MADISON – A New Richmond woman who embezzled $300,600 from the company she co-founded and failed to pay $1.269 million in employee withholding taxes was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 2.5 years in prison and ordered to make restitution. Stephanie Johnson, 40, betrayed the trust placed in her by lifelong friend and co-owner of Paradigm Services, Inc., Jamie Carufel, plus several employees of the company that provided care for developmentally disabled adults in group homes and private residences.
MADISON — Utility regulators last week (May 22) gave the village of Spring Valley the go ahead for a new $1.09 million well and to close another which should not require an increase in water rates, said Village Clerk Luann Emerson. That pronouncement should come as welcome news to the many residents who wrote the Public Service Commission in opposition to the well project. A letter the PSC mailed in late April to 544 metered customers raised the possibility that the new well could increase an average residential customer's quarterly water bills from $91.71 to $150.72.
MADISON — The village of Spring Valley needs a new backup well to replace one that produces too much sand and undesirable minerals and not enough water, according to an application recently filed with the Public Service Commission. The well project has a $1.2 million estimated cost and is one of three improvements the utility expects to present to the PSC within the year, said Wendy Sander, of Cedar Corp., the village's consulting engineers.
MADISON — State regulators last week (Sept. 19) approved Ellsworth Municipal Water and Sewer Utility's acquisition of the privately-owned and failing Ray Huppert Utility. Transferring the Huppert utility to the village is expected to decrease the approximately 50 Huppert customers' water rates, some of the highest in the state, by 70 percent. Meanwhile, rates of the 1,200 existing Ellsworth customers are not expected to increase.
MADISON — A Prescott man was sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 1 in federal court to 10.5 years in prison followed by 20 years supervised release on his second conviction for possessing child pornography. Grady M. Riley, 42, was arrested on July 8, 2016 by state and local authorities who were executing a search warrant at his father's residence. Grady attempted to flee but was soon apprehended without incident, said District Judge William Conley.
MADISON — A state board Tuesday, July 25 approved a $270,000 loan the town of Salem sought for its share of the cost to replace a 400th Street bridge washed out in a storm a year ago. The impact on taxpayers of repaying the five-year, 3 percent loan has not been calculated yet, said Town Chair Jason Shingledecker. "The way the price kept going up; we'll just have to see what the final cost to us is," said Shingledecker.
MADISON — In the first rate increase since 2000, quarterly bills for Spring Valley Waterworks residential customers will rise by 64 percent or, $23.25, according to an order the Public Service Commission issued March 21. Average residential customers currently paying $36.15 quarterly for 9,000 gallons of water will pay $59.40 for the same volume of water when the new rates take effect April 1, said village clerk/treasurer Luann Emerson. Bills reflecting the new rates will be mailed in July and Emerson does not expect to get too many complaints from customers then.
Editor's note: This story was posted Nov. 7, 2016. MADISON -- A man tasered by Prescott police while inside his house filed an unlawful entry and excessive force civil lawsuit in federal court against the city and two police officers. According to the suit filed Monday, Nov. 7: Officers Mark Schultz and Jesse Neely responded in January 2014 to a possible domestic disturbance call phoned in by a neighbor of Michael A. Durham.
TOWNS OF ELLSWORTH, ROCK ELM -- The townships of Ellsworth and Rock Elm will receive additional state funding to help each rebuild one of their most traveled and unsafe roads. A one-mile stretch of 710th Street in the town of Ellsworth, between 490th and 450th streets, will be widened, hills lowered and repaved, said Town Chair Roger Billeter. “It’s in pretty rough shape. It’s narrow, some hills need to be cut down to improve sight distances and the shoulders will be widened by 2 feet each,” he said.
After nine years, the Prescott Water Utility is giving up on largely using city staff to switch out old meters for automated ones and will contract out the task subject to Public Service Commission approval. Nine years ago, the utility planned to use city staff, as time allowed, to change out 1,700 aging water meters with new models that transmit water usage data.