“News – September 30, 2009”

Domestic violence deaths are on the rise in Wisconsin. The state’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence released a report Tuesday that says 46 people were killed in domestic violence incidents last year.  The coalition said 10 people committed suicide last year during incidents in which 36 others were killed. The report also said 18 Wisconsin counties had domestic violence deaths in 2008. Milwaukee County had the most with 11 deaths. Dane County, which includes Madison, had the next highest total with five. Fifteen other counties had one apiece, including Columbia County where 25-year-old Rebecca Weisenberger was killed by her fiancé last November.



Representatives from the City and Townships in the Columbus area met again Monday to discuss formation of a new EMS District. The City of Columbus has already approved a two-year contract with LifeStar Ambulance to provide an upgraded paramedic level of service starting on January 1st of 2010. The Town of Fountain Prairie has recently joined the six townships already in the Columbus EMS group enlarging the emergency response area.  Steve Rubert of the Town of Fountain Prairie said forming the new EMS District would save money by spreading EMS costs over a larger population. Representatives from the towns of Calamus, Columbus, Elba, Fountain Prairie, Hamden, Portland and York have been meeting with Columbus Council Member Bill Bruns to draft bylaws and inter-municipal agreement documents necessary to become an EMS District.




A Madison man, who injured two people in a drunken driving accident, entered into a plea

agreement with prosecutors yesterday.  27-year-old Neil Krohn pleaded “no contest” to a misdemeanor charge of OWI Causing Injury and had three other misdemeanors dismissed. On February 21, Krohn was traveling southbound on Highway 26 in the Town of Clyman when he crossed the centerline and struck a northbound vehicle head-on. The driver of the other vehicle was pinned and her passenger was injured. Krohn’s blood alcohol level was said to be (.142) point one-four-two, which is nearly twice the legal limit.  Krohn was sentenced to 120 days in jail and had his license revoked for 18 months.  He was also ordered to pay nearly $10,000 in fines, court costs and restitution.





A Waupun man accused of leading authorities on a high-speed pursuit has been charged with Fleeing an Officer. David A. Johnson reportedly fled when authorities attempted to pull him over.  Police gave chase as Johnson headed out of the city towards Brownsville at more that 100-miles-per-hour.  Police quickly called off the pursuit. The 21-year-old was found a few minutes later in a ditch near the intersection of Highway 49 and Shamrock Road.  Johnson was uninjured and taken into custody.  He made his initial appearance in Dodge County court Monday.



Voters in the Waupun and Randolph School District’s won’t be the only ones heading to the polls on November 3rd to vote on a referendum.  Residents in the Oakfield School District will also consider a referendum that would allow the district to exceed its revenue caps by a total of $2.6-million over the next four years.  District Administrator Joe Heinzelman says they are simply asking to continue to exceed revenue caps for another four years.  In 2006, voters approved a referendum that allowed the district to exceed its caps by $600,000 a year.  Heinzelman says they are asking for the same amount the first two years and $700,000 a year the final two years.



The state’s Natural Resources Board recently accepted a nearly $2-million donation from the Friends of Horicon Marsh to help pay for their new facility.  The project, which was first visualized 18 years ago, has been completed and features an auditorium, high-tech audio visual center, and two classrooms with lab space for hands-on experiences.  The Friends Group raised about $1.9-million to help fund the $5 million Education Center.  On behalf of Wisconsin citizen’s, NCB Chair Christine Thomas lauded the group for its hard work and generous contribution.



U.S. Senator Russ Feingold will hold two listening sessions in our area over the next week. The Democrat from Middleton will be at the Portage Junior High School in Columbia County on Saturday at 11:30am.  On Monday, Feingold will be at the Waupun City Hall at 10:15am. The Senator says the listening sessions are part of his pledge to hear from constituents in all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties each year of his six-year term.  The Dodge County visit will be Feingold’s 65th listening session this year and his 1217th since he was first elected in 1993.


Big Find at Goodwill Industries in Marshfield


9/30/09 – Two workers were going through clothing donations at Goodwill Industries in Marshfield when they got the shock of their lives.  Len Nyen and Jerry Schmitz found just over 13-thousand-dollars in cash tucked in a shoe-box.  There were three boxes inside, each filled with envelopes of money.  Schmitz said his eyes got as big as tomatoes, and it left him speechless.   As it turned out, a woman dropped off what she thought were the shoes last week.  She never realized that her husband put the 13-thousand away a number of years ago, and never told her.  Schmitz’s been asked why he didn’t pocket the money, but he said it never crossed his mind.  He said that if he lost the cash, he’d hope the finder is honest enough to return it.  Nyen and Schmitz said they met the woman after the money was given back – and she thanked them with a generous tip.


Lawmaker Trying to Save Newspapers


9/30/09 – A Wisconsin state lawmaker says he wants to save newspapers even though he admits to sometimes hating reporters.  Democratic state Rep. Marlin Schneider, a 39-year veteran from Wisconsin Rapids, said Tuesday he’s proposing a property tax break for newspapers even though “some days I hate your guts” and “you guys jerk me around all the time.”  Schneider says that rocky relationship will protect him from accusations that he’s doing favors for the industry. He says it’s all about preserving newspapers in a time of staff reductions, mergers and bankruptcies.  There is no cost estimate yet on how much it would cost to allow newspaper buildings to be exempt from property taxes.  Schneider says he has not consulted with any newspapers or industry groups.


Legislators to Consider Bill that Would Eliminate Lt. Governor and Secretary of State


9/30/09 – A Wisconsin Senate committee will consider a proposal today to eliminate the lieutenant governor and secretary-of-state’s offices.  Senate Republican Alan Lasee re-introduced the idea earlier this year in the form of a constitutional amendment.  The lieutenant governor serves as the acting chief executive when the governor is out-of-state – and that person’s next-in-line to assume the office should the governor depart in during a term.  The secretary-of-state maintains the official acts of the Legislature, and places the state seal to all of the governor’s official actions.  The proposed amendment would have to be approved by the Legislature in two straight sessions, and then by the voters in a statewide referendum.


Focus on Energy Celebrates Milestone


9/30/09 – Wisconsin’s resource for energy efficiency and renewable energy is celebrating a milestone.  Focus on Energy says it has helped finance solar-electric generation projects that produce 2.5 megawatts of electricity.  Spokeswoman Kelly Lang says it’s enough to power about 350 homes a year and the production avoids having to burn more than 2,650 tons of coal at a coal-fired generator.  Lang says Focus on Energy has helped fund 582 solar electric systems in Wisconsin, including the Town of Menasha’s 28-kilowatt system and a 14.7-kilowatt project for the Navarino Nature Center near Shiocton. Lang says it took six years for Focus on Energy projects to reach 1 megawatt of solar-electric generation. She says it’s taken less than two years to finance the next 1.5 megawatts as the renewable energy industry is booming.