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Top Stories April 24, 2015

Trade Partners Refusing Midwest Poultry Products


4/24/15 - Some of America's foreign trade partners are refusing to buy Midwest egg and poultry items due to the outbreaks of the avian flu.  Over seven-million chickens and turkeys have been killed since early March -- mostly to keep the H-5-N-2 virus from spreading, after it struck dozens of farms in Wisconsin and elsewhere.  The Badger State has had six outbreaks in Jefferson, Barron, Chippewa, and Juneau counties.  Yesterday, the bird flu was confirmed for the second time in Barron County, in a flock of 90-thousand turkeys.  A few countries like China, Russia, South Korea, and Thailand have cut off all imports of poultry products from the U-S. Thirty-three other nations -- including Mexico and Canada -- have declined to bring in poultry from entire states.  Others like Hong Kong have limited their bans only to counties where the bird flu virus has been confirmed.  Jim Sumner, who heads the U-S Poultry-and-Egg Association, said he'd like to see nations with statewide import restrictions go down to the county level.  He said 110 countries still have no restrictions in their trade with the U-S.  The bird flu is expected to subside once it warms up.  Within a month after that, Sumner said it's likely that some of the import bans may be relaxed. U-S poultry exports have grown in recent years.  Last year, 39-million-dozen processed eggs were sold to other countries -- up from 15-million in 2012.


Juneau Man Sentenced Prison For Crime Spree


4/24/15 - Two men tied to a countywide crime spree were in Dodge County Court yesterday.  28-year-old Derek Pederson of Juneau was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for cutting the locks on 13 units at U-Store Mini-Warehouse in Beaver Dam, burglarizing storage units at the Fox Lake Golf Course and Beaver Dam Country Club, braking into an enclosed trailer in Randolph, and stealing from his fianc�e’s father.  Stolen items were primarily power tools and electronics that were pawned around the state.  Investigators used a statewide records database to trace the pawned items. Pederson’s vehicle was captured on surveillance cameras during the hours of the storage unit break-ins. Bolt cutters, stolen items and pawn tickets were among the items seized from the suspects.  Pederson admitted his role in the crime spree to investigators saying that his is addicted to opiate pain pills.  42-year-old Robert McKenna, previously of Beaver Dam, entered a not guilty plea to similar burglary charges.  He waived his preliminary hearing and has further court activity scheduled for next month.


Beaver Dam Man Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Teen


4/24/15 - A criminal complaint was filed yesterday against a 23-year-old Beaver Dam man who allegedly impregnated a minor.  Robert A. Reichwald is facing one count of felony Sexual Assault of a Child Under the Age of 16.  The 14-year-old girl reportedly told authorities that she had contact with Reichwald in February 2014.  She became pregnant and gave birth this past November.  A DNA sample of Reichwald obtained with a mouth swab was consistent with that of the child, making him the likely biological father. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance next month. If he is found guilty, Reichwald faces up to forty years in prison. 


Man Waives Preliminary Hearing On 9th OWI Charge


4/24/15 - A Beaver Dam man arrested earlier this month for ninth offense drunk driving waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday. David Bingham is charged with felony Operating While Intoxicated along with misdemeanor Obstruction and Operating a Motor Vehicle While Revoked. The 51-year-old was pulled over in the city of Beaver Dam after motorists observed a vehicle swerving onto the gravel shoulder on Highway 151. When the officer asked Bingham how much he had to drink he reportedly said (quote) “enough.” He allegedly refused a field sobriety test and several beer cans were inside the vehicle. Bingham initially tried giving police a fake name and wound up admitting his real name after the officer found his wallet. Bingham has an arraignment hearing scheduled for May 13. If convicted, the charges carry a maximum prison sentence of over ten years.


Beaver Dam Man To Be Sentenced Next Month


4/24/15 - A Beaver Dam man pled guilty yesterday to a variety of charges including theft of moveable property, trespassing, and criminal damage to property.  Jason Collier was convicted on two counts and had a third dismissed but read into the record.  The 27-year-old was charged for breaking into a Beaver Dam apartment last fall in an attempt to steal electronic equipment. A neighbor heard a commotion in the unit and walked in on Collier and another woman trying to remove a television and other items. The witness was acquainted with the suspects who were apparently staying with friends in the apartment complex but were not able to explain what they were doing in that particular unit.  Collier’s sentencing hearing is set for May 2.


Man Enters Not Guilty Plea On Break-In Charge


4/24/15 - A 24-year-old Beaver Dam man charged with breaking into a local home entered a “not guilty” plea in a Dodge County Courtroom yesterday.  Jordan R. Hiley then waived his right to a preliminary hearing on felony burglary and a pair of misdemeanor charges.  According to the criminal complaint, Hiley stole multiple items including jewelry, cash, and lead from the home of a vacationing couple who received a text from a girl who knew Hiley reporting that he was breaking into their garage.  Some of the missing items were found after being sold to local stores and a stolen bucket was allegedly seen in Hiley’s truck.  The 24-year-old was taken into custody on April 2.  He allegedly cited his heroin addiction as the reason he broke into the home.  If convicted, Hiley faces up to 13 years in prison.  He has further court activity scheduled for next month.


Theresa Man Accused Of Theft Waives Preliminary Hearing


4/24/15 - A 47-year-old Theresa man suspected of taking $24,000 from the gas station he worked for waived his right to a preliminary hearing.  According to the criminal complaint, Randal Mittelstadt used the money he took to support a gambling habit. The alleged cash register thefts occurred over about a one year period. He has an arraignment hearing set for May 20.


BDUSD Offering Lunch At Summer School


4/24/15 - For the first time, the Beaver Dam School District will be offering lunch to students who attend summer school. Superintendent Steve Vessey calls it an exciting opportunity made possible through the federal government. The program is expected to be cash neutral with no cost to the district. Vessey is confident that the reimbursement rate from the federal government will exceed the costs to extend the food service program. The district is eligible for the federal reimbursement because of the number of district students receiving free and reduced lunches. If successful this summer, the program may even be expanded in the future to include all children within the Beaver Dam School District. He says they will be taking the small step this summer to see if they get it right and if that is successful they will take the next step. If expanded, Vessey notes that the lunch would not need to be offered in a school building and could be served through a church, at a park or any other qualifying off-site location.


Drought Conditions Linger


4/24/15 - The U-S Drought Monitor said Thursday that over 48-percent of the state's land area remains in a moderate drought, covering most of the northern half of the state.  The moderate drought territory extends as far south as portions of Fond du Lac and Green Lake counties. A handful of counties in western Wisconsin are drought-free, from the Mississippi River east to a sliver of Marquette County. About 43-percent of the state is abnormally dry, including Dodge, Columbia, Jefferson and Washington counties.


Jobless Filings Continue Downward Trend


4/24/15 - Jobless filings in the region continue their downward trend. In Dodge County, the unemployment rate last month was 5.5-percent, two-tenth below February. Columbia County is down one-tenth over the two-month period to 5.4-percent.  Jefferson County dropped three-tenths from February to 5.2-percent. Washington County is tied for the fourth lowest jobless rate in the state at 4.4, down one-tenth from the previous month. Green Lake County was the only county in the region in the bottom half of the state reporting a 7.3-percent, down three-tenths from February. All the counties in the region were over a full-percentage point lower last month when compared to March of 2014. Dane County continues to have the lowest rate in the state at 3.6-percent. Menominee County again has the highest rate in the state at 11.3-percent, followed closely by Door County at 11-percent even. Rates were unchanged or decreased in all but two of the state’s 72 counties.


DeVry University Closing Milwaukee Campus


4/24/15 - Milwaukee is about to lose one of its best-known for-profit colleges.  DeVry University said yesterday it would close campuses in eleven cities throughout the U-S, including Wisconsin's only campus in downtown Milwaukee.  The shutdown is scheduled for December 31st.  Almost 250 graduate and under-graduate students will be given options to complete their course work in DeVry's online classes -- which will continue.  They could also transfer to other DeVry schools out-of-state, or transfer to a local college or university with similar programs.  David Dies, who heads the state's Educational Approval Board, said he would try to make DeVry give refunds to its newest students if they're not interested in the other options.  Milwaukee has had a DeVry campus since 1983. Many for-profit schools have had enrollment declines and tighter admission standards, due to a government crackdown on high student debt levels.  Just over 110 of the 247 DeVry Milwaukee students are in the Keller Graduate School of Management.  About half the Milwaukee students take their classes online. Eighty-percent have a mix of online and classroom-based programs.


Boil Water Order In Lake Mills


4/24/15 - Folks in Lake Mills are being urged to boil their tap water until further notice. Officials said the community had a recent drop in water pressure, thus making it easier for contaminants to enter the system.  The water pressure has since been restored.  But W-I-S-C T-V in Madison says people should still boil their drinking and cooking water as a precaution, until samples can be taken that would confirm the safety of the water system.  The Lake Mills water utility plans to flush the distribution network, and increase dosages of chlorination.


Yesterday's Headlines
Wisconsin Guard To Help In Bird Flu Outbreak

- County Finalizes Antlerless Harvest Recommendation
- Beaver Dam Approves Borrowing, Refinancing Plan

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.