Local News Briefs Monday 4/14/14

Despite the fact that Congressman Tom Petri won’t be seeking re-election to Congress after nearly 35 years representing the 6th Congressional District there will be no shortage of Republican candidates in the race. State Senator Glenn Grothman had already announced he would be seeking the seat. Friday’s announcement by Petri prompted an announcement from State Representative Duey Stroebel of Cedarburg that he would seek the seat. Stroebel said in his announcement that he had been considering running and was encouraged to throw his hat in the ring by supporters. He has represented the 60th Assembly District since May of 2011. State Senator Joe Leibham of Sheboygan is also considering running and will announce his decision in the next few days. Petri will make a statement today at his town hall meeting in Neenah announcing that he will not be a candidate for re-election to represent the 6th Congressional District. The town hall meeting is from 4 to 5 p.m. Monday at the Neenah City Hall.

Petri Town Meetings Begin

What were first scheduled as Town Meetings for Congressman Tom Petri now seem more like a farewell tour. The federal lawmaker from Fond du Lac is expected to make an announcement that he won’t be seeking re-election during his town meeting at the Neenah City Hall this afternoon. That’s at 4 p.m. Petri recently issued a statement encouraging people to attend the meetings, something he usually does. Meetings are scheduled in 11 other cities over the next two weeks concluding in Fond du Lac on Saturday, April 26th from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Fond du Lac Public Library. For a complete scheduled click here.

State Senator Mike Ellis Not Running

(WHBY-Appleton)-A longtime state lawmaker from Neenah will not run for re-election. Republican Senator Mike Ellis announced his decision last Friday morning in the wake of comments he made on a secretly recorded video. Ellis says he “just doesn’t fit in any more” in the current political world. Ellis says he should be able to go out for a fish fry with his wife without them having to look over their shoulder to see if someone is recording them on a cell phone. The 73-year-old Ellis spent 32 years in the Senate. Before that he was in the Assembly for 12 years. Ellis was supposed to face Democratic Representative Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton in this fall’s election. In the video Ellis talked about creating his own Super PAC to run attack ads against her. Ellis said at the time…he didn’t know that’s illegal.

Last Friday’s Marsh Fire Burned More Than 600 Acres

More than 600 acres of marsh and grass burned in a fire north of Waupun last Friday Smoke could be seen over three different counties and ash from the fire fell as far away as Fond du Lac. Brandon-Fairwater Fire Captain Adam Brown says it started on Amity Road between State Highway 49 and Fond du Lac County Highway M. Arlene Vand Berg was working at her cashier’s job at Helen’s Kitchen in Waupun when she got a call from the police chief telling her that her home was in fire area. When she arrived home she found out the fire had burned up to the edge of her property, but spared her home. She says it was quite an experience getting a phone call and wondering if your home is going to be there when you get there. The cause of the fire is being determined. There was a controlled burn in the area. Other fire departments lending a hand included Ripon, Rosendale, Alto and Waupun.

Phone Scam Leads To False 9-1-1 Calls

Washington County Sheriff’s officials are warning cell phone users about a scam using the numbers 1-1-2. The cell phone user receives a phone message or text saying there is a problem with their financial account, such as a credit or debit card. The user is asked to call back for more information by pressing 1 or dialing 1-1-2. When they do that the cell phone actually dials 9-1-1. By last Friday the Washington County Sheriff’s Office had gotten 40 of those types of calls. It did not impact 9-1-1 service, but had the potential to interfere with a caller trying to place a legitimate 9-1-1 call. Anyone receiving this type of call is asked to ignore it.

FDL School Board Preview

The Fond du Lac School Board will consider an increase in total base wages for teachers during this afternoon’s school board meeting. The contract with the Fond du Lac Education Association calls for a 1 percent increase in base wage, which works out to a total increase of $352,131. Also during the meeting the board will be asked to approve an agreement with the City of Fond du Lac regarding the proposed building of two baseball diamonds at Lakeside Park. Following the 5 p.m. meeting the board will meet in closed session to consider student expulsions.

FDL County Highway Projects Lined Up

Fond du Lac County Highway Commissioner Tom Janke says they have plenty of road improvement work lined up for their highway crews this summer. He says on the west side of the County they will be doing a stretch of County Highway T from State Highway 26 east to County Highway C. They will also be doing a stretch of County Highway TC from State Highway 26 west to Brandon. He says they will be doing some minor re-profiling with a possible realignment of the County Highway M and TC intersection. He says on the east side of the County they will be working on County Highway G from County Highway WH into St. Cloud. Janke says next year they will be working on a 5-mile stretch of County Highway I.

Finding Ways To Attract New Business

The president of the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation says it’s not easy to attract new business in the state because of lack of lucrative state incentives. Steve Jenkins says Fond du Lac County is more fortunate because it has good business parks and programs through the FCEDC like revolving loan funds to help establish new business. Still he says they want to find out better ways of making it easier to attract new business. He says they will be doing an in depth analysis what three sectors should be focused on in terms of attracting new business. He says advanced technology is one of the County’s strengths. On the other hand he says more effort should be put behind attracting information technology professionals in the community. For more information or to get help with your business call the FCEDC at 929-2928.

Habitat Purchasing New ReStore Building

The executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Fond du Lac County says an offer to purchase a new building for their ReStore will close by the end of the month. Paul Osterholm says their ReStore keeps growing and the new location will give them twice as much space to work with. He says the move into that building will be accomplished this fall. Money made at the ReStore helps to fund their home building efforts. Osterholm says it’s a big year for them because they will be building their 25th home in the County. He says while families benefit from a new home Habitat is also giving back to the community by putting unused properties back on the tax roll.

NFDL Evaluating Street Sweeper Service To Outside Communities

Village officials in North Fond du Lac are trying to determine whether it is worth it to allow other communities to make use of their street sweeper. Village Administrator Chuck Hornung says they charge other communities like Brownsville and Lomira and Festival Foods for the street sweeping. He says in 2010 the Village Board as a Committee of the Whole decided to put portion of that money into a designated fund, which would be used when they had to replace the sweeper. He says he discovered one day that they never formally gave approval to that and no funds were set aside. He says now they are evaluating whether they should continue providing that outside service to other communities give the wear and tear on the street sweeper. He says their public works director wasn’t at their last meeting so they want him at their next meeting so they can get his input.

Senator Leibham Speaking In Sheboygan Today

State Senator Joe Leibham of Sheboygan will be speaking at the Sheboygan Senior Activity Center at 11:30 this morning. He’s been invited to give a legislative update. Leibham represents the 9th State Senate District.

FDL Amateur Radio Club Meeting

The Fond du Lac Amateur Radio Club will be holding a meeting at Moraine Park Technical College tonight. It’s in Room A-102 at 7 p.m. and it is for anyone who loves the art of Ham Radio. This meeting members and guests are invited to bring their old electronic equipment to display for sale. You can also bring and sell old electronic and radio magazines and other items. No commissions will be charged.