“News – September 5, 2009”

Mercury Marine Staying in Fond du Lac


9/5/09 – Mercury Marine says it accepts the results of the second contract vote by its union workers.  They approved a package of concessions that will reportedly keep 850 jobs from moving from Fond du Lac to a plant in Oklahoma.  The union hasn’t revealed the exact vote count.  Workers rejected the package the first time they voted.  That vote wasn’t close.  Mercury Marine says the approval will result in additional jobs coming to Fond du Lac.  It also results in frozen wages for the next seven years, more health care costs passed on to workers, changes in workplace rules, the return of laid off workers and 30 percent lower pay for new hires at the plant.


Zaborek Acquitted on Aiding a Murder Charges


A Watertown teen, charged with Aiding A Felon for his connection to the murder of a UW-Milwaukee student, has been acquitted. A jury Friday found 19-year-old Zachary Zaborek “not guilty” of assisting his friend in the murder of 31-year-old Haroon Khan, who was found in a shallow grave last October in the Town of Emmett.  20-year-old Travis Zoellick stabbed Khan and he took his own life as law enforcement closed in to execute an arrest warrant.  According to the criminal complaint, Zoellick had talked with his “best friend” Zaborek about stealing a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and killing the owner. Zaborek dismissed the statement, but was later invited to the Zoellick property where a Mitsubishi was located in a storage unit.  Zoellick told Zaborek that he stabbed “some guy” later describing the murder in gruesome detail. Zaborek did supply investigators with a map of the location of where he believed the shallow grave was located. He said he kept the secret because he and Zoellick were best friends.  A tip by two of Zoellick’s other friends led authorities to the storage unit and shallow grave. 22-year-old Tammy Lafave, a girlfriend of Zoellick’s who was present during the kidnapping and murder, pleaded guilty to a charge of felony murder and was sentenced in June to 20 years in prison.


Clyman Man Killed in Wreck


9/5/09 – A 47-year-old Clyman man was killed yesterday morning after running a stop sign and striking a semi. The accident occurred just before 7am. Authorities say Frederick J. Schmidt was traveling northbound on County DJ and drove through the stop sign at Highway 60, striking the trailer of the eastbound semi. The Schmidt vehicle was dragged for about a tenth of a mile down Highway 60. The Dodge County Medical Examiner pronounced Schmidt dead at the scene. He was wearing a seatbelt. Foggy conditions are believed to be a contributing factor in the accident.


Knaup Gets Five Years For Domestic Incident


9/5/09 – Five years in prison for a Beaver Dam man who pointed a loaded gun at police officers who were called to his residence by a child who feared for her mother’s safety. Timothy Knaup pleaded no contest in June to a felony charge of Strangulation and misdemeanor counts of Intentionally Pointing a Firearm and Battery, and had several other misdemeanors dismissed but read into the record.  A 7-year-old girl called 9-1-1 in April to report that her father was going crazy and that he might kill her mother.  Chief Dale Boldt says when they arrived at the residence, they were met outside by a 45-year-old woman, who told them her husband was still inside and she feared for the safety of her daughter.  Boldt says officers safely removed the child and then located Knaup in the basement, at the bottom of a stairwell, with a beer in one hand and a loaded 22-caliber handgun in the other. After refusing to surrender the weapon, which was cocked, officers deployed their Tazer gun and took him into custody. Those officers were commended last month for their heroic efforts. At sentencing yesterday, the 45-year-old Knaup was also sentenced to five years of extended supervision and ordered to undergo domestic violence treatment.


Eckes Sentenced To 7 Months For Chase


9/5/09 – A Watertown man will spend just over seven months in prison for leading authorities on a drunken high-speed chase. According to the criminal complaint, deputies observed a motorist crossing the centerline on Highway O as the vehicle was coming toward their squad car. Gerald Eckes refused to stop when the deputy tried to pull him over in the Town of Lebanon and a pursuit began that reached speeds in excess of 120-miles-per hour. His blood alcohol level was over three times the legal limit. The 43-year-old pleaded “guilty” to a felony charge of Fleeing and misdemeanor OWI-4th. Eckes will also have to pay $4500 in fines or he’ll have to spend an additional 90 days in jail. In addition, he had his license revoked for three years followed by three years with an ignition interlock device in his vehicle. Incidentally, Eckes was arrested once before in the early 90’s by Deputy Todd Nehls following a similar chase.


BDPD Investigates B&E


9/5/09 – The Beaver Dam Police Department is investigating a breaking and entering that was reported early yesterday evening on the 700 block of MacArthur. According to the police briefing, a big screen television was taken.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Beaver Dam Police Department or the anonymous We-Tip hotline at 800-7-CRIME.


Nations Unemployment Tops 9%


9/5/09 – The nation’s unemployment rate is the highest since 1983, at nine-point-seven percent for August.  But U-W Milwaukee labor economist Scott Adams said he was encouraged by the fact that fewer people lost their jobs than in past months.  The country lost 216-thousand jobs – but the average work hours for those with jobs dropped last month, after increasing slightly in July.  Adams called that a discouraging trend.  And he says we’ll keep seeing these kinds of mixed signals for awhile – so we should be neither too optimistic nor too upset at the array of numbers we’ll get each month.  The country has lost almost seven million jobs since the recession began 21 months ago – but in many sectors, the losses have been reduced the past couple months.  Temporary jobs fell by 11-thousand since May – but earlier this year, they were dropping by 69-thousand a month.  Wisconsin’s latest unemployment rate is nine-percent for July.  We’ll get the August figures in a couple weeks.


Hit And Run Law Expansion Considered


9/5/09 – Wisconsin’s hit-and-run driving law does not apply on private property.  But that would change under a bill that got a public hearing by the Assembly’s Criminal Justice Committee.  Mary Kay Scheller lost her mother almost four years ago, when a drunk driver plowed into Fran Suitor’s bedroom in the village of Oregon.  But even though she left the scene, the driver was never charged under Wisconsin’s hit-and-run law – because it’s only enforced on streets-and-highways.  Scheller told the Assembly panel she doesn’t want any family to go through what hers did.  So her legislators proposed what’s called “Fran’s Law” to close the loophole.  The sponsors are Assembly Republican Brett Davis of Oregon and Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach of Waunakee.


Fall Color Updates Online


9/5/09 – Lots of Wisconsinites look forward to seeing the gorgeous fall colors – and the state’s Tourism Department has launched its annual Fall Color Report.  It might be rushing the season a bit, but the report gives folks a chance to plan trips around their favorite viewing spots.  The earliest colors are always in northern Wisconsin.  And the Web site says the peak colors are four weeks away in places like Spooner, Park Falls, Lac Du Flambeau, and Shawano.  The latest peaks are always in southern Wisconsin – and they’re nine weeks away in Kenosha and Madison, and eight weeks off in Milwaukee.  There are updates each Wednesday at TravelWisconsin-Dot-Com.  The site also lists 11 classic fall color driving routes.