KFIZ News Tuesday 9/27/16

FDL County Jury Convicts Child Killer Or Original Charges

Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney says he’s not surprised a jury found a 30-year-old Bellwood, Illinois man guilty of original charges for killing a 14-month-old boy and of seriously injuring the infant’s twin brother. The jury last Friday deliberated about four hours before finding Daniel Griffin guilty of 1st degree reckless homicide and two counts of child abuse-intentionally causing great harm. In the jury instructions the jury had the opportunity to consider lesser charges, but Toney says it doesn’t surprise him they convicted Griffin of the original charges. Griffin’s lawyer, William Mayer, during his closing arguments made an issue that the state didn’t bother calling the baby boys’ mother Airrealle Smart. Toney says they didn’t need to. He says it was a “red herring” of the defense. There is a five-day jury trial scheduled for Smart in November.

Investigation Into Sheriffs Deputys Actions Was Precautionary

After reviewing reports and speaking with the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner District Attorney Eric Toney found a Sheriff’s deputy’s actions were justifiable in the death of an 18-year-old Campbellsport man. The man killed himself with a handgun after a slow to moderate speed chase with Sheriff’s deputies, during which he struck a patrol car driven by Deputy James Pfeiffer.  The Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident. Toney says he reviewed their reports, those from the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office, and spoke with County Medical Examiner Dr. Douglas Kelley. He found Pfeiffer’s actions were justifiable under self-defense and defense of others. He says there was no act or omission from Deputy Pfeiffer or any other law enforcement officer that would have resulted in the man’s death. He says the investigation into Pfeiffer’s action were only precautionary. The man had posted suicidal comments on social media and made similar comments in texts to acquaintances.

Three Burned During Fire Pit Explosion In Germantown

Washington County authorities say three people were burned when someone tossed gasoline into a fire pit on Kings Way in Germantown. It happened early Saturday morning. Two women ended up at St. Mary’s Burn Center in Milwaukee with burns over 40 percent of their bodies. One was in critical condition. A man with minor burns to his chest and hand was taken by his wife to the burn center as well. The explosion from the gasoline damaged the side of a home and its patio.

FDL School Board

The Fond du Lac School Board Monday approved agreements with Shining Stars Learning Center and Camelot Children’s Center for 3-year-old early childhood education. District Superintendent Jim Sebert says the programs prepare children with disabilities for the next step in their education, which could be a four-year-old kindergarten program in the district. He says the research shows programs like this one and the 4K program level the playing field in education at an earlier age. The board also heard three reports from District Health and Safety Coordinator Marian Sheridan. Superintendent Jim Sebert says those reports talk about some of the contributions the district makes to children beyond their education that people may not be aware of. He says that can include working with the County on immunizations, hearing screenings, the YScreen program, the teen parent program and more. The reports were on an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Survey, a School Climate Survey, and School Health and Safety Programs.

Waupun Area School District Open Doors Sessions On The Referendum

Beginning today Waupun Area Schools Superintendent Tonya Gubin and school board members will be holding informal “Open Door” conversations every Tuesday leading up to the November election. The district has a $36 million referendum it is putting before voters. Gubin says the sessions aren’t exclusively about the referendum. She says the ideas district residents contributed helped shape the referendum they are asking voters to approve. The “Open Door” sessions are at the Waupun Public Library today, October 11th and October 25th. They will be held at the Fox Lake Public Library on October 4th, 18thth, and November 1st. Each session will be from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

DFP Market Study And Plan Was Collaborative Effort

The Executive Director of the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership says the recently released Market Study and Plan was a collaborative effort. Amy Hansen says in addition to the DFP, the City of Fond du Lac, UW Extension Service, Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin Main Street, and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation were involved. She says they formed a team to do surveys, visited six comparable communities to see what they were doing, and talked one-on-one with a lot of people. She says they came up with 52 recommendations and out of that came up with a top eleven because many of the others won’t require as much to do. She says those top eleven will require some significant planning. She says people want to see more restaurants, specialty retail shops, places where they can do things with their kids, and new residential development in the downtown.

To see the plan click here.

FDL Area YScreen Program A Success

The Fond du Lac Area YScreen program is entering its 15th year of screening teens for mental health disorders and risks of suicide. Program Coordinator Lindsey Bruin says over the years they have grown from screening 9th graders at the Fond du Lac High School to freshman at schools across the County. She says if there are any concerns they work to get students connected to services early. She says about 1 in 5 students need some type of referral. She says the screening takes about 5 minutes and consists of 40 questions. She says they are looking for areas of concern like depression and anxiety, with questions about suicide, and drugs and alcohol use. She says 75 percent of 9th graders at Fond du Lac High School took the screening and 60 percent across the County last year. She says nationally the participation rate is only about 36 percent. This is National Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month.