Local News Briefs Wednesday 8/14/13

A 39-year-old Princeton man, who used to live in Waupun, has been sentenced to four years in prison and six years of extended supervision on three felony child pornography possession charges. Jeremy Hankins was in Dodge County Court for sentencing Monday. A friend who borrowed Hankins computer in 2011 tipped police off about what he saw on Hankins’ computer. Four other felony charges against Hankins were read into the record and dismissed.


Fatal Fall From Cliff In Brown County Park


Brown County Sheriff’s officials say a 34-year-old De Pere woman has died from injuries she suffered after falling 40 feet off a cliff in a County park. Authorities say April Janssen lost her footing when she was trying to help a man who fell off the cliff at Fonferek Glen Park in the Town of Ledgeview Monday afternoon. She fell 40 feet to a rock creek bed below. Sheriff’s officials say 18-year-old Troy Schmechel of De Pere was trying to recover a hat that blew off the cliff and got caught on a branch. He lost his balance and fell about 10 feet. His injuries were said not to be serious.


Vandalism In Ripon


Ripon Police are investigating damage done to a building in the 400 block of Scott Street last weekend. Police say vandals spray painted several sides of the building. Anyone with information is asked to call Ripon Police. A cash reward is being offered for information lead to the arrest of those who were responsible for the damage.


Fire Didn’t Start Out Suspicious


The Division Chief of Fire Prevention in Fond du Lac says they had no reason to think a fire was suspicious when they responded to a call about a residential fire at 352 3rd Street on August 2nd.

Troy Haase says some neighbors were talking while they were there, but they had no reason to believe the fire had been set when they were putting out the fire. He says afterwards they canvassed the neighborhood doing their new fire prevention program for neighbors. An investigation by the police and fire departments determined the fire had been set. Thirty-three-year-old Timothy Schneider of Fond du Lac is charged with arson and burglary. He allegedly used gasoline to set the fire after his mother had kicked him out of the house. He has a preliminary hearing in the case this Friday.


Drugged Driving Cases Present Challenges


Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney says proving someone is under the influence of drugs and driving can be a challenge for law enforcement. He says they have seen a few serious cases since he began as DA back in January. He says marijuana is more detectable than other drugs especially if it’s been used recently. He says prescription drugs and controlled substances are harder to detect. He says a law enforcement officer might be clued in by driving behavior or statements a person makes. He says if a blood test is taken they could have a long wait waiting for results from the state hygiene lab.


Fruth Field Fundraising Continues


The Fond du Lac School Board held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Fruth Field improvements following their board meeting Monday night. School District Superintendent Jim Sebert says it’s nearly complete and will be ready for symbolic festivities for their first home football game on Friday, August 23rd. He says it will be more handicap accessible, the restrooms have been significantly enhanced, two concession stands, a new scoreboard. Other features include plaza areas, a logo store and a training room. Sebert says originally they were looking at a cost of $1.2 million for the project, but were able to cut then bidding and construction change orders brought that price back up to just over $1 million. Seberts says residents are still welcome to donate to the Fans for Fruth effort. They’ve been able to raise nearly $700,000 so far. You can get more information about that at the school district’s website just click on the Fans for Fruth banner.

Oshkosh Breaks Ground For New Public Works Facility


City officials in Oshkosh broke ground Tuesday for a new $19 million public works facility. Officials say they hope to have the new Public Works Field Operations Facility completed by 2015. The current building was built between 1945 and 1964 and is outdated. City Manager Mark Rohloff says a lot of different city facilities will be consolidated into the new facility. He says the new facility will be more efficient and will better serve the public in the long run.


Bipartisan Support For TID Rescue Bill


State Senator Rick Gudex says there is bipartisan support for a bill he co-authored that would help struggling tax incremental districts. The bill would aid TIDs that are said to be in “decrement” or are seeing property values decrease. Gudex says the bill would allow those struggling TIDs to reset their property value base. Gudex says not every TID will be eligible. It has to be in decrement of at least 10% of its original value, and for at least 2 years. He says there are a few in the 18th State Senate District that would fall into that category. He says Oshkosh’s Pioneer Inn TID and TIDs in North Fond du Lac and Rosendale come to mind. He says he’s happy to have the support of Co-authors State Representatives Gordon Hintz and Michael Schraa of Oshkosh on the bill. TIDs are an economic tool that allows cities to generate tax revenues and fund infrastructure improvements and other investments.


FDL City Council Preview


The Fond du Lac City Council tonight will once again decide whether to fill a vacancy on the City Council. Councilman Rob Vande Zande recently resigned to take care of his ailing wife. Vande Zande’s term on the City Council runs until next April. The Council will also consider amending the City’s liquor license ordinance to address recent issues concerning liquor license holders who owed the City taxes and fees and questions about corporations or limited liability corporations who held licenses. The Council will also address a request to connect West 2nd Street to South Brooke Street. The Advisory Parking and Traffic Board voted 4 to 3 in favor of the request, while the City’s Engineering and Traffic Division doesn’t support the request. It would cost $25,000. The connection was closed around 1976 during reconstruction of South Brooke Street. The Council meets at 6 p.m. at the City-County Government Center.


Baldwin Bill Tries To Put More Funding In Hands Of Medical Researchers


(Wisconsin Radio Network)-U-S Senator Tammy Baldwin says the nation is in danger of losing a generation of medical researchers, if the federal government continues to cut money that supports them. Baldwin plans to introduce a bill this fall that would force the National Institutes of Health to develop new ways to get funding in the hands of young researchers. Baldwin says the average age of first-time NIH grant recipients now sits at 42-years-old. As that number climbs, she worries students will have to abandon thoughts about doing their own research. Baldwin’s bill does not address funding cuts at the N-I-H, which will see its budget slashed by nearly $1.5 billion this year.


Petri Town Meetings Scheduled


Congressman Tom Petri will hold a dozen town meetings between August 26 and September 5 in the 6th Congressional District.  All residents are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts about any issue facing Congress. The federal lawmaker from Fond du Lac says, “Town meetings are a great way for me to hear directly from the people I represent and for there to be a dialogue about the major issues of the day.” During the town meetings Petri will make stops in Portage, Fredonia, Howards Grove, Poynette, Lomira, Manitowoc, Montello, Wautoma, Berlin, Menasha, Grafton and will in Fond du Lac on Thursday, September 5th for the final town meeting in the series. Complete schedule.