Local News Briefs Thursday 11/19/15

Hartford Man Going To Trial In Two Counties On Sexual Assault Charges

Washington County authorities have scheduled a three-day jury trial for a 61-year-old Hartford man facing sexual assault charges in both Washington and Dodge County. That trial for Gary Koppen is scheduled February 9th through the 11th. According to the criminal complaint he forced a girl he was acquainted with to have sex with him. That began in October of 2013 when she was 16-years-old. He’s also scheduled for a trial in Dodge County next March where he’s being held in the County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond.

Mergers And Technology Changing The Business Landscape

Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation President Steve Jenkins says the closing of the Oscar Meyer headquarters in Madison is a prime example of how business is willing to spend its money now. Jenkins says since the recession American businesses have amassed a war chest of $3 trillion, but weren’t willing to spend it because of the uncertainty over the economy. He says right now they are willing to spend it on mergers and acquisitions, which unfortunately for 1,700 Oscar Meyer employees was the case. He says the closing of the headquarters by 2017 was a result of the Kraft/Heinz merger. Meanwhile a plant in Davenport, Iowa is closing with 1,400 workers. Jenkins says technology will replace many of those workers when a new plant is built. He says it will have state-of-the-art technology and have the same productivity, but with 475 workers. Jenkins says in his 40 years in economic development he’s never seen automation and technology change the business landscape so fast.

Scammers Making Most Of Chip And PIN Debit Card Rollout Time

The Division Administrator for the state’s Trade and Consumer Protection Department says residents should watch out for potential scams while debit card Chip and PIN technology is catching up in the U.S. Frank Frassetto says the technology has been used for years in other parts of the world. He says this particular technology is a much more robust means of protecting identity and reducing fraud. He says according to one set of findings fraud was reduced by 67 percent in the United Kingdom and 55 percent in Canada when they implemented the technology. Frassetto says while the U.S. is catching up with that technology scammers are using that time for their own selfish purposes calling and emailing people asking for personal and financial information to verify their cards. He says when you are getting the new cards with chips you will receive written notification in the mail. 

School Tours Available In FDL Friday

Fond du Lac residents are invited to tour the STEM Academy and Institute and the High School Friday in honor of American Education Week. Tours at the STEM Academy and Institute will be at 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Tours of the High School are scheduled for 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You can register for materials for the tour at the Fond du Lac School District’s Facebook page.

Grothman Named To Conference Committee For Education Reform

Congressman Glenn Grothman was named as a conferee to the conference committee to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Grothman was named along with nine other Republican House members. The federal lawmaker from Glenbeulah says, “The House Education and Workforce Committee has worked hard to strengthen and reform education this year – putting power back in the hands of parents, administrators and local officials.” Speaker Paul Ryan appointed 10 members to serve on the House conference committee.

FDL Area CVB Participating In Bundle Up Campaign

The Fond du Lac Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is inviting residents to drop off new or gently used coats, sweaters, hats, mittens and other warm clothing items as part of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s “The Big Bundle Up” campaign. The Big Bundle Up is a statewide collection program that starts today and runs through January 3rd.  A box will be located in the Convention & Visitors Bureau for donors to drop off warm clothing items. All items donated at the CVB will be given to The Solutions Center. This is the fifth year of the Big Bundle Up. To date, the program has collected more than 49,300 winter items to help families in need.

Coats And Bells

Fond du Lac Salvation Army Captain Steve Wilson says their recent winter coat distribution effort was a success. He says they gave away a little over 1,000 coats. He says he got a kick out of boy and how much joy he got out of his new jacket during the distribution. Wilson says he was outside taking a phone call when the boy came out in his new coat and gloves and said he couldn’t even feel the cold. Wilson says they started their red kettle campaign last weekend at five locations in Fond du Lac; Shopko, Festival Food, Piggly Wiggly, and the two Pick ‘n’ Save stores. He says they will expand that effort on Friday, November 27th and are looking for volunteers to take two hour shifts ringing bells. He says you can volunteer online at myvolunteerpage.com. Wilson says they hope to raise $150,000 during the red kettle campaign this season.


Altrusa Book And Toy Sale For Kids Starts Today

Altrusa International of Fond du Lac is hosting its 2nd Annual Holiday Book and Toy Sale for Kids at the Galloway House today. Cathie Ashenbrenner of Altrusa says the books and toys are tailored for children up to 10 years of age. She says they are excited that Fay formerly of Fay’s Fun and Learning has picked out their inventory of educational books and toys for them. She says they support all types of literary services including the literary services out of the Fond du Lac Public Library and they donate a bookcase with books to every Habitat house that is built in the County. They support other efforts as well. Nancy Laning of Altrusa says they also support several scholarships. She says they give out scholarships to a graduating senior in Fond du Lac and two to students at Marian University and the UW-Fond du Lac. Hours for the sale are from 2 to 7 p.m. today and Friday, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, November 27th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, November 28th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Master Gardner Training

Registration is now open for area residents interested in becoming Certified Master Gardeners with the University of Wisconsin – Extension. Level One Training will begin on Tuesday, January 26th and continue weekly on Tuesday evenings through early May. All meetings will be held in the Administration/Extension Building of the UW-Fond du Lac, in Room AE-205/206.  Participants in Level One learn basics about a variety of gardening themes.  Those who complete the training are expected to use what they learn in 24 hours of volunteer service in the coming year with the Master Gardener Association and UW-Extension. A mandatory orientation for those wanting to learn more about the program will occur on Tuesday, January 5th in the evening. There is no cost to attend the orientation. The deadline to register for the orientation and program is December 10th or when the limit of 20 students is reached. Paperwork to be completed can be found at  http://fonddulac.uwex.edu/hort/mg/training/ . Previous gardening experience is not necessary.