Local News Briefs Wednesday 5/21/14

A routine fire inspection shut down a Fond du Lac restaurant on South Main Street Monday. During an inspection at Sal’s Pizza it was discovered a fuel oil tank in the basement was leaking. The fire department contacted the County Health Department. Gloria Smedema is the County’s inspection program manager. She says a decision was made to close the restaurant until the clean up was complete. She says any food that might have been exposed was thrown out. She says that would have included anything that absorbed an odor or developed an off taste. Smedema says some professional cleaners were brought in to clean up a spill of about 3 to 4 gallons of fuel oil. Some dry absorbent was put down to clean up the spill and the restaurant will reopen today. She says the health department inspects restaurants and businesses about once a year, but they get tips from the public.

Four Hurt In Separate Accidents In Dodge County Over 24 Hour Period

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office handled four separate injury crashes over a 24 hour period at the beginning of the week. Sheriff’s officials say it started when a pedestrian was hit by a truck pulling a trailer loaded with mulch in the Town of Ashippun Monday afternoon.  The 53-year-old woman hit by the trailer was taken to Aurora Summit Hospital. A few minutes later there was a rollover accident on State Highway 73 in the Town of Calamus. A 29-year-old Madison woman was taken to Columbus Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Early Tuesday morning a 53-year-old Oshkosh man went off State Highway 175 in the Town of Theresa and hit a power pole. A 43-year-old woman with him was taken to Aurora Medical Center in Hartford with non-life threatening injuries. In the final mishap a 17-year-old Neosho girl lost control on a curve on Town Road MM and rolled her vehicle. She was taken to Aurora Summit Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Sheriff Pat Ninmann says all occupants of those vehicles were wearing their beat belts.

Highway 26 Enforcement Effort

An enforcement effort on State Highway 26 north of Highway 151 Monday found motorists speeding or driving dangerously in and around large trucks. According to the State Patrol more than 30 vehicles were stopped, with speeds reaching into the 90s. The speed limit is 55 miles per hour, but the average speed for of those stopped was 73 miles per hour. Most of those stopped were passing and cutting in front of or between heavy trucks. State Patrol officials say Highway 26 in Fond du Lac County is a high priority area for crash reduction. The effort used police cruisers and a State Patrol plane. Several more enforcement efforts are planned for the summer.

WLA Among Six New Schools Eligible For School Voucher Program

Winnebago Lutheran Academy has joined St. Mary’s Springs Academy as schools in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program. WLA was among the six new schools among the top 26 eligible for the voucher program. St. Mary’s received 80 applications and WLA 74. Each of the 26 eligible schools will get at least 10 voucher slots. The Green Bay and Sheboygan areas led the state, each with four private schools or school systems participating in the program. For more click here.

Three FDL County Cities Among Safest Cities List

Three Fond du Lac County cities and one from Dodge County made the list of 50 Safest Cities in Wisconsin. The list was released by Safewise.com, whose criteria was the lowest violent and property crime rates based on FBI Statistics. North Fond du Lac was ranked 23rd, Waupun 30th and Ripon 35th. Mayville finished 42nd. Fond du Lac did not make the list. Freedom, Wisconsin topped the list. To see more click here.

Partial Demolition Request For Retlaw Theater Goes Before Historic Preservation Commission

The Fond du Lac Historic Preservation Commission will decide tonight whether to allow a request from Commonwealth Companies for partial demolition of the former Retlaw Theater. Fond du Lac Redevelopment Planner Dyann Benson says the plan calls for the original theater including the seating and stage to be razed while the Main Street building façade would be rehabilitated to its historic character. Commonwealth Development wants to relocate their headquarters to the property once it’s redeveloped and build 10 market rate apartments on the second and third floors. The dance studio would remain on the Sheboygan Street side of the property. Benson says under the historic preservation ordinance the Historic Preservation Commission has several options. It can defer the approval for the demolition for up to a year, defer the approval for an intermediate time or allow for demolition right away. If Commonwealth doesn’t like the commission’s decision it can appeal it to the Board of Appeals. The commission’s meeting is at 7 p.m. in rooms D & E of the City-County Government Center. 

NFDL Board Approves Ordinance That Reduces Setbacks For Shoreline Property

The North Fond du Lac Village Board this week approved an amendment to a village ordinance that will reduce the setback for shoreline development. Village Administrator Chuck Hornung says a new state law is for properties annexed since 1982 and allows municipalities to reduce the setback for shoreline properties from 75 feet to 50 feet. He says the new law allows the Village’s ordinance to usurp the County’s ordinance, which calls for a 75 foot setback. He says it will give new developments more room for what they plan to put on a new property. He says the window of opportunity to have such an ordinance on the books will close soon by July 1st.

Homes Sales Down Statewide But Up In FDL County

Home sales in Wisconsin fell in April compared to the same time last year, while prices are up. In addition to the harsh winter weather, Mike Theo with the Wisconsin Realtors Association, says other factors influence the home sales market, including home mortgage rates, higher home prices, and the national economy. Existing home sales in Wisconsin were down 11.6 percent over the April 2013 to April 2014 period. Median home prices were higher than the previous year, by 1.4 percent — up to $140,000. In Fond du Lac County homes sales were up by 6.8 percent and the median price of a home rose by 24 percent to $120,000.  For more click here.

Open House Tonight At FDL S. Main Street Fire Station

The Fond du Lac Fire Department celebrates Emergency Medical Services Week with an open house today. The theme for the week is “EMS: Dedicated for Life.” Fire Chief Peter O’Leary says he’s proud of the way his crews work with others like Flight For Life, which he saw in action during an accident at the ATV Park last weekend. Assistant Fire Chief Todd Janquart says Flight For Life and the American Red Cross are teaming up for demonstrations including a Flight For Life Landing during the open house, which is from 4 to 7 p.m. at the South Main Street Fire Station. There will be tours, a special visit by Patches and Pumper, and light refreshments will be served. Chief O’ Leary says they will also honor Culver’s Restaurant with a Citizen Life Safety Award.

Smiles For Life Benefitting Solutions Center

An effort by a local dental office is benefitting the Solutions Center in Fond du Lac. Through June, 100 percent of the proceeds from teeth whitening procedures done at Twohig Family Dentistry are being donated to children’s charities. It’s part of the 16th Annual Smiles For Life Campaign. Since its creation, the Crown Council’s Smiles For Life Campaign has raised over $33 million for seriously ill, disabled and disadvantaged kids. Donations from last year alone totaled $1.5 million.  Half of the donations raised by Twohig Family Dentistry will be given to Solutions Center with the balance going to the Smiles for Life Foundation for distribution among approved charities throughout the world.