Friday, February 28, 2014

3-3-14 fdl high school receives bomb threat message in error

A bomb threat message at Fond du Lac High School Friday turned out to be a false alarm.  A message was received on the school’s general mailbox Friday morning incidcating that there was a potential bomb threat and that more information would follow.  District Administration and Fond du Lac Police were notified and assisted in the school’s investigation of this incident.   The investigation discovered that another Wisconsin high school had received a threat and it’s automated message was sent to the Fond du Lac School District by mistake. 

3-3-14 fdl man sentenced to prison on cocaine conviction

A Fond du Lac man convicted  of possession of cocaine  and THC is going to prison.  Fond du Lac judge Dale English sentenced Alfred Johnson to 10 years in prison followed by five years extended supervision.
According to a criminal complaint when Johnson was arrested last February officers found a small amount of marijuana in his pocket and during a strip search found a baggie containing 37 individually packaged baggies of cocaine in his rectum.  Johnson was sentenced Friday in Fond du Lac County Circuit court.

3-3-14 father killed-sheboygan

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — A Sheboygan teen has pleaded not guilty to killing his father and hiding his body in their apartment.  A Sheboygan County judge has denied a defense request to lower bail for 17-year-old Dorian Torres, who remains in jail on $750,000 cash bond. He's charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 41-year-old Emilio Torres. An autopsy showed the victim was repeatedly struck in the head with a blunt object.  Police say Torres hid his father's body in a bed box spring. The body was found wrapped in part of a tent, shower curtain and two blankets last month. The father may have been killed about a week before his body was found.

3-3-14 frozen waters-hungry ducks

MANITOWOC, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's water-diving ducks are getting some help from residents who became concerned after learning ice was keeping ducks from gathering food this winter.  Animal rehabilitation clinics are caring for a larger-than-usual number of malnourished ducks this winter. Some ducks don't migrate in winter and dive into water in search of food.  Conservationist Tom Kocourek says when he heard frozen waterways were preventing the birds from finding food, he decided to do something about it. The Two Rivers man called a marine contracting and engineering firm, which used a trawler to break up ice in Manitowoc and Two Rivers harbors.  Days after ducks had been spotted walking through streets in search of anything to eat, they were in the water, diving for food again.

3-3-14 oshkosh corp.-schwarzenegger

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Arnold "The Terminator" Schwarzenegger quietly slipped into town to test drive some of the military vehicles at Oshkosh Corp.  Company spokesman John Daggett says Schwarzenegger toured the manufacturing plant Thursday and took a 13-ton mine-resistant ATV for a spin on the test course. Daggett says Schwarzenegger became acquainted with the Oshkosh military vehicles when the company entered a hybrid Light Concept Vehicle in the Baja 1000 race across the Mexican desert several years ago.  While Schwarzenegger might have hoped a test drive would lead to a purchase, Daggett tells Oshkosh Northwestern Media the vehicles and their design are the property of the U.S. Department of Defense. The company can't sell them to private individuals or businesses.

3-3-14 wi senate-sheridan

ANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Former Democratic Wisconsin Assembly speaker turned union lobbyist Mike Sheridan is considering running for an open state Senate seat.  Sheridan says he is mulling a run for the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Cullen.  Sheridan lost his Assembly seat in 2010 after he disclosed he was dating a lobbyist for the payday loan industry around the time he softened his stance on regulating that industry.  Sheridan has lobbied for the AFL-CIO since 2012. He tells the newspaper that he is considering a run after Democratic state Rep. Andy Jorgensen decided to seek re-election to the Assembly rather than vie for the Senate seat.  Democratic Rep. Janis Ringhand, of Evansville, has announced she is running for the seat.

3-3-14 wi governor-investigation

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The attorney for Gov. Scott Walker's campaign is named in a court order as an attorney in a case challenging the ongoing secret investigation into possible illegal campaigning.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports Friday that Steven Biskupic is one of the attorneys named in a state appeals court order.  The order also reveals that eight unnamed parties are a subject of the secret probe.  The order makes clear that the prosecutor in the case is asking the appeals court to overturn a ruling in January to quash subpoenas and order the return of property to the probe's targets.  The Wall Street Journal reported the judge ruled some of the subpoenas don't show any probable cause that the targets committed any violations of campaign finance laws.

3-1-14 gay marriage

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction blocking Wisconsin's gay marriage ban while the organization's lawsuit challenging the prohibition continues.  The ACLU filed a lawsuit Feb. 3 arguing the ban is unconstitutional.  The organization filed a motion Thursday with U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb seeking a preliminary injunction that would essentially invalidate the ban until the lawsuit is decided. In a brief accompanying the motion the ACLU argued they're entitled to a preliminary injunction because they'll likely win the lawsuit and the ban imposes irreparable harm on same-sex couples.  A spokeswoman for the state Justice Department, which is defending the ban, said the agency will respond in court. A hearing has been set for March 27.

3-1-14 bowl for kids sake

Bowl For Kids’ Sake, the area’s largest bowling fundraiser, kicked off Friday at Parkway Lanes in Fond du Lac. The public is invited to participate.   This year’s zombie themed event is slated to raise $85,000 to support one-to-one mentoring in Fond du Lac County.  Joan Pinch, Bowl for Kids’ Sake chairperson,   “It’s a fun party with prizes, refreshments, and of course, bowling.  But it’s about the children and the great things that happen for them when they are able to spend quality time with adults.”   The event runs through March 2 in Fond du Lac and takes place on March 8 at the Plaza Bowl in Ripon.  Additional prizes will be awarded for best zombie style.  For participants who are interested, zombie make-up artists will be available for the hour prior to each bowling shift to help set the mood for the event.   The person who raises the most money in collected pledges will receive a $250 gift certificate to the business of their choice. The event is presented by Grande Cheese Company, Mid-States Aluminum, 96-1 TCX, Hoppers All Star Trophy and Taco Bell.  Silver Sponsors are Agnesian HealthCare, Baker Cheese, FDL Noon Kiwanis, Fox Valley Savings Bank, J.F. Ahern, Parkway Lanes, Society Insurance, Anytime Fitness, Michels Corporation and Wilderness Resort.   The vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters is that all children achieve success in life. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a United Way agency serving all of Fond du Lac County.  

2-28-14 manufacturer of the year

Fond du Lac's Mercury Marine was named 2013 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year on Thursday in Milwaukee.  Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Awards are presented annually by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) to leading Wisconsin-based manufacturers that produce world-class products and create employment opportunities in their communities. Mercury Marine took top honors in the Mega category, which recognizes companies with more than 750 employees. Mercury employs 5,400 people worldwide, with 3,100 employees in Wisconsin.   “We’re extremely honored to be named Manufacturer of the Year,” said Mark Schwabero, president of Mercury Marine. “The award is a testament to the efforts and commitment of Mercury employees over the past 75 years, and our relentless determination to position Mercury as the world’s leading manufacturer of marine propulsion systems. Our values-based culture makes Mercury an integral part of the fabric of many Wisconsin families and communities.”  Mercury Marine is the largest division of Brunswick Corporation and the world’s leading developer and manufacturer of commercial and recreational marine propulsion systems. Mercury has manufactured more than 11 million boat engines during its 75-year history, and its global sales in 2013 totaled $2.1 billion.  Mercury Marine was founded in 1939 by engineer Carl Kiekhaefer in Cedarburg, Wis., expanding to Fond du Lac, Wis., in 1946. 

Mercury Marine, which also was named Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year in 2006, is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014.  Alliance Laundry Systems of Ripon received the Investing Locally, Growing Globally award.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

2-28-14 fatal industrial accident in fdl county

On Thursday, February 27, 2014, at approximately 4:16 pm, the Fond du Lac County Communications Center received a report of a 42 year old male subject entangled in a piece of industrial equipment at Seneca Foods located in the Village of Oakfield.  Emergency personnel from Oakfield Fire and First Responders, Lifestar Ambulance, and Flight For Life responded to the scene, along with Oakfield Police Department and the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office.  The subject was pronounced dead at the scene by the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner’s Office.  The incident remains under investigation by the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office.  The name of the subject is not being released at this time pending notification of family.

2-28-14 climber deaths-argentina

CLYMAN, Wis. (AP) — A relative says the bodies of two climbers from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have been recovered from the Argentinian slope where they died after falling in late December.  Julie Feldman, of St. Paul, Minn., said Thursday the bodies were found this week and are being returned to the U.S. Funeral arrangements are still being made.  The climbers were Feldman's cousin, 22-year-old Jarod VonRueden, of Clyman, Wis., and 28-year-old Frank Keenan, of Clarks Summit, Pa.  The two were on Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in North and South America. Feldman says they were descending in cold and snowy weather when they apparently slipped and fell in an area with loose rock.

2-28-14 heroin summit

Law enforcement, social services, and health care professionals are gathering next month in Fond du Lac and Dodge counties to address the growing problem of opiate and heroin addiction.  A heroin summit is scheduled for March 11th at Fond du Lac’s Marian University and a town hall meeting will be held two days later at the Dodgeland School in Juneau.  Dodge County Sheriff Pat Ninmann says in Dodge County the number of people who have died from accidental opiate overdoses has doubled in the past year and most of those who die first use opiates in high school.  Ninmann says those addicted often turn to crime to support their habit.  In Fond du Lac County four people died from heroin overdoses last year and dozens of lives were saved when paramedics used the heroin antidote Narcan.

2-28-14 drunken driving legislation

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Senate's public safety committee has approved a bill that would require all first-time drunken driving offenders to appear in court.  First-offense drunken driving in Wisconsin is a civil violation akin to a speeding ticket. Offenders can pay their fines without appearing in court.  Republican Rep. Jim Ott's bill would mandate court appearances for first-time offenders. Any offenders who fail to show up would be found guilty, be subject to arrest and face an additional $300 surcharge on top of their drunken driving fine.  The Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote in November. The Senate panel approved the measure unanimously Thursday, clearing the way for a vote in the full Senate.

2-28-14 walker-john doe

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A prosecutor has asked a state appeals court to overturn a ruling in a secret John Doe investigation that's reportedly focused on fundraising by Governor Scott Walker's campaign and other conservative groups. An Eau Claire County judge decided in January to quash subpoenas and order the return of property to the probe's targets.

2-28-14 beaver dam man convicted in child porn case

A Beaver Dam man has pleaded no contest to child pornography charges in Dodge County Circuit Court. 28 year old Justin Peterson entered the plea to two counts of possession of child pornography. Four additional counts were dismissed and read into the record. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Friday. Peterson also pleaded no contest to child pornography charges in Milwaukee County and is serving 18 years of initial confinement and 9 years of extended supervision. Peterson was accused of taking photos and videos of three children and exchanged them with other users of a child porn sharing website. The charges stemmed from Operation Sunflower, a five-week international child pornography investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations special agents, where 245 arrests were made and 123 victims were identified.

2-28-14 new trial date scheduled for fdl woman convicted of attempted homicide

A new trial date has been scheduled for a Fond du lac woman convicted of attempting to kill her six year old daughter and injure her boyfriend.  Following a status conference this week a motion hearing was scheduled for March 30th and a trial beginning August 4th for Kenna Bowe.  Bowe was serving a 14 year prison sentence when she withdrew her no contest plea earlier this month.  She is now being held in the Fond du lac County Jail.  She was also granted supervised visitation with her daughter.   According to court records a toxicology expert testified at a post conviction motion hearing in December that the victim could not have died from the amount of narcotics administered.   According to a criminal complaint Bowe forced her young daughter to swallow what doctors descriobed as a potentially lethal dose of sleeping pills and attempted to stab her live-in boyfriend.  The child survived and the boyfriend received superficial wounds to his hands. Police say Bowe was depressed because she had lost her job and was breaking up with her boyfriend.  She had no prior criminal record.

2-28-14 missing newborn-wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A woman accused of abducting her newborn nephew in Wisconsin and abandoning him outside a gas station in Iowa has pleaded not guilty to a federal kidnapping charge.
Prosecutors say Kristen Smith of Aurora, Colo., kidnapped four-day-old Kayden Powell from the Town of Beloit home where the boy's parents were staying earlier this month.  Police arrested her at an Iowa gas station hours later and discovered the baby in a crate outside another nearby gas station the next morning. The child was alive and well despite being left in frigid temperatures for more than 24 hours.
A federal grand jury indicted her on a kidnapping count last week. She pleaded not guilty to the charge on Wednesday.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker scheduled her trial to begin on June 23.

2-28-14 wi panel approves gun process in domestics

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A legislative committee has approved a bill that would establish a standard process for seizing guns in domestic abuse cases.  The Senate's public safety committee passed the measure unanimously, setting up a full Senate vote. The measure passed the Assembly last week. Senate approval would send the bill on to Gov. Scott Walker.  Wisconsin law requires people to surrender their guns if they're subject to a domestic abuse injunction but doesn't spell out how.
Republican Rep. Garey Bies' bill would require the subject of an injunction to fill out a form documenting his or weapons. A judge would hold a hearing to order the person to surrender the weapons. The person would fill out a form requesting the firearms' return when the injunction expires.

2-28-14 universal gun background checks

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers are calling on Republicans to act on a bill requiring universal background checks for all gun sales in Wisconsin. Current law requires only background checks for gun buyers from federally licensed dealers. The bill would require background checks to apply to all gun sales, including those made online and at gun shows.

2-28-14 wisconsin retirees

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — After five years of decline, retired public employees in Wisconsin will see their monthly pension payments increase starting in May.  The Department of Employee Trust Funds announced Thursday that all 180,000 retirees will see an increase in core fund investments of 4.7 percent. The roughly 40,000 investors who had money in the riskier variable fund will see an increase of 25 percent.  Pension payments are based on the performance of funds managed by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, as well as other actuarial factors like the number of retirees entering and leaving the system.  The past five years of declines were the result of a 26 percent loss in investments when the recession hit in 2008. Those core fund losses were spread over five years.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2-28-14 orangutan death-new parasite

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Scientists in Wisconsin say a newly discovered parasite is responsible for the death of a young orangutan at the Milwaukee County Zoo.  The 5-year-old orangutan named Mahal was one of the zoo's star attractions when he died in December 2012. Mahal gained fame as the subject of a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel series looking at his rejection by his biological mother and move from a Colorado zoo to Milwaukee to live with a surrogate mother.  University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers say Mahal was killed by a previously unknown type of tapeworm.  Epidemiologist Tony Goldberg said Thursday in a statement that it's not clear when or how Mahal was infected with the parasite. He also says by the time Mahal started showing symptoms, the infection had spread too far to save him.

2-27-14 common core-reaction

The Fond du Lac school superintendent says he was caught off guard by a bill introduced last week that would give the ultimate authority over writing academic standards for Wisconsin’s public schools to the state legislature.  "Very surprised, I had not seen that coming,"  Superintendent Dr. Jim Sebert told AM 1170 WFDL's Between the Lines program.  "I know we had the community input and the listening sessions across the state.  But I truly did not see that coming."   Sebert says he was pleased to hear the Assembly Education Committee decided to postpone action on the bill two days after it was introduced.  Sebert says he agrees with state superintendent Tony Evers who says politicians should not be put in control of approving standards.  Fond du Lac Republican state representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt says he supports the bill.  "I believe that the bill we are trying to craft is good public policy,"  Thiesfeldt told WFDL news.  Thiesfeldt says the bill is supported by the majority of superintendents across the state.  "They (superintendents) believe we should have a time-table process for reviewing academic standards in the state of Wisconsin."   Thiesfeldt adds the legislature should be able to make changes if they have oversight.

2-27-14 puppy update

The Fond du Lac animal shelter manager says it appears two puppies injured when bleach was poured on them are improving.  Police say an eight year old boy became angry after one of the puppies was play-biting and poured bleach on the dog before tossing the animal in a trash dumpster.  Some of the bleach spilled on a second puppy.   Fond du lac animal shelter manager Renee Webb says on Sunday night the veterinarian did not think at least one of the puppies would survive  But Webb says the condition of the puppy has improved.
Webb says the puppies are still not out of the woods.  "The next four to five days at any point their lungs could literally just shut down,"  Webb told AM 1170 WFDL's Between the Lines program.  "There's also the ulcers on the mouth, throat, tongue and stomach that would encourage a puppy to stop eating."  But Webb says the shelter has ordered feeding tubes just in case.  Police say the mother was aware of the incident but did nothing to intervene.  

2-17-14 walker promises not to increase property taxes if re-elected

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Governor Scott Walker is promising that property taxes will not increase through 2018 if he is re-elected this year. The Republican governor made the commitment during a speech today before the Wisconsin Realtors Association. Walker is not releasing details of how he will do it, saying only that it will involve a mixture of spending restraints on local governments and aid from the state.

2-27-14 wisconsin legislative fundraising

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A new analysis finds that Republicans in control of the Wisconsin Legislature raised nearly three times more money for their campaigns last year than did Democrats.   The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported Wednesday that Senate and Assembly Republican campaigns raised $3.09 million in 2013. That compares with $1.05 million collected by Democrats.  Republicans have an 18-15 majority in the Senate and a 60-39 majority in the Assembly. All 99 Assembly seats and 17 in the Senate are up for election in November.  Donors and political committees can contribute up to $500 every two years to Assembly candidates and a maximum $1,000 every four years to Senate candidates.

2-27-14 sexting investigation-menasha

MENASHA, Wis. (AP) — Menasha police say about a dozen students are under investigation after some nude and semi-nude photos of classmates wound up on the Internet.  Police say the teens involved are between 14 and 16 years old and most attend Menasha High School, although some from other districts might be involved.  Officer Aaron Zemlock says the photos of about six female students were posted on a password-protected website without their consent — and that the password was circulated among students.  Authorities say the teens who posted the photos online could face criminal charges. Zemlock says because it involves minor girls, child pornography becomes part of the equation.
School district officials say they are cooperating with police, but won't release further information to avoid compromising the investigation.

2-27-14 teacher unions merger

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's two largest teachers' unions are delaying an April vote on merging.
The Wisconsin Education Association Council and the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin have been talking about merging for more than a year as membership declines due to the state law that took away nearly all collective bargaining for public workers.  The groups issued a statement Wednesday saying feedback from members seeking more information led to the delay in a vote.  Both unions say a committee will be created to provide more information about what a new merged organization would look like and how it would operate.  The unions say membership has dropped about 30 percent since the collective bargaining law known as Act 10 took effect in 2011.

2-27-14 walker-investigation

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker started making his top agency officials and staff members sign a pledge that they wouldn't do illegal campaign work during regular business hours just two months after the home of one his aides was raided by law enforcement officials.  Walker spokesman Tom Evenson tells The Associated Press that Walker started requiring signatures on the "Ethics Policy and Professional Code of Conduct" beginning in November 2011.  That was two months after FBI agents and other law enforcement officials raided the Madison home of Walker aide Cindy Archer as part of the investigation that involved illegal campaign work by employees of Walker's office when he was Milwaukee County executive.  Evenson said Wednesday the raid had nothing to do with requiring signatures on the code of conduct.

2-27-14 ukraine senior fire officials visit fdl fire station

Fire officials from Ukraine made a stop in Fond du Lac and the Fox Valley Wednesday to learn more about firefighting in the United States and to possibly work on a contract to purchase emergency response vehicles from Oshkosh-based Pierce Manufacturing.  Senior fire officials from Kiev were able to tour the Fond du lac Main Street  fire station and discuss firefighting techniques and fire training procedures.  The Ukraine Fire and Emergency director, Alexander Kozubenko also answered questions about the unrest in Ukraine and fight for democracy.  "People decided to fight against government because government doesn't listen to the people,"  Kozubenko said through an interpretor.  "We would like to establish democracy in our country."  When asked if he was concerned about Russian intervening with their military Kozubenko embraced the Russian interpretor and said "Ukraine citizens and Russian citizens together."

2-27-14 second person charged in skatepark robbery

A Fond du Lac woman has been charged in connection with a robbery at the Adelaide Park skateboard park last fall.  Cheyenne Steffen made her initial Fond du Lac court  appearance Tuesday on three counts of party to the crime of armed robbery.  She is free on a thousand dollar signature bond.  Investigators says Steffen was the driver of the car.  A passenger in the car, 17 year old Quindarius Williams,  is accused of robbing three people at gunpoint.  He was bound over for trial last week.

2-27-14 judge declares mistrial in fdl robbery case

A new trial date is expected to be scheduled after a Fond du lac judge declared a mistrial in the case of a Crandon man charged with robbery .  Courtney Shelly was on trial in Fond du lac County Circuit Court this week on a charge of robbery with use of force.  Judge Dale English declared a mistrial after a witness testified about evidence the judge ruled at a motion hearing would not be admissable at trial.  Shelly is accused of attacking a woman on East Cotton Street, stealing her purse and cellphone.  

2-26-14 fatal fire-sheboygan

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — One person has died and three others have been taken to the hospital following a fire at a mobile home park in Sheboygan.  Officials say fire broke out shortly after midnight Wednesday at the Indian Meadow Trailer Park. Firefighters found one person dead inside the burning mobile home.  Three others suffered non-life threatening injuries. The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.

2-26-14 beaver dam woman charged in cold case homicide

A Beaver Dam woman accused of murdering her boyfriend in 2001 in Columbia County has made her initial court appearance.  Bail was set at 500 thousand dollars cash for 38 year old Leah Waldhart.  She’s charged with first degree intentional homicide in the death of 42 Curtis Wylesky of Beaver Dam.  On April 23rd, 2001 Wylesky was found dead in a ditch on County Highway Z just outside of Fall River.  He was found near his truck and had injuries.  The death investigation went cold until recently, when investigators re-examined the reports, autopsy, evidence, and past investigation.

2-26-14 ripon lottery winner

A Ripon woman has become the first player to win $1 million playing Wisconsin's new Instant Million lottery game.  Mary Ann Waltenberry bought the winning ticket Monday at the Ultimart Citgo West gas station in Ripon.  The Wisconsin Lottery says Waltenberry is not only the first millionaire from the Instant Million game, she's also one of the first players in the game's history.  Instant Million is Wisconsin's first $30 instant scratch ticket with four $1 million instant prizes. The game was sold for the first time last Friday.  Waltenberry will take home more than $673,000 after taxes. For selling the $1 million winning ticket, Citgo earns a $20,000 commission.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2-26-14 windchill advisory

334 AM CST WED FEB 26 2014



2-26-14 former waupun police officer waives preliminary hearing

A former Waupun police lieutenant facing multiple charges in Green Lake County has waived his preliminary hearing.   Fort y four year old Brad Young was bound over for trial Tuesday on charges of burglary, possession of burglary tools, criminal damage to property, obstructing an officer and takinga vehicle without
the owner’s consent.    Young is accused of breaking into grocery stores in Berlin and Markesan last summer and Walker’s Kohlerville restaurant in the town of Green lake.    He is also accused of stealing a pickup truck from a town of Green Lake residence, driving to a cabin in northwest Wisconsin and leading police on a high speed chase in Barron County.  He was later arrested at a cabin near Spooner.  Young resigned from the Waupun police department in September.  He is being held in the Green Lake County

Jail on $50,000 cash bond.

2-26-14 fdl city officials eye plan to reduce traffic crashes near Walmart

Fond du lac city officials are developing a plan to reduce the number of accidents on a busy Fond du Lac road.  Public Works Director Jordan Skiff says the city is applying for a DOT Highway Safety Improvement program grant to add a right hand turn lane on Rolling Meadows Drive near Walmart.  Skiff says there have been an average of 15 crashes per year over the past five years at the southern Walmart driveway off Rolling Meadows Drive.  Fond du Lac assistant police chief Steve Klein says its a very busy part of the community.  "With more and more retail outlets going out in that area there's been an increase in traffic volume and as part of our district policing officers identified that area as a problem area,"  Klein told WFDL news.  If the grant is approved the state would pick up 90-percent of the cost.

2-26-14 below zero record

The National Weather Service says a record will be set this week in Wisconsin for the most number of days below zero.  Meteorologist Sarah Marquardt says overnight lows are expected to be below zero into next week.  "There's a lot of things that could be happening this week.  We're going to be close to record low temperatures and we're moving up in the ranks for the number of consecutive days with snow on the ground,"  Marquardt told WFDL news.  Marquardt says at this point there is no end in sight to the bitter
cold.  The average high temperature for this time of year is 36 degrees.

2-26-14 search is on for new fdl solutions center director

A search is underway for a new director of a Fond du Lac organization that serves the homeless and domestic violence victims.  Maggie McCullougjh has been named interim director of the Solutions Center effective immediately.  She replaces Lindee Kimball who had served as director since 2009.  "The board wants to go in a different direction and thought new leadership would be a way to facilitate that," McCullough told AM 1170 WFDL's Between the Lines program.  "Lindee is an amazing person and an amazing leader and under her leadership this organization has grown tremendously.  But when any organization grows it presents new challenges and we're going to be focusing on what is already a very strong organization."

2-26-14 voter-photo id

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A conservative-leaning Wisconsin Supreme Court justice says she has problems with the state's voter photo identification law.  The NAACP has filed a lawsuit challenging the Republican-authored law, arguing it creates an undue burden on people to obtain state-issued IDs and paying for copies of supporting documents such as birth certificates. The Wisconsin Department of Justice is defending the law.  The justices heard oral arguments in the case on Tuesday. Justice Pat Roggensack, a member of the court's four-justice conservative majority, told DOJ attorney Clayton Kowski she's concerned someone might have to pay for copies of documents needed to get an ID. She says that equates to paying the state to vote.  Kowski said some people will face a burden but 90 percent of Wisconsin residents already have an ID.

2-26-14 walker-investigation

FITCHBURG, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker says he has created a "clear distinction between things that are political and official" in the governor's office. It was blurred lines between political work and official government operations that motivated a three-year investigation into Walker's Milwaukee County executive office. Walker's deputy chief of staff was convicted of misconduct in office for doing campaign work on the taxpayer dime.

2-26-14 paul ryan

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin says the Republican Party can't just point out problems — it has to offer solutions. The former vice presidential candidate and possible contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination was the guest speaker at House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's campaign breakfast in Richmond, Va. today.

2-26-14 carbon monoxide poisoning

ARCADIA, Wis. (AP) — The owner of the house in Trempealeau County where 13 people were sickened by carbon monoxide says the home has two detectors for the odorless gas, but that they apparently did not go off. The 13 people, including five children, were treated at a hospital in Whitehall and are recovering. A police officer from Arcadia and two emergency medical technicians were among those treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

2-26-14 wolf death

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A scientist says one of the few remaining gray wolves of Isle Royale National Park has been found dead after escaping to the mainland across a Lake Superior ice bridge. Michigan Technological University biologist Rolf Peterson tells The Associated Press the 5-year-old female's body was discovered this month along the lakeshore on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in northeastern Minnesota.

2-26-14 roundabouts-public hearing

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is speaking out against a bill that would give communities power over whether new roundabouts are built on state and county roads. The department and other opponents spoke out against the measure at a public hearing today before the state Assembly's Transportation Committee. They say the bill would create snags for already lengthy road projects.

Monday, February 24, 2014

2-25-14 alcohol licensing committee recommends denial of liquor license

The Fond du Lac Alcohol Licensing Committee has voted to recommend denial of  a liquor license request for two individuals who want to open a night club.  Assistant police chief Steve Klein says the police department had recommended denial based on several concerns.  Klein says there was nothing in the applicant’s business plan to address security concerns and says neither applicant had any bartending experience.  Klein says one of the applicants also did not disclose on the application previous drug convictions.  "That was quite concerning to us as law enforcement.  When we screen these applications we look for previous offenses involving alcohol, drugs...things that would directly relate to the license they are seeking.  When you have someone omit that information it is concerning,"  Klein told WFDL news.  The recommendation will be forwarded to the city council. 

2-25-14 ice cube project

The community is invited to a special program at UW Fond du LacTuesday to showcase the UW Madison IceCube project.  Jim Madsen with the UW Madison Wisconsin IceCube particle Astrophysics Center says a giant telescope is built deep into the Antarctic ice on the South Pole based IcCube Neutrino observatory.
Madsen says IceCube is designed to observe traces of a mysterious particle that can tell us more about some of the most extreme events in the universe. Madsen says the origin of the particles is the big mystery. He says the ultimate goal is to develop a new way to study the universe. Scientists and staff from the Center will give a public talk at 12:30pm , Tuesday February 25th at the UW Fond du Lac.  There will be hands-on activities for all ages from 4-6pm and a movie on the South Pole observatory at 6pm.  All events are free and open to the public.

2-25-14 graduation requirements

The Fond du Lac school superintendent says he doesn’t believe new graduation requirements will have a major impact locally.  A bill signed into law in December will require high school students to take three credits each of math and science.  Superintendent Dr. Jim Sebert says the number of required
electives would be reduced from 10 to eight.  In 2018 the number of electives would increase to 8.5 for 23.5 credits required for graduation.  Requirements also include four credits of English, three credits of  social studies and a half credit each of physical education and health.

2-25-14 voter id-supreme court

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in the League of Women Voters’ challenge to the state voter Id law.  League director Andrea Kaminski says the League is confident they have a strong case.  Kaminski says the League believes the law placed a heavier burden on several groups of citizens who are less likely to have an acceptable ID.  Kaminski says the league supports free, fair and accessible elections in Wisconsin.

2-25-14 ice caves

BAYFIELD, Wis. (AP) — National Park rangers have reopened the popular ice caves along the Lake Superior shore near the Apostle Islands.  Officials closed the area Thursday night because of the strong winter storm and uncertainty how it would affect ice conditions on the lake. It was reopened over the weekend.  Rangers recommended snowshoes or cross country skis because of the deep snow and high wind.  More than 60,000 people have visited the ice caves since Jan. 15, which is more the 1/3 of their average yearly visitation. Rangers have gotten some help handling the crowds from other national parks, the sheriff's office, U.S. Coast Guard and Border Patrol.

2-25-14 board game resurgence

MANITOWOC, Wis. (AP) — Board games appear to be growing more popular in Wisconsin, due in part to the introduction of more games that rely on skill and strategy more than luck.  Over 400 people filled the Manitowoc County Expo Center this weekend for a board-game convention. That's up from about 50 when the event began in 2001.   Dan Kelm of the Sheboygan area started the conventions as a way to meet like-minded people.  He attributes the growing interest in board games to the introduction of more strategic games like Settlers of Catan. Kelm says before that, popular U.S. games were mostly "roll and move," like Monopoly.  He also says electronic games are fine, but board games foster social engagement where people are all having fun together.

2-25-14 burke weighs in on governor investigation

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democrat Mary Burke says Republican Governor Scott Walker has set a "low bar for campaign ethics and as governor." The Democratic gubernatorial candidate commented today for the first time following the release of 28,000 pages of emails collected during an investigation into Walker's former aides and associates during his time as Milwaukee County executive.

2-25-14 carbon monoxide poisoning a reminder that heating assistance is available

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The state helps low-income Wisconsin residents with their heating bills, but some people have still resorted to heating their homes using stoves, candles and even a charcoal grill. After one heating mishap led to 13 people being sickened by carbon monoxide this weekend, state officials are reminding poorer residents that heating assistance is available. So far this year, about 165,000 Wisconsin households have received average benefits of $300 apiece.

2-25-14 carbon monoxide poisoning

TOWN OF ARCADIA, Wis. (AP) — Sheriff's officials say 13 people were overcome by carbon monoxide when a charcoal grill was used inside a home in Trempealeau County.  Dispatchers received a call about an unknown medical condition at a home in the Town of Arcadia late Sunday afternoon. First responders found seven adults and five children suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide. Some were unconscious.  Authorities say a police officer who responded was also overcome and was treated and released from a local hospital. Three helicopters and five ambulances were dispatched to the   scene to transport the injured. Their conditions are not immediately known.  Investigators say it appears the occupants were using the grill in the kitchen for heat.

2-25-14 fdl police investigating after puppy found tossed in dumpster

A Fond du Lac mother and her young son both face charges after the boy allegedly poured bleach on a puppy and tossed it in a trash dumpster.  Assistant police chief Steve Klein says police were called to the southside apartment complex over the weekend.  Klein says the eight year old boy apparently became upset over the 6-8 week old  puppy play-biting him.  The child allegedly poured bleach on the puppy, placed it in a plastic trash bag and tossed it in a dumpster outside the apartment complex.  Klein says it appears the puppy had been in the dumpster for about an hour before it was found.  He says the boy’s mother was apparently aware of what happened but did nothing to stop it.  The puppy is being treated a local veterinary clinic.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2-24-14 beaver dam woman faces homicide charges

A Beaver Dam woman has been arrested on murder charges for the April 2001 death of a Beaver Dam area man in Columbia County.  38 year old Leah Waldhart was arrested Friday for first degree intentional homicide in the unsolved death of 42 year old Curtis Wylesky.  Waldhart was the girlfriend of Wylesky.  Columbia County Sheriff Dennis Richards says the investigation continues and it’s believed that there still are individuals in the public that have more information about the homicide.  Sheriff Richards hopes that with the arrest of Waldhart, those individuals will feel more comfortable in providing additional information into the investigation.  On April 23rd, 2001 Wylesky was found dead in a ditch on County Highway Z just outside of Fall River.  He was found near his truck and had injuries.  The death investigation went cold until recently, when investigators re-examined the reports, autopsy, evidence, and past investigation.

2-24-14 fdl police recommend denial of liquor license request

The Fond du Lac police department is recommending the Alcohol Licensing Committee deny a liquor license
request for a alcohol establishment.   The applicants want to open a night club on West Scott Street.  But in a memo to the city manager, police chief Bill Lamb lists several concerns.  Chief  Lamb says there is nothing in the applicant’s business plan to address security concerns, both applicants do not have bartending experience, and perhaps the biggest red flag came during a background check.  One of the applicants stated he has never been convicted of a crime.  But a background check revealed that he had misdemeanor

convictions for possession of cocaine and marijuana.

2-24-14 fdl-record new development

Fond du Lac city officials say 2013 was the highest year ever in terms of the value of new Fond du Lac.  A total of $68 million in new developments was initiated last year…up from  $41 million in 2012.   Building revenues for the Inspections Division were  well above the norm, finishing at 138 percent of budget.  City Planner JoEllyn Dahlin says site plans were reviewed in January for a 7600 square foot addition at MPTC, and for another new Kwik Trip, this one at the northwest quadrant of the Highway 41 / Hickory Street interchange.  Special Use Permit requests have been filed for the proposed new Kwik Trip and also for a new Hampton Inn hotel which would be located on Pioneer Road just north of the intersection of Pioneer Road and Forest Avenue.   Both applications will go to the City Council on February 26. Dahlin says there is also new construction near the Forest Mall.  Land just east of the mall remains vacant.


2-24-14 fdl council to consider special use permit for new motel

The Fond du Lac city council will consider a special use permit at their meeting this week for a new Fond du Lac motel proposed on North Rolling Meadows Drive.  for the vacant site of the former Fond du Lac Dartmoor motel.  Planner JoEllyn Dahlin says the site of the former Fond du lac Dartmoor motel has been sitting vacant for more than a decade.  The Fond du Lac Board of Appeals has approved  a variance request at for the  three story, 73 room motel.  The proposed motel would be about 10 feet higher than the maximum height allowed under zoning for the site.  In other business the council will also consider a special use permit

For a new Kwik Trip gas station-convenience store on South Hickory Street.

2-24-14 tid bill passes

A bill designed to aid struggling cities is headed to the governor’s desk.    The state Assembly has approved a bill co-sponosred  by State Senator  Rick Gudex of Fond du lac along with Oshkosh state representatives,
Republican Michael Schraa and Democrat Gordon Hintz.  The bill would allow a municipality to re-assess a tax incremental district.  Gudex says the measure would effectively bring the assessed value lower and in line with the actual current value.  Gudex says the bill will give municipalities a second chance to make their TIDs work.  About 100 TIDs around Wisconsin currently face some level of decrement.  Gudex says there are only a handful in the 53rd Senate District.  He says it’s a good bipartisan bill that stimulates economic development.    

2-24-14 snowmobile registrations

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) — The heavy snowfall in Wisconsin this winter has led to a boost in the number of snowmobile registrations.  The Department of Natural Resources says registrations are up in many north-central Wisconsin counties.  Nearly 229,000 riders have registered snowmobiles this year. That's 4,000 more than last year, but still behind the record 235,000 set four years ago.  Many trails opened in December and have stayed open, thanks to steady snowfall and cold temperatures.  DNR spokeswoman Joanne Haas says it's not surprising that Wisconsin is such a popular snowmobiling destination with its 25,000 miles of groomed trails.  Vilas County leads the about 10,600 snowmobile registrations, 300 more than last year. Marathon County has about 8,800 registrations.

2-24-14 walker says report is "old news"

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is dismissing as "old news" the thousands of internal documents released last week that suggest former aides routinely mixed campaign and official Milwaukee County business.  Walker was county executive when he was running for governor. Six former aides and associates have been convicted, but Walker has not been charged with any wrongdoing.  Walker addressed the issue for the first time publicly during Saturday's meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington.  Walker says that while the investigation involving him is closed, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's problems are, in Walker's words, "just beginning." Both Republicans are considering presidential runs.  State and federal authorities are probing the Christie administration for days-long traffic gridlock at the George Washington Bridge and whether it was political payback against an adversary.

Friday, February 21, 2014

2-24-14 walker-investigation

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker has denied knowing anything about illegal campaign activities in his previous office as Milwaukee County executive.  But about 28,000 pages of staff emails collected during a district attorney's investigation and released this week present a picture of Walker that clashes with the impression of a top official above the daily fray of his office. They appear to show a hands-on manager in close touch with his staff and carefully tending his public image.  The emails could provide ammunition for political opponents challenging Walker's candor as he runs for re-election this year and as he weighs whether to make a presidential bid in 2016.  Walker has not been charged in connection with any of the abuses, which involved employees doing campaign work on county time.

2-24-14 walker e-mails

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — One of the hottest conversation topics in Wisconsin politics over the past week has been what people are finding in searches of thousands emails exchanged by Gov. Scott Walker's campaign staff and those who worked for him when he was Milwaukee County executive.  Liberals and conservatives alike have been hunting the documents for their names as well as political friends and enemies.  Some of the searches are for curiosity's sake. But operatives from across the political spectrum also are scouring the 28,000 pages of documents to find items they can use to attack or defend the state's most polarizing political figure.  Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said it was "like winning the lottery" for people doing opposition research on Walker.

2-22-14 trial date set for fdl murder case

A trial date has been set for a Fond du lac woman charged in the shooting death of her husband.  Eve Nance is scheduled to go on trial July 14th on charges of first degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.  The trial is scheduled to last two weeks.  Nance is charged in the shooting death of her husband Timothy Nance at their 10th  Street residence in Fond du Lac last fall.  After killing her husband Nance is accused of placing the body in her car, driving to Milwaukee and dumping the body in a wooded area at the end of a dead end
street.  Police believe Nance killed her husband because he was having an affair and planned to get a divorce.

2-22-14 fdl armed robbery suspect bound over for trial

A Fond du lac armed robbery suspect has been bound over for trial.  Probable cause was found at a preliminary hearing Friday afternoon for 17 year old Quindarius Williams on three counts of party to the crime of armed robbery.   Williams is accused of robbing three people at gunpoint near the Adelaide Park skateboard park  on North Hickory Street last October.    He remains in jail on $10,000 cash bond.

2-22-14 fdl drug case-preliminary hearing

A Fond du Lac man accused of dealing cocaine has been bound over for trial.  Probable cause was found at a preliminary hearing Friday for 29 year old Michael McReynolds.  McReynolds is charged  with four counts of manufacture-delivery of cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine and maintaining a drug trafficking place.  McReynolds is accused of selling drugs to a confidential informant.

2-22-14 fdl man reaches plea deal in child sex assault case

A North Fond du lac man accused of sexually assaulting a child more than nine years ago has reached a plea agreement.   At a hearing Friday in Fond du lac County Circuit Court  Jed Hofman was convicted of an amended charge of neglecting a child.    He was originally charged with  first degree sexual assault of a child.  A second count of sexual assault of a child was dismissed and read into the record.  A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April  11th.   

2-22-14 missing newborn-wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A woman accused of kidnapping her newborn nephew and leaving him outside an Iowa gas station in frigid temperatures has made her first court appearance in Wisconsin.
A federal grand jury indicted 31-year-old Kristen Smith of Aurora, Colo., on a kidnapping charge earlier this week. Smith made her initial appearance in federal court in Madison on Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker ordered her detained while her family tries to hire an attorney.  Prosecutors allege Smith took the baby from a Town of Beloit home where her half-sister, who is the child's mother, was staying on Feb. 6.  Police caught up with Smith in West Branch, Iowa, but she didn't have the baby. Police later discovered the child alive in a crate behind a West Branch gas station.

2-22-14 teen starved-wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin jury has convicted a 20-year-old man on three counts of sexually and physically abusing his stepsister while her parents starved her and kept her in the basement.
The girl was just 68 pounds when she fled the family's home in 2012.  Prosecutors said the man sexually assaulted the girl starting when she was 9 years old because he thought he could get away with it. A physical abuse charge was supported by a deep scar on the girl's stomach.  The judge's secretary confirmed Friday that jurors delivered their verdict shortly after midnight.   The Associated Press isn't naming the man to avoid identifying the girl.

2-22-14 farm bill-timber industry

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — Members of Wisconsin's Congressional delegation say the recently approved farm and budget bills should provide some help for the state's timber industry. Gannett Wisconsin Media reports that Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Madison Democrat, and Representative Reid Ribble, a Green Bay-area Republican, have pushed for a farm bill provision that would let forest managers and loggers use forest roads without getting permits for problematic runoff.

2-22-14 miss fdl pageant

Seven women are competing for this year’s Miss Fond du Lac crown.  Alexandra Burmeister, Rachel Page, Amber Schmidt, Anne Rabacal, Malainey Myrin, Alyssa Frane and Stephanie Schneider will compete for the chance to represent Fond du Lac at the Miss Wisconsin pageant.  The Fond du Lac pageant will be held Saturday March 8th at the Goodrich Little Theatre.

2-22-14 american tv liquidation

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Scores of bargain hunters have descended on American TV & Appliance stores looking for a closeout deal.  They lined up outside stores in Madison, Brown Deer and elsewhere Thursday as the 60-year-old retailer began liquidating its merchandise as it prepares to close for good. Nearly 1,000 employees in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa will lose their jobs when doors close sometime late in April.  Customer vehicles filled the parking lot well before the Madison store opened Thursday. The Madison-based company is closing its 11 stores, a warehouse and distribution center.  American CEO Douglas Reuhl has blamed an "unforgiving economy" for the chain's deepening financial troubles over the last five years.

2-22-14 fatal crash winnebago county

Authorities have identified the person killed and two others injured following a two vehicle
rollover crash on Highway 44.  The accident happened Wednesday afternoon in the Town of Utica near Bonneville Road.  Initial investigation shows a car south on Highway 44 collided head-on with a northbound vehicle. A  passenger in the northbound car 70-year-old Ann Knuth of Oshkosh, was pronounced dead at the scene.   Knuth was a former Fond du lac resident.  The driver of the car, 72-year-old Rockne Knuth of Oshkosh, was transported via ambulance to Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah.  The driver of the southbound car,  25-year-old Dawda Colley of Oshkosh, was flown to Theda Clark Medical Center.  Authorities do not believe alcohol, weather or speed were factors. The accident remains under investigation.

2-21-14 fdl man gets prison for payday loan store robbery

A man convicted of robbing an employee at the Fond du Lac Payday Loan store  has been sentenced to prison.  Fond du Lac judge Gary Sharpe sentencd Ian Koch to 12 years  in prison followed by ten years extended supervision.  Koch was already serving an eight year prison sentence for  a robbery in the Briarcrest apartment complex parking lot.

2-21-14 fdl county man arraigned on child sex assault and weapons charges

A Fond du Lac man arrested on child sex assault and firearms charges was back in court this week.  Jeffrey MacMillan entered a not guilty plea to 12 counts of felon in possession of a firearm at an arraignment hearing this week in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court.   In addition to the firearms charges MacMillan is also charged with five counts of sexual assault of a child.  He was arrested last month after sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at his town of Empire home. MacMillan is also accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl in the home.  McMillan is being held in the Fond du lac County Jail on $2 million cash bond.  Fond du Lac judge Gary Sharpe denied a motion to reduce bail.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2-21-14 wind advisory

512 AM CST FRI FEB 21 2014



2-21-14 agriculture census

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A new federal report shows Wisconsin has lost thousands of farms and, perhaps more disturbingly, thousands of acres that were once farmed are no longer.  The data come from the Census of Agriculture conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The census shows Wisconsin lost 8,700 farms from 2007 to 2012.  It also lost more than 620,000 acres of farmland during that time.  The USDA classifies both losses as among the most significant in the nation.  At the same time, Wisconsin remains among the top 10 agricultural states in number of farms and agricultural sales.  The state had 69,756 farms covering nearly 14.6 million acres in 2012.

2-21-14 wi assembly approves delaying phosphorus regulations

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a bill that would allow wastewater plants and businesses to push off complying with the state's phosphorus reduction rules for 20 years.
The Department of Natural Resources' board approved sweeping regulations in 2010 that call for precise limits on phosphorus in water bodies. Municipalities and businesses have complained the regulations are too expensive.  Republican Sen. Robert Cowles' bill would allow dischargers to seek up to four five-year variances from the limits. Each variance would increase phosphorus limits and require dischargers to pay counties for phosphorus reduction or launch other reduction projects.  The Senate passed the bill Tuesday. The Assembly passed it 76-19 on Thursday.  The measure now goes to Gov. Scott Walker. His spokesman was non-committal on support, saying only that Walker would evaluate it.

2-21-14 tax credit transfer bill

A bill that allows the transfer of tax credits between businesses is on its way to the governor’s desk.  The bill, authored by Republican state senator Rick Gudex of Fond du lac requires the WEDC authorize the transfer of the credits if the business meets certain conditions.  Gudex says the bill is designed to spur business expansion.

2-21-14 propane shortage

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Governor Scott Walker says utilities will make propane available to help low-income people in Wisconsin dealing with the propane shortage. Walker announced the agreement today with Madison Gas and Electric and We Energies. Under the agreement the state will replace the propane reserves when the heating season is over.

2-21-14 wi governor-investigation

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — For more than three years Republican Gov. Scott Walker avoided political fallout from a criminal investigation that ensnared six of his former aides and associates.  But with Walker up for re-election this year, and considering a run for president in 2016, questions are intensifying over how much he knew about illegal campaign activity going on in his county executive office as he launched his bid for governor.  Democrats are trying to use embarrassing emails that were part of 28,000 pages of documents released Wednesday to liken his woes to those faced by other embattled Republicans like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.  But Walker backers say it's all much ado about nothing given that Walker was never charged with wrongdoing.

2-21-14 missing newborn-wisconsin

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Army Reserve says a woman charged with kidnapping her half-sister's newborn this month was involuntarily removed from duty.  Military officials tell The Associated Press that Kristen Smith served in a Wisconsin-based Army Reserve unit from December 2011 until her discharge a year later.  A U.S. Army Reserve spokesman says that a discharge so early into an 8-year commitment usually signals major problems with one's service record or personal life. The reason for Smith's discharge cannot be divulged under Army policy.  Smith was indicted Wednesday in the Feb. 6 kidnapping of her newborn nephew, Kayden Powell. Investigators say Smith took him from a Wisconsin home where she was visiting her sister and left him in freezing temperatures in Iowa. Kayden was found alive the next day.

2-21-14 academic standards

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Assembly's Education Committee has canceled a vote on a bill that would give the ultimate authority over writing academic standards for Wisconsin's public schools to the state Legislature.  The committee had planned to vote on the bill Thursday, just two days after it was introduced.  But committee chairman Rep. Steve Kestell says due to confusion and misinformation, and because changes may be forthcoming, the vote was delayed indefinitely.  Kestell says the committee won't vote on it this week.  State Superintendent Tony Evers has voiced loud disapproval of the bill, saying politicians should not be put in control of approving standards.  Republican Gov. Scott Walker says he supports it and believes the panel created to draft standards would reach agreement so the Legislature would not have to step in.

2-21-14 wi-report cards

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A committee vote to pass a bill that would call for closing failing public schools, and kicking lagging private schools out of the voucher program, has been delayed.  The Education Committee planned to vote on the Republican-backed measure Thursday but committee chairman Rep. Steve Kestell says changes are still being discussed and the bill won't be ready for a vote this week.
Bill sponsor Rep. Jim Steineke says talks are ongoing with the Senate to find a bill that can pass both houses.  But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says there currently is only support in the Senate for the bill it passed earlier this week. That called for private schools to submit data public schools already provide for inclusion in report cards, but imposes no sanctions.

2-21-14 winter storm closes apostle island ice caves

BAYFIELD, Wis. (AP) — A winter storm is temporary closing the popular ice caves near the Apostle Islands.  According to the National Park Service, they will shut down at sunset Thursday because the weather could significantly affect Lake Superior ice conditions. Rangers will recheck the stability afterward.  Julie Van Stappen, with the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, says they broke a record last weekend with an estimated 21,000 visitors.  More than 60,000 visited since Jan. 15, which is more the 1/3 of their average yearly visitation. In fact, they've had to seek help from other parks, the sheriff's office, U.S. Coast Guard and Border Patrol.  The storm is expected to drop 14 to 18 inches of snow to northwest Wisconsin through Friday, with 40 mile an hour wind gusts.   The earliest they could reopen is Saturday.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2-20-14 governor declares state of emergency

Madison – Governor Scott Walker today issued an executive order declaring a State of Emergency in preparation for the winter storm expected to impact Wisconsin on Thursday, February 20.  Heavy snowfall, freezing rain, and strong winds are expected, and some areas of west central and northwest Wisconsin could receive more than 12 inches of snow.  The executive order will ready Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Wisconsin National Guard, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

“This executive order ensures we are prepared for this potentially dangerous winter storm which is expected to bring heavy snow and ice,” Governor Walker said.  “We don’t want to leave anything to chance when it comes to the safety of Wisconsin citizens.”

ReadyWisconsin and the Department of Transportation are teaming up to warn people about the upcoming storm and precautions you and your family should take to keep safe.
  • Limit travel.  Depending on conditions in your area it may be safer to limit, delay, or cancel your travel on Thursday.
  • If you must travel allow plenty of extra time for your trip.  Also keep at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle and inform friends and family of your travel plans and approximate arrival time.
  • Check the roads before you travel.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation advises travelers check road conditions before leaving home by calling 5-1-1 or visiting
  • Have an emergency winter weather survival kit in your vehicle.  Your kit should include water, snack food such as energy bars or raisins, a first aid kit, and booster cables.  If you have a cell phone make sure you have a power adapter.  You can find more kit tips at
  • Get supplies for your home. Make sure your home emergency kit is stocked with food that can be stored and prepared without electricity.  Also, make sure you have extra water, flashlights with extra batteries, and medications. For a complete list of kit items go to our website:
  • Stay informed. ReadyWisconsin will keep you posted on any emergencies that occur during the storm.  Follow ReadyWisconsin on Facebook ( or Twitter ( for updates. 

2-20-14 winter storm

(MADISON) –  The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Advisories, Watches and Warnings for much of Wisconsin. Forecasters are tracking a strong storm which could hit the state in two waves. Morning rush hour could be difficult in southern and southeast Wisconsin with a mix of snow and freezing rain. Then Thursday afternoon another wave of precipitation is forecast to hit western and northern Wisconsin with the potential of producing up to 12 inches of snow. Winds of 20 to 35 mph will create blowing and drifting on roadways. Forecasters say the storm track could change and urge everyone to continue monitoring your local weather forecasts.
 ReadyWisconsin and the Department of Transportation are teaming up to warn people about the upcoming storm and precautions you and your family should take to keep safe.

  • Limit travel. Depending on conditions in your area it may be safer to limit, delay or cancel your travel on Thursday.
  • If you must travel allow plenty of extra time for your trip. Also keep at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle and inform friends and family of your travel plans and approximate arrival time.
  • Check the roads before you travel. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation advises travelers check road conditions before leaving home by calling 5-1-1 or visiting
  • Have an emergency winter weather survival kit in your vehicle. Your kit should include water, snack food such as energy bars or raisins, first aid kit and booster cables. If you have a cell phone make sure you have a power adapter you can plug into the lighter. You can find more kit tips on our website…
  • Get supplies for your home. Make sure your home emergency kit is stocked with food that can be stored and prepared without electricity. Also, make sure you have extra water, flashlights with extra batteries and medications. For a complete list of kit items go to our website:
  • Stay informed. ReadyWisconsin will keep you posted on any emergencies that occur during the storm. Follow us on Facebook ( or Twitter ( for updates. 

2-20-14 cell phone scam

Wisconsin consumer protection officials are warning residents about a new cell phone scam.   Division of Trade and Consumer protection administrator Sandy Chalmers says the one ring scam tricks consumers into making expensive international calls.  Chalmers says your cell phone will ring once but no voicemail is left and the scammer hopes you call back.  Chalmers says the calls are being generated from the Carribean. Chalmers says while you wait on hold you are being charged for international phone fees starting at around $20.  The longer you wait the more you are charged.

2-20-14 budget committee approves governor's tax cut plan

The senate majority leader says the property tax cut plan approved by the Jt. Finance Committee assuages concerns  about  the state’s structural deficit.  Under the plan $100 million proposed for the rainy day fund would be moved into the general fund.  "That move is going to happen.  Instead of putting money in the rainy day fund which is already significantly funded we're going to put those dollars into what we call the statuatory balance which is the money going into the next budget cycle,"  Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald told AM 1170 WFDL's Between the Lines program.  Fitzgerald says the governor’s $504 million

property and income tax cut plan is moving forward as proposed.

2-20-14 walker tax cuts-worker training

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Legislature's budget committee has approved a bill that would funnel more than $35 million toward job training.  Republican Gov. Scott Walker proposed the measure. The plan would devote $35.4 million from the state's projected $977 million surplus for grants to help eliminate technical college waiting lists for high-demand fields, high school students get trained for high-demand jobs and the disabled find work.  The state Assembly passed the bill earlier this month. The Joint Finance Committee approved the bill 12-4 on Wednesday, setting up a vote in the state Senate.  Minority Democrats on the committee complained that the bill doesn't get enough money to technical colleges fast enough. They say Republicans could have done much more.

2-20-14 academic standards-local reaction

Local educators are reacting to the latest Republican proposal that would lead to the undoing of statewide Common Core academic standards and instead give the legislature the power to approve new standards.
The Assembly Education Committee plans to vote on the Republican-sponsored measure Thursday.  North Fond du lac school superintendent Aaron Sadoff says it’s a political proposal.  "I think we are still trying to find answers for problems that don't exisst, Sadoff told WFDL news.  "I think we're going down a line and we have legislators that this has come to a point where I think its laughable the amount of resources and time that's being put in on something that's not understood."  The bill would also call for creation of a new statewide test to measure how well students are meeting standards.  That would replace a test scheduled to

be given next year that’s aligned to the Common Core standards.

2-20-14 academic standards

Gov. Scott Walker supports a proposal being rushed through the Legislature that would lead to the undoing of statewide Common Core academic standards and instead give the Legislature the power to approve new standards.  The state Assembly Education Committee plans to vote on the Republican-sponsored measure on Thursday. But the Wisconsin State Journal reported Wednesday that state Superintendent Tony Evers is fighting the change, calling it "wholly unacceptable."  Evers says the proposal would politicize the process of writing standards for education in Wisconsin.  The bill would also call for creation of a new statewide test to measure how well students are meeting the standards. That would replace a test scheduled to be given next year that's aligned to the Common Core standards.

2-20-14 attorney general candidate

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A southeastern Wisconsin prosecutor has officially joined the race for attorney general.  Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ announced Wednesday she'll run for the office. Happ said in a statement she's running because she the state needs a leader who will put Wisconsin families ahead of partisan politics. She didn't list any goals for the office, however.  Happ's announcement wasn't unexpected; she filed paperwork with state election officials in late January signaling she had formed an attorney general campaign committee.  Happ will face a three-way Democratic primary with Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Rep. Jon Richards of Milwaukee. Waukesha District Attorney Brad Schimel is the only Republican in the race.  Incumbent Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced last year he won't seek re-election.