Local News Briefs Friday 12/12/14

Mercury Marine’s union workers this weekend will vote on a tentative contract extension. The current contract with the labor union runs through August of 2016. But the two sides have held ongoing discussions that resulted in an extension agreement. The vote on terms of the extension will be held on Sunday in Fond du Lac.

Oshkosh Man Charged In Federal Court With Ricin Possession

The 21-year-old Oshkosh man suspected of making a toxic poison was charged in federal court in Green Bay Thursday with possession of Ricin with intent to use it as a weapon. A grand jury added a charge of Developing, Producing, Retaining and Possessing a Toxin for Use as a Weapon against Kyle Smith. He pled not guilty to both charges. He was ordered to stand trial on February 17th and will be back in court for a pre-trial hearing on February 6th. Charges stem from an incident on October 31st in Oshkosh that shut down the 800 block of Frederick Street and several adjacent streets. A white powdery substance seized at the scene tested positive for Ricin. Two UW-Oshkosh professors tipped police off that Smith, a senior at the school, had been asking them about making toxins from plants. He could spend his life in prison if he’s convicted of the federal charges.

Waupun Man Charged For Stabbing

A 28-year-old Waupun man is facing a felony charge for a stabbing in Reeseville last weekend.  Eric Haseleu allegedly stabbed a 26-year-old male late Saturday night.  The victim didn’t seek treatment at Beaver Dam Community Hospital until this past Monday. His injuries included a puncture wound to the back of his neck. He told investigators he’d been stabbed three or four times with a screwdriver. The two got into a fight over Haseleu’s girlfriend and the way he was treating her. Bond was set at $5,000 when Haseleu made his initial appearance in Dodge County Court this week.  A preliminary hearing is scheduled next week.

FDL County Holiday Schedule

The holiday schedule for Fond du Lac County offices and departments has been announced. Offices in the City-County Government Center, the Department of Social Services, the Veterans Service Office and the Department of Community Programs will close at noon on December 24th and December 31st will be closed all day on December 25th and January 1st to observe Christmas and New Year’s. The Sheriff’s Office Lobby Window will close at 11 a.m. those days and will also be closed on Christmas and New Year’s. The Highway Department will be close on Christmas and New Year’s. The UW-Extension Office will be closed all day on December 24th through December 26th and on December 31st and January 1st.

Drunken Driving Seat Belt Enforcement Efforts For The Holidays

Without the backing of state grants the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department won’t be able to pay for overtime or extra patrols for the “Booze and Belts” enforcement effort that kicks off today and runs through next week. Sheriff’s Captain Rick Olig says that doesn’t mean they won’t be looking for impaired drivers or those who don’t buckle up during that period. He says beginning Tuesday, December 23rd they will start hearing complaints about intoxicated drivers or aggressive drivers. He says those complaints will keep up during that next week although he says Christmas Eve and Day it isn’t too bad. Olig says New Year’s Eve isn’t as bad as in the past because fewer people spend the evening in a tavern. He says more people celebrate at private residences because they are cautious about being stopped for driving drunk or impaired.

Community Development Spotlighted

Fond du Lac City Manager Joe Moore started a new tradition at this week’s Common Council meeting giving the Council a Year End Review. It highlighted the past year’s accomplishments in each City Department. When he got to the Community Development Department there were a lot of highlights because of all the new and redevelopment efforts going on. Moore talked about Marian’s efforts to redevelop the Nielsen Building and Commonwealth Companies redevelopment of the former Retlaw Theater, which he says is generating a lot of interest for Commonwealth. But not all development is concentrated in the Main Street area. He talked about the expansion of the Holiday Inn’s Convention Center, the redevelopment of the former Wells Manufacturing site and what he says will be next year’s biggest development the building of Grande Cheese’s new headquarters. Moore says it was also good to see the project at the former Rolling Meadows Nursing Home move forward this year.

Meyer Says Decision Not To Run For Reelection Was To Have More Time With Family

Fond du Lac City Council President Sam Meyer says his decision not to run for re-election is based on wanting to spend more time with his family. He says he’s served on both the City Council and County Board over the years. He says between the two he’s served six years and the last two years as Fond du Lac City Council President. He says he likes it, but it’s time for him to return to private life. He says it won’t be long before the eldest of his four young children will be leaving home and he’d like to spend more time with them and on his business. He says in addition to serving on committees and boards connected with the Council he’s served on other boards and committees over the years. He says that includes serving as the past president of the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership, on the Redevelopment Authority and serving on County Committees too. He says it’s good to have new blood serving on the Council too.

Ripon Refinances Debt And Finances Street Projects

The Ripon Common Council this week approved a bond issue of $5.1 million to refinance sold old debt and to pay for a couple of street projects. Three existing debt issues will be refinanced from 2004, 2007 and 2013. City Administrator Lori Rich says funding for the street projects is for this year’s work on Thomas Street and the work on Watson Street next year. She says the winning bid came in more favorable than what the City’s financial consultant was expecting. The bid from Baird in Milwaukee was for 2.33 percent, which reduced the size of the borrowing by $275,000. She says in addition to having to borrow less the City will save some considerable money on interest over the term of the loan. They estimate the savings will be $153,000.

Sales Of Restaurant Gift Certificates This Weekend Benefits The United Way

Gift certificates for some popular local restaurants are on sale this weekend that will benefit the Fond du Lac Area United Way. Progressive Investors Company contributes to the United Way through the sale of gift certificates to Friar Tucks, Sebastian’s Steak House, and Salty’s Seafood Restaurant. United Way Executive Director Tina Potter says the United Way gets $2 for each gift certificate sold through this Sunday. She says annually that effort raises about $600 to $650.

She says the food and service at the restaurants is outstanding. The certificates are available at the restaurants. Also today is the last day to order Christmas gift boxes from LaClare Farms that will benefit the United Way. The United Way will receive $3 for each box sold up to 100 boxes. Order forms are available at the United Way website, but you should probably call LaClare Farms at (920) 670-0051 to confirm the order.

Residents Encouraged To Shop Locally

The president of the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation encourages residents to shop local and not just during the holiday season. Steve Jenkins says it’s the perfect Christmas gift for local businesses. He says it’s something that should be considered every day because it supports the local economy. Jenkins says studies show money spent locally turns over several times with local businesses re-circulating about 60 percent of their revenue, which helps other businesses.