Local News Wednesday 4/10/13

Stormy Night


Motorists and pedestrians alike may want to use a little extra precaution as they are making their way to school and work today. A stormy night has resulted in downed tree branches, swollen rivers and possible localized flooding in rural areas. With temperatures near freezing this morning there are also some frozen surfaces. Thunderstorms made their way through the area this morning.

Lightning Starts Garage Fire In Washington County


Lightning started a garage fire on Washington County Highway O in the Town of Erin yesterday afternoon. Sheriff’s officials say they got two 911 calls from neighbors who reported hearing thunder then seeing smoke coming from the 2,400 square foot garage at 7320 County Highway O. The blaze destroyed the garage and its contents which included antique cars, other cars and tools. The total loss is estimated at $125,000. Eight fire departments battled the fire. No injuries were reported.  No one was at home at the time of the fire.


West Bend Man Charged For Pipe Bomb Making Incident


Bond was set at $150,000 cash for a 22-year-old West Bend man suspected of trying to make pipe bombs and trafficking marijuana. Ethan Boettcher made his initial appearance in Washington County Court this week. An abandoned 911 call led to the place Boettcher was staying at on Lake View Road last Friday. He had suffered burns to the face trying to make pipe bombs last Thursday. A search warrant was obtained. Authorities seized explosive making materials, nearly 2 pounds of marijuana, 2 firearms, almost $11,000 in cash, a pickup truck and ATV. Boettcher will be back in court on April 22nd to determine when a preliminary hearing will be set.


Mayville Couple Charged With Child Neglect


The Mayville couple who let a 3-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy live in deplorable has been charged. Christopher Wenzel and Michele Giese were both charged in Dodge County Court this week with child neglect. Authorities removed the two young children from the home last month after they found them living in “disturbing” conditions. The couple had locked the children out of the bathroom to keep them away from lotions. Carpeting was covered with urine and feces and rotting food was strewn throughout the apartment. Wenzel told investigators he wasn’t a bad parent, just lazy. Wenzel and Giese work opposite shifts. They are free on $500 signature bonds. The children are living with a grandmother.


Plymouth Felon Well Armed


(WHBL-Sheboygan)-A Plymouth man who was arrested last week after a disturbance in the city of Sheboygan is facing numerous charges after deputies found six guns, body armor, an electronic stun gun, knives and several boxes of ammo in his car.  Thirty-year-old Rafael Montanez is a convicted felon who had spent two years in prison and is now facing 6 counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  He could get 10 years in prison on each count.  Authorities say the guns, including handguns, a rifle and a 12-guage shotgun were found in various locations in the car.  Two of the handguns were fully loaded.  Deputies stopped the car on Highway 23 and took Montanez into custody and impounded the vehicle.


20th Snowmobile Fatality Of The Season


The state of Wisconsin recorded its 20th snowmobiling fatality on Saturday. A 46-year-old man was killed in a single machine accident in the Vilas County Township of Phelps on Sunday. DNR Conservation Warden and Snowmobile Safety Administrator Gary Eddy says the victim struck two snow banks causing him and the machine to go airborne. Speed may have been a contributing factor in the accident.


FDL Officials Voice Support For The Arts During State Budget Hearing


Three Fond du Lac officials appeared before the state’s Joint Finance Committee Monday at Lambeau Field asking the legislature to examine the economic impact the arts has on economic development, tourism and jobs. Among them were Kevin Miller, the executive director of the Fond du Lac Arts Council, City Manager Joe Moore and Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership Executive Director Amy Hansen. Moore and Hansen were there to show support for Miller who was recently appointed to the Wisconsin Arts Board. Moore says they know for a fact that people who visit a community with a vibrant arts district stay longer and it also is helpful in job recruitment and retention efforts. Miller told the JFC that if Wisconsin is truly going to be the home for the best and the brightest, the state is going to have to invest more than 15 cents per capita in the arts. Wisconsin ranks 46th nationally trailing Alabama and Mississippi in its contribution to the arts.


Last Meeting For Burroughs And Lunde Ross


It’s the last Fond du Lac City Council meeting for a couple of Council members tonight. Mick Burroughs and Rebecca Lunde Ross are finishing up their terms with Council. Burroughs chose not to seek reelection and Lunde Ross was beaten in last Tuesday’s election. City Manager Joe Moore says he appreciates their service to the City. Moore says on the other hand he looks forward to the contributions that incoming members Catherine Block, Dan Manning and Sam Meyer will make. Block, Manning and Meyer will be sworn in as part of the Council’s organizational meeting next Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the City-County Government Center.


FDL City Council Preview


The Fond du Lac City Council tonight will be asked to approve development agreement that will allow redevelopment of the Wells Manufacturing building on South Brooke Street once the City takes over ownership of the facility this summer. Wells is moving into its expanded facility on Rolling Meadows Drive. Garten Factory LLC a limited liability formed by Commonwealth Development is interested in redeveloping the South Brooke Street facility. Also during the meeting the Council will be asked to amend the Employee Handbook to add the City’s values and mission statement and to clarify the City’s holiday policy. The Council meets at 7 p.m. at the City-County Government Center.

Firefighters Work In Concert With Police


Fond du Lac Fire Chief Peter O’Leary says they work in concert with police on calls to avoid potential situations like the incident in Rosendale last weekend. He says they recently had a call about smoke coming from a building on Main Street. A man had broken into a vacant storefront and started a small fire. O’Leary says when one of their firefighters saw someone moving around in the building they let police determine whether that person was a danger to himself or others. O’Leary says they do a 360 degree sweep around a building when they respond to fire calls and if anything looks suspicious they let police assess the situation. O’Leary says if they respond to an incident involving domestic violence or a possibly suicidal person police take the lead.


Applications Being Taken For Heating Assistance Program


Applications are being taken by Energy Services for home energy assistance in Fond du Lac County. Ben Armstrong is a spokesman for the program, which is part of the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program. The heating moratorium ends next Monday in the state and utility companies will be able to shut off power to delinquent customers. Energy Services awards grants to people who qualify to pay their heating bills. Armstrong says there are income limits based on the past three month’s income. To make an appointment call 1-800-506-5596. Applications will be taken through May 15th. Armstrong says last year 3,000 people in Fond du Lac County got the assistance. He says they have spots available yet for those who qualify. Once an appointment is scheduled it will be taken at the Energy Services office at 104 South Main Street, Suite 711 in Fond du Lac.


Former Olsen Staffer Now Executive Assistant Of Wisconsin DFI


A former Chief of Staff for then State Representatives Luther Olsen has been named Executive Assistant of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Olsen has since become a state senator and Georgia Maxwell more recently served as Executive Assistant of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Maxwell succeeds Lucas Vebber, who left the DFI to join the staff of state Senator Scott Fitzgerald.