Afternoon State News Briefs: Long-time Sheriff of Dodge County to retireWisconsin News
-- One of Wisconsin’s best-known county sheriffs will retire one month from today. Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls announced his plans late this morning. He’s ending a 34-year career in law enforcement, which started in 1979 at the state Corrections Department.
BEAVER DAM - One of Wisconsin’s best-known county sheriffs will retire one month from today. Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls announced his plans late this morning. He’s ending a 34-year career in law enforcement, which started in 1979 at the state Corrections Department.
Nehls joined the Dodge County force in 1987 as a deputy, and he worked his way up the ranks. Voters have been electing him as the sheriff since 2002. Nehls said his department has met the goals he set when he first ran 11 years ago – adding new technology, getting more modern equipment, consolidating 911 service in Dodge County, and centralizing law enforcement records. Over the last decade, Dodge County has had a reduction in crime, with larger arrest rates. And traffic deaths in the county have dropped by 50-percent. Nehls is also a colonel in the Wisconsin National Guard, and he’ll retire from that post as well. Governor Scott Walker will appoint a new sheriff.
As Governor Scott Walker considers expanding Medicaid, more of his GOP brethren from around the country are agreeing to do it. This week, Rick Snyder of Michigan became the sixth Republican governor to accept the option of expanding the state-and-federal health plans for the poor and elderly. Eleven GOP governors have said no, while 12 others – including Walker – have yet to say what they’ll do. In Wisconsin, an expansion of Medicaid would allow more low-income adults without children to be covered in programs like Badger-Care-Plus. Nationally, the goal is to reduce the estimated 15-percent of Americans who don’t have health insurance. Until now, Republican state leaders around the country have been strongly opposed to the optional parts of the Obama health package. Walker refused late last year to allow the state to set up its own purchasing exchanges that are tailored to Wisconsinites when they buy coverage after the purchasing mandate begins in 2014. The federal government has agreed to pick up most of the added costs for Medicaid. That’s breaking down some of the GOP opposition. And some governors believe it will make fewer people show up at hospitals without insurance. Walker’s office refuses to say what it will do until the governor proposes his next state budget to the Legislature on February 20th. This week, a Walker spokesman said there was no guarantee that Washington won’t cut back on its promised payments in the future.
Minnesota’s Democratic-Farm Labor governor took a shot at Wisconsin during his annual State-of-the-State address to his Legislature this week. Democrat Mark Dayton said the Gopher State is doing better than it was two years ago, and better than most of its neighbors. He said Minnesota’s job growth was the 12th best among all 50 states in 2012, while Wisconsin quote, “helped bring up the rear at 42nd.” Republican Governor Scott Walker tried to attract Illinois companies over the past two years, citing a 46-percent increase in business taxes and a 66-percent hike on income taxes. Recently, Walker tweeted that Dayton proposed a two-billion-dollar tax increase – and the Republican Walker used one of his signature slogans that Wisconsin is “Open for Business.” This week, second-term state Assembly Republican Erik Severson of Osceola urged Minnesota businesses to move to Wisconsin to avoid business-to-business sales taxes – and he said it was important to let Gopher State companies know that quote, “We value job creators.” Dayton also asked Minnesotans to quote, “Help spread the word across the Saint Croix, their unemployment rate last month was 20-percent higher than ours, while our per-capita income was 12-percent higher than theirs.” Dayton’s tax proposal affects the top two percent of Minnesota incomes. He also wants to reduce the sales tax rate, but charge it on goods-and-services not taxed in the past.
One person was killed and another was rescued from a burning house in Williams Bay, near Lake Geneva. Authorities said the blaze started around 8:20 last night and burned until close to midnight. Two fire-fighters were reportedly taken to a hospital with smoke inhalation. The name of the fatal victim was not immediately released. An investigation continues into the cause of the fire.
A proposed electric transmission line in northeast Wisconsin will only be about a-third as long as originally planned. The American Transmission Company of Waukesha said a power line from Green Bay into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula would only run for 45 miles, instead of the 122 miles that were originally proposed. Company officials said the longer line is not needed anymore, because We Energies has scrapped the idea of closing its coal-fired power plant in Marquette Michigan. The utility decided to install pollution controls as required by the federal government, and keep the plant running. The transmission line was originally going to cost $900-million. But ATC says it will now be more like $300-to-400 million. And the transmission says it’s delaying other work in the region, as it takes a second look at the region’s need for more electricity.
It appears that a man who committed a crime spree in Wisconsin and five other states almost 20 years ago will be put to death in Ohio. The parole board in the Buckeye State refused to recommend today that 48-year-old Fredrick Treesh be given clemency. He’s scheduled to be executed on March sixth unless Governor John Kasich or a court reverses the action. Treesh was condemned for shooting a 58-year-old security guard to death while robbing an adult bookstore in Eastlake Ohio in August of 1994. It was the final crime in a series of bank-and-business robberies, sexual assaults, car-jackings, and another shooting death in Michigan. There was no immediate word on what the Wisconsin crimes were. The courts have no record of them, since Ohio was the only state where Treesh was prosecuted. Treesh said the Ohio killing was an unintended consequence during a struggle for his gun while he was on cocaine. But the parole board said the cruelty of the crime outweighed the killer’s addiction. And the panel said Treesh acted poorly in prison like quote, “a self-indulgent, petulant, and immature individual.”
A Greendale High School senior will spend one week in jail for making a bomb threat in response to being bullied for years. Prosecutors agreed that 17-year-old Nicolas Olson was more of a victim than a criminal – so they only charged him with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Olson will be on probation for a year, and he’ll have release privileges during his week in jail for school or work. Police said Olson was elected to the high school’s homecoming court as a joke last fall – and a couple days before the Homecoming dance, he scrawled a threat on a bathroom wall which read “Three Days ‘Til Boom, J-K or am I?” Olson pleaded guilty to his original charge, and he’ll have to pay almost 27-hundred dollars to cover the school’s cost of responding to the bomb threat. He must also stay away from Greendale High and finish his current counseling. The school’s principal said the incident brought the matter of bullying to the forefront. He said bullied youngsters must speak up – and many times, they don’t.