Local News Monday 3/11/13

Governor Will Sign Mining Bill Today


(Wisconsin Radio Network)-A controversial mining bill will be signed into law today. Governor Scott Walker will officially sign the bill this afternoon during a ceremony in Rhinelander. The legislation, which was given final approval in the state Assembly last week, streamlines the permitting process for iron ore mining in Wisconsin. Supporters claim it will bring a massive economic investment to the state that could create thousands of jobs, but critics contend it weakens environmental protections. Even after Walker signs the bill, it could be awhile before it’s actually put to use. Tribal officials and environmental groups have already indicated they plan to challenge the law in court. Walker will also hold a ceremonial signing of the bill this afternoon in Milwaukee.


Fire Destroys Garage On Bergens Beach Road


Fire departments from Mt. Calvary, Calumet, Stockbridge and Eden responded to a garage fire at N8912 Bergens Beach Road Saturday afternoon. Sheriff’s Sergeant Jeff Bonack says they weren’t able to save the 2 ½ car garage or the equipment and tools inside it. Owner Alfred Prull wasn’t home when a passer-by reported the fire to the County Communications Center. No one was injured during the blaze. The cause of the fire is still being investigated. The fire was reported at 4:30 p.m.


Dodge County Man Waives Prelim In Vehicular Homicide Case


The 62-year-old Reeseville man accused of being under the influence of drugs when he caused a fatal accident two years ago recently waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Dodge County Court. Harry Schoephoerster is charged for the May 2010 death of 79-year-old Edward Hahn of Reeseville who was killed while getting his mail in the Town of Lowell. Hahn was using an electric utility cart to get across Highway G when Schoephoerster’s Jeep struck him. Hahn died at the scene.  A blood test turned up marijuana in Schoephoester’s system. He also admitted to investigators he had smoked pot the night before the accident. He will be arraigned on April 10th.


FDL Man Bound Over For Trial On Child Porn Possession Charge


The 55-year-old Fond du Lac man recently charged in Fond du Lac County Court with possession of child pornography has been bound over for trial. Scott Bernhardt was in court last Friday for a preliminary hearing. The charge was brought against him as a result of an investigation by state and local police.  According to the criminal complaint a forensic preview of his laptop computer uncovered hundreds of sexually explicit images of children in a folder saved to the computer’s hard drive.  In an interview with investigators, Bernhardt admitted to downloading and viewing child pornography for the last ten to 15 years, according to the complaint.   He’s free on a $2,500 cash bond.


More Details Emerge About Former Sheboygan Mayor’s OWI Arrest


(Wisconsin Radio Network)-The Kiel Police Department released more information about the drunk driving arrest of former Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan. Police Chief Dave Funkhouser says Ryan was arrested late Sunday night, March 3rd and cited for first offense drunk driving. He says Ryan made a very wide turn across the center line on Manitowoc County Highway XX. A computer check also found Ryan’s vehicle registration had expired. Ryan, an admitted alcoholic, told officers he had several beers between six p-m and midnight. Ryan said he’d had 4 to 5 beers at some establishments in Kiel. Ryan was arrested and taken to the Manitowoc County jail. The former mayor was recently fined $770 on two disorderly conduct charges, stemming from a 2011 drinking binge in Elkhart Lake. That incident led to his recall and removal as mayor. Ryan is scheduled to appear in Kiel’s municipal court on April 23rd.


UW-FDL Students Being Surveyed About On-Campus Housing


A survey is underway asking UW-Fond du Lac students if they’d like to see on-campus housing. UW-Fond du Lac Dean John Short says it is part of a facilities master plan they are working on with Fond du Lac County. A firm was hired to do the two-week survey. He says in the past students had expressed interest in seeing on-campus housing. He says there are three other two-year UW campuses in the state that are looking into the same opportunity for on-campus housing. He says if it moved forward it wouldn’t be a project that would not cost the County anything, but the County has been very supportive of the UW-Fond du Lac in the past. Short says a private developer would be used if on-campus housing were constructed and that developer would run the housing. Survey results should be complete in about a month.


Amount Of Proposed State Income Tax Cut Will Be Subject To Debate


State Senator Rick Gudex says just how much of a decrease in state income tax residents will receive depends on what state legislators decide during the budget process. The Governor proposed an income tax cut of between $350 and $400 million. Gudex says some feel that may not be enough. The state lawmaker from Fond du Lac likes the tax cut decrease philosophy. He says people work hard for their money and enough is taken out by the state and federal government for taxes. He says the cut will likely be across the board.


Legal Challenge Expected To Mining Bill


State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt says he’s not surprised to hear talk about legal challenges to the mining bill. The state assemblyman from Fond du Lac says it goes along with the divisive atmosphere of politics at the state capitol over the last three years. He says the state hasn’t had iron ore mining for more than 40 years, while neighboring states Minnesota and Michigan haven’t had any issues during that time. He says the State Senate and Assembly have done their parts passing the bill and the Governor will sign it into law. Thiesfeldt says they have no control over what happens after that. 


FDL School Board Preview


The Fond du Lac School Board this afternoon will be asked to approve the Summer School Budget and a resolution which would expand the numbers of schools participating in the Girls’ Hockey program. The proposed budget for the summer school program is $342,676.14. The summer school runs for about three-weeks. As for the Girls’ Hockey program, it currently includes a co-op with Oshkosh, Waupun and St. Mary’s Springs. It’s being proposed that schools from Kohler, Kiel and Kewaskum be added to the group for 2013-2015. The Board meets at 4:30 p.m. in the District Administration Center Board Room on West 9th Street.


Highway 151 Meeting


Improvements to the Fond du Lac Highway 151 bypass and the eventual designation of a stretch of it as an expressway are the subject of a public hearing tonight in Fond du Lac. The state’s Department of Transportation will hold the hearing from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the UW-Fond du Lac in the Large Group Instruction Room. A presentation has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Project Manager Rob Wagner says the freeway designation would be for Highway 151 from County Highway D to State Highway 23. The earliest any improvements would be made in 2015 if funding is available.


Candidates Forum Scheduled In NFDL


A candidates’ forum will follow the North Fond du Lac Village Board meeting on Monday, March 18th. It will feature the four candidates running for two seats on the School Board and the three candidates vying for two seats on the Village Board.  Village Administrator Chuck Hornung says they’ve had similar forums the past few years. School Board candidates will go first that evening and then North Fond du Lac Schools Superintendent Aaron Sadoff will pose questions to the Village Board candidates. The Village Board meeting and candidates’ forum will both be televised on Charter Cable TV.


FDL Public Library’s Lori Burgess Receives Financial Literacy Award


Lori Burgess, Support Services coordinator at the Fond du Lac Public Library, received the 2012 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award from Governor Scott Walker in a March 1st ceremony in Madison.  Burgess was one of 21 who received the award given by the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy. Since 2007, Burgess has been instrumental in bringing Money Smart Week to Fond du Lac and promoting the program to libraries throughout Wisconsin and the country. One of her presentations led to the first national partnership between the American Library Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Burgess’ passion and enthusiasm have helped make the Fond du Lac Public Library a national leader in this area. Burgess, of Taycheedah, has worked for 8 years at the Fond du Lac Library.


FCEDC Staff Additions


The Fond du Lac Economic Development Corporation has added two new staff members. William Steimel joins the staff as Director of Business Development, a new position, and Sarah Spang as Executive Assistant. Both positions are key positions with the FCEDC. Steimel’s background is in industry having been with the Brunswick Credit Corporation embedded with Mercury Marine and recently as a consultant to Quad Graphic. His responsibilities will be the FCEDC Existing Business Program and assisting the County’s rural communities with their economic development efforts.  Spang comes to the FCEDC after a wealth of experience in office operations. Her role will be to support four professionals, the Board and Executive Committee, various committees, investor relations, and to manage the organization’s Social Media platforms and presence.


Deer Herd Status Meeting Scheduled In Dundee


Wildlife biologists with the Department of Natural Resources invite anyone interested in discussing the status of the deer herd in Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties to attend a public meeting. It will be from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Thursday, March 21st at the Henry S. Reuss Ice Age Visitor Center on Highway 67 in Dundee. It’s the first formal opportunity of the year for hunters and other interested individuals to discuss the possible structure of the 2013 deer hunting seasons with DNR wildlife managers. Local wildlife biologists will be on hand to answer questions and talk about the current status of the deer herd in these counties. Those unable to attend a local meeting can still provide their input about their favorite deer management unit using an on-line herd status summary and survey which will be active from March 18 to April 12th. To access the survey during that period, visit the DNR website at http://dnr.wi.gov , keywords “Deer Hunter Forum”. Comments and survey results will be compiled and provided to the wildlife biologist responsible for each county.