News – November 4, 2011

Juneau, Columbus Factories Cited By OSHA

11/4/11 – Two local factories have been cited for 22 federal safety violations. The Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration is recommending 126-thousand-dollars in fines for the Gardner Equipment Company. OSHA said it found the violations at Gardner’s plants in Columbus and Juneau. The government said 16 of the health and safety violations were found at the Columbus facility, where some employees had rashes on their arms and hands, because they were not given protective clothing when dealing with materials that irritated their skin. The Juneau facility was cited for three serious safety violations involving their energy control program. Three other non-serious violations were also given. OSHA’s Madison Area Director Kim Stille said in a statement that “Failing to ensure workers use protective clothing and respiratory protection demonstrates a lack of regard for workers’ safety and health.” Gardner Equipment has not commented on the violations. It has 15 days to pay either the fines, challenge the citations, or ask for a meeting with OSHA. The company, which manufactures and paints metal birdhouses, employs about 56-workers.

Roofing Contractor Enters Plea To Theft Charge

11/4/11 – A contractor from St. Croix Falls pleaded “no contest” yesterday to charges to felony Theft for allegedly ripping-off a Mayville woman on a roofing job. 38-year-old Chad Jones, who operates No Worries Construction out of Spooner, failed to return a $4100 deposit for roofing work that was supposed to take place in 2008. Jones faces up to three and-a-half years in prison when he is sentenced on November 18.

A-G: Lt Governor Needs Separate Recall

11/4/11 – Wisconsin’s governor and lieutenant governor would have to be recalled separately — even though they were elected as a team a year ago. Attorney General J-B Van Hollen issued that legal opinion Thursday. The Government Accountability Board asked for the opinion, as Democrats and their supporters prepare to begin petition drives later this month to recall the Republican Walker. The board said earlier that the law appears to require that each elected official be recalled separately, but it wanted Van Hollen’s advice to be sure — and he agreed with the panel. The governor and lieutenant governor are the only pair of state officials that people choose with one vote. The opinion means that those who petition to recall Walker would have to duplicate their efforts in order to seek a recall vote against Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. State Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate says his group will try to recall both. And they won’t let Van Hollen’s ruling stop the effort — even though Tate said the opinion favors Van Hollen’s fellow Republicans.

Bill To Move Primary Passes Through Senate

11/4/11 – Wisconsin senators gave final legislative approval Thursday to a bill that moves the fall partisan primaries from September to August every two years. The measure also prohibits absentee ballots from being e-mailed, except to voters overseas. The bill was carried on a voice vote. It now goes to Governor Scott Walker for his signature. The primaries are being moved because of a new federal law which requires that states send their post-primary November ballots to military troops and other overseas residents within 45 days of the election. An earlier version of the bill would have allowed absentee ballots to be e-mailed to those who requested it, both in-state and out. But Senate Republicans struck down that provision. Senate Democrats asked yesterday that it be restored, but the G-O-P said no. They were concerned about the security of e-mailed ballots, and they said they didn’t want to burden local election clerks any more than they already are. Middleton Democrat Jon Erpenbach said the e-mailed ballots would be just as secure as others in fighting fraud — and he said Republicans had already placed too many barriers to voting with the approval of the photo I-D law.

Senator Approves Killing Intruders

11/4/11 – Wisconsin senators voted 26-to-7 Thursday to let homeowners avoid criminal or civil punishment for killing burglars and other unwanted intruders. The Assembly approved the so-called “castle doctrine” on Tuesday – and the bill’s going back to the lower house for approval of a Democratic amendment which was added yesterday. It would make homeowners liable for hurting-or-killing people they should have known were fire-fighters or ambulance personnel. The original bill gave that protection only to police officers. Nine Democrats joined all Republicans in supporting the bill. Seven Democrats voted no. Racine Republican Van Wangaard, a former police officer, said he drafted the bill to make sure families are safe in their own homes. But Middleton Democrat Jon Erpenbach said the measure was being rammed through to please gun rights supporters – and he said the day was quote, “bought and paid for by the National Rifle Association.” Chief prosecutors in Milwaukee and Sheboygan said Wisconsin doesn’t need a self-defense bill, since homeowners already have plenty of legal protections if they hurt intruders. And the State Bar Association also came out against the measure, saying it protects quote, “irrational people armed with deadly force.”

Assembly Approved Weapons In Gallery

11/4/11 – Wisconsin Assembly leaders agreed Thursday to let members carry concealed weapons during their sessions — and to let folks in the galleries do the same. Democrats on the Assembly’s Organization Committee said the policy made no sense, because the house does not let spectator’s videotape sessions or post signs in the chamber. Dozens of people have been arrested in recent months for doing both those things. The concealed weapons law was approved mostly by Republicans earlier this year. And Assembly G-O-P leaders said those with permits should be able to protect themselves in the Assembly chamber, just like in many other places around the Badger State. The Assembly’s policy differs from the Senate — which decided to let members carry concealed weapons but not those in the galleries. Individual members of both houses have the right to decide whether to allow hidden weapons in their own offices.

Celebrity Line Boosts Kohl’s Sales Despite Divorce

11/4/11 – It’s been awhile since Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony broke up — but they’re still hot items at the Wisconsin-based Kohl’s Department Stores. The Menomonee Falls chain reports strong sales of the former couple’s clothing lines. And it helped increase Kohl’s sales by three-point-nine percent (3.9%) last month in stores open at least a year. That’s two-tenths higher than what outside analysts expected. For the four weeks ending October 29th, Kohl’s reports total revenues of one-point-three billion dollars — over five-and-a-half percent (5.5%) more than at the same time a year ago. C-E-O Kevin Mansell said customers responded favorably to the Lopez and Anthony clothing lines, even though they were introduced after the couple filed for divorce. Kohl’s marketing programs were also credited for the strong sales — and the firm plans especially heavy digital and broadcast advertising through the end of the year.

Snow Removal Season Imminent

11/4/11 – There may be a couple more days of warm weather in the forecast, but snow removal season will soon be here. Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy says after the first significant snowfall, winter parking rules will be in effect. Once enacted, no parking will be allowed on city streets between 2am and 6am, so that the Department of Public Works can clear the snow. Citations will be issued for violations and begin at $20 if the ticket is paid within 24 hours. Once the enforcement has been initiated, the parking ban will remain in effect unless it is announced that the ban has been temporarily or permanently lifted. Kennedy says residents who need to apply for a $40 on-street parking permit should apply now so ensure they will have it when the snow starts to fall.

Avenue of Angels Entries Being Accepted

11/4/11 – The Waupun Area Chamber of Commerce is looking for entries to this year’s Avenue of Angels Parade and Festival of Trees. The parade on November 29 is the kick-off to the four-night event that features free entertainment, refreshments and a special appearance by Santa Claus. There is no specific theme for the parade but the entries should be holiday-related. The parade starts a 6:30 pm in downtown Waupun. The Grand Marshal is Terri Respalje of the Waupun Food Pantry. The Festival of Trees will be on display at City Hall through December 2. Any size tree is acceptable but they must be artificial. The Chamber encourages those submitting to promote their business or organization when decorating. There is no cost to enter the Festival of Trees or the Parade and prizes will be awarded. Entry forms are available on the Chamber’s website or contact Charlene Becker at 920-324-3491.

WBEV Broadcasting Live From New Police Station Today

We’ll be broadcasting WBEV’s Community Comment live from the new Beaver Dam Police Department this afternoon. We’ll be joined by our regular monthly guests, Detective Ryan Klavekoske and Lt. John Kreuzinger. We also plan on asking Police Chief Ronald Smith about this weekends move into the $5.1 million dollar structure. Smith says third shift Saturday night will be the first to use the police stations new briefing room. We’ll also talk to the department’s IT guy Don Rindfliesch about the new technology in the building. John Moser and Bill McCollum are scheduled to take a tour at noon so we might be able to get their take as well, when Community Comment begins at 12:35pm this afternoon.