News – September 17, 2016

New Judge Named In Murder Case


9/17/16 – Another Fond du Lac County judge has been assigned the murder trial for a 63-year-old Kenosha man. Judge Robert Wirtz will preside over Dennis Brantner’s court proceedings. Brantner is suspected of killing 18-year-old Berit Beck when she stopped in Fond du Lac in July of 1990; her body was found near Waupun several weeks later. This past week Judge Gary Sharpe recused himself from the case for comments he made to the jury and a county employee following a June trial in which the jury was unable to arrive at a unanimous verdict. A scheduling conference is set for October 19th. With the previous judge Brantner’s lawyer, Craig Powell, made a motion to dismiss the case and acquit his client. While District Attorney Eric Toney made a motion to have a mistrial declared and to schedule a new trial.


Horicon To Replace Park Facility Roofs


9/17/16 – Three buildings in one of Horicon’s parks could soon get new roofs.  The committee of the whole this week recommended the $5,000 expense to the full council.  If approved later this month, the River Bend Park shelter along with the park’s softball concession stand and additional shelter near the tennis courts will see new roofs.


Litscher Submits Budget Request For Corrections


9/17/16 – Wisconsin’s corrections secretary has asked for more than $3-million dollars to help fix problems at the embattled Lincoln Hills and Copper Hills juvenile institutions. The facilities are near Irma in Lincoln County, and they’re the subjects of federal investigations amid reports of sexual assaults and attacks on juvenile inmates and incorrect medications given by guards. Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher has submitted a budget for the next two years that includes $3.3-million dollars to put Lincoln Hills in line with federal protections against juvenile sex assaults, improved mental health services for girls at Copper Lake, and a new system for giving out drugs at both institutions. Litscher, who also serves as Beaver Dam’s common council president, asked Governor Scott Walker to include the reforms in the two year budget which will be proposed to lawmakers in February.


Cemetery Tour Celebrating Beaver Dam History


9/17/16 – People have a chance to learn more about Beaver Dam’s history this afternoon.  As part of the city’s 175th anniversary celebration, the Dodge County Historical Society is holding walking tours at the Oakwood Cemetery.  During the hour-long tour, participants will be guided to roughly 30 gravesites of historical significance.  Society Board Member Cathy Barnett is leading the tour and earlier this week on WBEV’s Community Comment shared examples of the people who will be featured.  One of those is United States Senator and friend of President Abraham Lincoln, Judge A. Scott Sloan.  Barnett says he is best known for sharing a bed with Lincoln when the two were on the road campaigning together.  She says Sloan described it as “sleeping next to a jackhammer” since both were 6’4”.  Another person who will be discussed is William Coaxail who, according to Barnett, was ordered to help in the hanging of one of John Wilkes Booth’s co-conspirators.  The tours begin at 1, 2:15, and 3:30 pm.  Each participant is asked to donate $5 to the historical society.  The historical society also plans to hold its annual “haunted history tour” on October 22.


Business Group Recognizes Local Politician


9/17/16 – A national group honored a local politician this week.  Congressman Glenn Grothman received the Guardian of Small Business Award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses.  The federation says the Glenbeulah Republican was selected for his voting in small businesses’ favor on issues like taxing, healthcare, and regulations.  Grothman received a 100% rating from the group.


Fundraiser Helping Teach Orphan Children


9/17/16 – A fundraising event is collecting money to support children in a third-world country.  The World Orphan Fund is holding its fourth annual pancake breakfast in Beaver Dam tomorrow.  Founder R.J. Johnson says the event proceeds each year go to fund vocational teachers for an orphan village in Guatemala City.  He says students are able to learn things like culinary skills, sewing, and carpentry.  On WBEV’s Community Comment this week, Johnson said the World Orphan Fund has relationships with villages in 13 third-world countries across the globe.  Johnson says the World Orphan Fund’s projects have ranged from providing villages with solar energy to improving a village’s water heater efficiency.  The breakfast runs from 8 am until Noon tomorrow at the Beaver Dam High School.  Tickets cost $6 per adult and $4 per child.


Sorghum Festival Returns To Fall River


9/17/16 – A Fall River festival is celebrating a locally-grown crop.  Sorghum Fest is being held today at the Savanna Oaks Community Center.  Sorghum grain has multiple uses including: livestock feed, ethanol production, and cooking.  There will be field-to-jar demonstrations on sorghum processing.  Folks can also sample sorghum cookies and buy pints of sorghum.  The event runs from 9 am to 3 pm, and admission is free.  Food is available for purchase throughout the day.  There will also be live music, an antique car show, and a tractor display.


UWM Seeing Enrollment Decline In Recent Years


9/17/16 – Wisconsin’s second largest public university campus has lost 10% of its total enrollment since 2010. And Milwaukee chancellor Mark Mone predicts another 3-4% drop when the final enrollment figures for this fall come out at the end of the month. He says the current demographics result in smaller high school graduating classes throughout the Badger State, and that means reductions in new freshmen and returning students at U-W-M. But not everything is in decline. Mone says U-W Milwaukee has a 1% increase in its retention rate for the first two weeks of the school year, and favorable tuition is bringing more students from neighboring Illinois.


Minnesota Man Accused Of Storing Pot In Wisconsin


9/17/16 – A Stillwater, Minnesota man is accused of keeping more than 130 pounds of marijuana in a storage facility in far western Wisconsin. Forty-four-year-old Karl Heinrichs is awaiting extradition to face a Saint Croix County felony charge of possessing more than ten-thousand grams of pot. Prosecutors say officers were called to a unit in Houlton late last week which had a strong smell of marijuana emanating from it. Officers said the unit was registered to Heinrichs, who was later arrested in Washington County, Minnesota.


Man Accused Of Killing Mother To Stay Confined


9/17/16 – A judge has ruled that a Wisconsin man accused of decapitating his mother with a sword will stay indefinitely in a mental health institution. Forty-one-year-old Matthew Skalitzy was committed in June after a judge found him not guilty by reason of mental disorder or defect in the September 2015 killing of 68-year-old Jane Skalitzy. Dane County Judge Joann Reynolds yesterday ordered for him to be confined indefinitely. Reynolds noted he remains a significant risk to himself and others without his medication and ruled he can be forced to take it. Skalitzy’s attorney has said his client has a long history of mental health issues, is currently taking his medication and realizes the gravity of what happened.