Local News Wednesday 4/24/13

Ashippun Man Facing Charges For Thefts From Church Fund


The 62-year-old Ashippun suspected of taking $162,000 from a church endowment fund he was overseeing made his initial appearance in Dodge County Court this week. A $1,000 signature bond was set for Jim Schlieve who is facing 14 different charges stemming from the thefts. He was in charge of overseeing the endowment fund at Zion Lutheran Church, but used the money to pay his own bills and to help struggling relatives. Schlieve waived his right to a preliminary hearing. He will be arraigned on May 15th.


Officer Involved In Fatal Shooting Was Department’s Firearms Instructor


It turns out the Town of Menasha Police Officer who fatally shot 66-year-old Wilson Lutz at the Scottsdale Apartments last Friday is the department’s firearms instructor. Lieutenant Gary Cutler is a 17-year veteran of the police force. Cutler shot Lutz twice as Lutz approached officers in a hallway with a gun and refused to drop it. He had been threatening to kill himself and was reportedly distraught over a relationship. Cutler has been placed on paid leave while the deadly use of force is being investigated.


Smoke No Fire


Fond du Lac firefighters were called to a home at 114 18th Street Monday afternoon for a report of smoke filling a basement. Fire Captain Larry Wunsch says when they arrived they encountered some light smoke in the basement, but there was no fire. He says the source of the smoke turned out to be an overheated sump pump.


FDL City Council To Consider Vacancy


The Fond du Lac City Council tonight will consider how to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of City Councilman Jim Sabel. City Attorney Deb Hoffmann will review the information for the Council. Options the Council can choose from include taking applications, conducting interviews and filling the seat that way, holding a special election or nominating someone and then voting to see if they are approved. Councilman Sabel’s term runs until April 15th of next year. The Council will also review rules governing the skate park. The Councils meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the City-County Government Center.


WP & L Reaches Settlement With EPA


Four Wisconsin power companies have reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Sierra Club in which they agreed to invest more than $1 billion in pollution control technology to significantly reduce air pollution at three coal-fired power plants. In addition Wisconsin Power and Light, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Madison Gas and Electric Company and Wisconsin Electric Power Company will spend a total of $8.5 million on environmental mitigation projects, and pay a civil penalty of $2.45 million for violating the Clean Air Act. The settlement is expected to reduce air pollution at power plants located near Portage, Sheboygan and Cassville. WP&L and the three other power companies are co-and former owners of the units. 


Unions Ask For Injunction Against Implementation Of ACT 10


(Wisconsin Radio Network)-A Dane County judge is being asked to keep the state from implementing the governor’s controversial collective bargaining changes. Unions representing Madison teachers and Milwaukee public workers have filed an injunction request in Dane County court, claiming Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission are moving ahead with implementing rules changes tied to Act 10. That’s despite a court ruling last year that found portions of the law that apply to school and local government workers are unconstitutional. The state has appealed the ruling, although the appellate court rejected requests to stay the decision while it considers the case. Attorneys for the union groups say WERC commissioners claim that the original decision does not apply to them because the judge did not issue an injunction. Unions argue one is now needed to keep the state from writing administrative rules.


Thiesfeldt Outraged Over UW Slush Fund


State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt says a revelation that the UW System has an almost $1 billion reserve fund is both shocking and appalling. He says that balance was built on the back of students and apparently unnecessarily. He says he would support a 2 year tuition freeze at the minimum and maybe even a rollback. Part of that positive balance includes nearly $650 million the Board of Regents have sole discretion over. He says the legislature is going to have to increase their oversight and rein in some of the independence UW System officials have had over their budgets. Thiesfeldt notes since 2002, system-wide undergraduate tuition has average increases of over 8 percent each year, causing the tuition fund balance to increase 95 percent since 2009. That’s been done while there have been reductions in state aid to the UW System.


Speed Watch Program Reminds Drivers To Slow Down In School Zones


More than 100 area people will be getting letters from Fond du Lac Police Chief Bill Lamb asking them to watch their speeds in school zones. It’s not a traffic citation, but part of an effort between the department and the Fond du Lac School District known as Speed Watch. A grant has allowed the district to purchase two radar guns and train volunteers on how to use it. Scott Savrsnik is the School Resource Officer for the Sabish Middle School. He says they will be sending out letters,120 of them, telling motorists they would have been cited for speeding if a police officer had been present when they went through the school zone. Sixteen volunteers have been trained for the Speed Watch program. He says children have to be present when the drivers are going over 15 miles per hour. Participating schools include Sabish, Pier and Lakeshore Elementary, and the High School. He says if you see the banner the enforcement effort is under way at that school and you should slow down.


Ripon Common Council Approves Refinancing Of Water System Revenue Bonds


The Ripon Common Council this week approved refinancing of water system revenue bonds, which will also allow the City to put an addition on the Wastewater Treatment Plant for the Water Utility. City officials say interest rates for the refinancing came in more favorable than they expected at just less than 2.3 percent. As a result the bond issue is for $4.685 million or about $70,000 less than anticipated. In 2005 Water System Revenue Bonds were taken out to purchase the Water Utility from Alliant Energy. The City used the old Smuckers’ Building to house the Water Utility. About $150,000 will be used to put the addition on the Wastewater Treatment Plant to house the Water Utility. The old Smuckers’ Building is being purchased by Commonwealth Development Corporation of Fond du Lac, which will build a 23-unit Apartment Complex the Jefferson Street Apartments on the site.


Candlelight Vigil For Crime Victims At FDL City-County Government Center


The Fond du Lac County Victim Witness Services program will honor crime victims with a candlelight vigil at the entrance to the Fond du Lac City-County Government Center this evening. District Attorney Eric Toney says it is part of the County’s observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. He, County Executive Al Buechel and Victim/Witness Coordinator Donna Schmidt will speak during the 7 p.m. ceremony. Campbellsport High School student Emily Ciriacks will also sing, which Toney says is appropriate seeing how much that community has lost to crime and tragedy over the last year. The public is welcome to attend the ceremony, which is only expected to run about 15 to 20 minutes.


Crime Victims Get Help Through Victim Witness Services


Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney says the County is fortunate to have two women dedicated to helping victims through their Victim/Witness Services. Last year the program sent out initial contact letters to 1,274 crime victims. They received 1,242 requests for notice of case disposition, 322 requests for restitution and 496 victim impact statements. He says beyond that the program also gives the victims advocates who are willing to sit in on their court cases. This is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.


Salute The Troops Will Host Races At Lakeside Park Memorial Day Weekend


Salute the Troops in Fond du Lac will be running Memorial Day Weekend Races at Lakeside Park on Sunday, May 26th. Salute the Troops Executive Director Dan Manning says they will host a half-marathon, 5k run/walk, and half-mile kids run. There will also be a festival on Oven Island that will include food and beverages, games, garden clubs and they are putting together a car show. He says they will also have entertainment, which include a DJ and Shut Up and Dance will also perform. Salute the Troops supports veterans and their needs. Manning says they will hold a mental health symposium about veterans at Marian University on October 11th. An early registration deadline for the races is tomorrow. After that prices will go up for the races. Manning says each runner will get a t-shirt there are prizes as well with some cash prizes for the top male and female runner in the half marathon. You can register at the Salute the Troops website or learn more by calling Manning at 204-6615. Organizations that would like to run games at the festival portion should also contact Manning to get more information. 


Blood Drive Today

Area residents are invited to join Agnesian HealthCare associates, volunteers and physicians and donate an hour of time today to give blood to the BloodCenter of Wisconsin. Blood donations will be accepted from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Agnesian HealthCare’s Plaza Level Conference Center at 430 East Division Street in Fond du Lac. Walk-ins are welcome.