Local News Friday 3/8/13

Mining Bill Passes


(Wisconsin Radio Network)-Passage of a controversial mining bill means jobs for Wisconsin, according to Republicans in the state Assembly. South Milwaukee Representative Mark Honadel pleaded to his fellow lawmakers not to kill a job creating opportunity along with the mining proposal. Democrats like Ashland Representative Janet Bewley countered that the bill will NOT mean jobs because of legal challenges and that a proposed iron ore mine will damage the environment in northern Wisconsin. The 58-to-39 partisan vote followed Senate action in which only one Republican voted against the bill. It now heads to Governor Scott Walker.


Mining Reaction Local State Representatives


Here’s a sampling of reaction from State Representatives from our area to the State Assembly’s passage of the mining bill Thursday night.


State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt of Fond du Lac says it’s a big win for Wisconsin. He says, “Not only will this positively affect Northern Wisconsin, but it will help our local economies and Wisconsin’s trade unions that are fully equipped to serve the activities of the mine.”


State Representative Michael Schraa of Oshkosh says Assembly Republicans took a stand for jobs. He says, “We voted for an environmentally-sound, common-sense overhaul of Wisconsin’s mining regulations that will smooth out the process for an iron mine to finally return to Wisconsin.”


State Representatives Dan LeMahieu of Cascade says, “Mining has always been a rich part of Wisconsin’s history and it will be a great provider for people across the state again.


State Representative Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh says it was a predetermined outcome. He says, “I do not doubt for a second that SB1 will go down as one of the most massive disappointments in our state’s legislative history.”


Suspect Charged For FDL Hotel Robbery


Bond was set at $10,000 cash for a 27-year-old Brownsville man suspected of robbing the Executive Lodge Hotel in Fond du Lac in January. Nicholas Luckow made his initial appearance in Fond du Lac County Court Thursday on robbery with threat of force and theft charges. He allegedly had a scarf wrapped around his face and a hoodie over his head during the robbery. Police say no weapon was displayed, but the hotel clerk got the impression he was concealing one. The clerk also thought she recognized his voice as a guest at the hotel. He’s also facing a drug charge for an incident that happened the day before the robbery. A $1,500 cash bond was set in that case. A preliminary hearing is scheduled in both cases for April 5th.


Oshkosh Man Pleads No Contest To Drunken Driving Homicide Charge


A 33-year-old Oshkosh man Thursday pled no contest to a drunken driving homicide charge. Jeremy Derks will be sentenced in Winnebago County Court on May 9th. Derks drove through a stop sign at Highway 21 and Reighmoor Road in the Town of Omro last May hitting another vehicle.  A passenger in that vehicle, 84-year-old Richard Bielinski of Omro, was killed. Three other charges Derks was facing were read into the record and dismissed.


FDL Man  Pleads Not Guilty To 7th OWI


The 60-year-old Fond du Lac man facing a 7th drunken driving charge was arraigned in Dodge County Court this week. George Salaja stood mute and a “not guilty” plea was entered on his behalf. A sheriff’s deputy pulled him over outside of Lomira last December. He was driving slow on Highway 41 when he exited on Highway 49 and rolled through a stop sign. He’s being held in the Dodge County Jail on a $35,000 cash bond. Salaja’s last drunken driving offense was about a dozen years ago.


Sheboygan Woman Allegedly Steals From Care Client


(WHBL-Sheboygan)-A Sheboygan woman who was allegedly ripping off an elderly woman for whom she was a caregiver is now facing felony theft charges.  Forty-one- year-old Danielle Dommisse is facing up to 12 years in prison.  According to the criminal complaint, the 83-year-old victim and a relative contacted Sheboygan Police last month about their suspicions.  The investigation revealed that Dommisse, who had been assigned to assist the woman through an area agency, had allegedly made unauthorized purchases and withdrawals in excess of $2,000 with the woman’s checks and ATM card.  She was identified through surveillance video and later admitted she had a lot of debt and a gambling problem.


NFDL Evaluating Dual Role Of Fire Chief/EMS Director


North Fond du Lac Village officials are taking their time in replacing Fire Chief and EMS Director Gene Prellwitz who resigned in the middle of last month. Village Administrator Chuck Hornung says Prellwitz was commuting from Kaukauna where he worked before. He says he suspects Prellwitz had a problem with the Village’s residency requirement for some of its department heads. Meanwhile he says they are evaluating the Fire Chief and EMS Director dual role to see if they should restructure it because all too often the person holding the position doesn’t stay very long.

He says the assistant chiefs will take up additional tasks in the interim. Prellwitz was hired by the Village last September.


Evers Seeks Another Term As DPI Chief


State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers says he’d like to get another term in office to see through some of the reforms and initiatives the state has embarked on during his time as superintendent. Evers proposed a fairer way of funding for school districts, which he says the Governor didn’t really include in his proposed state budget. He also doesn’t agree with the proposed expansion of the school voucher program, which would include the Fond du Lac School District. Evers says school report cards weren’t meant to be used as a way of determining funding. Evers also says the voucher system hasn’t done anything over the past 20 years to improve student test results in Milwaukee. Evers is being challenged by State Assemblyman Don Pridemore in the April 2nd election.


The head of the State’s Department of Public Instruction believes his experience sets him apart from his opponent in the April 2nd election. State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers is being challenged by State Representative Don Pridemore. Pridemore says there’s too much bureaucracy in the Wisconsin School System, something Evers says isn’t the case. He says they’ve partnered with local school districts in very significant ways. Evers says he’s never seen as many different types of reform initiatives for schools in his 36 years in education and believes his experience will see them through. Pridemore will be a guest on the Morning Show with Bob Hoffmaster at 11:30 next Thursday morning.


Sturgeon Season A Success


Even though only one more sturgeon was taken during the spearing season this winter compared to last year; the DNR’s sturgeon biologist considers the season a success. Ryan Koenigs says 73 percent of the 567 sturgeon speared on the Lake Winnebago System were taken by residents who live in counties around the Lake and another 17 percent were taken by those living in adjacent counties. He says the 2013 season continued a five to ten year trend of harvests with an increasing number of fish taken over 100 pounds, which makes it a successful season. Koenigs says you also have to take into account the impact on the local economy, which according to one study is about $3.5 million for a season that goes the entire 16 days. Koenigs says he’s already looking forward to the next season.

County by County breakdown.


Miss Fond du Lac Scholarship Pageant Saturday Night


The Miss Fond du Lac Scholarship Pageant celebrates its 50th anniversary Saturday night with many former Miss Fond du Lacs returning for this year’s pageant. More than 20 are expected to watch the pageant. Organizer James Haase says there are 16 contestants competing in the Miss Fond du Lac, Miss Fond du Lac’s Outstanding Teen, and the Wisconsin Central title which is open to anyone in the state. The pageant is tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Goodrich Little Theater. You can get advanced tickets for $15 at the Theater tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. or at the door Saturday evening.


Mercury Safety Director To Get Lifetime Achievement Award


The Wisconsin Safety Council and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will honor Tom Baumgartner, Director of Safety at Mercury Marine, with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 71st annual Wisconsin Safety & Health Conference. The conference will be held at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells on April 23rd. Tom joined Mercury Marine in 1979 as Manager of OSHA and Safety. The role of Environmental, Health and Safety expanded and evolved from a one man job in 1979 to a staff of 15 professionals serving 3500 Mercury employees’ throughout the world. Altogether he has 41 years in the Safety profession. The Lifetime Achievement Award was established to honor those individuals who have devoted their lives to the safety of others.


Local Man Completes Navy Basic Training


Navy Seaman Jason L. Mikulec, son of Debra Warga of Oshkosh, Wis. and Lee Mikulec, of Fond du Lac, Wis., recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.  During the eight-week program, Mikulec completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.