News – November 24, 2011

Child Protection Bill Spurred By Former BDUSD Principal

11/24/11 – Governor Scott Walker signed a bill during a ceremony in Racine Wednesday that was spurred by the case of a former Beaver Dam and Randolph school administrator convicted of trying to arrange sex with a teen he met online. Christopher Nelson was working as a superintendent in the New Holstein School District in January when he was arrested as he attended a school boards’ convention in Milwaukee. The 59-year-old tried to arrange sex while chatting online with someone he thought was a 15-year-old boy. That boy turned out to be a Milwaukee police detective. Authorities said Nelson also escaped prosecution in 2005, when he was caught looking at pornography on a school computer in Madison. The bill signed by the governor yesterday would let the state revoke the teaching licenses of those caught looking at pornography on their work computers. Nelson spent 20 years in the Randolph school district before moving to Beaver Dam in 1994 where he served as Assistant Principal until 2000. He was sentenced this summer in Milwaukee County to five years in prison, with five years of extended supervision when he gets out. Nelson still faces a variety of charges for Possession of Child Pornography in his home county of Calumet.

The governor signed several other bills Wednesday aimed at protecting children. One will let public schools fire employees convicted of felonies — or not hire them in the first place. Until now, schools could only leave felons off their payrolls if they were convicted of crimes directly related to their jobs. Democrats wanted to limit the employment ban to six years after a termination or rejection. But majority Republicans approved no such limits. Otherwise, the measures signed yesterday earned support from both parties. Another bill requires all school district employees report suspected child abuse to authorities. Teachers, administrators, and counselors used to be the only ones required to do that. The governor also let judges add up to five more years on a prison sentence for paid child-care workers convicted of physically-or-sexually abusing children.

WT Man Killed By Driver With.356BAC

11/24/11 – We’re just now learning that a woman who killed a Watertown man in a head-on collision earlier this month allegedly had a blood alcohol level more than four times the legal limit for driving. 44-year-old Dawn Ewing is now said to have had a blood alcohol content of .356 when her car slammed into the vehicle of 41-year-old Brian St. Germaine on Interstate-94 back on November 5. The Waukesha County Sheriff’s office says it got several calls about a car going the wrong way on the interstate shortly after midnight. Several law enforcement agencies sent squad cars to try to stop the accident, but they were too late.

Manitowoc Woman Charged In Fatal OWI Wreck

11/24/11 – A 43-year-old Manitowoc woman faces eight felony charges in connection with a fatal accident last month. Becky Holly could spend 60 years in prison if convicted on all the charges, which include homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. Crash investigators in Manitowoc County say Lawrence Gerroll, his wife Lou and their 48 year old daughter Joan were watching a roofing project last month when Holly lost control of her van, ran off the road and hit them. A state lab reports her blood alcohol content was two and a half times the state’s legal limit.

Road Rage Incident Leads To Rollover

11/24/11 – A woman on her way to a court appearance Tuesday was late after being witness to a road rage incident sparked the father of her child. Sheriff Todd Nehls says the 23-year-old woman was a passenger in one vehicle when the 25-year-old father of her child, in another vehicle, attempted to intimidate her with what Nehls called “road-rage actions.” He wound up losing control of his vehicle and rolled it three or four times. Nehls says he was taken hospital where he was treated eventually released to the custody of law enforcement who booked him into the Dodge County Detention Facility for his actions related to the road rage incident and on additional charges of domestic abuse.

Rabbit Stolen From Daycare Recovered At Nearby Dorm

11/24/11 – A 20-year-old college student at Lawrence University is accused of breaking into an Appleton daycare and stealing a rabbit. Theodore Benner is charged with breaking into Memorial Presbyterian Church earlier this month. That church is located about two blocks from Benner’s dormitory. Less than a week after the burglary was reported, emergency responders were called to the suspect’s dorm room on a medical call. An officer noticed a rabbit in that room which matched a picture of the missing rabbit. Twinkle the rabbit was returned to the daycare shortly after a search warrant was served on the dorm room.

Juneau Mill Rate Up 96-Cents

11/24/11 – The Juneau Common Council unanimously approved their 2012 budget this week. The document totals $8.4 million dollars and includes a tax levy of $1.29 million dollars which results in a mill rate of $8.82 per $1000 of assessed value, up $.96-cents from this year’s rate. Clerk-Treasurer Gladys McKay says like most municipalities, shared revenues were down this year and that, combined with lower home values, contributed to the tax increase. In addition, municipal workers in Juneau already contribute 15% toward their health insurance so the statewide changes in collective bargaining had no affect on the city’s bottom line. Debt service eats up $340,000 of the $1.28 million dollar levy. Property tax payers are putting $24,000 toward the replacement of a fire truck and $74,000 toward the city’s capital projects fund.

Columbus Facilities Committee Has Holiday Homework

11/24/11 – Columbus Schools’ “Facilities Committee” Members and District Administrators will be busy studying during this holiday season. The Committee has a lot of data on student population trends, the condition of District facilities and the Schools’ financial status to review. A “Construction Manager” information provider will be selected on Dec. 5th. The Committee will continue their studies into the new year, scheduled to deliver recommendations to the Board by March 26, 2012.

Columbus Residents Receiving Questionnaire

11/24/11 – A random sample of 1100 Columbus residents recently received a questionnaire asking about City services. The UW Survey Research Center was hired to conduct the citizen survey for $5,500 dollars. The council will be using survey results to make funding decisions on City fire and police protection, street and sidewalk services, recreation facilities, public building maintenance and public utilities.

OSHA Fines Company Over Fond du Lac Paintjob

11/24/11 – OSHA is suggesting almost 150 thousand dollars in fines for a Calumet County construction firm accused of safety violations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is targeting United Contracting of Forest Junction. The violations allegedly happened during a 327 thousand dollar painting project on two bridges along U.S. Highway 41 in Fond du Lac. Investigators say the company didn’t have proper scaffolding in place and exposed workers to possible falls on the job. A worker for United Contracting was injured in June after falling at one of the bridge work sites.

Milwaukee County Board Pressured To Reduce Size

11/24/11 – If the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors won’t downsize itself, some communities in the county might do it for them. River Hills, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay have all voted to put two questions on the April ballot. They will ask voters if the county board should be cut in half, to nine members, and whether the jobs should be part time instead of full time. Other suburbs could follow the lead of those three communities. So far, the 19 county board members have rejected efforts to downsize. One seat was eliminated this year, bringing the board membership to 18 after the election. The Dodge County Board downsized itself in conjunction with the latest census. Supervisors were reduced from 37 to 33.

BD Garbage Collection Delayed By One Day

11/24/11 – Waste collection in Beaver Dam will be delayed by one day for the rest of the week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Director of Facilities David Stoiser says Veolia Environmental will suspend garbage pick-ups for Thursday. Residents who normally receive pick-up Thursday will instead have garbage collection Friday, while Friday’s route will be collected on Saturday. Stoiser says the Public Works Garage will also be closed until Monday.