“News – September 28, 2009”

Held-Up DOC Grant Money OKed For Downtown BD Project


9/28/09 – Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy says the city will definitely be getting the $3.7 million dollar Department of Commerce grant. Officials received word in June that they will be getting the money to cover the entire cost of the acquisition and demolition of ten downtown buildings. The Department of Commerce called into question the city’s grant application, saying the project began before the money was awarded. The downtown project was spurred by last year’s flooding and immediate action was taken because of concerns that the corner Celestial building would fall into the river. A listener also asked Kennedy why the city didn’t condemn the Fountain Inn tavern, the only one of eleven buildings constructed over the Beaver Dam River that did not accept the city’s buyout offer. Kennedy says the city is not in a position to deal with the private landowner anymore because it’s between the property owner and state Attorney Generals office, the agency that he says is not handling the matter.      


Accusations Corrected At Braker Sentencing


9/28/09 – A Randolph man, who will spend eight months in jail for burning down a house his parents owned, was cleared at sentencing of several of the accusations made against him.  Seth Braker pleaded “no contest” last Thursday to a felony charge of Reckless Endangerment, which was amended down from felony Arson.  The 26-year-old did not deny that he set fire to the house but at sentencing many of the facts which detectives assembled during the course of their investigation were corrected, by the very people Braker was said to have victimized.  According to the criminal complaint, Braker embezzled $50,000 from an employer, Braker’s parents paid $50,000 in restitution to the employer and Braker burned down the Town of Westford House last year to collect a $50,000 insurance claim to pay his parents back. Thomas Ballweg of Ballweg Implement spoke at sentencing on behalf of Braker.  Ballweg said that at no time was Braker accused of embezzlement and at no time was there a $50,000 settlement paid by his parents. Ballweg said there was (quote) “mishandling of contracts, redrafting of documents and misdirection of funds” that resulted in Braker’s termination.  Ballweg also said that at no time was he out any money and Braker’s father simply wound up paying for some farm equipment that he had not intended on buying. Braker’s Attorney Bill Gergen tells us that his parents were not even aware that the abandoned house, on a property valued at $450,000, was insured and moreover the insurable value of the home was listed as zero, so the insurance company was not a victim either.


Fitzgerald on Community Comment


9/28/09 – Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald will be our guest on WBEV’s Community Comment this afternoon. The Republican from Juneau will be in to discuss the current legislative session and take questions from our listeners.  Community Comment airs weekdays on 1430AM following our noon newscast.