Local News Briefs Monday 3/17/14

Congressman Tom Petri applauds the U.S. Senate’s recent passage of a bill he coauthored that allows tank truck operators carrying propane to drive beyond the current hours-of-service limits through May 31st, in order to speed up delivery in affected states. Current Department of Transportation exemptions expire after 30 days. It’s estimated 250,000 people in Wisconsin rely on propane to heat their homes. The federal lawmaker from Fond du Lac says, “Unfortunately, many have been unable to heat their homes for much of the winter, so I’m very glad we were able to move this legislation quickly so that propane can continue to make it to those who need it without federal regulation standing in the way.” The bill will now be presented to President Obama for his signature.

State Assembly Takes Up Tax Package This Week

The State Assembly this week takes up changes the Senate made to the Governor’s tax relief package. State Representative Joan Ballweg of Markesan says essentially it’s still the same proposal the governor made that would return more than $500 million in income and property taxes to state residents. She says in addition to the income and property tax relief people will be getting more back in their paychecks thanks to a change in withholding tables. She says the money is being returned to taxpayers because of a huge budget surplus. She says it’s hoped the money that’s being returned will help spur the economy. 

Gary Miller Runs For Third Term On FDL City Council

Fond du Lac City Councilman Gary Miller is seeking another term on the Council this spring. Miller had asked City staff to do a survey when the Council was considering a change to an ordinance prohibiting the use of bicycles on sidewalks. He says he likes to consider as much information as possible before making a decision that affects thousands of people. He also took exception when an applicant for a liquor license omitted a drug conviction. Miller says the City has to be honest in its dealings with business and the same should be true for a potential business owner. If Miller wins re-election it would be his third consecutive term and he will have reached a term limit, but he says he’d like to get elected for that third term. Miller is one of five candidates running for four seats on the Council April 1st.

Drug Court A Second Chance

Fond du Lac Police Chief Bill Lamb hopes the County’s new drug court will have an impact on drug users. The program is for non-violent drug-fueled offenders and is an intervention treatment program with strict standards and penalties for those who don’t live up to restrictions. Lamb says the Winnebago County drug court has been particularly successful. He says the program is going to be a second chance for those offenders, but wouldn’t succeed if not for the treatment component. He says otherwise those in the program would get out of it and go right back to the lifestyle that got them into trouble in the first place.

Sheboygan Police Officer Attacked By Pit Bull

Sheboygan Police say one of their own was bitten several times by a dog Friday night. Police say the officer was on the sidewalk talking to a person when the pit bull darted from the front door of a home and attacked the officer.  The officer suffered bites to his abdomen and right leg and was taken to Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center where he was treated and later released.  The dog was taken to the Humane Society pending further investigation.

Sheboygan House Fire

Firefighters in Sheboygan rescued a woman and her dog during a house fire late Saturday night. Fire Department officials say smoke and flames were coming from the back of the home when firefighters arrived. A ladder truck was used to rescue the woman and the dog from the second floor of the house. She suffered a minor burn to one of her hands, but didn’t need to be taken to a hospital. The cause of the fire is still being determined.

Hotel Developments An Opportunity

The president of the Fond du Lac Convention and Visitors Bureau says new hotel development presents exciting opportunities for the area. Craig Molitor says the addition of a new Holiday Inn Express and expansion of the existing hotel’s convention facilities will allow the City to attract bigger conventions. He says the building of a new Hampton Inn on the former Dartmoor Motor Inn site is also a nice opportunity. Molitor says over the past few years they’ve been able to build up City hotel and motel occupancy rates from about 40 percent occupancy four years ago to about 51 percent.He says the addition of the new hotels and added meeting space should bolster that occupancy rate even more.

Raw Milk Bill Dead

(Wisconsin Radio Network)-It appears state legislators will adjourn this spring without acting on the raw milk controversy.  A bill to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk has been approved by a state Senate committee, but that’s it no further votes have been scheduled. State Senator Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald this is probably one of those issues that Governor Walker doesn’t want on his desk. A raw milk bill did pass the Legislature four years ago, but was vetoed by then-Governor Jim Doyle.

English Language Learners

Fond du Lac Schools Superintendent Jim Sebert says changes have been made in the past few years to their English as a Second Language courses. He says they are still providing classes to help students who are learning to speak English, but now they are known as English Language Learners or E-L-L courses. He says they try to provide that learning in a regular classroom setting to make it more comfortable for the students. He says sometimes they do need to provide individual instruction. Sebert says he remembers when he was a teacher how frustrating it can be for a student that is trying to learn the language.

Volunteers Needed For FDL Back To School Team

The Fond du Lac School District is looking for members for its Back to School team.  This year’s event will be held on Saturday, August 23rd at the YMCA/Boys and Girls Club and, as in the past, will provide children and families with the school supplies that they need for starting the school year.  It is a unique school supply “shopping” experience that served over 1,100 children in 2013! Volunteers are needed to put in several hours from April to August to ensure the event is successful. An organizational meeting will be held at the YMCA/Boys & Girls Club Multi-Purpose room on Wednesday, April 9th at 6:30 p.m.

Byron Historical Society Annual Meeting Celebrates The Yellowstone Trail

The Byron Historical Society continues its 2014 celebration of the Town of Byron transportation with a presentation on the Yellowstone Trail at its annual meeting at 7 p.m. tonight at the Byron Town Hall. Mark Mowbray, the Executive Director of the Yellowstone Trail Association, will highlight the trail’s many historical milestones. Copies of the recently published Wisconsin Guide: Driving the Yellowstone Trail will be available for all at no charge. The event is open to the public. The Byron Tall Hall is located at N3097 Highway 175 in Byron.