“News-May 27, 2011”

Union Issue Headed To Higher Court or Budget


5/27/11 – The state Justice Department said Madison Judge Maryann Sumi stopped being impartial in the lawsuit over the state’s union bargaining limits, when she defended her involvement in the case in a brief filed with the Supreme Court. Thursday, the Dane County circuit judge threw out the law, saying a legislative panel broke the state’s Open Meeting Law when it passed the measure in March. The Supreme Court was already scheduled to hold a hearing June sixth on whether Sumi had the authority to block the union bargaining limits. The Walker administration has asked the Supreme Court to let the law take effect. In a letter to the judge Wednesday, the Justice Department questioned Sumi’s decision to file a legal brief on that issue. They said the judge took positions on key matters in the open meeting case – like whether the courts could prevent a law from taking effect. Assistant attorney general Steven Means said Sumi had the right to file the court brief – but he noted that it quote, “carries some consequences.” Means also said the judge made her decision without holding a trial, or making it clear there wouldn’t be one. But Judge Sumi said the Dane County District Attorney who filed the Open Meeting complaint presented “clear and convincing evidence” the meeting law was broken. State Employees’ Union chief Marty Beil called Thursday’s ruling a victory for transparency in government – but it wouldn’t help his union for long. That’s because G-O-P lawmakers say they’ll put the union bargaining limits into the new state budget if the courts don’t restore those limits in June.


Milwaukee Man Drowns in Friess Lake


5/27/11 – Washington County authorities say a 27-year-old Milwaukee man drowned while fishing with a friend on Friess Lake. It happened last night when winds caused their boat to pitch over on its side and partially capsize. The victim was wearing a life jacket when he was tossed out of the boat, but slipped off. His body was recovered in about 50 feet of water near where the boat capsized. The friend, a 29-year-old Milwaukee man, was able to stay with the boat. (KFIZ, FDL)


Man In Custody After Threatening to Kill Abortion Doctor


5/27/11 – A Marshfield man is due in federal court today on charges that he planned to kill an abortion doctor at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison. 63-year-old Ralph Lang was arrested Wednesday night at a Motel-6 in Madison. According to prosecutors, Lang told police he was going to use his gun yesterday to quote, “lay out abortionists because they are killing babies.” He reportedly said he planned to shoot the clinic’s doctor in the head. When the officer asked if he was going to shoot the nurses, Lang was quoted as saying he wished he could “line them up all in a row, get a machine gun, and mow them all down.” Police said they went to the motel after Lang accidentally shot a bullet through the door of his room.  The F-B-I said the investigation was continuing late yesterday, and would not comment further on the incident.


Alleged Thief Arrested After Brief Foot Chase


5/27/11 – A man suspected in a couple of thefts in the Lowell area was taken into custody yesterday after a short foot chase in Beaver Dam.  Authorities say an off-duty officer was at Boston Store around 10:15 and recognized the 27-year-old suspect.  He took off but was apprehended quickly in the 500 block of Beichl Avenue.  The man faces a number of charges including obstruction of justice and theft.


CCH Construction Moving Along


5/27/11 – Another phase of Columbus Community Hospital construction is nearing completion. Hospital officials have been fielding questions regarding the cars and trucks parked along Park Street – in front of the Hospital — for months. Remodeling of the first and third floors is winding down. The facelift will include the addition of a Hospital pharmacy on the first floor. The Hospital is scheduling an open house on June 21 and 22. Columbus Community Hospital is located at the southern edge of the City near the highways 73 ramps to highway 151.


Inmate Arraigned In Hospital Vandalism Incident


5/27/11 – An inmate at the Waupun Correctional Institution, accused of causing over $43,000 in damage to the Waupun Hospital, entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment this week.  Arthur Hill is charged with one felony count of Criminal Damage To Property Over $2500, which carries a maximum three-and-a-half year prison sentence upon conviction. The 24-year-old allegedly ripped out the sprinkler heads of a cell in the secure ward of the hospital on December 12 of last year. According to the criminal complaint, Hill stood on a toilet in his cell, wrapped a plastic bag around the sprinkler heads and jumped off while yelling, “let’s make it rain” and “let’s go swimming.” Water gushed from two broken sprinkler heads and Hill reportedly put blankets under the door allowing six to eight inches of water to pool. The jail cell sustained over $4800 in damage. Another $38,000 in water damage was reported to adjacent rooms and the ICU, which is located one flood below the secure ward in the hospital. Hill has court activity is on the calendar again next month.


MN Pastor Arrested In Clyman For Molestation


5/27/11 – A Minnesota pastor was arrested earlier this week at a Town of Clyman church for allegedly molesting a foreign exchange student who was staying at his home. Reverend David Edwin Radtke of the St. Peter Lutheran Church in Gibbon is charged in Minnesota with two felony counts of Third Degree Criminal Sexual Assault.  According to the complaint, Radtke has hosted the foreign exchange student at his home in Gibbon, Minnesota since last August. The 16-year-old victim told investigators that Radtke would massage her to sleep every couple weeks around midnight. On May 17, she allegedly she awoke to Radtke assaulting her.  Radtke apparently told his wife and son about the incident and both asked the victim to forgive him.  Radtke left for Wisconsin over the weekend and on Monday he was found at a church in Clyman. Officers took him into custody outside, behind the church. During an Extradition Hearing on Wednesday, Judge Steven Bauer set cash bond at $7000 with the stipulation that, once posted, he turn himself in to Minnesota authorities within 24 hours.  Radtke posted bond yesterday (Th) and Judge Bauer scheduled a Status Conference for next Tuesday to verify that Radtke has complied with his order, or if he’ll be forfeiting his bond.


Evans Arraigned In Molestation Case


5/27/11 – A Beaver Dam man, accused of molesting a preschool-age child, entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment 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 22-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. Evans is being held on a $10,000 cash bond.


Hying Named Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee Diocese


5/27/11 – A seminary rector was named Thursday as the new auxiliary bishop in the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese. Pope Benedict appointed Father Don Hying as the Number-two leader for Catholics in 10 southeast Wisconsin counties, including Dodge County. Hying will assist Archbishop Jerome Listecki in the spiritual and pastoral leadership of the Milwaukee Archdiocese. He’ll be ordained and installed July 20th, and will replace Richard Sklba who retired last year. Hying is a native of West Allis. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1989 and spent a number of years as a parish priest and administrator. He became the dean-of-formation at Saint Francis De Sales’ seminary in Milwaukee in 2005. He’s been the seminary’s rector since 2007. Listecki calls Hying a “true servant-leader.” Hying said he was honored and humbled to get the pope’s blessing.


Lawmakers Seek To Reverse Doyle Fund Raid


5/27/11 – State lawmakers voted Thursday to pay back 235-million-dollars to a doctor’s fund that was illegally raided by the governor and Legislature in 2007. The Supreme Court said it was wrong for politicians to raid the fund that pays for settlements in medical malpractice cases. Doctors pay into that fund, but former Governor Jim Doyle and lawmakers took 200-million of it to help public school programs stay afloat. The Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously to pay back the malpractice fund next year. The measure also dropped 30-million-dollars from higher employee pension and health care contributions that never took effect because they were tied to the union bargaining limits that were tossed out of court Thursday. The measure also reduced planned spending cuts by 54-million-dollars. And it moved up 154-million-dollars in Medicaid payments to health providers, so the state could get extra federal money before a formula changes. Under the bill, the money would come from a 636-million dollar windfall due to higher-than-expected tax revenues over the next two years. School officials were hoping to get the money, to soften the blow of proposed cuts in their state aid.