data. FoxComm has applied for more than 50 million dollars in grants, but the three counties have to agree to pay for anything the grants won’t cover. Emergency personnel say delays of up to five minutes are not unusual when they try to communicate.

Milwaukee Expands Veterans Housing

5/17/09 – The Center for Veterans Issues hopes to begin construction on a 52-unit apartment building next fall. Milwaukee County has been asked to provide 465 thousand dollars in federal stimulus money to finance the project which is aimed at helping low-income military veterans. The center has already received more than a million dollars in federal affordable housing tax credits. Another, similar project, was already being planned for Milwaukee.

Entries Still Being Accepted for BD Memorial Day Ceremony

5/17/09 – The Beaver Dam Memorial Day 2009 Parade and Ceremony is just over one week away and organizers are encouraging the public participation. The parade committee is asking

service organizations, bands, schools, churches, and others to enter and float or other entry in the May 25th parade. The theme this year will be “Land of the Free BECAUSE of the Brave.” Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson will be the special guest speaker. Abrahamson was recently elected to her fifth consecutive term. The ceremony, which follows the parade, will be broadcast live on WBEV.