Local News Wednesday 3/20/13

Racine Man Facing Len Bias Charge In Dodge County


Prosecutors in Dodge County have brought a 1st degree reckless homicide charge against a 26-year-old Racine man they believe supplied the heroin that led to a drug overdose death. Willie DeGroot was released on a $1,000 signature bond after his initial court appearance Monday. DeGroot was charged in connection with the death last August of 23-year-old Joshua Loewen of the Town of Portland. Investigators found text messages between the two and during the execution of a search warrant heroin was discovered on DeGroot; the same type Loewen had taken. DeGroot is four months into an 18 month prison sentence for drug possession in Racine County.


Rural FDL Man Suspected Of Sexually Assaulting A Child


A 64-year-old rural Fond du Lac man suspected of sexually assaulting a young child has been charged. Richard Ericksen made his initial appearance on a 1st degree child sexual assault charge in Fond du Lac County Court Tuesday. He was ordered not to have contact with an 8-year-old child. He’s free on a $5,000 signature bond and a preliminary hearing is scheduled on April 26th.


Oakfield Man Facing 8th Drunken Driving Charge


Bond was set at $50,000 cash for a 52-year-old Oakfield who is facing his 8th drunken driving offense after putting his car into a ditch off Highway 26 in Dodge County last Friday morning. Jeffrey Niles made his initial court appearance Monday. He told Sheriff’s deputies he had hit some ice and spun-out going into the ditch in the Town of Chester. They later learned he was still on probation for his 7th drunken driving offense. A breath test put him above the legal limit for intoxication. Authorities say they also found a marijuana cigarette and clip in his vehicle. He’s back in court for a preliminary hearing on March 28th.


Plymouth Woman Hurt In Crash


(WHBL-Sheboygan)-A Plymouth woman was seriously injured Tuesday afternoon in a weather-related crash on Highway 57 south of Plymouth.  Sheboygan County Sheriff’s officials say the accident happened around 3 p.m. when a 32-year- old woman lost control of her car on the snow-covered road, went into the median and rolled the vehicle over.  She was ejected and landed on the road.  Two children in the car were not hurt.  She was taken to Aurora Medical Center in Grafton and later flown to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.


FDL County Resolution Creates Fine And Fees For Tobacco Compliance Checks


Fond du Lac County supervisors last night approved an amendment to a County ordinance that will allow Sheriff’s deputies to cite stores who sell tobacco products to minors. The vote on the resolution was postponed last month because supervisors wanted a clearer picture of what the fine and court costs should be. Corporation Counsel Bill Bendt reviewed what the other six municipalities with similar ordinances are charging for first, second and subsequent offenses. Ultimately the supervisors approved $100 plus court costs for the first offense and $200 plus court costs for the second and subsequent offenses. Currently that would make the costs about $263.50 for the first offense and $389.50 for the second, but the way the amended ordinance is structured it would allow for increases in court costs should the state call for them. The supervisors ultimately amended the ordinance by a 22 to 1 vote after a pair of unanimous votes on the fine and court costs structure. Supervisor Herb Ottery voted against the resolution. The resolution will allow the 5 Counties for Tobacco Free Living to work with deputies on random tobacco compliance checks.


FDL County Board Notes


A resolution was approved by the Fond du Lac County Board last night increasing the majority of fees for the food licensing and inspection program offered by the County Health Department. Supervisor Mike Gannon noted that about 50 different fees will increase and another 13 won’t. Inspection Program Director Gloria Smedema informed the board that they review the fees each year and they would be much more if the state did the inspections. The new fee schedule goes into effect on July 1st. In other business the County honored two high school seniors for wining state wrestling titles in their weight classes. Campbellsport senior Ryan Costello won the WIAA Division 2 126-pound title, and Waupun senior Brady Huenink the Division 2 182-pound title. There were also three proclamations approved. The week of April 7th through the 13th will be Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in the County and the week of April 15th through the 19th will serve a dual purpose as Severe Weather Awareness Week and Work Zone Awareness Week.


Oakfield School’s Referendum


Oakfield School District voters next month will be asked to approve a 3-year referendum that would allow the district to exceed its revenue limits by $900,000 a year for operating expenses. District Superintendent Pam Yoder says it would succeed the current referendum that allows them to exceed their operating expenses by $700,000 a year. The new referendum if approved would begin for the 2014-15 school year. She says the school board had considered asking for more, but will also be making cuts even if the referendum passes. She says declining enrolment and cuts in state aid have had a huge impact on the district’s funding. She says since 2009 state aid has been cut more than $850,000. The Oakfield School District has a link to more information about the referendum at their website.


School Choice And Transportation Discussed At Thiesfeldt Town Hall Meeting


About 40 people attended a town hall meeting held by State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt in Fond du Lac this week. He says that’s down a bit from a couple of years ago during the height of the controversy over ACT 10, but still pretty good attendance during adverse weather. He says the proposed expansion of school choice and transportation issues topped the list of topics that were discussed. Thiesfeldt says people are interested in future projects along the Highway 151 bypass and he and Senator Rick Gudex will be fighting for funding particularly for completion of the interchange at Fond du Lac County Highway V.


Manufacturers Urged To Participate In Tax Reform Effort


Congressman Tom Petri is urging local manufacturers to participate in a congressional working group set up to collect and analyze input from the manufacturing sector on comprehensive tax reform. The bipartisan Ways and Means Working Group on Manufacturing is one of eleven working groups established by the House Ways and Means Committee as part of its effort toward comprehensive tax reform.  “There is no question that the tax code needs a thorough review,” said Petri.  “Manufacturing is a critical part of the U.S. economy, and Wisconsin is a major manufacturing state.” He notes the Sixth Congressional District traditionally ranks among the top in the country in terms of employment in manufacturing.  The working group emphasized the importance in receiving feedback from a “breadth of manufacturers” Public comments will be accepted through Monday, April 15, 2013.  For more on how to submit comments click here.


Gudex Says Governor Smart To Downplay Presidential Talk


State Senator Rick Gudex feels Governor Walker should concentrate on the job at home and forget about the lure of presidential politics. Walker finished 6th in a straw poll of potential GOP candidates at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington last weekend. Gudex says Walker can help the state out more by remaining governor and seeing some the initiatives he began to fruition. Governor Walker has already said he loves being governor and isn’t interested in running for another job. Gudex says Walker would be facing some pretty heavy hitters on the national political scene.


Home Sales Down In FDL County Last Month


The state housing market continued to improve last month, according to Wisconsin Realtors Association economist Dave Clark. He says February home sales statewide were up about 11.7 percent and the median price of a home was also up about 6.1 percent compared to February of last year.The median price statewide in February was $122,000. Fond du Lac County home sales were down 3.5 percent last month and the median price of a home was also down by just under 5 percent. To find our more click here.


Culver’s Sales Will Help Unity Bike Ride Fundraising Effort


A fundraiser at the Culver’s restaurants in Fond du Lac today will benefit the police officers that will be participating in the annual Unity Bike Ride to the Nation’s Capitol. Officer Ryan Williams rode in it last year and says participants get a rousing welcome when they complete the 300 mile ride. Ten percent of the sales between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Culver’s Restaurants in Fond du Lac will be donated to the group taking the ride. The Unity Ride raises money for the National Law Enforcement Memorial, which includes the name of Fond du Lac Police Officer Craig Birkholz who was shot and killed during a standoff incident in March of 2011.


National Flood Safety Awareness Week


(Wisconsin Radio Network)-This is National Flood Safety Awareness Week, and with the seasonal thaw just around the corner, it’s a good time to review your risks. Tod Pritchard with Wisconsin Emergency Management recommends a visit to “floodsmart.gov.” He says you get information about the risk of flooding, flood maps and other great information at the site. Pritchard notes that many property owners don’t know an important fact about their insurance policies. He says many people don’t know that homeowner’s insurance rarely covers flooding. Also bear in mind that factors such as new construction in your neighborhood can change the drainage patterns for runoff, so you may be at greater risk of flooding than when you originally purchased your property. Homeowners may want to consider purchasing flood insurance.


CitizenFirst Selects McClone For Committee


The Board of Directors at CitizensFirst Credit Union has unanimously elected Samuel J. McClone to serve on the board’s Enterprise Risk Management Committee, an advisory body charged with supervising and evaluating the credit union’s efforts in managing market, interest rate, liquidity and other risk factors. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, McClone is the strategic risk advisor at the Fond du Lac office of McClone Agency Inc., one of the largest independent insurance agencies in Wisconsin and a third-generation family business headquartered in Menasha, Wisconsin. McClone is also a board member of the Fond du Lac County Habitat for Humanity and the 2011 recipient of the Fond du Lac Association of Commerce Volunteer of the Year award. CitizensFirst Credit Union is a not-for profit, member-owned community financial cooperative. It serves nearly 29,000 members at five branch locations in Oshkosh and Fond du Lac.


Holiday Hours Announced For FDL County


Fond du Lac County Executive Al Buechel has announced the holiday schedule for County employees for Easter weekend. County offices in the City-County Government Center, the Portland Street Annex including the Veterans Service Office and Department of Social Services will close at noon on Friday, March 29th in observance of the Friday preceding Easter. The Sheriff’s Office Lobby Window will be open from 8 to 11 a.m. and the Highway Department office will be closed all day.