“News – September 4, 2009”

Mercury Marine Vote Continues Today


9/4/09 – Fond du Lac police are keeping a presence at Machinists Lodge 1947 during union voting on proposed contract changes from Mercury Marine. Fortunately the divisive issue hasn’t sparked any physical confrontations, but police have been there only to make sure union members aren’t interrupted or harassed as they vote on a contract that has major financial implications for the city’s future. Around 5 p.m. yesterday afternoon Russell Krings the District 10 representative for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers emerged from the union hall to give a brief statement to the press. Krings said the voting was going well and that they were pleased with the turnout. Some union members speculated that more than 600 of the 838 active members of the union had voted yesterday. A few minutes after 6 p.m. two union officials climbed into a pickup truck and drove the sealed ballot box over to the police station for safekeeping overnight. They had a police escort. Voting continues until 6 p.m. tonight.


Petri Optimistic About Vote


9/4/09 – Congressman Tom Petri is hopeful that union workers will vote in support of their community and their jobs.  The Fond du Lac Republican told us on WBEV’s Community Comment this week that the community has been on a rollercoaster and this vote is important for not only the workers and the company but also the whole area.  He calls contract a “bitter pill” but says its approval would shore-up the local economy and secure a commitment that will allow the company to grow in the Fond du Lac area.


Niesen Found Guilty In Cold Case Murder


9/4/09 – A Green Bay area man was found guilty Thursday morning of killing a go-go dancer 33 years ago.  A jury in Fond du Lac convicted 53-year-old Thomas Niesen of first-degree murder in the 1976 slashing death of 19-year-old Kathleen Leichtman of Milwaukee.  Her throat was cut eight times before Niesen dumped her body along a street in Fond du Lac.  Police arrested the man in February, after D-N-A evidence showed that he had sex with Leichtman up to 26 hours before she died.  Witnesses said they saw Leichtman leave a bar with a man who resembled Niesen.  His ex-wife quoted him as saying he met somebody the night before the killing, and something went horribly wrong.  The defense said the ex-wife framed him.  The jury began its deliberations Wednesday afternoon.


Lake Mills Man Bound Over On Infant Murder Charges


9/4/09 – A Jefferson County man, accused of killing his four-month-old son by throwing him against a wall, has been bound over for trial.  Prosecutors filed an amended complaint charging Michael Wey of Lake Mills with first-degree reckless homicide.  The 30-year-old was originally charged with child abuse after an incident on August 14th.  Authorities said he threw Nikolai Wey so hard he left cracks in a wall of his house.  The baby was taken off life-support at a hospital on August 21st.  An autopsy showed that the infant died from a skull fracture and other head injuries.  Wey is being held on a $50,000 cash bond but a motion for bond modification will be heard next week.


Six Months For Drunken Van Wreck


9/4/09 – A West Bend man will spend six months in jail for being intoxicated while crashing a van full of disabled adults. 34-year-old Paul Porter will have work release privileges while serving his time at the Milwaukee County House of Correction. Authorities said Porter had beer and marijuana before crashing a group home’s van last Thanksgiving. He was taking elderly residents back to the home in Brown Deer after they had visited their relatives for the holiday. Porter’s blood alcohol level at the time was point-24, three times the state’s minimum for intoxication. The residents suffered minor injuries. The owner of the group home fired Porter after the incident.


Huber Inmate Jailed For Stealing On Work Release


9/4/09 – A Huber inmate whole a computer while working at the Dodge County Humane Society has been sentenced to jail time. Adam Rueckert pleaded “no contest” to a misdemeanor count of Theft and had a second count dismissed but read into the record. The 27-year-old stole the laptop from their new offices near Juneau last September and tried to sell it to a fellow inmate. In addition to 45 days in jail, Rueckert was also placed on probation for one year.


DNR Seeks Public Comments on Wastewater Improvements


9/4/09 – The DNR is accepting public comments on court-mandated wastewater treatment plant improvements in Fox Lake. A 2007 Department of Justice court order was issued followed heavy flooding that occurred in April of 2004 resulting in wastewater bypassing the treatment plant and settling into surrounding wetlands. The current wastewater treatment facility consists of lagoons that discharge waste into basins which allow water to filter through soil and into groundwater.  The proposed project includes a 3.2 acre expansion of the new basins.  The existing basins are nearly at their maximum capacity such that they cannot accept additional flows. The total cost for this portion of the project is estimated at $889,000. The typical residential utility customer in the city will see their rate increase by $3.73; it will be about 30 cents lower for residents of the Inland Lake Protection District.  While this type of action normally does not involve significant adverse environmental effects, the DNR is accepting written or oral comments regarding the impacts of the proposal through September 18. Tom Gilbert, Wastewater Facility Planning Coordinator, 101 South Webster Street, Madison. By phone at (608) 267-7628 or by email at [email protected]


Tourism Numbers Better Than Expected


9/4/09 – Tourism hot spots in Wisconsin appear to be holding their own this summer despite a struggling economy.  Vacationers are gearing up for what may be their last summer getaway this Labor Day weekend.  However, Wisconsin Triple-A is projecting the number of travelers will be down about 15 percent from last year.  Still, Door county visitor bureau spokesman John Jarosh is expecting a good turnout.  Jarosh says while numbers aren’t in they feel fortunate.  A Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau spokeswoman says travel is up slightly, and the reconstruction of Lake Delton has played a part. Tommy Bartlett Show president Tom Diehl says he’s not complaining about the turnout.  However, Noah’s Ark Water Park president Tim Gantz says numbers were slightly down with cooler weather. State parks, meanwhile, have seen 12 percent more advance reservations over the summer from last year, and walk-in campers are up 14 percent.  Wisconsin State Park System camping program manager David Benish says nearly all state parks are full for Labor Day weekend.  Around 900,000 Wisconsinites are expected to travel for the Labor Day weekend.


Labor Day Crackdown Underway on US41


9/4/09 – Authorities continue their crack down on drunk driving tonight across the entire length of Highway 41 in Wisconsin and three other states.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it’s the first time a high-profile enforcement effort has taken place on a single multi-state corridor.  The government calls it “Reducing Auto Crashes through Corridor Enforcement.”  The extra enforcement will take place from 7pm to 3pm.  Highway 41 runs through a small portion of Dodge County, in addition to Milwaukee, Appleton, and Fond du Lac – as well as parts of Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana.  The government says the campaign is meant to save lives.  Twelve-thousand Americans were killed in drunken driving crashes last year.


Kohl’s Numbers Up


9/4/09 – The Kohl’s department store chain has some good news to report.  The Menomonee Falls-based company is reporting a gain of two-tenths of one-percent in its same-store sales in a four-week period ending August 29th.  It bucked a trend predicted by outside analysts, who said Kohl’s would have a sales drop of just over two-percent for the month.  Chairman Kevin Mansell credits double-digit sales gains in the southwestern United States, due mainly to the closing of Mervyn’s of Hollywood – which competed directly against Kohl’s.  Also, the firm said it was helped by tax holidays in the south central and Southeast U-S that were designed to spur business.  Kohl’s total sales were up four-point-eight percent last month, and they rose one-point-eight percent for the first eight months of the year.  Same-store sales were down two-point-seven percent from January through August.  Kohl’s has just over a-thousand locations in 49 states.


Oshkosh Corp Lands Contract


9/4/09 – The Oshkosh Corporation landed another military contract today. This one is with the Air Force to build large fire-fighting trucks and snow-clearing vehicles for just under 20-million-dollars. Oshkosh will build 15 Striker vehicles, designed to handle fires in aircraft and airports. The snow-clearing vehicles are designed to move snow from long runways – with the ability to move five-thousand tons of snow per hour. The contract is with the Oshkosh Air Products Group. The vehicles will start being shipped in January to Air Force bases throughout the world. Oshkosh has landed several major military vehicle contracts this summer. The biggest creates a new type of utility vehicle for use in Afghanistan.