“News – September 19, 2009”

Amtrak Station in Columbus to be Upgraded


9/19/09 – The Columbus Amtrak Station will be getting an upgrade in the next few months.

Around $100,000 in Federal stimulus funds have been designated to bring the Columbus train depot into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The improvements will be in place by next spring. Although the stimulus funds are not as generous as the $500 to $600 thousand dollars earmarked for rebuilding the Tomah Amtrak station in western Wisconsin, Columbus Amtrak officials say their facilities will be looking much friendlier in 2010.


National Guard Troops Continue Mission in Iraq


9/19/09 – Wisconsin National Guard troops have completed a major mission in Iraq.  The final detainees were transferred Thursday from Camp Bucca near the Kuwaiti border to other facilities, under an agreement with Iraq’s government.  Guard soldiers from Janesville to Marinette made the transfers, while others were involved in guard duty at Camp Bucca.  Lieutenant Colonel Tim Donovan says some units from Wisconsin are remaining at the camp for various support and security functions – and others have moved to other detention facilities.  The work involves members of Wisconsin’s 32nd Red Arrow Brigade.  About 32-hundred brigade members have been serving at a half-dozen bases in Iraq.  Their one-year tours of duty are scheduled to wrap up in January.


Two Flu Shots will be Needed this Fall


9/19/09 – Plan on getting two flu shots this fall.  State officials expect the vaccine for the H-1-N-1 swine flu to arrive in late October.  But in the meantime, Health Services secretary Karen Timberlake says you should not forget about getting a shot to prevent the normal winter flu.  Officials say there’s plenty of seasonal flu vaccine on hand.  Annual shots are needed since the winter flu strains are different each year.


Merc Managers Suing Company


9/19/09 – About 100 managers at Mercury Marine say their bosses are refusing to pay seven-million-dollars in bonuses they were promised.  Now, they’re suing the top executives of the Fond du Lac company for 10-and-a-half million – which includes punitive damages.  The lawsuit was first filed in Fond du Lac County by a manager at a facility in North Carolina.  But the managers have since asked the Federal Court in Green Bay to take the case.  About 70-percent of the plaintiffs live in Wisconsin.  According to the lawsuit, Mercury promised the bonuses in April of last year – and the amounts would be determined by how much their employees saved in operating costs.  The managers said they were expecting a combined seven-million-dollars at the end of the year.  But Mercury decided not to pay them.  The company said its parent firm, Brunswick, did not pay bonuses to any managers due to the weak economy.


Portage Man in Custody After Chase Friday Morning


9/19/09 – The man who led authorities on a chase early yesterday morning is in custody.  That’s according to Dodge County Patrol Captain Molly Soblewski.  She says Columbia County asked for their assistance in pursuing a Portage man who was riding a motorcycle.  Deputies say the motorcycle apparently ran out of gas and the rider ditched it on County Trunk F in the Town of Fox Lake before taking off on foot into a nearby field.  They were unable to find him at the time but did take him into custody later yesterday morning.  He’s being held in the Columbia County Jail pending charges.  He will most likely not face any charges in Dodge County.


Oshkosh Man Ordered to Stand Trial in Death of Baby’s Death


9/19/09 – An Oshkosh man is expected to plead innocent September 29th to charges that he killed a 10-week-old baby in Appleton.  25-year-old David Reimer has been ordered to stand trial in Outagamie County on charges of reckless homicide and causing felony child abuse.  Experts testified that young Logan Boyer had a blunt force injury to his head, and 21 fractures to his back ribs.  Authorities said Reimer began caring for the child May 17th, and he called for help the next morning when the baby seemed to be listless.  He died three days later.  Forensic pathologist Douglas Kelley did not say what might have caused the brain injury.  And public defender Thomas Zoesch told the Appleton Post-Crescent recently that authorities tend to focus on the last person to see a child, and ignore others who may have caused a baby’s injuries.  Prosecutors said they waited until August to file their charges, to make sure they had solid medical evidence to win their case.


Barrett’s Hand May Have Permanent Damage


9/19/09 – Doctors have told Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett the damage to his right hand will be permanent.  Barrett told reporters yesterday he’d completed the dental work he needed after he was assaulted outside State Fair Park last month.  Barrett had a bridge with two teeth replaced and a third tooth capped.  He’d been hit in the stomach and the head by a man wielding a tire tool.  Anthony Peters has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental defect to charges of first-degree reckless injury, theft, disorderly conduct and bail jumping.  Barrett got a lot of positive attention for stopping Peters’ attack on a relative.  He has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor, though he hasn’t indicated if he will run yet.


Ziegelbauer Removed from Ways and Means Committee


9/19/09 – State Representative Bob Ziegelbauer is a Democrat who often votes with Republicans.  He says his vote on an abortion question has cost him the chairmanship of the Wisconsin Assembly Ways and Means Committee.  Ziegelbauer calls this is a case of “hyper-partisan” politics.  Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan’s office has confirmed the change, but wouldn’t give a reason.  Ziegelbauer says it’s because he voted to prohibit payments to hospitals for late-term abortions.  Both Ziegelbauer and Sheridan are Democrats.


Unemployment Figures Bring Some “Good News”


9/19/09 – State labor analysts say there’s at least some good news in the unemployment figures released this week.  The percentage of jobs lost in Wisconsin over the last year is smaller than in recent months.  And the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate went down for the first time since last May.  State labor economist Dennis Winters says folks should not read too much into one month’s figures.  And it will still be awhile before the job market rebounds, since there’s normally a lag between the time the economy recovers and the time the jobs come back.  The state’s actual jobless rate for August was eight-point-four percent, down for the third straight month.  The seasonally-adjusted rate was eight-point-eight percent, down from nine in July.  The number of jobs lost in Wisconsin over the last year netted 112-thousand.  And it was the 16th straight month of year-to-year job losses, bringing the state’s total job level to where it was 11 years ago.


Fall River Sorghum Fest Today


9/19/09 – The annual Sorghum Festival will be held today at Savanna Oaks.  The event features a wide variety of activities for both kids and adults, including music, food and even a sorghum cook-off. Children’s activities include face painting, storytelling and crafts. Sorghum Fest is held at Savannah Oaks, on Highway 16 and 100 Savanna Road, right across from the Village of Fall River, beginning at 8am. Admission is $5 for adults and free to those under age 16.


Now That’s Love


9/19/09 – Instead of winning his wife back, Justin Larson is going to have to answer shoplifting charges.  Larson was arrested in River Falls last week when he reportedly tried to leave a clothing store wearing some women’s apparel.  Store workers spotted him as he walked out the door wearing a mini-skirt and a bikini.  When police stopped him they found another bikini and bra in his pocket.  Larson told cops he was taking the items to try to smooth things over with his wife.