Local News Briefs Tuesday 4/7/15

Fond du Lac County Clerk Lisa Freiberg says there are 24 contested races on the ballot in the County today. Despite that she’s expecting about a quarter of registered voters to cast their ballots today. She says 23 to 25 percent. She says the spring election is important because you’re voting for the local officials who set your property taxes. She says a lot of people ask her prior to the election what they will be voting on and she says that all depends on where you live because there are 72 different ballot styles in this election. You can find out more about what’s on the ballot at the County’s website or where you need to vote at myvote.wi.gov. The polls close at 8 p.m. tonight and we will have reports during the Brewer’s game and results posted at KFIZ.com. 

Washington County Grass Fire

Washington County Sheriff’s officials say a controlled burn got out of hand late Monday morning in the Town of Erin. A deputy was patrolling just before noon and saw an out of control grass fire behind the Tally Ho Pub & Grub at 1855 State Highway 83. An employee of the tavern was burning grass, wood and yard debris and the left the burn unattended thinking it was out. Remnants of the burn started an adjoining property owner’s farm field on fire. About 100 acres of the field and a wooded area burned. Six fire departments battled the blaze. The employee was cited for negligent handling of burning materials.

Slinger Based Home Health Care Service Closing

GeminiCares, Incorporated will be permanently ending all services at its 11 Wisconsin locations on or before May 31st. The closing will affect approximately 701 workers. The Slinger based home health care service informed the State’s Department of Workforce Development last week. Among the 11 cities or villages it serves are West Bend and Slinger. Eight of the positions will be cut after May 31st. 

Two UW Oshkosh Mens Sports Being Cut

About 35 student athletes at the UW-Oshkosh will be affected when the school cuts two men’s sports following the 2015-16 academic year. Men’s soccer and tennis teams are being cut in response to proposed state budget cuts. That will cut the number of varsity sports offered at the school from 21 to 19 and two coaching positions will also be trimmed. UW-Oshkosh officials say they are announcing the elimination of the sports now to give student-athletes time to plan their future. The school will hold a public forum at the Reeve Memorial Union tomorrow at noon in Room 307.

Motorcycle Versus Deer Accidents

We’re only a couple of months away from one of the busiest times of year for motorcycle versus deer accidents. Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Cameron McGee says people tend to think of the fall as being the time when most vehicle versus deer accidents occur and they would be right, but June also sees its share especially for motorcyclists. He says that’s when does are having fawns and they are moving around again. He says it’s more dangerous for motorcyclists because they aren’t protected by all the metal someone driving a car would be. He says there are a significant number of injuries and fatalities for motorcyclists who hit a deer. He also says deer tend to move more around dusk.

Fire Pit Ordinance

With weather getting nicer the Division Chief of Fire Prevention for Fond du Lac Fire and Rescue says it would be a good time for those planning to use fire pits to review the City’s ordinance. Troy Haase says the basic rule is you can’t burn anything but natural wood. He says most complaints they receive is from neighbors who have smoke blowing in their windows or yards. He says it might be a good idea to let your neighbors know you are going to have a fire. He says fire pits can only be 36 inches in diameter, they have to be 6 inches deep and line with rocks or bricks. He says using a manufactured fire pit is okay as long as it’s intact when you use it, which means having the spark arrestors in place and the cover on top. The fire pit, unless its manufactured, has to be 25 feet from a structure, 10 feet from fencing or decks and 6 feet from the lot line. For more on the fire pit ordinance visit the department’s website

Open House To Celebrate Mike Rankin Retirement

An open house will be held at the Fond du Lac County UW-Extension Office this afternoon to celebrate the retirement of Crops and Soils Agent Mike Rankin. Mike is retiring after 27 years of service to Fond du Lac County. He will become the managing editor for Hay and Forager Grower magazine out of Fort Atkinson. The open house will be from 2 to 5 p.m. with a program at 4 p.m. in Room AE-206 at 400 University Drive in Fond du Lac.

Mercury Recycling Challenge Announced

Fond du Lac area private and public elementary schools students are invited to get creative and help clean up our planet, by competing in the Mercury Marine Recycling Challenge starting Earth Day April 22nd. Schools participating in the challenge will paint a mural or design, on a 55 gallon recyclable container to collect materials such as glass, plastic, aluminum, cardboard and paper at Walleye Weekend. Students are encouraged to use their creative imaginations to send a message about the importance of recycling and having a clean environment. The recycling containers are limited in quantity and available first come-first serve at Fond du Lac Festivals, Inc., 650 North Main Street as of Wednesday, April 22. The application form and containers must be completed and returned to Fond du Lac Festivals by Thursday, May 21st. Judges, including representatives from Mercury Marine, will determine the winning container, and that school will receive $500 in support of their environmental club. If the school does not have an environmental club, the school’s PTA will determine fund allocation. Each of the containers designed by the local area schools will be placed at one of ten recycling stations during Walleye Weekend. 

Struck By Genius

Marian University will be hosting the 8th annual Dr. Darold A. Treffert Lecture series on Wednesday, April 15 at 6:00 p.m. in the Stayer Center Auditorium. Jason Padgett will serve as the lecture’s keynote speaker, and will speak on the topic of acquired savant syndrome. Padgett is a mathematics savant and is the author of “Struck by Genius.” He acquired his savant talents following a brutal mugging in 2002. Although doctors diagnosed Padgett with a concussion, Padgett, who had little drawing abilities, began to draw intricate diagrams of fractals, including the visual representations of the formula for Pi, and even that of the Pythagorean Theorem. Following the presentation, Padgett will host a book signing for his book, “Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury made me a Mathematical Marvel.” The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the School of Education, the Alpha Delta Theta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, and the Marian Student Education Association. Online preregistration, available at www.marianuniversity.edu/treffertseries  is requested to assure seating.