“News – September 2, 2009”

One More Vote for Mercury Marine Employees Union


9/2/09 – Union workers at Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac are getting one final chance to keep their jobs.  The maker of outboard motors agreed yesterday to a third union vote on proposed contract concessions.  It will take place tomorrow night and Friday.  If it’s approved, Mercury promises to keep its current plant in Fond du Lac, with 850 jobs.  It would also give extra work to a non-union plant in Stillwater Oklahoma, where Fond du Lac’s production appeared to be headed after the union first voted no to the concessions on August 23rd.  The new proposal is the same as the old one, but both sides say it clarifies things to make it easier for employees to understand.  It basically calls for a pay freeze, higher health premiums, and 30-percent less pay for new workers and those returning from playoffs.  The union started a second vote last Saturday night, but the firm said it was not completed in time to meet an earlier deadline to accept the deal.  The voting continued Monday anyway, but the union eventually halted it.  If the plant stays, Fond du Lac County Executive Alan Buechel says there’s also a good chance that Mercury’s headquarters will stay put in the city.  Those headquarters employ another 800-to-900 people.


Columbia County Sheriff’s Department to Patrol Cambria


9/2/09 – The Columbia County Sheriffs Department has been hired on an interim basis to patrol the village of Cambria.  Sheriff Dennis Richards says deputies will be patrolling village streets 65 hours a month through February 2010, using station vehicles and county secretaries for paperwork. Officials in the Village abruptly voted last month to dissolve their police department. Village President Glen Williams said something had to be done quickly because the village can’t afford the department, and will have to spend the same amount of money on law enforcement next year as they do during the current fiscal year.  The budget for the department was around $117,000; nearly $60,000 of that had been spent as of the end of July.  It will cost $40 per hour to contract with the sheriffs department, so when all is said and done the village is estimated to pay about $14,000 less for law enforcement this year than it would have if the police department remained in tact.


Childs: ‘Smooth Start’ for BDUSD


9/2/09 – It was a smooth transition from summer vacation to the fall semester for students returning to the Beaver Dam School District yesterday.  Superintendent Don Childs says he visited every campus and there was a “wonderful, smooth start in each and every building” and also added that you couldn’t even tell there had been a summer break.


Childs says the biggest challenge for the upcoming school year will be the long-term implementation of a plan they are calling “responsive education.” Childs says their singular focus now is to make sure that all students in the district achieve academic success in all their subjects and develop the citizenship and life skills necessary to make them productive and contributing members of society.


Jefferson and South Beaver Dam Elementary schools have been recognized by the state as Wisconsin Promise Schools of Recognition. The Department of Public Instruction announced a total of 137 such schools yesterday. The acknowledgement spotlights schools that help disadvantaged students make academic progress. Criteria for the selection included poverty rates as defined by free and reduced lunch data and results of standardized tests in reading and math. The schools will receive $2000 for the designation and will also be presented with a Promise School award during an October 20 ceremony at the state capital.


Two Injured in Town of Fox Lake Accident


9/2/09 – A two-vehicle accident that sent both drivers to the hospital Monday was the result of one of the driver’s failure to stop at a stop sign.  The Dodge County Sheriff’s Department reports 70-year-old June McCowin was driving north on Pleasant Road in the Town of Fox Lake, when she went through the stop sign at Highway P and was hit on the passenger side by an eastbound vehicle.  That car was driven by 40-year-old Robin Kasparek.  McCowin and Kasparek were both taken to the Beaver Dam hospital, as was a 7-year-old boy.  McCowin faces a charge of failure to stop at a stop sign.  The accident happened just after 12pm.


Foreclosed Home Flooded


9/2/09 – A Town of Westford home that is under foreclosure is now under water as well.   The reality company selling the home at W10771 Mikard Road reported a breaking and entering at the property Monday morning.  The Sheriff’s Department says someone had entered the home and turned on all the water, which flooded the residence.  The company requested the department put a report on file regarding the break in.  They are no suspects.


Jury to Hear Closing Arguments in FDL Cold Case Trial


9/2/09 – Closing arguments will be heard today and then a Fond du Lac County murder case will be sent to the jury for deliberations. After seven days of testimony the trial for 53-year-old Thomas Niesen of Ashwaubenon enters its final stages. Niesen is suspected of killing 19-year-old Kathleen Leichtman in Fond du Lac in July of 1976. The young Milwaukee woman’s body was found along Rolling Meadows Drive early the morning of July 15th of that year. She’d come to the city to dance at The Other Place, a strip club. (KFIZ, Fond du Lac)


Petri on Community Comment Today


9/2/09 – US Congressman Tom Petri will be our guest on WBEV’s Community Comment this afternoon.  There will be no shortage of topics to discuss with the Fond du Lac Republican. While Mercury Marine and health care will be at the top of the list, we’ll also find some time to talk about Petri’s feelings on the state’s elimination of the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam for public schools and his involvement in the city of Beaver Dam’s efforts to secure $3.7 million in grant funding for the downtown demolition project.  Community Comment airs weekdays beginning at 12:35pm.


BDFD Starts Cadet Program


9/2/09 – The Beaver Dam Fire Department is starting a Cadet Program for teenagers interested in a career as a firefighter or EMT. The Police and Fire Commission last night unanimously approved the program initiated by Chief Alan Mannel.  The course is an offshoot of the Boy Scouts “Explorers” program but will be open to anyone, male or female, as young as 14 and as old as 18. Mannel says the cadets will cover all aspects of emergency response. The program will be limited to a maximum of 10 participants and will be free to join. Cadets can expect a weekly commitment of four to five hours.  Those interested can contact the Beaver Dam Fire Department. Mannel hopes the have the cadet program in place by next month.


Maysteel Cutting More Jobs


9/2/09 – A Menomonee Falls company that makes electric power parts will close one of its plants by the end of the year.  Maysteel says 165 jobs will be eliminated, and another 25 workers will be relocated.  The firm plans to open a new assembly plant in Racine County before the end of December – and it’s buying a plant in North Carolina with 90 employees.  Maysteel closed a plant in Columbus earlier this year.  Eighty-nine jobs were lost then.  Another plant in Menomonee Falls is still open, and Maysteel says its headquarters will remain there.  Once all the changes are made, the firm says it will have around 500 jobs in Wisconsin.


Three Arrested After Burning Hate Symbols at Waukesha Park


9/2/09 – Three 17-year-old boys have been arrested for burning a swastika and the Ku Klux Klan initials into a basketball court in Waukesha.  Police are recommending charges of arson, along with a hate-crime enhancer for additional penalties if they’re convicted.  Officers said they were called to the basketball court on August 22nd – and neighbors were holding onto a suspect who was caught pouring gasoline.  Investigators said the boys poured fuel to make the racial symbols, and then burned them onto the court.  Police said the case was an isolated incident in Waukesha, which is about 90-percent white.