Local News Briefs Wednesday 10/7/15

Jury Trial Scheduled For FDL Man

A trial date has been set for a 44-year-old Fond du Lac man who allegedly choked his wife and used a hammer to destroy things in their home.  Michael Retzlaff is charged with strangulation, battery, criminal damage to property, and disorderly conduct. A jury trial has been scheduled in Fond du Lac County Court on November 4th. The incident allegedly happened last June at a home in the 1300 block of Primrose Lane. Sheriff’s deputies took him into custody at gunpoint on Highway 41 after he fled the scene of the incident.

Fondy Woman Facing Thefts Charges In Dodge County

The 46-year-old Fond du Lac woman suspected of taking more than $142,000 from the Lomira business she worked at as an officer manager made her initial appearance in Dodge County Court this week. Tessa Hilt faces five felony theft counts. She was released on a $1,000 signature bond and will be back in court for a preliminary hearing on December 3rd.  She allegedly took the money from Waas Boring and Cable to pay her personal expenses including her mortgage.

Waupun Woman Charged With Theft From A Business Setting

A 34-year-old Waupun woman is charged with felony theft for allegedly taking over $6,200 from the A&W Restaurant in Waupun she worked for. Rachael Bell made her initial appearance in Dodge County this week. She told investigators she was “borrowing” the money from daily deposits for the business to pay personal bills. The thefts occurred in August. She has been released on a $1,000 signature bond and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 22nd.

Washington County House Fire

A chimney fire destroyed a home in the Town of West Bend late Sunday night. Washington County Sheriff’s officials say when deputies arrived at the single family home on George Court flames were coming from the roof near the chimney. Neighbors also saw flames coming from the chimney prior to the deputies’ arrival. Neighbors notified the family and they safely got out of the home. Nine fire departments battled the blaze. The house was a total loss and initial damage estimates are $275,000. The fire originated in the fire chase around the chimney and was accidental in nature.

Child Safety Seat Proper Installation Important

Recent accidents in Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties illustrate the importance of having properly installed child safety seats. In one accident on Highway 41 near Lomira two young children were ejected from a car in a roll over accident despite being put into child safety seats. They were not properly installed, which Fond du Lac Police Officer Steve Olson says is far too common a mistake. He says three out of four child car safety seats are installed incorrectly. He says usually there is a local place you can go to get educated on how to install them correctly. He says in Fond du Lac that is at the Family Resource Center. He says just as important is making sure the harness is properly in place. Unfortunately child safety seats can’t always prevent tragedy. A four-year-old girl from Elkhart Lake was killed in a Fond du Lac County accident last week. Sheriff’s officials say she was in child safety seat and it was properly installed.   Podcast with Officer Olson.

Baldwin Applauds Loan For Ripon College Project

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin recently applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture for loaning $14.3 million to Ripon College to renovate the J.M. Storzer Athletic and Wellness Center. The low-interest loan was given through the Rural Development Community Facilities Loan program. Baldwin says, “This funding opportunity for Ripon College and the surrounding Ripon Community will help promote job retention.” The Ripon College Athletic and Wellness Center has 156 full-time and 84 part-time employees. The project costs are estimated at $18 to $22 million. 

SMSA Enrollment Up

Enrollment is up at St. Mary’s Springs Academy in Fond du Lac this fall. SMSA President Kelly Norton says their enrollment has been trending upward the past few years. She says they have 825 students this year compared to 780 last year and 725 students two years ago. She says the number of voucher students has also been on the increase. She says this year they have 70 voucher students compared to 40 last year and 25 the first year they participated in the program. St. Mary’s Springs Academy last week reached a construction milestone in building a new K-5 school next to the current high school. Once that project is complete in the spring the high school will be upgraded to a 6 through 12th grade school putting the Academy’s entire system on one campus.

Open House At South Main Street Fire Station Tonight

Fond du Lac’s South Main Street Fire Station will host an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. this evening. Division Chief of Fire Prevention Troy Haase says this year they will have more of a focus on the rescue efforts they make including HAZMAT or hazardous material calls. He says they will also do a side-by-side demonstration setting fire to two rooms, one with a sprinkler system and one without. He says people can also learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher. There will be gift bags for kids. The open house is part of National Fire Prevention Week. The theme has to do with working smoke detectors, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!”