Local News Briefs Wednesday 9/24/14

Two Ripon men suspected of an armed robbery at the Ripon Pick ‘N Save last Friday night made their initial appearances in Fond du lac County Court Tuesday. Seventeen-year-old Tyler Cody and 21-year-old Cody Schaffer were both charged with armed robbery. According to the criminal complaint the two had been planning to rob a Ripon business for some time. Tyler Cody entered the store to “scope out” the location and Schaffer then came in displaying what appeared to be a handgun in his waist band telling the clerk that it was a robbery. After the robbery officers found the two walking near the rear of US Bank. They had money from the robbery in their pockets. They admitted to investigators doing the robbery and told them where they had gotten rid of the clothing they wore and a toy gun Schaffer had stolen from a local store for the robbery. Schaffer’s bond was set at $4,000 cash and Cody is free on a $1,500 signature bond. Schaffer’s preliminary hearing is on October 2nd and Cody’s preliminary hearing is on November 6th.

Five Plead In Beaver Dam Prostitution Ring Case

(WBEV-Beaver Dam)-Five of the clients of a suspected Beaver Dam prostitute entered “no contest” pleas to misdemeanor charges during their Initial Appearance Monday in a Dodge County courtroom. They included 54-year-old Patrick Sweeney of Ripon, 61-year-old Christopher Thorman of Beaver Dam, 61-year-old Stephen Van Ess of Kewaskum, 49-year-old Jordan Voight of Wausau and 61-year-old Steven Zangl of Cecil. All five were ordered to pay $1700 in fines and court costs or spend 37 days in the Dodge County Jail. Five others facing misdemeanor charges had bond set at $500 and jury trials scheduled in December. An eleventh suspect did not appear and had his Initial Appearance delayed until next month.  Bond was set at $1,000 for the couple connected to the prostitution operation that was allegedly being run out of a South Spring Street residence. Forty-five-year-old Debbie Walters, and her husband 36-year-old Daniel Walters, are facing felony charges. A judge will decide in November if there is enough evidence for the couple to stand trial.

Sentencing Hearing Scheduled For Sheboygan Man In Overdose Death

The 32-year-old Sheboygan man found guilty last week of supplying the heroin that led to an overdose death will be sentenced on December 9th. Last week a Sheboygan County jury found Travis Tramte guilty of reckless homicide in the July 2013 death of 30-year-old Kathryn Jakimczyk  of Sheboygan.  A pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Tramte could get up to 25 years in prison.

Milwaukee Woman Pleads To Waupun Prison Bomb Scare Charge

If a 34-year-old Milwaukee woman pays restitution before a Dodge County hearing in December she could avoid serving up to four months in jail for a bomb threat that led to the lockdown of Waupun Correctional Institution. Fratrina Harris pled “no contest” this week to a bomb scare charge. It stemmed from a threat she phoned in to the prison last December. Harris was upset over her girlfriend’s frequent visits to see an inmate at Waupun Correctional.  If Harris pays the restitution ordered by the court before a hearing on December 8th her four-month jail sentence could be reduced. 

FDL City Council Considers Agreement For Option To Purchase In Fox Ridge Business Park

The Fond du Lac City Council tonight will be asked to approve an option to purchase land in the Fox Ridge Business Park. TNT Property Holdings, LLC would have the option to purchase two lots for $195,000. Community Development Director Wayne Rollin says TNT would then lease the spec industrial building on one of the lots to ACH Foam. He says ACH Foam is keeping their building on Trowbridge Drive and would expand into the building in Fox Ridge. He says there would be an option for the second lot if ACH Foam wanted to expand out of the spec building. TNT would have the right of first refusal on the property. Rollin is recommending the City Council approve the agreement with TNT Property Holdings. Also during the meeting the Council will honor Rollin who is retiring after 34 combined years with the County and the City the last 24 years with the City.

FDL County Board Notes

Fond du Lac County supervisors last night approved funding up to $346, 227 for the local share of energy improvements at the UW-Fond du Lac campus. The cost of the project is nearly $1.1 million. The County will fund its share through a State Trust Fund loan. The board also approved the schedule of fees and charges for building, facility and equipment rental and seasonal storage at the County Fairgrounds. Several proclamations were also approved for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, United Way efforts in the Fond du Lac and Ripon areas, and a proclamation recognizing the County’s Health Department for attaining a Level II Health Department designation.

FDL Schools Mill Rate Could Be 35 Cents Lower

There are still some numbers that have to be finalized, but the mill rate on the property tax levy for the Fond du Lac School District budget for 2014-2015 could be lower. District Superintendent Jim Sebert says that could be as much as 35 cents per thousand dollars of value. That would be a savings of $35 for a property valued at $100,000. He says enrollment has increased and they are getting more aid from the state, which makes the cut in the tax rate possible. Sebert says they won’t need to have to cut any personnel or programs. The school board held a public hearing on the preliminary budget Monday night and will finalize it and the tax levy late next month. The projected mill rate is $9.72 per thousand dollars of value on a property.

Turn Lane Should Reduce Accidents At Walmart Entrance

Fond du Lac’s public works director says they believe they have found a solution to make the south entrance to Walmart safer for drivers leaving the parking lot. Jordan Skiff says there is a visibility problem at the location on Rolling Meadows Drive. According to the police department over the five year period of 2009-2013 there were 68 reportable accidents at that entrance and 17 of those were injury accidents. The police department and the City’s engineering department were able to get a Highway Safety Improvement Program grant to put in a right-turn only lane at the south entrance. He says a consultant is being selected and they will do the right-of-way acquisition, design and study for it. He says the turn lane should reduce the number of accidents at that entrance. State and Federal money will pay for 90 percent of the cost of putting in the turn lane.

Marian University Will Host Health Care Professions Career Fair

Marian University in Fond du Lac will host a Health Care Professions Career Fair on Thursday, October 2 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Stayer Center Dining Room. The Fair focuses on nursing, radiologic technology, social work, grief and bereavement, community health and human services, exercise and sport science and healthcare administration careers. It is open to current students from Marian University, Moraine Park Technical College, Fox Valley Technical College, University of Wisconsin – Fond du Lac, University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and Ripon College. No pre-registration is required; however, participants must have valid student ID to register on-site at the event.

Home Sales Down In August

It was a mixed bag for the state housing market last month. Dave Clark is with the Wisconsin Realtors Association. He says existing home sales were down about 5.7 percent compared to August of 2013. The statewide median home price last month was $157,000, up about 3.3-percent over August of 2013. In Fond du Lac County home sales were down 12.4 percent and the median price of a home decreased by 15.3 percent compared to August of last year. To read more click here

Community Connection Fair At MPTC Today

The Moraine Park Technical College campus in Fond du Lac is hosting a Community Connections Fair today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the campus cafeteria. Service Learning Coordinator Brenda Schaefer says it’s an opportunity to learn more about how your community can help your and how you can help your community. A number of agencies like St. Vincent de Paul, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Salvation Army and the Solutions Center will have booths there. A group of students involved in MPTC’s service learning program are involved in something called the Great Pink Pumpkin 5 K Run & Walk next month and they have an information booth at the fair. Stephanie Cheevers says the run will help send terminally ill breast cancer patients on a retreat. The run and walk will be held on Saturday, October 18th at MPTC’s Fond du Lac campus. For more click here

Lack Of Quorum For Ripon Common Council Meeting

For the second meeting in a row the Ripon Common Council had to cancel one of their regular meetings due to a lack of a quorum of members. City Administrator Lori Rich says it doesn’t happen very often. She says fortunately they didn’t have anything on Monday’s agenda that was pressing. She says it just so happened that three members of the Common Council were out-of-state for work. The Council has a budget meeting on Thursday, October 2nd and their next regular meeting is on Tuesday, October 14th.