“News-May 20, 2011”

Farming Fatality In Columbia County


5/20/11 – One woman is dead following a farm accident in Columbia County.  Sheriff Dennis Richards says a 72-year-old woman was killed Thursday afternoon just after 2pm in a farm field on County Highway V, two miles north of the city of Lodi.  She was operating a farm tractor with a rock picker in tow. Richards says the preliminary investigation shows that she was trying to remove a rock that was wedged in the tines of the picker when she sustained the fatal injuries. The Columbia County Sheriffs Department and Medical Examiner Office are investigating. Foul play is not suspected.


Fond du Lac  Officers Raise $70K For Injured Cop, K9


5/20/11 – Fond du Lac police officers have raised 70-thousand-dollars to help a colleague and his K-9 officer that were both wounded in a shooting spree in March. Captain Steve Klein said the funds will cover all 12-thousand-dollars in medical bills for officer Ryan Williams. He was shot in the chest by sexual assault suspect James Cruckson, who also killed officer Craig Birkholz and later took his own life during a police stand-off. It happened March 20th outside Cruckson’s home on Fond du Lac’s west side. About 48-thousand-dollars have been raised to help Williams, buy more bullet-proof vests for officers, and acquire another police dog. The other 22-thousand will help the dog wounded in the attack, Grendel. The money came from donations, fund-raising events, and the sale of T-shirts, wrist-bands, and other items.


Walker To Sign Voter ID, Signature Law


5/20/11 – Governor Scott Walker says he’ll sign the voter I-D mandate next Wednesday afternoon in a ceremony at the State Capitol. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said eight Democrats who refused to vote on the measure Thursday will still have a chance to go on the record. He says the roll call can be re-opened next month. It’s the next time the Senate plans to meet. Thursday’s vote on the I-D requirement was 19-to-5. Five Democrats voted no after the roll call was opened following the one hour of debate that was promised by G-O-P Senate President Mike Ellis. That was after Democrats spent nine hours on Tuesday trying to kill and amend the mandate that voters sign in and show photo I-D’s at the polls. The signature requirement will take effect this summer, when up to nine senators face recall elections. The bill also requires voters to live at their current addresses for 28 days before an election instead of the current 10 days. The early voting period at clerk’s offices will be reduced from a month to two weeks – and the cutoff date will be the Friday before an election instead of Monday. Republicans did not go as far as some conservatives wanted. They rejected calls to eliminate same-day voter registration. And they decided to wait before moving the fall partisan primaries from mid-September to mid-August, to comply with a federal time limit for mailing ballots to residents overseas. Republicans say they’ll address that issue separately later in the session.


Madison School Board Member Wants Bonuses


5/20/11 – A Madison School Board member wants to give employees a year-end bonus, using the money that teachers were docked for going to union protests while claiming they were sick. Board member Ed Hughes wants to give all four-thousand Madison School District employees 200-dollar gift cards for stores in Dane County, plus 60-dollars to cover all the taxes. Hughes calls it a “gesture of appreciation” for the employees’ service during hard times. But Don Severson of the watchdog group Active Citizens for Education calls the idea crazy. He tells the Wisconsin State Journal that the money would be better spent on students. And Severson wonders why Hughes wants to reward teachers when quote, “two-thirds of them broke the law in the first place.” The total cost of the gift card benefit is just over a million-dollars – and Hughes says it would come from the one-point-three million that teachers were docked during the pro-union State Capitol protests. Madison schools were closed for four days in February because too many teachers called in sick to take part in the protest rallies. The school district says it’s reviewing the idea, but another board member does not think it will be approved. The school system planned to use the teacher penalties to pay down the district’s debt.


Regional Wastewater Project Bids Opened


5/20/11 – Bids for the Fall River portion of the multi-million dollar Columbus / Fall River wastewater system regionalization have been opened. Village officials and MSA Consultants are recommending Miron Construction of Neenah to build the new lift station and close down the current lagoons. Advance Construction of Green Bay will be hired to lay the force main piping into Columbus. Contract finalization and contractor mobilization will be taking place over the next six weeks. Actual construction is expected to begin the first week in July.


Pritzl Welcomes Human Services Challenges


5/20/11 – Dodge County’s new Human Services and Health Director says he’s looking forward to the challenge.  Eric Pritzl was hired this week following county board approval. Pritzl has spent the last three-plus years in a similar role in Columbia County but says he’ll have more responsibility here but also more resources.  He says money is always a concern for health departments and the current economic conditions exacerbate that.  Pritzl is taking over for a retiring David Titus.


Fondy Man Charged In Waupun Storage Unit Burglary


5/20/11 – A Fond du Lac man is charged with felony Burglary for allegedly stealing hundreds of dollars worth of electronics and tools from a Waupun storage unit that he had access to.  26-year-old Mark Mueller is accused of pawning those items and they were later connected back to him. According to the criminal complaint, Mueller first said he had permission from the family but later confessed.  The charges carry a maximum sentence of nearly 30 years in prison. A signature bond was set at $1000 and a preliminary hearing will be held next month.


Ice Shanty Burglary Suspect Waives Prelim


5/20/11 – A Waterloo man accused of breaking into ice fishing shanties on Beaver Dam Lake has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.  Authorities say 23-year-old Cody McNicol burglarized the make-shift structures in early January and stole hundreds of dollars worth of fishing gear and related equipment. Authorities say they have video footage of McNicol with the stolen stuff. According to the criminal complaints, McNicol admitted to the thefts after being questioned. He faces a maximum of over 26 years in prison, if convicted. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for next week.


Vogs Bound Over In Motorcycle Chase


5/20/11 – A Hartford man accused of sparking a high speed chase with police earlier this month was bound over for trial during a preliminary hearing Thursday in Dodge County court. Luke J. Vogds is charged with felony Reckless Endangerment and Fleeing, along with misdemeanor Operating After Revocation, for allegedly leading deputies on a pursuit in and around Neosho that reached speeds of over 100 mph.  A passenger on the back of his motorcycle told police that she repeatedly asked the 21-year-old to stop and said she feared for her life. Vogds reportedly told arresting officers that he fled because he did not want to jeopardize his chances of getting his suspended license back. He could spend over 14 years in prison if convicted. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for next month.