KFIZ News Monday 6/27/16

Brantner Trial Could Conclude Today

The Fond du Lac County homicide trial for a 62-year-old Kenosha man could come to a conclusion today. Last Friday the jury watched a video of an interview police did with Dennis Brantner in March of 2014. Brantner was emotional, but would not admit to killing 18-year-old Berit Beck. The defense considered calling Brantner, but decided not to. Closing arguments will be given this morning and then the jury will decide whether there was enough evidence and testimony to conclude he committed the murder in the summer of 1990. 

Scott Street Railroad Crossing Will Be Closed

Fond du Lac’s Public Works Department tells us the Scott Street Railroad Crossing west of Lakeshore Drive will be closed for two days. The closure will begin Tuesday and will remain closed approximately two days. The railroad crossing will be closed to allow for track maintenance near the railroad crossing.  Drivers are encouraged to use the detour route of Brooke Street, Arndt Street and Hickory Street.  Bus service on Scott Street will be moved to Arndt Street from Brooke Street to Hickory Street.’

Dogs In Parks

Discussion over whether to allow dogs in Fond du Lac city parks will come to a head tonight. The City’s Advisory Park Board will discuss whether to recommend to the City Council changing a city ordinance to allow dogs in city parks. The board will also discuss the naming of three city parks. Fifth graders at Pier Elementary researched and recommended historic names. The three winning entries were Colwert-Edward Park for the South Park Avenue Park, Cardinal Park for the current Hunters Grove Park, and James “Maggie” Megellas Park for the current Meadowlands Park. The board meets at 5:30 p.m. at the City-County Government Center. 

FDL School Board Preview

The Fond du Lac School Board will consider approving employee handbooks tonight. Specifically that would be for teachers and professional educators, educational support professionals, and custodial and maintenance employees. The board is also expected to approve six resignations and six new teacher hires. In addition an expulsion hearing officer, Frank Endejan, will be appointed. The board meets at the District Administration Center Board Room at 5 p.m. 

Utility Easement Will Allow St Marys And WLA To Join Fiber Optic Network

The Fond du Lac City Council recently approved a utility easement that will allow the City and School District to expand a fiber optic network. Fond du Lac Information Technology Manager Dave Zittlow says they have a cooperative agreement with the school district, county, Moraine Park and Marian University for a Community Area Network. Some non-profits are also members. He says the network is spread throughout most of Fond du Lac. During a presentation to the Council Zittlow showed a map to the Council of how far-reaching the fiber optic network is. He says the network is used primarily for internet access and the easement with the Congregation of The Sisters of St. Agnes and St. Mary Springs High School will them to expand membership in the network, St. Mary’s Springs High School and Winnebago Lutheran Academy. The fiber will be installed at St. Mary’s expense, but the City will take over maintenance.

Waupun School District Projects Million Dollar Budget Deficit

If projects are right the Waupun Area School District will start the new school year with a nearly $1 million deficit. District Superintendent Tonya Gubin says that’s nothing new for the district, which began the past school year with a $600,000 projected deficit. She says they will end it with a deficit of $120,000. She says there fund balance is healthy so they can handle paying off that deficit. She says cuts in state aide, open enrollment and adding $200,000 to the budget for additional teaching positions all will impact the 2016-17 Budget. Two new teachers are being added at the elementary level to reduce class sizes, and a half a position is being added to the high school. She says the projected deficit is just that and may look worse that it actually is. She says the projected deficit is $968,000. The school board this past week approved the preliminary budget.

Governor Commends Johnsonville For Showing Commitment To Watertown Area

Governor Scott Walker says Johnsonville’s new, Perry Way Foods facility, shows a commitment to Watertown. The former facility was destroyed by fire in May of last year. He says for over a year Johnsonville continued to pay its employees who worked for the facility. He says the company gave its employees three options while a new facility was being readied. He says they could work at one of Johnsonville’s other facilities or go to Madison Area Technical College to further their education. A third option was to do some community service work. He says a lot of employees chose that and put in about 10,000 hours of community service. The Governor helped dedicate the new facility. Johnsonville purchased an industrial building, renovated and expanded it to 117,000 square feet.

Manufacturing Job Growth Ranking For FDL County Dips

Fond du Lac County has seen a drop in rankings by NewGeography for manufacturing jobs in 2016. After a peak ranking of 8th in the nation for small metros in 2014, the metro dropped to 80th out of 205 small metros in 2016. Although there has been a net increase in manufacturing jobs between 2012 and 2016, the recent growth rate has been slowing. Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation President Steve Jenkins says there are several factors for that. He says they are the impact of increasing automation in manufacturing and a critical shortage of workers with technical skills.

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Marian Master Program Offered

Marian University will hold an informational open house for students interested in its Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program at its Fond du Lac campus. It will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 21 in the Stayer Center Dining Room. Admission counselors will be available to answer questions about the admission and financial aid process. Individualized campus tours will also be available upon request. Preregistration is preferred, but not required. For more information or to register, contact the Office of Admission at 920-923-7650 or email [email protected]