News – October 13, 2016

Preliminary Investigation: ‘Gudex Death Suicide’

10/13/16 – A preliminary investigation shows that state Senator Rick Gudex took his own life. Fond du Lac County Sheriff Mick Fink says the 48-year-old Republican from Fond du Lac and former Mayville mayor died of a gunshot wound to the chest, and the early indication was that it was self-inflicted. According to a sheriff’s log, a relative warned officers that Gudex talked about suicide when they asked for help in finding him. He decided earlier not to run for a second four-year term, after he unseated Democrat Jessica King in a contest that the state G-O-P fought hard to win. Gudex’ chief of staff says he was planning to take a job with one of his former employers that manufacturers tank trailers. Gudex was married with two children. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau said he was (quote) “deeply saddened” by his passing.

MWFLS Reaches Settlement With Online Operations Provider

10/13/16 – Ahead of its merger with Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties’ library system, the library system that covers Dodge and Washington counties has settled a debt. The Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System will pay $150,000 to opt out of a contract with its current online operations provider. Mid-Wisconsin Interim Director Mike Gelhausen says the library system is cancelling a five-year contract with provider SirsiDynix after two years and could have been on the hook for $293,000. According to Gelhausen, Mid-Wisconsin and Eastern Shores had separate online operations providers. They decided to go with Eastern Shores’ provider due to financial reasons. Gelhausen says the Mid-Wisconsin system will make a lump sum payment by the end of year with monies coming from its reserve fund. Even after paying SirsiDynix, Gelhausen says Mid-Wisconsin should have $250,000-$300,000 in leftover funds to bring to the new four-county Monarch Library System. The merger should take effect January 1.

Beaver Dam Man Pleads Not Guilty To Church Burglaries

10/13/16 – A Beaver Dam man accused of breaking into multiple churches in August pled not guilty at arraignment yesterday. Kodey Meredith is facing six felony Burglary counts, all as a party to a crime along with seven other felonies. The 26-year-old allegedly broke into both Grace Presbyterian Church and First Evangelical Lutheran Church during the overnight hours of August 21-22. Meredith reportedly stole over $16-thousand dollars’ worth of Scrip cards, which churches and organizations can buy at reduced rates and sell to supporters who pay the full value for use at restaurants, gas stations, and other participating businesses. He is also accused of breaking into First Evangelical during the overnight hours of August 7-8 to steal cash, keys, and electronics. Meredith also allegedly broke into the home of Beaver Dam Police Department Chaplain Mark Jensen on the morning of August 4. Officers tracked used scrip cards back to Meredith, and a search warrant executed at his house reportedly turned up the stolen items. Meredith denied stealing the cards and claimed he was unsure how the items ended up in his home. Though Meredith did tell officers he has a heroin problem. A friend allegedly told police that Meredith confessed the burglaries to him. Meredith is due back in court November 23.

Not Guilty Plea Entered For Beaver Dam Man On Fleeing Charge

10/13/16 – A not guilty plea was entered at arraignment yesterday for a Beaver Dam man who stood mute on charges that he led police on a high speed chase within city limits. Isiah Winter is charged with felony Attempting to Flee or Elude a Traffic Officer for the early morning Fourth of July pursuit that reached speeds of 80 miles-per-hour on North Center Street and side streets like DeClark, Burnett and Denning. The 19-year-old fled on foot at Beaver and Third streets but was apprehended a few blocks away. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum prison sentence of three-and-a-half years.

Neosho Man Stands Mute On Theft Charge

10/13/16 – A not guilty plea was entered yesterday for a Neosho man accused of stealing money from his mother. Nicholas Goodman stood mute at his arraignment hearing on felony counts of Theft and Taking a Vehicle Without Consent. The 30-year-old helped his mother load a skid steer onto a trailer in May. Feeling he deserved money for his actions, Goodman demanded $500. When she refused, he allegedly pushed her into a chair, took $300 from her pocket, and fled in her vehicle. Goodman’s mother reportedly told authorities her son had stolen tens of thousands of dollars from family members over the years to support his heroin addiction. If he is convicted, Goodman faces up to 21 years in prison. He is due back in court November 21.

Inmate Pleads Not Guilty To Attacking Officer

10/13/16 – An inmate at the Waupun Correctional Institution accused of attacking a corrections officer pled not guilty at arraignment yesterday. Paul Hendler is facing felony counts of Battery by Prisoners and Substantial Battery, both as a repeat offender for allegedly punching an officer in a cell hall last December. The officer sustained a fractured jaw, broken tooth, and needed two stitches to the right eye. If he is convicted, the 43-year-old faces over 17 additional years in prison. Hendler is due back in court November 21.

Clinton, Feingold Leading In Latest Marquette Poll

10/13/16 – Democrat Hillary Clinton has extended her lead against Donald Trump for Wisconsin’s ten presidential electoral votes. A new Marquette Law School poll released yesterday shows Clinton with a 44-37-percent lead among likely voters in a four-way race. The seven-point advantage is bigger than the three-point edge the Democrat Clinton had in the last Marquette poll three weeks ago. Libertarian Gary Johnson has dropped to nine-percent while Green Party candidate Jill Stein is at three-percent in polling from last Thursday through Sunday, during the fallouts of new controversies involving both candidates. In the U-S Senate race, Democrat Russ Feingold leads Republican incumbent Ron Johnson 46-44, within the poll’s 3.9-percent margin of error among likely voters.

Appeals Court: Employees Wrongly Denied Recertification

10/13/16 – A state appeals court agrees that two public employee unions were wrongly denied recertification votes under the Act Ten bargaining limits. The First District Appellate Court in Milwaukee agreed yesterday with a circuit judge’s decision to force the state to hold annual certification votes — even though both unions filed their requests about one hour after the deadline in 2014, and did not pay filing fees until the next day. The appellate court said the Act Ten law does not address the slight tardiness in filing by the unions that represent Wisconsin assistant district attorneys and school custodial and food service workers in Milwaukee and Saint Francis. The court said it saw no need to address the issue.

Supreme Court To Decide On Property Tax Assessments

10/13/16 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court will decide whether it’s legal for a community to increase property tax assessments for those who don’t let assessors inside their homes. The justices have agreed to hear a case brought by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on behalf of a Racine County couple who saw their home’s assessed value jump by ten-percent while their neighbors had lower assessments. The Institute says government home inspections were why the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures was adopted. The court also agreed to take a second case brought the law and liberty group, in which a parent was kept out of an Appleton school committee meeting that reviewed English books on a reading list for freshmen. The school’s chief academic officer and humanities director created the panel — and two lower courts said it’s not a formal government body that’s required to follow the state Open Meetings Law.

BDACT Opening Night: ‘Godspell’

10/13/16 – It is opening night of the Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre’s fall musical. Godspell gets its name from the archaic word for gospel which means “good story.” Director Ryan Madala-Klug says Godspell has always been an enigmatic piece of theatre with the premise that Jesus comes back at a different time and place. Some productions have been set in junk yards, fast food restaurants and even outer space but this version is set in Beaver Dam at the auditions for ‘Godspell.’ The story uses lyrics from hymns from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries juxtaposed with the musical from the 60’s and 70’s. Godspell opened Off Broadway in 1971, and has been performed on thousands of stages since, including at BDACT twice. It has been 27 years since the theatre staple last graced the stage at 219 North Spring Street. With the Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre in the process of fundraising for a new theatre in the old St. Patrick’s School on Maple Avenue, Madala-Klug says the time is right to bring the good story back to the local stage. There are five evening performances of Godspell on the Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre stage starting with tonight’s performance at 7:30pm, along with two Sunday matinees at 2pm. More information is available at

Madison, Janesville Malls Closed On Thanksgiving

10/13/16 – Three large shopping malls in southern Wisconsin will follow the lead of the Mall of America, and close on Thanksgiving Day. C-B-L and Associates says it will close Madison’s East Towne and West Towne Malls on November 24th, as well as the Janesville Mall. Stores which have entrances from the outside can open if they choose. But C-B-L’s top executive says his company wants to “bring back the excitement of Black Friday shopping” while letting store workers and customers enjoy the day before with their families. The nation’s largest shopping complex, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, recently said it would close on Thanksgiving but will provide security for stores that choose to stay open.