Local News Briefs Thursday 3/20/14

The third anniversary of the in the line of duty death of Fond du Lac Police Officer Craig Birkholz will be held with a silent vigil at Hamilton Park this morning. It will start at 10:45 a.m. at the Police and Fire Memorial. Officer Birkholz was shot and killed responding to a domestic violence call the morning of March 20th of 2011. The shooting also led to critical injuries for Officer Ryan Williams and his K-9 partner Grendal. Both recovered from their injuries. The shooting occurred only blocks away from Hamilton Park.

Gudex Supports Chemotherapy Pill Bill

The future of the oral chemotherapy bill lies with the State Assembly Thursday, but State Senator Rick Gudex would like to see it become law. He says right now people who take chemotherapy pills for treatment instead of the IV or intravenous method have to pay for it themselves. The bill would require insurance companies to create parity in coverage for both methods. The state lawmaker from Fond du Lac says not all cancers are treatable through the intravenous method and those cancer victims using the oral chemotherapy treatment are paying for it out of pocket. If there are too many amendments made to the bill in the State Assembly the Senate wouldn’t have time to approve the changes before the end of the current session Thursday. Gudex says he believes the bill will ultimately pass, if not this session then the next.

Governor On Chemotherapy Pill Bill

(WHBY-Appleton)-Governor Walker doesn’t think the Assembly should make any changes to a bill that would make certain chemotherapy drugs more affordable to cancer patients. The Governor says he would sign the version the Senate passed. The proposal would require insurance companies to cover chemotherapy drugs in pill form if they already cover traditional chemo treatments. The Senate approved the bill on a 30-to-2 vote Tuesday. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said that the Assembly would consider making changes before a vote today. Walker says it “probably makes the most sense” for the Assembly to pass the Senate’s version.

Gudex Snowmobiling Bill Signed Into Law

Governor Scott Walker Wednesday signed into law the bill co-authored by State Senator Rick Gudex of Fond du Lac that would raise money to maintain snowmobile trails.  The new law establishes a four year requirement that all snowmobiles on Wisconsin’s trail system have a state trail pass. The additional revenue will be used to help volunteers maintain and groom 18,000 miles of snowmobile trails. The bill will raise $4 to $5 million extra a year for the snowmobile fund. Gudex says some estimates put the economic impact of snowmobiling in Wisconsin at over $1 billion a year.

Unemployment Rates Up In January

Unemployment rates in the City and County of Fond du Lac increased from December to January. According to figures from the state’s Department of Workforce Development and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the jobless rate for the City of Fond du Lac increased from 6.5 to 7.4 percent over that span. Meanwhile the County’s rate increased a full percentage from 5.4 to 6.4 percent. Those rates are still lower than the unemployment rates from January of 2013 when the City had a rate of 8.7 percent and the County’s jobless rate stood at 7.5 percent. Unemployment rates increased during the period in all 72 of the state’s counties.

St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Enforcement A Success

Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Captain Rick Olig says he considers the St. Patrick’s Day weekend coordinated enforcement effort a success. He says the effort to crackdown on drunken drivers and those not buckling up was not your typical weekend because St. Patrick’s Day fell on Monday. Out of the nearly 450 traffic stops across the County 11 drunken drivers were arrested. He says that’s a success because they weren’t involved in injury or fatal accidents. He says with social hosting ordinances and coordinated enforcement efforts like this past weekend people are getting the message that drunken driving and underage drinking won’t be tolerated. Out of the 448 traffic stops, 260 traffic citations and 251 warnings were issued. In addition to the drunken driving arrests there were 6 other types of arrest.

NFDL Man Takes Out Traffic Signals

North Fond du Lac Police arrested a 32-year-old North Fond du Lac man late last Saturday morning who took out the traffic signals at Winnebago and Prospect. North Fond du Lac Police Chief Darren Pautsch says it was likely the result of inattentive driving and he left the scene. Witnesses were able to give police information about the vehicle that fled from the scene and an officer caught up with the vehicle and pulled the man over. The man was wanted on a warrant out of Dodge County for driving while revoked, but now faces a batch of new charges for the accident in North Fond du Lac including hit and run property damage, failing to notify police of an accident, driving while revoked and not having proof of insurance. The traffic signals have since been repaired.

Former Waupun Prison Worked Gets Probation For Smuggling Items To Inmate

A 29-year-old Forestville woman who smuggled chewing tobacco, cigarettes and matches to a Waupun Correctional inmate has been sentenced to two years of probation. Britny Ann Kiehnau was sentenced this week in Dodge County Court. Authorities say she developed an infatuation with the inmate while she worked at the prison and smuggled the items in last November. Several greeting cards she wrote to the inmate were signed “Baby Bird.”

Waldo Man Charged For St. Patrick’s Day Hit And Run Accident

A 38-year-old Waldo man is facing charges for a drunken driving hit-and-run that happened at State Highway 32 and Sheboygan County Highway A in the Town of Holland on St. Patrick’s Day. According to the criminal complaint a witness told police that Samuel Payne’s truck passed him at 80 to 85 miles an hour and struck another vehicle. The witness further told investigators that Payne’s truck was “all over the road.” Payne was stopped a short time later for speeding in Sheboygan Falls. A preliminary breath test put his blood alcohol level at .21 or more than 2 ½ times the legal limit. A bottle of whiskey was found in his vehicle. He’s been charged with a second and subsequent drunken driving causing injury offense and hit-and-run. He posted a $750 cash bond and his initial appearance on the charges will continue on Monday in Sheboygan County Court.

Culver’s FDL Restaurants Back Police Unity Ride

A fundraiser at two Culver’s restaurants in Fond du Lac today will benefit the police officers that will be participating in the annual Unity Bike Ride to the Nation’s Capitol. Officer Steve Olson says the Culver’s on Pioneer Road and West Johnson will be giving a portion of their sales from 5 to 7 p.m. to support the 300 mile ride. The Unity Ride raises money for the National Law Enforcement Memorial, which includes the name of Fond du Lac Police Officer Craig Birkholz who was shot and killed during a standoff incident three years ago today.

Blood Drive In FDL Today

A community blood drive will be held in Fond du Lac today at the American Legion Post on Fond du Lac Avenue. Hours for the drive are from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or an appointment call 1-800-733-2767. Walk-ins are also welcome.