Local News Monday 4/22/13

Winnebago County DA Promises “Thorough” Investigation Into Shooting


The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an officer involved shooting in the Town of Menasha. A Town of Menasha police officer fatally shot 66-year-old Wilson Lutz at the Scottsdale Apartments Friday. Lutz was threatening to kill himself and was armed with a long gun. Officers approached him through the hallway carrying a ballistic shield. They told him to drop his weapon, but he pointed it at them. An officer fired two shots killing Lutz who was reportedly distraught over a relationship. The officer who fired the shots has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation. The officer is a 17-year veteran of the Town of Menasha Police Department. Winnebago County District Attorney Christian Gossett is promising a “very thorough” investigation into the shooting.


Mobile Home Fire In Town Of Lebanon


(WBEV-Beaver Dam)-Fire completely destroyed a Town of Lebanon mobile home and a neighboring garage. The blaze at Hidden Meadows also damaged the exterior of a mobile home next door. It was reported Saturday morning at 3:25 a.m. on Bluebird Ridge Road at the residence of Todd and Marybeth Stolpa. Lebanon Fire Chief Brent Boyd says the occupants where the fire started were not at home and it was fully involved before the first calls started coming in. When crews arrived on scene the first home was just a metal frame and Boyd says they focused their attention on saving neighboring residences which he notes are all very close to each other. One cat perished in the flames but there were no other injuries. The occupant in the neighboring mobile home will be temporarily displaced. The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation. Firefighters were on scene for about two-and-a-half hours. Mutual assistance was provided by Ixonia Fire.


FDL Man Arraigned On Child Porn Possession Charge


A 56-year-old Fond du Lac man pled not guilty when he was recently arraigned week in Fond du Lac County Court on a charge of possession of child pornography. The charge was brought against Scott Bernhardt as a result of an investigation by state and local police.  According to the criminal complaint a forensic preview of his laptop computer uncovered hundreds of sexually explicit images of children in a folder saved to the computer’s hard drive.  In an interview with investigators, Bernhardt admitted to downloading and viewing child pornography for the last ten to 15 years, according to the complaint.   A plea and sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 20th and if he continues to maintain his innocence a jury trial on June 12th. 


UW Presidents Criticized Over Huge Tuition Surplus Fund


(Wisconsin Radio Network)-The head of the UW system is under fire. UW President Kevin Reilly is a “fraud,” according state Representative Steve Nass. The Whitewater Republican chairs the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities. He says Reilly has been traveling around the state bashing legislators about cuts to the UW system while sitting on hundred of millions of dollars in tuition money taken from students. Nass is calling for the firing of Reilly after the disclosure late last week that the UW has a nearly 650 million dollar surplus account. Fellow Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman of West Bend won’t go as far as calling for Reilly’s “head,” but says he’s outraged the University President has been pushing for a tuition hike. He says Reilly is insensitive by calling for even more tuition increases and is driving students into debt well into their lives. A UW spokesman issued a statement called the surplus an “essential safety net,” but Governor Walker and majority Republicans don’t agree and are calling for a tuition freeze for the next two years. They’re joined by Racine Democrat Cory Mason, who’s a member of the Legislature’s Budget Committee.


Ripon And Commonwealth Benefit From Housing Tax Credits


Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority Executive Director Wyman Winston recently visited Ripon to announce the awarding of tax credits for a housing project. Ripon Mayor Gary Will says Commonwealth Development Corporation of Fond du Lac is getting nearly $275,000 in tax credits to build the Jefferson Street Apartments on the site of the former Smucker’s building. There will be 23 units in the complex. Will says the City benefits in more ways than one from the project because it will also gain some public parking from the project at the Senior Center, which is located behind City Hall. Overall 23 housing projects across the state were awarded a total of $11.5 million. That will create over 1,000 affordable housing units. 


FDL School Board Preview


The Fond du Lac School Board will do some organizing tonight as it seats three members who won election to new three-year terms earlier this month. Elizabeth Hayes, Mark Jurgella and Kathleen Nagle will be sworn to new terms. The board will also elect officers and decide on compensation for board members, which is currently $1,800 a year for the board president, and $1,600 a year for the rest of the board members. Also during the meeting the board will be asked to accept the resignation of Fond du Lac High School Assistant Principal John Meznarich who will become the Principal at Cameron High School in northwestern Wisconsin beginning July 1st. The board will also be asked to appoint Matt Steinbarth as Assistant Principal at Woodworth Middle School. He has been a math teacher at Woodworth since 2000 and was one of 64 candidates for the position. The Board meets at 7 p.m. at the District Administration Center Board Room on West 9th Street.


Military Road Closing


Fond du Lac’s Department of Public Works is closing Military Road from 2nd St. to Western Ave. between 8:00 AM and noon today. The road is being closed so that a large tree on Military Road can be trimmed. No detour will be used during the work.


Engineering Apprenticeships Needed For School-To-Work Program


The school-to-work coordinator for the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce says they are in need of businesses that can supply high school students with engineering apprenticeships. Jim Cleveland says in particular they are looking for businesses in the Fond du Lac, North Fond du Lac, Campbellsport and Oakfield areas. Cleveland says school-to-work students are more likely to return to the area after they graduate. He says the apprenticeships shows the students that schools and businesses are looking out for their interests. Cleveland says if you would like to know more call him at 921-9500.


Gudex Bill Could Go To Committee Soon


State Senator Rick Gudex says a bill he authored that would create a state sale tax holiday for school-related purchases during a designated weekend in August should be going to committee soon. He says ultimately its success or failure will depend on whether the right people can be convinced that overall it won’t hurt state sales tax revenues during that particular weekend. He says in states like Florida they’ve actually seen the state make revenue during sales tax holidays because people buy more items in the stores in addition to the items the holidays were created for. Eighteen other states already have some form of state sales tax holiday.