Local News Briefs Friday 3/27/15

Funeral services will be held in Kiel Sunday for the Wisconsin State Trooper killed in a gun battle with a bank robbery suspect in Fond du Lac Tuesday. The service for Trooper Trevor Casper will be held at the Kiel High School Sunday at 5 p.m. Visitation for relatives and friends will be from noon to 4:45 that afternoon at the high school. A private burial is scheduled for Monday. To read the family’s statement click here.

Flags Lowered To Half Staff In Honor Of Trooper Casper

Governor Scott Walker issued an executive order Thursday ordering the U.S. Flag and State of Wisconsin flag at all state buildings, grounds and military installations to be flown at half-staff in honor of slain Wisconsin State Trooper Trevor Casper. The Governor released a statement saying, “Today, we recognize Trooper Trevor Casper for his heroism and remember his dedication to his community. Trooper Casper served the state faithfully and died protecting fellow citizens from harm. Tonette and I are keeping Trevor’s family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.” The order is in effect through Tuesday.

Evidence Being Weighed In Washington County Child Porn Case

A Washington County judge will decide in May if child porn images found on electronic devices belonging to a Hartford man should be allowed into evidence. Thirty-four-year-old David Knutson is facing 15 felony counts of possession of child pornography. His lawyer claims that some electronic items seized during execution of a search warrant last October were not part of the scope of the warrant. Knutson also claims he was not read his rights before he was questioned. According to the criminal complaint, police seized smart phones, memory cards, dvds and a computer. Investigators say images on the devices showed young girls.

FDL School District Officials Write JFC About State Budget Concerns

The superintendent of the Fond du Lac School District and school board president have sent a letter on behalf of the district to the State’s Joint Finance Committee opposing some of the school-related proposals in the state budget. Superintendent Jim Sebert says one of those proposals includes the creation of a state charter school authorization board. He says it would work around local public school districts to create independent charters schools, which would erode local control of school districts. He says they also have issues with proposed cuts in aid to public schools, and the expansion of the voucher program. Sebert says the district is no stranger to accountability, but they prefer the State Senate’s version of school accountability legislation to the Assembly’s. Sebert says they’ve already had some good talks with State Senator Rick Gudex and State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt. To read the letter click here.

NFDL Schools Superintendent Testified Before JFC

North Fond du Lac Schools Superintendent Aaron Sadoff took the opportunity to testify at the Joint Finance Committee meeting in Brillion last week about the impact of the proposed state budget on public education. Sadoff says the district has been dealing with budget deficits for the past three years, which has been offset somewhat with increases in student enrollment. He says their budget is actually less now than it was four years ago. He says the district would loose some state funding in the first year of the proposed state budget. He says the district would loose another $183,000 out of a $14 million budget, which is tight already in meeting the needs of 1,275 students. Sadoff says we need to get back to seeing public education as an investment and not a cost. He says from 4K through 12th grade we are investing in 14 years of a student’s life.

Crops And Soils Agent Mike Rankin Leaving UW Extension Service

After 27 years as the Fond du Lac County UW Extension Crops and Soils Agent, Mike Rankin is leaving for greener pastures. Pardon the pun, but if you know Mike he wouldn’t be beyond using it himself. He will become the managing editor for a national agricultural publication. He says his job suited him. He says not many people get to do something they love to do every day of the week for a better part of their work life. He says he’s really enjoyed working with the farmers and agricultural community in Fond du Lac County. He will be working for Hay and Forage Grower magazine out of Fort Atkinson. He says it is a good opportunity for him.

FDL New Parks Supervisor Experienced

Fond du Lac’s new Parks Superintendent has served as the City’s Parks Forman since 2012. Prior to that John Redmond was a long-time manager for Stuart’s Landscaping. Redmond recently succeeded John Kiefer as Parks Superintendent. Kiefer retired on March 13th after nearly 25 years in the position. Redmond will oversee 12 full-time employees and 15 seasonal employees. The Park’s Department is responsible for the maintenance and improvements in 26 City parks encompassing over 700 acres, as well as overseeing the marina, two City pools, and the urban forestry program. Public Works Director Jordan Skiff says, “John’s years with us already have prepared him to continue the top-notch management that John Kiefer provided, but he also brings new ideas and a fresh perspective.”

Homes Sales Up Last Month In FDL County And The State

Home sales in Fond du Lac County were up by 3.5 percent last month compared to February of last year. Across the state home sales were up by 1.8-percent last month. Meanwhile the median price of a home in Fond du Lac County was up by 6.5 percent while prices across the County increased more than six percent. Dave Clark of the Wisconsin Realtors Association says it’s a figure to keep an eye on. He says that affordability in the state remains quite high, but that could change if interest rates go up. For more click here.

FDL County Offices Closing Early For Easter Weekend

Fond du Lac County offices in the City-County Government Center, the Portland Street Annex including the Veterans Service Office and the Department of Social Services will close at noon next Friday for the Easter weekend. The Sheriff’s Office Lobby Window will be open from 8 to 11 a.m. and the Highway Department will be closed all day. The City offices in the City-County Government Center will be open all day.