Local News Friday 3/15/13

St. Patrick’s Day Drunken Driving Enforcement Effort


If you’re planning on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Fond du Lac County this weekend make sure you don’t drink and drive. The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department and police agencies throughout the County will once again be participating in a concentrated effort to crack down on drunken driving. Sheriff’s Captain Rick Olig says the enforcement effort will run from 6 p.m. Saturday to 4 p.m. Monday. There’s a St. Patrick’s Day Parade Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.  in Fond du Lac and Sunday at Noon in Dundee. Olig says there is goal of no drunken driving related crashes or arrests for the weekend. Olig says the Sheriff’s Department gets about $30,000 in grant money to cover overtime for such efforts, but St. Patrick’s Day weekend is the only specifically mentioned by name in the grant material for enforcement. Residents are urged to plan a safe way home by using a designated driver, taking a taxi, using public transportation or a safe ride program.


Green Lake County Highway D Flooding


The Green Lake County Highway Department has closed County Highway D at Sucker Creek between Berlin and Princeton.  Due to thawing conditions and recent precipitation, Sucker Creek has risen and flooded the roadway on County Highway D.  Current from the creek has begun to erode the roadway and is also depositing and forming ice at that location.  Barricades and notices of closure have been posted on both ends of County Highway D and specifically at Big Island Road on the East side and also at County Highway DD on the West. Drivers are asked to use an alternate route.


Fire Destroys Washington County Barn


Fire destroyed a barn in the Town of Kewaskum last night. Washington County Sheriff’s officials say the owner of the barn on Prospect Road was burning some old straw near the barn when it caught on fire. There was a small amount of straw in the 60 by 30 foot structure. Five fire departments battled the blaze. The damage is estimated at $20,000. The property is owned by Gerald Brugger of the Town of Trenton.


FDL Man Asks For Different Judge In Child Porn Possession Case


A different judge has been assigned to the case of a 55-year-old Fond du Lac man recently charged in Fond du Lac County Court with possession of child pornography. Judge Peter Grimm was assigned to the case involving Scott Bernhardt after Bernhardt was bound over for trial during a preliminary hearing last week. However Bernhardt asked for a different judge and the case was assigned to Fond du Lac County Judge Robert Wirtz. The child pornography possession charge was brought against him as a result of an investigation by state and local police.  According to the criminal complaint in an interview with investigators, Bernhardt admitted to downloading and viewing child pornography on his computer for the last ten to 15 years.  He’s free on a $2,500 cash bond.


Horicon Man Arraigned For Drunken Driving Accident That injured Police Officer


The 42-year-old rural Horicon man who injured a Juneau officer by allegedly driving drunk into her squad car pled “not guilty” to charges when he was arraigned in Dodge County Court this week. Chad Buelter is facing two felony charges. The officer was legally parked on a street. Buelter stumbled away from the scene of the accident last April leaving behind the injured officer and three drunk and confused passengers in his vehicle. A scheduling conference is set next month for his case.


FDL Firefighters Applauded For Life Saving Effort


It was a rare night filled with applause Wednesday evening for Fond du Lac firefighters and paramedics. First, Division Chief Tom Wendt was honored with a proclamation at the City Council meeting for his 35 years of service to the City, which led to a nice round of applause. Lieutenant Joe Maramonte says he and some other firefighters who attended that event were just getting back to the fire station on South Main Street when they got another call, just across the street from the station. A man was having dinner at Sebastian’s Steak House and was choking on some food. Paramedics were able to dislodge the food and take the man to St. Agnes Hospital. They probably saved his life; a fact that didn’t escape the attention of restaurant patrons, which led to the second round of applause that night.


Ripon Refinances Water Utility Debt


Ripon’s Common Council this week unanimously approved refinancing of a City Water Utility Debt for the purchase of the utility from Alliant Energy back in 2005. City Administrator Lori Rich says it’s estimated that the refinancing will save the City over the remaining 12 years of the debt. She says the City should be able to save about $13,000 a year in interest. Ripon was among the last two cities where Alliant Energy owned the water utility. Beloit was the other. Alliant is no longer in that type of business.


Senator Gudex On Hand For Bill Signing Ceremony


State Senator Rick Gudex was on hand Wednesday during one of Governor Walker’s bill signing ceremonies for the Wisconsin Fast Forward bill. It’s a bill the state lawmaker from Fond du Lac co-authored. Gudex says it’s appropriate that Walker signed the bill at Jay Manufacturing in Oshkosh, a company that’s growing. The other bill signing ceremony was in Janesville. Gudex says the bill accomplishes several things that will help close the labor skills gap. He says it will provide more grant funding for training opportunities and creates a labor management information system. Gudex says the labor management information system will be developed over the summer and will provide faster links for job seekers and employers looking for workers. He says the bill shows Wisconsin is willing to invest in its workforce.


State Representative Thiesfeldt Will Host Town Hall Budget Meeting


State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt will hold a town hall meeting to discuss Governor Walker’s proposed biennium budget in Fond du Lac next Monday. It will be at 6 p.m. in the legislative chambers of the City-County Government Center. He will give a brief overview of the Governor’s proposal and then field any budget related questions.


Lakeland College Names Interim President


(WHBL-Sheboygan)-Lakeland College’s Board of Trustees has named Daniel Eck as its interim president, succeeding Michael Grandillo, who recently resigned after only 9 months in the post at the school in Plymouth.  School officials said Eck’s appointment is indefinite and the college has no plans to conduct a presidential search.  Eck came to Lakeland in 2008 as a special assistant to the president.  Grandillo reportedly left over a difference in philosophy with Lakeland’s board.


Groundwater Awareness Week


As part of National Groundwater Awareness Week Fond du Lac County residents with private wells are being reminded to have their wells tested. Diana Tscheschlok of the Fond du Lac County UW-Cooperative Extension says it’s a good idea. Nitrates that can get into well water can be particularly harmful to babies and pregnant women causing a dangerous condition known as Blue Baby Syndrome. Sample bottles and instructions are available at the County Health Department in Fond du Lac. Tscheschlok says this year they will also have a testing program for residents who live in the Towns of Oakfield and Fond du Lac with samples being taken the first week in April and on Monday April 8th samples will be taken. Residents of those towns can get more information by calling the town clerk or visiting the Fond du Lac County UW-Extension website. An education program will be held on the test results on May 20th.

Winter Parking Restriction End


It may not be a concrete sign of spring, but one indication it’s on the way is the end of winter parking restrictions. The odd/even ban on overnight parking in the City of Fond du Lac and Village of North Fond du Lac comes to an end today.


Gordy Treffert A Friend Of The Show


At KFIZ we refer to some of our frequent guests as “Friends of the Show,” but Gordy Treffert was also a friend to the community. Gordy died Wednesday at the age of 88. Bob Hoffmaster paid tribute to him during the Morning Show yesterday. Gordy served the community in so many ways including stints with the County Board, TRIAD, the Optimist Club, Fond du Lac Lions Club, and more. Bob says Gordy was proud of being from North Fond du Lac and what was going on the community. He also had a way of lifting your spirits no matter what type of day you were having. You can see a full obituary here at KFIZ.com. Visitation is today from 4 to 7 p.m. at Uecker-Witt Funeral Home.  Bob Hoffmaster Tribute To Gordy Treffert