The defense has started to make its case in the trial of a man accused of killing a Columbus man and six others at a suburban Chicago restaurant. 37-year-old James Degorski has been on trial for over a month. He and Juan Luna allegedly stormed into a Brown’s Chicken restaurant in 1993, and murdered restaurant owners Richard and Lynn Ehlenfeldt and five employees. Richard Ehlenfeldt of Columbus was an aide to former Wisconsin Acting Governor Martin Schreiber in the 1970’s. On Monday, the prosecution rested its case. Yesterday, investigator James Bell said he thought for years that the prime suspect was John Simonek, because he confessed during police interviews. Simonek later testified that he confessed only to get the police off his back. He was never charged. Luna later confessed and implicated Degorski. Luna was convicted of the slayings in 2007, and was sentenced to life in prison.
The sentencing date has been set for a 54-year-old Ashwaubenon man found guilty earlier this month of a 33-year-old Fond du Lac murder. A Fond du Lac County jury returned a guilty verdict against Thomas Niesen on September 3rd. Niesen was suspected of killing 19-year-old Kathleen Leichtman in July of 1976. The young Milwaukee woman had traveled to Fond du Lac to dance at The Other Place strip club. DNA evidence linked Niesen to the murder, but other evidence and testimony persuaded the jury. His sentencing is scheduled for November 6th.
Not only were they the host of the 2009 Farm Tech Days, but the Crave Brothers Farm near Waterloo also received a number of cheese-making accolades this year. George Crave, the President of Crave Farmstead Cheeses, says in the past seven years they’ve secured a solid place among the nation’s most elite cheese makers. The Crave Brothers recently won four awards at the 25th Annual American Cheese Society Competition in Austin, Texas. The local cheese maker took home the top two prizes in the Farmstead Cheese category for their original creation “Les Frères Reserve” and “Petite Frères Reserve.” The Craves mozzarella also took home second place trophies in the Fresh and Marinated Fresh Mozzarella categories. At the Wisconsin State Fair, the brothers also took home two first place awards for their mozzarella and rope string cheese, as well as a pair of third place prizes. And at the Dodge County Fair, the Crave’s Rope String Cheese was named the Grand Champion while their Mascarpone was awarded a blue ribbon. Crave says it was an honor to win the national competition but it was a special pleasure to win awards in their own back yard.
A Fond du Lac man went fishing for bluegill recently, when he reeled up a potentially-dangerous piranha. Richard Pardee caught it last Friday on Lake Winnebago. It was a large gray creature, about 12-and-a-half inches long. And in 45 years of fishing, Pardee said he never saw anything like it. He iced it, took it to pet shop, and a sales associate confirmed it was either a piranha or a pacu – both of which are native to South America. Piranha have sharp teeth, and they can go after both people and animals. The state D-N-R is not sure how it got there. But when foreign species are released into Wisconsin waters, senior biologist Kendall Kamke says the potential for disease is a big concern.