Local News Briefs Wednesday 3/12/14

A 21-year-old Village of Richfield man was arrested late Monday night in connection with the armed robbery of the Lake Five Service station this past weekend. Washington County Sheriff’s officials stopped a vehicle for traffic violations in the village. During a search of the vehicle a heroin drug kit and evidence from the robbery were found. The suspect is being held in the Washington County Jail on charges of armed robbery, two counts of bail jumping and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheboygan Churches And A Business Burglarized

(WHBL-Sheboygan)-Sheboygan Police are investigating five burglaries, including the burglaries of three churches.  Captain Steve Cobb said the incidents have occurred since early November at four locations.  St. Cyril and Methodius Church was struck twice, Holy Family Church, St. Peter Clavier Church and the Professional Building were also broken into. In all instances, entry was forced and, once inside, the suspect targeted collections and petty cash.  Cobb said the investigation continues, and anyone with information should contact the department.

Thelma Having An Impact On Economic Development And Tourism

Others are taking note of how the expansion and renovation of the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac is becoming a catalyst for economic development. Thelma Executive Director Kevin Miller was recently asked to speak in Sheboygan and Eau Claire. As a member of the Wisconsin Arts Board he also testified before State Senate and Assembly committees on behalf of the Creative Economy Development Initiative. The Initiative is a public/private partnership to leverage and grow assets and resources throughout Wisconsin. The Arts Board would administer the initiative in a 2:1 matching grant program. He and Fond du Lac Convention and Visitors Bureau President also spoke to the Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Miller says a regional arts center like Thelma spurs economic development and creates tourism opportunities.

Decision To Remove Kramer From Assembly Leadership Took About An Hour

The chair of the Assembly Republicans Caucus says a decision to remove State Representative Bill Kramer as majority leader wasn’t a long drawn out process. State Representative Joan Ballweg of Markesan says the caucus only needed about an hour last week to make a decision. She says allegations that he used improper language towards and groped a female Assembly staffer at a political fundraiser in Washington D.C. aren’t the kind of image they want for the leader of the Assembly. She says the decision to remove Kramer was unanimous. The caucus then unanimously decided to appoint State Representative Pat Strachota of West Bend to fill the majority leader’s position. Strachota will be retiring from the legislature after this fall, but Ballweg says they came into the Assembly at the same time and Strachota has the experience to do the job.

Working Death Investigations

The head of the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Detective Division says they investigate all manners of death in the County. Lieutenant Cameron McGee says that includes accidents, suicides, and murders, natural and undetermined deaths. He says they work closely with the medical examiner’s office in determining the manner of death in those cases. Two of the more high profile investigations recently included a murder-suicide in Brandon and a industrial accident at Seneca Foods in Oakfield. McGee says suicides are difficult to work, but the reasons for suicide aren’t always clear. He says in a case like the death at Seneca they also need answers for OSHA and the company to make sure conditions are safe or could be made safer for other workers.

State Traffic Fatalities Down In February

Last year saw the lowest level of traffic fatalities in Wisconsin in over 70 years and the year 2014 is off to a relatively safe start. Dave Pabst is the director of the state Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Safety. He says winter weather has played a factor so far in reducing the number of traffic deaths. He says last month was the safest February ever in the state in terms of traffic deaths.Preliminary data shows 21 people died in traffic crashes last month, that’s five fewer than last year. The deadliest month of February in terms of Wisconsin traffic deaths occurred in 1968 when there were 73 fatalities.

Marian History Series Continues At FDL Public Library Tonight With Look At Fur Trade

The popular history series “History of America from 1400 to 1865 in Objects and Artifacts” continues at the Fond du Lac Public Library tonight at 6 p.m. with a closer look at the role map making had in the fur trade. Terri Fleming of the Library says the class offered by Marian University associate professor Rick Whaley and co-instructor Herman Bender has become a surprise hit. However the two will be taking a break next Wednesday, March 19th and storyteller Midge Miles will give a presentation more in line with St. Patrick’s Day. Her presentation Celtic Soul: Celtic Tales will go beyond the St. Patrick’s Day clichés offering three Celtic stories. The History of America class will continue the following week. Fleming says it will also be offered during the spring semester of 2015 at the library.

Highway 151 Preservation Study Meeting In Oakfield

The state’s Department of Transportation will hold a meeting tonight about the Highway 151 Preservation Study in Fond du Lac County. The study will ultimately develop a long-term vision for the corridor specially Highway 151 between Highway 49 and Highway 41. The meeting will be held at the Oakfield Elementary School from 5 to 7 p.m. A short presentation will be given at 5:15 p.m. The rest of the meeting will be in an open house format. The purpose of this public involvement meeting is to share details regarding the preferred alternative.  DOT representatives will be available to discuss the study and address any questions or concerns. There are no immediate projects or construction dollars for the proposed changes to US 151.

DOT Makes Web Page Available For Hwy 26 Improvements In FDL County

The state’s Department of Transportation says a website in now available for details regarding the State Highway 26 construction project in Fond du Lac County. The project extends from just north of Highway 151 at Cattaragus Drive to the northern Fond du Lac County line (County FF), in the towns of Waupun, Springvale, Rosendale, and Eldorado, and the village of Rosendale.  Some of the improvements include resurfacing, adding centerline and shoulder rumble strips, flattening roadway slopes, improving curve alignment and spot intersection improvements.  Final design of the project is expected this year. Construction is expected to start in spring of 2015 and finish in fall of 2015. For a full list of construction improvements, maps, traffic impacts and a timeline of design and construction activities, please log onto the website.

Good Future For The Dairy Industry

(Wisconsin Radio Network)-Top dairy officials in the state are seeing a good future for the industry this year. Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association executive director John Umhoefer says they’re seeing a major change in who is buying dairy products. He says exports have reached records for both cheese and dairy in general. He says about 15 percent of the milk being produced in Wisconsin is now going overseas compared to about 5 percent 10 years ago. Farmers and producers will also be seeing a change in how dairy subsidies are handled under the new Farm Bill, which will work to help producers manage their margins directly rather than buying up surplus supplies of dairy.

New Director Of Public Relations At Mercury

Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac has added Lee Gordon as Director of Public Relations. Gordon’s has worked as a television anchor for CBS and FOX affiliates across the country, including Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Florida. The past few years he worked as the director of corporate communications at 180 Communication, a public relations firm in Tallahassee. He’s also spent time as a sideline reporter for the NFL on FOX. Gordon will work side by side with Mercury’s Director of Corporate Communications Steve Fleming. Gordon says it’s an honor to join the team at Mercury Marine. Fleming says Gordon is an extremely strong addition to Mercury. 

FDL Woman Denied Insurance License

The state Insurance Commissioner’s office recently denied a rural Fond du Lac woman’s request for an insurance license. That was listed among the office’s administrative actions for February. It happened because Laura J. Snider allegedly failed to respond promptly to inquiries from the Insurance Commissioner’s Office and had unpaid civil money judgments.