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Top Stories May 22, 2017

Born Says Sex Offender Law Change Needed


5/22/17 - State Representative Mark Born says current laws governing the most violent sex offenders are so strict that if something does not change judges will be forced to grant release without supervision. The Beaver Dam Republican says the changes he is proposing would give counties more control over placement, waiving 1500-foot residency restrictions. The remaining criteria would remain so that local officials can decide what is best for that county. There are very few so-called Chapter 980 sex-offenders in Wisconsin – around 15 each year – but there are currently two in Dodge County, in Born’s district, who are still in a detention facility long after their release date because adequate housing options keep falling though. Eventually, Born says, the state judges will have to support the constitutional rights of an offender and they are going to have to be released. The current law requires the state to return Chapter 980’s to their county of origin for supervised release, unless housing cannot be found. The new law would have each county create a temporary Chapter 980 Committee for each release comprised of stakeholder groups including representatives from the counties association, public defenders, district attorneys and human services. Born says a good example is Portage County, where an offender could not be placed near a school even though he would have been right next door to a jail. If the offender does not follow the rules of supervised release, then they are returned to a detention facility. Democrats have criticized the inclusion of the law change in the state budget and say it should be a standalone bill. Born says that would be his preference too but the matter has to be addressed before the program is deemed unconstitutional and judges grant Chapter 980 offenders their freedom without supervised release. The statute change would not effect the majority of sex offenders in the state and if a Chapter 980 offender does successfully complete supervised released, they would still be held to the 1500-foot residency restriction.

Listen to our interview with Born here:

Two Hartford Fires Under Investigation


5/22/17 - Fires damaged a residence and three garage units within a quarter mile of each other in Hartford early Saturday morning. Washington County Sheriff's officials say the first fire reported was at a residence on Highway 83 shortly after 5am. The home belongs to an 82-year-old woman. An off-duty Hartford firefighter stopped and rescued a cat from her home before other firefighters arrived. Meanwhile, a deputy setting up traffic control down the road saw heavy smoke coming from the 16-unit garage structure at the Oriole Pond apartment complex in the City of Hartford. Nine fire departments battled the two blazes. The garage and contents at the woman's residence sustained severe damage and a vehicle was a total loss. Three garage units were damaged at the apartment complex, which is a new construction and had no tenants. Both fires are under investigation. 


Casper Memorial Dedicated


5/22/17 - Appreciation for the sacrifice a State Trooper made for love of community was shown Saturday with the dedication of the Trooper Trevor J. Casper Memorial. Hundreds attended the tribute in Fond du Lac to the trooper who died in a shootout with a bank robbery and murder suspect in March of 2015. Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney quoted from Casper saying the idea of being able to help someone and put a positive impact on people’s lives is the reason he decided to be a police officer. Major Anthony Burrell of the State Patrol said of the memorial, “It’s not the slate or the marble. It’s emotion, tears, passion it represents. These emotions are a lasting appreciation and will be remembered forever through a community effort.” A Girl Scout troop gave roses to the Casper family, which they then laid on the memorial bench in the center of the memorial garden. The new memorial lies just mere yards from the impromptu memorial that inspired it. That smaller memorial is still decorated with flowers, plaques and mementos and is tended with care. 


Columbus School Supply Drive For Orphans Underway


5/22/17 - A school supply drive is underway that aims to help orphaned children abroad. School officials in Columbus are asking residents to donate school supplies that will be shipped to a Honduras orphanage. Columbus Middle School Assistant Principle Cori Denk says that a lot of items such as desks and chairs accumulated in their school basement. After a community garage sale the school still had a few items left over and the school administration was wondering what to do with them.  Denk said they got in contact with the World Orphan Fund, an all-volunteer organization that assists orphanages in third-world countries. A volunteer with the group and co-coordinator on this project Kevin Roche says the orphanage needs diapers, laptop computers, tennis shoes, notebooks, pencils, and clothes. The Honduras orphanage is called Our Little Brothers and Sisters and has over 500 children, making it one of the largest there. The World Orphan Fund founder RJ Johnson says they work closely with the community. He says they have kids from newborn’s all the up to 18-year-olds and work with kids that have been sexually and physically abused. The donation drive will take place from today until June 2 at the elementary, middle, and high schools in Columbus during school hours. There will also be a collection barrel at St. Jerome School and the public library in Columbus. Also at St. Katherine Drexel Church in Beaver Dam after their May 27 mass. For more information on the drive you can check out Columbus’ Facebook page at Columbus Community Learning Services.


Campbellsport PD In Transition


5/22/17 - Following Campbellsport Police Chief Jay Zautner’s resignation the department is in transition. Their only other full-time officer is also leaving. Brandon-Fairwater Police Chief Tom Dornbrook offered his services and will serve as the Officer in Charge for Campbellsport while they hire a part-time chief. He says it’s based on a model the Lomira Police Department used successfully for years. Dornbrook says the new chief will work with full-time officers. Meanwhile he will be doing double duty during the transition.


Johnson Holds Town Hall


5/22/17 - U-S Senator Ron Johnson appeared at the town hall meeting he's been criticized for weeks for not holding. The Wisconsin Republican joined the Tea Party's Grandsons of Liberty on Sunday at a session in Franklin attended by about 60 people with 35 protesters outside. The picketers held signs in favor of government run health insurance and an expansion of BadgerCare -- while inside, Johnson was peppered with questions and stories from those worried about the future of their care. Saint Francis cancer patient Gail Campbell said her doctor warned that her treatments would be restricted -- and the House health package would make her lose coverage for physical therapy and asthma medicine, but Johnson said it's "way too soon" for her doctor to say that. Republicans have been getting hammered at in person town hall meetings from Obamacare supporters, but Grandsons of Liberty president Tim Dake said the large numbers of opponents were okay with him -- and as he put it, "It's dull" if Johnson was "just preaching to the choir."


Highway 60 In Columbia County Closed This Week


5/22/17 - Motorists are advised that a stretch of Highway 60 in Columbia County will be closed for most of the week. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says Highway 60 between Lodi and Interstate 39-90-94 will be closed from today through Thursday for culvert replacement work. The roadway is closed between 9am and 3pm daily and officials say that motorists must use alternate routes during work hours.


Wisconsin Milk Output Rises, But Slower Than Nation


5/22/17 - Wisconsin's year to year milk production has grown for the second straight month, but not nearly as much as the national average. The U-S-D-A says the Badger State had a six-tenths-of-one-percent increase in April, compared to the same month last year -- but that's smaller than the two-percent hike in the 23 major dairy states. Wisconsin made two-billion, 528-million pounds of milk last month, still second highest behind top producing California which reported a one-point-one-percent decrease.  Wisconsin had a slightly higher number of dairy cows than the year before, with one-million-280-thousand head producing an average of 19-hundred-75 pounds each. That's ten pounds more than in April of last year.


Yesterday's Headlines
- School Back In Session In Beaver Dam
- Pet Food Company Begins Expansion In Columbus
- Tourism Spending Up In Dodge County, State

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.