Local News Briefs Tuesday 7/1/14

Heavy rain and high winds moved through southern Wisconsin last night. The storms prompted a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Fond du Lac and Sheboygan County for about a half hour late yesterday afternoon. Officials reported flooding in Madison and elsewhere and wind speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. The weather led to the postponement of the “Music Under the Stars” concert at Buttermilk Creek Park in Fond du Lac. The German Band “Die Spiel Meisters will perform at the same scheduled time Wednesday night at the park.

Fire Destroys Washington County Barn

Fire destroyed a barn and two small out buildings on Beaver Dam Road in the Town of Barton early Monday morning. Washington County Sheriff’s officials say they got a call about the blaze at 3745 Beaver Dam Road just before 1 a.m. The large wood barn was completely ablaze when deputies and firefighters arrived and it spread to the two out buildings. Seven fire departments fought the fire. Hay, tools, and several pieces of old farm machinery were being stored in the barn. The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, but a neighbor saw a lightning strike in the general area. No one was injured during the fire.

Hobby Lobby Decision

Congressional candidates are among those hailing the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell vs Hobby Lobby as a victory for religious freedom and another blow for the Affordable Care Act. The court decided that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to for profit corporations and family-owned businesses can’t be forced to pay for birth control methods that violate their religious beliefs. State Senator Joe Leibham says he’s pleased with the decision. He says it’s a win for Hobby Lobby, religious freedom and another sign that ObamaCare ought to be repealed and replaced. Fellow congressional candidates Duey Stroebel and Glenn-Grothman also applauded the court’s decision. Wisconsin Right To Life Executive Barbara Lyons says her organization is also happy with the decision. She says companies shouldn’t be forced to pay for services they find morally objectionable. Planned Parenthood came out against the decision. Also Monday the Supreme Court ruled that in-home care workers in Illinois can not be required to pay union dues.

NFDL Woman Bound Over In Restaurant Theft Case

The 22-year-old North Fond du Lac woman suspected of participating in the robbery of a Tucker’s Restaurant in Fond du Lac four years ago has been bound over for trial. Bobbie Lahn was in Fond du Lac County Court for a preliminary hearing last Friday. She was also arraigned and pled “not guilty” to a charge of being party to the crime of robbery with use of force. Lahn worked at the restaurant on West Johnson Street and allegedly drove two men who participated in the robbery to the restaurant that night. The night deposit bag for the restaurant was taken from a female employee as she was leaving it that evening.

Oshkosh Car Entries And Burglaries

Oshkosh Police are investigating six car entries and four burglaries that happened over the weekend. Police learned of the car entries Saturday morning two happened in the 1600 block of Burdick Avenue and four others occurred on North Main Street. Loose change, GPS units, golf clubs and a stereo system were taken in the thefts. The first burglary was to a business Friday night or Saturday morning in the 500 block of North Main Street. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken. Sunday morning three more burglaries were reported. Someone tried to break into a business in the 500 block of Pearl Avenue, but was unsuccessful. Video captured someone entering another business in that area at 12:48 Sunday morning The suspect was approximately 5’10”, 220lbs, wearing a gray sweatshirt and sweatpants.  The suspect was wearing a hood, mask and gloves.  Taken in the burglary was an undisclosed amount of cash.   The third burglary occurred at a residence in the 1100 block of High Ave. where cash and electronics were taken.  If you have information about any of these crimes and would like to remain anonymous, please contact Winnebago County Wide Crime Stoppers at (920) 231-8477 or text IGOTYA and you crime tip to 274637 or go to www.winnebagocrimestoppers.org and submit your text via the web.  You may be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Waupun Man Charged For Drug Related Thefts

A 21-year-old Waupun man is accused of stealing a vehicle and jewelry from a home in Waupun. Joshua Gierach is charged in Dodge County Court with felony Burglary and Operating a Motor Vehicle without Owner’s Consent along with misdemeanor Theft. Prosecutors say he admitted his actions, saying he sold the five stolen gold rings to buy drugs and used the stolen car to get the drugs. Gierach told officers he nodded off while on heroin and was involved in an accident in the stolen vehicle.  Gierach is scheduled to make his first court appearance on July 14th. 

Bacteria Levels Still High A Month After Manure Spill

A month after a manure spill into Pipe Creek campers at two Fond du Lac County parks are still being advised they will be swimming at their own risk. County Public Health Officer Kim Mueller says they took readings on creek and adjacent locations on June 5th, 13th, and 19th. She says results varied with high levels of bacteria after the initial spill at Lake Breeze Dairy in Malone. She says results leveled off on the 13th, but were back up on the 19th primarily due to the heavy rain and runoff from area fields. She says they still have signs posted at Columbia Park and Shaginappi Park advising people they shouldn’t be swimming. She says you never know how much bacteria is in water and when you swim in area lakes, rivers and streams you should always wash off afterwards and avoid ingesting the water. She says the Lake Winnebago Quality Improvement Association will have a symposium at the Fond du Lac Public Library from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 16th. An update will be given on the manure spill as one of the topics of discussion.

Thursday Get Away Day For A Lot Of People

With a three-day holiday weekend coming up expect drivers to get a head start this week. State Patrol Inspector Scott Hlinak says the get away day will be Thursday this week. He says peak travel times will probably be noon to 8 p.m. Thursday and again at those times on Sunday. He says watch your speed and how close you are following someone. As for traffic on Highway 41 some lanes will be down to two lanes in Winnebago County and Brown County has a lot of construction. Hlinak says most people will be traveling some where they’ve gone before so they know how long it takes to get there and should plan for a little more time with the extra traffic on roadways.

Park Fireworks Also Inspected

Even the professionals have some standards they have to measure up to before setting off fireworks in Fond du Lac’s Lakeside Park on the 4th of July. Division Chief of Fire Prevention Troy Haase says they always tell people to leave the fireworks up to the professionals, but he and Fire Chief Peter O’Leary will inspect the equipment that will be used for fireworks later that night. He says even the professionals can have problems sometimes, which is usually related to wind direction and speed. He says it’s still a great program for people who watch it in the park.

Primary Seat Belt Enforcement Five Years Old

Wisconsin’s primary seat belt law has been in effect for five years now. Tondra Davis is with the state Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Safety. She says the primary seat belt law allows police to stop a vehicle if they notice an unbuckled driver or passenger. But she says the goal is to motivate all motorists to buckle up every time they get in a car, not write tickets. She says injuries and deaths in traffic accidents carry huge economic costs and are devastating to families. An estimated 83 percent of Wisconsin motorists buckle up. That’s an all-time high, but well below neighboring states that have safety belt use rates over 90 percent. It’s estimated that a 10 percent increase in Wisconsin seat belt use would save 44 lives and prevent 650 injuries each year.