Local News Tuesday 3/5/13

Winter Weather Advisory Shifts To West Of FDL County


Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Winnebago and Washington Counties are no longer under a Winter Storm Watch. In fact according to the National Weather Service the real possibility of accumulation has shifted to the west. Dodge County and Green Lake Counties are among those under a Winter Weather Advisory and west of them a number of counties have a Winter Storm Warning. You can expect snow in the Fond du Lac area today, which is expected to begin during the late morning hours. 


FDL Man Sentenced For Car Chase


The 19-year-old Fond du Lac man who allegedly abducted his girlfriend’s children from a babysitter’s home in Fond du Lac last October has been sentenced in Waukesha County for an ensuing car chase. Tou Thao was sentenced Monday to 2 ½ years in prison and 3 ½ years of extended supervision. The incident began in Oshkosh on October 1st of last year when Thao allegedly punched his girlfriend while they were sitting in her parked car. She got out of the SUV and he took it. It was involved in a hit-and-run accident with a parked car in Oshkosh and then he headed to Fond du Lac where he allegedly took the women’s children. He was captured after a traffic crash in the Village of Menomonee Falls while police were pursuing him. The children were treated at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee after the crash. Thao had already been fined for a number of traffic offenses in Oshkosh stemming from the incident. He hasn’t been charged in Fond du Lac County.


Washington County House Fire


A snowmobile trail groomer in Washington County alerted Sheriff’s officials to a house fire in the Town of Wayne early Sunday morning. Fire destroyed a two-story home in the 7900 block of County Highway W. Eight fire departments battled the blaze, which left the home with extensive interior damage making it a total loss. No one was injured during the fire. The cause is still being investigated.


Former Sheboygan Mayor Arrested For Drunken Driving


Former Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan was arrested over the weekend for drunk driving in the city of Kiel.  Kiel Police Chief Dave Funkhouser said officers stopped a car driven by Ryan about midnight Sunday night as it headed east on County XX.  Funkhouser said the 49-year-old Ryan was arrested at the scene and then later taken to the Manitowoc County Jail where he was held on a 12-hour detention.  It is Ryan’s first drunk driving citation.  He is scheduled to appear in Municipal Court in the city of Kiel on April 23rd.  Ryan was in Sheboygan County Court two weeks ago when he pled no contest to charges of disorderly conduct which had been reduced from misdemeanor sexual assault stemming from a drinking binge in Elkhart Lake in 2011.  That incident led to Ryan’s recall and ultimate ouster from the mayor’s office. 


Snowmobile Deaths In State Increase To 18 For Season


The number of snowmobilers killed in accidents this winter in Wisconsin has increased to 18. DNR Conservation Warden and Snowmobile Safety Administrator Gary Eddy says the latest fatal accidents involving snowmobiles occurred in Iron and Rock County last Saturday.  “The Iron County fatality occurred near Mercer when one snowmobiler crested a hill on a public trail and landed on top of an oncoming snowmobiler,” Warden Eddy said. “The two were apparently companions. Speed appears to be a factor.” Warden Eddy says the second accident occurred when the snowmobile the victim was on went into open water on Lake Koshkonong in Rock County. The victim’s body was found by authorities in water 300 to 400 yards from the shore.


Sentencing Set For Watertown Man In Drunken Driving Homicide


A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for the 23-year-old Watertown man who was driving drunk last October resulting in a crash that killed his 21-year-old girlfriend. Wesley Ismert entered a no contest plea recently in Dodge County Court on a drunken driving homicide charge. Judge Steven Bauer ordered a presentence investigation and a sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 10th. Ismert was drunk and speeding when he hit a curb and then struck a telephone pole in the City of Watertown early the morning of October 20th. The pole snapped in half and the car was found upside down in someone’s front yard. Ismert’s girlfriend, Valerie Schmudlach, was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.


Tornado Warning Inadvertently Sent Out


If you received a tornado warning alert on your smart phone Monday morning about 10:30 a.m. it was just a wireless test being done by the National Weather Service.  It was an internal test that got sent out to the masses.  It was for the entire state of Wisconsin. They apologized for any inconvenience it may have caused.


Highway 151 Bypass Proposed Improvements Subject Of Public Hearing


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 next week. The state’s Department of Transportation will hold the hearing next Monday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the UW-Fond du Lac in the LGI 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.

He says plans are to put in an interchange at County Highway V and an overpass at County Highway T. He says at the earliest that would start in 2015, but no later than 2020 depending on funding availability. He says there would eventually be a system interchange at Highway 151 and Highway 41 that would be more free-flowing for traffic, but that would also involve closing some access. That would remove access at Rienzi Road at Martin Road, although an overpass would be put in at Martin Road in the future.


Note: he hearing is being held to designate a segment of Highway 151 from County Highway D to State Highway 23 as a freeway, preserve right of way, and to consider the environmental impacts of the associated improvements that are proposed to Highway 151 between County Highway D and County Highway WH in Fond du Lac County. Individuals that cannot attend the hearing and have comments or want additional information should contact Wagner at (920) 492-5983 or by e-mail at robert.wagner@dot.wi.gov.   The university is wheelchair accessible. Citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing and require an interpreter may request one by contacting Wagner at least three working days prior to the meeting.


Dredging Project Will Restore Lakeside Park Lagoons


How the Lakeside Park lagoon channels are dredged next winter won’t be typical, but the results will be better navigation and more attractive for users of the park. Fond du Lac City Manager Joe Moore says after next fall the lagoons will be blocked off and water will be drained from them. Excavation crews will then come in and remove the bottoms of the lagoons restoring them to what they once were years ago. He says removal of the silt and fill should restore navigation. He says it will also make for more attractive looking lagoons compared to what they’ve recently been. Moore says the project will be completed long before Walleye Weekend in 2014.


Pinning Ceremony For Promoted FDL Police Officers


A “Pinning Ceremony” will be held Wednesday afternoon at the Fond du Lac Police Department for five officers who were recently promoted. Chief Bill Lamb says the 5 p.m. ceremony will be for: Assistant Chief Steve Klein, Assistant Chief Steve Thiry, Captain Robb Duveneck, Lieutenant Ed Wenzel, and Detective Matt Bobo. He says, “The City of Fond du Lac Police Department is very fortunate to have exceptionally talented and dedicated people at all levels in our Department; that’s something that’s very observable each and every day, but it was also very apparent during all of these promotional processes and selections. The individuals that were selected for these promotions have consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellence in service to our Department and the community, and an extraordinary commitment to our mission and values. We are quite confident that each of them will excel in helping to lead our Department into the future.”


Senator Gudex Says Mining Bill Isn’t Being Rushed


State Senator Rick Gudex doesn’t feel the mining bill is being rushed through the state legislature. The state lawmaker from Fond du Lac says he understands why people may have that impression, but it’s an enhanced version of a bill that was voted down in the last session. The bill was approved by the Senate last week and will be taken up by the State Assembly this week, but Gudex says even after its signed into law it will still take nearly two years for the mine to go through the permitting process. He says the bill strikes a balance in helping the economy and protecting the environment. He says it will add much needed jobs in the North Woods, but he’s also hoping it will have a spin off impact for manufacturers in the Fox Valley.


State Democratic Party Demotes Zielinski For Dahmer Comparison


(Wisconsin Radio Network)-The Democratic Party of Wisconsin demotes its chief spokesman. Spokesman Graeme Zielinski was removed from his position, following a series of tweets last week in which he compared Governor Scott Walker to Milwaukee serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.  Zielinski was reacting to news that a long-running John Doe investigation into Walker’s office when he was Milwaukee County executive did not result in any charges against the governor. He later apologized to both Walker and Dahmer’s murder victims. Asked about the comments last week, Walker brushed off the comparison to Dahmer and Zielinski’s behavior. Zielinski lost a week’s pay and will remain with the Democratic Party as a media adviser, but he won’t be able to speak for the party on Twitter.


Family Resource Center Casino Night Friday


The new Executive Director of the Family Resource Center in Fond du Lac says she’s adjusting well to her new role. Tasha Frye joined the Center as its new executive director last September. She went to Marian University where she got a bachelor’s of science degree in health care and behavior social services. She says it’s been a bit overwhelming, but has been going very well. Frye says they have a lot of new fundraising events and ideas that have been brought to the table. One of those fundraisers is their 12th Annual Casino Night, which will be held at the Elks Lodge in Fond du Lac from 6:30 to 10:30 this Friday night. It will benefit the services provided at the Family Resource Center. It’s $10 to get in the door.


Benefits Of Eating Local Topic Of FDL Public Library Program


The benefits of Community Supported Agriculture will be the focus of a program at the Fond du Lac Public Library on Wednesday, March 20th. Library Community Information Coordinator Terri Fleming says a farming couple. Paul and Sara Huber, will give the 6 p.m. presentation “How to Eat Local.” Fleming says there are many benefits to eating food produced locally including its fresher and not sprayed with preservatives to survive a long trip. She says it also supports local farmers and producers. The program is free and no registration is required.


Info Session On Upward Bound Today


A second information session will be held for parents and guardians of ninth to eleventh grade students at the Fond du Lac High School or Horance Mann High School in North Fond du Lac that will apply for Marian University’s Upward Bound Math and Science Program. It will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Room T-205 at Marian’s Stayer Center tonight. The deadline to apply for the program is this Friday. Sixty eligible students will be selected for the program.


Senator Olsen Honored


State Senator Luther Olsen of Ripon recently received two awards for his work during the 2011-12 legislative session. The Wisconsin Builders Association presented him with the 2012 Friend of Builders Award for his on-going support of economic development. Also the National Federation of Independent Businesses presented him with the Guardian of Small Business Award. Olsen says receiving the awards is a great honor.