Local News Thursday 3/14/13

No Suspension Of Liquor License For Retlaw Hotel


The Fond du Lac City Council Wednesday night voted 3 to 1 not to suspend the liquor license for the Retlaw Hotel. The hotel owner, North Main Hospitality, is delinquent in the money it owes the City. The decision would impact those staging events at the hotel and the hotel’s employees. Denny Rahn of Eden pleaded with the Council saying his son Christopher is getting married Saturday and a reception with over 300 invited guests is being held at the hotel. Councilwoman Rebecca Lunde Ross scolded the owner for not upholding their end. Council Vice President Rob Vande Zande was the lone dissenting vote. He said the owner had 3 years to pay the nearly quarter million owed the City in taxes and fees and the Council’s decision set a bad precedent. The matter will come back before the Council in June when liquor licenses are renewed.


The Fond du Lac City Council Wednesday night sided with employees and the community, not the California owner of the Retlaw in deciding not to suspend the hotel’s liquor license. Anna Nason is the owner of the Semina Restaurant and Mid Town Pub that operates in the hotel and she told the Council suspending the license would only hurt her and her 37 employees, not the owner North Main Hospitality. Altogether there are 50 to 60 employees at the hotel. But the hotel also is a staging place for community events, weddings and more. Councilwoman Rebecca Lunde  Ross scolded the ownerfor failing to pay taxes and fees nearly $250,000 it owes the City and putting all of that in jeopardy. Charles Mauck was the only person who spoke in favor of the suspension saying others live up to their responsibilities. The matter will come up again when liquor licenses are renewed in June.


City Council Notes


The Fond du Lac City Council approved several revisions to its employee handbook last night. City Attorney and Human Resources Director Deb Hoffman said the changes were more informational than substantive. One had to do with the daily per diem for meals City employees are allowed for attending conferences, training and other City business. Milwaukee allows its employees $61 a day while Appleton sets their cap at $46. The City was looking at a cap closer to Appleton’s. The Council also honored Tom Wendt with a proclamation for his 35 years with the Fire Department. Wendt is currently the Division Chief of Fire Prevention. He retires on March 29th and will be replaced by Troy Haase.


Man Critically Injured In Washington County Crash


Washington County Sheriff’s officials say a 30-year-old Town of Trenton man was critically injured Wednesday morning when his pickup truck went through a stop sign and was hit by a semi truck. Dustin Heyn was southbound on County Highway M when he went through the stop sign at the Highway 33 intersection. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in West Bend and was immediately transferred to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Fifty-five-year-old Ricky Hesselink of Sheboygan Falls was driving the semi. He wasn’t hurt. 


Oshkosh Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested


The man suspected of robbing the BMO Harris Bank at 2100 Omro Road in Oshkosh late Tuesday morning has been arrested. Sheriff’s officials say he was arrested on a separate charge for violating probation. They also say it is possible one or more additional arrests will be made as the investigation continues. The suspect did not display a weapon during the robbery and no threats were made. He passed a teller a note demanding cash and walked away with an undisclosed amount of cash.


Jury Finds Sheboygan Falls Man Guilty In Shooting


(WHBL-Sheboygan)-A Sheboygan Falls man was found guilty Wednesday by a Sheboygan County jury in a shooting in Sheboygan Falls last November that left two Milwaukee men with leg wounds.  Twenty-seven-year-old Charles Chew was charged with reckless endangerment and claimed self defense but, after listening to two days of testimony, the jury brought back a verdict of guilty as charged.  Chew took the stand in his own defense and described how the men pushed their way into his apartment on Rangeline Road and began beating him.  He told the jury that during the struggle he felt a gun on the waist of one of the men.  He said he grabbed it and fired two shots.  Chew said, as the men ran from the apartment, he feared they were going for help or had another weapon, so he followed them out of the building and fired at least four more shots.  DA Joe DeCecco said it was those shots that were the basis for the charge.  DeCecco conceded that two shots fired inside of the apartment were self defense, but the others were fired after the assailants had disengaged and were fleeing.  DeCecco said those shots could have hit someone else.  No date for sentencing has yet been set.


FDL Woman Gets Probation For Safe Theft


The 23-year-old Fond du Lac woman who stole a safe filled with silver bars and coins from her friends will spend three years on probation. Steffany Barton entered a “no contest” plea to a felony burglary during a hearing in Dodge County Court this week. Her boyfriend, 28-year-old Tyler Peschke was also placed on probation for the offense last month. According to the criminal complaint two stole a safe from a friend’s home in Lomira last April. The value of the safe and its contents was estimated at close to $9,000. The pair was planning on selling the stolen silver for heroin. A restitution hearing is scheduled next month.


Dodge County Chief Deputy Retiring


(WBEV-Beaver Dam)-Another top official with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department is retiring. Interim Sheriff Blaine Lauersdorf will be retiring from the department on April 5th. He’s been with the Department since 1980 and became Chief Deputy in 2002. Lauersdorf became the Interim Sheriff with Todd Nehls retirement last Friday. Patrol Lieutenant James Ketchum is currently serving as the Interim Chief Deputy. The permanent Chief Deputy will be chosen by the next Sheriff, after the position is posted and the civil service process is complete. The Governor will be appointing the new sheriff. Twelve people applied for the position.


New Pope Selected


(Wisconsin Radio Network)-The head of the Green Bay Catholic Diocese says he was surprised by the selection of Pope Francis. Bishop David Ricken watched the announcement on T-V, and the first thing he thought when he heard the name Cardinal Jorge Bergolio was “Who?” Ricken says it’s interesting that the new leader of the church is from Latin America, which could help bring more Hispanics to the church. Ricken is speculating that Pope Francis’s name could have a connection to the Green Bay diocese. The cathedral in Green Bay is named after Saint Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary. Ricken says the pope is also a Jesuit, so it would make sense if he picked “Francis” because of that saint.


Residents Invited To Weigh In On Winnebago


Officials in Calumet, Fond du Lac, Outagamie, Waushara and Winnebago Counties are urging residents to participate in The Weigh in on the Winnebago Waters Project. Erin Gerred is the Director of Administration for Fond du Lac County. She says as part of grant for the effort they hired a consultant, Bio Diversity, which is helping them gather input from residents who use or just have an opinion on how the Lake Winnebago lakes systems should be used. She says that will include a meeting at the UW-Fond du Lac Large Group Instruction Room at 6:30 p.m. on Monday March 25th. She says anyone with an interest in lakes is invited to weigh in with their thoughts. She says a second part of the grant will allow them to use the data to help plan management strategies for the system. Residents can also take an online survey. Similar meetings are planned in Appleton, Menasha and Oshkosh. 



Senator Gudex Wisconsin Fast Forward Bill Signed Into Law



Wednesday, Governor Walker signed the Wisconsin Fast Forward Bill into law. The bill was co-authored by Senator Rick of Fond du Lac and its goal is to eliminate the skills gap Wisconsin currently faces in its job market. Senator Gudex says, “This bill will help fill private sector jobs, and we were able to get this done by working in an overwhelming bipartisan manner. We can now work directly with Technical Colleges and business to help them get the personnel they need, and citizens can get the work that they desire. This bill is a great marketing tool for Wisconsin because it sends a message that we will have the best system in place to put employers together with our citizens to eliminate the skills gap our state faces. “Both Republicans and Democrats set out at the beginning of this session to help our state create jobs, and this bill helped us find the common ground that we knew was possible if we took the time to work together. This is a good day in Wisconsin, and I am glad that we could get this bill done.” 


Drunken Driving Victims Impact Panel In FDL Tonight


Volunteers and interested observers are invited to attend the quarterly Fond du Lac Victim Impact Panel for first time drunken driving offenders. It’s a program that the County’s five circuit court judges and Lakeside Municipal Court Judge Jerry Jaye have offenders participate in. The next panel is tonight at 7 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers of the City-County Government Center in Fond du Lac. Fond du Lac County Judge Peter Grimm says it is an effective program. He says they usually feature three speakers. He says those speakers have suffered a loss or gone to prison because of drunken driving. Last year 209 drunken driving offenders attended the Victim Impact Panels. If you plan to attend you are asked to RSVP by calling (920) 386-3943.


Ripon Lime And Materials Submits Low Bid For Ransom Street Improvements


The Ripon Common Council this week approved a low bid for the third and final phase of improvements for Ransom Street. It’s the third and final year for the project. Eleven bids were received and Ripon Lime and Materials submitted the low and winning bid. City Administrator Lori Rich says the bid for just under $339,000 ($338,893) was under the estimated budget. She says once it is complete it will be a nice improvement for the City.


Expansion Of Girls Hockey Co-op Approved


Fond du Lac Schools Superintendent Jim Sebert says the school board’s approval this week allowing expansion of the co-op agreement for the Girls High School Hockey program will have several benefits. He says by allowing Kohler, Kewaskum and Kiel to participate along with Fond du Lac, St. Mary’s Springs, Waupun, and Oshkosh North and West they will have enough players for the team. He says it also maintains the program until such time that there are enough girls from Fond du Lac who are interested in coming out for hockey. By adding the three schools the team picks up three additional skaters and could have a roster of 17 to 19 skaters.


Lomira Hog Farmer Featured Speaker At NFDL Optimists Club Meeting


A Lomira hog farmer is the featured speaker at the North Fond du Lac Optimist Club’s meeting tonight at Marghael’s Banquet Hall. Allen Ries of Ries Purebread Hog Farm will give a talk entitled “The Pork Industry: More than Just the Other White Meat” during the 7:15 p.m. meeting. He will show case the industry’s rural economic impact plus on-going programs to enhance the nutritional quality of pork, to protect the environment and to treat livestock humanely. Wisconsin’s pork industry generates a total economic impact of nearly $200 million each year and supports 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.


St Patrick’s Day Dinner Will Benefit Town Of Byron Veterans Memorial


The Annual Town of Byron Veterans Memorial Fundraiser is scheduled for Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day at the American Legion Hall in Lomira. The traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public. There will also be a raffle for cash prizes. The Town of Byron Veteran’s Memorial Committee sponsors the dinner, which helps raise funds for the Town’s Veterans Memorial. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance by calling 921-4799 or 979-1109.