Local News Briefs Monday 3/3/14

A Fond du Lac man will spend 10 years in prison on cocaine and marijuana possession charges. Fond du Lac County Judge Dale English last Friday sentenced Alfred Johnson to the prison term and five years of extended supervision.  According to the criminal complaint authorities found some pot and a number of baggies of cocaine when they searched his person during an arrest. 

Smoke Scare

Fond du Lac firefighters responded to call about smoke in a business and upstairs apartments late Saturday night. According to fire officials the call was to Bryanna’s Bakery at 248 South Park Avenue. Unattended food was left on a stove, which resulted in the smoke. Residents of the upstairs apartments were allowed to return after the building was ventilated. The time of the call was shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday night. Fond du Lac Fire Department photo. 

Sheboygan Murder Suspect Arraigned

The 18-year-old Sheboygan man charged with his father’s murder entered a not guilty plea when he was recently arraigned in Sheboygan County Court. Dorian Torres is suspected of killing his 41-year-old father Emilio and hiding his body for several days in the apartment they both lived in. He was arrested on January 30th. Authorities found his father’s body wrapped in blankets and shower curtain and hidden in his bedroom. 

Dodge County Woman Charged With Child Neglect

(WBEV-Beaver Dam)-A Burnett woman is accused of raising her children in deplorable conditions. Secoy Koch-Miller is charged with misdemeanor child neglect and felony child neglect resulting in bodily harm. Dodge County Human Services obtained a search warrant of her residence in November after the father of her infant daughter altered authorities to the dangerous living conditions. Koch-Miller lived in the home with her mother and two children, the infant and a toddler. Officials say the residence was that of a typical “hoarder” with boxes stacked throughout the lower level and belongings blocking access to some rooms. There were allegedly bugs, rotting food, black mold and a pungent odor of animal feces and urine. The pets were removed and the children were placed in foster care. A medical exam found both children to be covered in bug bites. The toddler’s hair was full of spiders and spider eggs; he was running a fever and was underweight. The infant had bruising around her eye. The township had indicated to investigators that action would be taken to have the residence condemned. The children are said to be doing well in foster care. Koch-Miller is scheduled to make her Initial Appearance on March 10.

Kramer Will Be Stripped Of Assembly Leadership Position

(Wisconsin Radio Network)-Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer will be stripped of his leadership position. That response was from Speaker Robin Vos to media revelations that Kramer sexually harrased women at a Washington, D.C. fundraiser. The story unfolding during the day Saturday, with the Milwaukee Journel Sentinal reporing the allegations against the 49-year-old Waukesha lawmaker. Kramer’s office issued a statement that he had entered a treatment facility and would have no further comment.  By late Saturday afternoon, Vos released his own statement, calling the allegations against Kramer very serious and saying the GOP caucus had lost trust and confidence in him. They’ll take action Tuesday to remove him from the majority leader’s post, a position he’s held since last September.

Heroin Summit Explores Problem In FDL

Beacon House Executive Director Mary Gerlach says the Fond du Lac area has a huge heroin problem, and she’s not the only one that shares that opinion. She says that’s why they organized a heroin summit on Tuesday, March 11th at Marian University’s Stayer Center. Gerlach has been with the Beacon House for nearly 11 years and says they used to treat alcoholics with prescription drug problems, but heroin use is changing that. Fond du Lac Police Chief Bill Lamb is among the panelists and will be the first presenter. She says Chief Lamb’s goal is to educate the community about the problem and will be talking about what they are seeing. Gerlach says heroin use is a problem for the entire community because of the tangential impacts. She says that can include drug-related crimes, human trafficking, an increase in HIV and Hepatitis C. Other panelists include doctors, two who overcame addictions, a mother who lost her daughter to heroin, District Attorney Eric Toney, Carrie Nitz of the drug court and more. The program is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. that evening and is free. Sponsors are Beacon House, Marian University and the Fond du Lac Area United Way.

Senator Gudex Supported Heroin Legislation

State Senator Rick Gudex says he supported a package of bills aimed at preventing heroin deaths in the state. State Representative John Nygren of Marinette introduced the four bills that got passed by both the State Senate and Assembly. The bills are on their way to Governor’s desk. Gudex says it’s a real problem for users and their communities. He applauds local efforts to do something about it. In particular he favors the “911 Good Samaritan” bill that grants limited immunity to a person who calls for help for someone who has overdosed. The other three bills allow those who are properly trained to administer naloxone to counter the effects of an opiate overdose, another promotes safe drug disposal programs for prescription and over-the-counter medications, and another requires proper ID when picking up certain types of medications.

Numbers Add Up For Solutions Center Shelters

Numbers don’t lie and if that’s the case the Solutions Center in Fond du Lac helped out over 500 people with their four shelters last year. A total of 540 were served in those shelters including 206 at the men’s shelter, which helped out 197 men and 6 children. Interim Executive Director Maggie McCullough says more than half of those people were women and their children who stayed at the women’s shelter. She says that breaks down to 287, 175 women and 112 children and 11 more people were served at the family shelter. In addition 40 people used the warming shelter for overnight stays in November and December. Speaking of numbers the Solutions Center can always use donations and McCullough says they will be sponsoring the annual Bunny Hop next month. The race will be on April 19th. Last year about 200 people participated in the race.

New Lotto Game Launches In April

State Lottery Director Mike Edmonds says for the first time in 11 years the state lottery will be introducing a new lotto game in April. He says the daily Five Card Cash game will start then. It will begin on April 6th. He says it’s a card game that has two parts. He says players will have two chances to win instantly by drawing an Ace or better and then through a nightly drawing. The tickets will be $2 each. Edmonds says it’s another great opportunity for lottery players. The Badger 5 game was launched in 2003. The top prize in the Five Card Cash game will be $250,000. 

Wisconsin Transit Week

Governor Walker is proclaiming this week as Wisconsin Transit Week. Ian Ritz with the state Department of Transportation’s Transit Section says the state has a pretty large and diverse public transit system. He says it’s in 81 communities. The majority of public transit service is operated by urban bus systems but there are also rural bus systems and shared-ride taxi operations. Overall, the network provides about 55 percent of the state’s population with access to public transit. The department’s goal is to see these numbers up closer to about 75 percent and we’re working to achieve that.” He says for many who use it it’s their only way of getting around. Nearly half of all Wisconsin transit riders rely on the service to get to work.

Volunteer Training Scheduled For Hospice Hope Program

Agnesian HealthCare is currently seeking individuals interested in volunteer opportunities with its Hospice Hope program. The next Hospice Hope volunteer training session, consisting of two Saturdays, has been scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, March 22 and April 5 in Fond du Lac. After training, all volunteers are placed with patients in their own local geographic area. Early application is encouraged. There are many wonderful opportunities for those interested in volunteering with Agnesian HealthCare’s Hospice Hope, include assisting with respite care, providing companionship, personal care, bereavement care, assisting with clerical duties and a variety of other opportunities. There is also a need for volunteers to assist at the Hospice Home of Hope to help serve meals to patients, and provide personal and respite care.  Also, churches or service organizations interested in a presentation or introduction to hospice and its services can contact Hospice Hope. Individuals thinking about a volunteer opportunity can contact Hospice Hope Volunteer Services, at (920) 924-4662 or (800) 236-4156 or (920) 294-6220 for more information. Application deadline is Thursday, March 20.

Local Realtor Reaches Career Milestone

A local real estate agent has achieved a unique milestone in her 30 year career. Debra Heller of Roberts Homes & Real Estate has sold more than $260 million in real estate during her career. She began selling real estate in 1984 and in 1995 launched her own company Exsell Real Estate. Seven years ago her firm merged with Roberts. She says, “It’s been a wonderful decision.” Heller’s $260 million in real estate sales over the past 30 years works out to more than 1,240 closings, about one a week, and an average price of nearly $210,000 per closing.