Ziemer Enter Plea Agreement
5/22/13 - A former Mondovi man who arranged a murder from inside the Dodge County Detention Facility has entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors. William Ziemer was charged with Attempted First Degree Intentional Homicide, but pled to an amended charge of Solicitation of First Degree Intentional Homicide. Prosecutors say the 49-year-old devised the plot with an inmate who was a confidential informant for the Department of Justice. Ziemer wanted to have a Mondovi women killed because of a dispute over a financial matter. The informant arranged a phone conversation with the supposed “hit-man” who was actually a special agent with the Justice Department. The informant told Ziemer to speak in code telling the hit man to (quote) “get her a plane ticket” if she should be killed quickly or to (quote) “get her a bus ticket” if she should be killed slowly and painfully. Ziemer opted for the quicker death but also asked the hit man to have the woman sign over various financial documents before her murder and then send them to him in jail. He planned to pay for the contracted kill with the proceeds from the sale of his home. Ziemer was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison followed by seven and a half years of extended supervision, with the sentence running at the same time as a seven year prison sentence handed down last September for a burglary committed in Polk County.
Poverty Rate in BD Schools is Up
5/22/13 - The number of Wisconsin public school students who qualify for free or reduced meals continues to climb. According to the Department of Public Instruction, 43.2-percent of students in the state are now eligible for the National School Breakfast and Lunch programs, an increase of seven-tenths of a percent over last year. The Beaver Dam School District is above the statewide average at 47.3-percent this year, an increase of over six-percent from last year. Superintendent Steve Vessey notes that Beaver Dam has bucked the trend in that the number of free and reduced lunches may have increased but so have academic achievement numbers. There was a decrease of nearly two-percent in Columbus with 22.5-percent of students using the free and reduced lunch program. Dodgeland increased over six-percent from last year to 43-percent. Horicon dropped over 8-percent to 35-percent. Mayville decreased three-percentage points to 29-percent. Randolph is up one-percent to 49%. Lomira is down one-percent to 24-percent. Watertown had a two-and-half-percent increase to 46.6-percent. Waupun was down less than a percentage point and has 38-percent of its students on the program.
Home Sales, Prices Continue to Rise
5/22/13 - For the past 22 months, the numbers of existing homes sold by Wisconsin Realtors has increased. The Realtors’ Association says that its members sold almost 59-hundred houses in April, nine-point-two-percent more than in April of 2012. The median statewide price was $138-thousand dollars, or 10-thousand more than the same month the previous year. Dodge County saw a double digit jump of 13.6-percent with 75-homes sold last month. The median price was up 12.-5-percent to $110,500. Jefferson County had a 42-percent increase in homes sold to 107, while the median price jumped 13-percent to $152,000. Columbia County had five more homes sold last month compared to April of 2012 going from 54 to 59 sales. However, the median price was down 3-percent to $126,100. Fond du Lac County saw drops in both price and homes sold. There were 70-homes sold last month – down four-percent from last year and the median price dropped by 12.8-percent to $95,450. Realtors’ C-E-O Mike Theo said the available supply of homes has dropped, and low mortgage rates are attracting more potential buyers.
Gas Prices Over $4 in Places
5/22/13 - As Wisconsinites gear up for Memorial Day Weekend, gas prices are well above four-dollars a gallon in a number of places throughout the state. The Triple-“A” said this morning that the average statewide price for regular unleaded is about 3.95-a-gallon. That’s almost two-cents more than yesterday, 16 cents more than a week ago, and 35 cents more than a month ago. It could be had for $3.83 in Beaver Dam this morning – while it was $3.89 in Reeseville and Juneau. In Waupun it was $3.93. Gail Weinholzer of the Minnesota Triple-“A” blamed it on constricted supplies from Midwest oil refineries. She says the problem is being fixed with fuel shipments from the Gulf Coast. Weinholzer expects the Midwest refineries to get back on line soon after Memorial Day. She expects peak prices later this week, with a slow drop after the holiday, and a more rapid decline in mid-June.
Absentee Balloting Could Become Easier for Those Outside of the State
5/22/13 - Wisconsin election officials will ask lawmakers to make it easier for more residents overseas to cast ballots. The state Government Accountability Board Tuesday recommended that all overseas voters receive Wisconsin ballots electronically – not just military personnel and permanent foreign residents. The change would allow vacationers and students to get ballots electronically while they’re out of the country, which they cannot do now. Also, the Board voted to ask legislators to create one firm deadline for requesting absentee ballots. It would be on the Thursday before the election. Right now, deadlines vary for military voters, those indefinitely confined, and the general public. Also, the elections’ panel asked lawmakers to drop a requirement that a U-S citizen sign the return envelope for those ballots which are mailed to local clerks.
Smoking Provision for State Employee Health Insurance Approved in Committee
5/22/13 - State government employees are one step closer to paying more for their health insurance if they smoke. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted 13-to-3 Tuesday to make smokers pay 50-dollars more-per-month for their health coverage than state workers who don’t’ smoke. Employees who are caught lying would be hit with an extra surcharge – but they would not lose their insurance, as Governor Scott Walker originally proposed. The Republican governor says the fee is needed because health care costs run about 35-percent more for smokers than non-smokers. The American Cancer Society and Lung Association have opposed higher insurance premiums for smokers, saying they’re not all that effective in getting people to quit. A dozen other states have the extra fees.
Double-Dipping Could End
5/22/13 - The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted 12-to-4 Tuesday to stop public employees from double-dipping – getting both a pension and a paycheck by retiring and later returning. All Republicans voted for the tighter restrictions, while all Democrats voted no. Supporters of the concept say experienced retirees are needed until new people can take their places. Republicans cried foul two years ago when a former U-W Green Bay official made a deal with his bosses to return, after he joined others in retiring out of fear that Governor Walker would cut their retirement benefits. Retirees would have to wait 75 days to return instead of the current 30. And those working two-thirds’ time must pay into the retirement system again instead of drawing from it.
Spring Planting Picks Up
5/22/13 - Wisconsin farmers have taken advantage of the recent warm-and-dry weather to catch up on their spring planting. Officials said 43-percent of the state’s corn crop was in the ground as of Sunday, compared to just 14-percent the week before. Normally, about two-thirds of the state corn has been planted by now, but farmers have been hampered by the long winter this year. About seven-percent of the Wisconsin corn has emerged from the ground, below the norm of 22-percent. Eleven-percent of the state’s soybeans are in. That’s up from just one-percent a week ago. Normally, about a third of the beans have been planted by now. Seventy-percent of the oat crop is in – just over 20-percent below normal. Almost half of Wisconsin pastures are said to be in good-to-excellent condition, and 45-percent are fair. Spring field work is almost 60-percent finished. Soil moisture was rated around 80-percent adequate, before several rounds of rain began moving into the Badger State on Sunday.
- BD Council Tables Funding Request
- Kennedy Given Authority to Work Toward Purchase of Fountain Inn Tavern
- Supervisors Upset with Sales Presentations
- McLellan Enters No Contest Plea
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