November 29, 2014

Sheriff’s Department To Get New Vehicle Impound


11/29/14 – The Dodge County Sheriff’s Department will soon be getting new storage facility to house vehicle confiscated during criminal investigations.  County Board Chairman Russ Kottke discussed that plan during his State of the County address Wednesday at the Beaver Dam Chamber’s annual Economic Development Luncheon. Kottke says the township closed last week on the sale of the former Fox Lake Highway Shop, which had been used in recent years to house vehicles seized by the sheriff’s department. Kottke says a new facility is being planned in the city of Juneau. The township is only interested in salt storage and plans to demolish the highway shop but keep the salt shed. Meanwhile, Kottke says the sheriff’s department is expected to continue to generate revenue from housing federal inmates from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He says revenues for this year are coming in higher than projected. Revenue from the so-called contract beds had averaged around $9-million dollars since the jail was constructed in 2001. That number dropped to $8 million in 2013. Last year, revenue was projected based on an average of 275 being filled every day; the final number was closer to 230 which is being budgeted again for next year.


Juneau Rainy Day Fund Running On Fumes


11/29/14 – Officials in Juneau nearly depleted their reserve fund in adopting the 2015 budget. Because of state-imposed levy limits, Mayor Dan Wegener says they struggled to eliminate a $280-thousand dollar deficit heading into the budget process. The red ink was reduced to $180-thousand with the balance coming the city’s fund balance, which is essentially a rainy day fund – a fund that now has less than $30-thousand dollars remaining. Wegener says he wishes he could waive a magic wand and come up with a pot of money to get the fund balance back to the half-million that auditors recommend. He says it is a “dangerous tight rope to be walking at this time.”


Criminal Penalties Could Be Eased With New Program


11/29/14 – In this second part of a four part series, the stipulations and incentives of the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion, or TAD, program are examined.  Director of Human Services and Health Janet Wimmer says that there are multiple qualifications that must be met for a person to be eligible for the program, including being an adult resident of Dodge County and not having a current or past issue with violent behavior.  Those who are eligible get referred to the DA.  Once the District Attorney’s office has received the recommendation, they look at the charges that the person is facing and have the option of accepting them under deferred prosecution.  The judge in the case then has the ability to order the necessary level of treatment for the participant.  Once in the program, Wimmer says that it is ensured that the person is compliant.  A person who does not abide by the rules set forth or blows off their responsibilities in the program can be kicked out.  She notes that the end goal is to create a behavior change in the person to ensure that they will not become re-offenders.  Of the 181 people who have been assessed, 20 have been deemed eligible for the program.  Only five people are currently enrolled in the TAD program, which does have the capacity to hold 60 persons at one time.  Tomorrow’s third installment of this series will take a look at the county’s opiate counseling plan for non-criminal justice users.


BDFD: Make House Numbers Clearly Visible


11/29/14 – The latest tip from the Beaver Dam Fire Department in its winter safety advice regards the exterior numbering of houses.  The department urges residents to make their house clearly identifiable for when emergency responders need to find the location.  Firefighter John Jatczak says that both the place where the numbers are located and the design of the numbers are important.  He says that the numbers should appear near the front door, as compared to by the garage door or on a decorative rock as is the case with some homes.  Jatczak notes that the numbers should be large in size and a contrasting color to the building.  He says that a city ordinance requires the numbers to each be printed on the house in a size of at least three inches tall.  He says that it is important to keep the numbers clear after a snowfall.


Oconomowoc Woman Still Facing Charges For Church Gun


11/29/14 – An Oconomowoc woman who thought she was cleared of leaving a loaded handgun in a church restroom in Brookfield is facing a new criminal charge.  Waukesha County prosecutors are now charging 67-year-old Susan Hitchler with disorderly conduct.  She’s due in court a week from Monday.  Earlier this year, she was charged with negligent handling of a weapon, for inadvertently leaving the weapon in a restroom at the Elmbrook Church in March while she was attending a bible-study program.  A judge dropped the charge in June.  But the gun rights’ group Wisconsin Carry Incorporated said Hitchler rejected an offer to avoid the new charge by giving up her concealed-carry permit and give up the Ruger .380 weapon.  Nic Clark of Wisconsin Carry said Hitchler is being hauled back into court because she refuses to surrender her constitutional right to self-defense.  The Waukesha D-A’s office was closed for Black Friday, and officials were not available to comment.


Two Injuries, No Deaths In First Five Days Of Hunt


11/29/14 – Wisconsin’s deer hunt continues to be a relatively safe one.  The state D-N-R said Friday that no shooting-related deaths occurred in the first five days of the nine-day gun season.  But two hunters were wounded during that stretch — one each in La Crosse and Portage counties.  The La Crosse County shooting happened on Thanksgiving.  Officials said a 65-year-old hunter was lowering his gun from a tree-stand when the gun accidentally went off.  He was treated at a hospital for a wound to his upper thigh, and was later released.  In Portage County, the D-N-R said a 41-year-old hunter was struck in a foot by a bullet while sitting in a tree-stand on Wednesday.  The shot was fired by a hunter on a neighboring property.  The victim was treated for a minor injury and released. The D-N-R is hoping for the safest gun season on record.  The previous record was in 2004, when two hunters died from gunshots and three others were wounded.  Over the past ten years, the state averaged seven-and-a-half non-fatal shooting incidents, and just over one shooting which resulted in death. The gun deer season ends on Sunday.


Wolf Hunt Could End Early


11/29/14 – Wisconsin’s third-annual wolf hunt remains very close to ending.  State D-N-R figures from Friday show that only four wolves need to be trapped or shot to reach the statewide limit of 150.  If the season ends before Monday, hunters will not have been able to use dogs to track down the wolves — a practice in which animal rights’ groups fear bloody confrontations.  State law prohibits the use of wolf-sniffing dogs until the first day after the nine-day gun deer season.  That’s coming up on Monday — and if the wolf hunt ends by then, the dog issue will have been a moot point.  The D-N-R said hunters have exceeded their wolf limits in two of the six zones.  The only zones still open are Zone-Three in the northwest, and the catch-all Zone-Six which covers about the lower three-fourths of Wisconsin.


Brewery Has Successful Black Friday


11/29/14 – Wisconsinites will do almost anything for great and unique beer — even if it’s not free.  On Black Friday, folks waited in the cold outside of Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery to buy a limited edition brew called Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels.  The brewery only had five-thousand bottles, of 22-ounces each — and they got snapped up in three-and-a-half hours.  Owner Russ Klisch says Black Friday is their busiest day each year.  It’s the fourth year in a row that the Lakefront Brewery offered a special brew.  They also served breakfast and tap beer, with music from a live D-J.