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Top Stories April 19, 2014

Motions Denied For Hartford Murder Suspect


4/19/14 - A Washington County judge has denied a motion to suppress statements made by a Hubertus man accused of murdering a Hartford teen. Daniel Bartelt is charged with First-Degree Intentional Homicide in the July 15 murder of Jessie Blodgett. According to the criminal complaint, Blodgett was last seen alive following a cast party for a production at the Schauer Center in Hartford. Twelve hours later, the 19-year-old was found dead by her mother with ligature marks on her neck and left wrist. An autopsy confirmed that Blodgett had been bound and strangled.  Investigators searched Bartelt’s vehicle and parents home and allegedly found DNA evidence on hair, rope and black electrical tape that matched both Bartelt's and Blodgett's. Bartelt, who was already a suspect in an attack in Richfield, was interviewed twice in the days following the murder. The 19-year-old told them he knew the victim since the eighth grade and the two had recently spent time together but denied involvement in her death. Those interviews were the basis for a defense motion to suppress. Judge Todd Martens determined that Bartelt was not in custody when questioned during the initial interview and the state was in compliance with his Miranda rights before he asserted his right to counsel. He was placed under arrest at the conclusion of that first interview. During an interview the next day, Martens found that Bartelt was advised of his Miranda rights but knowingly and voluntarily waived those rights. The judge also says just because Bartelt asserted his right to counsel during the first interview that did not preclude him from being interviewed the next day. Also yesterday, the defense maintained that Bartelt is still pleading “not guilty by reason of insanity” in the killing.  A two-week jury trial is on the calendar beginning August 11. 


BDPD Releases 2013 Crime Stats


4/19/14 - The Beaver Dam Police Department has released stats on last year’s criminal activity. According to the Uniform Crime Report figures, violent crime held steady in Beaver Dam with eight incident reported in both 2012 and 2013. In 2012, there were three robberies and five aggravated assaults while in 2013 there was one robbery and seven aggravated assaults. There were no homicides or forcible rapes last year. Property crimes increased last year with 557 reported compared to 490 the previous year.  One-hundred and four (104) burglaries were reported in 2013, 21 more than the previous year. There was an 11% increase in adult arrests over the two-year period with 997 reported last year. There was 2% more juvenile arrests than in 2012 with 351 reported. There were 484 traffic accidents last year, which is below the five year average of 508. Those accidents resulted in 79 injuries. There were no fatalities on city streets last year, but there was one in 2012.  Beaver Dam Police officers issued 1005 parking tickets last year generating $23,014 in revenue.


DNR Reports 15 Sewage Overflows From Recent Rains


4/19/14 - The state D-N-R said Friday that 15 Wisconsin communities had overflows from their sewage plants, due to the heavy snow in the north and heavy rains in the south.  Ashland spilled the most -- almost 16-million gallons of partially-treated sewage that went into Lake Superior over a four-day period.  It avoid a flood in the city's treatment plant and sewage back-ups in homes.  That was before the area picked up more than a foot of snow on Wednesday and Thursday.  Earlier in the week, southern Wisconsin had five inches of rain at the same time the north had five-inches of snow.  Superior also reported a pair of sanitary sewer overflows last Thursday and Sunday, with almost a million gallons of untreated sewage going into Lake Superior.  Mequon had 72-thousand gallons of untreated wastewater flow into Fish Creek, which is connected to Lake Michigan.  Sheboygan had around 30-thousand gallons go into Lake Michigan. Officials in Beaver Dam announced earlier this week that the five-and-a-quarter inches of rain that fell in the city did NOT require a need to bypass the treatment system.


MPTC Breaking Ground In June On Addition


4/19/14 - Moraine Park Technical College hopes to break ground in June for an addition at their Fond du Lac campus. MPTC President Sheila Ruhland says more than 5,200 square feet will be added giving them a more defined entrance to the school and will allow them to centralize their student affair services for new and existing students. Ruhland says it the first phase of a two-phase project for the school. The $1.5 million plus project needs approval from a state board next month.


Republicans Score Victory In Act 10 Ruling


4/19/14 - Governor Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers scored another legal victory Friday in their approval of the Act-10 public union bargaining limits.  A three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Chicago affirmed that most public workers did not have their rights infringed upon, when they lost nearly all of their collective bargaining privileges in 2011.  Two Dane County unions filed the federal lawsuit, claiming that Act-10 violated their rights to free association and equal protections under the law.  The appellate panel agreed with Federal Judge William Conley of Madison, who ruled Act-10 still allows public employees to assemble and speak -- but it does not require their government employers to listen.  Previously, the Chicago appeals court ruled that all of Act-10 was constitutional.  That was after parts of the package had been struck down.  Also, the State Supreme Court is in the process of deciding whether the law applies to local government and school unions, in addition to state government employees.  The law allows all public employees except police-and-fire unions to bargain only for pay raises at-or-below inflation.  Also, unions cannot be recognized unless 51-percent of all members agree to it -- which means that members who don't vote are in essence voting no.


John Doe Price Tag Tops $100K


4/19/14 - Wisconsin taxpayers have spent almost 100-thousand dollars to help prosecutors and judges defend themselves in the secret John Doe probe into the state's recall elections.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says fee limits were recently increased for the attorneys that represent public justice officials in just one of the legal proceedings involving the John Doe.  That's the one in which a target of the probe -- the Wisconsin Club for Growth -- filed a federal civil rights suit stating that its rights to free speech and equal protection were violated.  Prosecutors want the case dropped, saying the federal courts have no right to get involved.  A federal judge recently ruled that the Club for Growth's lawsuit should keep moving forward.  The Journal Sentinel says the new fee limits could result in taxpayers paying 300-thousand dollars for this case alone.  The Club and the Walker election campaign are among the conservative groups reportedly being targeted.  The probe centers on alleged illegal coordination between G-O-P candidates and outside groups in the recall elections in 2011-and-'12 -- one of which made the Republican Walker the nation's first governor to survive a statewide recall effort.


Leibham To Make Congressional Announcement Tuesday


4/19/14 - Wisconsin Senate Republican Joe Leibham of Sheboygan will announce on Tuesday whether he'll run for Congress this fall.  If he runs, he'll be one of at least three Republicans to seek the party's nomination for the Sixth District House seat being given up by Tom Petri.  State Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend recently said he would run against Petri in a mid-August primary.  Petri first said he would look forward to the competition -- but then on Monday, he announced that 35 years on Capitol Hill is enough, and he won't run after all.  That opened the door to Assembly Republican Duey Strobel of Saukville, who became the second G-O-P hopeful.  It's a highly Republican district, and Petri has rarely had Democratic challengers during his tenure.


Snowy Owl Released Into Wild Today


4/19/14 - A rare snowy owl that was hit by a bus in Washington D-C will be released into the wild Saturday on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border near Superior.  The owl received national attention in late January, when it was found injured in downtown D-C.  The snowy owl was then taken to the National Zoo and a Washington wildlife rehab facility, before it was sent to the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center for recovery.  Experts replaced the owl's damaged feathers, and put the owl through an therapy exercise program that lasted for about three weeks.  The owl will be let go along with another U-of-M patient, a snowy owl from Superior.  The head of the raptor center's clinic, Lori Arent, said it's anyone's guess what the notorious owl will do.  She said it might stay in the Duluth-Superior region for a few days, but it will be urged to migrate north eventually.  Arent said the Upper Midwest is a great starting point for that type of journey.  Snowy owls are native Arctic creatures.  But during this cold winter, they've been spotted as far south as Florida. 


Yesterday's Headlines
    - Student Injured Outside Sages School in Fox Lake
    - Fox Lake Seeking CDBG For Street Repairs
    - Waupun-Area Vacancy on Dodge County Board

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.