News May 30, 2009

Columbus School Investigate Flu-Like Symptoms

5/30/09 – The Columbus School District is taking precautionary measures yesterday after being notified that two students were kept at home due to “flu like symptoms.” School Superintendent Mark Jansen said that students and parents were notified with letters sent home with students and by information on the School Districts web site that the possibility of school closures is being considered.

The letter to the parents and students reads in part… The Columbus School District has been notified by the families of two students, one high school and one elementary, that these young people are being kept home today, May 29th, because of flu-like symptoms. Medical personnel are involved in both cases, but H1N1 Swine Flu has neither been confirmed nor ruled out. School closure is not being considered at this time. Closure will be considered if a large number of students or staff are absent and their absence affects the District’s ability to function.

The Superintendent is alerting all Columbus District students and parents to follow all the precautionary steps listed in the letter.

Anonymous Caller Helps Authorities

5/30/09 – A Beaver Dam man with a warrant for his arrest was taken into custody early this morning at the Leipsic Tavern. The Sheriff’s Department received an anonymous call that 39-year-old Keith Schmitt was in the bar stating he missed court and had a warrant out for his arrest as a result. Authorities booked Schmitt into jail on a bail jumping charge, but he also faces a number of others as well. Schmitt had been scheduled to appear in court in late April on two misdemeanor motor vehicle charges but did not show.

Three Down, Seven to Go

5/30/09 – Three of ten buildings have now fallen in downtown Beaver Dam. The most recent are two of the four buildings on the 100 block of Front Street that have been completely removed. Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy says the other two buildings will be cleared by next Thursday at which time work will begin on the five Front Street structures west of Center Street.

Budget Package Forwarded to Assembly

5/30/09 – What’s in the budget package approved basically behind closed doors early Friday morning? Tax increases. Reductions in state aid and programs. And, pork barrel projects worth millions of dollars in Democrat-controlled districts. Democratic Governor Jim Doyle says he doesn’t expect to use his veto power very much on a spending plan he seems to like. Taxes go up on oil companies and cigarettes. State funding is cut for local governments and schools. The Assembly expects to take up the budget as soon as a week from next Tuesday. After approval there it heads to the Senate. Governor Doyle has said he wants to sign it before the new budget year starts July 1st.

Public Hearing on Tougher Drunk Driving Laws Set for Tuesday

5/30/09 – A public hearing on plans to make the state’s drunken driving laws tougher will be held in West Allis next Tuesday. The Assembly Public Safety Committee will hear your comments on a bill that was introduced last week. The new law would require engine locks on vehicles used by repeat offenders — and by first-time offenders who recorded a high blood alcohol level. The new law would also make the fourth offense of operating while intoxicated a felony charge. Right now, that takes five offenses.

Emu Forces Closure of Highway 41

5/30/09 – A large bird was on the loose on Highway 41 between Oshkosh and Fond du Lac yesterday. Sergeant Mark Abrahamson of the state patrol says an emu was wandering in the median close to the southbound lanes. He says they had no choice but to close the highway and euthanize the bird. Abrahamson says they’re trying to find out where the emu came from. He says there is a nearby farm that raises similar birds, but this particular one doesn’t belong to that farmer. Abrahamson says 9-1-1 calls started coming in a little before 9:30. He says if a vehicle would’ve hit the large bird it could’ve caused a lot of damage — and potentially some injuries.

Wild Turkey Lives Up to its Name

5/30/09 – It was an unusual case of breaking and entering Thursday morning in the Village of Mishicot. Heidi Herrera says she and her five year old daughter Kasandra were sitting in the living room watching The Price is Right when they heard a loud smashing noise in the bedroom. Seconds later, a wild turkey charged through the living room. After putting her daughter and the family dog in a bedroom, Herrera knew she had to take action to get the bird out of her house. With the turkey standing in the kitchen, she managed to get the home’s patio and front doors open. The bird left by the front door, leaving behind a trail of blood and feathers but little damage, other than a broken window. Aaron Buchholz, a DNR wildlife biologist, says while wild turkeys have been reported in urban areas, it’s uncommon to hear of them getting into homes.

Bump Named to Head PD in Adamson’s Absence

5/30/09 – The Horicon Police and Fire Commission named an interim police chief Thursday night to fill the void left by current chief Joe Adamson, who will be on military leave for up to three years. Horicon Police Lt. Adrian Bump will be in command during the interim. Lt. Bump has 10 years of law enforcement experience and Adamson says he has “the ability and demonstrated pattern of success” for the position. Adamson will serve as Provost Marshall for the Wisconsin National Guard, managing security at the state’s 70 National Guard locations. Adamson begins his new job on July 1.

FFRF Gets Good News

5/30/09 – Madison’s Freedom-from-Religion-Foundation won a court battle this week. The group is trying to abolish the annual National Day of Prayer, saying it’s unconstitutional. And Federal Judge Barbara Crabb of Madison ruled that the Obama White House and the event’s task force were premature in filing a request to drop the foundation’s lawsuit. Federal law designates the first Thursday in May as a day when the president urges Americans to pray. Former President Bush used to hold public events that day. Obama did not hold any such events this month – but it still urged the courts to uphold the authority to have them. Judge Crabb said the foundation faces a heavy burden in proving that the prayer day violates the separation of church-and-state – but the group should have the opportunity to pursue the case.

Murder Victims to be Displayed on Playing Cards in State Prisons

5/30/09 – State prisoners will see more than hearts-and-clubs when they play cards. They’ll also see pictures of victims in unsolved murder cases. The Wisconsin Association of Homicide Investigators hopes those pictures will jog somebody’s memory, and provide some hot leads for cases that have long been cold. The group is now putting together the photos of victims they’ll feature on the playing cards. They hope to have a deck ready in about six months. Fond du Lac County sheriff’s lieutenant William Flood says his department will offer photos of a five-year-old boy in a murder case from the early 1980’s. And they’ll provide a picture of “Baby Theresa” the infant tossed in the woods near Theresa by an unidentified mother a few weeks ago.

Archeological Dig at Nitschke Mounds This Weekend

5/30/09 – A team of archeologists and students from UW- Milwaukee will be conducting an archeological dig at Nitschke Mounds this weekend. Dodge County Parks Manager Bill Ehlenbeck says the excavations will be focused on a potential encampment or habitation sites where ground penetrating radar have identified potential hotspots. Ehlenbeck says a special presentation will be available for the public by Dr. Kira Kaufmann of Florida International University at 1pm Saturday.