Morning State News Briefs: Former Sheboygan mayor arrested for DUIWisconsin News
-- Former Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan is in trouble with alcohol again. Police in nearby Kiel said the 49-year-old Ryan was stopped around midnight last night. Officers took him to a hospital to get his blood alcohol level checked – and then he was taken to jail.
KIEL - Former Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan is in trouble with alcohol again. Police in nearby Kiel said the 49-year-old Ryan was stopped around midnight last night. Officers took him to a hospital to get his blood alcohol level checked – and then he was taken to jail.
Ryan has admitted he’s had trouble with alcohol, and has tried to remain sober. He was recalled from office about 13 months ago, after three alcohol-related incidents during his term which culminated in a three-day drinking binge in Elkhart Lake in the summer of 2011. Last week, Ryan was fined $770,000 for a misdemeanor disorderly conduct conviction, after was accused of groping a woman while drinking in Elkhart Lake.
A company that owns a semi-truck that rear-ended an SUV and killed six Wisconsinites had 17 violations in the two years before Saturday’s crash. Highway Star Incorporated of Oak Park, Michigan racked up tickets for speeding, following too closely, unsafe lane changes, and not wearing seat-belts. Based on that record, the federal government had advised states to more closely inspect the company’s vehicles. But the U.S. Motor Carrier Safety Administration still gave Highway Star an overall satisfactory rating, due to its overall performance in the two years ending yesterday. Duane DeBruyne of the federal safety agency says the warnings are meant to notify states of potential problems to check on – but they don’t have to follow up on them. The Kentucky State Patrol said the trucker in Saturday’s crash was apparently distracted before rear-ending the SUV on Interstate-65, about 50 miles south of Louisville. 62-year-old James Gollnow of rural Marion in Shawano County was driving the SUV. He was killed along with his wife, another relative, two foster children, and a 92-year-old family friend. Two other foster children were rescued after having serious injuries. The trucker was not hurt. The crash remains under investigation.
Pewaukee’s police chief – who lost a state Assembly primary by just 29 votes last month – says he will not ask for a recount. Today was the deadline for Republican Ed Baumann to seek for a new tally of the nearly five-thousand votes cast on February 19th. But Baumann said he did not believe it would make any difference. That means Adam Neylon will most likely win the vacant 98th District Assembly seat after the April second general election. No Democrats are on the ballot, which means that Neylon – who owns a window cleaning business in Pewaukee – will most likely replace former Representative Paul Farrow. A special election was ordered for the Assembly post, after Farrow was elected to the Senate in a special balloting in December.
A former Manitowoc County woman is facing three felony charges, after she allegedly violated a court order by heading to Nebraska with her three daughters. According to court records, 29-year-old Jennifer Lorrigan was not supposed to take the girls out of Wisconsin – or more than 150 miles away – without their father’s permission. Manitowoc County sheriff’s deputies contacted authorities in Lincoln Nebraska last Friday – and officers found Lorrigan and the girls at Lincoln’s City Mission. The girls are 3, 8, and 11, and they’re in the custody of officials. Lorrigan faces extradition to Wisconsin, on three felony counts of interfering with child custody against court orders.
It was a year ago yesterday when a Colby fire-fighter who doubled as a Marathon County sheriff’s deputy was killed while battling a movie theater blaze. Jamison Kampmeyer was one of three fire-fighters trapped inside, when a ceiling collapsed at the 63-year-old Abby Theatre in Abbotsford. People throughout central Wisconsin were touched as they remembered a public servant who left a strong impact on the region. Yesterday, friends and relatives gathered at the Colby firehouse where Kampmeyer was honored once again. The National Institute for Occupational Safety-and-Health looked into the blaze, and said the roof’s construction was a factor. But the agency said the big problem was a lack of communication between area fire departments and rescuers. Officials say that’s been fixed with monthly training sessions. Meanwhile, Colby High School freshman Jacob Miller has made it his Eagle Scout project to raise funds for a memorial in Kampmeyer’s honor. He started the effort last fall, and has raised seven-thousand-dollars. Jacob hopes to raise 10-thousand so construction can begin this spring. He says the cost can be lowered with donations for brick and masonry work.
Wisconsin lawmakers are expected to give their final approval today to a bill that would train workers for increasingly-complex jobs. The state Senate will consider giving 15-million dollars in competitive matching grants to job-training groups. The measure also sets up a new computer system to keep track of job data, and steer job-seekers toward professions with the highest demands. Governor Scott Walker proposed the measure, and the Senate’s approval would send the bill to him for his signature. The state Assembly passed it 94-4 last week despite a couple of criticisms from Democrats. There were concerns about the cost of the computer system – and one lawmaker tried but failed to have the state’s technical colleges to oversee the training effort, instead of the state’s workforce development agency.
Prosecutors in central Wisconsin expect to file charges next week against an Adams man accused of shooting his girlfriend to death. A judge set a quarter-million-dollar bond yesterday for 28-year-old Coleman Dybul, who was booked on suspicion of reckless homicide. He reportedly told Adams County sheriff’s deputies that 27-year-old Toni Voss startled him while he was sleeping early Saturday – and he grabbed a shotgun next to his bed and fired it. Sheriff Sam Wollin said many people keep firearms in their bedrooms – and he had no reason to believe the incident happened differently. The state Crime Lab and local investigators are still reviewing evidence.
Campbellsport High School is dealing with its third major tragedy in 13 months – all involving traffic deaths. Yesterday, a crisis intervention team helped students and staffers cope with the death of Lance Beyer, the school’s associate principal and athletic director. The 31-year-old Beyer was killed Sunday in a two-vehicle crash northeast of Fond du Lac. School officials said Beyer was instrumental in helping youngsters cope with the deaths of four Campbellsport students in a pair of highway crashes last year. Authorities said Beyer pulled into the path of a vehicle coming from his left at the corner of Fond du Lac County Trunks “Q” and “G.” Officials said alcohol was not a factor – and they were not sure if Beyer stopped at the corner and then pulled out, or if he drove through a stop-sign. The other driver and her two kids suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Beyer was a teacher at Campbellsport High before becoming an assistant principal. Three girls’ soccer players from Campbellsport died in a speed-related mishap in February of 2012. And an 18-year-old student died last November after he lost control of his car.
Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the Milwaukee city government needs to find ways to be more efficient and save money. The Racine County Republican said it would show conservatives that Milwaukee can be a world-class city without quote, “taxing ourselves into oblivion.” Vos told the Milwaukee Press Club yesterday that he met recently with Mayor Tom Barrett on the city’s biggest issues, as Governor Scott Walker has urged the city to focus on attracting jobs and improving its economy. Vos said he could consider throwing state money at the city’s problems. But he said he prefers giving the private sector a chance to help, instead of government just giving money to some and taking away from others. Vos also took a political dig at the Democrat Barrett, saying he spent much of the last three years running for governor while he chose to quote, “abdicate a lot of things the city of Milwaukee has needed.” Barrett chief-of-staff Pat Curley invited Vos to meet with Milwaukee officials and point out his ideas for being more efficient instead of quote, “tossing flip, political remarks back and forth.” Curley also pointed to a recent study by the Public Policy Forum which outlined Milwaukee’s fiscal challenges but said the city is well run financially.
Studies generally show that Americans are out-living their parents – but that’s not true for a lot of women. A new UW-Madison study shows that the percentage of women dying before age 75 went up in 43-percent of all U.S. counties from 1992-through-2006. And in Wisconsin, those female death rates have risen in 19 of the state’s 72 counties. Most are in the western half of the state, and in north central areas. UW doctoral candidate Erika Cheng said her research team was shocked, because it’s generally assumed that people are living longer. But female death rates rose in 1,224 U.S. counties, while men’s death rates before 75 rose in just 108 counties – and none in Wisconsin. So why are women dying sooner? Experts couldn’t say. But according to the UW’s annual county health rankings, possible factors include lower-than-average education levels, higher rates of smoking and drinking, and traffic crash rates. The UW’s David Kindig says the study proves that you can no longer assume the nation’s getting healthier just by looking at death rates for heart disease and cancer.
Legislation called “Windchill’s Law” would make animal neglect a more serious crime in Wisconsin. The legislation is named after a colt found starving and frozen on the ground in northern Wisconsin in 2006. That colt eventually died and it was hard to prosecute the owner under existing state law. The new version passed the Assembly last session, but it wasn’t taken up by the Wisconsin Senate. A revision to its language gives the bipartisan bill a better chance to make it through.
Police in southern Wisconsin are looking for a man who was shot when a property owner thought he was breaking in to a van. Authorities think the man they’re looking for is suffering from an injury to his left arm which isn’t thought to be life-threatening. Jacob Davenport called police in the Town of Beloit about a half-hour after the shooting at his home early last Friday morning. Davenport told investigators he fired once while the suspected thief was in his driveway. He says he fired two or three more shots at a getaway car which he thinks was driven by a woman. An initial charge of recklessly endangering safety was filed against Davenport, but it was dismissed later.
The state Democratic Party will no longer use Graeme Zielinski as its chief spokesman, after he compared Governor Scott Walker to Milwaukee serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The comments were made on Twitter last Friday, after prosecutors said they ended a John Doe investigation into Walker’s former Milwaukee County aides. Walker himself was not charged – and some Democrats criticized that outcome, with one Democratic leader even asking Walker to apologize that the investigation had to take place. Zielinski later apologized on Twitter both to Walker and to Dahmer’s murder victims. Zielinski lost a week’s pay of just over a-thousand dollars. He’ll stay with the Democrats as a media adviser, but he won’t be able to speak for the party on Twitter.
Only a relative handful of Wisconsin students get a perfect score of 36 on the ACT college entrance exam – but Nicolet High School in suburban Milwaukee is getting a handful of its own. The Glendale school says five of its students were awarded perfect scores on the ACT during the last year. Twin sisters Rachel and Alexandra Heuer both achieved perfection as juniors. Nicolet junior Ben Lawton was told earlier this year that he scored a 36. And it took a few months for two of last year’s seniors to be told of their perfection – Nancy Gao and Annie Jen. Nicolet Superintendent Rick Monroe says it’s extremely rare for one school to have five ACT perfect scores within a year’s time. Before the state’s Act-10 union law, Nicolet had been criticized for spending too much money on students – around $17,000 dollars for each youngster. But Monroe says the extra money means more resources – which can also help spur achievement.
The National Weather Service accidentally texted a tornado warning to cell-phone subscribers in southeast Wisconsin. It happened late this morning. The message told recipients of a tornado warning until 10:45 a-m, and to take shelter and check local media. Rudy Schaar of the Weather Service said it was supposed to be issued as a test – but the wrong mode was used. The false tornado warning was also posted on the Weather Service Web site, but has since been deleted. A winter storm warning is in effect for tonight and tomorrow in much of southern Wisconsin, with up to a foot of snow predicted. But actually, a tornado warning is not all that far-fetched. Five years ago, Kenosha County had a devastating tornado in early January. Thirty homes were destroyed and 120 others had at least some damage, when a pair of twisters touched down.
A Wisconsin State Senate Democrat wants to stop the DNR from letting wolf hunters use dogs to sniff out their prey. Fred Risser of Madison is asking colleagues to co-sponsor a bill that goes against what a Dane County judge ruled in January. Judge Peter Anderson allowed the state Natural Resources Board to set rules for training and using dogs – but only under certain time limits and conditions. The board held a hearing on the matter recently, as it considers a new policy. Risser told the AP that humane societies oppose the use of dogs in a wolf hunt. Those groups also oppose any wolf hunting, but Risser’s measure doesn’t go that far. National animal rights groups have blasted the wolf hunts in Wisconsin and Minnesota. They’ve gone to court to try and end state control of wolf populations in the Upper Midwest, and put the animals back under the federal endangered species act.
State officials have made it easier to help parents decide which child care centers to use. The Department of Children-and-Families has started to list the amounts of fines levied against day-care facilities, and the reasons for them. Child care groups have asked for years to have the information online – so parents don’t unfairly shy away from centers which are not bad apples. The data has always been available. But just six years ago, parents had to drive to one of five regional state government centers to get it, or else pay 15-cents a page to get it by mail. In 2008, the state began listing centers online which violated state rules. But it did not list the fines, or the violations those places committed. State child care union president Anneliese Sheahan of Mosinee said that was really unfair, because their potential customers could not tell if a place got fined a-hundred-dollars or a-thousand. The Web site is at DCF Wisconsin-Dot-Gov-slash-youngstar.
The third-and-final defendant in a six-year-old murder case near Appleton is due to make her first court appearance today. 38-year-old Rosie Campbell of the Twin Cities area is charged with being a party to first-degree intentional homicide. She and 34-year-old Kandi Siveny of the Twin Cities were recently extradited to Outagamie County, where Siveny had a million-dollar bond set during her first court appearance in Appleton last Friday. The two women, plus Siveny’s mother Dianna, are all charged in the 2007 shooting death of Dianna’s domestic partner, 30-year-old Lara Plamann. Authorities said Kandi Siveny apparently fired the gun that killed Plamann, because she suspected that Plamann was cheating on her mother. Dianna was reportedly the sole beneficiary of Plamann’s estate, and authorities said the victim had an affair a few weeks before she was murdered.
The largest university-based film festival in the United States is about to become even bigger. The 15th annual Wisconsin Film Festival will run for two weekends instead of one. It’s planned for April 11th-through-18th in and around the UW-Madison campus. Organizers say it’s the largest campus-based movie festival in the nation, featuring about 100 new films each year with total audiences of around 34-thousand. The UW-Madison Arts Institute sponsors the festival, along with dozens of campus and community groups.