Local News Tuesday 7/2/13

Wind Surfer’s Name Released


The name of the wind surfer who died on Lake Winnebago over the weekend has been released. Seventy-one-year-old Ronald Sandven of Sheboygan Falls was an experienced wind surfer. Conditions on the lake may have had something to do with his death. Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s officials say their boating under the influence enforcement effort “Operation Dry Water” over the weekend was limited because of water conditions and wind. Sandven’s wind surfing equipment washed up on the east shore of the lake and shortly after that was discovered there was a search effort launched. His body was found about 300 yards off shore. The cause of his death hasn’t been released yet.


NFDL Woman Sentenced In Drug Death


The 29-year-old North Fond du Lac woman suspected of selling the heroin to a 23-year-old Fond du Lac man that caused his death has been sentenced to 5 years in prison and 9 years of extended supervision. Juliann Bliefnick was sentenced in Fond du Lac County Court Monday morning on a 1st degree reckless homicide charge. Judge Gary Sharpe also ordered her to pay $13,000 in restitution for Tyler Hass’s funeral and burial expenses and any further restitution the District Attorney’s office may be able to come up with in the next 45 days. A second charge of heroin trafficking was read into the record and dismissed. Hass died at his mother’s home in November of 2011.


Congressman Petri On Immigration Reform Bill


Congressman Tom Petri says he heard a lot of opinions from constituents about immigration reform during recent town hall meetings in the 6th Congressional District. The federal lawmaker from Fond du Lac says most people realize you won’t see a massive sweep rounding up all 11 million illegal immigrants many of whom are employed and are part of the economy. Asked if he would vote for the version of a bill passed last week by the U.S. Senate he says not if it doesn’t seriously deal with the problem. He says he would want to be satisfied that the issue was really being dealt with and wouldn’t create another wave of illegal immigrants in the future. The Senate version includes the controversial “pathway to citizenship,” which reduces the number of years it would take an immigrant following the rules to become a legal citizen of the United States.


Wind Surfer Death A Tragedy


A Lake Winnebago homeowner says sadly the latest tragedy on the lake occurred not too far from the pier in their backyard. Dan and Mary Halfman live on Winnebago Drive in Fond du Lac. Mary says some windsurfing equipment washed up on their next door neighbor’s beach and then the harness for the equipment on their beach Saturday afternoon. They called 911. Within a couple hours the body of a 71-year-old Sheboygan Falls man was found about 300 yards from shore. Mary says it was unlike the usual scene of people enjoying the lake. She says she’s glad they reported their suspicions so quickly. In this case the victim was an experienced windsurfer. Gusty winds may have played into the man’s death. Mary says the one thing they know from years of living on and enjoying the lake is that weather and conditions can change quickly. She says she feel’s sorry for the man’s family.


Bank Robbery Suspect Sentenced


The 23-year-old Beaver Dam man who robbed the US Bank in Horicon of $1,900 has been sentenced to 8 years in prison and 8 years of extended supervision. Eric King was recently sentenced in Dodge County Court on several charges stemming from the January robbery. After leaving the bank King was subsequently involved in a high-speed chase during which he rolled his vehicle over and was arrested at gunpoint. Speeds during the pursuit reached 110 miles per hour. He told investigators he had a heroin problem and owed his drug dealers money.


Operation Dry Water Results


Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s deputies worked 7 ½ hours on Lake Winnebago during Operation Dry Water this past weekend. No one was cited for boating under the influence during that time. However Sheriff’s Captain Rick Olig says deputies made contact with 27 boaters/occupants on 8 vessels, issuing 1 boating citation and 6 warnings for safety violations and 2 non boating violations. Boating traffic was limited due to the water conditions and wind. Deputies assigned to the effort also led the search effort on Lake Winnebago for the missing wind surfer, spending 2 ½ hours searching. In addition to enforcing boating under the influence laws Operation Dry Water also brings awareness and education to recreational boaters about the dangers of alcohol and drug use on the water.


FDL City Hours For The 4th And 5th


City offices in the Fond du Lac City/County Government Center will be closed Thursday and Friday in observance of Independence Day. The Senior Center will also be closed on July 4th and July 5th. The Municipal Center will be closed on Thursday, July 4th for all services, including refuse collection and bulky waste drop off. Refuse normally collected on Thursday, will be collected on Friday with the normal Friday collection. The Fond du Lac Public Library will be closed on July 4th, resuming regular hours on July 5th. City Transit Buses will not operate on Thursday, but will resume regular routes on Friday.


City Purchasing Property For New Well


City of Fond du Lac officials are in the process of purchasing vacant property to become a new city well site. It’s part of the old Boyle Home at the intersection of North Park Avenue and East Arndt Street. Neighboring homeowners have been sent a letter. Public Works Director Jordan Skiff says the new high capacity well shouldn’t have an impact on the local aquifer. He says the drilling will be done this year, but it won’t be online until about a year from now. Skiff says it won’t have an impact on water rates for now because they are paying for it out of cash reserves in the water fund, but it may contribute to a rate increase sometime in the future. The City also plans to reconstruct the existing water distribution main, storm sewers and full street replacement during the project. Existing buildings on the site are not part of the purchase and will remain on the market.


FDL Drug Court Waits On Grant Funding Word


Fond du Lac County will be establishing a drug court this fall, but how large that program will be depends on whether or not the County wins a $350,000 grant to fund the program for three years. Carrie Nitz is chairing the effort. She says it’s an intervention treatment court program and those participating in it are held up to a lot of scrutiny on a weekly basis. Only those County residents 18 and older who have committed a non-violent crime fueled by drug addiction are eligible for the program. District Attorney Eric Toney says it may not be the answer for everyone, but it’s an alternative Winnebago County has had good success with. Those involved have to get jobs or do community service, attend support meetings and more. Toney says they hope to start the court in October. He says if they get the grant they will be able to do more with it and serve more people.


DNR Officials Says Firefighter Deaths In Arizona Tragic


(Wisconsin Radio Network)-A DNR official says the 19 firefighters killed while battling a wildfire in Arizona knew what they were doing and were highly trained. The elite group was killed Sunday, when an out-of-control fire surrounded them. Wisconsin D-N-R forestry team leader John Lubbers says wildfires can be very unpredictable, and the conditions in Arizona are particularly dangerous. Lubbers says the people leading the effort keep a close eye on the weather, but sometimes it changes so fast that they can’t adjust for it.