News May 20, 2009

Search is on for Man Involved in Domestic Issue this Morning

5/20/09 – Authorities are looking for a man involved in a domestic disturbance early this morning. The dodge County Sheriff’s Department says they are attempting to locate 23-year-old Bryant D. Williams of Sun Prairie who is believed to be with a 22-year-old woman though authorities are not sure whether or not she is with him willingly. Records show an altercation took place at a home on Hidden Valley Road between Williams and the 22-year-old woman. Another woman was at the residence but left to contact authorities. By the time they arrived Williams and the 22-year-old woman were gone. If anyone has information about Williams’s whereabouts they are asked to call the Sheriff’s Department or the anonymous We-Tip Hotline at 800-78-CRIME

Highway Department Forced to Cut Back Service on State Highways

5/20/09 – The Dodge County Highway Department has been told to cut back of their level of service for the county’s state highways. That’s according to Highway Commissioner Brian Field who says the DOT has called for the slash in service in response to the major budget deficit facing the state. Currently the county is repaid for all the routine maintenance done on the state highways but because the last few winters have been so expensive the DOT is telling the county to cut back on mowing, litter pick up, and crack filling operations. Field says answers to how long the cut back will last have been non-existent and he’s unsure if this could last into the winter when a drop in service level will be easily identified. State Highways are identified with a number. As for other county roads, Field says a normal level of service will continue.

Home Foreclosure Bill Passes

5/20/09 – Republican Jim Sensenbrenner was the only Wisconsin House member to vote against a compromise bill aimed at avoiding home foreclosures. The bill was sent to President Obama yesterday. It would expand a current program that encourages lenders to reduce a homeowner’s mortgage if the owner agrees to pay an insurance premium. In exchange, a typically-high variable interest rate would be replaced with a 30-year-old fixed loan with government backing. Janesville Republican Paul Ryan did not vote on the package. Fond du Lac Republican Tom Petri and all the state’s Democrats voted yes – as did the state’s two U-S senators. The bill did not include a mandate for cutting monthly payments for homeowners in bankruptcy. The financial industry was able to get that out of the package.

Legislature Looking Make Consequences More Severe for Drunk Drivers

5/20/09 – A state legislative committee took its first vote yesterday on one of many long-promised crackdowns on drunk driving in Wisconsin. The Assembly’s Public Safety panel voted unanimously to make certain offenders blow into tubes before they can start their vehicles, to make sure they’re alcohol-free. The ignition inter-locks would be required for one year for all repeat O-W-I offenders, and first-timers with blood alcohol levels of point-15 or higher. The drunk drivers would have to buy and maintain the devices, and pay a 50-dollar surcharge. Meanwhile, senators say they’re still working on a more comprehensive package of drunk driving reforms that include ignition interlocks, and making three-time O-W-I a felony.

Beaver Dam Family Featured on Oprah Today

5/20/09 – A Beaver Dam family will be featured on Oprah this afternoon. Michelle Ladwig and her family were chosen to be part of “Oprah’s Challenge” and were asked to live without electronics for one week AND they had to give up ten other items each day. Gone were the cell phones, I-pods, and TV’s. In its place were nightly family dinners and camera’s following their every move. Ladwig says it was a priceless experience. Oprah airs at 4pm.

Alleged Child Molester Charged

5/20/09 – A Beaver Dam man accused of molesting three young girls had a signature bond set at $50,000 during an initial appearance yesterday in Dodge County court. Howard Ohlemiller is charged with two felony counts of 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child Under the Age of 13 and one count of 2nd Degree Sexual Assault of a Child for offenses that allegedly occurred over a two-year period ending last month. The 79-year-old is accused of assaulting a young teenager and two pre-teens on a weekly basis before he would pay them for house cleaning services. According to the criminal complaint, Ohlemiller admitted to the incidents to authorities, saying that the girls were at fault for initiating the activity. He faces a maximum 160 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Campbell Convicted for Sexual Assault

5/20/09 – Five years in prison for a Beaver Dam man who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl he met on the internet. Matthew D. Campbell was found guilty in February of Second Degree Sexual Assault of a Child, Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime and Exposing a Child to Sexual Activity. Authorities say the victim invited Campbell to her Waupun home to watch television. That’s when 34-year-old Campbell stripped naked and began to touch her inappropriately. The assault was interrupted by the mother’s boyfriend, who came to check on the girl when he saw a suspicious truck in the driveway. The boyfriend told authorities that Campbell said he was a 21-year-old named Jim who was at the house to fix the girls computer. Campbell fled the scene, but not before backing into the boyfriend’s vehicle and getting stuck in a snow bank. Authorities tracked Campbell down through his license plate. During yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Campbell was also sentenced to ten years of extended supervision.

High Risk Arrest in Waupun

5/20/09 – Five people from out-of-state were taken into custody at gunpoint in Waupun Monday night for a robbery that occurred in Fond du Lac. Fond du Lac Police Captain Mat Mueller (MULE-lur) says three of them were jailed. He terms the five “travelers,” who move around the country “taking what they want and can before leaving an area.” Captain Mueller says when money was grabbed at a Wal-Mart in Fond du Lac they knew what they were doing. During a high-risk traffic stop Waupun Police and a Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s deputy took the five into custody. Their van was also seized. Mueller says a 74-year-old man who was in the group complained about having chest pains and claimed he was having a heart attack.

Suspected Pip Bombers Charged

5/20/09 – Three men suspected in a pair of mailbox and outhouse explosions last month have been formally charged. 19-year-old’s Stephen Peterson and Kyle Livingston along with 20-year-old Michael Peters all face a variety of felony charges including Possession of Explosives and Damage to Property in connection with the pipe bombings. A fourth man, 18-year-old Robert Hanson, is also in custody but has not been charged. Arrests were made after some of the suspects returned to the scene of the Lost Lake bombing to survey the damage. In-store video surveillance was also used after they allegedly purchasing the explosive components at a Beaver Dam retailer. The suspects are accused of blowing up a mailbox in Burnett and a port-a-potty at Lost Lake Park. Investigators say they used a pipe bomb and, in the case of the outhouse, also used liquefied gas.

Leroy Meats Burglary

5/20/09 – The Horicon Police Department is investigating a burglary at Leroy Meats over the weekend. Authorities say they responded to the location in the early morning hours Monday after employees found damaged locks and a missing safe. They believe the burglary occurred sometime after 8pm Sunday night. Officials say the safe from the building was taken, which contained cash, customer checks and some credit car transaction receipts. The police department has no suspects but Lieutenant Adrian Bump says “evidence found at the scene leads investigators to believe that those responsible for the crime were experienced.” Anyone

with information is asked to call the police department or the anonymous WeTip Hotline at 800-78-CRIME.

Caregiver Charged with Exploiting Roommate

5/20/09 – A Hartford man is charged with ten felony counts of Theft for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars from his disabled roommate. Michael Beckwith is accused of using the elderly man’s checks and ATM card without his consent to pay bills, go on vacation, make charitable donations and purchase a car. The 56-year-old was hired by the victim to be his caregiver. The offenses span a period of less than one year beginning in May of 2008 and total nearly $40,000. Beckwith faces up to 64 years in prison if convicted on all counts. He had a signature bond set at $1000 and a preliminary hearing scheduled for next month.

Emergency Officials on Code Red: Register Cell Phones

5/20/09 – In the wake of last weeks explosions and resulting fires in Columbus emergency management officials are asking residents to register there cell phones with the county so as to receive “Code Red” calls even if you lose power. Director Joe Meagher says only about half of the residents called near Columbus Chemical Industries received the emergency notice for a variety of reasons, including the fact they were forced to cut power around the area. Meagher says in an effort to avoid a similar situation in the future he’s asking residents to register their cell phones and address with the county. Code Red is a reverse 911 system recently put in place by Dodge County to alert residents of emergency situations. For more information or to register your cell phone number, visit the county’s website at www.co.dodge.wi.us.

Beer Tax Stalls

5/20/09 – It appears that Wisconsin’s beer tax, the nation’s third lowest, will remain where it’s been for the past forty years. While this legislative battle appears to be over without a bill ever being debated or given a committee hearing, Tavern League president Rob Swearingen (swear-engine) is not letting his guard down yet. He says he’s still worried about another increase. Swearingen has Governor Jim Doyle in his corner. Doyle opposes an increase in the state’s beer tax, a big disappointment for the bill’s principal author, state Representative Terese Berceau (bur-so). She says the reasons cited for the governor’s stance don’t sound particularly enlightened. Berceau would raise the tax on beer by just under three cents a bottle. Money from the tax would be used to pay for law enforcement and alcohol abuse treatment programs.

Swine Flue Testing Encouraged

5/20/09 – Influenza A maybe getting a lot of press but it may be a good idea to get tested for another virus according to a health expert. The incidence of viral hepatitis is higher worldwide than HIV or any cancer with an estimated one in 12 infected. Dr. Raymond Koff says in latest year fully researched, 2006, there were more than 24 hundred cases reported in Wisconsin. Koff warns that is the “tip of the iceberg,” and that 75 percent of those infected may be unaware they have the virus because it does not show symptoms.

Suspects Arrested in Waupun after Robbery in FDL Co.

5/19/09 – We should learn more today about four people who were arrested at gunpoint by Waupun Police and Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s deputies last night. The quartet is suspected of a robbery that occurred in Fond du Lac. They were arrested during a high-risk traffic stop and jailed in the Fond du Lac County Jail. The traffic stop occurred just before 7 p.m. (KFIZ)

H1N1 Flu Virus Shuts Down Lodi School District

5/19/09 – Wisconsin schools continue to struggle with the latest flu virus. In Lodi, the primary and elementary schools are closed for the rest of the week. And Lodi’s middle school and high school are closed today, while officials decide if they should also be shut down for the week. Columbia County health officer Susan Lorenz says school closings are not advised unless large numbers of students and staff members are absent, thus making the schools hard to function. Lodi Superintendent Michael Shimshak said the elementary school had a 26-percent absentee rate yesterday. And the primary school had a 12-and-a-half percent absentee rate. Almost 750 youngsters attend those two schools. The Lodi School District had seven confirmed swine flu cases at last word. Wisconsin reports 765 confirmed cases at the moment. About two-thirds are in Milwaukee County.

BD School Board Approves the Hiring of Middle School Principal

5/19/09 – The Beaver Dam School Board approved the hiring of Ben Jones as the new middle school principal last night. From the Baraboo School District, Jones will be replacing Rich Brouillard who’s retiring in mid-July after four years on the job. Superintendent Don Childs says Brouillard will assist Jones in getting acclimated with the district and the middle school. Jones is slated to start July 1st.

Childs against Merit Pay for Teachers

5/19/09 – Beaver Dam Superintendent Don Childs disagrees with a research institute calling for merit pay for teachers. As part of proposals calling for major changes in the way public schools give and evaluate achievement tests the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute also says educators should pay teachers based on their student’s performance. Childs says its unrealistic to think it could work in the public sector considering all the issues that surface when it’s implemented in the private sector. Teacher unions oppose the idea, and there’s a state law against it. But the studies’ authors say it works in two private schools and two charter schools – and they say the law against teacher merit pay should be repealed. However, Childs says he hasn’t seen anything to make him think it could work and thinks educators need to find another option to help increase students test scores.

Authorities Looking for Serial Killer in Milwaukee

5/19/09 – At least five prostitutes in Milwaukee were killed by the same person in the last 21 years. That’s what authorities said yesterday, when they announced a new task force to find the murderer. The prospect of a serial killer first came up in January, when new D-N-A evidence cleared Chaunte Ott in the 1995 slaying of teenage runaway Jessica Payne. Ott was freed from prison after police learned that somebody else’s D-N-A was also found on Payne and two other murder victims. Police believe the serial killer had sex with Payne, but somebody else murdered her. Police Chief Ed Flynn and District Attorney John Chisholm say new D-N-A technology has linked three other victims to the serial killer. And the State Crime Lab is testing D-N-A from about two dozen other murdered prostitutes to see if there are any more matches. Authorities do not know who the suspect is. Flynn and Chisholm say the person is not listed in the state’s D-N-A data-base. Since 1996, all convicted felons in Wisconsin have been required to leave samples for the data-base. Chisholm says the members of the public may later be asked to voluntarily leave D-N-A samples. He says new technology can identify relatives through their D-N-A. So far, Flynn says the same D-N-A has been found on one woman killed in 2007, one in 1997, two in ’95, and two in ’86. Five were African-American street prostitutes, and Payne was a white drug user. All the slayings took place on Milwaukee’s north side.

Neumann Trial Continues

5/19/09 – The prosecution will keep making its case today at the Wausau trial of Leilani Neumann, the woman accused of praying instead of getting help for her dying daughter. Yesterday, Everest Metro police officer Scott Marten said he saw a house in chaos last March when he went to see if

11-year-old Kara Neumann was all right. He said Kara appeared malnourished, skinny, and frail – and her father was pushing on her chest to get her to breathe. Once at the hospital, Marten said relatives walked in circles around her bed and prayed for some time. Earlier yesterday, the defendant’s sister-in-law said Leilani Neumann knew Kara was gravely ill the day before she died. The 41-year-old Neumann said she didn’t know her daughter had diabetes.

Armstrong Supports Smoking Ban in WI

5/19/09 – Lance Armstrong is among those congratulating Wisconsin for becoming more smoke-free. The former world cycling champion came to the Badger State last year to campaign for the statewide public indoor smoking ban which Doyle signed into law yesterday. The governor said Armstrong called his office to give his best wishes. The final opposition was removed when the state’s Tavern League agreed to a compromise which delays the start of the ban until July fifth of next year. With limited exceptions, the law still allows smoking outdoors. But it will no longer be allowed inside restaurants, bars, and other indoor workplaces. At bill-signing ceremonies in Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay, Doyle assured doubters that smoke-free businesses can thrive. Over three-dozen communities will still enforce their local smoking bans until the statewide one takes effect.