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Yesterday's News

Top Stories September 21, 2017

BDPD Searching For Suspect In Attempted Bank Robbery


9/21/17 -  Authorities in Beaver Dam are looking for the suspect in an attempted armed robbery. It happened around 8:22am yesterday (Wed) morning at Bank Mutual at the intersection of North Center Street and West Maple Avenue. Employees report that a man was standing outside their building with a handgun pointed toward them. The bank had not yet opened, the doors were still locked, he never gained entry and no one was injured. Police utilized a nearby K-9 unit from the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and followed a scent one block north to a four-unit apartment complex on the 100 block of Third Street. The SWAT Team was called in and two people were arrested. Beaver Dam Police say the two people taken into custody were questioned but are no longer considered suspects, have been released and are facing no charges. The apartment is one block south of the Beaver Dam Middle School which is on Fourth Street. The school implemented an administrative hold procedure and no one was allowed in or out of the building until the incident was resolved, which was around 11am. The suspect was captured on video surveillance. He was wearing a red-colored cloth over his face along with a grey hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Beaver Dam Police Department.


Contact: Beaver Dam Police Lieutenant of Detectives Terrence Gebhardt at 920-887-4613 x503.


Watch live video of one arrest and the SWAT Team sweep here:


Former Booster Club President Convicted Of Skimming


9/21/17 -  A Beaver Dam man was convicted yesterday of stealing thousands of dollars from the cash box at the concession stands of Beaver Dam High School football games. Craig Piekarski, the former president of the school’s Booster Club, pled to reduced misdemeanor charges of Theft of Movable Property. Prosecutors say the 43-year-old had taken $2837 during the 2016 football season from the concession stand cash box, fraudulent cash withdrawals with the Booster Club debit card and by having the treasurer write checks for supplies that were never obtained. School officials learned about the skimming after receipts from games came in below the previous year’s totals. When asked if he had taken the money, Piekarski took full responsibility and said he used the money to gamble hoping to earn enough money before returning the cash box to the school to reimburse what he had taken. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 30.


Conditional Release Approved For High-Risk Offender


9/21/17 -  A hearing was held yesterday in Dodge County court on the release of a high-risk sex offender. Both the state and the county are working together to find suitable housing for Robert Larson Jr., who is currently at the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston long after his scheduled released date. Three houses in Dodge County that fit the criteria for placement were under consideration. At yesterday’s hearing, Judge Joseph Sciascia conditionally approved placement at an agreed upon residence and found that Larson met the criteria for conditional release. The location was not specified in court records.


Beaver Dan Woman Arraigned For Knife Attack


9/21/17 -  A Beaver Dam woman accused of injuring her estranged husband during an altercation entered a not guilty plea at arraignment yesterday. Ana Bretado is facing one felony count of Injury by Negligent use of a Weapon and three misdemeanor charges of Battery, Criminal Damage to Property, and Disorderly Conduct. Beaver Dam police were dispatched to the hospital in December to speak with Bretado who told them her husband became combative when she handed him divorce papers. The 29-year-old reportedly said he struck her several times in the head and when he was attempting to leave she grabbed a kitchen knife to slash the vehicles tires. When investigators met with the husband he denied hitting Bretado and said that she came at him with the knife so he restrained her to prevent being stabbed. The husband was also arrested for domestic battery. If convicted, Bretado faces up to three-and-a-half years in prison.


Cement Truck Driver Arrested For Drunk Driving


9/21/17 -  Washington County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a drunken semi driver Tuesday evening who nearly struck several vehicles head-on including a Horicon ambulance with a patient in it. The 37-year-old Village of Slinger man was driving semi-tractor trailer with a 54-thousand-pound load of cement. Dodge County Sheriff’s officials reported the drunken driver heading east on State Highway 33. Washington County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the driver after he went into a ditch on Interstate-41 in the Town of Polk.


Beaver Dam Schools Layout Goals For Upcoming Year


9/21/17 -  School officials in Beaver Dam rolled out their goals for the upcoming school year. The district’s new Superintendent Mark DiStefano discussed several key performance objectives with the school board this week, including curriculum alignment and benefits packages. DiStefano says the referendum construction at the school has caused the district to reevaluate their school calendar. He says it will also provide an opportunity to enhance the academic achievement of the students and infuse professional growth opportunities for the staff. One of the goals with the school calendar would be to have all the elementary schools start and end the school day at the same time. DiStefano says large renovation projects are another performance objective. The district also plans on looking at communications platforms - including their website - which he says needs to be streamlined. DiStefano says progress updates will be given to the school board in December, March, and May. 


Walker To Sign State Budget In Neenah


9/21/17 -  Wisconsin public schools that get the lowest state funding would not get a special boost in the new state budget. That's one of 99 items Governor Scott Walker has vetoed from the two year, 76-billion dollar budget package. The Republican Walker announced the vetoes yesterday, and he says he'll sign the rest of the budget during the noon hour today at Tullar Elementary School in Neenah. Walker has spent a lot of time at public schools in recent months, touting a 639-million dollar increase in state school aid which followed declines from the Act 10 union bargaining limits of 2011. Republican lawmakers hoisted the prospect of aid for schools with the least funding -- but Walker said it could let schools increase capacities for local property taxes without voter approval. Walker also eliminated state funds for the advisory Judicial Council, a board that regulates profit making colleges, and a new panel for state prosecutors. Walker also vetoed limits on allocating new performance based state funds to U-W campuses, and the schools will not be allowed to decide their own metrics. The Republican Walker also vetoed having sex offenders placed near schools and day care centers to keep them in the communities where they committed their crimes. The governor also reduced the amount of tax breaks developers can get for restoring historic buildings, and he wiped out a one-million dollar tax break on broadcasters' equipment.


Legal Group Says Foxconn Incentives Unconstitutional


9/21/17 -  Several parts of the state's incentives to Foxconn might be unconstitutional. That's according to the Legislative Council, the state's nonpartisan legal group. It says the biggest concern is letting relaxed environmental laws and other provisions for the Foxconn L-C-D plant stay in effect while court challenges move through an expedited process that bypasses the mid-level appellate courts. The council says those kinds of court stays violate the judiciary's constitutional independence. Republicans have tried and failed for years to let some of their most conservative measures stay in effect while lawsuits go through the courts -- but they've failed almost every time, and a requirement that abortion doctors have hospital admitting privileges never did take effect before the courts struck them down.


Wisconsin Supreme Court Deciding Tirade Or Free Speech


9/21/17 - The Wisconsin Supreme Court will decide whether a mother's verbal tirade against her 14-year-old son was criminal abuse, or free speech. The court heard arguments Wednesday in the case of 44-year-old Ginger Breitzman of Milwaukee, who was convicted of child abuse and child neglect. She was also convicted of disorderly conduct when she gave an profane rant to her son for burning popcorn -- and her son's friend heard the tantrum while the two boys were on the phone. Breitzman contends that her trial lawyer was ineffective because for not making the case that she exercised her First Amendment free speech rights with her comments -- but a state attorney said it shouldn't be automatic for criminal defense lawyers to raise deeper constitutional concerns. The Supreme Court heard the case Wednesday before high school students in Jefferson as part of the court's long running "On the Road" educational program.