Local News Briefs Friday 8/23/13

Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s deputies were unable to locate a truck driver a caller said was slumped behind the wheel of a truck on Highway 151 near County Highway D Thursday morning. Sheriff’s Captain Rick Olig says they got a report of an Airgas truck that was pulled over on the road with gas escaping and the truck driver slumped behind the wheel. Deputies, Fond du Lac Fire and Ambulance, and Town of Fond du Lac Fire were dispatched to the scene but were unable to locate a truck of that description. It happened about 6 a.m. 


Lightning Blasts Hole In Highway 41


Washington County Sheriff’s officials say a lightning strike blasted an 18 inch deep, 3 foot long hole in the southbound lanes of Highway 41 north of Sherman Road in the Town of Polk. It happened yesterday about 11:18 a.m. Three vehicles were damaged as a result of the incident including a dump truck that was hauling granite. The truck appeared to have been struck by lightning causing some of its load to be propelled from the truck. The strike caused the truck to lose power, but the driver was able to steer it to the shoulder area and off the road. The driver wasn’t injured. Two vehicles suffered wheel and tire damage due the asphalt debris lying on the highway caused by the lightning strike.


FDL Police Officer’s Shooter’s Ex-wife Sentenced To Prison


Fond du Lac County Judge Peter Grimm recently sentenced to prison the ex-wife of the man who shot and killed Fond du Lac Police Officer Craig Birkholz. Thirty-three-year-old Sammi Cruckson was sentenced to a year in prison and two years of extended supervision for a bar fight with another woman that occurred outside the D and D tavern last January. The victim had to have stitches after Cruckson struck the woman in the head and pushed her head into a snow bank.  Cruckson was married to James Cruckson who shot and killed Officer Birkholz before killing himself.  Sammi Cruckson pled “no contest” to a substantial battery charge on August 12th. Three misdemeanor charges were read into the record and dismissed.


Washington County Burglaries


The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a recent string of daytime burglaries that have occurred between the end of July and through this month. Six different burglaries and attempted burglaries occurred in the Towns of Jackson, Polk, Richfield and Trenton. In the burglaries change, medication, a laptop computer and television were taken. In three burglary attempts the homeowner was home and the suspects pretended to be looking for someone, a gas station or inquiring about wheat field that was behind one of the residences. The suspects are a white man and white woman, both with blonde hair and in their 20s. They were driving an older black pickup truck, similar to a Chevy S-10 or Ford Ranger. Sheriff’s officials say anyone who sees the suspects or vehicle should report it to authorities. They advise not confronting the pair.


Juneau Man Sentenced For Drunken Driving Hit And Run Accident


The 43-year-old Juneau man who injured a Juneau officer by allegedly driving drunk into her squad car has been sentenced to 60 days in jail, a year and half of probation, and has to pay $10,000 in restitution. Chad Buelter was sentenced this week in Dodge County Court on a drunken driving causing injury charge. Another felony count of hit and run involving injury was dismissed. The officer was legally parked on a street last April when Buelter ran his SUV into her new squad car.  He stumbled away from the scene of the accident leaving behind the injured officer and three drunk and confused passengers in his vehicle.

Brooke Street Closing


Fond du Lac’s Board of Public Works informs us that Brooke Street will be closed at the Auburn Street intersection beginning Monday and will remain closed approximately one week. Don E Parker Excavating will be excavating for underground utility installation. Access to local businesses on Auburn Street will be maintained but may be limited. Drivers should plan an alternate route. There will be no signed detour.


Calumet, Winnebago County Residents Eligible For Disaster Loans


Calumet and Winnebago County residents are among those who can get help through low-interest loans after the U.S. Small Business Administration declared those counties and four others disaster areas due to storm damage earlier this month.  Also eligible are Brown, Shawano, Outagamie, and Waupaca Counties. Governor Scott Walker made the announcement. He says, “If you rent or own your own home or your business suffered damage during the storm, you may be eligible for a low-interest loan.”  Loans up to $200,000 will be available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate.  Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.  Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.  SBA and local officials will be establishing a Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.


Dodge County Sheriff In Favor Of Stiffer Drunken Driving Penalties


Dodge County Sheriff Pat Ninmann says she is in favor of stiffer drunken driving penalties. She says when you see people getting arrested for their third, fourth or fifth OWI something has to be done. That being said she feels if the penalties are being increased then there should also be some type of treatment as well. She says if legislators are going to propose stiffer drunken driving penalties they should also take a look at mandating meaningful treatment. She says continued treatment may be necessary to make sure those offenders are making progress. State legislators are currently considering legislation that would stiffen drunken driving penalties.


Fill The Boot Today


The Fond du Lac Fire Department is holding their annual “Fill the Boot” effort for the Muscular Dystrophy Association from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Residents are invited to “Fill the Boot” at the collection site, which will be near the intersection of Division and Main Streets. 


Free SPIRIT Riders Ride-a-Thon Saturday


The good work of the Free SPIRIT Riders program will be highlighted during their 23rd Annual Ride-a-Thon Saturday. Over the past 26 years the therapeutic horse riding program has helped out about 700 people with cognitive and physical disabilities. This year’s honorary co-chair is 6-year-old Liam Anderson who is deaf and blind. Free SPIRIT Executive Director Mary Narges says the program is helping Liam to gain confidence. The day will start at about 9:30. A pork roast lunch will be served at 11:30. Narges says there will be musical entertainment, a bucket raffle for children, silent auction and results of a raffle will be announced. KG & The Ranger is the musical entertainment and they will perform at 11:30 a.m. The Renegage Rangers Mounted Shooters and Black Bart will put on an Old Time Wild West Show at 2 p.m. Narges says they will also be selling purses through their Purses 4 Ponies effort. There’s no cost to attend, but it cost $5 for the pork lunch. Free SPIRIT Riders is located at W3950 Highway 23 about 2 miles east of the Fond du Lac City Limits.


Empire Thresheree Saturday


The Empire Threshing Association will hold their 29th Annual Thresheree at the John and Beth Wettstein Farm this Saturday. Stu Muck is with the association. He says people attending the event can see how crops were harvested a century ago. He says neighbors worked together to bring in the crop and you can see how it was before the days of multi-million dollar farms and equipment.

He says some of the equipment dates back to the 1800s and those who own it have out of necessity learned to make spare parts to keep it running. The event begins around 11 a.m. and will run until 5 or 6 p.m. Muck says there will be activities for the kids. The farm is located about five miles east of Eden on County Highway B.


BMX Bike Jam At Adelaide Park Saturday


A BMX Bike Jam will be held at Adelaide Skate Park in Fond du Lac at noon Saturday. Christina Umbreit is the mother of one of the BMX bikers that will be taking part. She says a group of local BMX bikers known as Robot Co are sponsoring the event. She says there will be biking, prizes, food and BMX bikers like her son Logan will be showing off their skills. Prizes have been donated by some of the local BMX gear suppliers for the event. The Fond du Lac City Council voted to allow BMX bikers to use the park along with skateboard riders this summer. The trial period runs through Labor Day.