Local News Briefs Monday 2/23/15

Fond du Lac Public Works Director Jordan Skiff will review contracts with MSA Professional Services to site the extension of bicycle trails in Lakeside Park and on Camelot Drive for the Advisory Park Board tonight. The cost for siting the trails will be $9,500 and $14,500 respectively, but Agnesian HealthCare has donated money for the siting and grants could help with construction costs for the extension of the trails. The Board meets at 5:30 p.m. in Rooms D & E of the City-County Government Center. 

FDL School Board Meeting

Fond du Lac Schools Superintendent Jim Sebert will review upcoming student testing for the school board tonight. He will talk about the ACT testing for high school juniors next week and the Badger Exam that 3rd through 8th Graders will be taking between March 30th and May 22nd. The board will also hear a report on the school district’s annual audit. The meeting is at 5 p.m. at the District Administration Center Board Room.

Sturgeon Season Wraps Up

The Sturgeon season ended Saturday with a total of 2,158 fish harvested, 1,870 of them were taken on Lake Winnebago. The nearly 1,900 fish taken on Lake Winnebago were the 6th most in 75 seasons of sturgeon spearing. A total of 288 sturgeon were taken in the Upriver Lakes. Fewer fish weighed over 100 pounds this year than in the past five years, but they included some of the longest sturgeon on record. 

Voucher Program Helping SMSA Students

An official with St. Mary’s Springs Academy says the school voucher program has benefitted the academy in several ways. Director of Advancement Kelly Norton says over the last two years the program has help fund the cost for enrollment of several dozen students. She says the first year it paid for 20 students and this year 25 more were added. She says a lot of the voucher students came from families in their system who were already on financial aid. She says each year SMSA awards about $300,000 in financial aid. She says getting the voucher money allowed them to free up financial aid in their system to help out other students who weren’t eligible for the voucher program. She says there are still a lot of unknowns with the proposal in the state budget to remove the cap on school choice to know just yet how it will affect St. Mary’s in the next two years. She says they are working through that process internally as well. 

Interim MPTC President Considers Role

The interim President of Moraine Park Technical College says she likes her new role so far. Bonnie Baerwald was MPTC’s Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services when she was named by the Moraine Park District Board as interim president to fill in while the college looks for the successor to Sheila Ruhland. Ruhland left to become President of Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington. Baerwald says she’s been with MPTC a long time and understands the way it works. But would she have interest in having the interim portion of her title removed and become President of MPTC? Baerwald says she’s considering it at the board’s request. She says it’s not currently one of her career goals, but she hasn’t made a decision yet.

Crash Investigations Involving Fatalities And Injuries Take Time

The Highway Safety Coordinator for Fond du Lac County says there is a lot that goes into the investigation of a fatal traffic accident where someone may stand charges. Sheriff’s Captain Rick Olig says if drunken driving is involved it could get processed faster, but if there are causing injury or death charges there’s a lot more involved. He says the Sheriff’s Office purchased its own total station for reconstructing crashes because the State Patrol processes a lot of crashes with their equipment. He says it can take 6 months to a year to get a report back from them. He says there is the autopsy and other medical information they have to wait on including drug and alcohol information and blood tests on the drivers. He says there could be other factors as well including looking at the use of cell phones and how fast someone was driving. Olig says it’s difficult for the families of victims to wait for the case to be resolved in court, but they want to make sure they have it right if things go to trial.

Lock Boxes An Option For Homes Or Businesses

The Division Chief of Fire Prevention for Fond du Lac Fire and Rescue says he wishes more people would get lock boxes in case of fires. Troy Haase says they are primarily used by businesses, but you can get one for a home or even an apartment complex. He says the lock box is a secure box in which a business or home stores a key that only firefighters have access to. He says it would be nice if more businesses took advantage of lock boxes because sometimes they have to call a key holder to get in and other times find it necessary to force their way in. He says it’s three times cheaper to get the lock box than it is to replace a window or door that has to be forced open.

Clothes Closet Open Special Hours To Help Jobseekers For The Job Fair

The Clothes Closet will be open some special hours in April to help those who want to make a good impression during the annual job fair. Jim Cleveland of the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce says the Clothes Closet will be open April 7th through the 9th at Marian University and will be open to the public on April 9th. He says the first two days is for college and high school students from the area. He says the Clothes Closet is an idea a Leadership Fond du Lac team came up with. He says it’s for individuals who do not have nice clothes such as a suit or a pair of slacks, but need them. He says you come in and try the clothes on and are able to take them with you. Public hours are from noon to 7 p.m. on April 9th. Cleveland says there are places where nice clothing can be donated to the Clothes Closet the UW-Fond du Lac, Marian University, Moraine Park Technical College, and the Association of Commerce. The Job Fair will be on April 15th at Marian.

Cold Snap Concern

This cold snap has everyone doing what they can to stay warm. However, sometimes the weather can impair the judgment of drivers and pedestrians. Larry Corsi is with the state Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Safety. He says they have a message for drivers who either go off the road or experience vehicle problems. Stay inside your vehicle when it’s safe to do so. If you find yourself stranded or in the ditch, call 911 and wait for emergency responders to assist you in a safer manner. He says they also are concerned about people wearing winter headgear that may block their line of sight.  He says all pedestrians need to check and then double check their surroundings, especially when looking to cross a street. He says it is especially important for kids who are walking to and from school. He says they want people to be as visible as possible by wearing bright colored or retro-reflective clothing; not just at night, but during the day when winter weather can reduce visibility.

Walk MS FDL Needs Volunteers

Volunteers are needed for the Walk MS Fond du Lac, which will be held on Saturday, May 2nd at Marian University. Volunteers will help throughout the morning and early afternoon with a variety of roles including set-up, registration and check-in, medical assistance/first aid, parking guides and cheering the walkers across the finish line. The walk starts at 10 a.m. Set-up and check-in begins earlier. Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up now by visiting walkmswisconsin.org or by calling (262) 369-4400. The annual fundraising walk for multiple sclerosis is expecting more than 300 walkers. The goal is to raise $45,000 to support research and direct services for the more than 11,000 children, women and men in Wisconsin with MS and their families.